Metal has a whole plethora of subgenres, ranging from radio-tolerated acts like Metallica and Disturbed, to the extreme. On the dark end of Maine’s metal spectrum, we have Sacrichrist, an extreme/black metal band. Aggressive, unapologetic, and brutal, black metal, for those who don’t know, goes hand in hand with cold, wintery landscapes, bleak northern forests, and, well, cold. Maine’s black metal scene may be small, but the musicians and bands can hold their own. Here’s a look at Sacrichrist, a black metal band out of Central Maine.
Sacrichrist has only two members. Brian Von Damage plays drums, occasional bass, vocals, and handles sampling. Naythen “the Beast” Wilson plays guitar, bass, and some vocals. (Note: according to their band bio, he is also prone to heart attacks and getting dust in his eye.)
Sacrichrist formed in 2009, playing upstairs at Brian’s house. “We actually de-evolved,” Brian says. “That’s why we play nontraditional raw black metal.”
Officially, the band traces their musical lineage back to black metal classics like Darkthrone and Venom.
Drummer/Vocalist Brian got an early start playing. “I carried a snare drum/stand (hard cased) two miles to school every day back and forth. I started in fifth grade. I banged on anything I could get my hands on before that, but that’s when I really started playing traditionally.”
Brian was heavily influenced by classic black metal and extreme metal. His list of influential albums is fairly lengthy. “Bathory – The Return, Sarcophago– I.N.R.I., Darkthrone – Hate Them\Sardonic Wrath (those two albums are connected, they confirm this on the new commentary for Hate Them), Paragon Impure – To Gaius (for the delivery of Agrippina), Pest (from Germany) – Vado Mori, Satanic Warmaster – Nachzehrer, Xasthur – Telepathic With The Deceased, Horna- Sotahuuto, Leviathan – Howl Mockery at the Cross, Lord – Hell’s F*cking Metal, Ruins – Baptized in Hell, Inquisition – Obscure Verses For The Multiverse (my best black metal album of 2013), and Deadhole– The Curse of the Ghoul.” Brian’s top black metal bands are Xasthur, Darkthrone, Sarcophago, Bathory and Venom.
His non-musical inspirations also tend towards the darker edge of art and/or entertainment. “Comics from the 80’s, 80’s gore cinema, Gorezone Magazine, Fangoria Magazine, Jim Goad’s Answer Me zine. Skating and Satan, because they go hand and hoof. Faces of Death, Banned From TV. The act of building anything from nothing into something.”
“I first started playing music in the late 70’s when I was a toddler,” Naythen says. “Piano on my mother’s lap as she played. Started taking music very seriously in about 1983, when I started bass.”
An extremely talented and versatile guitarist, Naythen has definitely developed a unique style and often works in atonal or nontraditional structures. His solo work was the focus of a recent documentary, the Continuous Echo.
“My solo material does crossover into my material with Sacrichrist,” Naythen explains, “because all my music is bound together by my Satanic beliefs. No matter what style of music I make, it is for the same drive, the same purpose, the same primitive force that is my creator.” Naythen lists the albums that were the biggest influence on him as Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Darkthrone – Transylvanian, Watain – Lawless Darkness, and Hellhammer – Apocalyptic Raids. His top five black metal bands of all time are Darkthrone, Dissection, Watain, Celtic Frost and Mayhem.
He is also influenced by other factors, aside from music. “Many things inspire me,” he explains. “Family, ancestry, death, misery, collections, automation, regal ties, science, bettering one’s self. I live for feeling uncomfortable, for being put on the spot. Instantaneous creation.”
Living in the Pine Tree State does have an effect on the music Sacrichrist creates. “I think it does definitely,” Brian says. “But a lot of drumming is rooted in tribal nature.
“If you take the sounds away from the forest, the forest will die.”
Naythen agrees. “The state of Maine does influence my playing; the dreary, rugged terrain, my Native American roots and my upbringing all play a giant role in how I approach my instruments.”
“We face the same challenges most bands face,” Brian says. “But, Maine is a large state with a small population. So the distance this creates is a challenge. Weather/extreme cold can be a challenge too, I suppose. Who hasn’t had a snow storm in Maine destroy their plans?”
Sacrichrist’s focus is mainly on recording. Their goals for the near future are clear, as Brian explains. “We want to finish 14 minutes’ worth of material into a cohesive 7-inch 45rpm record that’s worth putting out and do 500 of those. A possible split release with other USA and perhaps Canadian black metal bands has been talked about via social media. We’re hopeful.”
Brian describes their songwriting process as pretty quick. “It’s just based on us getting together and hashing our ideas out into a cohesive song structure drum and guitar-wise. We then overlay bass. Then I take a week to write to it. I do the lead vocals, and lastly, Naythen does the backups.”
The band is appreciative of the support they have received, as Brian explains. “We’d like to say thanks also to the other bands that have supported us. Putrid Christ (MI), Ominous Grim (CA), Lurid Reign (Alberta, Canada), Marakadon (FL) Distorted Strings of Doom (NY), Shaved Christ and Harsh Words (GA), Inverticrux (NH) Graveside Service (RI), as well as Exalted Woe Records (FL). Thanks to Zach and Buzz from Metal Devastation Radio.com for playing us. Extra special worship to the Face of Sacrichrist, the artists: Chris Grondin from Nightmare Force, NEV from Gruesome Graphx, and Dan from Dan’s Putrid Art.”