Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.3)

2017 is now officially behind us. And it was a terrible and deadly year for people of the arts and especially musicians. Let’s hope 2018 won’t be such an asshole. Have a great new year everyone!

But enough with the idle chatter, let’s push ahead for the 3rd part of Tragon’s “Noteworthy Report – All of the albums that I felt deserved your attention this year but was so slow to publish that you’re now going to listen in 2018”. Shall we?

 

Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly

The Unlawful Assembly” is an album that came thundering straight from the underground. The trio from Liverpool put out an impressive debut album. Fierce melodic black metal enhanced with folk moments that really give it a special character. Don’t let that one unheard.

 

Blaze of Perdition – Conscious Darkness

This one doesn’t really need introductions. 4th studio album by the Finnish outfit, less pompous and noticeably slower than their “Near Death Revelations”, it actually felt like a sequel to Behemoth’s “The Satanist”. Blaze of Perdition have meticulously crafted their sound over the years, so any surprises are guaranteed to be pleasant ones.

 

Grima – Tales of the Enchanted Woods

Atmospheric Black metal that you can hardly believe is Russian. Multifaceted compositions, vocal variety and weird folk instruments are some of the bonus points, but even without them the album can satisfy any USBM fan without really trying. What are you waiting for? Buy it!

 

Raventale – Planetarium

Everyone knows that an EoY list without any Ukrainian Black Metal album is not a real list. Raventale is a one-man band that has managed to release 8 albums in 11 years. That is a feat not many bands can achieve. With “Planetarium” they offer almost 40 minutes of mesmerizing, melodic, atmospheric Black Metal that includes some of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard all year. Listen for yourselves!

 

Aosoth – V: The Inside Scriptures

Aosoth is one of those bands that never disappoint. Their brand of black metal is part dissonant (they are part of the French scene, so what else?) and part occult, somewhat experimental and most importantly HONEST. When in doubt, put your money on them.

 

Bestia Arcana – Holókauston

Up to this point you had your fair share of melodic and atmospheric BM. But what about those who like it disturbing? Say no more, I have you covered! This album is a chaotic holocaust packed in listenable format. If the world’s destruction has a soundtrack this is probably it.

 

Pestlegion – Dominus Profundum

Remember what I told you about Germanic Black Metal? This is exactly what I meant. B. von Doom’s vocals feel so wrong to me that I have to put real effort into listening to them. However, Pestlegion have created so brilliant music in their debut album, it would be just unfair to leave them outside my Noteworthy Reports only on such grounds. If you are a fan of pure, Whiskey Fueled Old School Black Metal, you can’t miss this.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Incantation – Profane Nexus

If you don’t know this band, you probably lived the past 30 years in a cave or under a rock. The legendary deathsters are back and they are determined to cause some serious ear bleeding. The album is filled with bleak desperation, and the more you hope it ends soon, the deeper you sink in this musical quicksand. If you haven’t been exposed to their music before, this extremely formidable album will make sure you’ll love them from now on.

 

Nadir – The Sixth Extinction

If you believe that Doom metal can’t be groovy, you probably haven’t heard of Nadir. Their music is constantly on the verge of trotting down the Melodic Death path, but never quite leaving the Doom ballpark. Their (thankfully few) death-core parts didn’t manage to put me off and so I was rewarded with some really memorable leads and riffs and had a generally very enjoyable time listening to them.

 

Thus ends the third part of my list. I’m going to get some off with my lovely family now. You go ahead and listen to those records and let me know which ones you found particularly good, or which ones you completely missed and you have to thank ATF for bringing them up. The 4th and final part of the list is coming in the following days. I’ll see you then and there.

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Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.2)

I hope you had enough time to check the first part of my “Noteworthy Report – all the great releases of 2017 I didn’t have the time to write about”. Are you ready for the second part? Well, ready or not, here comes…

 

Grafvitnir – Keys to the Mysteries Beyond

One of the reasons I post my NWR lists this late as the year ends, is that some really good albums get released at the last days of December. (Another reason is that I have a hard time to keep up with my own schedule but that’s a completely different story). Most publications have done their lists by that time and albums just fall through the cracks. It would be a shame for such a beautiful release to have that fate! Malicious melodic Black Metal at its best form.

 

Saqra’s Cult – Forgotten Rites

That’s a really interesting mix of primitive, old-school, mid-tempo Black metal with a touch of shamanistic occultism. The band from Belgium did an impressive debut, without much fanfare. Keep an eye on them.

