Polish metal bands are very often inspired by classic literature or fantasy novels. We know works based on Tadeusz Micińskis poetry, referring to Tolkiens books, Vikings and ancient Slavs mythology. Till now, with one exeption (TENEBRIS), not many musicians have been interested in classical science-fiction. PLANET HELL lyrics are inspired by Stanisław Lems works I am astonished in positive way. Those lyrics combined with progressive and technical death metal create unique atmosphere. Half of the band are musicians known from thrash metal group THE NO-MADS now they reveal completely different face. Heavy music fans with sophisticated taste and wanting brilliant sound created by classical metal instrumentarium should listen to the Mission One album and flow with this sound of sonic journey!

Hello Przemek! PLANET HELL is a brand new name in Polish metal music, but you were playing before in other bands. Tell me about the roots of PLANET HELL crew.

Hello! Well, me and Joseph we were The No-Mads musicians it was the band involved in building anew Polish thrashmetal scene. We were doing it for 15 years, with 4 albums released and with many gigs done - we shared stage with founders of this music genre. Tom Raszka drummer, he played in technical death metal band Dysphoria Tom has non-metal roots too. The youngest, Tom Ziarko played before in tech-death Mors Nigra and groove metal Bullet Rage. He is a graduated musician.

There is a video clip/lyrics video to your song "Mask" available on the internet. It means you had full-length album recorded some time ago or it was a promo to the material recorded recently?

I started to write Planet Hell material in time when THE NO-MADS was still active. My first idea was that it would be my own solo project. I recorded all guitars and vocals and programmed drums. I asked Joseph, if he could record bass and it was a good idea, because he supported me mentally too you know it is important when somebody not involved in composing thinks you made a great job. I was afraid that my own music may be listenable only to me. We recorded whole stuff in studio 67 in Cracow, Poland with big help of Dominik Burzym, studio owner he is very into Planet Hell too!

How were you looking for "Mission One" publisher? Was it difficult? How did you make the deal with Thrashing Madness?

I sent a few promo-packs to my favourite majors just in case, because I know, that I will not quit my regular job to go on tour for 6 months. And I know, that H & R people from labels know it too band activity is clearly visible on the internet. I am very glad, that Leszek offered us a deal, because he is devoted to metal scene and to art and music in many ways. He did a huge job with last THE NO-MADS recordings. CD was visible on the net and in the magazines, we got a lot of reviews and we had licensed edition in Japan it is probably a dream of every rock and metal band. PLANET HELL is also supported by Przemek & Mad Lion Records he is responsible for digital distribution and gigs arrangement.

If someone wants to compare you to classical metal bands, they say that you create the atmosphere in VOIVOD or NOCTURNUS way... I personally dont perceive it like that. What do you think about this comparison? Its OK or its annoying you? Or maybe its only the matter of science-fiction issue?

I love Voivod! Respect to Nocturnus. Sometimes people compare us to CARCASS and MESHUGGAH I like them much too. Im glad to hear comparison like that I mention it because those opinions come from people I know and I respect their knowledge of music. To be honest, I would like to point to other bands that inspired me. My roots are in the time, when thrash metal evolved into death metal I started going to gigs and playing the guitar. My first gig was Metalmania Festival in 1988 that time the biggest metalfest in Eastern Europe. I think it may be the reason for comparing us to NOCTURNUS technical thrash/death music and sci-fi lyrics. VOIVOD too of course, but VOIVOD was more progressive. Comparison to CARCASS some people say I sing in the similar way to Jeff, but it wasnt my purpose, I simply cant sing another way, hehehe! MESHUGGAH they were very innovative especialy in the rhythmic issue yes, when I was writing some parts of drums I was impressed by a few MESHUGGAH compositions. And youre right - sci-fi atmosphere is the main reason.

Indeed it is for me quite fascinating - your lyrics and image are into science fiction - in details inspired by Stanisław Lem. Before we start talking about literature and film, I would like to ask how do people react to PLANET HELL? Is it attractive for metalheads I mean, this sci-fi philosophy?

I have an impression, that for people it is more important that we play and we look different than other bands. We have other monolithic concept for our band. SF of course too, but as a background, not in the first place. I know, we arent making revolution in the music and some things have already been made, but to me our idea is unique I feel comfortable with myself. I think, when our CD is available and we play more gigs, people will complete this puzzle finding more components of our idea, which in fact goes beyond sci-fi. I hope they will, because it may make some noise around PLANET HELL name.

OK, so why Lem and why sci-fi? You are inspired by literature or by other bands even older such as RUSH, ELOY, HAWKWIND?

