The following interview is done with AmfortaS...

As boring as I know it is for you, I think a history/bio of Merrimack is in order. So illuminate the world on your work. What does the name 'Merrimack' signify?
Ok, I can make this effort once again. MERRIMACK means « infinite depths/abyss » in old Celtic language. We took this name from a book of Graham Maasterton. The author was referring to a great marine chasm swallowing up every human travelling near its borders. MERRIMACK was born in 1994, and we recorded our first demo « Act 1 » in 1995. 1995 was the year of our first concerts, notably with Dark Funeral and Necromass, in Paris-Le Gibus. After many problems with the line-up and some other gigs (again with Dark Funeral, but this time with Bal-Sagoth and Ancient, or with English gods Thus Defiled), we recorded a second demo which was released as a split with another French cult band : HIRILORN (R.I.P). The split has been produced by Drakkar Productions to 300 copies and was sold-out very quickly. Then we changed our drummer and our vocalist, and composed new songs for our future album « Horns defeat Thorns (A Vision of Human Salvation) ».

What sort of things are important for Merrimack, is the band a sort of vehicle to express ideas/beliefs?
Of course, MERRIMACK is for us a tool for massive propaganda. We are not into Black-Metal for fun or to follow any trend. We strongly believe that Black Metal lost its essence, and we look back on the past scene with nostalgia. MERRIMACK lyrics now deal with only one subject : anti-christianity, satanic symbolism, etc… Even if we have dealt with many other subjects in the past, like mythologies, medieval times, etc…
What is important for MERRIMACK is to remain honest in our art, and to try to preserve Black-Metal ideals. The past Elite has now been polluted, but we prefer to concentrate on our real enemies (I mean Christians, Muslims, Jews, or other vermin) than to try to find who is true or not in the scene. I have to specify that MERRIMACK is not at all a political band, etc… and we only fight religions and the weakness of human beings.

Will you go through Drakkar to release 'Horns defeat Horns.' Tell us about your new release and what we can and cannot expect from it?
Nothing is sure yet concerning the deal with Drakkar. He proposed us to release the album, but nothing has been decided. What I can say about this album is that it's totally different from what we did before. We still like our ancient demos, but we think that our present style is exactly what we always wanted to play. Consider this album as a piece of RAW Black Metal. No keyboards, no female vocals, no lyrics about trolls and forests. The titles on the album will be : « Pedophilic Orgasmatron », « Ashes Of Purification », « Horns defeat Thorns », « Guardians of their Slavery », « Apostasy », « The Sabbath Celebration », « Sanctum Regum », and two others tracks for which we have to write the lyrics soon. So expect pure Blasphemy and Hate.

Lyrics are something important to us, a strong serious message... lyric wise, what sort of topics are dealt with ?
As I already told you, our lyrics are now axed on anti-Christian propaganda. We think that all the Black Metal Legions joined in an army could start the Unholy War we've expected for a long time. We want to brainwash people by our Vision of a New Reign, and to explain to some elitist individuals that time has come for them to crush the Christians faces. In our previous demos, we dealt with Celtic and Nordic mythologies, because they are very instructive and we like their symbolism. We have written about medieval times too, since we are fascinated by this period of our History, when the strong were dominating the weak.

Merrimack seems a very straight forward approach to black metal. Raw and somewhat primitive. How has the response been with those who have heard your music?
It depends on the recordings and the people. Some people really enjoyed our first demo, as it was symphonic with many ambiences created by the very sharp voice and the keyboards. Others prefer our new evolution, as it is very raw and primitive, but still melodic and understandable. And finally some people have liked our music from the beginning to the end, and have supported us the most they could ! I hail them ! I think there's a kind of French touch concerning the Black Metal. I hope you see what I mean. As there's a Polish touch, or a Greek touch. And that's what people like. We had very good reviews from foreign countries. Most of the French labels have distributed our demos and gave us very good reviews. We had the chance to be one of the first French BM bands to play live in Paris, and that helped us a lot.

Outside of music, what are you inspired by? What enrages you in this life?
We are inspired by everything that concerns esotericism/occultism, religions, philosophies, mythologies, history, sciences like physics, sex, etc... We like to read. My favorite authors are Beaudelaire, le Marquis de Sade, who has written sublime works on perversions, the constant duality between vice and virtue, Nietzsche for his thought about religions which are very similar to mine, etc… We love nature, spaces which are far from civilization, where you can meditate with the primal sources of creation.
What enrages me ? The mediocrity of most of human beings, who content themselves to live their life, to suffer their life, without wondering the right questions, without trying to get knowledge to elevate themselves. I respect the few individuals who constitute the Elite and despise the whole World.

