If we want to take a look at the metal map of Poland and focus on Malopolska region, we’ll certainly come to a conclusion that HELLIAS is, in terms of brutal music, one of the most important bands in this part of the country. HELLIAS, along with their slightly older brothers, VOODOO, has been thrashing relentlessly since dark 1980s and pleasing innumerable thrashers.
HELLIAS was formed in March 1987, in Cracow. Their line-up consists of singer Piotr "Foreman" Foryś, guitarist Paweł "Goolary" Góralczyk, guitarist Marek "Galon" Galary, bassist Grzegorz Urbaniak, and drummer Wojtek "Wojna" Wojnowski.
The HELLIAS members will tell us how they started their band, what aims they had at the time, and what they were dreaming about.

Paweł "Goolary" Góralczyk enthusiastically reminisces these times: amazing years, indeed! First off, we had a chance to discover this specific Polish variation of thrash. Not too many other bands did so. We were so young back then, and so angry with the world around us! Communism, marasmus and poverty. But, at the same time, there was a hope for something better to come! The worse the situation was, the more furious we were! We were so full of energy that we simply had to let go. So, HELLIAS became where we released our nightmares and desires. We didn’t want to save the world; our intention was to yell out – and to see how much we were worth; us, the angry young people. Right in the beginning, we were just a bunch of friends, with an intention to play some loud and nasty music. However, much later, we realized that playing live means responsibility. We started to weigh our lyrics and sounds. The lyrics became important, really important. If someone had told me HELLIAS was going to be active for another 30 years, I would have believed him unhesitantly. Right in the beginning, it was crystal clear that HELLIAS was a serious band. Back then, I was 100% sure about my aims, and these days I still respect them.

Wojciech "Wojna" Wojnowski: In 1987, I was 17 years old. As any young musician, I was super horny for music. No deeper meanings, not at all. We used to meet in a club once or twice a week, and rehearse for a couple of hours. The equipment we had was really bad (laughs). “Gnawed” cymbals, for example. Good times, for sure! But, the equipment didn’t matter at all; it was important for us to play! Back then, I was sure that in 27 year-time I’ll have become a super-star, who drinks and chills out between live shows (laughs). No, to be honest, I didn’t think about such life, no.
Piotr "Foreman" Foryś: When the band started, we were just a bunch of young thrashers, trying to turn the world upside down…we were trying to invert crosses too – he laughs. We were determined and devoted but most importantly, we loved the music and we loved to create music. Someone can say that we were totally devoted to this idea. I was the ideological leader, who created the atmoshepre and was responsible for inspirations coming from alcohol.  Goolary and Galon took care of the riffs; these two were responsible for our style, heaviness and something that would make us different from innumerable metal crews back then. I was totally sure we were to become the best and heaviest band in the world; well, strangely, I still think so – he laughs. I still enjoy these crazy times. Well, as we want to release a new album this year, I guess we have never been a random band. Actually, I have always been sure we are a good thrash band and I am proud of what we have achieved so far. A new album is in the works, and I am looking forward to it.

Hellias vocalist, Piotr "Foreman" Foryś, began playing music as a member of Hellcat. I asked him about this band:
Hellcat lasted for a short, but intense time. We played just 4 gigs, after the third one, Goolary asked me to join HELLIAS. The only recordings of this band are just 3 tracks in total. Goolary recorded them during the audition at Rotunda Club in Cracow, in 1987. They are not in good quality, but I know Goolary has them in his collection of old stuff.

Paweł “Goolary” Góralczyk, when asked whether or not he had played in some other band before joining HELLIAS, confirms that he had.
Yeah, it was me and Marek “Galon” Galary, who were getting HELLIAS started; we had also played in two unimportant bands prior to HELLIAS. One was called DETONATION and was formed in late 1985; the band recorded one unprofessional demo. Second band was called ROY RUSSIAN, which, in fact, was pre-HELLIAS. We played a couple of local gigs. I don’t  remember too much about these bands, as it was such a long time ago!
For Wojciech "Wojna" Wojnowski, HELLIAS was the first band. Initially, HELLIAS was playing a lot of live shows. After a number of gigs in small clubs, the band recorded their debut demo "Revenge of Hellias," and performed at Metal Meeting 88 Festival in Cracow, Mielec and Wodzislaw, as well as Pietruszka`87 in Cracow, where they took the first place.

