Monday, 6 August 2012


Black Metallers Code have been around for a while now and have earned themselves a prominent place in the genres vast array of bands. I spoke to guitarist Aort about Code and his other musical projects...

Hi Aort, how are you and what have you been up to recently?

Hello Matt, I am just fine thanks. Keeping very busy as always, perhaps a little too busy. Over the years the number of projects I work on at any one time has varied a lot but I am happy with where I am now and am on the edge of what I can manage to do in the time I have, yet not let the quality slip. It's a balance sometimes, but right now, it is just about right.

First of all, how are things going with Code?

Things with Code are really great, actually the best they have ever been. We have never had a settled line up until now, and in addition, having members spread across Europe never made life easy. Now we are all based within 30 minutes of each other, we are playing great and really looking forward to taking the new incarnation of Code forward.

Code previously went by the name of Seasonal Code but changed the name in about 2002, what prompted the name change?

In actuality, Code really doesn't have anything to do with Seasonal Code. There is a lineage in terms of band name obviously, but everything else about the two are completely different. Seasonal Code was essentially a solo project, whereas Code was a much more serious attempt at creating music. We wanted to actually get somewhere with Code, whereas Seasonal Code was nothing more than a solitary dip in the water.

The style of Black Metal you play in Code is very individual, and for one thing features some well executed clean vocals. How easy is it for you to write original sounding material in a genre which can often feel rather stagnant at times?

In all honesty, the music of Code is not premeditated in any way. All the music in Code has been written very naturally without a thought as to how it may fit in the wider scheme of things. Vocal wise, that has always been created by listening to what the music needs and in that respect, it is quite an inward looking process. If what we do comes out as seeming original then that is by accident rather than any great design. The best music is always made for selfish reasons I think.

To date, you have released one demo and two full length albums with Code, which has been your favourite and why?

I am proud of both albums to be honest and they are very different in feel. It is hard to compare and decide what is my favourite as they give me very different things. I think Resplendent Grotesque was perhaps a more measured and personal album. There was a lot of self doubt with Nouveau Gloaming as it was a start from a blank piece of paper…and I think the tension in there is quite palpable which works in its favour. Resplendent Grotesque was a real exercise in paying attention to every detail and there is a lot of depth in there in terms of layering. Production wise I had a much better idea of how I wanted Resplendent Grotesque to sound too and for the most part, it turned out how I wanted it to.

Can you tell us about your other projects Indesinence, Decrepit Spectre and Blutvial?

Indesinence is a Doom/Death band from London who I joined a few years back. We have been playing a few gigs here and there over the years since I joined and we are now finishing recording for a new album which will be the first studio recording I will have been involved in. It is a great band to be a part of and playing bass is something I love to do whenever I can.

Decrepit Spectre as far as I know is dead now. It was the baby of Heimoth who is now restarting his old band Seth so the concentration has moved away from Decrepit Spectre. Whether anything happens again with that project, I don't know.

With Blutvial, we are in the process of reissuing Curses Thorns Blood on UK label Mordgrimm which I am very pleased about. The album was really killer and it needs to get heard by more people. Anything we can do to spread the hatred on that album, we will do!

My other main project is Binah which is a pure old school early 90s Death Metal entity. We are soon to release our debut album Hallucinating in Resurrecture on CD and vinyl. I may put it out on cassette down the line to complete the set. It has been an absolute blast working on this album and summoning the spirits of the early 90s, and I think there is a lot more mileage to be made.

You and I have known each other for over 20 years now. When we were kids did you think that by this stage of your life you would have achieved this amount musically? 

When we first knew each other, my goals were to trade as many tapes as possible and to release fanzines. I never thought of myself as a musical artist, especially as I didn't really start playing guitar until the mid/late 90s. When I did start writing, getting signed and releasing an album was my one goal. I am massively proud of Nouveau Gloaming for that reason. Everything else is a bonus, and I love being able to make music and get it released and for people to be interested enough to listen to it. Thinking back to the early 90s though, I remember my older brother telling me that I would grow out of metal by the time I was twenty…..I am glad that never happened.

Last year saw the release of the second Blutvial album 'Curses Thorns Blood'. Are you pleased with the way it turned out? 

In a word….YES! I am really chuffed with how that album came out, the production is absolutely killer and the whole thing is a complete ordeal to listen to. It is brutal and aggressive, yet there is a lot of variation in the album and a lot of depth. The one regret so far is that it has not been heard by enough people…I think it is a really strong album and hopefully the re-release will help get word about that this album exists.

What UK bands are you particularly into? 

The band I always name drop whenever I am asked this is Ghast. They are one of the very best bands in black metal no matter what country is considered. Just the most amazing creation of absolute darkness and grimnity. Everyone needs to check this band out! 
Of course, I was really pleased to see Witchclan come back to life, and am very eagerly awaiting the Deadman's Blood EP (the advance track I heard a while back was very special!)

Are there any plans for some Code and/or Blutvial t shirts or merchandise?

There have been a few Code t-shirt designs over the years, all of which are pretty much sold out now. I have just got some new shirts printed for our next few shows…whatever doesn't sell at those will be put up on There has never been a Blutvial shirt to date….if there is enough interest in the future, I will make that happen for sure.

