AZARATH belong to the most shining names in Poland, in my view they play a very orthodox, uncompromising and destructive music full of aggression, springing darkness and top musical performances with precise composition. Their music has own satanic atmosphere and takes aggressive maneuver on every holy thing. Till now the band announced five studio albums in its rich discography, and the last "Blasphemer's Malediction" seems to me like most matured and in all aspects most sophisticated album with solos which push you to grab a shotgun and attach the barrel to your temporal. The band is built on the ruins of DAMNATION, another iconic and memorable band of high level, but every detail you will learn from the following interview. Answers were written by black soul, guitarist Bart.
Hell-o, what's up in AZARATH camp? What are you currently most concentrated to? It seems Polish extreme bands never idle and there is always something going on around them...
Hi there! Currently we slowly work on new riffs and songs, but not in rush. We just got confirmation for Polish Metalfest 2013, 22 of June in Jaworzno, Poland so we have to prepare for this show.
Your last brilliant “Blasphemer's Malediction” album is the pinnacle of your work to me; even I would say top of the Polish extreme scene. What is your look at your last album and what the way can you see it opposite your other works?
Thanks! Of course we consider “Blasphemer's Maledictions” as our best work. We always give 100% to our releases and we are satisfied of all of them. But we evolve as a band and as composers so since primal brutality of the debut album we evolve in much more atmospheric and dark efforts in our songs. But we still keep speed, heaviness and brutality. Of course one more reason for such sound of our latest album is new vocalist, Necrosodom, whose voice has much more abilities than Bruno, so we used wide spectrum of vocals.
It seems you came to AZARATH after DAMNATION’s split-up. What happened with DAMNATION band? Why do they broken up? Do you think there is any chance they will ever put back together?
I joined Azarath forces in 2000. It was bad time in Damnation at years 2000-2001, line-up problems, label's problems, and band finally went into abyss. As I brought Inferno to Damnation line-up in 1996 (he recorded "Rebel Souls" CD and "Coronation" MCD) instead he asked me to join Azarath in 2000. We lived in the same city, close to each other, and know each other for a long time. We have, in most cases, the same music inspirations and the same view of our music.
But to return to the point - I think there is still a chance for Damnation come back. I spoke with Les some days ago and he told me he will start in few weeks rehearsals with new drummer so we will see. There are some mysterious plans...
How do you remember the time when DAMNATION band was active? I had the opportunity to see them here in Slovakia playing with SEVERE TORTURE and DEPRESY. Do you remember this event in Trencin city? It was a tour to promote the "Resist" album...
Great time and great experience for me! I started to play in Damnation in 1993 while my band Cenotaph split-up. For all those years, 1993-1999, I had a lot of fun, lot of shows, lot of music and life experience. Our best tours were the one with Krisiun and the second one that you mentioned with Severe Torture. Both tours were great, but the one with Krisiun much bigger. I still remember Trencin show, as well as Trencin Castle I think. Also I remember some problems on Slovakia border with customs... I mean merchandise problems. We had to give some CDs to customs officers :) But if I remember correctly guys from Holland had to leave some merch at the border. Later on way back we had some problems with Czech Road Police. I remember they stopped us and give the sum to pay for exceed the speed limit. But when those Policemen noticed that another bus stops (with Dutch numberplates) and they (severe Torture) are with us they quickly raised the sum to pay for speed limit. Old times:) Since 2000 I drived many times through Czech or Slovakia for Holidays and never had such problems.
Last year, I met Severe Torture guys while we - Azarath - played Extreme Festivals. They played the same days.
Where can you see a major difference between DAMNATION and AZARATH? For me, these are perhaps two best Polish Death Metal bands of all time.
Many differences, but I think we have the same vein and similar vision of music. The song structures, atmosphere are the most important, not only speed technique or brutality. We've never wanted to play soulless death metal, we like the music with spirit, with something you can feel. We've always been close to black metal, we prefer Dissection than Cannibal Corpse for example. But I have to say the last Cannibal Corpse album is fuckin great, I love to listen to it, but this is not the way we want to play.
What is the position of AZARATH in Poland? From my perspective you are not known in Slovakia so much as VADER, BEHEMOTH, LOST SOUL or HATE for example. Is your position in the minds of metal heads important, or you just doing your job?
We just do our job. We've never been concerned on our position on scene. We would like to tour more, play more shows/festivals, but this is difficult for us. Inferno's duties with Behemoth are well known, Peter (our bassist) together with Adam Sierzega (who played lot of shows with us as live session drummer) both work as Behemoth technician nowadays.
Your music is incredibly sophisticated, perfectly composed for two guitars with incredible harmonies and disharmonies, highly effective solos technically perfectly controlled, killer drums etc. Where do you find inspiration for composing your music?
We have almost the same inspirations, black/death metal, like Immolation, Dissection, Bathory, Venom, Sarcofago, Krisiun, Sinister, Morbid Angel (old) for example. I spent lot of time with Inferno composing songs and guitars' parts. We start our work both playing guitars (yes Inferno play guitar and compose for Azarath too), creating all guitars' riffs, then working a lot on harmonies and song structures. When we have all guitar work ready and recorded we started to rehearse with drums. Then we gave all tracks to Necrosodom to work on lyrics and vocal arrangements as well as solos. Necrosodom did amazing job! We are very satisfied!
