Embark Upon Chaos: A Conversation With Sindre Solem and Christian Holm of NEKROMANTHEON

A visual primer for the upcoming year-end contender of Norwegian thrash metal.

Among the most visual of music genres, metal is at the top and to break it down even further, thrash metal leads the charge with some of the most iconic album covers across time. Slayer, Kreator, Megadeth, Testament, Sepultura, and so many more set the stage for a promising future to come, highlighting the significance that a well-crafted visual investment can have on the impact and longevity of a full-length record. Needless to say, some of those records and album covers alike still hold their weight and continue to inspire bands of today, several decades beyond their inception. Though the thrash flame may have dwindled over the years, it still burns and a new generation of bands are taking the helm in paying it forward. Norway's NEKROMANTHEON is one and with their third chapter Visions Of Trismegistos fast approaching, the trio skyrocket themselves to the top of the flooded metal underground with conviction. In true thrash fashion, they do so accompanied by a rather twisted cover illustration.

Arriving on April 30th via Indie Recordings and Hells Headbangers Records, Visions Of Trismegistos presents itself as a labyrinthine listen of towering proportions. Technically excellent in every aspect, Visions is the result an honest attention to songcraft, one that comes well adorned by the artistic prowess of Zbigniew M. Bielak. His multidimensional approach to the cover is an exquisite pairing for the band's take on thrash, the likes of which incorporates an overarching and sinister approach to the genre in the same vein than that of Bielak's architectural depictions. Visions Of Trismegistos is simply an all encompassing beacon of light for audiences looking for the raw nature of 80's thrash in a trailblazing new light.

We talk to NEKROMANTHEON's own Sindre Solem (bass/vocals) and Christian "Kick" Holmes (drums) about the devilish intricacies of Bielak's cover illustration for Visions, the contemporary state of thrash, and more:

The stage is now set for ‘Visions of Trismegistos’, which comes almost a decade after ‘Rise, Vulcan Spectre’ (2012) and a little over a decade after your debut, ‘Divinity of Death’ (2010). You’ve remained active through live shows and much has obviously happened since then, creating plenty of subject material to build upon. Now entering 2021, to what do you attribute this magnificent return?

Solem: Well, there are several reasons it has taken time, one being occupied with other bands and projects, plus life in itself. We have also a somewhat unrealistic standard of what thrash metal should be, so writing new material takes a very, very long time. Thrash metal gets boring and generic very fast if it does not have the right balance of darkness, speed, dynamic, ferocity and uncut rawness, mixed with technicality up to a point, without losing the sense of spontaneity, element of surprise, and feeling of “danger” so to speak. It also needs a fitting production AND personality. We try to make our own strain of serious thrash, based off a few classics and obscure old recordings, and take it from there to a place that feels somewhat timeless and personal. This ideal has led us to throw away mass amounts of music and re-write even more time and time again. This takes A LOT of time and can be quite demoralizing when you’ve spent a year on material that goes in the bin. But that’s the path we choose, for this record anyways.