Thursday, 30 June 2011

Agoraphobia - Germany's best death metal band???

Germany, the beginning of the 90’s. The country has just lost their leadership in Europe as the thrash metal best scene. Bands like KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, SODOM, LIVING DEATH, DARKNESS, ACCUSER, ASSASSIN, MINOTAUR, TANKARD, DEATHROW, VENDETTA have had their best time already behind them. And so the new generation of bands arose. They’re death metal masters – MORGOTH, ATROCITY, PROTECTOR, DARK MILLENIUM, IMMORTALIS, TORCHURE, BLOOD, DESPAIR, FLESHCRAWL… These were the bands, that captured the attention in the underground. But to some point the German death metal scene was disappointing. Country, which had such a big impact on the thrash metal in the 80’s, country which has the biggest death metal labels – NUCLEAR BLAST, CENTURY MEDIA – have produced only very few really great death metal bands. Let’s be serious – only MORGOTH and ATROCITY, maybe PROTECTOR and TORCHURE also, really were worth mentioning as some of Europe’s best names. FLESHCRAWL’s albums were yet to come…
Of course there were also many bands, which never really made it; which only managed to record some demos and then – with the death metal popularity going downhill – they ceased to exist and now remain almost forgotten – GENITAL PUTREFACTION, R.U.DEAD?, DEFUNE... Another such band is AGORAPHOBIA. The band never really managed to make the breakthrough, but I have to admit that their musical legacy – a demo tape and an EP, which they left from the early 90’s are the thing to remember them for. It’s a shame then that so little information is left about them. One would really have to dig through the old fanzines if wanted to find any informative articles about AGORAPHOBIA. A shame really. Their moniker clearly must have been taken from PROTECTOR song – at least I think so – AGORAPHOBIA was formed in 1989 in Meckesheim-Mönchzell. The guitarist Michael Schmitt, vocalist Boris Stefan, drummer Bob Schätzle and bass player Andreas Rigo have completed the first line up. Already one year later this band have collected few songs and recorded them in July 12-18th, 1990. Three tracks have created a debut demo titled “Premature Inhumation”. Musically the band was very traditional for the European death metal – there were many parallels to MORGOTH, PROTECTOR, PESTILENCE, MASSACRA – but AGORAPHOBIA had also a clear progressive / thrash metal touch, which especially could be noticed in “The Beast Within” track. Anyway, the demo was a very fine piece, so soon after the band got a chance to record an EP. “Wailing of Souls” was released in 1991 by Greek label BLACK POWER Records as a 12" Mini-LP on a clear vinyl. At the time the band had new guitarist: Heinz Steinhauser and a new singer, Tim Eiermann. The music became more brutal and less progressive, but surely it was an effective material. Myself, I love it! Pity then that AGORAPHOBIA didn’t survive these times and soon in 1993 – with reason unknown to me – the band has split up. The guys started to play in different acts like DEATHTRAP, TE DEUM, Tim Eiermann played in PYOGENESIS, Steinhauser in CREMATORY… But AGORAPHOBIA stayed inactive for almost 14 years, when the band suddenly came back, only with Schmitt and Steinhauser from the old line up in the band. But musically this reformed AGORAPHOBIA was barely a shadow of the old, musically much different, mixing various elements from death metal, thrash metal to even a lot of modern hardcore / nu metal, so everything which isn’t in my interest at all. AGORAPHOBIA has two self-released albums “Sick” and "The Fire Inside" in their discography, but they’re far from the old school death metal feast we have on the old recordings. Shame, once upon a time there was a German Death Metal band called AGORAPHOBIA…

Premature Inhumation (demo 1990)
Recorded: Recorded July 12-18th, 1990
Recording line up: Michael Schmitt – Guitars, Andreas Rigo – bass, Bob Schatzle – drums, Boris Stefan - vocals
This demo is a pure death metal worship. I cannot say anything bad about it, really! It’s been recorded in the times, when death metal was starting to get a worldwide recognition. Bands like DEATH, MORBID ANGEL, OBITUARY, AUTOPSY were ruling the underground and many new bands started to either record their demos or already coming up with a full length. Anyway, death metal wasn’t infected yet by stagnation and most of the recordings had the vitality, fresh ideas and energy, which in the future has been lost for some time – at least according to some opinions. AGORAPHOBIA is an excellent example for the early death metal from Europe. The band takes as much from thrash metal and bands like PROTECTOR and MASSACRA, as from US death metal classics like DEATH and POSSESSED. At the same time their songs have clear European vibe, which is present on the albums from bands like TORCHURE, early MORGOTH, ASPHYX, THANATOS... The production on the “Premature Inhumation” demo is really good – it has the raw edge, but is clear enough and professional even for a full length. Unfortunately there are only three songs on it, what must have been a little disappointing for the tape listeners, as the B-side has got just one track, which is instrumental. “The Beast Within” is actually quite interesting, because it shows how AGORAPHOBIA was going into the more progressive sound at that time. While the other two tracks are rather standard death metal songs, this one has some intriguing ideas like keyboards, effective guitar solos, some more technical, quite thrash metal influenced riffs. And of course it is instrumental track. But personally I prefer the other songs. The opening one, “Deface the Culprit” is just smashing. All the riffs are just classic and I almost have a feeling like I’ve been listening to one of the old time favourite albums. Really, the quality of AGORAPHOBIA music is undeniable. Interesting is the fact that their songs are quite long – “Premature Inhumation”, the title track, is 6 minutes long, but luckily there’s no feeling of repetition within it. The last thing I have to say about are the vocals. They’re not so usual death metal growlings, but something in between death and thrash metal style of singing, which sounds pretty original and cool. Great demo, then!
Best song: “Deface the Culprit”
Final rate: 80/100

