Fire Magic <i>Burning Gold</i> cover


2/4/21 | N.B.

In the early autumn of 2020, the furnaces of NYC label Stygian Black Hand began belching showers of aureate sparks, and before long a new project called Fire Magic had emerged from within. The anonymous Virginia-based duo debuted with the demo Burning Gold, playing what can be described as stomping, battle-hardened, anthemic black metal reminiscent of some of the genre’s earliest and mightiest heroes. Fire Magic’s dynamism truly lies, however, in their taking a deep intimacy with black metal music and directly channeling that knowledge into unpretentiously captured performances that are compelling, but not overwrought. Naturally, this kind of creative process exposes an artist’s output to the full gamut of their influences; the result of this in Fire Magic’s case is that their efforts still sound deeply intentional and true to their roots but have a unique and highly memorable flavor. Indeed, as you’ll read below, the duo are mostly unconcerned with anything but raw intention and motivation – and their great black metal fluency affords them the ability to operate in this purest of ways with stunning results.

What was the initial intention behind Fire Magic? Was it highly deliberate or did it coalesce by more organic means?

Our only intention is to create raw and triumphant black metal. Some of the ideas were several years old when we began truly forging our craft but everything since the first sessions has happened through force of will. Our approach is bound to the laws we have written for ourselves.

It’s been stated before that Bathory and some of the old Eastern Bloc black metal acts are your North Star when it comes to your musical style, and that your style is quite “primitive,” yet some more varied influences seem apparent in your songwriting – what are your backgrounds as musicians?

Any perceived outside influence is completely out of our control. We have no doctrine in our writing other than to let the songs manifest as they will. Perhaps because of this, less traditional elements will appear now and again but this is not deliberate as we are merely vessels. Is there a specific moment on the demo that caused you to ask this question?

Mostly moments like the final minute and a half of “Tribulations Upon Their Flesh” or the midpoint to ending section in “Howling Winds of Victory” - in both cases we have atypically rich major chords and upbeat, head-swaying rhythms that one might not immediately associate with old-school black metal.

Atypical or not, we write without regard to interpretation.

Fire Magic

To what degree do you feel it’s essential to ignore the influence of contemporary black metal artists and let yourselves be guided solely by the masters of yore?

There are some newer black metal bands that I enjoy and plenty that I do not. However, neither have any degree of influence on Fire Magic. Our motivations are internal.

Fire Magic

As firm adherents to black metal’s old guard, do you have any thoughts about the current direction of the genre overall (especially pertaining to underground acts)?

Nothing substantial. Could you elaborate?

Well, what draws you to embrace or reject a modern black metal act? How many non-black metal musical influences do you think a BM artist can incorporate before their music starts becoming watered down or loses focus?

Intent is paramount. There is a certain character to black metal that is impossible to feign. “Modern” is a mentality.

Do you see any danger of stagnation when a band takes inspiration and influence from black metal bands exclusively?

I think it is pedantic to obsess over these concepts. Tales of heroism and bravery in battle inspire us just as much as the forebears of the genre. The clarity behind our motivations allows us to continue without unneeded self-examination.

Is it your belief that true black metal artists must remain anonymous and separate from their work at all times, as Fire Magic does?

Our anonymity is a choice born of integrity. A small circle of individuals helps us maintain this privacy. Others can do as they wish.

Fire Magic logo by Amalantrah Workings

Your logo is the work of Amalantrah, who we tragically lost only a short time ago. What was the experience like having Amalantrah create a design for you? Did you give them any pointers, and how did you feel about the final product?

I had contacted them early on to see if they would be interested in working together. We had a few conversations about the nature of Fire Magic and I sent them some recordings of the songs that would end up as the demo. I feel Fire Magic truly began when they returned to us with the logo. It is the perfect visual representation of what we stand for and we are proud to use it as our heraldry. I was a fan of their musical output for a very long time before I contacted them. Black metal lost a truly powerful force with their passing and they will be remembered for decades to come for their spirit and dedication.

How does the demo sound compared to what you had originally dreamed up for Fire Magic? How did the end result surprise you?

We really had no expectations as to what the demo would sound like so we committed ourselves to focus on the energy of the release more than the sound. Guitar tone and drum sound were an afterthought. Whatever the mic picked up is what you hear on the tape. Every note was played with righteous hatred. I think the end result is indicative of this.

Fire Magic <i>Burning Gold</i> repress flyer

Rumors circulate that Fire Magic isn't the only band created by you two. What then brought on Fire Magic? What do you get from this band that you don't from the others, whether formerly or currently active?

Fire Magic exists because we have willed it so. Any endeavors we pursue or have pursued outside of this declaration are ultimately unimportant.

What has the band been up to since releasing your demo? What can we expect next from Fire Magic?

The next release is almost complete, but I do not know when it will be available to those outside our circle. As far as the future, nothing is certain. We will continue to release music as long as we want to.

Follow Fire Magic on Bandcamp.

Burning Gold tape repress available Feb. 5 MMXXI through Stygian Black Hand.