BARBARIAN 2022

What I am holding in my “eternally yearning for metal music” hands right now is Italy`s BARBARIAN`s brand new album (“Viperface”).This is a full-length release with plenty of devilishness in it. Man, this stuff messed me up a lot so it comes as no surprise I decided to chat with BARBARIAN`s frontman – Borys Catelani. Ok, lets don’t waste our precious time no more. Ladies and gentlemen – this is BARBARIAN!

 

 

Hi Borys, well, first off, before we talk about other things, including your new album, please tell me how you liked your stay in Poland? You have been to Poland before, right?
 
Hey there! It was great, I’ve met a lot of friends, visited some nice museums, the Four Domes Pavillion and the National Museum in Wroclaw, the Nowa Huta Museum and the Czartoryski Gallery in Cracow, and most of all the Beksinski show in Nowa Huta Cultural centre, that was simply amazing! Yes, I’ve been to Poland many times, I’m born and raised in Italy but my mother is Polish. I’ve spent all my summer holidays till the mid 90’s in Wroclaw, so I can speak Polish (maybe not the most correct one) and I’m familiar with the so called old times of the PRL. I’ve been actually introduced to metal in Poland. Since I was living in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere in Italy, it was paradoxically easier (but also way cheaper for me) to get music in Poland. I’ve spent a lot of money at Melissa, for those who remember that store in Wroclaw. I used to have tons of those pirate Polish tapes. I remember also meeting kids that would end up in bands like Thy Worshiper and Graveland years later.

“Viperface” is your album number five. And the third album released through Hell`s Heabangers. How’s the cooperation with this label going? All`s good? Would you change anything if you could?
 
 
It’s just perfect. They are doing a great work promoting Barbarian. I think we couldn’t land on a bigger label as far as our music goes, and it’s a honour for us being on the same label with bands like Deathhammer, Acid Witch, Bat, Midnight (well, they moved to Metal Blade). We trust each other and that’s the kind of thing the metal scene needs.

Is “Viperface” going to be pressed into vinyl as well? The cd is available now, same for the tape version, right?
 
Sure thing, the usual delays have pushed the vinyl to the end of 2022, and the tape version is due any time. Analog formats are mandatory for me, they are the ones I’ve grown up with.
 
Well, I will tell you that when I listen to “Viperface”, I ask myself this question: how difficult/easy is it to compose the kind of music which has this particular vibe we actually experienced 30 years ago?
 
Even more than that. I’ve grown up listening to 80’s metal. First it was Metallica, and then anything more extreme, then classic metal, and so on. Metal has been game changing, I wouldn’t be what I am now without it. I could say the same about punk, that I met shortly after (again a Polish friend). Well, I’m a music-addict, my house is exploding with records, many different kind of music, but yeah, metal is metal! So, back to your question, it runs in the veins, it’s just the matter of letting it all out, and since I’m old, it’s old school metal that flows out.

I suspect you guys listen to a lot of old-school music yourselves and in result this is why your stuff is so suffused with this archaic vibe, huh? Your latest album is so much inspired by early classic doings by RUNNING WILD and CELTIC FROST, yeah. Is this a pure coincidence or not? What are your main inspirations as for genre’s classic albums?
 
Exactly! Our early stuff was totally influenced by HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST. Then little by little a lot of other influences have started to creep out, old heavy/speed like RUNNING WILD for sure (first two albums), but also 80’s MANOWAR, IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST, VENOM (first three albums), mid-period BATHORY, early METALLICA (both Kill’em All and Ride The Lightning). They are classics for a reason. I think that the good thing about Barbarian is that we blend a lot of influences, the thousands and thousands of records we’ve been costantly listening to have left their trace. But it’s not an incoherent blend, it’s all mixed and let out in our personal style. It’s funny because in many reviews we’ve been compared to a whole lot of different bands, from DISCHARGE to OBITUARY, it means that it’s not so easy to pigeonhole us and that our sound is very personal, but definitely OLD SCHOOL! I think you need to listen to our music a lot of times before getting to its point, because there’s a lot in it. It’s not as catchy at first listening like MIDNIGHT for instance, there are riffs, tempo changes, different nuances, influences and moods. It’s not for the people who are used to listen to music superficially on a smartphone through youtube. In this sense we are totally regressive and old school. You know how it was in the past, especially in places where it wasn’t easy to get hold of music, even a dubbed tape was a treasure to be listened to hundreds and hundreds of times. Nowadays it’s all easy and free, but we prefer sticking to the old way.

“To No God Shall I Kneel” was out in 2019. Seems like you worked hard during the COVID times which resulted in this very awesome new album of yours, with so many old school ideas in it. Can you please tell us how much time it took you guys to get this “Viperface” completed and where was it recorded?
 
Thanks a lot for your words! I’m happy that you noticed that there’s a lot of ideas in our songs. By the time Covid stroke all the songs were already finished. We use to practice regularly, and it’s always a pleasure working on new stuff, that’s why we managed to release so much stuff in 13 years. So, after all the long breaks we just had to smooth the edges of the songs. Then we recorded them in July 2021 in our practice room with the help of our friend and engineer Niccolò Gallio. Then we had Viperface mastered at Toxic Basement Studio in Italy, and after the cover art was completed (by Velio Josto) we finally submitted it to Hells Headbangers that, being a big label, has its own amount of releases in line. We are very satisfied of every aspect of the album, music, sound, art.
 
 
Ok, writing and releasing songs is one thing. Promotion is another. How about “Viperface” in this context? Where are you going to promote this album apart from this two-day thrash nightmare festival with NIFELHEIM, TORR, BUNKER66? That’s gonna be a wild show, I am sure of it. Is BARBARIAN going to be active playing shows this year? Are you going to visit Poland too?
 
 Concerts are mandatory for us, we simply love them. It’s the physical side of metal, that’s when we can relate to other people, and playing abroad is the top of it. Of course there are some restrains, like our everyday jobs, that don’t help, but we try to gig as much as possible. We were supposed to tour Europe with Bunker 66, including a gig in Poland, but Covid disrupted our plans. Besides that amazing fest, we have a gig in Vienna and several others in Italy already planned. But it’s never enough, once Viperface is properly unleashed we’ll engage in having more shows, especially abroad, hopefully some festivals. We definitely hope to play in Poland as soon as possible!

When we talked last, you mentioned a 30-day tour in the USA. Did BARBARIAN promote to “To No God Shall I Kneel” during that tour? Inform us some more about that. What other bands did you play with? Any funny stores from the tour you would like to tell us about?
 
That happened in 2017, we promoted “Cult Of The Empty Grave” and our tour 7” with two unreleased songs recorded specially for the tour. It was great, we started in Chicago, then drove west, played down that coast, drove back to Denver first and then to the East Coast. It was a demanding tour, lots of car break-downs and unluck, but all the concerts were super. We sold all the merch we had, we even had to reprint shirts along the way, and finished those as well. Met a whole lot of old and new friends. We had the chance to play with Mortem, Funeral Nation, Nekrofilth, Bewitcher, Kommand, Knight Terror and more. Lots of funny stories to be told about the tour, like when the owner of a gas station somewhere in the midwest bought our CD thinking we were some kind of stars from Italy, or when in Pittsburgh we met Chase from Hells Headbangers who, at the end of the night clearly wanted to go home but we couldn’t stop talking to him because we were kinda drunk after a stressful day when we almost missed the show because of the usual car breakdown. Great guy, by the way.

I know for a fact you are an ardent fan of the Beksinski`s art. And your debut album from 2011 has his painting on its front cover. I will tell you that VADER from Poland tried to use this painting for one of their albums, too (Beksinski was still alive at that time) but they failed and they were not allowed to do so. I am sure BARBARIAN is one of the very few bands who managed to get the permission to use our master`s art for their front cover. Can you elaborate on this subject please?
 
I didn’t know about VADER, that’s very interesting. Yes, I’m totally bewitched by the art of Beksinski. I actually discovered him quite late, it was 2008 and I was in Dallas on tour with an old band of mine. I then saw this book “The Fantastic Art of Beksinski” on Morpheus Editions lying on a table in this guy’s house, picked it up… and my jaw fell on the ground! It’s not easy to say why I love his art. He wasn’t at peace with himself at all, and his art punches hard and deep, it’s more like feeling rather than understanding it. He used to say it’s senseless trying to explain a work of art, in fact he wasn’t used to give titles to his work. I completely second that. I feel like some sort of affinity, and seeing his works live, not on a book, it’s a groundbreaking experience for me. Before the show in Nowa Huta I saw four paintings in Chicago at the Polish Culture Institute and then I also paid a visit at the Museum of Sanok. I also had the chance to read Beksinski short stories, that may be not as fascinating as his paintings, especially the 70’s and 80’s ones, but are interesting nonetheless. His photography is also astounding. Top notch total artist! Back to Barbarian, at the start of the band I felt like Beksinski was my personal Giger, and wanted my own To Mega Therion. I got in touch with the Sanok Museum and also with Piotr Dmochowski, the owner of the painting (hmm, the guy didn’t sound too nice), and in the end, with the help of Lukas of Doomentia Records we got the permission from the Museum. Quite interesting because they don’t own the picture. Yes, Beksinski has been used and also abused a lot (see Evoken third album, that was horrible) on metal covers, I doubt all of those bands have been authorized.

Beside BARBARIAN, you also run a label. Please elaborate on what you plan to release in the future? I do enjoy this LA`s based NECROPHAGIA`s compilation album you released. How did you manage to get in touch with them?B
 
Yeah, that’s RIPPING STORM RECORDS. I’ve started it in 2013 after leaving Agipunk (2004-2013), while in the 90’s I run Tetanus. I like doing some archeology releasing old bands, but also some new bands that I like from time to time, it’s the same approach of yours I believe: pure pleasure. I’m currently in the processing of releasing all the old tapes 1987-1995 by SACRED CRUCIFIX, death/thrash prime movers from Finland, on both vinyl and Cd format. Then it will be time for the third instalment in the OUTRAGE (Germany) series, with their final 1987 demo before splitting. That’s old school in the vein of early SODOM. NECROPHAGIA LA are very cool, we have a friend in common, Luxi Lahtinen from Finland, a true old school die hard maniac. They’ve been very nice and they were very happy of our cooperation, too.


Yes, the blend of speed metal and devil is something really good! Why did you choose this particular style of metal music to play as a band? What caused BARBARIAN to follow this speed metal path?
 
As I said before, that’s the music I’ve grown up with, I like it so much that it was natural playing this kind of stuff. But your question is interesting, because that’s not the only kind of metal I’ve grown up with, I could have easily started a pure thrash metal band. An early Barbarian slogan was “Heavy Metal is Evil, Heavy Metal is Ugly, Heavy Metal is Threatening”. I guess the kind of metal we play is visceral, it draws immediately from the inside, and it’s coherent with our absolute despise of deities and religion, of any kind.

Well, tell us how BARBARIAN formed and whose idea was it to start the band?
 
That was my idea. I’ve been playing for years, but never had the chance to meet fellow musicians to share my love for old school metal with. Then it happened in 2009. I shared the idea with Steamroller (from Noia/Murk) and so, obsessed by Tom G.Warrior, Barbarian was born. There have a been a few changes in the line up during the years (Cardinal Sinner is the new entry on bass), I’ve always been the costant member, but we have always worked hard and constantly, thus releasing 5 albums, a split album and a 7” in 13 years, not bad. And we have always remained a power trio, like MOTORHEAD, VENOM, early KREATOR and SODOM and so on.
 
In hindsight, are you happy with your band? What do you want me to wish you in the future?
 
I’m super happy, it’s a reason to live for, Barbarian will never fold, they are too important for me. You can wish me hundreds of concerts and tours, I’ll work out the albums. Heavy Metal will never die!

If you could travel back in time, where would you like to go and to what times? What would you like to change or see?
 
Nice question. Metal-wise, I’m particularly fascinated by the early bay area thrash, would have been cool seing some early Exodus or Metallica gig. The book “Murder In The Front row” on this subject is mandatory. Other bands that I would have liked to see in their early times are definitely Celtic Frost, Death SS, Einstuerzende Neubauten, Black Flag, Sepultura, Laibach. I’d also like to see Beksinski at work, the 0,10 exhibition in Saint Petersburg in 1915, Bathory recording their first album, Kieslowski directing Film Blu, Françoise Hardy performing in the late 60’s.

Well, time to wrap up, all right. Anything to add for out OMMM readers? Feel free to do so. Thanks and take care.
 
Thank you for the opportunity of this interview, we are honoured to be on the pages of your magazine and to share our views with all the Polish readers. The flame of Old School Metal will burn forever.
 
Necronosferatus

Poprawiony (sobota, 03 września 2022 08:25)

 

BENEDICTION 2022

I guess that we all agree that Dave Ingram is a legend and his harsh vocal style set the tone for hundreds of other death metal singers.

With Dave’s return Benediction came back stronger than ever and amazed everyone with an outstanding “Scriptures”. And how Dave feels about the band nowadays ? Let’s see…

 

 

Hi Dave ! Seems that nowadays there are very good times for Benediction - you came back, the new album is a masterpiece and the band is playing live pretty often (I’ve managed to see you twice within one month).  How does it feel to come back and have an immediate impact on the band’s career?
 
 
Hey mate, many thanks for the interview. I really appreciate it.  It’s been fantastic, it really has. The response has been phenomenal, right from the moment we released the news - a little over 3 years ago. We would have been doing a lot more in the last few years, but obviously the planet ground to a halt due to the pandemic. We were lucky that we got the album written and recorded just before it hit. I think the fans’ reaction was awesome, and expected…over the years I’ve received SO many questions from fans asking me to go back. Well now I did and all their brains melted. In a good way, obviously.
 
 
“Scriptures” sounds like a missing album from the very beginning of Benediction. Although it’s a great album I was wondering- was it hard to “travel back in time” and somehow revisit the older times?
 
The ‘Old School’ sound is exactly what we do. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Why would we want to change that which we’re disciplined at? We won’t, and even when we did diverge from our standard it did not stray too far. For now we are embracing the OSDM we have always loved and will continue to write the same groove-laden metal in the future
 
 
As I said- I’ve seen you live twice, previously I’ve also seen Benediction with Dave Hunt. And all the gigs were amazing- haven’t you thought about recording a live album?
 
These days, live albums are not-so-cheap shots at making money for the label. Best way to experience the band live is to GO AND SEE THEM. Sure, not everyone can get to a gig, but in the modern age there’s live streaming and YouTube. You may be surprised at some of the high quality videos available out there. I’m not a fan of modern live albums, as they lack the ‘classic’ feel of the past (Black Sabbath’s “Live Evil”, Ozzy’s “Talk Of The Devil” for two examples) but I wouldn’t be averse to trying. 
 
 
After two iconic albums - “The Grand Leveller” (Benediction’s best in my opinion) and “Transcend the Rubicon'' you've taken a bit different direction with “The Dreams You Dread” - everything went slower, gloomier and it was a noticeable change within band’s style. Why was that?
 
 
As I said earlier, yes we strayed from our usual path, but we didn’t go too far away from it. Give the album another listen with that in mind. It’s still Benediction, just on a slightly different facet. And still OSDM, in my opinion.
 
 
 
Let’s talk about your episode in Bolt Thrower. You joined the band, when they already had a legendary status. How did you get there? Was it hard to jump into one of the biggest bands in death metal history?
 
I was asked to join some months after leaving Benediction, in 1998. The members of Bolt Thrower and myself were good friends so it was a logical choice and an easy assimilation. It is part of my life that I will also carry with me forever, with the memories of my tenure being such wonderful times.
 
 
I think that Down Among The Dead Man is a criminally underrated band. In one of the songs there are guests vocals recorded by your son Oliver. Haven’t you thought of creating a band with him one day?
 
 
Nowadays my son isn’t into much metal, especially the older death stuff. He sometimes likes some older rock tracks, and has his tastes elsewhere. The fact that he likes music is important to me, and I am happy with whichever genre lights his flame. As for DATDM we will hopefully begin work on a new album next year. Both myself and Rogga have many projects on the go so there is no rush at this time.
 
 
 
You’re obviously a science-fiction fan, with all those Dr Who inspirations and a couple of Star Wars-related jokes on stage of Mystic Festival. What in this genre is so special for you? What would you pick as the greatest sci-fi book ever written?
 
 
Science Fiction, just like music, is an escape. So why not combine the two (as I did in Down Among The Dead Men, along with songs in several other projects of mine, including the “Scriptures” album!) I absolutely LOVE Doctor Who - I’m sure my tattoos are testament to that - and I’m somewhat of a Star Trek and Star Wars fan also. The “Hello There!” moment onstage is to see if the audience all shout “GENERAL KENOBI!!” back at me. It hasn’t happened yet…maybe one day. The greatest Sci-Fi book ever written? That’s a tough one! I’d have to go with a list of a few…and then I’d be missing some out! But try these:
 
1. The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
2. 2001, A Space Odyssey - Sir Arthur C. Clarke
3. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep - Philip K. Dick
4. Make Room, Make Room! - Harry Harrisson
5. The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
 
It might be a trivial question, but why did you decide to move to Denmark?
 
Back in 1995 when Benediction were touring with Death around Europe, we played a show in Copenhagen. I was introduced to a woman who became my girlfriend. We had a long distance relationship for 3 years, and then I decided to move to Denmark full time. It was the best thing I have ever done, as Denmark is a wonderful place to live. A very relaxed lifestyle…and the best beer in the world.
 
