It was only mid-December of last year when Demo:listen covered the Australian black metal band, Kommodus. Yet in the brief amount of time since then Lepidus Plague, the man behind Kommodus, wrote and recorded a seven track follow-up release that trounces its predecessors with savage aplomb.
We reached out to Lepidus Plague to find out how he and drummer Magnus TRJ managed to create such a powerful follow-up in such a short amount of time. And, once again, Lepidus Plague proved to be an interesting interview subject. So, batter your brains with the raw attack of One Thousand Years of the Wolf and enjoy this interview with one of the most exciting new bands in the black metal underground.
One Thousand Years of the Wolf
What did you strive to achieve with One Thousand Years of the Wolf that you feel you didn’t quite get done on Will to Dominate All Life?
I aimed to craft a more consistent collection of songs and have the recordings come out comparatively more bludgeoning and ferocious with a bit more bottom end (whether I achieved this or not is a different story). Also I feel like I’m not the most competent musician, so I’ve learned a thing or two since the last release that I wanted to put into practice. Always learning. Magnus TRJ [Kommodus’ session drummer] and I are a lot tighter now too by virtue of rehearsing and recording.
How was your approach to One Thousands Years different? What did you learn from writing and recording the previous tape that you applied to this one?
The approach was fairly identical and perhaps even a little less considered, but I think One Thousand Years of the Wolf is wholly a much more congruous release with better performances. Like any process, there’s trial and error. Hindsight let’s you evaluate what you felt succeeded or what missed the mark.
The song “Conquering the Carpathians” is in full berserk mode. Would you say you went harder on this tape than the previous one?
There are longer sections with more visceral and constant drumming which is probably the biggest shift since the first demo, and I didn’t hold back in any capacity. I think my guitar playing is tighter and more effective. I had to vomit after recording the vocals, which I think are a bit more strained on these songs, for better or worse.
How much of a hand in writing these songs does Magnus TRJ have?
I arrive at rehearsal with the songs and then we decide which drums would fit best. Magnus TRJ is a solid conspirator and multi-instrumentalist, and in future I aim to have him include some additional musick that could add some interesting and odd layers and dynamics.
How has having your art brought into the spotlight, what with the success of your last tape, how has this affected your misanthropic outlook?
What spotlight? Ha ha! Kommodus is my avenue for catharsis, so it doesn’t matter if one person is listening or one hundred. The art is not going to change.
“The Rite of Darkness” is a fairly deep cut on a relatively underappreciated Bathory album. It’s obvious why this track spoke to you, musically, but what else about this song made you want to cover and record it?
I wanted to choose a Bathory song that hasn’t been covered to death, but even The Rite of Darkness has been a popular choice with bands like Mutiilation having recorded a version. The way the track thunders along is perfect and I thought it would fit aesthetically with the rest of the demo. There’s that Leviathan demo that’s all covers and I think that’s impressive, putting your own signature on songs that you appreciate and move you. Music is ephemeral, belonging to us all, and so bringing old cuts back to the forefront and reminding yourself and others why they’re great is something I’m immensely fond of (not that anyone needs a reminder about Bathory, but hopefully I made my point).
Your themes are still overtly about Ancient Rome. How does this particular era of human history continue to inspire you so? What makes it so rich and so black metal for you?
Because it is my lineage. I have Italian blood, so therefore it only makes sense to channel what is relative to me. It would feel contrived and disingenuous (for me personally!) if I was to write songs about say, Scandinavian mythology, despite having no tangible ancestry or geographical relationship with the area. Regardless, growing up and spending time in my Nonno’s house, who is an Australian World War Two veteran, I was always enamoured and infatuated with all his military memorabilia and souvenirs, as well as the books on Ancient Rome and the various statues of Romulus and Remus around the place. So the genesis for Kommodus is deep-rooted and intensely personal. I’m also right into Nietzsche and his ideas surrounding the will to power and the übermensch. So hearking back to ancestors who accomplished such incredible and mighty feats only makes sense and is an endless source of inspiration. I believe these mentalities and philosophies to be ultimately intrinsic with black metal.
In carrying on much the same way as on your first tape, you’ve eked out your own identity, your own voice. How did you know the world needed pestilential black plague with neofolk horns and themes?
That’s just the art I’m compelled to make. The world needs a lot more of something else though.
The interlude track and the closing track on this tape are both incredible. When can we expect your Kveldssanger?
Well I don’t think I’ll ever be on that level but I am a fan of the interludes and sections in black metal where bands implement acoustic and folky passages (as well as dungeon synth). Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Ungfell and I think they strike a really interesting balance of the two. In future I’d like to incorporate more and I have some ideas.
How did the deal with GoatowaRex come about, and how does it feel to be a part of that roster?
Dani approached me after I self-released the first demo tape and ordered a bunch to distro. He expressed interest in working together and I was reciprocal. He has been supportive and a great conspirator thus far. To be on the same roster as bands like latter mentioned Ungfell, Drowning the Light, Obskuritatem, and others, who I have immense respect for is very humbling and rewarding.
Will to Dominate All Life is already highly coveted, and not even a year old. Will the first tape be seeing any kind of repress, or format jump?
A tape repress is available through recently resurrected French label, Broken Wing Prod. A vinyl release will be available in the near future through Archaic Memories, who are also releasing the Moraš debut Gaze of the Void. Moraš and I have been in talks about working together in the near future.