Interview with Ossuary Anex

A few days ago I got the chance to talk a bit with Russian brutal deathsters Ossuary Anex (if you remember them from the review of their latest album I did a few months back). This interview is quite revealing, especially if you aren’t really familiar with the Russian metal scene. It is a somewhat long read but as always, it is going to worth your time.

Give me a bio of the band so we can get to know you better.

Max: Ossuary Anex was created by me in 2008. (Before that I was playing in an Occult Death Metal act called Daemon). Nothing particularly remarkable was in our bio. The line-up changed often during the early years, so the group evolved slowly. But it may be noted only the release of our debut album in 2012. And In 2014 Kirill joined us as lead singer. I think it was a turning point for the band. He was the missing element for us, and our puzzle was completed with the arrival of him. From that moment the new life of the band began to take form in which it is now.

Actual Line-up: Kirill – vocal, Simon – bass, Sergey – Drums, Max – guitar.

You released your second album “Mutilation Through Prayer” a few months ago. What is the feedback so far? Are you watching the sales, are they going as you expected?

Max: We get a lot of positive feedbacks so far, sometimes even rave reviews. Some positive articles were written, for example by Frank Rini, another on Hellmagazine, or your own review etc. It’s really cool! But we are not watching the sales of our label, perhaps it is too early to think about it.

Have you gotten the time to reflect on the album? If you were back in the studio, is there something you would change in it?

Max: It’s been over 3 years since we started working on this album. Of course, we have been changing during this time, as well as our attitude to music. This album captures the vision that I had when the work began. Despite the fact that it was released not long ago, it shows where we were three years ago. The recording of the album stretched across almost two years. Sometimes it was not easy. If it were possible to make the album for a lesser period, I think it would be much better.We could have made a more thought out, more perfect record. When a recording stretches for a long time, fatigue accumulates, interest reduces. Everybody wants to finish as soon as possible. And quality may deteriorate. But I wouldn’t like to change anything in it. This album is just a slice of our history. Now we have a different view, and we will translate it into new things.

Most brutal death metal bands are into blood/gore culture when it comes to lyrics. You on the other hand decided to tackle religion. Why is that?

Kirill: I think religion is a great evil for people. Religion causes war, intolerance and ignorance. It makes a man a slave and a pliant puppet in the hands of liars. I hate that shit!

Max: It should be noted that some obscurantism has been increasing in recent years in our country. The Middle Ages return. The Church has been gaining strength. It influences the politics and culture. Religion has been becoming a national idea. In addition, “insulting the feelings of believers” became a criminal offense in Russia. Orthodox activists cancelled theatrical performances, exhibitions, and concerts, if they think that it is something blasphemous and no one can do anything about it. For example, concerts of Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth were canceled in 2014 in some cities. All concerts of Belphegor were canceled in 2016. Strictly speaking, our album is outlawed in our country today. But we are not known by the masses, we’re an underground band. If we were a famous band, we would have had problems I think. That’s why religion is an urgent topic today.

The album has some astonishing artwork. Care to tell me who did the cover and how you came across each other?

Max: Thanks! It was created by W. Smerdulak. He is a quite famous artist and designer in some circles. Initially, we didn’t have a definite idea about our cover art, but we clearly knew what we didn’t want. We talked with the boss of our label about it. And he said: «I’ll take it upon myself, I know an artist that you need». We trusted him and decided to agree. When we got the first sketches, it was not so clear what we would get in the end. But when the work was finished, everybody liked it and only small changes were made.

Are you happy with your label’s support so far?

Max: Yes, quite. These guys are really decent. We began to look for the label, as soon as we had finished the recording. We sent out our stuff without mixing to many labels. Max (boss of our label) answered immediately as he listened to our raw tracks, and offered us good terms. We received suggestions from several foreign labels. But the offer of Lord of the Sick Recordings was the best that moment. In addition, I knew Max for many years as an ideological person and true fan of extreme music. After signing a contract he and his team set to work very hard. Almost around the clock we kept in touch with him. He was responsible for creating the cover art, the booklet design, also participated and helped us in our work with the studio, which was mixing our stuff. The good support was provided after the album’s release. Considering that it is underground and young enough label the work has been done perfectly.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Kirill: I try to draw inspiration from the shit that’s going on in the world. Some texts from the new album were inspired by the Old Testament. This book is saturated with blood and horror, the best inspiration. Sometimes an idea comes to my head by itself and I try to write it down immediately.

