Winterus Studied the Black Metal Scene Like Pseudo Anthropologists
While many fans think only the best, most kvlt black metal can come from the iced-over lands of Scandinavia, Michigan's Winterus are aiming to squelch that misconception with their excellently 'In Carbon Mysticism,' released last month via Lifeforce Records.
"It's funny because there is no scene, and it's almost like we knew we were up against a wall of being forced into bars and playing with hardcore bands every weekend, but we knew that BM is a 'less-palpable' genre," frontman Christopher Erich Neu recently told Noisecreep.
"We have always felt from the beginning that it's not cute to put on corpse paint and show up to 'shock' people.' First of all, we will not disrespect our elders. There is a line that we will not cross because we have respect for the people who put their foot down amidst human indecency and overproduced music. The statement and the radicalism all fit our personalities. We just found inspiration in what moved us, what would move other people. How can you say everything you've wanted to say and inspire kids the way you were inspired?"
Neu says he is so informed about the black metal genre that he was literally "studying it like the pseudo-anthropologist I was in school. I did reports when I was 14 on black metal, as a young man following [Burzum's] Varg [Vikernes] as he transcribed his words to an .org site from prison. I was thirsting for inspiration and still am. There are still times where I lay my entire life down for what I believe in, and will continue to do so. Not for faith or my country. My inspiration is rooted deep in the knowledge I retain. I think that we should write music the same way, and not sacrifice who we are to open up a pit or sell foil tees."
One might think that the cold, gloomy weather and the depressed economics of the Michigan region which would foster chilling, bleak black metal. However, Neu says that the scene in Michigan is "dense with the East Coast hardcore sound, still dabbling in some deathcore. You've got influences like Pulling Teeth or Ceremony and all the Bridge Nine/Deathwish type bands. Which doesn't leave a bad taste in my mouth, growing up as a Jacob Bannon fan."
Despite their regional scene, Winterus are focused on creating black metal. "Michigan and the surrounding states are reminiscent of Chernobyl compared to any East or West coast establishments in the United States," Neu said. "The scenery has very brief glimpses of anything to write home about. The winters here seem to bring all life to a trudging depressive state and there are no jobs. This winter has brought all sorts of paragraphs and lines to my notepad. Not an easy time when its slowly becoming Flint, Michigan entirely."
Neu said he expects Winterus to begin touring near constantly once the band locks a booking agent down, but for now, fans will have to feast on the recorded material. He said, "We have a passion for bands like Lantlos and other post-BM bands. We also like a lot of DM. Impaled, Nachtmystium, Phobia, Dissection, Enslaved, Agalloch, Deftones, Moonsorrow and Cynic were mostly being jammed the entire time of the writing process. Some surprising interests to people are Metallica, Bobby Darin, MC Chris, or A Tribe Called Quest. We frequently jam those also." Deftones? Bobby Darin? A Tribe Called Quest? Noisecreep loves that Winterus are so open-minded despite their obvious black metalhood.
Before you go out and grab 'In Carbon Mysticism,' Neu offered a glimpse of what you can expect from the record. "Frosty leads, and fat rhythms," he said. "This is Winterus. We aren't The Ancient anymore, but we promise to deliver the same heart-choking harmonies that brought us together as passionate musicians. The speed and intensity of this album brings the lo-fi dynamics of a band like early Impaled, Nile, or Circle of Dead Children. There is ambiance that somehow sneaks into the mix. Someone says, 'Dude, is there a piano behind that guitar?' Nah, it's just us, man!"