Following their return from hiatus in 2014, much to the delight of a sharp, in-the-know fanbase, Norway’s In The Woods… showed a glorious return to form with 2016’s Pure (Debemur Morti), an album that wasn’t a re-treading of past glories, but an alternate and matured direction for the band that highlighted their esoteric nature. Ever the shape-shifters, latest release Cease The Day (Debemur Morti) sees further subtle alterations, in what is their most commercially ambitious and accessible (within reason) to date. Continue reading →
With new album Rites ov Perversion(Metal Blade) making waves, and a controversial video steaming up the internet (links below), Antropomorphia’s driving force Ferry Damen (vocals/guitar) caught up with Ghost Cult to fill us in on their journey to date, vaginas, necrophilia and Death Metal …
“I believe art should provoke a reaction; good or bad” opines Antropomorphia main man Ferry Damen, whose latest creation Rites ov Perversion is doing its damnedest to provoke a good reaction all across the Death Metal scene. Not content with creating an album of hook-laden crushing riffs that throws back to the old school (you know, that classic time when Death Metal bands actually wrote songs, before the scene began a self-restricting and creatively redundant game of one-upmanship as to who could blast the fastest, or play the most complicated riff, most jarring time signature or biggest beat-down), Damen also wants to use his band to explore and discuss his perversions. “Maybe I’m just a little more perverted than the next person. But then again, there are ancient rites that have the sole purpose to possess a dead body and making the corpse hunger for the love and sexual satisfaction of the one who has cast the spell.
“You can call this sick or maybe even pathetic but it fascinates me and I would even call it romantic. Haha!”
Be he pervert or romantic, Damen admits to a fascination with not just sex and the dead, but predominantly with the feminine: “Most of these lyrics, old and new, are written from a female perspective. Because to me a woman is a beautiful being, which to some extent can be fragile and even innocent, the innocence represented in giving birth to a new fragile life. When darkness and perdition manifests itself through this being, a woman, it intrigues me. (As for) the necrophilia aspect of some lyrics…? I just like I like envisioning these acts.
“It’s not a vagina fetish” he asserts about the band whose debut album was adorned with a tattooed vagina and have recently released a new video to accompany the track ‘Nekrovaginal Secretions’. “Our artwork and videos also feature darkly feminine characters. The lyrics (to ‘Nekrovaginal Secretions’) are based around a macabre love story where the main figure keeps the corpse of her girlfriend around. You see her enter in a ritual where she tapes herself having ‘sex’ with the corpse on video. We will release a director’s cut in a few weeks, which focuses more on the story. “Our visuals are mostly shocking and controversial for people that don’t understand it.”
That said, Death Metal has always been an avenue for extremity in lyric and aesthetics, be it political, (anti) religious, macabre or through the common medium of dark storytelling, and long may that continue. “If you look at our lyrical tradition you’ll see it mostly consists of a sinister, occult, misanthropic and sexual necrophiliac nature.”
Yet, for a long while, Antropomorphia didn’t exist in the public conscience, and Damen’s aesthetic and cadaverous interests were, to all intents and purposes, consigned to being private, with the band spending 14 years in absentia after the release of their debut Pure (D.M.) in 1998. “We struggled with among other things, time, because other music projects gained more interest, record deals got signed, I myself got involved in management, this all taking up most of our time and turning the focus away from the band. A final blow came when one of our founding members had to leave the band. So, all in all, we were stuck. For us, the logical thing to do was to put the band on hiatus.”
A hiatus that lasted fourteen years between debut and Evangelivm Nekromantia, which followed sharply on the heels of the Death Metallers inking a deal with Metal Blade. “I never stopped writing music for the band though” and resurrecting the band had always a possibility, with sporadic rehearsals and song writing continuing and some tracks surfacing on myspace, even if matters weren’t progressed. “I would record some of these songs together with Marco (drums) at his Aftermath studio, our recording temple, and then Marc (bass) would record his parts. Every time we’d record or made music together there was a ‘spark’. We’d sometimes rent a rehearsal studio just to play some Antropomorphia tunes. At one point that spark started a small fire, so when the hunger grew we decided it was time to really feed those flames.”
But things seem different this time around. The band seems to be on the rise, both critically and commercially. “I think it’s because we’re matured. When we started out we didn’t have the focus. The hunger was there but we got distracted easily. This time around we didn’t lose sight of what and where we want to go and our first goal was to record the album we always wanted to make. So we recorded a two-track demo and send that out to labels,Metal Blade being one of them. A few months later we signed a deal with them and things kept rolling.
“We were very pleased with the outcome of Evangelivm Nekromantia, it exceeded our expectations, adding to the fire and hunger that drives this band.” continues the frontman, describing it as an album that “harboured the characteristics from our older work, but was more groove based and captured more atmosphere.” And this is an approach that has carried onto current album, Rites ov Perversion, an album which stands as the bands finest work to date; a celebration of old school Death metal but with a strong, modern sound. “Our aim was to follow the natural continuum of that sound and meanwhile refine and expand on it. We wanted Rites ov Perversion to have more layers, be violent but also catchy to a certain degree, while staying true and honour certain Death Metal traditions. Listening back I can say we achieved our goal. It is catchy, raw, uncompromising, diverse and perverted. It’s a sonic ride through depths full of hatred, violence and diabolic aggression”
It feels like we are just getting started. There is this hunger within the band. It feeds the flames to this uncontrollable fire, which we hope to spread all over the globe. Our main priority (now) is to play shows, which (we are) working on.”