German dark metal pioneers Nachtblut released their sixth studio album Vanitas on October 2nd, 2020 via Napalm Records. The listener will be drawn into the band’s musical maelstrom in a classifying Nachtblut manner: hard riffs, Askeroth’s incisive vocals, rousing melodies, and profound, candid lyrics. Three years after the previous album Apostasie was released, Nachtblut returns with even more vigor and might.
“Das Puppenhaus” (in English: the dollhouse) is reminiscent of scene giants such as Rammstein, with brutally honest lyrics and rhythmic guitars. “Die Toten vergessen nicht” (in English: the dead don’t forget) shines with an unmistakably dark and orchestral sound that will cause shivers to run down the listener’s spine. While the folk-influenced song “Leierkinder” (in English: children of the lyre) convinces with addictive rhythms and moving lyrics that will carry the listener away to days of yore. With Vanitas, these dark metal giants create a symbolic work of art somewhere between transience and infinity. We had the opportunity to ask a few questions of the band’s drummer, Skoll.
Nachtblut is turning 15 years old this year. What were the most memorable moments during those years?
“In 15 years there are many memorable moments. For me personally, the first-ever show in China was such a moment. I didn’t know what to expect and when I entered the stage, the energy, passion, and emotions from all those people were just amazing. Of course, also playing the first time Wacken Open Air, the so-called ‘holy ground’, is very special. It feels like an accolade. And just happened a few days ago, having a top20 album in the German charts, marks a new highlight in our band history so far.”
And the biggest challenge was…
“Not a challenge in a classical way but difficult: at least in the beginning a lot of people tattle and skit upon us, due to the fact that we did our own thing. The area we grew up in is mainly influenced by death & thrash metal. You will find some black metal bands too and all of them claim to be super ‘trve’ and more metal than the others. Funnily, when we signed with Napalm Records and later played the first time Wacken things changed, and we became kind of a flagship. Nowadays people are proud that we are from Osnabrück.”
“Nachtblut returns with even more vigor and might” – so, what does that mean?
“You always want to develop. Every time you learn something new. Even if the previous album was cool, you realize little things that you can adjust. But we don’t sit down and being like ‘next records needs to be like…’ I think it’s important to learn, enhance, and refine, but it needs to be natural, you can’t force things.”
What was the biggest challenge during the working process of the new album?
“Choosing the final songs and tracklist. (smiles) Luckily we recorded before the whole COVID-19 thing came up. Also, we are lucky, we became like a ‘well-oiled machine’ as we say in Germany, or call it a positive routine. We chose the same team as for Apostasie, Chameleon Studios Hamburg and Chris Harms as a producer. So we knew how things will work, we knew the team, which made it possible for us to focus on the songs and details, we didn’t have to deal with new people or new surroundings.”
Inspiration behind Vanitas
“Personal experiences – we are inspired mainly by what we see and hear, of people around us. But also books, movies, and other art inspire us. I guess in the time the songs were written the issue of transience was omnipresent. But you will find many facets and diversity in the lyrics as in the music. From losing a beloved person, to reflect who is in charge of your point of view and your definition of happiness, to dictatorship, to alleged moral superiority nowadays gathered in ‘lifestyles’ and how people accuse and despise everyone not sharing their opinion. With Vanitas we didn’t write 10/13 songs just about mortality and death, but take up the idea of Vanitas art to reflect and deliberate on your being and choices – your lifestyle.”
Did COVID-19 affect the album release or the band somehow?
“Luckily the release hasn’t been affected that much. As mentioned we recorded the album before COVID-19 was a problem. Only the video and photo-shoots have been a bit more tricky than usual, due to the hygienic restrictions. Regarding the promotion, we couldn’t do a signing session or a pre-listening session, but I guess that didn’t make such a difference regarding the release itself. If it comes to shows … 2020 is a disappointment. We needed to postpone our headlining tour to spring 2021 and other plans we had, need to be rescheduled for 2021. So let’s cross fingers things will be better next year.”
Is online concert/livestream on the horizon?
“No, nothing planned regarding this. We acknowledge the alternatives, other bands trying now, but I don’t think it will work for us. It’s always has been a big part of our shows, to have a lot of movement in front and on stage – stage diving and moshpits with fans. You will never get that great experience, as a spectator, watching concerts online. But it’s a general problem – go to concerts, you won’t get the experience on YouTube!”
About the band’s stage presence / clothes
“We’re gathering ideas and doing some sketches, but the final version is done by a friend who is a tailor.”
It’s spooky season! Any plans for Halloween?
“Actually, I didn’t plan anything. Maybe watching a good horror movie. But people should check our social media channels, we have this awesome drink, which we call ‘Panzerschreck‘.”
Message to the fans
I keep it with the most famous words to end an interview – listen to our new album Vanitas, out now! Enjoy and hopefully see you in 2021 at one of our shows. Stay safe, stay healthy.
Photos & special thanks to Napalm Records