PYRE Interview with Dym Nox!!!!!!!! YEAH!
Greetings Dym Nox! You now what? I did many interviews already, more than 150 for sure and never had a chance to interrogate a Russian band! Pyre is simply the very first Russian band, which impressed me so much, so I wanted to ask you some questions haha!
Greets Panzerfaust! For the first time? Well, I hope it's not unfortunately for you and you're pleasantly impressed, haha. (Well, I am by the fact that it took you a year to finish the answers haha – P666!). But In fact this is the first interview from Poland, although we had not so many interviews from around the world, mainly it was from Russia and somewhere near here, so I'm happy to be interrogated by you.
Ha, it couldn’t be more awkward moment for this interview – a Polish zine to feature a Russian band hehe. There’s quite negative relationship between both nations now… I wonder how do you feel about all this? I rather don’t give a crap about politics, but it could be interesting to know opinion from someone from the Mother Russia about all these international controversies. Some people even see it as a seed of possible great war; nothing what could likely happen in my opinion, but people like to see everything in dark and pessimistic ways.
You know, I think that people just make (and love it) all these stressful relations between Russia and the rest of the world by their own will, enhancing and exaggerating on the background of the political game. As if we are all here lunatic savages who want to capture the whole world. People like to make mountains out of molehills, especially when it's Russia and it smacks useless war, which is interesting only for politicians and morons & assholes and those who earn huge money on this shit. But not for us! We don't give a fuck about all that political shit happening around Russia and in the world now anyways. I don't care who you are, Pole or German or whoever, it should in no way interfere with doing what we most prefer to do and shouldn't adversely affect on our relationship in the metal underground. If someone cares - they can fuck off.
I always like to ask some non musical questions, and here I can’t resist but ask about Saint Petersburg, where you live. All in all, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and surely one of the most historical in Russia. What can you tell me about this city? Does it still live with the old days of Tsars, revolution, Romanovs, etc? Are you much into the history? Do you like to know the historical backgrounds of the place you’re from?
For sure, we're surrounded by history in every corner of St. Petersburg. It was the capital of Tsarist Russia since Peter the Great built it on the marshes where no life was dwelling:) So the city is rather young comparing to Moscow or other central Russia. But the magnificence and abundance of it is determined by European-style streets, buildings and cathedrals. Peter the Great and his successors made good contacts with Europe and invited Dutch, German, Italian and French talents to make St.Petersburg a piece of art and to learn our own architects. So the city is a good sample of high Russian culture which was interrupted by revolution and Soviet period which we call "Sovok". It was a strongest curve in politics and people's minds, for their aim was to destroy the past!! I don't want to say that everything had gone bad, but the city's appearance much changed. Nowadays it is an enormous megalopolis with more than 6 millions of people from different parts of Russia, foreigners, immigrants and a total mixture of genres. It's developed social and cultural life attracts ambitious persons and it cannot be overlooked the even every Pyre member moved here from lesser known regions of our country. Our places of birth differ but Pyre was found and raised completely in Saint-Petersburg. Nonetheless the traditional St. Petersburg is closer to us. We feel ourselves better in old, central districts of the city, where the history is still alive.
Before we speak of Pyre, I need to ask about Russian metal. You know, I will be honest… Pyre is the first Russian band, which I really liked. I also like Pseudogod, but not as much as Pyre. (Ed-Since I sent the interview, I got to know some other cool Russian bands, like Darkeater, Grond, The Prophet, Chamber ofTorture and Trigger). All the rest I know is either worthless or just too mediocre to be remembered. So tell us, how come such a big country could not get a great extreme metal scene? Are there any bands that you would recommend me now? But please, avoid all that pseudo pagan / folk shit, because I hate it! Fuck Arkona. How come we hardly hear about good Russian death metal? What problems bands in your country mainly have to deal with?
And what about the fundaments of Russian metal scene? Do Russian metalheads respect their history with the foundators of the metal sound in the country, bands like Korozzia Metalla or Death Vomit? Do they have cult status like Kat in Poland or Root and Master’s Hammer in Czech Republic? What were the beginnings of Russian metal scene?
