Apr 062022


(In this new interview Comrade Aleks re-connected with Count Karnstein, frontman of the Finnish doom metal band Cardinals Folly, whose latest release is a split album that came out last month.)

I was sure that we did an interview with Cardinals Folly not that long ago, but I’ve checked and found – it was in 2015! So, in case you forgot, let me introduce them.

These blasphemous fidgets of doom from Helsinki have done their dirty black magic since 2007 (or 2004 if we take into account The Coven period) and truly succeed! Their first album Such Power Is Dangerous! (2011) and the following Our Cult Continues! (2014) were good examples of honest and traditional doom metal. There were a few hooks and a bunch of nice songs but I think that Cardinals Folly finally reached their own identity with Holocaust of Ecstasy & Freedom (2016).

The hard and boiling stuff of Deranged Pagan Sons (2017) was a natural development towards more savage and faster music, and Defying the Righteous Way (2020) was my album of the year if you prefer such categories. The band keep to their mark as an active and battleworthy outfit, and this time they’ve returnedd with a split-album with the American band Purification.

Count Karnstein (also known as Mikko Kääriäinen) found some time to tell us a few past and future secrets of Cardinals Folly! Continue reading »

Mar 222022


(This new interview by Comrade Aleks with vocalist/lyricist Pavel Vakhlakov from the Russian death metal band Chamber of Torture took place at a difficult time, with the invasion of Ukraine under way, but nonetheless becomes an extensive and engaging discussion about the band’s history and progress, including their 2022 album released by Svanrenne Music.)

Politics divide us, metal unites us. This death metal band from Saint Petersburg collaborated with both Russian and Ukrainian labels through its 12-year long career, and who could predict in which times their fifth album would be released? Svanrenne Music did it in late January, so here we have Phantasms of the Bedlamite, quite savage and technical death metal from members of Bodybag and Cenobite.

Honestly, it’s hard to focus just on musical themes today, so I prefer to give the floor to Chamber of Torture’s vocalist Pavel Vakhlakov. Continue reading »

Mar 172022

Music videos can be entertaining to watch when they are well-made, even when they don’t have any deep connection (or sometimes any connection at all) to the music they accompany. But in those rare instances when they do connect, each aspect of the art can enhance the other, the sights and sounds intertwining to create a more powerful and emotionally involving experience than if each were experienced separately. We have one of those rarities to share with you today.

The song is “Lake of Memories“, and it brings the listener to the culmination of a story that unfolds across the fifth concept album created by the Serbian experimental black metal project MRTVI (that genre description isn’t really adequate, but it would be equally inadequate to concoct some other short-hand descriptor). Entitled The ExiZentialist, the album is now set for release on June 14th by Life Is A Dream Records.

All of MRTVI‘s albums have been rooted in the experiences and thinking of their solo creator, Damjan Stefanović, but this new one is even more autobiographical, inspired by his own experience of being uprooted long ago from his homeland, transported for many years to another country (the UK, where he began MRTVI), and much more recently returning to the country of his birth. Continue reading »

Mar 162022

(These days when most of us think of Russia we have negative thoughts (to put it mildly) based on the vicious invasion of Ukraine. But the participants in this interview — our friend Comrade Aleks and Vlad Tatarsky from the Russian bands Sönma and Crust — have no love for what is being done by a dictator in the name of the Russian people. Their words and the music are still worth our time.)

Sönma is the drone/doom project of Roman Romanov (drums, vocals, effects) and Vlad Tatarsky (guitars, effects). You know them better as members of the death-doom/sludge band Crust, also from Veliky Novgorod.

We started this interview with Vlad in late January and things went slow, but everything changed after the 24th of February and we were in shock knowing nothing about what to do with this interview. Vlad asked me to find some right words for this forword, but I don’t have any right words now, just a feeling that Sönma’s albums Terra and Ether channel this sense of catastrophe precisely. Continue reading »

Mar 152022

(What we have here is Comrade Aleks‘ extensive interview with two members of the Finnish band Saatue, whose first release under that name came in 2004 and whose latest album (their fourth) was released last October.)

I got in touch with Tero Kalliomäki because of his involvement in Yearning, a Finnish melodic doom band which was active from 1994 until the premature death of its founder Juhani Palomäki in 2010. We spoke about Yearning as part of a short interviews’ series for Doom Metal Lexicanum II, but I kept in mind that Tero also performed guitars and keyboards in the authentic death-doom outfit Saattue since 2004. “Authentic death-doom”! They call it “Saattoo Metal” and the fourth album in this style, Vain Toinen Heistä, was released DIY in October 2021.

