Lunar Womb is atmospheric black metal for the year 2018. While still embodying much of the loneliness that made those early Burzum records so immortally potent, Offenbarung’s opening signal glimmers with an eerie beauty like something from a different world entirely. But even on that world, no doubt, Offenbarung would dwell in the fringes of the nadir.
Behind Offenbarung is a young man from Buenos Aires who goes by Razsvh whenever performing or discussing this latest project. Razsvh helms several bands; Huszar, Ühtceare, and the list goes on. But, interestingly enough, they’re all solo efforts.
“Being a one man band is something that comes naturally,” says Razsvh. “I recognize [that] having an obsessive personality makes working with me a little hard. So to avoid conflict . . . I’ve decided to record most of the music I create by myself. In fact I have two other projects that have nothing to do with extreme music that follow the same lonely pattern. I feel comfortable doing the things that I want, the way I want, when I want.”
He adds: “The other fact is the lack of musicians eager to create these kind of sounds around this place of the globe. Black metal itself is a small scene, add the atmospheric part and you’re almost on your own now.”
Razsvh goes on to describe his compulsion for creation. Out of his habit for writing and recording his own music, inspiration for Offenbarung, perhaps his most inspired project, came from an unexpected source.
“Offenbarung . . . was created after I was able to purchase my first analog synth (a humble Korg MicroXL) and the consequent improvisations that came after that.”
Razsvh goes on to explain his new band’s Paysage d’Hiver-honoring name.
“The name Offenbarung is in part a homage to the mighty Paysage D’Hiver, the primal source of inspiration for this project. Besides that, one crucial factor of Offenbarung’s music is that the archetype of the songs I write are all improvisations recorded in one take. All songs I will compose behind this ‘alter ego’ of mine will be some sort of ‘epiphanies’ that will be the most loyal to the emotional state I’m in the moment I decide to record with no overthinking on the ideas I choose to put out. That’s the whole reason of the name . . . I decided to keep the German word just to celebrate one of the artists that helped crystallize all that is atmospheric black metal.”
Razsvh is the musician’s “alter ego,” but this has nothing to do, he explains, with a desire to conceal his identity.
“Anonymity is something that I’m not akin to, as I see my music as some sort of ‘beacon’ that people all around me that happen to be in the same existential predicaments can decode and read into to connect with on a personal level. Someone’s registered struggle through art can mean someone else’s call to action to their own personal battles, as that’s the case with me.
“I’m also behind two other atmospheric black metal projects. On one side of the spectrum there’s Ühtceare, a depressive/rabid outfit that mixes aggression with industrial and techno influences. On the brighter side is my main project, Huszar. A progressive and ever-changing blackgaze entity that mixes everything I like, from krautrock to trip hop all blended in a black metal fashion. I’ve been releasing music under several monikers since 2015 as I perceive them as different aspects of my personality and embody different shapes and approaches to similar thoughts.”
Offenbarung comes from, perhaps not another world, but a near antipode of its influences. Razsvh describes black metal life in Buenos Aires . . .
“[Living in Buenos Aires] affects me in a different way than it’s thought. Buenos Aires is a huge metropolis, full of concrete, vehicles and urgency. There is a sense of asphyxiation that makes me want to escape to another place, free of the immensity of the perfectly orchestrated chaos that is the city. There are no snowy plains or mystic woods as the cold nature of the music may induce, only a desire to place myself right in places that resemble those landscapes and only live in my imagination. The southern part of Argentina instead is full of lakes, rivers and snow-covered mountains that resemble those inspirational Scandinavian landscapes . . . I’ve spent two weeks on vacation there, contemplating the water descending from the Andes, listening to the cascades. It was a pretty healing experience and those are memories I often come back to when I feel the cement starts to eat my mind.”
Offenbarung’s three song demo is a stunning debut even if it isn’t the artist’s first recorded material. It is still impressive beyond its years and rewarding in a way that black metal often isn’t. Lunar Womb sounds somehow evolved, yet still plagued with those same existential pangs that have been the sub-subgenre’s impetus since that first feeble scream from a forest unknown.
“The whole Lunar Womb demo was recorded in three separate takes from improvisations I made on guitar. Then I added the rest of the instruments, all in the same day. The synths were also recorded that way. It’s all pretty primitive, raw and visceral, with little to no pre-formed ideas at the moment I sat down to record. I think that’s one of the reasons I believe it sounds pretty linear and homogenized, they’re all part of the same spontaneous emotional output.
“Yes, I’ve recorded and ‘mixed’ everything myself. As one can instantly note, the audio is pretty raw and lo-fi. As with the mixing I’ve decided to keep the music as untouched as possible to match the nature of the ideas coming from my head. I don’t want to cover my pure emotions behind super productions, I want to show my inner explorations fully raw, without any veil to hide.”
Primitive approach notwithstanding, Lunar Womb sounds like the work of a highly evolved creature. It’s definitely none of that bestial fare currently rabidly trending. For instance, the way that Lunar Womb is more of one long song with three movements rather than three different tracks. And yet each track is totally unique to itself. Pulling off music this ambitious, according to Razsvh, also comes naturally to him.
“The magnitude of my songs is something that I’m pretty accustomed to. I grew up listening to all kinds of progressive stuff like Pink Floyd, Vox Dei, bands that often have songs over the 10 min mark all over their discography. Later I discovered bands like Neurosis and Popol Vuh that use repetition of melodies in a mantra style of way . . . When I started to write my own music I realized that I was making exactly the same. Songs stretched in an effort to induce some sort of ‘dissociated’ state of mind and create a fully immersive experience. Before there was Offenbarung’s demo, my longest exercise was Huszar’s song ‘Pluton Parte I’ which lasts around 22 minutes. At this point I find long songs almost as a necessity to create the desired meditative/cleansing effect.”
Razsvh provides further insight into his demo . . .
“If you listen carefully, you’ll note that the first riff is also the last. I think that embodies the cyclical nature of existence. Lunar Womb is about the destruction of a previous self, the analysis and selection of what’s left from that action, and a rebirth. That’s the whole point of this project, expansion of the inner self through destruction and regeneration.”
Razsvh says he’s “currently” recording Offenbarung’s full length.
“I’m sticking to the ethos of my musical epiphanies and recording full tracks or sections in one take and adding all kinds of synth or guitar arrangements,” he says. “I have the ‘skeleton’ of most of the music and there’s even an ambient song over the 20 minute mark finished! So the album will definitely keep Offenbarung’s contemplative overtones for sure. There has been interest from some amazing labels seeking to release my future endeavors, so be warned, there will be chants of primitive spiritual deliverance anytime this year.”