About Me

Interview with Endezzma

Endezzma was formed in 2005 and now consists of Morten Shax (vocals), Malphas (guitars), Nihil (guitars), Aske (bass) and Skriu (drums). With a massive, grandiose but also a very raw sound, the Norwegian black metal band returns with their third album entitled “The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder”. Recorded in Vika Studio and Malpherno Studio in Norway, the album was mixed and mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm.
With “The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder”, the band takes a huge step forward in songwriting. Mixing the raw grimness of the early days of black metal with the epic grandeur of later bands, the album bridges the gap between the dark anthem and primitive aggression. 
Metal Imperium caught up with Morten Shax, which resulted in an intense and interesting interview. Find out all the details here… 

M.I. - First off, many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! Secondly, thanks for the great music you’ve created throughout the years. Thirdly, the new tracks are killer!

First off, thank you for your questions and we appreciate your enthusiasm for our back catalogue as well as the new tracks.

M.I. - For those who are not familiar with the band’s story, you started off in 1993 as Dim Nagel and then renamed to Endezzma in 2005. Why the change? What is the main difference between the two bands?

Both Endezzma and Dim Nagel was brought to life by myself, but the two constellations are based on different fundaments and lineups and therefore I naturally gave the “new vessel” a new name. For Dim Nagel it was basically only me that was contributing making the music with a contribution from the former Kvist band mates. After Dim Nagel was inactive for many years, Endezzma pretty much was started up again as a fresh new start with different people in the lineup. The most obvious link is the fact that I am the initiator and philosophical force behind both bands. Today Endezzma have grown into its very own and unique entity with its own history. 

M.I. - Your third album “The Archer, Fjord And The Thunder” is due for release on January 22 via Dark Essence records. How excited are you?

We have worked hard on this album for a long time and due to the covid situation the release have been pulled out for quit awhile so it’s finally very good to get the album out to the masses at last. We are very excited and looking forward to turning the page and start a new chapter. The feedback on the first singles and videos have been fantastic so we’re excited to get the whole album out as well.

M.I. - Endezzma have refined the epic undertow that rose up through their 2007 debut EP, “Alone” and “Anomalious Abomination” is a thrilling herald for the full-length to come. Have you raised the bar once again?

WE constantly try to raise the bar. The creative progression needs to be there to stimulate our hearts and devotion. We like to challenge ourselves in a captive and constructive way. The Epic soundscape has come naturally so to speak and express both the music and the philosophical fundament in a good way. Everything is harder, louder, darker and more epic.

M.I. - In an interview, in 2017, you said you were already working on new material and you said it might be released in 2018. What happened? What caused the delay?

Things always take some unexpected turns now and then but, basically, we had the album done at the end of 2019. We wanted to work a bit extra on it and weld some more on some few details and, suddenly, before we knew it the pandemic plague hit the earth right at the epicenter of our release plans. We always used the time we need and never let us be pushed by labels or the surrounding to rush any releases. This time will for sure be different since we started right away during the inactive period when the world was paused to work on new material. So, this time around I can guarantee you that the follow up to this album will be coming way sooner.

M.I. - In that same interview, regarding the new album, you said “the new tracks will defiantly define the tunes of death and the sound of Armageddon. It’s darker than ever and really suffocate us and drive us into new horizons”. Is it still true? What can the fans expect of the album?

It’s totally true and really sums it up rather good. It’s an epic journey into Armageddon of the mind and the stellar darkness. Working on this album has totally got ourselves into new horizons and, when the listeners enter the boat and sail down the fjord into the dark haze to the sound of the thunder, they will experience an intense and fierce emotional ride. It’s the most multilayered album we made so far both musical and philosophically.  

M.I. - The album was scheduled to be released later this year. Was it postponed due to the pandemic?

Yes, like I mentioned above, the album was all done exactly when the pandemic started and we first waited out a few months just to find out that the situation was far more serious and long-lasting than firstly predicted. But one can’t wait it out eternally so the new date was set to January, 2021.  

M.I. - Your last album “The Arcane Abyss” was released in 2017. What are the main differences between “The Arcane Abyss” and “The Archer, Fjord And The Thunder”?

The Archer album is definitely a more multilayered and detailed album and together with the production that also carry a way more solid and powerful production, I think the new album is way a stronger album all in all, it’s solid wood all the way from the song structure to the philosophical fundament and the visuals. This time, Tore Stjerna also did the full mixing of the album and I guess that also shines through, he really did a great and dedicated job. 

M.I. - What’s the album about? What’s its connection to the title “The Archer, Fjord And The Thunder”?

