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Monday, October 23, 2017

Solar-Mass Interview

The Solar-Mass band bio opens with "Just as a prehistoric universe exploded into being like a hell storm of raging chaos, so too the sounds of SOLAR MASS leap into existence in the present era before you with five new songs in random acts of ferocious violence across a broad spectrum of sub-genres to escape the mediocrity of the governing Magian death-cult." and continues in that tone without providing any more clarity about them.    No doubt that was how the band  intended it i.e. So that the listener/reader is left to create their own image of what Solar-Mass is rather than it being spoonfed to them. 
What I can tell you though, is that this band is a project put together by Diocletian mainman B.S (Guitars). It's mainly New Zealand based, with W.B on drums and international  vocal contributions from M.K.  Unlike the war chaos noise that Diocletian make, Solar-Mass is more like a dirty pissed off version of early Voivod.   This interview was completed by both B.S and M.K. 

1]. Throughout your "Pseudomorphosis" demo ep, there seems to be a chronological theme that runs from the scientific detailing of the birth of our universe, through to a dystopian science fiction picture of a distant future. In your words, can you describe what you see is happening in these lyrics.

The theme of the demo is just a taster of a possible full length album and is written in a chronological order as you have pointed out, but there is room to expand on this concept with extra material between the existing songs before the epilogue ‘Heat Death’. The story actually starts before the beginning of the universe as outlined in the prologue ‘Arc Furnace’ which along with the epilogue will be included in a lyric sheet at a later date on the cd and ep formats. Having said that, there is no commitment to create a ‘concept album’ as such, and each song works just as well as a standalone output.

Each song lyric could be seen as a retelling of the same story on a different scale coming together in the same time line as part of a single epic tale. Whether it’s the timeline of the universe, the evolution of a collective species, or the human experience of the individual there are similar archetypal themes interwoven from microcosm to macrocosm played out in the ‘space drama’. Think of each song as being a tendril replicated on an ever-expanding fractal image, all melded into a singular event: existence, and in this case the demo which is Pseudomorphosis.

Although there is no doubt in my mind that the bulk of the lyrics are indeed a work of science fiction / fantasy there is no allusion to Isaac Newton’s “That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below.” Pseudoscience is a poignantly tiresome affair, and it would be deemed too lazy and somewhat wishy-washy to write anything other than short stories based on reality with at least some semblance to actual science and real events from the past and present, and from the basis of this to then be able to determine a probable outcome for a future both near and far, whether they come across as dystopian or not.

Listen to 'Pseudomorphosis' in it's entirety below

2]. The scientific terminology used in the first half of the release seems to be particularly detailed and specific. I don't imagine that it's been inspired by Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson's version of 'Cosmos' alone. What is your particular interest in this area? Where did you acquire said depth of knowledge in it? Why did you choose it as a theme to base your lyrics?

All the lyrics from beginning to end are based exclusively on Western thought and the European experience. The non-fiction scientific components of the lyrics are derived from a multitude of sources on the topic of cosmology and astrophysics: drawn from a collection of text book literature, scientific journals, periodicals, and of course articles found on the internet over many years from being an armchair enthusiast of not just quantum-mechanics, but also Jungian psychology, ancient and modern history, geo-politics, Western philosophy and much more.

Included in the lyrics are references to Graeco-Roman mythology which playfully allude (for the sake of the developing storyline) that there might be something more subjective going on than a merely straightforward cut-and-dry scientific interpretation for the origins of the universe. This is not to suggest the origin of space-time is the net result of some kind of creationist theory: it just points out that science does not (or cannot) factor in the events prior to the ‘Big Bang’ as they have no observational consequences, and are therefore omitted from relativity calculations.

The human condition is more comfortable with the idea that nothing is left to chance and that there is a pre-deterministic governing (yet invisible) hand controlling man’s destiny. In believing so he has himself created a world subject to delusion born of fear and loneliness in the emptiness of a compassionless and unforgiving, non-sentient outer-space.

