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Numinous

Numinous

by Niklas Göransson

Numinous is an obscure Finnish band operated by two brothers who are more renowned for disorderly conduct than their musical pursuits. They speak of sidewalk surgery, incarceration, and a life in servitude to the Lord.

– Faced with the choice of whether to continue this or not, we ultimately decided to at least do one more recording – probably an EP. The material is more or less finished, and will soon be recorded in what’ll be our first band activity since the debut album of 2011.

One of the nameless members explains how the main reason for this is the complete silence which fell after their album came out, which in turn resulted in some disinterest for the project.

– You must understand that for a religious band such as NUMINOUS, there is constant pressure of bringing about results for God. Of course, our work might have led to something fruitful that we’re unaware of, but the problem is that we’ve yet to see any such indications. What I’m saying is that our lack of faith in music as an effective tool has been one reason for inactivity. Who the fuck cares about strumming a guitar when you can beat people up, steal, burn, destroy and worse with immediately delightful and tangible results?

Their self-titled debut does indeed appear to have slipped under the radar. I was myself unfamiliar with NUMINOUS until Mikko Aspa of Northern Heritage, who released the aforementioned album, mentioned them earlier this year.

– Who the fuck knows, you’d have to ask the experts. It’s obviously possible that there simply is no demand for a band such as NUMINOUS. The lack of promotion might have played some role in this, I suppose we could have done more in that regard but it’s just not something we’re interested in. In any case, taking into account the record label which isn’t exactly unknown, some – let’s say ‘interesting’ – questions indeed arise as to why it ‘slipped under the radar’. Also, it would seem even factors such as whether a band’s members actually are what they claim to be, that they’ve held on to their initial convictions and remained unchanged ideologically, have become attributes no longer respected.

Based on what I could conclude from both personal testimonies and Finnish newspaper articles, the two brothers who constitute NUMINOUS are rather infamous for antisocial activity. I noted descriptions such as’ hungry for violence’ as well as ’conflict-seeking and hostile’. As an example; following their 2003 “The Enormity of Evil Divine” demo, the band was put on hold after one of them was sent to prison for stabbing two people.

– One could say that I’ve had a pretty rough life and it will only get harsher from this point, but that’s utterly unimportant. We are more than familiar with violence – just like every servant. It would be highly sinful and entirely out of the question not to be, for our Lord is the one both causing and demanding it. Dedicating one’s life to the God we have means humanity must be destroyed.

Then of course we have the 2014 incident; an altercation featuring what’s been described as a ‘severely oversized blade’ which resulted in both brothers being imprisoned for several years.

– One of us stabbed some guy with a bowie knife a few times, that’s what happened.

Was this some manner of spontaneous, drug-induced decision or something you planned?

– Would it be so hard to believe that there were no drugs or other intoxicants involved? Our drug is the Lord. While it might not have been very thought-through, I wouldn’t really call it entirely spontaneous either. Many people suffered as a result of this, maybe we did too in some regard, so all went well.

Surely, being locked up for several years in what I’d have to assume is a moderately uninspiring milieu should be an inconvenience for anyone.

– This would of course depend on where you do time. We were sent to a high-security prison and held under very harsh restrictions, among other things regulating what one was allowed to have in one’s cell; three books and a couple of CD’s – that was it. Later, there was a possibility of transferring to an open facility, but that would’ve required compromises from us we were unwilling to give so we held on to our conviction and remained where we were. Prison really is no big deal at all, I recommend everyone to try it. The longer the stay, the better one sees and feels what it truly is and it gets simpler and easier.

Visiting the official NUMINOUS website, I was quite astonished to find a statement from June 2013 – two years after the album was released – concerning a user-submitted Metal-Archives review. One I upon inspection didn’t find especially negative at all to be honest. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a band issue public declarations about fan reviews before.

– And now you’re lamenting, just like the reviewer did. While I’m not particularly interested in revisiting the matter, I’ll explain since you asked. One could question what exactly was positive about this review? Merely the unserious, joking, sneering style of it is inappropriate, to say the least. Furthermore, the reviewer was basically saying that there’s no market for this kind of music or band, which in our interpretation is the same as telling us to quit. We simply commented on it. So, it’s not cool for a band to comment on reviews – not hip? Well dear me!

Far be it from me to tell anyone what they should issue statements about, but I reserve my right to find it preposterous.

