1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Bacchus Mass were formed in 2011 by Thyrsion (guitars, bass), and me Pyrfeas (vocals and lyrics) in order to create, what we like to call, true occult philosophical black metal art. Although we existed in the black metal scene for many years as individuals, in 2011 we decided to found a band that would be the missing link between the world of occult philosophy and the world of dark music in general.
2.In 2020 you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
The Occult Philosophy of War is still Bacchus Mass, but at the same time different from our previous effort "Astron Kynos". The new album is a bit harsher but still melodic, more guitar oriented with fewer symphonic parts amongst the songs. It's almost a concept album that is based on the idea that fear is the last frontier, that has to be defeated by the practitioner in order to "become" the God that He already is. And the source of all fears is of course the fear of death. Lyrically, there are songs as the "Philosopher and the Golden Blade" that is dedicated to the 24 hour death meditation of Socrates before the battle of Potidaia and the song " War Alchemy" that describes the total fearlessness of Socrates during the battle of Potidaia. The absence of fear regarding the upcoming loss of this human coil is the last step of the ladder towards the alchemic procedure of becoming immortal via this world of pain...Other songs such as the "Julian's Last Ray" talk about the life and death of the emperor Julian the Great (considered by the christians as an apostate) and his belief in the philosophical theory of the three Suns (see his work "Oration upon the Sovereign Sun") ...
3.This was also your first release since 2013, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
During these years many songs were composed by the band, Furthermore, as individuals we had to keep our separate paths in this bleak world that people like to call life. I (Pyrfeas) gave emphasis to the hidden side of things and during these years I gave more than 70 lectures about philosophy and the occult tradition in many esoteric groups and secret societies. At the same time I kept on going with my esoteric practices, with more strength and clarity. On the other hand Thyrsion mastered his music skills by studying many forms of music including the classics and continued working as a sound engineer. Thyrsion is more Epicurean and Stoic in his way of life with some glimpses of Heracletean darkness...I' am more eclectic in my views and I give emphasis to the Orphic- Pythagorean Tradition, Plato, Neoplatonism, Vajrayana Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, Shaivism of Kashmir and Dzjogzen among many other esoteric doctrines...
4.You refer to your music as being 'philosophical true occult black metal' can you tell us a little bit more about this term?
We are not musicians that pretend to be philosophers and occultists. We are occultists-philosophers that like to create music as a form of art that propagates the true philosophical and occult tradition via black metal. There is too much pseudo-occult in the world these days. That's the main idea behind the term true occult philosophical black metal art. People in general and more specific black metal listeners cannot discriminate between the false and the true. In the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism the most important faculty of the seeker is Viveka (discrimination). The classic work Vivekachudamani of the great philosopher Sankaracharya is a whole book that explains the importance of discrimination. If you cannot understand what is fake and what is authentic you cannot walk the esoteric path and you will be lost in the world of Maya. Discrimination is your spiritual compass. As Heinrich Kunrath used to say: "What good are torches, light or spectacles to those who will not see?"
5.A lot of your lyrics also touch on occultism, alchemy, sacred geometry, theurgy and science, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the esoteric arts?
We like to see the world through an eclectic view. All these sacred esoteric arts were created in order to help the man of flesh to wake up from this dream that people like to call life. Every birth in this world of cells is death in the world of spirit. As Socrates once said in the Platonic dialogue of "Gorgias", the living are the ones that are truly dead. Plato said that this mortal coil is the grave of the soul (ΣΩΜΑ ΣΗΜΑ) and Plato was just referring to the doctrines of the Orphic Tradition. True Alchemy is the transmutation from flesh to GO(L)D. The alchemical V.I.T.R.I.O.L (Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificanto Invenies Occultum Lapidem) which means that by visiting the interior of the earth and by rectification you will discover the occult stone, in reality refers to the esoteric of the human body (earth), that is the true alchemic laboratory you use in order to rediscover the hidden gold-god inside the individual. There is no difference between true science and true magick. The only difference is in the level of understanding.For example quantum physics is really close to the doctrines that were propagated by the occultists many centuries ago. The individual must find a way to wake from the death of life. The soul lays buried inside a living corpse...true resurrection is illumination. In order to be immortal you have to die for this world of suffering and be reborn again...That is the main idea, find a path and walk it till the end...and remember there is no end and there is no beginning... the serpent eats it's tail... True Theurgy is ascendance. No true God will ever descend to this field of tombs. You have to follow the ladder towards the Gods and the Eternal Unknown, but in order to walk among the Gods, you have to be a God yourself...
6.You also pay homage to the Greek Gods with your lyrics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the mythology and history of your home country?