The title tries to paint a picture as detailed as possible in the listeners’ mind. The Archer, fjord and the thunder are 3 essential key words in the album’s philosophical agenda. The Archer is the main magus, the fjord is the passage and the thunder manifests the fire and the energy of this grand epic and mythical world of stellar darkness. It’s kind of a concept album since all the thematic is built around the same philosophy that is visualized through this above-mentioned elements and key words. We have earlier written much about death, and the meaning of death based on how we live, present ourselves and our inner darkness. Through the album philosophical thematic, we have created certain characters and placed them into a certain landscape and mythical setting. You have a lot of energies talking and a huge symbolism that we invite the listeners to dive into. It’s like poetry, everyone will maybe sit back with a different reaction after they both read and listened…

M.I. - Who is the creative mastermind behind the new album? Do you share the creative part? What inspires you to create?

We usually together make a plan where we want to go with the album and what kind of structure we want to achieve before we start, working towards a goal. It’s mostly Malphas that starts with riff ideas and making pre-productions with ideas, then we send it around, back and forth, making changes and inputs. I make the lyrics and we later work and adapt the songs and lyrics to suit together, making the changes needed. When we get the result we feel is sufficient and close to an end product, we bring it into the rehearsal room and finalize the songs and add the final ideas. This time Nihil, the other guitarist, also contributed to songs. So, this time it was a band effort where most of the band contributed with inputs and ideas… I think that’s the reason why it is as good as it is.

M.I. - This will be your 3rd album and it will be released, once again, through a different label, Dark Essence Records. Were they the ones who contacted you or was it the other way around?

We have been in touched already back since before the release of “The Arcane Abyss” album, so I guess we pretty much were on each other’s radar for a while. The collaboration with the label has been extraordinary so far, so we feel good about moving over to them. 

M.I. - Endezzma has been around under that name for 15 years and this will only be your 3rd full-length… some bands release 10 albums in 15 years… how do you do things in Endezzma? When do you know it is time to release a new album?

There have never been any long breaks or pauses but some unconvincing rather misfortunate events have occurred along the road. I guess we are a much more oiled machinery these days and we all handle the band in a more serious way. The band is pretty much a big part of everyone’s life now and we are more focused on the road ahead and on how we want things done and how we want it around us. I guess we just grew up. When you grow up, you either quit doing the band or you just remove the foot off the brakes and don’t look behind. We are constantly writing new music for Endezzma and will be releasing new albums with a much shorter gap in the future.  

M.I. - The cover art was created by Stefan Todorovic and Khaos Diktator Design and the cover design was done by Marko Jerkovic… what does this mean exactly? Did they work together or one had the idea and the other put it to paper?

Both Stefan and Marko are Serbian artists but that is just a coincidence, they have not worked together in any way. Stefan first made all the artwork and Marko has later on made the complete lay out on the album. They both did an amazing and dedicated work. Since I knew them both personally, I knew they were the right persons for the work and I was confident on the qualities they possess. They are both skilled and experienced musicians, as well as great artists, so they know the vibe and esthetic of the process. 
The artwork and the painting are very special and monumental and we are very satisfied with the outcome, very describing and capturing according to the lyrical and philosophical platform of the album. We had a very clear art direction concerning what we wanted from the artwork, but Stefan added so much energy and depth into it.

M.I. - On the 4th November, Metal Hammer premiered the music video for "Anomalious Abomination". How did the idea of teaming up with Metal Hammer to premiere the video come up?

That’s deals made, arranged and set up by the Dark Essence, the label. I guess that’s how they wanted it and how they thought was best for launching the video in a good and proper way. They are good in setting up premieres and single drops, they know their business.  

M.I. - Then, on the 1st December, the video for "The Name Of The Night Is A Strong Tower" was premiered. Why have you chosen these tracks to showcase the album?

There are all together 3 singles and 3 videos that will present the album, the 2 songs you mentioned and the third one will be “Wild Glorior Death”. The third single will launch and debut on the 4th of January together with a third video for the album. Why specifically these 3 songs were chosen is based on different reasons all together, but they all represent different musical highlights and matters that we thought was suiting for the singles. When you make music videos, you also must pay attention to the philosophical thematic of it all as well and what is best suited. 

M.I. - The video for “Anomalious Abomination” is the first in a trinity of collaborations with the brilliant video director Guilherme Henriques. How did this collaboration come up? How did you get to know him?

I think Guilherme wrote me a long time ago, like many years ago, presenting his music video ideas. When we eventually had the actual video idea ready, I made contact with him again and we soon together made a plan about filming and directing the videos. Guilherme flew in to Norway just right on time before the pandemic situation was out of control. He stayed at my place while we shot the two main videos for the album on few different locations on the outskirt of my hometown. It was all a great and exciting process and Guilherme is a very skilled and professional person to work with.

