It is already unnecessary to highlight Polish extreme metal scene in general, every true maniac knows numbers of great Polish names. PANDEMONIUM is not a name that would be explicitly well-known in our country, so I think that even most of you reading this editorial haven’t met with this powerful name. Of course the band is drowned in the dark muddy waters of the old School Death / Black Metal with a strong atmosphere. They have released already three full-length albums, two demos and the promo due to whom I sent questions which were answered by guitarist Mark. PANDEMONIUM is currently focused on recording the new album.
Greetings, could you first introduce PANDEMONIUM? Why have you once changed your band name to DOMAIN and then back to PANDEMONIUM?
M. Hell(O), mate! I guess some guys from Czech Republic are familiar with our music but let me just say a few words. We are a metal horde from Poland, music we perform some call dark or satanic dark metal. Anyway, we derive from death, black, doom and thrash metal. Now, after 20 years of Pandemonium existence we have a stable and great line-up. So there is Paul, guitarist and vocalist and he is the founder of Pandemonium band and the only member of the primary line-up. There is also Michael - bass player, master of the headbangers on a stage. Another member is Simon, drums pulverizing maniac, crazy bastard in all aspects. At last there’s me, the second guitarist and occasionally in charge of creating intros, samples and other ritual symphonic stuff. I must mention our "fifth member", godfather, mentor and manager - Greg from Godz ov War Productions. He takes care of us and runs all the marketing and promo actions. Concerning the band name - "Devilri" and "The Ancient Catatonia" success caused turbulences in guys’ relations, there were some discussions between Pandemonium’s founders and finally Paul was forced to change the name for Domain. There must be something magical in the Pandemonium’s name, because, although Domain released some good stuff, it wasn’t as popular as Pandemonium. Anyway, some time passed and favorable circumstances allowed Paul and the new horde to go back to the former name.
Currently you are going to release your fourth "Misanthropy" album. Can we expect typical blasphemous ride in a classic PANDEMONIUM style? Will be there also some significant changes opposite previous albums?
M. I think it would be boring to record another album which sounds like the previous one. This time we felt like we want to create something more climatic, dark and haunted. Of course, this is still Pandemonium style but with quite a different atmosphere. "Hellspawn" was brutal, furious, death&roll like album, "Misantrophy" will be more ritual, with many black metal influences - but music should be rather listened to than spoken about, I believe that the maniacs of black art won't be disappointed.
Last year you have released 2 songs promo stuff with nine video songs in a very nice digital version under Godz ov War prods. What the promo was destined for and met it what you have expected?
M. "Hellspawn" was released three years ago and we have been working on "Misantrophy" for two years now. We figured out that it could be a good idea to prepare fans and the underground media for a new album by releasing a promotional EP in a meantime. By the way, we were looking for a new label - such a digipack could help us in finding one and it did, we signed contract with Pagan Records. Moreover - two new tracks on "Promo 2010" can be treated like a collectional stuff for fans - "Misanthropy" will contain quite different versions of those tracks.
Your way of Death Metal is negative, dark, and obscure with great composition and even better leads! It seems your music is based on a good composition, leads and atmosphere...
M. I should thank you for these words, I'll tell you a secret - we don't compose songs in a regular way, you know, notes, scales, rules in making music. We don't care for that stuff. We just wait for the right moment, take instrument into the hand and start playing. And when I start playing I can tell after a few riffs if it is going to be a good song. When talking about atmosphere, in my opinion it is the most important thing in this kind of metal music. And the most important thing is that it has to release something in your soul.
Generally the Polish bands play mostly blasphemous Death Metal or Death / Black and like you, with well-done composition, leads and the like. By what do you think it's given? Is it something you have in your blood or it may be due to political and religious situation in Poland? Eg. here in our country we have only a minimum of bands that compose so great and I do not say about leads..
M. You're not right, there are loads of fantastic bands in Czech Republic and I suppose all the slovian nations have a huge potential to make a great, touching music because of our melancholic and romantic souls. The only problem is that it's very hard to promote your band, especially when you just have started. You must be a lucky bastard to become popular and well known in metal underground. While observing situation in West Europe, in Scandinavia or USA, it seems to be much easier over there. The majority of well known bands don't need to work full-time to make ends meet; they have managers and can just focus on making music and touring.
