All-consuming darkness permeates ‘Phosphorus Vol I’, the seventh full-length sacrament of Hetroertzen, wherein this mystical and mysterious vampiric coven also shines a spiritual torch conferring enlightenment and illumination upon those attuned to seeking ancient wisdom. Absorbing the current, truth-dispersing highpriest Deacon D discusses travelling through the deepest darkness and sorrow to reach the light; transcending flesh and blood; channelling the inner serpent; mankind’s impending choice between rising (to a higher level of consciousness) or falling (into oblivion); and achieving mastery of magick by connecting with the Astral-Ethereal-Cosmic plane.

Much Black Metal exists within an ostensibly occult, esoteric and arcane realm. Otherworldly and ritualistic, deeply symbolic, rich in mystique, magick and wonder, the Hetroertzen coven belongs in this elevated, obscure company – visually, musically and lyrically. But does your art transcend mere fantasy? While the creation and presentation of your music is entertainment first and foremost, are you also striving to effect change and instil wisdom or curiosity in the listener?
“Most of the gifts from the uncreated realm are referred to as fantasy and are revealed to the few who have seen behind this material sheet. Those unspeakable wonders can take form into reality by the mind of the creatives and artists, thus moving things from the invisible realm to inspire the masses into this earthly plane.
“Everyone has a connection with the uncreated, since we are not just flesh and blood. Hence this desire to reach for it. Art in general shows a way to reconnect with that realm where anything is possible.”

Does Hetroertzen exist to illuminate or darken our days? To curse humanity or enlighten it? Peeling off a layer or two of the mystique that grants your work its uncanny power, is there a supreme or central message behind your music? Would you classify it as celebratory or adversarial?
“My sincere answer is yes to all of it. Expressions formed in our constellation travel towards the human soul and fit their own perception of things. Those who thrive in darkness will feel our density as they submerge into our agonising trance, while those who search for light will better comprehend our texts and see what we got to share. Light is there to shine, but without immense darkness it cannot be seen. Nor taken.”

It’s difficult to see or feel any light whatsoever on the seventh Hetroertzen full-length, ‘Phosphorus Vol I’, which is enshrouded in an almost impenetrable darkness. Are we dealing in Luciferian light here, the enlightenment that comes from partaking of the serpent’s forbidden fruit?
“To be able to see light, one must first walk through the path of darkness and sorrow to increase his/her wisdom. It is crucial in the ritual work to comprehend and respect this formula referred before as ‘Gnosis-Logia-Sophia’.
“The ‘fruit’ in question would be in this case the message behind the symbol: the serpent on the tree; the Christ on the cross; Daath on the mystic structure or the invisible within the visible. Closing the eyes in order to activate ‘The Eye’.”

There are numerous references to serpents, snakes and vipers throughout the album. Does the serpent you exalt promote indulgence over abstinence, wisdom over ignorance, live over death? Or something much deeper? Does this serpent reside within us all?
“The serpent is a traveller… Lucifer disguised him/herself as a serpent in the tree to give us the knowledge to gain back our spirit and escape the Edenic prison. In another passage we can observe the words ‘Be wise as serpents and harmless as a dove’… This can also translate into the Latin words; ‘Audi-Vide-Tace’. The fundamental message being: learn but be cautious. They who talk do not know… They who know do not speak…
“The Serpent has always been part of our work, both spiritually and artistically. Not only because of its Gnostic symbolism, but also because of us humans being serpents ourselves when we activate the ‘Reptilian’ inside us, through the ‘Breath of Fire’ amongst other mystic training.
“We are serpents before we are born, our cortex and spine looks very much like the one of the serpent and our link with the Astral realm is also formed as a luminous serpent.
“Druid Masters were known as ‘Serpent Priests’… Pharaohs had a Serpent on their foreheads as an extension of their ‘Reptilian Eye’.
“Kundalini Yoga is meant to activate the dragon within us, which is the Royal Serpent (with wings and a crown) and most mystic teachings are referred to as ‘The Dragon´s Arts’.”

In true vampyric fashion, the new Hetroertzen album derives its name from the ceremonial libation of water and / or wine in lieu of blood as part of a eucharistic rite, an act initiated by the Ecclesia Gnosticae and subsequently expropriated by other institutions. Why are you drawing attention to this?
“Every religion has its own version of the truth and there is actually a glimpse of light in their ways, but they base their approach upon duality and separation (divide to conquer), while most ancient mystic traditions based their ways on unity, which is fundamental to achieving the experience of ‘oneness’ or true light.
“The eucharistic passage within some old and modern traditions makes an allusion to sacrificial blood to transcend higher spheres. For instance we have the cup of the Whore of Babylon, filled with the blood of the Martyrs and Saints, the allegory being ‘The Sacrifice of the Innocents’. Then we have the chalice filled with the blood of the Chosen or ‘The lamb’ (Innocence). In Vampiric terms; there is also a eucharistic meaning behind the so-called ‘Chalice of Ecstasy’ and its ‘Predator-prey’ relationship.
“Once again: Innocence represents ignorance and its ‘slaughtering’ is nothing more than the wish for Knowledge to master Illumination.”

