The King of “New York Black Metal” Speaks: Paul Delaney on Black Anvil’s Upcoming Album Regenesis
Black Anvil’s fifth studio album, Regenesis, is the highly addictive masterpiece that’s about to make your year! This must-hear album drops on November 4. Black Anvil is a total machine that pulls off what few groups can; their masterful use of clean and bestial harsh vocals lends an arcane and mystical liturgical aura. Headbanging is to be expected, but Regenesis may even make you dance. It’s wicked-catchy.
Regenesis features Jason “Raeph” Glicken on drums, Paul Delaney on bass and lead vocals, and Jeremy Sosville on guitar. The band has since added their long-time friend Alexander Volonino as their second guitarist. Black Anvil was founded by Paul, Raeph, and Gary Bennett in 2007 in Queens, NY. This original unholy trinity played together in the hardcore band Kill Your Idols. Black Anvil has always decimated posers with their dangerous, in-your-face punk attitude and New York “We Own You” mentality. Yet, Black Anvil remains “100% True Black Metal,” yet breaks the rules in order to preserve the genre’s immortal spirit of rebellion and radical individuality.
Black Anvil has toured with legends like Mayhem, Watain, and Marduk. Starting in November, these dauntless veterans will hit the road with Cannibal Corpse, Dark Funeral, and Immolation. Fans will get their first taste of Black Anvil’s new stout on December 2 at the Decibel Metal and Beer Fest in Denver. Before the sonic storm begins, let’s hear what Paul had to say about Regenesis and his journey as an artist.
Of course, all of Black Anvil’s releases have been amazing! I’ve really enjoyed following the band’s progression. Although my expectations were high, Regenesis still managed to blow me away. It gets even better every time you listen to it. Is there anything that you would like listeners to know about the record in advance?
This album was written in 2019. We signed with Season of Mist in February 2020. We were going to record in the spring, and then we all know what happened in March of 2020. So, we decided to just sit on this for what ended up being a couple years. We just sort of kicked back and let this shit pass. So, yeah, you have something that you’re passionate about and you’re ready to jump into the studio and record. Now, you have like another year to sit on it and contemplate. But, ultimately, it felt complete. We went into the studio in August of 2021, and we didn’t even announce it until August of 2022. In retrospect, it feels very strange to have written all this considering how life has changed so much for all of us and this entire world. It’s odd how the lyrics still connect. They even connect more than they did when it was originally written. It’s a very nihilistic record for us. I feel that this is our most passionate and emotional album ever! I hope people take the time to actually listen to it, read the lyrics…. and maybe pay attention more to that than which bands one of us was in, what my accent sounds like, where we’re from, or what we’re wearing.
Regenesis is one of the most atypical black metal releases I’ve heard. Everyone wants to do something out-of-the-box nowadays. Yet, it seems that very few are true originals like Black Anvil. What are some of the creative challenges you’ve had to overcome to make this record? Are there any factors that might have shaped Regenesis you’d like to note?
The creative challenge for us was internal on this record. We’re from New York, and that speaks throughout our music and throughout our attitude. I feel it’s very important for us to be honest in writing our music. Sometimes there’s going to be more groove, bigger production, and very hip-hoppy elements to the vocal attack. This goes back to our history in New York with hip hop and hardcore. The hardcore scene, to me, is very comparable to death metal and the early black metal days with the ’90s in Norway with different outcomes and different players. It’s fucking violent here! It was very aggressive and very passionate. And I was always the younger one in the group. I’m now in the middle sort of. I’m 45. Raeph, our drummer, is 54, so he’s got the ’80s in him. He saw Metallica, Raven, Mercyful Fate, Bad Brains. I came along in the early ’90s going to shows, bigger concerts in the late ’80 with my mom. We always wanted to hold true to how we grew up and who we grew up with. It’s so easy for people to just sort of shit on the fact that we’re from New York and that we have ties to what we have ties to, though I see a huge connection, maybe not lyrically… but we’re individuals, so it doesn’t matter! This whole scene has sort of made us who we are.
