Aenaon has been causing a stir since their formation in 2005, with their ability to fuse unconventional elements such as jazzy sounds into their brand of black metal. Their ability to still sound coherent despite influences from opposite ends of the musical spectrum is obvious on their full length album, Cendres et Sang, possibly one of the better albums that I have encountered thus far this year. We talk to composer and guitarist of the band, Achilleas C. to find out more.
Greetings to you and to Heavy Metal Tribune too. Aenaon were formed back in 2005 in Greece by Thyragon and Draugen but became really active in 2007 with live shows and a Promo that was actually released by Bleak Art Records later in 2009 as “Phenomenon” EP. In 2010 the line up changed and we decided to change also the identity and the logo of the band. Aenaon transformed from a Zyklon or Emperor influenced band to something more original. We released a 7’’ split with Romanians Satanochio in 2010 as a test before our full length and in June 2011 we signed with Code666 and released our first full length “Cendres et Sang” introducing an original and avant-garde black metal sound to our fans.
What is the meaning behind the band name, Aenaon and what is the significance and how does it relate to the music that the band plays?
“Aenaon” means in Greek language “infinite”, “indestructible” or “the ever-flowing existence”. With this words ancient Greeks described the existence of human soul, the endless universe and a lot of different and mysterious things about life and death. Our name really combined those ideas and I believe the word “Aenaon” is exactly what we want to achieve through this band. Infinite and indestructible black metal art.
It was not until 2008 that the band’s lineup was finally stable. How did the current lineup come about?
Actually I think it was about 2009. Astrous and Thyragon really wanted to keep alive the band after Draugen and Vanghmar left Aenaon. After a while, around 2010 they contacted me and Dagwn to reunite the band and to do something different and even more challenging. So here we are now being stronger than ever with a solid line up.
Let’s now talk about the band’s recent full length album, Cendres Et Sang. How has the release been received in the extreme metal community so far?
I think very-very good. We got a huge amount of new fans and very good and exciting reviews. There is a small amount of pretty old school black metal fans and reviewers that think what we do is not “true” enough compared to “Phenomenon” but no problem for us. We are “true” enough to ourselves.
In the album, on top of the standard black metal styles, unconventional styles of music such as some jazzy elements were spotted. What was the reason behind incorporating these styles into the music on the Cendres Et Sang?
Yeah, you know we didn’t actually combined exactly on purpose jazz or other styles in our music. All of us listen and influence from a lot of different stuff, jazz or electronica music, painting, movies or any other art. This sounded the right way to express our emotional rage. We really liked the result and we want to expand these jazzy elements in the future. Plus saxophone can be so “dark” and “smooth” at the same time that is really a musical weapon for as from now on.
With the inclusion of guest musicians on instruments like piano and saxophone on the album, what was the songwriting process like?
We wanted to leave those musicians feel free to expand their way of view into our music so we just told them what we want in an emotional level. We had already a solid black metal base in our tracks so it wasn’t so difficult to combine those too. Well I think it would be a little more complicated and challenging for us in the future as we want to experiment more.
The band also had V’ Gandr of Helheim and Aeternus on guest vocals for the album. How did that collaboration come about and was there any reason in picking him for guest vocals in particular?
We wanted to have some guests in vocals too and of course we communicate only with artists we really respected. V’ Gandr was one of them and his amazing and friendly response was the reason to have a great collaboration. We are fans both of Aeternus and especially Helheim so it was great to have him and he really did a great performance.
The album title, Cendres Et Sang roughly translates to “Blood and Ashes” in English. Are there any particular running concepts or themes behind the lyrics of the album, and if so, what are they?
No, I don’t think there is really a concept but we thought this is a good title that is expressing most of the album’s lyrics. This album is dedicated to human and his mortal existence. His abuses, his pain, his madness, the beast inside him and of course his needs to believe in something higher than himself. This two words explain the organic and spiritual level of human as also life and death as a part of human’s nature. We chose French language just because we liked the way it sounded.
When writing the lyrics to Cendres Et Sang, where did the band draw inspiration from?
Well I’m not the right man to answer this question as Astrous is in charge of Aenaon’s lyrical ideas. If you read the titles of our tracks you will find out some obvious inspirations, for example “Kafkasque” is dedicated to Kafka and “In Heaven” is a cover based on David Lynch’s Eraserhead movie. So you know, some good books, some good movies and generally good and emotional arts. Our Greek philosophical legacy is also always an inspiration too.
What about the album art? How did the inspiration for the album artwork come about and what was it that made the band decide to approach Lukasz Wodynski to do the artwork?
Well we knew him and we really believe he is one of the greatest painters at the moment. His style is unique and we felt that he is the right man to express our music through his colors and images. We contacted him, he liked our music and we were lucky enough to collaborate. I hope he will continue to work with us in the future.
With the many guest instrumentalists on the album, how does the band bring the album to live during live performances? What are the greatest challenges musically when performing live?
Well the worst part is that we haven’t started live shows yet as our drummer left the band just before “Cendres…”. I don’t really think we will have any problems with the other instruments as this can be solved with pre-recorded material as the most of the bands do and we’re also thinking about having a saxophonist in our line-up. The difficult part is to find a decent drummer.
What will the short term plans for Aenaon be now that the full length album has finally been released?
As I already said, it’s very important to solve some small problems and start touring immediately. Also we have in mind to release one more 7’’ split vinyl. We have already started to search for a second band that can fulfill this idea and release together something more than just interesting.
Finally, the last words are yours!
Thanks for your interest and we wish you and our fans to enjoy our new avant-garde beast. Our salutes to Singapore and Heavy Metal Tribune!