Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Interview with Voidhanger

Interview with Warcrimer from the killer Polish thrashing black metal band Voidhanger!

Hailzzz Warcrimer! Great to have a chance to talk to you. You know, you’ve been a member of three killer Polish bands, but for me it is the first opportunity to ask you some questions. Better late than never, I guess. So, let’s play some great records and start. Ready?

Sure. I know you put a lot of effort in the questions, so I'll try give you some more extensive answers than my favourite "I don't give a fuck". I'm don't like interviews and I prefer when the music / lyrics and artwork speak for themselves.

Hehe, thanks for trying then! I do appreciate that! I would like to start this interview, asking you about patriotism.  What is patriotism to you and do you feel patriotic towards your country? I am asking it, because personally I have noticed in myself that I may feel connected emotionally towards the land and family, some friends, but less and less I feel that I have anything in common with 99% of the Polish nation, so it kind of leads towards the despise of both country and nation. It is just becoming truly impossible to feel the same emotional link, when I observe what it going on here, on both political area and religious matter, not to mention the typical Polish behaviours and stereotypes.
Well, I think it's complicated. On the one hand, I feel absolutely no connection to 99,9% of Polish society, but I can say the same about any society of any other country, be it worthless politicians of all options, old catholic pricks, modern day, brain-washed youth or metalheads as a whole. I don't like people in general, so I just live my own life trying to keep my interaction with other people to a minimum. On the other hand, in every day life, Poland is my homeland, the place where I was born and raised. I respect our history, I hail those who died for the independence of my country and I'd die myself to defend it. The home is where the heart is and my heart will forever stay Poland even though people around me make me sick. That's what patriotism means to me.

Everyone who’s living here know how sometimes incredibly closed minded and generally how deeply rooted in the Middle Ages is the huge part of the community here; and obviously also how religiously fanatical are many Poles. Personally when I watch some events that are happening here, first I react with a great anger, then with laughter but after a while I just stop to care and to be honest I also try to just live my own life, away from all that. How do you personally react on some events that are happening here, in the government, catholic church, even in TV, with some pointless debates about gender, abortion, cross, Smolensk or whatever silly shit?
The silly shit you noticed is just a cover-up as they try to draw people's attention form our ruined economy. What's even worse is the fact that most of those idiots seem to believe that gender or religious debates are crucial to the future of this country. That's how I see it. Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me angry as I live here after all. As for the first part of your question, I don't know what's worse - catholic, close-minded old pricks or modern, brain-washed youth thinking they're better. Two sides of the same coin, the coin that I flush down the toilet.

What do you think about the situation when 20% of the Polish youth is emigrating to another countries, to seek for better perspectives? I mean, is the nation already so materialistic that they can’t live and work here? All in all, Poland is economically evolving, it is not a third world country anymore, but a developing mid European country and truly, despite many problems, which our government has to resolve, it is not a bad life here. Have you personally ever thought about leaving Poland and emigrate to UK, Holland or Norway? At the same time Poles have developed the image of workaholics, but also of thieves, drunkards with moustaches and almost kind of new gipsies, who are everywhere and are like plague, which is infecting the „civilized countries” hehe.
You ask about something I'm totally indifferent to, but ok. I think the problem is more complicated and it concerns people form Eastern Europe in general, not only Poles. So it's not a susprise a lot of people from Poland, Czech Republic etc are looking for a better life in UK or Norway. I can understand that. Not everyone is smart enough to start and run his own business or get a decent job and we both know what you can afford with your average salary in Poland. I know a lot of guys who are busting their asses off in factories and they could barely pay the bills. Then they moved to Ireland or Norway and now they still work in factories but they make a decent living
so I will make no radical statements here. Of course, there is also the other side of emigration with lots of lazy bastards living on uneployment benefits etc, but to be honest - I don't give a fuck. As for me, I'm doing OK here in Poland. I had lived in the UK for several months, but it was just some kind of adventure. My place is here and I hope I won't have to move anywhere.

Metalheads, especially from such furious, satanic and extreme bands as Infernal War / Iperyt / Voidhanger are probably considered by people as criminals, violently behaving and antisocial misfits. How would you describe yourself? I mean we all may listen to aggressive music, but would that mean that we walk with knives and torches on the streets and kill the christians? I know you’ve got a newborn child, so did the arrival of a kid change some of the perspectives of how you view life, behave and so on? Are you still People Hater?
I don't feel like describing myself. I am who I am and I don't care how others see me. I'm not a very social person, that's for
sure. I'm not a choirboy, either, but I'd rather keep it to myself. Besides, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Yes, I have a daughter, a family, a decent job and very few people I care of. I'm definitely not a miserable blackmetaller wearing black costumes and fucking star wars boots 24/7. But what I write and sing about reflects real feelings, emotions, beliefs or personal experiences which are very important part of my life. And I'm dead serious about them. It's not a pose, but I don't need to prove anything to anyone. To be honest, I couldn't care less.

OK, let’s leave these social or other problems behind. All in all Voidhanger has released new album! Are you happy with it? How would you compare „Working Class Misanthropy” to the two previous releases?
Sure, I think it's one of the best albums I have ever recorded. Musically, it's logical continuation of "The Antagonist" mCD, but even rawer, more powerful and deeply rooted in extreme metal of the 80’s. In retrospect, I can say I am even more satisfied with the album now than I was just after the recordings. It's a rare feeling, I guess. I know I could say more, but I'm not very good at marketing, apparently.

How should I understand the title of new album? I mean the titles of two previous releases were more straight forward, speaking of their meaning… Wrathprayers, the antagonists… so, you, who’re against certain sacred values and so called ethics, you flowing against the tide. And now we have „Working Class Misanthropy”, which is more enigmatic and not so obvious. There are many fucks in the lyrics of the title song, so is this what this song and the meaning of it is all about a kind of arrogant fuck off attitude? Please explain yourself hehe!
Well, it's some kind of middle finger to all those "black metal" idiots who associate misanthropy, nihilism or attraction to the darkness with being a miserable, walking failure living in a
world of fantasy. I am satisfied with my everyday life, but it's my relation to the darkside, the longing for the unknown that drives me forward.  I will not go into details as in some way it became too personal for me, but that's the main inspiration for Voidhanger's lyrics, along with my attitude towards humanity as a whole. Hence the title. Of course, I could have used more sophisticated means of lyrical expression, but now too many bands try to be lyrical clone of Deathspell Omega and I want to do things my own way.

The artwork for the new album is also quite different and probably there will be many interpretations of it. Tell me though what did you try to portray with it and how did the cooperation with Alexander L. Brown (who’s also a guitarist in Witchrist) look like? Did he have a free hand or was explained what you’re expecting to see?
The artwork is strictly connected with the lyrics of the the opening track, "No Ground To Hold" and the title track. I think the interpretation will be much easier when you read the lyrics. (Yeap, waiting for the vinyl to come out, then I will definitely take a look at them; promo copy doesn’t have any lyrics, sadly! – P666). The cooperation with Alex was easy. We all admire his works so I contacted him, gave him some clues and details concerning the symbolism, then he told me his vision which met my expectations, to say the least. Of all albums I took part in, this is the best cover we've had so far, I'm proud of it.

Musically „Working Class Misanthropy” doesn’t disappoint. It is vicious, violent, aggressive and truly bestial album, with many killer songs stylistically mixing the old school thrash, even death metal with the ferocity of black metal. Also the album is short, but totally insane, intense and is like a furious attack, from start to finish having no mercy! I guess you’ve manage to get the right balance between the length and intensity of the album, right?
Yes, the album was meant to be a punch in the face so 30-35 minutes is an optimum length. We don't want to bore anyone, especially ourselves.

I’m quite surprised (positively!) that the album has quite clean, but powerful production, but also that there’s so much catchiness in the music and finally that when you sing in Polish I can really easily understand the words (especially in „Uniesienie”, which musically has almost punk feeling) and you know… it is not that kind of totally obscure, filthy, chaotic and morbid style of thrashing black metal anymore. Your comment?
Well, we don't try to fit in any particular niche. Of course, our music can be easily labelled black / thrash / death metal and you can hear lots of obvious influences, but I believe it has some Voidhanger's sound is somewhat distinctive. We didn't reinvent the wheel, but it's not your average retro band.

