Texas appears to be fertile grounds to spawn black metal bands. Only a few branch out into national and international levels. I stumbled upon Humut Tabal a couple of years ago and was perplexed over their unique take on black metal. Instead of pigeonholing themselves, they draw into a vast amount of influences (and probably from within themselves) to mold a formidable black metal sound.
Forbidden Magazine recently spoke to Grimzaar (guitarist/vocalist) of the misanthropic black metal band Humut Tabal.
Hails Grimzaar! Thank you for your time. Why did you form Humut Tabal?
I participated in Humut Tabal’s formation as part of my journey into consciousness-altering music. Black metal affects me like no other form of music. Good black metal provokes a near-instant physical reaction in me, not unlike a drug. Humut Tabal is committed to musical excellence. We desire to perform music that alters people, including ourselves. I was fortunate to find like-minded people who shared my desires– in fact, Hravan approached me about forming the band. He, Njord, and I formed Humut Tabal to manifest this common vision.
Humut Tabal released a full length album in 2009. Are you working on new material? If so, what can we expect from it?
I am hesitant to call our first release a full-length. I view it as more of an EP. Two years ago, we recorded a true full-length. It is complete, but we haven’t released it because the time wasn’t quite right and we hadn’t found someone willing to make the sort of artwork we wanted for it. It is a very allegorical release, and we want the artwork to reflect the story of the album. It is not a purely black metal album, since it contains crushing death metal riffs, thrash sections, and some experimental elements. All of these devices serve the symbolism of the whole release. We are also discussing releasing another split. More on that soon.
The ‘God’ Humut Tabal derives from ancient Sumeria. Why did you tap into this resource? Morbid Angel helped popularize using Sumerian themes – was this an influence for you?
The cultures of the fertile crescents were the oldest civilizations. Use of a Mesopotamian entity reflects our desire to create impressions of timeless, ancient darkness that modern minds are largely unfamiliar with. Specifically, Humut Tabal also represents death, journey, and transcendence. I see some parallels between Humut Tabal and Chronozon, who guards the Abyss that separates the Three Supernals from the rest of existence, hence the relationship to transcendence and timelessness.
I did a Google search for Humut Tabal while looking for some information on your band and noticed that Google recommended ‘Tabal’ should be changed to ‘Table’. Has anyone ever mispronounced your band’s name? If they’ve said the word ‘Table’ – would it get under your skin?
Mispronunciation is common, and I have heard “Table” said. I think the people who utter that are uncultured idiots who are incapable of simple phonetics.
How would you define the Texas Black Metal scene? What bands stand out the most? Which are your favorites? Are there any hidden gems that we should know about?
I don’t feel inclined to discuss the “scene” in much depth. As far as black metal bands go, Averse Sefira (no longer together), Morbus 666, and Plutonian Shore deserve mention. There are many bands in Texas that are not purely black metal bands that deserve attention as well, including Absu (obviously) and The Black Moriah.
You enlisted a keyboardist for live performances in 2011. How has this extended your concept? Is it another parallel that was needed to complete your sound? What are your thoughts on keyboards in black metal versus no keyboards in black metal?
Humut Tabal has always contained keyboards with very few exceptions. Prior to Bakaneko’s joining the band, I played keyboards on the recordings. Bakaneko enables us to use them live. Keyboards in black metal need to be properly integrated into the texture. In many cases, keyboards sound like and afterthought to music that was obviously composed without them. In other cases, the guitars resort to sonic idiocy to give the keyboards the spotlight, which usually takes place in the form of ornate but unintelligent wankery. For keyboards to be effective, they need to play an important role the composition from the very first section they enter in, whether or not the synth part is minimal or complex.
What types of music do you enjoy outside of metal? Rumor has it that you’re an avid composer.
I have been involved in art music for most of my life. My favorite composers of art music are John Dunstable, Josquin des Pres, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, J.S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Richard Strauss, Charles Ives, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Shoenberg, Webern, and Phillip Glass. Within the last few months I have become interested in opera, particularly the works of Mozart and Verdi. In addition to art music, I love classic rock ‘n’ roll, classic country, roots reggae music, 60s and 70s soul music, and southern rap. I compose many different types of music, mostly art music and black metal.
Thank you for your time. Please share any other thoughts that you may have.
Thank you as well. Remember that good metal is also good music. If a piece isn’t good music, it also isn’t good metal. Supporting the scene also entails disregarding trash.