- Sarah Stubbs
WATCHING THE WORLD BURN: VOLUME II
FEATURING DARK REFLECTIONS FROM THE 3RD ATTEMPT'S KAAHRL ØDEMARK
Image by Svein Erik Nomeland www.artistfoto.no
The 3rd Attempt’s historic roots in Carpathian Forest may have lured and enticed many a black metal obsessive since their relatively recent inception back in 2014. Yet, as a freshly-formed entity guided by the deathly imaginings of visionary newcomer Kaahrl Ødemark, Dark Matter discovers a unique sound forged as much in fresh blood as it is steeped in prestigious, brimstone-scorched tradition.
“The blade is cold and ready. May death give some peace to my broken heart, and please forgive the gore,” read the intensely bleak and ghoulish lyrics of The 3rd Attempt’s newly-released single ‘I’ll Do It Now.’ As the first track to be debuted in the run-up to the awaited release of sophomore record ‘Egocidal Path’, the Norwegian collective could have scarcely selected a more controversial introduction to their unflinchingly vicious current sound. As the latest in a long line of black metal artists renowned for sourcing inspiration from some of the darkest and most desperate extremes of human suffering, it’s easy to view this choice as little more than a cheap and calculated attempt to drum up some much-needed publicity and attention. Yet, as any listener familiar with their wickedly abrasive and coldly atmospheric craft will attest, a lack of originality and vision is the last criticism that could be levelled at this uniquely talented collective. And indeed, far from forming yet another painfully contrived stab at stirring up controversy, the writing process of ‘I’ll Do It Now’ saw newly-appointed frontman Kaahrl Ødemark pen some of his most personal and emotionally exposing lyrics to date.
“That was actually Tchort’s decision,” the frontman remarks of this rather controversial move. “If it was me I’d just put the whole album out there or nothing at all. Anyway, for some reason it worked and caught the attention of many people. It’s funny because those are some of the most intimate lyrics on the whole album and that happened to be the one they put out first and I was like, dude, what the fuck? That wasn’t the intention I had, but okay, why the fuck not? And the song is also quite different from the rest of the album, so I thought maybe people will just expect ‘I’ll Do It Now’ times eight. But we decided to do that even though I was a bit ashamed because it was the most depressive and sad song on the whole album. The lyrics actually talk about my second suicide attempt and that was just put up and out there for everyone to hear first.”
With ink-black lyrical threads and even a band name inspired by the highly contentious theme of suicide, it’s a grim and curious irony that such a vibrantly creative mind could have fallen prey to these most lethal of self-destructive impulses. Comprising an expansive sound that sees densely muscular lines of tremolo and battering blasts fluidly progress into a dusky wealth of melodic intricacies, it’s clear that self-destruction in its most physically overt and literal form is but one dimension of this infinitely more complex record.
“I find it difficult to be straightforward and predictable with my writing,” Kaahrl assents. “To simply have one thing to say which is then just repeated and rehashed over and over. I couldn’t live with myself if I did that. Each song is its own entity. Now, self-destruction is a theme widely touched by black metal, since always I think but somehow, at some point it was cool, but then I grew up and I thought that it could be morphed into a more serious approach, and psychological self-destruction seems to be the next step. Yes, suicide and killing yourself is brutal and evil, but what about self-induced mental pain and destruction in order to improve yourself to grow, to be bold and become the best version of yourself? That doesn’t obviously mean you’re going to start picking flowers and shit, but it’s one of the toughest endeavours I’ve ever made. To destroy your ego in order to have a clear vision of reality. It’s a terrifying thing to take a long hard look at yourself and say, you know what, I’ve been wrong my whole fucking life. Being honest with yourself, to me that is black metal, that is fucking terrifying. Fuck Satan worshipping and church burnings. To see your whole existence and everything you once knew destroyed. That’s scary.”
But alongside these deeply introspective, soul-searching musings, the vocalist is equally quick to note the intensely raw and physical form in which these compositions translate in the heated immediacy of live performance. Having committed acts of public self-harm whilst in the euphoric, trance-like throes of previous live shows, the act of surrendering oneself utterly to these violently abrasive energies is an experience many a black metal musician will readily identify with. But while such erratic and shockingly irregular behaviour may frequently be dismissed as the stuff of hackneyed and contrived shock-rock, the frenzied and wildly unpredictable state Ødemark describes seems anything but calculated or premeditated.
“Whenever you set yourself a goal of shocking people or being politically incorrect then you’re already limiting yourself creatively,” he observes sagely. “Musically-speaking, you have to truly live it and that’s why I bleed onstage and that’s why it has to be as real as possible. When I get onstage I have no guide, I’m there alone, I have no fucking idea what’s going on and I just have to be myself times a thousand. It’s supposed to be dark and extreme and fucked up because that’s the whole point. At the beginning of a set, I find all the technical bullshit begins to flow more or less quite smoothly, and then I kind of lose it and awaken on the last note of the concert and it’s like, ‘Oh shit, already?’.”
With its notorious live rituals of blood, fire and reeking decay forming the ultimate and most intense of cathartic releases, black metal has long provided a welcome outlet for a limitless plethora of negative energies and impulses. Where many genres would shy away from even beginning to scratch the surface of such bleak and frightening emotional extremities, it’s with fanatical, unflinching openness that black metal readily invites the darkest modes of self-expression. And from semi-deranged acts of self-injury and aggression to torturous extremes of mental anguish, it is here, in black metal’s diabolical cradle of thriving creativity, that the purest and most authentic acts of artistic expression are born and nurtured.
“Black metal has the balls to step into the big taboo of human negativity,” the vocalist enthuses on the genre’s inextricable link with these uncompromisingly dark, self-destructive impulses. “In black metal you can find people that have been really on the fucking edge, those who have seen those limits of human existence and destruction from within. Black metal hasn’t invented self-mutilation or depression or suicide. That was there long before us, but we talk about it, we feel it and we express it. Black metal should be about breaking those taboos of like, you shouldn’t be sad, you should smile because that’s polite and expected. You know, all that kind of crap that society pushes down our throats but then you have musicians who take that those forbidden things and exploit them and create great art with that.”
‘Egocidal Path’ is out now on Dark Essence Records For more on The 3rd Attempt, visit https://www.facebook.com/the3rdattemptofficial/
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