Vorphalack (Greece) 10/02/2024
After their ‘Glorious Return’ album which was released almost two months ago and, in my opinion, it was indeed a glorious return, it was a great opportunity to contact Lord Alatoth, the mind and soul behind Vorphalack. The fact is that I was carried away with the questions, I left some of them out, because talking with someone who lived and took part in the shaping of the Greek Black Metal underground scene from the very beginning, is not an everyday event. What I want to point out is that Lord Alatoth is a guy in his 50ies that after so many years, with the band’s ups and downs, he still has that Black Metal flame and the energy to gather the band and deliver, out of nowhere, a really good release. For the rest read on.
1. Hello Lord Alatoth. I am really glad that we are having this interview. So, shall we begin with an introduction to the readers who are not familiar with your journey inside the Greek scene from the late 80ies early 90ies until today?
Lord Alatoth: I will need probably 2-3 pages just to mention the whole story of the band but I will try to be as short as possible. The band with the original name Psychic Crush started around 1988 and there were various line up changes to the band till we found a stable one that made the recordings of the 2 demos we did as P.Crush. After that the army hit us so the band with that name ended and the chapter of Vorphalack began. We were more of a prog death metal band with satanic lyrics in the beginning and we also had a stable lineup that made us rehearse 2 times per week for a long time. We did a compilation appearance in the famous “Metal Under Greece” Lp followed by the 7’’ In the hall of death by Molon Lave. Things were getting great, we had already made and recorded 3-4 tracks in the same vein of the single but greek army hit us again as 3 of the 4 members (including me) did our army service for almost 2 years. After that I was alone and with the help of some old friends we recorded our 1st album called Lullabies of a Vampire but we only used 4 songs as a split with Zephyrous. Later we signed with Unisound and we did the album. After some time with new lineup we did the In Memory MLP and Daemonium Magister single. After this all the members besides me went different ways and me along with my friend “Οφέλτης'' and with the help of Kawir’s Arxemoros we started working on our new album. This was the year 2004-2005. We had the album ready but we only managed due to some various unexpected reasons to record only one song called “Save satanas” that was left unedited till 2023. From that moment the band went on hiatus as I had lost interest in doing anything.
2. Just before 2023 was gone, you released ‘Glorious Return’. I guess the name of the album was chosen because of your long absence from music? Would you like to tell me how you decided to gather the band and start to write music after so many years?
Lord Alatoth: It was in 2020 that me and Οφέλτης along with my looong time friend I.AM.GOD decided to record something new for Vorphalack based on ideas and songs we have never released since the early 2000. Then covid came but we managed to record the album “Glorious Return”. This is something we want to do for a long time and for the first time with long time friends that have passed all the good and bads. We have also been real friends for many years and the main thing is that we play what we like and we are no rock stars or have that “strange” attitude the 99% of the acne people have these days. The second thing that pushed me to do at least one more release was to dedicate the music to 2 special persons, Maria (R.I.P) and Arxemoros (whom I respect a lot and I have the honor of calling him friend).
3. As I mentioned the members of the band in the previous question, would you like to give me some info for each one and how important was their contribution to the new album?
Lord Alatoth: Οφέλτης was the last guitarist of the band before going on hiatus and most of the songs are his creations but never managed to record them back in the days. I.AM.GOD has also contributed to some songs. We understand each other and I think both of them know exactly the spirit and the musical style of Vorphalack and this is why I feel this is generally a very good album.
4. Let’s get into the new album. I think that it is one of your best releases, regarding both the actual compositions but also the quality of the production. However, the music is quite different from what I remembered of Vorphalack. Could you give me some info about the new album?
Lord Alatoth: As I have mentioned in the previous question most of the songs already existed as ideas but never officially recorded. If you follow the history of Vorphalack every release we make has something different that is not found in any other one. The only common thing is the satanic lyrical theme. The whole album is dedicated as you can imagine to SATAN in 6 parts. You may also say it is another concept album to Satan (not the philosophy and way of life of a satanist, but in a more theatrical way that christians afraid of).
