Negator are one of the black shining lights of the black metal scene at the moment and having just released their third album, Panzer Metal, which I gave 10/10 in my review for IV. I put some questions to them about their new release and their views on black metal in general.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations on the killer new album! For the benefit of those who haven't heard of Negator before could you tell us a little about how the band came into being?
Nachtgarm: Negator was formed in 2003 by Trolfbert (Guitar), Me (Vocals), Berthelm (Bass) and Tramheim (Drums). In 2004 we released our first CD Old Black and in 2005 we released Die eisernen Verse.
Why did you choose the name Negator?
N: Because it sounds good! No seriously. Trolfbert came up with that name as a statement of denial. If you translate the Latin word 'negare' in English it simply means 'to abnegate' or 'to negate'. And we all thought that it would be a very appropriate name for a bunch of guys which are not just accepting every value, dogma or moral-ethical principle.
Its been five years since the release of your second album, what's been going on in the ranks of Negator in this time?
Finnskald: Line up problems, songwriting and life itself needed a lot of attention and time. Indeed sometimes it was hard for us to keep the black metal flame burning in ourselves. But the passion for this kind of art and the emotions evolved with the music were stronger than any reversal we had to experience. Now we are back, with a vengeance.
N: Take heed! The flame still burns!
Could you tell us why you chose the name Panzer Metal for the new album? Did Panzer Division Marduk have an influence on the songs?
F: 'Panzer' is a strong symbol for power, violence, durability and uncompromising hardness. All this you will find concentrated in 36 min on the album. Panzer metal is the music you hear when you drive with a tank to a black mess. - Panzer Division Marduk did not influence us as far as the songwriting is concerned. I prefer to listen to Marduk's Those Of The Unlight and Opus Nocturne. So I think my appreciation of black metal is automatically influenced by their music.
The listening experience of Panzer Metal could be likened to being crushed under the treads of an M1-Abrams whilst being pumped full of morphine...Its brutal, its harsh, it's unrelentingly savage and yet thoroughly enjoyable! Did the album turn out as you hoped and has the reaction to it amongst the masses been positive so far?
N: To put in a nutshell: That's exactly the feeling we wanted to create.
F: We had a concrete idea of how the album should sound when we entered the studio. Our task was to convey this idea to our producer Eike Freese. He did understand well and shared our vision of Panzer Metal and the reactions in the press are mostly positive so far. Hopefully the metalheads out there will like the album.
Which bands / albums got you into metal and black metal in particular? Who or what are your biggest influences? What is the single most important black metal album in your opinion?
N: I got into metal with Iron Maiden at the age of 7 or 8 and my first black metal CD was Darkthrone's A Blaze In The Northern Sky at the age of 11. Before that I only knew Deicide and some other not mentionable Bands. And to name my biggest influence: Life itself.
F: Emperor In The Nightside Eclipse
Dissection - Storm Of The Lights Bane
Marduk - Those Of The Unlight
Satyricon Nemesis Divina
Dark Funeral The Secrets Of The Black Arts
Immortal - Battles In The North
Gorgoroth - Pentagram
Darkthrone Under A Funeral Moon
Every album mentioned above is highly responsible for my comprehension of black metal. Take all this excellent music, melt it and create one piece of music out of it. This would be the perfect and most important black metal masterpiece.
On your website it states that black metal today is infirm and dominated by mediocre bands so what values make true black metal in your opinions? Does the latter day, so-called 'black'n'roll' direction of bands such as Darkthrone and Satyricon piss you off?
F: You have to feel black metal and inhale the spirit created by the music. It's a matter of emotions, not of the length of your spikes. It doesn't matter if you like 'Black'n Roll', 'Melodic Black Metal', or 'What-so-ever-Metal'. If it's your way, than it's good.
The Norwegian scene is naturally the most (in)famous due to the events of the early nineties. Do you think it is as important today as people still claim? To me it seems to have become stifled with only a couple of good bands have come out of that country in the past decade.
N: I don't give a shit about the events in the early nineties. They are surely a part of the very beginning, but all this 'church-burning-killing-each-other-and-wasting-graveyards'-shit never had something to do with the music.
F: But there are still good bands coming from Norway, e.g. Keep Of Kalessin, Koldbrann or Sarkom. Besides that, I don't care about the ethical descent of bands. It's only the music, that counts.
Are there any black metal bands around today that you think are worthy of respect?
N: Every musician should be respected for his work, as long as the focus is on the music.
I believe the German black metal scene is one of the strongest at the moment with yourselves and other bands such as Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult releasing some truly excellent albums. What do you think about the black metal scene in your homeland?
N: You mentioned it already: There are only very few bands which should be pointed out. I don't care about the rest.
Extreme political ideologies seem to have become very popular in black metal, particularly amongst the Eastern European bands. Given the negative, hateful and anti-social views prevalent in the black metal scene, do you think these ideologies have any part to play in this form of music or is it something that needs to be stamped out?
N: Fuck off politics in music! Full stop!
What are your views on depressive and avante-garde black metal?
Will you be having a full tour to promote Panzer Metal? Any chance of you guys unleashing the panzer assault outside of Germany and Austria?
N: At the moment we're still planning a tour, but we'll see what the time will bring us.
Thanks again for taking the time out to answer these questions... the famous last words are yours to utter!
N: Panzer Forever Panzer!