When I started to work on this project I was afraid of writing lyrics. I didnt do that in my previous band. You know, everyone tried to write something when they were young and my first attempts were unsuccessful it bore a resemblance to the writing of teenager talentless hack. I found my way in writing short stories - reports suiting to the music. It was me and my music from its beginning, so I thought I should write lyrics about things I am familiar with. I knew it should be sci-fi and... I got confused I had too many different ideas. Out of the blue, my wife told me: why you dont take some Lems stories? You like his books and some of them are really dark and gloomy perfectly fit to metal. Thats it! I said, hehehe! I love RUSH but I found their sci-fi inspirations later than music. HAWKWIND is not my cup of tea I know them beacuse of Lemmy. Sometimes I like when they flow with their music it is true space-rock!

Stanisław Lem was Polish science-fiction classic author even in his lifetime. When did you find his works in the youth or later? To be honest, Lems books, even Fables for robots, they are not typical books for teenagers. To understand his writings you have to be experienced in literature and the science.

When I was a child I was very interested in the conquest of space my parents knew it and they were buying me some books, mainly documentary and educational stuff, available in that time, focused on competition between USA and USRR. My father had a few years issue of Młody Technik (Young technician monthly) there were articles about technology and science and science-fiction short stories. I remember when I was watching live coverage on TV of the launch of rocket of the first Polish astronaut Mirosław Hermaszewski I was 7. When I was 10 years old, my mom encouraged me to read some Lems books and I found Astronauts in the library. It blew me away away from Earth straight to the space! It was amazing! From that time sci-fi has been my favourite genre and Lem favourite writer. It is very interesting, that you mentioned Fables for robots when I was reading them as a child, teenager and as an adult I was always able to find something new. It is impossible to me to get bored even reading it several times!

Your song lyrics begin from short introduction describing plot and paralells to Lems works. In form it is related to literature and reminds me short stories anthology. Is this literary style of your CD a part of your idea? Do you think it may attract more fans and will be more interesting for example to literature-lovers, especially to those, who dont listen to the extreme music?

Well, I would like to go beyond the bounds and attract people who are not metalheads and encourage them to listening to the heavy music. To show that noisy rockers have more to offer, than people usually think. However, I wrote those introductions to make our concept album idea comprehensible to the average fan of metal music. It is like a proof that we arent nerds living far away from metalheads reality. Thats why I insisted on putting Polish version of lyrics in the booklet, but the main reason was to show respect to Lem, who was writing in Polish and because I know, that many translations of his books are simplified and poor. There is one more thing about the booklet illustrations. I am very glad, that Daniel Mróz daughter gave me permission for using his original graphics from Fables for robots and The Cyberiad. Afterwards I felt that my concept was completed.

Regarding Lems classics I have a few questions to you and your feelings referring to some books. First and most important why there is not Solaris on CD? And your feelings after reading the book and watching movies based on that novel?

Approximately in the middle of my work on Mission One, during writing a next song I had an idea to do Solaris, but I came to a conclusion that this book is very special and contains huge amount of emotions and landscapes. It deserves to be described in the other whole concept-album. After watching Sonnenbergs movie I thought, that this was a universal thing, for everyone I mean. When I was watching it for the first time, I didnt like the presentation of the planet all those phenomena on its surface and inside the space station. It was pushed too deep to the background to me, to expose psychological strands of the plot, namely the tragedy of the main character. After secondary watching I changed my mind I felt it more balanced. Clooney is great, but Natascha McElhone as Rheia is brilliant! She creates her character in a way that makes you feel the tension and insanity hidden under her nice face. I think that the reception of the movie depends on the attitude, I mean the time, the while and the mood you are in. I couldnt be a critic you know, I can listen to the same CD for a few times, but I cant watch the movie more than two times. Tarkowskis movie made me yawn in first 15 minutes, but I promise to try again. To sum up to understand the movie you should read the book.

Do you know the novel "Ciemna Strona Księżyca" (Dark Side Of The Moon) by Grzegorz Gajek? From certain point of view it refers to Solaris.

Nope, but youve made me curious.

Huge part of Lems works refers to difficulties in communication with extraterrestial civilization. His conclusions very often are pesymistic. In your opinion is a contact between us and aliens possible? There are some theories that we are already in touch with other species, or maybe our life form came from space?

Lem is right. His argumentation is very logical and difficult to reject. The difference between us and other species in issues such as basic ideas, biological determinants of life and in points of reference are impossible to us to get by, because of other type of understanding, gaining knowledge and relativity of everything. And what about interdimetional entities? I agree with Lem but I am a hopless optymist. I am very close to Star Trek Universe, but I dont get Aliens in form of attractive English speaking blonde chicks. I think, if we could invent technology which made space travels to distant systems possibile, we would be able understand ununderstandable. Of course Lem claims that it is out of our reach, but why not to try?

