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The Fog
Germany’s The Fog may still be a relatively small upstart in the death/doom metal world, but it’s a group name that is becoming more and more known within the style’s underground since their 2014 demo Void Nexus dropped. Earlier this year, the band issued their debut full-length effort, Perpetual Blackness, through the indie Spanish label Memento Mori, only further solidifying their stake in the genre. Following my own review of the release, which can be read RIGHT HERE, I decided to shoot some questions over to the group to try to get a little more insight into how the album came to be. Below is what guitarist/vocalist V. Lord had to say!

How is everything going on your end? I hope all is well.

V. Lord:
Yes, everthing’s good, thank you. If you foresee the hangover and the after-effects of the brawl following the night after our latest rehearsal…

Perpetual Blackness feels like a natural extension to your Void Nexus demo, just with a better production quality of course. Was that the goal going into the album, or would you say it’s actually quite different in comparison to that initial release?

V. Lord:
The description certainly fits, even if we did not work with that explicit goal. It was clear for us to stick to primitive Death/Doom approach while also trying out some new elements not present on our Void Nexus demo. For example, the more monolithic songs like “Grievous Scourge”. But the overall spirit has remained the same: Bleak, rotten evil the dirty way.

Everone has a different one, so what was the writing process for Perpetual Blackness like this time around? Did you do anything different compared to the time composing Void Nexus, or find it at all different after coming off that demo?

V. Lord:
Our writing process usually works as follows: C.C. Defiler, our bass player or I come up with some riffs we did, which we then jointly fit into a song structure during rehearsal. No vocals are added until the material has been recorded, focussing solely on riffs before working out what vocal arrangement would fit the songs best. There have been no big process changes compared to Void Nexus, a difference is that our bass player contributed comparatively more riffs to the album. And we found out that some songs actually work out better with even fewer different riffs!

The more I listen to the album, the more I hear a great deal of varying eras of death and doom metal throughout the album. Death, doom, early thrash, punk/hardcore… It actually runs quite the gambit with the roots of metal. Do you three all have varying tastes in the style, or do you want The Fog to not be held down by one or two specific styles?

V. Lord:
I’d say both. For example, the riffs our bass player does are usually a bit different than mine, which is also due to differing influences in terms of songwriting. Our drummer Avenger has his very own musical backgorund as well, which often leaves a specific mark on individual parts. In addition, we do not care if a riff could also be accounted for as black metal or punk/hardcore, as long as it fits the overall song and its atmosphere. Being primitive does not necessary limit your style.

What bands or releases would you say are the biggest influences behind Perpetual Blackness?

V. Lord:
There are several influences behind Perpetual Blackness. To reduce them to just a few, I’d say Hellhammer, Goatlord, Autopsy and Winter. You might add cheap schnapps.

Perpetual Blackness has an interesting mixture of crisp digital output with subtle analog traits like heavy echoes and a downright vile sounding output at times. Why did you guys go this route instead of a straight forward modern recording or something far more lo-fi like your Void Nexus demo?

V. Lord:
A polished modern recording would simply not fit our music. But if you undertake the effort of making an album, you also want it to get as good as possible. Which is why we wanted a qualitiy production with nevertheless does not lack the the necessary evilness. Just going lo-fi is very limiting in this regard. But in fact, our demo and our album were recorded with almost the same equipment, we just cared far more about details for the latter. The big difference is the mix and the mastering which came afterwards.

Speaking of hi-fi versus lo-fi, we’ve seen a lot of varying leveks of analog recordings in the metal world today, mostly in the depths of the underground. How do you feel about this style of output? Do you feel some bands may use it as a crutch, or the more the better? Please explain.

V. Lord:
In fact, I don’t care that much as long the music and sound are fitting as a whole. But a record doesn’t get better only because it’s recorded with analogue gear. You can also get a raw, dirty record using digital means, which have a far better practicability. So, a lot of those ‘analogue bands’ probably go this way just for image reasons, which is kind of ridiculous indeed.

All three of the band member’s identities are technically hidden behind aliases. Do you feel that the sensation of anominity helps that rawer presentation of the album feel a little more real than if you just put your real names down in the liner notes?

V. Lord:
Just using surnames or abbreviations is something the nice guys from next door would do. Which we are not.

You guys are currently signed with Momento Mori Records. How did this deal come about?

V. Lord:
Raul, the main guy behind Memento Mori Records, contacted us shortly after we released our demo tape, saying he would like to release a future The Fog album. After some communication, he seemed to be just the right Death/Doom lunatic. It speaks for itself that Memento Mori did re-releases of underrated Death/Doom classics like Delirium (NL). So, as we eventually decided to do an entire album, we simply got back to him and worked things out.

How much influence, if any, did they have on the way Perpetual Blackness sounds? By that I mean, did they put up the money to record it, help you to work with a studio or technical team you wanted to work with, or was the album already done by the time they got involved?

V. Lord:
In this regard, Raul’s contribution was limited to recommeding Ted Tringo (The Ancient Way Mastering) for the mastering, which he also payed as part of our deal. We worked things out before our album was recorded, but it was clear that we’d do the recordings ourselves, as our drummer Avenger owns all necessary equipment. The decision who to commission for the mixing was also made solely by us. So, Memento Mori’s influence was quite limited. Raul even told me he’d never listen to one of his releases until he has got the final master version. Which perfectly describes the absence of label meddling on how the album finally sounds.

How about working with Iron Bonehead Productions on the vinyl version of the album? How exactly did this deal come about?

V. Lord:
We always inteded to do an LP version of the album. But Memento Mori Productions does only CDs, so we also sent it to some vinyl labels, including Iron Bonehead. Patrick, who runs the label, liked the stuff and told us he’d be interested to handle the LP. With Iron Bonehead’s formidable band rooster and reputation, it was clear that this was the way to go.

Perpetual Blackness is available on CD, in digital format, and soon on vinyl. Will there be a cassette version of this somewhere down the line, or is there no interest in branching out to that format?

V. Lord:
We released our demo as a tape, so it’s obvious that we are interested in the format. It is just that the plans for a tape release of Perpetual Blackness have not worked out so far. But let’s see what [the] future brings.

So, what is next for the group at this point? Any further plans such as live shows, festivals or tour dates?

V. Lord:
A couple of live shows in Germany have already been confirmend, including Oberhausen and Munich. Some more are currently in the working. Besides, nothing is sure yet. Only death.

The Fog: Perpetual Blackness

The Fog
Interview conducted thanks to Memento Mori.