Ria: So the band started roughly September 2019 shortly after I had gotten back from a UK Metal festival called Bloodstock. I was super inspired by Batushka's live set and their over the top theatrics and atmosphere, but conversely was also very impressed by Blasphemer's old school Death Metal sound. We'd been talking about forming a band of this kind for a while but after seeing those two alongside Cradle of Filth, it pumped me up again to get this band going.
2.Recently you have released a demo, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style you went for on the recording?
Ria: Yeah, the idea was definitely to have very old school black metal riffs with big chunks of bleak doom and flashes of death metal, all very mid to late 90s stuff, but wrapped up in this big epic symphonic/gothic keyboard sound
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored so far with the music?
Ria: It's mostly gothic nonsense to be honest, like short horror stories. No End In Sight... is about a worm so huge that it creates irreversible damage to the whole world and Lycanthrope is fairly self-explanatory. Some songs have a little bit more going on though, like Inevitable End is about climate change and there's one that we're working on that uses the Witch Trials as a metaphor for homophobia and transphobia.
4.Most of the band members were also in 'Dark Theory' how does the music of 'Karnstein' differ from what you where doing in your previous group?
Ria: In a lot of ways Karnstein is a continuation of what we were doing with Dark Theory, but where Dark Theory had a lot of old school thrash influence and a lot operatic clean vocals, we've got a lot more focus on Doom riffs and dual screaming vocals.
Brett: I joined Dark Theory quite late into it's lifespan so most of the keyboard stuff had already been written, so my influence on the keys was fairly limited, however as I've been with Karnstein since the beginning I'm able to have a greater influence on the music.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Karnstein'?
Ria: It's taken from the classic pre-Dracula vampire novel 'Carmilla'. Near the end of the novel her real name is revealed to be Countess Mircalla Karnstein, and the name definitely stuck around in my head when it came to forming this band
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the demo cover?
Ria: Haha, well it's just a photo of me in corpsepaint with the logo's around it really. Even though I put together I'm not personally super into it but the rest of the band liked it.
7.Has the band had any opportunities to do any live shows yet?
Ria: Not yet, the whole Coronavirus thing hit just as we were first starting to talk about looking for shows and putting our setlist together, so that's put it all on hold
8.Currently you are unsigned are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Ria: No idea really, we haven't thought that far ahead yet. If a label is interested and it looks like something that's mutually beneficial then I'm sure we'd go for it
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black, doom and gothic metal?
Ria: We're kinda too new to really have any worldwide audience yet, but people who have listened to it have been very positive, although I think it's a little too gothic for some of the Black Metallers
10.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Ria: Pretty much as soon as all this Coronavirus stuff has passed and it's safe for us to meet up and go to the studio again. We were looking at studio's the week before it became a pandemic here in the UK, so we're really raring to go when it comes to a proper release. As for where it goes musically I have no idea, we've got a lot of ideas and different influences, we could get more doomy, we could go more death metal, more gothic, maybe more melodic or more brutal, hard to say till we do it.
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?
Ria: I'm really into the early days of extreme metal where the exact differences between Thrash, Death and Black Metal weren't that well defined, so bands like Slayer, Kreator, Celtic Frost, Venom, Death and Possessed are big influences. The whole 2nd wave Black Metal thing is an obvious influence too, especially Mayhem, Darkthrone and Satyricon for me. Then on the Doom side I'm big into My Dying Bride, Candlemass, Triptykon and Bismuth. then rounding up the Gothic/Symphonic end definitely Cradle of Filth, DImmu Borgir, Sirenia, SepticFlesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse. In terms of what I'm listening to right now I've been listening to a lot of My Dying Brides latest album, 'The Ghost of Orion', as well as a lot of smaller bands who've been putting out their recent bandcamp releases for free such as Penance Stare, Allfather, Wretched Empires and 1727.
Draca: I'm a big fan of Death metal, bands like Cattle Decapitation and Dying Fetus, also black metal and atmospheric black metal bands such as Forgotten Tomb, Elderwind, Taake and Horna. These black metal bands tend to influence my guitar style in Karnstein. Right now I am listening to a lot of Lustre, Katalepsy and Psychonaut 4
Brett: Coming from from a theatrical background my music influences are quite varied, operatic, classical, symphonic metal, gothic metal, black metal. In terms of bands I would say Cradle of Filth, Cold World but my biggest influence has to be Nightwish. I like music that tells a story. In relation to what I have been listening to nowadays, I've been listening to Cradle of Filth's Cruelty and the Beast remastered album, Therion, Lacrimosa and Virgin Black
12.What are some of your non musical interests?
Ria: For me it's definitely art and video games. I'm absolutely obsessed with games to the point that I'm actually an indie game developer, so check out Destroy The Shogun on Twitter and Instagram if you're into old school action platformers.I do all the art, music and programming for it!
Draca: I paint nearly everyday. I create dark, surreal and macabre art normally painted in oils and acrylics. Check out my Facebook page Draca Wilford Dark Artist to have a look
Brett: I enjoy and partake in the performing arts, I write scripts, I enjoy gaming, gothic and horror art, photography, philosophy and the supernatural.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Ria: Yeah, go check out Karnstein on bandcamp if you're into Goth/Doom/Black Metal, check out our old band Dark Theory too if that sounds up your street. I'm also in a Crust/Grind/Sludge/Noise band called Oriza if you wanna hear some maddingly heavy stuff, and if you want something in a more depressive black metal vein then hit up Draca's solo-project Led By Delusions. And lastly of course thank you to Blackened Death Metal Zine for the review and interview