Wailing of Souls (7”EP 1992 – BLACK POWER Records)
Recorded: unknown
Recording line up: Michael Schmitt – Guitars, Andreas Rigo – bass, Bob Schatzle – drums, Tim Eiermann – vocals, Heinz Steinhauser - guitar
The first impression I got from listening to this EP was that AGORAPHOBIA really made their music more brutal and stronger. Shit, the production is damn heavy and much more “in your face”. And the vocals… The singing style of Tim Eiermann, new vocalist, is more classic death metal, close to BOLT THROWER for instance and it does fuckin’ work for me! With all that – new sound and vocals - the music got a boost AGORAPHOBIA needed, and although the demo was already really good, it has no chance when confronting this EP. The progress the band made within a year is just amazing. My favourite song is the massive, slow, but fuckin’ heavy title track. “Wailing of Souls” has the best elements of both ASPHYX and MORGOTH, starts with great melody and then shreds with the slow riffage, crushing vocals and memorable chorus. There’s even keyboard playing in the background of that song for a while! Anyway, the effect is just astonishing and I love the song! To me it is perfect example for early death metal excellence – catchiness, dark atmosphere, heaviness... But the other two songs, “Amorphous Creature” and “Harassed Consciousness” aren’t any worse! “Amorphous…” is just excellent as it has both mid paced and slow riffing, while “Harassed…” is just a total mosh-friendly motherfucker with few DEATH-influenced riffs. Listening to the entire EP must be just a pleasure for every death maniac. AGORAPHOBIA music has everything that was essential for early death metal albums. I can honestly say that even years after this music has been recorded, it still sounds excellent and fresh and it is just a shame and something I cannot understand why/ how such a good band like AGORAPHOBIA remained unnoticed. I don’t think many fans got a chance to know their music at that time and unfortunately also the labels seemed not to be interested in signing yet another death metal band, despite the fact they had such a quality stuff recorded. Shame and a great loss! Luckily some fans saved these songs from being forgotten.
Best song: “Wailing of Souls”
Final rate: 95/100

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Purtenance - MCMXCI - MCMXCII (The Crypt Productions)

PURTENANCE... My first thought about this band is "oh, it's that Finnish band where the guitarist had the worst haircut in the history of death metal" he he. Funny, but just check the picture on the layout for "Member of Immortal Damnation" LP! Ain't that mate, Tony, looking hilariously? But serious stuff now. Purtenance was also one of the best Finnish death metal acts in the early 90's, no doubt about that. Despite their short lived history, they managed to unleash really cool EP and LP. They never really got much attention, as the band split up already in 1992 and as far as I know none of its members played in other bands afterwards, so for many reasons Purtenance is almost forgotten. Almost, as there are diehard old school fans, who pay unbelievable money for the first pressing of CD or LP of the mentioned "Member of Immortal Damnation" album. The Crypt Productions has re-released that full length on the ultra limited vinyl adding the demo and EP as bonus... and man, there were 300 copies pressed only, what makes this item as ultra rare and special as the first pressing. I'm lucky to own a copy of "MCMXCI - MCMXCII", as that's how they've titled it... and it's one of the most precious items in my collection.

The Crypt always shred with the layout and content of their vinyls. This time they also have done something special. The double LP comes in the folder with golden prints on it (with liner notes by Harri Salo, drummer of Purtenance) and each LP has its own cover and booklet. LP 1 has the "Purtenance Avulsion - Demo 1991" on Side A and "Crown Waits the Immortal - EP 1991" on Side B. The LP comes with a 2 sided insert with classic photos and lyrics as well as original artwork for both covers on the 350 gram heavyweight jacket. LP 2 is the "Member of Immortal Damnation" album. 350 gram heavyweight jacket is complete with the original classic, newly supplied, unaltered artwork by Chris Moyen. The LP includes a double-sided lyric insert with the original layout from the 1992 LP, full color art-print style, 12" x 18" poster. And all that in just 300 copies, can it be any better idea than that?? Oh, did I mention it also has logo sticker, patch and a colour button??

Side A is occupied by the "Demo 1", by Purtenance Avulsion, as this is how they've been called in 1991. I must be honest with you and say that this demo material isn't anything special. Four songs that got there are very typical for the demo stage death metal bands from that time and so quality and sound are very underground, primitive and raw, with hardly hearable riffs or whatever... But such recordings have their own charm and sometimes I tend to listen to such old demos for the whole day. Purtenance Avulsion's demo wasn't as good as those by Abhorrence, Amorphis, Demilich, Funebre or Disgrace, but I think it's cool to have it on LP and definitely it's an important recording in Purtenance history, so the demo deserves its place on the compilation. And such songs like "Inside the Crematory" and "Cannibal Souls", despite their primitiveness still sound damn brutal nowadays!

