Crimson Moonlight snuck up on me from out of nowhere with their latest effort, Veil of Remembrance. While some may scoff at the notion of Christian black metal, there's no denying the ability of Crimson Moonlight, who were the only black metal band to crack my yearly top 20 of 2005. I was able to contact vocalist and original member Pilgrim, who was able to shed some further light on the band.
Wayfaerer - Just to start, could you give us a little history behind the band?
Pilgrim: Crimson Moonlight was formed in the summer of 1997 with the mere intention of recording a primitive old school black metal demo in the veins of Horde and early Satyricon, play one show before breaking up. Gustav (drums) and Petter (guitar) asked me (Pilgrim) to join on vocals so I did. Shortly after that Alexander joined us on bass. In the early 1998 we decided to go on with the band since we all felt that it was fun and it also fulfilled a higher purpose.. During the years we had some line up chances and nowadays it´s only myself and Gustav that are original band members. Even the musical direction has chance a lot since our early releases. This is our discography:
1997 the Glorification of the Master of Light (primitive old school Black)
1998 Eternal Emperor CD ep (Symphonic Black)
2001 Heardling the dawn (Progressive Black)
2001 Blood covered My needs VHS (Black)
2003 the Covenant Progress (Melodic Black)
2004 Songs from the Archeives CD our demo/live compilation
2005 Veil of Remembrance (Brutal Black/Death)
Veil of Remembrance has been out for a little over a year now, has the response to it been everything you would have liked it to have been?
Yes absolutely!! The response for VoR has been great. For example the biggest metal magazine in Sweden which described the album as: "Great played black metal, grinding forth in a furious speed and eagerness&
If the word intellegent ever can be used in the genre, this is a perfect example". A lot of people say that they really like the fast blasting combine with the dark melodic riffing. And to mix the Scandinavian chaotic black metal parts with more brutal death metal elements also seems to have a positive effect in a lot of reviews. We are really thankful for all those nice words about our music and we hope that the reviews in the future will be in the same direction.
Looking back, is there anything you feel you would have done differently on that disc?
No, I think we did the best we could do at that point: High speed blasting black metal with a lot of intensive parts but also with a good variation in the songs. Maybe we could have some more old schooled primitive parts (I am really into that stuff). The production work together with Thomas "Plec" Johansson was also excellent and the result became really sharp and raw.
The lyrics seem intelligently crafted and symbolic at times, how important do you consider the lyric-writing process?
Our lyrics on Veil of Remembrance are dark and written in a poetical form. I see the lyrical writing as truly important and we want to be as honest and relevant as possible in our writing. I think it´s sad that so many extreme bands are writing about destructive things that I don´t stand for, like murder, violence, gore and killing Christians & it´s hard for me to take those bands seriously, but some bands really have something honest or important to say (Christian or not) and then it gives the music more respect! Almost all our lyrics are first made in Swedish and then translated to English. Because it´s a lot better to express feelings and experiences in the language we speak. All lyrics are kind of "real life experiences" explained in a poetic way. Myself (pilgrim) and Gustav have written all of them. Since my wife left me a couple of weeks before we released Covenant Progress 2003 I have been struggle a lot in the Shadow of Death. The lyrics that I have written is therefore a progress in my life from, (in order)My Grief, My Remembrance, The Cold Grip of Terror, Intimations of Everlasting Constancy to more recent things described in Embraced by the beauty of Cold and Illusion was true beauty. In all this confusion, dark grief and pain I have seen that our Lord Christ is the One he proclaim. He is the light that never fades away and His love is greater than all pain in the world. I know it´s true. So the lyrics also point on a light and a hope in God.
Gustav´s lyrics is also personal experiences. His poetry goes quite deep and it´s a lot of reflections of life and faith from his own life, written in a very philosophical way.
Your previous releases have more keyboards in the mix, what made you decide to drop them completely for the release of Veil of Remembrance?
Well, we decided to skip the keyboard on the new release since we realized that the sound could turn into a heavier and rawer direction without the keys. And since a lot of us are much into extreme Death metal bands like: Nile, Malevolent Creation, Living Sacrifice, Defleshed, Suffocation and Rotten Sound and also more Thrash metal bands like Death, Believer and At the Gates it also had some effects on our new sound&
Do you have any plans for new material in the works yet? If so, how will it compare to Veil of Remembrance
We have now begun to rehearse some of the new songs and it sounds really good! There will be no soft metal that´s for sure! Compared to VoR the new songs will be more interesting and more dynamic and a lot more extreme&
Do you ever feel that because of your stance as Christians, the band is prematurely judged?
