Cantabrian pagan metal band CrystalMoors have just entered their 18th year of existence. This Spanish band started back in 1995 with a sound closer to underground black metal, enriched it later with folk elements and recently turned closer to epic black death metal. Let’s see what are they preparing after 2011′s successful sophomore album “Circle of the Five Serpents”.
- Hello Aernus and Uruksoth! I hope the new year finds all of you in good health! Would you like to inform us about the current state of CrystalMoors? Are you in the middle of touring, are you preparing a new album, or do you take a break.
(Aernus): Greetings! We recently came back from the Spanish W:O:A Metal Battle Final. We were not expecting to win, and we didn’t, but we had fun and enjoyed sharing stage with a lot of new and young bands. Apart from it, we are working on new songs. Don’t know yet if we will release a new album or an EP / split, or something like that. It depends on how everything goes, on how many songs we record… We are also preparing our next show in Madrid, together with Forgotten Tomb, Isole, Ereb Altor and Apocynthion in the Spring Depression Fest.
- Would you like to tell us a few things about the beginning of your band? It started back in 1995 and everything was different back then.
(Aernus): Totally different. Those were the times without internet, equipment limitations… When this music was totally an underground movement. So, Erun Dagoth decided to create a side project to his main band Moonshine, with more epic, medieval and “blacker” sound. The first demo tape was recorded in 1997, “The Cry of the Forest“, but never was officially released. After this first step he records two tapes more with the same form and the same result. The goal was to create a basis for the first official demo which was finally released at the beginning of 1999.
- Between 1999 and 2002 CrystalMoors released 3 demos. Can you tell us about the evolution of the band between those releases?
(Aernus): “Thy Gift of Ravens“, “At the Moon Realms Gate” and “Dominion of the Ancient Seal” were those demos. The evolution was the logical one. You know, more experience, better skills, a defined style for the lyrics and music, and of course, an improvement on the sound.
- After some line-up changes you finally released the EP “The Unconquered Land” in 2003. What are your memories from your first official release?
(Aernus): Here is when the big changes came in the band. The one man band evolved to a full band, so the possibility to start live performing was then a reality. We entered first time in a professional studio for recording the EP and it had a very good response from the media and a lot of shows came.
- In 2007 you released the split album “Nabia Orebia” with Omendark. What changed in your music with this release?
(Aernus): This split was basically a re-recording of two songs appeared on the second and third demos, completed with two folkish interludes and a new song, so there wasn’t any notable change on the music and the sound.
- In 2008 your debut full-length album “Antiqvam Exqvirite Matrem” was finally released via the German label Blood Fire Death Productions. This album was more Celtic folk oriented. How do you see this work now?
(Aernus): After almost 15 years it was like a “mission accomplished”. Hard and long work to see the album released. Now, looking backward, we are proud of that work. We love some of the song on this release, and always play live. They still have the CrystalMoors feeling on every note.
- Three years later your second album “Circle of the Five Serpents” was out. Your sound changed a lot. Was it planned since the conception of compositions, or did it just happened during the recording process?
(Aernus): Well, we had better means for the recording, and the sound is much better than the first album. However I think the music has the same feeling. The arrangements and the melody lines are well crafted, so it translates on the final result.
- How would you describe your music? I’ve seen you call it Cantabrian pagan metal. What exactly does this mean? One of the reasons I ask, is because your style has changed a lot through the years. Does the term “Cantabrian” has to do only with the lyrical concept, or does it define the music too?
(Aernus): That’s the correct definition for us. We play a mix of black and death metal, with the folkish touch, reinforced by the lyrics, based on the Cantabrian (our region) history, mythology and culture. With the mix of every element we got the Cantabrian Pagan Metal.
- I think you have a more “mainstream” sound now. Is your intention to reach larger audience, or is it just the result of the natural evolution of your music skills?
(Aernus): We don’t think we are a mainstream sounding band. Does the good sounding and playing mean mainstream? We are tired of the crappy sound, and it’s not for this kind of music. Maybe for the raw black metal or putrid death metal, but not for CrystalMoors. It can be more easy listening for the people, but we are still an underground band, so yes, it can be the result of the natural evolution of the band complemented with the technological advances in music.
- Your lyrics are based in your mythology and Celtic Cantabrian culture. Would you like to give us some information about this culture that might be unknown to many of your listeners? Is there any specific concept in your latest album?
