Over the next month or so we’ll be bringing you a series of interviews with and posts about the bands featured on the inaugural Death To False Metal Festival, taking place August 14 & 15 in Hamden, CT.
When the topic shifts to US Black Metal, no conversation can ever be complete without discussing Krieg. Now a twenty year old entity, Krieg has been at the forefront of the USBM scene for too many years to count. Their seventh and most recent full-length album, 2014’s Transient, was a crowning achievement of atmospheric black metal. Never afraid to challenge the boundaries of metal with his music or his opinions, Krieg frontman, and band mastermind, Neill Jameson took the time to chat with us about ‘the scene’, his column for Decibel Magazine, and some interesting insights on Krieg itself.
What’s your take on the current state of the USBM scene? Do you view it as a scene in the traditional sense of the word or has it always been more of just a loose grouping of acts that are based on a certain aesthetic?
I don’t really have any kind of opinion on it. It’s changed a lot, that’s for sure. There’s no real unifying aesthetic anymore, it’s branched out into various cliques who all have rules about what is and isn’t acceptable. It’s asinine. I suppose it always has been. For me personally I just chose to support who I feel is genuine and who has music that speaks to me, someone I have a connection with. I see USBM these days as a directionless mass that’s sort of snowballing down a hill that a lot of dogs have shit on.
On Krieg’s most recent full-length, Transient, you guys dropped an Amebix cover. Do you think it was really only a matter of time, at least here in the U.S., that the black metal and crust punk scenes would start to find common ground musically? Especially being both scenes in general have a pretty bleak worldview.
Punk and metal in general have always walked side by side, holding hands and making eyes at each other, so it’s pretty natural to see this blending. For me personally I always tend to seek out morose and bleak music regardless of genre. Some crust might get a little preachy, to put it mildly, but it’s one of the most aggressive forms of music that still holds an atmosphere if done right.
Speaking of Transient, I went back and re-listened to a large chunk of the Krieg back catalog and I came away with confirmation on my initial thoughts when I first heard the record – that this is one of the best things you guys have recorded. How do you personally think the album stands up to the rest of a very impressive discography?
It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done, which everyone says about their newest records of course but after a year and a half or so of it being finished I still look back on it with immense pride. It’s the first Krieg record I feel can stand up to “The Black House” in the discography and considering that’s been the challenge of Sisyphus for me it’s nice to feel that there’s at least that personal accomplishment down the hole. It’s the most well developed record we’ve done and probably the most diverse so I can see how that would lose some of the older fan base I suppose.
Krieg’s history has been one filled with the occasional break/hiatus, only to see the band come back stronger than before. Do you view this as it being natural progression for moving Krieg forward or did you really have plans to finish this project off at some point? (Also please tell us, no more breaks!)
It’s really just been the ebb and flow of how I deal with being bi polar and having nervous breakdowns. That was the cause of ending the band in 2005 and completely fucking my life up. I still have to deal with whatever issue it causes in my life now but I’m older and can understand what I’m going through easier but I still have a strong desire every few months to walk away from everything, just disappear. But I know how hard I’ve worked the last eight years since the end of the hiatus and I can’t let that be for naught.
Your column for Decibel is one I look forward to. I think you often bring a fresh perspective on a lot of different subjects. Any subjects you’ve yet to tackle that you want to? Any that have been deemed off-limits?
It’s really just whatever gives me that spark of inspiration and anger every month that gives the column shape. Decibel has been exceptionally supportive and so far nothing has been off limits. I’m sure I could brew up something that would be too offensive for them but that wouldn’t be a genuine expression, it would just be shock value which I’m too old for and the magazine doesn’t really stand for tabloid journalism, it’s not MetalSucks or something like that.
Krieg plays the second night of the Metal Insider-sponsored, Death To False Metal Festival, on Saturday, August 15 in Hamden, CT. You can purchase tickets here. You can experience and purchase Krieg’s Transient album at the Candlelight Records Bandcamp page.