Klavierkrieger -Harmonien der Schwarzenmesse EP/Album review/interview. FFO: Apocalyptic, dark, warped yet original grim soundscapes.


Klavierkrieger -Harmonien der Schwarzenmesse EP/Album review/interview. 

FFO: Apocalyptic, dark, warped yet original grim soundscapes.

Let's first make this abundantly clear, there has not been any artist like Klavierkrieger in Australia. This is exceptionally unique dark art that will rip your head off. Its metal, its neoclassical brilliance with outstanding compositions and its exploration of the macabre merges well with the deeply extreme atmosphere that disintegrates all fake arse black metal contemporaries. Visually this one-man act defines what is a ritualistic performance and not in the lame blackened metal way that often is simply one lit candle on a speaker. Like wow to that..lol!, no Klavierkrieger is dedicated to the craft be it performances with tons of blood or destruction of a piano with sharp and brutal instruments that almost verged on mayhemic violence(see the link below, trust me it was one of my favourite live gigs ever!.). This is not metal cabaret, this is a musician dedicated to his brilliant live shows that scare as much as intrigue you. But underpinning all of this is incredible music that deeply fucks with your head. 

Harmonien der Schwarzenmesse is five intense tracks of sheer sonic violence that is equally brutal as it is entrancing and surprisingly chill. That may sound incredibly weird or like a genre at war with itself; but that's fine because this is meant to be an audio confrontation. Not something in clear harmony with sunshine, unicorns and happy happy joy nonsense. The moments of ambience are dominated by sinister and grim tones that punch or burn holes in any moments where you think you have a grip on the sound or its destination. And overall it gels so well because it is not staged or forced. 

These menacing compositions are indeed reinterpretations of tracks by other artists. But I consider these as original tracks as all are very tangential versions with no lame cover version mentality. Opener Somnambulistic Nightmares is eerie, brooding and frankly haunting with its freaky, but vivid mental health sample that dominants the track, but the warmth and oppressive doom-like keys absolutely sink their fangs into your soul. This is glorious and unhinged schizophrenia in one song. Cerulean Transience of all my Imagined Shores follows this so well; like a walk from the mental ward into the pits of hell. This, like most of the tracks, has only a passing essence of the original but this version becomes like pulverising black metal on truckloads of strong sedative medications combined with grim church vibes in the vein of Batushka. And that my friends is a staggering achievement. Extreme metal particularly across doom, black metal and similar genres should take you beyond your normal realm and into the unknown. And the almost 11 minutes pass in a heartbeat because it's chock full of wicked soundscapes. 

Ether is the third track and again, with its breezy like intro you are equally confused and drawn in. The almost hidden vocals counterbalance the treble tone of the piano and the slow pace reminds me of soundtracks of cult horror or thriller classics. But it works because there is no sudden pace change or bombastic crash or clash of sounds. Ether also serves as a solid interlude of this release, whilst not being throwaway at all. But do we suddenly get a brutal metal overload, no and that would be predictable as fuck. No, we get an exceptionally diverse track of tonal and pitch change all based around a prelude from around 1910 called La Cathédrale Engloutie and it works well because it is a cavernous and heavy track that is chaotic and resonating. Again hats off to the way the whole release is structured and also to the esoteric energy by solid production of this whole release. Mad Rush is a reverberating finale to this release, it is repetitive, it is almost meditative and contemplative but equally frantic and unstable. And so fucking glorious. Why, because if you live or exist with just narrow music vision or tastes you miss all the colour and flavour of the variety out there. This release burns deep and is in fact not even a huge slice of the deranged majesty of this band/project. Live it is even more off the charts, but I advise you to sit back and let this release sink in. Then go see this act live and see how it all fits in. Each time I have seen Klavierkrieger I feel I have gained more knowledge and insight into this celebration of psychoneurotic grandeur. Yet at the same time, I feel I know hardly anything about the music produced, its aims or its causative background. And that folks, is very fucking exciting!. Production is excellent and completely away from that tin bucket and so kvlt raw production that black metal strives for and indirectly embarrasses itself constantly. Every musical instrument and its placement is clear but maintains a righteous antagonistic effect. This is definitely a band not striving for mass appeal and each step Klavierkrieger takes is worth exploring. 

This release is out now and there is vinyl planned also:

Antisocial vibes:

Watch this brilliant performance:

and now read this excellent interview with the artist, it is absolutely free of all the self-promotion and bullshit agenda that most metal artists sprout in the name of being the evilest, the heaviest etc. From this in-depth portrait, the importance and linkage to ritual are explored and also how the observer takes in the performance. Is it more than loud sounds and rock n roll?, most definitely and I know it's what I certainly seek as a music devotee. The other extremely important aspect is that the artist pushes themselves constantly and has not deviated from their aims. That is both testament to their unrelenting and steadfast purpose. And this is a spirit that is lacking in most artists. Look at bands like Amenra, Integrity and Napalm Death, it is all about the craft and also not giving two fucks about what the masses think of their creations. 
This is a great read and gives you insight into the genius that is Klavierkrieger:

Klavierkrieger Interview:

Greetings, firstly how long have you mastered these weapons...aka piano etc?

