Friday, 29 March 2013

ENGULFED interview!!!!!!!

I have been waiting patiently to get this interview answered and finally it came today. Well, Engulfed is damn killer band, if you ask me, their MCD “Through the Eternal Damnation” made a huge impression on me and I seriously hoped for a nice chat with Serkan. Unfortunately many questions got short and uninteresting answers, which is a shame, but well, if Serkan is not interested in history or anything, didn’t really say much about anything... what can I do? But I hope you’ll still enjoy the interview anyway. You definitely need to support this band and get “Through the Eternal Damnation”, as it is truly a killer piece of old school death metal!!!!!!!!!

Hailz to thee Serkan!!!!!! How are you doing? Please, open the can of beer or bottle of whisky, play some good music and let’s roll on with this interview, ok?!
Yeah, Jack D. is near and ready to get raped.

I would like to start this short chat by asking you about the death metal scene in Turkey. I honestly don’t know much about it and except of very few bands like Burial Invocation, Cenotaph and Deggial I cannot memory any other bands. So, please introduce the scene of your country a little bit. Are there any rising and promising bands, which you can recommend, but also some very old ones, from the late 80’s and early 90’s, which are almost forgotten, but which have been creating the Turkish scene 20 years ago? You know, here in Poland we have such originators as KAT, Vader, Imperator, etc, so do you also have some such cult acts?
Actually there is no Death Metal scene in Turkey. Except Kadikoy. We (Kadikoy bands) are making true and underground metal like Deggial, Godslaying Hellblast, Hellsodomy, Impuration, Diabolizer. I remember some bands early 90's like Deathroom, Asafated, Cenotaph and some others but my memory is not good to remember.

I can see that all of Engulfed members have actually also played in some other bands. How have you all met and what pushed you to form the band together? Did you meet at the pub and said “hey, let’s form a new band” or the story is completely different than that? You’ve been a member of Burial Invocation, which I guess is the most recognized underground band from Turkey at the moment, whose MCD and split EP with Anatomia were killer releases, but they’ve split up. Do you know the reason why such a killer band has lived so shortly?
We are friends for more than 10 years. Actually Mustafa and I were playing at Decaying Purity together in the past. Aberrant is the drummer of Deggial and Impuration. We met and said let's play some true, oldschool and hellish Death Metal. And Mustafa was a member of Burial Invocation but I don't know why they split up.

There has already been a split up between the original Engulfed members, so it is only you Serkan, who’s left from the first line up. What happened there? Were you not impressed with the effort of the first line up? Have the musical direction of Engulfed music changed after the addition of new musicians to the line up?
Yeah it really changed. Mustafa is the best creative guitarist I have ever known and Aberrant is the best drummer for me. I wanted to change the line-up. We had some differences with the old members about what I want to see in my grave. That's why I wanted to change everything. Bu I want to say, Engulfed is really Engulfed with this line-up.

Was this sort of obscure, massive, old styled death metal something you actually have aimed to play from the very beginning or such sounds just came out naturally and spontaneously? And why death metal, not black metal or doom or whatever? When you were forming Engulfed did you say “let’s play death metal!” or was it a process of rehearsing and trying different thing?
Actually Death Metal is the best metal genre for me. But we don't have any limits like "We play only Death Metal". If you listen the release, you can also hear Black Metal and Crusty riffs. We write the songs and don't discuss like "No, it's not DM, it's BM, we won't play that!". Engulfed plays the true metal which we believe.

Everyone, who’s not deaf, should be impressed by the massive energy and brutality of your debut MCD “Through the Eternal Damnation”. I felt like this actually is one of the most interesting US styled death metal albums played in the old school vein. Tell me, if my impression that Engulfed is highly influenced by this scene and bands like Incantation, Goreaphobia, Immolation, Funerus, Baphomet is correct? What, from your point of view, did you try to achieve musically with this release?
The comments are really impressing and satisfying. Yeah Incantation is one of the bands that we’re influenced by. And for me, Dead Congregation. But I don't want to say "We’re influenced .............". As I said before, Engulfed plays the true metal which we believe.