 

Kafirun – Eschaton

Occult Black Metal is a subgenre that slowly but steadily won its own place in my heart. Every now and then I stumble on an album that really manages to create the otherworldly atmosphere and awe that its name suggests. Isn’t that a success? Don’t miss this deeply unsettling album.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Finisterre

Germany always did great in Gothic and Thrash, but their Black metal always felt “wrong” to me, with very few exceptions. Der Weg Einer Freiheit is one of those. Even before the first track ended I knew I was in for a treat with this album. Must have!

 

Yellow Eyes – Immersion Trench Reverie

What an extraordinary USBM album! The band moves with such ease from their doomy parts to explosive blasts that I regularly had to check that I’m still listening to the same album. Raw and somewhat depressive but with bright progressive moments, this here is a little gem. Don’t skip it.

 

Hands of Thieves – Feasting on Dark Intentions

The debut of this Polish band passed somewhat unnoticed when it came out this July, and that’s really a shame. In 4 tracks of 30 minutes running time, constantly switching from Black to Death to Doom, Hands of Thieves deliver a seminar on how to properly melt faces the old school way. Excellent!

 

The Father Of Serpents – Age Of Damnation

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of prog metal. Most of the time I find that band after band put their musical prowess and expertise at a show-off competition, leaving their compositions lifeless. But here, WHOA! What an album. The tracks are hypnotic and they actually lead somewhere. There are some mixing mistakes here and there but they are hardly noticeable, plus the band is from Serbia: when we were perfecting our craft these guys were at war, so cut them some slack. Fans of early Paradise Lost, Opeth, Orphaned Land and Saturnus wouldn’t want to miss this album!

 

Insanity Cult / Isolert

A beautiful sample of misanthropic Black Metal from the two Greek bands that share time in this split release. The vocals on the Insanity Cult put me a bit off, but their music is awesome in any case. I liked Isolert a bit more, especially the mesmerizing closing minutes of “I Hide My Soul Inside The Trees”. Give it a spin, you have nothing to lose.

 

Darkflight – The Hereafter

This is a band that exists almost two decades, and although from the neighboring Bulgaria, I’ve never heard of them. Hopefully this 4th full length album will set them on the right foot to reach their long deserved audience. Melodic, blackened Doom Metal is what they trade, and they do it quite good. There are some obvious flaws here and there but the beauty of their compositions is far too great to bother…

 

Sicarius – Serenade Of Slitting Throats

More than decent black metal that at points reminded me of second-era Immortal. Although this US band’s debut isn’t groundbreaking, it really sounds savage, solid and promising. Keep a close eye on them.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

That was the second part. I’m gonna dive in my notes now to get the 3rd part ready. You go ahead and listen to those releases. Did you find any of them intriguing? Let me know in the comments…

Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.1)

In recent years it is becoming the norm for blogs and magazines to give an ‘EoY’ (end-of-year) list with ‘the 10 best albums’ of the year (or in some cases 12, or even 80 if that makes sense). I was hesitating to follow this practice, especially since I don’t use a grading system for my reviews, so what I decided instead is to give you a list of what I kept in my ‘noteworthy’ list throughout the entire year. This would be a smaller list if I wasn’t neck-deep-busy over the last months, but such things happen, and so I will have to cover what was left behind during my long absence.

Notice that there is no noticeable distinction between ‘underground’ and ‘established’ acts. Still I give somewhat of a break to lesser known acts because having to compete to get a name out there is already hard enough.

Due to the sheer number of releases included in this “Noteworthy Report – all that is left of 2017 that I didn’t have the time to talk about” I will break it into many parts. Enjoy the first of them…

 

Battle Dagorath – II – Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness

Last year, their “I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos” was among my favorite albums for 2016. This year they returned to finish what they started with this second part of the opus. This one is more direct and energetic. Astral Black metal in the vein of Limbonic Art.

 

Cult Of The Horns – Chapter I. Domination

Gut wrenching blackened Death metal from France. If you are a fan of early-to-mid era Belphegor you are SO going to enjoy this album. I know I did!

 

Darkenhöld – Memoria Sylvarum

This is an album I thoroughly enjoyed this year. Inspired by the Norwegian Atmospheric Black Metal of the 90’s, it feels like a journey in the past. Time and time again you will feel the nostalgic effect of its riffs as they unearth forgotten hints of Ulver or Old Man’s Child, only to fade under a Burzum-esque change of pace, yet nothing feels forced. There is definitely something in the French waters!

 

DEVLSY – Private Suite

Lithuania is a country with hardly any well established metal bands. However they don’t give up and every now and then a good release will surface to remind us of their efforts. This avant-garde post black metal album is a “now” moment. Support it.

