Interview: FUNERAL MOTH (Japanese Doom)

FUNERAL MOTH released their second album earlier this year. Transience is a two-song, 40-minute epic of DOOM. Heavy and slow. But FUNERAL MOTH also bring a lightness to their sound that gives the music a genuinely serene atmosphere. I was thinking about a band like LOW (slow, clear etc) when asking about post-rock influence, and it’s interesting to see the different members bringing diverse influences.
Light is probably a bad verb for Doom, FUNERAL MOTH are still HEAVY. Clear waters still mask ominous depths.

Interview with Makoto, Ryo, Yuichiro and Tomohiro, 29 November 2016.

I try to avoid the “history” question, but there are some important member changes with this album, can you explain the current lineup?

Makoto: Yes, Nobuyuki who’s the one of the founder of the band left FUNERAL MOTH last year to focus more on his personal life. Fortunately, a talented musician Ryo joined without stopping our doom endeavour. Nobuyuki was the main songwriter, but after the member change, I am writing all of the songs, so the music has changed a little bit.

Ryo: I have been a fan of FUNERAL MOTH since seeing them play on the MOURNFUL CONGREGATION Japan tour on 2010, so I can’t describe how much I was excited when the members gave me an opportunity to actually become one of the member. Now that I am a member, I am giving everything I have to keep this band going.

The booklet lists recording credits with dates and it was interesting to see how everything was recorded separately between July and December 2015. Were all the songs written for all parts before recording began in July?

Makoto: Yes, both songs were written and arranged before the recording. We had played “transience” live since 2013, and “lost” since 2014.

live 19 december 2015 at earthdom, tokyo

Drums were recorded first, does Yuichiro work from a demo recording of the guitar/bass?

Yuichiro: The drum tracks were recorded partially with guitar, but most of the time I played without anything. Usually drummers play with a click, I do not play along with it. I can’t bare listening to noisy clicks.

In October, when the recordings were complete, did you hear a different album than you imagined before each element was completed separately? I wonder if you saw something new as each individual part became one?

Makoto: As for guitars and bass, we spent a lot of time until all of us were satisfied with the sound and playing. We didn’t have any clear vision how the sound had to be but we tried to make raw and organic sound. We are totally satisfied with the result.

Tomohiro: I am quite happy with the result. I used strong fuzz effect on the previous album, but this time I tried to create natural sound, so the guitar is plugged directly into the amp.

How difficult was it to mix and master recordings from at least three different studios?

Makoto: It wasn’t difficult at all. Fortunately, 3 of us can do recording by ourselves so it was easy to record each instruments in their own studios. When we recorded previous album “dense fog”, Tomohiro recorded his guitar by himself and Justin of MOURNFUL CONGREGATION recorded his lead guitar in Australia. So I had an experience like this.

In the description you point out that you used some specific musical theory in this album (rondo form). Can you talk any more about this – the song, the themes – and did any particular classical piece influence your decision?

Makoto: To tell the truth, “Dances of Death” of MEKONG DELTA was the inspiration to write the song in Rondo! The concept of the song “transience” is life and death. In rondo form, principal theme alternates with other sub themes, which represents the cycle of life and death.

I saw a few reactions to the artwork, that it is not “traditionally” bleak or dark, but you have said it reflects the themes – can you say anything more about the artwork, what it symbolises?

Makoto: Yes, I think it’s not a “normal” artwork for doom album. Of course, there are the meanings behind it but it’s too personal so I don’t want to reveal everything here. As I mentioned in previous question, the theme of “transience” is life and death. From sea, life was born and after death we go back to sea. This shore is the symbolization of womb and grave.

Your sound has some of the ethereal lightness you can also find in post-rock and similar genres, do you draw any inspiration from those genres?

Makoto: Personally, I don’t listen to post-rock. I’m totally a metalhead. I’m influenced by DUSK (US), diSEMBOWELMENT, EVOKEN, and so on…

Yuichiro: I am more influenced by progressive rock, and my drum playing is not inspired from metal music, so that may be the reason why listeners refer our music to other genres.

Tomohiro: I do listen to post-rock bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but I personally don’t reflect those music with ours. I love music with laid back atmosphere.

Ryo: Actually, I used to play in post-metal band, so those reactions from the listeners are completely understandable. If I was to describe my taste of music with one word, it would be transparent, and my favourite music spreads from jazz, trip-hop to alternative music. It always calms my feelings when I listen to them.

Makoto: And I must add MOURNFUL CONGREGATION as the biggest influences for all of us.

We have been working with you and Weird Truth for years and long may it continue, what are you plans for the next year(s) with FUNERAL MOTH and Weird Truth?

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Makoto: In January, FUNERAL MOTH will share the stage with US doom/sludge band Disrotted here in Japan. And we are writing new songs for next material but there are no fixed release plans yet. We want to release next material as soon as possible so we must kick our own ass!!!As for Weird Truth, I have many release plans for 2017. In December 2016, I’ll release split CD of Danish doom/drone band SOL and Japanese doom/industrial/ambient Begräbnis. In January 2017, I’ll release Ukraine doom band Crypt of Silence’s new album, which is co-release with mighty Solitude Productions. And I have some more plans but it’s not time to reveal them yet.

Final words are yours!

Makoto: Thanks for the interview. I hope you enjoy our album. Stay doomed!

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Interview: 359 (Raw Black Metal from Finland)

Raw unholy black metal from southern Finland! An idea that has germinated since 1999, with one demo in 2008. This August, 359 (explained below) unleashed a new EP: The Path of Ayin.

Listen to the official band sample below, although my highlight is the punchy final of the three, Ajna Satan Anahata.

Interview with Sunken, 11 October 2016

On the credits 359 are listed and Sunken separately for lyrics – does 359 include other members?

The band consists of three other members in addition to myself. Due to various problems we decided to combine old projects, which started back in 1999, under the monicker of 359, mainly because of great chemistry within the band…

I’ve read one guess that the name is referring to a historical date. Are you willing to explain the name, 359, and the meaning?

359 derives from the Gematric value of Hebrew word “ShTN” (Opposer, Satan). It also has its connections to Crowleyan tradition, as the values of Set and Horus are also 359.

