Thursday, April 23, 2009

Interview with AS SAHAR in Issue#1, 1996

This one is pure nostalgic. It’s the very first ever interview I’ve initiated, and until these days I’m always proud of the fact that my consciousness those days resulted in the decision to choose AS SAHAR as the one to begin it all with. It’s not that exaggerating to call them as pioneers of what to be known as ‘Eastern black Metal’, spawning countless goatherds especially from the southeast Asian underground Metal scene. “Santau/Meditation Embun Pagi” will remains as the definite artifact and blueprint of eastern black Metal supremacy, not to be surpassed, ever. Take note that as this is my first interview, marked progression are to be encountered throughout the years. This is AS SAHAR in their most notorious and splendorous years, don’t let it skip through your memory!
Well! I guess this band needs no introduction at all. They are one of the most promising black Metal bands ever unleashed from the scene. Formed in late ’87 they have progressed since that to become what they are today. I don’t want to bore you anymore, so let’s go straight to the interview!!!
Darkest gratitude to you! Who’s answering this interview and how’s your day?
As usual it’s One Barchiel Dukunnashiheir, - Infernal Warrior of The eastern Skies, answering on behalf of all As Saharians.. It’s been great today, ‘coz there’s not much work during the day. It’s been one whole day of journey beyond dreams where I encountered paradise – In sperma-spilt melodramatic ecstasy with some familiar faces and sighings…
What would be your opening chant?
Uriel has been playing with AS SAHAR since the early days. Could you tell us why he left the band?
Uriel had always wanted to lead a normal life as a married-man… This is even so even before “Meditation Embun Pagi” EP was recorded. We managed to make him stayed around for a while till that EP is released. Interference from his swined mother who accused us of restricting Uriel’s freedom (that is to go back on his religious paths and create a family) had got me fucking sick!! It is mainly because of his bastard mom that he left AS SAHAR… his dreams was to be a filial and obedient son!! Can you imagine, after a 7 and a half years stint with AS SAHAR, he left just like that… He’s a goddamned-fucken-weak-mortal-Moslem!!! We never blessed whatever he is doing now and I will personally find ways to destroy his family!
Is it true that one of you works as a police officer in the Singapore Police Force?
Yeah… it’s me. But don’t get me wrong, ‘coz I’m not full 100% part of the Police Force as I am actually into this uniform shit due to National Service. I’ve got something like 10 months more to serve this “freedom-ripped-off” shit… It’s really fucked up to do National Service, the work is so much while the pay is only sufficient for 2 weeks of expenditure. A lucky you Malaysians need not have to serve your government in this manner. In S’pore you can’t escape ‘coz if you do, you have to go to jail… I’m not a Jehovah Witness man, so I just have to obey this – 2 and a half years is nothing, really. Anyway, fuck the Singapore Government!!!
Why did you re-release the “Santau” EP with the title “Meditation Embun Pagi”?
“Santau” is a release of BLACKWINDS PRODUCTIONS. Malaysian – NEBIULA PRODUCTIONS bought the license for the Malaysian market from BLACKWINDS… As the cover on the BLACKWINDS edition was ‘stolen’ from a book, it has its copyrights. NEBIULA couldn’t use that illustration as it is a registered label, so we used that photo of forestic dawn for the NEBIULA’s edition. We have discussed and agreed that “Meditation Embun Pagi” suit the new cover rather than “Santau”.

What is the difference between your demo, “Primitively Eastern Winds” with your current stuff?

Not much, except that in “Meditation Embun Pagi/Santau”, the music is more matured structurally – highly melodical –aggressive and wrathful.
Your lyrics are quite different from other dark/black Metal bands. How do you get the source to write lyrics that’s so unique, mystique and dark?
I am basically influenced by the atmosphere – especially in the chill of the night where I witnessed the landscapic wondress brought by the occult. Also, I read a lot of Malay-ethnical sorcery texts and some references of Black Arts of Archipelago. My family heritage of Bugishianic occult knowledge and practices also helps in my lyrickal magick as I am directly instilled with such prowess…
What is your view and opinion about black Metal music? Is it all about Satanism, painted faces, etc?
It had to be evil and evil messages are expressed in different forms of black Metal styles – from chaotic to atmospheric. This however is actually a culture by its own. Well, VENOM started it all and we are continuing their tradition of spikes, leather, black suits, warfare accessories, chains, paints, etc.
Your music is not the usual black/dark stuff. Do you have any influences to make this kind of sound?
We cannot think of any particular bands ‘coz we have a wide range of playlists… When we idolized a band, we intend to create a similar music as that band… So, we never resort to that. I create music for AS SAHAR out of different moods in me – wrath, melancholy, psychic edge, romantic, freeze, wilderness, etc…
AS SAHAR… Such a great name. What does it really means?
The edge of the dark meeting the start of the bright – the peak of the occult – The Ultimatum. Such times defies categorization of day and it’s the best time to perform cruelties in magick.
Could you tell us more about BLACKWINDS PRODUCTIONS?
It’s a new record label here – a small one to cater bands within its interests. There will be a few releases of BLACKWINDS PRODUCTIONS in months to come.
How was your gig at the Hippodrome, Penang with NEBIRAS, SIL KHANNAZ and ATHOTORGH?
It was great, I think. I’ve always wanted to play in Malaysia and although we performed only 3 songs, I’m wholly satisfied. The Penang audience know what I want – no moshing so as to keep up the black Metal tradition and for that I’m grateful to them. The show was a complete one with fire-breathing holocurst, the traditional black Metal wear, corpse paint and the wrathful hymns of tahyulistic, ambience from AS SAHAR. What moved me was the fact that we managed to get to know NEBIRAS whom lots of Malaysians hate. I simply think this act is great – their new stuffs kills and they’re also aggressive on stage. The only two black Metal bands that day had managed to leave a concrete rememberance of our dark nature!
Future plans?
We have just recorded two tracks for the NEBIULA PRODUCTIONS compilation – scheduled for release in March ’96. We’ll start right away for 9 songs to be on our full-length CD. We’ve got a deal for that on a European label and it’ll only be released in February ’97, so there’s still a long way to go for our new CD, but I can assure you that it’ll be more agonizing and more atmosphere – orientated experience for all. Among the trax we’ll record for the CD are: “Fandeyian Okultika Hymnology”, “Tinggam”, “Nadayage”, “Phenomistik”, “Silumanial Dansacration”.
Well this is the end of this interview. Last ritual from AS SAHAR?
Thanks a lot Shah – great interview! Contact NEBIULA PRODUCTIONS for our merchandising… Well, that’s all, just rained your letters into our mailbox.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

VORMIT "Life Is Your Enemy"

VORMIT “Life Is Your Enemy” (Eastern Voice Productions)
Just one full listen is all that is needed to uncover the roots of this release: it’s NAPALM DEATH in their deathgrind era (“Mentally Murdered”, “Harmony Corruption”,et al, got it?). Though that is not surprising, VORMIT has been around for quite a while, and I’m sure there must be some demos released prior to this if my memory serves me right. As mentioned, “Life Is Your Enemy” is a nice homage to those years of NAPALM DEATH, nothing is being left out here. And as far as Sarawak’s deathgrind bands are concerned, I don’t see any other as accomplished as VORMIT at the moment. Just several hiccups though. This kind of record needs that powerful, to-the-front production for that full blown impact, a fact unfulfilled due to the production result seems to be somewhat muffled, and I’m not certain what causing this nor I can tolerate why the band agreed on it to be released. There must be something that could be done with it. And of course, some songs are being dragged a bit too long for its own good, distractions during listening are hard to avoid. Everything else is just enough methinks.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Interview with DIMMU BORGIR in Issue#2, 1997

