More stuff coming...
CONQUEROR (Can) download HERE
Questions Tommi Hakonen / answered by Ryan Forster
These were the questions to gather some info before the real interview. Unfortunately Ryan never answered the other questions I mailed him…
DOMINI INFERI ... the pre-CONQUEROR, who were the other members, why did you continued on your own, and where are those guys playing today?
-DOMINI INFERI was originally a 4-piece. The original drummer was an old friend of mine, the bassist was a metal maniac I knew from school, and the singer (later drummer/singer) was an extremist that did move to our city from across the country. The bass player and original drummer quit because they were wimps not really into extreme black/death metal and the life-style that comes with it! I don't know what became of them. I don't care. The singer played in a satanic death metal band until recently and I still have good contact with him. DOMINI INFERI was to continue with the original singer but I did move too far away for this to be possible. Instead I continued on with a new member (J.Read).
I'm listening to "Fallen angel of doom..." by BLASPHEMY at the moment, and according to Costa Stoios (Tales of the Macabre), your stuff reminds about this Canadian band... do you agree, and why is that so?
-Our music contains many of the same elements as BLASPHEMY: chaos, violence, hatred, aggression, warfare, and destruction! We keep the Canadian black metal skinhead tradition alive! Of course we do not rip off BLASPHEMY, this would be boring to the listener, and especially to us the band. We create our own style of bestial destruction!
You prefer "bestial" way of death/ black ... what is wrong with the bands using lower tempo, acoustic instruments, etc. to create the mood and atmosphere? Can you mention any newer band which is able to create a right feeling, without being "bestial"? Or is bestiality the only way?
-Yes, we prefer bestial destruction over anything! This is the only type of music strong enough to express our hatred through!! It is a reflection of our personalities. The atmosphere we create is very chaotic. I guess when a band chooses to play slower and use acoustic instruments, they are showing us a reflection of their personalities. The message I get from their music is that they are "sensitive" guys or very depressed. I'm not aware of any new bands that play this type of slower music in an interesting way. I like the viking-theme LP's of BATHORY...
How old are you? I mean, did you grow up with your favourite bands, or did you "find" them afterwards...?
-We are both 24 years-old. I grew up on black/death metal...
Have you ever seen BLASPHEMY; SODOM; SARCOFAGO; RAZOR or SLAUGHTER playing live? Would you like to play live some day, and would that be a bloody pit of horror or just maniacs raving like mad on stage?
-I lived in a secluded city in northern Canada. Not many famous bands played live up there. RAZOR were scheduled two times but they cancelled both shows. As for CONQUEROR, we'll play live once suitable members are found! It'll be a holocaust!
What does the deal with Evil Omen contain? Have you received any other offers for a deal, and what did make Ludo's offer the best?
-We are signed to Evil Omen Records for one CD. Ludo is into extreme bestial destruction and has been for years! It is the best label for CONQUEROR!
It's almost like a rule that every fuckin' bm/dm-band -members have some other projects going on, bands which play either covers or/and the same way as the legends of the '80's ... how is CONQUEROR different compared with them, musically and by attitude? Do you play in any other bands?-Sometimes a project band could be a good idea. It helps to relieve a musician of ideas and influences that wouldn't fit into their main band. This helps to keep their main band pure. When it comes to CONQUEROR, we put 100% dedication into our songwriting! If you have too many other projects going on, the main band may suffer. This project band '80's trend is currently out of hand in the scene! I currently play in no other band, only CONQUEROR!!!! We find it much more interesting to create our own music rather than repeating what others have done before us, and we have enough imagination and creativity to do so! It seems as though most other bands don't have the capacity to come up with their own style, instead they play in the style of the latest trend. And the current trend is to sound like an '80's band...
ORDER FROM CHAOS (USA) download HERE
Questions Yosuke Konishi / answered by Chuck Keller
Never published because the interview was never actually finished…
What have you been doing with your life since the death of Order From Chaos? Can you talk about your projects Vulpecula and Ares Kingdom?
