EXCLUSIVE: Hear Nokturnal Hellstorm, Danny Lilker’s New Black Metal Band

Danny Lilker’s extreme metal résumé speaks for itself. Seriously, dude’s already had a pair of records inducted into Decibel’s Hall of Fame. So, when our man is involved in a new project, we know to pay attention. With that in mind, Decibel is proud to present the world premiere of “Naan Kadavul,” a new track from Rochesterian black metal crew Nokturnal Hellstorm, featuring Lilker on bass, guitarists Quartaro and Rague, drummer Sno, keyboardist/vocalist Greenwood and frontman Blackwell. We’ll let Danny fill in the rest of the details from here, but be sure to stick around until the end and peep the stream of “Naan Kadavul.”
Tell us about the impetus for this project. You started Nokturnal Hellstorm on your own, right?

Danny Lilker: Correct. In a way, it’s similar to how Brutal Truth began way back in ’90, with me working in my home studio. I wrote the music, programmed the drums and played all the instruments (no vocals, though). I asked Ron from Crucifist to write and record vocals for this project, but before he got around to it, the band came to life when I realized that some of my friends from the Rochester melodic black/death band Sarcous would be able to play this material. So, we took the three songs I had written—one of which is “Naan Kadavul”—wrote another song together, and recorded what we had.

That’s the essence of how the band started, and as far as the impetus; well some may remember a black metal band I played in called Hemlock from NYC in the mid-to-late ’90s. We broke up in 2001 and I relocated to Rochester, NY a year after that. Although Crucifist embodies elements of black metal, I wanted to play pure black metal again. I was quite inspired by the early ’90s Scandinavian black metal scene, which re-lit the fire that had gone out when the original black metal bands from the ’80s lost their direction or broke up. While a lot of people were simply drawn to the more sensational aspects of this scene and lost interest when all that died down, I still was drawn to the music, so Nokturnal Hellstorm is, for me anyway, an homage to that era. We are not reinventing the wheel here.

You’ve obviously been involved with more bands over the years than  most musicians in the metal scene have, so what makes Nokturnal Hellstorm different from all of your other creative outlets?

The only band I’ve been in that has any similarities whatsoever to Nokturnal Hellstorm would be the aforementioned Hemlock, and that’s just ‘cos they’re both black metal, and even then there are differences between those two bands. Nokturnal has more of a focus on raging speed and atmosphere than Hemlock had, plus we use keyboards, which Hemlock was firmly against. But it should be noted that our use of keyboards is purposely limited to choir sounds just to make things a little more ghastly.

The track we’re streaming, “Naan Kadavul,” definitely harkens back to the late ’80s/early ’90s black metal sound. Were artists like Bathory and early Ulver conscious influences?

If I had to narrow it down, I’d say some of the leading lights of Norwegian black metal like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal and Emperor were pretty influential for a start. Obviously older bands like Bathory and Hellhammer as well. I only really like Ulver’s Natten Madrigals LP—the one that’s raw as fuck. Carpathian Forest, a very underrated band, is also worth noting, as well as Marduk.

Any time table on when we can expect a full-length release from the band?

At the moment we still have to write one more song to have enough for a full-length, then we will record songs five to eight, and then see who’s interested in releasing it. The songwriting has temporarily taken a back seat to rehearsing for our first two shows, which are coming up quite soon. Some of our newer songs were written quite recently, so for now the priority is to ensure that we know all our material quite well so we can totally slay onstage. So, no timetable for now.

With a new Brutal Truth album on the way later this summer, how do you plan to balance BT’s touring/promo schedule with the launch of a new band? Or is Nokturnal Hellstorm a project that you don’t see performing beyond the Bug Jar? (Please tell me the Bug Jar is still open.)

Ironically, it’s activity with Nuclear Assault that’s gonna be the most time-consuming for me coming up, we’re doing Maryland Deathfest, Slaughter By the Water in the Bay Area, some shows in Chile and Brazil around the end of July, and in August we have shows in Mexico as well as the Elsrock Festival in the Netherlands, and on that outing we will also play a club show in Essen, Germany. Brutal Truth is playing the notorious Obscene Extreme Festival in Czech at the beginning of July, but that’s all BT has on the plate for now.

I’m pretty used to juggling multiple bands by now, believe me! With Nokturnal Hellstorm, we will definitely be playing out as much as we can, including out of town shows if that possibility comes up, but we have three Sarcous members, they’ve been around for eight years now and they naturally want to prioritize that band, which I certainly am fine with since I obviously have some priorities of my own. However, this is not just a “project,” it’s a real band and we’re gonna go for it as much as we can in light of our other musical obligations.

Although I am deeply cynical of “social network” sites used to promote this kind of music, I do believe we have a Facebook site if anyone wants to contact us about releasing our material (or if they want to just drool about the killer song they just got done streaming).

The Bug Jar is indeed still open.

Nokturnal Hellstorm: “Naan Kadavul” by Decibel Magazine