– Hello, thanks for taking your time, hope you are all healthy over there. Has the whole pandemic situation affected the band’s activity and the work surrounding the release of the new album in any way?
Greetings! Things are much easier in Finland than many other places, at least right now. The main thing is that we’ve managed to stay healthy. The pandemic situation has affected us in many ways. First off, one show in Helsinki and our Central European tour planned for April 2020 was cancelled, which blows especially, as it would have been our first actual tour and also our live debut in many abroad locations. Secondly, we had to postpone the release of “Dimensions” by a few months to manage risks that were more strongly present in the spring – the original release date was set for April. Luckily time seems to be ripe for having the album out now. We haven’t practiced with the full band since February either, so with no gigs, recordings or other events in the pipeline, no whole group gettogethers or recreation either. We’re hoping to fix this soon, though, and we’ve started to practice with our Kuopio section already. Which is nice.
– This new opus is “Dimensions”. How do you think the title applies to the album itself? There’s a lot to every song on the record. Is LANTERN’s music/nature multidimensional?
“Dimensions” has multiple meanings. You say there’s a lot to every song on the record, which reaches out towards the proportion-related definition of the word. There are cosmic distances, earthen plateaus, claustrophobic passages, spiraling twists, ashen shrines and nautical depths – to break it down on a song-by-song basis. Then again, there are connections to dimensions above, below, within and beyond, taking us to another use of the album title. The album has a lot of dynamics, as there are immenesely vast-sounding parts, but also tight and merciless riffage. Speaking of multidimensionality, I’ve been talking about the openness of our music a lot recently, in the sense that listeners sometimes catch diffent tones and even meanings from the music that I’ve designed in my own way. So, there’s that kind of multi- and interdimensionality, as well. We have always left some loose ends for the listener to cling on to, letting the album grow on them rather than having us say what it is about 1:1. You never know in which dimension our kind of music finds itself in the end game.
– This is your third record. What does it mean to you? Do you know better your identity as a band three albums in?
Three is my lucky number, always has been. I’m fond of trilogies, and “Dimensions” serves as the circle closing here in this sense, giving more reason to the previous full-lengths, as well. Of course, we have been around for a longer time now, especially as a five-piece. You know, it was much more straightforward to execute my own Lantern vision when we were a duo, but we’ve travelled a long path of doing the same as a quintet and think we have reached that point. We are welded together better than ever and this third album of ourse has been created in top form, regarding pretty much all the aspects from songwriting to playing and production.
– You keep evolving and, when we interviewed you in support of your previous album, you said that you are “just trying to avoid self-repetition yet stay as Lantern-like as psosible”. What are the elements you need to keep to remain LANTERN-like?
Referring to the previous, our concept has remained the same: this specific colour and atmosphere that has to be carried through, and everything that sounds good and sits well under that rule, is Lantern. Things have never been restricted in any orthodox genre, so we have had quite a lot of leverage and have managed to keep our back catalog very varying. Certain warped tones in our riffs and leads that strike as familiar to me when writing songs. It’s just what comes from my subconscious, music that’s me. Yet on “Dimensions”, St. Belial has contributed more by writing “Shrine of Revelation”, so seems I’ve managed to drag him to my bizarre realms as well, as he did a great job writing a Lantern song.
Back in the day, we’ve had to ditch one or two older songs because they were just a bit too much towards brutal death metal – it’s a fine line of nuances. But the amount of songs turned down is surprisingly small. Necrophilos’ signature vocals (which have been getting better all the time, by the way) are one crucial factor, interpreting the kind of lyrics we are known for clearly and with lots of emotion. With the whole package still carrying a little bit of that old Finnish death metal heritage, yet trying to push a few boundaries, I think we have some good pointers.
– Lyric-wise you lean towards the eerie and the otherworldly. Is there any topic or concept you always go back to? Which are the inspirations (or the obsessions!)? What emotions and thoughts are you revealing through “Dimensions”?
There are certain mindscapes, glimpses from an inner realm that often recur in my texts. “Invocation of the Fathomless” is actually about that realm itself, while other lyrics more like derive from that source. The bottom-line is to deliver fear and darkness out of this world, taking the listener away from the secular and possibly arousing some deeper contemplation on existence, death and whatever subjects one may find. Horrendous visions, unexplaiable horror, unearthing too deep into the most profound secrets or just the depths of the mind are common, as are explorations of dying, death and the afterlife – be the latter related to becoming a different form of energy or something more poetic / unpredictable.
With “Dimensions”, the lyrics are greatly inspired by horror imagery by the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Lucio Fulci, although not portraing any particular mythos or working as an Italo horror movie script. Hermann Hesse’s works have also served as an inspiration, whilst “Shrine of Revelation” is acutally a sequel to our old song, “Those Long Perished”. The latter has some specifically Fulci-esque echoes towards the end; those who know, know. The main thing is to leave a lot for the listener to deciper, like with Lovecraft’s works: I love how the Lovecraftian horror is more like a looming shadow rather than an in-your-face brutal onslaught of dread and gore. A little bit of mystery is usually more arousing, at least to me. If the lyric can take the recipient elsewhere for a moment, it has worked perfectly.
