Terzij de Horde‘s Self was one of my latter discovery in 2015 but it then quickly ascended in my play list as an album I could not help but come back to. Somewhat, their mix of black metal and sludge reminded me of Parisian chaotic hardcore heroes Comity with their versatility and their uncanny ability to pour so much creativity in very little time. From the beginning of Self to it’s conclusion, Terzij de Horde does not let go and offers a compelling version of what many expect from modern black metal bands. Now that post rock is completely incorporated into the tropes of the Norwegian genre, it’s time to look elsewhere to find some new excitement and Self provides it in spades. My interest in the band also led me to their blog where it was obvious that they did not only have things to say about music, hence the questions that I send them. Here are the answers.
Could you introduce yourself as a band for people who have no idea who you are?
Terzij de Horde: We are Terzij de Horde, a band comprised of five individuals covering a wide range of jobs, interests and opinions. The story on how we came to where we are now is a long and winding one, including grindcore, bad band names, drummers and guitarists that came and went.Two years ago, the current version of the band was formed. We play black metal that draws from lyrical and musical themes that are different from the typical NEKKKRO666KVLTVRGH-black, focusing instead on an affirmation of and hunger for life, and the struggles that result from that. That’s a central theme, but we take our influences from a broad spectrum of music, literature, philosophy and arts in general. Musically, this means that there is a fire in the music that comes from the extreme fringes of punk.
On your facebook page you define yourself as a vitalistic black metal , could you explain what do you mean by that ?
Terzij de Horde: We added ‘vitalistic’ to show where a lot of our inspiration comes from: the literary movement which focuses on vitalism. Writers like Hendrik Marsman, J. Slauerhoff, D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway are connected to this movement, in that they celebrate life to the fullest, be it good and beautiful, or be it suffering and hardship. Whereas most black metal tends to stick to nihilistic and/or religious concepts of humankind, we focus more on that which gives life worth. That does not mean it is all positive, nor that we shun nihilism, but it does mean that this life which is lived holds far more than what is expected, and it should be wrung to the last drop.
From what I have listened of your discography, Self is your most accomplished album to date. Did you have any particular musical objective when you started working on Self ?
Terzij de Horde: Thank you! Musically, not per se. We had a clear view of the concept « Self », and the only times where the music was written to fit the overarching concept, rather than specific lyrics only, were with Averoas and Sacrifice. Since Averoas refers to the eternally searching self, the self lost in time and being, we wanted to have a plodding, dragging atmosphere. As for Sacrifice, this deals with sacrificing the self in an attempt to overcome the self, and whether that is a good or bad move is left undecided. This needed to be the most intense, crushing song on the album.
You translated and published writing by the vitalist poet Hendrik Marsman, could you explain how his work relates to your music?
Terzij de Horde: A huge question. When we decided to change our name, we found out that most of us wanted to link to Marsman‘s work. Most of his work is gut-wrenching, harrowing, with a dark vitalism at the basis. He is at the exact intersection of romanticism and stark modernism, and thus applicable to black metal, and particularly to what we try to express. Since he is unknown to non-Dutch speakers, we decided to translate his work, to attempt to create a mutual understanding. Poems like Lex Barbarorum, Hiddensoe, Death Struggle are as close as someone could get to what we do. Who we are.
Your album is called Self which I presume is related to the psychoanalytic concept of identity as defined by Sigmund Freud and others, but is the artwork related to the concept of homeostasis , and in which case, what and who do you think is destroying the balance from within ?
Terzij de Horde: Partly so. The artwork of both the LP and the CD shows an ant, devoured by Ophiocordyceps. This is a parasitical fungus (and thus, has no consciousness), which takes over the host’s brain function, guides it to the highest place possible, and there it protrudes from the head, to send its spores over as large an area as possible. It is primarily about the breaking of the boundaries of the self and the destruction of identity and functioning – whether that is by inside or outside forces.
Without necessarily associating the band with any political party, do you see Terzij de Horde as a political band? If so, which ideas would you like to communicate with your music?
Terzij de Horde: This is a difficult question. Because what do you mean with political? As far as ‘do we support a specific set of ideologies as embodied by a certain party’ concerned, no. The idea we communicate is « make every single fucking second count ». Live. Develop. Act. But the album’s focus on the deconstruction of the self means that simple identity politics are unfeasible to us.
With which artists outside of music do you feel you share a similar aesthetic?
Terzij de Horde: Outside of music and literature, Anselm Kiefer is a huge inspiration, as is Malevich, his search for a new language in art that brought him to the black square is very inspirational. Additonally, film maker Michael Haneke. His work is stunning, although it deals with horrible subjects and events. He shows these things in beautiful but stark ways.
You will play soon at the Roadburn but do you have any plans to tour a bit in Europe, and particularly in the UK?
Terzij de Horde: Shortly after we released Self we did a small tour in the UK. There are always new plans, for the UK as well. But for now, nothing has been confirmed past Roadburn.
Self is available on CD, LP and digital via Bandcamp