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On your official page is says the band formed in 1999, is that right? What were some of the earliest activities and ideas?

Well, the band is musically rooted to the year -99, even though back then we didn’t have any clue about the number 359. In 2008 I did a demo called “Denied Virginity of Mary” by myself, because I and the guitarist lived in different cities. After that the project started to take its form and evolved into a band. In 2013 we started to compose songs of the upcoming full length, working remotely. Early 2013 another member joined the ranks. Nowadays we all live in the same area, so the rehearsing is MUCH easier.
The basic ideology behind the band was based on Satanism. Or worshipping Satan – To express my anger against the christian doctrine, or better said, against the Demiurge – Hate against the doctrines, Jesus dying on the cross because of our sins… I don’t want that kind of things in my life. Later on, I’ve left these subjects almost completely, as hate ties you to its object, just as Love of Satan ties you to Satan.

You worked with Zetekh (SATURNIAN MIST) on the mixing of the new albums, did you also record at Blackvox? How was the recording and mixing/mastering cooperation?

The initial tracks were recorded at our rehearsal place, Zetekh recorded his guest vocals at Blackvox. The EP was mixed and mastered there, though. The Process of mixing was really painful experience and I have to say that Mr. Zetekh is really a patient man with nerves of steel! The guitars were originally recorded back in 2004 (which actually tells that the songs on the “Path Of Ayin”-EP are older than the demo 2008), and it was a challenge to make them sound decent, hence we decided to add couple of new guitar tracks to make it sound better.

It has been several years since the last 359 release, but you are not silent with other bands. What activities have you been involved with since 2008?

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I am the one behind the industrial/noise/power electronics band CONTORTUS. With CONTORTUS I’ve released a cassette via Freak Animal Records in 2013 and in 2015 a split cassette with HYGIENIA was released. I am also an visual artist and that’s been keeping me busy too. Besides those, I practice martial arts (Kendo) and take long rides with my bicycle.

Was 359 your first “solo-band”?

Yes.

Why did you decide to move from drums to other instruments, have you always been writing/playing guitar?

When I was younger, I used to play guitar and drums actively. After the demo 2008 I haven’t touched the drums and my guitar playing has become really shabby. I “Compose” more noise songs nowadays and in 359 I sing and do the lyrics.

contortus-band

Do you consider 359 the most personal band in terms of exploring your own philosophy. Also asking as the lyrics often refer to “me” (His echoing voice, inside my skull)

The lyrics on the “Path Of Ayin” are based on my experiences on the path I’ve chosen, and it was rather easy to write the lyrics based on cognition – about Satanism and “The Conflict”.

Continuing the above, does the title (The Path of Ayin) refer to your own Kabbalistic beliefs? Are you involved in a specific group/sect in Finland or read works by certain groups?

The name is just a detail in the bigger picture, I do of course delve deep into different areas of esoteric subjects, but especially Kabbalistic thoughts are close to my heart. I’d rather not talk about the groups I’m involved with, let’s just say I am connected…

Is the cover photography a reference to the tree of life?

Yes, among other connotations. It is a negative picture of it, the Tree Of Death and the tunnels of Set.

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Any interest or plans to make 359 a live band?

None whatsoever.

Last words are yours!

Thanks for the interview! The CD version of “Path Of Ayin” EP is out now on Schattenkult Produktionen (GER), get it while you still can. Cassette edition of the EP will be out as a Co-release between Atavism Records (FRA) and BloodRock Records (ITA). We’re planning to start recording our first full length in December 2016 and it will be released later on.

359-symbol

Interview: ASHAENA (Romanian Pagan Black Metal)

ASHAENA released their second album, Calea, earlier this year. A strong pagan metal album with an emphasis on glorifying Romanian cultural history with some traditional folk influence concentrated on a couple of songs.

Copies of the new album are available now in the distro. We talked to founder, guitarist and vocalist Cosmin about the history of the band and the cultural, historical and spiritual influences that converge in their sound, imagery and lyrics.

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Interview with Cosmin, 10 October 2016

The lineup has changed since the first album, do you think this change has also impacted the sound of the band?

All the time, new members, new spirits bring new ideas. Yes, it did change the sound to a better one, tho’ we had all the songs already composed. But yes, the new guys brought a very good vibe to the band.

ashaena-band-live

The production quality has improved too from the first album, what was the studio situation for Calea?

Calea is the first album totally produced by the band. We’ve decided to do everything by ourselves, starting the recordings and ending up with the mixing and mastery part. It was a great experience and we’ve learnt a lot. If you are able to learn from every thing happening into your life, then you have a good “setup” :)

Pagan bands often incorporate traditional instruments (as I think you did on the short ambient parts on the first album) and melodies into their songs, have you as much on Calea?

Most traditional instruments were put into “Tara Berladnicilor”, the only pure instrumental tune on the album. The are small parts on “Calea” as well.

You emphasise Introspective in your description, could you explain what you mean by Pagan Black *Introspective* Metal?

I came up with this term trying to catch our music true meaning. We are trying to awake people’s minds. We are trying to raise awareness and let people know that they should look more carefuly around them, there are a lot of things to see and understand, a lot of minor details everywhere around you. Introspective metal would be that kind of music that makes you thirsty for knowledge. Makes you dig deeper on the hidden paths or better than that, makes you dive into yourself and get you aware of what’s there.

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In another interview you referred to studying Românian history and mythology and finding “subtle conclusions which are more related to an ethical way of life”. Do you find from studying your native history you’ve found something you can and do apply to your life?

The most important concepts that I discovered in our ancient history and our mythology are common sense and unconditional help. Again, if the world would understand that common sense is one of the most important pillars of humanity, would be much better.

Do you think it’s something the modern world has just lost, or that the modern world actively turned against?

Modern world is fully covered by Media and false reality emitters. Our individual opinions and the power of choose what’s good or what’s wrong for us and the others around us are strongly influenced by media, unfortunately. We need to learn, to re-learn to live out of it. I am not saying to be uninformed. I say just to filter a lot what media is bringing out to the table.