You always have been quite the collector when it comes to music. Can you tell us a bit about some of your favourite albums that you own?

I guess my favourite albums I own are the ones which are more obscure. We all love the classics, but it is the off the beaten tracks ones which I hold on to the most. Stuff that falls into that bracket are the likes of the Lord of Putrefaction / Mortal Remains split, Lubricant and Phlegethon EPs, stuff like that. Not the most valuable but those are the little gems that I consider my own little secrets. The Timeghoul demo is another like that. I do collect a lot of other music on vinyl now and one of my treasures is the Alex Sanders 'A Witch is Born' LP from 1970 which is a Wiccan witch initiation ceremony recording. It seems pretty kitsch these days but it was quite a big deal back then and was banned almost straight away so there are very few of them in existence. I have a lot of old prog and folk albums too which are quite sought after.

In your opinion, what would Black Metal look like in 2012 had the incidents in Norway between 1992 and 1993 never happened?

Difficult question in all honesty. We were both around at the time and I guess other than the odd tape traded demo or album, black metal wasn;t something that I was overly conscious of until the infamous edition of Kerrang came out. I didn't spend much time distinguishing the Blasphemy or Impaled Nazarene etc stuff I heard from the rest of the Death Metal that was infecting my soul back then. What happened in Norway obviously brought so much more attention to the music that was happening at the time then otherwise would have happened. But it is impossible to deny the greatness of some of the Norwegian Black Metal that came out around that time. The events also turned the attention more to Black metal from across the globe too so a lot of people benefitted. Norway as a whole have done a good job of exploiting what happened back then and have spun it many ways to make a lot of money. It is very hard to say how things would look without the incidents as it is obvious that the effect on Extreme Metal was massive.

In the early days when we were kids, you did a short-lived zine called Final Obituary, and you were very active in the tape trading scene. Do you have fond memories from back then?

Very fond memories indeed. As you know, writing and producing a sine was a real labour of love, and the rewards for me were to have an excuse to write to the bands that I worshipped, and to get hold of new music. I followed Final Obituary with a run of newsletters under the name Hringnum which were a lot more successful than Final Obituary was. It was hard work but very rewarding. Tape trading was a huge pleasure for me too, I spent hours after school recording tapes and updating my trade list…I counted down the hours each day until I could get home and get on with answering mail and checking out all the new music I was getting.

The style of Black Metal you play in Blutvial is far more aggressive than that in Code. What is your favourite style to play and why? 

Purely in terms of which style I find more rewarding to play, I would have to say that the more technical aspects of Code are a lot of fun to play, mainly because they are an extension of my natural playing style taken to logical extremes. Blutvial is more of a physical and endurance test of sorts which is great for developing the power and the feeling of the music, but it does end up being quite an ordeal tremolo picking for so long. I actually really enjoyed playing death metal with the Binah project which is something I have not spent a lot of time doing before, that was a blast to do.

Have you ever thought about trying your hand at vocals at any point?

I do a little backing vocals for Code when we play live and I also have recorded seem demo bits and pieces over the years. But when all is said and done, I know my limitations, I'm not a vocalist and I'm not a wordsmith. Music is my game.

For you, what has been the defining moment in your career so far and why?

I think getting the first album out was the biggest moment for me as it was something that I had been working towards for so long. To get that affirmation of what I was doing was a real buzz and I will never forget that. Everything past that is a bonus and I always enjoy recording and releasing new music. With regards to playing live, there is always something that doesn't quite work right or come together…..I'm still waiting for that perfect gig.

It has been almost three years since the last Code album 'Resplendent Grotesque'. Can we expect something new from you soon?

Well musically, the new Code album has been written for at least two years. It has been an arduous and painful journey trying to complete a solid and dependable line up and thank the heavens that we finally have. Recording is scheduled to start in the summer and will most likely take a good few months. Hopefully it will all be complete in the autumn and a release in early 2013 sounds sensible. I'm sure we will put out some teasers along the way though.

What do your band names mean and how did you come up with them?

I think if I remember rightly, Code was decided upon mainly for it's ambiguity and snappiness as a word. It can mean anything to anyone and we also knew that it was a word that would not fall out of suitability if our style changed. If we called ourselves Deathfuckingblackmetalkrieg, we would have painted ourselves into a corner. On the flip side to that, Blutvial is only ever going to be a barbaric Black Metal entity so we needed a name that reflected that with no room for ambiguity. With a name like Blutvial, you know it is going to be nasty black metal. Every other name (excluding Seasonal Code) were the work of others.

What plans do you musicially at present and for the future?

Code: Live shows, recording in the summer, new album out early next year.
Binah: CD out on Dark Descent and vinyl out on En Saco Un Ojo in June/July
Indesinence: New album out on Profound Lore I'm guessing in the autumn
Blutvial: Curses Thorns Blood re-released by Mordgrimm in July.
Anything else is a bonus….

Any last words?

Hails to you Matt….I remember Crucifixion sine the first time around so it is killer to see some life being breathed into it again. Thanks for the support and….CHHHHEEEEEERRRRSSSS!

Thanks to Aort for answering these questions in so much depth. Be sure to check out his excellent projects by clicking these links - Code - Blutvial - Binah - Haintic.

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