As the story develops, we find this collective personality trait turns out to be mankind’s Achilles’ heel, and out from this malady an alien species parasitically has moved in to capitalise on this pronounced character flaw of humanity, adopting the role of a benevolent and wisened invisible hand like some sort of Wizard of Oz mercantile huckster who in a rather Mephistophelian modus-operandi sets about selling the Emperor his new clothes!

There is no common ground with token ‘celebrity chefs’ like Sagan or deGrasse Tyson. The lyrics are especially not interested in facilitating the fantasies and delusions of mentally deficient SJW’s who are more concerned about manipulating fact through “critical theory” and directing the narrative through their “social sciences”. On the contrary, the lyrics are more akin to the spirit of Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Right Stuff’; they are a celebration of the spirit of mankind’s endeavours and achievements as documented by Charles Murray in his work ‘Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950’.

The lyrics relate a story which expounds certain ‘inconvenient truths’, demanding the audience face up to the sometimes cruel reality of life where there will be times when they will be confronted by awkward facts which often do not sit comfortable with the current narrative peddled to the mindset of ‘the many’, and too bad if the coldness of maths offends them: logos is based on pure scientific evidence, and if a conclusion is unpopular with the values of contemporary society, then that society should know it will be better off accepting the truth even if the medicine is a bitter pill to swallow. In the world of Solar-Mass 2 + 2 still equals 4.

3]. Let’s talk about the music itself now. I gave the 1992 ‘Entropy - Paths To The Underworld, Rebirth To The Afterlife’ demo a listen recently and, although the overall style was different, I was surprised at the number of similarities between that recording and what you are doing now with Solar Mass. Obviously two of you were in Entropy, so I’m wondering if this was an unconscious coincidence or intentional continuation? How do you see what you are doing now in comparison with what you were doing together 25 odd years ago?

It is not a continuation. Speaking for myself I think Solar-Mass is more of an ambitious entity than anything I have been involved with beforehand. The people from back then were all pulling in different directions and only the two of us from that era had any interest in metal per se. The other guys were becoming increasingly more interested in making music of an inferior quality and ended up failures performing in alternative music groups which never amounted to anything of merit. It wasn’t uncommon to see this kind of thing happening a lot back in the early 1990’s: with heavy metal under attack by the music moguls most signed and unsigned acts scrambled about trying to jump on the latest bandwagon, selling out any integrity they once may have thought they possessed.

Our musical influences are drawn from many different sub-genres of metal, so we are not limited to one particular type of sound and because of this you will hear within our forthcoming arsenal a mixture of “Heavy, Black, Doom, Death and Speed Metal”, although perhaps this will become more evident after we have released more material for comparison.

We are continually experimenting with different types of hardware with an aim to develop a sound that will be quite unique to our band. We are using equipment some of which was built as early as in the 1970’s, and other stuff which is state of the art technology. Solar-Mass is primarily a studio band so we will be exploring both new and old techniques of engineering and production to be able to deliver the perfect aural experience for the heavy metal connoisseur so that they may enjoy our music in the highest fidelity afforded. Ultimately, we wish to transport the listener to a different world where the only restrictions set are the limitations imposed upon us by the financial constraints of production juxtaposed against the boundaries defined by the listener’s own imagination.

Have a listen to an Entropy tune and decide for yourself

4]. After playing in much more extreme bands, what was the inspiration, at least on the demo to create more traditional and musical/accessible/listenable heavy metal? Also, you mentioned that Solar Mass is “primarily a studio band”. Knowing that one of you lives a long way outside of New Zealand, what creative advantages and disadvantages does this present? Will Solar Mass appear in a live setting at any stage?

Solar-Mass is deliberately counter-extreme in the sense we are reclaiming heavy metal music back from the punks who co-opted the term as far back as the late 80’s. We can’t sit back and watch the metal genre continue to be hijacked to promote the ‘hardcore’ nonsense that is being peddled as ‘extreme metal’ these days to an unsuspecting younger audience. We’re most certainly not a ‘retro band’ either: We are simply playing music we have a direct connection to – no more cultural appropriation! We are taking back what is rightfully ours in the first place. No more ‘extreme metal’: We are an ultra-metal band.