We used to have some problems with that some years ago and there are still of course people that don´t want to give our music a chance because we are Christians. Some month ago a guy from America was writing in our guestbook that he was upset about us because he had bought our new CD and he really loved the music but when he found out the Christian message he had to throw the CD in the trash can& Pretty sad, for him I think. But since the release of VoR I have also seen a slow chancing in the attitude to us, people may first have bad thoughts about us but after hearing our music live or from the CD they realize that the music hold high quality and they begin to respect us instead. And they just say: "After all good music is good music"!
Being a Christian myself and knowing that Christians are not usually associated with the metal scene, are your religious beliefs ever doubted/questioned by Christians outside the metal scene?
In the beginning there were a lot of discussions about Christians who are playing the devil´s music in the churches. But I think that even this is fading away more and more. In my opinion I would say that these questions are common because a lot of people have a strange thought about what Christianity is about. Our faith is not about how we look like, how we are dressed, what kind of music we enjoy, what kind of style we have. It is about our heart, the inside of us, not the outside! Christ never talked about the outside; He talked about the inside of the humans. Some or shall I say a lot people in the Churches learning something else than their Master told them to talk about, pretty sad I would say. We are Christian, yes. But we are also humans like everyone else. We love black, death and thrash metal because it is our style of music. My life philosophy is be myself there are so many others: Every single one of us is born an original individual, but the most of us die like a copy of one another; allow your self to be different. Show other people respect and love. Treat them, as you want to be treated back.
Who are some of the band's biggest influences?
We try our best to not copy the sound of any other bands and then also take the music into a new dimension of brutality. Nowadays I guess bands like Immortal, Emperor, Death, Believer, Satyricon, Malevolent Creation, Nile, Rotten Sound, Defleshed, At the Gates and Opeth has influenced us in some parts. For myself I am a lot inspired by Horde. To compare us with other bands I would like describe the sound like a mixture of Emperor, Dark Funeral, Immortal and a keyboard free Dimmu Borgir. In our earlier material there was a lot of Ancestor and Dissection influences.
Rivel is a rather small label, have you had any contact with larger labels in the industry?
Mr Rivel is a great person and we are really satisfied with the work together with him. He has a lot of experience from the metal scene and he also has a lot of important contacts over the world. He is also a singer in a lot of bands. First of all the in the famous neoclassical act Narnia. But also in Wisdom Call (power metal), Audio Vision (heavy metal) and Divine Fire (Symphonic power/thrash). So he is a really busy man with a burning heart for metal.
We don´t know about the next CD yet, but we have some contacts with some bigger labels and discuss more seriously with one. Rivel is our first label so far.
You did a European tour earlier this year, how did that go?
Yes we went out in Europe for a couple of weeks and toured in Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Czech Republic. The first shows we toured with our friends in Slechtvalk (Symphonic black metal from Holland) and also with bands like Luna Field, Thronar and Darkwire. The last week in Czech Republic we toured with Rites of undeath and some other bands. We really had a great time on the tour and we met a lot of new people and visit nice places. Especially Czech Rep. was great to see since that was the first time we toured there, but hopefully not the last!! All the shows went well and we are really satisfied with the result of the CD/merch selling as well.
I read on your website of a possible US tour in the summer/fall. How close is this to happening at this point?
We are waiting for some details to be done, but we all ready have some tour dates booked. So let say to 95% we will come and tour for one or a couple of weeks in the US this summer!!
While doing my research, I read that you bring swords out on stage with you. Do they hold any
Sometimes to hold the wild maniacs in the crowd back J
But the sword is also a symbol of the spiritual war and a sign for victory. I am actually a sword collector and I try to combine my interest for medieval history with black metal music and the image of CM.
If you were trying to convince someone to listen to Crimson Moonlight, what would you say to them?
I would say: Have you ever heard the soundtrack of the great Armageddon? Very soon you will have.
What do you do outside of Crimson Moonlight?
I have an old cottage from 17th century in the forest here in Sweden and I use a lot of inspiration from the Viking and medieval ages as I rebuild it in the old ways. I am also a member of a medieval company, where we use to do a lot of old handcraft, pilgrimages, and sword fighting. I also study some history and theology. The interest for metal is also very big for me I go on a lot of festivals, concerts and metal parties.
Name the last 5 discs you listened to.
Nile - Annihilation of the wicked
Exhale - Prototype
HORDE - Hellig Usvart
Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors
Malevolent Creation - Retribution
Thanks for your time! Any final comments you'd like to make?
Thanks a lot for spending time for reading this interview!! We hope to see you all on tour in the summer. In main time check out our NEW homepage and write something in our forum or guestbook. You can order CD´s directly from us and our new official merchandise are available from Endtime productions...
Stay firm, stay brutal!! The Scandinavian Holocaust has begun& Veil of Remembrance
/pilgrim - vocalist of