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Beneath the Ossuary
When they say SYMPTOM, a kind of imaginary gateway to the finest Death Metal of today will open in me. In their music a cover of hell pot trembles almost frantically, evocation of darkest horror, stench, primitive evil, embodiment of madness, tombs of the unknown deity, which is waiting for its time. Death Metal with a big D, demonstrably heavy, moderately technical with a throbbing atmosphere of scabby abhorrence! Moreover the songs are so overwhelmingly powerful, and brilliant at the same time, while fairly underground. After two great EPs, there will come debut album that will crush the skull. Cooperation with Symptom took place in the best spirit and the answers are definitely worth it. Dive into the deepest realms of hideous deadly metal!

Hell-o, I think SYMPTOM is still pretty unknown band, at least here in Slovakia and much informationís can not be found either on the internet. So, could you write something more about SYMPTOM? What and when led you to form this band, and why such a dark and morbid Death Metal?
Hello! First of all, thanks for the support! My intentions writing under the name Symptom are to create bleak, dark death metal, but other than that I didn't have any set parameters for writing, other than just to write what naturally came out of me. I began writing and recording material in the fall of 2007, but nothing worthwhile came to fruition until late 2010, when I was able to create songs that I felt were fit to release under the name. My only goal with Symptom was to create music that I would personally want to listen to. This is also the reason the songs are dark and morbid.

You have recorded two releases, "Symptom" and "Descensus Morte". First one in July 2011 and the second one was recorded four months later. Did they come only in digital form? Will these songs appear sometimes on CD as well? Have you already though about, that the combination of both materials would be already full-length debut?
The self titled EP was actually recorded in 2010, but wasn't released for quite some time. The second EP was recorded and released in just around a month, after I was more comfortable with writing and recording for Symptom. Both releases are digital-only at this time. My goal was to self-release both EP's for free, so it was just more economical to do a digital release, as opposed to paying out-of-pocket to press CD's and attempt to sell them without the support of a label. More than anything, my goal was to get the music out to people who would appreciate and enjoy it. I have considered releasing both EP's together as a sort of full length compilation, but I haven't pursued this idea very far yet.

As there was only short time between these two recordings, do you have already written some new stuff? Could you say how will be another SYMPTOM release sound? Will it be distributed in digital form only?
I have finished recording a full-length album which will be released on Memento Mori records in late 2012. The sound will be different, as I have more tools at my disposal and am taking several months to get the mix perfect, as opposed to the EP's which were recorded and released very quickly. There is going to be more emphasis on atmosphere in the songwriting and composition and, production quality with the full length. My goal is to make the full length more listenable, while retaining the dark, obscure quality of the EP's.

Both your recordings have blown me away! Just like this should sound obscure, dark and devouring Death Metal. Me, personally, I like both your recordings more than ones from many more established and better-known underground bands! I think SYMPTOM has high chances to become a brutal bomb in the underground. What is the feedback you have got so far?
Thank you for the kind words! The response so far has been limited, but supportive.

Could you describe writing process for SYMPTOM? How did you learn to compose? Is the music composition important for you? Do you use conscious and logic way for writing, or you prefer subconscious way? Is it just a natural process, the path which cannot be astray from?
Writing and composition are completely different in a solo setting than working with other musicians in a band. There are positive and negative aspects to both, of course. In Symptom, I usually don't have any preconceived ideas when I begin writing, aside from a couple of riffs, and a general idea of how the song should 'feel'. The composition is almost exclusively stream of conscious, if that makes sense. In a full band you can rely on others to contribute to the writing process, which can lead to songs that are more developed. Writing music without input from others can be very liberating, but at times also completely exhausting. Not only are you responsible for developing a lot of different ideas, but you can only blame yourself for bad decisions.

Where do you draw inspiration for your music from? Are you influenced by many bands and music or by things from non-music spheres as well? What music do you listen most often? Which bands do you like recently?
It's hard to say specifically where my inspiration comes from; making music is almost an instinct. I can talk about my musical influences though. I am greatly influenced by the classic Finnish bands, specifically Rippikoulu, Depravity, and Convulse. I probably don't even need to mention Incantation, but Onward to Golgotha is one of my all time favorite albums and biggest influences. Another big one is Darkthrone's Soulside Journey. As much as I enjoy Darkthrone's black metal releases, Soulside Journey is an incredible death metal album, and a big influence. Stepping into the present though, some of my favorites are Sonne Adam, Negative Plane, Hooded Menace, Portal, Innsmouth, Encoffination, Grave Miasma, Venenum, and too many others to list. There is a lot of exciting music happening right now. I really like anything with a lot of atmosphere and a strong occult vibe.

