Not a single leaf trembles in the woods as we arrive at the cave’s mouth. There is a complete silence, the sun moves slowly towards the edge of the forest and prepares to veil the silent solitude with soothing darkness. The remaining sparse rays light the cave dimly through a gap in the ceiling and paint the cold stone walls with its fading light. The contrast is beautiful, silent and shining. The ambiance is foreshadowing and perfectly ardent. It’s easy to imagine the significance the cave has had in the archaic Finnish shamanistic tradition when all meaning and power lied in the nature. Cave is the perfect environment for a ritual, like the mind of the magician it is sacred and concealed.
It’s challenging to describe something that can’t be brought into this world as a visible, touchable thing but which is so strong that you’ll feel it to the bones. That’s how it is to face an entity and feel its presence.
Hoath Torog tries to describe his experiences in the occult field with his band Behexen. He has been practicing dark arts over two and half decades now and has a strong connection to the beautiful and ruthless spririt Lilith. He’s been working with her impact for a long time and the previous Behexen album Nightside Emanations shows how deep waters the connection drowns the magician into.
Poisonous Path is album telling the same story but from a bit different point of view. It’s about the practicing, the way. I had a mission to describe this using the ways of art. In the album cover I wanted to show you the state of mind, the mindfield, liminal dimension where you can reach the high spirit like Lilith. It’s the only way to experience her presence, you can’t bring her into this reality, or it would truly crush you, but meet her half way. The cave represents this, it’s a space to set one’s foot out of this world to meet the other, and there she shows her face.
The cover photo is full of symbolism; the shape of the cave, the light and everything is there for a purpose. The atmosphere is harmonic, but still breathing something ominous – you need to know what you are facing, it’s giving you the world but easily tears your apart.
I’m not a fan of horror or basic black metal aesthetics, for me occult is something completely different. It’s more harmonic than chaotic, although the energy and force might be embracing that aspect too. That’s why I see the difference between the artwork and band photos represented in the album. The Work itself is thoughtful, but the energy in the members is strong and wrathful. The members are channeling it, and the other pictures of the magical instruments are describing the Work itself as a static and dark atmosphere.
I wanted to show realistic magical artefacts only, all the photos being of Torog’s personal items. As the album and music itself is true, pure and well thought, I tried to have the same feeling in the photos as well. It’s rough this time, it’s harsh in its way of channeling the energy. The album artwork and music itself needs to speak the same language, which is this time more powerful than ever before.
Photo by Debemur Morti