Mastery is an illusion and these instruments are used in equal measure as implements of hell noise and harmony. Esoteric elements serve to invoke entities and manifest their presence through sonorous force. The result can only be observed rather than mastered, but this isn’t to suggest that in itself is a passive exercise.

The illusion of mastery holds a consequence that spares very few.

Is the piano the mainstay plus samples?

Piano is the tormentor. Samples are sourced live via digital input, vinyl and glossolalic invocation both within and without the ritual. They relate to the piano as the electrons to the nucleus, the aural noosphere to the centre of tonality. I would describe it as quantum occult.

Where was the starting point for this act?

Sublimation of the self at daemonic behest. Various external affirmations made the magnetism towards self-dissolution too powerful to ignore any longer.

You are very clearly an accomplished musician...from both a classical and an extreme music background...how did these two intersect for you?

Any form of composition is a conduit for paranormal entities through transcendent repetitive practice, which are brought to Earth in the here and now as ancient modalities of opposing forces. They can either serve or destroy those who invoke them. In working with these forces, one is seated behind the mask of eternity in a kind of ‘no man’s land’.

Should we cross into abject evil or good, it will result in either our prosperity or demise. This outcome can be as overarchingly indisputable as it is wholly subjective.

Do ‘classical’ and ‘extreme music’ form a comparable dichotomy? Where I may inhabit the liminal space between either polarity, where I in fact reside is for anyone to surmise.

Klavierkrieger has a very clear ritual and occult palette, what are some of the purposes of this: push back against the mainstream, is it a foundation of belief or other aspects, and on this topic at the same time, is it the clear intersection of art and music?.

I follow no doctrine. All process and practice is instinctively driven. Order can only be grasped from the chaotic realm with an awareness of the laws governing them. Only then can one avoid being defined by the rules and invoke order or chaos, should you see fit.

Ritual is defined by lore and lore requires language. If one is to vacillate between order and chaos, one must be simultaneously articulate and incoherent, harmonious and discordant. Within each of these comparative dualities, I reside within one as I am the other.

Ritual practice is symbiotic with outcome. Where the lifeless and long dead relics I possess inspire the sounds generated, this process itself grants these tokens new life for as long as the vision is maintained.

I am a lore unto myself.

Your live performances are incredible: haunting, psychotic, visually challenging and at times a perfect mix of aggression, atmospheric fear and entertainment, where do these various concepts begin and do you feel these have been executed well and received well?

The concepts begin and end with disturbance. I care not for fetishization of any kind. You cannot engage with certain forces carelessly. I find that for all of their obsessive discipline, fetishists are often blinded by the need gratification.

Any reaction one has to a performance is a reflection of their own sensitivities and their ability to reconcile that which they do not wish to confront within themselves.

Everyone’s threshold is unique and they can define my identity, work and practices as they see fit. I give you no answers as I do not wish to fulfil anybody’s expectations nor validate their interpretations.

Every relic in my possession inspires an energy which is channelled through my embodying of the void, which is then transmuted to sound. The process is physically and mentally exhausting. I am a husk of a human thereafter, drenched with sweat and unwilling to engage with anybody for hours after the ritual is complete.

When reviewing a performance, I experience the sounds anew, feeling as though I played no conscious part in creating them. To that end, I would say each ritual has been well executed in the sense of having induced a trance within myself and harnessing it under will.

Tell me about your favourite shows thus far...be it impact, personal achievement or fun?

Thee Unholy Trinity series at the Bendigo Hotel. Conceptually, it was influenced by John Milton’s Paradise Lost; ‘Satan as the Father’, ‘Death as the Son’, ‘Sin as the Holy Spirit’. The calibre of the associated performers, ZoJ, Headlopper and Global Genocide Division, was particularly inspiring. Culminating with the ‘sin’ of destroying an upright piano and the clamorous violence of the audience was particularly memorable.

Thee Midnight Mass Ritual at the Tote on Good Friday with Satan’s Little helpers Molly and Joshua. For this ritual, they were daubed with pig’s blood and compelled to defile the sanctity of the virgin with lubricious fervour, liberating divine feminine energy in pure atavistic form. The performances by Bain Wolfkind and Ascanyx were exceptional. So entrancing was this performance that one individual threatened to sue for having been traumatised. Interestingly, this person has since ‘disappeared’.

Fill us in about the glorious metal set piece on stage we are now accustomed to, it's incredible, unique and epic (and so well constructed)?

The Interface was inspired by necessity and desire. It is an effective means of affirming the trans-dimensional nature of the ritual when the practical elements are kept out of sight. It is also a pointed reference to the ‘metal’ aesthetic. This conceptualisation was realised upon request by steel artisans and innovators Kieran Meegan and Rickie-Lee Robbie, operating as Idle Hands.

The Klavierkrieger logo was realised by Shane Ivezic and the plague doctor stencil by Shane van den Akker, both with minimal direction given.

