Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So it is written

And thus a new page in our history is written. The fourth album by Averse Sefira is complete and now coiled to strike at the dawning of 2008. Additional information will remain withheld for the time being. There will be no samples or leaks. In the meantime, I can confirm that this is our best work to date in terms of both material and sound. February looms as the anti-empyreal and the physical collide in deadly unison. Prepare.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dawn of Possession

Week 3 of the Process: Much ground has been covered in a short time and thus my earlier optimism remains founded. Sanguine and The Carcass have turned in proficient performances that will ensure triumph for the album. Many have asked, "What will it sound like?" and "What is the title?" All I can offer is that the release will speak for itself, while the title will be announced in about two more weeks. In the meantime, Ross Dolan of Immolation was present on Saturday to contribute vocals to one of the songs. It was both exciting and an honor to have him contribute, as Immolation is among our all-time favorite bands and they have influenced the work of AVRS since its inception. Sanguine and I were admittedly sheepish when it came to directing him on ways to approach the lyrics. Who are we to tell one of the most enduring voices in Death Metal how to perform? The gravity of this was mitigated by the fact that Ross is also a close friend and an affable person in any case. He did very well with the material and at the same time fulfilled my long standing aspiration to feature him on a recording.

As I write, Sanguine is diligently recording additional guitars. I am particularly impressed with his efforts on this record as he is performing with a degree of surety and ease that I have never seen before, though it is still coupled with his usual intense workmanship. While I hesitate to curse us with any grandiose statements, if this album failed to sell a single copy I would be completely satisfied in knowing we did something great. In the end this must be the reason to pursue the art. All other motivations are merely afterthoughts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Breech Birth

As is true with all expectant parents, the commencement of birthing the new album felt like a surprise despite many months of preparation. We are on day four now, and the first week is usually the most worrisome in that it takes time to set up and mic the drums and prepare the studio equipment in general. It invariably seems that time is slipping away and that not enough is being accomplished, but then all at once there is material committed to tape and the album is officially underway. The period of time to write our fourth album was about nine months, which is about thirteen months less than what we prefer. Then again, about two thirds of our usual schedule is used up with Sanguine writing and ruminating over the work. Our actual official writing time was about the same, but the difference is that this is the first time we do not have complete lyrics to dictate the course of the music. Nevertheless, the process has begun and while we can steer it we cannot stop it. Tore Stjerna is producing for us once again, and as usual his ideas are sage and his methods are studied. This will be another success for Averse Sefira, and it will also prove to us that we can rise to the demands of less time and more output. We shall not fail.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Paean to a Weapon

Today is the 60th Anniversary of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle. A reliable weapon is sometimes the only arbiter of victory or defeat. I know this well. For seven years (effectively the whole of Averse Sefira's tour history) I wielded a BC Rich Beast called Stormbringer and in that time I abused it far more than it deserved. It got slammed in a door before I had ever laid hands upon it. I sheared off the bottom edge of it leaping off a PA speaker in the Czech Republic. I have inadvertently (and sometimes purposely) drawn the blood of my band mates and or audience members with its headstock. It has met with repeated and relentless spiked assaults that left a maze of scratches and the need for repeated applications of wood putty and glue. Its scars are testimonies to the distances it traveled and the violence it sustained. Stormbringer served me well indeed, and it was in dire need of retirement though I will miss it. It helped shape the visual assault of our unit, and it is hard to put it aside in favor of a newer model.

Fortunately a worthy replacement came to me in the form of a Moser Arachnid Ultra. Adherents of Altars of Madness will note the significance of the color scheme. It will take some time for the black magick to be imbued into this new device, but in keeping with tradition the mongoloid enclave known as DHL succeeded in breaking off the bottom horns during shipping so I take this as a sign that we were meant to do battle together.

Friday, July 27, 2007


If there is any single person to thank for the existence of this journal, it would be Tom Gabriel Fischer (or as I and countless thousands still know him, Tom G. Warrior). His writings can be found under the mantle, “Delineation”, and it has served as an impetus for me to take the time to properly document the occurrences and wanderings of the AVRS triumvirate.

With this in mind, I find myself reflecting on my first proper encounter with Herr Warrior a few months prior when we performed in Illinois. I mentioned this in a previous entry, but upon retrospect it is remarkable that our brief meeting left such a lasting impression upon me. Tom has a disarmingly gracious manner that seems directly proportional to his near-mythological status. When I escorted him and his fiancé to the backstage of the venue, he was (naturally) accosted by fans about every ten steps. He would shake hands and greet all who approached and then apologize repeatedly for making me wait. It was all I could do to not react with slack-jawed disbelief. A friend of mine commented that meeting Tom Warrior is the Metal equivalent of meeting Thomas Jefferson, and I heartily agree. Celtic Frost is effectively the flash point for this genre as we know it, and yet here was the man before me who remained unaffected by his own persona and was offering apologies on account of it no less!

More striking, however, was the way in which he quietly broadcasted his deeper presence. Certain people have minds that, when a receptive person is engaged, function like windows to the observer in question. I have seen this before, but the intriguing nature of Tom is that I felt as if I was peering through the window and into an unnavigable realm. There were several visible pieces that overlapped and seemed too confounding to identify or describe. I could also sense many tiers within him but they mostly obscured one another (which also lent a personal significance to the song “Obscured”). The most remarkable aspect was that I could practically see the thin dark shroud over him that manifests as kind humility and secludes his deeper greatness from the world outside. It was not unlike glimpsing the edge of the sun before it is swallowed by an eclipse. It also seems like he prefers it this way. I think to truly know such a person means to gain access to a vast hold of genius and poetry, though more likely it is telegraphed through words and gestures that are nearly invisible to anyone unequipped to receive them. Ultimately this encounter further justified my long-standing admiration of Celtic Frost, and it galvanized my outlook that people who are quick to judge Tom and his work based on perceived missteps are ingrates who do not see that his contributions far outweigh any transgressions. In the meantime, I am anxious to cross paths with him again as I would like to have another chance to talk and perhaps gain further insight into what drives the entity we have all long revered as Warrior. Perhaps he would read this and chuckle, and then tell me that I’ve got him all wrong. I look forward to stand corrected.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