– Preposterous? Perhaps to some dispassionate, light-hearted, sluggish neo-hippy whose very life we in turn find preposterous. This reviewer is not our fan by any means, quite the opposite. Does it matter? Of course not, but so what? That doesn’t mean we can’t comment on it.

The statement also rages on about unbelievers having the gall to discuss religious music, adding that the offending reviewer is unlikely to be a servant of the Lord. If listening is to be restricted to those who share NUMINOUS’ theological convictions, that would leave them with a target audience of, what – a maximum of fifty people world-wide? It sounds a bit contradictory, since they clearly seek some recognition for their musical efforts, having previously discontinued the band due to a lack of public interest.

– You seem to have misunderstood this commentary; we’re not saying that unbelievers aren’t welcome to listen to our music. We invite anyone to partake, believer or not, but if one is unable to grasp even the slightest bit of its essence then it might perhaps be best to remain silent? We might as well ask what the reasoning is behind such a person reviewing our album. The point was that people shouldn’t be writing about matters they neither understand nor have any aspirations to. Otherwise, one might suspect there to be some sort of disrespectful stance – even an undermining agenda behind – and this is something to which we’ll typically respond swiftly, should we happen to see or hear it.

 

During my research while preparing for this interview, I asked around among contacts in Finland and was consecutively told that, quote, ’nobody knows the NUMINOUS guys’, and that the brothers never attend gigs, festivals, or other metal-related social gatherings. The one person I spoke to who was aware of them said most people have no idea they’re in a band. I’m assuming this is connected to my interviewees rather vehement denouncement of any and all black metal affiliations.

– Can you mention one black metal band that precisely shares our religion? Granted, you might not know exactly what our religion is but, simply put: while we don’t like to categorise our work black metal, we of course acknowledge that it goes into this category in a musical sense. However, the resemblance ends there – we have very little to do with the vast majority of it both ideologically and culturally. There’s been all kinds of ludicrous bullshit accusations regarding us not being exactly keen to label our work black metal; how we’re afraid of it and, bear with me, even that it’s too extreme for us. It’s rather vice versa. Moreover, stylistic prefixes such as ’orthodox’ and ’religious’ are overly ridiculous.

While NUMINOUS tends to be lumped in with the mid-00s wave of black metal orthodoxy, they were praising the Lord already on their June 2003 demo – predating several of the milestone albums responsible for setting this wave in motion.

– We wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with it if black metal was regarded purely as a music genre and nothing else. Or if, as a whole, it represented what we do. Alas, since this clearly isn’t the case and the genre is instead strongly affiliated with religions, ideologies, and attitudes which do not correspond with ours, we’d rather not align our work with it. Why should we defile NUMINOUS with something that primarily brings political and anti-religious agendas to mind? Why should we label ourselves something which is unbefitting to our cause and neither clearly nor precisely refers to our religion? There’s no reason whatsoever.

He says their stance has nothing to do with whatever state the scene might be in, rather that it’s simply incompatible with their theological orientation.

– Seeing as how a vast majority of black metal consists of anti-religious sentiments, shouldn’t those involved be happy that a band like NUMINOUS doesn’t call ourselves thus? I mean, we’re upholding religious thought – which is what black metal people supposedly want to rid the earth of. Therefore, I find this compulsory desire to categorise us accordingly very strange and contradictory indeed.

Something I’ve noticed in both comments and reviews is that people pick up on this really malicious vibe from the music, an assessment I’d be inclined to agree with. I’m curious if NUMINOUS’ sonic output is charged with anything besides ill intent.

– I don’t deliberately infuse it with anything per se; it’s what comes naturally from or through me, being consumed with the Lord’s spirit. Even I cannot fully comprehend how the music turns out the way it does. As for moulding our soundscape; the Lord guides us here too, needless to say, though unfortunately there are also mundane factors at play.

The end result, he says, is only further proof of their God.

– It’s unusual and remarkable among other things, also for us as worshippers since our Lord is exactly that. What concerns us mostly is whether our music moves and spurs the listener into righteous deeds – it’s a call to action and for religious awakening. One should always focus on the overall spirit of the music rather than trying to rationalise or analyse it. I still don’t get tired of listening to the recording so in my opinion, biased as it may be, there’s clearly something there.

