By Georgi Bomb
There are some people who like their metal blacker than the damp that rises within the walls of Dracula’s castle. If you fall into this category and haven’t yet heard the debut from Ipsissimus then shake your goat head in shame. Dark melodies, high-pitched screeching and speedy drumming make up the impressive album, titled The Way of Descent (Metal Blade) which is out now. Ritual drummer Haimatokharmes chats to Miss Bomb about artwork, touring and Thurston Moore.
Miss Bomb: Hello! So the debut album The Way of Descent has just come out, how is it being received?
Haimatokharmes: Everyone seems to recognize this album for what it is: ritual black metal, played in the old fashion, with plenty of melody, speed, and brutality. Not everyone likes that. Some people have lost interest in old school black metal and only want to hear more experimental styles now. Some people were not interested in black metal in the first place and don’t know what to do with a Metal Blade band that plays it. This shows we’re doing something right…Many other reviews have been quite positive, so this is being received as an album by black metal fiends for black metal fiends.
MB: What reaction were you expecting?
H: No idea, but if we had thought about it we probably would have figured it would be all over the map, as it is.
MB: The artwork is certainly interesting, what is the story behind it?
H: Our graphic designer, Alessandra DeBenedetti, found the artist, Micki Pellerano, for us. We adored the painting immediately, even more when we discovered it portrays a ritual manifestation of the Egyptian fertility goddess Hathor. Ipsissimus is not an anti-cosmic project. It’s about an approach to the devil as the “Lord of This World,” which certainly encompasses carnality, so it fits very well with some of the philosophy we explore in the music.
MB: What is your opinion of the metal scene at the moment?
H: Extremely healthy, there are so many great bands and new things happening right now in black metal. Some of the newer “orthodox” bands (Dodsengel, Throne of Katharsis) are really invigorating that style, from Norway, nonetheless! The German scene has some flowering, very German-style acts coming into their own as well (Aaskereia, Irrlycht, Verdunkeln). In the States it’s a particularly interesting time – a lot of doom, drone, and experimental fans have discovered black metal, so you have much more diverse crowds coming to shows than you had even five years ago. One time we played a show Thurston Moore [Sonic Youth] was at. We were confused but pleased.
MB: What are your touring plans for the album?
H: After some great gigs in May with Krallice, Black Anvil, and Withered, as well as some local fan service to favorite venues in CT and MA, we’re taking a bit of a break to focus on songwriting, both for an upcoming split with Boston thrashers Nachzehrer and of course the next album with Metal Blade. We’ll kick off the next set of shows with some New England gigs with Abazagorath. And of course Europe is not far from our minds (my dream is to play the Sathanas in Gloriam festival at Baroeg, Rotterdam!).
MB: What is the best thing about playing live?
H: Descending into the abyss and returning to life.
MB: How would you describe your sound?
H: Ipsissimus presents songwriting that combines old-school black metal melody and rawness with a distinctly Northeast American brutality and grit. We’re all also fans of classic death metal and we’re often told that it shows.
MB: Any final thoughts?
H: Hörnergrüße to our brothers who adore the Goat both at home and abroad!!! We’ve received so much interest and support for this album and we are completely appreciative.
The Way of Descent is out now on Metal Blade Records.