They Am the Black Wizards

Performing with Emperor was one of the most difficult feats in our decade of existence. We've played with many "big names" in the past and I've never felt intimidated in the least. Then again we've never played with one of the single most influential bands of a genre, never mind their high degree of musicianship. The situation was not helped when the entire show schedule was pushed back by an hour and a half which meant our stage time was 7:45 instead of 9pm, and we were notified of this mere minutes before the doors opened. The main problem in these situations is a question of mental preparedness; once we are aware of a timetable, we then slowly move towards the point when we stop being mortal individuals and become Averse Sefira as an entity unto itself. A sudden change in plans can be jarring and lead to distraction or anxiety. Despite these pitfalls we are, like any seasoned unit, adaptable and I do not think our performance suffered. Our intrepid French visualist Valnoir was on hand to take live photos (as shown here) as well as some compelling candid shots that will likely not surface until long after the band is dead and gone.

Back to the challenging nature of Emperor- in the last handful of years the band has cultivated a more discerning and often less metal fan base and with this in mind we were expecting an uphill battle and potentially a room full of crossed arms and furrowed brows while we performed. I am pleased to say that New York did not let us down and our reception was positive, though maybe not as manic as our last appearance. We were informed later that the last time Emperor played here the opening acts were all but booed off the stage, so it seems that we managed to hold our own against the Norwegian juggernaut. The band members themselves were cordial, and before long I found myself in a conversation with Ihsahn about our respective bands and our convergent histories. I respect Emperor greatly for their contributions and talent, but it was also interesting to see first-hand how divorced they are from the movement they helped to forge. These days, Ihsahn is a pure musician and not a Black Metal maven in the least. The band's performance underlined this reality in that it was note-perfect, laden with virtuosity, and not in the least bit dark or threatening. It was telling that one of the show's highlights was Ihsahn's singing at the end of the song "Thus Spake the Nightspirit". Again, there was immense talent on display, but only a small amount of Black Metal to be culled from the experience.

In any event, I am still impelled to finish this entry with the requisite humbleness by stating that it was a rare honor to meet and perform with Emperor. I doubt we (or any band, for that matter) will have another opportunity like this. Their legacy is the Black Wizards indeed.

P.S. This was Averse Sefira's last performance for the season, as we are now endeavoring to prepare the new album for recording in September. There will be related reports coming soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

D'enouement - One last triumph

Albuquerque could not have been a better send-off. There were almost 200 in attendance, on a Monday night no less, and it was one of the best audiences of the tour. There is no greater sense of validation than to play your music and have an entire room headbanging in unison. The rest of the show was excellent as well, with each band garnering cheers and horns held high. Goatwhore laid down a massive set, which was punctuated by the requisite end of the tour prank. Blake, Sanguine, The Carcass, and I entombed Ben in silly string on Goatwhore's last song. The crowd loved it, and the ever-professional Ben didn't miss a beat and kept on screaming while looking like the bride of Swamp Thing (NOTE: if you were at this show and have pictures, please contact us). He is a wily bastard, though, and apparently got wind of our plot beforehand. After our set he managed to break into our van, thanks in part to us foolishly leaving a window cracked, and spent half an hour rifling through our gear looking for the string cans. When he could not find them, he took our guitars and hid them in his trailer instead. Sanguine and I realized this at the end of the night when we noticed the large unoccupied space in the back of our van. We didn't panic, but we walked in and out of the club for a few minutes in confusion while trying to locate the missing cases. Ben finally came laughing and admonishing us that we shouldn't leave our windows open. Lesson learned - Ben Goatwhore is not someone with whom to mess. It was worth it any case.

1349's set was the final, fatal blow that signalled the end of the tour like a massive black flag. They were clearly enjoying the response, as Ravn was more outgoing with the audience than usual and the entire unit played especially hard. They also made a good show of ignoring the gay beefcake photos that Chris taped to their monitors. Averse Sefira and Nachtmystium were out in force in the pit and occasionally on the heads and shoulders of the crowd. And then it was over. The Hellfire Revival Tour (as I've chosen to call it) is now at a close, and we are sad to see it go. We couldn't have asked for a better maiden voyage of the US - a proper Black Metal tour, and a successful one at that. Everyone involved agrees that we couldn't have had a better lineup in terms of bands and the people behind them. We will be fortunate to have a strong dynamic like this again, though we will make a point of playing with all three bands whenever a new opportunity arises.

So for now we bid farewell to the Numbers, the Whores, and the Mysties, and in the meantime we will be grateful for the experience and the new alliances. As for this blog, it will remain intact with new entries attached to events of interest surrounding Averse Sefira. Keep watching.

Thanks to everyone who attended the shows and made this tour such a triumph. We will meet again.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Finale- the pain of disengagement

Tempe was a good show. There were plenty of people, as well as friends with exciting names like Jenocide, Nuclear Blaash, and The Fatherland Almighty. We sounded and played much better than the previous couple of nights thanks in part to an intelligible stage sound, and I've decided that Californians are the only ones who don't understand that concept. We spent time afterwards with aforementioned comrades, as well as many gracious attendees who offered praise and congratulations. Tempe seems to be a friendly place, and we look forward to returning again.

The pangs of the impending end of the tour seem to be setting in amongst us all, as there was even more camaraderie between the bands than usual (or "bro-mance" as Nathan Goatwhore puts it). There will be madness tonight for certain, regardless of how the show itself goes. We had just enough time to forge bonds and friendships, and it makes our separation more poignant. Fortunately, we are assured to see 1349 again as we are label mates and very interested in further outings together, and Nachtmystium and Goatwhore are active as well so I do not doubt that our paths will cross again. Come to think of it, I don't think we could avoid playing more shows with Goatwhore if we tried. They are literally on every tour there is at the moment.

More on Tempe- it was another night that belonged to Goatwhore. Ben and Sammy were in rare form, and they admonished the crowd with vitriolic statements about the old ways of metal and the failings of the new bands and their fans. Damn right. They pummelled the crowd with their onslaught and left everyone breathless and tired. The downside was that 1349's subsequent performance hemorhaged attendees until a rather sparse group of fans remained. It was no fault of the band, and being that it was a Sunday night people likely needed to get home for work the next day, but how often does a town get a show from a good Norwegian Black Metal band? Please refer to my previous entry about Americans being slaves for more on this topic.

We are still a few hours away from Albuquerque. I expect there will be much to report tomorrow. The claws of the dreaded "Road AIDS" are digging into me rather hard at the moment. I would very much like to stop coughing up radioactive green phlegm.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The meditation of water

My divinations regarding Corona served me well, as it was indeed a better night for us than L.A. The sound on stage was still lousy, and we could not hear our vocals at all. What does a sound man think it means when we say, "More vocals in the monitor," three times? In any case, the audience was great; it is always a good sign when people call out song titles they want to hear. Afterwards, we were met by our friends Nadja and Heather who had recently defected from Texas to California. It had been a while, and we ended up spending the rest of the show talking outside, though a persistent and growing smell of death in the parking lot forced us to relocate to the confines of our van. It was a nice change of pace, however, with friendly and relaxed conversation replacing a noisy and crowded room.

This morning- we awoke in Palm Springs after fleeing the exterior of the LA sprawl and went to a truck stop to clean up. Showers actually hold a great deal of ritual significance for me, as they are meditative and allow me to readily acheive the alpha state. The hot water rushing over the top of my head creates a sense of doors opening in my mind, and my creative thinking is often at its peak in these moments. Many elements featured in our music and visuals were born in this sanctum, the place of white noise and warmth. The reason I discuss this here is because many have asked us what methods or rituals we use in the creation of our music. There are many, of course, but I find this to be the most direct and immediate method, one that anyone can easily engage. It is surprisingly easy to begin, and even small measures may yield large results. Find something that allows you to roam and banish the left side of your mind for a moment, something that distracts just enough that you unwittingly find yourself keenly focused. You may be surprised at the results.

Two shows left and we are not anxious to see it end. It feels like we needed more, perhaps an additional week or so. Then again, if all goes according to plan we may find ourselves on the road far more than we ever expected or even wanted. Bring forth that day, we are ready.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hollywood Babylon

Los Angeles comes at you fast. It is ground zero for the industry side of American heavy metal, and it is also a place of insular, self congratulating pretentiousness mixed with an utter lack of shame and a desperate craving for debauchery. Even if you are not using drugs, the sheer volume of people and excess will make it seem so. Motley Crue were not exaggerating.

We started the day early, having driven through eye-wreckingly bright Las Vegas and the subsequent wastes of Death Valley the night before. Manson country. Cool. Earlier, we stopped about 45 miles before Las Vegas in the blackness of the unlit interstate and marvelled at the stars covering the vault of the sky. Then Sanguine pointed southward towards the orange glow on the horizon and referred to it as the Mordor-like lights of Vegas. It was fitting indeed. Once we reunited with Goatwhore in Barstow, we then followed them out through Pasadena to visit the Moser Custom Shop. Neal Moser and his wife Earleen cordially received us, and Neal showed us around his workshop and let us ogle the several body blanks he had prepared for production. It wasn't too long before we found ourselves sitting down with Earleen to set up an endorsement for new guitars. We were excited as we had been interested in Mosers for some time and it is also our first proper endorsement ever. Sanguine left with a vicious-looking red and black Bastard V, and I put in an order for an Arachnid bass that will arrive at month's end. L.A. proved to be the land of milk and honey for 1349 and Goatwhore as well, as Sammy Goatwhore came to the evening's show with sharp looking new Coffin Cases and some Framus amplifiers. Archaeon of 1349 went out to the Jackson custom shop and came back with a very nice Jackson V via his artist's discount, and we all stood around congratulating each other and celebrating our spoils of the day.

There was an air of high energy surrounding the show. The Knitting Factory was one block away from Grauman's Chinese Theater and there were throngs of people on the streets. The Carcass and I walked over to look at the theater and I got mistaken for Alexi Laiho (as usual). By the time we had finished milling around there was a long line of black tshirts snaking around the side of the mall. Dozens of people were waiting to see the show, and the word later was that the show had in fact sold out. All the bands were excited at the prospect of a packed house, but Friday the 13th apparently did not wish to let us pass unhindered. When Averse Sefira hit the stage there were several techincal problems including a failure with our intro music, a hideous stage sound, and random things like the stage curtain accidentally being lowered in the middle of a song. By all accounts we did well and the response from the crowd was good, but distractions like that make a set into work and we felt like we could have done much better. It was also maddening to think that Topeka, Kansas, had a superior monitoring system than one at a high-end Los Angeles venue. Past that, the rest of the show was fun, wild and nearly overwhelming in places. There were industry people all over the backstage along with many random and sometimes irritating hangers-on, and we talked to those of interest to us and ignored the rest. Akhenaten of Judas Iscariot made a surprise appearance, and we were glad to see him again. We met a porn starlet named Tera Wray who was eagerly flashing her breasts at everyone and in the interim stopped to tell me that she liked my eyes. Oases of niceties in a desert of iniquity, I suppose. In the meantime Jasmin St. Clair (of Coffin Cases and also of the infamy of having fucked 400 guys in one day on film) got into some kind of altercation with Nathan Goatwhore and ended up slapping him. Things were about to boil over between Goatwhore and the LA contingents but clearer heads finally prevailed, though the twitching in Ben's neck afterwards pointed towards the subverting of considerable anger.