You just mentioned your mom. She’s into great music too?
That’s for sure! Speaking of Raeph, I was wondering how the two of you first connected.
I met Raeph in 1996. I was in this hardcore band [Downlow] with drummer Alex Hernandez. He played with a couple other bands at the time — this death metal band from queens called Fallen Christ and a really great underrated grindcore band from Queens, Disassociate. [Downlow was a Disassociate side project.] Alex quit all three to play in Immolation right after Here in After  came out. I was crushed because, obviously, if he’s playing in Immolation, you can imagine the kind of drummer he was! We try out this guy named Raeph. And he shows up with like one kick drum with one pedal. I was like, “Fuck! This is an adjustment that’s gonna suck!” And 30 years later, I’ve been playing music at his side and vice versa. If it wasn’t for Immolation sort of stealing Alex, I never would have met Raeph! I wouldn’t be here right now! It’s wild. Immolation is extremely important to us as people because of that event. And, yeah, it’s just something that I never really thought about until we toured with them a couple of years ago, and I’m like, “You know, if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t have met this guy!”
You’ve already touched upon this, but could you please tell our readers a little more about your influences over the years?
We’ve never really sought to sound like anyone. I mean, granted, you can hear all sorts of shit. I’ve mentioned the same bands over the years like Kiss, Poison Idea, Sunny Day Real Estate. From all ends of the spectrum, there’s music that is just embedded in my mind. Metallica is a huge inspiration to me. I just love the way James Hetfield writes! I’d say discovering Antaeus was a real moment for me and Funeral Mist — two bands that completely changed the way I looked at what I was doing! But again, I’m not trying to rip any of these bands off.
Returning to Regenesis, “8-bit Terror” has been stuck in my head all day. It’s a total earworm! I was really taken by the beautiful video, which was created by Emmy-nominated visual artist Sean Pierce, whom rock fans should know from Toilet Böys. How did you come up with this song’s unique name?
That song was actually written in like 2019. I was demoing the song just sort of piece by piece and building it. I was really excited with where it was going. And the computer crashed! — I don’t save things as I go because I’m not like some studio engineer. — I opened the program back up, and I kept getting this fucking “8-bit error” message. And I’m like, “I’m gonna smash this thing!” I was losing my mind because I really was just going off the cuff. I didn’t remember what I was demoing. So, I just sort of went off my memory with whatever I had. When I had to save it again and rename it, I just made the working title “8-bit Terror” because of this “8-bit error” that I kept getting. So, yeah, we kept the working title!
On Regenesis, there is also a remarkable track called “Castrum Doloris,” or “Castle of Grief.” I was wondering if the title is a homage to the project Castrum Doloris by the late Steingrim Torson of Celestial Bloodshed or possibly a nod to your Marduk comrades?
Neither, actually! I was just on a googling art rampage, and I stumbled across a structure — the Castrum Doloris. I just was like looking through pictures and it’s just something I jotted down, just as inspiration for art for the album. It was around the time we were demoing the song and that became the working title — “Castrum.” We stuck with it!
Our state couldn’t ask for a better musical representative than Black Anvil! You told us how being from New York affects your music. On Regenesis, we have the great track “NYC Nightmares,” which features Danny Diablo. The city has gone wild with crime since the pandemic started. Has the situation fueled your creativity by making it easier to access anger?
Again, we wrote this before everything went bananas. There was some internal shit with all of us going on at this time, but I wouldn’t say anger. Being on guard is one thing. I didn’t deal with crazy shit in my neighborhood. Sure, crime goes up and down. I think that there’s always a dangerous corner to turn, and there’s many lit-up corners to turn where there’s no danger. But, you know, shit can happen anywhere. So, yeah, I wouldn’t say any of this fueled me. If anything, hitting the reset button and kicking back for a while and just thinking about what I need and don’t need anymore was more of a big thing for all of us.
