Frostveil is a black metal band that caught my attention upon first listen with a preview track he posted featuring dungeon synth material. After months of waiting I am pleased to find his dungeon synth album Antediluvian Majesty out on tape via Out of Season and pending a CD release with Dark Adversary Productions. In this interview I speak with Frostveil about his history in black metal, black metal’s connection to dungeon synth, and his vision as an artist.
- Greetings Frostveil! Thanks for taking the time to answer this interview with Barbarian Skull. Please introduce us to your project and the history of Frostveil.
Hails Barbarian Skull! Thanks for having me here! Frostveil started as a side project of mine in 2014, with the intention of having something to pour my more sombre musical and lyrical ideas into. But, as time passed and likeminded individuals all around began paying attention to my music it quickly grew into a full time and very personal project of mine.
- Frostveil began as a black metal project, tell us about your earlier material. What similarities and parallels do you see between black metal and dungeon synth?
You’re absolutely right, when I started Frostveil I had never even heard the term dungeon synth haha! My first demo ‘Void of Memories…’ was very eerie Striborg influenced BM and the two BM splits with KIPU (Finland) and Trample the Cross (USA) touched on these influences but drew more influence from more powerful and emotional artists such as Woods of Desolation and Drowning the light. When I was around 14 I started making instrumental MIDI music just for fun, this stopped when Frostveil was born but I eventually decided to combine the two and include synth in my BM, and over time this lead to exclusive synth tracks. Dungeon synth, to me, can produce a striking resemblance to the atmosphere of some forms of BM, and with the aesthetics and influence from ancient times, fantasy literature and film, and the overall darker sides of nature and humanity, I find that the stories and messages portrayed in BM and DS fit hand in hand, hence why many DS artists have a background in metal and vice versa.
- Your latest release ‘Antediluvian Majesty’ is very strong and epic dungeon synth, what inspired you to begin to explore the dungeon synth genre? What projects were your biggest inspirations?
My favorite DS artist at the time of composition was without doubt the great Depressive Silence, but I drew my influences from a vast range of artists. These included Arath, Lord Lovidicus, Corvus Neblus and Til Det Bergens Skyggene. I was already very familiar with the dark ambient/keyboard works of many great BM artists like Burzum, Striborg and Drowning the Light, so it was already in the back of my mind that I would like to try something similar, but when I discovered DS, which at the time had begun its current resurgence, I had a huge, almost instant kick of inspiration.
- Antediluvian Majesty explores a range of atmospheres, from epic war marches to majestic solitary wanderings. What concepts and themes do you wish to convey with your synth music?
This release is a very nostalgic thing for me as I have actually included several melodies I composed many years ago into these songs. Obviously there are undeniable atmospheres typical to DS throughout the whole EP, and this was somewhat of a personal challenge for me as I wanted to see if it was possible for me to recreate the atmospheres of the amazing DS artists I had recently encountered. I tried to make every song a little different as to cover several of the main atmospheres closely associated with DS, as well as (even if it never reached the ears of the public) create something I could listen to and enjoy and be proud of and, for old times sake, put my past compositions to good use and create something whole.
- Tell us about your composition process. Do you find it advantageous to be the sole composer behind your music? Do you prefer working with software or hardware synthesizers?
It definitely has its perks being a one man project. I have the one and only say of how the songs work, and I get the gratification knowing that no matter what happens with Frostveil’s music, it is totally of my own accord. It is also peace of mind knowing that I can take whatever direction I like, whenever I like without anyone questioning what I’m doing. Antediluvian Majesty is the prime example of that! So far the only hardware I have used has been with my metal work, all the DS has been entirely software. Theres no real reason for that though, I just use whatever is available at the time, because to me it is the musicianship which is important, not having the top notch expensive synthesizers or anything like that. Antediluvian Majesty, for anyone who is curious, was made solely with the MIDI instruments in Mixcraft 4.
- Considering the ties between black metal and dungeon synth, do you plan to continue to release dungeon synth as Frostveil or will you work with synth music under another moniker in the future?
This was a very experimental release, but because of both the positive response to my DS work, and the recently growing DS scene and emergence of countless amazing bands/projects to draw influence, I can safely say that this will NOT be the final DS you will hear from Frostveil. In fact, I have already began composing (and in some cases, completed) more DS which I can see putting this EP to shame. But at the same time, I am currently overflowing with BM ideas as well so it is not set in stone which genre the next Frostveil release will adhere to.
- Antediluvian Majesty was recently released on cassette via Out of Season Records, and as I understand as CD version will be available under the legendary Australian label Dark Adversary Productions. How did you come in contact with these two great labels? How has the response been to the tape version so far?
I was very fortunate to cross paths with Out of Season thanks to the word getting out in the DS community about me looking for a label. I had been in contact with OoS briefly before this but it wasnt until the last few months where we had properly connected and secured the release of this EP! They were an absolute pleasure to work with, their efforts to truly support the DS scene are enormous and I would strongly encourage anyone into DS to visit their site and browse through what they have in store, you will not be disappointed! The tape version, from my understanding, has been very popular so far! Each day I see new people posting pictures of their copy arriving which is totally surreal, the support has been overwhelming! In regards to working with DAP, I had also been in contact with Azgorh briefly over the last few years and he has always shown an interest in what I was doing musically at the time. Of course, with Frostveil being a very Drowning the Light influenced project, when Azgorh expressed interest in releasing the EP on DAP it was a huge honour. But, now that we have discussed things much more in depth I can safely say that DAP has well earned their brilliant reputation in the BM scene as they also do their absolute best to support the up and coming black metal bands of today. Same deal as OoS, please make sure you head over to the DAP website and show them as much support as you can, they really deserve it and you will not regret it!
- What is your opinion on the current state of dungeon synth as a genre?
The resurgence has definitely had its ups and downs. Some brilliant projects have emerged over the last few years and watching them mature has been absolutely incredible! However, being an up and coming genre, naturally there is a swarm of projects which, in my opinion, do not quite grasp the beauty of the music and who I expect see it as more of an aesthetically pleasing novelty genre. I wont go into detail because this seems to be the case with every kind of music at some point in time haha, but this is by no means me speaking negatively about the DS community as a whole. The support I have got as mentioned before has been very overwhelming and the people I’ve connected with recently have all been extremely honest, educated and open minded musicians, seeing fellow musicians as friends rather than fans, which I think is brilliant!
- Thanks again for the interview! Any last words are yours!
Thank you for having me here and for all the constant support!! Please, whoever is reading this, go buy a tape, an LP or a CD of some up and coming bands, hit up their Bandcamp pages, check them out of social media, just do whatever you can to keep the black metal/dungeon synth scene thriving!! You haven’t heard the last of Frostveil…