 
You recorded some guest vocals for 1914’s last album. Obviously, the situation for the guys there right now is not easy - do you think what war in Ukraine will end anytime soon? What outcome might we expect?
 
 
 
I stand with Ukraine on this, personally. Benediction have tried to keep politics out of the music all these years, so I won’t go too far into it, but my heart goes out to the Ukrainian people. The outcome will be bleak, whatever it is. Things in the world have changed.
 
 
Thanks for the interview. Last word goes to you- is there anything you’d like to tell our readers?
 
Thank you for the support all these years, myself and the band are in awe of the fans out there! THANK YOU!! Stay true to the scene and the scene will stay true to you. Thanks for the interview, it has been awesome!
 
Here’s a list of current albums on my turntable:
1. Voivod - Nothingface
2. Stoner - Totally…
3. Crypta - Echoes of the Soul
4. Brant Bjork and the Bros - Somera Sol
5. David Bowie - Hunky Dory
 
 
 
Interview Wojciech Michalak 
Foto Necronosferatus
 
 

 

Poprawiony (piątek, 05 sierpnia 2022 21:07)

 

SACRIVERSUM Interview 2022

SACRIVERSUM COMES BACK TO THE STAGE  

Polish SACRIVERSUM, death/thrash metal formation from Łódź is back! On the thirtieth anniversary of the band's founding, which suspended their activities in 2005, a re-edition of their debut album "The Shadow of the Golden Fire" will be released on CD. Its premiere will be combined with a reactivation concert. The event will take place on October 22 (Saturday) 2022 in Klubopiwiarnia "Warkot" at ul. Narutowicza 7/9 in Łódź.

The album will be released by Thrashing Madness Prod., while the promoter will be Old Shool Metal Maniac Mag. As the co-founder, vocalist and bassist of Sacriversum, Remigiusz "Remo" Mielczarek, says, the intention to re-release the debut album gave a strong impulse to reactivate the band. - When Leszek, the boss of Thrashing Madness, called me with a proposal to re-release this album, the topic of reactivating the band immediately appeared, exactly on the thirtieth anniversary of its founding - Remo explains.

After releasing the demo "Dreams of Destiny" (Carnage Rec.) in 1992 and then the first album "The Shadow of the Golden Fire" (Baron Rec.) two years later, SACRIVERSUM began to undergo a period of intense stylistic and composition changes. Each of the following four albums was recorded with two vocal lines: the death metal growling was combined with a female, clear voice. This is how many bands played then, and the decade of the nineties was considered the time of the popularity of gothic metal. - We were looking for greater possibilities of expression then, composing with more keys and developing double vocal lines. In fact, many bands went that way: for example The Gathering, Theater of Tragedy, Orphanage, Within Temptation or our native Sirrah - says Remo. - Therefore, it has become inevitable to separate our fans into two groups: supporters of old death / thrash style and those who prefered a new, slightly less aggressive face of the band. Now there is the idea of ​​reactivating SACRIVERSUM back to the roots of the formation. - Before the pandemic, we intended to revive a band close to the late period - Remo explains. - Today, however, we want to recall the spirit of the early years. At the reactivation concert, we will only play songs from the demo and the first album. There will be no female vocals, we will be reminded in our home city of Lodz to old homies who remember our first days. On the thirtieth anniversary of the uprising, it is mainly of a sentimental dimension. Krzysztof "Baran" Baranowicz, keyboardist, co-composer of the repertoire from the debut album, returned to the band. Other musicians from that period could not be gathered. - The drummer, Michał "Ślepy" Ślebocki, unfortunately, is no longer alive. The guitarist Herszt could not take part in the reactivation for important reasons. Fortunately, we have a worthy replacement for both of them! - Remo rejoices. Krystian "MacKozer" Kozerawski, the guitarist of SACRIVERSUM in the last years of the band, whose compositions can be heard on the albums "Mozartia" and "Sigma Draconis", will play the guitar. A young, very talented musician from Łódź, Janek Traciński, will play the drums.

On Saturday, October 22, 2022, the band invites everyone - older and younger - fans of the band to the SACRIVERSUM reactivation concert, combined with the release (for the first time on a Polish CD) of their debut album. The invited special guests will also appear and their names are going to be reveil continously.

Sacriversum c/o : Remo Mielczarek, tel. 517 443 912, Adres poczty elektronicznej jest chroniony przed robotami spamującymi. W przeglądarce musi być włączona obsługa JavaScript, żeby go zobaczyć.

 

  1. Before we go to the essence of this interview, let me ask you how SACRIVERSUM came into being - what was your starting point to create your own band? How did you meet each other?

- Those were beautiful times. Exactly thirty years ago, in 1992. We were young, strong, still had long hair and could swing our right wrists quickly, buahahahahaha! Imagine three students terribly excited by the desire to play in a metal band. Herszt and Slepy had such a local formation called DEAD EVIL, which began to fall apart. For me, the short, only three-month apprenticeship period at PANDEMONIUM ended. After another fat party with TV sets being blown through hotel windows, I decided that it was not for me. To this day, I don't understand why, hahaha! Anyway, Szymon came back to PANDS, and I got to grips with Herszt and Blind, who told me to play bass and also assigned the function of a guttural. We wanted to play death thrash metal because they both were more like thrash, and I was definitely death, though. The stylistic gathering at the very source already became a determinant of SACRIVERSUM's activities: in this band, people with sometimes even extreme musical preferences, who added something to the overall style, always use to met later. The three of us also started to combine with the atmosphere, because playing everything in the speed version, although very pleasant, also turned out to be monotonous. In contrast, we wanted to slow down a bit sometimes. The first demo of "Dreams of Destiny" was recorded by the three of us, but soon the keyboard player Baran joined us - an extremely musical man, bluesman and rocker, but with great respect for metal issues.

  1. Your beginnings fall on the period when death metal celebrated its triumphs, but your music, although it did not protect itself from significant influences of this genre, does not quite fit into this convention, if only because of the use of keyboard instruments, which in that time few bands performing death metal used, and if it happened, like in Nocturnus, it was treated as a complement to the whole, musical background, not how did you have an instrument on an equal footing with others?

- Indeed, for us, the adoption of the keyboard player came not only from the need for originality or to be a bit different from everyone else - but also from the natural desire to seek other means of expression. It was not a struggle for originality by force, but the conviction that the keyboard instrument would broaden our range of musical influence. Our music, quite varied in tempo, where fast fragments intertwined with slowdowns, left a lot of space for the keys as an instrument straight from other musical worlds. Baran entered this space very boldly, not worrying at all that it is not appropriate to use a keyboard in metal music, but unceremoniously throw in his classic or blues inserts there, haha! To this day, he has been left with this courage, and we liked the fact that we are not some "headless riders", but our friend expands the offer we have for the audience with his view of music... A risky action, but very attractive to the musicians themselves. And giving a lot of satisfaction. But it is also known that NOCTURNUS used the keys in a completely different way, being the originality accepted by the fans at the time - for the atmosphere. Such open genre bands such as OPETH or KATATONIA only later began to experiment with the style. We were definitely one of the first such weirdos.

  1. In your music, especially on "The Shadow of the Golden Fire" I hear a lot of Therion influences, especially from the first three albums, is that a coincidence? Or did this band have any influence on your work? What then inspired you to play such music?

- Of course, also the early THERION, although you will probably be surprised that more certainly "Of Darkness ..." and "Beyond Sanctorum" than the next "... Ho Drakon ...", where there are more pronounced doom and goth influences. Such raw, death, Swedish music, as presented on their first albums back then: ENTOMBED, GRAVE, DISMEMBER, UNLEASHED, TIAMAT, THERION or - apart from Sweden - ASPHYX or AUTOPSY, inspired me a lot at that time. And the guys had of course their: METALLICA, SLAYER, then PANTERA later on. Somewhere, all these fascinations, mixed together, can be heard on our first recordings. I always say that if everyone in a team has the opportunity to show their temperament and passion, only beneficial effects can come out of it.

  1. Let's go back for a moment to your first demo "Dreams of Destiny" recorded in Studio-8 in Gdansk within 2 days - how do you recall this session, can you tell us something more about it?

- Well, it was a real opportunity for us at the time. As a bass player of PANDEMONIUM I played, among others, a concert in Gdynia, where I met Wojtek Kita, a very nice man, a music promoter under the Warrior Prod. banner. I do not know what is happening with him today, but then he helped many bands, from the Łódź underground and not only ... Thanks to a two-day, quick session in Krzysiek Maszota's studio in Obłuże, district of Gdynia, we managed to record this demo for a small amount of money. It was only four intro songs, but I remember we were so excited to have a demo that we were simply burned! After all, we had our repertoire ready in a few weeks, and then everything happened very quickly. We "released" this cassette ourselves, with a photocopied insert - and of course Mariusz Kmiołek also received such a copy, asking for a review in Thrashem'All Magazine. A moment later, Mariusz offered us to re-release this material, this time under the flag of Carnage Rec. As if we would then fucking touch the hell itself, hahahahahah! In the first year of operation, we already had a chance to stand close to the most important teams in the country: VADER, ARMAGEDON, PANDEMONIUM, BETRAYER, CHRIST AGONY... I remember how much excited we went with Slepy to Hala Mirowska in Warsaw to pick up our "original copies" in the shop from Mariusz and Krzysiek from PASCAL. As fans and readers of zines, we quickly became interview heroes in almost every such underground magazine. The touring has also started. Another world simply, hehehe...

  1. Before Carnage Rec. released "Dreams of Destiny", you released this material on your own in a limited edition of 100 cassettes - how did you get to the label of Mariusz Kmiołek, was anyone else besides Carnage interested in releasing Sacriversum?

- Well, there were a few of these proposals. Please forgive me, but I don't remember the exact names of the people who contacted us about this at the time. We chose Mariusz's offer for an obvious reason: Carnage, after the release of "Morbid Reich" of VADER or "Devilri" of PANDEMONIUM, was already a cult label in the Polish underground, widely recognized as a top. On the other hand, there was, of course, Metal Mind Production, but everyone knew that the bands that interacted with them were not treated fairly. Such matters have been passed on from word of mouth to mouth from the moment KAT took legal action against the MMP. In those years (we're talking about 1992), Carnage offered the only publishing offer of a comparable quality - and we were excited about the fact that we got it at all. I do not regret it to this day, Mariusz Kmiołek always fulfilled all arrangements in relation to SACRIVERSUM. Relationships were fair. Another thing is that soon there were bands talking out loud about their problems with Carnage Rec., but I have to emphasize once again that we did not experience such problems. Maybe because we didn't have too high expectations towards the label then and we agreed on the conditions of releasing the material, which I would boldly call today as mediocre. But these conditions were respected. That's how I remember it today. When assessing your own past and experiences, it is worth having the necessary dose of humility.

  1. How was "Dreams of Destiny" received in the underground then? Have you been involved in tape trading? Did you exchange your recordings with other bands then?

- As a band of the so-called underground, we certainly did not advance to the top league, in which the above-mentioned Carnage "locomotives" played, as well as the MMP bands, and KAT - which, as a precursor of the entire metal scene in Poland, first had its own separate audience, and secondly after parting ways with Metal Mind, he himself dealt with publishing his own albums, selecting only distributors. We've played some concerts, but I can't talk about any audience’s madness at the "DoD" stage. This first, own circulation, of course, was basically all intended for exchanges and gifts. Our situation was improved only by the release in 1994 of the first full-minute cassette, "The Shadow of the Golden Fire" by Baron Rec. I owe this fact to Szymon from TENEBRIS, who somehow then quit playing bass in PANDEMONIUM, focusing on developing his own way creative. I remember the enthusiasm with which Szymon talked about the opportunity for them to meet Janusz Baron from Piekary Śląskie and enter the publishing deal with him. Let us remember that we are talking about the years when the provisions of the Copyright Act were not yet in force in Poland. "Publishers" such as Baron traveled to Germany, brought CDs from there - for example, Madonna, Michael Jackson - and then, by the thousands, beat "licensed" tapes in the rooms filled with tape recorders at night, throwing them onto the domestic market. Everywhere, to music stores, kiosks, even disco stalls. They earned massive amount of money, they didn't know what to do with them. And they sponsored recording sessions with local bands, probably a bit like money laundering. Janusz focused on helping and supporting metal bands. We slipped into it following TENEBRIS's footsteps, and with us the next ones: TARANIS, MORDOR, MASTIPHAL, HOLY DEATH (you know something about that, hahaha!), MORTAL SLAUGHTER and others ... Then even such big names as PANDEMONIUM and VADER found better conditions with the Baron Rec. than with other publishers, for example Peter of VADER released "Sothis" there, an EP, immediately on cassette and CD, if I remember correctly. It was an underground paradise. Happiness lasted until the copyright law came into force. Baron collapsed overnight, as did several of his colleagues in business. However, we also took advantage of the possibility of a really good concert promotion, because Janusz paid us to play during Dziubiński's MMP Rec. events - twice, in Chorzów and Warsaw, Poland - as a support for TIAMAT and SENTENCED. At that time, it was an epochal event for a medium-sized underground band like ours. Johan Edlund was at the stage of promoting "Wildhoney", AMORPHIS was to play this tour (which earlier, probably in Germany, was forced to leave the bus by the other two bands - probably because their rapping vocal, Patsi, was considered then to be not very true, hahaha!). And we, who play twice for a thousand-strong audience, all chanting our name, both in the Premiere Club in Chorzów (now defunct) and in Warsaw's club called Stodoła. I will not forget it for the rest of my life. Because although ten years later, as a band from the MMP catalog, at different times and with a different line-up, we played again before TIAMAT supporting their concerts in Poland, the atmosphere of both events cannot be compared at all. From this first mini-tour, I have such a funny memory that after the transfer from Silesia to Warsaw, at the Stodoła club, and before the concert, we sat down with SENTENCED for a beer nearby - and we talked about who knew what words in their languages. It is known that Taneli Jarva was developing his IMPALED NAZARENE in parallel at that time. Well, we said to them: "Listen, we only know three words in Finnish: Suomi Finland and Perkele." They burst out laughing, because we accidentally combined the two most pathetic words, meaning the holy motherland, with the greatest blasphemy. Something like: "Republic, fucking, Poland". I am not sure if the title of the third Impaled album came from this conversation, or if we happened to come across their own idea of ​​such a word cluster, which they had earlier. These concerts were in the winter of early 1995 (January) and their album was officially released, according to today's sources, a few months earlier (October 94). It is difficult for me to determine if they managed to give it the title at the last minute after drinking with us.

  1. Two years after the release of your first demo, your second material "The Shadow of the Golden Fire" was released. It was originally released by Baron Rec., It is much better produced and arranged stuff and you can see that you have made a lot of progress in your music and that these two years were a very busy period for you ...

- Musically, it was just like you say. For us, then students dependent on their parents, there were no obstacles such as work or kids. We could basically spend all our time playing, and we did it with enthusiasm. Instead of exploring scientific reading, we only did some basic things for classes, leaving everything for the duration of the examination session. We played, everyone alone at home and then in the rehearsal room, all day long. Hence the good pace of creating the material for "The Shadow ..." and a veeery cool atmosphere of excitement, which can be heard in this music also today. Baran, who then appeared in the band, had many other musical obligations (he is still a sought-after blues and rock keyboard player, he was still playing with someone somewhere then) - but it did not change any percent of his involvement in SACRIVERSUM. He always came to the rehearsal and our every concert, even if he was barely rolling the pavement and the keyboards followed him, buahahahahahahaahahaha! We all had it, because I forgot to say that we had a very social and bottle-like atmosphere inside the band then. Such there, the beginnings of rock and roll in Poland. We were known in the underground for partying behind the scenes, although it was always very cheerful, without any aggression or material losses. We were levellers, but polite ones.

  1. The cassette edition of "The Shadow of the Golden Fire" by Baron Rec. is not the only one that was released on the market at that time?

- This is a story from a bit later times. Because for many years we were looking forward to releasing this material on CD. It became possible only after concluding a publishing contract with the German label Serenades Rec. But first of all: when more rumours about us has been heard after releasing "The Shadow…" on cassette and concerts with Tiamat, the second album - "Soteria" - we already recorded for Morbid Noizz Prod. It was also a time of profound personal and stylistic changes in the band, and the adoption of a woman as a vocal. But the Germans liked Soteria very much, so they bought a license to publish it outside Poland, for other markets. Their range was not very great, but after we broke off relations with Paweł Kamiński, the boss of Morbid Noizz, we signed a contract with these Germans to release three albums. Licensed "Soteria" was the first of them, and then it was time for "Beckettia" (released with great problems due to the financial failure of the label) and "The Shadow ..." - because our German partners decided that if you had to fulfill the contract and there is no money for the next recording session, you can re-edit old stuff. Ordnung muss sein. And this is the genesis of the creation of "The Shadow of the Golden Fire - Early Days", which is our first full –minute recording enriched with material from the demo "Dreams of Destiny", plus two versions of songs from this tape recorded again during the session of "The Shadow…". It was in 2001, the re-edition album was released in the West in CD format - but not in Poland, where this version was difficult to access. Today we make up for it, because thanks to Old School Metal Maniac and Thrashing Madness Prod. it has just re-launched, for the first time on the domestic market. It all is a bit confusing, but I'm glad that thanks to this situation, however, SACRIVERSUM got a very strong impulse to get up, exactly 30 years after the band was founded. And yet 17 years ago (2005) we suspended our activities.

  1. The year 1994 is a time when the Internet was only slowly beginning to develop, so it was not a significant promotional tool as it is now; concerts were the best way to promote a young band back then - what was it like for you back then? Did you play concerts often then?

