(Today our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks brings us Part 2 of a six-part series in which he puts the same five questions to doom bands from around the world, and introduces us to their music at the same time.)
Sometimes I use this unpopular “quiz” format because there are too many interesting bands that I would like to bring to light, and in my opinion it’s a good way to spread some news and to get new points of view on a few issues (including even some political questions). The list of questions I put to the bands is below:
1. What is the band’s latest news and what are your plans for the near future?
2. What do we get (in the broadest sense) from the release of your last album?
3. What is the best response that your band has ever received?
4. What role does the church (or any other religious organization) play in your life or (let’s take it wider) in the life of the heavy scene? Is there any spiritual, religious, or antireligious component in your songs?
5. What does the Media in your country tell about the situation in Ukraine? And how do you see that situation? Some people from other countries have asked me strange questions about Russia’s policy, and let me say that I have a few friends in Ukraine and my colleagues have relatives there, and believe me, there’s no media in ANY country that is showing the problem as it really is. We can watch as the Cold War turns into real warfare.
Today, we bring the answers to these questions from Doomed (Germany), Ethereal Riffian (Ukraine), Frailty (Latvia), Mournful Gust (Ukraine), and My Shameful (Finland).
Pierre (all instruments, vocals)
1. Doomed have just released their third album Our Ruin Silhouettes via Solitude Productions. With this album Doomed made a significant step toward character formation — Doom Death in uncompromising manner. In the last months the Live Crew played concerts in Germany, Latvia (Antithesis IV w/ with Esoteric, Isole, Procession and Frailty), and the Netherlands (Dordrecht Doom Day IV /w Loss, Worship, Ataraxia, and others).
As for the future, we are planning further concerts, for example, in November in Germany, along with bands like Ophis and Marche Funèbre, and in December with Officium Triste and Suffer Yourself. Also the next From Dusk Till Doom in Belgium is planned.
A very cool thing will be the vinyl release of Our Ruin Silhouettes in the fall via Wretched Records from the USA. The album will include a bonus track and come as a hand-numbered limited edition. It will be a two-color double-LP with a gatefold cover and special artwork, maybe with additional printed material as well. I am really looking forward to it! All in all: There is plenty to do and prepare.
2. Well, in the first place, once more I could stomp again with my feet on the ground. Doomed has matured and grown, both musically and concerning the content of the music. That’s the main thing. You have to remember that it is quite a young project, but always in the vein of the old school. Due to the fact that the album Our Ruin Silhouettes has just been released, what has happened recently is not too much. Until now? Very good reviews and good reactions from people. This is of course very valuable! The implementation of some of the upcoming live shows will contain more material from Our Ruin Silhouettes. So this will be another opportunity for us to show how much potential lies in the new material. Everything else comes with the time. First, the album must make the rounds. Then we’ll see. I hope this answered your question a little bit?
3. The greatest feedback so far has been the attention of the people in front of stage and their reaction, everywhere we have been. We have not yet enabled Doomed with many concerts, but it has been very great! Concentrated listeners, people who can let themselves go. It’s also great when someone is there who knows the songs. It is the direct contact, the moment in which you can share your feelings and you can see them being understood. That’s it. For me, this is not self-evident but nevertheless essential. Why? Because Doomed is no show Band! The character of a one-man doom project takes shape as a very intense live character. Then there are 4 people who interpret that. It’s always very close to the album, yet with its own individuality! I love that! Albums are one thing, but when I stand on stage and can look people directly in the eyes, then you can be sure that I speak an unmistakable language. Once I was also very happy to see a review that distinguished The Ancient Path (2012) as one of the most brilliant Doom-Death-Albums of all time. Speaking only for himself — no one knew the album at that time. Something like that is a great honor to me!
4. I personally condemn the idea of “many as one”! People retreat from their identity to live for a cause. They give up themselves and become the tools of others. I get anxious when I observe the institutional religious communities and see them acting — without exception, all! I condemn religious fanaticism of all kinds, I think it’s narrow-minded and stupid! Sometimes I’m pissed even more by the inconspicuous! The people who do not even have the guts to speak up! But the presumption of being right in all things, that’s the worst! It makes them blind! Every time you ask people explicit questions or confront them with unpleasant things, they close themselves and become cowards. Or they feel besieged and freak out! They all have this in common, these religious “Superman” organizations. Fuck this!