1349 destroyed tonight. They had the audience whipped into a frenzy throughout, and the final bringdown was when they played an encore in true LA fashion. The truth is that they actually forgot to play one song so returned to the stage to peform it, because in point of fact they have been militant about not doing encores. Regardless, it was fitting for the occasion and even I could not resist rushing across the stage and leaping into the crowd to bathe in the chaos.

Three more shows to go. We are in Corona now, I think this one will be a better one for us. I do not know why it seems so, but I have long given up on questioning such things.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Long live the Pandemonium Empire

Denver was not particularly good for us. We were very distracted due to the fact that our roadie left the tour abruptly
and without warning. His only explanation was that he "wasn't having any fun". Touring is not a vacation, and I am endlessly confounded by the indolence I see in some people on the road. We certainly are not the first band to have a crew member abandon a tour, but this is a lesson to us. We will not count on anyone offering to go with us as a favor. From here on, it will be all business wherein we will pay someone for the work and hopefully have less worries. As it stands this is but a small impediment. We will not be stopped. The agenda is all, this is not about fun, and anyone who cannot understand that should get out of our way. A better turn of events came when we ended up staying in 1349's motel room and talking about the nature of Black Metal until 4am. I hate to overstate it, but getting to know this band has been immensely rewarding for us. I think in the end the biggest allure of touring for us is meeting other bands and forging new alliances. We are very fortunate indeed.

Now- heading towards Las Vegas to catch up with Goatwhore. We have an audience with Neal Moser in California tomorrow, so we cannot tarry. The drive through Colorado and Utah was a feast for the eyes, with the snowcapped mountains and painted canyons. Sanguine put it best when he said that America is a pretty country, it is just the people who ruin it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Need I remind you who the headliner is?

We have grown considerably in the course of this tour. 1349 and Goatwhore in particular have been good teachers and we in turn have been willing students. It is rarely a question of being sat down and told how to do something, but rather a holistic exchange of ideas and methods. There are already plans in our cabal to upgrade equipment now that we will have a touring schedule that demands it and the means to acquire the ordinance, and I am particularly pleased with Stormbringer's new tone which I have dubbed the "Seidemann sound" after the man himself. It served me well last night; we sound far more massive than ever before. None of this means we could not fend for ourselves before. On the contrary, we've done just that for a solid decade with notable success. But we would be foolish to ignore the chance to expand on our approach and become more competetive in the process. Also, this tour has given us much to consider in terms of where we are and what we wish to make of ourselves as we go forward. Watching 1349's masterful performance every night is definitely food for thought. Their presence on stage is practiced and effective, as well as convincingly grim (there's that word again, and yes it is appropriate). With just a week left on the road, I am already not looking forward to saying goodbye.

In the heart of the enemy

Kansas is wretched. It is flat, featureless, and worst of all deeply Christian. Topeka was a grudging journey in the interest of not having to drive straight to Denver and lose a payday in the process. However, I am finally learning that when it comes to touring there is no telling how good or bad a show will be, and Topeka proved to be full of surprises. There were only about sixty people but their reaction made it feel like the room was packed. Everyone was up front with fists in the air and remarkably our performance was one of the best of the tour. This is the kind of communion we seek with every audience - message sent, message received. One unexpected consequence was being approached by a rather attractive girl who took my arm and began licking and sucking the spikes on my gauntlet. That was a new one for me, and I was so surprised that I didn't quite know what to do. As she took a particularly sharp spine into her mouth I became alarmed and warned her to be careful. She snapped her head up with a fiery look and pulled me forward by my shirt. "You're the one who needs to be careful," she said with a lacivious snarl. She roughly clasped my head in both hands, pushed her body against me, pressed her forehead to mine and hissed, "Welcome to the Bible Belt, baby." Then she walked away. For all the dogma, self-righteousness, and insane moral standards of this region, they cannot protect their daughters from us. We are the slow acting poison, the enemy within. We achieve victory, one soul at a time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It takes a tour package to tune a bass amp

I was the unwitting center of attention during the St. Paul soundcheck. Since I can no longer adjust my bass amplifier properly I am utilizing my SansAmp DI box instead of my normal Line 6 stompbox. I never used this device for a live performance before, so I resorted to reading the instruction manual and hooking it up during 1349's sound check. Ravn shot me sneering grins while the band ran through the song. "You have to read those," he jeered. However, once the sound check was over a spontaenous round table occured around me. Nate Goatwhore, Seidemann, and Ravn all poked at the buttons and turned the knobs while I played my bass. There was a lot of "No, no, it needs to be this way," and the like. We ultimately got a good sound that worked surprisingly well for me when we hit the stage that night. Thanks guys.

As for the show itself, St. Paul was a northern inferno. Various friends were in attendance and I was pleased that we turned in a good performance for them. Tonight's highlight was an attendee who began shouting for our song Deathymn two songs into the set. When we initally planned our set list for this tour, The Carcass made a case for having alternates ready, since he was sure somebody would want to hear Deathymn among others. A point in his favor, and we grimly obliged the request last night. It was a fiery version of the song, and the crowd responded in kind, wih lots of Norse hair flying in all directions. It was an excellent time, I hope we return to the area soon.