- Yes, but it wasn't that we suddenly had to drop everything, because there were a tremendous amount of proposals. As I mentioned, around 1995 we started to think about changing the stylistic concept. But we must have looked a bit, unknowingly, at TIAMAT and its evolution. The changes took place gradually. Baran and Herszt were gone, then Slepy as well. I was left alone from the founding group, and other musicians used to come and go to the band. Everyone is an equally important link for me today, everyone added something from each other and pushed this band further. But the transformation of the style into more doom / gothic did not make our task easier in terms of position stability on the stage. Fans, the more radical ones, started to turn away from us. New arrivals were coming along with the release of "Soteria" - but the split in the audience group had become a fact. Years passed, things were different, since 2002 we and MacKozer (who today participates in the band's reactivation) also played in ARTROSIS, thanks to which SACRIVERSUM also got a bit of a kick up, signed another contract, this time with MMP. But three years later the momentum faded, personal matters led to the suspension of the team. Fortunately, today we meet again and - as part of the fight against the late midlife crisis - we are experiencing a second youth.

  1. Which of your concerts stuck in your memory in a special way? I know that in your concert history there have been performances of incl. alongside Tiamat, Napalm Death, then it seemed like an extraordinary ennoblement for you, right?

- Yes, the band was lucky to participate exceptionally pleasant concert events. These early performances supporting TIAMAT, as I wrote about here, were revolutionary, but there was also a lot of interesting going on after that. In fact, in 2001 we played in Poznań's Eskulap Club before NAPALM DEATH, then BEHEMOTH, SCEPTIC, HORRORSCOPE, ANIMA DAMNATA and AD PATRES also performed. But we didn't get very warmly received, maybe because „napalm” fans don't really feel much love for metal goth genre, haha! More was happening behind really underground stages, but I don't have too many specific memories of these concerts, because they are drowning in hectoliters of drunk drugs, haha! We had a good time at events in Remont Club, Warsaw (Vox Mortis Festival), or at the legendary Smash Fest 2002, including GRAVE or BLOOD RED THRONE, where the wind blew the stage and torn tents. There was a lot of gigs, we came back from all over the place full of extraordinary experiences. Sometimes you can find archival reports on the Internet, much more reliable today than my lame memories of today.

  1. The first half of the 90’s in Poland saw several major underground festivals such as S'thrash'ydło, Shark Attack, Thrash Camp, Drrrama - did you go to these events?

- Well, no. We did not make it. All these cult festivals you mentioned prospered well in the late eighties and in the years when we started publishing our first materials or performing more widely (i.e. from 92) we were dealing with the decline of these events. They started to collapse one by one, which I regret to this day. As a fan, I also didn't manage to participate in any of them. At that time, you heard a lot about the trouble that aggressive crew members - for example the famous Szczecin - stirred up at these events or before them, commuting by trains. After that, the organizers for sure got into trouble because of this. The change of the political system also did its job, the economic changes entering our homeland did not always allow the organizers to bear the costs of the project (in comunism this funding probably came from various "cultural institutions", and in the new times you had to provide it yourself, without having sufficient funds to do so. ). But these festivals played a vital role in the development of the scene, not only in Poland. Many years later, when I met the boys from SAMAEL, they told me what extremes it was for them when the two brothers (Vorph and Xytras) traveled to Ciechanów by train. From Switzerland to S'thrahydło, to the castle. They traveled by the Polish railway from the border, through Silesia. As they saw those smoking chimneys and mines, while they are rather unbelievers, on the way they said, “Mon Dieu!”. Hahahahaha! Well, let's make an appointment, it was an ecological massacre, then the Swiss, seeing this view through the window, could really be shocked. But to this day, they say in interviews that these visits to Poland and the insane reactions of our fans for "Into the Pentagram" made them feel strongly about their further activity, believed in themselves and realized that their further action makes sense. That was the strength back then, and the bands shared information from mouth to mouth all over Europe about the reaction of Polish maniacs at local concerts. It came from those first underground festivals. And SACRIVERSUM, however, was a bit late for this time, because the performances at early national festivals included bands older than us and those considered at the time to be at the forefront of the Polish scene. It's a pity these festivals are not dwelling yet. Today I am in good contact with the guys who organized S'thrash’ydlo just because my brother-in-law lives with his family in Ciechanów, and I am a frequent guest there. Organizing such events today is extremely expensive - and in the absence of strong sponsors, simply unprofitable. Nobody will risk private financial resources, because attendance is always an unknown and the cost is always to pay. The costs are immediately payable before the first band even hits the stage. This is the main reason why we no longer have these legendary names on the map of Polish festivals. Fortunately, there are more. For many years, I have had the honor to collaborate on subsequent editions of the ever more beautifully developing metal event: Summer Dying Loud in Aleksandrów Łódzki. This fest was possible thanks to the financial help of the City, and the director and originator of SDL, Tomasz Barszcz, always takes a few steps forward at each subsequent edition of this event. This is already one of the best metal festivals in the country and will soon be one of the best metal festivals in Europe. I cordially invite everyone to come to Aleksandrów every first weekend of September.

  1. This year's re-release of your first two materials in the CD version coincided with your reactivation and the concert scheduled for the premiere. Why did you wait so long with both? What can I wish at the end of this SACRIVERSUM interview? Thank you very much for the interview, if you want to say something to your fans, go ahead ...

- We wanted to reactivate the band several times before. I say "we", mainly bearing in mind MacKozer, who always said that as long as Remo is alive, SACRIVERSUM will exist, hehe ... However, personnel issues have always stood in the way. Years later, and seventeen of them have passed since the band was suspended, the line-up was always burdened with problems. There was always someone missing. Recently, just before the pandemic, we made an attempt to reactivate the band in a line-up close to the last years. But the virus, and with it the necessity to suspend rehearsals, have ruined our work again. I was already sure that if fate wanted it so, it would be fine. And then suddenly Leszek Wojnicz appeared, that is you, hahaha! And there was a proposal to re-release the first album by Thrashing Madness / Old School Metal Maniac. It coincided with the 30th anniversary of SACRIVERSUM, to be exact, so I took it as a sign again - and decided to take that train so it wouldn't leave this time too. Maybe this is the last chance for us to get this band back on its feet. We don't get younger… I knew right away that MacKozer had to play the guitar after reactivation, because for many years he was the only man who somehow kept this "flame" so that it would not die out until the end. However, it was also necessary to address the old comrades who contributed to our first album. Slepy, original drummer, unfortunately is no longer alive. Herszt, the guitarist, for various personal reasons could not join us, but, so to speak, gave us his blessing and full support. As expected, I was not disappointed at Baran, although Krzysztof Baranowicz is one of the musicians who are very busy and in demand. But he never refused to help me when I turned to him, and it has happened now. He remembered the old sounds quickly. We only needed a drummer to be happy and the elite of Łódź drummers helped us a lot in this matter. We asked a few if they would join. I asked for help, among others to Gerard Klawe, but his duties at Farben Lehre unfortunately tied his hands. However, Żeruś is our brother, so he quickly offered us Janek Traciński, one of the young drummers in Łódź, fully aware that he was putting a diamond in our hands. During the first rehearsal, our shoes fell off as soon as we heard what Janek was doing behind the drums. It took me four hours of playing to get my right wrist back to the speed it used to be thirty years ago, hahaha! But now we are full of optimism, because the so-called fresh blood was essential in the band, especially when it comes to the drum, i.e. the drive. Now all the pieces of our puzzle are finally completed and in place. Thus, we return to the early, root face of the band. We invite everyone to the reactivation concert, 22/10/2022 at Klubopiwiarnia Warkot Club in Łódź, Poland, Narutowicza Rd. 7/9. Follow the event on FB. All the details are there. It will be a concert for the group of our first fans, or rather buddies and friends from those years, even before the "gothic" face of the band appeared. For today, we are not planning to return to this face, because the wildness and power of the old songs now played during rehearsals make us realize how much potential they still have in them. We got really into the early stuff and we'll play it all at the show, I think: complete songs from "The Shadow ..." and certainly some of the earlier stuff. Okay, maybe at least one track from later albums, so that the exception would prove the rule, haha! Anyway, we apologize the fans of the late SACRIVERSUM: maybe someday, in the future, we will broaden the concert repertoire. However, we do not plan to return the woman singer to the line-up, at least not permanently. Thank you very much to you, Lech, for the opportunity to talk and for this whole reviving idea - we would like to cordially invite everyone to our reactivation. This is a very important moment, so we would like to have with us those who grew up musically with us in those years. And the younger ones, whenever they feel like it, are very welcome. We haven't gotten old enough yet not to burn fire on the stage haha! What to wish us? Only persistence. Today there are different times and completely different priorities: health, work, kids, fighting with living problems. But we are not going to give up once the machine has been restarted. What do we wish you!

Poprawiony (sobota, 23 lipca 2022 09:38)

 

HEATHEN Interview 2022

American Heathen has never achieved such fame as their friends from Exodus or Testament.The fact of being under the radar does not mean, however, some loss in quality - quite the opposite.The band presented have always presented a high level and constantly tried to explore new areas within thrash metal genre. During Mystic Festival I was lucky enough to speak for a while with band’s singer- David White.

Hi! It’s nice to have you in Oldschool Metal Maniac Magazine. Let’s start with more recent times. There’s a ten years of difference between “The Evolution Of Chaos” and “Empire of The Blind”. That’s a lot- what caused it?

 

I’d say it’s mostly because of Exodus and Slayer. Gary Holt was filling in for Jeff Hanneman.

After Jeff passed away Gary joined Slayer as a full time guitarist. Kragen Lum had to temporary replace him in Exodus. With those shifts it was a bit difficult for us, especially that in the meantime we’ve signed a record deal with Nuclear Blast.

The fact that Lee (Altus) and Kragen were gone slowed done our writing process. Consequently- during that time Kragen was writing all the time and he wrote almost all of the record.

And that was good, because we knew that the clock was ticking and we had to release the record as soon as possible. We ran over Kragen’s material and decided to do it. But I agree, it took a lot of time.

 

 

You’re pretty close personally with Exodus. Do you think that it’s affecting Heathen directly? I mean the time aspect is pretty obvious, but do you think that Heathen is gaining some extra popularity because people recognize “Exodus guys” playing there?

 

There are good sides and bad sides of it. Lee is in Exodus for a full time and that makes us slowing down a bit. Even when we were putting together “The Evolution of Chaos” it caused some delays and we had to do 2005 tour with no record.

But we did it anyway - we were about to finish the material and we were aware of the fact, that some labels were constantly looking at us. When we went with Kragen to studio, Lee was touring a lot. And it was tough for him - he had to come home, go to the studio etc.

Luckily, the studio was very kind for us - they understood our situation and allowed us to take our time. But it was hard. When Gary joined Slayer it opened some opportunities for Kragen, but it made us having two guitarists less available. After “The Evolution of Chaos” we did three tours with Exodus, and it was good because we could play for their crowed.

We shared the bus with them etc. It was advantageous. Now we’re headlining the tour, and we took Toxik with us. But it’s only sixteen shows.

Than we’ll come back again in July to do a lot of shows with Exodus and Testament. So answering to your question - sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but we take it as it is and we’re trying to get some positives from it. And I don’t have to have a tour all the time - if I’m not playing I can stay home with my family or focus on the job that I love -teaching.

 

This time with Toxik, later Exodus and Testament - every time you are in Europe you are a part of some super-strong line-up. Is it intentional? Are you picky when it comes to choosing the bands that you want to play with?

 

Sure! Of course - sometimes we’re lucky, like with 1991 tour we did with Sepultura.

At first it was supposed to be Heathen, Metal Church and Sepultura, but Metal Church received an invitation to do tour with Judas Priest and Alice Cooper, so they took that and the band that replaced them in our tour was Sacred Reich.

After that we always wanted to have good tour and good shows. We also want to play with the people we like. When we did a tour with Overkill I didn’t know them that well. But that was a good tour and a lot of fun.Besides, Destruction also took part in that tour, and they’re our good friends. It’s strategic for us to always do a good tour.

Before COVID hit we were going to do a tour with Potential Threat - they’re good, they’re great friends and they’ve never been there, so we wanted to give them a shot. Unfortunately, pandemic happened. Right now Jim (DeMaria), our drummer also plays in Toxik so we wanted to help them, especially that they started in similar years as we do.

And they’re amazing, so I’m excited for that tour. We care about our fans and we want them to enjoy the tour. We aim for our fans thinking “wow that was great” after every gig of the tour.

 

Are there any plans for the new record? It’s been two years already.

 

Yeah, sure! Right now we all live in a different parts of country - Jim is in New York, I’m in Florida, Kragen is in the south and Jason is in LA. During the pandemic it was hard to get together, but everyone was working on stuff.

After all the tours we’re going to go into studio in October.

We have some material already that we need to put together. We hope to have a record next year. Sure, I said it last time and finally it was ten years. But the plan is to have it next year and to go with it to festivals.

 

I was wondering about Recovered compilation from 2004. It’s pretty unusual - there are some older songs, some covers. What was idea behing it?

 

After “Victims of Deception” we were thinking about doing an EP with one or two covers, but we were unsure about budget. We showed label our idea of doing “Kill The King” and our unfinished ideas of “Hellbound” and “Eye of The Storm”.

Later we went to the studio to do more songs - we did “The Holy War” and “Death on Two Legs”. We wanted to put something out. It was just after Lee was gone to play with Die Krupps.

We finished that and put everything on tape in 1993. We were sitting in the studio and listening it - we got the project started. Engineer played one of the songs and the tape started to slow down. He opened the machine and entire tape was black. You know, tapes were old and started to fall apart. They were baked.

We had to try to put it on digital format. Luckily we made it and finished all the recordings. We decided to release it ourselves, which was a huge thing for us. Sure, we were thinking to re-release it and add some songs, kinda like Metallica did with Garage Inc.

It’s good to do some covers, to face your inspirations. “Death on Two Legs” was my favorite- it was amazing to record our version of Queen song!

 

Let’s go a bit into your past - what are your memories from your time in Blind Illusion?

 

When Blind Illusion started it was me and Alvin Petty (artist who did the cover art to “Victims Of Deception”). He played the guitars and I was playing the drums.

Mark Biedermann was my neighbor and we were like three musketeers. But later Mark moved out of town, so we mostly hanged out during the weekends.

I took my drums to Alvin’s house and we wanted to make a band. Mark saw it and asked to join the band and got a bass guitar. Mark got really good and played also the guitar and started a band. Alvin left and we found another drummer.

At one party when we were jamming and listening Boston I started singing and the guys told me that I was really good. The next day Mark called me and asked to join the band.

I agreed and joined. I was playing with Chris Olsen by that time in some small band and took him with me, so we have established first serious line up- it was Mark, Chris, Bret (Hern) and me. I loved that band - we did demo with Chris, which was recently released on vinyl and CD. It contained four or five songs. We also recorded ten songs live - everything we had to pick which ones we’ll put on demo. I didn’t even remembered it.

Mark sent it to me recently and I forgot all songs. Anyway, we did that demo and it got into Rampage Radio. It was “WOW” for us, you know, we were in the radio! Unfortunately, back at those time nobody was booking metal or rock bands in Bay Area - everything was dominated by the new wave. We couldn’t get a gig.

We played parties and we had hundreds of people, but we wanted to take things to the next level. It was frustrating that we couldn’t. Some people left the band. After that one of the radio stations started a thing called “Metal Monday”. After that three clubs started doing that shows. I called Mark and we started doing it seriously.

Exodus blasted also in the area - we went to school with those guys. Exodus also played a lot at the parties, so when “Metal Monday” happened they were ready.

And they were force to be reckoned with. It started buzzing with Bay Area, especially that a bit later Metallica appeared and we all know the story. When Blind Illusion started I was seventeen and I was there until I was twenty three.

That six years seems like a lifetime. But at some point I was no longer happy, couldn’t get along with Mark. I went later on to some gig and met Lee’s girlfriend and I told here that I was about to go for an audition for some band.

She told me that Lee’s band was looking for a singer. I went to jam with them and it happened. Mark and me are close friends now Mark has a great band and I’m super happy for them.

 

Why your time in Defiance lasted only three years?

 

The whole metal scene died in Bay Area back then. It was just frustrating. Doug Harrington (with whom I have a close friendship later) was a man with whom he did not get along. Nothing happened musically, nothing was going on.

And if I don't feel joy, it's a waste of time. I had to leave. Anyway, Jim also left then. You know, we wrote new material that didn't sound like Defiance - they went more into Machine Head direction.

But I didn't feel happy there, avoided rehearsals, and just got tired. I have a lot of fun with Heathen, even if we don’t rehearse a lot. I also have other projects, sometimes playing drums here and there. I even have a reggae band! I get a lot of joy from it.

 

It’s hard to imagine you playing reggae.

 

You know, I grew up listening to different kinds of music. I’m influenced by Bob Marley, his philosophy and state of mind. I’m a bit of a hippy. I like good energy.

 

Last word goes to you - is there anything you’d like to tell our readers?

 

I just want to thank for support. Keep metal together, support your local bands and metal in general.

We do it for you.

 

Wojciech Michalak 

Poprawiony (niedziela, 19 czerwca 2022 15:23)

 

BEZERKER

 

 It was quite a surprise for me, when Awakening Records decided to re-release Bezerker from Australia.

But what a pleasant one - band unknown to me (and I guess that to many other readers as well) turned out to be a pure, hidden gem of technical thrash.

I didn’t want to waste any time and contacted their bass player, Keith Stevens immediately.