– And how is the process of transforming them [emotions and thoughts] into music? What does come first? Do you set an idea and then work around it?
It does vary, but usually I have a riff or a lead that has a certain atmosphere or even becomes a verse or a chorus, evolving into a song around it. This goes for “Strange Nebula”, as one. The final song of “Dimensions”, albeit its massive length, must have seeped from just one small intro riff that had a certain feeling to it. So atmosphere and emotions are the igniting fluid for pretty much each one of our songs, it is absolutely vital. A chain of riffs, notes and chords does not a song make.
– Death is again a recurring topic on the album. Death is a taboo in some cultures, in others a celebration, but Death can also be a symbol, among many others. From what perspective do you approach death?
Death was even more firmly present on “II: Morphosis”, where it was dealt with through the aspects dying, death and the afterlife. I don’t see it just as the moment / way life ends, maybe more as a, hmm, shadow of life. Non-being, what the living cannot experience. The topic isn’t far off on “Dimensions”, either. The shape of death is just different, it’s more concealed in the horror concept tied to physical and mental demise, instead of being the carrying force of the album. I could say it’s the tailgate behind each lyric of the song; behind each aspect of horror, fear and darkness is the certain need to make the reader / listener to contemplate death. One should contemplate death to value life. They go hand-in-hand.
– How much of a rational, conscious concept/effort is there in what you do? Since your music feels as atavistic as bold/fresh (still in a pretty old school tradition).
We hardly write songs for the sake of songwriting. When a song needs to be created, we know it’s time. We also follow our gut feeling more than our rational judgement. Atmosphere first: if the music works for a certain story, then we do it. The type of old-school tradition is of course there, because that’s just the kind of metal most of us are stuck loving and thus enjoy playing, haha.
– The sound on “Dimensions” I belive is rawer than on your previous releases. From what or where did this need for a grimier sound blossom?
It has more ambiance than the second album, but the first few releases are still unparalleled in reverb and murkiness, haha. I’ve been in love with highly atmospheric soundscapes since the late 90’s and am still just trying to work on that basis. I think our cooperation with Resonance Sound Studio has reached a new level lately, as we’ve found the optimal balance of grime and clarity that work with our music. The first few Lantern releases were rawer mostly due to my lacking mixing skills, whereas Resonance Sound has provided a more professional approach after that. For “Dimensions”, we were able to inject just the proper amount of “mystery” in the production that this kind of music seldom suffers from. On the contrary, a bit of shadiness works wonders most of the time, when not swamping riffs and compromising decent separation. It brings the music some needed otherworldliness.
– Where does the inspiration of LANTERN come from? From inwards or outwards? Since the sound feels honest and most lyrics seem personal yet hidden in a not-too-obvious language.
Mostly inwards, those inner landscapes and horrendous images / visions I mentioned. From external influences, there are the particular authors and artists whose catalog pleases my aesthetics and thus inspire me. Of course, I’ve been inspired by fellow metal bands and even certain types of rock and metal lyrics over the years, as one can’t avoid influences from the outside and reinvent the wheel in this genre (or pretty much any other kind of music nowadays). My lyrics also contain a lot of hidden subtexts, so there are various meanings concealed in there, referring to the not-too-obvious. Especially some older songs have more personal experiences and points of view tied to them (“Manifesting Shambolic Aura” etc.), but mostly, I’m trying portray my emotions and visions in a form as pure as possible. Not writing an autobiography or an esoteric script, but lyrics that I and hopefully some others find interesting and also entertaining, perhaps even inspiring.
– To what extent does the form, the shape and aesthetic of words impact or affect their meaning and what you want to communicate?
Aesthetic or poetic value of the lyrics is important even in metal, at least for us. It’s hard for me to listen to even good music if the lyrics are bad. Being “poetic” means to be able to say a whole story in a very limited set of words, and this is of the essence in rock and metal lyrics, as well. Usually, it’s just a case of “if it fits, it fits”, and it’s just meant to be. Not only regarding the meter and the rhythm, but also in the way the vowels, nouns and syllables flow and create an instrument of their own. That can create its own kind of magic, if things click. The right kind of a “catalog” determines a big part of the aura of the band, even. Prefer old or timeless lyrics instead of modern references and you tend to get a lot of cobweb on your music, which I think is favorable. Sometimes it’s also vital to consider what you leave unwritten, again, for the listener’s imagination…
– All this about “Dimensions” being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Otherworldly metal monolith.
– And before we wrap this interview up, what are now your near-future plans? What are you focusing on right now as a band?
We hope to be able to play more shows sooner rather than later, that’s our main goal right now. A full band practice and a few beers to celebrate the new album with the guys would also be in order, simple as that!
– That’s all from our side, thank you once more for answering our interview. If you’d like to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you for the interview! Don’t forget to check out the new album, as it’ll be out when you read this. We honestly feel it’s our best effort to the date and many of our followers seem to think likewise. If you’re looking for merch. a copy of “Dimensions” or some of our older releases, don’t hesitate to contact us by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging us on Facebook, or order from Dark Descent Records. Below LPs and Subterranean Effulgence CDs are sold out, otherwise we still carry a solid selection of releases.