It was nearly two years ago that we tipped off our readers to a little-known, then-defunct Belgian duo called Perverted Ceremony. Since then Morbid Messiah (drums, vocals) and Baron Cimeterre (guitar and bass) have reformed and recorded a full length, which has since come out on Nuclear War Now!. Given Perverted Ceremony’s dedication to arcane practices of black metal magick, Sabbat of Behezaël is more than a blast from the past, it’s portal into a world timeless and hidden.
We caught up with Morbid Messiah and Baron Cimeterre to allay some of the mystery surrounding Sabbat of Behezaël.
But first check out Perverted Ceremony’s debut full length, Sabbat of Behezaël.
Last we spoke, two years ago, Perverted Ceremony were no more. You had no practice space, and it seemed the Baron Cimeterre had lost interest in the project. Now it’s the year 2017, and Sabbat of Behezaël is one of the most talked about records in the underground. What happened? What brought the two of you together again?
Morbid Messiah: Actually is was me who got sick of recording, I basically lost interest and I didn’t feel like actively looking for a new space. Then all of a sudden, more than three years after we had recorded the music, I got some messages online through the NWN forum asking me if the demo was for sale. At that point, “the demo” didn’t exist yet so I dubbed a small amount of copies, three or four, and sent them out for free. The response was good, so I started sending them around to more people and a few labels.
Baron Cimeterre: Yes, I never lost interest in the project, but sometimes you just need to put things to rest in order for them to grow. But what really made things active again was having a place to play and record where I lived so we didn’t have to go through the hassle of bothering other people to let us make blasphemous noise under their roof.
Did you record and produce Sabbat of Behezaël (the album, not the promo demo) yourself using that same storied analog 8-track? What factors contribute to your decision to record and produce yourselves with vintage analog equipment?
MM: The album was recorded on the same tape recorder that was used for the demo. It’s a lot easier for us to do it like that. We have the machine, we know how it works, the sound is great and it’s also the cheapest solution: you don’t have to pay for expensive studio time. That old machine is also part of what constitutes the Perverted Ceremony sound.
BC: That and the filthiest fuzz pedal out there, which also happens to be an even older piece of equipment. But we don’t play on exclusively vintage stuff, this is of no importance to us. The gear we use is adapted to our vision, technical capacities and the money in our pocket.
What’s the ritual taking place on the cover of the album?
MM: That photo was taken in the building where the album was recorded. It’s an old, decaying warehouse at the back of an empty office space. Some of the roof has already come down.
BC: Yes, I lived in this building for almost 3 years and even recorded some other types of music inside that very same hangar. Huge reverb. Would’ve been cool to record some Perverted Ceremony interludes there actually.
How much of your rehearsals, or recording sessions, are dedicated to the conjuration of outside forces?
MM: When we write, rehearse and record, we focus on conjuring inside forces. It’s all about creating a mood that is already inside of us and putting it on tape.
BC: When we get together we waste no time and take very few breaks. A session is usually 5 to 7 hours locked up in a basement with no intoxicants and only the necessary instruments and recording equipment. We don’t stop until the instrumental track is completed. This has become our ritual in some way.
It’s plain to hear that Perverted Ceremony is a total passion project, and that you’ve compromised nothing to achieve the end result. How satisfied are you with Sabbat of Behezaël? Like, how good does it feel to have created a record like this in the year 2017, and to have it coming out on vinyl?
MM: The album came out exactly like we wanted it to. I’m satisfied with everything, especially the sound. Maurice de Jong did a great job mastering it! Of course we realise a lot of people won’t like it because of various reasons. This album was recorded solely for people possessed by sleazy guitar sound!
BC: This album is by far one of things I’m most proud of that I’ve done in my musical life. It’s very exciting and surprising to see the positive reaction from a lot of people… and it’s really cool to know it’s also a very despised and criticized album! No middle ground, just extremes!!!
Morbid Messiah, you play drums and do the vocals. When Perverted Ceremony rehearses are doing both at the same time? That in mind, what’re the chances, do you think, of Perverted Ceremony ever playing live?
MM: No, I never play drums and do vocals at the same time. It would be too confusing. I’m not a good musician, so the vocals are recorded afterwards during a separate session. The chances of Perverted Ceremony playing a live show are nihil. We don’t have the time to rehearse the same songs over and over again. And, if we wanted to re-create the album sound live, we’d have to find four extra musicians. So playing live would be too much of a hassle.
As a band that doesn’t play live, what do you do after you’ve recorded an album? Do you keep playing those tracks from the album, or do you move on, start writing more songs?
MM: Once the instrumental for a song is recorded and we’re both satisfied with the take, we move on and start working on a new track. I think we’ve already forgotten a lot of chords and melodies of the old songs and I’ve lost more than half of the lyrics.
BC: We might not re-do old songs but we definitely do the same tricks on every song, only slight changes are good enough for us.
Perverted Ceremony are musically influenced by Swiss, Finnish, Greek, and American bands. Are there any cult Belgian bands that either of you grew up on? Enthroned, maybe?
MM: Growing up, I really loved the first Enthroned album, Prophecies of Pagan Fire. I recently gave that album another chance, and I don’t know of it was the nostalgia kicking in, or the actual quality of the music, but I liked it. I also recall listening to Xastur’s Count Of Transylvania demo tape when I was a teen, the second Aborted demo, and the two Cantar demos. And the Neuthrone 7”s, of course. But the real treasures of Belgian metal history are found in the heavy metal genre: Acid’s s/t and singles, Ostrogoth’s Full Moon’s Eyes, Trial’s Scream for Mercy, the Ritual EP …
BC: As far as Belgian black metal bands go my knowledge is very limited, almost non-existent… I listen more to heavy metal at home, Acid is a big favorite! I also like a lot sludge/doom bands like Möse and Neuthrone… actually David who used to play drums in these bands sold me my only electric guitar he made from scratch after my old one got stolen by some fucking junkie. But anyways, I’m more influenced by South American early black metal bands. I feel more connected to the sound of bands like Mystifier, Genocidio, Pentagram and Sarcofago of course… THE CLASSICKS! Nebiros is a band we both really worship.
You mentioned currently being overwhelmed with interviews. Do these matters distract you from writing, rehearsing or recording more Perverted Ceremony in any way?
MM: Overwhelmed is a big word, but four or five interviews take a lot of time to answer, at least for us. But none of that stuff distracts us from rehearsing or recording because we only get together once every 4-5 weeks.
BC: I guess we’ll stop answering interviews when we feel enough has been said and the same questions start being recycled over and over again. Use the internet buddies!! Maybe that time is getting close.
What’s next for Perverted Ceremony?
BC: We’re currently preparing a new EP, and then who knows…
Get Sabbat of Behezaël now from NWN! Productions. Vinyl coming soon . . .