Sunday, January 19, 2014

Interview with Mictian: "We wanted something unpredictable, yet still rather thoughtful, brutal, and above all uncompromising."

Photo by:  Jacqueline Hook

Mictian is one of the original members of Pennsylvania's black/death metal band, Permanent Midnight  Mictian has been playing guitar since he was 15 and along with a few friends wanted to dispose of some anger to the masses.  Together with Wulv and Barbarian (myself), we stuck together as many line-up changes and some bad blood infected the group, music and personal friendships.  In 2006 we recorded Under a Blood Moon and after a long period of limbo and uncertainty, the album was finally released in April 2013.  Below Mictian talks about the struggles of the album, some heated animosity, and the triumph of seeing his work finally given some life.  This interview was conducted in June 2013.
1.  Under a Blood Moon has finally arrived.  How has this journey been for the band?

Long and strange, with many hearty laughs and good memories alongside some bitter blood at some points.  This album was a very long time coming, and it’s great to feel that we’ve collectively buried whatever axes we may have wielded and hopefully have made a viable contribution to the metal world.

2. Did you have a hand in layout of the album?  If not, who did?

I did not; might have to ask Wulv that one. I’m not sure if it was him or Mike at Paragon Records who handled that.

3.  Where can we find this CD?

If you live in northeastern Pennsylvania, you can stop by any location of Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound and pick one up. Otherwise, you can order a copy from, and they do ship overseas. Elsewhere internationally, you can find it at out of Poland, ,, and many others.

2.  This album is almost seven years in the making.  Can you take us through the initial recording process?

To the best of my recollection, which is to say not very good, we started laying down the drums in July of 2006 at Wulv’s old house, with the remainder of the instrumentation completed at our engineer’s studio. The process of tracking was a rather gradual one, ultimately ending in February of 2007.

3.  Your duties on the album are guitar and bass.  It seems as though you've had a rough time finding a full time bass player.

Finding a bass player was a self-perpetuating nightmare. We had tried to find someone to hold down the low-end within our songs, but we’ve gone through quite a few until we figured enough was enough, and that we would go without. I already tune my guitars down to B, giving our sound a pretty menacing rumble, and having Wulv on the keys, he too was able to handle some of the low-end not unlike the way Ray Manzarek of the Doors did when they performed live.  We didn’t really hear a whole lot of complaints about lacking bass when we performed, and so I figure that was another reason why we didn’t continue our pursuit of one. I suppose that my performing bass on the album was more of an experiment more than anything, really.

4.  The guitars have been described as the driving force of this album.  The sound is so heavy and soul crushing.  Did you experiment with different tunings to find your style or have you always been set on B?

I used to tune to standard tuning, but it just wasn’t doing it for me as far as the tone and feel went. I kept tuning down, as far as down to A, and felt that it was just a little too low and sloppy-sounding. B just felt right, and had just the right aggression and mood to it.

5.  Take me through your writing process.  How did Wulv and Barbarian contribute to the overall making of the record?

My writing process was little more than trying to write something that sounded decent and somewhat original. Wulv had, and still has, some of the sickest guttural vocals around, yet is still able to shriek incredibly well, thus giving us a solid vocalist for the style of metal we were going for. Barbarian was a fucking beast when it came to rolls on the toms, yet was able to blast like a fucking maniac when needed. He was versatile as well and creative behind the kit, especially near the end of our active days. As far as lyrical content, it pretty much ranges from a love of things lycanthropic to feelings of pure hatred.

4.  I think Wulv's vocal performance on this album is bar none.  Who would you compare his style too?

I’ve heard his high-register shrieks compared to Ihsahn, and I’d have to say that’s very accurate, while his guttural vocals could compete quite ably with those of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, another observation I’ve heard from the fans that I’d have to agree with. Wulv is a truly accomplished musician and his performances reflect as much.
6.  This album sounds very diverse.  Songs like Wolf and Sex and Gore are very much like death metal, while other songs like Fallen from Grace and Carnivorous Lunar Activities have a black metal sound to them.  Moreover, Set in an Apocalyptic Sunrise, They Feed in the Night and Evil in the Forest are heavy but much more melodic.  It seems as though each member is their own driving force and coming from different levels as far as creativity and inspiration is concerned.
That is very true; each member brought their own influences into this band and together we created something that is rather unique, something that doesn’t borrow a whole lot from existing and established bands. In addition, we never really set out to be a full-on black or death metal band, and instead wanted to overlap the two and explore that intersection. We wanted something unpredictable, yet still rather thoughtful, brutal, and above all uncompromising. To that length, I think we succeeded.

7.  What songs are you the most satisfied with?  Any least favorites?

Wolf and Evil in the Forest were songs I am very satisfied with overall, primarily because of their atmosphere. The song I’m less than crazy about is Carnivorous Lunar Activities, which I affectionately refer to as Cacophonous Lunar Activities; however, its feel and pace are definitely a worthy bullet in our arsenal.