Tell us more about your quote "Freedom can only take Place in a World blackened by Ashes of Purification." Of course, on a normal level I see its meaning, that the old world must fall before a new one can rise. Much like the belief of Ragnarok, etc.. But what, in your belief, do you stand against in this present civilization, and what do you hope the next order of things is like?
Hmm, well, this sentence is the perfect reflection of what we stand for. Some people have interpreted it as a racist declaration, but it's not turned against any race, but against mankind in general, especially religious people. Let's make it true, and not only an utopia. Let's take the weapons and eradicates the weak from this dying world. Let's be the precursors of a new Era, where we could be free and not conditioned by Judeo-Christian morals. Everything is based on this Judeo-Christian morality : Justice, Education, Politics, etc... This emancipation is possible but the first step is to declare WAR. That is the meaning of this statement. To be clear and to answer to your question "what do you stand against in this present civilization", I would say : HUMANS and what they created. In my new Era, only Elite would survive (have already heard that somewhere?).

Which brings us to our question of the world. We share the dark outlook of mankind expressed by many of the people we interview. That is, many grow impatient and hopeless with mankind and the future of the human race. Do you see hope for the future? Or does a dark day await us all somewhere down the line?
If you've studied the earth evolution, you probably know that the earth passed by different states called "primary era", "secondary era", etc... and that we are now in the "quaternary era". What is the definition of a new era? A new era appears when 90% of the living species disappear because of an ecological catastrophe. I really think that the new era, the fifth one, will take place in less than 200 years. And then 90% of the species will disappear, with of course the humans, cause we are far from being the strongest one. Maybe the catastrophe which will cause the damage will be a nuclear war, or simply the hole in the Ozone layer. But I'm sure that humans will be responsible for it. Unfortunately we won't be there to enjoy the spectacle.

The topic of modern religion is a rather stale topic these days. So let's talk about the old religions pre-dating Judeo-Christianity. Do you find truth in these beliefs of the past?
Yes I think that our ancestors were closer to reality than we are. Even if they glorified some ancient Gods who have nowadays disappeared, they were in fact praising Nature forces. There was a God of War, a God of Love, a God of Oceans, etc... not only a God for positive feelings. Could we imagine a God of War nowadays? Most people think that war and killing other people is not rational, their God and morality don't allow such behaviours. Celts, Vikings, etc... were barbarians, pity wasn't their principal care. They lived as individuals, and even if they worshipped some Gods, their values were Honour, Strength, Courage, etc...

On the subject, do you believe in some form of afterlife? Do we as humans, in your eyes, posses any sort of soul or spirit that lives on?
No I don't think so. I think the spirit dies with the body. On the other hand, I am very interested in these topics and like to read books on these subjects. We survive in the memory of people who have known us, if we achieved great actions during our earthly existence, and that's enough.

Hypothetically, if you could know the answer to any one question, what would your question be?
Without any doubt, that would be: From where do we and the earth come from? Scientists know exactly what happened 1 billionth of a billionth of a second right after the Big Bang, but we still have no idea of what happened at the very instant when the explosion happened, and what was its cause. What was the universe before the Big Bang? Did matter exist? What makes me smile is that Christians argue on what they believe when we ask this question: if we admit that the Earth and the universe cannot come from nothing, because nothing rises from nothing, then we must admit that a God exists and that he created the Universe. But I would answer: Who created God, since you admitted that nothing rises from nothing. There's an obvious contradiction in this theory. And nobody knows the answer of this mystery.

It is interesting to fathom the infinity of space, the possibilities... what are your thoughts on the cosmos and life elsewhere?
I think that it is possible that other kinds of species exist on other planets. If we consider the multitude of planets that are scattered all over the galaxies, the conditions filled by the earth to engender life can probably be filled by another planet. The principal condition is the presence of water, and we know that to obtain water, a planet has to be close to a sun, but not too close. There's an ideal position. Considering that most of the planets we can observe in the night sky are not really at the positions we see them, because of the distance which separates us from them, we can easily imagine that some planets have formed millions of years ago but we still can't observe them, because of the speed of light which is not fast enough to bring us the information of their existence. On the other hand, extra-terrestrial creatures are always represented as more skilled than humans in technologies, etc… so that they can travel in space and visit Earth.. But why? Why wouldn't they be very primitive? And if they are really ultra-developed and skilled in technologies allowing them to come here, their travel would last millions of centuries. Maybe an expedition left a planet millions of years ago but they will arrive here in billions of years because of the distance.

Your thoughts on censorship and freedom in general?
I am for liberty of speech and thoughts. I am my only Master, and nobody has to tell me what to say or not, what to do or not. Justice and laws are made on the basis of Judeo-Christianism. Why couldn't I distribute Satanic flyers at the outdoors of a church ? People are free to read them or not. Nobody is obliged to read or hear anything, there's an audience for each kind of thought or idea. We are fed with Christian crap since our birth, so I feel the right to propagate my ideas, even if they are controversial compared to their ideals. A Nazi is free to say to a Jew that he wish he died, but the Jew is free to answer him the same thing. But as long as we will forbid these behaviors, people will continue to spread their ideals by underground ways, and that's a good thing, cause it can be very efficient (look at the BM scene).

