Sunday, September 16, 2012

Garden of Delight

Official Facebook Page: Garden of Delight
Part One: 1991 – 1997
1991-1997 Preface: 
Our research for a competent and effective statement for The Garden Of Delight Information Service finally ended as this biography had found it´s way in the D.F. bureau. There were a few publications like this in the past but most of them were quite insignificant and less founded caused partly by the band itself. A lot of stuff has been written about GOD but there still remains a kind of mystique abouttheir image. This biography now tries to unveil the work of the band withoutdestroying the illusion. Maybe we disagree concerning some opinions but we are respectfully looking at the throughly executed research, and are thankful that the author Dirk Lancer has left his biography to our decree.

Dion Fortune Records. Time wanderers on time.
The above mentioned quotation was an introduction of a press statement of DION FORTUNE LABELS concerning the birth of GARDEN OF DELIGHT. As a result of Artaud´s later aversion against the first releases there are only a few official documentations. The GARDEN OF DELIGHT information book published by DION FORTUNE RECORDS casually mentioned the first single NECROMANTEA and completely ignored the second ANCIENT GOD. If one has ambition to write a complete GARDEN OF DELIGHT biography one has to look for information in other places. In general the GARDEN OF DELIGHT interviews published in the press in the early days aren’t very informative, one famous exception was the report of the French magazine "Noising Therapy" in June, 1991: "Artaud grounded the project GARDEN OF DELIGHT together with the Italian Pisacane at the beginning of 1991.

The origins of the band still remains unknown to some extent because in the first months there was a permanent exchange of the band members, so one can only speculate who really played on the first tracks." GARDEN OF DELIGHT was founded in 1991 but exact details about the beginning of the group disappeared in the mist till today. I have tried to compile a realistic sequence of the events but the different sources contradict each other and for this reason it could be that my text differs from others. GARDEN OF DELIGHT consisting of Artaud and Pisacane were united by an extensive passion for "spiritual" themes and so it appeared logical to procure their common knowledge with the help of musical expression. The "Master Plan" that’s how it later was named by Artaud, had already been in his head for a long time. So it isn t really surprising that now in retrospect everything seemed to be "thought up" from the early beginning. In a later interview I read that the members of the band participating at the project came from Germany and France. Even later it was said they were an Irish band. This was emphasized by the print of an Irish contact address in the booklet of the fourth album NECROMANTEION IV. However, Artaud himself has never expressed explicitly concerning his origins and he wouldn’t be interested in any earthly frontiers. In addition to this fits an early statement of the band: "It’s of no interest from where we are coming and where we will go, even who or what we are, only the music and its message shall be in the foreground."

The first sign of life of the band was released in February, 8th, 1991. The single was called NECROMANTEA and sounds poor concerning the later releases. On the Bside is the song SOMNIORUM INTERPRETATIO that is calmer than the track on the A-side but doesn’t sound much better. In one of the first interviews of the band that I found Artaud marked it (Necromantea) as a rude mistake and he would advise people against buying it because it isn`t worth its money. NECROMANTEA was released in an edition of 1.000 copies and has become the most rarest and most expensive official G.O.D. record.

"If I had heard this record before the interview I would have criticized them cruelly", subjected Sebastian Fugenzi from the "Gothic Press" at the end of 1991, "but it was firstly a pre-release of the debut album ENKIS TEMPLE that found its way to my record player and that presented in a whole a piece of solid goth music so that I agreed without hesitation to do an interview with them. The album appears in massive black with the ominous seal of a pre-Christian god. On the back cover one finds a drawing of a ritual gate and even the logogram of the label Dion Fortune is a drawing of a magical banning circle. ENKIS TEMPLE was released on December, 15th, 1991 at the especially for this product designed sub label of Big Noise Rec., DION FORTUNE RECORDS. Artaud in a later interview at the beginning of 1997: "From the beginning I want to have a label that gives us the absolute control about the artistically matters. Then I had the vision of a concept label that only release material of bands with an esoteric background. Mr. Schreck (label manager of DionFortune) first seemed to like this idea and we grounded Dion Fortune Records. Unfortunately this idea couldn’t be continued because the label engaged constantlybands that generalized it. The only thing that lasts is the name "Dion Fortune Records" as well as the label logogram designed by me and of course our G.O.D.releases."