Today we finally broke our bad habit of tardiness. It is 2pm and we are in Topeka on schedule.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Among Godz

We performed in the presence of a titan last night. Tom G. Fischer (nee Warrior) and his fiance Tammy made a surprise appearance at the show in Mokena last night. Celtic Frost is set to embark on another US tour and Tom was already in the area. At the end of the night I went over to say hello as we had met before, however briefly, in San Antonio a few months back. He was cordial and friendly, but he also radiated an etherial presence that was both fascinating and intimidating. I walked the couple up to our well-guarded backstage area, and at the door the security guard hedged on allowing them in. It was somewhat surreal to hear myself saying, "This is Tom from Celtic Frost, I assure you it's ok!" The guard relented and we proceeded to 1349's room. Before I left the friends to their revelry, I took a moment to tell Tom how I held Monotheist in the highest regard and that his detractors were idiots. He seemed genuinely touched and shook my hand, and I went on my way. In the end, I and my band mates are still fans ourselves. I can't imagine performing in a band such as this if the music was no longer exciting to me. The show itself was good, with the exception of my awful bass sound on stage. Through some still undetermined mishap, all the tuning knobs on my bass amplifier were sheared off and now I cannot adjust the tones to any real degree. I will have to do some emergency surgery on it tonight, though that will once again be rushed as we are late in arriving as before. That needs to stop.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Running late today. It is five hours to Mokena and we woke up late. Apparently the doors are at 5pm for this show, and as of this writing it is 1:20pm. I hope we make it. We finally escaped the clutches of the snow, so we can now resume driving at unsafe speeds.

One forgotten detail from last post- all the cops in Rouyn Nouranda are hessians. They came to check on the party at the bar that night, and it turns out they had a band of their own. Goatwhore sold them shirts. Goatwhore sells everyone shirts. The next morning we were blasting out of the city and were stopped by a highway patrolman. It was a 50km zone and I was going 100. He asked us our business and we identified the band. After he returned my ID he told us he had a doom/death band as well, though sadly the name escapes me. He let us go without any fuss. Quebec is a utopia.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

When the burn sets in

Cold. Cold, tired, and very fucking sick of cigarette smoke. We played a walk-in ashtray called the Jigsaw here in Parma (which is just a euphemism for Cleveland as far as I can tell). It is stuffy and smelly. Ravn and Sanguine are both suffering from voice strain, and Ravn specifically designated the backstage as no smoking to little avail. Maybe we should have shoved wet rags under the door. A large and malevolent cold front has joined the tour package, and we have been driving in snow since Rouyn Nouranda with no relief in sight. It is nerve-wracking and tedious. It also doesn't help that I didn't really anticipate any of this and did not bring the according gloves and jacket. This tour is teaching me several lessons regrading preparedness. Flashback to Rouyn Nouranda 3 days ago- the show was well-attended by hessian kids of all ages from the local community. They were not too familiar with us but they gamely started pits and chanted at all the right parts. The reaction was worth the long and somewhat treacherous drive. Once Goatwhore hit the stage the audience was at fever pitch, with continuous pit action including several young girls. The only disconcerting part was noticing that nobody stopped moving even when the music stopped. It quickly became clear that cocaine has a large foothold in this town, as there is plenty of oil industry money to fuel it. This was something of an ugly revelation to me. Are there any regions in the world that remain unspoiled by modern excesses? The answer remained no as the night went on. An after party was held at a local pub and while some of us, myself included, caught up on sleep others got rip-roaring drunk and acquired local groupies for foreign relations at the town's 4-star hotel. The van is currently a very cold place to sleep and all of us now have coughs on that account.

Toronto was thermonuclear. We played to about 500 at the Opera House and it seems that we were not forgotten since our last visit. People spilled over the barricades in front of the stage, and there was plenty of wildness out on the floor beyond. This could possibly be the best show of the entire tour, with NYC a close second. We have eight more shows to go, so we could yet be surprised (L.A., we're looking in your direction). We are starting to feel fatigued and compromised. Toronto is usually where we finish in our outings to Canada, so the idea of two more weeks to go has a daunting feel at present. Miss Barbra Fisch hosted us at a local bar for her metal DJ outing, then put us up for the night in her warehouse apartment. I slept while Sanguine and our roadie Dylan stayed up with her to drink wine and watch horror movies. It is always a comfort to have friends who offer safe haven.

Cold. Cold, tired, and ready to leave Parma. The crowd tonight was attentive but muted. My guess is that it is a product of the ennui and malaise that comes with living in Ohio.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Short of the mark

Montreal was a disappointment, especially in light of the high anticipation we had for it. When we started at 7pm, it was to an empty room. The Foufounes is a large club, and everyone who came to the show was still downstairs. About three songs in we accumulated an audience, though they were somewhat withdrawn and static throughout. The other bands got about the same reception. It was very dismaying, given our standing affection for this city. The highlight of the show was seeing our long-time friends from Nefastus Dies and Unquintessence, along with Calamity and Thorn who have supported us for years. Sometimes it only the people we know that make a show worthwhile.

Later- Rouyn Noranda is an eight hour drive into the northern frontierland, so we decided to carvan together for safety and efficiency. We struck out directly after the Montreal show and into the wet and snowy darkness of the Quebec forests. Goatwhore was blasting down the road with no intention of stopping, leaving 1349 to break off to sleep barely two hours after we began. They are currently separated from the rest of the caravan, hopefully all is well. We finally came to rest at a truck stop near the edge of a national park, which people warned was three hours of no gas stations or aid of any kind. The diner here has masterful poutine, and we ate plenty of it before continuing through the land of trees and frozen lakes. The excitement continued as we went on with someone in a minivan wiping out in front of us and coming to rest upside down. Other cars on the road stopped immediately and the man climbed out apparently unharmed. We drove on with increased vigilance.