8.  Permanent Midnight has stated that this is their first and last album.  What kind of feedback are you receiving?

So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with the biggest compliment being that we were the very few who are still carrying the torch for this type of metal, and that this release is an instant classic. The fact that our album has been getting out to those who regard it so well has been extremely cathartic.

9.  How has this journey helped mold you into the producer and musician you are today?

From a producer’s perspective, it kind of pushed me to want to capture the band I’m working with as accurately as possible. I never really cared for the lo-fi recordings that black metal is known for, if only because I believe that’s all that they could really afford. I mean, can you imagine Dissection’s Reinkaos with a shitty production? I can’t imagine that album gaining anything from it; meanwhile, what if Bathory had fantastic production, especially for the Nordland albums? I think that would have set a standard that a band like Amon Amarth would always be chasing but never come close to approaching.
As for as my musicianship goes, it gave me a reason to practice and rehearse with my brothers, and from there I think helped me become a fairly decent songwriter.

10.  Is there a possibility that PM will come back from their abyss and create havoc for the masses?

Never say never. Right now though, it doesn’t seem to be possible at all if only because of our collective work schedules and life events. However, should circumstances come to pass that enable us to rehearse and write new material, I’m not at all opposed to the idea. From my own perspective, there are a lot of things in today’s world that have me fucking furious, and if I were to write new material for Permanent Midnight, that rage would undoubtedly be utilized.

11.  You've produced Neldoreth's Latest album, Saints of Blasphemy - 1:  Baptized in Blasphemy.  Oz Bloodcurse's vocals on this album are his best to date.  What was the process and working with him like?

I’ve known Oz for many years now, so it was overall a very relaxed environment. I had a lot of fun working with him and bouncing ideas off of him as far as his vocal takes are concerned.

12.  Aside from Hope is Dead, do you have any side projects lined up?  Any possible producing in the future?

I really enjoy producing and engineering metal, with those being two of the very few things I really excel at. I’d like to someday be on the level of Peter Tägtgren or Dan Swanö as far as that goes. I don’t currently have any side-projects lined up.
13. Lets get back to the album.  The drums are basic and straight forward.  The sound is so full and bombastic.  That snare is so heavy.

That’s all a credit to the Barbarian on the skins. His contributions were quite meticulous and deliberate as far as his arrangements are concerned, yet beat on those drums with an unbridled aggression. His role in the album couldn’t have been more perfect.

14.  What was the atmosphere like in the studio when recording Under the Blood Moon?

Sometimes rushed, sometimes slow, but overall rather natural. When we would rehearse, we were just three members of a band working on creating something unique, while in the studio we were able to sort of play with things a little more, and add some things that we can’t do live. We had a shot at getting a little more creative with our songs.

15.  Like many metal bands, you've done your fair share of boozing and wild parties.  What was the overall atmosphere like when hanging with Wulv and Barbarian?

Extreme. (laughs) After just about every rehearsal, we had very long shelves that would be completely lined with several kinds of wines and spirits, so much so that we really had no reason to ever go to bars; we had a much better selection than they did, and a much better jukebox to boot. With our parties, I passed out on the hood of my car once, one of our members had a good deal of his own blood spill, which subsequently would be used as paint for pentagrams and inverted crosses on the walls and ceiling of our rehearsal space, we’d have friends over who we would ridicule and tease if they started pussing out on us. Speaking of our rehearsal space, horror movies would be on constant rotation, a haze of cigarette smoke consistently in the air, mostly empty pizza boxes strewn about, animal bones hanging from the walls, a jar containing a preserved squirrel, who we named Amon, was always nearby, a dead tree wrapped in barbed wire and adorned with rather morbid decorations sitting across from the entrance, all in a facility that was absolutely frigid in the winter and outright smoldering in the summer. Our space was not at all for the faint of heart and has definitely scared away a few girls we tried to bring in, but it was like a home for the three of us nonetheless. As for as actually being with Wulv and Barbarian, you never really knew what was going to happen, but it was just about guaranteed to be memorable.

16.  The live shows are rare.  How would you describe a Permanent Midnight live show?

Unrelenting, hostile, and blasphemous. At that time, it was extremely difficult for an extreme metal band to book a show in our area. Venues required demos from the bands that wanted to perform, and our demos were very rough but not irregular for our style of music, yet were often a deterrent for venues to host us.  Another reason, it seems, that we weren’t able to perform live very often was that there were many venues that seemingly wanted bands to play lighter, more commercial songs so as to not potentially scare away its patrons.  There were even bands who considered themselves extreme, yet had newer Machine Head tracks in their set list. In comparison, we weren’t exactly looking to compromise who we were or what we were about, which is pure fucking metal, and I can happily say that we never compromised; those shows that we did play, we played exactly what we wanted and did exactly what we wanted to do. We unleashed hell as best as we were able, and any songs that we did cover, we made them our own.

When we actually did perform, it was not far off from how it was when Mayhem would perform very early in their career, where if you didn’t see it, you were pretty much shit out of luck. You were fortunate if you were to see us play.

Do you want more on Permanent Midnight and our album?  Visit us here:

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