After the phenomenal debut “Emergence” released in 2014, the Netherlands’ Shylmagoghnar got a cult status among thirsty for top notch progressive atmospheric blackened death metal underground audience. In the end of June their second album “Transience” will be out. And it is another glorious extraordinary record, with big heart and soul, an epic journey through the fog, full of melody, aggression and perfection.

We used the opportunity and invited Nimblkorg (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, additional vocals) and Skirge (vocals, lyrics) to have a friendly chat so to understand more about their chosen path and whether everything is transient.

– Hello, guys! It’s a real pleasure to have on metalhangar18.com. Tell us more about the idea of Shylmagoghnar. How the band was born?

Band1 BWNimblkorg: Greetings and thank you very much for the introduction! The feeling is mutual!

The band was the result of the two of us meeting in high school and finding that we have common ground in our perception of the world, and also a mutual fascination with music. Skirge started writing lyrics, I started playing guitar, and from there on things just slowly fell into place. It would take quite some time until we really got serious about it though – roughly a decade. But now the project is easily one of the most important things in our lives

Can you define stylistically the band or there is no need to put limits indeed?

We started out mainly as an atmospheric black metal project, but both of us enjoy a wide scope of genres; both inside and outside of metal. Over the years these mixed tastes have inspired us to create what we consider a personal sound. It’s mainly a hybrid between atmospheric black and melodic death metal, but we have no issue crossing those boundaries if it helps us to express the idea behind a song better

Band’s name is combination of vowels which conveys your wish for the atmosphere the band to express, but what is Shylmagoghnar a metaphor for? What does it stands for?

That is correct! But I’m afraid we cannot answer this question in more detail, as we keep our own definition of the word a secret. We like to keep most things about the project open for interpretation, in the hopes that it inspires listeners to dig into their fantasy and pursue their own creative goals.

And what about your names?🙂

Skirge: To be honest the story behind my name is not so spectacular. I wanted to make this music under an alias, and I wanted a simple yet powerful name that had a specific sound to it that fitted the band. After some back and forths I decided on this one, and stuck with it ever since.

Nimblkorg: I too feel that it is more fitting to work under an alias, because it helps with the immersion in the project, and separates it from everyday life. Our real names aren’t a secret or anything though.
In my case the name itself was a grouping of sounds that resonate with me – much like the band name – namely Nim, Bl and Korg. I should probably mention that the name has no connection to the words “nimble” or the electronic instrument company – I chose this name at a very early age before I became a musician and I am Dutch so I didn’t know those words back then.

What does inspire you to make such fantastic music – great diversity in patterns, structures, melodies…Is it life, death, pain, sorrow, the surrounding environment? Anything else?

We’re glad you like it so much, thank you! Yes, we feel that a central theme to most things we do is the human condition. We are all born into this world with a particular set of senses, which both allow and force us to perceive reality in a certain way. Our perception is developed enough to be sentient and intrigued by scientific/philosophical questions, yet limited by our mortal boundaries. In a cosmic glimpse we are brought into existence, see the astounding universe around us, and die again. It is both amazing and terrifying. We try to implement the dichotomy we feel about all this in our music, in the hopes that it helps us understand our purpose in the grand scheme – if there even is one.

Band2 BW

And this transcends in your lyrics too, right?

Skirge: It certainly does. I try to cover the entire spectrum of very human – small, vulnerable, and personal – to the entirety of existence and whatever we can perceive as well as imagine. The human mind and imagination is a wonderful and terrifying thing, but it is ultimately what makes us so unique, and without it, any form of art would be purely instinctual. Of course, basic drives and instinct are present as well. Even the simplest of lives is so complex that it does not satisfy  to look at it from just one angle – it would be like painting in two dimensions. What is interesting to me in particular is that sometimes I want to write from one angle, but the music demands another.  And while you start with an idea, a concept, and how to develop is, you never know in advance precisely how it will turn out.

Any bands in particular, or any other musical influences you can mention?

Nimblkorg: During the four years it took to create the current album I did my best to hear as little music as possible, because I was afraid it would taint our work. So for “Transience” I think there aren’t really any bands that had a drastic influence.
However, when we started out years ago we did of course have certain bands and composers which inspired us. To name a few metal bands that come to mind: Death, early Opeth, early Dimmu Borgir, Atheist, Summoning, Naglfar, Immortal, Diabolical Masquerade.

But there was also inspiration from sources outside of metal. Classical composers like Grieg and Smetana, or video game composers like Daniel Bernstein & Guy Whitmore (Blood), Alexander Brandon, Michiel van den Bos, Andrew Sega, Dan Gardopée (Unreal), Matt Uelmen (Diablo), and Jeroen Tel (varied C64 titles). There were far more of course – this is just a selection.

How hard is to be duo band and to record albums nowadays?

Nimblkorg: Due to technological developments in past decades, it has become MUCH more accessible, but it still requires absolute dedication, eagerness to learn, an open ear for criticism and self-discipline if one strives to reach the quality standards people have gotten used to in metal.

Think of it like this: if someone gave you all the materials you needed to build a house from scratch, would you be able to? It is certainly not impossible, but it will probably take you a couple of years and some crooked attempts to eventually get it right.

To any aspiring musicians/producers out there: please do not take this as discouragement! Quite the opposite: I am convinced that anyone can learn to do this, so if you feel that this is a path you wish to pursue, go for it. Just be patient and allow yourself to be frustrated. Frustration does not equal failure. It is simply a growing pain.

Also, don’t ever tell yourself you cannot do something because you lack the talent. Willpower can move mountains.

Are you still the abyss? (ref. to the opening track of “Emergence”)

Nimblkorg: Oh absolutely! The neighbours are noisy, but rent is very cheap. I do wish people would stop staring into me though.

