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Akhlys - Immersive Live Experience

From the initial thought of being kept just as an audible project, Akhlys has begun their immersive experience on international live stages a few years back. Known from their dismal, haunting, one of a kind sounds, combined with undoubtedly recognizable visual expression, they continue to rise into higher a echelon of American black metal culture.

We got both Naas Alcameth and Abraxas Nox to answer a few questions for ViaOmega during their photoshoot in Chicago.

Interview and all photos by Lariyah Perrin / LXI Photography

ViaOmega - Congratulations on the yet another upcoming album! With each release it seems like the intensity and performance keeps taking new dimensions and it’s adequate to the anticipation of the public eye.  Your loyal following is certainly ready to be taken to their inner “I” through your music yet again. Do you feel like the new album reflects exactly what you envisioned it to or , knowing of your perfectionism, do you feel like saying ‘artist’s work is never fully finished”?

Naas Alcameth - I do not think capturing what is envisioned in the mind's eye is possible. It is forever a few steps beyond what is graspable, but that is also the beauty in the subjective spirit behind it all. The closer you get, the more it withdraws and the more you chase, and if you stay devoted to the pursuit of the vision, you will reach an approximation that will resonate with the spirit of what you are forever chasing. 

ViaOmega - You have done a really well executed in-depth interview with Bardo Methodology about your music. It can be read HERE. You mentioned this took so far the longest to write, but I can only imagine that taking Akhlys live must have also somewhat disrupt the focus of writing devotion?

Naas Alcameth - That is an excellent point, and yes, that is certainly true. On the other hand, those travels also served the more subtle side of the creation process by cultivating inspiration. 

ViaOmega - Speaking of writing process, one thing I would like to dig more in… Aside of references and inspiration of your overall character and existence, if I may say, who or what inspires your lyrics and your writing style?

Naas Alcameth - Although I could cite several sources of inspiration here, I will stick to the two primary personas I feel have inspired my lyrics and lyrical style the most: Clark Ashton Smith and Andrew D. Chumbley. The former was a master of prose and poetry who scraped by through his weird and cosmic horror shorts. His structure and love for antiquated words and terms have resonated with me deeply since I was young. The latter was an occultist, artist, and poet whose work left a deep mark on me and has influenced my approach to prose, poetry, and the esoteric. 

ViaOmega - One thing to address, as I see many mispronounce the name Akhlys, and have no understanding of its roots… Can you explain where did the name derive from and what is the proper pronunciation of it?

Naas Alcameth - This is an easy thing to do if Greek isn't your first language. Humorously enough, I mispronounced it myself for some time! The simplest way to think of this is to keep in mind it is two short syllables. The transliteration would be "misted-eyes," interpreted as the "death mist" or the clouding over of the eyes after death. Akhlys is a mythical persona akin to or perhaps once synonymous with the Keres, and was originally mentioned by Hesiod. His description of her is quite terrible and bleak, stating, "and beside them [the Keres (Deaths) and the Moirai (Fates) on the battlefield] was standing Akhlys, dismal and dejected, green and pale, dirty-dry, fallen in on herself with hunger, knee-swollen, and the nails were grown long on her hands, and from her nostrils, the drip kept running, and off her cheeks the blood dribbled to the ground, and she stood there, grinning forever, and the dust that had gathered and lay in heaps on her shoulders was muddy with tears." Personally, this figure sufficiently represents a harbinger of fate and an initiatrix of death and the underworld. Relative to this, death and the underworld are intimately linked with the realm of dreams, and often, dreams and the underworld are synonymous. 

ViaOmega - I wanted to focus on that aspect of musicianship. Let’s take it back to 2016 when ViaOmega was just at beginning stages and I asked you about taking this project live. You have declined an idea of it, and in a later printed issue you explained that the demand was really endearing, and so Akhlys took a step into live performances. What would you say in this regard? Do you have any regrets of choosing this path for Akhlys? Does it change the original thought of keeping it for the personal experience only?

Naas Alcameth - It is true that I originally had no intentions of making Akhlys a live band. My thoughts around this changed over the years as I became more engrossed in the band while my other bands began to recede into the background. For me, black metal is, first and foremost, an individualistic art, and as a consequence of this view, I have never placed much emphasis on scenes, clicks, and so on. I am perfectly content being as hermetic as possible and living in my small world as much as possible. However, there is another aspect to Akhlys, born from the flames of a wild spirit of ecstatic madness, revelry, and misrule. This Dionysian element comes to the forefront in ideal live settings, and then what originated as a lone and shadowed genius grows like wildfire into something raging and communal.

ViaOmega - Within these short couple years with Akhlys being a live performing act, you have already covered quite a large amount of countries.

Abraxas Nox - It has definitely been wild time since our first gig after covid and also the release of Melinoe in 2020, I think most of us did not expect the extent of which we would venture so quickly. It's been interesting to see the response to what we perform in various parts of the world, from Europe to Israel, South America etc. Every show is different throughout with varying responses and some countries that we really enjoy performing in again and again. 

