- Black/Death Metal
- Traralgon, Victoria
- Formed: 1992 (As Necromancy)
- Current Release: Husk (2018)
- Upcoming: The Trembling Voices of Conquered Men (2020)
Vahrzaw are one of Australia’s longest running black metal acts having played under various names in the early 90s. While many bands have come and gone, Vahrzaw have marched on unable to be stopped by neither politics nor circumstance, leaving a long trail of releases featuring interesting artwork. Metalheads in need of an audio pummelling look no further. Their sound hasn’t been compromised in the face of an ever changing scene over the decades and after Husk, their ripper of a 2018 album, they are returning with a brand new album slated for 2020. I spoke to Vahrzaw guitarist Scott about it and the bands origin.
Noob Heavy: I saw on Instagram you are recording a new album, what can you tell me about this one?
Scott: It’s our fourth album. It’s titled ‘The Trembling Voices of Conquered Men’. It’ll be released through Transcending Obscurity in 2020. It’s a varied mix of styles, as we say ‘a good song is a good song’. Plenty of black, death & thrash riffs. We’re currently about halfway through the recording process with Jesse Oberin as the producer.
NH: The artwork on your albums are awesome, what is the artwork process for Vahrzaw, do you get it from specific artists or from various places?
We look for art and artists we like the style of, sometimes purely by accident or on another bands album. We try to support independent artists whenever we can. We think of a theme or have a rough idea and then let the artist go.
We’ve moved away from digital art since 2014 as I think it’s run its course, I much prefer hand-painted original pieces commissioned specifically for the task… not just buying already available work. I own the original painting of the Husk album cover too. So it’s really unique to us and us alone. The artwork for the new album is by Alex Shadrin of Nether Temple Design.
NH: Vahrzaw have been playing in Australia since the early 90’s under various iterations, how did you get started? Was there much of a scene here back then?
Yeah, we swapped names a bit in the early days, but it was the same line-up, we settled on a name that couldn’t be copied but at the same time would be incorrectly spelled on every flyer in history. We got started in the corridor of our high-school waiting to go into class in early 1992. None of us could play at all, literally just picked up our instruments. It’s been a true progression over the years of people who aren’t natural musicians.
Yes, there was a scene, but only the real metal music seekers ever found it. There was great timeless death metal in Australia back then. Black Metal… no, very little. There was a minimal amount of BM bands and fans in the entire country and is was NOT popular, even with metalheads. I don’t think anybody would’ve guessed it’d be an almost mainstream form of metal 25 years on.
Regardless of the situation, this is a project largely based in us making music we want to hear. Progressing or regressing in whatever direction the writing process takes us at that point in our lives. It’s a massive experiment that’s nudging 28 years now. I don’t care who likes it or who hates it, it’s just music in the end… and I’m too fucking old to care. Haha!Scott, Guitarist for Vahrzaw.
NH: Over the years Vahrzaw have grown their sound, what are some bands that influenced you in the 90s and what are some of your influences in recent years?
In the early days it was the great English and USA acts. Deicide, Morbid Angel, Carcass, My Dying Bride, Iron Maiden, Bolt Thrower, Slayer… then in 1993 it was BM demos. Setherial, Emperor, Gorgoroth, Carpathian Forest, Sorhin, Thy Serpent… then into 1994 & classic albums from Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal, Mayhem, Sigh etc.
Recent years is bottomless. I listen to a lot of different music, whether that influences the music I don’t know. From Aphex Twin & Zappa to Deathspell & Grave Upheaval.
NH: Vahrzaw are on the label Transcending Obscurity based in India. How has that impacted the work? And do you have any advice for newer bands looking for label support?
Well, Kunal does an amazing job for bands. He’s dedicated to his label and treats the bands with respect, as well as releasing a great product. Given that kind of support, it makes you put effort in and get the best work done when you know it’ll be handled well!
As far as younger bands, labels don’t support like they use to, recordings won’t be paid for, but they’ll put your product out… sometimes. There’s still plenty of shit labels that will shaft the bands on their roster. Unprofessional hacks with zero respect. The world is full of opportunistic filth. But even without label support you can record at home and upload it to a host site independently. Send off some links to labels to see if they’d be interested. It’s a real hit n’ miss game.
Thanks for the interview.