Yez, people love to hate them these days. And I’m not going to delve further into that. To each his own. Obviously blown away by the magnificent opus “Stormblast” back then (and it’s still retaining its crown as one of the most exquisite presentation of moody, atmospheric, bombastic depressive melodic black Metal album ever, DON’T ARGUE on that), this is the interview with Silenoz in 1997. Shortly after, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” sweeps across the Metal scene around the globe, and the name DIMMU BORGIR are well-versed by the Metal community even in the most remote of countries. Love them, loathe them, early DIMMU BORGIR is not to be forgotten, even by the most underground dwellers in all of you.
DIMMU BORGIR… one of Norway’s finest black Metal bands. Surely is a favourite of mine, as soon as I heard their debut, “For All Tid”. Clearly is the masters of transforming depression into a piece of art. Let’s journey into their world; and let the words of Silenoz be the guidance…
How’s the atmosphere in Norway while answering this interview…
It seems that the Spring is about to arrive within a couple of days, the sun shines, the weather is warm and brightful at this very moment… although I guess it is far much warmer where you guys live.
Straight to the point. Tell us something about “Stormblast”. Personally I think it’s a bit different from “For All Tid”.
Yeah, I think so too, I mean, the “Stormblast” album is a result of natural development musically. Even if the sound is not as good as we wanted to be, it is still a lot better than the sound on the “For All Tid” album. We have also progressed a lot both as songwriters and musicians since our first release. We are very satisfied with the “Stormblast” album and as far as the response goes, it seems that a lot of other people around are also satisfied.
You write all of your songs in Norwegian lyrics. Why don’t you write in English? Don’t you think that what you’re trying to tell in your songs will not get across to a lot of people?
I guess you’re pretty right about that, and since our albums have sold quite much, despite our Norwegian lyrics, we have changed to writing them in English instead, so that we perhaps are able to sell even more albums in the future. Our next album, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant”, which is supposed to be released in May by NUCLEAR BLAST, has English texts only.
DIMMU BORGIR… How’s the creation became reality? What’s the meaning of it and why chose it as the band’s name?
The name got an unusual atmospheric touch and since the first time we heard it we got emotionally attached and drawn to it. DIMMU BORGIR is an Icelandic name and means in English “The Black Castle” or “The Dark Fortress”. It is also even a place on the northern part of Iceland that it is called “Dimmuborgir”. Shagrath, Tjodalv, and myself, Silenoz, formed the band during midsummer 1993. Some weeks later, Brynjard Tristan (who is half Icelandic) joined us on Bass. We also got a fifth member a month later who is very talented in playing piano and keyboards/choirs. Tristan is no longer with us, and got replaced by Nagash last summer.
“For All Tid” was released by NO COLOURS, while “Stormblast” by CACOPHONOUS. What made you changing labels? How do both of the labels treating DIMMU BORGIR?
We still have very good contact with NO COLOURS and the relationship seems to be just fine. CACOPHONOUS haven’t kept the agreements concerning the contract, so we are naturally very disappointed about that. We only signed for one album with CACOPHONOUS, first, to see how things worked out. We gave them an opportunity to show us how serious they are, and we decided that if they did a great job with the “Stormblast” album, we would eventually sign for more albums afterwards. But as their promotion have sucked compared to our ambitions and they have been pretty lazy about this important matter, they can’t expect us to be satisfied and surely not expect us to sign for more albums. They still haven’t released the vinyl-edition of “Stormblast” either, and it seems to us that they aren’t interested in doing it at all. They haven’t fulfilled our demands and what we agreed about regarding the contract and they haven’t supported us that much either and this is just the opposite of what a label is supposed to do. They have lost great bands such as CRADLE OF FILTH, DIMMU BORGIR and GEHENNA thanks to their narrow-minded and moneygrabbing way of seeing things. We are not in a fight with them or anything like that but we are very much disappointed about they have been handling things for us. We have because of this, signed to NUCLEAR BLAST for four albums, and it is with a delightful relief that we are experiencing such professionality and maturity. They really do everything what’s in their power to promote us well. This is a serious company and I can understand very well how they have been able to survive the last years. They have a lot of money, yes, but they are administrating the money in a way that it will gain both the band and the label. Our relationship with NUCLEAR BLAST is the best and we are open and honest to each other, which is the ground basis and the most important foundation if a relationship between a band and a label are going to last and be successful.
DIMMU BORGIR music is, for me; very depressive. Do you intend to sound that way? How can you achieve that very deep depression in your music?
We try to transfer our inner feelings and thoughts into the music we make and my impression is that we are able to manage this quite well, and I guess that is why our music sound depressive and dark as it does. The day we will feel happiness and joy within ourselves will be the day we quit playing this kind of music, doing this kind of extreme black art.
Norway produces many talented bands. I would like to know the definition of “Norwegian Sound”. Does such thing exist? What makes a Norwegian band sounds different from bands of other countries?
I suppose the reason why Norwegian bands sound different is because we have much more than just riffs in a song. We do things complete in an ‘orchestral’ way so to say, if you know what I mean. The secret must be that everything that Norwegian bands do is done with the subscription of a true dark feeling, and with that I do not mean the foreign bands are not capable of doing the same, but almost every Norwegian has its own actual feeling, a true spirit of cold and darkness. So I guess the definition of “Norwegian Sound” is not valid, it doesn’t exist. Not for us Norwegians anyway. Could you tell us something about Shagrath’s own label, HOT RECORDS? Why don’t you release DIMMU BORGIR’s materials on that label? What does he try to achieve by forming the label?
HOT RECORDS is something Shagrath concentrates on only when he has some spare time left over. It is a small, but a serious label. We released an MCD-single called “Devil’s Path” (also include two different cover-versions of the CELTIC FROST song “Nocturnal Fear”) on HOT RECORDS last August and it has sold a lot, if you consider the fact that it is a single (about 6,000 copies). But releasing more material on HOT RECORDS is out of the question for us, it doesn’t quite match with DIMMU BORGIR’s ambition. HOT RECORDS next release will be the full-lengths with LAMENTED SOULS, MINAS TIRITH and NOCTURNAL BREED.
As a black Metal band, what is a must have in every black Metal band, from your own opinion?
In my opinion it must be essential to any black Metal band, old and new, to have a true dark feeling, lyrics and music written on a Satanic basis and to put higher the mysteries of death more than life. A black Metal band shall represent and glorify the evil and dark forces of human being, not mission the word of happiness and light. That is what really matters, and in which way a band decides to do this must be up to themselves.
Looking at the current black Metal scene, so many bands sprouting up everyday. What do you think about this, and what differentiate good bands from the bad ones?
It is very easy to differentiate the good bands from the bad ones. If a band try as hard as they possibly can to look and sound evil without having the ‘the true formula’, or showing mature attitude towards this art, one can consider this as an attempt to be something which they are not. Also if a band uses energy talking shit about all and everyone they don’t like more than concentrating on making music one can also consider this as a truly bad one, having no serious ambitions whatsoever. This is also what keeps the trend going, people who has no understanding and knowledgement for the music and the reason behind it. So the conclusion must be that there is actually not that many great black Metal bands around, just another big heap of compost…..
What do you think about live-shows. Some band refused to do live-shows. In your live-shows, what will it be like?
It will be like Hell…, no, seriously, it will of course have the usual ingredients like torches, blood, smoke, flames and all that shit, more like some sort of theatre-act. Up until now we have only played a couple of gigs, but in late March we will do a festival-tour in Germany together with CRADLE OF FILTH, DISSECTION and IN FLAMES. In May we will play at the Dynamo Open Air Festival in Holland and in August we will be touring with amongst others SODOM(!), STEELER and RAGE. This is what is confirmed.
Do people there still believe in Odin? Do Hugin and Muninn still flying around? Do you personally believe in the Norwegian culture? What do you think about it?
Well, as a Norwegian I am of course proud of my forefathers and our history. I also like the Northern Mythtology, even though I don’t take directly inspiration from it. I think it is important knowing your inheritance, but on the other hand I think it is kinda wrong only to engulf oneself in the past without thinking one step ahead, after all, it is the future that really counts from this very moment.
What do you see your life in this world as?
Painful, with a certain conviction that I am obligated to continue what I have been set here on this earth to mission.
Reveal DIMMU BORGIR’s aim in the near future…
Our new album, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” will be released in May on both CD and vinyl. A new MCD will be released within late summer, entitled “Entrance”. Apart from the title-track, it will contain two re-recorded songs from the “For All Tid” album plus two new ones. It will also be released as a shape-CD, limited to 3,000ex. Otherwise we will try to play as much live as possible, maybe some gigs in the States this summer.
Spit some melancholic words before you finally end this interview.
First I would like to thank you for this interview, interest and support. It is very much appreciated! A big hello also to our Malaysian fans! Last melancholic words must be: “Things are not what they seem…”