5. I have to tell you that I was expecting more material to be released with the new album. It is not that I felt that the album was incomplete, but I would like two or three more songs. What do you think about it? Is this album a warmup for the ones to come?
Lord Alatoth: No, it has exactly what we wanted to do. Tribute to Satan with 6 songs. After all, 666 is the number christians fear, so we gave it to them. To us it is a full album and the length does not count. What could you say for example to Deicide or to Slayer? You did an album that is less than 30 minutes but we wanted more? I like the way it was released and all 3 of us are very happy with the result. Only time will tell for the ones to come…
6. I also would like to mention that the artwork is very nice and represents the obscure atmosphere of the music. Would you like to give me some info about the artwork and the artist that made it?
Lord Alatoth: I totally agree with you, when I first saw it I knew I had to use it for the next cover of the band. It was done with Al and the person who did it is quite known and old in the scene but he prefers to keep his anonymity. He is still active btw and he will also have prepared the next cover chapter in Vorphalack if we ever do another album.
7. The label that released the cd is Supreme Music Creations, a Greek label not specialized in Black Metal. How is the collaboration with them so far? Is the promotion that they do for the release, what you expected?
Lord Alatoth: I think you are wrong. SMC is run by Anton, a metal legend that is a master for death/black metal releases. The label has released albums by Nergal, Obsecration, Astarte, moonscar, lucifer’s child, mahakala, crest of darkness. Anton is a true friend to me, I have known him for more than 30 years. I trust him and I am pretty sure he will do the best to promote the album.
8. Are there any discussions about releasing the album in other formats (LP or cassette) with this one or another label? I also noticed that it is not available in digital format, something that most of the bands do nowadays. Will you release it digitally or is it a way of distributing music that you don’t support?
Lord Alatoth: We are interested in doing “Glorious Return” on Lp and maybe a tape version but not any offer at the moment. SMC will only do the cd version and also the back catalog of Vorphalack on cd. We do have plans for doing our back catalog also on vinyl but until final signs are done nothing can be revealed. As for the digital format this is something I was never good at, as I prefer the real stuff (lp/cd/tapes) and not a pixel. SMC will do a digital release if there is demand but we will not do it before some time passes from the cd release.
9. Let me ask you about the lyrics now. First of all i would like to say that i liked both the song and the gesture that you dedicated Black Queen Ereshkigal to Tristessa. She was a member of Vorphalack in the past, so would you like to tell me which and how important was her role in the band? Also, would you like to share with me and the readers any nice, funny or intense memories you have from her back in the days?
Lord Alatoth: Well I have known Maria since school along with her brother (who used to play bass in the early days of Psychic Crush) and all her family. We are very good friends and we share the passion for good music, hanging around, drinking and going to the concerts. When I decided I would like to make a concept album with Vorhpalack, Maria (Lady Lillith back then) was very kind to help and be in the band and even write music for the band. Her role and part in Vorphalack history is very important. To me she has written the best Vorphalack song “In search for Glory”. During time we both took our separate paths but with utmost respect for one another. I followed her in the early days of Astarte and I was the one that gave Her the name Tristessa. I feel devastated with Her death and will always have a special place in my heart. She may be lost now but as long as we remember HER, she will live forever!!!!
10. Would you like to tell me more about the song and why you felt the need to dedicate it to Maria?
Lord Alatoth: Ereshkigal was the goddess of Kur, the land of the dead or underworld in Sumerian mythology. In later myths, she was said to rule Irkalla alongside her husband Nergal. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. "Lady of the Great Earth". Reading on the various books and internet sources about her, I understood how powerful this mythical character was. This is where my idea came up to dedicate the song to Maria as she was also a powerful Goddess of black metal music. It was the least I could do to honor HER for the friendship and HER trust in the band. These kind of gentle creatures are rare on planet earth.