It’s strange to do interviews in times like this, but it makes sense and helps to keep at least an illusion of “normality”. The answers were provided by Tero Kalliomäki himself with some help from the band’s bass-player Samu Lahtinen. Continue reading »

Mar 092022


(In a couple of weeks from now Sweden’s Grand Harvest will release their debut album, and in a timely move Comrade Aleks caught up with them for the following interview.)

Armageddon, the End of Mankind, Luciferian Gnosis, Death – that’s how Metal-Archives sum up the lyrical themes of Grand Harvest. This band was formed in Sweden in 2017 by five men who gained experience playing in different local bands. This time they gathered under the death metal genre but a few years passed and Grand Harvest’s sound mutated in something different, bringing in certain doom metal influences and some less obvious blackened echoes.

Their debut album Consummatum Est is to be released on March 25th, and we hurried to organize the interview with this band right in time. Continue reading »

Mar 082022

photo by Sebastian Apel

(The Danish quartet Konvent have a new album named Call Down the Sun that’s set for release by Napalm Records on March 11th, and so the timing is good for us to present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of the band’s bassist Heidi Withington Brink.)

Danish Konvent managed to shock the public in January 2020, when Napalm loudly presented the band’s first album Puritan Masochism. Being one of the very few death-doom bands with only ladies in the line-up, Konvent drew attention with their tense, powerful delivery and the absolutely infernal growls of Rikke Emilie List.

The pandemic interrupted their glorious take-off, and another band might have given up in such a situation but not Konvent. You probably saw their videos for the new songs ‘Grains’ and ‘Pipe Dreams’, and of course you know that Napalm announced that the second Konvent album Call Down the Sun is to be released on the 11th of March. And as that date fast approaches here we have a talk with the band’s bass-player Heidi Withington Brink. Continue reading »

Feb 172022


(Comrade Aleks has brought us his interview with Eero Pöyry from the Finnish funeral-doom lords Skepticism.)

Skepticism has been a funeral-style standard for 30 years. Founded in Riihimäki, Kanta-Häme, in 1991, the band personifies an integral element of the funeral doom scene, its sound essential, its image flawless. And I see no problem regarding the relatively short Skepticism discography. Their latest album Companion (released by Svart Records in September 2021) is the sixth full-length in their list, but look – I have a feeling that they are always here.

The band’s presence is constant. You know what to expect from them, yes, and it… soothes. Each of their albums is like a part of a journey through a forest: You can walk this or another path listening to different albums, but “the forest” is the same and yet different. But I don’t see a reason to further waste our time with metaphors. Here’s the interview we started with Eero Pöyry (keyboards), let’s say, some time ago. It took some time to complete it, but it’s now a good, actual thing. Here we meet in shadow of (our pale) Companion. Continue reading »

Feb 082022


(Comrade Aleks has brought us the following great interview with two members of the Lithuanian band Sullen Guest, whose latest album was released in February 2021 and who have a new EP on the near horizon.)

There aren’t many doom metal bands in the Baltic region, and Sullen Guest are one of very few representatives of the genre in Lithuania. I guess you’ll find everything you could imagine about death-doom in any of their releases. It’s all about misery, death, despair, and doom as well.

The band had enough time to grow, and nowadays they are far from the point where they started seven years ago with their first EP Will You Greet the Sullen Guest as an Old Friend? With the new album Chapter III (Metallurg Music, 2021) they turn to be even more bitter and desperate as their musical palette has become more saturated and expressive.

Sullen Guest’s founder Tenebra (guitars) and Inanitas (vocals, guitars), who joined the band in 2019, reveal details of the band’s new EP in this fantastic interview. Continue reading »

Feb 042022


(In this interview Comrade Aleks spoke with fellow St. Petersburg resident Vitaly Belobritsky, a founder as well as vocalist/guitarist of the Russian band Psilocybe Larvae, whose newest album (their fifth) was released last December.)

Psilocybe Larvae turned out to be a constant element of Saint Petersburg’s metal underground. Being formed in 1996 on the Baltic shores of Vyborg, they relocated to the Russian “Northern capital” soon and firmly established there. Usually they tagged their music as “melodic death doom” but they were always different genres in-between.

Psilocybe Larvae developed from album to album and if you compare, let’s say, Stigmata (2000) and The Labyrinth of Penumbra (2012), you’ll find both a lot of common ground and a lot of differences. It’s always a pain in the ass to categorize Psilocybe Larvae’s material, but it’s the last thing they care about, and that’s the right attitude indeed.

The band’s only remaining founding member Vitaly Belobritsky celebrated Psilocybe Larvae’s 25th anniversary with the release of their fifth album Where Silence Dwells in late 2021, and for me, as always, it’s easier to talk with the music’s author than to waste my time trying to explain an author’s  intentions. Continue reading »