Friday, December 7, 2012

Narbeleth Interview

In discovering the Cuban metal scene, I discovered a scene whose passion and devotion shames virtually every other on the planet. I've done my best to track down some bands from there, but one stands out above the rest: Narbeleth. With a sound that distills the best parts of early Norwegian black metal, this Havana Kvlt are one of the best black metal bands I've heard in recent times; and yet are currently well below most metal fans' radar. I knew I had to do something. I e-mailed some questions to main man Lord Dakkar, which he was kind enough to answer. Unleash the hailstorm!

DoC: I first heard about Narbeleth via the SPIN magazine article about the metal scene in Cuba. What are your thoughts on that article? Did it accurately depict the Cuban Metal scene?


I did not like the article in SPIN magazine. At first, I thought: "This is an opportunity to get to know the Cuban metal scene;" but then when I read the article, I realized that it was no more than politics and shit. Always showing the problems, and asking the musicians about the government and all that stuff, of course, all because they know that this kind of political view, and most between Cuba and USA, sells. I don't like to mix politics and music, I'm not interested in politics, it's as disgusting as religion. So all these things in SPIN are shit, politics propaganda, and people talking more and complaining about social/political problems, than talking about the music itself. Yes, we have problems here, yes these problems affect us all the same, but that must be apart from [the] Metal scene, in my point of view.

DoC: How/when did you discover black metal? What is it about black metal that spoke to you?

I discovered Black Metal many years ago, I don't remember exactly, but the first thing I heard was DARKTHRONE's Under a Funeral Moon, and IMMORTAL's Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, and the first thing that came to my mind was, "what the hell is this?!?!?! I can't understand!" But there was something taking my attention, and then I discovered that special feeling, that dark atmosphere that makes Black Metal unique and caught my soul.

DoC: Narbeleth is a one-man band. What led to you deciding to do the project on your own? How do you recruit members for your live performances?

At the time I started NARBELETH, I was playing in ANCESTOR, my previous band, and when I was composing for this band, I had ideas that were rejected by the other bandmembers, and by myself sometimes too, because [they] were not in line with the music we did in the band. I had to do something with this stuff, and most of it was cold, raw stuff, so I decided to make a solo band, influenced mainly by JUDAS ISCARIOT, DARKTHRONE, BURZUM, BATHORY, ARCKANUM...

The musicians for the live performances are friends of mine, good friends of mine that understand the true essence of Black Metal, and know what Black Metal is about, and have helped me unconditionally.

DoC:  You recently released your first album, Diabolus Incarnatus. Where did you record the album? What were the recording sessions like?

I recorded the album at home, where I have all the things I need to compose and record my own music in comfort and solitude. After I had all music/lyrics written, I recorded mainly at night, and always alone, of course, I don't have a lot of time to record, I must pay attention to my work and my studies too, that's why I recorded the album between December/January.

DoC: What are the biggest difficulties that you face as a performer and musician playing and recording black metal in Cuba?

Well, the big problem here is always the equipment. For example, I did use a drum machine because I do not own drums, and I can't buy a drum [set], it's too expensive, and the studios are quite expensive as well; and If I can get the sound I want with my own equipment, as old and poor as they are, why on earth I would spend the money I don't have recording in another place?

Playing live is the same problem, it's normal that you get to a place to play and they only have a bad drum and no guitar/bass amps, you have to play by line... the sound is always bad... the only place where that does not happen is here in Havana, we have a place called Maxim Rock, for metal concerts, with a full backline, drum, good lights, air-conditioning ... but I've played only 2 times there with NARBELETH, I don't like to play often.

DoC: How important are social networking websites like Facebook and Wordpress in promoting your band?

First of all let's make clear that for me, the most important propaganda must be printed zines, flyers, regular mail... as the underground must be. But I'm not blind, and I think we must use the new possibilities of the internet to share our music with the correct people. To contact labels, bands, it's a quick way. So, yes, if you use it in the right way, it is very helpful. I think it is important.

DoC: You recently played the Ciudad Metal Festival in Cuba. How often do you get to play shows? What is the audience like when you play?

Yes, Ciudad Metal Fest is a very important festival here, and one of the oldest. Since I created NARBELETH in 2008, I have played just 7 times. The year with more shows for NARBELETH is 2012, with 4. I have had a great response from the audience since the first concert, and at Ciudad Metal [the response] was crazy! There were many people waiting to see NARBELETH, and I'm very satisfied with this show.

DoC: Narbeleth reminds me a lot of the early days of Norwegian black metal, particularly Darkthrone and early Satyricon. What are your feelings on the old style of black metal, versus the new styles?

Of course I prefer the old Black Metal, it has a special feeling, a special atmosphere, as I said before; and I'm very influenced by the early Norwegian scene as you can hear in my music.


DoC: You recently stated on your Facebook page that you have a new album in the works. How is that progressing? What can black metal fans do to help get it released to wider circulation?

Yes, I'm recording the new album. Since now I'm sending promo packs to labels in order to find someone interested to release this new material. People who follow (I don't like to use the word fan, that is for popular music, Black Metal have followers, supporters, not fans) NARBELETH's music can share all my music, show the band to friends, metal warriors that could be interested in this art, it's the only way for my music to find the right ears.

DoC: Narbeleth means "autumn" in the Sindarin language. What is autumn like in Cuba?

Autumn in Cuba is good; good because we have lower temperatures compared to summer, which is hot here!

But I did choose this name because "Narbeleth" corresponds to our October, my birth month, and in Middle Earth, it's also a period of total darkness, where the sun does not rise, and this is the realm of my art, total darkness... of soul, of spirit.

DoC: How can Narbeleth supporters get your releases?

All NARBELETH music is available on the Internet, so you can download it, no problem for me. But if you are actually interested, buy the original releases:

Demo Dark Primitive Cult is available here:
Tape release from 2010:
CD release from 2012:

Album Diabolus Incarnatus only available on tape so far.
Serpent´s Eye:

EP Hail Black Metal! will be soon available in CD, limited edition
by Alterock Music:

DoC: What does the future hold for Narbeleth?

Well, right now, finishing the new album so it will be ready for the beginning of 2013. Concerning concerts, I have 2 performances for next year 2013, and... still making Black Metal!

NARBELETH is darkness, Black Metal propaganda, with a hate misanthropic and nihilistic vision to spread!

Thanks for your support!!!!!

You can e-mail Lord Dakkar directly here, and if interested, ask for his postal address. 

You can follow Lord Dakkar on his Wordpress page.
Like Narbeleth on Facebook.

Diabolus Incarnatus is available through Serpent's Eye Records, who released 150 copies on cassette. You can contact them here.  

Dreams of Consciousness likes you. Why not like it back?