About Me

Interview with Lumen Ad Mortem

Lumen Ad Mortem (The Dying Light) was formed in 2019. This Australian trio is longing to reawaken the glory of early 90’s anthemic black metal.  "Upon the Edge of Darkness" is their debut and it was released via Bitter Loss Records on the 27th January.
In order to find out more about these Black Metallers, Metal Imperium had a nice conversation with Aaron and Gregor. Read it here.

M.I. - The band got formed in 2019. How has the experience of being in Lumen Ad Mortem been in these four years?

Gregor - To be totally honest these were very formative years for the band. It was just myself and Aaron with our initial new vision of what we really wanted to achieve musically. That was to write and perform music that we truly enjoy again, inspired by the music that brought so much into our lives. The early 90’s black metal scene had shaped our paths to come and all the trials and explorations into extreme metal. Not just the music but the scene we were in at that time and the friendships and experiences as well… one day, I contacted Matt and convinced him to be a part of the band. He was a little apprehensive for sure, but I have been a fan of his work for a long time before in Damaged / Terrorust. It was a bit surreal to be honest… the guy is a fucking legend and going from watching him play in the 90’s and even supporting him at a local show, now to be in a band with him is very humbling.

Aaron - The first year or two were spent experimenting with themes, writing demos and with our focus becoming increasingly serious and organised up until the moment we recorded drums. The demos were all drum programmed and recorded on my phone so we have come a long way since then.

M.I. - Why have you opted for a Latin band name? Does it sound more Black Metal in your opinion?

Aaron - There's actually a deeper, much more personal connection with the Latin language that started at a young age. I won’t get into it here, but it is not simply to be “more Black Metal”. Latin is essentially a language of the dead and those who speak it can communicate with the past in sometimes unexplainable ways.

Gregor - Yes it does, for sure! But The Dying Light has a pretty good ring to it as well. The band name was created by Aaron and I thought that a band name in Latin has the right connection or reverence to the times we admire.

M.I. - The band’s aim is to reawaken the glory of early ’90s anthemic Black Metal. Why is this your purpose? What was so special about that BM era?

Gregor - As mentioned earlier, these were our first experiences of black metal and the first bands we were in at the time. It’s the moments we had back then that we want to emulate and revive. I have done this more so with some of the more personal lyrical content, songs like Infinite Resonance or Ethereal. These songs are deeply rooted in those times and experiences… the first time you heard Mayhem… when Emperor finally released “Anthems…” sitting in the back of a Datsun 180B driving through winter fog so thick you can’t see 5 metres in front of you, listening to Satyricon “Dark Medieval Times” for the first time… to the bonfires parties and freezing cold...

M.I. - What’s your opinion about today’s Black Metal scene?

Gregor - The current BM scene is amazing as with all the extreme genres, there is literally a wealth of talent from around the globe. It’s spread to every orifice of this world. It’s actually hard to keep up with really. It’s great!

M.I. - Which bands have been a major influence for you? Why?

Aaron - I’m influenced most by bands that forged their own path and wrote amazing pieces of music; some examples would be Emperor, Enslaved, Immortal, Mayhem, Summoning, Night Conquers Day and also Australian bands such as Astriaal, Naxzul, Darklord, Stargazer. And for the other side of the spectrum, classical and contemporary film composers such as Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, and a vast amount of non-metal artists and composers. I have been a huge fan of Ulver since their first album up to their current work and Trey Spruance is a huge eclectic influence.

Gregor - I think for me personally the greatest influence would be Emperor, for the sheer scope and musical and lyrical reach of that band is pretty hard to surpass. But after just seeing Mayhem again just recently, they are a truly inspiring act to behold! After all this time they still remain with a blazing fire and vehement rage.

M.I. - How does Black Metal, music of ice and darkness, find fertile soil on an island of heat, desert and sunshine? Did you know you wanted to play Black Metal all along?

Aaron- Gregor and I are both from an area called the Adelaide Hills. It is a foggy pine and gum forest filled area where we burn fires to keep warm for 7 months of the year. Not all of Australia is beaches and desert. Tasmania is also very cold with snow covered mountains in winter. Ask any band who has played Dark Mofo. Great inspiration for Black Metal! We play music loud while sitting around a campfire and drinking red wine or dark stout.
Also, I was born and spent my early youth in Scotland so my earliest memories are of snow above my head and walks through pine forests. Gregor has Austrian heritage and has visited his ancestral lands. Europe is close in mind despite the geographical distance.

M.I. - The reviews to “Upon the Edge of Darkness” have been outstanding. Have you been paying attention to what is written about the band and the album? How does it make you feel?

