Friday, 16 August 2013

Deathstorm interview

DEATHSTORM interview
Hellz there! Great to have your band Deathstorm here on my website. Tell me, how much busy are you with the band, after the release of your debut full length CD? Are the webzines, zines and maniacs flooding you with themail or it is rather quiet? How’s the feedback of the metal community, especially from abroad, on your music?
KUBA: Well, there has been a substantial feedback. We’ve received a lot of reviews of the album and we’ve given a few interviews so everything goes fine. I think none of us expected such a turn of events. Reviews are quite positive, as far as I remember up to this point there’s been only one where the author really bashed
us. But it’s okay that not everyone likes it as it’s not aimed at pleasing anyone or providing some kind of entertainment.
I get the impression that Polish people perceive our music in the same way people from abroad do. There’s no extreme rift between their opinions. Generally, most of them liked the music, but claimed there’s nothing new, or revolutionary music-wise on the album, which I totally agree with. We didn’t try to turn the metal music upside down at any cost or mix death metal with acid jazz, just for the sake of being avant-garde. We play the music we like.

I’ve only discovered your band Deathstorm recently, when “Nechesh” was released and I must say I am very impressed by this album! But you haven’t jumped out of nowhere, as Deathstorm already had a demo released a couple of years earlier. You’ve mentioned how much you’re unhappy with that demo, “Storm of Death” and that it is no longer available. So tell me, what exactly went wrong on it? As far as I can see none of the songs from it were re-recorded on “Nechesh” CD, so I guess you were not only unhappy with the production, but also the songs were just not so good?
KUBA: First of all, as you’ve already mentioned, we were not satisfied (to say the least) with the overall sound of this record. The guy who mixed it didn’t know how death metal should sound and we had some problems with him afterwards but I’m not a big fan of shit-smearing in the interviews so let’s finish on that. Secondly, we were not satisfied with the music. It was not atrociously bad, but it wasn’t too good either. I think it sounds really weak in comparison with the stuff that appeared on “Nechesh”. In the end, we self-released something between 50-100 copies and that was it.

So what has changed in the songwriting methods that the difference between “Nechesh” and the demo is so huge? Was it just a matter of better production or you also just really developed as musicians and composers? Who’s the main author of the music? Is it rather an individual work or every band member composes and arranges the songs?
KUBA: I think we evolved both as musicians and composers and our vision of music was also more focused and “crystallized” in the case of “Nechesh”. Góral made most of the riffs on the album, but arrangement of the tracks was a collective work. Usually either Jędrek or Góral come to the rehearsal room with some riffs and we ‘build’ the tracks together. Everyone feels free to give some suggestion or present his vision.

“Nechesh” is pretty intense and fast death metal album, so the more I am surprised that one of my favourite songs from it is “NChSh”… And obviously it differs a lot from the rest of the material, being slower and more epic. What was the aim of this song? Do you personally prefer to play such slower and more harmonious tracks or you rather like those fast and relentless death anthems, because they sound better live?
KUBA: You are one of the few guys for whom this album is fast, which is surprising to me. Many people see it as a slow and heavy bulldozer. Maybe they didn’t listen to the album at all J. (Hmm, that’ interesting… But you know how people listen to the music nowadays – they skip half of the songs, give very brief attention to what they listen to… treat it like a background for wanking rather than something deeper and more involving – P666) There are the tracks where slower tempos prevail, but “Vindictive” for example is around 260bpm as far as I remember. But, you know, it’s fun to see how differently people approach the music that you made.
Going back to your question, we wanted to finish the album with something bigger and more atmospheric that would stay in your head for long and be a great conclusion to the entire album. I think “NChSh” is a kind of climax – the preceding songs are heading in its direction, everything culminates there and then fades into nothingness. I like to play both fast and slow tracks. Faster ones are more demanding in fact and there’s a bigger possibility you’d fuck up something live. I hope both these slow and massive, and those fast and relentless sound great liveJ.