It seems like Bart from Hellthrasher is doing a very fine job, promoting your CD everywhere he can. Weren’t you afraid to sign a contract for the CD with such a small and unknown label like this? Did you know any other releases from Hellthrasher before and after? And tell me when can we expect the vinyl edition of “Through the Eternal Damnation” to be released??
Hellthrasher is a really good label. We are really glad to work with them. They are really good promoters. Actually I wasn't afraid because small and unknown labels are doing great jobs. They really care and they respect their job. Like Hellthrasher. I would like to thank again.  The vinyl edition of “Through the Eternal Damnation” is a different artwork and inlay. David made a great artwork for inlay and the back. I am really excited to get this.

I know that with Engulfed you’ve shared the scene with such bands as Undergang, Dead Congregation… What are your resemblances from those evenings of death and decay? Are you happy with the way Engulfed sounded live? Any funny and memorable stories to share with us from those events?
When we play live, everything is turning into some madness. Actually "some" is not correct, "a lot of" is true. It was really great to share the stage with Dead Congregation and Undergang. These were our organizations and Undergang gig was the first one. We will make some in the future. Because posers are always getting Katationa,  Rotting Christ etc. you know. We don't have any funny memories, we have only 3 shows for now. Maybe in the future.

Does it actually work well for your band to shred on the scene as the three piece? I mean your music is really brutal and heavy, so to achieve such sound also live, as a trio, must be relatively difficult, I guess?
No, it's ok but maybe we will find a second guitarist.

I wonder what do you think of such underground festivals like Killtown Deathfest, which invite only the most awesome and killer underground death and black metal bands of the moment? Have Engulfed played there also or maybe you have visited it as a fan?
Mustafa and Aberrant played with Burial Invocation at KTDF but it will be the first time for me. I am sure it will be amazing.

This question pops up every time people question old styled death metal bands, but really this kind of playing have had some really exciting and great last two-three years. What new bands from this kind of playing have interested you most? I mean such acts like Coffin Texts, Chapel of Disease, Maim, Puteraeon, Father Befouled… There are so many great names to mention. Are you interested in these bands or not at all and you share the opinion that it’s better just to stick to the old, classic albums and not to bother with those new bands, which only resurrect this feeling and playing, but don’t add anything new – which is bullshit theory in my opinion!!!!!!!!!???
I like to listen to the old ones but I'm don’t close myself for the new ones. Necrowretch, Undergang, Miasmal, Krypts and many others but I can't remember.

I usually try to find time and read the lyrics of every album I listen to… and when I’ve read those from “Through the Eternal Damnation” I have felt like this is very antireligious, hateful record. But Turkey is more a muslim country than christian, am I right?
Yes, you are right. Very hardcore muslim.

There are many albums, which directly attack the christianity, but not so many which would actually throw the blasphemy towards islam. Do you think it’s because people are scared of the direct attack from the islamic lunatics,
who often can be very dangerous, much more than the weak and feeble christian lambs? I mean look at the situation when someone in Denmark drew the caricatures of allah. Or recently, when a guy in USA did a movie called "Innocence of Muslims". I honestly don’t think that any metal band would dare to attack this religion so directly… Is it just easier to attack the christianity?
Yes. If you attack Islam, you can find your head in a different city. Because they will cut it off. Engulfed is not attacking any religion like christianity, muslim or others. It's attacking to the religion directly and the humanity. It's really stupid if we attack christianity while we are living in a muslim country. We are against the religion itself.

Why do you think people still need the religion, to fill their empty lives? I mean these are modern times and no one yet have ever proved than any gods would exist, they’re all just fairytales, no god have ever answered any prayers, but people still tend you believe and pray and be religiously fanatical. Why is that? From the other hand I wonder if the world without religion wouldn’t be just a chaos.
It's a hard question but you know the answer. Humanity is weak. Every person need to believe in something. Actually I believe in beer and weed. They want to believe because they don't have any power to live without a god. They want to prey because they are really alone. They want to fill their emptiness like you said. It's not for me. My life is in my hands and I am the one who’s controlling it.