Aaron - We are very pleased with the reception the album has had. The album took a lot of work, especially in the song refinement and mixing stages. We were very lucky to have our sound engineer Patrick at Blood Wolf Productions and Owen at OG mastering spend the time to get the sound exactly how we wanted it. We also appreciate that many people seem to understand what we are trying to convey from a song writing point of view. Our sound is inspired by the roots of black metal but infused with our other influences.

M.I. - The album takes more than one listen in order for the listener to actually be into it and the tracks are maybe a bit too long. Was it intentional or did it just happen as the writing and recording process took place?

Aaron - The first time I heard a lot of my favorite albums I didn’t understand them. A good example for me is “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” by Emperor. I think a dedicated metal enthusiast knows this and will put in the time for albums to fully reveal themselves.
As far as song length goes, I am working on album two and have a track that is nearly 11 minutes but will have some around the 5-6 minute mark. I don’t think music should have to fit the 3-5 minute Spotify model, as long as the songs don’t become boring or run out of ideas or room on an LP.

Gregor - Look at bands like Bell Witch for example… a full album with one song, amazing and a defiant spirit of metal.

M.I. - How did the writing and recording process take place? Was it a democratic process or is there a band leader commanding things?

Aaron - I write all the songs in their entirety and then Gregor adds demo vocals. After hearing the vocals, some editing of the tracks is done and some lead guitar lines are added or removed or orchestral parts are added. Drums for this album were based on my demos with programmed drums, but Matt had added such a huge amount of his personality to the songs that I would say he reinvigorated the tracks with his live drums.

M.I. - What were the inspirations for this album? What topics do you address in the lyrics?

Gregor - The lasting impression that music holds for all of us, irrespective of genres but the feeling we have when we first heard those albums that shaped our lives in a way that is hard to explain. Given the places or states we were in at time, yet we shall never forget.
A deep interest in Norse, Scandinavian, Slavic, Germanic and Icelandic Sagas in particular.
Icelandic Sagas dwell somewhere in between in truly fascinating tales, real lives, myth and mystery.
My travels through Europe but Norway in particular, the forest hikes of Stavanger and Lillehammer, the northern light of Tromso… and the fjords.
And the inner self and power of self, which I believe in the true Satanist. The defiant ones, the ones that question and wonder and dream…

M.I. - The band has nailed it in the aesthetics. How did you come up with those ideas?

Gregor - I think the most important part to any design is to have a simplicity that appears without effort or confusion. We worked closely with our now good friend Disho von Beer, thanks to Erik from the Amenta, a graphic designer from Tasmania, now retired I believe. Check out the Starved Light. The ever eccentric Christophe Szpajdel did our amazing logo with absolute ease and his signature styling.

M.I. - The album’s been out for a few weeks now... how have people been reacting to it? Have you been getting many messages from fans?

Aaron - People have been great. Supporters of the band have contacted us but nothing too crazy. We really appreciate everyone who has bought the album and those who have bought a t-shirt or preordered a vinyl. It all helps with the possibility of touring and bringing the live version to more people.

M.I. - Being the band’s first album, how happy are you with the result? Have you already spotted any changes you’d make if you were to record the album now?

Aaron - Musically I am very happy with the result. We surrounded ourselves with great sound engineers and spent the time we needed to get the result we were after. As far as changes are concerned, time moves forward so we are focused on our live interpretation of the album and writing the next one. I am working on album 2 and have 5 songs near completion but Matt will have a lot more input at the writing stage this time and I have him in mind when writing songs.

M.I. - How did the deal with Bitter Loss Records come up? What are the advantages for Lumen Ad Mortem?

Gregor - We were contacted by a couple of labels from Europe and a couple from Australia, one of them being Bitter Loss. Basically, Rob at Bitter Loss offered the best deal and was, at the very least, able to negotiate within a normal and reasonable manner. They are doing their best with European/US distribution and giving us our space and terms beneficial to us.

M.I. - Have you got any plan to tour in order to promote the album? Is there a possibility to do a tour or gigs outside of Australia? How complicated are the logistics for this to happen?

Aaron - We would absolutely want to tour outside Australia. Our live lineup is 6 members so the main issue would be the cost of getting us all overseas. We are open to the idea and interested in getting to Europe at some point.

M.I. - Mention 2 bands that you would love to tour with as support act and tell us why these bands in particular.

Gregor - To be as realistic as possible it would be Mispring and Gaerea, these 2 bands in particular for me are all of what black metal is for me. One part is just there and you take what you get and the other part, the mystery and mysticism.

M.I. - Please share a final message with the readers of Metal Imperium. I wish all the best for the band and for its members! Thanks for your time.

We really appreciate everyone who has helped us get this album out there and everyone who has listened in whatever format they can find it. Thanks Metal Imperium for the support and keep the seering metal flowing deep in your veins!

Listen to Lumen Ad Mortem, on Spotify

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca