Crackling sparks, like demons` eyes brighten the stellar sky. Around the holy fire, Witches on their brooms are stirring, humming an old song. Impenetrable woods around embrace the Sabbath. Mountains` peaks, rough and inaccessible guard the place tonight. Only one small trail, blazed with dim light hidden next to the beck, is humming magic incantations. Joy, talk and windy frantic dance. It is midnight, one can hear an owl calling hidden powers. In the dark forest, wolf eyes are glazing. The wind is dancing, together with witches` ilk. And thus is the Dark Lord coming from the Hell itself; his crown is made of stars, jet-black as his horns are. He is draped in darkness, his forehead dressed with stellar diadem which is sparking powerfully. His might is dark, but the Witches don’t fear him, many eyes devour him passionately. He is calling his children who came from afar today. This night, holy night, young witches shall hail him. Sabbath, Sabbath, Sabbath - is repeated throughout this summery beauteous night. The whole world is whirling. Babia Góra is emanating with primordial magic, the word Malokarpatan is echoed again and again:

1. First off, I will say your live performance at Into the Abyss Fest was awesome. How did you like the way Polish people welcomed you? They seemed pretty excited, I think!


Thank you very much! We've had high expectations about Poland, because the audience in your country is well known as one of the wildest in Europe and it certainly didn't disappoint. Definitely the best crowd we've played for so far. We met some new friends there, tasted some local home-made alcohol, walked through the historical parts of the city... Overall a fantastic trip and we hope to come back to Poland very soon. I think our nations have a similar mentality so it's very easy to have a good time together.



2. Stridžie Dni was recorded by MALOKARPATAN as a three piece band, right? How does the line-up look like now?


Yeah, the thing is, at first it was just intended as sort of my solo project. During the recording, I decided to include two old friends of mine, so we became a trio. And then after the completely unexpected positive feedback we've received from a lot of different countries, we also started getting offers to play live. Hence we became a 5-piece band consisting of: As – guitar (me), HV – guitar, Temnohor – vocals, Peter – bass and Miroslav – drums. We all know each other for many years and all of us played in other bands before, so it was quite easy to start working together. The only small disadvantage is that our drummer lives in a different town than the rest of us, so we rarely have the chance to rehearse in the full line-up.


3. You`re a relatively young band, aren’t you. You formed in 2014 yet you`re inspired by the 80s. I would say we can hear a lot of BATHORY, DARKTHRONE and MASTERS HAMMER in your music. Is it correct to say so? I am pretty sure one could list more bands, huh? What do you listen to these days, btw?


Indeed, but we've all played in other bands in the past, so we aren't really newbies or young guys (our ages are roughly between 30-44). People mention Master's Hammer a lot in connection to us, but I don't think our music sounds very similar to them. I think the lyrics and the similarity of Slovak and Czech language is what makes people draw these comparisons. We all love their music of course, but our musical influences are a bit different. Early Bathory was definitely the strongest inspiration for the debut album, also Venom, Mercyful Fate and Tormentor. Our next album will be a lot more inspired by traditional 80s heavy metal and NWOBHM, among other things. What do I listen to these days? Been playing these a lot the last year: TYGERS OF PAN TANG – Spellbound, LUGUBRUM – Bruyne Troon, BARATHRUM – Infernal, first three ACCEPT albums, HEAVY LOAD, LEGEND from Connecticut, the new CULTES DES GHOULES album... I also like some of the recent retro-synth projects like GIANNI ROSSI, MITCH MURDER, MIAMI NIGHTS 1984, DYNATRON...


4.You said you guys played in other bands before MALOKARPATAN. Well, judging by how good your music is, it doesn’t surprise me. Please tell us some more about them, thanks. What kind of music were these bands by the way?

Our singer has his own solo project TEMNOHOR. The music is primitive, ugly early 90s black metal with some 80s influences like HELLHAMMER. The other guitar player HV has his project KROLOK – also more or less 90s black metal sounding, but more focused on atmosphere. My original band (with the MALOKARPATAN guitar and bass player) was REMMIRATH. It rose from black metal roots too, but over the years evolved into something

closer to "experimental rock", for a lack of a better term. It's very different to MALOKARPATAN, I'd only recommend it to people who enjoy bands like SECRET CHIEFS 3, SUN CITY GIRLS or the weirder bands from the 70s Krautrock scene (at least the second album, I'm not so happy about our debut). Our drummer has been playing for a long time in his original band ALGOR. They started as a quite raw (but not primitive or sloppy) black metal band, but the last album has been more complex and progressive. His drumming abilities are more visible in there, because in MALOKARPATAN we like to keep things more simple and primal.


