Band – Seder/Galdr
Album – Tranquilities II: The Air, The Silence, The Vast Array of Emptiness
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Black Metal
Release Date – November 10, 2023
Label – Fiadh Productions
Author – Michael Litteral/Hayduke X
Michael and I have both been pretty obsessed with the Seder/Galdr split since we initially set our ears on it. In addition to brief articles with Gurthang Borealis (Seder) and Draugr (Galdr), we present some brief thoughts on the split as a whole and some poetry inspired by the two sides. The poetry comes through the inspiration of Michael, and I decided I would try my hand at it as well. My apologies in advance for my attempt.
The split as a whole flows wonderfully together. As I discovered in my interview with Draugr, the two have been friends for years, and collaborate in Ancalagon. Deeply mesmeric compositions drew us each into the depths of our souls, to the most contemplative layers, where we experienced epiphanies which are hard to put into words. Perhaps you should just press play and experience them for yourself. Scroll down to the bottom to listen for yourself.
On the Passing winds, I find myself trying to capture the moment that is currently passing me by.
You’ve been waiting for this. Take it in and remember this feeling…
Shores of Firmament cascade the seaside and create new patterns that’ll only be here briefly.
I am here to collect all that is within me that has been sturring for ages.
The past is hard to look away from because I know it is real, unlike my future…
Organic healing and newly turned leaves discover me sitting on this pile of sand and shell with only wanting to let go of the pain and reminder…
I’m here to cleanse all that is laid before me.
Glittering Brilliance is all around me.
The sound of her weaving witchcraft through white noise is all throughout me.
Won’t you join me?
Or rather, won’t you join her?
The healing is now.
The healing is you.
Michael Litteral: When listening to Seder, one can feel a complete understanding of black metal and its reclusive nature. How long have you been into black metal and the scene? It seems like this is all too familiar to you.
Gurthang Borealis: I used to play in punk and hardcore bands when I was in my teens. That grew into finding metal and then of course black metal. It was a rough start with navigating such a challenging scene, but I think with punk being the backbone and introduction into extreme art, I ended up disenchanted and overall exhausted with the extreme politics of the scene. I wouldn’t say I have a “complete understanding” of the genre, but we have been at it for almost two decades now.
ML: Is there a specific writing process you follow for Seder? As a one-man band approach, does inspiration come through messing around with riffs, or is something more external, like walking around in nature?
GB: The process is fatiguing. If my headspace is not there, then there’s no Seder. I’ve gone through huge lapses of time when there just wasn’t Seder. I never want to force Seder. It’s there for a reason and when it happens then we have some songs to do something with.
ML: One thing I love about this split is that collectively, both counterparts make up Ancalagon. Separately, you both have your own solo side project. What makes the material different from each project, and how do you determine whether an idea belongs to Seder or Ancalagon?
GB: Ancalagon actually started as a solo project back when Draugr was busy with Galdr and another full band. After I recorded a few songs, I realized I needed someone to bounce ideas off of and asked Draugr if they wanted to be the second voice of the project. Together we ended up honing in on the sound. After that Draugr moved to Detroit and it became more of a challenge to write for Ancalagon. Seder ended up becoming a very personal expression and meditation for me. We both have our unique styles in our solo projects and we merge them with Ancalagon. It actually is very fluid when it comes to deciding what is Seder and what is Ancalagon; if we’re together and writing music it’s Ancalagon, and if I’m alone it’s Seder.
ML: Music is an art, and it’s used as an expression and an outlet for how we feel inside. Is there anything you’d like to let the audience know? What do you try to share with the world when releasing music from Seder?
GB: Seder started during a very dark time for me personally. My first full length was a direct representation lyrically of that era. I think, just as with all art, it’s subjective. If it resonates with the listener, that’s great, and I think the listener can take from it what they need. By the time I recorded the split things were different and we had really solidified the One Void Collective and began Unity Temple. The writing flowed with me. So it’s a bit different, but perhaps a little more mature in a way…or at least there’s more perspective there.
ML: As a fellow Atlanta metalhead, do you find any of your inspirations locally? Whether that be a forest nearby that you like to wander or any reminiscent areas around that spark inspiration?
