The War Inside My Head: An Interview with Shimmering Atmospheric Black Metal Project Seltar
The newest installment of the The War Inside My Head interview series is upon us all. This time it is my absolute pleasure and joy (are people who write metal blogs allowed to be happy? hmm) to present a foray into the musical influences and loves of American one-man atmospheric black metal phenomenon Seltar. The project is due to release its sophomore full-length Autoscopia in a couple of days (CDs here and here digital here), and so I figured this would be a good opportunity to talk to the band's mastermind, Invierno.
As far as the music goes their sound is something of a clash of catharses, blending an atmospheric black metal cloud of sombre melancholy (FFO: Wolves in the Throne Room, Aureole, etc) with what feels like some goold-ole'-fashioned 2000s post-rock. So, basically explosions in the sky sprinkled with some blackgaze and a nice dose of black metal. Very cool stuff. Beautiful, in fact.
Before we get the interview this is just to say that you can check out our other interview series (Albums of the Decade, Pillars of the 90s) and, you haven't already, please follow follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and now also on TikTok (basically me fondling my tape collection) or support whatever it is that we do on Patreon, and check out our kinda-sorta podcast, MATEKHET (YouTube, Spotify and all that). On to Seltar.
What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
I don’t specifically recall what was the first album I bought with my own money. It’s going to be difficult to give an accurate answer. I’m going to lean towards it being sometime around my freshman year of high school. It must have been either Untouchables by Korn or White Pony by Deftones. I bought these at a local store named Alwik Records in Elizabeth, New Jersey—now since closed.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
When I was growing up CDs were the most popular medium to consume music. This was right before Napster, Limewire and all those P2P file sharing sites really took off. I was on a 56K modem at the time anyway. Despite this I had a Sony Walkman cassette player that I preferred due to it never skipping (like some CD players did). I loved walking to and from school listening to Slipknot’s self-titled album on cassette. It was so heavy and catchy. I had a tiny cassette collection, but that one specific tape got annihilated. Another album I used to listen to constantly (this time on CD) was Ride the Lightning by Metallica. I was learning guitar and the riffs on that record were helpful in bringing my playing up to speed and fun to learn. Lastly, Jester Race by In Flames which led me into the more extreme sub-genres and greatly influenced my approach to music.
What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?
The Red in the Sky Is Ours by At the Gates has a clear production that highlights the swirling guitar riffs. The way everything is performed on that record struck me. I suppose its uniqueness and bleak, desperate yet abrasive atmosphere is what drew me closer. I listened to the elements and learned about sonic placement and songwriting. The second one that opened my eyes to music production was Hedniskhjärtad by Vintersorg. The layers of guitars, bass, keys, leads, and vocals over the programmed drums results in beautiful compositions that capture the grandiose aura of mountainous landscapes. The drum programming on that first Vintersorg EP is powerful, yet simple and attainable. It influenced me to do everything on my own. “Norrland” lives on as one of my favorite songs ever.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
Shocked me? As in shocked by an electric current of infectious hooks, songwriting and rocking groove? I’d have to go with Swoon by Silversun Pickups. All-around, what a great album.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
Sóknardalr by Windir centers and relaxes my mind. I allow Valfar to control the ride and let myself travel through his excellent riffs. “Likbør” is such an amazing tune. The latter half of which contains one of the greatest melodic parts he ever recorded.
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
Lately—and it’s an album I find myself coming back to often—it would have to be Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form by Crowbar. Total despair and heaviness compacted into one disc. I’ve also been spinning two Texas bands’ albums recently, Molesting the Decapitated by Devourment as well as The Sundering by Krigsgrav.
What album is grossly underrated?
It’s hard to determine what’s considered “underrated” nowadays. I don’t hear many people speak about Trouble’s Run to the Light often. It’s a great metal record. A classic. R.I.P. Eric Wagner.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
Selfless by New Jersey black metal solo outfit Afar. A highly recommended record. Seltar recently (2020) allied with Afar to release a two song split. Hoping to hear more from Afar in the future.