How symbolic and metaphorical are your lyrics and how do they apply to or translate specifically to the times we live in today – a period of great turmoil and what feels like a watershed era in history? Looking at the predicament humanity finds itself in, how pertinent are your invocations to the modern world, where things are shifting, changing and transmogrifying at a frightening pace?
“Actually, we are not here to change this plane by any means, but to bring a glimpse of truth and see how people handle the events that have come to pass. Mankind will no longer be the head-masters of this world by exploding it, but rather will have to choose whether to rise to a higher level of consciousness and begin this collective healing process or fall into oblivion.
“We have been experiencing the same kind of stagnation for centuries and it would be quite stupid to even think about this plane remaining the same way. There is a cosmic change that affects the energy of the whole stellar realm and nothing is ever adapting to ‘the power of men’.”

Do you believe therefore that we exist as much in a spiritual or cosmic realm as a physical one? That we are each much more than the flesh and blood of our bodies? Is there a greater, infinite stream of consciousness that we can plug ourselves into in order to transcend the earthly coil? If so, where or what is it?
“The thing is that all of it is not only possible, but a reality. We just don’t have the time or the energy to think and focus on it, since we are already taken by this plane and its never-ending distractions.
“The more we connect with the Astral-Ethereal-Cosmic plane, the more we can achieve Spiritual control and master the skills of ‘travelling’ into other realms (lucid dreams, time travelling, astral projection and the like). This entire world of hidden wonders is achievable by any kind of spiritual practice (Yoga-Tantra-Kundalini-Meditation), ritual work or magic. Hence being able to affect this plane at will by realising the ‘hidden’ truth about the matter.” 

Has valuable ancient, esoteric wisdom been lost by humans over the centuries and millennia? Is it now hidden from us by unseen forces? What role has organised religion played in obscuring the nature of our reality and clouding our judgement?
“Most men rule their acts upon despair in modern times. Aiming for respect through the harvesting of fear instead of love and care.
“The Church is absolutely no exception. They have transformed the polytheistic kind of worshipping into the one God to rule them all. By his glory and the glory of men (Ego).
“All other paths were submitted under his rule or condemned under the surface, where it continued in secret until now.
“Same thing with the feminine power which was humiliated by most religions and submitted into the ranks of ‘witches and whores’ if not nuns (servers of the Lord). Even the symbol of Magdalene, which was and still is the very essence of the Holy Spirit of Sophia (Wisdom), was excruciated by the church and painted as a prostitute.
“Magic and the Spiritual awakening was considered as something evil and unspeakable during the darkening ages and, unfortunately, we still see the scars of that intense shadow that withered the face of the earth.”

Although choruses and refrains are conspicuous by their absence from ‘Phosphorus Vol I’, the line ‘Jubilation they said, For the cross has fallen, But has the Spirit been set free?’ is repeated in both ‘Absorption of the Current I’ and ‘Absorption of the Current II’. How central is this line to the overall concept, theme or message of the album and can you provide any further insight into what that message might be?
“It is a strong passage for the ordeal of Initiation into priesthood within the ‘Dragon´s Arts’. It symbolises the end of spiritual suffering in the matter, which is pictured as a cross. Most Initiates go through this ordeal, mostly referred to as ‘The Trial by Fire’. The fallen cross also represents the separation of the Spirit from ‘Material Bondage’.”

Is humanity in the midst of an unprecedented spiritual war right now? Can this battle be won and how important is it that we reconnect to the essence of what we are? Or, as you have intimated already, is our fate out of our own hands and must we face up to the reality that the cosmos will not bend or fluctuate in accordance with the whims of men?
“Mankind has come closer to a verge where things will manifest in a way that we must choose whether to rise or fall. It is a simple task, yet difficult to deal with. The world as we know it must end, but I am not referring to the planet or mankind being annihilated. We have to see this ‘Switching’ of events as a Spiritual opportunity rather than the end of all things.
“Mankind is programmed by a pattern of security to keep them sleeping. Never daring to achieve true greatness, but drawn in Ego instead.
“It happens only through Spiritual practice that we can see the whole big picture and be prepared when the fall of men approaches.”

Is the over-riding message, ideology or spirit behind Black Metal as important as the music itself (or even more so?). Do you feel it is useful to leave as much as possible open to interpretation, without spelling things out? To present the listener with some puzzles to solve?
“Nothing should be that specific, since everyone interprets messages in different ways. To put things under one form feels like trying to sell a product without value. This can be done by creating a problem to offer a solution (as most politicians do).
“I believe that the secret of the value itself lies within the connection with other souls. Not being selfish and writing the stuff oneself likes, but studying and comprehending the human mind and their link with the higher self. As ancient texts were written to be understood not literally, but with Gnosis.”

Artistically and conceptually, what is the nature of the relationship between Hetroertzen, LvxCælis and Die Kunst der Finsternis? Are these different expressions of essentially the same face or do they exist as wholly separate, independent entities with clearly-defined boundaries between all three?
“I think each band represents their own visions of things experienced both in life and the ethereal. They might be linked to a similar source of inspiration, but they express different emotions based on their own approach when it comes to the spiritual matter.”

Photo credits: colour pic taken before Stockholm gig on March 25th depicting current line-up by NecrosHorns.
All others by Carol Dark and Erik Lindbom.