Piotr "Foreman" Foryś: as mentioned before, the process of forming HELLIAS was a real ejaculation of power, evilness and, most importantly, unlimited metal art! We took care of every single detail – both visual and musical ones. As a result, the gigs were really hellish, full of venom and even burnt sodium nitrate, he laughs. Surely, we have always been inspired by KAT; we used to play live shows together with them. It was a good experience and bigpleasure at the same time.

When Piotrek Foreman decided to join HELLIAS, all changed. We started to play a lot of live shows, and there were always many people willing to come and see us play live – stresses Paweł "Goolary" Góralczyk. Today, if there come 500 people to see some Western music star, it is a lot of people. During our live show with VooDoo and Taurus at the Korona Music Hall in Cracow, there came at least 2000 people. In such circumstances, it was easy for us to polish up our live show skills, and that is why we were so good at playing live in the 1990s. I did enjoy our live shows in Mielec, Wodzisław, Kędzierzyn Koźle, Chorzow, Rzeszow, Stalowa Wola, Katowice and most certainly in our hometown, Cracow. Really good shows. Cheers to all who remember them!

Yeah, we played a lot at the time – admits Wojtek "Wojna" Wojnowski. I don’t even remember why there were so many live shows. I think they were organized by Anna Rusak. Yeah, we got really slick with our instruments, indeed. Piotr Luczyk (of KAT) used to come visit us in our rehearsal room, every second weekend or something like that, I guess. He made us play particular parts of some songs again and again. Thus, as a result, we were able to perform these songs absolutely automatically, and super precisely. First gigs, oh yeah, these were fun, people so thirsty of music. It didn’t really matter where we played, we always played for plenty of people.

In 1988 the line-up changed. Jarek "Jaraya" Pabisz became a bassist. Piotr Foreman, busy with his mandatory army service, was replaced by guitarist Pawel Goolary. The four-piece band recorded their official demo "Noc Potępienia." The demo was released in Italy as “Wolfs of East.”  
It was a weird session – says Paweł "Goolary" Góralczyk. Tomasz Rogula had a good studio at Kopernika Street in Cracow. Back in 1988, the building itself was getting restored, so we had a problem. As we were running out of time, Tomasz recommended that he’d put all the equipment in our rehearsal room at Jozefinska Street in the center of Podgorze. This old building was very good for such a move. Good acoustics and right atmosphere of the building were good for our session. However, after putting all the cables and turning the equipment on, we realized that there were a lot of noises coming from outside. The equipment itself worked like a radio receiver! The first recorded tracks included some radio noises. We spent a whole day trying to get rid of these noises. But the session itself was superb, we did enjoy it. We worked for four days, we recorded 6 tracks, though we had planned to record four more. Because of the fact that the studio had to be relocated, we simply couldn’t record any more songs. These unrecorded tracks were: Królowa Śmierci, Wilcze Kły, Cień Płomienia część II and Bitwa. In fact, only Krolowa Śmierci was recorded later. The others are still in their rehearsal versions. It is kind of sad, we could not get the session done, as it was likely at the time to get this stuff released in the vinyl format.

“Noc potępienia” was recorded in our rehearsal room, as Tomek was getting his studio restored at the time – says Wojtek "Wojna" Wojnowski. He brought all the equipment from his place, set up the control room somewhere in the corridor, put the cables under the door to our rehearsal room, and this is how it worked out! I don’t remember session itself very well. I can’t remember if we recorded the stuff playing together or everyone recorded their parts separately. But I do remember we were super happy. You know, it was the very first time we were recording music in such a professional way.

Piotr "Foreman" Foryś didn’t take part in the “Noc Potepienia” record session. What was the reason?