Is there a specific historical period you are most interested in?

I was always interested in the Romanian ancient history. As a Cultural Anthropologist I have studied other cultures and the history of other people and places as well but I’ve always been attracted the most by our ancient history. I would definitely encourage people to read about, at least, the Dacian wars versus the Roman empire.

ashaena-calea-artwork-1

Symbolism is clearly important, they appear in your logo, on the album cover and elsewhere. Could you explain their significance?

Aye, symbolism is another way of saying things. Indeed is more cryptic but is more visual. Is like having riddles spread around all your work. They are intended for the “trained” eyes and open minds. Alchemy, Magick, Kabbalah have the same root in our consciousness, in our world of ideas and their final destination is again, the same. All of them are leading you to discover the God within and make peace, understand and harmonize what’s within with the whole universe.

In relation to symbols and history, you have talked about an interest in the occult. Which, if any, aspects are you drawing from Romanian folklore and Eastern Orthodox? Where does occultism find a place in your music and lyrics?

I don’t have anything to do with the Eastern Orthodox concepts or ideas. I am not on that path. Not anymore. It is not suited for me and that would be enough said. I have started to walk the occult paths a long ago. I think I was around 14 years old. That would make 23 years of walking (I am not tired yet…). Romanian folklore is very gnostic, very dualistic. Is perfect for balancing the opposing forces. As I said above, if you start walking the paths of knowledge and study, more than that, understand what you study, then you start noticing things in everything is around you. You understand hidden meanings and then you make connections between them.

Last words are yours!

People should always stay true to themselves. They should always question everything and always try to understand and learn from everything they do. Above all these, common sense should be the main authority in someone’s life. Be good but not naive.

ashaena-calea-artwork-3

Interview: ZAKAZ (Iceland black metal with classical influence)

ZAKAZ are a new black metal band from Iceland. There is a lot of doom in their sound and, as this interview shows, some uniquely Icelandic and classical elements. This combination comes together best on the closing song Upplifun.

First self-released as a demo, Myrkur og Dauði has now been expanded and released on CD, we have copies in the distro.

zakaz-myrkur-og-daudi_med

Interview with I, 10 October 2016

Reading the lineup I understand the band will remain anonymous, but can you provide any history of your activity prior to and since forming in 2012?

About myself the founder and main writer of ZAKAZ, I prefer to be addressed as „I“. The reason for the codename is partly anonymity but „I“ can also be interpreted as the roman numeral for 1, among others pronunciations.
I started working on material for ZAKAZ as early as 2010, but back then I did not have a name, nor did I have plans of naming the project. It all came together while rehearsing with a couple of black/death metal bands during 2011-2012 that I decided I was going to start writing for a release. During early 2013-2014, ZAKAZ released a couple of songs that just went between some of our friends and people within the Icelandic underground scene.
In my spare time I wrote poems that would eventually become lyrics for Myrkur og Dauði. The poems all have a certain feeling that I wanted to be rid of. The feeling of grief and sorrow is a prominent theme within them. But they mostly in contain contempt and anger towards the harsh and unforgiving universe that we are a part of.
On the anonymity, I don’t care if people know who are behind ZAKAZ, that is beside the point. I just want ZAKAZ to be a thing of its own, not reflected by any of the previous works or acts that ZAKAZ might be affiliated with.

zakaz-skulls

Myrkur og Dauði has been listed as “a Promo/demo”. Now it has an official release, do you consider it your first album?

Myrkur og Dauði is indeed listed as a promo/demo on the bandcamp page as it only contains 6 of the 8 tracks released on physical format. I consider Myrkur og Dauði to be my first work with ZAKAZ but I will let others decide whether they want to call it an album, LP or CD etc.

Your music spans a wide spectrum from black metal, death to pagan and doom. Where do you find your main musical influences?

The main musical influences of ZAKAZ lie in the deep spectrum of music that I am exposed and listen to daily. Just to name a few: ZAKAZ is influenced a lot by early black metal bands such as BATHORY, DISSECTION, BURZUM. As well as newer bands like MGŁA and OBSEQUIAE. But the main influence comes from classical European and ancient Icelandic folk music. “Tvísöngur” (literally: twin-singing) is a type of Icelandic voicing and that has partly influenced my writing style.

The lyrics and imagery all exude dark atmosphere and there are hints of nature and perhaps some mysticism. Do you draw influence from the rich Icelandic history and folklore?

All of the lyrics and music is incredibly inspired by the environment and nature of Iceland, in particular the vast desolate deserts of the highlands. I have experienced standing alone in the middle of nowhere, where nothing of the modern universe is visible or heard and the incredible peace and stillness that comes with it. You feel like nothing matters, life does not matter and you do not matter.
That is actually where the artwork derives from, without going into too much detail.

The lyrics for Gröfin are taken from a poem by Kristján Jónsson. From what I could find he was an important national poet whose work is often dark and melancholic (if not nihilistic?) and died a young 27. Could you give some brief details about him, the poem, and his influence on the band. Was the song Gröfin musically inspired by the poem or did the words fit an existing song?

kristjan-jonsson-fjallaskald

The lyrics for Gröfin (The Grave) is a poem by Kristján Jónsson, a culturally well-known poet in Iceland. His nickname “Fjallaskáld” (literally: mountain poet) is thought to have derived from when he was working at Hólsfjöll in the north east of Iceland. The contents really moved me when I read it for the first time, I could relate in so many ways and most of all: I could hear the soundtrack playing in my head. The song is written purely through memory of my first time reading the poem.
Most of the songs are written in this way, musical ideas are born from the lyrics.

Following Gröfin is Nótt, an instrumental song based on Chopin’s Nocturne No.21 in C-Minor Op.Posth. Another artist (well, genius) to die young, and this work was published after his death. Why did you choose this particular piece? Were any of you classically trained?

I am classically trained as a singer and have been singing solo and choral compositions nearly all my life. Throughout my classical studies I have encountered many great works, but one always stood out. One time while attending a class I overheard a high level student practicing a piano composition (which I later found out was Chopin’s Nocturne No.21 in C-Minor Op.Posth) but then I ended up getting the damn thing playing in my head for a long time. It became sort of like the soundtrack of my life. So during that time I recorded an acoustic guitar cover of this composition, but ended up arranging it for a full band.

There are some very subtle piano and violin parts – are these from a classical influence, or to heighten the gothic (in the traditional sense) and melancholy?

The arrangements in the soundscape are very classical influenced, you could say they are melancholic or gothic, but the thing that I wanted to give was a transcending experience that has no ties to the modern world, in particular in reference to what I was talking about earlier: about the stillness and peace of the highlands.
The name ZAKAZ is an embodiment of that thought: it has no meaning, no language. Only 3 letters symmetrically mirrored, to be communicated only through the music and lyrics.

In contrast to the name, the lyrics are in Icelandic and we’ve talked about some of the folk/historical elements. Do you see your music as rooted in the current / reflecting existing culture, or as you said before transcending; outside of those existing concepts?

I see it as an alternative universe, where the listener is a spectator of ancient events. Like when you visit a particular place and you feel like something really great, historical or bad happened there. I want the listener to be transported there, like a discovery of an underground palace deep within the mountains and its ambiance.

You began recording a couple of years ago I believe, are you now working on new material for the next release?

ZAKAZ is constantly working on new material and progress is faring well even though incredibly tediously. Of all of the songs that get released more than 2-3 hours of material is recorded and scrapped. ZAKAZ is currently working on a release in co-operation with another band, so stay tuned.

Interview: PAYMON (Italian Black Metal)

In 2014 PAYMON returned from a twelve year slumber, and in August this year delivered Beyond Darkness I Fall.

Nine tracks of unholy black metal from northern Italy, listen to a sample below:

We have copies of Beyond Darkness I Fall in stock at the distro.

Interview with Lord Skarn, 9 October 2016

Between the demos and your first album in 2014 there have been years of silence. But you were only hidden and have posted a 2008 unreleased track. What was happening during those 12 years and why did you decide to return recently?

First of all, thanks for your interest in PAYMON. Now I try to explain you what happened in this years. PAYMON was born when I was a young boy in late 1995, my only thought was record some songs for my own pleasure and for give my music to listen to my friends.
Then, between 2004 and 2012, I was busy with other bands and with work. In 2013 Schattenkult Produktionen contacted me proposing a full lenght that became “Regno Occulto”. I want to clarify, PAYMON was never on hold, but I continued to create music (unreleased).

The new album is out only two years after Regno occulto. Do you feel a renewed energy to record and release?

Yes, shortly after “Regno Occulto” release I had a lot of ideas in my head , so I asked to my label if was available to work together again.

How important is it to have a supporting label?

It was very important, without Schattenkult I don’t believe that these two album would be released. For me is basic that my music like to my label as much as I like it.

Are you already preparing new material?

No, I release only a new song for an Italian compilation. Now I’m the singer of another band named ENTIRETY and we have just finished to record an album, so my energy and time were dedicated to this project. In future I will sure record new material for PAYMON.

How have the lyrics/themes of PAYMON changed (if they have!) since the demo times? Have you changed as a musician?

Well, I play Black metal, my lyrical theme was and will be always coherent with the philosophy of this genre, not about cars, girls and fashion… Musically I’m influenced by the same bands that I heard when I was younger, in fact I think “Beyond Darkness I Fall” is an old style album. Technically I only learned to play more instruments (obviously being PAYMON a one-man-band).

Looking at the old demo there are two figures, but has PAYMON musically always been only yourself, Lord Skarn?

Yes, PAYMON is always only myself! The cover art that you probably refer to, was only a picture taken during a nocturnal rite.

paymon-in-the-black-night

You pay tribute to BONE AWL and THORNIUM with covers on this album. Are there special reasons for these?

About THORNIUM, their song has a particular meaning for me and I wanted to include it in my album as cover. Instead about BONE AWL, I think that their song is so raw and genuine, right for PAYMON.

BONE AWL is an example of a band that formed in the period between your early demos and new recordings. What other bands during this time (approx. 2000-2010) have influenced or impressed you?

I was alway influenced by Norwegian Black metal (as it can be heard) but I listen to a lot of black metal bands, DARKTHRONE, BURZUM, BEHERIT, THORNIUM, MORTUARY DRAPE, MARDUK, etc… I like also other genres as Death metal and ambient music.

Final words are yours!

I hope who will listen to “Beyond Darkness I Fall” feel some emotions, this is my goal. PAYMON is an underground band and I haven’t particular ambitions, only to create feelings in listeners.
I want to thanks Schattenkult Produktionen for believing in me and surely you for the time you give me.
Beware “Dove c’è molta luce, l’ombra è più nera”! Worship Darkness!

Interview: Drawn from Ichor / Frequency Thirteen (True Sheffield Black Psychedelia)

We first made contact with freq13 to trade for their earliest releases around 2005. Five modest xeroxed covers, cdrs in wallets. BLACK VOMIT, DUKKHA and others. Music from rock/metal to noise, all interested in dismantling the usual genre boundaries.

Over the years new bands appeared including ICE BOUND MAJESTY and TORTURE GNOSIS. The covers became more elaborate, always feeling (and I’m sure for many literally) hand-made. Through it all freq13 has remained fiercely independent. It’s also a label — a small underground cabal — firmly rooted in a physical place.
In recent years freq13 has also been publishing an art/literature zine, The Eyelids of Dawn.

DRAWN FROM ICHOR is the latest band to emerge. This interview is split between the band and the label.

Thanks extended to Lee & Dave, they of the River Sheaf.

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From a distance Frequency Thirteen (freq13) has always seemed like a collective of bands and projects gathered around the label, is that right? When you formed freq13 around 2004 what was your initial goal?

The only goal we’ve ever had as musicians is to write and produce music. The individual desires may vary, but we do this because it is what we do and it is what we will continue to do. It has been a community around the label (although not so much at the moment), where we would ask close friends who were creating work if they wanted to get something ‘out there’, friends who may never have done so off their own backs. Then use the label as a gallery of sorts, where people could view (listen to) these pieces made by quite often genuinely reclusive people (and usually outside of the metal scene)… The formation of freq13 simply came because at that time we started afresh with new musics, or at least new ways of making music, and wanted a way to share this. Also we were not necessarily interested in pushing demos out in the hope that someone would release it (even though that may have helped get stuff further out there). It was simply the easiest and quickest way to get our music heard.