You mentioned the darkest forms of metal music and their blasphemous satanic incent. We love this atmosphere, dark, antireligious sound, we are all rebels. If you don't rebel, you don't live. I think in Poland a lot of young people are fed up with the catholic religion that wants to influence on every aspect of life and forces people to live by its twisted morality. Metal is a form of rebellion and a philosophy, which expresses freedom and free will. Anyway, it's ridiculous that in XXI century we still feel like in medieval ages and meet with religious censure.
How are you looking at your gradual development? Can you see a big difference between the first demos and stuff you are about to release? Is your progress intentional or natural?
M. I guess we all develop ourselves in every gig, every rehearsal. It's natural; on the one hand we can use all the recording studio technologies and sound processing stuff. On the other hand we are still learning. We are more and more confident what we want to play and so we are returning to the core of Pandemonium style and its majesty which contains all the essention of oldschool black and death metal.
Which your album do you regard as the best so far, if you can do it at all in terms of composer? How do you perceive your work? Is it difficult to depersonalize yourself from it and to evaluate it?
M. Hah, I am sure no band would answer this question straightforward. I tell you this way: some parents have many kids and they love each one equally strong. Following this example, every album is different; every album has something to show in its various style, atmosphere and message. We live, observe life and its aspects, experience reality. Music we create is determined by all these situations and our current feelings. I think it's good when you surprise people in a positive way, recurrence is boring and with no future.
How are individual PANDEMONIUM tracks created? Who brings the most ideas and how much is the rest of the band involved in writing process? Are you a stickler for details of individual tracks, or you allowing it to flow free assembly and let the song in the final version as soon as you complete it?
M. Every one of us has lots of ideas and brings fantastic riffs or patters to the rehearsal room. Practically, we share our ideas recording them on home computers and sending via Internet. If everyone likes it, we continue making the song in a natural way. Obviously most of the riffs are made by me or Paul. Michael and Simon can feel free to create rhythm section.
On your second "The Zonei" album you have used drum machine. Why this happened? Seems to me in Poland there are many great drummers. Was it difficult to find someone at that time? Don’t you regret this step from today's perspective?
M. It was a strange time, just after reactivation of Pandemonium, Paul was looking for new musicians, there was a problem with finding a drummer and Paul also had an idea to make an experiment with electronic drums and samples. It was my debut in making music this way, although I made some electronic ambient and dark wave stuff at home before. I guess electronic drums were controversial for many people but we reached the main point - we created dark, magic and ritual atmosphere and even today lots of fans ask us if we are going to record this kind of stuff again. Answering your question, we would repeat this experiment but with more money and time so we could improve the sound.
With PANDEMONIUM name are associated several Polish bands like DOMAIN, HAZAEL, IMPERATOR, HOLY TRINITY ... do you think it is possible some of these bands could revive someday?
M. Actually Domain was the other face of Pandemonium. Concerning other bands, I am confident that if they reactivated, many metal fans would be thrilled. Those bands were fantastic hordes, but you know, prose of life, earning a living, families and other situations disallow bands to exist anymore. But life is full of surprises…
I can not overlook your lyrics often deal also with Sumerian - Babylonian mythology or magic, you have used an image of Pazuzu on your last promo. What does attract you on this subject? Who is the author of lyrics?
M. It's completely in Paul's competence. He is very keen of ancient mythologies especially ancient Sumer. I can say, Sumerian symbols and mythology is a specific hallmark of Pandemonium band. It is a very interesting matter, indeed. Did you know that most of catholic beliefs had its source in Sumerian books? So there were older demons and gods than Christian ones.
Who is more deeply interested in the Sumerian civilization he certainly met with "ancient astronauts”, which should be named Annunaki, or Nephilims. What is your attitude to this subject? Have you read any books by Zecharia Sitchin?
M. Yes, I met with Zecharia’s Earth Chronicles when I was young and fascinated with occultism, demonology and black magic. I found it fascinating, but later I found out that a huge part of his chronicles was just author's fiction and random interpretations of historical books. Zecharia was a very smart writer and nowadays we can meet with plenty of theories claiming that human race came from cosmos, nevertheless it's hard to believe in most of his thesis, as acclaimed by scientist as incorrect.