Well, first off, the year of 1988 was not a good year for me, as the fact I had to fulfill my compulsory military service was really bad news for me. In all honesty, this situation fucked me up. I was looking for some solution, but couldn’t find any. It all got fucked up, really. I was still, mentally, part of the band. At least once a month, I used to send a handful of lyrics to other members. Before I left, we decided that Goolary would take care of the vocals, and he did well. His voice was different from mine, but it was good for the band. HELLIAS became some kind of Polish KREATOR and that augured very well for the future. I didn’t want the army to cause the band`s stagnancy. It was not my intention. The music from “Nocy Potępienia” was tight, dirty and heavy at the time when it was recorded. It is still very good stuff, I reckon.

As mentioned before, Goolary became the person responsible for guitars and vocals:

I did like doing vocals – says Goolary – especially while playing live; it was really something. You know, you`ve got to cooperate with the people and make sure all is going smoothy. I`ll be frank and tell you Piotrek was better at it, but he had to get this army thing done. And doing military service back then was no fun, no. I feel sorry for Foreman he had to go through this. It was a really bad thing back then. Two years of humiliation, senselessness and crap were enough to fuck any person up. But he did alright. We didn’t want to replace him with any other guy, in a sense that HELLIAS was not only a band, it was also a bunch of friends. We listened to a number of guys; some were good, but they were not of the right sort. I remember that one of them was Jacek Dewodzki, who later joined Dzem.

”Noc potępienia” tape was produced by Anna Rusak and A.A. Beat Promotion. So I ask HELLIAS members about her and the promotion firm she run.
Paweł "Goolary" Góralczyk: now, it is hard to imagine how it was to live and function in communist Poland. The purpose of Management A.A. Promotion was to deal with this communistic bullshit. Young musicians don’t remember censorship or crap related to paying for unprofessional live shows. It was so retarded that I still can’t imagine why people were not paid for their live performances. Now and then, I am just trying to figure out, how it was not possible to pay for a live show. If you didn’t have a music education or diploma in music, you weren’t allowed to make money playing music or selling records. Even when you were to play for thousands of people and sold thousands of records, the money you received was enough for a couple of bottles of shitty wine. So fucking retarded! Anna Rusak was able to handle all this crap in a good way. She introduced some sort of semiprofessional rules for bands that worked ok. She had many problems with us, we weren’t good boys, and legendary misbehavers during our live shows or rehearsals (Pawel laughs). I am very grateful because of these mere, trivial reasons. She helped me with my personal life too. What a great lass, indeed! Respect!

Anna Rusak worked in Podgórze Community Center where we rehearsed, says Wojtek "Wojna" Wojnowski. I think she thought that we were some poor dudes from single parent families, she felt sorry for us and started to take care of us. I am very grateful for that, because she was taking care of us so well that KAT wanted her to become their manager. She was really a good manager and very skillful at organizing live shows.  
Piotr "Foreman" Foryś adds: Anna Rusak was a great help in those retarded communistic times, and I think it was her who asked Mr. Rogula to cooperate with us and record “Noc Potepienia.”

Interesting, “Noc demona” demo was released in Italy as “Wolfes of East.”

Paweł "Goolary" Góralczyk: it was released on vinyl, a split release with some Italian band, I can’t remember the name of this split band from the other side. It was released in just 100 copies. A true rarity, indeed! I don’t have any copy of this material in my collection. The label was supposed to give us some copies, but they disappeared. The difference was that the Intro was longer and the material was named “Wolfs of East.”
At the time, HELLIAS performed at "Pietruszka'88" in Cracow, "Drrrama'89" in Pruszcz Gdański, "Termit'89” in Chełmek, and at the "Thrash Invasion'89" tour with KAT.

Talking about “Noc Potępienia,” we have to remember that this material was rereleased on vinyl by the American Nuclear War Now Records, and cd by Luciforus Art, as well as bonus material on “Closed in the fate Coffin.” I want to know why they have decided to re-release this stuff on cd again.
There were a number of reasons – explains Goolary. First of all, a sentimental value. This stuff represents the HELLIAS` early years; as well as mine and the rest of the members. These were great times, and I would love to share these times with other people. “Noc potepienia” smells of the 1980s, and to me, as a person who enjoys the 1980s, this is what makes this stuff so precious. Also, I think this stuff is good. Ok, maybe its quality is not superb right now, but the songs from this demo are what we played live most often. I just can’t imagine playing a live show without Kona Bóg, Mind Deformity (Wojownik zła) or Modlitwa pierwsza. We have recently refreshed Hellish Black (Piekielna czerń), that is on our compilation album “25th Years in the Abyss.”