Some of your first and most recent releases have been with the same bands (BLACK VOMIT, DUKKHA..) Was this sense of loyalty ever discussed or is it some kind of unspoken pact between you all?

I guess unspoken pact could be the best way…the core of us have known each other for quite sometime now, and worked together in bands/projects before. This core and some of the other artists involved also had a common meeting place to discuss ideas and listen to things we had been working on together and individually, but also a place where all musics (usually left field) were played and used as inspiration quite often to influence more music made by the group. The early releases were of the projects we were working on (as in, us, the label founders), so those projects and names have always been a large part of the release roster. Plus undoubtedly laziness comes into it…easier for us to release it via freq13 than for some of them to get someone else to release their stuff! Haha…we’re not the most outgoing bunch generally!

Do you share a common physical space in Sheffield?

The core of us have always hung out, listened to each other’s projects and helped each other’s projects out or played in the same bands and that will continue. And other than the above mentioned meeting place, most of the people involved have used a rehearsal space/studio we rent which is the ‘Behind the Sprayshop’ studio you will see namechecked on quite a few of the releases. Especially in today’s age of the internet and easy diy digital recording, even if we didn’t live in the same city, it will continue.

When did Drawn from Ichor (DfI) form?

We originally formed back in 2008 (or 09 I think) as a duo, but it’s been a sporadic thing and so was more or less unactive as such until we started writing again with some other contributors in 2013 or 14 (as expanded upon below) and since 2015 it’s been back to the original two and we are on quite a roll now. We are Lee on drums, vocals, production and Dave on bass, guitars with both contributing to synths/noise/ambience, though we reserve the right to swap roles and probably will for future releases. As for current projects, Lee plays in a Jazz quartet called Out Ink and has recently started playing drums in a doom band, while Dave is busy with another duo of black/death/(noise) called Rituals in Oscillation as well as releasing ambient/(noise) stuff as Atechts. We have joined forces previously in Skultroll & Astral Womb (along with another person).

You’ve both been involved in previous bands, you also have the ability for full DIY recording so could do anything.. what made you decide Drawn from Ichor was the ‘next project’? Is it now your sole focus?

We had both been focussing on other projects since the demise of Astral Womb and decided to get together another death metal project. This started out as a three piece before a line-up change pushed it to a ‘full’ 5 piece band. Eventually with things not going the way that we wanted, we decided to take full control back and decided we would do it as just the two of us. As for being a sole focus, yes and no. The freedom this project is allowing is amazing; we are always talking of the next thing we may do. At the point we are at musically now, we are in no way restricted to one genre. Yet the idea of pooling a lot of what may have gone into IBM or Black Vomit under the name DfI makes any music we make stronger.

It’s no surprise that DfI, described as death metal, does not sound like a familiar “death metal” record. The experimental approach makes sure of that, but I wonder who your metal influences are? I hear glimpses of NAPALM DEATH, PORTAL, LURKER OF CHALICE… close?

They are all influences for sure, though for the latest (as yet unheard by most), it was definitely Assuck/Fallen Christ/Disforterror worship. However we have often talked about the categorising of music into genres and how we just want to call our music ‘rock’. That led to a decision that Drawn from Ichor is a death metal band almost regardless of what we actually sound like, as we are approaching this from a death metal base. And we are channelling our feeling of death metal rather than what someone’s rule book says that death metal should be. Anyway, it’s all True Sheffield Black Psychedelia!! Sometimes We often feel more inspired by bands than influenced, and we both listen to a lot of non metal music. But, as far as metal goes one of the main bands to cement our friendship and made us realise way back that you could do more with metal, is the mighty Ved Beuns Ende…

How do you write/record the songs?

Different methods for different things we’ve done, but so far the base has been us two writing and recording ‘behind the sprayshop’, then layering up afterwards at our home studios. So the release we’ve just started to spread was a base of drums and bass, with guitar, synth, vocals being added after. The more recent stuff has been a base of guitar and drums with the same layering. We view this project as being an opportunity to record what we want, rather than it all needing to sound alike – very much unlike the traditional band scenario!

Can you give an overview of the lyrical / thematic side of DfI? Is there a Massein root…?

There is now! Haha, no, that is a nod toward the mighty Magma.

Lyrical inspiration will come from many different sources. Usually not stereotypical ‘metal’ words. For the album and the next release the lyrics are centred around concerns we may have about this place – either close to home or further afield. I’m (Lee) not from background where I can honestly vocalise what would be considered ‘true’ metal lyrics in the form of stereotypes (mountains, vikings, church and that view of satan/skull/graveyards etc.), so I have to write about what I feel strongly for. I don’t see the need to go into what all this means, but living in Sheffield and the north of England throughout the 80/90s you may get the drift of some. What I will do though is filter these thoughts I have through a different way of writing. So my lyrics will be more metaphorical, cryptic, arcane, esoteric – while usually still linked to the ‘real’ world where we exist.

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The material for this CD is about a year old. Are you working on new songs?

We’ve been going full tilt since recording the stuff on the disc and have about three more albums worth of stuff which isn’t too far from being ready. The aforementioned Assuck/Fallen Christ worship is just needing vocals laying down, then it’s ready to go other than artwork – the plan is to have those two elements ready at the same time however. Then we have recorded an album of more straight up death metal (well, more straight up than the cd or the chaotic A/FC stuff) which needs bass and vocals recording. Another thing we have is a spaced out instrumental ‘dub’ death metal thing! Then when we’ve got those more or less finished, we’ll start on a new album. Unfortunately we’ve got day jobs and lives which take us away from doing this full time, as well as other projects so we can’t get all this finished as quick as we’d like. But we’re both pretty pleased with what we have got done under this name so far.

One of the early freq13 releases was a live recording, but how often do freq13-related bands play live? Any plans with DfI?

