A new entity of bubbling, lurching, subterranean, oozing metal of death issued from darkest Germany a few months past and those rumbles naturally caught my attention.
With the likes of Swallowed, Beherit and Teitanblood name dropped in their mission statement I was always going to give them some time – and I wasn’t disappointed.
The recording is lo-fi in the extreme.
But there is the seed of potential greatness within the songs.
The primal music seems filtered through a captivating kaleidoscope of weirdness; it simply sounds ‘other’…
Remember back when Swallowed emerged from their Autopsian pupa on their 2010 self-titled 7” showing a new face of distorted ugliness, a new abstract and gross form? Well it sounds like these guys have taken a page from that same inverted bible and run with the theme: think primal riffing, brutish drums, disembodied spectral vocals and layers of textured effects abuse.
Make no mistake, this is early days but I think these guys are on to something.
I recently received your demo in the post and it caught my attention as being somewhat unique, if perhaps still in an embryonic stage of development.
You cite the likes of Swallowed and Teitanblood as influences which give a loose frame of reference but you also appear to be drawing your own sound out too.
I’d like to hear about what your intentions are for the band. Is there some sort of plan laid out or is this a more organic entity?
‘Hi Andrew, first of all thank you for your interest in our music. It’s always difficult to provide influences or similar bands, as it’s always just a fraction of what influences us as individuals, musicians or band.
People always want some references to other bands so they know what they can expect.
Those bands we mentioned made huge impacts on us as fans of the more uncomfortable, chaotic, labyrinthine-structured death metal but we also drain a lot of inspiration from completely different types of music, like ambient, electronic music, experimental-jazz or prog-rock.
Regarding your question about our aspirations, it might sound cliché but our main focus is self-expression.
We do our music for no one but ourselves. The songs on the demo are music-wise relatively old (‘Massive Retaliation’ was written in 2010). They have been undergoing many transformations and represent a lot of personal experiences and development for this period of time.
There hasn´t been a laid out plan when we began putting the band together in early 2015, but since the demo recording the path we want to tread musically becomes ever more clear.
A lot happened by accident and through spontaneous inspiration rather than purpose during the recording process which gave us a deeper understanding and vision how we want our music to sound – disturbing, experimental and trance-like, yet all built upon the foundations of death, and, to a lower extent, black metal.
Currently we feel we´re still far from that goal – in an embryonic state like you said – and it´ll probably take a lot of time and work to make the results as good as our ambitions’.
I think that at the moment your aesthetic is more developed than the music. Maybe that is simply down to the lo-fi recording as there seems to be some oddball and chaotic things going one around the primal pulse of the songs.
Did you record the demo yourselves? Do you intend to continue down this path or would you ideally like to get a proper recording to do your music justice.
I just think that if you compare the demo to Swallowed, for example, who are probably the closest band to you stylistically, their own transition to a bigger recording style yielded colossal results on their debut album.
‘Yes we recorded and produced everything ourselves. It is true that the sound and production is very raw, chaotic and archaic but it turned out 110% as we intended it to.
We tried to capture these songs for quite some time and were always unsatisfied with the results. There are pre-recordings which are way more clean and less chaotic, but these always lacked the intensity and never captured our spirit and intentions.
For future recordings we will follow this path by recording our music ourselves. At the moment I can´t see us in a professional studio explaining to someone else how we want our visions captured. But we are not deadlocked with the sound we achieved with our current demo.
This isn’t possible at all as the equipment we used for the recordings belonged to our previous rehearsal-room which we left in the meantime. Following recordings will represent a complete new state and probably sound different as we now have access to way better recording equipment, so future recordings done by ourselves will offer a more elaborate sound.
But we won´t change our chaotic songwriting so that there will be again hopefully ‘oddball and chaotic things going around’. We try to keep our songs complex in structure and audibility to demand some effort of the listener to realize what is really going on in our music. And we try to evolve from typical songwriting schemes’.
The layout of the demo is very eye-catching. How did you come up with such elaborate packaging and why go to such effort for a demo?
‘Thanks for your appreciation. The packaging is really time and resource consuming as everything is hand made by us. The logo is stamped on every cardboard-sleeve and then tied up.
