Ghamorean recently released their third album, ‘Terra Ruina’ and have subsequently gathered much praise from many different quarters for their intelligent blending of black and death metal to create an album that is ambitious, passionate and wholly convincing. When I came to review the album I found that the only way to intelligently comment upon it at all was to spend many hours playing and replaying the disc, just trying to take in the icy atmosphere generated by the music and unravel some of the layers that make up the band’s multi-faceted sound. Arguably I only partially succeeded as even now I am finding new things to admire within the music but, as with all things, reviews are only a snapshot of what one thinks at the time and I feel that the overall comments made represent the feelings that the album generates as well as can possibly be expected without locking oneself in a room with the thing 24 hours a day. However, all that said, the idea I truly want to communicate is that Ghamorean deal as much in feeling and mood as they do in straight forward music – an attitude that brings them in line with black metal legends Darkthrone and following the release I was lucky enough to be able to pose some questions to Andreas Batsman about the formation of Ghamorean, the recording process and the future of the band. I am, therefore, very proud to introduce this interview and hope that it will shed greater light on the majestic Ghamorean.
Just to start us off – could you tell us where the name Ghamorean comes from and what it means?
The word comes from a rather famous motion picture hexalogy. I chose the name a long time ago – simply because I thought it sounded unique. I guess I didn’t want a “cool” English name like most other bands. I like to view upon Ghamorean as a beast/opposer and I think it’s a pretty suitable way to describe the purpose of the band.
And how did the band come together?
The band was brought together by me in late 1997, at the mere age of 14. I had just developed a taste for death and black metal and wanted to be able to play myself. After having found some people with similar interest, we started developing our musical skills and identity. We were all greenhorns back then and it took us years before even recording a demo. The birth of the real Ghamorean was in 2001, when we had somewhat found our style and matured considerably as a band.
This is your third album since 2005’s Plaguempire – how do you feel you’ve progressed over the releases musically?
The biggest difference between Plaguempire and the second album Eon Eschatos is that I asided from the role as sole composer come the entering of Samuel. He added lots of thoughts concerning dynamics and song structure to the band which enhanced our expression a great deal. It’s also pretty obvious that we chose a path towards blacker pastures after the first album and even more so after Eon. We stopped making only “cool riffs” and instead we put our focus on feeling and atmosphere, on Terra Ruina this is very perceptible.
It was interesting to note that in one of the reviews there were some unfavourable comments about the artwork which I thought suited the album well – could you tell us who designed the artwork and if the band had any input in the final design?
To be honest, after the promotion kits were sent off, we reprinted the booklets. They still have the same design but the colours are better blended with each other and have more of a sharpness to them. We have also changed to a paper of higher quaity. Anyways, the artwork was designed by Hugo Sundkvist, the man behind all of our album covers. The band always has an input in the design and we are as ususal very pleased with the result. As you mentioned, it reflects the feeling we want to communicate.
When I reviewed the album I felt that one of the key influences was Celtic Frost – mainly because of the adventurous nature of your compositions – did you feel that was a fair comparison?
Actually no, I have never felt influenced in any way by Celtic Frost (except maybe for the vocal “uh:s” on the To Mega Therion album), neither has Samuel as far as I know. Perhaps there is a similarity but that is purely coincidental.
Who would you say your chief influences are musically?
I mainly turn to our neighbours in the west to seek influence. Norway is the home of the black metal elite with prominent bands such as Mayhem, Emperor, Satyricon, Burzum, Thorns, Dodheimsgard and Ulver. I also enjoy the fellow swedes in Dissection, Marduk, Funeral Mist, Meshuggah and Opeth. The last two are, as you know, not black metal bands but great sources of inspiration nevertheless.
Ihsahn from Emperor and the works of Nikanor Teratologen. I do, however, hope that I have made progress with the personal identity of my lyrics during the years.
How long did it take to write and record ‘Terra Ruina’?
About a year and a half to write and two months to record. The mixing process of this album was the demanding and time consuming part as it was made via email and telephone calls. It took us almost six months to finish but with truly dazzling results.
Although the best exponents of Death metal can be great it always feels as if black metal’s passion is more important when it comes to generating an atmosphere – would you agree?
Yes, as I see it death metal has little to do with generating atmosphere and more with displaying aggression and some kind of masculine power. As one can interpret from our records, we have come to appreciate the eerie feel of black metal more than the raw power of death metal.
Did you intentionally set out to push the boundaries of death and black metal? It seems like you’ve blended the two so that technicality and passion have more or less equal footing in your music?
No, never. What we play is the reflection of ourselves, not some deliberate genre mix. We just want to create interesting music. The technicality is a result of long hours in the rehersal trying to finely adjust every aspect of the songs. We are driven by passion and hopefully it manifests both through our instrumental skills and the feeling you get while listening.
Do you find it disheartening that with the advent of Mp3s/downloads etc a lot of younger music fans seem to have moved away from listening to complete records and prefer everything in easily digestible tracks?
Yes I do. It’s terrible and unfortunately a reflection of a despicable wear-and-tear-society. Quality comes second.
What is the ultimate goal of Ghamorean?
We have reached our goal – three full length albums. I would like to tour though.
What has been the high point of the band to date?
I would say the House of Metal festival and our latest release gig.
Can we expect some UK dates from Ghamorean?
Not at this point I’m afraid.
Any final words for your UK fans?
First of all, thanks for this interview Phil! And to those that may find Ghamorean appealing – buy our records – you won’t be disappointed!
Find out more about Ghamorean here.
‘Terra Ruina’ is out now on Discouraged Records