Max: Usually I draw inspiration from dark and gloomy music. Although I listen to different music styles. Sometimes black metal, sometimes death metal, folk, new age etc. Quite often I visit concerts of symphonic music. I like Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Borodin, Schubert, but especially Schnittke, he is an absolutely crazy composer, I call him “The God of music“, hehe.

What is your creative routine? Is there some piece of gear you wouldn’t be able to work without?

Sergey: We wouldn’t be able to work without our guitarist. Max writes all the music. Then together we work with parties and make changes if necessary. When the music is ready, Kirill applies text to the music.

What are your future plans? Do you have any shows booked?

Max: Ossuary Anex have a Russian tour with Relics of Humanity and Darkall Slaves in May 2017. In Autumn we’re planning another tour and a couple of separate shows. Besides, we began to work on a new album, we have a lot of ideas. We would like to achieve even more natural and dark sound. By the way, Justin DiPinto (a former drummer of Malevolent Creation, Pyrexia, Mortal Decay, etc.) agreed to participate with the drum work on the album. We sent him an outline of our new things, and he was quite interested. Sergey, our permanent drummer will concentrate on preparation for the concerts.

What are some of the difficulties extreme metal bands face in Russia?

Sergey: The main difficulty for extreme metal bands – little interest in this kind of music. In our country, people treat minorities and subcultures with suspicion. Few people go to concerts of extreme music. No culture of buying music. Everyone’s downloading from the internet.

Max: …and as a consequence it is difficult to find good like-minded musicians.

Tell me about your local scene. Are there any notable bands I should research?

Max: The extreme scene in Russia is very unstable. I don’t know groups that have been being active since the 90s, which have been regularly releasing albums, constantly performing, were well known throughout the country, like Greek Rotting Christ for example. There is a death metal band Miscreant from our city, they have been playing since 90s, but now are almost inactive. There is old band Alkonost, their earliest stuff is awesome – rough pagan metal, but their new work is not so interesting. But many decent bands began to appear in the last 10 years about in deferent styles. Black Metal: Drauggard, Grey Heaven Fall, Vedmak, Neron Kaisar. Death Metal: Cephalic Impurity, Grond, Pyre.Grindcore: Internal Damage, Fitcage, Disact, etc.

Simon: There are a lot of extreme metal bands in Russia, but not many bands linger on the stage. Remarkable bands for me – Disact, Visceral Disorder.

Any albums you got to listen lately that you feel deserve more attention?

Max: I recently listened to an album of Apparatus (Copenhagen) it’s called the same – Apparatus (2015). I really like it, very dark and atmospheric music. And I think almost all the releases of Lavadome Productions deserve more attention.

Great, I haven’t heard of them, but I sure will. Now, what do you know about the Greek metal scene? Do you have any favorite bands?

Kirill: I’m a big fan of Rotting Christ. I really like Triarchy of the Lost Lovers, I listened to this album a million of times. It used to be my favorite album. Well and early Septic Flesh of course.

Max: The Greek metal scene is very rich and diverse! One of my favorite bands – Inveracity, I love their album Circle Of Perversion (2003). Then, I know guys of Sickening Horror, they had a Russian tour in 2009, and I organized the concert in our city for them, they even couch-surfed in my flat! Also Dead Congregation – awesome band. Besides, I know Greece has a very strong black metal scene! I listened to Necromantia, Varathron, Zemial, Lord Impaler, Agatus, Burial Hordes and many more!

Ok, you covered pretty much everything. To wrap it up, is there anything else you want to add?