How would you describe your album with few words? For sure “Nechesh” isn’t anything original, but I personally don’t expect it from the albums I listen to. I just want the music to be killer… and “Nechesh” certainly is. The album is fast, aggressive, dark, but it also has some slower moments… do you think that variety is an important factor for the record, if it is supposed to be good or you like such “Conquerors of Armageddon” or “Panzerdivision Marduk”, which is just a blast from start to finish?
KUBA: For me “Nechesh” is an album filled with negative, dark, and hateful death metal. At least we wanted it to sound like that, but I think we succeeded.
I completely admire “Panzer Division Marduk”, but Krisiun to me have got some better albums in their discography
to mention “AssassiNation” for example. (Their last record “The Great Execution” turned out to be a great surprise as well; the band developed and really composed some seriously great songs, which are not so boring anymore! – P666) The bottom line is that intensity is great when you can handle it. There’s a lot of bands who blast all the time but don’t have enough ideas to attract my attention and keep me focused on their music. I think many of them think that the intensity will cover up the lack of ideas and memorable riffs. “Panzer Division Marduk” is incredibly intense, but it, first and foremost, contains great, memorable riffs that couldn’t get out of my head for a long time, and which are pretty catchy in some twisted, perverted way. So, as it is with almost everything, no strict formula for a good metal album can be given. Diversity may keep you interested in the music through the entire playing time of a given album, but too much of it may distort the musical concept of an album it make it sound like a compilation of songs of a number of different bands, which I find completely unacceptable and indigestible. Morbid Angel’s “Heretic” contains absolutely amazing and spectacular death metal tracks, but the album loses its strength because of the completely unnecessary instrumental interludes. You get the idea?

Yeah… especially as those interludes on “Heretic” – and that absolutely awful bonus songs with some stupid guitar leads – is something I just hate about that album… but Morbid Angel I guess likes to challenge people; how can I otherwise treat those shitty industrial songs on “Illud…”? All in all what they did is that I enjoy only half or sometimes even less than a half of their last two albums… the rest is shit and that’s pity, as this is such a legendary band to all of us :).
Could you tell me something about the lyrics of the album? They seem to be highly antireligious or antichristian… and serpent is I think the main character for the album – and obviously serpent is the biblical Devil… So, what is your vision of the Devil? I guess it is more metaphorical for you that anything else, am I right?
KUBA: They are what they seem to be. However, they’re something more than just the expression of our hatred towards Christianity. Nechesh, “the biblical Devil”, as you put it, is the absolute freedom. But freedom can be a blessing and a curse at the same time – when God is dead, one has to take a leap into a world devoid of any objective values, into nothingness and chaos. This world is deaf to your cries and none of your prayers are answered.
I’ve been inspired for quite a long time by such writers and philosophers as Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Georges Bataille, Franz Kafka or Marquis de Sade – needless to say, I’m nothing when compared to these names, but the echoes of what they said reverberate in the things I write. On the other hand, I’m also interested in left hand Qabalah and this whole occult symbolism, so these two ‘themes’ (for many people mutually exclusive, I suppose) get ‘mixed’ in my lyrics.

I wonder how important are the lyrics for your band? I mean nowadays when many people just suck mp3’s it may seem like things such as artwork and lyrics are not so important anymore – which is obviously a wrong opinion, as for me, as a collector, it all comes together as integral parts of the record. Do you personally read the lyrics of the albums you listen to?
KUBA: Lyrics and artwork are crucial in getting the message across (if there’s one), and, as you’ve said, they are the essential parts of a record. To be honest, I also download music, but I try to finally buy the album I stole. I always read lyrics when I have an original CD – I don’t always have the opportunity to devote much time to their interpretation, but I always get familiar with them. Some of the bands have pretty interesting things to offer, can be very inspiring and push me to read this or that.