Interview with IMPENDING DOOM in Issue#4, 2000

IMPENDING DOOM is the ‘cover star’ of RANDOM #4, and who could argue that? Listening to their materials are what causing you to scream out METALLL!!! With the full capacity of your burn out lungs. Though IMPENDING DOOM are becoming a piece of history in the underground Metal scene of today, their members are still lurking beneath the scene in several disguises, most notably the exciting HATESPAWN, so just keep a watch on their activities soon.
IMPENDING DOOM from German is one of the very few surprises that I’ve encountered during the course of my last issue’s work, and an interview with them is inevitable, it seems. You should not miss the opportunity to check them out, for they’re one helluva great band! Andy kindly answered my interrogations, check out the outcome!
Greetings friend! How’re you there in German? How’s the latest live-shows of IMPENDING DOOM came out as?
Hell-o Shahrizwan and you, readers of the RANDOM ‘zine. How are you? Hope all is fine today! Well, al is pretty cool at this moment here. Last weekend we have played a show at the capitol of Germany, in Berlin. Well, we played with INCUBATOR and MORBUS and two local support act. One was called WOLFBREED. Yeah, we’ve given all the power for this show, but the support from the fans wasn’t the best. Believe me, these big city kids are totally spoiled. But a week before we played a show in the north of Germany in Greifswald. And this gig was really cool. People going totally crazy and want more and more songs. This year (1999) the situation for live-shows is fucking great for us. A lot of gigs are planned in the near future. Also two bigger open air shows and maybe some gigs outside of Germany. Perhaps three shows in France are planned. But we will see…
Your second album “Signum of Hate” has finally being revealed to the listeners. So tell me, does it turn out the way it’s expected to be?
Well, the “Signum of Hate” album was released in August ’98. And we’re also satisfied with this work. Of course, a lot of things will be better on the next album we’ve just working on. So, if you’re interested in aggressive and powerful Metal between black, thrash and death; don’t miss it. Hope you’ll enjoy. But I’m not a man, who like to speak about his own work. Think so, that you Shahrizwan will be much more authorized to do this!! So tell the Malaysian Metalheads the best of our album, hehe. (it fukking kills, and this is no asslicking!-ed).
I think the production is a lot better, compared to “Caedes Sacrilegae”. It seems like the drummer is hitting some empty cans on the first one…
Yeah, the sound is a lot better than on the debut. The drum sound on “Caedes Sacrilegae” was a small catastrophe! Our guitarist Patrick produced the “Signum of Hate” album. And I think he did a good job. But you can await a killer production for the next album. Beware. He does a good producer job for a lot of Metal bands now here. Albums and demos productions for SEIRIM, POLYMORPH, MOURNING ENDS, PROSATANOS, FANGORN, and a lot more…
It’s (the second album) far more aggressive too. Probably due to the departure of your keyboardist. Is he really being kicked-out off the band or what?
Well, the keyboard-player left the band to have more time with his family. I can accept this, so he’s still a good friend. But I can’t understand this. You see, me and my girlfriend, we’ll also get a child in October this year (1999). But I don’t think this should bring an end to my musical activities. Metal is like a lifestyle, not a trend to me. Ha, I’m fiend for the wildness and power of truly Metal art. But, as the keyboard-player left us, we don’t want a new member. And it was like an evolution to bring more aggression and brutality in our songs. And now, our stuff is much more faster and full of weakcrushing riffs.
And so, why you reduced those so called ‘hateful melodies’?
Well, I think that most of the bands, who use keyboards, sounds so beautiful. I don’t like this mix betweengothic and Metal for gays. Haha. There are not so much bands, who keyboards sound really evil are horrible. So I like artists like KING DIAMOND or DEATH SS. These ones bring a brilliant horror feelings in their music.
But still I could trace some melodic lines in “Signum of Hate”, but done in a much darker way.
Now our music is still full of melodies. But it’s worked on guitars and it’s great, that you say; it’s much more in a darker way. That’s our way, to create the most dark Metal ever. So we deal with a lot of oppressive and evil feelings in our songs. And always we’re interested to mix our songs with good and aggressive riffs, melodies and our own feeling. But today it’s not that simple to create your very own style.
And what about your vocals, I bet you got a certain way of singing. I heard traces of old bands’ nuances belching out from your throat…
Thanks a lot… Well, we’re all influenced by the sound of 80’s Metal. All of us prefer stuffs like IRON MAIDEN, SLAYER, BATHORY, KREATOR, MOTÖRHEAD and so on. My favourite band is CELTIC FROST, and I think somebody can recognize this in our songs. But I’m interested to support the feelings of a song with my vocals. And there are many different styles of singing in our songs… you know. It’s the same with the lyrics. If you play this kind of music, you can’t sing about nice thigns or politics. Our songs are full of dark stuff and dark lyrics. I can’t judge about those hardcore attitude. It’s not our way!!! Enjoy the lyrics and you’ll know what I mean.
Don’t you find IMPENDING DOOM as a bit ‘retro-sounding’?
We have nothing to do with bands like AURA NOIR, INFERNÖ or GUILLOTINE. Listen to their songs and you’ll understand why I call these bands thieves. It’s one way to be influenced, but it’s another thing to play the same old riffs and say it’s your own song. Hell, we’re not a ‘retro’ band. We’re still a pure fuckin’ headcrushing Metal act.
What do you think about it, seeing bands turning way back behind their time in their sound?
I think there’s also a lot of good bands, which sounds more traditional and older. I like the stuffs from band like ORDER FROM CHAOS, ANCIENT RITES, DESASTER, or NECROMANTIA. Also a lot of bands from Asia or South America. Their music sounds not so trendy in my opinion. Here in Germany most of the fans are totally in this typical Scandinavian black or melodic death Metal stuff. I like also a lot of their stuffs. But most of them are albums from the early 90’s. Too much clown bands now!
Being a German band, does it even bother you; that the German scene produced such enormous talents in the 80’s Metal scene. I mean, as a new generation kinda’ bands, what do you take this situation for? Is there any pressure for all the new bands there to produce quality rather than quantity? Do you think that the German bands today are on par with those heroes?
For us it’s very important to produce quality rather than quantity. But it’s right, that many bands come out with bad sounding rehearsal tapes after two months of founding. Fuck off. I hate all these childish suckers, who think that they’re the most evil ones and can’t handle their instruments. Go home and suck the tits of your mother. Ha. Most of them forget, that we have a big ‘heritage’ with the fantastic old German bands like ACCEPT, DESTRUCTION, LIVING DEATH… We have good bands here, who are interested to find their own way. Bands like EMINENZ, HARMONY DIES, PURGATORY, ATANATOS, DROWNED, and many more. But the scene here is also full of fakes and idiots. But I think it’s pretty much the same in other countries. We have a lot of contacts here and outside and many loyal fans and friends.
And is it good for the old bands to reform or something like that? Take into view the reforming of DESTRUCTION. I heard that their live-appearance in the Milwaukee Metalfest was a flop…
I’m not a fan of these reformation shit. Most of the bands sound a bit different now. And their old fans wanna listen to the old feelings. A good reform was MERCYFUL FATE. But the new DESTRUCTION is totally shitty. I’ve heard, that this year the original line-up of DESTRUCTION will play some festival shows. But, what’s the reason… Only the money! Also the last VENOM release was a joke, if you like their old cult stuffs.
There’s this cover-version of CELTIC FROST’s “Dethroned Emperor” and MORBID ANGEL “Chapel of Ghouls” in the LP version of “Signum of Hate”. Clearly why you did those?
Well, we play a lot of cover-versions in our rehearsals. And these two songs were produced as a bonus 12” for the limited vinyl edition of the new album. Also a cover-version of DARKTHRONE’s “Cromlech” will be out on a split 7” EP with EXMORTEM from Denmark soon. We also play covers of SLAYER, MASTER’S HAMMER, TORMENTOR or BLACK SABBATH. It’s kinda tribute to the bands we like so much and influenced us. All the stuff of MORBID ANGEL are simply brilliant. I like all their stuff and I’ve seen them some months ago on tour with the mighty VADER from Poland. The CELTIC FROST stuff from “Morbid Tales” to “Into The Pandemonium” is all time killer. The other ones like “Cold Lake” is crap.
Lots of bands are into playing covers these days. What’s the real purpose of playing covers for IMPENDING DOOM?
We play covers mostly live on stage, so the fans can listen to new interpretations of their faves, and also we can show them our own favourite stuffs. It’s a sign of tribute and honour to our musical heroes.
The picture on the first album was taken on snow-covered surroundings, whilst on the second it’s fire all-over. Coincidence, or there’s actually some hidden meaning underneath?
We want it a bit simpler for the second album. The first one was a first step. But the new one is much more like we are, you know… We’re not one of these trendy shit bands or people who play Metal for 2-3 years you know. I’m now 26 years old and I listen to this extreme music for more than 10 years. I collect a lot of albums and demos and it’s a lifestyle for all of us. Our music and lyrics are full of demonized feelings. And we have the fire of dark lusts inside!
Who did the logo? It’s very attractive and detailed, but don’t you think that the design of the ‘doom’ wording is quite similar to the semi legendary DOOM logo from the UK?
Oh no, the word ‘doom’ isn’t similar to that UK band. I know some of their stuff, but those are not my favourites. Also, since we started IMPENDING DOOM seven years ago, people think that we play a kind of doom Metal. Really nice. No, it’s really a powerful name for a band like us. And it presents our lyrical and musical way. The fantastic logo was done by René from German heavy black Metallers ATANATOS. Are you interested in “Hymns of Heathenpride”? Check ‘em out!
One question that’s not relevant to the overall discussion of this interview, but I’ll ask you anyway. There’s a credit for you in the “Bestial” album of PURGATORY for doing some backing vocals; but why you’re referred to as ‘Andy(Christ) Kaufmann?!
Ha, ha. Turn this word-creation to Anti-christ now. You know what he mean…? I don’t cooperate with Christian attitude. Not a filial Christian. We’re to retaliate the resurrection of Christ. Believe, I am the Anti-christ. Ha, ha. So it was a funny thing to do some background-vocals for the last PURGATORY album “Bestial”. It’s a good and brutal band with unbelievable stage-action. PURGATORY is still pure evilized death Metal.
Since that your releases are very Metal-sounding, what does “Metal” really means to you?
What can I say… Metal is my life. I wake up and stand up with Metal in the morning and go to sleep with Metal in the evening. Metal is Power and Rebellion. So remember “…Chains and Leather – Forever”. I’ve got some problems with long hair or my wearing of shirts, boots, etc in my job. But fuck them! Also we celebrate a real Metal shows on our gigs. Metal is devotion of 200%. Sweat, aggression and wild headbanging.
I guess I’ve bored you enough my friend, so…
So we have to say thank you for all your support my friend. My best wishes and dark blessings to you. This interview is one of the best I’ve the honour to answer. Greetings to all the Malaysian headbangers. Hope it’s possible to see you all sometimes. If you’re interested ask the mighty Shahrizwan or write us directly. We’re interested to keep a lot of contacts to cool and real bands. Keep the black flame burning. Metal Supremacy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Interview with THE KUNTAUTCULT in Issue#4, 2000