11. Speaking of old members, you were collaborating with the guys from Naer Mataron, for the Nar Mataron band. To be precise, when they left Nar Mataron, they formed Naer Mataron, a band with almost the same name. Was there a conflict between you and they tried to get the band?
Lord Alatoth: Probably you do not know the TRUTH. I created Nar Mataron, i did the lyrics for their 1st album, i wrote The Chosen one. I am singing on their 1st album. Kaiadas and the other guy with the thousand nicknames and bands along with Magus signed a contract behind my back and decided to throw me out of my band. I had registered the name Nar Mataron so they could not use it (Naer mataron btw means nothing at all).
12. Also I have seen in your facebook account that you are pissed with someone, I guess someone of the Naer Mataron guys, because they authorized some Nar Mataron re-releases without your permission. Would you like to clear this situation out?
Lord Alatoth: Yes, Kaiadas NEVER played a single chord on the Nar Mataron “Awaikening…” demo and decided to give permission (!!!!!!) to re-release the demo with one more song (which was never on the demo) and putting his image like he played on the demo. After i asked him why he did that, he just found excuses threaten me not to go on the court as he has registered the songs (!!!!!) on his name. Again kaiadas or maybe the other guy put the 2 demos of the band to a rerelease of the “Up from the ashes cd” rerelease. Kaiadas again never played on this demo, the band Nar Mataron has nothing to do with Naer Mataron, and the 1st demo “tales…” is only me and some of my close friend playing. Not kaiadas, not the other guy with a thousand nicknames. After so many years they are still trying to make money out of something they were not part of it.
13. Ok generally speaking, you may not want to answer this one. You were friends i guess with Kaiadas, for those who don’t know it, he has been imprisoned for managing a criminal organization. First of all, I want to ask you if you shared or still share the same ideas. Secondly, what is your opinion about his imprisonment? Have you communicated at all after parting ways?
Lord Alatoth: Just to be clear and not to confuse things. I was never a friend with Kaiadas, we were just hanging out in the legendary coffee shop called “Grotta” and were obsessed with Slayer and thrash music. He was a nice guy and was asked to participate in the band Nar Mataron. Vorphalack and I were never part of any political movement. We play music and we do not like politics. I trust the greek authorities so if he is convicted for doing something wrong he is where he is supposed to be. No, we never actually communicated after parting ways.
14. I see that you mainly do vocals and play some keyboards for the projects that you have participated in so far. So, I guess that you rely on the other musicians to compose the music for the bands. Also, you are the only permanent member and there are quite a lot of changes of the band’s members through time. Was that the main problem for Vorphalack and Nar Mataron which held them from being more active with more released material?
Lord Alatoth: Yes you are correct, I am the only permanent member and that will stay forever. Vorphalack is my child, my creation and I have the 1st and last word concerning the musical status, lyrical and where the band goes. I try to find the perfect members for the current time. My main purpose when I created Vorphalack and Nar Mataron was to make the music I want and never to be a famous rock star or make a band that releases material every year and tour. Vorphalack and Nar mataron are bands for the few people that understand my status and philosophy, not for the masses.
15. Continuing the question above, don’t you think that when a band is changing its members often, it will not form its own character and sound?
Lord Alatoth: Depends on the case. If you are aiming for world domination and be famous, then yes you must have a core with one leader. That is not the case as I mentioned with Vorphalack, I play for myself and for the people that are in the band at that time. If the result pleases the fans or some people it is good. If they do not like it, it is also good cause I do not make money from my bands so i am not deciding the future of the band from the sales.
16. Let’s get back to the recent album. Would you like to give me some information about the lyrics? My limited knowledge in LaVeyan Satanism is that Satan is treated as a symbol and generally this movement is more of a philosophical one rather than a new religion. I see that your lyrics are hymns to worship Satan and your approach is more theistic than philosophical. Is there a symbolism or a metaphor that I didn't get or I have something wrong about LaVeyan Satanism in my mind?