I always like the fact that here in this pitiful catholand we have so many bands, which release strongly antireligious albums. You know, seeing what happens here, with some strongly radical political parties and fanatic people blinded by the religion, it always arise anger and almost feeds my hatred towards it… I guess it is the same with you and it erupts in form of such albums as “Nechesh”, which is just filled with aggression, violent music and antireligious message?
KUBA: I think this eruption of violent emotions that gets materialized on a musical plane is not only connected with religion or politics, at least in my case. Life provides me with plenty of incentives to hatred, and, more generally, all the negative emotions. First of all, society is the thing I probably despise the most - the narrow-minded swine gathering in flocks, having no brains on their own, no critical approach to reality and proud of being the part of this repulsive mass. Their approach to life based on calculation of what’s useful and what’s not, the fake, shallow answers they think they possess to all the
questions that you might possibly ask them, the way they escape death by becoming enslaved by nonsensical activities that lead nowhere. Mainstream religions are one of the manifestations of this mode of life along with their slave morality. Most of the people cannot tolerate living in the midst of nothingness, with all the questions that cannot be answered, so they choose answers and rules that are believed to be true by most of their specimen in order to get rid of asking the existential questions and live enslaved, but in a comfortable way. Death metal, black metal, or any form of art in general can break this pattern, manifest the individuality and exclaim violent “FUCK YOU” to the so-called objective morality, it’s a like a destruction of the order imposed by the society.

Tricky question – does the violent music leads to violent behavior?
KUBA: It may, but it doesn’t have to. It all depends on the person who listens to the ‘violent’ music and the way this person reacts to it. It’s easy to make scapegoats out of rock musicians, especially those whose lyrics are based on the violation of the taboos of the society they live in. So in the case of a mass shooting done by some kid in the US, it’s easier to say that this kid was inspired by the devil present in the music of Marilyn Manson, than to challenge NRA or present gun policy. I don’t doubt that listening to GG Allin’s “Legalize Murder” may push someone to do something evil, but it’s only one of the many factors that are at work. It’s the role of parents to know what they children listen to and so on.

How happy are you with the visual side of the album? I must admit that it is not the first work of Bart Kurzok, which I’ve seen, but surely it is one of his best! And the entire booklet, with all those graphics also looks fantastic and I like it a lot. This is why physical releases will always prevail over the soulless mp3! You can always find there something special, like in case of “Nechesh”!
KUBA: I can only thank you in behalf of Bartek Kurzok. We are really satisfied with his work. We wanted the visual side to fit the lyrics and the atmosphere of our music. After exchanging some ideas, and giving him our vague explanations, he understood what we wanted and did a great job. I think we were assholes a few times due to our expectations, but I’m still in touch with him, so he apparently doesn’t bear a grudge against usJ And yes, booklet gives you the opportunity to fully receive the message, and to feel all of this – with mp3 you’re missing a lot of things.

Poland, the guy with whom you’ve recorded the album, did really good job and I can see his name on more and more death metal releases recently. Tell me something more about him and his studio, and what was the atmosphere like when you’ve been recording? Was it a focus on the album only or you allowed some cases of beer or whisky or whatever you drink to enter the recording chamber and to fill your throats?
KUBA: Poland has his own studio called “Metal Sound Studio” in Świebodzin. Unfortunately, you can’t see the monstrous monument of Christ from there, so you miss the thing that the town’s inhabitants seem to be most proud of. (Oh crap… I completely forgot about that! To foreign readers – this small town is so fuckin proud because they now have the largest figure of christ in the world, even bigger than in Rio! I rather prefer to think they have the biggest ass of jesus or the biggest cock of jesus, sadly we cannot see it under the cloakJ - P666) Poland has recorded a lot of ‘big names’ from Polish underground, to mention Witchmaster, Supreme Lord, or Christ Agony. In the past, he used to have a thrash metal band called Monastery with his wife on vocals.
There was no alcohol during the recording session and no extraordinary, crazy incidents. It might’ve been caused by the fact that we didn’t sleep in Świebodzin - we came there to record something and by the end of the day went back home, ‘cause Świebodzin is about only 50-60 km away from the place we live. Or maybe we’re just fucking boring, and we don’t know what the real rock’n’roll is, I don’t know. But despite the lack of alcohol, drugs and thai whores, the atmosphere was okay – we were absorbed by making of the album. Poland is also a good guy to work with, he had some interesting suggestions, and he finally even recorded a killer solo in “Kingdom Without End”.