Fukking neck-breaking, ear-splitting exercise are to be expected listening to “From The Pits…”. Never losing its ramming impact forever, it is sad to say that it is the only album from THE KUNTAUTCULT. The band has split-up not long after its release, but at least I’m able to interrogate them when they’re still in it. Use your dagger, use your fukking dagger.
Not that many of releases could produce such a blast that I’ve suffered after the initial listening of “From The Pits…”, the brilliant debut from Holland’s finest new band to emerge in the scene, THE KUNTAUTCULT… potent mixture of brutal death/grind that surely will damage your grandmother’s ears. This is my conversation with their ‘octopus-in-nature’ drummer, Pepijn…

The band first started as BODYBAG, so why is the name THE KUNTAUTCULT came out and eventually became the band’s new monicker? Changes of musical direction maybe? What does THE KUNTAUTCULT means anyway?
Like you said in the good ol’ days we were called BODYBAG, a typical name for a random Death band. As music evolved and got more extreme by the day, we figured “BODYBAG” was such a cliché name for the genre (I believe there are 6 bands already named like that), so we wanted to have a name no-one had yet. We wanted to have a name that was as unique as our music. During one of our flights through ancient wisdom and pop-up visions (we were high as a kite), we came on several terms, that we combined in a nifty fashion. When we woke up the next day, the name was born! It doesn’t mean anything in particular, just a weird combination of some weird thoughts.
I know that the music changes quite clearly as the band’s evolutioning. Was it not surfaced by the time “Skullcrushing Horror” was released? So why did you decide to release it anyway?
No, “Skullcrushing Horror” simply contains recordings of our material we had back in 1996. As you can hear, our musical style was much slower back then and based on the more mid-tempo death, as our interests were on that level then, and because we were still ‘training’ on our instruments. As months passed by, the music got more and more extreme, faster and heavier.
After that it’s grinding in almost all of your materials, isn’t it?
Practically yes. It’s not a matter of necessity using grindparts and blastbeats, but it sure does make it a lot more intense!
Even so it’s not hard to trace some other musical direction, like death Metal of course…
Believe it or not, but our inspirations and musical directions vary enormously, but are little inspired by death Metal bands. Our basic inspirations come from having certain needs for an outlet of the daily stress, energy and problems we experience through normal life. We just make noise every week and it has a positive effect, which wouldn’t be the case if we were playing pop music.
And also some other, like that particular song in your CD, which is an acoustic one. Tell us more about this song; like what’s the purpose of recording it? Can we call it some kind of a ‘ballad’ from THE KUNTAUTCULT?
If you will. Both guitarists like to create a certain atmosphere using acoustic parts, it gives the other tracks a boost, more energy. And besides that, it shows a different perspective to our music. Please remember that we like a lot of different styles of music, varying from CRYPTOPSY to CYPRESS HILL, from PINK FLOYD to GUNS N’ ROSES etc. On our demotape “Skullcrushing Horror” you’ll find the titletrack also performed as an acoustic version.
You also have some sampling interwoven between the songs. Does it related directly to the songs?
Most of ‘em do. The intro of “Xavier” comes from the movie “Doom Generation”, where Xavier as a title comes from, “Use Your Dagger” was a phrase used in Monty Phyton’s “Yellowbeard” that was stuck in our minds. It’s rather hard to explain the “Pop…” sample. Skip that one. Anyway as an interbellum-like intermezzo between “Galaxy Legends” and “120 Bars of Pressure Up Your Appendix” we’d chosen a random brutal sample from one of the coolest movie ever “Cannibal Holocaust”. For an outro we’d decided to use the concluding piece of “The Great Race” (the number one coolest movie of all times). It’s difficult to spot the links between the songs and samples, but as long as we see them and understand the reason why we put ‘em there, it’s fine by us.
Honestly, the song titles sound very interesting, therefore I would like to know the lyrics of, if not all; some of it…
Haha, thanks! Well, first of all, even though our song titles are somewhat ‘gory’ in an odd way, we don’t sing about religious, political or horror theme-like subjects. We’d quit doing that in the same time we changed our name. It was just the whole concept; we wanted a different name and a different type of lyrics, not something that was already done a million times. It’s mostly about our own experiences, dreams, visions and thoughts, all wrapped together into one big pile of emotional screamings of death and subterranean grunts.
The record deal with DISPLEASED RECORDS emerged after the recording of the MCD, but it’s not released yet. So how did they know about the band back then? The demo tape? I don’t think so, because that particular one was released in 1996…
We’d sent the MCD to DISPLEASED RECORDS. They contacted us after short notice and offered us a contract. Only thing is that they didn’t really like the idea of releasing a MCD. So we decided to transform it into a CD, adding up two more tracks.
And as the MCD is not being released, why only the songs “Use Your Dagger” and “Venus” were included in the album? Do you have plan to release the whole MCD later on?
Nope. The two tracks that were included, were the only two tracks that we believed were good enough to make the CD complete. Our most recent material is ‘somewhat’ different, and some tracks weren’t finished at the time of the recordings, thus the rest will appear on the next CD.
THE KUNTAUTCULT, a three-piece band, with this kind of music, playing live… Now that must be interesting…
It is really! Indeed with “only” three members performing, it’s not always easy to play, because the right tuning, volume and sound are sometimes hard to combine. Second, it’s not always pleasant, playing on someone else’s gear, which usually happens with festivals and shit. I, for instance, have to feel completely comfortable behind the drumkit, or else it’ll effect my drumming. It can really ruin your show man. But besides that, all three of us always give everything on the stage. We try to give the audience the bruteness they want and we seldomly fail to achieve that. Despite of school and work we’re not always capable to perform throughout the week, so when we play, we usually have a lot of support, and that usually takes a lot of weight of your shoulders.
Is your drummer gets any help from the technology to enhance his ‘bashing’ skills and ability? He’s a fucking maniac, if we listen to the album.
Thanks, I appreciate that. On the album I used some bass-drum boosting (for instance on “Axe Rectal Trunk Pisser”), to create an effect that was to give an edge to the edge, understand? Just to make it more aggressive. Only the bass-drums were triggered in case we wanted that ‘special’ boost (just listen to “Galaxy Legends”!!!), but for the rest I did everything exactly the same as I would do live.
If people ask wherein in the band’s music lies what we would call ‘art’, what would be your reply then?
I’d be flattered. It’s difficult to come up with this shit, it takes a lot of practicing. I consider it more of a sport to play the music and I guess ‘art’ would be a nice compliment.
Does everything in the band affects the way you’re living too? If so then it might be a dangerous one…
Nope, just like I said before, THE KUNTAUTCULT is a practical outlet of negative energy, and as long as you can put it in (any) music, or sport, we’ll all can live in peace. Heheh…
Is the band openly endorses violence or such thing?
Negative, I don’t think you should combine aggressive music with endorsing violence and being it. Mayber some people will think we are; but we’re not. “From The Pits…” is the result of finding the right type of music we’ve been working on for quite a while, stuff that evolved through the years and is being labeled as death-grind.
So, some of your new songs had been worked. You stated that the newer materials will be less technical but more aggressive and groovy than what we could get in “From The Pits…”. Why leave those technicality behind? Why more aggression and grooves are included?
We tried it with more groove, because it contains more emotion in the music, more power and more effect on whoever’s listening. Technical parts can be very powerful, but it’s usually very emotionless, without any form of recognition in it. Groovy parts (like the beginning of “Use Your Dagger”) will be the more effective ones, that people evidently recognize as such.
Do you have any warns or threats to anybody who read this?
Never send us any viruses again, weenytoad!
I really hope that the music of THE KUNTAUTCULT will not turning ‘wimpy’ or ‘gay’ in the future, can I count on you?
The music of our next album is probably gonna be heavier than “From The Pits…”, so don’t dare to call us wimpy.