I may be picky, but I really feel like some truly killer Polish bands such as Infernal War, Gortal, Azarath, Kriegsmaschine, Furia and also Voidhanger are not promoted enough abroad and thus they are not so well known there… while musically they’re better than 90% of the US or European well known acts. Is it just my impression or am I right here? How do you feel? I mean, is Pagan records pushing you now also abroad, doing some advertising campaigns and promotion or is it all quiet there? What expectations do you have from your label? I mean it is the third release and third label you’re working with…
Well, maybe you're right, but I think most of the bands you mentioned are well-known and respected abroad. As for promotion and stuff, we are a small underground band and we don't aim at extensive touring and big promotional campaigns. Pagan Records does a good job. It's still too early to say something more, but from what I know, Tom is doing his best. Our expectations are reasonable.

„A Song for Lennon” - what is this lyric about? It clearly has connection to the old The Beatles’ classic „Imagine (All the People)”, but I somehow feel like it may be more sarcastic link and the meaning of your song will be totally different hehe! And in „Days of Cathartic Solitude” we can hear „Freezing Moon” (love your imitation of Attila’s howling here!) and „Transilvanian Hunger” titles in the lyrics. Are these your favourite and most inspiring black metal classics and bands?
The lyrical side of "A Song For Lennon" is a mockery of Lennon's "Imagine" (it's not The Beatles' song). I like The Beatles and some Lennon's albums, but I hate that pacifist, utopian bullshit. Open your eyes, the world won't live as one. "Days Of Cathatric Solitude" deal with the feelings some of my favourite black metal albums can invoke. Your promo version does not have the lyrics, but the second part of the lyrics includes many references to some classic recordings. Mayhem or Darkthrone are among them, but it also mentions many older albums like "Blood Fire Death", "Morbid Tales" or "In The Sign Of Evil" which are much more important to me than any Darkthrone album. By the way, the Attila-like vocals are sung by M. of Kriegsmaschine / Mgła.

Are you a fan of old horror movies and generally prefer the 70’s/80’s movies over the new ones? I ask this for the song „Ilsa” is obviously inspired by „Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS”, movie with just impossibly ridiculous plot hehe. I guess this movie is not so popular, so tell people what it is all about and what it has that it influenced you to write „lsa”?
I'm definitely a fan of older movies. Maybe I'm not a freak collecting rare, expensive releases of C-movies, but I watch a lot of it, no matter the genre. Anyway, I adore old exploitation movies and "Ilsa - She Wolf Of The SS" is a bloody classic of the genre. You know - lots of naked chicks, blood, violence and bad acting. It's a story of Ilsa, sadistic and sexually insatiable commandant of Nazi prison camp. Stupid as fuck, but great fun to watch.

I think I’ve read somewhere that „Skorpion” is telling an authentic story of Polish serial killer. I would like to ask you to tell something more about this text, but also ask about the news of Mariusz Trynkiewicz (a paedophile, who killed four boys back in the 80’s and was sentenced for 25 years and now is about to be released… There’s a debate (created by the fear, I suppose), whether he should be freed at all or closed in custody, because his reclamation wasn’t successful… So, what do you think of this guy and the whole problem, which the authorities have now?
"Scorpion" tells a story about one of famous Polish serial killers who murdered several women in the 80’s. The lyrics are based on actual events and statements you can find in documentaries about Tuchlin. As for Trynkiewicz, I don't give a damn, but it's annoyning that my taxes are wasted for people like him. If they had put a bullet through his head in the right time, they would not waste the money now. Anyway, he's just one more thing politicians use to draw people's attention from more important subjects. Anyway, I've just heard that an original yellow goat Bathory LP was found in his cells.