The question for the ‘why’ is easy to answer as the creation of the music was really demanding so this process has to continue for the packaging. Our strive for making things different should also reflect in the presentation. We won´t release anything half-hearted which also counts for the aesthetics’.
Song titles such as ‘Lo-Irt-IV’, ‘Octosphere of Obscure Occurence’ and ‘Assimilation (Blood-Feed the Devourer)’ hint at interesting concepts but as I cannot read the lyrics on the inlay and they can’t be found online, what can you tell us about your concepts?
Where do you look for inspiration? Is it even important that a band develops a strong concept or should the music do the talking?
‘Every song has a deeper thematically context in which it exists and there also exists lyrics for each of those. Nevertheless during the recording process we decided to veer away from the static frame of those written texts.
The result is a lot of improvisation in the lyrics as well as in the singing style. We think about the vocals more as an additional instrument rather than a story teller.
Personally I don´t think it´s an absolute necessity to develop a strong lyrical concept as some of the greatest bands out there don´t feature lyrics or vocals at all.
Therefore we didn´t publish the lyrics in the inlay but created those cryptic writings, even though all of them comprise a deeper meaning if studied carefully…
Concerning the lyrical concepts we draw inspiration from the good old classics such as Lovecraftian Mythologie, 80s Horror/Slasher Movies but also a lot of cross-science topics, unsolved mysteries and astronomy’.
How do the illustrations tie in with the lyrical concepts? You obviously take pride in representing your music as well as you can but is there a danger of becoming so stylised that it detracts from the music?
On that front, have you considered playing live and what are your thoughts on the current trends within black and death metal where bands utilise striking onstage attire and props? Do these elements add to the sense of ‘ritual’ or are they superfluous nonsense?
‘Yes, we´re definitely aiming at doing live shows. Not sure when that will be though, seeing that we first have to put a proper line up together.
I assume you hint at the “candles, incense and skulls” stage appearance that seems to spread quickly in today’s metal scene. Personally I don´t think it´s mere superfluous nonsense, it can help creating a certain atmosphere which supports the music, even though it seems to lose some of its potency due to being overused.
Anyways it can only add to the music itself, loads of skulls on stage won´t make a crappy gig great, even though I´d be the last to condemn the gradual introduction of a sense for “ritual” to our hasty western society.
I don´t think we´ll ever face the danger of becoming “over-stylized”, after all I hope people judge us by our music and not by any superficial appearances’.
Your tape sold out quickly and is currently being repressed. The excellent Hellthrasher Productions label from Poland is also doing a CD version. Can we expect such opulent packaging on the CD?
Two of the bands on that label’s roster that stand out to me are Gjendød and Ljosazabojstwa. Both of those bands are probably more orthodox sounding than Vitriol but very exciting in their own right.
Have you checked these bands out, or any others on the label? It’s exciting to watch new bands develop and grow alongside a new label so do you see yourselves continuing your relationship with Hellthrasher after the demo release or do you see yourselves as free agents?
‘We´re very grateful for the opportunity to release our demo on CD, which is something we haven´t even dreamt about when we took the first recording steps about a year ago.
It´d be fantastic to continue our relationship with Hellthrasher Productions although I still rather tend to see ourselves as free agents. The packaging will probably be less opulent, but it will feature all the drawings from the tape in full detail. It´s gonna be a regular CD’.
How do you view the current state of the German death and black metal scenes? Are there other bands we need to know about?
‘The Nuernberg area where we come from is currently well developed in regards of metal, there are a lot of bands that formed recently, such as Hellburst, Maligno, Goath and Horns of Domination… the latter ones being already quite popular I think.
The black and death metal scene all over Germany is very vital I´d say. We get a lot of gigs and festivals and the underground scene is constantly spawning new great bands. Some stuff definitely worth checking out would be Sepulchral Zeal, Ypokosmos, Sacroscum, II, The Inner Abyss’.
Thanks for your time. The final words are yours.
‘We´re currently writing new songs which we intend to release as an EP. We want to preserve the brutality of our previous release but also try to experiment with new influences, instruments and arrangements. As much as we adore the path of old school death metal and its current wave of new bands and releases, we however try to get off the worn-out path within our future’.
– Andy Cunningham ::: 13/12/16