Russian metal and especially death metal scene is very poor. We cannot even talk about "Russian school" or "Russian sounding" of any metal genre. You know, in the Soviet Union all rock music was illegal and considered to be harmful by authorities. When USSR began to crash in mid 80-s, more freedom was given to musicians and some metal bands began to appear. But in the mid 80’s Russians knew only few heavy metal bands - Aria - Russian copy of Iron Maiden and some others: Kruiz, Cherniy Kofe and other conformist stuff. Heavy was a fashion and even pop singers used leather, spikes and rocky beats
There were some thrash and death metal bands but they had no money or labels to make good recordings and promotions. They all were in a deepest underground. Korrozia Metalla were the first to make something like a community to help young bands with records and promotions. It was called "Koorporatsia tyazhelogo roka" (cooperation of heavy rock) and head their own magazine and metal compilation "Zhelezniy marsh" (Iron march). So with their help some good projects were heard. Like Grave Side of Tula. On the other hand bands like Aspid - a real brilliant of Russian metal scene - wasn't heard due to a very limited release. Bands Master and Hellraiser after two or three albums of a good thrash metal rolled into a piece of shit. But we had great underground stuff like Death Vomit, Kholostoi Vystrel and Mafia. However, Russia's new "democratic " government did not encourage the metal. Tushino massacre at the concert of Metallica and Pantera in 1993, where thousands of people were beaten and arrested - the clearest example of this. The population also didn't recognise metal music and metalheads had to fight on streets for their right to exist So on, in the mid 90’s many bands changed their sounding into melodic / gothic/ industrial / groove and death metal slowly became either melodic or techno / brutal. I’m not much into folk and pagan howls and as for me, nothing interesting happened on the metal battlefield till late 00's when traditional sounding and composing music was revived. Everyone was sick of triggered drums, plastic guitars and gay singing so we all owe the appearance of brilliant groups at this time not only in metal but in doom / crust / d-beat/ grind as well. I talk about Chamber of Torture, Internal Damage, Grave Disgrace, Ulvdalir and Wombripper not only because I shared the scene with 'em but for the reason they make good music too. As for the problems - the song remains the same: not so much promotion and money for the bands to make good releases. Many of them do not take into account that a good recording worth the money and vainly trying to do something at home on their PC's. Many of them underestimate live performance and still remain online chimeras. And as for death metal - it's UNDER GROUND as it has always been.
So, let’s speak about Pyre now! The band was formed in 2011, but I wonder how long do you know each other, I mean are you all school friends or maybe you come from the same neighbourhood or the band happen to be a gathering of people, who were interested in playing extreme metal and got together by auditions, recommendations from others, etc? I suppose it is quite stable line up, as no changes occurred so far!
No, we are neither school friends nor got together by auditions, recommendations from others, etc. This was not quite so. We are all came to St-Pete from the different regions of Russia, in general from the south. And met through mutual friends from neighbouring metal bands from local underground scene. But at the time of creation of Pyre, Fred has already played with us a while in Ulvdalir. So there was no problem with searching of the second guitar player when we all leaved Ulvdalir. He is a very good guitarist and friend, so he immediately appeared in a band. And then we found Kannib Maledik. He was a guitarist in a local thrash metal band, but also he could play drums a bit. So we got guitarist who became a drummer in Pyre and also bassist / vocalist, who never played bass before, haha. And it worked out!
I am so damn impressed by the first Pyre album “Human Hecatomb”… it is just great recording. I can sincerely put it aside to such bands as Graveyard, Maim, Tormented, Brutally Deceased, Morbid Flesh or Nominon… Tell me, how satisfied do you feel about the album and the songs? Musicians usually don’t listen to their own music often, but if I was you then I would personally be so happy and proud of such album that it would be listened just as often as my favourite bands haha!
Thanks for the words. You know, I got to tell you that “Human Hecatomb” when it was fully done, it was playing in every place where we were hanging out - at home, rehearsals, with friend. So I mean we're really fully satisfied with the result. Also it's great getting good reviews from different holes of this world.
Your music is obviously strongly influenced by the Swedish death metal and the Dismember, Entombed or Carnage cult records, but Isuppose there’s more to it and I would just generally say it’s death metal with the 90’s European death metal aura and influence. You’re all in your early 30’s already, but I don’t think you’ve been there at the time of early 90’s, so the more I am intrigued what caught your attention the most in those old albums and the old scene.
Yeah, we were not into Death Metal in early 90's. In 1990 me and my brother Roman have just tasted the first schooldays and it was fucked up from the beginning, haha. In early 90’s we listened to some punk and thrash metal. Death Metal found us a bit later. I guess for the first time it was in 1995. So 3 years later we had a large cassette collection with death metal records, including a lot pirated, Polish and of course DIY editions. That time we were giving more preference to the American scene, largely Florida's one, but also we loved Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Pestilence, Morgoth, Asphyx, Entombed, Dismember as well, Carnage, etc so you know what I mean. Guess it's not the worst time for that.
The music has a strong melodic accent, but at the same time it’s rough, aggressive and is filled with the obscure, morbid aura. At the same time it’s catchy and memorable! Are these the main characteristics, which you always aim for when composing, or they simply come up naturally? I mean, are there any sort of riffs, which you think you’ll never use because for example they sound too technical? Also, did you ever had to throw some ideas or riffs to the bin, because you felt they sound too much like something you heard from other band? Are you very demanding and critical of the new riff and material?