Side B is something many of you will get wet while thinking about, as "Crown Waits the Immortal" is one of those seven inches, which are very wanted by the collectors. The EP was recorded in 1991 by the Stratovarious guitarist, Tomi Talkki and that's the first interesting thing about the EP. Music wise it's just much, much better than "Demo 1". Purtenance developed their style a bit, into slightly more technical and the song structures are simply more interesting and thought about... Finally the production is good, at least for the EP standards of that time. The first song, "Apparition of the Mist", is something I fuckin love. It's basically slow instrumental piece, but the doomy riffs in it are so damn cool and heavy that I would love to hear them as a proper song. "A Dark Cloud Arises" is one damn brutal track! Occasional slow riffs are mixed with grinding parts, so in the end it's a song that will please fans of Demigod or even Suffocation totally. "Crown Waits the Immortal", the title song is very similar, massacring with massive wall of riffs and brutal vocals. I think the childish front cover is the weakest point of that legendary EP.

The second LP is the main dish of this death metal feast - "Member of Immortal Damnation". Cult album nowadays, definitely I can say so, even though I doubt there are that many fans, who remember or even heard it before. The band didn't get the recognition many Finnish or Swedish acts had. But I must say this for many reasons LP can't rival the best death metal albums of the old era. In my opinion it's not as great and devastating as "Left Hand Path", "The Karelian Isthmus" and so many other LPs. It's not as melodic, not so catchy, not even that aggressive and well recorded... I think that Purtenance was pretty much mediocre band and "Member of Immortal Damnation" was also like that, but years after its recording, it gets more and more charm and that rotten smell surrounding it isn't so pushing away anymore. There are many fantastic riffs on the album. The opening theme in "Black Visions" is just supreme doomy melodic death metal. "Deep Blue Darkness" is another fantastic song and if you're not only into the Finish bands, but also worship Incantation or even Autopsy or Swedish Crematory, then this is for you!!!! The songs are very much all on the same quality level. Purtenance tries to keep the balance between grinding fast parts and morbid slow playing and mostly they manage to do that well, so in the end we get a solid, brutal death metal.

If there's anything more I can say about Purtenance, it's a shame they never went any further with this LP and split up so early. I would really want to see how their future would sound like... Of course, if you look at most of their Finnish companions, basically all of them either split up at that time or went into completely different musical territories on their second albums. Bands like Convulse, Amorphis changed the style but did it quite well, Funebre and Demilich split up, but just look at say... Disgrace, Xysma... Eh, I hope Purtenance wouldn't follow their path. I can only guess now. But "MCMXCI - MCMXCII" is worthy compilation. If you ever have a chance to buy it, sell your kidney, but buy it!

Uncanny - MCMXCI - MCMXCIV (The Crypt Productions)

The journey through The Crypt vinyl releases... begins with Uncanny from Sweden!

Uncanny should probably be considered as one of the most underestimated and unnoticed bands that raised in the golden era of the Swedish death metal. Although the band has released four different recordings, including a full length, they've never been considered as one of the Big Names of the scene. Maybe it's because they've disbanded shortly after "Splenium For Nyktophobia" was released or maybe it's due to the laziness of their label... Or maybe the reason is different, anyway, whatever it was, I doubt many maniacs know the band at all.

So, it's always nice to get something of a re-issue / compilation, which may remind us about the band. It's even nicer if we get it in a shape of fantastic looking vinyl box. The Crypt Records is already a cult label for me, as I keep buying their releases since the first outburst with Excruciate LP. Few LPs happened since then, but none of them looked as astonishing and amazing as this one (well, maybe Crypt of Kerberos did, but it was released together with Uncanny at the same time and in similar shape of a 3LP box). I was left speechless, when I touched "MCMXCI - MCMXCIV" for the first time and went through its content. How amazing! Inside of this bronze box you'll find two gatefold covers with three LPs in it - they include all songs Uncanny have recorded and released in the early 90's!!! The demo / split gatefold has some old band photos, demo covers in great quality, short band history, two old interviews from fanzines (sadly one is in Swedish) and finally rare demo lyrics. The second gatefold has everything about the full length, with the original cover, layout and with lyrics and old thanx list. On top of all that, the box has two posters - and the one with the cover of "Splenium..." is just huge! Pity I can't put it on my wall!

Yeah, and again The Crypt delivered amazing collector item. This box is simply killer and this is exactly how I would like to see all re-issues to look like. I hate when some labels deliver reprints of old CDs and sometimes can't even put a decent booklet for it (see Vital Remains' "Into Cold" CD, how cheap and lazy re-release by Peaceville that is!). The Crypt means quality, and whatever LP I bought from them, and I already have eight, I've never felt disappointed. You can see how important is each detail for them, how carefully they choose not only the bands, but also the entire material for each release. In this aspect there's no rival this label and if you consider yourself an old school metal maniac you must get their albums.

And what about Uncanny music? Well, I wanted to focus here in this review on the layout mostly, because this is old Swedish death metal band. Can it be any bad? No, for fuck sake! If you're a fan of such bands as Mastication, Epitaph, Excruciate, Edge of Sanity, God Macabre, etc., then Uncanny is a must for you. "MCMXCI - MCMXCIV" contains their two demo tapes, a material from split with Ancient Rites and "Splenium For Nyktophobia" album. All these recordings are great, all are classic Swedish death metal and when I play them on vinyl I get thrills. Great music, especially "Nyktalgia" demo rules and the full length is just a must for every Swedish metal maniac! No more words needed - this is one of my favourite jewels in my collection. Worth to die for it!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Antropomorphia gets the vinyl re-release in The Crypt

Here's something I can't wait to get in my hands...

ANTROPOMORPHIA (Hol) Necromantic Love Songs + Bowel Mutilation Official 2LP Set (CRYPT19)

Making it's vinyl debut, The CRYPT is proud to resurrect the obscure masterpiece of blistering old school Dutch death metal ANTROPOMORPHIA - "Necromantic Love Songs". This 1993 sledgehammer of brutal death metal never gained the recognition it deserved, so we are pleased dust off this classic and offer it once again on glorious wax!

