Here is a new interview with the Finnish death,black metal band that is not afraid to add extra elements to their music.The band is getting ready to release their second full-length "II:Morphosis" through Dark Descent Rec. So if you are a fan of well crafted and written blackend death metal then be sure to pick up Lantern's new cd when it is released.
Interview with Cruciatus lead guitarist of Lantern done by Patrick
1.Hello Cruciatus please introduce yourself to the readers? At what age did you become interested in playing and writing music?
Greetings! Cruciatus is my moniker and I am in charge of lead guitar and song writing duties in Lantern, based in Kuopio, Finland. Background: I used to play piano for a few years in the age of 8 or 9, guitar since I was 10 or 11 years old. The latter was when I really became interested in playing, and a few years after, writing music. After that, my musical career has seen the ten-year lifespan of a group called Cacodaemon and now another ten years bustling with Lantern. One could say this genre is a passion of mine, something that comes out most naturally. But there is more to that, as I will elaborate.
2.I know you handle the guitars for Lantern when did you start playing the guitar and are you self taught or did you take lessons when first starting out?
A blues guitarist / mental hospital worker from next door gave me a walkthrough on the first steps. My mother had somehow persuaded me to trying the guitar and the ball just got rolling quite effortlessly. My teacher borrowed me one of his guitars, an SG model Ibanez, and we went through basic blues stuff, chords, scales, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Apache’, some Beatles, some Bowie etc. After about half a year and with good feedback from the teacher, the lessons just faded out and I moved on to becoming more of a self-taught guitarist. I bought my first own guitar, too, some 90’s heavy metal Ibanez model which I then painted black with a marker, haha. Good times.
When metal came along, I started writing my own music too (or at least attempting to do so for a few years), while deciphering song structures by Bathory, Venom, Rhoads / Lee era Ozzy and the sorts by ear and from tabs. Not too long after, I dove into Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kingston Wall etc., and the combination of all the aforementioned pretty much explains where I come from musically. Of course there have been new targets of interest - both external and internal - that have taken me to new directions throughout these years, but the foundation lies in metal and rock from the 60’s / 70’s to the early 90’s.
3.Who are some of your influences and favorite guitarists?
From the metal point of view, I could mention Mantas, Iommi, Tipton / Downing, Denner / Shermann and the old Sabbat (JAP) masters. The Possessed solo also made an impact when I first heard their live bootleg and Seven Churches... they still do. In rock, there’s Petri Walli (huge influence), Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Blackmore, Jukka Tolonen, Steve Howe, Adrian Belew (one of the vocalist greats, too, like all King Crimson vocalists have been)… and the list goes on.
4.Besides the guitar do you play any other instruments if yes what else do you play? Are their any instruments you would like to learn to play one day?
I have played drums every now and then since ’98 / ‘99, but luckily J. Poussu is now in charge of those duties in Lantern, since I am not as good a metal drummer as I would like to be, haha. Of course, bass is an instrument most guitarists can handle at least in an elementary fashion, and I have played it on many records due to circumstances. Playing the piano / keyboards is a skill I would like to restore, but my abilities have become rusted in that sense through all these years focusing on guitar (and drums).
In the recent times, I have also learnt some classical acoustic tunes and also honed the basics of mandolin and lap steel guitar. If there’s one instrument I would really want to master, it’s my throat. If I ever get the time and motivation, I will definitely take some vocal lessons.
5.Lantern was formed in 2007 when did you guys decide to start this band? And how did you all choose the Lantern as the name of the band?
I remember the date, the exact moment, how the weather was like… It was in August 2007, when me and our vocalist Necrophilos, friends for many years back then already, stumbled to each other at a get-together here in our hometown. My previous band had just been put to rest that spring, so our topics naturally swerved to my future musical plans at some point. From there, we eventually reached agreeing to try record something together. It was quite ex tempore, and we didn’t know what to expect. A few months later, the Virgin Taste of Damnation demo was in our hands, created through an intensive phase of experimenting and even improvisation. But the first demo still marked the moment our sound started to take form, which is still does. It’s almost unpredictable, constantly on the move, but still with some base nuances as its essence.