Below you can read what I’ve learned from him

 

1. Hi Keith, how it's going? Let's start from something which needs to be asked nowadays - how is life in Australia? How did you go with COVID Pandemic? Did it paralyze everything, like it did in Europe and United States?
 
I'm well, thank you. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted different areas of Australia to varying degrees. Here in Adelaide, South Australia, the virus has been circulating far less than in other cities such as Melbourne and Sydney. However, the live music scene, for example, has been hit just as hard as Melbourne and Sydney, with many events being postponed or cancelled
 
 
2. Bezerker was a really good band, and after a quick research I can see that it's still collecting a brilliant reviews. Why were you active only for such a short amount of time?
Bezerker was together for only three-and-a-half years because of our relocating from Australia to England in April/May, 1991. Two of Bezerker's members didn't adapt to life in London, and returned to Adelaide, South Australia, just three months into our planned six-month stay. Their decisions to return early to Australia was the end for Bezerker. Myself, Adam, and Shaun, opted to remain in the U.K. after all the sacrifices we'd made, and money spent, in relocating half-a-world away. We'd made valuable contacts through Metal Hammer magazine, on the night of our last gig, in London, on August 3rd, 1991, so, many opportunities were squandered. We cancelled gigs in Bradford and Liverpool, and missed out on playing a show at East London's Ruskin Arms -- the venue where Iron Maiden would regularly perform during their early days. There was every reason to stay in London for the agreed full six months, however, our rhythm guitarist was homesick for life back in Adelaide, South Australia, and so we were doomed from the very start of our relocation to London, England.

3. Shortly after the release of your debut, guitarist Michael Heslop decided to move Bezerker to the UK. On the one hand, it would seem reasonable because it would be easier for you to draw the attention of European labels, on the other hand you had already released an album earlier on the Australian label and probably if you had waited a bit longer and tried to find a label in Europe your career might have gone differently.
What do you think about this decision after so many years?
 
 
On the contrary, I believe we should have relocated to London earlier than we did. However, we couldn't, because we had recording-studio debts to pay off before we could leave Australia. We were paying off the recording-studio debts right up until our last show in Adelaide, South Australia, on March 31st, 1991. Anyway, in my opinion, the best approach was to play as many shows, as often as possible, in the U.K., and in doing so, create opportunities as far as any potential record label signings went.
 
 
4. What made you choose a young inexperienced label? Was nobody, apart from Extremely Fine interested in releasing this album? Did the publisher provide you with promotions on radio or music magazines? It's hard to believe that such an excellent album went relatively unnoticed.
 
 
Our vinyl album "Lost" was financed exclusively by us. Extremely Fine Records was Bezerker's own personal company business. After recording the "Lost" album, we then sent the recording-studio tapes off to CBS Records Australia for the vinyl pressing process. Then, we hired Waterfront Records to distribute the album. However, we didn't possess the necessary extra cash in being able to pay for advertising, other than a one-off, one-complete-page advertisement in an Australian national metal-music magazine.
 
5. I have interviewed Peter Hobbs couple of years ago, and he said, that Australia is one of the hardest countries in the world for bands, that want to start the real career. Do you agree?
 
Yes, I agree with Peter Hobbs -- that was most certainly the case, back in the 80s and 90s.
6. For a long time Poland was separated from the west by an iron curtain, so many great albums did not reach us, probably that is why most of us did not come across Lost 30 years ago, it was only thanks to Awakening Rec that I had the opportunity to hear your music for the first time, and to be honest that it made an overwhelming impression on me, I was afraid to think what it would be like if I got your vinyl 30 years ago. Have you sent this promo material to publishers in Europe or the USA back then?
 
 
No, we didn't send promotion material overseas, upon the "Lost" album release.
We were completely focused on the massive task of relocating Bezerker over to London, at the expense of all other priorities.

 

7. In 2013, the Russian label Into The Pit Records released re-editions of Lost and also this time the material was not well promoted. Luckily, now it seems that the decision to release this album on Awakening Rec was your best move because after all, this album is widely available. How did you sign a contract with this young but very dynamic label?
 
Into The Pit Records is actually an Australian label. They contacted me back in 2013, when they learned I had remastered the original vinyl version via the original recording-studio reel-to-reel tapes. Eventually, when that particular release sold out, Awakening Records contacted me, offering a deal on the album's then upcoming 30th anniversary.
8. Currently, vinyl is going through a kind of renaissance. Have you thought about putting your music on vinyl? I think that people like Steffen from High Roller would be more than happy to release it.
Unlikely, a re-release of the original vinyl version.
 
9. On the wave of the return of old school metal's popularity, were you tempted to reactivate Bezerker, or at least to play a few concerts in Europe?
 
No, a reunion has never interested me. The disappointment of blowing all the chances we had, back in the U.K. during 1991, cut too deep.
 
10 On the Awakening Records release, next to "Lost", there is also "Laugh At The Light" demo as a bonus, is that all you managed to register? Maybe you have some unpublished materials from the past in your archives?
 
I do still possess 1989 Bezerker recording-studio out-takes, and Bezerker live recordings from 1989 and 1990.
 
11. Who designed Bezerker's logo? It's a really good one.
 
A local South Australian artist, named Stephen Powell, created the Bezerker logo.
12. 2013 re-edition of your material was called "Lost:Remastered". Why did you decide to remaster it in the first place? Do you feel it was really necessary? Is "Lost" with original sound or the remastered version on the Awakening Records release
.
 
The Awakening Records' 30th-anniversary release of the Bezerker album is the remastered version taken from the original 1989 recording-studio reel-to-reel tapes.
 
13. What are your memories from the night, when you supported Faith No More?
 
When Faith No More hit Adelaide, South Australia, on a Tuesday night in August, 1990, it was at a nightclub venue. The joint was named Le Rox, and the place was packed to over capacity. I recall the thunderous sound level of the band, and the riotous nature of the moshpit. Faith No More played a superb set, and it was a night so enjoyable, that it was all over way too quick. It was one of those occasions which one wants to relive over and over again. Bezerker was very privilaged in getting the support slot for that gig . . . Faith No More playing a nightclub venue -- extraordinary. Everyone there on the night was so very lucky to have witnessed the event.
 
14. You have also played in a band called Epidemic, however I couldn't find any material, not even a demo. Have you ever recorded anything with that project?
 
Curious, because I never played in the band, Epidemic. They were a fellow Adelaide outfit that Bezerker used to share gigs with. But, I certainly was never ever a member of that band, Epidemic.
 
15 Thanks for the interview, last word goes to you.
 
You're very welcome, Wojtek. Thank-you very much for your kind and positive words on the Bezerker "Lost" album, and the interest you have shown in the details behind Bezerker's occurrence. Kind regards, Keith Stevens.
Wojciech Michalak /Necro
 

Poprawiony (piątek, 22 października 2021 13:33)

 

FUNERAL VISION

 

 

Well, I have been dealing with “music archeology” for some time now… lest we forget top bands from our domestic underground. There have indeed been so many great bands who`ve disappeared in the seas of oblivion. One of these precious gems are FUNERAL VISION from Cracow; they released just one recording and vanished from Poland`s underground music scene. In order to refresh their music, I decided to re-release their IT… and instead of providing you with their dry biographical facts, I opted to interview the band instead and thus elaborate on their history a bit further. Ok, no need to waste our time. Lads and ladies, this is FUNERAL VISION from Cracow. 

1. When I interviewed you guys last time (for Equilibrium of Noise Zine), you were about to get your debut cassette released (IT). Well, it was like 30 years ago, right? Seems like we`ve come full circle, haven’t we? 

Yeah, indeed been a while, right? We sort of feel like …that IT is about to be released again, like it was back in 1993. Same emotions, so to say, but this is not, however, a starting point – a “wrap up”, is perhaps a better word in this context. We are someplace else these days, enriched with different experiences, including various music experiences, too. I did enjoy going through our band`s archives, looking for some extra stuff we could use for this re-release. We managed to add three unpublished songs from the era as well as a couple of unseen photos.

2. In 1993, Loud Out Records released your cassette demo. Those were really ground-breaking times for the music market in our country. Your debut ep was timed perfectly since death metal ruled supreme in Poland at the time. Doom was doing ok, too. Seemed like everything was going fine with FUNERAL VISION and the band was about to become successful. But it didn’t happen…you didn’t have enough determination to go ahead? Why did you split up? I would say that the response from zines was really great back then, am I right in this regard?

The timing was, indeed, perfect. Well, we parted ways, unfortunately. We all chose different directions to follow in our future, we were busy with our own things. So, it wasn’t done on purpose, FV`s splitting up, I mean, but that were rather a medley of unfavourable conditions which affected our band. Undeniably, music, or creating music (as a band) is very time consuming – both at the level of your personal skills and your involvement, the time you devote to your band, including rehearsals, recording sessions and live shows. Interestingly, those years definitely influenced us and have been present in our lives later. We all have always longed for that kind of music, the yearn which resulted in a short-lived, but very fruitful reformation of FUNERAL VISION in 2013. 

3. Let’s talk about your beginnings. Why did you decide to form the band? How did it happen?

Well, it seemed so natural and obvious to start a new band back in the day. It was as natural as using FB is presently. Most of young people back then had long hair, they would buy their first guitar and would try to start a new band…but composing and playing music weren’t that easy, indeed. It turned out that very few had the audacity, enough will power and talent to turn these career dreams into reality. That was how FUNERAL VISION was created – selected from the most persevered ones. 

4. Well, the early nineties were a truly “refreshing breeze” for our everyday situation here in Poland. Yet, extreme music, despite being very popular, didn’t gain too much support. A lot of bands had problems getting a decent rehearsal place, for instance. How did you deal with that problem? How often did you rehearse? Did you have any issues/problems with practicing music?

Totally different times from the present, that’s for sure. We were in our twenties, at the time. Plenty of issues with equipment, rehearsal rooms, this and that; not even mentioning using a professional studio to record our music. Even getting new music releases was tough at the time. Much harder than it is presently. As mentioned, only the most stubborn and strongest survived, those who were totally involved in music. We were quite lucky, to be honest, because we found a very good, very friendly and welcoming place to rehearse – the Podgorze Community Centre in Cracow (or more precisely, its Solvay branch). We could rehearse a couple of times a week; the sound equipment was really ok, and more than enough for our needs. Most importantly, the vibe was very positive, both when it comes to creating music and socializing. At this Solvay place, there were some fellow bands hanging out like FORGET and HELLIAS, for instance. 

5. I can sense in your music some influences from such bands as early PARADISE LOST, SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN  or DESECRATOR. But I am sure you were inspired by other bands and genres as well, right?

Well, PARADISE LOST seemed the most important influence for us, at the time. But each and every of us would listen to slightly different kinds of metal music (and music in general), which was then reflected in the music we created. If I recollect correctly, the guitarists were fascinated with technical music – CARCASS or CORNER, this kind of stuff. Me as a bassist was into Geddy Lee from RUSH, we also liked FAITH NO MORE and bands from Seattle: SOUNDGARDEN or ALICE IN CHAINS. I have always claimed we played the music we were listening to at the time. Which was heavy, slightly melodic, a little harmonic and a bit technical. It must be remembered that, as a rule, one initially always plays the very music one is able to create; then one can improve, together with the band, his skills and coordination – which, of course, results in more complex and sophisticated sounds produced. 

6. When I interviewed you back in 1993, you mentioned such bands as PARADISE LOST, FATE NO MORE, RUSH, TYPE O NEGATIVE/CARNIVORE  and… WILKI. Quite a colourful blend, I must say. Yet, despite these different influences, you guys managed to create an extremely heavy sounding music. Did those different styles of your influences was a positive or negative thing as far as creating your music was concerned?

All right! Yeah, there was one fine medley of different styles in our heads at the time, no doubt. But we were quite “open” to different ideas and funneled our influences into our music we were creating as a band. Sure, some rehearsals turned out into discussions about what to play. But this is what I find fascinating about bands…that an idea, which is unique and peculiar to the person who`s initially come up with it, can evolve and further change, when a number of people keep working on it: adding new ideas to it, rearranging it one way or the other, and finally forging something completely new – still based on the song`s initial concept. This abundance of ideas always helps a lot, what it needed is acceptance of other people and their will to work on it. That was what FUNERAL VISION was all about. 

7. How about live shows? If I am not mistaken, you did play a couple, right? Please elaborate a bit on your concerts. 

Live shows were, at the time, the only way bands could utilize to present their music to masses. There were no social media, maybe a couple of guest spectators at your rehearsals, that’s it. We never managed to play at “big” gigs but some shows are still quite memorable, like the one from Klub Pod Przewiązką in Cracow – this concert will be added as bonus DVD to our IT re-release. Another good gig took place at a community centre in Miechow, you can watch it on our FB page, so check this show out (two parts available). And, of course, some live shows from Solvay, which was a great live music venue with a great stage. I can’t quite recollect the very bands we played with, to be honest, but I am sure those must’ve included such names as TARANIS, MORDOR and SAGITARIUS. 

8. I would claim that in the 90s you didn’t have too much competition as for your music style, right? Of course, there were powerful MORDOR from Czestochowa or PANDEMONIUM from Lodz and some others, more or less important groups performing this pitch-black sort of music. But, in general, that was death metal that ruled supreme at the time in Poland. Therefore, a band like FUNERAL VISION should have been more noticeable due to this original style, so different from the bands imitating DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL and CANNIBAL CORPSE, right?

LOL, beside PARADISE LOST, there was no competition at all, eh. There were plenty of good bands at the time and plenty of good musicians, including our Cracow`s scene. However, stylistically speaking, we were different or, I daresay more original. Many bands used to deal with traditional thrash in the METALLICA vein or some faster death metal area. However, we attracted attention of a quite respectable label. I am a bit disappointed with the fact we didn’t utilize that stylistic niche to the max: medium tempos, the pulsating rhythm section, powerful riffs with harmonic elements, melodic solos and that scary vocal; that was a great blend, doomed for success! 

9. At the time, Loud Out were quite an important label here in Poland; they released a bunch of our best, domestic bands (GHOST, BLOODLUST, HAZAEL, IMPERATOR) as well as official tapes and cds of MORGOTH, THE GATHERING , ASPHYX or COMECON. I would say you guys were lucky Loud Out took you under their wing…eh? So, what went wrong?

Before Loud Out Records released our stuff, Barbara Mikula (Mystic Productions` CEO, presently) got interested in our stuff. Thanks to her and her interest in our music, we decided to record our first songs professionally. We were very lucky since we ended up at Gamma Studio in Cracow; our producer was Jurek Oliwa, the guy who later cooperated with a number of well-known artists here in Poland. He was the person  responsible for IT`s superb sound. In hindsight, I still am of opinion this peculiar sort of sound is very unique and therefore fits our music perfectly. It needs to be mentioned that all the songs were recorded using analog equipment and magnetic tapes, which is quite unbelievable these days! And that was all the luck we had back then, I suspect!

10. In hindsight, do you regret having given up playing music after IT was out? Would you change anything if you could? 

I like to joke that we might`ve evolved like OPETH and their Heritage album – and could’ve done it 15 years before they did, since that was exactly where our music was directed at. When we reactivated the band for a short time back in 2013, we realized that the unreleased songs from 1993 aged very well. We rehearsed them and we came to conclusion those cuts were really, really good. A bit later, we played music as BEDZIE PIEKLO – different music, but it featured some riffs, ideas and melodic parts from the FV`s stuff composed after IT. Those songs were recorded on some shabby tape (and in our heads of course) that we managed to salvage. Well, all in all, good times for us, those were. Of course, each and every member regret that we didn’t move forward, that we didn’t play tours or big festivals but hey, only a very few bands deserve this kind of honour; musicians who are very involved, talented and ready to devote a lot to reach their goals. 

11. Anything to add for your ardent fans who`ve never forgotten about funeral vision`s music?

Well, I need to mention the fact that we are present on FB. In result, we have been contacted by fans from all over the world; some remember the 90s, some other discovered our music just a while ago, but all of them email us about how much they are interested in our music and how much they appreciate its unique character. And I need to mention that our tape was sold online for a large sum of money! We are very happy that IT will be re-released, and it`ll include bonus features. Well, this is our band`s 30th anniversary so this re-release seems like a great birthday present, methinks! 

NecronosferatuS

Poprawiony (piątek, 16 kwietnia 2021 10:11)

 

EVILDEAD: “If it ain't broken, don’t fix it”

 

 

 

Juan Garcia (guitars) and Rob Alaniz (drums) are very proud of the new EvilDead record. And they should be, nobody expects returns like this!

Congratulations on the amazing comeback! This is a very strong record. No weak points!

Juan Garcia: Thank you, I think it’s a solid collection of Thrash Metal songs, and we worked very hard on making the best EVILDEAD album possible.

Rob Alaniz: Thank you! We definitely made sure that this record was “all killer, no filler.” It was very important to have a group of very strong songs. We are very pleased with the end result. It’s like 1988 all over again!

One of the songs dates back to your first reunion, 2011. It was originally recorded with Steve Nelson on vocals. Did you re-record the whole song this time?

Juan Garcia: Yes of course, the original version on “Blasphemy Divine” was recorded with Steve Nelson on vocals; we also recorded a demo a few years ago with Phil on vocals with Bill Metoyer producing. Then we recorded a new studio version; which is the one on the new album also produced by Bill Metoyer.

Rob Alaniz: The lyrics to “Blasphemy Divine” were written by a co-writer friend of ours; Bob Rangel, who contribute lots of lyrics of this album.