ENKIS TEMPLE is for me a very difficult developed work about Gods and demons.The small budget that was given to decree of the production unfortunately can be heard very well. Actually good tracks like ANCIENT GOD that was pre-released for promotional purpose or SUMERIAN HAZE suffer upon this. The album got a respectable attention by the press and a lot of people exclaim the first album as the best that G.O.D. ever have done. Shortly before the release of the album Pisacane left surprisingly the band. Artaud returned to the studio at the beginning of 1992 and attacked on his own the next album called EPITAPH. Although still quite rough this second album even revealed at this early period the great potential fixed in Artaud. The best of the seven tracks is doubtlessly WHITE GODDESS. In CHRISTENDOM Artaud for the first time shows his huge aversion against the Christian church by singing:

We don’t need this Christ and doom
We don’t need this kind of love
We don’t need no Christ, no fate
We don’t need Gods love

Our conception is to stop after the seventh album. You can understand it as a Septichon; as a story treated after seven chapters. A project on time."

The attention at the second album was again positive but Artaud needed new musicians for his "Masterplan". His guitar playing he marked himself as very modest and so it only was a logical consequence to look for a good guitarist. By an ad guitarist Th. O`Connell was found, a few days later bassist Adrian Hates. This occupation should be unchanged until the end. After all these activities in the studio GARDEN OF DELIGHT was prepared to play live for the first time. It isn’t surprising that time and place of the first G.O.D. gig is controversial. Falsely it is often affirmed that the first concert took place in Köln/Germany, actually it took place on December, 6th, 1992 in Halle/Germany. The gig consisted of SHALLOW GROUND, CHRISTENDOM, INSIGHT, WHITE GODDESS, ANCIENT GOD and THE WATCHTOWER. In this time two reports in the "Franfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung" as well as in the "Kölner Express" caused turbulences that were according to expectation negative concerning the "occult" theme. Ironically this two articles in a way caused that the concerts were quite good filled with audience.

Directly after the "Epitaph" tour Artaud, Th. O`Connell and Adrian Hates returned to the studio to work at new tracks together for the first time. The common time in the studio revealed as very fertile and so in only two months they had created the new album that received the title SARGONID SEAL as well as the single release SHARED CREATION. The label Dion Fortune decided after these two releases to a third one called NAVA that exclusively contained older material of G.O.D. But this was never available in the regular trade and was limited upon 343 copies. Today unintelligible (because there is only known material on it) it is highly sought. Of course the heart of the releases SHARED CREATION, SARGONID SEAL and NAVA is without hesitation the new album SARGONID SEAL that demonstrates a notable musical development. For the first time the sound picture is clearly emphasized even mostly dominated by a wonderful melodic guitar play. Above all this is reflected in the songs SHARED CREATION and GODS AND MYTHS ON SARGONID SEAL as well as on THE LOST GODS an acoustic guitar is determing the sound. The opener is formed by the bombastic SILENT GATE and the settlement is well formed by the most darkish track of the new work: CONFESSIONS OF A CAPTUED CULTIST. Chris Peller from the "Aeterna" magazine supposes the musical maturity as a result of the line up change but this can only be agreed upon conditionally. Looking at the nature of Artaud it is hardly imaginable that anything happens without his agreement. Later I will return to this point. The album SARGONID SEAL was released at the end of September 1993 and reached number 19 in the Independent charts. The single release SHARED CREATION also was sold very well and likewise reached the Independent charts. Unfortunately the second single of the album THE SEAL wasn’t that successful. Although Artaud thought this track to be the best of the album. A promo video of SHARED CREATION had been recorded but wasn’t released due to lack of quality. Nevertheless a small extract of the video found its way to the public and was broadcasted in a report about the Goth scene by the private Italian TV station TAR 2. One sees Artaud at the steering wheel of an old truck driving over a highway into the darkness. On the loading place one suspects a cage with a "strange" creature in it. This changes with "foggy" shots of Artaud creeping on the ground and singing while Adrian and Th. O`Connell are playing their instruments in the background. Shortly before the release of the album G.O.D. played at an open air festival at the fortress Ehrenbreitstein by Koblenz/Germany and presented some of the new songs to the audience.