Also included is the Bone-Crushing "Bowel Mutilation" demo. Both of these death metal gems will be released as a beautiful double LP set in a luxurious reverse board printed triple gatefold jacket complete with original artwork from both releases. This killer set features an amazing old-school layout by the band's own Ferry Damen with lyrics for both releases, new liner notes, classic unpublished band photos and Ferry's own original illustrations from the 1993 CD booklet.

Rather than cram 50 minutes of music on 1 LP resulting in inferior sound, reduced volume and low end, this release is mastered onto two separate 180 gram LPs for the best audio fidelity possible! Both vinyls will be pressed at 45 RPM on heavyweight, 180 gram virgin vinyl for optimal sound. Limited to a one time pressing of 500 hand numbered copies, 200 will sets will be on classic black wax and 300 will be on pink / dark red marbled "Chunks of Flesh" colored vinyl.

This monument of death metal wouldn't be complete without a luxurious 24" x 36" (60.96 cm x 91.44 cm) poster featuring the classic early 90's T-shirt design:

For more news and band updates, visit:


And now something really fuckin great!
Deathronation is old school death metal band from Germany, which I fuckin loved when I got their debut demo 2006 titled "A Soil Forsaken..." few years ago. This really was one of the best demo releases at that time, especially that there weren't that many bands, which wanted to play like Asphyx at that time. Unlike today he, he... I did this interview with Deathronation, but as you may already know, that sixth issue of Panzerfaust hasn't been finished and so this interview is totally unreleased. There are two reasons I decided to remind it at the moment. One is that Deathronation is really fuckin great band and they may interest all those old school death metal maniacs, as Deathronation isn't worse than these new bands, that appear every month. The interview is really cool, I agree with many things S.Old says in it, so it would be a shame to bin it. Another reason is the fact that Deathronation just released their second demo, titled "Exorchrism". Two songs that I've listened to on band's myspace are fuckin' shredders! I totally love them, so I hope to have a chance to listen to the demo in its entirety one day... Meanwhile, check this old interview out.

DEATHRONATION has started as EYESORE, as far as I know, in 2004. Tell me how was that time in the band, did you play similar music to what DEATHRONATION plays? Also, did you play in other bands before EYESORE? How deep do your underground roots go in the past?
Well yes, we started under the name EYESORE in early 2004. But before that it were also the same three sickos (Eyehate: drums, Basti: guitars / bass / vox, and me S.Old: guitar and vox.) who started in 2003 rumbling on the ruins of a former band-project of Eyehate and Basti. The time back than was a great one, as we found out, that each other is highly motivated to play that stuff! The music we did under the name EYESORE was exactly the same as we do now. As all songs we play now (except for two) have been written in this time. The difference was, that we have been much lousier in handling our instruments. After the first gig and a never released demo (which contains the songs of “A Soil Forsaken” and two of the upcoming “Exorchrism” demo) Basti unfortunately had to quit because of a lack of time (but he is still helping us sometimes at the session guitar). Back in this time I took over the main vocals and asked old friend to play the bass. So S. Muerte joined for doing the bass guitar and some vokills and screams. He also brought another friend of him, Randy Rots into the band. In this time we rehearsed a lot and did some gigs which turned out to be very successful.
Our roots go deep into the underground scene. I can’t write for the other members, but personally I have been involved into the international metal scene since 1995 (in this time mainly black metal). I played in DARKNESS IS MY PRIDE, which was a promising black metal band in Germany in the mid 90ies. We just released one demo which was spread all over the world. But fate stopped us. After that I played in a couple of other bands and had also some years break in being active in the scene. This just because the black metal scene ( to which I belonged mostly in that time) became too ridiculous. From 1998 to 2002 I played in a psychedelic doom metal band called THE MIRROR WATERS. Today people would say this was “depressive or suicide doom”… but fuck that! We didn’t know about that name for genres of music. We just played total fucked slow motion stuff under the influence of UNHOLY and shitloads of weed. We never released anything official, but fortunately I still have a lot of rehearsals from that time banned on old tapes. In 2000 I became a member of EMBODIED GRIEF, which was a local death metal band. We released one demo in 2001. Unfortunately we also split up. But this made the way free to start up with the other guys. And here we are now. Ah by the way, S.Muerte is also playing in TOTAL HATE which released its new CD some weeks ago on the label of your countrymates AGONIA Records.

DEATHRONATION has unleashed just one demo so far, but I’ve heard that the second attack is about to be unleashed very soon. So, tell me something about your plans with this new recording. What are the songs on it like and would you compare them to the debut?
Well yes, our first demo “A Soil Forsaken” was released in 2006. Now the work for the new one “Exorchrism” is in progress. It should be released in about two months I guess. It contains two more songs from the EYESORE times and two new ones. The song “Beg for your God” which will be on it as originally from the before mentioned EMBODIED GRIEF. But we tuned it a little bit. The difference to the first demo will be, that it’s more tight played, less mistakes in playing and a little bit better sound. We still record this in our rehearsal room. We have been very slow on doing that. This depended due to different reasons. Be it personal ones or official. The solos will not be as brilliant as on “A Soil…” , as I play them this time haha. But it will be much more tight, as now it’s just me on the rhythm guitar.

