Demo:listen: Virulent Specter

Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, heavy, speed, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we expose the world to Virulent Specter.

Although the Portuguese label Black Gangrene put out Virulent Specter’s debut, the band is considered part of Eerie Silence. Eerie Silence is the label behind some of the most cruel and punishing lo-fi black metal currently being released anywhere in the world, let alone stateside. The other Eerie Silence bands like Wounds and Ärid have been poisoning the minds of dedicated fiends for several years now, but Virulent Specter is a new manifestation (at least to the public) of Eerie Silence. Now, with the introduction of Virulent Specter, we at Demo:listen saw a rare opportunity not only to cover Virulent Specter’s demo, You Will Succumb to the Hate You Possess and Your Failures Will Destroy You, but also to get to know the shadow behind Eerie Silence. When we reached out to Virulent Specter/Eerie Silence, we were shocked: the shadow, known simply as X, behind these projects was willing to talk.

So, for this week’s Demo:listen, we’re privileged to offer you a glimpse inside the warped mind of one of underground black metal’s most malign forces. And make sure to pick up a copy of the Virulent Specter demo. Copies just arrived in the US and they’re already mostly gone.

What drives you to create such malformed and hideous black metal noise? And how are you able to do so to such a prolific degree?

The drive is very internal and is something that I was born with. It is hard to pin down without a wordy explanation. I am an INFJ-A personality type (for those familiar with the work of C.G. Jung and the Myers-Briggs type indicator). Music is a staple of my lineage, but I can’t say that I just “fell into” this path… I’ve always been a musical person, but I have a tendency for odd rhythms and discordant sounds. I hate melody. It disrupts me, annoys me, and if you are listening to my creations expecting melodic, sweeping hooks to eventually pierce through the wall of noise, I would recommend you proceed no further. My music is a jagged, bloody knife.

I’ve always been drawn to strange things, and they to I; ever since I was young I’ve always had a tendency for “creepy” music, and that tendency led to my creations, which needed a moniker of their own, which is now called Eerie Silence. All of my “tulpae” share a similar bond. They are siblings to each other, and children of mine. They answer to me, and I control them.

You say on the Eerie Silence homepage that all of the ES bands are ‘wreaking havoc on the human plague in retribution and revenge of the natural world.’ Which particular aspect of that process does Virulent Specter represent?

Virulent Specter is the more sarcastic and humiliating of the entities, the one who jokes, laughs, points, prods and taunts. He is the extroverted, loud-mouthed sibling of Black Wilderness and Ärid, the sleeping giants; Black Wilderness, which is the elder, raw, rotted manifestation of the devil inside. It is the root, essentially. Ärid is my most passionate and venomous creation, the ultimatum of black metal as I have envisioned it for at least a decade. It is chaos, malignant, inhuman; the physical form of Black Wilderness (spirit form), carrying out it’s destruction with rapacious vengeance.

There is another yet to be revealed creation of mine that will likely see the light of day with Eerie Silence. Time will show. I do have material recorded for that one, but I’m never sure of the future. The ever-constant turning wheel that is my mind is always engaged in both collecting and expelling ideas at a rapid pace. I am, however, consistent. I’m generally always trying to “one-up” former ideas while implementing new ones. I’m neither complacent nor stationary.

Which instrument is your favorite to play? Did you start as a drummer or a guitarist first? Would you say you’ve gotten any better at either of those instruments since founding Eerie Silence?

I started “playing” piano when I was a toddler (finding octaves, using rhythm – there is a tape recording of this) which led to me creating sounds on a shitty keyboard in the 90’s. I got into drumming, bass and guitar years later, playing bass and drums in different bands, sometimes performing in front of crowds… something you’ll likely never see from me because I hate the types of people at heavy metal gigs and have crippling anxiety. Drumming is my niche, and I have become more “fine-tuned” in my abilities over the past few years. I’m a much better bass player than I am a guitar player. Those instruments are utilized more in other projects not related to Eerie Silence. My ambient / keyboard works are the most expressive, raw, and “stripped down” creations of mine that exist and can possibly exist… Black Wilderness is essentially what I was doing when I was a child. It has simply matured into the creature that it is today out of necessity. It is my doorway to the astral plane, a reflection of my spirit and those creations are the result of highly concentrated channeling, the repercussions of which I live with.

Do you record everything yourself, too? If so, can you talk about how that process began and how it’s evolved over the years?

As far as the actual process goes, it varies. Usually I record drums to a pre-recorded guitar track, all based on the initial click track. On many occasions I’ve rehearsed the shit out of the drum track and have layered the guitar and bass over without a click. My initial rehearsals took place in 2006 and were more rock influenced. I’ve always recorded everything alone. It’s just part of the nature of realizing a means to an end with my vision, my worlds, which have existed for many years. To bring someone else in would effectively disrupt that focus. Another person’s brush would smear my painting, so to speak. I don’t like people messing with my stuff. These are my worlds, and it has taken tremendous courage for me to expose them. Also, why bother with someone else when I can do everything alone, by myself? I could never allow that. I use a Tascam DP-08 for all mastering since it was released in 2007, I think. Before that I was using a 4 track tape recorder. I’m not too keen on learning or keeping up with modern software. All logo artwork for each of the projects are my own original hand drawings, also.

Who are some of your major influences as far as strictly US black metal goes?

This is not an easy question because my black metal influences are so few. I am stuck in the 90’s, I will tell you that. I haven’t heard shit about what’s been going on in the past 10, close to 15 years. I do pay attention to the market of course, because I’m obviously devoting a lot of time to my passions and to ignore the industry would be a fool’s errand. Ideally, my creations don’t have a mode of playback and exist solely within my head, entering and leaving my fantasy worlds at will, because that’s where they live and were born from. My label activity is a result of my need for independence and my lack of interest in the vision of most other labels, many of which seem to be unsure of their artistic plight. I’m a hermit with the need to do things my way, on my time, with absolute control.

Oh, you had a question? Sorry, got off topic. After my initial acclimation to classic rock / heavy metal, I started getting into the 80’s thrash / black / death metal bands (you can debate the merits of who played what style) which led to my interest in the early / mid 90’s lot of the black metal underground, and that is where I drew a lot of musical influence. As far as U.S. black metal is concerned, I’m drawing a massive blank, but I’ve been listening to Grand Belial’s Key for a very long time. I hadn’t listened to very much of the genre before I began to run with ideas. I’m far more influenced by worlds inhabited by my old RPG characters than other music. My music is simply a conduit FOR those worlds.

How come Black Gangrene put out the Virulent Specter debut instead of Eerie Silence?

I couldn’t afford to press this round. I’ve had more important personal matters to attend to lately, hence the relatively silent period (note, label name) since the release of “Harvesting the Toil of Flesh…” However, I am at work again.

What’s next for Virulent Specter?

The project was initially a 100% satirical creation, sort of a mockery of the genre, but time had passed and I grew to enjoy it enough to run with it. Subject matter is always depraved, immoral, and controversial, maybe significantly less esoteric and strange than Ärid tends to be, at least as I see it unfolding. The style might change a bit, I warn you. You can expect me to use the same “cockroach” voice, however. Time will show. And who knows, I may leave a black trail and disappear entirely.

You heard it here first on Demo:listen. Check this space next and every Friday for promising new metal.