It’s an important piece of our history and apparently our debut material, informs Foreman about “Noce Potepienia”. Vocals are slightly different but, besides that, it is pure HELLIAS. I think when working on new tracks that the spirit of this material is floating somewhere over Goolary.
In 1990, Piotr Foreman (vocals) rejoined the band.  Rafał "Dykta" Mazur became a new bassist. After a number of gigs with KAT during the "Thrash Invasion'90" tour, Marek, the band`s guitarist, left the band (he relocated to the US). In 1991, HELLIAS recorded “Closed in the Fate Coffin", which was later released by Gamma.

“Closed in the Fate Coffin” was recorded by the three-piece HELLIAS (Foreman, Goolary and Wojna. What was the situation in HELLIAS around 1991/1992?

That`s correct – says Goolary. In 1990, Marek „Galon” Galary left for the US. He was an important person in the first years of HELLIAS. He composed many tracks for early HELLIAS. He was a good guitarist, many of his solos show clearly what HELLIAS was about. It took us some time to get over after he left. The situation get even worse when just a week before we entered the studio, our bassist Rafal “Dykta” Mazur left the band. It was really, really bad. He switched to jazz – he still plays in a number of bands now. We respected his decision, but it was hard for us. I had some extra work too. I had to record both guitars and bass for “Closed in the Fate Coffin.” A couple of weeks later, we had a full line-up again, but recorded “Closed..” as a three-piece band. Despite all this, these were good times for HELLIAS. Piotrek was in his top form, you can hear it when you listen to this album. Wojtek Wojna did a great drumming work, and I was happy I managed to get it all done.

At the time, we were just entering our life and music career paths, says Foreman. Me and Wojna got married at the exactly same day – June 1st, 1991. We met up with Goolary to chat up a little bit, and, in result, we ended up with 20 tracks which we had to polish up, resurrect and finally record. Four bottles of wine later, our list was full – all was crystal clear. We used to rehearse at Wola Justowska in Cracow at the time (Bolek used to come visit us from time to time). At the time, we used to rehearse for many hours. We could sense that the stuff we were to record would be important. On the last day before we entered the studio, within the last 20 minutes of rehearsal, we created the track “Sentence of”, which got completed while actually recording it! These were the times of early democracy in Poland, and Metallica`s Black Album.
“Closed...” was recorded by Andrzej Piwowarczyk and Artur Kuziola in the Jacek Mastykarz studio.

The recording studio was located in the Kto Theater in Cracow. At the time, it was a very good and respected one. Good equipment and good sound engineers, says Wojtek “Wojna” Wojnowski. Our material was recorded by Piotr Brzezinski. A renowned person back then. Andrzej and Artur have owned GAMA firm which actually paid for the session and later released this material. I still think it is good stuff, after so many years. The fact that this material will be rereleased says a lot. Good tracks, for sure. You can listen to some re-recorded tracks on “25th Year in the Abyss.” We put some re-recorded tracks on it, but they still have this archaic atmosphere of the old versions.

Paweł "Goolary" Góralczyk: the studio of Jacek Mastykarz was, at the time, the best in Cracow and one of the best in Poland. As a matter of fact, the studio crew (Jacek Mastykarz and Piotr Brzeziński) were involved in the studio Teatr Stu, the one where the first lps of TSA, Kat and Turbo were recorded. Total pro`s indeed! When the system was changing, the studio was changing too. We recorded out material in the Teatr Stu building where the studio was located. This is where the Radio Krakow is situated now (Krakowskie Aleje). I still can remember how the session was transforming from one day to another. We were so afraid when entering the studio. We didn’t know how the cooperation with such professional guys will look like. After the initial days, when we had recorded drums and some parts of guitars, we realized we were doing something great. We dared to experiment a little. For example, the track “Sentence of” was worked on while actually recording it! Some arrangements are result of planned chaos. Recording track samples, me and Wojtas were shaping this track which still remains of huge sentimental value for us. We fucking aced it! Still remember when I was recording the beginning of this this track, my eyes closed, and suddenly… wham! Drums!