I believe that the spiritual seeker has to know profoundly the tradition, mythology and philosophy of his home country. It makes no difference if he is a Native Indian, Japanese, Hindu or Chinese. He should study comparatively every other esoteric tradition in the world and choose the one that prefers the most or "walk" on his own path. The Hellenic twelve Gods are symbols, real entities, and forces of nature at the same time. Some important works about the twelve Gods are Porphyry's "On Statues", Plato's "Cratylus" and Plutarch's "On Isis and Osiris", amongst many others. The study of mythology is the study of the inner man. Mythology is the acquirement of gnosis via the study of the myth. Mythos,which in reality is Logos, is not a fairytale but a profound truth expressed through allegorical meaning. The one that profoundly delves into the core of the myth learns a lot of things about philosophy, history, magick and the occult tradition in general. Specifically, in the study of comparative religion, the Greek twelve Gods have a lot in common with the Hindu and the Egyptian Gods. In these three truly ancient and antediluvian esoteric traditions inheres the main core of the authentic occult tradition and of every other true doctrine amongst the centuries...
7.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Bacchus Mass'?
Bacchus Mass is the secret conjuration for the rites of the mystic Iacchus, who is the inner hidden God that is waiting to be revealed. The death of man is the birth of Iacchus. You have to die as a human being to be reborn as a God. That is why our song Bacchus is so important to us that we have decided to have it in both of our albums in different versions. The mystic Iacchus was the true sacred God of the Eleusinian Mysteries before their decay in later years. Bacchus is the god of wine (spirit) in an exoteric sense but above all his is the god of true Spirit. Plato says in his Phaedro that as is said in the mysteries ``many are the thyrsus bearers, but only few are the Mystics (Βάκχοι)" who are, as he interpreted the words, the true philosophers. Many seem to be initiated but only few are the truly initiated Mystics (Μύστες). Every initiation in reality is self-initiation. Nothing cannot be given if someone doesn't worth to have it. Everything must be gained. The true meaning of this phrase also answers your question about the terms true occult and philosophical. Many declare that they are initiated but they don't have a clue about the true occult philosophy. So the main motto of the band that no other band has ever utilized is the one that says: "ΠΟΛΛΟΙ ΜΕΝ ΝΑΡΘΗΚΟΦΟΡΟΙ, ΒΑΚΧΟΙ ΔΕ ΤΕ ΠΑΥΡΟΙ".
8.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
First of all the logo and all the artwork of the band is designed by a Μystic that we like to call The Hermit, a very special individual and a true Αdept of the occult arts that dedicated her life in the search of the divine .In order to be more specific I have to say that the cover could be itself a whole book. The sacred tetraktys (1+2+3+4), the number 10 that the Pythagoreans usually called the source of the eternal nature (πηγή αενάου φύσεως) is depicted in the center of the picture. Number Ten is the number 1 that "stands by the side" of number zero. Zero is the number of Pan, which above all symbolises the three veils of negative existence in the pythagorean Kabbalah, that is the same as "The Unspeakable" (ΆΡΡΗΤΟΝ) of the neoplatonic philosopher Damascius and the Nirguna Brahman of the Vedantins. When zero turns to one we have the first manifestation of the unmanifested. Ten is the universe in its wholeness,it's the day and the night of Brahma at the same time, the birth and the death of the worlds. The Head of the Medusa in the center of the holy tetraktys is a symbol of deterrence and protection that safeguards the spiritual warrior from the possible dangers outwards and inwards. Also, Medusa's head is a symbol of severance of the human passions which is also an emblem of the severance of mortality. The three swords symbolize the three worlds (physical, astral, spiritual) and the battle that has to be fought in each one of them from manhood to godhood. Every true battle is fought only against one's self and that's why even in the esoteric Sufic tradition the word jihad (holy war), is not a war against others but against the mortal self of the seeker. That is a common knowledge amongst the mystics of The Sufis, that were so profoundly inspired and influenced by the neoplatonic tradition and the Vedanta. Beyond all the aforementioned is the universal spiral symbol of the everlasting evolution. Nothing is born and nothing dies. There is only progression from the bardo of "death" to the "bardo" of life until the circle will end and a new circle will begin...Nothing more should be revealed regarding the artwork...ΕΝ ΤΟ ΠΑΝ...
9.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you open to expanding the line up or do you prefer to remain a duo?
We are open on expanding the line up but after all this time we are a duo and there is a good reason regarding this. It's easy to find good musicians but it's almost impossible to find spiritual seekers that will understand the graveness of our effort.
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We have just begun writing new material. So it's too early to speak about this. Definitely it will be dark, bleak and more profound...
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Many different things and music styles. Everything that is dark and majestic it' a seed of inspiration to us. We like listening to (not as form of an influence though) bands like Devil Doll, Esoteric, Evoken, Dark Millenium, Phurpa, Darkthrone, Current 93, Beherit, The Protagonist, Sonne Hagal, Mekong Delta and classical composers like Scriabin and Mahler amongst many others...Nowadays, I like listening to the music of Radio Werewolf.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for the interview and the interesting questions. As it is written in The Pythagorean Golden Verses: " Oh Father Zeus, you would free them all from sufferings so great, if you could show them the Daemon that dwells within".