“Nechesh” has been released by WM Psycho and I must say that it definitely is a good choice, as at least here in Poland this label does rather good job, when promoting their releases and besides, the price for their CD is not too high, which is also quite important I think. How much are you happy with their work? And what about the promotion abroad? Do you get any feedback and promotion in other countries?
KUBA: Having a status of an underground label, Psycho does a really good job. I see that Robert believes in the band and tries to do his best to promote us wherever possible. If you visit our Facebook page, you’ll see that a lot of reviews come from abroad – “Nechesh” was reviewed by Heavy Metal Tribune and The Metal Observer, for example. One of the
tracks appeared in a compilation sold with “Musick Magazine”, and we had an interview in the next issue. We always have something to do, or something to care for when it comes to promotion, which means that Robert is doing a great job. Obviously, Psycho Records is not Osmose Productions or Nuclear Blast, and we’re not idiots to make some impossible demands that exceed the possibilities of an underground label. We don’t expect him to book us a U.S. tour with Morbid Angel or something like that.

Simple and short question now - tell me, what the true underground death
metal means to you?
GÓRAL: ”Nechesh” - this is the answer.

I think that the Polish death metal underground has really grown strong over the past two decades… sure, some bands are still very underestimated and I think that they deserve much more attention, but anyway I think we’re having here the best scene. Do you think that Polish death metal has some characteristics, which can distinguish it from the others, like you know, you hear Swedish band and you know straight away they’re from Sweden. Can we say the same about the Polish bands?
GÓRAL: It’s a fact that Swedish bands have always had a unique and original sound. I’ve recently read in some review of ”Nechesh” that it’s a typical Polish death metal – does this Polish death metal have some distinctive features? I can only say that, for example in our music, you can feel the influence of US death metal bands, but I don’t think we as Poland have some special, cultivated sound. Maybe I’d bet on honesty and devotion towards what we do, which result in a great, well-considered music of most of the bands, because there’s also a lot of trash around. I often hear our German friends using the term „Polish death metal” and their enthusiasm connected with it. As you’ve already mentioned, we’ve reached a high standard during these two decades and we’ve got very good bands that can share the stage with the world’s big names without any embarrassment.

If you had to pick up the unholy nine best and most influential, most memorable Polish death metal albums or demos of all times, according to you which would they be? And why this choice? Personally I remember great impression, which albums of Hazael, Betrayer and Armagedon did on me back in the early 90’s, sadly not many people from abroad would know them, even if quality wise I think they were better than so many now “cult” Swedish or US bands…
GÓRAL: Yes, that’s true. I’ve seen those bands in action many times on their live shows in mighty 90s. I can relate here to the previous question – these are the bands who’ve contributed to the emergence of the term “Polish death metal”.
I’d add to the list magnificent Violent Dirge’s “Obliteration of Soul” and “Elapse”, Pandemonium’s “Devilri”, Ghost’s “The Lost of Mercy”, Convent’s “Displeasure” and “Veritatis splendor”, Betrayer’s “Calamity” and “Necronomical Exmortis”, Ahret Dev’s “Hellish”, Christ Agony’s “Epitaph of Christ” and “Unholyunion”. These bands and releases have shaped our scene and I’m happy of the fact that some of them are still active!!!
And these are the bands of my youth hehehehe.

