With their ferocious fifth full-length offensive, ‘Marching Towards Humanicide’, unforgiving Franconian Black Metal insurgents Total Hate deliver a trademark incendiary sonic bombardment that seamlessly merges reverential old-school nostalgia and unrestrained hostility. Reaffirming his enduring contempt for humanity in these times of unprecedented intellectual insolvency, critical-thinking misanthrope-in-chief Adrastos pulls no punches as he surveys the mind-numbing madness all around him.

Total Hate is one of the most unambiguous and forthright band names in Black Metal. Who or what is the target of the abhorrence you channel with such fervour through your music? Do you feel contempt for all of mankind or is your anger focused towards certain segments of society?
“Well, when I started the band and chose the name, I was 23 years younger. Some things have changed since then and got better, some things have not, maybe got worse. At that time, I wanted a band name in reference to my main band Seeds of Hate – Total Hate was actually just a side project. At that time, the hatred towards humanity was just constantly present and I made few exceptions outside of my bandmates or a few friends.”

What are the traits of mankind that disgust you most? Stupidity, ignorance, greed, weakness, subservience, aimlessness…? Is humanity a flawed creation or have we just taken a wrong turn somewhere and (accidentally / coincidentally) ended up existing in this insidious, egocentric, socio-political environment geared towards the accumulation of wealth and popularity, which automatically brings out the worst in people? Does human nature have any redeeming features?
“I hate stupid fake people who don’t turn on their brains and act like weak sheep, and sneaky people who laugh into your face, but lie and then ram a knife into your back. I met enough of those people. I actually hate politics, but I think the combination of media control, greed and global shitty politics has played a big part in how shitty humanity has become. In this modern world, only those who have an expensive, modern car, the largest house or who earn the most count. Humanity just became more and more superficial and stupid, there are so many examples, just what happened in the last three years, what a sick freak show! If you thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous, it actually became even more ridiculous.”

Black Metal in its purest form is synonymous with misanthropy, hatred and nihilism. How important is it to you that this adversarial art form should remain uncompromising, intolerant and hate-fuelled, invoking destruction and chaos, always assuming an antisocial and antichristian stance?
“That’s what Black Metal is all about and it has to stay that way. I hate these new hipster influences in Black Metal. I’ve seen so called ‘black metal’ bands with rainbow logos and bands selling merch for charity. What the hell is this shit about? In the ‘90s, such bands would have been pulled off the stage at a live show, but now that’s okay and everyone loves everyone; everything else has to be cancelled. Fuck off!”

The latest Total Hate full-length, ‘Marching Towards Humanicide’, delivers 38 minutes of unrestrained, warmongering sonic fury. Humanicide in this context I presume means the destruction of the entire human race. Is this a path we are inevitably and inexorably moving along, towards end times? And is this a journey you welcome / celebrate?
“We are well on our way and large parts of humanity deserve nothing else. As is so often the case, however, large parts of humanity are simply brainwashed and do not understand where the journey is going. Dancing into the abyss. But it is not my job to wake up the sleeping, they may wake up when it is too late.”

You have been spreading hatred for more than 20 years now and the sentiment expressed on ‘Marching Towards Humanicide’ aligns perfectly with that found on Total Hate’s self-titled 2002 debut demo, which contains a similarly misanthropic curse called ‘Death of Mankind’. Your message has remained consistent and uncompromising through all these years – an admirable trait in a world where many musicians seem to soften their stance with the passage of time. Do you feel the same hatred and revulsion now as you did in the band’s formative years, or have your convictions perhaps even intensified?
“Yes, sometimes it’s crazy that nothing seems to have changed in the last 23 years, especially if you compare our development with that of other bands. Be it the sound, the music or the lyrics. But the fact is that the world hasn’t really gotten better during this time and I often think that not everything was so bad when I founded the band, if you compare it to the world today.”

Do you relish bringing misery and misanthropy to the masses? Do you find creating and spreading such hate-filled music to be cathartic on a personal level or does dealing in such pessimism ever take a negative toll on your mental wellbeing? As Total Hate is an expression of a deeply-held individual worldview and conviction, I’m guessing you have no choice either way? This is simply how it has to be?
“I don’t know if you can call it a kind of pleasure and, to be honest, I don’t think that we are reaching masses. I haven’t really thought about that yet, but the fact is that I have to do everything the way I do it with Total Hate, without compromise. You could say Total Hate or (Black) Metal in general is a kind of a valve that I still need after all these years to survive this world without going completely crazy. At least it makes it much easier. There are a lot of people in underground Black Metal who see things the same way we do and it’s good to talk to such people from time to time.”

Perhaps, in an ironic and paradoxical way, authentic adversarial Black Metal stands stronger and more defiant today than ever it has? With so much tolerant, compliant, politically-correct and compromised nonsense masquerading shamelessly as Black Metal these days and making a complete mockery of the original intent of the genre, does that help the genuine Black Metal bands and individuals who fly the banner of hate and defiance to stand out from the mundane, mediocre rabble?
“Definitely more defiant I would say! What is called Black Metal today is sometimes more than ridiculous. Such a development has definitely not helped Black Metal and the bands that are serious about it. However, I think it has rather welded the true Black Metal bands, labels and fans together, because this modern version of Black Metal has nothing to do with the old values and what Black Metal means to us. These people will disappear again as quickly as they came.”