GB: I’ve tried to live in other cities and Atlanta, and North Georgia in general, have something special. I always miss the trees when I have lived in other places. I’ve spent a lot of time in Appalachia specifically the smokey mountains and I think that’s where I get the inspiration for the feeling.
Scenting the air
Rumble in the distance
The wind through the branches
The drums of war
All awaken to
The enemy walks among us
Separate from us
Draws straight lines
Where curves exist
Floats in our
Now we wake
Tight coils, hiding
Venom leaking, ready
Black and white torpedoes
Sinking enemy craft
Prepare to rise
And not just us
The rumble ready to burst
To spew forth hot fire
The battle will be joined
We may lose, but
We must fight
Seek to defeat the cancer of
Before it’s too late
Is it too late?
Must we mourn already
As we fight
Gore dripping from bloodied fangs
Lightning strikes and
Fires racing towards cookie cutter straight line buildings
And homes of invaders
We must fight
Hayduke X: Congratulations on this excellent split. Here at MoshPitNation, we’re fans of both sides. How are you feeling about it?
Draugr: I feel great about it. It took a long time to create. I believe the Seder side was recorded in 2018 and Galdr in 2020. After that it was just adding things, mixing and mastering. I recorded most of it during the time I was laid off because of COVID. Because of that, I was able to spend a lot of time focusing on creating it. I feel that Galdr needs that sort of time to be written. It was the same when I wrote the first three albums. I had a lot more free time back then as well, being younger and with less responsibilities.
HX: What is your writing and recording process?
D: This is the first Galdr album that I’ve recorded entirely on my own. The other Galdr albums were recorded in a studio. During the writing process, I like to allow the musical concepts and riffs to come to me naturally. That is, instead of sitting down and trying to conjure ideas, I’d rather have a recorder on my phone and a notebook to record riffs or sounds anytime they come to me. I will take time to spend outside walking, sitting and meditating to inspire riffs and ideas to come to me. Then later I will sit down with all of these ideas and form them into their final manifestation.
The recording process for both sides of this split was an entirely personal and isolated experience. Both recorded in our own respective homes with our own equipment. There were a lot of technical hurdles to overcome for my side, but I also learned a lot about sound engineering in the process.
HX: How did you end up doing a split with Seder?
D: Gurthang and I have been good friends for well over a decade now, we have both been a part of many projects together as well as creating the original foundations of our collective. Seder and Galdr have existed side by side, developing and influencing each other for almost as long as both projects have existed. This split, to us, is a kind of token of the artistic and personal relationship between Gurthang and I.
HX: Tell me more about the themes on the album?
D: Speaking for both projects, the themes are taken on with a more mature and well-rounded perspective. Partly due to age I’d imagine, but certainly due to the ever evolving understanding and development of our worldview and ideas as artists.
Speaking for Galdr, this album takes a slight shift away from the attitude of the earlier Galdr albums. Before, I made a point to leave Galdr in a world where politics don’t apply. In that way, the ideas and themes of those albums could revolve around more general allegories and universal and/or metaphysical concerns regarding nature and our relationship with it. Often invoking things I would learn about Norse myths or “shamanic” magic practices as a setting. Thinking about that now, I find that even the conception of such an apolitical realm is a political act itself. And what’s worse, it is a political act of isolation, and opens the door for various reactionary outcomes and interpretations. I’ve since also lost interest in Norse mythology as a subject for my work. It is true that the setting for the split is still rooted in nature, and the reverence for such, just like the older albums, however, there are subjects in this split that are relevant to my political evolution as a person and relevant to a modern world. I set out to tell a relevant political and even spiritual story through metaphors and allegories regarding nature but that speak to various ideas and self-realized lessons a person can go through internally when dealing with their place and role in their world.
HX: In your early history with this project, you worked with NSBM label Darker Than Black, but are now releasing through the very antifascist Fiadh Productions. It’s my understanding that you have openly and clearly stated that you are antifascist and antiracist. What can you tell me about that transition?