Wojna played that part awesome! Seemed easy, but was done so well, indeed. Next, Piotrek started to record the vocals. Hard to believe, but to record all the tracks took him four, maybe five hours. He just sang the whole “Dark Exile” track at once. Piotr Brzezinski and me were trying to find any flaws in it but we couldn’t. Even his English was bearable though, at the time, he had some problems with this language. Foreman was in top form. How would I assess the session? Well, I think it was perfect! I think it is great stuff. I am aware of some flaws, but I don’t care. This is very good stuff that tells what HELLIAS is all about. I think it was not until “Ad Darkness” that we got a similar result. Some words about the producers Artur Kuzioła i Andrzej Piwowarczyk. They had the money, but they must not be ignored as they took part in this all. They must be praised and thanked for help and really good relations. HELLIAS would put them high on a thank you list. And it is not only us who are grateful. They supported a lot of bands in the 1990s. They produced Vader`s De Profundis, Christ Agony, Cemetery of Scream and Darzamat.

According to Piotr "Foreman" Foryś, the “Closed” session was pure madness:

It was just a totally random conversation with Andrzej Piwowarczyk, when suddenly we fixed the date for recording of our first full length in the Teatr Kto studio. We worked like crazy. How much we drank and how much we played remains unknown, he laughs. But it was well done. It was just delicious. Actually, never after or never before I was able to record an album in such a short time. We did really well, although we had never had such an experience. Piotr Brzezinski was an amazing sound engineer. The whole album was ready, with mixing, in a week, and we were really happy. I love this album and it has a huge sentimental value for me. It is really good and has this specific atmosphere and is so full of thrashing venom. In my opinion, the HELLIAS style was created on this album…and it has been following us since then.

The tape version cover of “Closed” was different from the cd version released sometime later.

It has somehow become a custom that all HELLIAS` layouts are dealt with by Goolary. I am responsible for album titles, says Foreman. This is how it looks like now. Both the tape and cd covers were proposed by Pawel and we OK’ed them. I would say the tape version looks more artistic. It looks dark and has got this philosophic and intriguing touch. The cd version is more in the Metal Mind Records` style. As far as I can remember, the cd was released after the tape, and it was actually when the cover was released and we OK’ed it.
Believe it or not, but “Closed in the Fate Coffin” tape sold 20.000 copies. Right now, it would be some sort of gold disc or any similar shit. Cd was selling well too. All respect to Leszek Wojnicz. There was some difference between the tape and cd covers as these were done for two different releases. Firstly, we planned a cd version only and its cover had some “cult” burning tree coming out of a bastardized humanoid. When we realized that the tape was selling well, the version with a mirror and a psychopath looking into it was made. This is how the cd and tape rereleases looked like. This inconsistency got it all fucked up a bit, but it is hard to deal with it. The next re-release of “Closed...” will relate to these two versions.

Well, I would like to know what bonus tracks HELLIAS fans can expect from your new stuff that Thrashing Madness Records plans to release? What is it going to be about?

There are going to be some surprises – laughs Foreman – that Goolary has hidden, and I do know he has got plenty of them. Frankly, I am curious too.
So I asked Goolary himself about details:

If nothing changes, the newest edition of “Closed in the Fate Coffin” album will have some extra old tracks recorded while forming HELLIAS. On condition that refreshment of these tracks goes well, we will put some demo version cuts from 1989-1991, which is when we composed our “Closed...” I am sorry, but I won`t list any titles now, as we have plenty tracks to choose from. I am pretty sure fans won’t be disappointed.

HELLIAS- Closed in the fate Coffin 1991„Noc potępienia1998” 2015

Thrashing Madness along with HELLIAS band are preparing a reedition of classic material "Closed in the Fate Coffin / Noc Potępienia." The material will consist of many unique bonus rarities, 16-page booklet with a bunch of previously unpublished photos, band's story in a form of a interview with Wojtek Lis. The CD release is planned for later this year or within the first days of 2015. It's noting that this CD will come out in a strict limit of 500 copies.


Wojciech Lis

Poprawiony (poniedziałek, 30 marca 2015 16:11)