M.I. - Why have you released the video for “Serpent Earth” featured on the last album in September 2020? Is there a special reason?

We did shoot some film for “Serpent Earth” planned to be released together with the last album “The Arcane Abyss”. I was not too happy with the material back then and we did not have a proper director or editor to take care of it the way we wanted. The film clips were just collecting dust for a few years until I mentioned it to Guilherme and he said he would check it out and suddenly it was a representable old school video. We used it as a warm up for what was coming while waiting to drop the new material and videos. The video was received very well and got a lot of amazing feedback so it was a good thing to do.  

M.I. - On the 3rd September you played a sold-out concert in Oslo. Despite all the virus limitations, how was the experience of playing to a seated audience? Did you feel the same energy from the audience?

It’s been lots of offers and initiative from promotors, clubs and organizers to gigs under certain restrictions. 
Back then it felt good to book gigs and do “something”, but I must say that this is an arrangement we will no longer do. Playing for a seated audience inside is like playing for a dinner wedding party. We need the fans and the audience to be face to face, sweat on sweat upfront with the fists in the air. Endezzma is all about intensity, energy and wild euphoria explosions! Until this is possible again, Endezzma will stay inside our constructive abyss, sharpening our razors while welding on the deathstar! 

M.I. - Is there a tour coming up? Are you eager to play live again?

There will most definitely be a full bloody European tour coming as soon as the situation allows it. We are totally excited, eager and ready to promote the new album and tour with the new songs. There were big tour plans made before the pandemic hit the earth, so I hope we can get back to the booking as soon as possible. We plan to play as much as possible in Europe and North America. Time will show if we can conquer some new continents we never visited so far as well. 

M.I. - You have been around in the underground for quite a long time – what do you think about today’s Black Metal scene? Do you draw any inspiration from it? 

I think the Black Metal or the extreme metal scene have changed a lot during the last 10 years specially. It has been moving into a more business-oriented industry and the Black Metal genre has been equalized with other genres. This makes the approach to some bands different. The underground may be getting its old function back again as an expression for voices unheard. But we definitely see that more and more very talented and skilled musicians are drawn into making more extreme music and black metal. The definition of what black metal truly is will be ongoing until the end of the world. I can’t say I suck any inspiration from any particular vibe of today, no. I try to be inspired from different channels when it comes to create art and music.

M.I. - What does music in general represent to you? And Black Metal in particular?

I have always been deeply into music since I was a young kid. Music appealed to me in a very strong and genuine way since the first time I heard it. I always liked to read stories and listening to music was even better, it was a story painted by tunes. And I quickly created a deep devotion to an artistic direction. And since I have always been of the nature that, when I hear or see something that appeals and absorbs me, I want to create my own version of it, let me inspire to do it my own way, paint my own image of it, so to speak. That’s probably why I ended up, doing music magazines, starting up a record label and having a band, etc... 

M.I. - The band still wears corpse paint in a time and age in which many bands have dropped it. What’s its meaning to you? How important is it to Endezzma’s “message”?

It’s expression and puts us in a certain spiritual place. It’s like a warpaint that has been used for centuries and ages. When you go out into battle you must prepare yourself for what is coming, both spiritual, visual and mentally. 

M.I. - You are now signed to Redback Promotion. What will change for Endezzma?

Yes, that’s correct. We signed a booking agreement with Redback during the pandemic situation so the collaboration has naturally been affected by that so far. But I think it can make a change for us. They are great people and know the scene well, so I expect that it will be a good thing for Endezzma. They are already helping us out with the album release and we have established a good dialogue, so things are looking good. 

M.I. - In an interview, sometime ago, Morten Shax said he was writing a children’s book. Is it finished by now? Want to share more details about it? How did the idea of doing it come up?

Well, it’s not particularly a children book but more a dark mythical fairytale epos following some creatures and characters based on old Norwegian myths and legends. The book is almost done, but it takes time, it’s a diverse and huge process. It needs to be briefly quality checked by the publisher and maybe even rewritten and adapted a bit. It’s my first book so the process just has to be a long as it takes. I have no time rush. The idea and interest of writing have always been present. I have always written poetry, lyrics and stories and I have, for a long time, been working on the storyline and the idea of a book.

M.I. - Have you got any other interesting details or facts you’d like to share with us?

We dropped the third single and video on the 8th of December. The name of the track is “Wild Glorior Death” and is accompanied by a visualizer video. Check it out and dive into the stellar darkness and intensity of the sonic madness.

M.I. - Many thanks! Please leave a final message to our readers. 

Thank you for the interview. Check out the new album. Hope to see you all out there soon when the haze is raising and the valley of death is cast aside, we are ready, WE ARE ENDEZZMA !

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca