CRUCIFIER INTERVIEW

Lads and ladies: Cazz of  CRUCIFIER is going to tell us a little about one of the most important satanic bands there are. Play some stuff of theirs and enjoy. Just pretend its still 1992.

 

Hi Cazz, hows it going?

I am doing well nowadays. Thanks for this opportunity.

Trampled under Cloven Hooves was out in 2009. In other words, its been 7 years since you released a brand new material (not including a 2013 compilation Coffins through Time). And judging by your FB page, CRUCIFIER doesnt seem to be extremely busy these days. So let me ask you what`s up with CRUCIFIER? Is it the band`s policy to release new material when the right times comes (because of some deadlines for instance), or it just happens naturally you record and release new stuff whenever you find it ok to do so?

Over the last year or so, the newest Crucifier lineup has been working on rehearsing and solidifying the classics tracks. I always thought that knowing all of the music is an important part of the band's repertoire. With all our busy lives we only sparingly do live performances. But we still do them, and need to hone our skills. Also, over the last few months we have been tightening our newer selections and also adding new songs to our ongoing set. For me putting out releases has been something that lingers in the background. I always stated that releasing new music, isn't based on contracts and deadlines, but from the heart. And when we write it's about heart emotion and soul...I never will rush that. I don't think many people agree with me, but I will not falter from that strategy. We write slowly, but think that this policy is best considering the final outcome: good Black Death Metal!

 

Lets talk about the past, shall we? In the beginning, there was a band called SATANIC SLAUGHTER, formed back in 1985. You said in some interview that that SS was some sort of a pre-CRUCIFIER bandto what extent is it true (musically, ideologically, and/or when it comes to C`s initial line-up)? Can you please tell us some more about the very beginning of CRUCIFIER?

 

When I first started playing drums, I never initially thought that there would be a Crucifier. However, over the short haul, I found myself loving every minute of playing drums, and rock, and metal. And it was at this time that I came to find myself and what/who I was with regard to metal, and metal drumming. This was in 1983/1984, I was 13.  Early on, in the beginning, I played with some school mates in Pyramid. Playing rock songs, and trying some metal songs. We were short lived. But I was determined to keep doing this...I loved it! From there it blossomed with having some bands like: Macabre Forces, Acephalous Vector, Witchery, Satanic Slaughter (USA), Caution (and/or Hemorrage), The Unholy Trinity, then Crucifier. You see all these bands were in essence Crucifier, but at different stages of growth. Along the lines too I played with and co-founded other incredible projects too. Metal was the driving force for our teenage punk asses!

Some of your initial bands included PYRAMID, MACABRE FORCES/ACEPHALOUS VECTOR, above mentioned SATANIC SLAUGHTER, WITCHERY, CAUTION.do you still have recordings of those bands? Dont you think it`d be a good idea to add those as some bonus tracks to some C`s anthology/re-edition/compilations?

The early bands like Macabre Forces and AV were more experimental stuff and garage jams. But I had the ideas flowing with what I wanted to accomplish personally. Witchery was something a couple buddies and I jammed on which may have some stuff out there. But I don't really think that it should be added into the Crucifier stuff. Crucifier kind of broke loose in 1989/1990 with its own personality and fire. I became really protective over it, like a new parent. Kinda gay sure, but it was how I felt. The Satanic Slaughter stuff was very cool, and I know we released a demo back in the day...but damned if anyone can find a copy. And two of those members passed on, RIP Francis Redden and Kenneth Keith Kallenbach! Great times, my youth.

What was the metal scene like back then in the area CRUCIFIER is from (Chester/Pennsylvania, right?). Did you play live a lot or hang out with other metal heads from your area? Were you involved in any other sort of UG activities like, you know, a distro/zine, or something of this kind? Please tell us about the atmosphere of the early 90s

My hometown was not riddled with many bands that I can recall. I know we were one of the only one's doing our style of metal. But in some other close areas there were some killer death thrash and rock bands playing like Psyanide, Violemosh, Solitude and Witchhunt for example. The atmosphere was one of camaraderie and brotherhood back in the 80s and early 90s. You can't find that nowadays. In those times I put together a small organization/label called The Crucifier Brotherhood, International, which was a fraternity of like-minded individuals from around the world sharing music and ideology. It is still in my heart but is not so much a thing anymore. Also I did help out Gelal with doing small VA label called Sinistrari Records. Fun stuff.

Are you still in touch with the members of the first lineup (Humans are...)? What are they up to these days?

Yes I talk with Dan Kamp much these days. Chris Miller and I share the stage from time to time. He plays in Percussor out of Delaware. Mike Machete has passed on sadly though.

The Unholy Trinity was the title of a rehearsal which was supposed to be out before you recorded your first demo (Humans are Such Easy Prey), but according to Metal Archives, the recording was eventually cancelled. What was the reason for the cancellation? Do you have any rehearsal/video recordings from that era, btw?

The goal was to have The Unholy Trinity be a warm up sort of to an official release to happen later. But the band had some personnel issues and departures and the feeling that I was speaking of earlier just seemed to have disappeared and I had to reload with a newer lineup, which gave way to a newer feeling and passion. So, I scrapped the rehearsal and waited to get tight with the new lineup and release Humans Are Such Easy Prey when it was time.

In the early 90s, CRUCIFIER cooperated with Pagan Records from Poland. The label unleashed three cassettes: By Disgrace of God, Unparalleled Majesty and Crucifier. What can you tell us about those times and those releases? How exactly did you get in touch with Tomasz Krajewski and Pagan Records in the early 90s? How was the cooperation going? Did Tomasz and you ever talk about releasing a full length album of CRUCIFIER?

I think I bought an issue of Holocaust Zine or something along those lines and Tomasz showed an interest in Crucifier. He said he enjoyed the two demos and wanted to know if I'd like to put out some cassettes with Pagan. At that time I was itching to put out more stuff so we jumped on it. And it was pretty much history. There were no ideas to release anything after those initial cassette eps that I can remember anyway. Those times were the most glorious for me and Crucifier I think.

What is your opinion on this label right now? To me, it used to be one of very few "cult" labels and distros, which released plenty of great black and death bands in the past: BEHEMOTH, FORGOTTEN WOODS, MOON, DAMANTION, FUNERAL WINDS, and of course CRUCIFIER. Also, most of the stuff from his distribution was of top quality. Sadly, they later switched to some weird, C-league bands and, in result, lost their "cult" status. Also, of course, Holocaust Zine used to be one of better ones in the early nineties. Are you still in touch with Tomasz, by the way?

I don't follow Pagan Records anymore. I tried to connect with Tomasz but to no avail. Labels are really few and far between these days.

Which old Polish bands/zines can you still remember? I am pretty sure you are familiar with such names as VADER, CHRIST AGONY, PANDEMONIUM, BETRAYER or IMPERATOR, dont you. And, of course, Holocaust Zine.

Back in the 90s I was very hip to ALL the Polish bands/zines...nowadays I only know the cult ones!

Do you think it is possible to generalize and compare American and European scenes to each other?

With the advent of the computer age, no. No need to try and compare them. They are usually all the same....boring for the most part. Haha.

How would you compare the scene right now and back then, when you formed CRUCIFIER? To me, the biggest difference is not the quality of music (or rather the way the music is recorded), music`s and bands promotion etc., but the attitude of people. In other words, underground death (and black) metal used to be strictly underground, in the sense that people who listened to metal music liked the music truly, and not because it was a trend at the time and they wanted to try and taste something new, unusual or rebellious. People were deeply into music and thus used to write to each other, tape trade, promote bands they liked as hell and, apparently, were pretty much devoted the scene in one way or another. I should say, people were simply hungry for music and willing to learn about new bands they`d read about in underground magazines or learned from some flyers. Now it is... just different, I think. Abundance of everything, no need for any form of effort to get music. Why people dont enjoy hard copies of albums/demos and are perfectly fine with digital downloads is just beyond me, really. I can still remember this amazing feeling of uncertainty on my way back from school when I wondered if there`d be some parcels in my mailbox. Times have changes, thats for sure. Or maybe there is a very small core of devoted supporters who still enjoy music the way it used to be years ago.  What`d you think?

You totally nailed it. The Underground was exactly that...it was hidden and it was for US for the true brothers of metal and Satan and sickness. Nowadays your cousin's sister wears Mayhem shirts and you can see Venom shirts and patches on dopes who really wouldn't have survived the 80s and 90s. Today, the Underground only lives in hearts of men like me, old fucks with families and jobs...the ones who were there inventing the very type of music that they bashed us for when I was a kid. Now, it's on your commercials, in your text books, and being praised by college professors. It is NOT what it was intended to be!!!! I recall having every album and demo by everyone, in every single format, over and over. Once they are scratched it's time to buy it again. Nowadays, Youtube it. Creativity is gone. Inspiration is a fleeting memory.

On the other hand we have this vinyl craze. What is your opinion on vinyl? Cult to manytrend to others. I have always though that to have your stuff pressed into vinyl is something noble, extraordinary and rewarding. Times have changed, indeed. These days, every possible title is pressed into vinyl no matter what quality a particular band is. I want to stress every possible band. I agree a number of old releases look really cool, especially when it comes to some cool reeditions with bonus stuff like demos and so on, but, on the flip side, there is plenty of totally crappy/average bands which shouldnt have ever been released in any format, let alone vinyl.

Vinyl was king, now vinyl is queen....I love vinyl releases that are important. I think of it this way, trash the Butcher Babies vinyl and worship the GBK one!

Btw, do flyers still need to exist in the era of the Internet? What do you think? Alls done thru email. The snail mail seems to be kind of in retreat. What is even more, everyone these days seems to be obsessed with the speed at which they can get the stuff theyve ordered (from some distro for instance). The tracking numbers used not to see if theres everything ok with our parcel, but to get angry it takes so long to reach you. Is it the Zeitgeist or what?

I will NOT knock the internet and Facebook and technological advances. I am a firm believer in it. But there is many a sad day that goes by though that I weep for our old times, with stamps and envelopes and having to go to the post office to pick up cd and cassette packages. It is something that I have to get used to, it just will never be the same. But speedily getting a release sent to you via email and attachments is kind of a good thing. You can share your ideas with mates and friends, and discuss topics of lyrics etc within seconds. I'm sad for our past but still happy with our brethren that I can quickly share new Crucifier art and songs with! I occasionally see flyers online....oddly they are usually old ones that I did back in the 90s!!!!!!! Ha-ha.

After so many years in the underground are you able to define where the borderline between the mainstream and the underground is? You started off together with a number of underground bands which, with time, have become relatively popular: IMMOLATION, or INCANTATION for instance. They seem to be pretty big right now, but can these bands be deemed mainstream, huh? Hardly. Yet, many still prefer their older stuff. Its clearly visible what side of the fence CRUCIFIER is on. Always in the underground, always against all the trends... Have you (personally or as a band) ever felt tempted/planned to become "big" like IMMOLATION for instance, and go touring all over the world? Are you happy with where you are with CRUCIFIER now?

Good question. Crucifier isn't liked enough to be touring with others. I knew back in the early days that we were just as good as Incantation or Immolation, or Cannibal or whatever...and got feedback stating the same notions. But why didn't Crucifier become as big? Not sure, but I'll tell you what, I'm happy. Crucifier to me and many others is cult...sort of like Nunslaughter or Cianide. I am very happy to be in THAT club!!! I also prefer older Incantation and Immolation songs to the newer, but they still churn out some great songs. I will go out on a limb and say, the popularity of Incantation and Immolation, et al isn't based mostly on the music but more so the image of said bands. Don't get me wrong, they are wonderful bands, but image and popularity are queer bedfellows. And I'm not saying that Crucifier is better than any other band, but hell, we've paid our dues and surely are no slouches when it comes to playing this style of music! So, why aren't we as popular than bands that play similar music? The world may only know. I wouldn't say no to us being famous and big and successful, but overall, yes, I am very happy with Crucifier exactly where we are....big, but in a small Satanic circle!

When compared to certain underground bands, CRUCIFIER doesnt seem to be obsessed with a big number of releases. You`ve released a limited number of demos, splits and compilations. Very few, I would say, if we take into account the year you formed. And one full length album only. I know it is kind of hard to talk behind the back of others, but whats your view on NUN SLAUGHTER? A good band indeed, yet they seem to release too much stuffand basically there`s is nothing new in what they releasedemos, eps in 1000 different versions and configurations. For fuck`s sake, what is the point in doing so, dude?

I'll say this right off the bat, I love Nunslaughter. Always have and always will. Um, I have no beef with them releasing tons of stuff. Albeit, very similar releases...but they do jam! I think releasing so many albums and eps is just a part of their personality as a band. Not really MY thing...as you nailed it again, Crucifier has only a couple official releases out. But for me, it's always been about quality. I want our stuff to be good. I think 90% of our stuff is good. I think others might agree, many others might disagree. But I will never change how we do things. We, mainly I, procrastinate, pick apart, scrutinize and mull over anything new that I write. And in the end, I am usually happy with the result. Other times I'll trash riffs and lyrics and thoughts and tempos and whatever. It is just how I do things. And then you couple that with the stress of real life, work, kids, families, bills and other NON fun shit.....songs don't get written! I want to move back in with mom and dad and write another twenty demos!!!!!

When I listen to your first and last releases, namely Humans are Such Easy Prey and Trampled under Cloven Hooves and try to look for some similarities and differences, I got to admit the band is still, at its core, filthy and evil; evil to the bone like fuck... I want to say CRUCIFIER stands for pure Devil Cult, and worships, musically and lyrically, Satan himself. Glorification of evilness, filthiness and sickness. Trends come and go, but CRUCIFIER is still where it belongs .in fucking hell!

I really love that you said that. And I totally appreciate your honesty and great taste in music! Haha But seriously, I love Crucifier and with every passing day and every growth spurt we have and every new riffing style and good idea, I fall in love again. It's funny, I treat our members and hell even our logo like one of my kids. It's something you have to experience in your heart. It may be rubbish to 50% of the metal community but those others that love what we do, know exactly what I'm talking about. It's that feeling you get when the middle part of Foul Deeds Will Rise plays and you close your eyes and nearly weep at what is coming out of the speakers. No it isn't your popular Behemoth speed freak-out, it is a properly placed sad riff or doom beat and it will change your life. Once in a while...just sit down, put on some Crucifier and actually listen! You'll see.

How do you like the time you spent with GBK (1995-2003)? To what extent is/was CRUCIFIER similar with GBK? To me, it is both bands` lyrics: in short, blasphemous, hate filled and antichristian to the bone. What was the reason(s) you left GBK, if I may ask?

GBK was perfectly placed in my timeline of life. I loved it, still do. But over time things changed and I moved on. I think the facts of me leaving had to do with many things: I was starting a family (girlfriend was pregnant), I was pressured by said girlfriend with lies and other bullshit (which was only found out later in life), I was pressured by GBK to tour (which at that time I was not able to do considering I'd lose my job and home, etc)...I'll admit it now, that I protected my girlfriend at the time over my band, which is one thing I'll never do again! I found out through that experience that I need to concentrate on ME first then others....and at that time GBK was ME and I failed ME! And in essence failed all of MY fans and GBK's fans...it was a downward spiral that I tried to climb back up from only in current times, but it was too late. So, with that lesson learned now I only strive for what I need to do with extreme and main regard for Crucifier first and foremost, only second to my two children!

Apart from GRAND BELIAL'S KEY you also played in MASADA, BRETHREN, CROMLECH, HEARSE, INFERNAL HATRED, DECIEVERION, BLUDGEON, I.N.F.A.N.T.R.Y. and possibly hundreds of othersplease, tell us a bit please about the bands you`ve participated so farwhich one you think was the most important one?

