Somewhere in the 90s, a branch came out of Barathrum in the Finnish metal scene and there blossomed two black/thrash metal acts: Urn and Flame. Admittedly playing in a different style than the eerie, primordial, doomy sound of old Barathrum, these bands had a similar old school metal mindset in their essence.
After a ’99 rehearsal tape that mainly circulated amongst friends, Flame properly and functionally started unleashing their output in this millenium and they have been one of the strongest, and perhaps somewhat overlooked, black/thrash acts this side of 2000. Led by Blackvenom, the band released two full-lengths and an assortment of demos and splits in 11 years before going quiet (except for a demo re-release in 2015). Finally this year they are back with “Ignis Spiritus”, their new EP with four songs of non-stop riffing occult metal attack.
The years passed definitely do not mean they lost the strength of previous albums. “Ignis Spiritus” presents the band with what they do best: sharp like steel, cold like northern frostbites, old school black/thrash metal that is more in line with early Bathory with tastefully used mid-tempo sections and drawn out riffing sections that add the occult variety to their thrashing and banging bursts.
Nine years after the previous album “March into Firelands”, Flame is here again with this EP from Finnish label Primitive Reaction and this is, while fairly short, a very welcome addition to their discography. Even the first listen shows that their frostbitten and dark sound is still there and the steel remains.
You can now listen to “Ignis Spiritus” in its entirety here as a Ride Into Glory exclusive and read an interview with the band below.
“Ignis Spiritus” may be called a “comeback album” in a sense. From what I understand, it has been on your mind since the previous album in 2011 but life got in the way. Is it the final product of a long time work or did it come to existence in a short time span like a black/thrash attack?
Hello! Yes, it’s not wrong to say upcoming “Ignis Spiritus” is some sort of comeback. Flame was “on hold” for several years and during that time I slowly worked with this new material. “Ignis Spiritus” is the result of that process. In the end recordings were done in a few pretty intensive sessions during few months. Looking it back completely for me it was more than 6 years, so pretty long run!
As far as I can see, this new EP is all you with Pimeä on drums – is there anyone else who contributed to the new songs in any way that you would like to mention? Is FLAME mainly a two-man act nowadays?
Yes, Flame is now only me and Pimeä. We formed this band in December 1998 and since then we’ve been the dynamic force behind our music. I write songs and lyrics, then we doing arrangements together. This is so natural for us! I’ve done all the Flame songs except our first album “Into the Age of Fire” was 2 riffs made by our old guitarist (Crusher) and one from the hand of my good friend I had some band project before Flame.
With FLAME lyrics, you are mostly dealing with occultism and esoterica – somewhat deeper topics than what some of the bands playing in a similar style of merciless black/thrash attack deal with. Was that an intentional choice from before the dawn of the band or did the lyrical themes (inspired by your personal interests, I assume) come afterwards?
When we started I was more into traditional way of satanism (LaVey) and philosophy (Nietzsche). There was also little bit of the occult oriented things but not that deeper level. Naturally some horror movies also gave atmospheric ground for our lyrical content back then. Around 6 years ago I had some kind of “spiritual awakening”. In this process I started to dive very deeply into occultism, spending money on books and did some experiments. Some “psychedelic experiences” worked like building blocks of this Self-realization and opened new world for me. In esoteric sense I founded my true “Will” and path to follow. Flame has always been my “mirror of soul”, so naturally these occult elements became part of “Ignis Spiritus” content.
Musical influences are fairly easy to trace back in this day and age (the early classics like BATHORY, SLAYER, Teutonic thrash acts…). Is there any other non-musical personal influences that go into the creations of FLAME, be it a writer or a painter or any other kind of artist?
I’ve always taken influences from everywhere and everything around me…movies, soundtracks, books, “eerie” paintings, landscapes so on. If speaking the lyrical side, the most influental persons these days: Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Grant, H.P. Blavatsky, Eliphas Levi and their occult writings filtered through my subsconcious mind.
Is “Ignis Spiritus” a beginning or an end – can we expect more music under the name of FLAME now that this EP is finally out? Or perhaps more live shows (whenever the days of “live music” will be back in today’s world…)?
Definitely the new beginning! When world will open again I think we’re ready for some live onslaught too!
Does the years of break after previous releases also mean a personal detachment from the local underground metal scene? And on the other side of music – do you keep up with current heavy metal acts as a listener? Are there any modern bands you would like to draw some attention – whether some of your personal favourites or some local acts you are still in contact with?
I’m still interested in what happen in the metal scene but not as active I was let say 10 years ago. This is natural progress having family etc. My time is more limited these days. There also so much other stuff besides metal I like to listen: 70s/80s prog, ambient, soundtracks for example. I still of course like almost all the classic heavy, thrash, death and black metal stuff I been listening to since teenager years. Good metal stuff lately for me: The Ruins Of Beverast and Bölzer. Some great acts also share friendship and been contact: Lantern, Witchcraft (Fin), Proscription, Lucifericon, Purtenance, Cadaveric Incubator, Adorior and Morrigan.
Any final words you would like to add about FLAME, “Ignis Spiritus”, or otherwise for the readers who will hear the new EP for the first time?
Age of Fire Is Now!!! The New Aeon of Ignis Rising!!!