There were a couple of local ‘showcases’ where some of the freq13 bands played (which can be heard on our archive bandcamp), but we don’t play out too much. It happened a lot more in the past with other projects, but these days it’s low on the priority list. We played one DfI gig as a five piece a couple of years ago (supporting Hebosagil & Throat) but have nothing planned as yet. Maybe we’ll play in the future, though if we do it’d be stripped down and likely sound nothing like any releases…maybe we’d just do a minimal techno set…we wouldn’t want to be obvious!

Last words are yours!

If anyone is interested in hearing more, check out our bandcamp and the above ‘archive’ bandcamp, drop an email to freq13 (gmail) to be added to the (very sporadic) email list and get in touch if you want any further info. And finally thanks to you for the support over the years!

Interview: Dysemblem (UK / Hellenic Death Metal Doom)

Formed by Aees after the dissolution of INJEKTING KHAOS, joined by Nuctemeron of EMBRACE OF THORNS. Let that be a signal of their pedigree, not the music.

Strength of Giants is their first major release, and previous Record of the Week!

Thanks to Aees for answering this interview!

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How and why did INJEKTING KHAOS (IK) end? The self-titled last release was released in 2013 but recorded back in 09, was the band already finished by that time?

IK finished recording their s/t album in the summer of 2009 and never rehearsed again after that. We didn’t talk about it openly until much later, 2011 if I’m not mistaken, but I think we all more or less knew this would be our last offering as we were recording it. All three of us felt like we had achieved what we wanted with the band and our musical tastes started changing and diverging further and further away from one-another’s (at least that’s what it felt like at the time). So yes, by the time the album surfaced in 2013, the band was well and truly over.

DYSEMBLEM formed after IK but before the last IK release. When did you first start the idea?

Death Metal has been my passion since I first listened to MORBID ANGEL’s “Gateways To Annihilation” in 2000, when I was 13. So I had been coming up with Death Metal riffs since before IK even started. Most of these riffs never appeared in an IK release. Some of the riffs in “Strength Of Giants” date back to 2007 or so! But I think I came up with the idea of starting a Death Metal band while I was playing the intro to Skull Cult (a riff that had actually been rejected by IK as being too thrashy). I had all this tension inside me that needed to come out – and there is nothing quite as cathartic as playing metal music.

The info sheet talked about your years active and the decision to start this band in an environment of (probably too) many bands. Can you say any more about this? Was it ever a thought to not start a new band, or at least to not make it public? Did you have other band ideas that you rejected?

I do believe that there are way too many bands around these days and that very few (proportionally) of them have something to say. And that’s bad because it gets harder for everyone to find the good bands! The last thing I’d want would be to add to this situation by putting out a half-baked, half-hearted record!!!
I never considered promoting DYSEMBLEM until 2015. I was writing songs and recording demos mainly for my own pleasure and as a sort of trial for what to do and what to avoid when/if I ever recorded a proper album. I did not want to present it to people until it had turned into something with a life of its own. I mean, I like what I did in the DYSEMBLEM demos but (except for a couple of songs perhaps) it is obviously not very focused or exhaustive; just a collection of riffs. It’s fine to play your own versions of your favourite songs or to play the same riff over and over and over – as long as you’re doing it in your bedroom or studio! If you decide to record something and, more importantly, put it out for the world to listen to however, then you need to be able to offer something different, as interesting as what came before and, at the very least, passionate.

You recruited Nuctemeron for the CD, is it your first time recording together?

Yes, this was my first time recording with Nuctemeron. I’d known his work in several bands and had always admired his style. He makes it sound so effortless when in fact he’s playing really intensely. T.K. from DEAD CONGREGATION got us in touch, I sent him an elaborate demo of the album and he agreed to participate. As a matter of fact, we didn’t meet face to face until after the recording was over!

How do you find working across countries? What’s the recording process?

DYSEMBLEM is a very different beast from I.K. and that includes the way songs are composed and recorded. With I.K., each of us would come up with his own ideas and then we would meet whenever I was in Greece and turn them into songs. With DYSEMBLEM I compose every detail in the songs alone – I think that was one thing I could not fully enjoy in I.K. because I didn’t want to be the ‘dictator’ of the band or anything. For Strength Of Giants, I recorded the guitars and bass in the studio, programmed an elaborate drum-machine guide and sent it to Nuctemeron with some details on what to focus on, what to keep exactly as it is and what to change at will. I was honestly blown away by his performance and ideas – he seemed to understand perfectly what I had in my head for each song.
I think this approach to recording suits DYSEMBLEM perfectly and I would be happy to continue with it in the future.

My description of the album was quite rambling in part because it covers many genres. What were some of your thoughts about the musical side of DYSEMBLEM. Did you want to separate it clearly from IK?

My plan was never to make a band that does not sound like IK. Nevertheless, as soon as the first songs started coming together, it was obvious that this would be the case. The Death Metal influences in IK were mine, but they worked perfectly within a black metal context. I mean, IK worked within the framework provided by bands like Antaeus, Arkhon Infaustus and Funeral Mist. I still absolutely love these bands but my tastes include a lot of traditional metal, thrash metal, doom metal, traditional black metal, even 70s rock and blues which would sound completely out of place in IK.

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The visual side: the cover is a painting but your demo covers, and the facebook page use lots of minimalist symbolic images. Is there an overall theme and idea with the art-side of DYSEMBLEM?

With the DYSEMBLEM demos I wanted to keep things as D.I.Y. as possible. That included the visual side of it. Like I said, these demos were not meant for the public to listen so why bother putting an amazing cover to them? I therefore decided to make the covers myself. MS Paint and minimalism were my allies haha! None of these covers took more than 5 minutes to create.
That said, symbolism is the main idea behind these covers, indeed. I still very much like all these pieces and what they symbolize. I would like it if people could appreciate them for what they are but I don’t expect them to.

What’s the future you’re working towards at the moment?