How often do we see countless monikers daubed across black fabric, only to be meet the same fate as any burial shroud and be gradually consumed by time? Using something that could be folded away and forgotten would reflect my own demise. Metal stands the test of time where lesser materials deteriorate.

This is as permanent a fixture as I could have devoted to my nom de guerre and along with what I plan to do with my bones, will be an important element of ensuring my own immortality.

Your recorded releases so far are solid and varied, talk to us about the latest release, where it fits in your catalogue etc.

Given the improvised nature of the ritual performances, I wanted to challenge myself with an alternate approach that centred around structured compositions. There is still an element of ritualistic synergy employing spontaneity, namely in each track being comprised of one take. Naturally, unexpected elements crept into the recordings which grant the listener the sense of being present during the recording. The birdsong which recurs during Mad Rush comes to mind.

The one exception to this process was recording Ben Taylor’s vocals on Ether, only by virtue of each take possessing its own merit.

Sconsacrati Infanti di Cielo was a live recording and as a result, was wholly composed in the moment with no overdubbing. I want each ensuing recording to reflect a different compositional mode so as to further challenge myself musically and to give the listener the full conceptual scope of Klavierkrieger.

The tracks are fantastic reinterpretations of various songs by different artists of different genres, yet it seems like an original release of your own work. Explain the concept behind this release?

These pieces were selected purely for the sake of pleasure. Nothing will surpass the originals and I felt that if I was to reinterpret them, I had to do so with full respect to the composer’s intentions.

At the same time, I wanted to augment them with the array of alternate melodies, harmonies, rhythms and dynamics that came to mind over the years listening to them. By the same measure, I did not want to alter the nucleus of the original compositional elements beyond recognition.

I have received mixed responses from the composers. Striborg approved of Somnambulistic and later did his own synthesised reinterpretation of it. Paul Mazziotta of diSEMBOWELMENT was enthused enough to drum on Cerulean and Matt Skarajew also approved the interpretation. Renato Gallina, on the other hand, did not.

I have to mention Paul’s contribution, in particular, was phenomenal. Lacking a metronome or backing track, he played the piece as he heard it in his mind in one take. The intensity with which he commits himself to his music is formidable.

And then what is next?

Another album has just been completed and where Harmonien works with arranged pieces of music augmented with improvisations, this is entirely improvised. It differs from Sconsacrati in that it is not a live recording, but has instead been recorded in fragments.

Conceptually and visually, I have many unfulfilled ideas which are waiting for the right catalyst to manifest. Each will aggressively nudge the border of acceptability.

What are the challenges of a) the massive equipment set up and frankly epic effort to put together the shows and then b) adding the ritual aesthetics that tie it all together.?

The only challenge is indolence and the willingness to settle for the idea that near enough is good enough. How can one expect to ascend energetic quanta and channel them with any intensity if there is no intensity of effort? What of a few extra hours of my time in the grand scheme of exacting a ritual that achieves precisely what I had intended and better still, invokes the unexpected?

The tableaux, instrumental arrangement and interface often necessitate to my having to perform before everyone else. In which case, my ritual serves as the blackened introit, generating the energetic charge I deem beneficial for whomsoever ascends the pulpit in my absence and this is a privilege not taken lightly.

And on that point, how do you seperate it from the lame effort say any blackened various forms of metal call a performance a ritual by adding one candle to a speaker, I actually detest that as opposed to your effort that is focused, purposeful and to not sound generic is legit and the real deal..thoughts?.

All of the relics in my possession are borne of auspice, camaraderie, lust, morbidity, invocation, happenstance and love. Rather than being imbued with a specific sense of purpose, I followed the guides and devoted myself to the entity. Again, only abandonment of the ‘self’ allows this to be executed fully.

If someone feels a candle is all they need to invoke, so be it. It worked for Dead Moon because their use of the candle was driven by a sense of purpose with an appreciation for the unexpected outcome. But if it’s an accoutrement lacking inspiration, they are not worth anyone’s attention.

For each ritual, my tableaux is arranged differently. It does not remain static. The more elements I have, the more permutations are possible. For all one’s intentions, unexpected outcomes are embodied by degrees of freedom and ought to be embraced.

The extreme music scene/community in Melbourne and broadly Australia, what resonates for you?

Spawn, Nocturnal Graves, Denouncement Pyre, Diabolic Rites, Inverloch, Sanctioned, Remains, Nekrasov, Anocht, JP Shilo, Anthony Pateras, The Necks, Tropical Fuck Storm, Portal, NUN, NuN, Faceless Burial, Odiusembowel, Deliquesce, Pivixki, Brian Hooper, Electric Self, Nihilistic Torment, ZoJ, Mat Blackwell, Burn the Hostages, Knife, Ascanyx, Headlopper, Bain Wolfkind, Umbilical Tentacle, Curse ov Dialect, Lucas Abela, Anocht, Legion Ritualis, Plum Green, As Flesh Decays, Sam Haven, Suldusk, YLNA, Oligarch, DFFDL.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to your future endeavours!