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/

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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