 

 

Speaking of the first reunion. The line-up was much different from this of today. Why? And why was it so short-lived?

Rob Alaniz: The first reunion had Mel Sanchez on bass and my roommate at the time Steve Nelson on vocals. We were fortunate to play live shows and also do West coast dates, and a mini-tour of Europe in 2010. There was some tension in the band and it had become more of a chore and no fun so we went into hibernation.

Juan Garcia: When we first reformed it was more about playing live, and having fun, and we did record the “Blasphemy Divine” song and put it out on the internet for free; eventually the line-up at the time was short lived because we were not all on the same page about what we wanted to accomplish; however we did do some great shows together, but fell flat on moving forward. Once we became more focused on direction and what we wanted to accomplish as a band, and once Phil Flores was able to get relief from his family commitments we were able to regroup.

How do you recall Thrasho De Mayo, playing for such a young crowd?

Juan Garcia: I recall a sold-out show with a new generation of Thrash-Metal fans and of course the diehard fans as well. Los Angeles has always been supportive of our style of music and for that we are grateful.

Rob Alaniz: That was our first indication of the scope of “new” fans and it was shocking. All these “kids” were fully into our music and showed support. It was definitely a great way to kick off an official reunion. It’s a shame that it all soured within a few months later. The amazing thing to me was about 90% of these kids weren’t even born when the debut release came in 1988.

Who has been the driving force behind the recent reunion?

Rob Alaniz: The catalyst was a performance in 2016 for my 50th birthday. It showed us that we could continue without Mel and that there was still a reason for us to move on. Cut to current times where we could sellout smaller venues and do well on merchandise. We owe it all to the “new fans” and their rabid intensity. They have truly motivated us.

Juan Garcia: Rob made the effort to contact everyone and ask us if we wanted to do a set of EVILDEAD music for his 50thbirthday, and to me it seemed like a fun idea. The logical step was to record some demos and that led to more live-shows and worldwide interest, and here we are today with a brand new album about to be unleashed on the Metal community.

 

It can easily be heard, that your work with Body Count has an influence on the record. What new have you learnt from playing with Ice-T?

Juan Garcia: I think both bands are totally different in my opinion, but I can see some similarities like both bands have a heavy sound live and on record; however the production is totally different between both bands. The main thing I’ve learned from being in Body Count is to relax, have and just play guitar; just control what I can control.

Phil’s vocals… I’d say he’s influenced by Ice-T a lot, and it’s all for good! Was it a collective idea to use spoken word instead of screaming?

Juan Garcia: Phil has been singing in Punk and Thrash Metal bands since the mid 80’s. I think Phil has his own style, and Ice-T has his own unique style, both are different and great in my opinion. There’s plenty of screaming on this new EvilDead album.

How long was the creative process for “United States Of Anarchy”? Are there any more songs as old as “Blasphemy Divine”?

Rob Alaniz:  One song in particular “Greenhouse” EvilDead used to play it in late 1989; which was then our “new” song. A good portion of these songs have been kicking around since then, later in our other band Rise Inc. and later Rise which was a completely different approach as a more “Florida-styled” death metal band. I guess you could say that the USOA has been processing for 30 years!

Juan Garcia: Thankfully there was material from the past; we re-tooled it in the EvilDead style and tuning; The creative process as a band for this band started with “Blasphemy Divine” with Steve Nelson on vocals. Like Rob mentioned they had demo recordings of completed songs from the past, and pieces of other ideas; but everything was re-worked in the EvilDead style, and of course EvilDead wrote newer songs as well. This record has influences and overtones from all previous EvilDead records and when everyone got together and threw their ideas in the ring we were able to make some great things happen 

According to your lyrics, you’re really angry at today’s world. What drives you crazy the most?

Rob Alaniz: Bob’s lyrics are timeless as they are totally relevant today despite being written over 29 years ago. I guess you could call him a pessimist in the true sense of the word. We liked to jokingly refer to him as NostroBobus for he easily predicted all of the chaos that has ensued after all these years. It’s certainly topical and totally relevant now. Phil’s lyrics have continued the path of truthfully insightful concepts and ideas. Evildead has never shied away from controversial subject matter and figured we’d continue with that ethos. “If it ain't broken, don’t fix it”…

 

Ed Repka’s cover art is one o his best recently. How did you make him not copy/paste his old works into it?

Juan Garcia: We had this concept for album cover art for over 25 years; the idea and concept was influenced by the movie “Soylent Green” that came out in the mid 70’s. starring Charlton Heston. We also were a bit influenced by the Los Angeles riots of 1992. It’s a bit strange how it’s very topical to current conditions in the United States.

Whose idea was the lounge intro? Do you know Richard Cheese, by chance?

Rob Alaniz: That was Me, and Albert. The intro has been around since 1990 as well. So, at least Ten years before Richard Cheese! Albert and I are big fans of Jazz and we decided to pay homage to that influence by recording a jazz-like intro featuring his best “Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass” influenced.  I think it’s fun, and shows a bit of diversity and maturity. We wanted to make the intro sound like an old 1940’s radio broadcast but, we left it alone as-is. It offers a bit of respite before becoming an ice pick to the forehead!

Your merch store is empty. When are you planning some new items?

Juan Garcia: Yes, it should be updated shortly; we sold out of a lot of merchandise, and were so busy with recording this album, and then the pandemic hit, so we left our merch store alone. We are working on new designs and everything should be updated soon.

What does the future hold in store for Evildead? With touring impossible due to covid, is making plans doable at all?

Rob Alaniz: We hope that we can get out there in support of this new chapter soon. Planning is tough now as there really is no way to see if, or when this pandemic ends. In the meantime, we will try to do as other bands have with live- streams, and special direct-to-fan events. Despite all, barring any personal health constraints, we’re all ready to go! Here’s to hoping its sooner than later!

Juan Garcia: We are working on a few things to promote this album. We would like to do live shows when possible; including possible Europe festivals, and selective shows.

 

When Evildead initially disbanded, you continued as Terror. What can you say about that band?

Juan Garcia: Terror was a continuation of EvilDead for me with lyrics in Spanish. It was a project and we signed with a record company in Mexico and released one album. If I was to go back in time; I would made a better effort to keep EvilDead together. We had lost focus at the time, and then the grunge movement hit, and it was a difficult time for Thrash bands on the West coast.

What’s the current status of Masters Of Metal?

Juan Garcia: Bernie Versailles sustained a brain injury. We have decided to put everything on the shelf and not continue as a band. We did release a full album and a collection a few EPs. I don’t see us continuing as a band without Bernie Versailles.

One last question: why is the bonus track available on vinyl only, not on the digipak CD?

Juan Garcia: The bonus track is a song called “Planet Claire” we re-recorded in our style and it’s a bonus track for the vinyl version and also included on the digital version. It’s a song that we’ve been wanting to cover for sometime.

Thanks for the interview!!!

Juan Garcia: Thank you and we hope you enjoy the new EvilDead album “United States of Anarchy” and hope to see you on tour in 2021.

Vlad Nowajczyk

Photos: SPV

 

Poprawiony (wtorek, 19 września 2023 15:09)

 

ANCESTOR INTERVIEW

I admit that the recent actions of Sodom, the first full-length of the Thai Nuclear Warfare and just the debut album Ancestor, are three reasons why I have been watching the Thrash scene much more carefully, one I have neglected so far. And Ancestor is at the forefront here! This young team from China plays as if we wanted many veterans of the scene to play. They take handfuls of Teutonic Thrash under the sign of Destruction, Kreator or Sodom, adding to it something from the old American scene, like Death Angel and Dark Angel influences. I invite you to read the conversation I had last year with Li Meng - guitarist and leader of the band

1. Hi there Li Meng! What's new in Ancestor's camp? As far as I know there is a new album coming next year, right?

Hi buddy, I’m very excited to be interviewed by Oldschool Metal Maniac. We performed a massive tour in Asia in February for our last album, Lords of Destiny. After that, we have hardly scheduled a concert. As you said, we are currently working on our next album, but before we release that we will have a new song included on a compilation of Asian thrash metal.

2. I guess it's your very first interview for the Polish Metal press. Do you have a chance to reach European scene already? Johannes Chan from Destruktion Records is Ancestor's great supporter and I remember reading interview with you in his Bestial Desecration fanzine.

Yes, this is my first interview with Polish metal press. Previously, we were invited to perform in the Czech Republic, but during that time we were on tour in Asia. Johannes is a great guy; he’s really obsessed with the music of ANCESTOR. The interview that you mention was actually done by another guy named Jero. He owns a label called Eerie Hint Productions. The tape versions of the first ANCESTOR album and the EP were both released by him. Both Johannes and Jero are real underground metal maniacs! I'm very honored to have their support and help.

3. Let's get back to the beginnings of the band to introduce you a bit to the Polish maniacs. How you guys met and what inspired you then to start making your own music?

Hail, Polish maniacs, we are ANCESTOR, an underground thrash metal band from Beijing, China.

The band was formed in 2004 by our drummer and myself. There was only two of us at first. I recall, back in the summer of 2007, we got an opportunity to perform, so we found a temporary guitarist and a bass player to join us to complete the group for the show. After the show, a maniac fan came to us and insisted to join the band, so the duo became a trio! That was how we found our first official bass player. During this time in 2007, a true barbarian carrying a Jackson showed up and he became our guitarist. Finally, in 2009, for the first time, ANCESTOR got a complete line-up.

 

4. Your Thrash Metal art seems to be highly influenced by the old European bands, especially the ones from Germany, like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. Do you have any memories when you listen to these for the first time? Why you have decided on such style instead of more popular US Thrash? Does your band name means that correspondence with the European Thrash godfathers?

Yes, our music is influenced by a large number of European metal bands. I am fascinated by the solemn, dark artistic atmosphere that they create. I also like US Thrash, such as the great MEGADETH, but when I heard KREATOR’s Pleasure to Kill, I knew this was the style of music I really wanted to play! Underground, brutal and aggressive! In fact, our name comes from a Chinese band called OVERLOAD. They have a famous single called The Shades of Ancestors. They were the very first Chinese Thrash Metal band.

5. Heard, that from the very beginning the band suffered from frequent line-up changes and because of that 10 years needed to pass to officially release your first material - "Age of Overload" EP. Could your recall that period and why it took so much time to stabilize the band?

From the beginning, only the drummer and I have been constant members. In 2008, we moved from our hometown to Beijing in order to see how far ANCESTOR could go. We’ve had a number of lineups - musicians came and left. In the past, this has made the band’s future unclear. The most crucial issue that we’ve collided with in the past is finding genuine, underground metal musicians. This is really difficult! When it comes to musicians in Beijing, some of them can be exceptional, skilled in technique, but they know nothing about metal music, leaving underground metal behind. As far as I’m concerned, without the underground spirit, a musician is only soulless and machine-like. The songs on Age of Overload were written and ready for recording in 2010, but at that time we went through the first major lineup change, so recording the album had to be postponed. 7 years later, in 2017, we successfully released Age of Overload on the band’s 10th anniversary.

 

6. So far you have one EP and a debut album, what was the response on both materials in China and other countries you've managed to reach? For me, and to be honest, such bands like your are the hope of Thrash scene.

Thanks for your kind words! Here in China metal fans are more familiar with US Thrash, Retro Thrash and Modern Thrash. So many of them don’t really understand what we are doing. We didn’t get much following after the release of the album. So, we were very surprised to be featured in several international metal music magazines and websites. Lords of Destiny was even included in some of their 2018 top 5 or top 10 lists. As a Chinese thrash metal band, this has made us feel more confident with the release and we consider this a huge accomplishment. Our achievements have encouraged us to forge ahead and put out even more heavyweight thrash metal assaults in the future.

7. Do you have any special memories connected with the recording of "Lords of Destiny" and concerts you gave to promote the album?

We started recording Lords of Destiny in May of 2018 with our former bass player, Zhang Jinliang. Age of Overload was also recorded by him and he did an excellent job with both albums.

The most memorable thing about recording Lords of Destiny is that Inner Struggle was written the day before we recorded it. We didn’t have any time to rehearse it. We just recorded it. On August 18, 2018, we took part in a gig called Thrashing Madness Attack, which was the official release date for the album. Then we started a large-scale Asian tour which lasted until February this year. The last stop was True Thrash Fest in Japan. There were about 50 gigs on this touring circuit, which here in China is considered unprecedented for an extreme metal band.

 

8. Could you tell me how the extreme Metal scene in China looks like? Could you recommend any bands, releases for us to check?

I don't think the way that China’s Extreme Metal is developing is proper. Many of the older bands don’t desire to continue, while the newer bands are lured by profit. These people lack an essential element of metal music—the true underground spirit. China also lacks excellent and fair metal music media. Fans no longer focused on music as before, they prefer to buy T-shirts, patches, anything that looks good and makes them seem metal. Even though I still find the Extreme Metal environment in promising. There are still some good bands I'd like to recommend, such as Dugu, Skeletal Augury, Holokastrial, Rupture, The Metaphor, Deathpact, Hellfire, Hellward, and Chaotic Aeon.

9.When talking about influences and stuff you listen to, I bet you do not limit yourself to Thrash only. What other genres are among your favourites, bands, maybe records if you like to mention a few? Are you going to add some Black/Death elements to your Ancestor's music on the upcoming record?

Besides Thrash Metal, I listen to a lot of Black Metal and Death Metal... I think the classic albums of the '80s and '90s influences every new band and will continue to do so until the day when there is no underground metal music on earth. I think the following bands are the ones that every metalhead must listen to, such as: KREATOR, BATHORY, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, PROTECTOR, POISON, AGRESSOR, DESASTER, MERCILESS, DEATH, POSSESSED, EGZEKUTHOR, TORMENTOR , SACRIFICE, DESTROYER 666, INCUBUS, DEAD HEAD, MESSIAH, MASSACRA, PESTILENCE, SADUS, SEPULTURA, NIFELHEIM, IMMORTAL, AURA NOIR and NECROMANTIA. There are too many great bands and they all have affected what music I create and the path that my life is all about. If I had to mention only one album, it has to be Pleasure To Kill. As far as I’m concerned, it's the best Thrash album ever and will never be surpassed. ANCESTOR’s next album will be more aggressive and will have a touch of Black/Death elements.

10.When mentioning an upcoming release there is a matter of tour as well, are there any plans for a Europe gigs, visiting Poland maybe?

A European tour is and has been our dream all along. If all goes well, maybe next year.

Currently, we are looking for a booking agency. Hopefully, we could take our new killer album to the underground metal scene in Europe! See you in Poland, man!

11. You are also a men behind Awakening Records, am I correct? You have already released the Ancestor's debut under this label, but also the reissue of "Gloomy Night Stories" by Inferno Requiem and Nightbound self-titled EP. Both bands are completely different, on one hand there is a Hard Rock stuff, and on the other raw Black Metal. I guess you are not limiting yourself to only extreme art. Please tell me how you got started with releasing stuff and what inspired you to do so?

 

Yes, you are right! I started Awakening Records with two friends in 2017. Both of them are 666 % pure metalheads. Personally, I prefer extreme metal of the '80s and '90stheir tastes are a lot more across-the-board than mine. So, AR’s releases are not limited to just Black, Death and Thrash.

No matter what, we all share the same viewpoint: to pursue high-quality metal music and produce high-quality records. I believe every diehard dreams of owning their own label to distribute records of the bands that they love. I had this dream 20 years ago when I was just an uninformed kid. Now I am finally realizing this dream, though there is still a lot of things I need to learn. Because of this, I would like to share my appreciation to all the underground metal music labels!

12.Now something different but still connected with the label. What is your opinion on downloading music, its digital version and the situation of the physical stuff? I think you are strongly defending the vinyl, cd, tape format and its quality.

Thank you for your kind words about Awakening Records. Yes, times are changing, science and technology are growing strong. Every new step produces both good and bad influences. When I started to listen to extreme metal, many of the older underground bands did not have their albums reprinted yet, and express delivery was not as convenient as it is today. So, it was difficult to get what you wanted. Because of this, I initially downloaded a lot of MP3s and in recent years and have been able to start purchasing these wonderful albums because they have been reprinted on a large scale.

I don’t look down upon any digital format. It’s more practical, especially when you’re on the road touring. I mean, no one wants to be lugging around tons of CDs.

I think that most people are like me. We still buy CDs, vinyl, and tapes but we also enjoy the convenience of digital format.

13.I know you are familiar with Polish metal scene, both old and new, are there any bands you like most? Do they have any influence on you when writing music for Ancestor?

Yes, I'm familiar withsome metal bands from Poland. In fact, I first became aware of Polish metal thanks to Thrashing Madness Productions. I’m impressed with EGZEKUTHOR, MERCILESS DEATH, HELLIAS, MORTAL SLAUGHTER, LASTWAR, and GHOST. The underground metal spirit and feeling of all these great bands have had some influence on my music. In general, all the TMP releases are worth collecting. In 2014, the Polish band Wolf Spider came to China. ANCESTOR had the honour to open the gig.

14.Ok, that's will be the end for now. Thanks for all the answers and your time. It was a damn pleasure to have you here and the possibility to introduce Ancestor to OMM readers. If you have anything to add, or any message to Polish Metal maniacs now it's the time. Metal regards and hope to see you soon in Poland!

It was great be interviewed by OMM. This will be a very important addition to ANCESTOR's experiences! Hail to all OMM readers! A killer show will soon be held for the Polish Metal maniacs! It's time to Rise by Sin!