D: I think what I would want people to take from that history is that exposure to far right art/propaganda/circles of influence can have a negative material effect on not only people on an individual level, but on an insidious level that threatens the safety, and frankly, the health of whatever scene that far-right actors are trying to target. Without a concerted effort to steer people away from the influence of fascists in any given subculture, the normalizing of far right ideas and perspectives becomes easier and easier for anyone who has a serious political agenda in NSBM/Black metal at large (and there are many!) I understand that a lot of people fall into the position of “listening to the music alone has no material effect”. But to me, that takes an extremely limited understanding of what art is and aims to accomplish generally. For instance, a lot of people make the argument “well it doesn’t hurt to download and steal NSBM for free”. This also takes a lack of understanding of how propaganda and specifically fascist propaganda tries to function. Even if you consider yourself outside of the sphere of influence of NSBM, what is done to somebody’s psychology when they read song titles sympathetic to racism and fascism, listen to those songs and relate with the music on a visceral level? “Triumphant! Majestic! Beautiful!”. We’ll just also assume that these listeners don’t ever talk about or share – thus promote – their secret favorite NSBM bands. You’re now indulging in the artist’s creative world, in which the artist’s worldview shapes the context of that world. I think it’s entirely possible to say, study fascist ideology, read every piece of fascist literature you find and still maintain your values as an antifascist person. But for me, on a personal level it’s a question of enthusiasm and aligning your emotional and psychological state with fascist contexts and worldviews. It should also be said that I do not believe in “separating the art from the artist”. Any serious art enthusiast or art analysis takes for granted that the context of who made a given piece of art and when it was made is a part of the whole experience of the piece of art. Artists do not want you to separate their art from them, and going on assumptions, I’d imagine if you’re taking a stance as repugnant as NSBM, you likely especially don’t want people separating your art from you/your political views. It is assumed with right-wing influence/NSBM that it was created for the sole purpose of spreading those views.
HX: You are currently in Detroit in our (MoshPitNation’s) state of Michigan, after moving from Atlanta. How do you like it here in the mitten? Have you had much of a chance to explore all the nature the state has to offer?
D: That’s right! Michigan is great. The nature is beautiful, I’ve visited Lake Michigan many times and it’s a really special place. I like living in Detroit. There are a lot of things to get used to, but it’s slightly less busy than Atlanta, so the change of pace was nice. The people here are extremely industrious, hardy and kind. The negative portrayals of Detroit that are shown around the media are wrong. There are signs of poverty here, like every city. But people are resilient and are just trying to organize themselves to get even the smallest benefit from the rebuilding of the city that is happening right now. Every area that is being invested in, as usual, is pushing out the black, brown and poor residents. Sometimes literally arresting the homeless population and transporting them to other places in the city. With that backdrop considered, I enjoy the city of Detroit. So much delicious food. I also benefit highly from the legalized weed.
HX: What’s next for the Galdr project? Are you working on anything else?
D: I’m not currently working on anything else for Galdr aside from promoting the split at this point. Moving forward, I will be focusing on my Dungeon Synth project “Veil and Sacred Plane”. The first release of that project will be reissued soon on Fiadh. I will also, as always, be co-running Unity Temple. We’re working on expanding our distribution operations, faster shipping and looking into options for mutual and humanitarian aid groups that we can fund with whatever excess funds we may receive as we expand our operations.
HX: Metal Archives shows that you are a part of the project Ancalagon, based in Atlanta. Are you still able to be active with that project? Anything coming under that name?
D: Well it should be said that Ancalagon is the joint project of both Gurthang and I. So it’s hard to imagine, as long as our friendship continues, that Ancalagon could ever become inactive. However, I will say that we do have plans for that project in the near future. I guess this split could be seen as a sort of Ancalagon album, but in separate parts. We basically took time off of Ancalagon to work on this split.
HX: What else should we know about Galdr especially?
D: Galdr and One Void Collective stand for the oppressed, working people and for endless artistic possibilities. Free Palestine, End all wars.
Michael Litteral is just your friendly neighborhood metalhead who can’t seem to find his way out of the black, and he’s just fine with that.
Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. He is also a contributor to The Metal Wanderlust. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.