Are you interested also in banned and deprecated Necronomicon book? Many people believe this work is related to the Sumerian culture, as in Simon's edition are references to ancient Sumerian deities and demons. What do you think?
M. Of course, the first time I met with this book many years ago, it was impossible to get Necronomicon in Poland. There was no Internet so people kept sending letters to their friends in USA requesting for the copies. This book is strictly relevant to Lovecraft's prose, one of my favorite horror writers. Those forgotten stories have a huge influence on Paul's lyrics as archetypes of Good and Evil in human nature. Actually it doesn't matter if there is more fiction than facts. We've got a clear base to consider human apprehensions and primal fears.
Which other topics you like to discuss in your lyrics? Do you think music should embody the lyrics component and vice versa?
M. We touch dark ground of human nature, philosophy and also ancient legends and beliefs as we discussed before. I believe in individuals not subordinated masses. That's why our Satanism in music is expressed by the essention of Nietzsche or Schopenhauer philosophy. We despise religions which try to direct your mentality for their own profits giving instead a fairytale of the eternal heaven. Sorry, there is no heaven; hell is here in human mind and reality. The only meaning of life is life itself and human being with its experiences and feelings.
It is evident you are large metal underground votaries; can you mention what other activities beside PANDEMONIUM you do?
M. Unfortunately, or not, we have lots of personal activities, we have families, regular jobs and social lives. I am very keen of computer games, gym, movies and lots of other things, I love spending free time with my wonderful wife who is also my best friend. Paul is maniac of fishing and his baby daughter, Michael is a regular party boy, Simon's hobby is drums, he can train many hours a day. I wish the day had more hours…
What about your live shows? How often do you play and which bands you've already played with, or would you like to play? Do you have any special requirements for live gigs?
M. We feel like a gig machine and enjoy playing every possible gig; sometimes unfortunately the organisator can't provide us with basic stuff like money for travel, sleeping place, food, etc. We hate it, but it happens in Poland. We love live shows and play anyway. Last year, thanks to Greg, we expanded our scenography and now you can enjoy the show that fits our music. Sounds, smoke, lights and satanic scenery is making one dark, atmospheric performance. When you listen to the music at home your imagination works, when you come to the gig you deserve a fucking performance .That’s what you can expect from Pandemonium gigs. Just search for our newest videos on YouTube. We played with many fantastic bands on various prestigious festivals. We will always remember awesome performances with Slayer, Samael, Behemoth, Incantation or Celtic Frost.
Ok, it would be all from me, if I forgot something, you can add message or some info for the fans, thank you for the interview and wish PANDEMONIUM only the best for the future, Kakkamu Selah!
M. Thank you, mate! Best fucking regards to the readers and all metal fans, meet us on MySpace and Facebook profiles and hopefully on the gigs! IAA ZI IAA ZI ASAKU MARSUTI!
PANDEMONIUM - HORDE
Paul - gitara, wokal
Mark - gitara
Michael - gitara basowa
Simon - perkusja
PANDEMONIUM - CONTACT
MANAGEMENT - CONTACT
PANDEMONIUM - DISCOGRAPHY
1991 - Rehearsal - tape [self released]
1992 - Devilri - tape [Carnage Records]
1993 - The Ancient Catatonia - tape/CD [Baron Records]
2001 - Devilri/The Ancient Catatonia/bonus live tracks - CD [Apocalypse Productions]
2004 - Devilri/Live in S`thrash`yd³o `91 - CD [Apocalypse Productions]
2004 - The Zonei - CD [Mystic Productions]
2007 - Hellspawn - CD [Mystic Productions]
2010 - Promo 2010 - limited DigiCD [Godz Ov War Productions]
2010 - Devilri - limited 12”LP [Godz Ov War Productions/Hellshop]
DOMAIN - DISCOGRAPHY
1995 - Pandemonium - tape [Morbid Noizz Productions]
1999 -…from Oblivion - CD [Apocalypse Productions]
2002 - Gat Etemmi - CD [Apocalypse Productions]
Mark 28. 5. 2011 Mortuary