5.Dude, at your gig in Wroclaw, I was just amazed at the guitar sound of yours. Damn devilish and sulphurous so to say, indeed! Pretty much in the vein of BATHORY. Fuck, the guitars just crushed! Man, your music when played live is even more powerful than in its studio version. It is really amazing! How are you guys able to make your music sound so strong?

Thank you very much for your words! We just use very primitive old school pedals live, so maybe that is why it sounded so "sulphurous" to you. We knew we have quite a few fans in Poland, more than in most other countries including our own, so we tried our best to give you guys a good show. Some people criticise our singer though, because he isn't a particularly wild frontman who jumps around the stage all the time, but that's simply his everyday persona and it's difficult to change that. He is in his mid-40s now and therefore not as "excited" and energetic as a younger guy could have been.


6.How long did you run the band as a solo project? Didn’t you intend to play live at all (initially) and you just wanted to create (write) music only?

Well, to tell you the whole story, some of the Stridžie dni songs are rather old – from the early 2000s. I've recorded some of them in a primitive form with older projects/bands, but not many more than just a few friends have heard those recordings. Ever since, I've had plans to record some more stuff in this vein, but somehow nothing serious happened over the years and I was always focused on my other band. In 2014 I finally said to myself, I'm going to record a full album of this material now or never. I've just finished the second REMMIRATH album, which was very complex and not easy to record. So this was a great way to relax and just play some old school stuff which I love. The idea to include a few other friends came spontaneously during the recording. I've laid down the basic guitar parts and then said to HV (at whose place this was being recorded) and Temnohor to join. Being fans of this kind of music, they instantly agreed and we became a three-piece. I didn't have plans to play live at first, but when the first offers came to us, two more members were added. Being a group of 5 people of course makes things more complicated, but there was no way I could run this as a solo effort anymore.


7.Your lyrics deal with medieval folklore themes: devils, Nicks, witches and witchcraft of course! That’s awesome, hey! There are some many interesting issues one might deal with, right? Tell us some more about your inspirations when it came to writing Stridžie Dni. Did you guys read any witch trials diaries or anything of this kind?


I've just recently stumbled upon some historical witch trial inscriptions from the Slovak region, so maybe I will use some of that in the future. However, Stridžie dni is purely folkloristic in its roots. There are some made up stories mixed up in the album, but even those have their base in actual myths and legends. I try to write lyrics from the perspective of an observer – a scared, pious villager who confronts forces beyond his comprehension. This way of writing lyrics is rather neglected in black metal these days, as everyone tries to appear as a wise and evil master of occult arts. Which usually makes up for some rather cheesy, pretentious and boring lyrics. Think about the famous song Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath. One of the aspects that make it so intense and effective is that Ozzy sings as if he was a scared, simple guy. He doesn't yell "Hail Satan!" as some 2017 black metal band would do, he goes "Please God help me! Please no!". I find this a lot more powerful, as it makes him human and weak and the forces of darkness appear more terrifying.



8. Medieval times are associated with the terror of the Church which, using religion as a tool, annihilated a lot of people. Don’t you think they ought to be tried for that? I would say Pope`s “I am sorry for that” is not enough, is it? And just think about how much the Church stole through all the ages?


I think the Church of today has completely lost its historical roots and it seems to be an institution going through a slow process of dying and decay. Just look at that pussy Pope Francis. I am pretty sure religion will remain, but the way people understand it and how they relate to it is changing rapidly. These days, I see Islam as a far bigger threat to European culture, as these are people who are actually murdering others in the name of their faith – which is what the Christians have been doing in the old days you speak of. Especially when it comes to Slavic pre-Christian culture, it's truly sad that so much of it was destroyed and how very little we know about the spirituality of our ancestors, but there's nothing that can be done about it now. Anyway, if you look closely at Catholic traditions, a HUGE part of it comes from pagan roots, only the names and meanings have been altered.


9. At the time, the Church was busy with deliberate depicting demons and hell, full of eternal suffering to terrorize their contemporary society. It worked ok, but, with time, people became more and more fascinated with devil who, interestingly, became a figure of interest for many creators/artists all over the world. Don’t you think it is weird that the Church lost control over its actions, so to speak?


I think to be lazy, egotistical, greedy, frivolous, etc is a lot more simple than to lead an austere, grim, monasterial way of life. Therefore human nature is the most reliable ally of the Devil in the way that Christianity describes him. That's not exactly how I view the Devil myself, but I think it easily explains his popularity. There is the lewd, glamorous Devil of MTV videos and then there is the Devil representing strength, revolt, overcoming of human limitations – I tend to be more attracted to the latter.



10.To write stories from the perspective of an observer is undoubtedly a good idea. Thus, one can build up tension, heat up emotions and unleash fear which, surprisingly, is liked by many people. Just take a look at how popular are horrors or thrillers, right? Why is it so in your opinion?

One of the greatest masters of horror, H.P. Lovecraft answers this clearly: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown". I can only analyse my own attraction to fear – in my case it thrills me because I believe firmly in supernatural realities existing beyond the reach of our senses. We can only observe them in rare cases when these realities clash with our own world. Think of the blind animals living in the total darkness of caves – how much of our "reality" is hidden before them. Who are we to think we are not in the same position as these creatures, towards beings supreme to us? Naturally, even the faintest sight of our superiors fills us with dread and/or awe, making us akin to the tribes of Melanesia and their cargo cults.


11.There are a lot of local legends connected with Nick, Devil and Evil in general (Boruta, Bies, Czart; Pan Twardowski in Polish etc.). How does it look like over there? Is your folklore rich too?


Oh yes, we have both Boruta and Bies, although the meanings might differ a bit here. Our lyrics deal with a lot of these creatures – the witch in her forest hut, local vampire legends, folk superstitions intended for defence against evil forces, etc. One of the Stridžie dni songs tells an old legend of a strange creature with half-human, half-ox body living at the bottom of a lake. The second album will go deeper in this – it will have songs about the water goblin – Vodník, will-o'-the-wisps, kobolds... Kind of a roller coaster ride across the darker corners of local mythology.



12. Do you believe in Devil himself? If so, how does he look like? Or is it more just a figure, something unreal, with no earthly embodiment at all?


I do. I am absolutely a spiritual person, although not quite literally religious, because I don't actively worship any deity. There are many interpretations of what the Devil is and isn't. The Devil that speaks through Malokarpatan is a folklore Devil, the Old Nick of campfire tales, the horned god of the witches and woods, fertility and underworld – Pan/Veles/Cernunnos. A highly local, specifically European Satan, as opposed to the one celebrated by the so-called Orthodox scene.


13.I think you might write some lyrics about the witch trials described by two Catholic clergyman and deviants Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer (Hammer of Witches). That’d be really interesting to see how the real description of the factual occurrences would affect listeners, especially when we bear in mind all those mass murders were done in the name of (allegedly) merciful God!

I do own this book, but I try to focus mostly on local events and legends, so if we ever deal with this topic, I would most likely write about trials that happened here on our soil (which were far more scarce than in Western Europe). Lyrically, I'm not so much interested in exact facts, I'm more focused on building a specific atmosphere – the poetry of the countryside with its superstitions and lore.

14.This damn book, commonly known as a step-by-step guide to the conduct of a witch hunt and widely used as a main source of knowledge on sorcery between XV and XVII centuries was really wicked. Malleus Maleficarum was published when the printing press was invented and re-printed 16 times within the span of two hundred years! That’s really horrific, don’t you think? Don’t you think it`d`ve not been that catastrophic if the invention of the printing press hadn’t taken place at all?

I think, even though it's flawed, there is some truth to the so-called Witch-cult hypothesis. The witches were most likely just keeping alive certain rites and initiations from the pagan times and since this threatened the authority of the Church, arrangements were made to supress this phenomenon. One can also view this in a more mundane way as a political struggle for might – best seen in pursuit of heretics, specifically the Cathars, which took place centuries before the witch-hunt. I am sure this would happen either


15.I am just curious to know what made men to kill (often deliberately) so many great and beloved women back then?

Women were seen as more receptive to the call of the dark side and the temptations of the Devil. Traditional folk healers in the countryside were usually women and their knowledge of herbs and certain times of the year/phases of the moon when to pick them up made them more suspicious for possible practising of black magic. Male essence/energy is solar – stable, clear, unfaltering. Female essence is lunar – dark, unpredictable, fluid. People of those olden days were not influenced by the egalitarian views prevalent today, so killing a man or a woman made no big difference to them. It may be difficult for modern people to understand their line of thinking, but in reality it takes little more than just stepping outside of the paradigm we live in and leave our comfort zone. Things like that still happen in the 21st century, just look at the infamous brutal killing of Farkhunda Malikzada in Afghanistan.


16.Stridžie Dni which was available at the gig is this material`s second edition. It features new artwork – who did it? Is it going to be re-released in the vinyl format? It`d would awesome to be able to put this stuff on one`s shelf as a vinyl release, me thinks.