On Evil

The dog was tied to a post by his leash outside a shopping center. His fur was soaked and he shivered uncontrollably. It was 27F with high winds and wet sticky snow and the dog cast about desperately, looking with a pleading face at people entering and leaving the mall. The look in his eyes was too much to ignore. I walked over to him and untied his leash. He seemed confused and frightened as I coaxed him into the entryway and retied him to a nearby door away from the wind and snow. As I did so, I felt a disgusted rage towards the dog's owner (a shop attendant informed me it was some horrid woman who had gone into the dollar store) but there was little more I could do. Taking the dog with me was not an option, though had I been at home it would have been a given.

The nature of Evil is so poorly understood, particularly in the context of Black Metal and its forebears. The spectators have incredibly misgiven ideas about what makes one Evil and what behavior reflects it. Evil and cruelty are two different things, though they are constantly confused. A violent man is generally not so much Evil as he is angry at whatever pain life has delivered unto him. Being Evil does not mean to be without passion or compassion, but rather to have those qualities and motivations on one's own terms rather than having them mandated by society or the church. Evil means we are masters of our own destiny. Evil is the courage to demand absolute measures to make this world one in which we wish to live. Evil is a rejection of moralism and post-moralism, and an adaption of a mixed code of conduct that may seem outwardly inconsistent but internally coherent. Evil is to choose the dark rather than to accept the light. We can smile, laugh, and even love, and this does not invalidate our nature. We find meaning in dark places and in dark practices. If this was not true then we would not make this music. Our passions show in our art and Evil is the fuel that drives it, the prime motivator.

I reached out in kindness to an animal yesterday, and some would say this contradicts the idea of being Evil. They know nothing. They are not of us.

Nebular Raven's Springtime

Quebec City was a hard drive, as it was almost 10 hours up the road from New York. We drove through the night and then early morning and made it through the border with no problem. It is the small details of touring that make for sometimes surreal and memorable moments. 1349 caught up with us in the immigration office and as each member was cleared to leave they got up and walked out the door, grinning in triumph and blowing kisses to us. I imagine this is the only time the Canadian customs office featured so much laughter. Back on the road, it was snowing and the ground was covered with wet slush which made for more difficult driving in a city that is very old and very hard to navigate. We eventually blundered our way to L'Anti, though Nachtmytium was once again badly lost and barely made it in time to set up the backline equipment. Preparing under that kind of duress is never welcome, but we managed to rise to the occasion and meet the welcoming throng full-throttle. Sanguine is ill and his voice is compromised, but he still made a masterful showing as always.

Afterwards, we went to a local rock bar near our hotel and engaged in some rounds of foosball. Nate Goatwhore challenged me and Ben took great delight in watching me destroy him. He is an amazing provocateur, and his boisterous cries of,"Ohhhhh man! Lookit that shot!" made an already heated match into pandemonium.


Late on updates. There was few opportunities to access the terminal until now. For those who are keeping score:

Bedford, NH - This was a large and somewhat strange place as it was a live venue attached to a strip club attached to what seemed to be a hotel, though nobody who worked at the venue would admit that it was indeed a hotel and 1349 made an unsucessful attempt to book a room for the night. Everyone acted like they didn't know what a full 1/3 of the venue's property was for. Nefarious. The show was once again a success, with all bands turning out strong performances. A highlight of the evening was a reunion with our old comrade Evan Goathammer who had defected to the east from Texas some years before. He was a witness to the infancy of Averse Sefira, and it was gratifying to us that he was able to see how far we had come in the meantime.

New York - BB King's was crushing. Attendance was strong, and the response was fervent. The facility was of course very high-end, and between the light show and expert sound supplied by Chris from 1349 our set was massive and "rock star", which was a nice exception to the relatively clandestine settings we've seen until now. Ross and Bob of Immolation were present among other friends and it was an honor to finally perform a show for them in their city. There was much camaraderie and some depravity in the backstage afterwards. It was a good night.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A place of blight and little chivalry

The North has continued to pay tribute to us. Poughkeepsie was excellent, despite its revolting setting. What an ugly city. The Loft, however, was nicely appointed and intimate and we played to a full room. All the bands have their sets well-oiled at this point, so the package as a whole is consistently dealing sonic death. Nachtmystium took a wrong turn heading to the club and were lost for two hours. The problem was they went to the neighboring town of New Paltz, which also had a Main St. and a club called the Loft. They repeatedly called me saying, "We're on Main! Where the fuck are you guys?" They finally figured out their error but it was a Twilight Zone moment.

As said, the show went well. We met someone from Brazil who had actually seen us perform with Candlemass in Sao Paulo and just happened to be in the area for the show. The world continues to shrink. Things got wilder post-show, as most everyone was in a wired and scrappy mood. Sanguine ended up mock grappling with Ben Goatwhore and evoked the mythical character of Antaeus as he wrenched Ben into a stalemate hold. The end of the night was punctuated with a pathetic bum begging us for money multiple times while we loaded out, and it took a bit of yelling to chase him off. Also, there was a very drunk, very lacivious girl who was hanging around the Goatwhore van. She was loose and sloppy and seemed to be finessing drummer Zach to some unclear end, and when it was time to leave she stepped out onto the curb. From our van, we wondered if she was being left behind with no apparent ride at 4am in a rather nasty neighborhood. The slamming doors of the Goatwhore van clanged an affirmative. The road knows no chivalry, and there is no room for damsels in dysfunction.

We then went to a high-end diner and had far too much food.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Your Scars are Beautiful to God...

... is the title of a self-help book I saw in a truckstop. This nation is doomed. Springfield was outstanding. Jaxx is a well-appointed club with a great stage and PA system, and for the first time on the tour we sounded as massive as our headlining cohorts. The audience was the best and largest yet, and there were even some in attendance mouthing words to some of the songs (which is always hard to get used to, though obviously not undesired). It was inspiring and hopefully it is a herald of things to come. Our first shows were to audiences to whom we were relatively unknown, but it seems we have a larger foothold in the northern territories. It is nothing compared to Goatwhore's small empire, but it affords us the necessary fuel to our fire.