It’s too early to rule out the possibility of any live performances after releasing a full-length album’s worth of songs, but it has to be said I couldn’t imagine performing without the pomp and pageantry of an over-the-top stage set with a dedicated mixing desk engineer who knows the music well enough to be able to cue effects and deliver the sound as heard on a studio production. A live show would have to be just that: a show. If it’s going to be live, then there should be more on offer than just us playing a live set in a small venue using the house pa. It would need to be a spectacle like something Roger Dean came up with for a stage set for Yes back in the day. I guess we will be waiting quite a while then before anything like that happens anytime fast.

There is no advantage of band-members living in different parts of the world. Things would move along a lot quicker and ideas would be freely exchanged much easier over lunch and a beer. There is no substitute to a band bonding in person. It is easier to express and discuss ideas when you are in the same space for a long period of time. Back in the early 1990’s we would live and rehearse in the same house. Quite often we would pick up instruments and jam in the early hours of the morning without causing a nuisance to anybody because we lived in a derelict industrial estate in an old corner-shop next door to a funeral home. These days with one bloke in Croatia, another living in Britain and the remainder of the band in New Zealand it would be difficult to exist without the luxury of IT.

5]. Without spending too much time and space on it, you mentioned Diocletian. Could you briefly explain where things are at with it at the moment?

Sure, I'm working with a new drummer, writing new material along with rehearsing old material for a return to the live arena. In addition to this we have a new bassist who is another veteran to this music. Around the time of our operation California Death Fest, Diocletian's line up and new record label will be revealed. Ill also consider releasing an online audio demonstration of Repel the Attack which we recorded in studio a couple months ago.

A shot of the new Diocletian line up playing California Death Fest 2017

6]. You’ve employed the art of Rok for the cover of "Pseudomorphosis". What instruction did you give him when you commissioned him to do the cover? What has he added of his own that might be different to what you anticipated? Is his art or theme something you intend continue with on future releases? I believe that the vinyl version of "Pseudomorphosis” will have different art again. What will that be?

We wanted the subjects in the artwork to reflect a cold and sinister atmosphere. The machinery, weaponry and space-crafts are enhanced with bio-mechanoid features to draw attention to the insinuation of a collective consciousness, or hive mind mentality in the antagonist psyche of the Magian race of aliens, in contrast to the more individualistic yet unified-by-a-common-will personality of the protagonist Faustian anti-heroes whom also project a similar sinister uniformity. The Faustian personality type has been moved to evolve into a less compassionate AI like organism, seeing as it was the more matriarchal and altruistic tendencies of his species which made him vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation by the parasitic insectoid Magian foe in the first place. The style of art gives an impression where you are not quite sure what time or era this is all taking place in: it could look like a mediaeval painting with knights in armor fighting against demonic forces, or it could look like a futuristic scene, but really it is all these things – the archetypal myth, the enduring legend is the same: past present and future. At some point, we will explore different artists’ interpretations of the Solar-Mass universe to further illustrate the ongoing and growing themes with new releases.

The Pseudomorphosis cassette.  Vinyl edition due out sometime in 2018 on Iron Bonehead.

7]. I suspect that this has been touched on in one of your earlier answers. On the back flap of the ‘Pseudomorphosis’ cassette cover there is what appears to be a selection of lyrics that says: Biological warfare of “impoverished weak” / We will send them to a watery grave / “Refugees” in retreat!!! / Iron Fortress, Death’s Head bristling with sharpened steel..

What are you attempting to convey with this passage of text? What do you anticipate the reader/listener may interpret from it?

The lyric alludes to one of many warfare tactics to subdue an enemy through the use of psy-op’s. Not all war is fought across trenches on the battlefield with fighting soldier’s pitted mano a mano, and often the deadlier of weapons in the armory is psychological warfare. It is the Trojan Horse of Greek antiquity, the Al-Taqiyya Fi Al-Islam as practiced in the Moslem world, the Black Propaganda that comes out of the War Office, or the ‘fake news’ perpetuated by the Lügenpresse. In conjunction with the psychological assault (which could be also described as a form of chemical warfare seeing as it is the manipulation of hormones controlling the way a target cogitates toward one or many possible opinions on a particular matter) there is also the use of biological warfare so that not only is the victim subdued and confused by the hi-jacked internal chemistry of his being, but he is now, after being softened-up, subjugated to and overwhelmed by biological toxins in the form of infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi all intent on his destruction.