Speaking of “A Soil Forsaken”, this is truly killer underground, raw old school death metal. What would you say about comparing this music to such legends as ASPHYX, DEATH (old), PENTACLE, AUTOPSY, POSSESSED, SADISTIC INTENT? Would you say these bands influenced your songwriting in any way?
It’s a big compliment to be compared to these bands. And we surly like them. But they had no direct influence on our songwriting. Maybe an indirect one. Our songs just turned out as our feeling told us to do. These mentioned bands sound evil. Well that’s what we try to do also… these bands are rough… we are too… but we play faster hehe. We dislike the emotionless clean sounding of nowadays productions. We try to develop in our sound and with our skills… but be sure, we will never sound like this numberless bands from the retort.

Things I liked most on your demo are: raw, dirty sound, sick vokills and these slow riffs, which are really great in between the faster fragments. Also, memorable, head-bangers friendly riffs!!! Well, it’s hard to believe it’s a demo, not a classic album from decades ago ha, ha? Your opinion?
Hehe thank you very much again for the compliment! These classic albums and demos you are telling about are the ones, which guided my youth in metal. These were intense and higher moments. The sound was as it was because the bands didn’t have much money for studio and not as much technical possibilities. Well, we have better technical possibilities but also no money haha. But I think it’s a mistake to try to sound like someone or some special time. Then you loose integrity. And metal should be honest. We sound as we do, because we are not able to do it better haha. .

You’ve used an intro for “A Soil Forsaken” from the “Stigmata” movie. I remember this film was very controversial when it was in cinemas. Here in Poland people wanted to ban it. Tell me, do you think it is fair to ban something, just because one calls it “controversial”? Should there be a limit for art? And in a case of “Stigmata”, do you think this movie says at least a little bit of truth about the foundations of the church?
Well to be honest, I haven’t seen the movie yet. I just read about it. Our bassplayer is the right man to discuss the movies. But to say it short… I’m very into mysticism… the band is also an instrument to live that need for it... our world is full of cold logical structures… no place for that inner needs… so a movie like that can give an impulse to people. Even when it’s a christian mysticism. We should never forget, that the mysticism is the anarchist part of every religion (of course mysticism doesn’t necessarily need a religion to be). By the way I read a book about that topic in the moment. It’s called “Mysticism and Resistance”. And it deals with the topics about the people who find a relation to god (or whatever) through their practice. This means, that they don’t need the official church to get salvation for their souls. And this is of course dangerous for the church itself. But it’s hard to fight these thoughts, as they have always been a part of the church and the believe. You can see, that the catholic liturgy contains a lot of these mystical acts. For the last question, well we all know that the church is based on a pile of lies. It’s obvious, that the church is driven by a will for power. It’s an institution for repressing people. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge anyone for his belief – everyone is free to believe whatever he is into. But I can’t accept soul hunting methods and forcing believes on kids through education and repression… And the fact that they try to get influence on politics. And so it’s no wonder, that the church tries to forbid whatever…. Church has no right to ban anything. But they try – as everyone would, who has to loose something. Question is if they achieve success or not… Art is principally free… provoking art is important for keeping the peoples’ senses awake. It should be honest… art from the heart. Then its existence is legitimated.

Tell me, what does a death metal song need to be really killer in your opinion? Nowadays bands try to complex their songwriting as much as they could, but to me it isn’t the best option. The music becomes unmemorable, without dark atmosphere, etc. So, I barely can listen to it. What are your favourite death metal songs then? Do you like such anthems as “Evil Dead”, “Wasteland of Terror”, “Dreaming In Red”, “Into the Grave”, “Burnt Identity”, “Troops of Doom”, “Death Metal” etc???
“Into the Grave” yezzz I love that… The song ”Leprosy” is most impressively for me. It has all… simple but effective song structure, great voice, lyrics which fit to the music, great riffing… only thing is, that the drum sound is not exactly my taste. But nevertheless good. But there are many more songs for sure. I can just mention most songs of the “Cursed” album. Or also most of the old MERCYLESS (France) stuff, MORBID ANGEL’s “Immortal Rites”, DEICIDE’s “Dead by Dawn” and many more. But that’s what I like, the others have maybe other stuff in mind…

There were always three main schools of death metal: the US one (CANNIBAL CORPSE, SUFFOCATION), Swedish (ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER) and European one (MORGOTH, SINISTER, ASPHYX). Which do you like most? And tell me, do you know what happened to MORGOTH guys? Did you like “Odium”, very experimental LP? Would like to see them reuniting, just like some bands just did (GOREFEST, ASPHYX, PESTILENCE etc)??? Is there any point in resurrecting these long dead corpses? Personally I have to say I hate it!!! What about POSSESSED playing gigs? Isn’t it ridiculous a bit??
Well, I was mostly into bands which played a style which was a mixture out of the two sounds which you described as “Swedish” and “European” sound. TIAMAT, DISMEMBER, MORGOTH etc... But also the American bands had an important influence. DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL, MALEVOLENT CREATION, MASSACRE, DEATH, DARTH VADERS CHURCH, SUFFOCATION, MONSTROSITY, DEMOLITION HAMMER, EXHORDER, HEXX… and many more kicked ass. About the MORGOTH guys… I just know, that the vocalist worked at Century Media. But I have no idea if he still does. Also for the other members I have no information. I didn’t like “Odium” back then when it was released. The cover was shit… (”Cursed” is one of the best death metal cover artworks. It’s a proof that it‘s really worth to own the vinyl version because of the big cover and the innersleeve). And the music wasn’t what I wanted to listen to. But everyone is free to do what he wants…s o it was their decision to do that like this. Maybe I would understand the music now better…many years after… For reunions I don’t care… sometimes it’s cool sometimes not. The people should know that a reunion is a dangerous thing. You can win or lose a lot. So it’s better if you do it, because of the music… not for some fast bucks. POSSESSED is not the band I had lost my heart to… so I didn’t care. On the one hand it’s cool for some bands (like them) to get the attention which they didn’t get in the time when they started. On the other hand it can turn out ridiculous. But this depends on it, how they do it.

