With their new album Mære, Austrian black metallers Harakiri From The Sky are finally settling into their seat among the genre’s most interesting and innovative artists. Confrontational and throttling while simultaneously sweeping and beautiful, the album will please fans of both all-elbows acts like Krallice and lovers of atmospheric artists like Violet Cold and Alcest (whose frontman Neige guest-stars on the record). It’s appropriate that the record is named after a pagan nightmare, as the songs thereon merge both shadowy horror and an old-world sense of practical beauty.
We took a moment to converse with multi-instrumentalist MS about how the band have evolved, and what Mære means to them…
What do you feel is the biggest change or adjustment you have experienced between 2018’s Arson and Mære?
The general process of creating Mære was essentially not different to Arson regarding the way we approached the writing and recording. In the time between albums, though, you pick up a lot of new influences and experiences that consciously or unconsciously have an impact on you, that might be noticeable to listeners, but is nothing we tried to implement on purpose. I tried to bring in a few more influences of music I listen to like indie and alternative rock, but never at the expense of the songs just to force new elements into them. It just simply became part of the way I write music.
Where did the idea for this title and theme come from? Where did you first hear of Mære the creature?
The ‘Nachtmahr,’ which is pretty much the literal translation for nightmare, is well known in german speaking countries, so Mære is practically just the older word for it. The creature sits on your chest and brings discomfort and fear while you are asleep. A feeling well known to most people when troubled and haunted by something. As our lyrics and music in general deals with topics like these, we thought it would be a fitting metaphor for the topics our songs are dealing with. It is always hard to find an album title that summarizes the content of everything on it but this just felt about right.
Along those lines, have either of you ever had issues with sleep paralysis?
Not in the full blown sense, which must be horrible, but symptoms alike.
Do you ever find it difficult to walk the line between beautiful, ambient music and straightforward metal?
Exactly the opposite. I think it goes hand in hand at makes it way more interesting. Metal in general is quite intense and expressive music, so why not pair that intensity with emotions like melancholy and despair? Being utterly disappointed by something maybe wants you to cry out what’s happening and maybe use it as a way of self therapy. We try to convey a balance between calm and rage with our music and it always seemed natural.
A lot of American metalheads know tons about the German and Scandinavian scenes — what in your opinion is the Austrian scene really about? Is there something that sets Austrian metal apart from others genres/scenes?
In recent years, many promising bands formed all across the metal genres. For a long time, Austria was kind of a blank spot except maybe two or three bands like Summoning or Belphegor that were known internationally. But I’m confident that might change in the future. In the aspect of distinction to other bands, there are some bands that sing in local dialect, implement traditional local folk elements or work up our own myths and stories instead of jumping on the Nordic/Biking trend that got so popular, and therefore bring something fresh that might also be interesting for listeners abroad.
Harakiri From The Sky’s Mære is out now on all streaming platforms, and is available for purchase.