Interview with NOMICON in Issue#4, 2000

Bizarre. Unique. Unpredictable. After the release of “Halla”, NOMICON is in its silence once again. This interview was instigated after the release of their “Promo ‘98”.
The bizarre nature of NOMICON’s musical progression always fascinates me, a way too unthinkable band, and beyond comparison. Hard to swallow by the masses, and they’re proud of it. I really hope that at least a number of you, the readers; will be able to identify the twisted musical genius of NOMICON!
It’s been quite a while since I last heard of NOMICON. And man, the musical direction changed much! Now tell me, how did this drastic leaps occurring?
Many things have had an affect on that. Of course there’s that big change in line-up: there’s only me left of the band that started in 1991! After that NOMICON has been more or less stable… I mean, there has been some changes in line-up after our last album “Yellow” again and of course, the people who play in the band have effect on the style of music. The current NOMICON couldn’t be the NOMICON between 1991-1993 even if I wanted to!... And NOMICON from those days couldn’t be the band as it stands today. However, as I still compose 100% of the music of my band, maybe the biggest reason for those leaps is the fact that my personal musical taste isn’t as it was 9 years ago!
Do all of NOMICON’s releases been derived in such manner? Look at “The Me” for example, it’s ultra technical, no doubt…
I guess they all have been very different from each other and I hope they will be like that in the future, too! I’ve to believe in the resources of my creativity. I want the style of NOMICON be everchanging.
And what did you up to with the ’96 promo, which entirely being just computer music with no guitars at all. And of course it differs from the “Yellow” album after that.
“Yellow” differs from “Promo ‘96” of course, because there are guitars on the album, which are not present in the tape, which I nowadays think should never have been released. But I think there was some kind of demand for “Promo ‘96” also, because it was released when I was still looking for new members of NOMICON. Many people said my band doesn’t exist anymore. That’s the reason I put out the tape: to prove they’re wrong in saying NOMICON is dead.
The “Promo ‘98” CD prove to be another unthinkable leap again. So what would you call the musical direction of this one?
I think it’s the most ‘blackmetallish’ of NOMICON-releases so far! Even if it might be so, I believe NOMICON can never be totally black Metal. Only the thing that Agathon plays drums in the band nowadays is enough to deny that. Agathon isn’t something I’d call a black-Metal drummer as he has different style of playing. Even if he’s fast, he’s at his best in slower and heavier parts. Some people have said that “Promo ‘98” CD is great horror movie Metal, but I don’t follow that description, because I like to call Agathon’s band GLOOMY GRIM to play that kind of music.
But NOMICON still retain its uniqueness…
Yes, I want it to be so even if that meant NOMICON will never become ‘big’. If my brains continue working, I can trust my creativity to develop in such a manner that no following NOMICON-releases will sound the same to each other.
Can we call it some sort of original trademarks for the band?
Yes, the style of NOMICON is that it doesn’t have a particular style.
I do find some similarities between NOMICON and your other band SOULGRIND (“Kalma” is an excellent release, by the way). Is it intentional?
I don’t find so many similarities between NOMICON and SOULGRIND. Maybe the only similarity is that SOULGRIND also makes original music, though it’s original in a different way than NOMICON! Maybe you found those similarities, because after all, I’m on vocals for both bands???
The songs on “Promo ‘98” got that very dramatic pace changes and such. Still got that ‘out of norm’ technicality?
I agree even if some older fans of NOMICON have said it has been a bit of disappointment to them. Maybe for them, the music in “Promo ‘98” is too easy to understand and accept. Don’t worry, next album will include ‘out of norm’ technicalities as did the promo CD (even if it did like that in a lesser extent than ever before)! I want NOMICON always to be technical, complicated and really: ‘out of norm’.
What are you trying to make clear upon with the music in “Promo ‘98”?
The reason of that promo was firstly to give labels a clue of my current style. In the beginning it wasn’t my intention to concentrate on selling that CD… but people wanted to buy it, so what could I do??? After all, most of the copies were sold and not given for free to labels and such. Maybe that’s the reason that I’m still unsure about the label, who’s going to release NOMICON’s next album, haha!!! I didn’t contact as many labels as I planned.
NOMICON started out as a band with stable line-up, but that is something we didn’t see after a certain period of its existence. What could have resulted that?
We had a serious trouble in getting our debut album “The Me” to be released at all! In the first place, it was recorded to be released through one English label, but that didn’t keep a single one of its promises. That’s why Mark G[r]ay and his pseudo-label TOMBSTONE RECORDS will always remain a status of cunt in my life! Anyway, during those days other members started to lose faith in NOMICON, I didn’t, because it’s my band so here I am, still fighting with all this shit… but it’s fun as hell!!! What could satisfy you more than overcoming difficulties? That’s the fruit of life. Since then, the members of ‘previous’ NOMICON have moved to different locations, so thinking of all these afterwards, it wouldn’t even be possible for the band to work with its original line-up.
Does it mainly because NOMICON is actually you, that nobody could ever fucked things up in it?
Hah, if I don’t fuck things up in NOMICON, I guess nobody else will! Anyone doesn’t have enough energy or even interest.
It must be hard for you to handle things in the band, very hard…
In situations like this it’s hard. You know, all the members including me would like to know the schedule for the next album for example. But the label I thought that would release it, hasn’t sent me the deal they promised to send something like 4 months ago! As you can understand, it’s difficult to make reservations for studio, if I don’t have a contract promising the label will pay for it… and in the beginning of our negotiations they wanted us to go to studio as fast as possible. After all, it seems there might be some other person(s) able to fuck things up in NOMICON except me, so I will correct my answer to the question before: If I don’t fuck things up in NOMICON, the label(s) will! Other things like taking full responsibility of composing and writing lyrics isn’t hard at all.
With the release of “Promo ‘98”, does it subsequently tells that the band is free from any contracts with labels again? Nothing more to be released through SHIVER RECORDS?
As I said, “Promo ‘98” was mainly released for labelhunting, but since people wanted to buy it and I was too greedy to say ‘no’ to money, most of the copies were sold… But you’re right it was released to tell you that NOMICON is free to sign with any other label since I quit SHIVER. I hope some other label will pay more attention to my band than they did. They didn’t promote “Yellow” properly, so something like 25% of the pressing has been sold by me! I guess they wouldn’t be able/interested in giving a proper studio-budget either, not to talk about budget for shirts, tours or other things like that I’d like to do.
I like the promo CD cover. It potrays you with a ‘samurai’ sword, and a Japanese (is it?) woman (bitch?) in front of you…
If you were here now and called that woman a bitch, I’d hit you straight in the face and I would do it hard and many times! Only thing that you got right is that she’s Japanese. She’s my wife and actually those photos are from our wedding picture-sessions. Half of them were taken as those conservative wedding pictures and half with me wearing mask, having sword, axes, and shit like that. I just had an image of that kind of thing in my mind, so I wanted to make it real. It turned out fine, not least from the reason that I had very much fun in seeing those surprised faces of the people working in the photo-studio!
I guess I should stop harassing you with my questions, and these would be enough, at least; to give us a clue about what we could expect from the band soon… Thanks a lot for your time, Mr. Tommi Launnonen!
I don’t know if it will happen soon, but we’re still mainly concentrating to the recording of our next album. After that we’ll do some shows in Finland if not anywhere else. I’m a bit frustrated that I’ve to cancel some shows already, because all those shitty delays from the label! Feel free to write. All letters answered will get a distribution list of my AQUARIUS PRODUCTIONS with over 200 items.
Tommi Launnonen, Anianpellontie 13 A 15, 00700 Helsinki FINLAND

VULGA "Mayhem With Mercy"

VULGA “Mayhem With Mercy” (Afterlife Productions)
This is actually not a re-release of the purported ‘lost’ demo of VULGA, this is in fact a re-release of the split demo of MASSROHENDT and TEARS & PROMISE (sraet & esimorp). But don’t dismiss the relevance here, both bands are actually VULGA in disguise entirely since that both are comprised of the same line-up in VULGA as well. This makes me wonder about the validity of forming two other bands with the same line-up, why not incorporate everything into VULGA instead? Shouldn’t be bothered by it too much though, and by listening to this re-release, the logics could be guessed and are there for assumptions. The MASSROHENDT part are what to be found as crude, evil sounding death black akin to those to be known originates from the South America underground Metal; early SARCOFAGO not to be missed. Ohh, of course don't forget BLASPHEMY too. Very uncompromising, no tolerance, straight to the point. Whatever, whichever being termed as ‘bestial black death’ Metal these days, MASSROHENDT has been doing it ever since, a recording dated ‘91/’92 here confirms it. With TEARS & PROMISE we are introduced to the ‘lighter’ side of the band (VULGA); these songs are their take on underground heavy Metal, a more upbeat, rocking and traditional approach with slight hint of the Greek black Metal sound back then. While the music might be differing in approach, the vocals, though also differentiated between the two bands, have one thing in common: both are effects-heavy possessed terrifying chants sort-of. This is one important aspect of the bands, the vocals are adding up and blending in to the atmosphere of their materials well. Take this re-release as your worthy reference of what VULGA ‘is’ during those yesteryears; why they’re highly regarded by the local scene; why these expectations for the said ‘lost’ demo arose from. It is worthwhile to add here that VULGA has been revived, so keep those expectations intact please. Rough and raw sound are to be tolerated here, this re-release’s master source is a well-kept copy of the split demo tape obtained from a loyal fan (this is inevitable, apparently even the band members had lost the master tapes themselves!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Interview with ORDO DRACONIS in Issue#2, 2000