We could look a bit to the influence and importance of the lyrical side of SYMPTOM. So, where do you take inspiration for lyrics? Are the lyrics as important as the music for you?
Lyrics are of course important, but ultimately secondary to the music. My inspiration comes from a number of different sources, but generally start as a topic I'm interested in or an idea for a concept.

How do you actually write lyrics? Is it only a summary of the ideas and words you think of? Do you take lyrics as something that gives the music an atmosphere, or there is something deeper? Could you say something about lyrics like Vomit Invocation, Beneath the Ossuary or Obelisk of Doom songs?
So far all of the lyrics in Symptom are basically vignettes or descriptions of situations. The lyrics are not very deep or serious on the EP's, and are meant to tell a story to accompany the music, which in turn gives a sort of soundtrack to the story. I don't want to discuss the topics of individual songs, but I will say that lyrics are going to play a far bigger role in the full length, which is going to be a concept album about the myth and truth of a specific place. But for now I don't want to give too much information away.

A very important part of the SYMPTOM is definitely the sound of the band, so where were the two EPs recorded? How much are you satisfied with the result of sound? Is it according to your expectations? Are heaviness, dirtiness and darkness more important for you than natural sound?
I am happy overall with the sound of the two EP's but, as I said before, I spent very little time on the production, and wasn't using equipment that most people would consider adequate for mixing/producing music.

Would you like to become SYMPTOM a full band with several members, playing live gigs and the like? Or do you take SYMPTOM just as a studio matter?
My need to collaborate with other musicians and play live shows is being fulfilled by my other band, Shroud of the Heretic. Symptom is my opportunity to be completely in control and create music without any input from other musicians. Both are very different experiences, and both are really important to me, so I don't see Symptom every becoming a full band. That said, I am not necessarily putting my foot down on the issue, and if the right musicians and opportunity every came along, I would consider it.

What is your look at the current Death Metal scene? Of course we can talk about the underground, but there are bands trying "to push" boundaries of this style forward with new recording technology, the addition of different elements from other music genres, and incorporating non-traditional instruments, or creating most technical, most complex Death Metal ...
Death metal in general is so fractured into micro-genres at this point, that it's almost impossible to mean anything by saying "current death metal". But click tracks, drum triggers, overproduction, technical death metal: that stuff is all garbage to me.

Do you like more American or European Death Metal scene? Can you see any major difference between these two streams of Death Metal?
It's been my observation that lately there is more or less a global death metal scene that interacts on an international level, yet still remains in the obscurity of the underground. For better or worse, the internet has had a significant impact on the death metal community. It seems that those who would complain about it, though, have no more premise to their argument than nostalgia for its own sake. The internet has made it possible for a stronger community and has allowed bands to self release, etc. So the answer to your question is that I don't think it's really relevant to claim national scenes in the same way as "Swedish death metal" or "Norwegian black metal."

Another thing striking directly into my eyes from your music is the atmosphere. I think it is fascinating to achieve a dark, scary, morbid atmosphere using only conventional instruments without keyboards and so on. Was it your goal from the beginning to create music with a strong atmosphere?
As I said before, I didn't really have a specific end-goal in mind when I began Symptom in 2007, or even during the writing and recording process. The atmosphere that is created is mostly just a product of my writing and playing style, and my extremely limited understanding of sound production.

You use often very slow, rolling paces, of course as well as fast rhythms in your music. Are you fascinated by slowness in Death Metal? Do you think other tracks can still go to the slower pace?
Absolutely I'm fascinated by slow-tempos in death metal. Like I said before, two of my big influences are Incantation and Rippikoulu. For as long as there is new Symptom music being written, there will be plenty of doom tempos included in the songs. I have considered slowing the tempo down even more in places, and it will likely happen in the future, but so far there hasn't been a good opportunity for a funeral tempo and I am against forcing ideas into songs where they don't belong.

Ok, it would be all on my part, hope I have not forgotten anything extra important. If so, you have space to write anything for the fans. Great thanx for this powerful interview and wish you many dark and twisted ideas for writing new stuff, HORNS UP !
Make sure to check out the full length album coming out December 2012, and thanks for the support!


JT                                                           25. 6. 2012 Mortuary