Almost all the riffs have been brought by Roman. His compositions have always been quite melodic. I mean quite catchy melodies and solos. Maybe that's why it is so. But all came up naturally. I usually do some syncopation and arrangements as well as the whole band is involved in that process at rehearsals, causing a material to sound like a song. Sometimes that bunch of riffs is already almost ready-made song. And eventually we achieve the desired sound and atmosphere and it begins to sound like Pyre. We will never be a technical death metal band. We have never tried to make excessive technicality in riffs or in music at all. The main aim is an obscure and morbid atmosphere, rough sound with heaviness and aggression. Actually we don't care if something is similar to a stuff of the band which we grew up on. You know, bicycle was invented long ago. It's a style, but not plagiarism.
My first encounter with Pyre was “Ravenous Decease” MLP released by Blood Harvest. And I was already very impressed. I like this label a lot, for their underground attitude and good taste in extreme music, they surely are one of the pioneering labels, when speaking of the old school death metal movement. So, I suppose it must have been sort of great prestige and privilege for you to debut in such awesome label? What’s your impression on the work these Swedes are doing and their releases, which are mainly vinyl?
You're right, Blood Harvest is one of the pioneering in that regard and such a suitable label when you need a dose of some excellent underground old school death or black metal stuff. All the bands are great and killer there. And to say that we were just pleased debuting there - to say nothing. It is really honour and pride for us. And impressions are only good. Release was done with amazing quality of production.
On the other hand, I am quite sceptical when seeing you now in Chaos Records. Nothing against this label, really, they also have some cool releases, but their distribution here in Europe is relatively poor and surely not as good and prestige as Blood Harvest’s. So, why this choice? I am obviously waiting for the vinyl version of “Human Hecatomb”, so it is coming soon I hope?
So yet during recording of “Human Hecatomb” we've got an offer from Chaos Records with good conditions. Despite the fact that we were not aware of this label so much, we decided to agree. Also he has a few really good bands released. Moreover I got a good recommendation from Nicklas of Turbocharged about this label. But at the same time I also got negative one. It's about slow work, but we were not so much disturbed with this at that time, until we're faced with that closely. With CDs all is okay. But vinyl! We are waiting for our plates a whole year and still didn’t get it. That's fucked up. And the promotion was not good enough. We got a lot of messages from everywhere that people find it difficult to get our records. So we decided to look for a new label for next album and going to be issued remotely separating Europe from America. I mean two different labels for these areas.
Are you personally a vinyl collector? What’s your opinion on the resurgence of this format as well as cassettes?
I can hardly be called a great collector of vinyl, but there are some sweets in my collection. As vinyl so cassettes. And yeah, I think it's very cool to see them back on the shelf.
By the way, I’ve read that there was a demo before “Ravenous Decease”, but I can’t find any info on that recording, so tell me something more about it, OK? I only know the title "Ignescent from Within".
I remember we were surprised when we saw the title "Ignescent from Within" on metal archives. Actually it was the first home demo. And it seems that we mentioned once about it somewhere in the local social network. This demo hasn't been released and never will be.
Coming back to “Human Hecatomb”… Death I think is the main lyrical theme on the album, with such songs as “We Came to Spill Your Blood”, “Merciless Disease”… Tell me something more about them, please!
What can I say more about death? Death is death! Everyone can receive from our lyrics what they want. We dont carry or hide something sacral or deeply mysterious in them. Or we do - it's up to you.
There’s also song titled “Possessed”… and I wonder if you believe in the demonic possessions? Personally, I rather have sceptical views on that. What about you? Is it possible to happen? I think this, as well as exorcisms, are rather good material for movies and books, and music also!
"We want to believe!", as agent Mulder would say, haha! Yeah, you're right, this theme is very interesting to use in lyrics, movies and so on, and probably to learn more about that.
There’s also one more release, which I have on vinyl and it is your split with Entrapment, another really cool old styled death metal band. How did this one occur? Wereyou in contact with Michel before the idea for the split came up, did you know his music? I understand that both your songs will be exclusive for this release only?
I just found Entrapment bandcamp. There were only two first demos. It kicked my ass and I found Michel on facebook and wrote him. We decided to do split EP. All the tracks are exclusive. It was recently released on CD in Russia.
Some old bands like Asphyx, Autopsy, Desultory, Morgoth, Massacre, Betrayer, At the Gates, Carcass and so many more came back from the dead with better or worse results… Some other experienced musicians have side projects playing old school death metal like Vallenfyre or Bloodbath. The latter one made a whole contest and circus titled who’ll be our next singer”, what was simply childish. Anyway, it only proves that even the big ones were reminded about the classic death metal. Are there more positive or negative aspects for all that?
