Xasthur /zæst?r/ was an American black metal project that was founded by and consisted of Scott Conner, who goes by the pseudonym "Malefic". Although similar in terms of low-fi production and the wearing of corpse paint, musically and lyrically Xasthur's focus is usually not on paganism, Satanism or anti-Christian blasphemy – as is common in the genre – but rather on astral projection, darkness, despair, suicide, hate, and death.Malefic has toured with Sunn O))) and has joined Nachtmystium on stage, but stated in an interview for Pitchfork Media that he "will always keep Xasthur a band that will not play live".EtymologyThe name "Xasthur" is a combination of "Hastur" and "Xenaoth". Malefic explains that he found the former name in a Necronomicon paperback and believes it refers to "a demoness who kills people in their sleep". The latter name refers to a celestial deity he read about in a book on the Afro-Caribbean religion Santería.HistoryXasthur was created in December 1995, in Alhambra, Calif. (U.S.), after Conner had played with several local death metal groups in Southern California. Initially, the band began rehearsing and recording in a home studio with an unstable line-up. A 10-track tape of these early rehearsals was circulated on the trade scene. While the original of that tape is now destroyed, some tracks appear on re-releases of later albums.For the self-released split album with Orosius, Malefic was joined on drums and vocals by friend Mike Pardi from the band Draconis, who used the stage-name "Ritual." Subsequently, Xasthur became Malefic's solo project, although Khaija "Blood Moon" Ausar (of Dacon and Crimson Moon) appeared as session musician on A Curse for the Lifeless and Xasthur. Before releasing its first official full-length album in 2002, recordings were distributed in limited editions, which were later re-released by the Swedish Total Holocaust Records and other small underground labels.The first album Nocturnal Poisoning (recorded April–September 2001) was jointly released by independent record labels Blood Fire Death and Red Stream in 2002. Southern Lord Records re-released a remastered double-LP version in 2005. In the next years, Xasthur's full-length albums were released through labels such as Displeased Records, Moribund Cult, Total Holocaust Records, Battle Kommand Records and Hydra Head Records. Apart from demo and EP recordings, Xasthur has released several split albums with other black metal acts such as Orosius, Acid Enema, Nachtmystium, Striborg, Angra Mainyu, Leviathan, and Nortt. Xasthur has contributed to tribute albums to Ildjarn, Burzum and Judas Iscariot, and appeared on various compilation albums. Additionally, Malefic has collaborated among others with the drone metal project Sunn O))) and the black metal "supergroup" Twilight and Mord (with Lugubre members).On March 26, 2010, Malefic announced that he was wholesaling Xasthur's eighth studio album, Portal of Sorrow. He also announced that this would be the last album under the Xasthur moniker, as he stated that he was dissolving the Xasthur musical project. Malefic cited a lack of motivation, among other aspects, for him ending Xasthur; he also stated that there will not be a reunion of this band. Malefic remarked that another musical project was in the works, this one not being a metal project.The new project is called Nocturnal Poisoning, named after his 2002 album. The first album is planned to be released in 2013.Malefic released the first, and only, music video under the Xasthur name, for the song "Walker of Dissonant Worlds" from the To Violate the Oblivious album on September 30, 2010.InfluencesMalefic has noted other one-man black metal projects such as Burzum and Graveland as an inspiration for his one-man approach: "the main way that Burzum inspired me (contrary to popular belief) was that he could do it all on his own-- why couldn't I?"