At this time the egocentric feature of Artaud emphasized in a way that he sealed and retired himself. The scanty interviews at that time strengthens my impression even more. When he was in a bad mood he apparently seemed to have no interest in senseful interviews. Here’s an example of an interview for a German fanzine in February 1993: The somehow uncertain interviewer asks for the actual line up, the changes in it, an alleged secret cult that the band seem to be part of and a few other rather irrelevant questions. Artaud answers shortly with a yes or a no or even said nothing. In the further process of the interview the interviewer rescues himself into monologues and now answers his questions himself and remarks laconically that his questions apparently are that complex that it may blast the frame of the interview. Certainly these years haven’t passed without a trace upon GARDEN OF DELIGHT. Adrian Hates also works at other musical projects, Artaud is thought to have moved in a factory and spends a lot of time with his daughter Viviane Lilith... and it became rather quiet around G.O.D. after the release of the last album. Except the already mentioned second single release THE SEAL taken from SARGONID SEAL there wasn`t anything heard from the band for about a year.

There even were rumours the band had split as an effect of disagreement between Artaud and Th. O`Connell. In fact Artaud had concrete notions about the sound of the new album with the working title MARTYRIUM. He wanted - against the opinion of the other musicians - to tell a closed story and not produce a sequel of supposed hits like SHARED CREATION according to the success of SARGONID SEAL. The story about "Inanna`s travel to the underworld" based upon an old Sumerian epic and somehow sounds romantic but isn`t at all. I think the whole album can rather be seen as a mirror reflection of Artaud`s own soul; torn up, morbid and very controversial. The story was enriched by several quotations of "occult personalities" printed in the booklet. This contributes the total confusedness even more because Artaud gave no explaining hints, not in the booklet and not in the press-info. First in following interviews Artaud talked about his movement to produce an album like that and about the whole concept behind the album, now called NECROMANTEION IV. Artaud`s lyrics at NECROMANTEION IV are mysterious and hardly understandable. The mentioned story - the thread of the story - is difficult to recognize. The lyrics change from one emotion to another.

Here are two examples:
I cannot cut the black heart
From this heresy!
Into the dust of earth,
Cast into the fire,
Face to face, Spirit Invocation.
(Spirit Invocation)
Deep in times grave
Love’s you lie still
Close the tale now
I breathe and cannot sleep
I dream alone...

...and over all presides the outstanding jurisdiction: the "watchers out of time". On principle it is about the opening and closing especial gates that lead downwards to the underworld. The main actress Inanna walks through these gates and is caught and burned. At this point the album starts and the story moves back to her (Inanna`s) past until the last track of the album WATCHERS OUT OF TIME. In this the story reveals itself a little bit. One gets to know that "the great old ones" wanted what had happened so far, they are watching the "unseen" gate and Inanna is burned in spite of this although Artaud said in the following interviews that she would be rescued? As it is, the album ends with the strange words: "The end justifies the means".

The characteristic mixture of spherical sounds, powerful guitars and the occult themes presented with a clear deep voice upon NECROMANTEION IV exercises a great fascination. At that time GARDEN OF DELIGHT appeared rougher than usual. Especially a track like SPIRIT INVOCATION rather reminds one in its expression of American Gothic and to mention a name - Fields Of The Nephilim. The title track NECROMANTEION with its flying keyboard sounds that develops a relaxed mood is just as well expressionable then leads to the beautiful DOWNWARD TO A SEA. I think NECROMANTEION IV is a complex atmospheric product that convinces by the single songs as well as iis thrilling overall view.

