Insight... Hatred... Self-Discovery...
A huge gap follows the 1995 full-length debut "Dominions Of The Eclipse". Once having surfaced again Thyph unleashes all the pent-up hatred with "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk" and tops it off with the considerably matured "Fides Luciferius" only one year later.
This gap in THORNIUM's story so far is mainly based on Thyph's arguable way of life as he admits openly. "At the same time when we recorded "Dominions Of The Eclipse" I was really deep in criminal activity and within perhaps a year or so it took over my life more or less. And when I went to prison for armed robbery for the first time it give or take pulled the plug on THORNIUM." Being on the other side of the bars doesn't mean he also leaves the black metal attitude behind; it rather stays a constant companion. "I ordered a lot of black and death metal albums during my years in prison so the music never left me. And I always had the thought of starting with THORNIUM again in the back of my head." The insight of thus having to reconsider his way of life bears on several pillars. "After losing six friends over the years in murders, suicides and accidents, after spending numerous years in prison and almost losing my own life a few times I thought it was time to retire from that line of work. But I still need a little violence and adrenaline in my life so that's the big reason for me taking up THORNIUM again. I want to get up on stage and relive a small part of my violent past now and then."
His freedom restored he immediately notices severe changes in the music scene anno 2008 compared to the old days. "Yes, nowadays it seems like anyone who desires can release an album. The scene is just ridden with sickness these days. The seriousness and that almost magical feeling or aura it had back then is almost gone, from where I'm standing, anyway. But I still get great satisfaction from the music, and there are a lot of great bands out there still making fucking awesome music. Yet the scene is different now, it's just like any other scene. "They" hugged the scene until the magic almost disappeared - or maybe I'm just older and wiser now?" That may very well be, still the creativity as well as the hate held back during his prison years has to be released in an act of liberation. "As you say, the long silence has made me almost burst with ideas and creativity. When I put my head into something I go all the way. Same thing with THORNIUM, it almost consumes me and I live it every waking moment almost. 100 per cent or nothing. And we have not done that many gigs either so we have had the time to focus on the albums. "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk" was very much a manifestation of my state of mind during that time! I have been a very hateful man for many years for different reasons. And I'm not saying that to gain the respect of some 14 year old black metal morons. Hate consumes you if you don't focus the energy in some way. That's what I did with that album in some ways, that's also why it's very aggressive. And lyrically it goes in the same theme, hate and destruction, fuck the world!"
And cleansed of this encumbrance Thyph doesn't twiddle his thumbs and rest on the laurels of a new release, soon resulting in a third album to be let loose upon the world shortly. In contrast to "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk" the successor "Fides Luciferius" presents itself more mature and thematically deep into occult realms. "Yes, it's more of an occult album, more focused on the dark arts and the transcendence into Godhood. Xeper! I have studied the Occult for some time now and it's only natural I communicate what I have discovered to the listener. The music on this album is also different from the other two, and the lyrics suit it well! In some ways "Fides Luciferius" is a lot darker but also illuminating!" The track duo ´I Am A God´ and especially ´I Am Perfection´ seems to carry a tinge of self-mockery for one or another listener and invoke the thought that some details could've been better on "Fides Luciferius" after all but Thyph disagrees. "Those two songs are more or less about the same thing, the advancement into Godhood! I am very satisfied with this album, there is almost always something here and there that you think could've been different or better in the end. But this time, besides some minor things, I am very content with the end result. I have made an album which gives even ME goose bumps so how can I not be satisfied with that!? I usually don't get goose bumps from my own music..."
One may agree that "Fides Luciferius" offers moments which send shivers down one's spine whereas "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk" which receives diverse - yet mostly positive - reviews in the media is more of a fist in one's face, slightly lacking innovation and originality. "As you say, some people were hung up on the fact that the album was not very original. But it wasn't my intention to do an original album. I had the intention to create music, art at the best of my ability, original or not. If we (the scene) were to only produce original albums we would have two black metal releases per year. I am into dark and powerful music because it gives me something special, original or not! The original releases reshape the scene every now and then but the good and high quality releases in between make a strong and sturdy foundation for the scene." Even though Thyph primarily talks in first person and has been the lone fighting mastermind in the past it's not a 'must' for him to continue being in charge of everything with three band members at this side. "I have done 99 per cent of the music for both these last albums. But I try to 'invite' the others to come up with ideas and material. I guess they have been content with me doing all the work? But Ulverheim has written a couple of new songs now which will appear on future releases."