Turkey for many years have tried to join EU, but for many reasons they probably never will (and the fear of the muslims among Europeans is one of them). Would you personally like to see your country joining EU or you’re not bothered that the country is slightly torn apart between the Western civilization and the Mideast?
No, I don't want to see my country in EU because they it deserve it. Maybe I can leave my country and move somewhere else. Actually I don't like my country and I don't want to live here. Being a human means being free. We don't have it in Turkey.

Turkish history is quite interesting with Constantinople – the most important city in the Middle Ages… with the Ottomans, you were conquering the Europe until the Polish king Sobieski beaten your asses in Vienna. Are you personally interested in the history, the Middle Ages history of your country especially? Which periods of it are the most interesting for you?
I'm not interested in the history. I know a little bit what they told us in the school but I wasn't listening. History is not for me.

OK, let’s go back to Engulfed, shortly before we finish this interview. “Through the Eternal Damnation” was chosen by many maniacs as one of the better releases of the last year. What do you think of the criticism, which this CD got? Are you personally satisfied with the reactions to your music?
Yeah I'm satisfied because we have really good critics and points. Metalheads like it and shows were really great, more than we expected.

What are the next plans for the band? Since “Through the Eternal Damnation” was just a MCD our hunger for some more lethal music is growing and growing… When can we expect some more music to be released with the Engulfed logo on the cover? How do you see the future of your band?
The future will be darker and hateful than the past. We will record our first album at the end of this year. I think after the KillTown DeathFest. You must prepare yourself.

OK, we’ll finish here… For the end, for relax, since 2012 has finished and everyone makes their best of the year lists, give me your list of five most noticeable releases of 2012! Cheers for your answers!
Thanks for this interview. Support only the true metal and cut the posers heads and rape them. Here is my favourite list: Incantation – “Vanquish In Vengeance”, Grave – “Endless Procession of Souls”, Terrorizer – “Hordes Of Zombies”, Asphyx –“ Deathhammer” and Revenge – “Scum.Collapse.Eradication”.

Maze Of Terror - Skullcrusher

MAZE OF TERROR - Skullcrusher (CAPRICORN Records - CD 2012)
Some time ago I was reviewing an excellent split tape of Abigail / Oldblood / Radiation / R.I.P called “United Metal Massacre”. I really recommend you getting this material, it is awesome. Anyway, few weeks later I got an e-mail from Juan Pablo a’ka Leviathan, who used to be a vocalist / bassist for R.I.P. He wrote me that he and Hammer (drums) are no longer in R.I.P. and have a new band called Maze Of Terror and asked if I wanna listen and review their EP. Obviously I said yes, as R.I.P. was cool and I was curious if Maze Of Terror is also as lethal and devastating as their previous band. I checked some live footage on youtube, which was really awesome (I remember there was cool Sarcofago cover for instance), so I was looking forward to hear the CD. This debut of Maze Of Terror is called “Skullcrusher” and fuck… this title fits perfectly the music - these Peruvian hellbastards just crush!
“Skullcrusher” sounds like an archaic, but beautifully crafted (composed and played) classic thrash metal release. Definitely Maze Of Terror takes a lot of influence from the cult German bands – I mainly hear Destruction in their music, just listen to those slaying riffs and great vocals! The music is perfect for the diehard metal maniacs. In many ways Maze Of Terror also reminds me such Polish bands like Empheris, who also pay a lot of tribute to the old thrash metal scene, only blend it more with some black metal. Anyway, both bands should do a split release, as it would sound excellent. I must say that Maze Of Terror hooked me up right from their first song, "Damned to Eternal Pyre". It slays mercilessly, with razor sharp riffing, great, fast tempo and pure relentless moshing. This, along with “Rivals”, is I think my favourite track, but actually each of the five songs from this EP is just excellent. If you dig the old school thrash metal, then it will hit you badly, breaking the bones, causing some serious neckache (when you start banging like a crazy maniac!) and bringing total destruction!!!! Bang your skull, motherfucker!!!! I like everything about that EP – the production, killer riffs, great vocals…
Surely one may argue, when listening to such bands, whether they deserve any respect and praise, if their music is nothing more, but a resuscitation of the cult, legendary recordings of the forefathers of the genre. But I don’t give a crap… Maze Of Terror is just good at what they’re doing, they recorded some excellent thrash metal anthems and I really enjoyed listening to “Skullcrusher”. That’s all what matters, not the originality or the lack of it. So, if you like to mutilate your flesh with some thrashing, skin cutting metal, this is my recommendation for you. Definitely Maze Of Terror from Peru is way better in my opinion than all those “new thrash metal” stars like Bonded by Blood or whatever.
Standout tracks: "Rivals", "Damned to Eternal Pre"
Final rate: 80/100

