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Although Black Metal might not be - and has never been - the most popular genre in the USA, the Florida-based band Kult ov Azazel - masterminds Xul (vocals/bass) and Xaphan (guitar/additional vocals) plus drummer Hammer - can soon celebrate their 10th anniversary. In the process of recording their fourth album titled "Destroying the Sacred" at Mana Studio in Tampa, FL, and right before their US tour with Finnish Black Metallers Horna, we managed to catch up with Xaphan for answering a few questions.
Were you influenced by the black metallers from Norway?
Of course. Darkthrone and Gorgoroth being the most influential. Old Mayhem also. Still to this day Darkthrone are in my top list of favorite bands. Itīs a tie between them and Venom.
What was your opinion of the church burnings in Norway?
My view is any kind of atrocity brought upon a religious group, their place of worship or way of life is not only a good thing but should be applauded. More so when done in the name of Satan! Itīs a shame those involved got caught and it did not happen longer than what it did.
Have you had contact with the Norwegian metallers?
For the most part no. Iīm not a fanboy so I donīt go out of my way to make contact with other bands. I stay to myself unless contacted. I did have a brief run in with Gorgoroth last year at Party-Sans Festival. Spoke a little with Infernus and King during the ride from Brutal Assault Festival in Poland to the festival in Bad Berka, Germany. I was over there running sound for Malevolent Creation. Gorgoroth and Malevolent Creation were playing both festivals. I also have talked a few times to some of the Dimmu Borgir guys since our drummer worked as their drum tech for many years. Thatīs the extent of my contact with Norwegian bands.
When did Kult ov Azazel form?
We formed in 1999 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida under the name of Azazel. We changed the name in 2000 to what it is today.
What was the first demo released and what were the early tours like?
First demo was the Order of the Fly mCD. We self released it in June of 1999. Back then we didnīt do any touring. We played a lot of shows locally and elsewhere in Florida. It was after our second full length in 2003 that we began touring.
How has the band stayed together for so so long?
Dedication and hard work. This band has been a top priority for me since I formed it. I wake up thinking about it and go to sleep thinking about it.
Are the band members, members of the Church of Satan? Could you tell us about this?
I am the only member with ties to the CoS. However, I have not been in contact with anyone from the CoS for many years now and really I am just a lay member. I joined in 1996/1997 but have never had any big affiliation with the CoS outside of them placing a link to the Kult ov Azazel website on their site. Donīt let this fool you or others, we are not nor never have been a CoS band. Some of our lyrics in the past have drawn influence on past LaVey writings but I have also drawn from Crowley, Waite, Carroll and a number of other occultists. I still support what LaVey built and the philosophy behind Modern Satanism but I also support Theistic Satanists such as The Cathedral of Black Goat, whom made me a member of after our album The World, The Flesh & The Devil came out. Neither like the other. The bottom line is I have never adhered to any one philosophy or belief. I have taken from a gamut of sources and formed the path I walk.
Your lyrics are very powerful. Who is the chief writer for the band?
The early stuff up to Triumph of Fire is about 90/% Xul and 10% myself. Since Oculus Infernum I have been the chief writer.
Which occult writings have influenced your music?
Musically none. Lyrically many but my lyrics draw from many different sources and not at all times specifically occult related although much of it is. Those influences come from either my knowledge, study or practice of witchcraft, demonology, black magic, chaos magic, luciferianism and all forms of satanism from the theistic to non theistic. Also other forms of religion. One must know their enemy.
What would you say to those who complain of overtly satanic lyrics and what is your opinion of warning labels on CDīs?
I wouldnīt say anything to them. People complain about everything. Besides, who is to be the critic to the way another expresses something whether it be subtle or overt? Thatīs the choice of the artist not the listener. If one doesnīt like it donīt buy it, donīt listen to it or donīt watch it. Just stop crying about it. Humanity needs to grow a pair of balls again. On the subject of advisory labels, itīs been going on so long in most cases I donīt even notice it on CDs that have them. Luckily we have never had a problem with them. So far advisory free.
Are there any new bands that you like?
The only band that I can think of is Avsky. They arenīt exactly new but they are to me.
What does the future hold for the band?
Thatīs a question only time can answer.
http://www.myspace.com/kultovazazel Author: John Wisniewski, transl. K. Weber, photos: KOA Date: 2008-10-04