They’re still around, obviously, and has evolved into a post-black Metal band too. Nevertheless, “When The Cycle Ends” and “In Speculis Noctis” still are some of the finest symphonic melodic black Metal ever created from the Netherlands. The icing at the top should be “The Wing and The Burden”, before ORDO DRACONIS inevitably evolves into its further metamorphosis.
The Dutch’s black Metal scene is probably more ‘laidback’ than, let’s say; their death/grind flourishing talents. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t find any great black Metal bands up there, and names like FUNERAL WINDS or CIRITH GORGOR amongst others, are damn great ones. ORDO DRACONIS is one of the newer bands that shows potential, and I’m quite sure that they’ll become one of the strongest in the short period of time. I find that talking (virtually) with the guitarist Rahab interesting enough, so let’s just invulge into it straightaway…
ORDO DRACONIS… It’s pretty obvious that you named the band in honour of the dragon. Perhaps you could elaborate us the band’s fascination of the creature (dragon I mean). Is it just purely a myth? Is there any story in the Netherlands about dragon?
The dragon is a symbol for matters to which I attach a lot of value in my life, for example the cycle of creation and destruction – a cycle inherent to the concept of life and existence. And we all participate on various levels and in various phases, like cycles within cycles. Of course the dragon is also the ancient guardian of treasures and wisdom (which just might be the same in a symbolic sense). The search for wisdom is one of the main goals in life for me. Next to that, the dragon is a symbol of tragedy and this fascinates me. The dragon is destined to be slaughtered, whether that is by ‘gods’ like Jahwe or Marduk, or by ‘human heroes’ like Sigurd or Beowolf. I think it interests me because dragons are mostly depicted as ‘evil’-beings in myths and legends (not necessarily in modern fantasy literature). People tend to label things, they don’t understand ‘evil’, I think it’s interesting and important to question and if necessary to redefine values like ‘good’ and ‘evil’. So the cause for the extinction of the dragon just might lie somewhere in between ‘justice’ and ‘ignorance/intolerance’. Taking into account the importance of these values in our view on daily life and in our philosophy of life, we decided to call our band the order of the dragon – ORDO DRACONIS. As a symbol of chaos and potential (the opportunity to create) the dragon is the patron of the creative process within the band. An interesting contradiction, concerning our band name is the fact that the Romans only used the word Ordo as the opposite of ‘chaos’ (it was only later that the word Ordo was also used meaning ‘a cult’), yet the dragon is a symbol of chaos… So as you might understand, my fascination for the dragon goes a little further than myths only. As far as I know there aren’t any well known stories about dragons in the Netherlands, so I’ll have to disappoint you on that one.
How did you guys sort of got together, thus forming ORDO DRACONIS? The line-up seems to be quite stable too…
The first concrete ideas for starting a band arose during spring-time of ’96, but ORDO DRACONIS was actually founded in September ’96 by Moloch (bass/vocals), Bob (guitar), Midhir (synths), Timo (drums) and myself (guitar). In January ’97 Timo left and Arco took his place – this has been the only line-up change we had so far, fortunately. When we started out, we only played cover tracks by rather diverse bands, so I can’t say we played a particular style at the time. We started writing our own material when Arco joined in. I’m not so much into ‘labelling’ our music – I suppose symphonic black Metal will do. In our biography and on our flyers we mentioned our music was a little in the vein of DIMMU BORGIR, DISSECTION and ARCTURUS. There were a lot of reasons for starting ORDO DRACONIS; we wanted to contribute to and participate in the scene with the music we cherished most. The band also offers the perfect opportunity to fulfill our artistic aspirations and to express our emotions in music and lyrics. The synergy aspect of playing together is very important as well.
I understand that your first demo is a polished rehearsal-recording, so it makes me wonder that you guys might not have been ready to release anything proper those days, but it came out anyway?
We recorded the songs that were to be featured on our debut demo “When The Cycle Ends” for ourselves, because we wanted to capture our first three creations in a way that we could enjoy listening to them afterwards. Now we have the mentality within the band that either we do something in a professional way or we don’t do it at all. The songs for “When The Cycle Ends” have all been played in live in our rehearsing room. The instruments were mixed instantly by a friend of ours. Only the vocals were added later on. Just before the recording of this demo we had done our first gig and afterwards people kept asking if they could obtain recordings of ORDO DRACONIS. Of course, if we would have thought that the recordings were total crap we wouldn’t have released it, ever. So eventually we decided to put the recordings out, although they didn’t sound as professionally as we might have planned for our debut demo. Anyway, I’m not ashamed of this demo or anything – I think the songs are quite OK and so is the lay-out. We have been surprised by the response. “When The Cycle Ends” has spread 1200 copies so far, it’s nearly sold out by now. I remember we really felt like taking quite a risk by duplicating the first 500 copies! The general response to the demo was very good and we got a lot of good reviews – especially the remarks on the good sound quality always make me smile a little.
There were some offers from labels back then, but why didn’t the band accept them?
It’s true we felt we weren’t ready for the recording of an actual debut album at the time. You should know that most of us started to handle the instruments we play in ORDO DRACONIS when the band was formed. I must add that we all had at least some experience with playing an instrument, so making music in itself wasn’t totally new and this definitely speeded up the process of learning to play our new instruments. Anyway, when we recorded “When The Cycle Ends” we weren’t even playing together for a year! So there was so much to be learnt – there still is actually, but we have improved a lot, I think. We received our offers, not too long after the release of our debut demo and we have always wanted to make a real masterpiece out of our debut album. In order to achieve that we needed more time, to improve our musical skills and our compositions. It was after sending around the demo that we came to the conclusion we weren’t ready yet. I think we are pretty much ready by now. It’s hard to explain what the evolution we experienced. I think the most important things are we play a lot tighter these days and in the songwriting process we emphasize on not just putting together a bunch of nice sounding riffs. The song structures have become a whole lot more complex without becoming inaccessible – the parts of the various instruments differ a whole lot more and the tension in the songs is worked out better. This is an ongoing process, by the way – we are still improving! Another important thing is that we recorded our second demo in a professional studio and thereby we have gained studio experience. So, when we’ll enter the studio to record our debut album it’s not like everything is completely new and we don’t have any idea of what is possible.
And now the MCD has been released; so are you ready for a deal now?
I do believe so. We have grown mature musically and like I said, we’ve gained some studio experience. We’ve done quite a lot of song writing these last couple of months and we have about 8 new tracks finished that will appear on our debut album, which is to be recorded this summer – if everything goes as we have planned. I have the pleasant announcement to make that we have found a label that has shown their interest in releasing our debut. We are currently working out the details of the contract, but if everything goes the way it looks like right now, we will most definitely put our autograph under the conditions offered. For the moment I have to remain a little discrete, so I can’t mention any names, but it’s a young, professional and dedicated label, that believes in their bands and the music they release and we would be very proud to be on this particular label!
I think you guys are going all out for this one (the MCD); you now recorded at a highly professional studio, impressive full color booklet, and so on…
Well, first I must thank you for this big compliment! I believe it’s important to give the best you have in what you are doing. Maybe especially for a demo, I mean you have to show what you can do, you have to present yourselves to labels, magazines and fans with it. And that is what we wanted to state with “In Speculis Noctis” – this is what we are capable of by ourselves – people just have to imagine what we could do with a little help from a record label for themselves. Another important factor, for me personally even more important, is in the fact that we have made these songs and I want them ‘captured’ in a way I will be able to appreciate them for a long, long time. As I am contributing in the composing process, I have tried and capture moments and emotions that are dear to me (which doesn’t necessarily mean it were ‘happy’ ones!) – it’s only logical that I want them to be preserved in a way that honours them.
The obviously detected improvements would concern the keyboards. I think you guys have maximized its usage very well, and the parts are excellent this time, what do you think? It gives a highly orchestrated atmosphere to the music…
Well let me start by saying I think our keyboard player Midhir is an absolute genius. He touched the keys of synthesizer for the first time about two months after starting ORDO DRACONIS and he improved his skills so incredibly quickly! I think he has done a splendid job in “In Speculis Noctis”. I dare not say he has maximized the usage of the synthesizer on this recordings, because he’s capable of a whole lot more these days – just wait and listen… I fully agree that the atmosphere of the tracks on “In Speculis Noctis” is very orchestrated. I think that’s because the synths are very much up front in the mix, not as much as with the first two LIMBONIC ART releases, but still…
And there are still these female vocals parts. Why don’t the band use this even more? What’s the importance of female vocals parts on your music? I see they weren’t done by the same vocalist as on your debut demo.
The reason for not using any more female vocals in our music is simple: we don’t feel like it – it has to remain something additional. The female vocals that we do implement in the songs are rather important in the sense that it is not without purpose that these particular parts are sung by a female. The female vocals on “In Speculis Noctis” were done by Maaike Arkesteyn. Maaike is a friend of mine, who I had known for quite a while before her contribution to “In Speculis Noctis”. She has been the manager of Dutch doom Metallers ORPHANAGE. We are both involved with a Metal society in the place where I live and we had worked together organizing concerts. I knew she was a pretty good singer- she had a classical education for some years. She also has her own band called SHADES OF SILENCE. It’s a project of some THRENODY members, a little in the doom vein and she’s doing a wonderful job at it! SHADES OF SILENCE really is a name to remember. We won’t have a permanent female vocalist. On “When The Cycle Ends” we had worked with Femke, the former female vocalist of GANDILLION, on “In SPeculis Noctis” with Maaike and this way of working is pretty much ideal for us. It is quite likely we will work with Maaike again, in the future – we’re planning a project in which her contribution will be more than welcomed! She also helps us out live sometimes, but no obligations. She can join with us if shehas the opportunity and feels like it.
You brand the music as classically influenced black Metal, so where can we trace these classical parts in your music?
That our music is influenced by classical music doesn’t automatically mean that it actually contains classical parts, of course. However, if you look at a song like “Deirdre of the Sorrows” it shouldn’t be too difficult to hear some classically inspired parts especially in the clean and acoustic guitar parts. At the age of thirteen I had some classical guitar education and despite the fact I have never become really good, I still very much enjoy playing classical guitar music and I try to incorporate as much of these classical influences in the music of ORDO DRACONIS as I can. It’s my opinion that the influences from classical music are still gaining importance in our next material. In one of our new tracks we have incorporated a well known classical part that we transformed from 7 or 8 minutes into one and a half, still having a head and a tail. This was quite an interesting challenge!
So, when the band is working on a song, how’s the process? Perhaps you could tell us from the start to the finish…
Usually we start out with a main concept or a main theme. Then we start writing riffs, chord structures and parts to suit the atmosphere related to the concept. Then we merge things together and make a whole out of it. Finally we arrange the songs with the entire band and the lyrics to the song are written. Midhir, Bob and I are responsible for the major part of the composing. All three of us have our own way of composing riffs and parts. In the end everyone is responsible for his own parts. I don’t know about the others, but I compose most when I’m busy with other things and under a little tension – I don’t need a guitar to compose, I can ‘play’ with the melodies in my head. I seldom just jam around like Bob – for him, jamming is the best way to compose. What Midhir does, I really can’t tell, apart from the fact, that I’m nearly always satisfied with the result! Composing is a creative process and I can’t force it – composing usually gets me in a certain ecstatic mood, but I think it’s more an effect than a cause although it gives me a stimulating feeling. I don’t know how to describe it.