The name? I also remember that particular moment, but us ending up using it was first and foremost inspired by reminiscing the Mortuary Drape song with the same name and an excerpt from some lyrics from my old band, followed by toying the philosophical and metaphorical aspects of the moniker. And there we had it. I tend to say that Lantern is a tool for illuminating darker regions, with such dim light it makes the horrors along the path appear in a fashion even more ghastly. The fire metaphors are also firmly in there. Even a measly lantern can contain such a destructive / creative / maintaining force.
6.I believe Lantern started out as a two man band when did you all decide to make the band a full-line up? What is the current line up for the band?
Yes, just me doing the instruments and Necrophilos handling the vocals on our first three releases. We started to muster up a session line-up for live shows in 2011, and a few years later, it just felt natural we would play in the same formation in studio, as well, as the five-piece really began to weld together and feel like a band. It still does: the chemistry could not be any better. This particular decision also brought a huge relief regarding my burdens, so I have been only pleased with how things have gone. The current line-up is beside me and Necrophilos consists of St. Belial (rhythm guitar), J. Noisehunter (bass) and J. Poussu (drums).
7.For the readers who have never heard Lantern's music how would you best describe it?
Sabre dance of death and black metal and many other obscure genres, thus quite hard to categorize. Otherworldly and strange, yet still oddly familiar-sounding music packed with haunting melodies, twisted riffs and chilling leads all merged in a dark flow - not to forget the unique, decipherable vocals by Necrophilos.
8.The band is getting ready to release their second full-length "II:Morphosis" how long did it take to write the music for the new release? Does the whole band contribute to the writing process or does one member usually write everything?
Some of the riffs have been smouldering since the birth of Lantern, but most of the composing and arranging was done during 2013-2015. Two of the album songs are actually remakes from the first demo era, with minimal adjustments only. Until now, I have been fully in charge of song writing, but it seems St. Belial is going to contribute riff and maybe even song-wise in the future. With his roots in the late 80’s / early 90’s scene, he is one highly experienced death / black metal hound dog, for whom writing music is a second nature and Lantern, hence, a good forum for self-expression. We’ll see what comes out of it!
9.Who usually writes the lyrics for the band and what are some topics you all wrote about on the new release II:Morphosis ?
Same thing like with the music: 100 % until now, but Necrophilos has now grabbed the task of writing the lyrics for the A side song of a bubbling-under 7” concept. so I’m slowly shoving some of my lyrical responsibilities his way, too. I’ll still hold the right to intervene with and alter his ideas to full extent if needed, haha: Lantern will forever be a dictatorship in this sense, even though my trust toward my comrades is great.
10.Besides the upcoming release does the band have any copies of the debut still available?Besides the debut release is their any other merchandise available if yes what is available and where can the readers buy it?
At the moment of writing, we are running quite low on merchandise, but we are supposed to restock on Below CDs and maybe some shirt designs (even though we’ll focus on the new album design, once it’s out). There are still a couple of random t-shirt sizes in our wares, together with Subterranean Effulgence EP vinyls (the CD has sold out long since). People interested in purchasing Lantern material and merch directly from the band should check www.helvetinlevyt.fi. It’s our bass player’s distro / label, also responsible for releasing the EP vinyl and a couple of shirt designs. We might also get some patches printed in the near-future, so keep your eyes peeled. The upcoming release can also be obtained directly from cruciatus_ at hotmail dot com and gigs, of course.
11.Does Lantern get to play "live" very often or do you prefer to work in the studio? What have been some of the bands most memorable shows so far?
The amount of gigs per year varies greatly, but I could say it tends to settle somewhere between 3 and 7. I think we have overcome the phase when playing live was still a painstaking self-search; it has become a pleasure and hopefully that is conveyed to the audience, as well. We don’t really “prefer” studio-work, although it’s always a great experience to approach and materialize a new release. We are extremely slow regarding building our discography that it’s vital we try to play as many shows in the meantime as possible, to keep the fire burning.
