The creation process has always been a very fascinating riddle isn’t it? After all, there’s no strict formula. Some spent weeks, months or even years meticulously working on every tiny detail over and over again until it feels perfect while others just have to let it all out, no matter how it all comes out, it just has to. And no, no matter how hard you try, you can’t force it. You just can’t. You need to have that vision, that unstoppable yearning to turn your dreams into reality.
King Aleijster de Satan has long stopped asking himself all those questions. Although he’s only thirty-four years old, the Tampere based Finn is a bullet-proof veteran of the black metal scene: he used to run and sign bands for Saturnal Records. He also ran the Blackvox studio from 2013 to 2020 where he recorded multiple bands. Purely on the musical front, besides being the long-time standing frontman of Saturnian Mist he also because various experiences, in Arvet among others. But with the industrial rumblings of King Satan, he’s learnt to expand his mind and look over all those useless fences to see what lied beyond. In the end, it’s all about being free both as an individual and as an artist, to go where your instincts and muse take you, no matter what.
And nothing encapsulates more this quest for freedom than HENGET. As a matter of fact, it lies at the very center of it as most of the music AND lyrics were on purpose improvised on the spot. Ever tried to capture lightning in a bottle? King Aleijster de Satan and his comrade Jesse Heikkinen just did with HENGET first album, Beyond North Star, Heikkinen having proved to be quite a versatile artist since dabbling with ‘progressive esoteric folk’ with Iterum Nata, the equally ‘out there’ Hexvessel or The Abbey.
“When I got in the studio to do the vocals, I only had various notes, sometimes hastily written on a small piece of paper and more or less some kind of loose structures to go with it. Most of them I gathered in between 2016 and 2019 after, let’s say experimenting quite a bit. I admit natural psychedelics and other shamanic methods influenced me a lot to reach another level of consciousness, besides my long interest towards the occult and mysticism. Those weren’t meant to get lost into but instead to be used as mere tools to help me opening new doors in my brain, a bit like a shaman would do when engaged in a ritual to reach a trance like of state. That’s also why I booked a two weeks session just for the vocals: I needed that amount of space to really dive in my subconscious. Overall, that was one of most intense recording experience I ever had but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because the toll you have to pay once it’s done is pretty heavy.”
Originally, the pair planned to unite in Saturnian Mist but then, Jesse “had to move to another city and it made things too complicated. But we still wanted to work together as he is probably the best songwriter I know. And since I had this idea for this other thing where I knew I wanted to push the limits and go over the edge in terms of songwriting, I needed somebody of his calibre.” “Indeed, Aleijster approached during summer 2021” confirms the multi-instrumentist. “He had a quite clear vision of what kind of concept he wanted to do lyrically speaking for a long time. It did coincide with my own desire to express something personal yet aggressively, an urge I hadn’t felt in a long time. Based on his background, we agreed this should happen within some kind of black metal frame but without still paying attention to much conventions or rules. I was given free rein to do whatever I felt like and I quickly realized I wanted it to be quite intuitive while making sure the music would be as crazy as possible, like some typhoon swallowing everything in its path… So using mostly vintage instrumentation, I recorded most of the music by myself in my own studio, pushing the button ‘rec’ and then totally letting myself go, following Aleijster ‘automatic writing’ method and ending up with some pretty interesting result.”
There’s something strangely seductive about the eight tracks included on Beyond North Star, as if the listeners were invited to enter some alternative and colourful place, dangerous and scary yet always otherworldly. Some may argue that all along you will most likely cross there the ghosts of Dødheimsgård, Arcturus or King Crimson. But Aleijster remains pretty reluctant to label it but “if we really need to, I guess it’s avant-garde black metal.” After hesitating with Henkivallat (‘spiritual realms’), which they ended up using as a songtitle instead, the name HENGET was chosen because of its double meaning as it can be translated both as ‘life’ but also ‘spirits’, “a perfect name for an occult band”. Beyond North Star is a “loose” concept album, like one long journey, even if the songs are not exactly tied up together. Something the 70’s prog rock loving Jesse is quite happy with while its title is a reference to that actual spiritual journey the listeners are about to undertake. One they will never forget.
Three ambitious music videos in total have been shot already to promote the album and HENGET has gathered a full line-up in order to start playing live. Saturnian Mist drummer Ville Rissanen was the first one to be asked, soon followed by Lasse Launimaa, a teenage years friend of Jesse who also plays in cult symphonic black metal band Thyrane on keyboards.
Space Junk Studio, Tampere, Finland (Drums)
Beyond North Star, Salo, Finland
Studio Sampolaaris, Tampere, Finland (Vocals)
Producer / sound engineer:
Produced by Jesse J. Heikkinen & King Aleijster de Satan
Sound engineering: Kimmo Nyyssönen (Drums), Jesse J. Heikkinen, King Aleijster de Satan
Mixing studio and engineer:
Beyond North Star Studio & Jesse J. Heikkinen
Mastering studio and engineer:
Wavecrawler Audio & Teemu Iso-Kulmala
King Aleijster de Satan – Vocals
Jesse J. Heikkinen – Guitars, additional keys
Lasse J. Launimaa – Keyboards
Ville J. Rissanen – Drums
Vinyl in various colours