  Przemysław Bukowski

Poprawiony (piątek, 07 lutego 2020 12:05)

 

IMPERATOR

Imperator, one of the most important bands in Poland's metal history, has returned. Great concerts in December 2018 as part of Merry Christless mini tour, the announcement of a show with equally famous Protector from Germany in October this year – fans' appetites are growing. Bariel, the Founding Father of Imperator, has shed some light on the reasons for the band's reunion and their plans for the future. 
 
 
Hello Bariel! First of all, congratulations on your successful Merry Christless shows. What are your feelings concerning those concerts? Have they fulfilled your vision as for the official reunion of Imperator?
 
 
 
Hi there! Thanks, yeah, I think those shows have met my expectations. There was a big chance it would all work out as we had  worked really hard before the gigs. I myself can't remember how many rehearsals we'd played. It seams that I dedicated the whole 2018 to the band. First there was the line up, we finally ended up with three new members, of whom no one had any idea. I wanted to keep the new line up a secret untill mid December. I didn't want people to speculate whether I'd made the right choices. 
You know, we had a really intense rehearsal schedule. We met three times every weekend – Friday till Sunday – at least me and Richter. Since May each rehearsal was 6-8 hours long, sometimes even more. We met 45 times during the summer holidays. I didn't really know how people would take those shows. 80 per cent of the people I talked to or whose opinions I heard were  rather sceptical. They said 'Don't do it Bariel, you're going to kill the legend.' Only one fifth of those interested would say 'Fucking awesome, Bariel, it's the right call. Keep going.' I'm generally satisfied with those gigs. We had put a lot of work in the whole thing. And in December we simply did what we were supposed to. We just played. Now we're focused on the future...
 
Since the new line up is no longer a secret, can you tell us a bit about the new members?  Krzysztof “Chris” Świątkiewicz seems to have already been involved with the band in the past, but the rest (Tomasz Nowok and Richter) are fresh blood. How did you come to work with them?
 
 
I'd had a lot of questions since April 2018 when Nergal from Behemoth spilled the beans about Merry Christless shows including Imperator. People seemed to think that was a joke as the news was published on April's Fool. They went on asking 'So now what, you, Mefisto and Carol?' I would only say 'Wait till December, you'll see for yourselves.' Mefisto played with us for some time, it was no secret. As for Carol – I talked to him in January or February 2018 and told him I was bringing back Imperator, but  I had a different idea for the drummer. Mefisto had been playing with us till August, but then it turned out the whole thing didn't really fit in his schedule. I think it had to do with the number of rehearsals I suggested, or rather expected. There didn't seem to be another way than just to play the songs over and over again. And to play them better each time, as you can always get better as a whole band. Always.  At some point all those little mistakes are only known to the band, but they're always there. So the strategy was to reduce the amount of those mistakes as much as possible. In the end things went rather smoothly, but probably not perfectly. At some point I was really happy the gigs were coming up because otherwise we would just work ourselves to death, haha. After parting with Mefisto I got in touch with Tomek Nowok. Richter knew him and had his phone number. I'll tell you about the drummer later.  Krzysiek Świątkiewicz had already played with Imperator. I mean here the year 1995. Just ask Chris and he'll remember no other episode, haha... So, the choice here seemed  rather obvious. He's a great guitar player, he's also crazy about almost the same music I've always listened to, but most importantly, he's an awesome guy. I got in touch with him in January 2018 and said 'Listen, I'm bringing back Imperator and you're welcome to be a part of it, a really important one.' The same month I had the idea of Richter behind the drums. I'd heard plenty of suggestions of drummers playing for different bands, both form Poland and outside the country. I'd also been told about top Polish, let's say, multi-band drummers, but I said 'Wait a second, I want to check one dude first – I've got a certain feeling about him.' I met Richter in June 2016 at 'The Time Before Time' beer premiere in Warsaw. He came round and asked me to sign his record. He was an IMPA fan and never tried to hide it really.  On the day II wouldn't even think of the reunion. After a while he asked me to send him the lyrics for 'Święta Wojna' (Holy War) as he wanted to cover the song with his band, Bestiality. Then, in January, I think, I wrote him 'Hey, would you play a few songs from the album on drums?' He wrote back 'I know this album by heart.' It later turned out not to be entirely true, haha. After a few months he told me 'What was I supposed to tell you then?' So I still don't know whether he knew the album so well or not. I'm not so sure, haha. Anyway, we met. In April we started practicing. I really appreciate the energy he has brought into Imperator. I made a joke once that I had been waiting with bringing the band back to life until Richter was born – he's 23. We hadn't played for 25 years. 
And as for Novock – when things with Mefisto started to go south, I knew I had to find someone right away. I told Mef what I was planning. I went to see some gig in Łódź, in a club called Magnetofon. Devilpriest with Tomek was playing there, I came round to him and we talked. On the very next day he was in Warsaw  to see how we were doing. You  know, he might have been among those 80 per cent of people who didn't really believe this would all work out. He also wanted to talk about a possible schedule in this artistic endeavour. I emailed him the papers (the songs' scores). A week later he came back with three, almost perfectly learnt songs. It was a nice surprise to us. It was fully professional. He's also brought great energy to the band. I'm really satisfied with this line up. ..
 
Why didn't you want to take things up with Carol?
 
Well, recently I tried again to remember why in late 1993, when things with Imperator started  to get really serious, I decided to put a halt to the band. There were a few reasons. The guys might remember it differently, but the songs we were making back then – the ones that have never seen the light of day, only being recorded sometime at Iabelin Studio – those songs had no tempo. They weren't fast. Fuck, what a nightmare. Back in late '80s nobody knew the term 'blast', we ourselves didn't use it in Impa. But who cares. I had always wanted to play as fast as possible, with fucking brutality. And Carol's drumming didn't have that. There wasn't really anyone to step in his shoes either back then – Docent (from Vader) had his hands full – and that was actually it. But to be fair – we made huge progress with Carol in those days, our playing improved much. We started playing slower than when Moloch was in the band, but deffinitely more accurately. And since the 'Dracula” recordings and theatre perfomances we played together for a few years. But even now, when working again on the bonus songs from the CD version – 'Love Is the Law' or 'The Rest Is Silence' I find the drums arrangements a bit weird. We're not going to change anything but now I finally realise I simply 
didn't want to play that way. Well, those songs are quite OK though. Now, for the first time, at least in a long time, I can bring up the song titles, like 'Elder Gods' or 'Your Accursedness'. I don't know if I'll ever go back to them. Without the tempo? I don't want to play without speed, it must have got on my nerves even more back then...
 
 
What's it like to come back to playing after over 20 years? What made you do that and why did you wait that long?
 
I think the starting point was that conversation I had with Nergal and Orion back in December 2017.  It was when they said it would be awesome if Imperator joined them during the next edition of merry Christless. I started thinking about it then. Just after that I got back to Łódź and found my guitar – there are no guides on how to get back to playing after over twenty years – and really, except for a few occasions, I hadn't played at all for 23 years. It was an experiment I had to conduct on myself. Back in 1995 we played a bit (meybe a few months) with Krzysiek Świądkiewicz, Mefisto and Paweł Socha of Tenebris behind the drums. Unfortunately, Paweł had to leave Łódź and the whole thing just died. Then there was this so called come back of Imperator in 1998, when I didn't even know that something was going on behind my back. It was totally unfair. I just consider it something that has never happened. It definitely was not Imperator. We straightened things up with Carol and Mefisto a log time ago anyway. To sum up: this time, in 2017, I really felt it was the right time for the band's come back. 
 
You mentioned sometime earlier some possible  Imperator shows to follow. Can you tell us more about it? I think we can agree there would be a lot of interest in those gigs. 
 
Since I haven't got anything confirmed for 100 per cent, I'm not going to give you any details yet, but I am talking to some people about it. You probably realise what it's like with booking festivals, how much time prior these thing need to be dealt with. A lot of people form booking agencies had been waiting for the shows in December 2018 and now they say 'Man, if only we had known things were so great with Imperator, we would have booked something for 2019, now it's going to be difficult.'  But we'll see what comes up this year. We've already had some offers for 2020. In all those years I've kind of moved away from the scene also in terms of managing things and I'm learning how it all works all over again. The infrastructure, the density, the possibility of travelling around the whole world, agencies, promoters, all the possible setbacks, people's good will etc. I need to get acquainted with it all. I'm already working on it but luckily there are some people helping me, who actually have some idea about this kind of things and who were present at the scene when I wasn't there. Let's just say that when I know anything I'll let you know via our Imperator fanpage. But I must say we're not really opting for semi tours and shows in the middle of nowhere. And there's still a lot of work to do – we're working on a few songs we didn't play in December. It might be March, April, maybe later – I don't know. We'll let you know. 
 
 
The band has come back in a totally different reality than the one you were part of through most of the band's existence. Are you considering taking Imperator outside Polish borders? No Iron Curtain is going to stand in your way as it did when you were plannig to visit Norway back in Euronymous's days.
 
Well, the Iron Curtain might be gone, but the problem remains – we've been offered to headline a really interesting festival in the US, but it turns out only I have a visa – it's the same paradox like the one 30 years ago when it was about passports. So, pardon my French, but it's fucking killing me, 'cause the realms are exactly the same. I just hope the guys will manage to prepare all the necessary documents. You know, if it were any other country, maybe except for Australia, we would have already been booked for that show. And as for Europe, even today I got an offer form a very big festival in Europe, but then again – if only the organiser had known before, we would be thinking of 2019, not 2020, which we are working on now. But, as I've already mentioned, we are talking to some people and we are plannig expantion to the West. But we can all agree that it's only been a month since the merry Christless shows. Before those gigs I didn't make any plans or even research for that matter. In my view, it wouldn't be humble – you know, the band hasn't even played their first show in almost a quarter of a century and they're already booking shows outside the country. That would be sick...
 
 
'The Time Before Time' was inicially released on vinyl only and it was at a time when the vinyl was being gradually pushed away by CD's. Since vinyls are back for good, can we expect a rerelease on a 12 inch?  'Eternal Might' was reissued wonderfully not so long ago, you yourself were never satisfied with  Polskie Nagrania's rather crude release of TTBT. 
 
It's funny you should ask about that as I actually have a contract for the reissue of 'The Time Before Time' just in front of me – I scanned it today before sending it back. It's for a very interesting label so I'm 99 per cent sure it will come out this year on a vinyl and a CD. There might be a tape as well.  It's all set, we're only thinking about the date. We'll keep you posted on that too. 
 
You came back in 2018 – that's a completely new thing. But still, some time ago you  reminded us of the band by releasing your own brand of beer as a cooperation with Piwoteka Brewery. The idea of your return must have crossed the minds of many fans back then – it seemed like a well prepared come back.With so many other bands from the past regrouping around that time made many people think your return was also possible. Didn't you really think of coming back earlier? By the way, how did you come up with the idea of making Imperator beer? 
 
We've made a few beers with Piwoteka, but the last time we actually worked on with Browar Spółdzielczy (People's Brewery). Me and the people from Piwoteka were friends and the other day I just threw an idea like 'Hey, why don't we make Imperator beer?' I wasn't really serious about it, but then, when I came round again after a week, Marek, a guy from the company, asked if I had any design or concept for the whole thing. You know, the label, the name of the beer etc. Somehow we started working on it pretty quickly. People made comments, obviously, like 'Now Imperator is going to make beer istead of music.' But I really wish for all those criticising us or other bands making their beer, to have enough courage to go for it. I doesn't really have to go well you know. And, of course, there must be a brewery that is willing to work on it with you. Anyways, people asked why we had decided to make beer and not, for instance, make new music or play concerts. I didn't really care about it much. I knew all those trolls or bitter people with their noses glued to their computer screens just wouldn't let go. But I don't think there was even the slightest idea, or even a thought of making a come back in those days. However, in all those year Mefisto (mostly him) kept nagging me about making a reunion. 'Come on Bariel, let's play. Let's bring back Imperator.' When we occasionally met with Carol, it would be the same. But every time I would say no. Maybe in 2017, when me and Mitloff made a rerelease of 'Eternal Might' – we had been working on it for quite a long time and it all went well (thanks again, Mitloff) – but it wasn't a definite idea at that time, I don't think so. Then I went to see a few gigs, thought to myself it would be cool to feel this energy on stage again. I think it might have started growing in me then – the time spent in the studios, coming round to other bands' rehearsals and meeting up with some people from the metal scene, and all those recurring questions like 'When are you going to play again? Why the hell did you kill the band in the first place?' But it was the meeting  with the guys from Behemoth in December 2017 when I really felt it was the time. 
 
 
Your come back seems a huge success  for now – the band is in great shape, there's a lot of interest in Iperator generally. But still, didn't you fear it would all come out differently? Like maybe Imperator's time is long gone, or it would be better to leave the legend where it is – in the far gone past? You yourself mentioned general scepticism among others. 
 
Man, of course! It was one of the hardest decisions in my life, I knew I was risking everything. I also knew we had to play as well as it was possible, otherwise we would be eaten alive. But I felt we had to do this. Not like 'it's now or never.' I just felt this energy growing. And it was this energy that seemed to lack in previous years – I didn't know the right people to play with, I also didn't have that energy in me. But since the final days of 2017 I felt this energy coming and coming. I knew it would all take lots of hard work. I had never felt any pressure, never thought of the time passing, the time that could finally be no more. You see, we had a band practice today, after a few weeks' break – we obviously had to take some time from each other. But we were already hungry for more. I like this feeling. You're asking if I was afraid since my decision? I don't really think so. I was so concentrated on all the preparations to make this thing work that there was no room for  fear. We needed a guitar back up, we also needed trusted people who would ride with us. I had this comfort of travelling with Mitloff and his help with this mini tour was invaluable. Tomek Pawłowski was our sound engineer and we had a great rapport with him. All it needed was just a few words to get every message across. We had everything we could wish for. It was fucking awesome. We don't have a manager, we never really did, I've always been the one who would deal with all things. So when it all started to finally work properly, there was no time for stress. 'Guys, we just come out there and do our jobs.' We were also prepared thanks to those hundreds of hours spend in the rehearsal room. I definitely had to make sure my voice was alright – you know, November and December are the months when it's really easy to get an infection – maybe I was a bit afraid of that, I knew I had to look after myself in this matter. No room for a damn cold. During this whole time of our practising we were visited by only a few trusted people. All of them claimed we were heavy as hell. It was sheer bliss, haha...
But what's also important – two of the band members are, undeniably, part of the new generation – they're tolal maniacs like everyone in this new line up. They said 'Bariel, there will be a lot of people, some of them might not even have heard of Imperator. It's hard to say what the reception wiil be like.' Then I just said to them 'Gentelmen, let that not bother us at all. We just do our thing!' It all went really well. And we're still doing our thing, we're not going to stop at where we are now. But we've got our feet on the ground and we look humbly into the future. With our heads high, but without insolence...
 
 
You performed live the legendary set, your come back is great – no doubt about that. But does Imperator of today have any bigger ambitions than to be just a voice from the past? Are you considering recording any new stuff?
 
You know, up until the shows, when we were working on the old songs in our rehearsal room, anytime a new riff came to my head and we would try it out I would say 'Damn, guys, it's awesome... but hey, let's leave this sort of things for later, after 16th  December.' Only now, since a month ago,  do I let myself think about these things. I've no idea when and how we're going to do this, but I will surely want to make something new. I feel good with it, I still have some new ideas. I can't say when – I'm not going to rush things. But there will be something. For now we're still working on some other old songs to make our setlist a bit longer...
 
Even you, today, mentioned that famous Izabelin Studio session. What seems to be the problem, why  aren't these recordings available?
 
I think there were two sessions. The thing is I have no mastertape from these sessions. It's  all only on some cassette tape, somewhere. It might be shocking to some, I know – completely unknown Imperator songs from the old days, maybe hidden somewhere on a CASSETTE! The DAT tape simply  wasn't bought out from the studio and it later disappeared. It does not exist anymore. But I'll try to find that cassette somewhere and I'll digitalise it, so it doesn't disappear completely, like the Dracula session did, the one we recorded at a radio studio in Bydgoszcz...
 
 
Final words?
 
I'd like to thank all the people who were at the shows, who welcomed us so warmly, for their positive reaction. It was the best reward we could have ever dreamt of. It gave us a huge boost and it motivates us for futher work. A big thanks goes to all those who helped us play like we did – especially to the guys from the band, without them I wouldn't be able to do anything. My regards go to Mefisto, who had put a lot of work up until a certain moment. A massive thanks goes to the whole crew that rode with us in December 2018. Thanks to you, Radek. Thanks for an interesting talk and best wishes to Oldschool Metal Maniac!
 
Thanks!
 
Radosław Grygiel
January 2019

Poprawiony (środa, 28 sierpnia 2019 19:34)

 

IMPERATOR

 
Hi there Bariel! It seems that Imperator has started writing another chapter of its story, You've already played a few gigs, including the  Merry Christless mini tour with Behemoth and  Black Silesia Open Air Festival IV, more and more shows are being announced... what's it like to be back on stage after so many years? Do you feel the same energy as in the old days? 
 
 
 
Hi. Definitely. You know, the Black Silesia show was just incredible, the audience was slightly different, more radical than at Merry Christless, as if some sort of natural selection took place. And it seems we did alright, people responded to us in a very positive way, not only during the show. It wasn't a concert in a fully packed club, as with Behemoth, but the reception and, so to say, the quality of those maniacs brought back the memories of our shows back in 92 or 93 (or even before that time) when that sort of people appeared at our gigs. Nothing was out of place. You will always see a poser here or there today, but at that festival everythinmg seemed just fine. And all those conversations with the bands from the old days – they were so uplifting. Take for example  the one with Don from Nunslaughter, who sent me their demo in their early days and he still remembered it. We had a couple of Imperator beers and chatted about this and that for a minute. In general, everyone had something good to say. 'Bariel, it was a really fucking awesome show!' We're highly motivated to face what's ahead of us, to carefully plan our next steps. By the way, the whole festival was great, really well organized, kudos to Michał Sabatowski!
 