Azaghal - Codex Antitheus

AZAGHAL - Codex Antitheus (AVANTGARDE - CD 2005)
I must admit that I am not really that big fan of the Finnish black metal scene. Sure, there are some bands that I like and have a lot of respect for, but too often Suomi hordes annoy me with the useless primitiveness and total boredom, which only leads to bands like Horna, which have 134 releases, but only one or two are really worthy having in the collection and being listened to, if you know what I mean. Azaghal is also a band, which released fuckin loads of stuff, quite few EPs and up to 2012 they did nine full length LPs – “Nemesis” being the most recent one. But I actually haven’t heard most of them and those, which I have - like “Mustamaa” or “Helvetin Yhdeksän Piiriä” - were again nothing much convincing and influential. Few years ago I got “Codex Antitheus” and I must say that this album is actually pretty good and more so it may belong to the best Finnish stuff, which I have listened to. I tend to go back to it quite frequently and each time I do so, I promise myself to check out also some other new Azaghal releases, like the mentioned “Nemesis”, “Omega” or “Teraphim” CDs, but never have time to do that. But definitely I will do that one day, because if any of these LPs is as good as “Codex Antitheus” is, then it must be a real treat for the black metal fanatics.
The album really surprised me, as while it still has that raw and ferocious, obscure touch, it also doesn’t annoy with the useless primitivism and mindless songwriting. These songs are actually pretty good, with lots of killer moments and memorable stuff, so in the end “Codex Antitheus” delivers music, which will not leave you careless. Maybe only the front artwork can bring mixed up feelings, as not only it is not a typical black metal picture (what can be an advantage for the band), but just looks unimpressive, although it may fit the title pretty well - “Codex Antitheus” can be translated as “code of the devil”, “antitheus” meaning something like “opposite god” – “devil”.
Anyway, with the first couple of songs “Codex Antitheus” blows my mind off. The opening track is especially memorable and worthy being checked, as it probably is one of the most catchy, yet brutal black metal anthems ever written in Suomi, with that fuckin awesome chorus part, where you can also sign the word “Agios O Baphomet!!!!!!!!!”. Ha, this is really excellent. But if in any case “Agios…” sounds too epic or monumental for you, then “Nekromanteia” will make you feel better, as it is just a fuckin blast, killer fast black metal piece, which slaughters with great riffing, drumming and everything… For such songs “Codex Antitheus” is a good and worthy album. But the entire CD doesn’t impress in its entirety, as there are also few moments, which just annoy me, as I don’t really know why Azaghal decided to take also more “experimental” or should I say “heavy / power” path, using some falsetto vocals and stuff, which annoy me like crazy. While in the title track it doesn’t yet sound so bad, then in “Kumarra Petoa” it is just way over the edge, really. I sincerely think it sounds shit. Why did they think Accept riffing would fit black metal? In my opinion all those clean vocals are completely useless and only destroy the obscure, morbid atmosphere of the album. Take "30 Hopearahaa" – great fast tempo almost all the way through the song, fuckin killer… and there are those Sentenced-like clean vocals in few parts. Fuck, what for??? It’s a shame as normally I could say that I really, really like the (black metal) vocals of Varjoherra on this album. He’s got really great, throaty, raspy black metal voice and also the fact that all the lyrics are Finnish written is important, as the way this language sounds makes also the vocals sound different and more original. I actually always liked when black metal bands were using their native languages – whether it’s Norwegian, Swedish, Polish or German… or Finnish… it always sounds awesome and way more interesting that the usual English. And such album like “Codex Antitheus” only confirms that, with great performance of Varjoherra. Obviously the fact that the material is just really strong also helps a lot and more so, the production of it is just excellent; quite clean, powerful, but still maintaining that black metal harshness, which is so important in this genre, as black metal just doesn’t sound right, if it’s overproduced and too crystal clean. “Codex Antitheus” for that matter sounds really damn well.
The album is pretty much a 40 minute long blastbeat, but assorted with quite few melodies, some guitars solos and those damn useless clean vocals… Plus the finishing song - “Sieluton” – is something completely different than the rest of “Codex…”, as it is quite slow, more melancholic and sorrowful, with the clean vocals prevailing over the black metal shriek… I actually like this song a lot, I must say, it has a cold, eerie feeling, which may be different to the ferocity of the previous tracks, but I guess it composes well and stands as a good finish to the whole album. Besides, I like when the last song is different to the rest of the material, like some bands (Behemoth for instance) also do.
So, as you can see I really like the album. Definitely I must recommend it to you all, even if you – like myself – don’t really feel crazy about the Finnish black metal scene. This one is actually not bad at all and I like it a lot, despite those awful clean vocals.
Standout tracks: “Agios O Baphomet”, “Nekromanteia”, “Viha”, “Sieluton”
Final rate: 75/100