-After Order From Chaos I did Vulpecula. It began as a part time solo project really. Relations between the members of Order From Chaos were getting pretty bad (to say the least) and I was tired of "doing a band" that way. By summer 1995 I had been working in the private studio that was owned by the parents of Nepenthe's drummer Chris. This was where Order From Chaos recorded everything from ”Plateau of Invincibility” on incidentally. Unfortunately at the time relations between the members of Nepenthe were deteriorating as well. It became clear early on that Chris had the same desire to do an atmospheric metal project like Vulpecula and so I asked Chris if he'd be willing to play drums and keyboards. He continued on in Nepenthe and stayed with his guitarist Pat even after they kicked out their bassist/vocalist and became Ligeia. Chris and I went on to record our debut ”Phoenix of the Creation” 7" ep for Eternal Darkness Creations, ”Fons Immortalis” (MCD and 10") for Merciless Records, and ”In Dusk Apparition” 7" ep which is culled from pre-production demos we recorded in 1998 and will be available on Invictus Productions later this year. Although Vulpecula officially ended in December 1999 and Chris moved to Seattle (and has nothing to do with music anymore); we still have a great friendship – and we miss having him here... In 1996 I took a couple of months and headed to Europe to see some of my friends. I was also checking out labels for Vulpecula to be perfectly honest. When I came back to the U.S. later in the year I found that the band Mike was in following his imprisonment in the proto Angel Corpse (then called Worm Drip) was not working out and so we decided to make good on the promises we had made at the end of Order From Chaos to come back together as a different band and carry on the true legacy of Order From Chaos. Thus was born Ares Kingdom. We recorded our debut demo which has been rabidly received and continued to write material for our debut Lp ”A Dream of Armageddon” which will be released by Merciless Records. The latest on Ares Kingdom can always be found at www.ares-kingdom.00band.com
How much of the material did you write for Order From Chaos?
-The majority, about 90% of the music was mine. Conversely I wrote about 10% of the lyrics. But Pete and I were always open to criticism from each other and from Mike. With a drummer like Mike, when you present your riff parade to him, the addition of whatever part he comes up with for the drums can have a tremendous effect on the overall tone and feel of the song. Sometimes we would make alterations to both the music and lyrics as the entire band would learn it and so it was always a fascinating process.
Do you still talk to the other members of Order From Chaos?
-Mike and I have known each other for about 27 years now and our friendship goes well beyond just being in a band together. But of course this large amount of time does have a great deal to do with how well we have endured as bandmates. We've both tried playing with other musicians to varying degrees of success, but in the end are happy to stick together.
How did Order From Chaos form? What was the underground like back them compared to how it is now?
-I met Pete in 1986 when I was recruited by another friend to replace the guitarists in his band. Eric was the drummer, Pete the bassist, Dave the vocalist, plus these two prima donna guitarists that only wanted to play classic rock and proto-metal. They were finished with us when we announced we were going to play Slayer's ”Die By the Sword” and told them to learn it in two days, period. Or something impossible like that. After about nine months together Pete and I had struck up a very strong friendship and realized we both wanted the same things in a band and started to talk about writing original music together. We were a perfect match - his favorite band was Sodom, mine was Bathory. Who could ask for more? We then wrote the first three Order From Chaos songs, ”Of Death and Dying”, ”Quietus”, and ”The Scourge”. The band name came from a friend of ours who happened to put those three words together during a conversation. We weren't all that sure about it at first, but we liked its originality. The last thing we wanted to do was just be a clone of our heroes; we wanted to do our own thing - inspired by them. Back then the scene was at once very different while at the same time being very much the same. Its hard to explain, but I suppose those who were there know what I'm saying. One of the biggest differences was in how bands were labelled. It used to not matter one iota to the fans. Labelling a band black, death, speed, thrash, technical death, technical thrash was something only the record labels did for the uninitiated. Raven, Legacy, Slayer, Sacrilege, Slaughter Lord, Venom, Detente, Sodom, Razor, Helloween, Frost, Destruction, Agony, Cyclone, Sabbat, Mercyful Fate, Megadeth, Metallica, Bathory, Death Angel, Voivod, Coroner, Messiah, Artillery, Heathen, Hobbs Angel of Death, and scads more all were a part of the same brotherhood and that's the way things ought to be. Things began to change in 1989 with the explosion of Grindcore and Grind/Death Metal. Labels became more important as a way to separate the new bands from the 'stagnating' old scene. Then when Norwegian bands like Darkthrone decided to be "Black Metal" in 1991, labels became as important as life and death. Bloody silly if you ask me. Just the other day I was going through some of my old zines when I began comparing Ronny Eide's "Morbid Magazine" to "Ablaze." The copy of "Ablaze" looked flawless, but apart from the Sodom retrospective, I can't say it was all that interesting because so many bands today are unremarkable. Sure a lot of the bands in "Morbid Magazine" looked the same, but at least there was more difference between the sounds of each band back then.