Thank you for the questions, it was very interesting to answer them, and thank you again for your review of our album!

Follow them on https://www.facebook.com/OssuaryAnex

Ignis Gehenna – Baleful Scarlet Star (2017)

ignis-gehenna-coverIgnis Gehenna is a one-man band from Tasmania, Australia. Nihilifer (also known from the now split up Erebus Enthroned) is the mastermind behind this act that already counts a decade on its back. In this debut full length album he attempts to conjure a sinister darkness from beyond this world, and admittedly he managed it all too well.

The album starts with a slow, mesmerizing tune, and from the first minute you can tell this is going to be a good album. It doesn’t take long however to realize this is an understatement. Halfway through the first song and the raspy vocals are hooked on skin like snake fangs. Then enters the bass with a furious melodic riffing and instead of just filling the sound, it fills your brain with deep burning scars. And this is only the beginning; each track pushes the envelope just a bit further. The album is constantly shifting from mid-tempo groovy to Swedish-like melodic black metal with a natural ease, and sure has the riffs to support the act (the closing riff of Baleful Scarlet Star keeps playing in my head at random moments during the day).

The guitars are heavy and distorted and give the album the dreading sound it requires to drag you to hellish magical paths. The incredible (and quite audible) bass helps heighten the feeling of desolate desperation which tends to become the trademark of Australian extreme metal. The vocals are also amazing. Part venomous, part grandiose and with clear articulation are more than you may ask for. The drums are doing their best to push the album a little further into the masterpiece area. They won’t ruin a good riff with needless experimentations, but given the chance they go all inventive.

Production-wise, the album is outstanding. The songs are crafted with great care and keep the interest peaked at all times. You will literally be surprised at how fast time flies by when you listen to it. The sound is gloomy but not muddy; on the contrary, everything sounds clean and well separated. The well crafted mastering maintains a consistent atmosphere for the entire duration. The cover artwork is fantastic and only adds to a flawless album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Follow them at: https://www.facebook.com/ignisgehenna

Noteworthy Report: February 2017

In today’s overcrowded metal scenes, more than 100 albums are being released EVERY MONTH. Through ATF I try to review 2-3 of those albums, the ones that really worth it and don’t get as much credit as they are due. Unfortunately, this means that an awful lot of good albums are not going to be reviewed. This is why I post the “Noteworthy Report”, a monthly installment with albums that are either too noticeable to miss or albums that sound promising but I didn’t have the time to pay as much attention as they deserved.

As always, I will begin with the albums that usually pass under the radars and put the “established” acts in the end, since you probably got to listen to them already. If you believe some other way of order would serve the bands better, let me know in the comments.

 

Scuorn – Parthenope

Italy’s Scuorn have almost a decade on his back (yes, this is a one man band), but only released their debut just the past week. Symphonic black metal (that will remind you the great Limbonic Art at points) with a Mediterranean folk twist. Sounds really promising. Added bonus: the second CD comes with the orchestral versions of the songs.

 

Pure Wrath – Ascetic Eventide

Debut release for this one man band from Indonesia. Nice atmospheric black metal and a sound quality I wasn’t really ready for. At points the repetitions feel somewhat uncalled for, but the overall impression is a good one. I wish I had more time in my hands to focus in this album. If you do, don’t miss the chance to give it a spin.

 

Guerra Total – Nihilistic Malthusian Manifesto (The Ouroboros Cosmic Indifferentism)

Whoaaahaha! Total war is sure what is going on in this album. South American blackened thrash featuring some weird piano/synth moments that -once I got used to- actually managed to keep me interested throughout the duration.

 

Eterna Rovina – Metamorfosi

Another one-man band from Italy that plays mid-tempo atmospheric black metal. The album starts with some uncertainty, but a few songs in it picks its own direction and stigma. Don’t let the obvious mastering blunders turn you down, this is just the perfect stepping stone for improvement.

 

Sinister – Syncretism

Need I say anything more? Really?

 

So, what are some other interesting extreme metal albums that got released in February? Let us know in the comments…