You have new album coming out in the end of this month. It have been long four years for the fans after 787_SHYLMAGOGHNAR_RGB“Emergence”…Tell us more about it, the writing process, the recording process…. How would you present it?

Nimblkorg: The new album “Transience” is the spiritual successor of “Emergence”, so listeners can expect similar style elements, used to create new atmospheres. And of course there will also be things we’ve never done before. The themes of the new album are a bit more metaphysical than those of “Emergence”, and we think this is reflected in the lyrical/musical content. The album sounds deeper and more open to us.

 The writing process was more focused than last time, because with the debut we were still figuring out so many things, like how we prefer to write music. The songs on Emergence were sometimes written years apart, so most of them took some small reworks to help them blend together properly in the end. This new album was written to fit together and tell a story from the ground up, so we feel that we had more control over the final outcome.

The production came a bit easier this time, because of the aforementioned preparation work and a bit more experience. Most things were written out in detail before we started recording them, so we could focus on getting everything as close as possible to what we had imagined.

With Emergence we’ve had many people finding small deliberate details in the music/mix and interpreting them, which positively surprised us. There are plenty of those tiny things in this album again, so we’re looking forward to hearing what the listeners pick up this time!

What is different this time in comparison to your first record?

Skirge: The music was written in an entirely different era of our lives, so this will reflect in every aspect of it. I still love Emergence and stand behind it a hundred percent. But I do also believe this is a deeper, more mature album while maintaining that raw energy and honesty of the first album

Were both of you performing everything or you got external help?

Nimblkorg: We fully write, record and produce our music. I have a small home studio and am just as passionate about audio engineering as I am about writing/playing music, so we find it pleasant to have full control over the outcome of our efforts.

You have signed with Napalm Records too…

Skirge: Yes, and we are very excited about it. Our alliance with Napalm Records allows us to reach many more people while retaining our musical integrity completely. They have given us all the freedom we could ask for, and while it was a though decision whether or not to sign with a label, I can say we have no regrets whatsoever. You hear all these horror stories about labels, but we have experienced nothing even remotely like that..

Is everything transient

Skirge: Probably. Of course, we could spend several hours discussing metaphysical theories – but I am almost a hundred percent convinced that, for us at least, everything ends. Well, maybe not everything. But that is another topic entirely. It’s an extremely complex issue, and I doubt we as a species, let alone me as a person, will know the answer in this lifetime. If ever at all.


Have you achieved your dreams in the music? What is the success for you actually?

Nimblkorg: Hard to say really. I think music is more of a path than a goal, so while there have certainly been some great moments for us in recent years (working on our personal skills, resulting in the completion of two albums, the unexpected wonderful reactions from people across the world, etc.), we don’t really feel any different towards the project. There is still plenty unexplored territory and we like that. Working with music and audio is a part of who we are, so to us success would probably simply be if we can keep doing that without too many obstacles on the road.

Skirge: Certainly not. I like the creating more than the result, so I will not be done anytime soon. Even though I have little time and other important things going on that demand a lot of time and energy, I still have plenty ideas that would not fit Shylmagoghnar (and a lot that do, so maybe you will see them appear there on coming albums). So while maybe not right now, I expect to be working hard on some entirely other projects once I have the opportunity. 

Is there anything you would make a compromise with – in your music and in your life?

It depends on what you would call a compromise. For example: in music production, we feel that striving for a quality final result is the only thing that should be set in stone. We would not compromise in that, as it would render the entire purpose of the project void. Outside of that however we try to remain flexible, as forcing an idea simply because it sounded good at some point, or because a lot of work was put into it, can potentially be damaging to the final goal. We don’t consider this a compromise though, but an adaptation.

Same goes for our personal lives: you have to play the hand you’re dealt and be flexible, but we have our core principles which we will defend tooth and nail.

Would you change anything in your style of music then?

Nimblkorg: Only if we feel it has a beneficial effect on the story/quality of an album.

Skirge: Only if it is a natural process and retains the atmosphere and spirit of what we are doing now.

How do you see the metal scene currently? The trends, the bands, the digitalisation? Is the future safe?

Nimblkorg: Both of us cannot really comment on the metal scene, as we don’t concern ourselves with it. We are passionate about creating metal as we feel it is a strong means of expression. The trends and politics outside of that are not part of our interests.

About digitalisation and the likes: there is certainly a changing landscape in media and it is very hard to predict where things will go. I do think that there will always be a niche for everyone though. Compare it to the advent of E-reading vs traditional books for example. Many people prefer having a single device with all of their books on them, but printed books are still very much available. I imagine it won’t be much different for music. .

Band6What are your plans in the near future? Touring?

Due to personal health circumstances we have no intention of becoming more than a studio project, so our future plans are mostly focused on the continued creation of music for Shylmagoghnar/other projects. We tend to take our time with new albums, as we feel music is like a living thing that needs to mature before it really reaches its prime. So while it will still take a while, we are already playing with ideas for future albums.

Are we going to see you in Bulgaria?

Not in concert as mentioned, but we hear it is a beautiful country so… maybe we’ll visit it one day!

Is there anything you would like to add or to address to our readers?

We would very much like to thank everyone who has supported us in word and deed over the past few years – you have truly changed our lives for the better. Enjoy the new album!

And for those of you who are discovering us through this interview, we hope you liked the read and will find a piece of yourselves in the music. Thank you!

Thank you very much for this interview. It’s been a real pleasure! We’ll be looking closely on everything around Shylmagoghnar! Wishing you much success with Transience and hope to have the opportunity to talk to you soon!

The pleasure was all ours, thank you very kindly for having us! Looking forward to hearing from you again in the future!

Photocredit: Shylmagoghnar

Photography by S.E. Dantchev

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