Sometimes the really big suddenly try to be open-minded, ha, my ass! They fear only one thing: that the financial base will break! This is no different than in politics! The Spirit? Just an excuse to make a tool to make people docile. For some this is done gradually, others do it with pure violence and fear as a legitimate means. I’m not a goddamn pacifist, not a do-gooder, but also not a radical. But sometimes some things make me very very angry! Of course I use these themes in my songs. But not in direct speech. That would be too simple. Nevertheless, if you listen closely in the corresponding song or re-read the words, it is very easy to understand what I’m getting at.
I’m not ready to always be tolerant and to allow everyone their antics! Nevertheless, I don’t run a personal war against all religious people. But I would ask for independent and un-influenced thinking! Every time I see the innocent being affected, whether by their culture or their family, when they don’t have the chance to form their own free will, then the anger grabs me! If you have your spirit, ok, carry it with you! Maybe there are some supernatural things out there. The universe is a fucking mystery! But spare us all your hypocritical, opinionated, and manipulative epidemics!
The key message is therefore the following: Anti-Institutionality? Yes, definitely! My thinking reflects exactly what I have seen and what I have experienced. Religious themes as such in my songs? No! But the reflections of our actions…what we do characterizes our silhouettes. War is a big issue, and the war with ourselves and other personalities. War — it’s not about resources, it’s religious institutionally based. Which brings us straight to the next question.
5. I Think the German media cheat wherever they can! They are extremely one-sided and have 100% purchased content! It is totally fucked up! What the citizens will eat and swallow, that is what they will be served, with breathtaking speed and the intention to inhibit any thought process! For a long time the decadence and indifference of high politics (and the politicians are only submissive whores of the industry – we all know that) have reached a new level. It is very well thought-out, to ensure that the “normal” citizens are immobilized. Radio and television are controlled and used with a lot of calculus. You don’t have to suffer from delusions of persecution to be convinced of this.
You’re a dud when you believe everything that’s served to you here! Wars and civil wars are not decided by the normal people. The people are there to burn! Of course, even in Ukraine people die in the middle of the “civilized and modern” world. This is unacceptable! No doubt! Each fights for his rights. But what exactly is the background? Who can exactly explain that? And who tells us exactly the means by which rights are being fought over and in whose interests the fight is waged? Obviously, no one seems credible! In the local news, unimportant scandals take up more space than what is happening in Ukraine or any other war-torn country. That’s the truth!
A few days ago it appeared that even bombs had begun falling in Ukraine — but nothing about it in our news! Not relevant. There has always been only one at fault. That’s the only thing you hear all the time. Meanwhile, billions are raked in by various fronts. Countries are degraded into porkers by war! Citizens will be made compliant with suggestive, colorful media garbage in deafening volume. That’s what I think, and hardly anyone could really overlook it.
I have a small amount of contact with someone in Ukraine, but he also does not know what is happening and who the puppet masters are. All this is really sick shit! And what happens in other countries? In Africa, thousands hack each other to pieces! No one shows any interest… Fortunately, there are people who are not influenced so quickly, people who still think. Don’t give in!
Ethereal Riffian (Ukraine)
Val (guitars, vocals) and Alexander (bass)
1. Val: We, like everyone who participated in releasing our second album Aeonian, have done a tremendous amount of work. In addition to the CDs, which were made available on the 20th of January on Mulligore Production, Nasoni Records released the vinyl version of the album with a soft-cover book in the beginning of March. At the end of March, Tartarus Records released Aeonian tapes with an exclusive design. We also worked a lot on exclusive merch for our fans. This work was completed only in the beginning of May, and you can see the results on our Bandcamp page.
As for our plans — we’re preparing for a European tour at the moment and writing material for the new album. We plan to start recording it next year.
2. Val: Satisfaction and confidence that we have chosen a right direction. More than 40 positive reviews and mentions about our album have only strengthened our aspirations and undertakings.
Alexander: Deep realization of the truth that “The more I know, the more I do not know” and, of course, priceless experience.
3. Val: It’s difficult to tell it right away as there were so many of them. However, I can recollect that Evan Mugford wrote a really in-depth review for metal-observer.com. Not only did he listen to the album attentively, he has also read the book. And this is the best way to perceive our creative work.