Intrinsically this sounds like a logic development, considering that Ulverheim leaves THORNIUM shortly after the recordings of "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk", only to return into the fold - a fact about which Thyph is quite happy. In general the path of THORNIUM is marked by many line-up changes so one can only hope that this will come to a healthy rest. "Yes, this line-up feels very sturdy. Ulverheim is back where he belongs. It was a bit naive of me when I took in a couple of the members that now have left the band. I thought people could be professional when needed but some people are just idiots! We're still looking for a drummer, and we're not in a hurry to find one. We want the right drummer for THORNIUM, and when that spot is filled we will be ready to conquer the world, and beyond!" The influences to create the musical frame for this conquest are manifold and not only to be found in metal, not even in music alone. "I am influenced by everything that comes my way. Music and magick. The dark corners of life and beyond. Musicwise I listen to a lot of different bands and music. Earlier I was greatly inspired by the Norwegian scene, that sound was almost hypnotic and beautifully dark. But outside the black metal scene I listen to The 69 Eyes, Motörhead, Dead Can Dance, Wagner, etc. I've always been a big fan of horror movies, the more occult the better but also pure splaughter is amusing! I was really into the old Dracula movies when I was a little kid. I was fascinated by monsters and such things. This fascination of death and the dark has always been there and manifests itself through my art."
Those earlier days inspired by the Norwegian scene may leave a sour taste in many a reviewer's mouth as both "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk" and "Fides Luciferius" do sound a bit like Immortal. Also there are some audible parallels to Abbath's vocal style. What does Thyph think about this comparison as well as attempts to find references to other bands in general? "I've heard this comparison with Immortal before but I hardly ever listen to them. I did back in the days when they released "Pure Holocaust" which is an awesome album. But I wouldn't say that Immortal are an influence nowadays. Usually I don't want to speak about which bands I listen to because it tends to colour people's perception of my own music. But I can say that Satyricon keep on spinning in my CD play, in fact I'm listening to "Now Diabolical" right now. I've also taken notice of Behemoth and Nile these last couple of years. I mean there's a lot of great metal out there, and I would lie if my sound isn't coloured by everything I listen to, as stated earlier. Still I try to do my own thing and produce something that is mine and makes me content."
Which he does entirely on his own with "Fides Luciferius" instead of referring to outsiders like Tore Stjerna who is the producer of the predecessor "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk". "I produced and engineered it in our own very simple studio, from beginning to end. We are on a small label with a small budget, and if we want enough time in the studio to get the results we're looking for we just have to do it ourselves or it would cost too much. When our last album "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk" was mixed and mastered at Necromorbus Studios I wasn't even there. I just got a couple of examples by e-mail and if it was good he mixed and mastered the rest of the album. Now, Tore did a good job so I'm pleased with it even if there are some details which I could've fixed if I was there. I want to keep an eye on every inch of the process, even if I have to do it myself. So that's basically why I did it myself this time."
Regarding the future of THORNIUM, however, Thyph can't reveal very much. "I don't know where we go from here but we have plans on releasing a split with Ulverheim's own project (names Ulverheim) soon. So I don't have a fucking clue what THORNIUM's future will look like. Hopefully we get another chance of a tour in Germany and do it right this time!" This statement predominantly refers to a small tour in October 2009 which unfortunately passes unnoticed by many. "This tour was very badly organized and there were hardly any people at the gigs. Us, the band as well as our label, understood after a while on the road that there was hardly any promotion done at all. A few of the gigs were okay but in general it sucked. The audience that showed up was awesome though! Germany is a fucking great country for extreme metal gigs, that's for sure. That's something we have almost lost up here."
So far only a gig at the Barther Metal Open Air has been scheduled for THORNIUM in 2010, and due to the lack of a drummer Thyph has to turn down some offers for gigs. He hopes that THORNIUM will find a new drummer until August or at least can rely on someone who would jump in temporarily. The Barther Metal Open Air offers a healthy mixture of bands, and because of all the genres, subgenres and subsubgenres (sic!) it's increasingly difficult to find suitable - and nonetheless unnecessary - categories. Thyph doesn't give a damn about that. "I don't concern myself with such things. Black metal for me is a state of mind. When I enter stage I try to bring forth the darkness I carry inside, and I spit it out over the audience! Black metal can have a very magical aura around itself sometimes. Nowadays it's rare but I at least try to ignite that fire when on stage. And it gives me a kick! I know what I'm doing, and if someone else sings about flowers and call their music flowerpower black metal I don't care."
Less insignificant is the fact - and Thyph is no exception here - that filesharing and downloading spoil quite a portion for hard working bands and labels. In conclusion the future looks bleak regarding albums and tours if no cash is washed ashore. "There are disadvantages and advantages with everything. Luckily metal fans are still buying CDs and vinyls. Once they stop we will have a problem. This is a very complex question. I think internet can be a very powerful medium for a small band to reach more people. But there are really a lot of fucking crappy bands out there. Everybody can release an album nowadays but 80 per cent is garbage. Our debut album was released before the internet era and it sold something like four times more than "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk". "Mushroom Clouds And Dusk" was on The Pirate Bay the same day it was released and now a lot of more people have heard it than our debut. So what's better or worse?"
Thyph's final words are a bit on the short side but with a clear message:
"Do what thou wilt!"
For further information check out the THORNIUM website
or their myspace page.