You had a chance to share the stage with Tormentor, a band which, just like you, came back just recently after a really long hiatus...
 
True, and here's a fun fact. We were just in the middle of our soundcheck, when the guys from Tormentor arrived. One of them came to me and said they were really happy to play on the same day with us. We talked for a while, I gave him my band's T-shirt. He offered me Tormentor's and told me a story when, back at some festival in Sweden, during a heavy rain, Fenriz, yes, that Fenriz, gave him his Imperator T-shirt he was wearing at that moment so he could change his wet one. And he remembered it. You know, a nice little thing, though I've no idea where they could've got out shirt in Sweden. I still have those postal receipts from the days when I'd send Imperator demos to guys like Fenriz, Vikernes or other people who were unknown at that time in return for their bands' tapes...
 
Let's go back a few decades, to the days when Imperator was taking its first steps. At the time when you started playing you must have been one the very first bands with such a brutal sound. How did people react to your music back then?
 
People's first reactions were, let's say, not that positive. We played our first show in one of Łódź's community centres. It was either 84 or 85, I can't remember exactly. I guess it was 85 and, if I remember correctly, it was the 'Railwayman' community centre. Some soldiers from a nearby military station were invited, probably to have a taste of some higher culture. They couldn't really grasp the meaning of our show, they booed us, giggled and did not cheer with delight (laughter). 
We didn't really care and just did our thing. But things like that would happen more often. Even before gigs, when we were trying to find a place to practise, those party appointed heads of community centres would first say, 'come on, guys, play something' and then only, 'hey, that's not the way to play, please, maybe come back next year.' We had to face difficulties like that all the time, including our first show at Jarocin Festival in 1986. We sent them a reh tape. Before that me and Tomek, the guy I started the band with, attended the festival in 1985 and we really wanted to play there one day. The next year we got a message saying that our recording was interesting, but they weren't really sure yet. And just before the event we still hadn't got a final answer – maybe the letter got lost somewhere, maybe someone at the post office stole it because they liked the stamp – who knows. But I had an idea: 'let's just go there and get on the stage no matter what! It might work, right?' (laughter).  We had plenty of gadgets at the time, most people had never seen such things before. You know, spike bands – I made one with 15 or 20 cm nails after I'd seen the one of Kerry King's – or a belt I'd bought in Reich, that is in East Germany - it was original, something completely unavailable in Poland. It had spikes as well. We came round to the back door of the small stage – I was carrying my guitar, Mefisto was holding his bass  The guy at the entrance asked for our band's name, but we were not on the list so he said he wouldn't let us pass. I asked him to check again and then the other guy standing there in the back said we looked like a band so we should go and play. And so we played, hah! People's reactions were really good, the music we played was completely different from everything else around that time, so we caught them by surprise. You could always listen to speed, thrash metal, but I knew what we had to offer was just something else. By the way, this story shows what things were like at that time, how everything worked. I'm glad I could be part of it, experience it all...
 
Do you remember any other interesting stories from those days?
 
Let's take for instance the show we went to without our drummer – I think it was 1987 in Piła. Tomek, AKA Adrian, didn't make it to the train station. We had no idea what had happened to him, why he didn't come and, more importantly, what to do about it. We were supposed to headline that show and it would really suck if we didn't play. There was another band going with us there on the same train, Forst, so I asked their drummer if he could play fast and if he would sit behind the kit. 
He wasn't really enthusiastic about it, he said he didn't know our songs and things like that. So I told him, 'Listen, I'll just give you signs, for one you hit the snare and the kick as fast as you can, after another you just slow down.' This way we played for about forty minutes and everybody was happy. Yeah, you could pull thing like that back then. But it wasn't the last time a drummer failed us. We were supposed to play at Thrash Camp in Rogoźno. We were all there, we even managed to do a soundcheck. I think so, I can't fucking remember for sure. There were plenty of people, some of them had already seen us in the back so they would shout 'Imperator! Imperator!' while other bands were playing. And then Marek Gaszyński, the concert's backer of some sort, a guy from the Polish Radio, asked us if we were ready to play. So I told him we weren't ready yet as our drummer had run into the woods. 'The woods? What do you mean?', he asked. But it really happened. Moloch disappeared into the woods, do you get it? While breaking it to the audience I tried to be more subtle about the whole situation, I said something about a technical problem. We obviously parted our ways with Moloch after that. Both Piła and Rogoźno were obstacles of the sort after which you have to start things from scratch. I had to look for another drummer and, again, it wasn't the last time!
 
It seems safe to say that today the metal scene is suffering from some kind of overload. There are so many bands, every local club will offer you a small gig a few nights every week, let alone all those international tours visiting and later revisiting almost every corner of the globe. We've got fewer people coming to the shows of even the most accomplished bands. What was it like back in the 80's, when there weren't so many gigs to go to?
 
Yeah, something strange is going on, right? I remember coming to Sodom gig some time ago, they were touring with Assassin then, a band I was actually more interested in than Sodom itself. I really wanted to see Gonella and co. as I used to listen to their demos over and over again – I liked these recordings much more than 'The Upcoming Terror'. There were like 200 people there and I think it all happened about ten years ago. Back in the days when we started playing, that is fifteen or twenty years before, those bands would play for a huge crowd. And today, let's take Warsaw or Łódź as those 'circles' are especially close to me, every now and then there's something going on. It's a totally different reality now. When we went out to the people with our first shows after the reformation I didn't know what to expect. But people shouted 'Imperator!' again, it was nice. But even ten years ago I noticed those experts standing right in front of the stage, with their arms folded, their legs slightly apart, their heads held high, just judging. In the past there was just mosh, stagedive, slamdance, pure energy. It's different now, but if you can't change something, you just have to accept it, maybe even like it – that part might be hard though. 
 
I suppose many things have changed in those over thirty years since you started – the stage equipment that is now available, sound engineers or music instrument lessons – they are all available on a daily basis. But back then you could only dream of such support as musicians, am I right? What was it like in those days?
 
As for the availability of instruments and other equipment, now it's way easier than it used to be, no doubt about that. I don't want to sound like a martyr of the old days, I really loved doing what I did and I did it the only way possible. If  I had to go from Łódź to Gdańsk to buy new strings, I would just get on a train and visit Presto shop, as there was no other place closer to Łódź that would offer strings you could actually play with. Also, I knew some guys there and I had a really good friend living in Gdańsk, a real maniac. So I'd go there, having something to look forward to as well. But on a daily basis I'd use spirits, cotton wool and clean the stirngs to make them last for as long as possible. Shall I continue? In order to get my first distortion and a professional cable I had to go to West Berlin and that itself was not that easy. The border, body search – just ridiculous. It was a constant fight. There were no instruments available in Poland. We didn't expect much really, just something with strings not that far from the neck. I first used a simple distortion I'd bought from a craftsman in Łódź, on Przybyszewski St. I think. We wanted to have even the simplest amplifiers – no one would even dream of Marshal or Messa back then. I bought that first distortion in the 90's – using it was absolutely overwhelming. Today you just enter the store, you can try everything out, it's great. But I'm honestly glad I could experience it all back in the 80's, you can't just repeat that. You know, you could make a simulation of some sort, like take your aunt's guitar and lock yourself in a shed somewhere in the mountains, but what would be the point? It was hard back then, we didn't have instruments to play, a place to play, but I had this idea to play that one way, not any other, although my first songs were actually more like...  AC/DC. But it lasted only a few weeks, months maybe, until I heard 'Headhunter', an album by Krokus,  played with double kick, and that was it. Then Metallica and Slayer came, you know. I knew we had to play fast, I still think so... (laughter).
 
But you were all self-taught musicians, weren't you?
 
Sure we were! Well, I have to say I did have a few classical guitar lessons at some community centre. I  played 'We're Going on a Hunt', with the use of notes, they even put me a special stool under my foot, but it didn't seem like my thing really. So I tried to work things out myself. But what you might find surprising is the fact that, later on, some guitarists would come to take lessons from me. People like Valdi Moder, who'd later become our 'Polish Satriani'. I myself have never been attracted to virtuoso style of playing, I've always been interested in rhythms, pace changes, syncopes etc. I learnt to play while practising Imperator songs and I guess there are no other songs I could play better (laughter). We used to play some cover songs, but we stopped that. Now I think playing someone else's songs is lame and you should do that only when you don't have enough of your own material. But, of course, I've nothing against anyone doing that. As I've said, we've been there ourselves. By the way, here's a funny story. We used to play 'Circle of the Tyrants' live back then and one time, after our show, some guy came up to me and said, 'Hey, Bariel, how's it possible that Obituary played your song live?'
 
Right, they put this song on their 'Cause of Death' and it was hard to get a copy with any credits back then. 
 
Exactly. And here's another one. Some time ago Richter, our current drummer, before he joined Imperator, wrote to me after we'd met at the premiere of Imperator's first beer and asked for the lyrics of 'Święta Wojna', our song, as he wanted to cover it with his band from that time – Bestiality. I sent him the words, they recorded the song and then there was this moment when I was holding Bestiality's record in my hands, with my song on the tracklist but without any notice that it was written by Imperator. But then Richter said, 'Bariel, everybody knows it's your song.' You know, total chill, I just found it funny. But on another occasion, on the other hand, there was this guy, about twenty-five, at Black Silesia Festival, who came to me and said he'd found our name reading somewhere about the beer premiere. He'd never heard us before but he was going to check us out. So you see, in a way we're starting from scratch, we have to win a new audience. Step by step, or soul by soul, we have to grab those new maniacs and drag them to our side. 
 
We know how common people used to react to your music. But what about the authorities? We can clearly see how they react now, with their voters accordingly.  
 
As I've mentioned before, playing then was a constant fight, one with the system as well. Most people have heard the story about me having to explain myself because of some of our lyrics. It went like 'One day, when the Beast rises from the underground...' You know, back then all the song lyrics had to be checked by a censor before you were allowed to play anywhere. So one time a censor asked me, 'Young man, are you singing here about Solidarity?' 'No, Satan.', I said. 'OK then, no problem, you can play.' It was somewhere in Łódź, I still remember the colour of that guy's tie. People in the street – they didn't know what it was all about. Seeing our inverted crosses they might have thought it was just an ill-formed Black Sabbath motif. If they new Black Sabbath of course. Besides, Church stood in opposition to the authorities, so all those censors, hearing it's Satan, not Solidarity, were quite content. 
 
There are plenty of ways to reach people with your music, although with the aforementioned scene overload it's easy to get lost in the crowd. How did you manage to break through so quickly in the days of pioneer tape trading? What was your recipe for becoming a legend?
 
People didn't get our music and the'd repeat over and over again, 'That's not the way to play.' You need to remember that back then most metalheads were really hungry for an alternative to the communist dullness. And that's when Imperator appeared. As our music seemed quite extreme for those times, we kind of jumped really high up on this 'underground' career ladder, despite our rather poor musical skills. I've never claimed we were great musicians. But we played very fast and that made us completely different from everything else available on the market. 'It's fucking violent', people would say (laughter). And that made us stand out. We attracted people in the days when fanzines, tapes or records were really hard to come by. We were just this weird band from Łódź, offering weird, but also, as it later turned out, intriguing music...
Tape trading, right. I think I was one of the first tape traders in Poland. I started writing with bands from the Western Europe pretty early, I used to get plenty of stuff from them. For about two years of my high school  people would come to so called Monday afternoon meetings at my place – whole crews from around Poland would visit me to read some fanzines, copy some tapes. I never set those meetings, it just kind of happened and became a regular thing. It seemed cool at the start, but at some point I had to find a way to discourage people from coming. So, instead of metal fanzines I started displaying some farming magazines I bought especially for this purpose, telling people that was the stuff I got interested in. It finally worked (laughter). Yeah, that's why I had all those farming magazines like 'Tractor' or 'Polish Farmer'. Even now, when me or other band members think something is lame, crass or just poser-like, we just say it's agrarian. But getting back to the topic, you have to remember that the flow of information was as it was, and we all did what we could. All our three demos were made kind of by accident, because an opportunity appeared. Do you get it? Because there just seemed to be an occasion! 
One time I bought a chrome tape in Pewex, it was 1986 and I paid a small fortune for it. I had to work for that tape for three day0s, doing hard chores at some greenhouses in Łódź. I decided to save this tape for an emergency. And it so happened that we wanted to play at some big event. We went to some auditions in Silesian region. They were auditioning for Metalmania 87 at that time. Someone there recorded four songs that we performed during the time they gave us. And that was our first demo. It all happened in Chorzów, in Leśniczówka (Forester's Lodge), where Dżem used to have their rehearsals. We took that tape to our friend in Bielsko-Biała, his name was Krzysztof, AKA 'Cerber'. He was another tape trader from the old days and had even better connections than me at the time. Later it turned out that after he'd heard it he spent the whole night copying that tape. He made about twenty copies and then sent them out. People from abroad couldn't believe it was stuff from Poland, from behind the Iron Curtain. And that's how it all started...
 
A few of your concerts have become part of Polish metal history, like that Jarocin show in 1986,  Białystok in 87, Pruszcz Gdański and their Drrrama in 87 or, last but not least, Ciechanów - S'thrash'ydło 91. Do you remember any other big ones?
 
As for Drrrama festivals, 'cause if I remember correctly, we played two of them, we recorded our second demo during the one in 87 – 'Deathlive'. There was an occasion, you get it, right? And we couldn't just let it go past. I also remember that during one of those two editions some football hooligans marched in and started smashing things up while we were playing. That whole fight is on tape, I've got it on a VHS somewhere, along with some songs that we played. What else, we played once with Dezerter at Hybrydy club in Warsaw. Mefisto got there on the last train and he told us he managed to get an 'E' category at a military service recruitment examination, and he didn't have to join the army. A deserter! (laughter). I think we celebrated that fact for two days. You know, it was a big thing because I was already at university so I was safe from the military service, I think he got his 'E' category in not the most honest way, and it was awesome, as being enrolled just destroyed about ninety percent of bands in the 80's. There was another cool show in Opole – even guys from TSA came up to congratulate us after our set. We had a friend in Łódź, Zielony, who'd travel with us to our shows but on that day he didn't make it to the train station. We were in the middle of our set when we saw him elbowing though the crowd, holding a bottle of Scotch and proving he'd finally arrived. We partied our asses off that night, it was awesome. When I finally got home, my mother  met me at the doorstep and asked why Marek Niedźwiecki warned people on the radio not to invite Imperator to play concerts as there would be damage at hotels. I think there was indeed time when there was a lot happening after the gigs. There was also a mini tour with Deicide, we played with Cannibal Corpse in Bydgoszcz, no one actually knew them round here at that time. Not long ago Mittloff, former Hate's drummer who's now in Riverside, refreshed my memory quite a lot while talking about old Imperator days. It was for an interview he gave for a documentary that's being made about my return. He reminded me of that one time when people walked out of the church in Częstochowa and followed me, but also why they did so and what consequences there were. Cute. There was Malbork, where we lock a whole sightseeing group from Japan in the dungeons – me and Mefisto were the most active ones after shows. We played a lot of tricks (laughter). Once, after a show with Acid Drinkers, in Bielsk I think, we plus Ślimak, their drummer, ended up at a dance in Rokendrolka club, wearing boxer shorts only. I also remember when we used their equipment in Jarocin in 1993. That was a very violent event. During our set I had to calm down that totally wild crowd  saying that if they didn't cool down, we'd stop playing. There was plenty of damage, completely uncalled for. Later on, after Mefisto and Carol left for home I stayed there with Muniek Staszczyk and Paweł Kukiz, we drank Lech beers all night because, despite prohibition, as musicians we were given some drinks. Quite a lot actually. Yeah, the 80's and the early 90's were totally crazy...
 
Which of your concerts would you consider the biggest breakthrough for the band?
 
Actually, since that show in Jarocin in 1986 we seemed to have, let's say, a safe position in the underground. Every show we played between 89 and 93 attracted huge audiences and each of them made that position even stronger. It was natural for us to spend at least an hour talking to maniacs and giving autographs after each gig. We sometimes took pictures with our fans, but  not many of them had cameras, plus collecting pictures was quite expensive at that time. It's hard to think of some turning points in our concert history, but there was one gig that really helped us realise how serious thing we'd become in the underground. We had a tour with Kat when it turned out that after our set people would still scream 'Imperator!' and many of them would walk out to chat with us. As Carol said, Kat's manager didn't like that. So we didn't continue the tour. Good years. Things were going well, but there were still some obstacles. Dziuba from Metal Mind didn't seem to like us and it was difficult to play at his shows – OK, we managed to play a few gigs with Deicide. Anyhow, each of these shows left a positive imprint. Was there a show we fucked up? Yeah, we didn't go to Strzegom because of me – I missed the train. And there, at the venue, was an agent waiting for us to sign a contract for a show in Moscow.  Slashing Death and Vader went there, I think... We didn't get to Strzegom (I'm sure I didn't) and, in consequence, we didn't go to Mocsow. Mea culpa. But besides that one thing every show was a solid one. We had some difficulties, true, like one time with Kat I didn't play guitar because of my arm injury, I just did the vocals. But it didn't matter,  we nailed it each time and had great reception. 
 