What is most important to you at writing process in terms of composition? What feelings must your music contain to be a real AZARATH?
We focus on all arrangements, structures and atmosphere! Our music has to have a spirit, that's the way we name it. You have to feel something; you have to feel darkness and evil.
What does AZARATH mean to you? Do you give the band all possible energy which lies dormant in you? Do you have a desire to be most dominant leaders of obscure, fast and chaotic Death Metal?
We have no such desires, we just do our job. I give the band all my energy, Azarath is my voice in the Universe, something that will last when I am buried.
But it's not my way of earning money, I have an ordinary job.
Can you feel some progress from your "Demon Seed" debut album till today? Do you think you are still developing and improving as musicians and how much is your perspective on your music changing in terms of composition and approach to writing?
We are still developing and improving as musicians and composers and we can feel progress from debut "Demon Seed" till last album. For sure we will keep this way but I can assure you that we will always be death/black metal, we will never go to such areas like Morbid Angel did on their last album. We play and record albums with music that we like to listen, that we love and feel.
Seems that most Polish bands prefer speed and aggression, and so it is the same with you. It is truly hard to find much slower moments in your work. How is it possible? Haven’t you sometimes been trying to write slower, heavier and gloomy song?
I think there are many slower parts on our albums. We had "Heaven's Light Demise" (not so fast song) on DEMON SEED album, "Infested with Sin" on INFERNAL BLASTING, "Anti-human, anti-god" on DIABOLIC IMPIOUS EVIL, "Queen of the Sabbath" on PRAISE THE BEAST, and even two slower songs on last BLASPHEMER'S MALEDICTIONS - "Under The Will Of The Lord" and "Harvester of Flames". But we have never assume that we have to do slower song, it just comes. But surely most of our songs are brutal and fast.
What lyrical themes do you prefer? I am very interested in Supreme Reign of Tiamat lyric which shows the Sumerian / Babel mythology or magic. Who is the author? Is it possible you have been influenced by the American writer H. P. Lovecraft? Which other authors of fiction and the occultism are interesting to you?
Till last album we had out of the band lyrics writers. For the "Blasphemer's Maledictions" Necrosodom wrote all the lyrics. He writes by prism of his visions and experiences connected with chaos magic, Luciferianism, draconic magic and occultism. He is very interested in all traditions, philosophy and magic that can be used to achieve a trance or awake hidden forces.
What a pity I did not have a chance to see AZARATH live. Have you ever played in Slovakia? How do your live shows look like? What does it really mean to you to play live for your fans? Do you prefer recording a new album, writing music, or play live?
I hope we could play Slovakia some day. We really like to play live, it's something like dark ritual for us. But as I mentioned it is very difficult for us to book a show. I like writing process and recording process, but playing live is that I like the most! Especially when you feel the feedback from maniacs at the front of the stage. That's the most valuable thing!
Now you are under the wings of Polish Witching Hour Productions label where you have passed from Agonia Records. Do you think Witching H.P. offers you the best what can be achieved in Poland? What is your satisfaction with this label? Will be your next stuff released with them again?
Yes, I think they did good job after releasing "Blasphemer's Maledictions". We've played Polish tour and then first ever European tour (Hatefest tour 2011). We got lot of interviews to answer so they did some promotional job too. But we still don't know who will release our next album, we will see.
What about some possibly new recording of AZARATH? What format will it be and when? Can we expect something different opposite "Blasphemer's Malediction"? Sure you have done some new songs....
I have some riffs, and some songs done in 50-70%, and as I spoke to Inferno he has lot of riffs too. Nowadays he is very busy with Behemoth rehearsals and preparing to record new album with them (starting in few weeks). After that we plan to confront our riffs, choose best of them, kick out the worse ones and focus on further work. But we are limited with Behemoth's touring schedule. I think we won't record anything this year, but as usual we are not in rush. We record when we are 100% ready and sure.
What do you think of the last MORBID ANGEL CD called "Illud Divinum Insanus"? Is it a disappointment to you or you takes it as an experiment?
I hate this shit. Of course they can record what they want and feel. I am big Morbid Angel fan, but "Illud..." is the first M.A. album I do not want to have in my CD collection and do not want to listen anymore. But, I still go for their shows because I love their other stuff. They played great show in Warsaw (tour with Kreator and Nile) on December 2012 with lot of old songs!
You are from Tczew. What interesting would you write about this city? How is the life in Poland generally? Would you prove to imagine living in another country? If so, then where?
It is small city, nothing really interesting, except old bridge over Wisla river. We are close, 30 km, to Danzig and Baltic Sea. There are some historians who say that World Word Two started in Poland in Tczew with fights on this bridge because of its strategic point. If I could move in Poland I would choose Wroclaw I think. Other country - maybe Croatia or Norway.
Ok, that would be all from me, if I forgot something important, you have the space to write something for the fans. Thank you for this interview and wish AZARATH a lot of dark inspiration let you keep the flame alive, thanx again for the interview.
Thanks a lot for this interview! Arise the Black Flame! Hope to play some day in Slovakia! In the meantime I can invite for Polish Metalfest in June 2013.
Bart 17. 2. 2013 Mortuary