Has your taste in music changed over the years or do you still listen to the same bands?
-I still listen to the very same bands now as I did then. My tastes remain as black and white as ever - either extreme metal or classical; Bathory or Beethoven - with very little middle ground. OK, some old hardcore and punk is great.
Order From Chaos has been lined to National Socialism and Nazism in the past. Can you comment on this topic?
-Its absolutely irresponsible to tag the band like that. One look at our lyrics and appeal of the band proves the opposite. Towards the end of the band Pete did become deeply interested in the rebellious aspect of that stuff and quite apart from the band assembled pamphlets from Nazi and Fascist literature as well as made statements about his personal views which were all taken by the press and many fans as a declaration for the whole band. Nothing could have been further from the truth. We all had/have a historical interest in the Second World War (although personally I find the First World War more interesting), but our borrowing skulls and such on some of our layouts no more makes us sympathetic to National Socialism than it does Lemmy, Slayer or Entombed. Unfortunately what began as a simple tweaking of the scene to see if any rebellion was left in the thing spiralled way out of control. Besides, what's more contradictory than a group of longhairs embracing a long since defeated and intellectually bankrupt Socialist system that had no tolerance for individuality such as theirs?
What do you think of the current trend to mix National Socialism and black metal? Do you think politics has a place in metal?
-It is utterly ignorant. As I alluded to earlier, National Socialism demanded a strict adherence to a social "norm" - you must have been a faithful service droid to the state - no deviance or individual thinking allowed, only unquestioning allegiance. Black Metal fans might have their own unofficial codes of conduct or whatever you want to call them, but in the end their lifestyle can be seen as nothing short of anti-establishment; alternative for its own sake and in opposition to whatever norm currently exists. We could go on for a fortnight with a laundry list of areas where BM fans would have been at odds with historical NS - and consequently among the first shot or gassed. No, politics does not have a place in metal music for me; you'll find none of it in our music. You might get away with a bit of it in punk, but even then very few have ever done it well. No one can possibly do politics in music better than the Dead Kennedys did anyway.
Can you comment on the following?
Mayhem 1986 to 1993 vs. Mayhem 1998 to 2001:
-Mayhem 1986-1993 utterly fantastic - the truest
I barely even know what they sound like now.
Simpsons vs. South Park:
-Both classics and both very, very funny. That's My Bush isn't very good unfortunately, but Futurama is.
Poland vs. Germany:
-If you mean in the historical sense then it was 'bows and arrows against lightning.'
Communism vs. Nazism:
-Its always fun to compare these two since they're both descended from the philosophical and political Left, and each being reactive to the original Socialist ideals of More, Owen, St. Simon, and Marx. The State Capitalist structure of Communism looks great on paper and even perhaps philosophically, but is an absolute disaster in practical application. Most of this was due to the uncreativeness and intellectual conservatism of Karl Marx himself. Although Marx had maintained his system as a "Scientific Socialism," it was anything but scientific and this fact became apparent shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. When Marxism under Lenin faced the real world for the first time, it found itself unable to cope with all the elements of Russia's complex social structure. "Permanent Revolution" proved to be a philosophical construct with no real application in the real world. And if it couldn't handle things in one of Europe's most under-developed countries at the time, what hope did it have elsewhere? Twenty-five years later, whereas the Second World War pulled the United States out of its Great Depression, it all but crippled the already struggling U.S.S.R. With false notions of Democracy and philosophical Republicanism (not the American political party!) as their basis, Communism crushes all individuality as well as effectively cripples the entrepreneurial spirit and desire for personal excellence which are the forces that drive all truly great and progressive societies and economies. There are many areas where Nazism and Communism resemble one another and these stand in stark contrast to their brutal campaigns against each other during the Second World War. Among the most repugnant aspects of them for me was their absolute intolerance of individuality and freedom of speech. Everyone is a servant of and wholly dependent on the State. Marxism blathers on with "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" whilst Nazism demands "Everything for the State", "My Honor is my loyalty", "Blood and Honor", blah blah blah. Both systems are proven failures and are guilty of the most horrific crimes against humanity (as everyone knows by now) since the Inquisitions and Crusades. There is nothing to be admired in either one, but neither should ever be forgotten lest we lapse in judgement or perspective.