Do you write lyrics that only suit the music, or just put certain lyrics into a certain composition according to what is available at that moment?
We consider the lyrics and the music of a song to be complimentary, in a way that the sum of both is more than the separate parts. It’s pretty essential that lyrics and music have the same atmosphere to achieve the synergy. Midhir and Moloch are responsible for the lyrics. As far as Midhir’s lyrics are concerned, they deal with mythology and legends, mainly Celtic. Midhir has a lot of knowledge about (old) English due to interest and studying. His lyrics are stuffed with all hands of figures of speech and written in metre. Moloch writes his lyrics in a more direct manner and they are quite personal to him. The subjects he writes about are mainly on the occult field – themes like out of the body-experiences, invocations and other issues on the subject of magic and the supernatural, also vampirism. Especially, the angle of the human psyche shines through in his lyrics (suicide, depression, self-destructive side of man), since these theme intrigue him. There are plans to write some lyrics in our mother tongue for two particular songs; only parts of the lyrics will be in Dutch. I don’t want to say too much about it at this stage, for the lyrics still have to be written.
Right now there’s a lot of people who don’t feel comfortable if their music is called ‘black Metal’, even if their materials clearly sounds like it. What’s the reason for this, according to you? So what about ORDO DRACONIS itself?
Oh, I’ve heard several reasons. But an obvious one is that the concept of black Metal has grown so broad that it doesn’t say anything about the music anymore. Just compare DARKTHRONE to EMPEROR, ABRUPTUM to CRADLE OF FILTH and MYSTICUM to DISMAL EUPHONY. All these bands are labeled as black Metal, but everyone will agree that their music sounds completely different. Not labeling your music black Metal anymore is a way to distinguish yourself from other bands, even though just calling your music differently has no influence on the music itself. Another reason why bands step away from the ‘black Metal label’ is because black Metal has build up a bad reputation and there are people who don’t want to give the music a chance because it is labeled as black Metal – you might avoid this by calling your music differently. At this point ORDO DRACONIS see no point in calling the music any other than black Metal. Personally I’m not that much into this labeling shit, but if you want to label ORDO DRACONIS’ music, I’d prefer black Metal, because black Metal is nearly undefined in musical terms. We don’t want to feel restricted in our creativity – we aim to express certain emotions and atmospheres through our music and the means by which we do that are subordinate to the expression itself, as long as we like it ourselves. I guess it’s simply due to who we are and what we want to express that we play black Metal. We wouldn’t hesitate to incorporate reggae influences in our music if it would help expressing what we want to – it’s just not very likely we would want to express anything where a ‘nice reggae beat’ would fit in. Another reason why I prefer black Metal is that we feel and have felt related to the black Metal underground ever since we started to listen to extreme music.
Ahh, and you still wearing those warpaints. Lots of black Metal bands nowadays washed their faces with ‘water’, what’s your comment? What’s the purpose of wearing those paints anyway for ORDO DRACONIS?
Not all band members of ORDO DRACONIS use corpse paint all the time. It is and should be a personal thing. I use corpsepaint on stage as an expression of the contrast within me, which also reflects in my contribution to the music we’ve created. It’s a form of dramatic expression to emphasize on the matter – the two extremes, dualism. It has absolutely nothing to do with being cool or something and it’s not a necessity to use it when you play black Metal either. Still, I don’t understand why so many bands are disassociating themselves from it if they had any reason for doing it before, other than commercial ones – if you use it for personal reasons, how can it lose its value simply because others do it too. OK, it’s not unique anymore neither is it shocking, so what – I know why I’m using it and that’s good enough for me.
This statement: “Only black Metal bands should/can wear corpsepaint”. Your point of view on this?
I must admit I would find it quite strange if non-black Metal bands would start wearing corpsepaint. However, I think that everybody should decide for him or herself if he/she wants to wear corpsepaint. I’m not going to judge others on that, although I have my personal opinion. And like I said in the previous answer, I don’t think every black Metal band should wear corpsepaint. Corpsepaint is just an emphasis, not the essence and it’s most important to stay true to the essence (i.e. the music and its emotion/atmosphere) – if corpsepaint doesn’t feel appropriate at a certain point to a certain musician, he shouldn’t wear it I think.
What’s your personal musical interest? What are the current releases, available in the market, that you would like to recommend to anybody?
Personally I’m into what I’d call quality black Metal. Bands like EMPEROR, DISSECTION, ARCTURUS, LIMBONIC ART, OBTAINED ENSLAVEMENT, ULVER, ABIGOR, BAL SAGOTH and so on make the kind of music I like best. Hmmm let me see if I can come with something interesting here. I would like to recommend the debut album by SIRIUS (Por) (out on Nocturnal Arts Productions), the debut of OBSIDIAN GATE (Ger) (out on SKALDIC ART), the latest demos of MOONSORROW (Fin) (released through MEATHOOKED), NOCTURNAL MORTUM (Ukr) and EPHEL DUATH (It). All these releases are incredible I think!
Are you into these ‘fake’ Metal like MARILYN MANSON, KORN and the likes? What do you think about it?
Bands like KORN and MARILYN MANSON are definitely not my kind of thing! I get very nervous listening to their music and this MARILYN MANSON fellow looks pretty pathetic if you ask me… still he’s making a lot of money by looking the way he does, so I suppose a lot of other people must like it. These bands don’t bother me that much, as long as I don’t have to listen to their music and look at their appearance. I mean there are a lot of things out there I don’t like and I prefer doing something I do like over getting annoyed over things others do that I dislike. It’s not my thing, so I don’t give it too much attention. I think it’s better to give promotion to the acts I do like instead of saying how fucking bad these other particular bands are in my opinion.
So what if a band like those invites ORDO DRACONIS to play a live show together, or to do a split, or something?
Concerning things like a split or something it’s very easy – we would definitely never do such a thing with these bands. A live show would depend on the opportunity and the conditions that are offered. If for example we would be offered to play in the United States or Malaysia without making losses, we just might consider it… I mean, people are smart enough to see that we don’t (nor want to) have anything to do with these other bands and playing abroad is beneficial for us, even if it only were for the experience. But don’t worry such a thing will never happen anyway!
I think I’ve bothered you enough, so here’s your chance to say anything that’s left to be said.
Well, thank you, Shah for this nice and extensive interview!! Best of luck with RANDOM zine!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

RANDOM printed issues

Here are the covers of the printed issues (so far?), five issues to be exact.
RANDOM Issue#1
RANDOM Issue#2
RANDOM Issue#3
RANDOM Issue#4
RANDOM Issue#5

DYING "Born From Impurity"

DYING “Born From Impurity”
“Born From Impurity” is a self-released debut of Spanish brutal death Metal band DYING. Brutal death Metal that’s clearly in the European vibe rather than that from the US. And that is what it is. I mean, what more could be said about a European brutal death Metal being done just right; adding none and leaving none? Or maybe that would be a problem for some, the fact that you couldn’t, or better still shouldn’t; ask for anything else rather than that. For those who are content with the album being what it is, let me just add that it’s decently composed, decently produced, and decently released. I’m sure there are some parts in it that will excite those of you who’s brutal death Metal at heart. Right.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Interview with THY SERPENT in Issue#4, 2000