And what nowadays death metal bands do you like most? I think that REPUGNANT is just KILLER!!!! Also, THRONEUM, DEAD CONGREGATION and NECROS CHRISTOS! Any new German bands to recommend?
Well yes, I like the REPUGNANT and NECROS CHRISTOS a lot. I don’t know THRONEUM so far. There are also DROWNED and ERODED (btw. there is ERODED from Italy too. They are also okay) which I like.  They aren’t new at all. In the opposite... DROWNED… they are pretty old. Oh, and not to forget our mates of DEAD. They are famous for their sick humour… handled as a porn-grind band… but what the fuck - it’s one of Germany’s oldest death metal acts which is still active! Nuremberg’s answer to PUNGENT STENCH haha !

I would like to ask you about one past member of DEATHRONATION. Why did Randy Rots left the band? I’ve heard he plays now in TOXIC HOLOCAUST live lineup, is it true?
Well Randy had to leave the bands because of personal differences. As far as I know He used to be a live member of TOXIC HOLOCAUST during their European tour activities. Now after a long search for a new guitar we finally found Megan. She just moved from US to Germany. We play our first gig together next week.

And you play live in WORHIP. What is this band like?
WORSHIP is an old two-piece doom band from Germany. Some people call them a “cult band” due to their history which was marked by pain, self-destruction and death. Nowadays the band still continues with the one original member who is still alive. I was just involved as a session-member at three live dates in 2005. Well, the music is still high quality, but the band changes to something else… the “cult” is dying…

I had an opportunity to see some live clips from your gigs. You also shred on stage, I’m glad to say. Tell me something more about the gigs you played so far, like what bands did you share the stage with, how were the parties after the show, etc!
Well, we try our best on stage! So far we played with bands like PENTACLE, NECROS CHRISTOS, SUFFERAGE, NOCTURNAL BREED, WOLFTHORN our mates of DEAD and more. Yes after show ends with hard drinking… and we work hard on ourselves not to start the boozing before playing haha  We play next week with GOLEM and maybe we play a gig in Nuremberg  in March with DEAD CONGREGATION from Greece… This will turn out great I guess!

OK. man, that was my last question. Thanx for your answers. Ehhh, by the way - you wrote me you visit Poland quite often. Tell me just for the end, what do you think of my country and our beer!!!! And will Poland kick German asses on Euro 2008?? See ya some time!
Well yes, last time I was in Poland was New Years Eve 2007/2008. We have been at Wroclaw. I was there several times. It was a hard boozing action! I prefer Zywiec, that  rules! Warka and Tatra are okay. Piaste sucks! It was the first time I saw beer with juice in Poland. Is that some Polish delicacy? It’s interesting taste but not good for the stomach haha. Your country…well I see that it changes a lot! I was there first time in 2001. In that time I saw metalheads everywhere. They were hanging around in the citycenter and boozing. Now they seem to disappear! Your country is on the way to become a money and business orientated land as ours is. That’s a pity. No place left for anti-social metalheads… On Euro 2008…huh I have no idea who wins…? Our players are busy with being stupid. So maybe someone else will make it. I have no idea!!!

Panzerfaust zine 1 - 5 front covers

Here are the original front covers of Panzerfaust zine issues 1-5 in high resolution... good old times, first issue had been releases back in May 2002 while the fifth issue is from May 2006. Or something like that. From the fourth issue I started to write everything in English, as many of the copies have been spread abroad, so it had more sense than sending Polish written fanzine to Germany or USA...
I'll try to get the scans of the pages from each issue as soon as I have time... If someone can get me the scans from my firth issue, I would be grateful, as I haven't even got my own copy of that zine!!!!!!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

ARGHARUS old interview from 2007

Another old interview from the unreleased sixth issue of Panzerfaust zine; this time with band called Argharus.
At some point of Panzerfaust zine existence I started to really dig some Baltic bands, as I totally loved acts like Loits, Urt, Must Missa, Dissimulation. I've found that scene (in countries like Estonia and Lithuania) as very refreshing and original, so I wanted to promote some of these bands in my fanzine. Argharus from Lithuania was also one of those bands, although I'm sorry to say that the interview I've done with them hasn't been really published - mind though that I published only its Polish version on Argharus is cool band I got to know from the split CD with Luctus... Since then I know that those Lithuanians have unleashed a debut album, which unfortunately I haven’t heard yet, but I hope I'll get it somewhere soon. Meanwhile check this intie, even though it’s so outdated. But that’s the point of doing this blog, to refresh also some of the old stuff I’ve done.

Hell-zzzzzz mate! How are you today? Getting ready for this short interview?
Hail! I suppose we are quite good, thanks for asking and thanks for the interest.

How did it happen you've released your four tracks as the split CD/LP with LUCTUS? Whose idea was it and who was choosing the bands for it? Did you have any influence on it, like did you want a band, which will suit you both musically and also ideologically? If so, I guess LUCTUS is damn good choice!