6 songs are almost ready for the next DYSEMBLEM release! DYSEMBLEM takes its time and I always change things -with Strength Of Giants I was still deciding on details while I was in the studio- but the backbones of the songs and several nice details are there already. I think I even have a title but I will not say more at the moment.
Of course I would be interested to re-release Strength Of Giants! I funded the present copies myself to promote the band. I am 100% happy with the aural result but unfortunately there were 1-2 things with the presentation I could not do because of space & time issues so a label re-releasing it would enable me to correct that – while also ensuring a better distribution.
I would love to play live under the right conditions (that is, with the right members and with the right bands). I am not excited by the idea of putting in such an effort only to play in front of a handful of friends.

Any final words are yours!

Entertain your gods and kill your masters.

Avsolutized Interview

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Avsolutized are a Japanese band and have created a unique brand of Black Metal. The debut album is entitled “Den Svarta Vandans Genealogi“. Very unique vocals become the focal point of this album. Well crafted, European BM-influenced guitars, a fierce drum machine and at times almost flamboyant vocal performance from a member of Arkha Sva — high screams, death growls and twisted operatic wails. An impressive feat!
As this album was our first introduction to Avsolutized (and it made such an impression), it was of course necessary to write for further information and background on the band!

Thanks to Ur Èmdr ŒRVN for the contact, and MiZANE for any clarification.

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Can you give a brief history of Avsolutized?

Hails to thee TODESTRIEB Cult.
AVSOLUTIZED. . . was formed in MCMXCVI anno bastardi, and at that time it was a solo, mostly instrumental black metal by MiZANE (All Strings). Ur Èmdr ŒRVN(All Words) joined in some years later.
The guitarist MiZANE has provided quite many materials to other groups around him in his career, and the only official release of AVSOLUTIZED. . . so far, other than “Den Svarta Våndans Genealogi” CD, is “Towards. . . You There” demo in MMVI, that was only spread among labels and related magicians and musicians.

How has your sound changed between the Towards demo and Den Svarta album? Has it always mixed the experimental with the traditional sounds?

Basically in the same vein they should be, total sonic blizzard BM in northern vein, although on “Den Svarta Våndans Genealogi” the instruments show more mature (even “calm”) side, and the voices show more extreme side, than on “Towards. . . You There”.
Nothing is not to be categorised “experimental” here, although it seems to be easily supposed that you refer to the vocal parts, but just they all depend on the results of channeling in a Satanic way.

Was this partly a tribute to Swedish/European Black Metal bands with the title and [Setherial] cover song?

SETHERIAL and their “Nord. . . ” album, and their older releases as well, were the main reasons why MiZANE started composing Black Metal back in MCMXCVI. And from that time back in around MCMXCVI in Sweden especially, there were many big sources of inspiration for Cold Black Metal you know. Too many to list them up here, but yes as you see, the title “Den Svarta Våndans Genealogi” was some kind of tribute to them, instead of saying “The Genealogy Of The Black Anguish”.

Vocals play an important part in the band. They are very varied and quite Operatic. Can you explain your approach?

Everything there just depend on the results and gained spells by channeling. They could sound varied just because they include varied messages and impression.
The singer would be called rather a transmitter of the voices from the under, than a normal singer with human vocal techniques.
And recordings? The voices on “Den Svarta Våndans Genealogi” were captured from a ritual, within a few hours in one day.
All the recorded things were done simply and quite straightly, in channeling the voices of agony, that always surround you from the under.

Do you record everything together? What equipment do you use?

As it is not an improvised kind of music, the instrumental parts are normally fixed first. The composition on “Den Svarta Våndans Genealogi” was collected among the fragments from various periods, and recorded in some time in MMVII.
MiZANE plays 7 strings guitars, and other equipments used were all owned by Neinsphere Studios.

Have you had good feedback from people hearing the album?

Nothing is particularly cared.
Rather, those who found keys to some particular states by skimming the underlain messages from “Den Svarta Våndans Genealogi” must have just gone there before deciding to write a lettre to AVSOLUTIZED. . . .

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Can you explain the Sigil of A-A-A-A ?

It is a sect that explores in a particular system of Satanic Magick. And its sigil/ symbol shows apparently 4 A’s in it as you see.

What is the future for the band?

AVSOLUTIZED. . . will release its first full-album some years later.
AVSOLUTIZED. . . doesn’t have any plan to play live for the moment.
And the drummer? Time will tell.
After all, anything will be hired and used if they are necessary in order to complete particular impression or messages.

Longue vie à vous TODESTRIEB.
Hail Satan.

Somrak Interview

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” Somrak was formed in 2001 as a mere summon of those inhaled the cancer of uncreation in times when such plague was there still mostly unknown. Their first recorded ritual in live was served in 2002 on a self released tape. And soon after, a self-released poem …Of Witches which showed that what was unworthy on the biggest disease in existence – humanity. A 7″ was published finally in 2005 through Vile Arts Records and it showed a meaning of self-destruction and suicide of body and soul. Years passed and Somrak fell into the void of forgotness due to unworthy members of it’s name. In 2006 Somrak summoned again with a new member on blasphemical preaching and in late 2007 released an album. “

And it is for that album, The Abhorred Blessings, that we wrote to the band.
Our appreciation to A. for the answers!
The official Somrak webpage can be found here.

From 2001 there have been lineup changes in the band, what is the current status?

From 2001 to 2004 there were constant lineup changes because half of those band members weren’t taking the band as a serious thing. For them it was more of a hobby. After the recording of the song for the split EP the line up soon changed. That was even before the vinyl got released. The current lineup consists of 4 individuals: J.D. delivering the vocals, M.C. on drums, J.P. on bass and A.D. on guitar.

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Your debut album was released at the end of 2007. How has it been received?

I don’t know how it has been received by people. I read some reviews (I think most of them) and they’re quite different in opinions. Some write that we are nothing but a monotone and boring copy of early Norwegian bands. Others say that that we sound somehow “refreshing” with the odd production and being from Slovenia.

Was the finished album what you intended when you originally started writing and recording?

During the recording process of the album we were quite satisfied with everything. Later we found out that there are some things that bother us. Like some mistakes for example or the sound of an instrument here and there. That was of course due to the limited time we had. On the other hand this way the album sounds more honest and spontaneous.

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Crowning of the Morbid King also appeared on the 2005 demo. Were other songs written earlier?