The most memorable shows include our performance at Killtown Deathfest: our performance was certainly not the best, but the audience, the event organization and the many days we got to hang
out with the best of people were just perfect. I still find the wind generator messing my hair up like in a L’Oreal commercial and the extremely dim lighting causing me problems locating my pedals hilarious, the electricity going out etc. We even pulled a Spinal Tap stunt upon entering the stage, as we got lost on the way and even the organizer didn’t seem to understand where we were. Other than that, we had a brilliant time in St. Petersburg (vodka and stagediving), and the show itself went almost perfectly. Playing-wise, we have managed to bring out our best at Steelfest and Finnish Death Metal Maniacs Fest in Pori with Rippikoulu and Lubricant. There haven’t been too many bad experiences, but still a few... not too many (near-)trainwrecks on the list, and those very few have been due to technical difficulties, being ill / fatigued and so forth.
12.Are their any upcoming shows or tours the readers should watch out for and where will the band be playing?
The only booked show right now is Helsinki Death Fest in May 2017, where we will play with comrades Cruciamentum, Corpsessed and Solothus, who all are turning 10 this year. This should also be our album release gig, which is another indicator that special shenanigans are to be expected… Beside that, our calendar is pretty empty, so contact cruciatus_ at hotmail dot come to (try) book us.
13.Lantern comes out of the Finnish metal scene what is your opinion of Finland's metal scene?
There’s a plenty of thriving, already strong and unique bands formed of individuals I am proud to call friends, even. The Finnish scene is an excellent place to exist in the year 2017, especially if you stick with guys who share at least some of your values, haha. The shit-talk I have heard behind my back years ago seems to be a thing of the past. Also, let’s not forget some of the early 90’s death metal legends who have come back still devastate; bands like Demilich have managed to reach the quality of olden days with their newer material. One thing I would complain about is venues: bars in the capital area seem to be shutting their doors from metal bands (especially if they’re not friends’ friends / connected with nepotism etc.). Still, a really good stage has opened up in our hometown, which kinds of balances things… Of course, there are many towns / cities where people are too lazy to attend gigs, but then again, this problem probably exists all around the world.
14.Who are your all time favorite Finnish bands?And are their any new bands you feel the readers should check out soon?
From the old ones: Beherit, Impaled Nazarene, Thergothon, Kingston Wall, Wigwam, Jukka Tolonen, Pekka Streng, Irwin Goodman… From the death metal ones, Demigod and Demilich could be considered the most important. From newer bands, Corpsessed and Solothus naturally. Then there’s Galvanizer, Decaying, Altar of Betelgeuze, Mausoleum Gate, Circle of Dawn, and of course, Funeral Procession as something I’m involved in, haha. Stay alert later this year, as we’ll launch our heavy / doom attack in studio on the coming spring / summer.
15.When not working on new music or band business what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Jogging has become one of my favorite ways to let off steam caused by work, as well as the band business, which can be quite stressful at times. Hanging out at the summer cottage or in the nature in general (especially during summer) is also something I enjoy greatly. Other than that, I try to spend as much time with my family and friends as possible, while sometimes I wish to retreat into silence and do absolutely nothing. What else? Writing something outside the lyrics context would be on my bucket list, if I had one.
I guess the musical hobby is the most time-consuming past-time, especially now that I’m slowly letting go of writing / editing duties for the good old Perverse Gospel zine. Of course, travelling would eat up more of my time, if I just had the time… or the money, haha.
16.Thank you Cruciatus for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers
Thank you for your interesting questions! There were some subjects I had not unravelled in interviews before and it was more than great doing so now. Beside that, there’s not much else to be said at the moment; I’m just waiting for II: Morphosis to come out and see what feedback it brings and what new gates it unlocks. Keep your mind opened up for the barrage of riffs and intense song structures and let the album possess you… It’s not repetition of something we have done once before, but still 100 % Lantern: dark, crooked, fluent and definitely free of scene / genre ass-kissery.