A moment of levity: We did not have our set lists present, and accordingly I lost my place and thought we were on the final song "Battle's Clarion". Paula from Candlelight USA was in attendance so I made a typically dramatic dedication of the song to her. Sanguine interjected from his mic,"Yes, but we still have one song before that," to which I growled, "Ohhhh..." Laughter rippled through the audience, we grinned, and then shifted gears with a a ripping version of "Plagabraha".

We are enjoying spending time with 1349, as their outlook tends to resonate with ours. Seidemann and I were commiserating on how it seems that good Black Metal is invariably made by smart people but then somehow seems to appeal to idiots. This isn't a blanket statement by any means, but every night there are people that I cannot imagine actually understanding or caring about Black Metal in the way it is intended. I suppose this is the nature of making one's art available on a large scale, but in the end it matters little. We do this for ourselves, regardless of who or how many take heed.

En route to Poughkeepsie we just passed through Lodi, New Jersey, which is the birthplace of the Misfits. It was nothing to look at, just a dingy little nothing-burg outside of Hackensack but it also revealed why Danzig looked inside himself to create a new reality to subvert the rawness of the "green hell" into which he was born. Your scars are beautiful to God.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The thanks of a grateful Nashville

Sometimes it seems that the underdogs live to prove everyone else wrong. We were warned that Nashville would be a disappointment, but much like our surprisingly gratifying show in Jacksonville it was quite the opposite of our initial expectations. We played to a vocal and appreciative crowd who completely filled the small room of The Muse, which is a painfully hot and humid venue that left all of us to walk around looking like we had showered while fully dressed. The Norwegians have proven to be interesting and agreeable touring companions, and they gamely field our cultural jibes and offer quite a few in return. Goatwhore still remains the band to beat, as they tend to dominate each show with brand recognition, which is not to dismiss 1349's zealous and convincing performances. Goatwhore are tour junkies, pure and simple. They apparently have played The Muse 5 times in as many months, and then on stage they closed the evening by saying "See you guys in a month!", which was a statement that seemed completely free of irony. I have never met such a relentlessly hard-working band, though I'd like to believe Averse Sefira has the fortitude to become such an animal.

Today's drive to Springfield was not enjoyable, as it was ten hours of contending with eighteen-wheelers and being careful to avoid the ubiquitous speed traps. There must have been one state patrol car for every ten vehicles on the road. In any case, we arrived without any trouble, though I am thankful that our next few shows remain under five hours in distance. New York to Quebec will be daunting but we cannot wait to return to Montreal, our home away from home. Show soon, Jaxx presold 400 tickets so expectations are high. We shall see in about two hours.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Atlanta burns

The Masquerade is a sprawling, cyclopean stone building that was once a
mill. There are three full sized clubs within. We played in Hell, there were supplimental bands (namely Withered, who were quite good) in the next door Purgatory room, and the unused and extremely large Heaven room was upstairs. The show was good. The stage sound was the best so far, and the audience reaction was a welcome turnabout from the bored indolence we experienced in Orlando. No matter, we gave them less than half of our normal effort and they still got a better show than they deserved. Tonight however, everyone was attentive and agreeable. Members of Demoncy were in attendance as well as Danielle from Morbid Thoughts and Mincemoyer from Oaken Throne. It is always gratifying to perform to people we respect. The food tonight was outstanding, with a large array of simple but filling dishes like chicken, mashed potatoes, et al. We were all grateful as up until now the promoters have been taking the buy-out option, which would be fine except that there is often little or nothing of quality to eat adjacent to the venues. The Carcass remained unconscious until show time, played a great set, and then returned to twilight as soon as we finished. It was worrisome. Fortunately, he now has access to antibiotics and has been considerably better in the last few hours.

1349 got their bus back last night, but when they started it up it made dubious wheezing noises that left us shaking our heads. There were several joke references about Han Solo and Chewbacca yelling and desperately throwing tools around. As of this writing the bus has apparently died again for effectively the last time. 1349 is to be transplanted to a passenger van, and for the moment Ben of Goatwhore is going to be the point man for keeping the tour running. This suits us fine as he is reliable and knows his business. We have already gained a great deal of respect for that unit, as they are dedicated, honorable, and often times completely hilarious. We also have just now arrived to the Muse in Nashville, and once again we will begin the process of Detonation.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Breaking the chains

Metal at its core is a patent rejection of what the world expects of us. It is a world we have created for ourselves, for better or for worse. This is not unusual when one considers the number of insular subcultures that exist, but the difference is that Metal is consistently successful in reaching beyond itself and leaving a nasty scar upon the face of the society it chooses to defy. I am reminded of this in small ways when I look at Goatwhore's awesomely huge "I don't have a day job" beards, but more so in my recent conversation with Ravn of 1349. We were discussing how in the US people are quick to discard the band pseudonyms with one another and how this leads to indecision on how to introduce oneself to new people. The European Black Metal contingent does not suffer from this as they are quick to acknowledge one another by their chosen names and thereby keep the mystique intact. I offered to Ravn that part of this may be because Americans are so obsessed with the self and the ego that we cannot look past ourselves to embrace a transcendent persona. I also observed that Americans are fixated on egalitarianism so the idea of some people having titles for themselves is perceived as pretentious and as such most are eager to dismantle it in the interest of "feeling equal". Ravn countered by asking me why I don't just change my legal name to Wrath. I was surprised at this suggestion, and asked if this is what he did. He said, "It's on my passport. When I show it to people I say 'Yes, Ravn. Fuck off!'"

I truly believe that by definition being American means being a slave, be it socially or otherwise. Being Metal in America means you wish to break those chains. We still have a long way to go.