Black metal vs. Death metal:
-They're still one and the same to me. Differentiating between the two is needlessly complicated and frustrating.
Order From Chaos vs. Ares Kingdom:
-No comparisons; both were bands which play(ed) the most infernal thrashing death metal ever conceived. Its just that the Ares Kingdom saga has only begun!
Life vs. Death:
-Life is the Herbert Spencer described "struggle for existence" vs. the 'forever sleep' of death.
What do you do for living?
-I work as a supervisor for an international auction house. My section deals with the historical artifacts sent in from around the world for auction. We authenticate each artifact, write catalogue descriptions for the printed volumes and Internet, and prepare the items for auction. Ten of us handle 15 - 20,000 items every five weeks. It is ideal for a History major like me that has no desire to teach but still wants to work in the field. Its certainly more "hands-on" than teaching, and I like that.
Should musicians have a day job to separate their art from commercialism and capitalism? In other words, what do you think of musicians who can live off of their CD sales?
-If a musician is able to live off their band profits, that's great. I wouldn't go as far as to say they 'should' have a day job, but its just that I would never do only one thing with my life such as that. I have many other interests and distractions – things that balance out and keep the others in perspective. In general though it seems when a band is able to concentrate on their music 100% of the time something musically debilitating happens to them. So very few bands are able to make the transition to full time musicians gracefully and retain their original charm; not to mention their original fan base. Perhaps they think about it too much, I don't know - I doubt its any one thing. But of course there are old bands out there right now that have had their ups and downs, like Sodom, that still blow the shit out of 99% of the newcomers and Johnny-come-latelys to the scene. But it is interesting to see how most fans almost always prefer a band's earliest works to their later ones, and I mean those releases recorded when they were still struggling to do their band whilst balancing day jobs of every sort. I don't see the idea of being a "full time musician" as a personal necessity nor does it make someone any more 'legitimate' than say for a guy struggling day after day in a packing plant or corporate mail room to pay for his band's studio time. The goal for me is to make the highest quality music possible, and its what I look for in every other band.
It's obvious that you're a man of high intelligence. What is your educational background? Does your academic background influence the way you write music?
-Nothing too special really; I have a Bachelors degree in History and spent some time in Physics. I've been an amateur astronomer for about 25 years as well, so that's added much to my scientific education both mathematically and theoretically. Otherwise I have a wide range of interests not the least of which are history and the First World War. I'm active in The H.G. Wells Society, an international literary consortium dedicated to studying the life, work and thought of the famous English author, historian and journalist; and have founded a sibling Society to it for the Americas. So I keep quite busy with many other projects... I can't say education has influenced the way I write music because music is an emotional outlet for me. But sometimes I do find myself getting frustrated over some facet of the creative process only to realize I'm thinking about it too much. When I put it down and come back to it later after working on something unrelated, I usually find the block clears itself.
What do you think of the black metal trend? Do you regret that Order From Chaos is lumped into the same category as black metal? How do you classify Ares Kingdom and Vulpecula?-The black metal trend has become what every other trend ever has - utterly absurd. Its a bad habit to get into I know, but any time I see a band in corpse paint I just can't believe there would be anything interesting in their music and don't even consider checking them out. About the only purely black metal band I still pursue is Carpathian Forest, they're brilliant. I can't say I regret having been labelled black metal - it was never all that important to me. That habit of labelling everyone was a part of the era we existed in and since it was so important to the fans to identify us with the 'cutting edge' that way, so be it. We never changed the way we did things to fit any trend. Pete never did death metal gorilla or chipmunk black metal vocals and I never wrote grind or wafer thin sounding black metal music. I always found our tags a bit funny because we were never really "black metal." But because we played with the same ferocity as bands like Destruction and Sodom that had been reappraised in the 1990's as just "black metal", we got the same tag. Vulpecula was usually referred to as black metal simply because the other atmospheric bands of the time were Black Metal. Anyone who would call Ares Kingdom black metal simply isn't listening. The classification I prefer is thrash metal - or my own invention, Infernal Thrashing Death!!!
