March is Metal Month: Marduk’s Morgan “Evil” Håkansson Discusses All Things Black Metal with MetalSucks, and Shares His Personal Spotify Black Metal Playlist!
March is Metal Month! For the fifth year in a row, MetalSucks is teaming up with a variety of other outlets to offer great deals on metal albums, songs and merch throughout the entire month of March. Throughout the month, MetalSucks will interview a celebrity metal musician about the subgenre in which he specializes — AND we’ll be featuring a Spotify playlist put together by that musician, focusing on the subgenre in question!
You won’t have to pay a darned thing to listen to these playlists, but you will need to have a Spotify account. Spotify is available to all for free — but if you pay a measly $4.99 monthly fee, you won’t have to listen to any advertisements, and a $9.99 “premium” subscription also increases audio quality and allows mobile access, which is well worth it if you ask us. Sign up for Spotify now if for some reason you haven’t yet.
Below, check out our second celebrity interview and playlist: Morgan “Evil” Håkansson from Marduk! Morgan’s playlist, at the bottom of this post, has fourteen blasphemous black metal songs on it. We just know you’re gonna love it. Enjoy!
So you’re obviously an expert in the field of black metal…
Yeah, I know a bit about it. [laughs]
What do you think distinguishes black metal from other genres of metal?
It really depends on what you mean by “black metal.” Everybody seems to have their own designation for what is or is not “black metal.”
Well, what’s your definition of “black metal”?
For me, dedication and a will to go on a different path [when] compared to what a lot of other bands have done. Satanic beliefs and a dedication to that cause. That’s what makes you “black metal.” For me, there’s no specific “sound” for black metal. If it has Satanic lyrics, it will be black metal in my eyes. It has nothing to do with the specific sound of the guitar or the vocals.
You think it’s all about the lyrical content?
Yes, that’s what really defines black metal… that and a dedication [to the subject of those lyrics] as well.
So you don’t see the lyrics as just part of a theatrical presentation — you believe wholeheartedly in that message?
Yeah. For me, lyrics are something that come from within. I know other bands that when they make an album they just sit down in the studio and write some lyrics… but for me, if the lyrics didn’t mean anything to me, I wouldn’t use them.
But, for example, Slayer have written lyrics with Satanic content, and they’re not considered to be black metal…
Yeah, but it the end it turned out that [Tom Araya] is a Catholic, so… [laughs] I get your point of view, but in my eyes, for example, I would label old Morbid Angel as “black metal,” even though they always labeled themselves as “death metal.”
Are there young black metal bands out there right now that you appreciate?
We’re always listening to bands and keeping up-to-date, but fuck, I don’t wanna just name some bands… there are some young, dedicated bands out there, but it’s up to people to figure out what they like on their own. For me, the band should be dedicated to what they say [in their lyrics] — and you should be able to feel that dedication, that power and intensity. If it’s truly black metal, you should be able to feel their passion for the message in concert.
How do you see corpse paint as playing into that message?
It’s the visual side of the music, I would say. But unfortunately it’s also something that’s been used so much now that it’s lost a bit of its power.
And how do you feel about black metal’s history of controversy — the church burnings and the violent crimes, et cetera. Do you see that stuff as being important to the history of the genre?
Yeah, in a way. Like I said, black metal has to be genuine in its message. And in one way or another — violence is a part of everybody’s life.
MORGAN “EVIL” HÅKANSSON’S BLACK METAL PLAYLIST