Vice Fashion - Christian Black Metal Prayer Warriors
PHOTOS BY THOMAS LETH
STYLING BY VICE STAFF
CO-ORDINATED BY MILÈNE LARSSON
Jean vest by Lee/Beyond Retro, clogs by TorpatoffelnVice: We found you through the Prayer Warriors, a group where the members pray for the salvation of the satanic metal scene.
Emanuel, guitar, Admonish: It’s basically a newsletter and prayer circle. I still get the newsletter, but I’m not as active as I used to be.
You’re Christian, but you play black metal. How did that happen?
I just decided that it was what I wanted to do. In the middle of the night, right after I had made up my mind, I was awakened by this shriek, like a witch’s howl. I looked up and I saw this menacing presence, like a fog, hovering over my bed. I think it was a kind of last minute resistance, something trying to make me change my mind. I prayed to God and I got the strength not to give up on what I had set out to do.
Poncho by Karin & Pias, T-shirt by VasumaVice: What do you pray for in the Prayer Warriors?
Martin, vocals, Admonish: I pray for the band. I’m happy for the support from the Prayer Warriors.
The idea of Christian black metal is a bit of a contradiction, no?
The concept of “Christian music” comes from the States, where the Christian audience is a separate market. In the last 10-15 years the music industry has realised the market potential in labelling something as Christian. However, Europe is different. We could probably sell more units in the USA if we marketed ourselves as Christian black metal, but that’s not really our goal.
Jeans by David Bitton, shoes by UndergroundVice: Do you use terms like “white metal” or “un-black metal?”
Jonas, bass, Pantokrator: No, I think those terms are silly. Music has nothing to do with your religious beliefs.
Would you listen to traditional, satanic black metal?
No. It would be like a black person listening to white power music. If the lyrics are blasphemous it’s going to feel like a personal attack against me.
What do other Christians think of you?
The church sometimes has a problem with the darkness and the black clothes. But God created the dark music too.
What about metal people? What do they think about you?
They can feel bothered by us as well. They’re going to like the music, but they’re going to have a problem admitting it to themselves. We did a gig with Dimmu Borgir recently, and we’ve been reaching a lot more people after that. Now it’s more like, “I don’t care what they sing, I like the music.” Pantokrator just signed to Whirlwind Records and are set to tour through Europe. They will start recording their new album shortly. www.pantokrator.com
Leather vest by Stadsmissionen, shoes by UndergroundVice: How did you first start listening to black metal?
Jonas, bass, Admonish: I think I went to my first black metal concert in 1998, and it just made all other heavy metal fade away. I really like Satyricon and Resurrection Band.
What do your parents think about black metal?
They feel like most parents I think. They’ll say, “I can’t hear what they’re singing,” and, “But why do you have to play so fast?”
What do you think about satanic black metal?
I don’t know. I guess ten years ago it was more real. Now, I think it’s more like people making a point about being “true.” I think it’s mainly an image. If they’re going to be as true as people say they are, I mean, they could never look happy or anything.
T-shirt by AntestorVice: What do your parents think about you playing black metal?
Robin, drums, Admonish: They don’t really understand it. I think it’s mainly because of the singing. People think it sounds like the devil or something. But they have come to respect my choices and I think they understand my vision now. I play music for God.
What do you think about satanic black metal?
I think that you can fill your cup with whatever you want. I think that the satanic black metal bands choose to fill their cup with darkness, and when they express themselves, that darkness spills out. They want to spread hatred and evil, and I know the music is a powerful means of communicating. I’ve heard people bear witness to it. For example, there was this girl in Germany who got a Pantokrator CD from a friend. She listened to it and started crying. She couldn’t understand why she reacted so strongly, and asked her friend, who was Christian, about it. Her friend gave her the lyrics to read, and she became a believer. So I know that music is a powerful way of channelling the Spirit of God too. And you know what? There is one reading of the bible that indicates that before Satan was banished, he used to be paean master in heaven.
Wool hoodie by Karin & Pias, shoes by Converse/Beyound RetroVice: So you and Jonas are twins, do you have the same taste in music?
Emil, guitar, Admonish: Maybe we feel different about some little fraction of black metal, but we both like black metal more than anything else.
How did you get into playing black metal?
We used to be in a different band before we joined Admonish. But they went in a different direction, they were becoming more Children of Bodom, and I wanted to stay black.
How do you feel about the satanic black metal bands?
I think the satanic part of black metal is a big image thing too, people are being too true to change their drawers…
Admonish are booked to play Nordic Fest in Oslo in the beginning of November. www.admonish.org
Hoodie by AntestorVice: Black metal is a genre filled by Satanists, and you’re Christian, how does that work?
Linus, guitar, Shadows of Paragon: All music is created by God. I see the music we make as our tool given by God to reach our goal. To bring a joyful message to a depressed and destructive scene. If you look at black metal you see that it’s filled with hatred, racism, death, and suicidal thoughts. We’re rebelling against that. The only reason the band exists is to reach these people and bring them light.
Have you ever converted anyone through your music?
We always pray after our shows, we’ve even healed people. Once after a show a Goth girl came up to us and said that she had been in a lot of pain due to unsuccessful surgery, and that the pain just went away while we prayed. She was cured.
T-shirt by Shadows of Paragon, studded belt used as bracelet, by PunktShopVice: How did you get into playing Christian black metal?
Zharlie, guitar, Shadows of Paragon: My father is a priest and a missionary, so we were always travelling when I was growing up. I spent five years in Africa. When I turned 15 I felt very indecisive about my future. I listened to a lot of heavy metal and I wanted to play music, but I didn’t really get any support. I’ve been taught to give up everything for God and I was finally ready to do so. I just really wanted to know what I was supposed to do with my life, what His plan for me was. I’ve never been so scared in my life, but then I felt a message shoot straight into my heart, it said “You will play. You will honour me through music.” www.shadowsofparagon.com