Blood of the Black Owl – Caller of Spirits
By: Matthew Bowling
A honest shock if there has ever been one, Blood of the Black Owl’s Light the Fires! caught us unexpected with its ritual vibes and earthy opulence .Though initially coming off as quite peculiar, repeat listens revealed a carefully constructed and ultimately overwhelmingly atmospheric walk into the abyss of the outer wilderness.
“Band” mastermind Chet W. Scott was kind of enough to engage in an eloquent chat with me over the band’s history, inspirations, and all manner of idiosyncrasies that make Blood of the Black Owl the enormous beast that it is.
Blistering.com: Admittedly I’m a newcomer to your rather unique take on metal and a question that kept gnawing at me as (I imagine) many other new listeners: where did you get your start and how did it come to this?
Chet W. Scott: Wonderful, I'm honored and humbled to have you take this journey with me, Matthew. Well, wish it could be more exciting for you all, but the very short story of this reflects the vast majority of the now juvenile self titled debut, as well as the 3-song demo that came before it, both of which were actually conceived as a younger fellow and written back in 1995 while living in NYC. I never had the option of recording this music back then, as I didn’t have my own gear or studio space, nor was I able to step into a “professional” recording studio financially at the time. I also had no interest in forming a band, thus never shared the work with others. Anyhow, straight through the years to follow, finding myself exploring vastly different musical paths, which often fell into this deliriant sort of apocalyptic noise art and ritual ambient soundscape, I never lost touch with these initial ideas. Ideas consisting of simple riffs and song structures that fell into a sound akin to the bands of the time. Bands such as Winter, Neurosis and Darkthrone to name a few, were absorbed on a daily basis and tremendously effective upon my being.
Years came and went, then within the early season of 2004, having some of the tools in place and the desire to unlock and explore these older ideas became a reality, with the juvenile and horribly produced self released “Svart Ugle” 3 song demo. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to establish a decent studio and the gear I’ve needed to see it through. The intent grew tremendously richer, as I began to journey this sound as a conduit of personal ritual and growth, spiritually woven within this artistic expression. Thus, the debut self-titled full-length was offered in 2006, along with a vital and deeply more inspirational name change.
Blistering.com: What’s the process behind most of the music you create? Is it a fairly free-flowing experience or a step-by-step process? From what do you draw most influence, be it musical, the world, or otherwise?
Scott: It varies depending on intent and state of being at the time of craft. Light the Fires! just happened! Seriously, I can't explain it nor believe it is my place to do so. I couldn't let go of my acoustic guitar during this river of spirit, which the entire collection was written on. Mystery was behind this offering in full, as most of my solo crafting, especially regarding the ritual work of Cycle of the Raven Talons (formerly Ruhr Hunter), which now crafts deeply and directly into my Homo Spiritualis being.
Blistering.com: The metal presence on Light the Fires! at least as it’s usually defined sonically, was rather sparse. Is it losing ground over time within your sound or is that just how it worked out on this album?
Scott: Just the way it came to pass this time and I'm so thankful and deeply content with its presence.
Blistering.com: “Caller of Spirits” is a very elaborate, intense piece of music. It was apparent as soon as play was hit and that voice billowed forth that something special was at hand. Do you care to break down that song and what went into it?
Scott: The opening Galdr "Caller of Spirits" was an offering through deepening intent and strengthening of spiritual vows, honoring the six directional spiritual path. It is important for my being to acknowledge the spirit world, prior to offering a collection of medicinal musical out into the void. I had done this once before under the Blood of the Black Owl Sigil with the opening invocation "Spell of the Elk," featured on the second full length "A Feral Spirit" collection. "Caller of Spirits" focused intent upon a binding runic mark that had traveled within me for a long time.
After meditation upon this unified gathering of Elder Futhark and finding an understanding within its presence, a ritual was conceived and captured audibly. This particular time, through the consumption of earth tongues to ushering being forward, light was revealed even further upon these very specific marks becoming this binding sigil as a whole. Thus, the layers of Galdr in the piece becoming one spiraling voice. Sacred horns, flutes, frame drum, Elk shaker and a Bear bladder rattle were implemented as well. It's also important to note that thus far, all Galdr offerings have coincided with specific Moon phases, as well as very specific times of year.
When the double vinyl format is released for the Light the Fires! collection, a 14-minute companion Galdr entitled "Spirit Canoe (Hailing Father Sky)" will replace "Caller of Spirits" to open the journey. Also, within the vinyl format will be exclusive artwork to reveal this binding oaken sigil I spake of.