Touring is filth

Exhibit A:

Early casualties and random thoughts

It is day four, Orlando is tonight. All of the bands have come together in alliance without much hesitation, which is always a good sign. We and Nachtmystium resolved to get hotel rooms for the night though it was only scarcely worth the money, considering the overall foulness of the rooms and the disgusting hookers creeping around the parking lot like roaches. The Carcass is already sick, which might be a new record for manifesting illness on tour. 1349's bus had a critical failure on day two, so they are now in a passenger van themselves though with twice as much equipment. No envy there.

Brief recap of Ft. Lauderdale:
- The Culture Room was a nice club and professionally run. The only problem was that we were not supported by local openers this time, so we ended up finishing our sound check and then immediately beginning our set as the doors had already opened and there were people standing there watching us prepare. Fortunately we had the foresight to don our paint and spikes beforehand. It was offputting enough as it was. Decent set, good reaction. We still need to find our footing, though. I think another show or two will do it.
- The strip mall next to the club featured an importer cafe, complete with outstanding selections of fresh made food and sundries from Europe. Thanks to Rick and company for their hospitality.
- The pub next door had an incident in which a drunk patron nearly assaulted the rather attractive barmistress. Nachtmystium and The Carcass intervened and helped chase him off. It is ironic that in this day and age you can count on a Black Metal band for more upright behavior than your average "normal" person.

More soon.

In space, where no one can hear you scream...

Ft. Lauderdale, 2pm. He was there before we arrived, corpse paint and all. The doors opened at 7:45.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Exceeding Expectations

Much to our surprise, the Jacksonville show was a triumphant one. The city itself seemed to be full of idiots who either congregated at the ugly local mall or else drove around in loud, plastic encased cars with the intent of preying on one another. We did not have much hope for the success of this show upon arrival, though one thing I am quickly remembering is that virtually every venue looks lifeless and depressing until the lights are on and the crowd arrives. The show itself was a energetic one, including the receptive audience. We closed with "Battle's Clarion", and it went down like a hammer of doom. A redeeming interval early on, hopefully there will be more to come.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

First strike

Tampa was odd. The stage at the venue was narrow, so our drum kit was front and center which sequestered myself and Sanguine to the far left and right sides of it. This of course made for an awkward performance, trapped as we were in our corners and unable to connect with one another in our accustomed fashion. It was not help that the stage sound was painfully loud and the only lights on us were red and very hot. The short version is that our performance was not to our liking, though it seems that those in attendance enjoyed it. We always appreciate any compliments we receive, though on nights like this they tend to get caught in a mire of our incredulity. Most artists are their own worst critics, and in most cases this is true for our band as well. No matter, we did what we came to do and reached the relatively small audience. 1349 lost over half their audience by the middle of their set, so it seems that "headliner syndrome" is a more far-reaching disease that we realized.

We stayed with Bill (Immolation/ex-Angelcorpse). His house is one of the most metal places we've ever seen.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


All is in readiness.

Ruminations upon embarking on tour


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Intent - the source of all worthwhile Metal

Be advised that this space is not intended for social contact; it should stand as a record of events and ideas. We have no interest in laying bare the artifice that makes AVRS what it is, but as our copious interviews have demonstrated we are also interested in broadcasting our intent. From here onwards there will be no disclaimers, but merely content of our choosing as well as upcoming detritus from our march across this wretched nation of ours. Read on.

In many interviews I am asked, “What advice do you have for musicians who are just starting out?” Usually this means “What can a musician do to make a band that people will like?” And of course the fact is that there is no answer to this question. One simply creates music and if it speaks to anyone then it is a coincidence. However, I do have some words on what must be done to see a band become any kind of success- live like there is no day after tomorrow. Think this over for a moment. When people live as if there is no tomorrow it generally means they are impulsive, maybe self-destructive, and they certainly do not work to create anything with any degree of permanence. Averse Sefira is a product of calculated risk and sometimes when the situation demands it, total abandon in the name of achieving new goals. It certainly didn’t hurt our reputation in
France to spend almost $2000 of our own money to fly from Texas to Paris for a total of 60 hours, just so we could play a show with Antaeus in Bordeaux. It was something we did for the weekend while everyone else watched TV or went out to a chain restaurant for dinner. The point is that you must plan ahead and make scrupulous decisions but if you want to see your band have a name that precedes it, if you want to have experiences with your band that will last a lifetime, then be prepared to walk away from jobs, money, security, certainty, and the mediocrity that defines a life free of risk. Live like there is no day after tomorrow, and you will not regret it.

- WSD 3.1.07

Saturday, February 3, 2007


The advent of a wider path is at hand. The triumvirate of Averse Sefira has come into its own and now has the arsenal to fly and kill in broad swaths. You will be witnesses, and perhaps you will become believers. The campaign begins March 2007, more to come.

Averse Sefira w/1349, Goatwhore, & Nachtmystium

23 - Crowbar - Tampa, FL
24 - Thee Imperial - Jacksonville, FL
25 - Culture Room - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
26 - The Haven - Winter Park, FL
27 - Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
28 - The Muse - Nashville, TN
29 - Jaxx - Springfield, VA
30 - The Loft - Poughkeepsie, NY
31 - Mark's Showplace - Bedford, NH

1 - BB King's Blues Club - New York, NY
2 - L'Anti - Quebec City, QC
3 - Foufounes - Montreal, QC
4 - Petit Theater Du Vieux Noranda Royun - Noranda, QC
5 - Jubilee Centre - Sudbury, ON
6 - Opera House - Toronto, ON
7 - Jigsaw - Parma, OH
8 - Colosseum - Mokena, IL
9 - Station 4 - St. Paul, MN
10 - Static Bar - Topeka, KS
11 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
13 - Knitting Factory - Hollywood, CA
14 - Showcase Theatre - Corona, CA
15 - Clubhouse - Tempe, AZ
16 - Launchpad - Albuquerque, NM