Within the Bosnian-Herzegovinian underground dwells a collective of black metal musicians who have aligned themselves under the name the Black Plague Circle. This collective operates in total secrecy. New works are released without warning, and the various members of the Black Plague Circle all use pseudonyms to remain as shadows to anyone beyond their inner cadre of pestilence and blasphemy. Including the likes of Obskuritatem, Void Prayer and Deathcircle (just to name a few), the Black Plague Circle defies conventional expectations by eschewing the limelight in favor of casting their black sorcery from the hidden corners of the modern world.
But today we here at Decibel are privileged and honored with the opportunity to present to our readers the first taste of Malevolum, a previously unknown band from the Black Plague Circle. What follows, then, is a brief interview with Malevolum plus two tracks—the first and the second-to-last—from Malevolum’s forthcoming full length In Absentia Lucis. You’ll find Malevolum’s answers evasive yet strangely enlightening. While the music presented here will lay an irreversible hex on your head that can’t be lifted by anything except deeper and prolonged exposure to the poison that is Malevolum.
Where is Malevolum’s home base, and what brought the band together in the first place?
Malevolum was formed in Sarajevo (in Bosnia and Herzegovina) during the winter days of 2017. In this period the city gets invaded by snow and cold breeze from the surrounding mountains. The fog spreads making everything almost colorless, as if nature is plotting a revenge against the living people. In a metaphorical nutshell, this image depicts the conditions that shaped Malevolum as an entity. Having its roots in The Black Plague Circle, it is important to mention that Malevolum doesn’t represent a solution or a cure to the tragedy of human existence, but rather it is here to prolong the suffering. After all In Absentia Lucis is a tragedy, and what would a tragedy be without misery and despair?
What is the significance of the name Malevolum?
The English word “malevolent” is an obvious translation from Latin. What is regarded as culture, we simply regard as poison. The same poison drives the individual, since he is the creator of culture, and has been created by culture. In order to stay in touch with reality, it is absolutely mandatory to have a certain character that is strong enough to deny everything decadent inside and outside of the mind. Malevolum is misanthropy as a result of idealism.
What language are the lyrics in? What sorts of themes do they deal with?
The titles are in Latin, but all of the lyrics are in Bosnian. The first three titles are visions of the worst possible phenomenons that can be experienced by a human being. The absence of light occurs when a soul can no longer believe in anything.
“…How much longer should I gaze into the shining sun, so I may finally go blind?… “
The second vision reveals the moment of everlasting madness, as a shadow of no light was invited to the comfort zone of the mind. Time and space are just an illusion.
The third act represents the full realisation of this tragedy. Nothing new was created, it is simply self-realization. By compromise, the artist becomes the piece.
“…The open palms of my hands offer to me my own heart…”
The last track is significantly different from the other three. What made you want to end the album with an atmospheric drone instrumental, and what significance does it have in regards to the other songs?
The three visions are separate stages of the mind. The final act is a fire that combines everything together, and makes it all equal in ash. “In the absence of light…”— this is not a finished thought. Only after the ritual is concluded in its integrity, we can say that: “…darkness prevails”.
What non-black metal influences informed this record?
Rather than mentioning particular cases that influenced the aesthetic and the symbolic structure of this ritual, it is better to say that we praise the historical figures that were deeply misunderstood in the time of their lives as well as after. As it has been said before, this was an attempt to derive the kind of ideas that are free from internal and external influence.
How was this album recorded?
It is important that the style and atmosphere of the sound corresponds with the sense of the music and the story. In Absentia Lucis was recorded by all means necessary.
What do hope that listeners take away from the experience of hearing In Absentia Lucis?
The mythical homeland is recognised in the harmony of nature and ideals. When you sacrifice yourself to yourself, it can be enjoyable to be insane.