SUMMON (USA) download HERE
Questions Tommi Hakonen / answered by Xaphan?
Interview was never published because I had to wait for the answers way too long…
When did you make your latest tattoo and what was it like? If I asked you to make a tattoo to represent SUMMON, what'd that be like?
-I tattoo every day of my life. In the past week I've done everything from a rose to half sleeve of depth and dimension with a dragon! If I was to design a tattoo that represented SUMMON! It would be very dark and full of doom, with cool tones of blue to express the feeling of negativity and hatred!
"Corpse paint gives you a higher level to project your music from. It shows your darker side and dark emotions. Plus, it separates you from all trendy death heads and hardcore fucks." Hmmm, this is your own statement so have you become "hardcore fucks", because you do not use corpse paint anymore... confess!
-We are not "hardcore fucks" just because we no longer wear "corpse paint"! We stopped because in the U.S. too many focus on the image rather than what is important the music! Just because a band has corpse paint on it does make their music heavier. SUMMON started wearing corpse paint, because we did in MASOCHIST but once our music started developing into what SUMMON is! We did not want to be known for cool make up, etc. but known for making straight forward brutal chaos!
MASOCHIST; LUCIFER'S HAMMER... tell me more about these bands!
-They are bands I have been in! SUMMON started in '91 and split up in '92. I went to LUCIFER'S HAMMER and Necro. went to MASOCHIST! In early '94 I left L.H. and joined MASOCHIST! And in mid '95 Tchort left MASOCHIST, so we said "fuck it" we are going to dwell on the past and immediately focused our energy on recreating SUMMON!
I have seen some MASOCHIST-releases available... "Nocturnal practises" demo, "Fuck your god" 7"EP, and Moribund Recs advertised "Eve of Anti-creation" 7"EP (this song is found from SUMMON-demo and CD too!) and "Unholy fallen ways" CD as their upcoming releases... Tell me about these items, and what about those which were never released by Moribund, are they totally buried and forgotten, or maybe used by SUMMON?
-When I joined MASOCHIST, Tchort was the only song writter, so as soon as I had joined I was writting songs! "Eve..." was the 1st song I had written for MASOCHIST (and released under MASOCHIST) I had only written three songs while in MASOCHIST! The "Eve of Anti-creation" 7"EP was recorded in early'95 but has never been released! "Unholy Fallen Ways" was never recorded. The band split up with the controlling likes of Tchort and we used songs I had composed to bring SUMMON back from dead!
Count Akhkharu was your second guitarist for a while, but not anymore, why?
-Count Akhkharu is still in SUMMON!
"Fire Turns Everything...Black" demo was recorded only half a year earlier than debut CD "Dark Descent of Fallen Souls", there are three same songs on the releases, demo was recorded only two months after the demise of MASOCHIST and the songs were therefore MASOCHIST-songs ...why such a rush?
-We as a band where writting tons of songs, and like I said we did not want to dwell on the past, but rather build something for our future!
Grinding Peace Records has been helping you with the demo and CD, but now you are looking for a better label, what was wrong with the GPR? Did you invest your own money for the CD... or what was the deal like?
-Grinding Peace help us get manufacturing going! We paid for 100% of all costs, and GPR was supposed to pay us the half of our cost! They have sold out our CD and do not have our money! Fucking rip off!
Have any labels been interested in you already? What do you want to get from the label this time, big bucks perhaps?
-We have had some interest, but we aren't in it for the money! If we wanted to be rich we would play radio popcrap! We just want a label that will distribute us and maybe put us on tour!
Your music doesn't really excite me, it's just too dull in the long run, and I wonder what is your secret weapon to get a deal, what makes SUMMON so special that you deserve a deal... anything?
-Maybe we do not deserve a deal in your eyes, but that's your opinion!
I have seen some reviews praising your demo and CD, and you have even been compared with EMPEROR and IMMORTAL, do you agree with these reviews or do you think they are just ass-licking taken to the limit?