Well I can’t really recall exactly but all the songs on the album were written from 2004 to 2006. At least I think so. With the exception of Trumpets of Malevolence which is the oldest song to appear on the album. This one was made already in 2003 but in a different form.

How has your sound progressed since the split?

The split was recorded through a mixing console directly into the recording device and more or less this was everything we did with that track.
The album was done more carefully and later being affected by mixing and mastering. It was recorded in a different place with another guy behind the knobs. Anyway no drum triggers were used or any other cheating occurred. It’s still a genuine black metal record.

The majority of members have had connections to the band Skorbut, is Somrak the continuation of this band or completely separate?

Somrak and the now defunct Skorbut are two totally separate bands. It may sound incredible, but that 3 of 4 Somrak members played at different stages in Skorbut is a pure coincidence.

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DTR did a good job with the presentation. How did you want to present the booklet, artwork and CD to represent the music?

The booklet was done by one of our friends that is quite good in this field. We choose the front picture; the inlay and everything else are his ideas. I think the booklet turned out great and it goes hand in hand with the music. We would like to release the album on vinyl but for now no label showed interest.

The new logo and music seem to suggest a stronger move towards the ’style’ of “Orthodox Black Metal”. Was this a conscious decision?

I really don’t see the logo as being something of a connection to the orthodox style, as you call it. We are a black metal band so it’s obvious that the lyrics have a devil worshipping and self destructive message. We glorify loss and misery. And we carry this concept since the beginning.

We have very few arrivals from Slovenian bands, possibly just you and Torka. Do you still consider yourselves one of the very few Black Metal bands in the country?

Actually I don’t know what to say. Some years ago there weren’t any real black metal bands besides us, Torka and some anonymous projects. And now it seems like black metal bands are spawning from every corner of the country. But I’m not sure about the dedication of these bands. But at the end of the day who am I to judge them.

How difficult is it to arrange gigs for yourself in Slovenia?

Arranging gigs for ourselves in our country is no problem. We could probably play every weekend somewhere if we wanted so. The problem is getting gigs outside of our country. And this is pretty frustrating. We are trying to set up gigs in neighbour countries but with no success. We probably aren’t interesting enough for the crowd.

The Abhorred Blessings should make a strong impression. Where do you want to take Somrak from here?

The future for us is always uncertain. We’ll probably stick to making more devil tunes and carry around the smell of death and despair on live rituals. We’ll see…
Thank you for this interview.

Worship the Master of Hell.

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Grave Desecrator Interview

Grave Desecrator have been spreading the Brazilian extreme metal cancer for a few years now. We managed to distro a few copies of their first two releases during 2004-5 – the demo tape and tape version of Cult of the Warfare and Darkness on Ketzer. This same label signed the band for it’s debut album which is scheduled for release in a couple of months.
The album is entitled Sign of Doom and it sounds like their strongest release to date! The production is thicker with less thrash and more bestial death influence in a similar modern black/death vein to bands like Goat Molestor.
The recording is complete so we took the opportunity to ask a few short questions to Valak Necrogoat (bass).
You can listen to two tracks from the album here!

Before Grave Desecrator formed in 1998 you were involved in other bands?

Valak Necrogoat – I was involved in some old Death/Thrash acts in the very past. Later, I’ve been part of a Black Metal band called Ancient Sign Glorify in 1997. I did record the debut promo of Seges Findere in 1999. The other guys weren’t really involved in any shit, just our former vocalist, F.Mordor , who was inside some BM shits long ago…

Of course Brazil has an extremely strong history for Black/Death metal bands. Who were your main influences?

In Brazil, old Sepultura, Sarcófago, Vulcano and Mystifier are our main influences…We praise our ancient cult scene, not only these more well known bands, but also Impurity, Goat Penis, Murder Rape, Songe D’Enfer, Behemoth and many others..

G.D.’s first demo was released by your label Swords and Leather. Did the label release any other demos or albums? It was spread with about 1000 copies, was this mainly local?

S & L was a tape label made by myself and an old friend. We’ve stopped the activities due our few free time for it. We released the debut demo of Seges Findere and the debut demo of Sodomizer only..The demo 2001 was spreaded more outside Brazil, but many copies were distributed inside here as well, but we got more attention overseas…Our label is from Germany, by the way..

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On your website you have a news post from August 2004 it lists upcoming splits with Front Beast and an unnamed Brazilian band, and a tape “The Devil’s Bless”. Did these get released?

Forget about this site, is too long outdated..The guy who was done that is deceased! He had died in a motorcycle accident year ago and we do not have the password to take that off..We didn´t release that stuffs…

Sign of Doom is the debut album and it’s coming out in a few months, what’s the story leading up to it and what can we expect??

Sign of Doom is our long waited debut album..It’s been too late due many personal problems and line up changes. We had to fire out our former vocalist few days before entering the studios unfortunatelly..Also recruited a new guitarrist ( Black Sin and Damnation )…That was professionally recorded indeed, and it’s mastered by Andy Classen in Germany..After the recording,and a gig alongside acts as Impurity in Espirito Santo state, we changed our drummer…Now it’s F. Tormentor the guy who will destroy the kits..

We hope all the dudes and ladies into old Black/Death feeling can corrode their souls listening to this…

How do you feel the band has changed in sound since the demo? A stronger death/Berherit influence now?

Don’t think we have changed too much and I don’t think we’re not too much into Beherit,even it’s a great act…old songs ( demo 01 ) were more into traditional BM mixed with Thrash/Heavy influences.. 7ep and news songs are nearest of what we were searching for sounding like…

Have you played live as a band? With the album being released on a European label, any chance of playing here?

We’ve already played alive..that’s nice when all is going well, but underground gigs in Brasil are sick sometimes..So we’re not too interested in doing any gig at any place…We want to play more, but with decent conditions, and it doesn’t mean rockstar attitude. We sick of bastards ruling the game ..I do not think it’ll help us to play in Europe, it depends a lot of things and money shits but would be killer to play over there and prove ethilic stuffs, nice girls and spread the words of misfortune…

What’s the future of GRAVE DESECRATOR??

To live every fucking day with hate!!

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