In the beginning we had no intention to release a split album with another band. We recorded a demo, then we were sending it to various labels. But the problem was that those tracks were not enough, so we were suggested to record more tracks by some of those labels in order to get a contract or something and release a full-length. Since we had no money for the record studio, we had to refuse those offers. We were considering releasing the record by ourselves, but then it came out so that LEDO TAKAS Records offered to release a split album with the band Luctus and that was acceptable for us. That’s the long story short.

Eeee, so nothing really interesting there! What does the title of this split stand for? How long have you been working on the songs for it? Tell me, if I'm wrong, but this is your first studio recording?
The title means “The Sounds of the Burning Sky” translated from Latin (both bands are a bit different musically and lyrically so we needed kind of a neutral name). We’ve been working on those songs for about a year, maybe a little more. This was indeed our first experience in a record studio. We were absolutely uncertain of what we should do there in the beginning so it’s a good thing the sound engineer was very professional. That helped us a lot.

What reactions are you getting for this split CD? Are maniacs banging their skulls while listening to this piece of black metal?
We get all kinds of reactions, of course. Here in Lithuania we heard a lot more positive responses than negative and that is pleasing. But we are always open for criticism. I mean, we understand that we made some mistakes, since this was our first recording session, moreover, we understand we did not achieve anything really BIG when compared to the global scene. (Oh, so rare where a musician is so criticizing towards his music! – P666) But we are still satisfied with our first release. Probably the most priceless thing we gained is the experience we got from creating it.

You're using your native language for the lyrics and that definitely gives some special atmosphere to your songs, don't you think? Is it the main reason why you've decided to use it? Aren't you afraid that abroad maniacs won't have any idea for what you're screaming about? Or maybe your music is for Lithuanian maniacs only?
Well, the thing is that we did not publish the lyrics in Lithuanian either. What we did was putting only some kind of reflections of the whole texts, so the listener would be left with a wider space for own interpretation. You probably got the impression that the lyrics are kind of “short”, didn’t you? Although two or three of our first songs were in English, we later decided to sing only in Lithuanian and rewrote those songs in our native language. It’s actually strange why so many bands choose to sing in English, although they are not from English speaking countries. Bands that sing in their native language (especially Black Metal bands) always sound deeper. The ideal case is native singing with English translations on the release, in my opinion. By so you get both - the atmosphere and the idea.

Myself I have no clue of what are your lyrics are about, so I have to ask about them. Would you mind translating the titles and giving me short descriptions of the lyrics, even though it may be damn boring to you?

That’s not a problem at all. The song names are “Calm before the Storm”, “Summoned by Wane”, “Stars in the Heights will Fade” and “Scum” (or “Scoundrel” – it’s hard to find the right word in English).
The topics are the pessimism of life, suicide (more as a symbol, probably), misanthropy (a very abstract and trendy word nowadays, isn’t it) and death. Argharus is kind of a Death cult, I suppose. And the very early lyrics were more into mysticism, the Apocalypse, Satan and such things.

I've heard that "Sonitus Caeli Ardentis" was first presented at the special performance at BURNING STEEL Festival, where you wanted to "reveal the essence of your creation", as I've read. So tell me something more about this show. How was it like, have you used any special effects or anything like that at it?
We did not do anything unusual, just left a lot of energy on stage. We wore corpse paint, as always. That was more or less an ordinary show.

Hmm, so why did you write about special show on your website then??Tell me something about the other festival you were about to play called KILKIM ZAIBU Festival. I think it's quite special show, because there are Baltic bands playing at it only, am I right? How's the atmosphere there then, especially between the bands, did you have a hell of a party then ha?!
That is one of the best festivals I’ve ever seen. It’s always great to play there (we played there two times) and it’s certainly even better to go there just to party and see some bands. You know, if you play late it’s hard to wait all day with hardly any alcohol, ha ha. There were cases in the earlier festivals when bands (I won’t mention the names) got so drunk until there turn to come on stage that they could hardly handle there instruments, so there is an unwritten rule now about drinking before the show. (Come on! Give us some names!!! – P666) The main quality of the Kilkim Žaibu festival is that it has that idea and especially that atmosphere that many open-airs lack. There is always pure folk bands and “pagan fighting” with swords, axes, etc which open the whole fest. You are not right about “only Baltic bands”, there are often bands from other regions like NOCTURNAL MORTUM, MOONSORROW and so on. It’s just great, you won’t get it unless you see one of those festivals live and get drunk a least once with Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians there. And there is no such thing as parties among the bands at this fest – there’s just party as whole.

Personally I think that Baltic scene is superb, with such bands as LOITS, MUST MISSA, URSKUMUG, LUCTUS, ARGHARUS, THARAPHITA. I think that these bands have their own sound and are different from western hordes. What do you think make them all so unique? What's the main influence for it?
I think the region itself sometimes influences the sound of scene. I mean, in most cases you can recognize for ex. Swedish Black or Death Metal just by its sound. The other thing is that we had different history from Western Europe (occupation by the Soviet Union, etc) and that left a mark for sure. When it comes to Lithuanian Black Metal, I must mention DISSIMULATION (!!!), POCCOLUS, ANDAJA, ANUBI, NAHASH and MERRESIN, these are just great.

