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Devouring Star Gets Philosophical About Free Will, Decomposition, and the Order of the Good Death

Listen to 'Through Lung and Heart,' this Finnish black metal project's diabolical new LP.

by Kim Kelly
Jan 29 2015, 9:00pm

Photo courtesy of Deamon Worship

Devouring Star is the latest bright spark in the Finnish black metal scene's long lineage of excellence. Helmed by JL and with only one well-received 2013 demo to its name, the project has already aligned itself with the always-stellar Russian label Daemon Worship for the release of its imminent debut full-length (out February 9th).

Through Lung and Heart will draw comparisons to Deathspell Omega and labelmates Svartidaudi straight out the gate, but its twisted chords are far from derivative—really, Devouring Star is in a league of its own.

Stream Through Lung and Heart in full and draw your own conclusions:

Noisey also tracked down JL for a short but intense conversation about God, death, and evil.

Noisey: Devouring Star is a new project, but one that seems to have come bursting out of the womb fully-formed. Can you tell me a bit about how Through Lung and Heart came into being?
JL:
Through Lung and Heart can be considered as something which was burst out from the womb as fully-formed. The concept has been divided into five songs that represent different states and problems which are a part of everything, and thus a part of myself—tings which haunt me and leave me eager to go deeper.

You've mentioned elsewhere that your lyrics often focus on metaphysics. Where do you stand on determinism vs. free will? How does your own interpretation of free will inform what you're doing with Devouring Star?
In some way everything is a link from an event to another, but they are not determined events. Therefore, I would stand more on the free will side. How everything unfolds is a cause for effect, which is a chain for events, but not set events. They are more a result of Chaos, the whole structure of being. In determinism, we would believe that something might have been set to motion and everything follows greater plan, but it is a misleading concept. It comes from basic mistakes ,which just covers the needs of a man, a need for purpose. Purpose is a concept that leads us astray from reason, for Chaos doesn't work with purpose. My free will leads me only further away from this search for "purpose", and the smaller I become the deeper I go. My free will should be heard in the progress of Devouring Star.

The philosophy of death also appears in many of your recordings, with titles like "Sanctified Decomposition" and "Decayed Son of Earth" hinting towards a more nuanced understanding of death than perhaps is usually seen in extreme metal circles. What draws you to this morbid course of study?
Death and morbidity in the same sentence indicates that Death is something morbid to the one who wrote it. Maybe it is morbid when it is considered as something that is out of normal? My personal losses are never an inspiration when approaching Death as what it is, a binding force in Chaos. Everything dissolves into becoming a part of that everything again; to form anew, Death is required, it is inevitable to everything and draws us back to the Chaos, that is the singularity. Everything forms anew once it has been dissolved back into what it originally was: "Sanctified Decomposition." What draws me towards Death is that it is inevitable, and thus if someone is seeking their own "purpose" or reason for being, a certain one is in Death. Life is very transient. One could believe he/she has a billion years of experience of Death, if you consider Death to be a state which was before birth and is also after dying.

Why do you think that black metal bands put such an emphasis on death? Assuming that evil or the spreading of a certain message is a typical black metal band's end goal, why would they not instead choose to celebrate life? You can't do much when you're dead.
There's a problem with evil, when evil is something what one considers to be evil. How could opposing the will of God, for example, be evil? I see it as the opposite. Death itself can provide a reason to celebrate life for some people, because as mentioned, it is transient and one might therefore consider it something to be cherished. Maybe bands which get their driving force from nature celebrate life, but not human life, which obviously destroys the nature what they cherish and hold dear.

Then again, how do we know how much you can do once you are dead? Could it be something that can't interfere with our senses as men? What if my considerations of free will and determinism are wrong and something on another side decides it is time to push itself from a state to another? "You" probably refers to the Self .which is capable of doing certain things in this form. If everything was included there in the first place, then we could consider "You" is a form of matter that takes the form of yourself at the moment; when you dissolve, "You" still exist in everything, but in a billion shards.

Album art for 'Through Lung and Heart'

Are you familiar with death acceptance standardbearers the Order of the Good Death? Do you think the death acceptance movement is ultimately harmful or beneficial to the human condition?
I was not familiar with the Order of the Good Death, but now for this question I quickly read about their mission so I could comment on this topic—good that an interview challenges me to learn something. I would say that they seem to have some practical guidelines for people to search on their own relationship with Death, and I would say that it is beneficial for the human condition in it's more "morbid" ways of handling Death. What the Christian church seems to have done to Western civilization is to have misled us from our origins and from what awaits us. Their religion tells us that Death holds the place of absolute harmony and peace, but then again the way how they handle Death is with fear and it is what everyone should ultimately try avoid with all means possible. Why do they fear Death when their practices teach them that it would be better? Why wade knee deep in the shit and pain that God has so gently provided for His own image from the tree of Eden, when Death holds your ultimate happiness? They don't seem to even cherish their own "purpose".

Interestingly enough, maybe reading about the mission of Order of Good Death could take you a step closer to the concept of Sanctified Decomposition.

What do you want done with your body after you die?
If it was ultimately for me to decide, I would see my body torn into pieces for art. Let them see what it looks inside of a man who despises his kind.

'Through Lung and Heart' is out 2/9 via Daemon Worship Productions.

Kim Kelly is getting metaphysical on Twitter.