Pestilential Shadows Interview
with Vocalist & Guitarist Balam
The world’s a pretty negative place at the moment – an environment Pestilential Shadows seems to thrive in. Lurking in the wings as the human spirit caves in on itself, vocalist and guitarist Balam explains the band’s next step on the dark path…
We’re already two months into 2012 – what have you been up to in these recent weeks?
Balam - Working on our new album ‘Ephemeral’ which we are hoping to release mid this year.
For those who don’t know Pestilential Shadows yet, would you like to introduce yourselves?
Balam – Pestilential Shadows has been in existence since 2003 having several line ups and 4 albums.
We portray death, despair, vice, suffering, mysticism, melancholy. Even though we have Satanic and occult themes that run through the music, alot of the concept is based around mental loss and the destruction of the human spirit through negativity.
People often associate black metal with the colder climates of the likes of Scandinavia and Finland, yet you hail from sun-soaked Australia – do you feel that this has worked for, or against, you?
Balam – It doesn’t really matter what the temperature is like, it doesn’t affect the way the music and lyrics are written. Scandinavian countries do tend to sing about nature but we live in cities and the bush and deserts here are inhospitable so there is no connection for us to Australian nature.
Do you think the black metal genre is much bigger in Australia than people expect?
Balam - The black metal scene in Australia is similar to Europe but much smaller due to population. There is plenty of black metal bands, but only a handful with true conviction.
Released at the tail end of 2011, your latest album Depths has been hailed as one of the finest black metal albums of last year – what does such praise mean to the band?
Balam – It is good to hear that people appreciate our art but it makes us more committed to bettering the last album.
How are you working to remain true to this? Do you have a set writing structure or does the creative process change with each release?
Balam – The way I write the albums has mostly always been the same, following set rules I’ve laid out for myself but when the recording time comes there is a lot of improvisation used.
Are you already planning your next material?
Balam – We have already recorded almost all of the album. Post-production, mixing and mastering is all that’s left to complete.
One of the things that seems to draw people into Pestilential Shadows is your ability to straddle between brutality and melody – how have you achieved this?
Balam – It’s always the way I’ve written the music for Pestilential Shadows. I let the music flow naturally like say a classical piece rather than riffs joined together. I try to write music as a story rather than a black metal song.
What about the live side of the band? Have you got any upcoming tour plans?
Balam – We do play rarely, only shows that we think will make an impact. We did a small Australian tour of just major cities here late last year. We have no plans to tour at the moment, maybe after this new album surfaces.
Taking a cue from your name, do you feel that the world is currently in the grip of a pestilential, or destructive, shadow with the current economic, political, and social situations?
Balam – Definitely. With war, natural disasters and the nuclear threat, the world has always been in an increasing downward spiral into destruction.
Is this something that inspires your music?
Balam – It does inspire the music and lyrics somewhat. Any damage to hope and the human spirit interests me and inspires ideas.
When you personally feel overshadowed by something, what is your go to feel good activity?
Balam – Art. My release from everyday stresses is my artwork but can also be the catalyst for stress if the art has a deadline or is rushed. Same with music. It is a double edged sword.