1988 witnessed an absolutely spectacular and unprecedented phenomenon – you composed and performed live music for about 60 theatrical performances of 'Dracula', starting in Łódź. How did it come to that? 
 
I think it was late 1987 when it turned out that Mefisto's girlfriend's father,  Zdzisław Jaskuła, was the literary director of Studio Theatre in Łódź. That's how our long term relation started. I remember spending the 1987 New Year's Eve at the theatre. I guess we left a mark on that 'society', we heard anecdotes for years (laughter). We met plenty of new people and, as a consequence, we entered that clique. Ździsław's wife,  Sława Lisiecka, was (and still is, Żdzisław, sadly, has passed away) a German literature translator. Many people used to come to their (kind of open) house. They were often  representatives of so called higher culture. They organised meetings with people connected with the National Film School in Łódź, poets, politically uncomfortable artists, dissidents etc. Our visits at Ździsław and Sława's place were really important to us. We would hang out there for hours, sometimes days. It lasted for a few years. I lived five minutes from them, on the other side of Piotrowska Street. I still remember those evenings when we talked or played bridge. I was still in high school but suddenly I would bet with Andrzej Wajda for a bottle of vodka – it was all so incredible. It was the middle of PRL and out of the sudden you can get out of this surrounding mediocrity with a blast. Not every high school student could mingle with people of that sort. But I think we also had something to offer to those people, we played in a 'satanic' band and some of them didn't really know how to grasp it. One day we met Merek Rakowiecki, a director – it either happened at Ździsław's place on Wschodnia St. or at the theatre. He asked if we'd like to make music for his 'Dracula” interpretation. Me and the guys eventually made those songs! We added some pinch harmonics, some bridge work, 'audio interpretations of blood transfusion and other incredible things, you name it – it was all there. We got some advance payment and six months to complete our work. We composed all the music in about two weeks before the deadline as we'd been awfully busy with consuming that payment (laughter). The premiere was a huge success, then we performed the whole 1988/89 season live during the theatrical performances. It was an amazing experience. We worked like a regular crew at the theatre – first the were six months of preparations, with two rehearsals each day, 8 hours in total. We had to remember the whole show, line by line, to know exactly when to play each part, be it guitar, drums or howling like a wolf – that was actually my part, as only I seemed to know how to do it. When the people at the theatre found out I had planned to leave to East Germany for one week, they got so stressed about it they scheduled a recording session in the Polish Radio recording studio in Bydgoszcz, 'cause there was no one else to do the howling in my absence! Mefisto tried it, but it didn't really work, Carol just didn't even want to try. We recorded everything, the whole music, at that studio, but the tape eventually disappeared – I don't hold it in my possession, not for now at least. The performances were really successful, whole crews from around the country came to see them. Sometimes one or two of the performers – and there were only big names among them, I see those people now on covers of glossy magazines, on TV or staring in films or plays – they couldn't put up with the atypical reception of those unusual members of the audience. Professor Niemirowski from the National Film School in Łódź, who played the role of Van Helsing, stopped the performance a few times. He'd say, 'Mr. Bariel, please escort your men out of the room.' then I'd say, 'Come on, people, pull yourselves together, don't be an embarrassment.' Everyone had to keep up appearances (laughter). It was fun, always after the performance we played one of our songs, or a cover like Venom's Black Metal’ or Kreator's Tormentor’. After around eight years I was approached  again by Żdzisław Jaskuła  and offered to make music for his 'Faust' in The New Theatre (Jaskuła wa then, if I remember correctly, its director). I turned him down as I had already stopped playing. Anyways, Jaskuła came to  S'thrash'ydło festival and I think we partied a bit along with Samael, or some other band, I can't remember clearly. But I do remember that on our way back with Mefisto in Zdzisław's Audi, Mefisto's 'coffin' (bass case) occupied half of the car's space (laughter).
The 'Bariel Demo' from 87 has finally been released officially. Although it's been available via  streaming for years, this is the first time you can put a physical copy on your shelf. Tell us something about the origin of this recording. 
 
Well, it's something I might have done just for fun and it came to being completely by accident – that's for sure. I never really wanted to release it, but Leszek (from Oldschool Metal Maniac) convinced me it's actually worth releasing as it is still some bit of history. 'OK, Lechu, go ahead, I have full trust in you.', I thought. It all happened like this: I was hanging out at one dude's place (Jacek – he used to record something with Kazik Staszewski) and that guy had a Telecaster guitar with DS-1 Boss distortion – it was 1987, I'd never seen things like that before. Or maybe I had but I'd never actually held them in my hands. He also had some sort of 4-track recorder, with a delay and reverb effects included. You could even plug a mic to it. I just sat there, either in his kitchen or living room, and asked if I could record something. There was also a drum machine the guy had control of. And again I'd just nod to him, like to that Forst drummer at that crazy gig, to make the drum beat go fast or slow, and I recorded guitar parts and vocals to these drum parts in one take. And that's how this so called 'Bariel 87' demo was created. It was never done officially, it just leaked into the Internet somehow. I'll just say that at that time the possibility of using such amazing equipment and being able to play and record with a drum machine were just amazing, I was really excited. I think I might have sent that tape to someone in Mayhem or maybe to  Metalion from  Slayer Mag saying, 'Dude, check this out, isn't it just ridiculously awesome?'. Maybe that's how it spread... treat it only as a curiosity, nothing more. But maybe it's worth something from a, let's say, 'historical' point of view. 
 
Comparing the metal scene from the old days with the one we have today, what seems to you the most positive change? Or is there something you really miss from those years?
 
A positive thing? It really  seems that Poland has a very strong metal scene. I'm glad bands like  Vader, Decapitated, Behemoth or Hate have left an imprint on the whole world. These crews have been around all the time, we stopped at some point.It's impossible to say where we'd be if not that decision of mine over twenty years ago to put things on a halt, or to an end – maybe we'd be in the middle of a world tour, who knows. But I've never regreted things went the way they did – thanks to that I could take part in an experiment of returning to the scene after over two decades (laughter). After so many years, when I'm finally back I can see how far Poland has gone in that matter and I pay my respects to those bands. Another great thing is that today you can easily buy instruments, sign a fair contract and go play outside Poland. The problems of today are far different from those of the past. Back then there was no equipment, let alone places to play rehearsals - now you've got all those things, but at the same time there is this overload already  mentioned, a crowd of bands you have to push your way through. But then I think that if we managed to get somewhere with this slightly different sound of ours back then, those new bands which have something interesting to offer should also be able to succeed, provided they will put their hearts in it. And that's what I wish for them. Do I miss anything from the old days? Maybe people coming up to you and just robbing you off of your band shirt, leather jacket, pins and even jeans! (laughter). Because people don't do that anymore, do they? Just kidding. But seriously, I miss the crowds at gigs, that craving and madness in people. But, again, there are so many events now. For instance, when we played along with Tormentor at Black Silesia Festival, there was Venom Inc. playing somewhere near at the same time. And that happens almost every weekend. There are gigs all the time. But we can't do anything about it, can we? Back in the days you really had to wait for a concert, you counted months,  weeks, and finally days and hours even, but that will never come back I think. Yet, on the other hand, with all due respect to events like Merry Christless that gave us a great new start after all those years, there are some of those micro festivals that help you experience that atmosphere from the 80's or early 90's again. Thanks to those die hard gigs or festivals we still have that sense of what used to be so common back then. Who knows, maybe one day more people will start coming to those events. Because once in a while the cycle ends and a new one begins... Maybe some day when Imperator has toured the world a bit, I'll give you a different answer to that question (laughter). Thanks for the interview, till next time! 
Bariel.
 
Thanks and cheers Bariel!
 
Cheers.
 
Radosław Grygiel 

Poprawiony (wtorek, 29 września 2020 09:44)

 

KRIEGSMASCHINE INTERVIEW

 

Apocalypticists, the brand-new album by KSM was out on October 21, 2018. In my view, tis` a good reason to inquire M about some details in connection with this very recording. I also allowed myself to ask about MGLA who are going to provide us with their new album quite soon. Ok, no need to waste our time. Lads and ladies, please read on.

Hello M. It’s been nine years since we spoke. A lot has happened during those years. I think that the premiere of KRIEGSMASCHINE`s latest album as well as MGLA`s forthcoming recording are good reasons enough to talk about your music. Can we start?

1. Exercises in Futility was released four years ago. Same for Enemy of Man. So much and so little time has passed, indeed. I am sure that you`ve been quite busy over the last four years, am I correct?

As for MGLA, we played live during that time. We did almost 100 shows in three continents over the span of two years. Of course, 100 wouldn’t be a shocking amount if we were a proper, incessantly touring band but for an independent BM group this number seems quite impressive. In December 2017, we suspended playing live. We`ll resume in March 2019. In the meantime, we stealthily recorded and released KRIEGSMASCHINE`s new album and are currently working on MGLA, too. As previously, we`re dealing with all the components ourselves, I mean we compose, record, release and distribute our music on our own; so, we`re quite busy but can’t complain, really.

2. Apocalypticists by KRIEGSMASCHINE was released in late October 2018. This album is much slower than your previous recordings. I would say this stuff is more atmospheric and one can clearly notice how much KSM have progressed over the last four years. As artists, you still have a lot to say. What Apocalypticists features is hardly comparable to what other bands can come up with these days. How difficult is it to write/compose original music presently?

To make a pure black metal album was one of our goals, however, using a different foundation by contrast with standard BM recordings. Due to this unorthodox approach, blended with this very overwhelming atmosphere of the whole recording, repetitive arrangements and so on, I, in result, expected Apocalypticists would be given a much worse reception than it actually did. I was “pleasantly” disappointed, so to say.

3. To say the least, the way Apocalypticists` has been recorded and sounds is, by all means, stunning. All the elements, all the minute details have been meticulously elaborated and worked on. I am curious to know how much time you guys spend on rehearsing/working on music before a proper recording session takes place? How often do you rehearse, in general? Do you work on music at home alone and bring rough versions of songs to your rehearsals or does the music get done while jamming and rehearsing together?

Thank you for your kind words. The first phase of working on a new album begins when we start gathering up ideas the moment the previous recording is complete. It takes, usually, a couple of years; after which we take a look at the basic, raw material we`ve brought forth, select what we need, work on further arrangements and keep writing and adding new parts. This phase takes some months. While working on Apocalypticists we didn’t rehearse at all. It all was pre-produced, so to say; I mean we worked on rough versions on a computer, those versions featured previously recorded parts, and when we had the song structures ready, we started the proper recording of tracks. KRIEGSMASCHINE is nowadays a purely studio band and its music is created “in layers”, I mean after we had recorded drums and lead guitar tracks, we composed and recorded additional parts of guitar and bass lines, then worked on vocals and so on. It went quite smoothly; in total, from the very first recording day to final mastering it took us three months in total.

4. I am wondering why so vital people like you guys certainly are, are able to create such gloomy and dark music. What inspires you to play such sinister sounds?

We create music which mirrors our inner self, which is based on and shaped into forms that interact with ourselves. These very specific parts of our inner selves aren’t manifested by musical activates exclusively. We strive not to, at least.

5. The KSM`s new album was composed by you and another guy, without Destroyer. Does it imply Konrad ain`t part of KSM any longer?

That’s correct.

6. I can still remember the time when KRIEGSMASCHINE used to play live a lot. MGLA, on the flip side, was a studio project. Now, it’s the other way around. Does it mean we`ll not get a chance to see KSM play live again in the future? I would say to play the whole Apocalypticists album live may arduous a task indeed.

Well, if this happens it will take place in remote future. First off, to do so, we`d have to regularly rehearse the album songs for a couple of months and ought to expand our line-up, too. It won’t happen in the next months, for sure, maybe even years.

7. While working on Apocalypticalists you guys were also busy with MGLA`s new album. Can you please spill the beans and tell us some more about band’s forthcoming stuff? Is it going to be in the vein of your latest album or should we expect something new and revolutionary?

We`ve elaborated a particular black metal style of ours and this style hasn’t completely dried up yet. We don’t expect any drastic volte-face to take place.

8. When MGLA`s new album is out, you will embark on a European tour together with REVENGE/DOOMBRINGER/DEUS MORTEM. Can you please tell us some more about this tour? Where are you going to show up? When exactly are you starting off?

The tour starts on April 27 in Berlin and will feature 19 gigs in Central-Western Europe, mostly in Germany, France as well as four live shows in Poland. All the participants have known and respected each other for years. The enterprise itself is a bottom-up project, including Steve who was responsible for our previous European tour with AOSOTH, as well as Mintaj of Left Hand Sounds, who`s been helping us out with organizational issues since the beginning of this year. We prefer to get our hands dirty but to stay independent with no heavily breathing tour agency supervising us; an agency run by a bunch of dynamic yuppies, skillfully adapting to trending requirements imposed by contemporary music industry. In other words, by sneaky rats.

9. You`ve already played live in Europe, USA as well as Australia. Are you going to show up in other Asian countries, like Japan, for instance, too? Are you going to partake in other events apart from the above-mentioned tour with REVENGE?

So far, we`ve got nearly 40 live shows confirmed. This year, it`ll be Europe only. In 2020, we`ll focus on other continents. Japan is planned on our way to Australia. South and North America will follow, that’s for sure.

10. Apart from KRIEGSMASCHINE/MGŁA you also are busy with recording other bands` music. Tell us about your recent doings, please?

My studio work is restricted to working on bands that belong to my friends. I am so busy with my own shit I have no time to run a full-time studio. In 2018, I cooperated with OWLS WOODS GRAVES, DEATH LIKE MASS, LVCIFYRE. The DEUS MORTEM`s new album is almost done and fully mixed. Also, there is something going on with MEDICO PESTE`s new stuff,

11. While chatting some time ago, you mentioned you had quite a number of ambient ideas you would like to record. Is it going to be another chapter of ARCA FUNEBRIS or something new?

I have recorded a lot of ideas but I have no time, motivation or interest to work on these, finalize these and release. In the recent years, I finally managed to enter the world of modular synthesizers, with the focal point on DIY and if time allows, I am going to realize a couple of ideas connected to generative music, which stands for self-generating where my role will be located somewhere between being an engineer and conductor. Stylistically, it can be considered dark ambient or some heavier forms of death industrial/power electronics; or somewhere in between – it all depends on my mood or what part of a day it is.

12. Let’s get back to Apocalypticists for a moment, shall we. I would say this album is very drumming – oriented. Was it your initial idea to expose this instrument that much or did it just happen on its own?

Yes, that’s correct. I would say that since Enemy of Man was out, KSM has become more and more rhythm oriented. The main idea wasn’t to make the drums sound as loud as possible but to base the structure of an album on other types of rhythms – different from blast beats and double pedal. In other words, to create a black metal album devoid of what I call a fundamental, rhythmic BM structure. MGLA is more conservative in this context. Riffs and vocals are of utmost importance, the aim of the percussion section is to provide a proper pulse.

13. A lot of great music to show up in 2018, for sure. Any favourite, stunning albums you can recommend to us? Is it black metal only or some other types of music, too?

Frankly, I don’t follow what’s new too much. I did enjoy CLANDESTINE BLAZE`s new album though. I also got to like FUNERAL MIST – did take me some time, I must say. As for BM I used to listen to KATHARSIS` World without End and BURZUM`s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss alternately and those two were enough for me. Plus, industrial, experimental and modern music. I tried to catch up with a number of older items too. To relax I listened to a lot of Obituary of the Americas by GENOCIDE ORGAN.

14. These days, we witness a number of spectacular reunions. TORMENTOR is back, Tom Warrior reanacts HELLHAMMER`s songs live. What is your view on this matter?

I have no view, whatsoever. It is because my perception of music is based on the 90s music. I have no sentiment about earlier stuff I mean it aint strong enough to get me interested again in it. Well, if Vikernes feels like reactivating his band in 5-10 years, I will surely have more to say.

15. Many ardent black metal fans claim black metal must correspond to Devil himself. What do you think about such an approach? Your lyrics don’t deal with Satan too much, I would say. If ever, indeed.

Indirectly yes, not mentioning the very Name. Because it, indeed, narrows down the issue, automatically. In my view black metal must be based on an emotional foundation as well as conceptual or ideological one. If these aren’t present, well, this sort of music becomes popular music which is beyond what I am interested in. Both as receiver and creator.

16. Over the years, black metal has evolved a lot. Frankly speaking, it doesn’t resemble the music it was in the beginning. Is it good or bad that this genre has changed so drastically.

First off, due to better distribution and increased availability, BM has ceased to be a niche kind of music. And thus, at least for an average listener, it`s become just another music genre. In result, many elements of black metal have penetrated pop culture, be it through inspirations other artists operating in other fields draw from BM; like aesthetics or symbolism, music arrangements and so on, then placed in totally different context. This is the tip of the iceberg, so to say. I mean these artists have learned about the most popular bands only; which doesn’t imply these bands are most important. For a person who originates from black metal underground, his natural reaction is somewhere between doubt and revulsion. Yet, statically speaking, we are a minority group. As for BM`s stylistic evolution, well, this is metal`s only subgenre where, I would say, new, interesting and inspiring things appear, constantly. Bearing in mind that black metal was supposed (all along) to be an anti-mainstream type of music, different from anything around there might be, well, I prefer looking for new ideas than listening to tribute bands.

17. Time to wrap up, I guess. If you want to add anything for our Old School Metal Maniac Magazine readers, feel free to do so. Thanks for your answers. Take care.

Thank you.

 

By NecronosferatuS

Poprawiony (niedziela, 10 lutego 2019 07:39)