(Uruksoth): Cantabria is our region, in the north of Spain. A place between the high mountains and the beaches and cliffs, with a pagan pre-Christian culture rich on mythology and traditions. The Cantabrians are Celtic blooded and belligerent people who lived quite isolated from the rest of the ancient world, caused by the precipitous territory they were located. We talk about the things we know through the ages, history, mythology, the historical reenactment, old traditions… Like the homeage to the sun and the moon, rivers and mountains, the authochthonous deities like Deva, Lug, Erudinus… The fierce Cantabrian Wars against Roma (1st century BC), mythological creatures like the Ojáncano (one eyed and long haired giant), Culebre (Cliffs Dragon)… We talk about every of those things, to preserve them for the ages and not rot in oblivion, in our point of view and the way we see and understand the paganism.
Every work of CrystalMoors is about everything above. Concerning “Circle of the Five Serpents“, the title is about the Stela de Lombera (the Cantabrian steles are a huge funerary or adoration monolithic monuments). This one symbolizes like five arrows or curved snakes a circle, representing the cult to the sun. In this last work we also wanted to talk about how the modern world is destroying the Nature in a metaphoric poetry full of anger, as we do on “Cry of Gaia”. We are destroying the Mother Earth… and she will give everything back swallowing us in water, soil and lava!
- What are the future plans of CrystalMoors? Are you satisfied with your current sound and style, or do you think of more changes and surprises to come?
(Aernus): We are now working on new songs and playing some gigs in Spain. Then we will start recording new stuff, and as previously mentioned, don’t know yet if we will release an EP, split or a new full-length. However the 3rd album will come for sure. We are totally satisfied with the way taken by the band, and we will follow the same in the future. No weird experiments or style mixing. CrystalMoors will still be the same, but always trying to do it better.
- Would you like to give us some info of your stage performances? Why should someone attend to a CrystalMoors gig?
(Aernus): We have powerful performances, wearing chain-mails in most shows, and last times reinforced with some fx samples and visual projections. That gives a nice touch and a better epic feeling to our music, so everyone coming to our shows will feel and live an intense experience.
- Are there any plans for gigs or international tours? Is there any specific schedule you ‘d like to share?
(Aernus): We are working on it, maybe for the end of this year or the beginning of the next 2014. For the moment we have some shows in Spain before summer, and planning some more after it.
- How do you see your country’s stage? There are not many “big” names in it, but there are many good bands. Would you like to recommend any of them?
(Uruksoth): Inside the Iberian pagan metal we have very good bands with pagan and traditional lyrical themes like Numen, Hordak, Xerion, Omendark, Berserk… These bands, besides the high musical quality, they have their own identity on the lyrics, talk about their regions history and traditions… Not like some wannabe bands talking about Vikings and wanting to be like them. So stupid being Spanish. Those bands have nothing to do with pagan metal and “makes” empty music, with no message. About remainder styles on extreme metal, we have very good death, black, doom, thrash, grind, crust… bands. Also some good acts of Dark Folk and Ambient. We have a lot of interesting bands, but also, like in every place, awful and shitty ones. I personally like Foscor, Evadne, Helevorn, Legacy of Brutality, Ekkaia, Moonshine, Narsilion, Der Blaue Reiter…
- Most of your band’s members also participate in other bands too. Would you like to name some of them that deserve our attention? Is CrystalMoors your main project?
(Uruksoth): Some of us are actually involved in some bands and projects. Abathor (guitars) plays on Gathering Darkness, a brutal death metal band. Faramir (guitars, whistle, pipes) sings and plays guitar on Noesis, and electronic rock band (I wrote some lyrics for them). Aernus (keyboards, samples, whistles), the only not Cantabrian guy in the band (he is Basque) plays guitars, bass, folk intstruments, keys and sings on his main band Omendark. He is also (it can sound weird) on electronic music, producing and DJing on different styles like techno, IDM, experimental, ambient, electro, Italo disco, with different names and projects. And I am actually the vocalist of Gathering Darkness, a band I formed in 1998. I am also the vocalist in the international post depressive black metal band In Luna, vocalist with the Italian depressive BM band Misere Nobis, and with Crisischrist, a grindcore/crust band… Every of them negative themed! I used to sing also in Forestdome, together with Gharador and Erun Dagoth (drummer and ex-guitar on CrystalMoors), although is disbanded some label reedited all our works in a CD compilation. As you see, we are and have been involved in a lot of bands of every kind, cause we love music and are very active people, and always supporting the underground! And every band we are involved in is important for us. The way to express our inquisitiveness. CrystalMoors is a Clan, a big family of good friends met long time ago, who enjoys going to rehearse and playing together. CrystalMoors is the way to speak about our culture, the way we see the paganism and we make the music we like to express this. The other bands (I speak by myself) are necessary to reflect other kind of things nothing to do with paganism. The life, negativity, current world state… I love to experiment another styles of music and writing for them.
- Thank you very much for your time. Last words are yours.
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