Blaze of Perdition

Blaze of Perdition

by Niklas Göransson

Blaze of Perdition emerged from the shadows of Poland’s post-millennium black metal scene. In a candid retrospective, Sonneillon and XCIII look back on two decades of resilience and transformation.


XCIII: In my opinion, the black metal of the mid-2000s was a problem. At some point, it became difficult to take seriously – and I’d say PERDITION reflected this. But I also hungered to explore the more extreme sounds, so it was both an experiment and a driving force behind my return to guitar practice. Ultimately, it grew too difficult to continue this way; I started taking music personally and needed an outlet which would allow me to express myself with greater precision.

In 2007, following the departure of singer Xaos Oblivion – with whom XCIII had undergone numerous artistic disagreements – PERDITION morphed into BLAZE OF PERDITION.

What XCIII did next confuses me greatly: he replaced the obstinate orator with no less than two new vocalists, Sonneillon and Ashgan. Frontmen are often the most annoying members to deal with, so doubling up sounds like a disaster in the making. Even more perplexing is that, when this happened, Sonneillon was already in a death metal band with two vocalists. Must be a local thing.

SONNEILLON: Perhaps it is. But are singers really the worst? Have you ever met any drummers? I’d like to think I’m rather easy to work with; I can’t recall any major disagreements between XCIII and myself during our time together. What happened was that both Ashgan and I expressed interest in joining the band, but XCIII couldn’t make up his mind. So, he made this weird decision, maybe out of the goodness of his heart? Surely, it was an interesting and unusual approach – at least, that’s what we thought back then.


In 2009, the rejuvenated project produced an EP titled “Deus Rex Nihilum Est” and a split with Russia’s PSEUDOGOD. The debut album of BLAZE OF PERDITION, “Towards the Blaze of Perdition”, was released in May 2010 by Polish label Putrid Prophet Productions. From what I’ve gathered, BLAZE OF PERDITION were not exactly ecstatic about the label’s distribution and promotional efforts.

XCIII: It was the epitome of wasted potential. Shit label, terrible delays, and fucked-up print are just a few factors to mention. Still, we were among the very first to introduce this kind of expression and aesthetic to the Polish audience. The album received rather mixed reactions in Poland.

Did that type of black metal have much of a following in Poland?

XCIII: No, we were somewhat of an anomaly in that regard, even despised by many. You know, people accused us of following trends, copying WATAIN, and all that dumb bullshit. I’d say that right-wing black metal was far more popular around here back then. Ironically, aside from the political aspects, the local scene shared too much with Christian traditionalism – which, for us, is pretty much a no-go by default.

What about these days?

XCIII: Today – now that BLAZE OF PERDITION has gained more recognition – when I speak with more ‘orthodox’ black metal fans, they often express much warmer sentiments towards our early releases than I personally think is warranted. It’s nice to hear, though, even if it wasn’t reflected in the band’s popularity at the time.

The so-called orthodox black metal might have become somewhat tedious and over-saturated over the years – but back in its early days, it presented an amazing contrast to the generally dreary millennium-era underground scene. With one classic Norwegian band after another having lost the plot, this new wave reintroduced a level of seriousness and sorely needed fire.

XCIII: Yes, I agree there was a major scene crisis at one point, and the beast we all referred to as orthodox black metal revitalised the entire genre by infusing it with heartfelt passion and energy. Undoubtedly, BLAZE OF PERDITION was one of its children; our approach differed markedly from the usual ‘Let’s get drunk and praise Satan!’ mentality.

This stark contrast from the more party-oriented culture of classic metal has been mentioned by a number of musicians who were caught up in the orthodox current.

XCIII: Of course, every new trend eventually becomes uninspired and starts to fade, and this one was no exception – but it’s undeniable that its originators produced a number of iconic albums. Where does BLAZE OF PERDITION fit into all of this? I’m not sure, but we definitely believed in what we were doing.


Did you ever experience some manner of perceived contact with anything metaphysical?

SONNEILLON: I definitely thought so at the time. I’d convinced myself that establishing spiritual contact through sonic reverence and worship was possible – that performing music could itself become a ritual act. Now, I’m not so sure. Having been through experiences that were far more soul-crushing and mind-breaking than any occult practice, I’ve come to realise that if anything awaits us beyond the veil, it’s likely not even remotely close to what we expect.

Despite aligning themselves with the orthodox wave in both sound and aesthetics, most of the early BLAZE OF PERDITION lyrics focused on Thelema and hermeticism. I came across an old interview where XCIII mentioned using esotericism as a tool to overcome depression and anxiety.

XCIII: That’s true to some extent, but not completely. I had several different projects through which I hoped to explore such ideas. Regrettably, none of them ever materialised. I’m currently developing a new musical outlet for personal catharsis. But from its inception, BLAZE OF PERDITION was a means to express my spirituality. As time went on, it began to blend with the satanic and Luciferian themes introduced by Sonneillon.