 

Метель – Цивилизация

Metel is a Russian black metal band clearly inspired by the Swedish school (reminded me of Negator’s “Panzer Metal”). Formed in 2003, they just released their debut album this Christmas, and it’s really really good.

 

Grailknight – Galahad’s Quest

Admit it. If you hadn’t seen the title, you too would believe that these are lost recordings of Summoning that didn’t make it to their “Lost Tales” EP. This one man project from Serbia is doing a really good job at imitating their Epic Dungeon Synth Metal. The production is quite underwhelming but I decided to cut them some slack anyways.

 

Deviser – Howling Flames

The Greek veterans return after a long absence with this tasty EP. Pompous melodic black metal that encloses everything we loved from the Greek scene of the 90’s and then some. Can’t wait for the full length!

 

DSKNT – PhSPHR Entropy

Switzerland is –at least in my mind– a country where metal bands are either atmospheric or experimenting with electronic elements, so this album was a huge surprise for me. Apparently the French Black Metal scene is getting to big to be contained and now contaminates bordering nations. Oh, goody!

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Necrot – Blood Offerings

I am a very difficult listener when it comes to old school Death Metal. It usually bores me to, well, death. So when an album manages to keep me entertained for its entire duration it makes it to my list. Simple as that. The Californians really did it this time. Fans of early Death, invest with both hands!

 

Fen – Winter

The gentlemen from the United Kingdom return to their roots with this 5th album. Musically, “Winter” is really close to “The Malediction Fields” (which happens to be my favorite album), yet the compositions are more mature. A solid release.

 

That was the first batch. If you enjoyed it, stay tuned as there are more to come in the following days. Which release did you particularly like?

Interview with God Syndrome

Every time I write a review, I try to get in touch with the band and get some more information around the album and the musicians responsible for it. And it is always a pleasure when this actually happens. I spoke to Pavel of God Syndrome about their album “Controverse”, the band’s future plans and the Russian realities. Read along for his interesting insights.

Give me a short introduction to God Syndrome. What does your name stand for?

God Syndrome is an expression depicting a parasitic type of a mindset, an boundless lust for power over the others, it’s some kind of a diagnosis, which signs appear in some people. The people who play with this world, who rule the processes and destinies of other people and believe that this is their mission. Or the people who aspire to do so.

What is the feedback on the album so far?

The album had been released in 2016 but, as You can see, we’re still working on its promotion. Of course we do not have huge opportunities for it, but during the past time we had received a lot of reviews from all around the world. Generally the album was favourably accepted by the listeners and critics. I think, that after this release we became more popular in Russia, but it’s actually not a hardest task. The social networking helped our album to spread all around the russian segment of internet, so the russian underground was able to fully appreciate our work. The European metal scene is different, and now we would like to receive more opinions from that part of the world.

The artwork on Controverse is really impressive, and I don’t just mean the cover. The entire booklet is really well done. Can you give some info on the artist(s) responsible for it and the creation process?

Yeah, we liked the artwork too. The artist’s name is Vladimir Chebakov, but in the world of dark art he is widely known as W. Smerdulak. He had been living in Russia, but moved to Czech Republic. Our guitar player Sergey had been working with him long before the birth of God Syndrome band. W. Smerdulak also known as the author of the artworks of many bands not only from Russia but from all over the world. We made up an idea of the artwork and W. Smerdulak brought it to life. The work upon the art and layout design lasted for a long time, but the result was worth it.

What are the lyrics about?

We have a lot of topics that we touch in our lyrics, since I’m not the only one writing lyrics in the band. Our bass player Dmitry and guitar player Sergey take an active part in writing lyrics. Each of us has his own views, own style of writing so, respectively, the songs are different in their meaning and style. In common the band’s lyrics concept is based on our attitude to class division of people, to the centuries-old hierarchy of “crowd-elite” society. “Controverse” is the name for such general mood. This name was formed through conjunction of two words – “controversy” and “verse”. Doing so we wanted to say, that for us this album and these lyrics are some kind of a struggle expressed in verses. For example, the song “Clan” tells the listeners about closed social cell with different laws and relations to other people. “Tormans” is a story about the fictional planet from the novel of Ivan Efremov, whose books really impressed me and affected my own views and mindset. “Purge” is a requiem to an existing reality, an epilogue of self-destruction when the world celebrates the forthcoming of an end, falling into artificial ecstasy and dancing its epileptic dance. Dmitry’s lyrics depict the ones who stand against the injustice and disparity, shown in the images of monstrous inhuman beings and deities.

What are your main influences?

