The Official Chronicles of Necromantia are written from the heart

Following the passing of Baron Blood, The Magus and Necromantia released their final album in 2021. To The Depths We Descend is an album that Necromantia will certainly be remembered for. It’s varied, superbly unpredictable, fully engaging and a fitting epitaph for Baron Blood. To complete the picture, The Serpent And The Pentagram – The Official Chronicles will be released next month and it is a wealth of information, written from the heart.

The Serpent And The Pentagram – The Official Chronicles

Published By: Pagan Records

Release Date: 17 March 2023

Words: Jools Green

“I always thought that the biography of an artist should be written after the finale. After the final bow, after the final note…Otherwise, the artist has a lot more to offer still a lot more pages to fill. In our case, the end was sudden, abrupt, harsh. The departure of Baron Blood to worlds beyond urged me to stop the band and release our epilogue in the form of the album To The Depths We Descend. Necromantia were born from the Abyss, and to the Abyss they return..” The Magus.

It is very apparent from the offset in this book, both The Magus’ passion for the genre, being introduced to it via Black Sabbath like many of us of that “specific age group”, and of the strong bond between himself and Baron Blood.

The book is meticulous in detail, with a fine recollection that I wish I had myself with elements from the past, things tending to get “lost in the mists of time” in my case. It’s also a very detailed book, well-illustrated and laid out, with something interesting on every page and many funny recollections.

Spanning the full thirty-two years of Necromantia, formed by The Magus (then using the alias Morbid) and Baron Blood, the book has detailed, individual chapters on each studio full length as well as many of the demos and splits, all the way through to the early passing of Baron Blood in 2019 and the final album which laid the band to rest.

Throughout, The Magus reminisces on a range of subjects including; the first time he got blind drunk, his first live performance and his grandmother buying his first bass, deciding to learn the instrument after listening to Wrathchild by Iron Maiden, his first tattoo, his past bands and how the forming of and departure from Necromancy and how leaving them led to the creation of Necromantia, the Latin version of his former band name, with their unusual line-up of twin bass players, The Baron on his eight-string and The Magus on a four-string.

Photo of Necromantia
To The Depths We Descend, a fitting epitaph for Baron Blood

The Magus also shares how the pair met at school and discovered their shared love of Metal and esoteric matters and metaphysical aspects.

“Our interest in the supernatural and the occult was one of the things we had in common,” The Magus says. “Plus, horror and extreme movies. Even if some of them were banned at the time, we found a way to locate and watch them. We should also add horror literature, especially Lovecraft’s stories and his ‘Cthulhu mythos’.”

Talking about the band, he says, “we envisioned Necromantia as a band that was focused on the darker side of things, like occultism, magic and apocryphal texts. We also wanted to make music that wasn’t that of a typical Metal band; music with more atmosphere and an almost cinematic feeling that can create images and emotions to the listener.”

He also explains how Makis picked the alias Baron Blood and how it was inspired by the Mario Bava horror movie of the same name from 1972. There is also an abundance of detailed information on how the band developed. He says that, “the aim of Necromantia right from the moment we created them was to build images and a certain atmosphere. We always had a cinematic vision for our music. That’s why we used a lot of different instruments on that promo and not just the standard instruments of Metal music.

“I was listening to Diamanda Galas from around 1987-1988, when I discovered her by chance. Her first album I bought was 1982’s Les Litanies De Satan, and it had a very satanic, intense, ritualistic cover, which impressed me. Basically, I bought that album because of the cover and the title, although I didn’t know her as an artist. When I played the album, I was shocked and amazed, because it was a very strange and Avant Garde kind of music. The term Avant Garde was given to us by other people, but I think it described us accurately, and that’s why we were also using the term Avant Garde Satanic Metal on our early flyers.”

He also mentions his vocal influences were two people: Quorthon of Bathory and Cronos of Venom. The Magus reminisces on the old tape trading days and all the now well-known Metal figures he traded with. Too many to list, but then you need to discover something yourself when you read the book.

Regarding the special nature of the band right from their first recording and why it reached a special cult status worldwide, The Magus also explains, “after several years, when I talked with the guys of Akercocke from England. They told me they were worshipping our first promo tape back then and especially the song Evil Prayers. They said it was their main influence for them forming their band.” Fine praise, indeed.

The most moving chapter undoubtedly has to be, Never forgotten: Farewell to Baron Blood. “It was November 20, 2019, when the other half of Necromantia, Baron Blood, passed away at the age of 48.”

Impacting on not just Necromantia but Bill Zobolas’s band Terra Tenebra, who went on to become Soulskinner, with whom he collaborated, as well as the wider Metal community, with Bill Zobolas also reflecting on his work with the Baron, sharing fond memories of those times.

2021 saw the release of the final Necromantia album, which put the band to rest, about which The Magus comments, “that album was not related to the plans we had with Baron Blood before his death. Almost a week after his unfortunate passing, I felt the need to do something; something to honour him. Immediately decided two things: to put a permanent end to Necromantia and to record something in Baron Blood’s memory.”

This book is a wealth of information, written from the heart. It may mark the closing of the chapter that is Necromantia, but The Magus no doubt has a lot more to offer Metal.

As he says at the end of the book, “as for me, I will take some time off from composing in order to rest and clear my head and cleanse my soul. But I will return. I still have some unfinished tunes in my head. I have to complete them. How? When? I do not know yet, but they will take flesh and blood. Oh yes, they will…”

The Serpent And The Pentagram – The Official Chronicles, written by The Magus and Aris Shock, author of Rites Of The Abyss, is available to pre-order as either Book (Hardcover) + 7″ vinyl, or just the Hardcover book, from Pagan Records.

Sleeve Notes

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