It was drawn by Teitan Arts, you might know him from his works for other bands like Cult of Fire or Svartidaudi. At first it was drawn only as an exclusive shirt motive, but we were extremely satisfied with it and decided to use it also on the CD re-edition. I think he expressed the spirit of our music and lyrics perfectly. Stridžie dni was already released on vinyl by our current label Invictus Productions from Ireland. Our personal copies are sold out for a long time now, but it's still available from the label and possibly from some distributors as well.



17.Ok, talking again about Stridžie Dni. Well, it’s been some time since it was out. Do you plan to release any new stuff soon? Tell us some more about your intentions, thanks.


Sure! Last year, we've recorded two new songs (one original song and one coverversion) which are to be released on two different split EPs. One will be with Demon's Gate from Finland and should be out quite soon on Invictus Productions. The other one will be with Botulistum from the Netherlands – no idea about the release date for this one. But most important, in a few months we will be entering the studio to record our second album Nordkarpatenland. It will keep the basic raw elements of Stridžie dni, but will go a lot deeper to the roots of heavy metal, while also adding more atmospheric elements along the way. Imagine a band from communist Czechoslovakia, in 1984, playing black metal unintentionally. That will roughly be the spirit of the new album, I think. Don't expect just some cheap retro fad though, it will have a strong individual touch.



18.Can you please tell us some more about your split releases, thank you. So when them splits are going to be out? What cover song is it by the way?

The first split is with our comrades DEMON'S GATE from Finland. We have met with Tommi, the mainman, at our gig in Ireland and he also came to visit us here in Slovakia. He is a fan of our music and we like his band as well, so it was a logical step to make a split release. He is a quite maniacal fan of MASTER'S HAMMER and the old Czechoslovak metal scene, which can be also heard in the music of DEMON'S GATE, but they add to that the specific Finnish weirdness which makes it special. This split was meant to be out last year already, but you know how it goes with all the delays… It should finally be out on Invictus Productions within the next few months. Our song is sort of a collaboration with the cult Belgian band LUGUBRUM which I am a huge fan of – Midgaars plays a short flugelhorn intro, Barditus sings in the 2nd half of the song in Dutch and the lyrics for this part were co-written by him and other ex-LUGUBRUM member Zwelg. The second split will be with the Dutch madmen BOTULISTUM (featuring members of WEDERGANGER, URFAUST, etc) – their music is total filthy chaos beyond the conventional black metal model. Both us and them will

contribute with a cover song. Ours is from BUKASOVÝ MASÍV, a cult local folk rock/country band unknown outside of Slovakia. They are one of our influences, because they sing in the same local dialect about stories from the countryside. Our version sounds more like dirty punkish metal with folk vibe – maybe like a brawl in a rural tavern. BOTULISTUM will be covering an old Dutch schlager singer singing about a drunk man and his fate. This release will be quite sick, but I have no idea when it will be out. Our song was already recorded last year, but we are still waiting for BOTULISTUM and their track. Both these split releases will feature rather atypical songs from us, which is the reason why they are not going to be featured on the full-lenght album.


19.This year The Witch by Robert Eggers was out. It delivers a very interesting folklore themes from New England. Have you watched this movie?


Ah yes, I went to the local cinema as soon as it got there and can say I am a big fan. Seeing how incredibly shitty the horror genre has become for the last two decades, movies like this are like a revelation in a sea of garbage. You can perfectly see how the horror movie genre has degenerated when you read the reactions of todays young viewers who grew up on cheap jump-scare movies and idiotic torture porn like Hostel – the slow atmospheric style of The Witch is so alien to them, they don't even consider it to be a horror film. I would welcome more witchcraft scenes and less of the family dialogues, but that's just a minor flaw.


20.I would say this movie describes the atmosphere of those times perfectly and proves it is not necessary to present scary demons or any other wicked creatures to create some dark atmosphere, don’t you think?

Agreed fully. It was extremely effective in describing the puritan religious mentality of that time and place in history – a mentality that is so extremely distant to us in the largely materialistic and rationalistic modern world of today. We are obsessed with numbers, measurements, quantity – everything has to be explained scientifically, otherwise we refuse to even acknowledge the existence of an unknown phenomenon. For these people, the supernatural world was as real and natural as their house, their barn and their crop fields. That's the kind of world we try to paint in our lyrics as well.


21.Many friends of mine are of opinion that The VVitch is like a cinematic illustration of what CULTES DES GHOULS` music is. Do you like the band by the way?

