“From The Archives 2017”

Over the years, I’ve become friends with many people in different bands. Inevitably, they end up introducing you to other bands and projects they become involved in. Such is the case with Lantern. Several years back, one Juha Noisehunter, who at the time was in Hell-Spirit and has been involved in Death Thrashers Kuopio, told me about his friend and bandmate Cruciatus, and his project called Lantern. I think at the time, I was at least a little familiar with Cruciatus, as he was also in a very killer death metal band called Cacodaemon at the time. So of course I checked out Lantern. When I did so, I was instantly enthralled with the mix of black and death metal with small hints of doom here and there. Like its namesake, Lantern was a shining beacon of light at a time that was otherwise full of fairly uninteresting bands. Not surprisingly, they were eventually picked up by Dark Descent Records, as they fit in perfectly with what the label was starting to become known for. Now, with the release of their second album, “II: Morphosis,” here’s Cruciatus of Lantern.
How are things?

Things are more than fine. The 2nd album (II: Morphosis) vinyls are about to arrive at the Lantern HQ any time now (FEB 28 2017), very excited about this. Other than that, we’re busy practicing for our 10th year / album release special set list, naturally hoping to see more interesting live opportunities after the new album comes out. What else? Loads of snow punishing us currently, but that doesn’t stop us Finns.

BM: How are things?

Cruciatus: Things are more than fine. The 2nd album (II: Morphosis) vinyls are about to arrive at the Lantern HQ any time now (FEB 28 2017), very excited about this. Other than that, we’re busy practicing for our 10th year / album release special set list, naturally hoping to see more interesting live opportunities after the new album comes out. What else? Loads of snow punishing us currently, but that doesn’t stop us Finns.

BM: The band name is a little unusual… most of the time in metal, it’s more about creating darkness. Except a lantern does the exact opposite of that.

Cruciatus: I have started to cringe over those Bestial This, Goat That and Blah-blah Holocaust titles. Of course, to each their own, but Lantern just tickled my fancy with its simplicity and the fact that it does have relevant points of view in a philosophical and even a death / black metal sense. For me, this band name represents light in the darkness (luminosity is needed for shadows to exist) and hence balance (something important to my views), as well as the fire element (the measly lantern holding potential for energy, destruction, focus…). I tend to say that the eerie light of the lantern makes the horrors along one’s path appear even more ghastly. And naturally, there’s this certain ancestral feel to it. It’s a relic of the past, like we all are starting to be. [laughs]

BM: Is there a central concept for the new album?  Are the songs related at all?

Cruciatus: “II: Morphosis” is not a concept album, but there is certain linkage between the songs. As the title indicates, the album is a description of a transformation process, in this case dealing with death, dying, afterlife and existence in general. The album goes through this cycle from start to finish, and in a way, attempts to trigger the cycle again during its end part… so to say. The elements / thematic building blocks of the songs vary from medieval black plague, Lovecraftian dream deaths and visions of the limbo all the way to and flirting with texts from the Bardo Thodol, but in the end, the songs beat around the same bush.

BM: How does the album’s name and cover tie in?

Cruciatus: The cover is mostly a collage of the album’s lyrical themes and the abovementioned unifying thematic spine. The morphosis theme is there, summarized by that “human cocoon”, which Zbigniew M. Bielak captured brilliantly.

BM: Is there a reason why you’re officially a duo, rather than taking in your live musicians as full members?

Cruciatus: Actually, we have evolved into a five-piece during the last couple of years, even though Metal Archives says otherwise (again, FEB 28 2017). “II: Morphosis” is the first release with the full band playing, and I could not be any happier. Working as a duo sure had its perks, but it was also highly taxing, especially because I was handling ALL the instruments as well as song-writing, recording and mixing. Besides, this group has really started to weld together and feel like a real band, as well.

BM: Looking back at your demos, are you letting the older songs lie, or have you taken parts of them and incorporated them into new songs?

Cruciatus: I don’t tend to incorporate anything that has been released once (more or less officially) in new songs. So when it comes to our demo songs, I’ve let them lie as they are. However, we have had the tendency of re-recording our favorite demo songs with only very slight modifications, as is the case with “Transmigration” and “Virgin Damnation” that appear on “II:.” “Manifesting Shambolic Aura” was the one demo song entry on “Below,” but now our sleeve is empty of songs to re-record. Well almost: there is one track we used for a compilation we are intending to revisit for our 3rd album or some other future release. I do have some age-old riffs, too, ideas that are still finding their place in definitive compositions. Some small bits and pieces I’m going to harness in the future actually come all the way from 1998 or 1999.

BM: You’re also in some other projects.  I’m always interested in the creative process for artists who write for multiple bands.  Do you sit down and consciously write for one, or do you just let the ideas flow out of you and fit them where you think they’d be the most appropriate?

Cruciatus: Interestingly enough, Lantern is the only metal output I am consciously writing for at the moment. I have been able to put all my metal-wise focus and creativity into this entity, so I really don’t have much experience on writing for multiple bands of the same genre simultaneously. There is another death metal formation I have recently tangled myself into, but the main man behind that particular project (which shall yet remain unnamed) will mostly be in charge of song-writing. I’ll probably join in with a few ex tempore additions, riffs and ideas (especially regarding leads etc.), but I won’t be consciously sitting down to write songs for that band, at least for as long as I feel the urge to compose new songs for Lantern.

Funeral Procession, a heavy / doom metal outfit me and Necrophilos are both involved in is another group I’m playing guitar in, but again, I’m mostly helping a friend (Pimeä of Flame, ex-Urn and ex-Barathrum fame) incarnate his vision and express myself via leads, solos and such that are usually created in quite an improvisational fashion. Thus, more proof that Lantern is where my creativity really goes. But then there are all these non-metal ideas that I get whether I like it or not. Like with the Lantern material, these ideas just randomly pass in and out through my head when I’m playing an instrument, or better still, just walking around, commuting to work… or even in a dream. Hence, I can easily create Lantern material and non-metal compositions in the same session; its just music being born and finding a channel.

BM: I have to know… is there any chance of a reissue of the Cacodaemon albums?  I’ve got the final release and would love to own the rest.

Cruciatus: If you ask me, the chances for Cacodaemon reissues are very slim. The gruesome fact is that I’m only happy with the final release, while everything else is too much on that clumsy “apprentice years” side for me to enjoy (even though some of the songs are still great). Of course, the first two tapes have their necro charm / “legend” status, but are they worth reissuing? I wouldn’t say so.

BM: Final comments belong to you.

Cruciatus: Once again, thanks for interesting questions, Tom! “II: Morphosis” should be out to haunt when this interview is out, so I endorse the readers to obtain it and enjoy the madness. As said, we’re hoping to play more shows while we’re still in our top form. Don’t hesitate to contact cruciatus_ at hotmail dot com for booking, interviews, questions and whatnot. Also, there’s new Lantern material bubbling under, so if nothing dramatic happens, expect more weird tunes, tales and shenanigans to emerge in the future!

Interview By Tom Wren
Photo by Arto Soini