In January 1995 GARDEN OF DELIGHT toured as headliner together with THE MERRY THOUGHTS and DIARY OF DREAMS. This led them to Hamburg, Bochum, Bruxelles, Leipzig and Berlin. All concerts were sold out and the new album alsobroke all past records. The album was in the Independent charts for months and reached number 6. Here’s a report of "Dark Entries" magazine about the gig atJanuary, 14th, 1995 at Huxleys/Berlin: "After MERRY THOUGHTS had closed their set with the hymn "Second Generation" it took some time until the stage was prepared for the headliner of this evening, GARDEN OF DELIGHT. Exactly at 11:00 PM it was time. At once all the lights in the hall switched off and the intro of MARTYRIUM sounded from the loudspeakers. Fog drew out over the stage decorated with black flags and one could suspect the silhouettes of the musicians. The audience welcomed enthusiastically GARDEN OF DELIGHT and it was obvious that in the meantime they have acquired quite a huge municipality of fans. The set mainly consisted upon material from the new album NECROMANTEION IV enriched with their hits SHARED CREATION, THE SEAL, WHITE GODDESS and ANCIENT GOD. The appearance of the black dressed musicians and the determined light effects did their part to construct a phenomenal general view with a nearly divine condensity. A cold and monotonic drum machine rumbles through the hall, singer Artaud winded around his microphone like a snake around its victim. Adrian Hates stressed with his sharp bass playing and Th.O`Connell kept control over the happening on stage with his playful guitar licks.

This flattering report obviously wasn’t typical for the common attitude of the press towards G.O.D. Still there remains a kind of scepticism towards the band. But these days showed the music media couldn’t pass off G.O.D. that easily anymore. A G.O.D. interview was a guarantee for good sales of the respective paper. Of course Artaud enjoyed these reverse signs and it obviously was fun for him to confuse the interviewers by giving mysterious and ambiguous answers to their tired questions.

I want to put these lines at the beginning because it seemed pertinent to me concerning Artaud`s mood of that time. Again it was time for new recordings. Again the band argued about the musical description of the album. But this time the situation escalated. In the middle of the recordings of the fifth album Th. O`Connell left the studio and Adrian wasn’t involved in the recordings at all. Artaud decided to finish the album on his own and closed himself up in the studio for about two months and wrote the first tracks for the album on his own. Out of this period came the tracks DEATH CHANT, SATYRICON, TRANSCENDENTAL and even THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE that was to be published rather later on the sixth album SCHEOUL. Artaud doesn’t talk until today about this past period in that drugs seemed to have played a significant role. It appeared clearly that a commitment to release an album every year surely wasn’t the right way. Finally the last titles for SYMBOL AND VISION were written together by the three musicians. Anyway the relation was deeply affected for some time. In the last months Adrian Hates who certainly never would have been able to develop his musical abilities under the dictatoric manner of Artaud, increased his activities around his own project DIARY OF DREAMS.

Out of this time I found a strange report in the "Sonic Seducer" written by Jeremy Prime: "One could nearly get the impression that GARDEN OF DELIGHT mastermind Artaud consciously gave his band this name five years ago, that could be shortened beautifully to the initials G.O.D. Gladly he represents the contents of his songs and above all the great general view with its extraterrestrial symbols, divine prophecies and highly pointed historical-mythological message that apparently moves in a universal divine circle. Dark end of ages themes, rituals and submissions were called. Old-time occult and legendary works like the book of The Dead Names, the "Necronomicon" or the book "Eibon" from the 13th Century were raised. This sounds very fascinating and interesting and as well sounds the dark Ethno-Gothic sound of G.O.D. that found a new manifest with the fifth work SYMBOL AND VISION. After all these powerful statements it just remains doubtful what a normal being could take out of these monumental religious old-time statements because a knowledge about these writings and mythological basis represents rather a speciality field in itself. Artaud himself mentioned shortly after this for the first time in an interview for a Belgian magazine that he wasn’t satisfied at all with SYMBOL AND VISION. SYMBOL AND VISION that got the undertitle "songs from the firekeeper at the winter solstice" was released in September.

Afterwards the band toured through Germany and took part at a festival in England at October, 23rd. These concerts were rather bad except for some examples and after these concerts the band decided to take a rest for half a year.