Hehe! It may be also interesting to our foreign readers to know what happened on 25.12.1976?
One of the most infamous crimes of the 70s Poland happened. In short, Jon Sojda, a rich owner of an agricultural farm decided to take revenge on a family that, in his opinion, disgraced his family. On the night of x-mass eve, he lured out of the church three members of the abovementioned family (including a 12-year-old kid and a pregnant girl). Then they run the kid over with their car and beaten the rest with car wheel spanners. Then they run the bodies of the three over with their cars again trying to make it look like an accident. One of the cars used to chase the victims was a bus full of people which didn't protest as they were affraid of Sojda. There were about 30 witnesses, but all of them were forced by Sojda to take some kind of blood oath and swear they would never say a word about what happened. That's the most fascinating part of the story - the conspiracy of
silence, not the murder itself. People are affraid to speak about what happened even now, many of them departed it from their memories. It's very dark and creepy story,

I already got to know your musical taste a little, with some discussions about some records. But tell me now, what are the last albums, which you have bought and which truly have become your instant favourites? Which are the bands, which are catching your attention nowadays the most? Also, do you think that today it is still possible to record such eternal metal classics as ”Show No Mercy”, „De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, „Scream Bloody Gore” or „To Mega Therion” - so, I mean albums, which will be remembered for decades, gain the legendary status and be influential for next generations? Or all bands today just re-do the old formulas, adding some more original patters and besides, the flood of bands and music today makes it impossible to become the legends anymore? Do you think that for instance such Repugnant’s „Epitome of Darkness” can be called a legendary, cult, classic LP now?
Well, the latest albums of Nick Cave, David Bowie, Portal, Obliteration, Bolzer, Voivod have become my instant favourites, that's for sure, but I must say I buy a lot of old albums. I listen to lots of different music, both old and new, and it doesn't really matter if it's metal or not, old Bathory, Einsturzende Neubauten, Ultravox, Bestial Warlust or the new album of Ulcerate. As a listener, I'm rather open-minded. For example, the new album of Nocturnal Graves is fucking great, but so are the latest efforts of Have A Nice Life, Theologian or Arcade Fire. I don't care about the labels, I care about the music. And yes, I think it's still possible to record a metal album that will become a classic in the future. Some albums of Deathspell Omega or Portal have already become classics, in my opinion. Repugnant's "Epitome Of Darkness", Cadaver's "Necrosis" can also be seen as some sort of classic albums even if they're not as influential as obvious albums from the 80’s. It depends on what you consider classic albums - the highlights of a particular genre released in a particular period of time or eternal source of inspiration for next generations of musicians. Of course, we live in different times now. The scene is overcrowded.

And from the Polish scene, what bands would you recommend especially to the foreign metal maniacs?
Voidhanger, of course.

We’ve discussed also some problems (which mainly I have hehe) with too many old bands coming back to life after years of being dead and reforming, for whatever purpose and reason. How do you see the reunions of bands like Centinex, Carcass, At the Gates, Convulse and the fact that such Abhorrence, Baphomet or God Macabre are playing some gigs now, 20 years after they split up? For me it is just becoming ridiculous and kind of circus really.
It depends on the band and the quality of music. Maybe some of them do it for money trying to cash on the demand for old school death metal or their own legend, but on the other hand - I think some guys do it just for fun. You know, people are telling you how much they like your old albums, you meet your old friends, together you play your old songs and just feel it clicks, it's not forced then. Anyway, I've got no problem with that. Some of those comeback releases are really good.

Do you think that the old bands, which are active for 20 or more years and have done 10 or more albums can still offer something truly worthy to the fans? I mean, isn’t it more like their habit of doing albums, then touring etc, because they cannot do anything else, even if musically they don’t have anything exciting to offer anymore and are just more and more boring, especially when it is obvious that most likely they won’t do the album, which can rival their early works? I categorize now, as there are some exceptions (like Asphyx!), but really, isn’t it better to listen to some young bands, which have enthusiasm, passion and are really interested in doing extremely great album, rather than making another product, another piece of discography? OK, I’ll give some examples: Unleashed, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Sinister, Vader…
Again, it depends on what a band has to offer. I agree, many old bands are recording boring, constipated albums, but on the other hand - bands like Grave, Marduk, Denial Of God, Sodom has made some great records in the last few years. Besides, there are bands I simply like. I don't expect Sodom or Voivod to record something as timeless and flawless as „Persecution Mania” or „Dimension Hatross”, but still I can't wait for their new albums and I'm never disappointed. I focus on what's good.

OK, we have talked about many different subjects… Hope you’ve enjoyed the interview. Anything else you would like to add to finish this conversation? All the best!
Thanks for you time and interest in Voidhanger. Long live Perdition!

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