Speaking for myself I live for experience, so travel is a very important passion of mine, exploring as much as possible. What you see on tour can be very limited, but the moments you find to make your way around are very grand. Those introspective moments sitting in ancient ruins, or even in a field outside a truckstop in France. 

Alcameth - Most of our time has been spent traveling across Europe, both east and west, which has resulted in amazing experiences and memories. We have also found ourselves in regions I never thought I would experience, such as Colombia and Israel. Many of these places have their own "spirit" to them, and it is always interesting to experience such things. 

ViaOmega - You have worked with Steve and Lisa from Parasite Gallows Booking as your touring Management. I would imagine it would be a little bit more challenging without them?

Naas Alcameth - Without Parasite Gallows and their tenacity, dedication, and expertise, none of these things would have ever come to fruition, or they would have been ill-conceived and executed. We are forever grateful to them. 

Abraxas Nox - Parasite Gallows is a collection of strong personalities that have much experience in the various aspects of this scene and its inner workings. Definitely a cornerstone of us on tours. Steve has been doing this type of thing for years working for various bands, festivals etc, many of which are friends of ours. So it made sense for this joining, and after our first tour together we knew it was a good pairing. Much goes into planning a tour and even more in executing it, more than I think most understand. So they play an integral role in making such things come to fruition. 

ViaOmega - What would you say is the hardest part or general obstacles of touring for metal musicians in this new era/generation and how did that affect you?

Abraxas Nox - Overall tour for me is a very cathartic experience, I Liken it to a pilgrimage, or some sort of campaign as in the ancient times, but obviously very different as well. There are always trials and tribulations but also the reward, and predominantly that of experience, life is about experience. Much that happens can try to hinder you and wear you down, such things as leaving to the airport after a performance only to find you have 2-3 layovers enroute to the next gig or country and then finding the airlines have lost your instruments etc. Dates being cancelled, which I feel now rivals the era of Tipper Gore, and obviously the cost to tour has grown much since the time of covid. Also The absence of sleep is always prevalent, mostly not self induced. I hear of many bands now deciding to not tour because they don’t wish to sacrifice comforts, it's pathetic. One Should storm the open ocean of the world with a potent ferocity no matter the obstacles. Because that is the fire of passion and belief in the essence of what you are doing. “Long is the way and hard, that out of the world leads up to the light of Hell”.

ViaOmega - Seems like no matter what’s on your way, there are always ways to jump over it all. Coming up soon for you, the summer tour, you’re heading back to Europe. Seems like Europe is your primary destination. What makes it different from the American metal ‘scene’?

Naas Alcameth - I am less concerned about "scenes," for the most part, and more concerned with the individuals we meet along the way. There is certainly a discernable mentality that differs between countries and perhaps continents, but I have met interesting and valuable personas in both America and abroad. Europe holds a special place in my heart, and when speaking of black metal, the scene does seem to be more entrenched in the die-hard spirit from which it originated, more so than in other places. Of course, we love seeing this.

Abraxas Nox - We are always trying to reach whichever corners of the earth we can, with last year being the most widespread yet. But it would seem our home base for gigs would definitely be in Europe, and aside from us being part of a European label I think much has to do with the fan base. Europe has always had a very strong base of people for extreme metal (especially black metal) compared to the US, just not as feverous. Logistically its also harder to plan a US tour, but we still want to make to happen eventually. But many of our brothers in arms reside in Europe, the people and bands etc that Naas and I have known over the years, almost feels like a second home.

ViaOmega - Have you ever considered moving to Europe?

Naas Alcameth - Once upon a time, I had such thoughts. Of course, I'm certainly not closed off to the idea, but I am fairly attached to my mountains here and see myself living out my days in the rural parts of Colorado. 

Abraxas Nox - At one point in time I was strongly trying to move to Europe, many years ago around when I was in college, but for many reasons it did not come to fruition. But I have spent much time there over the years, and can find home in a few countries therei, not to mention some of the close friends I have there. 

ViaOmega - What is the grand plan for Akhlys in regards of tours and live shows? Are you thinking of expanding the amount of shows per year?

Naas Alcameth - That is still being formulated. We do hope to play and travel more as we progress down this road. It is a matter of logistics, obligations, and so on. We shall see. 

ViaOmega - There are talks about bring works of Bestia Acrana on stage, am I correct? Is it also something that we can expect from Aoratos?

Naas Alcameth - There are talks, but it is far too early to say too much on this front. We certainly like the idea. No, I would not hold your breath on the last one. 

ViaOmega - Thank you and looking forward to see you soon on stage again.

Upcoming tour dates:


27.07: HUNGARY


29.07. POLAND


01.08. BEYOND THE GATES, Bergen, NO


03.08. SWEDEN

04.08 SWEDEN

05.08. DENMARK, København Stengade





10:08 PARTY:SAN METAL OPEN AIR, Schlotheim

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