Yeah, I think in the future when both the movie and the Coven album will rightfully be regarded as historical classics within their field, people will even more think of them in this connection. Unlike a lot of hyped up bands today, I think CULTES DES GHOULES deserve every inch of praise they receive for their music. Along with NEGATIVE PLANE, I think they are the best black metal has to offer these days. And I have a very selective taste (most modern black metal I just ignore completely because it brings nothing interesting to the table), so this is a firm opinion of mine. So many boring bands today try to gain attention by quoting occult books in their lyrics, giving pretentious interviews in which they can't even say they enjoy playing live with a simple fucking sentence, etc. CDG make me think more of classic bands like BATHORY or even BLACK SABBATH with their approach – no bullshit misspelt Latin & Hebraic blabbering, just rocking songs with a sinister atmosphere and lyrics that speak of the dark sides of European folklore.


22.I have been eagerly watching Salem which there`s been three seasons of since 2014. It is good as it shows witches as strong individuals, not only victims. I am pretty sure the Inquisition woulda had many troubles to deal with, had they had to deal with such witches back then in the middle ages. Do you watch horror movies or you prefer books?

I don't watch these nowadays series because everyone does that and I have this inner antihype mechanism that makes me avoid most things that are too popular – to the point of idiocy where I sometimes miss out on something enjoyable, haha. The only exception has been Stranger Things where the nostalgic factor was just too strong for me as a person who grew up watching classic 80s movies (I was growing up in the 90s but most of these movies only came here after the 1989 revolution for political reasons). When it comes to books, I don't think any movie can come close to the terror present in works of Poe or Lovecraft. But I absolutely love old horror movies and have seen more or less every essential classic in the genre and most of the obscure ones too. We could be talking about this topic all day long, so I'll just give you a short list of movies which are my biggest favourites, both famous and less known ones: NOSFERATU: PHANTOM DER NACHT, BLACK CHRISTMAS, PHANTASM, THE FOG, JUST BEFORE DAWN, SUSPIRIA, BLACK SUNDAY, WOLFEN, EVIL DEAD, THE DEAD PIT, BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW, DEATH SHIP, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, EYES WITHOUT A FACE, THE SHINING, DON'T LOOK NOW, MANIAC, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, OMEN, BURIAL GROUND, ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBALE, FROM BEYOND, LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, DERANGED, DEAD AND BURIED, VAMPYRES, NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS, VALKOINEN PEURA, EYE OF THE DEVIL + most of classic Hammer movies.

23.There are some movie samples on your album. Can you please tell us what movies these are from? Have you seen any Polish horrors like She-wolf for instance? Any good Slovakian or Czech horror movies?


Not all of them are from movies, for example in one instance we've mixed two field recordings together to create our own cinematic atmosphere. The movies used for sampling on the album were: Noční jazdci (kind of an eastern "western" taking place in the Tatra Mountains during the 1920s), Popolvár najväčší na svete (used for the song with the same name, my favourite Slovak folktale movie that tells the story of the folk hero Popolvár and his adventures) and Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. Nosferatu is a German movie, but it was used because of several links this work has to Slovakia in one way or another – beginning from Slavic vampire legends that were instrumental in creating the vampire lore as we know it along with Romanian sources, Slovaks being present in the Dracula novel by Bram Stoker (even though not in the most flattering way) and also both of the Nosferatu movies being partially shot on Slovak locations. Wilczyca is an absolutely amazing movie, I've only discovered it some years ago but have already seen it three times. The extremely eerie atmosphere in it is one of the few that come close to the glorious darkness of Herzog's Nosferatu. Diabeł by Żuławski is also a one of a kind movie. Other interesting ones I've seen are Lokis – Rekopis profesora Wittembacha, Matka Joanna od aniolów and some short surrealistic animation movies by Jan Lenica. There aren't much Slovak & Czech movies which could be described as real horror, but these are some of my recommendations (all of them are actually Czech, since Slovaks for some reason never flirted with the horror genre much): Panna a netvor, Poslední lup, Hrabě Drakula, Valerie a týden divů, Svatební košile, Spalovač mrtvol, Krysař, Lekce Faust and the work of Jan Švankmajer in general.


Ok, that’s it I think. Thanks a lot. Have you got anything you want to say to Oldschool Metal Maniac readers? Thanks again and take care.



Thanks a lot to you as well for the interest in Malokarpatan. I want to thank all the people who supported us so far, 2016 has been a great year for us and now it's time to conquer some new grounds. Await our album later this year. Follow your hearts instead of trends and don't forget about the METAL in Black Metal!


Poprawiony (środa, 11 stycznia 2017 17:35)