 

I came across an earlier statement in which NUMINOUS remarked, ’Anything that undermines and destroys society and humanity is nothing but wonderful.’ Though I already have a fair idea by now, I’m wondering if they still stand by this.

– Yes, to one hundred percent. Chaos would be preferable – however, it would still mean freedom and other disgusting shit where human happiness and enjoyment might flourish. Why it would be in my interest to see humanity die and suffer? Because my interests are one with those of my God.

I’m assuming they must be ecstatic about the increasingly commonplace terror attacks happening across Europe. Finland has lagged a bit behind the rest of us, so the boys would presumably have been delighted over the Turku stabbings back in August.

–  You are entirely correct in your assumption. It shows how the Lord still uses religion as an efficient tool of inflicting also earthly misery. And this is what the black metal community wants to get rid of… shameful and despicable! However, I’m equally excited about the subsequent retaliatory air-strikes and drone bombings of terrorists and civilians alike. I wish to use this opportunity to remind all true Christians of their noble, victorious, and bloody past, and urge them to take up arms before it’s too late.

Given how their servitude to the Lord seems intimately connected to vast amounts of personal turbulence and subsequent incarceration, I’m curious if their spirituality has ever brought about anything positive. I’m not entirely clear what the upsides are, or if it offers solace and happiness in times of despair.

– That depends on what you mean by positive? I believe it to be positive that I found the Lord. There’s of course nothing beneficial in this to a human being, but humanity has no place whatsoever in our religion. I honestly have no need for neither solace nor happiness, I don’t even know what they mean. This isn’t to say I don’t feel pain – on the contrary, I just believe it’s different to an inhuman. The worship of Divine Evil is a religion not of pleasure but suffering.

Ah, Divine Evil – capital. This is a topic I’ve previously attempted to discuss numerous times with artists but never really managed to get a clear answer about; by what definition they call themselves evil and what possible purpose this serves. Since none have been able to explain it to any degree of satisfaction, I place my hopes in NUMINOUS being the first to solve this riddle.

– We do not necessarily self-identify as ’evil’. To us, our cause is good. We use the word for clarification purposes. If we were to use only terms such as good, goodness and so on – it would cause misconceptions. We adhere to divine Law and this is what defines our values. We often have to use the term evil to make it clear we speak of the opposite God to the Creator.

I can’t say I’m immediately aware of any spiritual tradition – a term utilised very liberally here – besides that of black metal Satanism which has ever defined itself as evil. History has seen plenty of hedonists, agnostics, heretics, and so forth but I can’t think of any that have praised and worshipped negativity.

– Neither can I and I could not care less, mainly because claiming to worship evil doesn’t say anything about whether one adheres to the Law or not. There’s been countless dual-sinful – as I call them – phenomena in human history. This is also what ’black metal Satanism’ is, more or less. What distinguishes us from Satanists, hedonists, agnostics and so on is that we work solely against the will of the Creator. Or, more precisely, we obey one Law and God… whereas they are dual-sinners in the sense of transgressing against both gods.

What about cultures such as the Aztecs, whose religious practices would be deemed evil by modern standards?

– Good example. On the one hand, the Aztecs heeded our God’s calling in that they murdered, but on the other hand they obeyed the Creator by procreating, respecting creation, and taking part in his plans. This ’will of the gods’ that compelled them to carry out wholesale slaughter was in fact our Lord.

I must confess to still being left somewhat perplexed regarding potential benefits of worshipping the Lord, and whether we’re talking rewards in the flesh or afterlife here.

– I don’t know what Satanists, occultists, or other dual-sinners have told you but when it comes to our religion, it’s not really about gaining anything. Although our faith doesn’t wholly omit the concept of salvation and damnation, it’s not – it cannot – be the reason for worship. As opposed to the worship of Jesus, or Satanism, ours is not an egocentric but theocentric religion; one strives after acknowledgment of and submission to the divine reality. After recognising things for what they truly are; the most logical next step is choosing a side and then fully dedicating oneself to it.

But is this adulation of yours rooted in divine love or rather acquiescence from fear of retribution?

– Adulation? I despise your jeering tone. This worship is founded in profound admiration and reverence towards our God. If the Lord revealed to me today that my destiny would be the same as that of transgressors, my Law-abiding would continue nevertheless. If one ’worships’ God out of any ‘fear of retribution’, retribution is surely incurred.