We started out playing a “Swedish” melodic death, like Arch Enemy and In Flames, with the vocals even closer to scream rather than growling. But soon we all came up to a conclusion that we want to play more aggressive and heavy stuff, so our first EP had been recorded with that conclusion in mind. We love different kinds of death metal and rely mostly on three death metal “schools” that are important for us – Swedish, American and Polish death metal. So in our music we combine American drive and groove, Swedish melodism and Polish aggressiveness and anger.

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Can you give me a walk-through of your music creation process?

All the music is written by Sergey Aksenov. He prepares the demo tracks and then we listen to them together, share opinions and change something. After that we start to play these new tracks during the rehearsals. It helps us to determine the details in drum parts and to get an understanding of how the track sounds live. After that we write the lyrics (sometimes the already written lyrics fit well though). When the song is complete, we begin the recording process, but sometimes changes can occur even in the studio. The final result is usually unknown, we can just approximately imagine it during the creation process.

What are your immediate future plans? Do you have a new release coming or focusing on live shows?

Right now we are working upon new songs. We have some tracks already, but we’ll think about recording the next album after we’ll write a minimum of 7-8 new songs for it. We do not think about concerts right now, maybe we’ll play a live show in our hometown this autumn, but we have to prepare to it well. We want to make every subsequent show to be more interesting and exciting for listeners than previous one.

What are your goals for God Syndrome? Where do you see the band in 5-10 years from now?

It’s a difficult question. Though it’s hard to make any predictions (who knows what would happen in this world?), I would like to see God Syndrome performing on bigger stages of metal festivals around the world. Time will show what would come from all of this.

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Lately I am noticing more and more high quality extreme metal albums coming from Russia. What exactly is going on up there?

The things are really bad here, bro. I know that it’s not easy anywhere, and there are good metal musicians and talented people here in Russia, but not everyone can establish himself in metal music. Those who found forces and dedication to make their ideas come true and bring this to life – they become heard by metal music lovers. But it’s hard, cause there is no united metal scene in Russia, and mostly there is no metal culture in many regions. Metal music came to us from the west, it is usually perceived as alien by most people. In boondocks (and Russia is really huge and rich on such places) some people bully the metalheads only for their  appearance. But in big cities there are local scenes, local festivals. And of course in each region there are bands that deserve attention.

What is it like being in the extreme scene in today’s Russia? I understand that there is some Christian “resistance” of sorts, backed by the government?

We feel fine, although the f*cking regime doesn’t allow us to perform sacrifices and ritual murders, hehe. Joking aside, the notorious russian laws prohibiting extremism are quite adequate to modern society. Those incidents with metal bands in Russia are mostly particular cases, it was some kind of a wave that couldn’t be seen today. And it was the policy of particular people, the government cannot support such acts, it’s illegal, but in Russia the government and the church had grown together and many people are just lobbying their own private interests. Someone had won some publicity through cancelation of Behemoth’s concerts, the others were glad to defame the reputation of the gig organizers, as their rival in showbiz. It’s difficult to understand if those religious activists had emerged on their own or with someone’s help. As you see, religion has a bad influence on governing process. And the officials, like police chief or a governor, can also be a Christian, and for them it would be easier to follow the flow of the situation created by someone else rather than puzzle out who’s right and who’s wrong and seek the justice.

I understand. Now, leaving these things behind us, are there any other notable bands from your local area you would recommend me?

In Samara, our hometown, we are the only active death metal band. There’s also a great band called IRV, they really do their best for self-development, they are skilled artists and they write very interesting and ingenious music. The other bands either are of very low level or do not perform actively. Maybe there are some super-bands from Samara, but I haven’t heard about them…

What do you know of the Greek metal scene? Do you have any favorite bands?

I think that I know almost nothing about Greek metal scene. Maybe there are some bands among the ones that I’ve listened to and I liked them, and these bands are from Greece, although I don’t know about it. Speaking of bigger bands, I was excited by the latest Rotting Christ album “Rituals”. I also keep an eye on Septic Flesh. A good friend of ours (and a huge Septic Flesh fan), who lives in Moscow, is acquainted with Seth. He sent our albums to Seth and he told him some warm words about our music. We also had met them after their show in Samara in 2015, and Seth recalled our band during the conversation with our bass player Dmitry, it was very cool and encouraging. And the other day I’ve seen Psycon wearing our t-shirt on Instagram photo. So maybe we are closer to Greek metal scene than we think 🙂

Yeah, Seth is a great guy, and he really pays attention to other bands… So, I think I am covered, I have no more questions. Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?

Thank You for Your interest to our band and to Russian metal scene in general.  I wish You all the best, my friends, and let’s hope that we would come to Greece someday and meet all the death metal lovers of this wonderful country!

Thank you for your time.

