Featuring Ammonoch of Kanvass
The truth is told every day by people who are bold enough to speak it. Truth, tradition and heritage in the line of fire is and has always been the black metal way. To admonish the weakness of contemporary ideals and to relish in the ways of olde when integrity and things like family, country and values actually meant something. To stand up and fight! To piss on the cross or any other symbol of oppression… To fight against TRUE fascism.
Black metal represents freedom but also duty. If you’re a black metal entity and you’re not pushing the boundaries or challenging ignorance, then you are not doing your job. Brazilian black metal duo, Kanvass, are proving to not only be stalwarts in their campaign against the status quo but also soldiers in a new kind of war; one of enlightenment versus the reality of a new Dark Age, free-thinking versus ignorance, intelligence versus stupidity and greatness over mediocrity.
During my latest interview, Ammonoch of Kanvass tells the truth, offers insight and issues a challenge. Are you listening?
Hails and welcome. The reason I’ve taken an interest in your music is because I believe in what you’re doing. It feels like a lot of black metal is retaliatory in nature, but it appears that Kanvass are very much on the offensive. There’s an intimidating quality to your art; a level of danger that I feel has been missing from the scene for too long. What’s your biggest motivator?
Ammonoch: Hail Jeger, it’s my pleasure. My biggest motivator is the desire to create music that truly embodies the essence of black metal, which was always meant to be both impactful and meaningful. It was born out of spite towards organized religion, political agendas and overall greater Zeitgeist absurdities. I also feel a strong sense of dissatisfaction with the current state of the Brazilian scene and want to inject a new level of intensity and aggression into it. Way too many bands want to accomplish nothing at all and convey no practical message, nor their worldviews on practical terms.
How do you feel about so-called fascism in black metal? From my experience, and I guess you can say it’s my profound belief that only sheep cry about fascism. After all, I feel like any opinion opposite that of the herd is considered fascist these days.
I do agree. Fascism has become the scapegoat to blame for all the first-world kids’ problems. Doesn’t vote for left-wing politicians? Pro-borders? Pro-nations? Pro-army? Pro-family? Pro-any form of hierarchy? Don’t support the social agenda to mutilate confused kids’ genital organs? Believes globalism to be in decline? Fascist…
Words bear ancient connotations, which encompass a large amount of metaphysical meanings, and their use changes slightly over time by modern sophists, constantly attempting to rewrite primeval meanings with their biased narratives.
There are bright minds and intellects everywhere, and in these “modern” times, I’d say most of them would be branded fascists by today’s standards.
I do not condone or support fascism, including within the black metal scene. As an artist, I focus on creating music and conveying my message, rather than promoting any political or social agendas. Quite the opposite, really. Our music is about not conforming to any herd mentality, as there are also scumbags to be found everywhere.
“Generation of Deserters” is a weapon of an album and it’s coming on April 1 by way of the nefarious Hammer of Damnation. I would describe it as malicious and impactful on a few different fronts. If you had to attach a concept or a message to it, what would it be?
The concept and message behind “Generation of Deserters” is a call to action against the weakness and apathy of modern society. It is a declaration that the time has come for those who are willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in, even if it means going against the grain. It is a term we brand the generational herd with. I see the modern world trying to implode all tradition, history, culture, hierarchy, sovereignty and identity from within their own borders. Traitors to their folk, deserters to their legacy.
There seems to be a sentiment of disdain attached to it as well – a disdain for weakness, stupidity and disloyalty as evidenced by not only the title of the album but also tracks like “Reality for Laymen”, “The Age of Monologues” and “Twilight of Ignorance”. Who or what is this vitriol directed towards?
They’re commentaries on modern society and its flaws, and it’s meant to inspire listeners to rise above mediocrity and embrace strength, intelligence and critical-thinking.
We have a personal interest in philosophy and psychology and have seen the issues of societies through these lens. Men are social creatures of culture and habit. Those lyrics bring profound cultural, psychological and ethical issues to the forefront. A great deal of political discourse is defended by people that have no deep understanding of why they actually defend it.
As is the case with religion and children; they’re simply told to follow something because of overall peer-pressure and the need to fit in a group or the petty need for a “pat in the back” atop the social stage.
Thing is, stupid people in democracies influence the fate of all of us, and misguided morons are the ones willing to be the loudest.
