Omens of Wisdom and Death – An Interview with Alesh AD of RAVENOIR

          The Darkest Flame of Eternal Blasphemy has been unleashed by RAVENOIR and is currently spreading its unholy terror across the globe. I reviewed this debut manifestation of supreme atmospheric darkness, and also had the opportunity to discuss the new creative entity and its work through questions that were answered by Alesh AD, the man behind the vision. Here we tap further into the concept of the band, themes within the album, and what the future holds for RAVENOIR.

Congratulations on Ravenoir’s debut! How did the raven come to resonate as the main symbol of the band?

On behalf of the Conspiracy of Ravens, let me extend our cordial greetings and sincere thanks from the Czech Republic to all Misanthreport readers. Anyone who knows me knows that I love ravens and I’ve been fascinated by the symbolism associated with them. In the Norse and Celtic mythology in particular, the Raven symbolizes the mind, knowledge, wisdom and intelligence. In addition, the Raven is a guardian of secrets, a dark icon of death and a messenger from the other side. The person who came up with the word RAVENOIR was our bassist Igor Hubík. The first lyrics he wrote for me were titled just that and the second I saw the word it was absolutely clear to me that RAVENOIR was the most amazing and fitting name for our new outfit and nascent musical vision. As a blend of two words from two languages, it simply sounds great and it truly resonates with me – the English Raven and Noir, which is the French for black.

The Black Metal elements on the album are undeniable, but the overall sound leans heavily toward Death Metal. While Death Metal surely isn’t foreign to you, what was this shift in sound and style like as musicians who are typically more Black Metal-oriented?

The most important thing for me was to create sound in line with my musical vision and I was not really worried about the sound leaning more towards black metal or death metal. I had a clear idea right from the get-go what the overall sound of the album should be like and I tried to make the whole recording sound dark, raw and really heavy. I guess everything worked out great and I’m satisfied with the final sound of the album in all respects.

I’m interested in the mysticism behind some of the lyrics. Are there any particular sources that inspire you when writing about these topics?

As I have mentioned in previous interviews, RAVENOIR’s lyrics are steeped in mysticism and infernal imagery with a heavy dose of blasphemy, which is the unifying lyrical theme. If anyone finds such themes too provocative or offensive, then everything is just fine. I’m sure if God existed, he would have surely hated and cursed RAVENOIR and The Darkest Flame Of Eternal Blasphemy.

BigBoss and Andy La Rocque both made powerful appearances on the album. Are there other musicians you would like to have as guests on future releases?

In terms of the guests, my only wish was to have only for the two to appear on our debut. For me, Andy La Rocque (of King Diamond fame) is, without doubt, a distinctive and inventive guitar player and a pivotal figure in the history of metal music. Ever since I picked up the guitar in my early teens, Andy’s been someone I’ve always look up to, my guitar hero with a signature sound. His guitar solos are super tight and absolutely impeccable. His guest appearance on the album is definitely one of my musical dreams come true. Andy and I had been in touch for some time and I brought up the idea of him playing on one of the tracks but we didn’t agree on anything specific at that time. We didn’t meet in person until 2019 at a metal festival in the Czech Republic, with KING DIAMOND headlining, and I got a chance to meet Andy backstage. I gotta say for a guitar legend, he’s a very friendly and down-to-earth guy. Later we exchanged a few more emails, talked over the conditions and gave it time. Eventually, Andy La Rocque recorded a solo in his home studio in Sweden and adorned the title track The Darkest Flame Of Eternal Blasphemy with his great guitar work. It was a great honor and joy for me and I am extremely thankful for that. Maestro BigBoss is another guest star featured on the album and I’m very happy for that. His unmistakable, demonic voice is featured on two tracks he wrote lyrics to – Nocturnal Initiation (Prologue) and Dark Vision.

Blasphemy is of course one of the album’s central themes. What do you feel would be the benefits, and/or drawbacks, if humanity were to completely abandon organized religion?

The mere thought of the tremendous power in the hands of the holy church and organized religion in general is terrifying. It’s appalling that organized religion has been the longest and, more importantly, the most profitable business enterprise, or racket,  in the history of mankind. Just thinking of all the wars fought in the name of god or religion with millions of innocent victims that keep piling up until today is revolting, not to mention all the children abused, molested and raped and all the heinous crimes ignored and covered up by the higher-ups. Is this their idea of goodness and love thy neighbor? Blatant hypocrisy, lies and falsehood are what this phoney organization with a fake halo is made of. I’m afraid mankind will never leave organized religion. It will rule over the world and haunt us for eternity.

How do you feel about livestreaming shows during the current plague? Are there any visual plans for Ravenoir in the near future that you can speak of?

It’s really sad that the Covid has completely paralyzed cultural life. As far as I’m concerned the absence of playing live has had a major impact on my life. I truly miss the stage and I’m sure I’m not the only one. What’s more disturbing, though, is the assault on our freedoms and the draconian government measures that have led us nowhere near a bright future. I don’t want to play down the current global coronavirus situation; on the other hand, I can’t help but think that things have been blown out of proportion and the whole situation is designed to scare humanity into submission and reprogram people to accept the new normal.  I think it changed everyone’s life in one way or another or even worse. There’s a lot of people out there whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined and some of them even took their own lives. That’s really sad. What’s even more worrying is the sheer number of the pointless, arbitrary government measures and restrictions that have been in place for several months and keep getting changed from day to day, but most importantly, never really work. I guess I don’t even want to think about it anymore because it’s infuriating. I just thought to myself, hey, I’m not going to waste my precious time on all the media brainwashing. I’m just hoping this nightmare will be over soon. If the restrictions are eased and things go back to normal, RAVENOIR playing live is definitely on the table.

Death is another overarching theme with songs like “Alter Ego” and “From the Dead Shadows of the Void to Eternity.” While the experience of death portrayed on the latter speaks for itself, do you have other thoughts on what happens after we enter “the halls of shadows from which there is no return?”

In my humble opinion, nothing at all will happen. Death is the definitive, ultimate end. I’m not afraid of death in itself. I see death as a natural part of life, just like birth. However, death is unpredictable and no one really knows when the Grim Reaper will come calling and take you to the place from which there is no return, figuratively speaking. Yet even this is a part of our lives and the ultimate justice in the world. Sad but true.

Do you have any ideas for how the band’s sound might evolve on the next release and over time?

For RAVENOIR, it’s always going to be raw, heavy and dark stuff.

Thanks so much for the interview! Any final words of wisdom you’d like to share?

It was a pleasure. Hang in there and hopefully things will get better soon.

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