“As an album, Aeonian is unique; gentle and thunderous, each song beats with the heart of the very best of the stoner-doom pedigree. As a book, Aeonian is a labor of love. As an entire work of art, I sincerely doubt that I’ll find another composition that’s even remotely as ambitious or as rewarding. An experience that beckons you to open your eyes – all three of them.”
4. Val: Currently, no religious structures play a role in the life of our band nor in the lives of other bands whose members are my acquaintances. Speaking about the spiritual part, this is a completely different question. I think you might have heard a phrase, “Where religion ends, spirituality begins.” True spirituality is inside each of us; it is our inseparable part. All one has to do is to make an attempt to open up this part of life for oneself. This is what one of the messages of our band is aimed at. Take a very attentive look inside, be more alert to what is happening around you, develop critical thinking, and restore the balance between oneself and the world. We only give the keys to what can be, in different measures, found in each of us.
5. Val: It’s great that you have put this question this way – “how do you see”. Because only a few people know the real state of affairs. Even fewer know what the future holds. It’s plain to see that Ukraine was dragged into the events that have the potential to reload the whole civilized world created by man. Taking into consideration the geographic, historical, and resource value of Ukraine, it wasn’t difficult to forecast that such events would sooner or later start happening here. Here are some examples: the prophet from Bulgaria – Vanga – often mentioned Ukraine in her prophecies, a notorious Insider predicted in 2008 that Ukraine would be eventually split into two countries, a Russian film director Alexander Sokurov foresaw tragic events in Ukraine in the year 2008, just like the Insider. In addition to that, Vladislav Krivobokov created a video in 2012, where he described a hypothetical scenario of a civil war in Ukraine. Though the motives and informational basis for such statements were all different for all the above-mentioned people, what general conclusion can we make? Only one — that a lot of attentive people knew that very soon some dramatic events would take place in this country.
How do I see it? I’m convinced that it isn’t something that happened by chance. Unfortunately, it’s an episode that continues to repeat throughout history with dismaying frequency. We — the people — were used, are being used, and we will be used as a brainless biomaterial until we get a little bit smarter. We really need to get smarter and stop being afraid, otherwise it will keep happening over and over again.
As for the Media — everybody lies. These propaganda machines launched in Russia, Ukraine, the US, and Europe will do everything to meet the goals of their “Hidden Hand” masters, while we will kill each other for nothing. Because it is only simple people like you and me, or like an old granny who sells tomatoes to earn a living — who suffer in such situations. They have suffered before and they still suffer. It’s much easier to consume some stupid call-to-action heard on the TV screen and raise arms on your friend, brother, or neighbor than to try to look in the root of the problem and see the true villain.
Unfortunately, I don’t know a single reliable and objective source of information. The main problem of the Media is that it doesn’t tell about events. They change the event itself completely, its objective reality, with a ready emotional attitude to the event. So, in the guise of information, you are being offered to consume a ready-made emotional pattern, which effortlessly penetrates into your brain, and into your system of beliefs. It is this pattern that forms your attitude. Do you want to receive such patterns from third parties who think only about their immeasurable egos? I wouldn’t advise you to, wherever these third parties may originate from.
I don’t want to end this interview in such a way, that’s why I want to wish you happiness and mindfulness in these restless times. Don’t let anyone take serenity from your mind and truth from your heart. Be peaceful, be still.
Edmunds Vizla (guitar, vocals)
1. We are working on our next album. Hopefully, it will be ready by the end of this year. The release dates will follow after that. For this summer, we plan to participate in 2 festivals, and that’s all for the live shows for this year.
2. Our album Melpomene (2012) won the Latvian Metal Music Awards by being voted as the Best Album of 2012. Also, Frailty was voted the Best Latvian Metal Band of 2012. Also, back in 2012, Melpomene was named The Album of the Month by prominent internet portal Doom-Metal.com.