I've helped out many friends with bands. I've founded others with buddies. I've done session work. I've played garages with some sweet guys. I've had a very cool life considering I'm not rich or famous or sexy or whatever! I've played in/with Bludgeon, Hearse, Cromlech (session only), Infernal Hatred, Masada, Viaticum, Witchery, Satanic Slaughter, Acepahalous Vectory, Macabre Forces, Aryan War, Grand Belial's Key, Infantry, amisegardauQ, Crucifier, Caution, Ancient (USA), Decieverion, Brethren, Hemorrage, Rapid Violence plus a few more. Great times I've had. For me, Grand Belial's Key was the most successful and fun for me. Not knocking the others though, I've loved every one of those bands, from the smallest and short lived to the longest running serious ones!

What is, in your opinion, the main problem people have with NS Black Metal? To me, logically, theres nothing wrong with NS per se, I think. As (death/black) metal has always been (supposed to be) confrontational, vulgar, extreme to the bone, in its music and lyrics. Death, torment, disfiguration, religion, and other themes have always been explored and depicted in the metal music genre. Therefore, so what is so wrong with NS lyrics and the themes presented? Whats the difference (in the metal music context) between hatred against religion and hatred against some races/ethnicities/cultures? I see none, to be honest. Dont you think that the aversion towards NS is some sort of political correctness in a sense we can go far, but not too far. Or maybe is it the tradition in the metal to stay away from politics? But we have plenty of crust punk/metal bands and their total ant-society attitude. And NAPALM DEATH, of course, too. Whats your view on this matter?

NS to me was always facism. And in metal, well, our styles of metal, facism and anger and being non-PC, is quite the norm. In the days of old, we got many harassing hate mail....funny and ironic that people who mock us for our hateful thoughts and words, send us more realistic and sad hate! Well, NS can be classified as a style of music. Hell, I don't think NS really means what it stands for, with regard to style of playing anyway. NS bands generally aren't really political activists...so NS stands more for hateful lyrics in a hateful musical presentation. And in the end, sadly, there will be activists who really will bring hate in their smelly non-washed funky diatribes and admonishments towards guys like me....guys with creativity with a dash of sick humor.

These folks will push their own grandmas in front of a train to get at the front of the line of a political rally, just to have their own voices yammering away! Well, NS is NS and it won't go away. I am not really a political person, so I could care less about NS rantings as much as I care for Christian rantings! But I'll say this....I'll buy a Satanic Warmaster shirt before I go to church...so what's that tell you?

What do you think about the reactivation of so many old bands? Myself, I see no other reason behind the commercial oneson the other hand we`ve got bands like VADER which have been active for thirty years or so, but their music is just good yet standard, boring and rather trite.

Not interested in reunions. Even the potentially good ones are boring. I can't speak on Vader, because although boring or standard and unchanged, I like them, always have.

I must say my favourite band of yours beside CRUCIFIER is undeniably MASADA. Its crispy thrash/death metal music is just refreshing yet old-school to the bone. I adore MASADA`s both materials, yet Suffer Mental Decay is what I play on a daily basis as I just cannot get bored with this stuff, really! Can you please tell us some key facts about the band (how you started and who`s who) and whats up with this band and dont even tell me MASADA is on hold now, please. By the way, did/do you plan to release a full length?

Masada is headed up by Infernal War henchman Chris M. He is very busy with his work and family and new creative outlet of doing movies! So I don't see anything new from Masada anytime soon. Sorry. I love Masada, and Chris writes some GBK style wonderful stuff too! Sort of early Pestilence style too. I'll bust his balls to do something....he's a tough one to crack though. Reminds me of a young Gelal!

Whats next for CRUCIFIER as you see it? Do you have any wrap-up comment to say to everyone that`ll read this? Thanks a lot!

Thank you so much for this killer interview. Great questions and thank you for your supporting Crucifier. I really appreciate it! Crucifier will be releasing a new album in 2017 most likely, entitled Thy Sulfur Throne on High. It will be released on Der Todesrune Records (DTM) ASAP! Thanks again and best to you and our fans always!!! 

Paweł Wojtowicz

Poprawiony (niedziela, 02 kwietnia 2017 19:14)