"Fire..." wasn't the first SUMMON-demo... you released "Devourer of Souls" demo in '92, but according to your own words, it was a poor effort without your own direction. What was the reason not to be able to make things work back then?
-We were young and inexperienced! Necro. and I were only serious members!
You get inspiration from the bands like e.g. PINK FLOYD; BEATLES; NIRVANA; THE DOORS; DAVID BOWIE;... what does that inspiration mean, are you gonna tribute them somehow because I think your music doesn't really sound even near of what they were/are doing? What about covering "Help" or "Absolute beginners", wouldn't that be a great change to get SUMMON on Billboard-chart?
-I draw musical influence from everything I hear! As long as it has feeling, that is all that matters!
"Polished BLASPHEMY - style black metal" is a description I saw in certain interview. I think it gives quite a good picture of your music, assuming that people even know BLASPHEMY (it isn't a Norwegian band, kids!), but your sound isn't that violent and you have even added some keyboard-stuff, so are you gonna change your stuff in the future, to add some synth to be like DIMMU BORGIR some day?
-No. Just straight forward hatered!
Could you give a sample of your lyrics, any certain topics you handle?
-"Life is just a dream. We all shall awaken soon, in nightly dreams, we dream of deaths, cold embrace the soul in black. I feel cold and numb, saving all your dreams. Your dreams for nothing. Pure and true..." "Reals of no Return"
What is the balance in your music, how important role the lyrics have, and do you think there is anything essential/ profound people should know?
In what circumstances your music and lyrics are born? Do you use to read Donald Duck, to watch "My sweet Satan" on VCR or probably push the cross to your ass to get the right feeling to create SUMMON-art?
-Music first, lyric's second! That's fucking stupid, grow the fuck up!
Do you use any kind of drugs, why?
-I use drugs to expand my mind! Because I feel like it!
Is it dangerous to play in a bm-band in Lansing? Does it mean you are like moving target to the religious fanatics, gangs that hate your music, or just an outcast of the society? Or do you even wear any kind of "metal-clothes", to avoid harms?
-No, just outcast of society. I wear all black every day and am cover neck to feet with dark and evil tattoos. So I do not hide!
Name at least two demo-level bands from the States you could recommend, and why they are recommendable? What about the scene in your area, any activity you could mention?
-CORPSE VOMIT, TOTAL FUCKING METAL and...
BEHERIT and IMPALED NAZARENE are among the bands you like, but what about other Finnish bands, can you name any other favourites from my country?
-I do not have time to hear bands from all over the planet.
How old are you, and how did you "join" the UG-scene?
-I am 22. I joined the underground in '91 when we started SUMMON! (Began doing mail)
Have you ever published any kind of mag.? Are you even interested in such activity? Warren Hately asked me in DARK MOON #4 that how do I feel when people say journalists are only failed musicians ... so I ask you, could it be that some musicians are failed journalists, what you think?
-N, I've never done any mag., maybe in the future but I have no time currently! I don't fucking care about failed journalists and failed musicians!
When did you hear BATHORY, MAYHEM and DARKTHRONE for the very first time, and did they possess you right away? BATHORY-stuff has varied a lot, so do you like all the stuff Quorthon has made, or some certain album(s) only?
-In '92, old BATHORY rules!
Tell me what the SUMMON-gig is like? You mentioned that SUMMON played at the International Metal festival, what was that fest. like, and with whom you played there?
-Total fucking mayhem, LUCIFER'S HAMMER, ANGELCOPSE, SABBATIC FEAST, 30 other bands!
According to your own words, the new material will crush all in its path, really? About 75% was written when you wrote me last time, are there any changes compared with the previous stuff ... anything at all?
-You don't care, so drop it!
To add some art of cookery, tell me what is a "Christ-burger" a'la SUMMON like?
Anything you'd like me to answer!?
-Do you hate all bands from U.S. and why did you even both writting me such ass nine questions!?-(Tommi): Hmmm, I don't hate all bands from U.S., I don't hate SUMMON either, I just didn't like your first releases. But I still wanted to introduce you. Some of my questions were provocative and even childish, but I expected you would answer them anyway. I was wrong, unfortunately!