I wouldn’t call it raw but “Generation of Deserters” definitely has a stripped-down feel to it. Something similar to “Pentagram” or “Antichrist” era Gorgoroth. Do you feel like modest approaches to recording better represent the genre?
Certainly, as a duo we wanted to capture the essence of the genre without any unnecessary embellishments or overproduction, which could be reproduced live by the two of us. A minimalist approach which seems to sound much more brutal and honest.
Quite a few bands (including some established legends) sound clean and “digital” nowadays, or have their albums mastered without any instrument treble/noise. After a threshold, it just doesn’t sound like the genre anymore.
It seems like most black metal artists these days have taken to the notion that in order to be viable, they must sound like an early 90’s black metal band. I would say to these groups that one cannot relive or recreate the purity or the excitement/danger of youth, whether it be their own youth or the newness of a particular movement. Why do you think so many bands have taken to doing things this way?
I believe that many bands try to emulate the early 90’s black metal sound because it represents a certain authenticity and purity that they may feel is lacking in more modern forms of black metal. Additionally, it may be seen as a way to pay homage to the pioneers of the genre and to honor their legacy.
However, I also agree that there is a danger in trying to recreate the past, as it can lead to stagnation and a lack of innovation within the genre. It is important for artists to find a balance between honoring the roots of black metal while also pushing the boundaries and creating something new and unique.
I’d also argue that the black metal scene had its peak worldwide in the 90’s, and the tales that young folk hear about today are of the 90’s purity, violence and ideologies.
Is underground black metal even truly underground anymore? I actually see it as something that’s becoming paradoxically popular, particularly since the dawn of social media. It makes sense to me that a true underground black metal band should have a minuscule or even a nonexistent social media footprint. Would you agree?
The concept of underground is a constantly evolving one, and while social media may have made it easier for black metal bands to reach larger audiences, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are no longer underground, especially as social media followings are easily bought and may be all smoke and mirrors. It’s a matter of perspective and definition.
However, I do agree with your point about a true underground black metal band having a minuscule or even nonexistent social media presence, depending on their proposal and ideology. I’m all in for a practice-what-you-preach attitude, and if someone says they’re “full misantropic kult” while running instagram ads for their “kult-tapes”, well… These are the types of bands which really wreck other serious ideology-oriented acts.
What’s your opinion on true BM versus mainstream black metal? I’m of the mind that the two can very rarely occupy the same space.
For serious bands which hit mainstream, I’d argue they’re probably greatly misunderstood by the media and their growing fanbase. One can only appeal to so many people as long as they don’t understand one’s message or take one’s music seriously to heart. Or their message’s content is so non-utilitarian that no one is offended.
For commercial, accessible acts made for mainstream consumption, they’ve become just brands, and they move the most money from label deals, gigs and merch, but mostly from non-true BM fans.
As a musician, I deeply believe that a part of touring is having direct contact with public, getting to have a beer and chat, get to know how this or that cities’ BM scene is like. Mainstream bands lost this so long ago.
In Brazil, underground local bands (even from the 90’s) often have to pay up producers/venues to have the opportunity to perform with international acts on larger events. It’s extremely rare to have any kind of invitation for underground groups to play without spending, which further separates mainstream from the rest of us.
What does the future look like for Kanvass?
We’re looking forward to making international tours soon, as we’ve only toured Brazil for now. Possibly a South American tour at first, then we’ll see. We’re also on negotiations to have vinyl and tape versions for “Generation of Deserters”. A videoclip for the album may also happen down the line.
Overall, we’re just excited to get the album out and perform live, which we enjoy.
Do you have a message for the horde?
I have always believed that black metal is the truest form of musical expression. It is a genre that is raw, primal, and untamed. It reflects the darkness and nihilism that resides within the human soul. It is a means of transcending the limitations of our mundane existence and connecting with something greater and more profound. In a world that is increasingly sanitized and homogenized, black metal stands as a beacon of darkness and rebellion. It is a reminder that we are not mere cogs in a machine, but rather free and independent spirits who refuse to be tamed or controlled.
A special thank you to Ammonoch and Kanvass.
Kanvass are set to release their latest full-length LP, “Generation of Deserters” on April 1 via Hammer of Damnation. My review can be read HERE
Experience “Sovereignty – the Arts of Mars” from “Generation of Deserters” right here: