Kelly Tee talks with Temple Of Perdition founder and composer Ya’akov on Black Metal & the album: Tetragammton
As I was searching Bandcamp for new black metal bands, I stumbled across the album Tetragrammaton, by US/Finnish Black Metal band, Temple Of Perdition and I was immediately drawn to the large doom, brutal and dark sounds of their composition. However, as I dived deeper into their music, I took note of their lyrics and song titles and started to wonder if this is the usual secular themed black metal I’m so used to listening to and love so much? Could this creation be satirical in its content? Is this band preaching God’s word in a sub-genre that was born on the uprising, anti-Christianity and all things unholy? I had to find out! So I decided to talk to Ya’akov Nahash founder of Temple Of Perdition, to ask him all about it.
Temple of Perdition, formed in 2017 as a Messianic black metal project with members from the US an Finland. You are now signed with Vision Of God records. How does a black metal band get signed to a “Christian” label? Are you a “Christian black metal” band as your tags on Bandcamp would suggest?
To Start. We do not run that band camp page. Our label does which happens to be a Christian Label. This, however, does not mean that the project is a Christian Project. I have made this extremely clear at the start that I did not want the “Christian” label nor were we to be considered a Christian band. This also does not mean I like to dive into the whole Anti-Christian bandwagon as either. I will be extremely frank, I find that this whole hate of others for what they believe is beyond childish. I do not do cursing and or Satanic praise for that simple fact, it’s childish to me. That also does not mean I will hate on anyone else if they do I honestly just do not care what other projects are doing. You will also notice in my music I do not do praise Jesus stuff as well. My music is not about that. It is about the struggle I have had with God and the absolute disgust I have with the people who use God as a tool for their Ego, Greed, and self-evolution. The catch 22 of that is what they are doing is pretty much in line with mainstream Satanic Tenants. I have always had said they are more Satanists with the church than there ever will be within Satanism. They just do not label themselves.
I do not think we can be called Trve Black Metal as I think we built our sub-genre using black metal elements.
To answer your question about our label. I am not sure why our label kept us around. We push the envelope a great deal and there has been a ton of controversy with our music and Lyrics. We are not nice about calling out the crap in Religion. We get pretty brutal about it. You also have to keep in mind we attack the system not the people. All this is based on my point of view and my past experiences. If it works for you, I mean, whatever. I don’t care. There always will be sheep no matter what we do. They are there for a purpose. I applied for many other labels before and sent in demos to no avail. I talked to VOG and they liked our music so I went with them. They have been good to me with production costs and so on.
I do not define myself as Christian in modern terms. There are Christians within the project and I respect each one as their points of view are just as valid as mine are. I do not have a way to define myself. I have researched and studied many things and had shifted through the crap of most of it. I was a Western Esoteric Occultist for 20 years of my life. If that is even really a thing. I should say that I studied the Mystery schools a great deal. Like before I hate Labels. Where I stand is more of a Hermetic and Kabalistic Standpoint in my personal views. This is very hard to explain and I am sure people are going to twist things around a great deal even if I attempt to explain it.
Your 2018 release, Tetragrammaton is abysmal and dark sounding, with some incredibly brutal and raw black metal elements, yet with song titles such as Adonai, Priest Of Perdition and Mourning Star, these titles point to something far less secular and far purer. Is the content of this album preaching the word of God? If not, what are these songs about?
These Tracks can be interrupted based on the listener. Like before, Everything I write comes from a very personal place. Adonai is about me being at the end of my rope to the point of asking God for help because there was no other option. I think many of us have been to the point in our lives. We are at the single most divesting point in our life and have no other alternative. You also have to understand how I define God to get the meaning of my Lyrics in fullness. I see God as a feeble attempt of trying to define something we cannot ever understand. So we slap the word God on it so we can attempt to understand it. What is doing is putting “God” in a box however you define it or not. I like to use the Term Infinite Living Mind. So Adonai is literally a man’s attempt to feeling like he has some type of control over his life by calling out to something greater than himself. I know this is a very clinical approach. Mourning Star had no Lyrics so I am not sure how to comment on that.
Priests of Perdition was a major slap in the face of Religion as a whole. It is also, A hope or change. I use a great deal of symbolism in my music. This is very hard to explain, but I will do my best. I was raised in a very strict religious family. A lot of what I write is a conversation. Sometimes a verbal one between one or two people and or things, and also the internal dialog I have with my spiritual battles however you want to define that. The Priests in this are the so-called people of God who use their position to destroy, rape, kill, in the name of their God. It just does not apply to the Christian world as I am not biased against religions. They all piss me off. They are the devil. The people who do these things and sit on TV asking for money and praying upon the weak are right up there with them. I am a humanist and extremely spiritual person. So what I am doing is using the Arch-type of the devil based on common ideas and implying that these so-called faithful frauds are the devil and use their terms to explain their destruction.
Black Metal traditionally opposes Christianity, society rules in general, and is often about the uprising, darkness, and occultism. What would you say to those questioning your latest album and your band as being Christian metal?
Well, I hate all forms of set Dogmatic Systems of Control. I may not dive into the whole Satanic underground Scene. To be honest it just has been done way too much and I find it kind of silly as a topic. The whole modern Satan idea is so not even based on the verb ha-Satan (to accuse) or Noun (accuser). This was never a name. As far as I can see based on my research the Concept of the Satan we know today is a mashup of a few stories that have either been rejected by modern cannon and or come from medieval fiction. Enochs Shemyaza being the base of the fall story or grand rebel concept, Paradise Lost and Dantes Inferno putting in all the missing pieces. The Early Hebrews never saw ” Satan” as an enemy to god but more as the prosecuting attorney for God. There is much more to it this is just a simple history lesson. I do not want to go further. Hence, this is some of the reasons why I find it silly. I get the whole deific mask concepts and so on as well.
I do however talk a great deal about uprising and anti-religion. What I do not do is bash people for what they believe. I mean who cares. I would befriend a full-blown Satanist while texting my Christian friends about the message their Pastor gave last Sunday. I do not do care.
What is darker is the reality of personal war with one’s mind, body and spirit, or the make-believe demons around every corner trying to control my life? I think the human experience is far more evil and dark than anything I have ever experienced.
What is the story of Tetragrammaton? What is the album’s mantra?
This is a good question. The Album is mainly about my split from religions and attempting to find myself again.
What is the inspiration behind the lyrics heard in tracks such as Damons Lullaby and Symphony Of The Flesh God?
My son’s name is Damon. A derivative of Deamon. It is his dark Lullaby I wrote for him. Flesh god is once again an attack on the evil in the Christian world.
Do you have a certain style of music that inspires you outside of black metal?
I love Pagan/Viking style music. Like Wardrunna, and Skald. I soon as I get my hands on a Tagelharpa I will be venturing into more of that style in the future. I also have a thing for bluegrass from some twisted reason. I have no idea why and is it so far from what I do but I think it is the talent of the banjo players. I know that’s weird as hell but what can you do?
Which bands within the Black Metal sub-genre enthused you to create black metal? And why?
I would have to say Rotting Christ inspired me the most. Then came Dark Funeral and Belphegor. Their Riffing is insane. Rotting Christs Sakis Tolis became a friend of mine a few years back when he invited me backstage. I will not go into details but this was in my dark Occult days. I was deep into Grimoire work at that time he heard about me from an organization I ran at the time and asked me to come backstage to talk after his set. We have been in contact ever since. Sakis has played a major influence on my music. To this day I email him my new music and for his comments. I am not trying to name drop here. I am just showing my appreciation for his work and what it has shown me.
Temple Of Perdition geographically is spread in the USA and Finland. How does this work logistically when it comes to writing lyrics, and music for the band and of course recording? How did you overcome these challenges?
The project now is spread even further. My vocalist Ronny is in Norway and Henna Backing female Vocals is in Finland. We did a Lineup change this album. I have a drummer in Minnesota and my bassist is in Vegas. I live in Houston Texas. We all can record ourselves from home studios and just pass the files via the Internet. It is pretty easy these days. I compose all the music tracks and Lyrics. Then I give the click tracks to Steve our drummer. He takes my ideas for sums and makes his beats to that. For vocals, I do a simple and horrible sample for them so they know the canter and they do their thing. Everyone has some free creative control. I tell them if they can make it better then do it. It’s my project but I want them to feel free to express themselves at every turn. That is how the magic is made.
You guys are busy writing new material for your next full-length release album. How is this going to differ from Tetragrammaton? What can fans expect?