The album was mixed & mastered in Sweden by Tore Stjerna, a.k.a. “Necromorbus,” who has worked with greats like Mayhem. As a musician, he’s played with important bands like Ofermod. What can you tell us about the experience of collaborating with him this time around?
Necromorbus is a very special individual when it comes to his craft. We made the last record [As Was, 2017] with the same combination; we tracked with Colin Marston from Krallice and Gorguts in Queens. It’s very important for us to record in Queens. It’s where I’m from. When it comes to recording with Colin and being in the room with him, he’s a genius! He’s so great at what he does. So, he sort of prepares the canvas with all the loose pieces to pass over to Necromorbus. I’ve never heard anyone make a record, or even mix and master a record, quite like him. With As Was, it was the first time we got to experience exactly what we wanted. It was huge and so far beyond what the demo could possibly ever hold in weight. But, at the same time, it didn’t lose any of those elements of atmosphere. — Somewhere along the way, we’ve always lost certain qualities from demo to recording. — Necromorbus knows how to make you sound big and also make you sound dirty, and I’ll also say black metal! He’s fantastic, unlike anything or anyone, when it comes to what he does. He really challenged us on this one. The rough tracks that we sent him were quite different. He had a different idea in mind for these songs because it’s a different type of album from the last one. We let him go with it. You know, it’s changed so much about even how I play bass! I have a completely different attack, a completely different live sound! The experience helped us grow. I think that’s something that Necromorbus also does; he constantly grows and goes beyond what he’s done in the past with everything.
Yeah, the result is incredible! It’s the best of both worlds, or rather, I should say, “all worlds.” Regenesis and As Was feel like their own universes.
Necromorbus is the drummer on the Funeral Mist record [Salvation, 2003] that changed a lot for me some decades ago. [Paul was playing with a group called None More Black at the time.] So, it’s cool in the sense that we treat him with respect. We’ve toured with him. — He goes out with Mayhem a lot. — We have a friendship. And we’re fortunate to have him there at the helm.
Black Anvil has moved from one great label, Relapse Records, to another, Season of Mist. Season of Mist has worked with so many of the best black metal bands at one point or another that it’s astounding. [Think Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Urgehal, Beherit!] How has that transition been for you?
The transition has actually been pretty great! The guy that signed us to Relapse, Gordon Conrad, left during our second record to go front Season of Mist in the United States. That always hurt. I loved him, and I still love him. We were happy with Relapse at the time. It was great. Being reconnected with Gordon is just really great for us because we do have a relationship. It’s very easy to communicate. It doesn’t feel like we’re just moving into a new place or a new town. We’re going somewhere new, but it’s very familiar. Season of Mist feels like a very good home.
Those who haven’t should check out Black Anvil’s two-song split with Urfaust, Lo-Fi LowLive: Live in the Netherlands . Similarly, you personally have done some awesome work with the Dutch band Duivel, or “Devil.” Can we hope for new material any time soon?
Actually, yes!!! There are new songs written, and I’m waiting. I was asked to lay down bass. I did it in like one day. Then, the whole thing sort of got put on hold. Duivel is a side project with Jim [“Nachtraaf”] from Urfaust. He’s the mastermind writing this stuff. And, yeah, we did the 7-inch [Duivel, 2019] and the LP [Tirades uit de hel, 2020]. It all just sort of fell together. He went into the studio. He had some time with Urfaust that fell through and sent me these songs. And he’s like, “What do you think? I just recorded this.” “I think I know what that sounds like, man. Should I play bass?!” And he’s like, “Yeah, do it!” So, we have a new EP. I’m not sure when it’ll actually get mixed and get some vocals on it. I’m not sure who will sing on it because there’s like a revolving door of Dutch people on vocals for this. But there is something there!
I can’t wait to hear it! Thank you, Paul, for taking the time to speak with us and for keeping black metal alive! We truly appreciate it.
Regenesis will be available on November 4, though you can preorder your copy via Seasons of Mist.