Interview with Archgoat guitarist Ritual Butcherer | By Julia Neuman
Finland’s Archgoat have been a force in underground black metal for over 25 years. The band’s guitarist Ritual Butcherer weaves his Satanic worldviews—alongside his brother—into the trio’s punishing hymns on their new release The Apocalyptic Triumphator, available through Debemur Morti Productions.
What happened in the six years between The Light-Devouring Darkness and your newest album? How did this record come together?
We have played many shows in at least five different continents, and on top of that, I lived in the States for 15 months, which delayed things for us. During this absence, I composed Heavenly Vulva LP, which we released sometime in 2012.
The composing work for The Apocalyptic Triumphator really kicked in November 2013 when I got one of my creative phases and composed riffs for the three first hymns. After this, we rearranged the parts and I wrote the lyrics right away, what I normally do only after all music is completed. I think there were three different creative phases for me, and this is probably why there is more variation between the hymns than before. I took things on my own pace until, in May, the January/February 2015 tour with Inquisition was agreed upon and the schedule started to put pressure on things.
All in all, this was not the most difficult release I have done. All eventually fell easily into place.
Does Archgoat still serve as an escape for you? Does it occupy the same role in your life as it did at the beginning?
It does in a way, especially when playing shows: the time when my only concern is to prepare to play a great live show and all other worries in the world pass me. In a way, [I’m] the same worry-free spirit I was when we started the band in 1989. The difference is that when we were younger, we were all drunk at our shows, and nowadays, we do not do that to same extent, so maybe I am not totally floating in the moment.
When did you realize you wanted to speak out against Christianity?
When I started to question things, and whenever I found a subject that did not follow the laws of reason, my suspicion arose. With Christianity more than with any subject, the bipolarity of what one should do and why compared to what happened in reality made me hate the hypocrisy and the oppression of the free mind. That was sometime in 1987 or so, and quite quickly this opinion lead me to dwell inside the worlds painted in the lyrics of bands such as Venom, Celtic Frost, and Possessed, who all opposed Christianity openly.
Do you enjoy touring?
There is no simple answer to that. It depends how long the tour is, is there a nightliner or not, with which bands, where the shows are, etc. The last tour we did with Inquisition, Ondskapt, and Black Death was a nice one, and I could have continued for an extra 19 dates easily. If the organization and tour managing is professional and all looked after properly, then I do enjoy touring.
You’ve mentioned that you are difficult to know as a person due to your Satanic and occult beliefs. In light of that, how well does Finland serve you as a place of residence?
I think I might have meant that I like to keep my own space to me, and not talk too openly about my personal things unless I know and trust [the person] I am dealing with.
Finland serves me as a place of residence as good as did the States. To get along is no problem, as you only need to touch the surface, but it is quite great to meet a new person with whom one can connect and discuss the philosophy of ours. Last person with whom I connected this strongly was Acerbus from Ondskapt; it was only half an hour and we were really deep in the world of chaos mathematics and devil worship.
Given that your long hiatus happened because you didn’t like the direction black metal was headed, how do you feel about the current black metal landscape? Has it improved, or have you just decided to coexist?
I am really not too interested what others do, but concentrate on what we do. I killed Archgoat with [brother, bassist, and vocalist Lord] Angelslayer due to the scene being ass-raped by new bands. Now I see things differently and do not even think of us as a band of the scene. We are a band of the scene in 1989 to early ‘90s.
What are the best and worst things about being in a band with your brother?
Well, the best is that he is my brother, which also is the worst. I like to keep our things as our things. The communication between us is easy, and we on many occasions do not even need to say anything and we are both on the same page.
Tell us a story from your past that shaped your distinct worldview.
If you buy me a beer…