Out of the mirror I stare again
The lines in my face get older and older
The shadows of my past pointed ahead now
Into the hallways of fear
I walk along the corridor, I climbed three steps
Step forward into the ancient gallery
Went through a frosted glass door and
Entered another universe.
(The Colour Out Of Space)

Seven months later shortly after the release of the HELL E.P. that consists of two new songs EMPIRE OF THE SUN and SPIRAL DANCE as well as a few remixes of older G.O.D. tracks GARDEN OF DELIGHT took part at the ZILLO Open Air at June, 15th, 1996 together with the NEFILIM, MINISTRY, RAMMSTEIN and JESUS AND THE MARY CHAIN. The gig was a complete disaster; the day was exceptionally windy that means the music was blown over the place. There is a bootleg video of the ZILLO gig but it is hardly worth its money. The band looks clumsy on stage in the daylight and seems to feel no enthusiasm for the show. Artaud and the others were obviously happy then the half an hour was over and they disappeared to wait for the rising of the night. Despite this absolutely insufficient incident GARDEN OF DELIGHT showed that they were still able to give roaring concerts. The next two gigs in Strasbourg at July, 26th, 1996 as well as in London at the Sacrosanct festival at August, 8th, 1996 could be called two of the best concerts during their career. Parts of these concerts in addition with concert extracts of the fantastic gig in Paris at March, 19th, 1997 were later released on the official live album SYMBOLISM ALIVE. After these concerts a new harmony set through in the band. Even the so far annoying touring was pleasing. The chemistry within the band as well as their surroundings fitted again. Everyone again knew his place. Artaud now was the uncontroversial head of the band, Th. O`Connell added his impressive guitar play and Adrian cared in first instance about his project DIARY OF DREAMS but regularly plays live the bass.

SCHEOUL, the sixth album was finished after a work of five months and was released at October, 15th, 1997. SCHEOUL continues musically the predecessor SYMBOL AND VISION. (Artaud doesn’t see it this way in the English magazine Gig Central; he feels it more as the predecessor of NECROMANTEION IV). From powerful partial rather (brachial?) Gothic Rock in LEVIATHAN to the playish moderate wave dance tracks in EMPIRE OF THE SUN or the single release EXODUS to the over transcendental beautiful floating ballad THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE, GARDEN OF DELIGHT delivered a complete succeeded work. The criticism were enthusiastic and GARDEN OF DELIGHT finally raised in the olymp of Goth Rock. Artaud gave 47 (!) interviews in the following weeks and there even were several title stories. Artaud never letting any doubts that interviews were in a way annoying to him, determined to give one last great interview. A great German magazine protected the rights for a combination of a biography and even this last interview. But I have rejected these two articles in the magazine ZILLO at February and March 1997 as very boring and prefer referring to another that I have found in a press statement of the label Dion Fortune Rec. in the surroundings of a concert in Leipzig at May, 17th, 1997. (see Interviews)

Shortly after the release of SCHEOUL GARDEN OF DELIGHT announced an extended European tour. Starting point should be the legendary concert in March, 19th, 1997 as mentioned. Afterwards they toured through Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Suisse and Italy. Offers for concerts from other continents, as the United States and Argentine existed but failed at the explicit aversion of Artaud against America. So the plan was cancelled. The tour became a spectacular success, nearly every concert was sold-out so at the end of the tour a kind of melancholy slowly creped into the concert halls as the final, self-set and for years planned end was nearing: October, 27th, 1997.

