Lightning Swords Of Death
Interview with vocalist and co-founder Autarch aka Farron Loathing
Interview by Caitlin Smith
Southern California has been hiding a dark secret. For the past nine years Lightning Swords of Death have been developing a unique brand of black metal on the underground LA scene. Described as embodying the dark place in the human mind and the space between spaces, this band are ready to defy all that is expected of them. Fresh off the release of Baphometic Chaosium, Vocalist and founding member Farron Loathing talks to Metal Rules about black magic, the occult and the abyss…
For readers who have never listened to you before, how would you describe your sound?
Farron Loathing (FL) – Our music could be described as black/death/thrash with some doom, and psychedelic elements as well. I like to think of it as having a continuous orgasm while being dragged naked over broken glass for six hundred sixty six miles.
Where did the name Lightning Swords of Death come from?
FL – It has several meanings to us. It was a sort of code phrase for Lysergic acid diethylamide, but also describes pathworking the the qlipothic tree. The preferred path through the spheres of the abyss is described as a lightning sword. It is definitely not a typical name for a band such as ours, but we have never desired to be typical.
You describe yourself as Occult black metal, how do you feel this theme is represented in your music?
FL – I am not sure if we have ever said “Occult black metal”, I would think that phrase a little redundant, don’t you think? If there are bands that describe themselves as black metal that are not occult thematically, than that is usually a red flag to me. For Lightning Swords of Death, black metal describes music that is the result of participants acknowledging that there is something older and larger than themselves working through them. Black metal should be the union of magic and music. It is our perspective that black metal is a post modern form of black magic, not a soap box for national socialism, or a place to whine of one’s drug addiction, or a place to project a false image of strength after being picked on too much as a child. I would suggest those topics be worked through before attempting any serious magical work.
Did you consciously decide to include occult themes right from the beginning or did it just come naturally?
FL – The early demos, maybe not so much. The line up was very different. There really is only so much that can be achieved with the wrong people. However, once the core membership of our order had been established we began the work of fusing our favorite art forms.
Who would you say are your biggest influences, both musically and thematically?
FL – Venom, Slayer, Voivod, Destruction, Sodom, Celtic Frost and Bathory all had a very powerful and distinct effect on our young heshling minds while growing up. The feelings those bands invoked when coupled with the iconography they associated their music with, it really made sense to us even before we knew why.
How do you feel you fit within the modern black metal scene?
FL – Fit? Consider these facts; We are from Los Angeles California which is quite far from Norway or Sweden. We do not really paint our faces. Our band’s name is Lightning Swords of Death and our music is all over the map, intentionally difficult to categorize. Clearly we do not fit and have never cared to. There are plenty of so called black metal bands that were formed from devotion to specific first or second wave acts and that is cute, but not our path. The true spirit of rebellion is not to seek comfort within the rules of some scene, but to stab the master in the eye once you have absorbed his secrets. We exist autonomously and the only force we answer to is true fucking chaos.
You supported Immortal in LA in 2010, are there any other famous bands you would like to play with?
FL – Of course. Playing with Immortal as the only direct support was more than a little surreal, it was difficult to banish the huge grins from our faces, as you can imagine. Our first major tour was with the mighty Behemoth and that came right after signing to Metal Blade so right out of the starting gate we had already crossed a major name off the list. We have also shared the stage with Danzig and that took place before Metal Blade! At this juncture we very much would like to perform with Venom, Tryptikon and Mayhem. We could easily list more bands, but I hate reading interviews which are just endless lists of other band names, don’t you?
What persuaded you to get your music featured on Sony game Undead Knights?
FL – Thousands of cunts stealing music makes it very difficult to tour or do anything. Your label only supports you based on your sales generated by soundscan, so bands are often completely neck deep in shit financially. Licensing is a rare opportunity for a band like ours, but rare opportunities materialize if you do “the work”. When the Japanese company, Tecmo contacted us about a game wherein your character, a black magician, a warrior of evil can enslave the dead and control them to reap vengeance upon his enemies, well… Lets just say we all smiled and agreed to provide the soundtrack.
How do you feel you have progressed from the last album, The Extra Dimensional Wound?
FL – There is a profound evolution to be heard between every release. The Golden Plague was the filth. The Extra-Dimensional Wound projected the plunder and the gate. Baphometic Chaosium encapsulates filth, plunder and a deeper sense of atmosphere than we have ever achieved before. It is chaos, death and ecstasy upon the altar in devotion to Baphomet. My favorite kind of book is one that I enjoy more every time I read it. I believe we have created this phenomenon with a piece of music and that is progress.
How has the addition of an extra guitarist, Chris Velez, affected your sound?
FL – He has brought fresh blood to us and fresh blood expands the musical vocabulary of a band if it is the right individual, a fifth member was required to realize our third full length.
What inspired the artwork on your recently released album, Baphometic Chaosium?
FL – Baphomet, who is both the Father of Understanding and the Mother of Chaos, the animal and the machine, the particle and the wave, the mystery of mysteries.
Tell us about the new video for Baphometic Chaosium.
FL – As an artist I was ready to begin working in a new medium and decided that it was time to try the moving picture. I almost did this on the last album, but the stars were not right. For Baphometic Chaosium though, everything lined up. By partnering with Brian Sowell and his Mortichrome imprint and with the help of my army of incredibly talented and witchy friends, I was able to make something very special. It is our view that in order to immanentize the eschaton we must do our best to encourage and inspire magical thinking and practice. In essence, this music video is instructional material teaching the inquisitive viewer how to effectively invoke Baphomet. Sadly, it is the idiocracy that has arrived before the singularity so “tits!” will be the common reaction. Some though will transcribe the theban subtitles, translate them using the internet and learn the details of what was hidden within the narrative to perform this ritual with some of their more interesting friends. We invite those that undertake this “homework” to share their experience with us if they like. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there anything you would like to tell the readers?
FL – I think I have said all that needs to be said.