Over the past few year Kult Ov Azazel have worked their way down towards the deepest pits of hell to become one of the leading North American black metal bands. In 2005 they released their 3rd full-length opus "The World, The Flesh & The Devil", a black masterpiece worthy of its name. Our reporter Everburning indulges in a more thorough investigation of the band in this e-mail interview with guitarist Xaphan from January, 2006.

Latest offering from Kult ov Azazel ‘The World, The Flesh & The Devil’ is out now, what would be your notes to those who still haven’t got it, or don’t know about Kult?
For the ones that don’t know Xul and I formed the band back in April 1999. Over the years and with the utilization of session members we have recorded and released “Order of the Fly”, “Triumph of Fire”, “Assaulting the Masses”, “Oculus Infernum” and the latest release “The World, The Flesh & The Devil” and have been on numerous compilations and have done splits with Krieg, Horn of Valere, Satan’s Blood, Humanicide, Obitus, ThyLord and soon to be with Vrolok. The current line-up is myself (vocals/guitar), Xul (vocals/bass), Hammer (drums) and the newest addition Necrol (guitar).

The music you play requires technical skill and that is obvious through the riffs in your songs. Still, Black Metal today, especially in Eastern Europe accents a raw, primitive-on-purpose playing style and production. How do you react to that, is there one way BM should sound like?
I have said a million times in interviews throughout the years that I like raw and primitive black metal as much as the next die hard but that’s not for us. In fact I can’t even play primitive for the simple fact that I didn’t just pick up a guitar yesterday. All of us in this band have been playing our instruments for a long time so to play a guitar or drum kit like a person starting out is for us in the past. I can tell you this much, it’s because of low standards in both creation and the recording of black metal which has lead to the current disaster that black metal now faces. Because of these low standards anyone can be lead to believe that they too can form a black metal band and look where we are now, millions of shitty bands with even more popping up everyday infecting and diluting what was at one time a strong scene. Now it’s just become one infiltrated by the weak and needy, kids in need of some attention and approval. As for the whole debate on what black metal should be like, sound like, come from it’s a tired subject already. Who fucking cares because I don’t anymore. I will just say that black metal will forever be the musical embodiment of religious blasphemy, human hatred and complete evil.

What other bands/music do you like to listen to nowadays? Do you have any other sources of inspiration besides music?
I listen to all kinds of music but black metal remains the only motivating force for me musically. Non musically I draw inspiration from novels, art, movies and my everyday surroundings. Although a great majority of it comes from the occult and LHP practices.

You deal with occult themes in your lyrics & image. Why is that and do you have any particular, or any at all, gains from occult/magick?
I have had what I’d call successful workings through my involvement but will leave it at that. It’s not something one goes around boasting about.

Does Satan represent only a metaphor for you, or an actual entity? It seems like ‘Satan’ is a major influence in your music and work, so if you can unveil for our readers your interpretation of it?
Satan is the dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature, the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things. A representation of qualities embodying rational self-interest, avoidance of oppressive mentalities, questioning of all, a perseverance towards success and not a conscious entity to be worshipped but rather a reservoir of power inside each human that can be tapped at will.

Could you claim for yourself a title ‘evil’ in everyday life, outside the studio/rehearsal room? How does it manifest?
Yes and the manifestation is Kult ov Azazel.

Your website has the following lines: “The World, The Flesh & The Devil” consists of nine tracks of heretical doctrine, comprised from absolute contempt for humanity and its religions.” Does this mean that you contempt the Satanic religion as well? Do you make a difference between the root of religion, which many can claim is pure and unpolluted, and its modern, human face, which always is polluted, hypocritical and more evil than good?
My problem is with modern religion mainly Christianity and Islam but not limited to only these. I make no distinction from the root of religion and what is has become in this day and age. It should have been this “root” that was plucked and eliminated before it could spread like it has. All theistic religions can and will fuck off and die.

Your goal is ‘to enlighten those that seek enlightenment’ as you said in a recent interview. What does this stand for, and how do you deliver it?
I did but that’s only part of what I said. It concluded with “and to spread terror to those that blindly follow the paths of theism” which when the whole sentence is said I believe it’s very evident what is meant by that comment.

Your way of composing music as a band is interesting, you utilize computers much which reduces the time spent together in some rehearsal room. What are the advantages in communication on distance compared to classical song writing? Vice versa explanation from your viewpoint is ok also.
There’s no advantage to how we do things and really no different than how other bands compose or write. We still spend lots of hours in a rehearsal room together rather we just do it a few months out of the year because only two of us actually reside here in Fort Lauderdale. Our drummer is from New York State so unless there’s a tour or a one off show planned we don’t get to spend much time together as a band. When he does come down here it’s on limited time so we can spend up to 10 hours everyday for a week writing and before he leaves we track the drums onto a laptop before he takes off. This gives me the ability to bring the drum tracks back to my home studio where I transfer his tracks over to my computer allowing us to demo out songs without him being here. This is how we do it because it’s what the circumstances dictate but for what it’s worth in the end it’s not different, just done differently.

Do you deal with any other art form than music?
Not really.

Is there a possibility of seeing you live in Europe soon? According to information from your website, and my memory, you have never played in Europe, how’s that? Would you like to come here in Serbia maybe?
Every time it seems like a possibility it just ends up crumbling into just words. What it comes down to is we can’t afford to come to Europe without any backing or interest from European promoters. Until this happens there’s no chance of ever seeing us in Europe.

Still on the subject of gigs, what spices do you consider a must/important for a great gig? Do you mind sharing stage with non BM bands?
We prefer to do gigs with black metal bands but have in the past shared the stage with death metal bands. Sometimes it’s inevitable.

Ok, thank you for time and devoted energy, any last comments and messages?
Thanks a lot for the interest and interview. Hails to Tartarean Desire for the support over the past seven years!

Links of interest:

Kult Ov Azazel
Crash Music Inc.