How did that mix with your convictions?

XCIII: We still found enough common ground to collaborate effectively and enhance each other’s contributions – both of us were very passionate and sincere. This band has always been a conduit for a steady stream of consciousness, allowing each of us to contribute our personal thoughts. The focus was more on the band’s essence as a distinct entity and a hive mind rather than on the individual musicians involved.


BLAZE OF PERDITION’s second album, “The Hierophant”, was released in October 2011. By then, they had secured a deal with Pagan Records – a Polish label boasting a very respectable 90s résumé.

XCIII: Initially, it felt great, but I now question whether it was the right choice. Before signing with them, I had numerous contacts abroad, where our music was better received and showed greater potential to break through. With Pagan Records, however, we remained anchored to a very local Polish metal scene – one we never truly fit into. The result? Essentially, it was untapped potential part two, more time wasted, and another lesson learned.

Courtesy of Sonneillon and his art studio, Kontamination Design, the booklet of “The Hierophant” is rather zealous. The lyrical themes, artwork, band photos, and so on are all elegantly intertwined.

SONNEILLON: For 2011, it was definitely an ambitious project. We aimed to go beyond just producing another black metal album with the usual grim faces covered in paint. The goal was for our visuals to complement the lyrics. So, rather than assembling a collage of randomly googled symbols and pictures that didn’t necessarily reflect the content, we wanted some conceptual coherence. While obscure symbolism might be visually appealing, it’s meaningless without proper context. Given that three different individuals were writing the lyrics, the design required extensive research and internal communication. These days, I prefer a consistent approach, but it was an effective way to get more band members emotionally involved. But yeah, grim faces are there, too.

“The Hierophant” revolves around the notion of spiritual evolution. In line with this concept, BLAZE OF PERDITION incorporated the Tarot – a 15th-century deck of cards traditionally used for divination. I’m curious if the Sonneillon of today still believes that it ‘works’.

SONNEILLON: Are you asking if I believe in the Tarot’s power to predict the future and influence the world? If that’s the case, I must say no. I view the Tarot more as a tool for self-discovery, contemplation, and meditation rather than something that can shape reality. It’s more of a psychological aid. So, the question of whether it ‘works’ or not really depends on your expectations.


In 2012, one year after the release of “The Hierophant”, Ashgan was relieved of vocal duties, leaving Sonneillon as the sole frontman of BLAZE OF PERDITION.

SONNEILLON: It became increasingly clear that this arrangement wasn’t sustainable. Significant efforts went into merging the styles of two vocalists with vastly different attitudes, while trying to maintain coherence. Things started feeling somewhat ‘off’, so XCIII decided to adopt a more traditional band setup. He and I had become close friends, and now there was no one to disrupt our chemistry. Shortly thereafter, we recorded two songs for a split album with DEVATHORN as a preview of our new direction. Unfortunately, right after its release, we had a nasty accident, and everything went to shit.

In the early hours of November 2, 2013 – whilst en route to a show – BLAZE OF PERDITION met with a severe accident on a highway in Lower Austria. The driver, having stayed awake all night, dozed off momentarily, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

SONNEILLON: I was asleep when it happened, but I have some fragmented recollections of the impact and the moments that followed. Then again, these flashbacks might be my brain’s way of trying to reconstruct the sequence of events. When I try to recall the details, they seem more like a distant dream or a series of vague visions and brief scenes than a coherent memory. Obviously, I lost all sense of time and space in the immediate aftermath.

How long were you in a coma?

SONNEILLON: Two weeks, I think. Returning to my senses was a gradual process. I remember hearing strangers’ voices around my bed, everything blurred and dreamlike. Of course, it was utterly confusing trying to discern what was real and what was part of my comatose state. Each flash of awakening brought me closer to full consciousness until, one day, I opened my eyes. Waking up paralysed and heavily sedated in some Austrian hospital, surrounded by German-speaking nurses, I had no fucking clue what had happened. It was extremely surreal and mind-bending.

While researching the accident, I found an old crowdfunding campaign aimed at arranging medical transport for Sonneillon back to Poland.

SONNEILLON: I think it worked, yeah, but I’ve never really dug into how everyone helped out, organised, and executed it all. You know, it’d be pretty awkward asking people, ‘Hey, did you chip in to help bring my crippled ass back here?’ Especially since it also involved transporting the corpse of 23, our close friend and bass player. I just acknowledged it and am grateful to everyone involved.

How was it to re-emerge into what must’ve been a completely new reality?

SONNEILLON: It definitely took some willpower, as well as help from friends and family, but I accepted the new situation relatively quickly. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t like I came to terms with it overnight. However, I knew that dwelling on it wasn’t going to help. I had to adapt. A lot of things are still hard, and I’m constantly learning. Even the simplest of tasks can be tricky to manage when you’re stuck in a wheelchair. But what can I do besides figure out how to live with it?

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