One of my favourite Lems books is Invincible song inspired by Invincible is on your CD. It is complete screenplay to the movie comparable to Alien movie of course in case of good director dont you think?

Of course! The plot is still fresh and innovative in comparison to many present movies. And it was written so many years ago! Nowadays computer graphics gives so many possibilities I think it could be Polish movie, why not? The plot may by shocking for nowadays sci-fi audience. You know today movie industry may show or already showed almost everything. Now we go back to the place, when the most important is the plot and the idea. Instead of movie, now we may enjoy great audio drama with Daniel Olbrychski as Horpach.

So lets talk about movies some pictures worth seeing in your opinion? Have you been impressed recently by some SF movie?

Weve been chatting already for a few minutes, so it is not surprise, that I like reality sci-fi movies. I was impressed by Martian and Interstellar. Especially Interstellar we almost touch the mystery almost well known to us. We are so close and so far! Last JJ Abrams movies I mean Star Trek and Star Wars are awesome. This guy is a genius. He refreshed the cult. From less known - Moon plot is close to the best of Philip K. Dick books and Apollo XVIII a mockumentary movie maybe a bit silly but keeping in suspense. Our logo and patch are inspired by cancelled Apollo XVIII mission patch. Yes, I know those movies arent new, but I am not a cinemaniac. I watch movies in my spare time so rarely. Unfortunately.

Youve been focused on Lem till now, but SF literature offers huge area to explore. Do you plan for future recordings to take something from the novels of others? I mean other Polish classics such as Janusz Zajdel, Krzysztof Boruń, Andrzej Trepka, Marek Oramus.


Lem presents variety of ideas plots, philosophy, visionariness and deep thoughts, so I dont plan to refer to any other authors. On the other hand I dont want to be boring, so maybe on the third or on fourth album I will do other kind of concept work based on Lem, Asimov, Dick and others focused on one certain issue for example problems with relations between human and artificial intelligence. I mean daily routine in the future, philosophical, existential and religious problems for example do robots believe in God? And many other things.

Your image reminds space ship crew. Where did you find clothes to complete your outfit? Rest of the band share your fascination SF literature or maybe they read other stuff?

Puzzle was completed when we made our logo in shape of space mission patch. A few minutes of searching in military webshops and uniforms were ready. We all like SF in the band, my bandmates share my visions but they were reading other authors.

To the Mask lyrics video you used photos from "Metropolis" movie. What is common in those two works, Lems short story and the movie?

I dont think that Lem was inspired by Metropolis while writing the Mask . To me its quite probable, that James Cameron made up Terminator after reading the Mask. Original shots from Metropolis were perfect to me to tell that story anew - to create some kind of steampunk atmosphere

You are playing gigs. Do you plan a tour to promote the album? Do you plan some kind of a show including expanded stage set with SF gadgets?

We will play as much as we can. We have additional stands on stage they look cool! I think we will prepare some visualization using photos and movies form Hubble telescope or NASA missions, espacially from Cassini probe we used those shots for making videoclip to Inquest it will be soon available on the internet. Song is based on short story well known because of movie entitled Test Pilota Pirxa (Pilot Pirx Test). We have patches of our space mission in merchandise so everyone may have a feeling of sharing our mission with us. We will do T-shirts with a fifth member of the crew astrodroid Miriada character inspired by the Metropolis robot Maria.

. In our talks about Lem we need to mention his philosophy and futurology. How do you find his more pesymistic than optymistic point of view? Are you afraid of future world, things we expect make you trembling with fear?

I have an impression that Lems gradation of pesymism/optymism depended on his age, I mean the periods of his writings. I am now in my optymistic period so I don't need to be like a grumpy old man to be fulfilled Lems fan. I am aware of how our civilisation works and the direction we go as human race, so I feel prepared to worst-case scenario. However, I hope to be surprised in a positive way.

. "Mission One" is a job you need to rest after, or do you plan another mission?

Rock musician doesnt rest he is eaten inside by a worm of ambition, will, illusions, hopes, failures and ecstasy. We will play gigs and broaden boundaries of our musical universe. Weve just started work on Mission Two concept album inspired by Solaris!

. Thank you for the interview, Przemek. I wish PLANET HELL achieving great success this band is unique on music scene!

Thanx for good words nice to hear it. Greetings to Oldschool Metal Maniac readers!

Krzysztof " Korsarz" Biliński





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