No “Morbid Reich”, “invisible Circle”, “Clairvoyance” or “Time Before Time”? Beware! I know that your first gig, you’ve ever played, under the name Genom, was with Vader. Well, for sure this is a classic and cult band here in Poland, despite the fact that not everything what Vader released was that awesome, some albums were boring, but we must have a lot of respect for what Peter and his band achieved through these years. What’s your opinion on Vader and their unstoppable crusade?
KUBA: This gig was very special to me as it made me realize that all the stuff we do makes sense, however cliché it may sound. You know, when I was a teenager I would buy their records, contemplate the artwork and sit with a dictionary in my hand translating the lyrics and, finally, I could share a stage with them. It was like a dream coming true.
Vader were one of the bands who pushed me to do something on my own, set up a band and attempt playing metal. They had a very huge impact on the scene in Poland and abroad. So, big respect for all they’ve done, but their latest albums are not my cup of tea. I’m not too interested in their music now – “The Beast” was a disappointment for me, “Impressions in Blood” was just mediocre. I’ve heard a few tracks from “Necropolis” and it sounded like generic death metal. However, their latest album is far better than those three I’ve mentioned – really cool production, nice drumming of Paweł and many crushing riffs. It can’t be compared in any way to “De Profundis” or “Black to the Blind” but it’s really massive and ass-kicking. And “Come and See My Sacrifice” is perfect for live shows.

Any other gigs you’ve played recently, which are worth mentioning here – for cool response from the audience, great bands you played with and specially for the memorable – or completely erased due to the amount of alcohol consumption – afterparties?
KUBA: Most of the gigs in Germany usually end up with a nice after party - there’s a strong crew there with guys from Scram and Tormentor and we see each other on most of the gigs in their country, even if we don’t play together. These guys are real die-hard fans of Polish death metal and they consider our scene to be one of the most powerful in the world. Obviously, our views on that are similar to theirsJ. Up to this point, we’ve had one tour with Purgatory. Me, Jędrek and Góral met them before on a tour we had with Brutally Mutilated. Really nice people to tour with – much vodka, joking, and talking about occultism.
Once we played a show in Orthodox Club located in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic. We came a few hours earlier to do some
sightseeing and shit in a bigger town nearby. When we came to the club in the evening and crossed its doorstep we were struck by the look of this venue. It looked like chamber of Satan – there was a big crucifix on the stage, painting of Christ being decapitated by a goat with scythe on the wall, not to mention the toilet whose walls were covered with animal blood. The atmosphere of the club had an impact on us I think – we gave a good show, despite a few annoying technical problems on the stage and the fact I caught flu the same day.

Tell me, while “Nechesh” is so relentless and fully uncompromising album, would you consider ever to add more melodic and harmonious parts into your music or the plans are actually the opposite – you’ll make your next songs even faster and more straight forward and brutal? Do you actually like, if death metal has some melodies and atmospheric parts, maybe even as much as on such LPs as “Astral Sleep”, “Crimson” or “The Final Chapter”? When can we expect to hear some new songs from Deathstorm?
KUBA: We don’t have a detailed plan of how we want our music to sound on the next record. All I can say is that there’ll be more black metal influence to be felt in the music, some dissonant guitars. We do have expectations concerning the general atmosphere of the tracks – we want it to sound like the blackest funeral march you can possibly imagine. While listening to the music of certain bands, do you have this powerful feeling that seems to blow you up from the inside, so that you want to overthrow everything? I’d like at least one person to feel this way while listening to our next album.  
It’s hard to say when it’ll be possible to hear these tracks – the work is in progress.

And last question, why Genom? Hell, did you choose this name because it
sounds almost like Venom or what? But seriously, it was a shitty band name,
so I can only congratulate you for the decision to change it for something
more aggressive, like Deathstorm he! All the best!
KUBA: Don’t exaggerate; there are worse names for metal bands. Have you heard about a band called Anal Nosorog haha? (No, but I still cannot believe that some Mexicans names their band Paracoccidioidomicosisproctitissarcomucosis hehe – P666) Thanks for your interview.

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