But before this GARDEN OF DELIGHT went to the studio for ending the work at the seventh and last album PARADISE. This album was to be the most convincing album of G.O.D. A wonderful designed booklet was added to the CD and impressively supported Artaud`s lyrics. At the front cover the "Key Of Salomon", an ancient banning seal emerged solidly. In the booklet there is the adequate motive according to every lyric and for the first time one gets some lines about "The Society Of C`thulu Research", an alliance originally from Ireland that Artaud has belonged to for years.The opening of the album, SPIRIT LOVERS (to mega therion) - there is a videoclip about this song - deals with Aleister Crowley`s first wife "in purple", Rose Edith Kelly and the effects Crowley have had upon her. PROCESSION sounds ironical and ambiguous concerning Artaud`s "spiritual" affection because Artaud expressed himself more directly and personally. Both titles are very Goth rock-like in comparison to the following. GODLESS, already played live for a few times convinced with its experimental character. The text consists essentially of descriptions of Satan`s names. WHITE STAINS again leaned on Aleister Crowley, in this case with his equally named book is the most typical G.O.D. song of the album for me. Atmospheric keyboards urged by a hypnotic bass line. After a short intermezzo called NUCTEMERON the most powerful track of PARADISE, OPEN THE GATES OF UNIVERSE arrives. A beautiful piano melody accompanied by hellish noise from the depths of the abyss. Over this Artaud is singing like a high priest: "It is finished when Seven are One." A great track, in my opinion the best one they have written ever. The complete album is distincted by its unbelievable homogeneity. All tracks proceed to each other and so the impression appears one is listening to a kind of audio play. This also applies to the two last titles of the album STRANGER - a calm ballad based upon a beautiful acoustic guitar - as well as the mysteriously beautiful THE CIRCLE WILL BE CLOSED FOREVER that crowns and completes the album. The lyrics are full of darkness, obscurity, blasphemic hints and morbid events. Crowley at once appears several times. As "The Great Beast 666" in SPIRIT LOVERS, as the necrophile and sex-obsessed old man in WHITE STAINS as well as in OPEN THE GATES OF UNIVERSE in that he appears as the invocator of ritual 621, the invocation of the god Thot. Artaud plays with everything "unholy" for most people calling:

The flame run close,
Your soul is mine,
The flames run close, I will be...

He invocates:
I contemplate myself in that dim sphere
Whose hollow centre we`re standing at
With burning eyes intent to penetrate
The black circumference, and find out...
That it is finished when Seven are One!
(Open The Gates Of Universe)

...and it ends with the lonely words of THE CIRCLE WILL BE CLOSED FOREVER,
Dead heart at the closed door
A touch of cold as I walk alone
Forever, the circle will be closed forever
The door in the dark wall opens for me...
...and a "Can it be you that I hear? disappeared in universe.

Artaud marks this last recording of G.O.D. as the most relaxed one they have had ever. It appears that the work at PARADISE was led by something, Artaud said casually at the Open Air festival at Latina/Rom. The album has developed on its own and he was very happy about the result.... it certainly was an album to please the Gods. The last statement was meanwhile typical for Artaud. Everything has to please the Gods to justify his doing. A further and at this time often used remark of him was to see everything in a universal cosmic end. Gladly he connected the end of his band with the end of a race, the "Last Of The Lost Ones". His explicit play with symbols and metaphors fits very well to this. Upon the question concerning the origin of this "spiritual" interest Artaud answered in an interview with the Italian magazine "Marble moon" at the beginning of 1997: "Hard to say...In a wide sense it was always existing in me. In former times I often had problems with my surroundings and lived lonely. I believe I was looking for a kind of higher reason or something like that; something indefinable to me at that time. Spirituality or magick is everything that can give bad as well as good things, fear and happiness, power but also subjection to people as individuals. It is to be understood as the ancient power of thought. I’m of the opinion we shouldn’t reproach Artaud to be a "strange" spinner. Rather I believe that he created a skill that he could live officially his spiritual occult affection. I’m just asking myself what he will do when one takes his medium, the music? The question for the future was apparently the mostly asked question Artaud had to answer in the last years. I myself cannot imagine that Artaud retires himself completely from public. However, Adrian Hates now will be able to complete care of his project DIARY OF DREAMS and Th. O`Connell certainly will find another band. But what will happen with Artaud? In every interview I read he mentioned again and again that he doesn’t know what he will do after the split of the band but whoever knows him a little bit knows that he certainly has created a new "Masterplan" ... if the Gods are willing!

At October, 27th, 1997 the project GARDEN OF DELIGHT has been closed with a fantastic last concert at Derby/England and Artaud, Th. O`Connell and Adrian Hates finally disappeared from the stages of this world.

Dirk Lancer
They did not, forgive me. Artaud

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