“Global Destruction” - Empyreal Destroyer's mysterious vocalist Cyclonis Ni-yilka waxes sinisterly lyrical
By Anthony Morgan
Black Metal group Empyreal Destroyer hail from London, an initial demo garnering favourable reviews from the likes of Zero Tolerance magazine and other respected media circles. November 2006 saw the self-release of debut single “Chaos Torrent”, with “The Destroyer” following five months later in March. Select cuts from these singles can be heard via the group's MySpace, while the singles are available for purchase through Empyreal Destroyer's official website. Dark, mysterious, a complex riddle, little information is public as concerns the group's history within the music scene.
Cyclonis Ni-yilka, opting not to reveal his birth name, kindly accepted an email interview request from Lucem Fero. Proving one of the most curious interviewees Lucem Fero has tackled, Ni-yilka chose not to answer obligatory questions regarding his motives for choosing to enter music nor queries regarding a possible future debut album. His words are; “No one member is bigger than the band so I thought it inappropriate to answer. As for future plans, for the meantime we wish them to remain hush hush for now.” Read onwards for a more vivid glimpse.
- Could you talk me through the formation of Empyreal Destroyer?
- It was down to timing and ability. As musicians we had reached a position where we could form Empyreal Destroyer. The band members themselves have always been close, but with Empyreal Destroyer it is the music that takes precedent and not the members within it.
- In what ways will Empyreal Destroyer contribute towards “global destruction”, metaphorically speaking of course?
- Empyreal Destroyer is genuinely concerned about forwarding the metal genre, as well as people’s attitudes towards it. If we can achieve this in any way, then our time has been well spent. The band name means “Heavenly Destroyer” or “a destroyer from the heavens” (depending on your own interpretation). When you consider the implications and the symbolism that the sky has represented throughout the ages (as a home to gods), even down to the present day (a portal to the mysteries of the universe), there is so much that can be said. On a personal level I relate to the idea of beautiful chaos - an entity that must rend asunder the skies for a purpose.
- Your adopted band member name “Cyclonis Niyil-ka” means “never ending spiral progressing to nothingness” I believe? What do you feel this name says about you as both a musician and human being?
- Nothingness is in itself totality or absolution - to be nothing is to be everything. All things existent and non-existent are of one, and everything has its harmonious counterpart. While the correlation may be complex to decipher, existence around us isn’t a separate entity; every fragment within it contributes to it. We are so concerned with raping the world around us that we don’t realize we make the world around us what it is. As a musician I would like to believe that I in some way bring about my contribution of order, or even chaos, to a piece created by Empyreal Destroyer. In the exact same way I, as a human being, can touch people lives with such a quality. The element of anonymity is in place because we want the focus to be on the music, and not on the individuals at play as it were. That is the only real reason for it. My own personality doesn’t differ much from Niyil-ka. I am just more focused when Niyil-ka.
- Looking back in hindsight, how would you describe the demo in terms of the circumstances surrounding its birth and its ultimate achievements musically? If the band had the opportunity to re-record the songs, in what ways do you feel the songs would be different?
- Overall, the demo received some good feedback. It was a chance to reflect and begin considering our evolution. Some of the reviews were especially pleasant to read. In regards to the bad ones, none of them were actually condemning, but were suggesting changes that would lend us to fitting into some pre-made subgenre in a friendlier manner. I can understand how this might be an issue for some people but we’ve never wanted to be tied down to one particular thing. After all, we are what we are, and the songs were about showing the world that there’s a little piece of a Destroyer in everybody. In regards to re-recording, given the chance I would consider doing some of the vocals again here and there.
- “Motherless shall I be” announces Empyreal Destroyer's debut single, “Chaos Torrent”. Could you care to share your thoughts and knowledge on the single?
- “Chaos Torrent” was the first Empyreal Destroyer song. It was going into new territory in a symbolic sense from a writing perspective, and was about expressing how something can never be truly oppressed or obliterated. There are things which come about into existence and never die regardless of how time passes, or what destructive entities arise to lay such entities to rest. “Chaos Torrent” paved the way for us, as it was a portal into another realm. It served its purpose.
