INTERVIEW: Heathen Deity

October last year saw the return of True English Black Metal outfit Heathen Deity to the stage at The Blackwood Gathering in Fell Foot Wood, Lake District. It seemed like much more was happening than a brief live show though, that the band were showing us the beginnings of a full rebirth and I was intrigued to find out more. Dagon and Azrael opened up about where the band is going, and what makes the message so important after all these years.

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Who do we have in the band here?
Dagon: Hello Nick, thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk with you and your readers. I am Dagon, Founder and Vocalist of Heathen Deity.
Azrael: Azrael, I am one of the Guitarists in Heathen Deity.
Dagon: Azrael and I have been the sole core members of the band since the early years, between us we write all the music and lyrics, and handle all the band affairs.

So let’s get right to it. October saw your triumphant return to the scene at The Blackwood Gathering, what brought you back?
Dagon: A fear that the UK scene was stagnating. And the bands within the scene were growing weak. Ditching the ideals that make black metal the force it deserves to be. There are so many “Black Metal“ bands not using corpse paint and spikes, but more importantly not performing material about Satan or Anti Christianity. The music we were hearing shouldn't have been called Black metal. Black Metal isn't true without Satan, it’s just extreme music played with black hoods.
Azrael: We are an extremely traditional band in the sense of our presentation and sound in the sphere of what Black Metal is or what we think it should be. What we have always done is what we believe in since our beginnings in the 90s and we remain true to ourselves in these convictions. We wear the paint, spikes and what have you and sound a certain way because it is what we know and what we feel is real to us. We understand a lot of bands not going down this road of late as they feel certain things are cliché and stagnant so to speak which is a fair and valid point for them but we beg to differ in regards to that. In a way it has become a cliché to not do these things. The two things I feel that has played a part in our return is the mentality and ideology that is missing within the scene, particularly the UK scene. My own personal stance which I am sure you have heard before is one of Anti-Christian or Anti-Organised Religion to be more precise. Heathen by name, Heathen by nature.

Did that performance cement how you felt about coming back and send you full steam ahead with the rest of your plans?
Dagon: Absolutely! The reception Heathen Deity received at the Blackwood Gathering was amazing, the whole festival was a brilliant experience for us. Can I also thank you for the photography you took of us during our set.
Azrael: The Blackwood Gathering performance was an absolute revelation for us. Not once did we perceive that we would be playing to a full house that was there for us and with us 100%. That show was unlike anything we had played before. All the dates we have done have been great so far and really makes you wonder if a band of our ilk and attitude has been missed somewhat on the scene. The feedback we had from the Blackwood and all subsequent performances have been nothing but positives. I couldn't be more content with that. Onwards!

Speaking of which, you have been very busy lately playing shows, announcing festivals and even releasing a demo (lookout for the review soon). Is the reception you’ve had for the rebirth your driving force behind this?
Dagon: No, Our rebirth in the Blackwood was the first step. I wanted the first show back as a live band to be a special performance. I am very proud of what we achieved at the BWG. Our “driving force” is our passion for the music, we create music for ourselves, if other people enjoy what we do that it’s a bonus. Basically if no one liked what we created, personally that wouldn’t stop me from writing or performing music.
Azrael: Everything has its natural order. We stepped on stage after such a long time away we wasn't sure what the future was except that we would be recording an album. An album that is long overdue as these songs were written many, many years ago before we stopped and took the break. The demo just happened out of the blue really from some of the album preparation sessions Dagon and myself held before we became a full band again. We felt these recording were good enough to be put out as a demo and break our silence in regards to new things from us. We had also just re-released a special edition version of For the Glory of Satan - Walpurgisnacht on the Blackwood Productions label to tie in with our Rebirth. The absolute reception in all these things certainly play a part in driving us forward but as Dagon stated, this is just the beginning of the next chapter for us.

The demo - Religious Purification Through Fire - sticks with your original mantra but builds on it’s theme. Are we hearing a taste of the full debut album to come?
Dagon: Yes in a way. The two songs featured on the demo will be present on the album, obviously they will be rerecorded and by the whole band, not just by Azrael and myself. Flames of The Gathering Darkness has been updated and changed ever so slightly from the demo recording for example. The rest of the new album will of course continue with the core elements that makeup Heathen Deity.
Azrael: All the songs that are to appear on the album as I stated before are songs that were written and for some cases performed in our original repertoire as a live band. Pretty much every song has evolved and changed ever so slightly over the years as I have always been working on them even though I wasn't sure we would ever return.

Are you planning on touring the album anywhere we can lookout for around the country?
Dagon: We already play some of the songs found on the new album live now. We will be performing a number of shows around the country, maybe not within the same time span though, so calling it a tour is probably stretching the truth a little. But yes we will be performing live with the new material, but as of yet we haven't looked at any potential venues or dates etc.

Do you think that you’ve found your permanent lineup with the current band members?
Dagon: Yes I believe so, the current line-up of Heathen Deity are all very capable and competent musicians, we all share the same vision regarding the band ethic to a degree and everyone, even though we all obviously lead different lives, all have the same goal regarding the band.
Azrael: Forst (Guitar), Nihil (Bass) and Xjort (Drums) have walked into the band and worked out very well. In some respects I would say this is the best line up we have ever had. We are all on the same page in terms of musicality and ideology. Of course with any band there is always room for improvement but that is something that will naturally happen as we continue to reach our goals and then strive for the next.  

How important do you think your message is in 2017 compared to when you first started out nearly 20 years ago, and has it changed in that time?
Dagon: I think the term “message” may be taken in the wrong context. Heathen Deity wasn’t created to portray a message or inform. Heathen Deity is a vessel in which I vent my personal thoughts and feelings toward the obvious. So for me the band ethic hasn't changed at all. My hatred has only grown over the years regarding Christianity and humanity in general. Music and Satanism are very important to me, hence why I started Heathen Deity all those years ago.
Azrael: I believe our convictions are exactly the same as when we first began but I think what we do is more conceptual as to what you want us and what we do to be rather than us saying "This" or "That" and conveying an actual message. We are a Satanic or an Anti-Religious band but there is so much more you can get out of our music than just those things. We just want people to open their minds and think. It comes down to the individual. I am personally not a Satanist, I can appreciate it though. For me as I stated before it is the Anti-Religious aspect and darkness that drives me and the riffs and music I create within Heathen Deity. I cannot speak for anyone else.

Finally, what are the next 12 months looking like for Heathen Deity?
Dagon: We are currently in the middle of recording the new album, So when we aren’t rehearsing for upcoming shows we are in the studio recording as much as possible, There isn’t any particular rush or any label pressure to finish the album so we are making sure it’s the absolute best we can currently produce at this time. Live performances wise we have Eradication Festival coming up in April, In September we are doing the Warhorns Festival and a special appearance with Hecate Enthroned in Manchester. And in October we are appearing at Mammothfest supporting the mighty Tsjuder and Rotting Christ.
Azrael: We have already started to prepare some new material, to be recorded at a later date, possibly mid-2017. This will be the first time this current line-up has worked together on new songs etc. It should prove interesting rather than just Dagon and myself working on new material as was the case before.
Dagon: Thank you again for this opportunity. Support the War Against Christianity, and Support your Underground Scene! Hail Satan!

To keep up to date with all of the bands plans, head on over to Heathen Deity’s official Facebook page, Bandcamp, and Youtube, and for all booking enquires you can contact them directly at Thanks for reading!

Twitter: @BandsPlayedOn


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