You correctly cited the absolute madness of the past three years as evidence of humanity’s complete capitulation into a state of subservience and obedience, dancing to the tune of our overlords in government and media. Of course, none of this should come as a surprise as we’ve seen it all before with compliance to the diktats of religion – an abomination that has been in Total Hate’s crosshairs since the beginning. Does the ongoing influence of organised religion on the quivering population at large provide all the proof we need of mankind’s utter insanity and lack of logic?
“In fact, the reaction of the people was to be expected, but not from everyone and the more disappointing it was from some people. In any case, my negative opinion about humanity was reaffirmed. Some have passed the test and some have shown their true colours and we will never forget. Religion, especially christianity, no longer has the strength and influence of that time, but the last few years have definitely resembled a religious madness and, as then, there was also a worldwide witch hunt, of which no one wants to know anything anymore. Humanity no longer acts according to logic, but to what the authorities and the media say, fuck ‘em all!”

‘Marching Towards Humanicide’ is a logical continuation of Total Hate’s time-honoured and timeless devotion to delivering prime, old school Black Metal chills suffused with nostalgia, reverence and emotion. The record fits seamlessly into your discography but is also a definitive distillation of a power and energy that has been gathering for 23 years. While every band almost invariably heralds their latest release as the best one, does this work capture Total Hate at the peak of its powers?
“It is already a worn out classic that every band calls their new album the best or well-known bands always compare their new album with the classics to animate the old fans to buy. I’m happy with every album. A few small details could have been done differently retroactively with one or other of the albums, but at the time of recording and release everything was okay so far. ‘Marching Towards Humanicide’ definitely fits the previous albums, that’s true, but I can’t say which album is the best, because I almost never listen to my own music, there are hundreds of bands I prefer to listen to.”

So, what bands / albums are catching your ear at the moment? Are the old classics still the best or have you also discovered some worthwhile newer artists? Do you listen to Black Metal almost exclusively or do you also appreciate other styles of music?
“I mostly listen to old black-, death-, thrash-, heavy metal classics that I grew up with, but also many other bands from many other musical styles. To be honest, I can’t understand people who only hear one genre, you miss a lot of fantastic music. I mainly listen to metal, but also to old punk, hardcore, industrial, (horror) soundtracks, dark wave, ebm, neofolk, gothic rock, even jazz noir or some classical music, but very superficially. Music has to touch me emotionally in a certain way, so the genre doesn’t actually matter. Bands I’m listening at the moment are Arditi, November Növelet, Zmyrna, Nebulhaim and the latest releases of Nordein, Tulus, Satanic Warmaster and Deströyer 666.”

Did you approach anything differently this time in terms of writing and recording the music / lyrics and what was your general state of mind when composing and executing this refreshingly-abrasive album? It’s your first recorded material since the world was turned inside-out and recalibrated – does that automatically make ‘Marching Towards Humanicide’ your angriest and most belligerent offering thus far?
“The new album was written by Aer, Czernobog and me, some songs even before the whole circus started. The lyrics, however, were written at the time and are definitely a bit more aggressive, even if they do not necessarily deal with the whole topic of the last three years. Otherwise, it was similar to the other albums. The guitarists write the music, I write the lyrics, we go to the studio or the rehearsal room and that’s it. The only difference was that we weren’t all allowed to be in the rehearsal room at the same time and we had to test ourselves for the ‘deadliest virus of all time’.”

The front cover of ‘Marching Towards Humanicide’ pays homage to ‘Der Krieg’ [‘The War’], a large wooden-panel oil painting by Otto Dix. Dix was conscripted during the First World War and the Dresden War Triptych captures his horrific experience of trench warfare. What attracted you to this painting and why did you choose it as inspiration for the cover artwork?
“Our guitarist Czernobog came up with the idea to have a cover drawn in this style. The original is a fantastic picture and we knew that Chris from Misanthropic Art can paint his own great interpretation. It’s the first Total Hate album cover that’s not black and white and, to be honest, I had to get used to the idea first. The picture fits perfectly with the album title and shows our impression of humanity and the (modern) world that we despise so much and what to expect. Everything is doomed.”

Total Hate has been busy on the live front, performing on ten successive nights between February 16th and 25th as part of the ‘The Tuilfsrijtt over Europe’ tour. How enjoyable was this experience and is gigging the best thing about being in a Black Metal band?
“Going on tour with Drudensang, Whiskey Ritual and Amystery was great. The tour went fantastic, but unfortunately on the third day the nightliner broke down and we had to drive the rest of the tour with a simple bus with nine seats. That was very hard, but we survived and all the shows were more or less well attended. Some bands prefer to record albums and hate playing live, but when the circumstances are right, we definitely like to play live, meet like-minded people, get drunk and let our inner demons run wild. We are definitely more of a live band than a studio band I would say and for us playing live can definitely be one of the best things about being in a (Black) Metal band, if all conditions are right.”