Yeah, it all happens now and it's difficult for me to judge them, 'coz these guys are fathers. But yeah some of them like Morgoth, Bloodbath and so on looks funny these days trying to earn money by reviving the genre. I don't know is it good or bad. But some of them are doing it right like Autopsy for example. We cannot possibly understand them due to the fact that our perceptions are not as kids have. In the adolescence we perceive all more sensitive and accept trustingly. But as for me now I still prefer to listen to the old classic records, as well as new bands in old style, and its fortunately a lot of good ones nowadays what cannot be said about all these reunions.
Ha, I wonder what is your opinion on old bands / albums, which were more technical, more progressive and demanding, like Disharmonic Orchestra, Polish Violent Dirge, as well as Atheist, Carbonized, Pan Thy Monium, Phlebotomized, Afflicted… Were you ever fan of such more twisted death metal styles? Do you like albums, which require many listens, before you can really put your opinion on them?
If we talk for example about Solstice as a technical death metal band so I really like it. Also I really like Carbonized, yeah. And early Deicide or Angelcorpse. And many more. But in general the whole technical death metal is not my cup of tea. I mean that fucked up bands like Beneath The Massacre and so on. with neverendless shredding, you know. It's soulless, boring and stupid, total shit for me. But I do like some near death metal like bands with atmospheric and black metal influences, as you said, which require many listens, before you can really put your opinion on them. But if not talk about death metal, I also like some another different kind of music, more complicated and sophisticated. It depends on the mood.
You’ve received some positive feedback also from people like Gylve Nagel. Does it have any importance to you and the band, to find that such legendary persona liked your music so much?
I don't actually think that he love it as much as he listened to it everyday, haha, but we were totally surprised seeing Fenriz putting Pyre in his chart in the high position. So it was a good news we knew from our friends first!
I guess this interview would be incomplete if I didn’t ask about bands like Likferd, Teitanfyre, Drama or Ulvdalir. Tell us some more details of these bands i.e. what music can we expect from them, which are their latest releases,
I am actually glad that now it completed at last, haha. Well, step by step. Likferd is black metal studio project from three members of Ulvdalir, Khashm, Pyre. Everyone at times plays all instruments and performs vocal parts. There's only 4-song demo recorded so far, but new material has already been composed and waiting for the studio work. Teitanfyre is a black metal band from Pskov, Russia, which I joined about 4-5 years ago and which needs no introduction I guess since their performance at Nidrosian Black Mass in Brussels. Currently we're releasing new EP on CD and vinyl and then we're gonna start to make a new stuff for the full-length album. And there will be a few shows in Germany next month hopefuly. Ulvdalir is fairly well-known black metal band I played drums with. Also Roman was involved in the line-up as a bassist. So together we recorded about four records in period from 2006 'till 2012 and then left the band. The same period Fred played guitars but only live. And Drama is also well-known (early black metal, late black/death metal) band in Russia. This is our band with Roman from 2001. Now it split up. In all these bands I play drums.
In Pyre you hold the bass and vocals, in some other bands you’re a drummer. Is it difficult for to you switch from one instrument to the other? Which is your favourite?
Personally I am a drummer for about 20 years. And only in the moment when Pyre was founded by Roman, I decided to try to play bass guitar. I played guitar a little bit before, so it seemed to me it had to be easy, but when I took all vocals it became more difficult than I expected. But eventually I managed it. Now it's much easier for me.
Tell me also, what the hell True Ingrian Black Metal Death is! What’s its purpose and bands around it? Is it only for the elite?
TIME is the circle based on the ancient Ingria soil. And yeah, it could be said that it's kinda self-titled elite narrow circle based in that land. It consists of the bands which play black/death metal, dedicated and loyal to what they do as musically so ideologically, separating themselves from the rest crappy bands on the scene in there. That's pretty much about it.
I’ve noticed that Pyre managed to perform some interesting gigs, with well recognised and popular death metal bands, so tell me which were your favourite and strongest performances so far? Did the guys from bands like Entombed or Demonical enjoy hectolitres of Russian vodka haha?! Hope you had some good afterparties with them haha!
Yeah, we had a lot of good shows, gigs and festivals last year. Actually it's not easy to underline some particular performances, all was awesome. I think the most killer ones were at Graveland Deathfest (The Netherlands) and Old Grave Fest (Romania). It was really good impressions and experiences for us as well. We met a lot of good guys and headless maniacs and in general many of guys from the other bands we had a pleasure to play with are as simply a nice guys so a good drinking companions, haha. Looking forward to arrange a next round of alco-storm with some badasses we're gonna share the stage with in near future!