by Niklas Göransson

In memoriam. From the archives, a 2021 conversation with A.X. of Hellvetron – discussing the unique trajectory and creative ethos that now serve as his enduring testament.


A.X: All my writing takes place at night. I wait until everything quiets down and then just sit there in silent darkness. I try to induce myself into a bit of subconscious composition – just like a meditation practice. Sometimes, I’ll light candles because it helps get that energy flowing. Whatever comes to me, at least in terms of riffs, is usually very primitive. That’s the methodology I like to have; if I put too much thought and contemplation into the riffing, it feels as if the music gets away from the crudeness this band is supposed to have.

HELLVETRON’s second album, “Trident of Tartarean Gateways”, was released by Iron Bonehead Productions in August 2019. Seven years in the making, it was their first recording since the 2012 debut, “Death Scroll of Seven Hells and Its Infernal Majesties”.

A.X: I’d moved away from El Paso to San Antonio, so I spent the entire creative process flying back and forth. While in San Antonio, I focused on the concept, the riffing, and the lyrics; then, I compiled everything into a demo and sent it to my brother back in El Paso so he could work on the drums. Once the basics were in place, I flew back, and we just practised until it felt right. Even though the songs are pretty simple – the riffs, for example, aren’t very complex – it takes time to get everything set up properly.

The guitarwork of HELLVETRON might be relatively straightforward, but the keyboards and samples are most decidedly not.

A.X: I typically won’t disclose too much about how I use keyboards. They are one of several elements that come to me naturally as I develop new material. I listen to my demo recordings repeatedly until something genuinely harrowing strikes me. There’s no real formula to my approach – it’s pure creativity flowing through me. I often have a baseline idea for the sounds I envision. I try to avoid making it too… I guess, symphonic? I don’t want to get too much into that. I’m careful not to overdo it with the electronics; instead, I try to use them only where they feel necessary and fitting.

Impurath of BLACK WITCHERY told me he loves listening to “Trident of Tartarean Gateways” while tripping, which made me curious if any of the music derives from such states.

A.X: Well, I’d say there have been moments where I’ve been… how can I put it, under the influence of some sort of psychedelic. And they often set off deeply visionary states, which might initiate a process of mental composition before I’ve started actively writing. So, those experiences definitely played a role in shaping some of the material. I understand why someone like Impurath enjoys hearing Trident…” in such a setting – that’s where parts of it come from.


Did you record the album at Death Oracle Studio?

A.X: Parts of it. Death Oracle is located at my brother’s house in El Paso, so that’s where he recorded the drums. Once they were laid out, I returned to San Antonio where I, in my own time, tracked the guitars, bass, vocals, keys, and whatever else needed to be on there.

I’ve read quite a few HELLVETRON reviews and noticed numerous funeral doom comparisons. However, I’d have to say it reminds me more of the proto-black metal and death industrial fusion on the ABRUPTUM demos.

A.X: I’ve always been influenced by dark, industrial-style music, but doom as a genre never really caught my attention. When the first HELLVETRON album was released in 2012, many people compared it to bands like DISEMBOWELMENT. At that time – and as surprising as it may sound – I was like, ‘I’ve never even heard of them.’ Stuff like ABRUPTUM, though, I’d agree with. Black metal has always been the main musical inspiration behind HELLVETRON.

I was hoping to discuss HELLVETRON’s thematic concepts, but I’m not quite sure what they are. Some of the lyrical references seem to imply an interest in Jewish mysticism.

A.X: I’ve used many different occult references. The primary reason why I incorporated the Kabbalah – mainly on Death Scroll of Seven Hells… – is because of the Tree of Life and its counterpart, the Qliphoth. I chose the number seven because it signifies the Seven Hells beyond the Tree of Death, as represented by the night-side. The album has seven songs, each exploring one of these realms. This concept also ties back to other biblical narratives, such as the beast with seven heads.

The number seven holds significance across various religions but is especially prominent within Abrahamic traditions. In the Hebrew Bible, it symbolises completion and perfection – as reflected through Genesis, where God rests on the seventh day, marking the culmination of creation. The Book of Revelation contains many such references, including the seven churches, seven seals, and the beast with seven heads, each tied to the unfolding of divine will in an eschatological timeline.