3. The best response has always come from our fans at live shows, especially from our dear neighbors, the Lithuanians.
4. I am a church-going Christian, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. The rest of the guys in Frailty are quite skeptical about religion, but we never have any conflicts about the subject. Frailty as a band is definitely without any religious affiliation, because religion is a very personal thing and it really cannot be mixed with contemporary rock or metal music. If you want to listen to religious music, try ancient Gregorian or Byzantine chanting. Those might be the finest examples of spirituality in music. If some religious symbols are used in our lyrics, they are used in an appropriate manner, symbolically, to illustrate some things more strongly. No one can deny that religious symbolism is a very powerful and meaningful thing that can speak to us both emotionally and spiritually. The heavy scene in general still suffers at some point from the trivial position of hatred towards the religion, and this is caused mainly by ignorance about the subject they are trying to criticize.
5. Media tells all the recent news about the subject. Frailty as a band has no political thoughts. I can only say that I wish that the fighting would come to an end and peace may be restored.
Mournful Gust (Ukraine)
Vladislav Shahin (vocals)
1. I wouldn’t name it the «latest» news, but the core of the question is understandable. The most important event is, without any doubt, release of our third album For All The Sins in September 2013.
At the moment we are preparing a special album release especially for Mournful Gust fans under the title If We Were ALIVE. We have recorded the first album in the live on format in the history of the national metal scene. This format implies no editing, overdubs, or other studio sound magic. This is how the band really sounds during rehearsals and concert shows.
The recorded material is planned to be released on CD this autumn on one of the Russian labels and will include 10 compositions, which cover the whole 15-year history of the band. We have also show video material and are now working hard on creating another film, in which you will be able to watch some of our songs played live, monologues of musicians, and production scenes.
You can also expect a digital single for the song “Let The Music Cry” from Mournful Gust. Unlike the above mentioned If We Were ALIVE, this single will be interesting not only for Mournful Gust’s audience, not only for doom metal fans, but also for all metal fans in general…
2. As far as I understand, the question considers For All The Sins album. It has shown the direction of our musical development, which appeals to us as to a creative collective. The fact that almost a year has passed and it is still not noticed, doesn’t disappoint us. I am confident that the time of this album has not come yet. Of course, thanks to this album, we have extended our audience, since our music is being heard not only by doom or death metal fans. That is why it is hard for me to characterize the music of Mournful Gust with any stylistic terms. No, For All The Sins has made no revolution, it is an ordinary rock album, but it allowed us to reveal the emotional colour of Mournful Gust’s music, which we couldn’t express fully on the previous two albums.
3. We do not pay attention to the feedbacks, even the most positive ones, because the best feedbacks are the way people visit our shows, react to Mournful Gust’s music, buy our CDs. I think these are the best reactions, not reviews or comments. The latter are only words, which will vanish with time. At the expense of everything, our new album gathers not the best reviews, though with inspiring words, but the biggest number of reviewers tend to have neutral thoughts about our album. As mentioned before, I do think that the time for For All The Sins has not come yet. That is why I recommend that everyone who reads these lines now listen to this CD and create his or her own palette of thoughts.
4. We do not have any religious message in our pieces. Of course, we do embody some spiritual values, but it is all veiled to reach a more intimate atmosphere of our music. During 15 years of our being on stage we have experienced neither support, nor persecution or conviction. Our position lies in non-intruding and we do not propagandize anything. Thus, neither united religion, nor any other spiritual practice, has suppositions of paying attention to Mournful Gust.
5. Of course, we are upset and worry about what is happening in our country. It is not the thing, why each of us was born and lives here. We could expect anything, up to the nuclear catastrophe, but not the events we are watching now. The theme is very present-day and I wouldn’t like to be another pseudo-strategist, crushed by an insane propagandistic machine. As for mass media, it is the most dangerous and effectively poisonous weapon of mass intoxication for modern man. And for such a man, it is highly important not only to see and to hear, but learn to see and hear in the right way, being as adequate and cautious in conclusions as possible. And I do hope that one day such antisocial events as imposing ideology, seeding panics, and zombing will be also subjected to persecution.
My Shameful (Finland)
Sami Rautio (vocals, guitars, keyboards)
1. Well, we’re going to record our 6th full-length album this year, and do a split with Aphonic Threnody.
2. Penance was a good step forward and a good wake-up call from 5 years of hibernation.
3. Some of the reviews have been hilarious. And the gig at the Doom Shall Rise Festival 2007 in Germany!
4. I have no relationship with the church. I oppose all organized religion. I have no spirituality, there is only the Now and the Here.
5. Well, it’s a very mixed message, can’t say that I follow it very closely though. Politics gives me high blood pressure…