Follow God Syndrome on https://www.facebook.com/godsyndrome/

God Syndrome – Controverse (2016)

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Time and time again I have declared my dislike to groovy metal-core. And here I am reviewing an album that stands with one foot in it. No, it’s not dry season. Rather the opposite. It’s just the simple fact that this is a killer album despite its grooviness (or –for people that aren’t me– thanks to exactly that).

God Syndrome come from Samara, Russia. Have I told you lately how the Russian extreme metal scene is becoming a really great one? This is another example of this fact. With one foot knee-deep in American tech-death-core and the other in Swedish melo-death, they present an annihilating mix similar to Hypocrisy on steroids.

The album starts with a tech-y catch-all track, one to lure the average generalist metalhead, but shortly after that it gets a character of its own (and gains the review slot). The songs flow beautifully and you won’t even notice its almost hourly duration. This in my book counts as great songwriting.

The guitars are expertly performed, especially for a lead-packed album such as this one. These melodic leads are pretty trippy to the point of melancholy, bringing late Septic Flesh and Hypocrisy to mind on many occasions. The vocals are perfect and fit the music in both its brutal and melodic phases. The drums are intense and really well composed. Always on target –no matter the experimentation– they manage to give the right atmosphere to every riff. The bass here takes on a more supportive role. Clean and powerful, it glues all the pieces together.

Sound-wise, the production is perfect. The instruments are well separated and mixed properly. Special care has been given to preserve enough “air” to let the dynamics do their part.

Overall, this is an album worth your time and money. I never really expected to say something like that for an album with a –core synthetic in it but honestly, anything less would be a mean lie. It has enough power to satisfy every extreme death metal fan, and enough groove to satisfy pretty much every other metalhead. Fans of Hypocrisy around “The Final Chapter” era will surely love it (this is the third time I dropped their name so I really mean it)! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

For more info follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/godsyndrome

Noteworthy Report: March 2017

Welcome my friends to a very, VERY late Noteworthy Report of Against The Fragmentaire. As you know, ATF is a project I run on my free time, and these past two months were busy as fvck putting me off track.

In today’s overcrowded metal scene, more than 100 albums get released every month, and March had more than his fair share of “big” releases, from the highly anticipated fourth album of Woe, to a new Forteresse release, and from the –also highly anticipated– furious album of The Furor to the debut of all-star Doedsvangr. On top of the fierce competition for fan attention, Mastodon released their new album which –as uninspired as it is– overshadowed pretty much everything else.

Yet the underground never sleeps; if you aren’t easily entertained by the “low hanging fruit”, March came with some impressive gifts that passed under the radars of big publications. Without further ado, these are some of the most noteworthy releases.

 

Vacivus – Nuclear Chaos

The UK blackened deathsters (ala-Portal) return with a short but killer EP. Soul crushing riffs reduce everything to dust. Nuclear Chaos is upon us, embrace it or perish!

 

Harvest Gulgaltha – Altars Of Devotion

In a similar vein, Harvest Gulgaltha play “cryptic necromantic black death metal”, or in other words, minimal blackened death. The majority of the album is slow-paced and feels like sinking in quicksand. So much gloom and despair it feels otherworldly.

 

Mistveil – Amnesia

This is quite a debut from my compatriots Mistveil. They play melodic doom/death metal in the vein of Saturnus and early Draconian. I personally enjoy such music during the cold winter nights, but this is just my preference and timing isn’t a factor of quality in any case. You don’t want to miss it!

 

Nordland – European Paganism

This here is an album with what I call a “barrier-to-entry”. The first minutes of the album feel like they pointlessly thrust in every direction, but at some point you get what they try (and ultimately manage) to do. The album is exactly what the title says: they pick threads from pagan black all over Europe, and join them in a unique piece of art. You will hear Enslaved (both early and late), Ancient Rites, Fen and a bunch of other influences beautifully married in unity. A really interesting as well as demanding listen.

 

Wormwood – Ghostlands: Wounds From A Bleeding Earth

The Swedish folk black-metallers released their debut album this month. Filled with mostly awesome stuff, fans of Thyrfing and Amon Amarth will want to check it out. There are some odd, off-putting, Iron Maiden-ish moments here and there, but I guess this never killed anyone…

 

Pillorian – Obsidian Arc

Born just this past summer by veterans of the scene (including John Haughm of ex-Agalloch), Pillorian released their debut album in March, sharing their take on avant-garde folk black metal. If you’re a fan of USBM don’t skip this album…

 

In the following days I will release the April NWR, as well as a special NWR of releases that I listened and cared enough to share but fell through the cracks of time and ultimately never got to talk about them. So stay tuned, and as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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!

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