THY SERPENT. Interview with Sami Tenetz. Otherworldly craft. But we are all humans anyway. Read.
THY SERPENT. Anything to do with your fascination of the creature ‘snake’ and the mysticism surrounding it?
There’s no deeper meaning behind that. First it was just meant to be “SERPENT”, but as I found out that in Sweden has already a band called SERPENT, so I just put THY front of it. I was tired of all those pure satanic and gore name, and it sounds good and original, so I chose it.
Is it true that your two earlier albums before “Christcrusher”, “Forests of Witchery” and “Lords of Twilight” are some kind of a collection of old and new materials?
No, “Christcrusher” is our second real full length album. First was in 1996, “Forests of Witchery” contains six tracks, all of new ones and the length of the CD was almost 50 minutes. “Lords of Twilight” is some kind of collection of old material, but all the material was re-recorded at TICO-TICO Studio.
The covers of “Lords of Twilight” and “Christcrusher” flourished from the same idea, it seems…
Yes, and the first one was too… you know the nature and the colour. This was our first trilogy. Next three ones will be different ones. New layout, new logo, new line-up… just wait and see.
Ever since the formation of the band, you’ve labeled the music as ‘dark Metal’. A couple of bands too, but none of them including yours sound similar with each other. So what’s ‘dark Metal’ from your own understanding…
“Dark Metal” is simply Metal music with dark lyricks. Lyricks are not a satanic ones, not gore type and not any other, just dark. Even our lyricks are very antichristianic, that’s not mean that we’re a black Metal band. You know, you can be an antichristian person without being a Satanist or satan worshipper. And you can play stereotype sounding black Metal without being a black Metal band.
There’s a remarkable progression of THY SERPENT from the demo-stages right through the present days.
Of course, that’s a very natural thing. Over five years has passed since the “Frozen Memory” demo and if THY SERPENT hasn’t progressed at all by that time… I had stopped this thing few years ago.
And what may be the different between those one-man period to this full line-up formation?
Nothing else except that Azhemin is handling better bass, vocals and synths than me, and Agathon is better chose than a cheap drum-machine. It’s better and easier to work out now…
How did you finally decided to get a full line-up for the band?
As I wrote a contract with SPINEFARM in ’95, I thought that I can get a better final result if I find some players in the band who can handle their instruments better than me… as I still was just a guitar player back in ’94 and ’95. And that subsequently explains why THY SERPENT finally agreed to play live-shows?
Because there has been so many peoples asking about it. We’ve had many chances to play tours with more or less known bands. Still I don’t like to play live, but as far it’s okay to me when I get some promotion and money from it.
Is THY SERPENT still your definite spawn or becoming a kind of communion now?
Yes, THY SERPENT is still my band as Azhemin and Agathon has their own bands. I do the major music and job for the band.
Haven’t lost your possession in the band?
As I told you in the last question, THY SERPENT is still a band lead by me, and therefore I haven’t loss any venom.
I found that there’s an enormous feelings of weird sadness enshrouding your materials. How’d you explain that?
Hard to say. Material that me and Azhemin write is coming very natural. We’re very misanthropic persons… we do not even know each others, even that we play in the same band!
The lyrics in “Christcrusher” are mostly done by T. Maensivu…
He’s just a friend of us and he wrote nice lyricks. We just liked what he has done, that’s why we took his lyricks.
From my point of view, most of the Finnish bands sound different from each other. Why does it turned out that way?
Once again, really hard to say. In my opinion the Finnish scene at the moment is a really strong one. Just wait and see… there’s a new label in Finland called SPIKEFARM, it’s a division of SPINEFARM Records. SPIKEFARM is led by me and I surely chose only good and quality bands in it, mainly Finnish ones.
Your music is quite inhumane, so do you see yourself as a human?
Yes, I’m human… Quite an eeevilllll one, aaarrghh!
And what about life after death?
I don’t believe there’s something spiritual after death. Your life just ends…
What’s the highest prospects that you would like to achieve with THY SERPENT?
I don’t have any special goals with THY SERPENT. If I could get so much money that I can get my wife and two childrens lived… that would be cool. But I think that would never happen.
What’s the band will up to next? Do you still in tape-trading nowadays?
Just a new album in the year of 2000. And no, I haven’t done that since ’95.
What happened to that beautiful girl on your second demo’s cover?
She died. So, it’s quite hard to see her anymore.

Interview with DOXOMEDON in Issue#4, 2000

DOXOMEDON's "Evanesce" EP is still one of the best produced, best performed hidden gem of the Southeast Asian Metal scene till today. It is fast approaching 10 years in age (and it's fast approaching 10 years too that we have waited for their debut full length to emerge) ! If you can prove me wrong, do it, because here I am, armed with "Evanesce" and I'm going to force-fed it into the foul mouths of the non-believers.
You should know that I’ll always feature great, talented bands from Malaysia and Singapore scene, and I regard both countries to be in the same scenery. And it’s not hard to guess that DOXOMEDON will have the honour to be interviewed in this issue, so here you go; a great brutal death Metal band from across the shore…
First off, the “Evanesce” EP is impressive. Most particularly the sound produced. How did you managed to get those kind of sound?
Well thanks a lot for the compliment. The whole recording process was done solely in Singapore as we find it cheaper rather than do it elsewhere and we are lucky enough to have good sound engineers who really know what we want for our album. As this is just our debut, we are satisfied with the whole production although we knew it could be done better. We will improvise the quality of the recording if we had a chance to release our debut full length in the future.
The songs presented are more than strong enough, if we are to judge whether the band is able to make a full length. So why chose to release an EP instead?
Originally we wanted to release a full length album instead of EP but since we are still an alien in the underground scene, we thought that we should release an EP first. That would be a better way to introduce us in the scene. Conclusively, the music is brutal all-around, but with penetration of some keyboards passages and emotional parts… We tried not to use too many keyboards in our music ‘cos we believe that our music doesn’t really need the keyboards stuff. We might use it if we feel it’s necessary. Of course, variety in melodies is our main priority in every song we write.
The song-titles are very vague, so what are they really all about? What about the cover?
We don’t like to write something very straightforward, as it may look too plain and basic. Most of the lyrics don’t mean anything with our life or societies we live in… just from our fucking misanthropic perversion imagination. About the cover concept… it does more or less related to our songs.
It’s released by DARK ARTZ… and do you have any kind of deal with PSYCHIC SCREAM?
DARK ARTZ may sounds new to the underground scene but its existence has been around for quite some time now (I believe it’s the continuation of INTO DARKNESS distro-ed.). I don’t know much about them either. Ha! Ha! We signed with them because no other labels want us actually. I don’t know much about PSYCHIC SCREAM too.
How’s the reaction to “Evanesce”?
So far we got positive reviews from media and those who have bought or listen to our stuff. Too bad, promotion wise is very slow and lack of publicity. Should blame to whom huh?Tell us how the band composed the songs. Does surrounding has some kind of influence?
Most of the songs been composed by our lead guitarist, Sham. We got influence not by surrounding but from our friend Man D.D. He’s our unofficial mascot and our inspiration. I’m actually in the dark about the band, including those years when the band was still called ITNOS. We were formerly from ITNOS. Our 2 original members left the band due to hamstring injuries. Then left 3 of us decided to form a new band and later 2 new members joining in and here we are now… DOXOMEDON.
So why change the name to DOXOMEDON?
We have no idea.
I think the band has shed their onwards adheration towards black Metal, be it in donning war-paints and song-titles alike… Did trends back then had some effects?
ITNOS was a black Metal band and was formed by our first guitarist, Abominathroe. He was a Satanist and he’s the main guy in ITNOS. Since he left ITNOS, we decided not to play anymore black Metal music as majority of the band members are more into death/grind Metal. We still dig up some good black Metal albums and will always support the black Metal scene. People still consider us as a black Metal band although we have told them many times that we aren’t a black Metal band. The reason I think is that we kept contacts with many black Metal bands/friends all around the globe. We are too long in the scene to be in the trendy shit.
So what’s the real difference?
As I told you earlier, ITNOS was meant to be black and DOXOMEDON is purely deathgrind.
Do you ever regret your years as ITNOS?
Don’t you think that the musical direction changed drastically?
It’s naturally meant to be that way for all bands or musician but not drastically.
“Christ Mary Bitch” 7” EP was released by a European label (MIDIAN CREATION I think). How did you guys (ITNOS then) obtained the deal?
That foreign label was just helping us out. They are good friends of us. It’s a good way for Asian bands like us to have a decent deal with international labels. A stepping stone for worldwide recognition.
Is there any possibilities to work with foreign labels again? Will the band accept those kind of offers?
Of course we will. We hope we could get a good deal with any foreign labels but there’s a better deal from the locals, we don’t see why we can’t take up the offer.
Is it really hard for a South East Asia band to gain recognition in the international scene?
If we (the Asian bands) play good or even better than the foreign bands, I don’t see why we couldn’t make it to gain recognition.
Do you believe there really exists some kind of skepticism?
I’m not sure.
When will the new output is going to be released? Your live-sets were very impressive, so is there any plans of live shows?
We look forward to perform in Malaysia and hope we could play in other parts of the Asian region. If there’s no offer from labels to sign us up, we may release our debut full length on our own. We’ll see how it goes.