- Your latest single “The Destroyer” seems to use a vivid lyrical description of mutilating a person's anatomy, but seems vague enough so that it can be metaphorical and synonymous with other lyrical meanings. What's your perspective on “The Destroyer” overall?
- Lyrically I was thinking about radical change as an overall subject; everything is going somewhere all at once. Everything changes, takes on a new persona and to do so it must destroy the old remnants of itself, which is the overall lyrical theme. The music is itself a language, expressing something, while the lyrical content is just an added dimension. “The Destroyer” was trying to visualise in musical terms a destructive entity, but in a graceful manner; something where an element of the divine meets an aspect of terror. I can’t recall the selective process but it just lent itself to making the cut.
- The latest single is backed with the supporting songs “Inverted Circles”, “Hunting Humans” and “Five Wounds”, all titles with sinister connotations. Is there a reason why the band's chosen to down this lyrical path and fuse it with an overtly Black Metal backdrop?
- From a creative stance this “sinister quality” is where we naturally came from. Every musical piece tells its own tale with every note hit and every word contributed. Everything in the song is a pathway to the creative minds that have contributed to its formulation. “Inverted Circles” (not a b-side) journeys into the question of self-possibility. Every person has it within them to create whole worlds or even destroy them. “Hunting Humans” meanwhile is about stripping away layers and unlocking the person within - finding the soul as it were. The lyrical matter approaches this literally by tearing away at the anatomy. Finally, “Five Wounds” is the meeting of complimentary forces - everything shares a relationship with everything else. We just don’t allow ourselves to see the certain union of extreme and opposing values.
The B-sides are amazing songs. They really are something which we wouldn’t normally do and as such they compliment the other songs. While recording them we even discovered a few things which will be lending themselves to later recordings.
- Why is the band hesitant to disclose information on Empyreal Destroyer's background?
- Empyreal Destroyer is the music; its’ not the members involved. While some aspect of the members does go into the songs, ultimately it is the music that must speak for itself. None of us are shy; we’re quite the eccentrics in our daily lives.
- Is the band wary of being misrepresented by media articles?
- People that misrepresent metal tend to be from outside of it, or don’t take the time to really see beyond the cloudy waters. When you consider the infinite spectrums of sounds such a movement has created you really can’t generalise about it. I saw this one documentary where metal was the scapegoat for a series of violent acts and murders - well it’s like saying rap music inspires gang culture; it’s simply not the case. If someone wants to do something they’ll do it regardless of what song they last heard or what posters they have up in their bedroom wall.
- Do you wish to maintain an air of mystery around the group?
- There’s nothing like a little mystery, as people tend to seek secrets out. History will bear testimony to this with various sects that have existed. We want the material to shine through, and by removing the composers from the public eye we leave only the material to explore.
- Which issues do you choose to delve into when penning song lyrics, and why?
- We have the same issues as the majority of people out there. What separates the individual is how they choose to confront, or escape, these issues. I could write an essay here on my how my thought process works but it can be condensed to two simples phrases – Be yourself and always look to further your expression. My ideals have been given life from various experiences and a natural knowledge. In regards to labels I suppose you could say that I hold something of a Promethean attitude. The people involved in Empyreal Destroyer all have smart heads on their shoulders, and are always looking to further themselves in every way possible… couple this with a competitive attitude and you have a very healthy atmosphere in terms of writing. Part of the writing process is about conveying an experience and so the world around us will come into play whenever pen goes to paper or hand goes to instrument.
- What originally attracted you to reading occultic books?
- I like this romantic idea of the unknown. All of our greatest advances come from stepping into the darkness and realizing just how much there is that we don’t know. So we shed a little light and take another step into the retreating darkness. The only thing that ever stops us from taking these steps is fear; fear of discovering your own insignificance, fear bought about by misrepresentation, fear of falling into a great chasm and not finding your way back. When you take the time to discover the nature of something it becomes of part of you and you can utilize it to further your own being. This imagery is something that can be applied to everyday life. On a personal level, I’ve read a lot of Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Grant, material on the idea of Chaos, various ancient texts from the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Near East and Scandinavia. I highly recommend the Elder Edda for those who enjoy poetic literature. I have a few close friends who are genuinely terrified for me but I can assure them that there is nothing to be fearful of.