How is censorship and freedom of speech/expression in France? What would you say are some of the positive and negative points of your country?
Of course censorship exists in France. We have an organisation called C.S.A for the censorship of television and audio-visual. They're always controlling emissions and shows and have the power to forbid a show if they judge it can schock people. In fact, the rule is to not incite violence. We are not allowed to utter xenophobia remarks, etc...
On the other hand, CD covers have never been censored in France. I often read that some countries have forbidden Deicide or Cannibal Corpse covers for example. We don't have these problems. Black Metal is sold in Fnac or Virgin Megastore, even if the cover is shocking. That's different for Nazis bands. I don't think we can find a CD with a Svastika on the cover in popular shops. The press is free here. We have many magazines or newspapers which deal with politics. They can laugh at politicians, criticize, etc... But if you show a picture of an animal dying, you can be sure to have tons of organizations for animals protection rising against you the next day. Positive points of my country: Our heritage and culture: we have a complex History, and most of the people here are proud to be French. Our art: we have and had tons of excellent artists, writers, painters, musicians, poets, etc... Our landscapes: we have seas, mountains, lands, forests, volcanoes, etc... (you have these too, but the superficies are not comparable with each other) Our food, our wines, our beers, our girls, our Black-Metal scene... We have lots of concerts here. Négative points : We are a Christian country. And moreover, we have also a lot of Muslims. Overwhelmed by religions. We follow the ways of the USA too often (sorry, I am not an anti-American, but I would prefer us to keep our identity) We try to have a social equality. Everything here is social.

Your thoughts on the internet and its impact on black metal in particular?
I use the Internet a lot, as it is an easy and quick way of communication. I discovered Mourning The Ancient thanks to the Internet. I think it participates to develop the scene. I can keep contact with a lot of bands, fanzines, labels, trade MP3's, and promote our band by massive emails. We can find information on a band in 5 minutes, look at their pictures, listen to their music, read their interviews... On the other hand, it's a pity because people don't write postal letters anymore. It was a kind of tradition in the Black Metal scene to write to other bands, trade demos, trade flyers, etc...

Who in your opinion, speaking of someone in the past, is a worthy human who has maybe inspired you?
I would say Napoleon Bonaparte. For those who don't know him, because he belongs to the French History, I can try to tell you who he was. Hewas born in 1769 in Corsica and died in 1821 in England. He won wars against Austria, Italy. Then he went to Egypt. He took the power in France in 1799 when he came back thanks to a coup d'Etat. He created at this period most of the Institutions which exist now. After that, he won wars against Austria again, then England, and for the first time peace appeared in France. But an internal conspiracy was forming against him, but he controlled the situation and became Emperor of France. He was then called Napoleon the 1st. Then he became a kind of dictator. No liberty of speech, police everywhere, etc… but French people didn't care because he expanded the Empire and was winning wars continuously. There were wars against Prussians, Russians, Portugal, Spain, etc… and Napoleon has won everything. The Empire of France had at this period a superficies 10 times superior to the one it has now. But after another internal conspiracy, with the Church, etc… Napoleon had to come back in France from a battle, and other defeated countries took advantage of the situation and obliged Napoleon to sign some arrangements. The borders of France then reduced to what they were before the Reign of Napoleon.

Does Merrimack play live? Your thoughts on live shows? What are your thoughts on the masses of listeners of black metal? What do you foresee for the future of this music?
Of course we do. It's one of our principal objectives for the next months. As I already told you in the first question, we've already played with bands like Dark Funeral etc…. In two days (17th of March 2001), we will play in Belgium with Enthroned, Cirith Gorgor, Malesanctus, etc… We have plans to play in Holland, in the south of France at a huge Drakkar Fest, etc… I think that 90% of people who listen to BM don't deserve it. But I really don't want to spend my time to find who is "true" or not. I know my enemies. And they are CHRISTIANS ! Anyway, that sucks when you play a gig in front of 15 year old brats wearing COF shirts, but as long as there will be worthy people in the public, we'll continue to play for them. I think that the future of this music is compromised. I listen to old bands with nostalgia, since I think that modern bands have lost this feeling you can find in old Dark Throne or Satyricon stuff. In the past, when a new BM album was out, we were sure to have a masterpiece of unholy Black Art. Now you are 90% sure to have crap. There are too many bands. It's too easy now to fool people by saying to them that this band is true, etc…

Lastly, your final thoughts and words of wisdom to the tired world?


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