Lightning Swords of Death

"A lot of people are shocked at the concept of a band even trying to practice the art of legitimate black metal in L.A., but black metal isn't about a charting of our ancestry or worshipping Norse lore," Autarch told Noisecreep. "To us, it is about magic and the occult, things that we've been studying since we were in junior high."

As lead vocalist for California black metallers Lightning Swords of Death, Autarch has had plenty of practice dealing with those who doubt his band's dedication to the dark arts. When your band hails from Los Angeles, a traditional stronghold of all things fake, plastic, glittery and superficial, it must be a bit difficult convincing folks that you are, in fact, deadly serious. During a stop on his band's recent national tour opening for heavyweight labelmates Behemoth (as well as Greek goth stalwarts Septicflesh), Autarch joined Noisecreep for a quick chat, braving the winter cold and unruly pedestrians in search of a quiet spot to convene. The imposing yet delightfully genial vocalist chuckled, "We went through some f---ing frozen wastes to get here. I just got off the phone with someone back home and it's 80 degrees there!"

Sunny California seems like the last place that the crippling nihilism of black metal would have taken hold, but the past fifteen years or so have seen a veritable explosion. Bands like Von, Weakling, Xasthur and Leviathan put West Coast black metal on the map, and more recent practitioners like Bone Awl, Ludicra, Kerasphorus, Lightning Swords of Death and their brothers-in-arms (and on wax) Valdur have underlined the mark in blood. The City of Angels in particular has surely spawned its fair share of evil, though as far as many of us are concerned, the majority of its musical transgressions have been limited to the more 'glam' variety. However, according to Autrach, there's something darker bubbling below L.A.'s bright neon surface and suffocating smog.

"You would think that L.A. would be the heart of black metal!" he exclaimed. "The occult has been alive in L.A., in northern California, and really in California in general forever. Let us not forget the entire Jack Parson's debacle in Pasadena with all the unsactioned [Ordo Templi Orientis] work he did. Every block has some legend about some mass murderer or occult experimentation gone wrong, but I do love it there. We are definitely a byproduct of Los Angeles but I think if you generate enough hate, or curiosity about those mysteries, then you'll be inspired to create great things. That's been our modus operandi since we started."

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