Lord Alatoth: You are correct about Laveyan Satanism and all in the band follow that path. When it comes to Vorphalack lyrics it is something different because if you wanna know what Lavey speaks read the books. Vorphalack wanna bring the old fashion satanic fear to the helpless christians if you know what i mean. Also if you follow Vorphalack from the beginning we make lyrics about different paths and “roads” of religion/way of life/vampirism.
17. How did you get to study LaVeyan Satanism and why did you choose that path to follow? What is your opinion about religions in general and do they play any role in your life?
Lord Alatoth: From my early stages of “metal” life i was obsessed with the unknown and generally about Satan. You could say that I was more of an antichristian, antigod person. In the mid 90’s I got the satanic bible and that book changed my like and perspective of life and how I saw things in my life. From that point I try to follow the teachings of the book and put my philosophy in life and on how to become better. As for religions I do believe it is a way to keep the masses blind without letting them see the truth. There is no heaven or hell or any god that will help you. You are your own GOD so try to live as best as you can.
18. Another concept that I think that you have left out of this album is that of Vampirism. However, I think vampirism played an important role both to your music with those melancholic melodies and the dark, romantic atmosphere, but also to your lyrics. Do you want to give me more information about the vampirism that you express in your lyrics and why you have not written anything on this topic for the new album?
Lord Alatoth: Well, vampirism is also a very important part of me and Vorphalack. And by saying Vampirism I do not mean the classical Dracula theme that people know but the real Vampirism (T.O.V). Do not forget we are the 1st greek band that ever released a concept album about the story of a Vampire King. Again I only write lyrics about what christians fear the most, not about the true meaning of vampirism (well maybe also about this in some songs).
19. What about the future of Vorphalack? Have you begun planning your next move?
Lord Alatoth: If you see the story of the band we never plan anything and we do not know where we will record new music. I can tell you that there are more than 15 songs unreleased but never properly recorded, some of them we plan to do along with some surprises. If this happens you will learn it from the official page.
20. I think that you have never played live. Was that your decision or it couldn’t be organized properly? Are you thinking of presenting live the songs of the new album for the first time?
Lord Alatoth: No, Vorphalack is not a live band. We are too old to begin making a black metal career and to be honest I do not want to. In the late 90’s there were plans for 2 concerts, one with Phlebotomy that never happened and the other one at Agathi that was also canceled. So it was not meant to be.
21. You have been inside the Greek Black Metal scene almost from the beginning. Did you have any connections with the strong core of the scene? Are you still in communication with the bands of the scene from the 90ies?
Lord Alatoth: I knew almost all the people from the early greek black metal scene. I am still in contact with some of them. I have the utmost respect for: Rotting Christ / Varathron / Zephyroys / Legion of doom (music not political status) / Medieval Demon to name a few that are still active. Also i was lucky enough to see bands live like: Septicemia, Horrified, Medieval Death, Epidemic, Kawir (Arxemoros era).
22. Do you like the scene nowadays? How has it changed from the 90ies one and what is the place and role of Vorphalack in the scene of today and what do you think that Vorphalack can offer to the scene or the fans of 20ies?
Lord Alatoth: I have been out of the greek scene for many many years. People and especially band members are “rock metal stars” and “stubbers”. I do not like them. There are minimal bands that I hear from today's scene. Funeral Storm, Excilium Noctis, Corax BM, Sad, Moonscar to name a few. I do not know what Vorphalack can offer to the scene, we are making music that we like and we do not want to be the next black metal idol. We are in the 50’s now so do not expect many things from us.
23. Ok, sorry for the long interview, I was excited by the opportunity to speak to someone who took part in shaping the Greek Black Metal scene. Thanks a lot. Do you want to sum up your near future plans and give a message to the fans reading this interview?
Lord Alatoth: Thank you for the interview and for the opportunity to say some things to the people that do not know the true story. We make music for ourselves and if you like what you hear, get our music. Follow your own path and never trust religions and most important…. “WE ALL GET THE GODS WE DESERVE”.