How was the metal scene in your country before the fall of communistic regime? Were there any bands back then? I have an impression that Baltic scene was growing very slowly, comparing it to the Polish or Czech scenes, am I right? It's just now, when the more bands are showing their music to the underground around the world. Which is the most important band to your country's history?
The metal scene here existed in the Soviet era but the rise of it began after we got our independency back. There were quite a bunch of bands, Death and Thrash mainly, but most of them did nothing but a few demos. Only a few managed to leave their mark in the local scene. I couldn’t give you “the most important band”, there were not one and they were very different. By the way, Poland and Czech Republic were never in the Soviet Union, so the atmosphere was undisputedly more liberal there. Nowadays there are lots of new bands and most of them are not worth a shit, although not all. The new trend here in Lithuania is those ridiculous one-man-myspace-black-metal projects. I think Estonian scene is doing a bit better.

Different question now - what's nihilism to you?
Well, I’m not very chatty when it comes to these themes. Basically it’s a way of seeing the real shapes of things and not staring into mirages.

What's life to you? Is there something like "afterlife", in your believe?
I don’t think there is an afterlife. I just don’t see the reason why there should be one. No afterlife, no reincarnation and nothing alike. And it’s a too wide topic to describe what life is. First of all it’s a meaningless existence.

I know that Skabardas from INFERNA PROFUNDUS Records is your manager. Tell us something more about this label. I would like to ask you a question, why for an underground band needs a manager? I mean what are his responsibilities? At the same time what goals do you have for the band?
You are right about that, Skabardas is managing the band at the time. You know, he’s more into the whole scene, this means he’s got more contacts over the world; he’s responsible for writing/answering e-mails, seeking for concerts we could play in and such things, so the band can concentrate on the music only. IPR is a quite a new label. They did very well with their first release (re-release of an old Nahash demo tape in CD) and they are working on another one, so let’s hope the label keeps going and will be successful in the future.

What are the next plans for ARGHARUS? After split CD it would probably be the best to come up with a full length. Tell me, do you think about recording such in the nearest future?
We are in a process of creating a new album. We already have a big part of it done and we should finish it in winter or spring next year if everything will be ok. I could say the music is in a whole new level if compared to the compositions on “Sonitus Caeli Ardentis” split. And the rest will depend on the label.

And that's it!!!!!!!!! Any final comments?
Thanks for the interview, it was a pleasure. This is the first interview from Argharus.

Demonical - Hellsworn

These guys must have felt a real hunger for old school death metal, as Demonical unleashed their second plague only two years after they spawned the devastation called "Servants of the Unlight". Their new shredder has been titled "Hellsworn" and man... it is one hellishly great album. Although I must say it is slightly different than its predecessor. If you remember the debut LP and such ultimately fast and destructive songs as "Feeding the Armageddon" (which even had black metal riffing, in my opinion), then well, none of that is present on "Hellsworn". This album is definitely slower, the playing and tempos are more classic death metal mid paced riffing, the album is very traditional old school, and Demonical didn't use those ultimate fast cuts. But don't get me wrong, the absence of that didn't make the music weak, this still is straight forward, aggressive death metal album!

With this album I can see more and more why did they decide to end Centinex and begin something new... Opened with amazing "Baptized In Fire", "Hellsworn" takes influences from the original Swedish death metal pioneers, such as Grave, Dismember and don't take it as a shame, trying to play this style as diverse and well as it can only be possible, so your head won't stop banging and speakers will explode from the loud music. And pretty diverse this album is, at the same time it's damn catchy in many chorus parts and memorable as it's straight forward, brutal and groovy. "Infernal Void" is one of those in your face and no remorse songs, one of the fastest on the album, which you'll love straight away, while "Bloodridden" is showing some doomy, slow riffs in the opening part, evolving into more Grave-esque track later on. "Götter Des Nordens" with surprising German lyrics, is the grooviest and simplest song you may imagine to hear on the album, but man, it did work, as it's also one of my favorites. It shows that you don't need 10 thousands riffs to get great death metal song. Simplicity is often better and the atmosphere must be dark and hellish. "Death Metal Darkness" is another great example for that. No guitar wanking, no bullshit... just pure onslaught, aggression and again catchy chorus, making it a personal death metal anthem with the (cheesy maybe, but cool!) lyrics: "Death metal darkness - devastation will forever be. Death metal darkness - we are the masters of immortality!". And finally "Bow To The Monolith", total Dismember worship (just listen to those short melodies), but it sounds so fuckin great. Same with the instrumental title track - when I listen to the guitar lead at the beginning, I just have "Indecent & Obscene" in my mind!

Demonical got excellent production again, using Necromorbus Studio this time and man... the sound is raw and dirty, but traditional for the Swedish death metal, reminding me albums like "Indecent & Obscene" right away. Oh, that guitar sound! A Nobel prize for the Entombed / Nihilist guys for discovering it! Also Demonical presents new vocalist Sverker Widgren. Welcome! Ludvig Engellau had great voice also, but luckily Sverker's doing what he's supposed to do in death metal band - using his voice for great guttural vocals, not for cock sucking. But the entire band's performance is top notch, I have absolutely nothing to complain about!

All in all, Demonical delivered another great album. I'm not sure if it's better than the debut, maybe not, as "Servants of the Unlight" was just pure hell, unleashed in the middle of the calmest day ever, but "Hellsworn" isn't far behind it. I love it and probably together with such bands as Bloodbath and Facebreaker, I find Demonical as the best newer band around... And Interment of corpse he, he! Anyway, totally recommended LP! Favorite tracks? So many, but I can mention "Baptized In Fire", "Götter Des Nordens" and "Bow To The Monolith".

Favourite songs: "Baptized In Fire", "Götter Des Nordens" and "Bow To The Monolith"
Final rate: 90/100