A.X: All of it integrates into the overall concept. Additionally, I’ve woven in a lot of mythology surrounding Hell. Thus, various cultic references are fused with religious myths. But the basis of HELLVETRON has always been rooted in a satanic purpose, you know?

I was unaware of this, seeing as there’s essentially no relevant HELLVETRON reading material available.

A.X: Right. Well, I guess the reason why you won’t find much about it is that I never really cared to promote HELLVETRON. Not in the same way I promote NYOGTHAEBLISZ or NEXUL, at least. From the very beginning, this project has been profoundly personal to me. Especially considering how much of myself I pour into it, like sharing my perspectives on occultism; I’m extremely private about that. HELLVETRON has always been a way for me to transcend my human shell, in a sense. That’s why I’m so cautious about what I put out there.


I get the impression that you are the creative force behind HELLVETRON, whereas X.S. is in charge of NYOGTHAEBLISZ?

A.X: Yes, that’s correct. My brother created NYOGTHAEBLISZ back in 2002. I helped him get it started, and then we released the Progenitors of Mankind’s Annihilation demo the following year. After founding HELLVETRON in 2004, the roles reversed – he supported me as I searched for the right sound, which took quite some time. I don’t know if you’ve heard the Ceremonial Crucifixion demo (2005), but it’s very torturous and experimental. From that point, HELLVETRON evolved into what, seven years later, became Death Scroll of Seven Hells…”. The full-length album is quite different from the demo, yet the spirit was present from the start.

When you call X.S. your brother – do you mean like a biological sibling?

A.X: He is actually my brother-in-law, but I’ve known him all my life; we grew up together, and X.S. married my sister. So, it’s natural for me to refer to him simply as my brother because that’s how it’s always felt.

I know very little about El Paso, but I suspect that A.X. and X.S. had vastly different upbringings compared to most US-based black metal musicians I’ve spoken to. A mutual acquaintance mentioned they were born into harsh surroundings – environments that fostered a somewhat explosive mindset.

A.X: Well, ‘harsh surroundings’… I guess everyone has their own version of that, right? But yes, we were raised in poverty. I grew up around the gang life, and I was involved with a few gangs over the years. So, that’s the mentality we come from: standing up for our territory and fighting for our people. We hold our own – for our own. And I guess that kind of leaks out when I find myself in certain situations in bars or at shows; a bit of the old gang life resurfaces.

When I did a BLASPHEMY interview in 2018, one of them spoke about the BLACK WITCHERY guitarist at the time – A.X, that is – as a total wild man who’d fight anyone at any moment.

A.X: Oh. I guess they were referring to me, right? Yeah. I mean, if that’s their perception, then I’m flattered that those guys would view me in such a light. There have certainly been times when things have gotten real heated. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m always out there to fight everybody, but if I feel disrespected – or if someone has crossed the line with me or my friends – I’ll often be quick to… react.

I later asked another BLASPHEMY member about this; he said that A.X. ‘fits into the bushido ethos’ but refrained from further comment. However, he did mention that A.X. also has an artistic streak.

A.X: I’ve made a few banners, yes – but only for bands I know personally. To give them a firm connection with death, I mix the paint with human ashes and some of my own blood. And once I’m done, I do a consecration ritual. When I buy esoteric literature, a lot of it has been consecrated, the theory being that many authors do so to infuse some kind of awakening behind these occult books. That’s a notion I draw from when making banners. But yeah, the process is geared towards creating a more meaningful presentation.

Dare one ask where you source your ashes from?

A.X: I don’t like to tell people where I get my ashes. Let’s just say that I’ve relied on outside help.


When I spoke to PROFANATICA’s Paul Ledney, NYOGTHAEBLISZ and HELLVETRON were two of the few bands he recognised as part of the true US black metal scene. Ledney has very firm ideas about which acts are acceptable and, more importantly, which are not.

A.X: I don’t really pay attention to what anyone else in the US scene does. Honestly, I couldn’t care less. I can see some potential emerging, and more people are getting drawn to this style of extreme music. But overall, I’d say it’s still quite weak, at least compared to Europe. Then again, I don’t spend much time thinking about these things – I focus on myself and the people around me. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about it.

In closing, what’s next for HELLVETRON?

A.X: Right now, I’m mostly stockpiling new material – just as I always do until I feel it’s finally time to compile it into a full album. This record probably won’t be out for another two or three years. But, yeah, it will continue from where Trident of Tartarean Gateways left off.