It’s that pathological altruism, that utopian-cosmopolitan belief in miscegenation which has been the Achille’s Heel of Europa and Western Civilisation from the outset. It is the key tool which has helped the West’s enemies in the past be it the opening of the Gates of Toledo in 712 AD, the breaching of the walls of Constantinople in 1453 AD, the ushering in of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 AD, and to the more recent and manufactured so-called ‘European migrant crisis’ in 2015 AD. First comes the psychological warfare followed up by biological warfare. It’s like an end-user clicking on dodgy link in spam mail.

The consequence of altruism is displacement and replacement of the host demographic by introduced alien cultures and foreign bodies. This all happens right under the nose of the ‘everyman’ over a period of just a few generations. He is content his problems are being taken care of so he can return to his spiritual disintegration in the form of beer consumption, Saturday-night football games, pornography, and Hollywood consumerism which tirelessly chip away at his genetic make-up reducing the common man into a dumbed down controllable automaton, all in the name of equality, social justice and “smash the system”. In cybernetic terms the OS has been completely compromised by a computer virus: malware, browser hijacker, directory/file system/cluster virus, memory resident virus, overwrite virus, Trojan.

The lyric provides a ‘futuristic’ scenario where a set of programs have been implemented to firewall the system from malicious parasites of self-replicating “worms” hell-bent on consuming bandwidth, corrupting/modifying files and causing disruption by increasing network traffic. It is the power to will which provides an anti-virus antidote in the form of an iron fortress defence shield around the host computer, human body, sovereign nation, etc. which actively roots out encrypted viruses, polymorphic and metamorphic codes by means of interrogation by Inquisition, screening, scanning, etc... Here we are talking about sending in an elite squad of heuristic AI storm trooper algorithms to systematically and aggressively seek and destroy viral signatures without causing serious problems as a result of false positives during discrimination processes. System back-ups and physical virus removal from the host with surgical precision and then the creation of identity isolation and protectionism after re-installation and a re-boot to further creates a barrier to future-proof against more attacks – All analogous and allegorical to the ‘self-defence of the individual’ and the ‘foreign defence policy of a nation’.

8].  I understand that Solar Mass drummer, Will Bellerby did more than play drums on "Pseudomorphosis"? Can you talk about his contribution as well as how he may be involved in the future. Just out of interest, what is the status of his other band ‘Skuldom’ at the moment?

W.B also played the majority of lead guitar on the recording. After 'Pseudomorphosis' sessions, we changed the way we formulated the rest of the new material with W.B playing lead guitar as well, this dual role allows us to create more dynamic elements to the Solarmass writing process by being 'alive' when we are working on it rather than how i wrote the older material, which was having to work out both guitars from one individual perspective, giving less dimension. There is no other band for W.B at this point in time.

9]. What are your future plans for Solar Mass?

At this stage, I think we need to concentrate on releasing an interesting, if not exciting debut album for public consumption. Once we have that nailed we would like to see the debut distributed and promoted throughout the Western world to acquire a reasonable amount of feedback so we can analyse the data to market future releases. The output will be fed back into the creative loop like a Laplace transform so we can continue to enhance and refine the writing/production process, ensuring future content is one of top quality which conforms to the high caliber expectations serious heavy metal fans demand, without cucking-out to pressure from mainstream labels, magazines and social media platforms. I think there is much more scope to expand on the Solar-Mass universe, and maybe introduce some collateral and abstract concepts into the mix which ordinarily may not find their way into the science fiction genre. I would like to see the band develop into a musical version of the chronicled ‘Heavy Metal / Métal Hurlant’ magazine: Sci-fi, fantasy-horror, anti-establishment screaming-metal!

10]. Is there anything else you’d like to say in closing?

Thank you for providing thought provoking questions. For now, you can follow us here to keep up-to-date with news and merchandise offers: and always remember, Death to the Magian, transport them to Jupiter!