Inheritance of Lies is going to be something new. I am defining the sound of our style with greater effectiveness. It is way darker and more gothic. The subject matter is going to dive deeper into the psychological aspects of religion and the personal pain of my life. It is going to be a very deep album. I am putting every ounce of raw emotion I have into it.
Do you plan to stay with your current Christian Label? And why?
I signed a contract for two albums. After the Inheritance of lies album, I will be seeking out a new secular label. Now that we have a Discog I think it should be slightly easier to join up with a larger label. VOG was good to us but I think Temple can do better on a larger label with more resources. I am not looking to tour, but that is something I plan on doing later down the road. Plus I can talk about other things in my music on a secular label and be able to reach my target fan-base much easier.
Temple Of Perdition released Homage To The Dead EP, in May 2019. For those who haven’t listened to this yet, what can they expect by way of sound and themes?
As you know, I am currently writing a new album called Inheritance of Lies. The EP for this album is out now called Homage to the Dead. I am sure anyone can Youtube it. This album is different than Tetragrammaton for several reasons. First, is that I am coming from another dark place in my personal void. A very close and personal space. Second, Tetragrammaton was my first album. I had a huge learning curve attempting to develop the sound I was chasing. This on top of years of training myself on how to record properly and working out the bugs in the production side left me with the sound of Tetragrammaton. I was only scraping the surface. Third, there was a ton experimenting with dark clean vocals that I am doing and folk Instruments like Harpsichord, Dulcimer, Mandolin, and other backing sounds that were not on Tetragrammaton.
The new album is very close to the sound I was looking for and is much darker in atmosphere on an emotional level. I want the listener to be able to put on one of our tracks and feel something. For our sound and lyrics to have an emotional impact.
As for content on the EP Homage to the Dead, Betrayal of Eve is spoken from the point of view of Samael with his words of trying to explain to Eve how God was lying to her and that by eating of the fruit she become like her God. Homage to the Dead is about the death of my sister and where I was at in that point of my life, and Mstr Hchvshm – מאסטר הכבשים is pretty self-explanatory as another slap in the face to the money whores within the Modern Christian Church.
This will mark a new era in our music. We also have a new lineup then we did in Tetragrammaton which is working out very well and closer to the sound I was searching for.
Has the band had to face much opposition given you are playing black metal with some (not all) Christian band members. How does this diversity of beliefs assist with the creations of Temple Of Perdition?
Yeah, we get crap for what we talk about sometimes. For the most part, I try not to cross any lines right now in my music for the fact that I am technically in the Christian market. Like before, I honestly do not care what people think or believe. We do have a pretty good following at this point but that is not why I am doing this. I am not trying to make a career out of music. This is my therapy. I have been through some tough shit in my life and this is how I get it out. It just happens that I am good at it. While I am being honest, I invested a ton of money into gear and so on I would at least like to break even.
Starting as a Messianic black metal project, one would assume you most certainly are a Christian metal band. Why move away from this title? And what made you title your metal under this banner in the first place?
Messianic is not Christian. For a while, I was exploring and did a massive research project on the Torah and the Hebrew Roots movement. This opened my eyes to a get deal of things and I learned a great deal I never knew. I always stay liquid in thought. I am ever-flowing and learning. I never really stay static for long. At my core, I am a truth seeker. I have respect for Christians for the most part. Some of my dear friends are Pastors, but my not agreeing with them does not mean we cannot see eye to eye on some things. This also does not mean I have to hate them. I do not see eye to eye with Satanist either but I don’t hate them. What they do in their lives play zero bearings in mine. I always want to remain accepting of all. I don’t care if you’re a Satanist, Christian, Muslim or Gay. What does your life have to do with mine? Now, where I start to have a problem is when that person pushes their crap on me and start hurting others over it.
What would you say to people who might be questioning if you are truly a Black Metal band in the traditional sense of the sub-genre? How would you entice them to give your album a listen? And what would you tell them to prepare for once listening?
Well, we are not a true Black metal band. We are our own thing. We are something new. There are many black elements like there are Pagan, Atmospheric and symphonic elements as well. We are tied to one thing that I know of. I wanted to make an experience not just the same stuff over and over again.
Aside from recording new material for your next album? What is next for Temple Of Perdition?
To Be honest I have no idea. Whatever happens, happens.
Ya’akov, I appreciate your time. Thank you.