Thursday, 28 March 2013

General Surgery - Like an Ever Flying Limb

GENERAL SURGERY - Like an Ever Flying Limb (RELAPSE - 7"EP 2012)
General Surgery? Ha, I guess this may actually be one of the very, very few grindcore bands, which I actually really like and tend to listen to more often. I’m not obviously counting here the legendary bands like early Carcass, Terrorizer, Repulsion or Napalm Death, but somehow this style of music – except very few cases - has never been my thing, especially when the bands take it to the ridiculous ultra brutal, fast playing with short songs and annoying pig squealing behind the mic. General Surgery is luckily not like that and maybe because they have quite many (Swedish) death metal influences or maybe it’s that obvious Carcass influence which they have in their music… whatever it is, I just really fuckin like their stuff, whether we speak of some oldies like “Necrology” or newer releases, my favourite being the amazing split with Butcher ABC. In 2012 I’ve shamelessly missed “A Collection of Depravation” compilation on vinyl, but once I got a chance to purchase completely new material from the Surgerers – 7”EP “Like an Ever Flying Limb” – I just got it! And even if orange is not my colour – and this EP, including the vinyl, is all in orange – I just really fuckin like this material! General Surgery once again nailed it and delivered an excellent piece of grinding death metal, which I like so much.
Side A brings three tracks. While “Seizures” with its 42 seconds of duration is rather a filler, the other two are just fantastic slabs of grind. They’re both really fast, both filled with extreme aggression, ferocity and energy, which bursts out of the speakers like crazy motherfucker released from the prison and running around with an axe, killing all your neighbours. The title song is especially killer, with some straight influences taken from old Carcass, but it is great… killer vocals, great production, great riffs… Then side B brings another two songs, with “Rhythmic Epidermal Clamor” being just OK and solid, and “Dark Cyanotic Hypostasis” being a pure sonic mutilation! Injury is certain, while you listen to it and I bet everyone will get infected by the energy and brutality, which this song delivers!
Ha, all in all I can only adore General Surgery for delivering such quality stuff and must recommend this EP to all death and grind maniacs. May it be time to unleash a full length album finally?
Final rate: 85/100