Since you're a relatively new band could you start with introducing the band to our readers? How did you form?
Corpsessed was spawned in 2007 in the somnolent and slowly rotting small town of Järvenpää in Southern Finland, but the inception of the band can be perhaps traced back a few years earlier. Jussi-Pekka Manner (drums) and Niko Matilainen (vocals) were playing in a band called Skullfucker back then, and they needed someone to fill in on bassguitar for their few gigs, so a local fellow Matti Mäkelä (guitars) agreed to help them out while having spare time from his main bands Tyranny and Wormphlegm… This is how we initially met. Later that short lived band broke up. The three of us however still kept in contact and shared a passion for extreme music. This and the will to keep on playing together gave birth to the idea to form a more serious and crushing Death Metal band which later became Corpsessed. Jyri Lustig (guitars) was asked to join in and he also brought with him our first bassplayer Mikko Mäkelä, who however didn't last long in the band. He was later replaced by Mikko Pöllä (bass) in 2009. The first years of the bands existence were more or less experimenting and finding our path, seeking out what works and how to channel our ideas properly within the dynamics of this group… a sort of “settling in” phase, so nothing too important happened during those years. Things got more determined perhaps by 2009, and after writing lots of material and destroying the most of it that didn't suite our purposes we recorded our first release in the summer of 2010, which was released on CD by the American label Dark Descent in 2011. Currently the band is preparing for live gigs and writing new material for possible future releases.
'The Dagger & The Chalice' is your first release. I was wondering how you got in touch with Dark Descent and didn't you record any demo?
'The Dagger & The Chalice' EP indeed is our first release. When we started the recordings in 2010 we initially had no big plans for it. The idea was just to capture our current best material we had been working on for the past three years in some format so that we could have at least a recording of our songs for ourselves. The results however turned out extremely satisfying, which made us think that perhaps this recording could deserve a more official release than just a demo and there might be other people interested in it as well, since most of the feedback we got from our acquaintances was strongly positive which took us by surprise. It was actually Dark Descent who contacted us. We never sent out any promos or CDRs or demos to anyone, just a word of mouth, some un-mastered song samples and few mentions here and there on the internet that we've done an EP and that we were possibly looking for someone to help us out releasing it. Probably it was just the music alone that convinced Matt from DD to approach us with an offer and sign us up for a release.
You're obviously influenced by old-school death metal but it's not specifically Scandinavian or American. As far as I'm concerned you draw influences from various styles/bands. Can you tell us a bit more what bands inspired you?
You're right, we don't try to consciously emulate some certain style or sound of death metal, like the Swedish or American one. Our influences come from loads and loads of bands from the vast plethora of death metal of the past twenty years. Old Finnish bands from the early 90s (Abhorrence, early Amorphis, Purtenance, Demigod, Belial, Mythos, early Sentenced), the Swedes (stuff from Grave, Entombed, Nihilist, Dismember, Carnage, Interment, first Tiamat, Treblinka), American bands (Deicide, Immolation, Incantation, Autopsy, Morbid Angel) and European bands (Asphyx, early Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer). We could also mention albums like 'Soulside Journey' from Darkthrone, 'None So Vile' from Cryptopsy and more recent bands like Funebrarum, Necros Christos, Grave Miasma... The list of good and influential albums is rather long. Black metal, doom metal, sludge and grind also play a big part in the influences, and pretty much just about every kind of music we deem good. When it comes to creating our own songs, it's like a mixture of our own ideas and everything that has influenced us grinded into some putrid decaying mess and then constructed into something of our own. Basically we are just trying create the kind of music we would like to hear ourselves.
Next to the CD edition you will release a vinyl edition too through Me Saco Un Ojo. Is there anything special to tell about that or is it just the vinyl and nothing more?
The vinyl edition of 'The Dagger & The Chalice' will be handled by Dark Descent (US) in co-operation with Me Saco Un Ojo (UK), with DD handling the American distribution and MSUO taking care of Europe. There are no bonus tracks or anything, just the same release in a different format - a 12 inch vinyl on 45 rpm, getting the best quality out of it since the release is just over 23 minutes long. Of course there is a different mastering more suited for vinyl (more murky with some crushing low frequencies!) and the artwork of Alexander Brown will look absolutely amazing in 12 inch size with all the small details. So, in a way it's nothing special (no Die Hard or different colour editions) but then again it's a format which we hold dear personally and lots of people have been asking for it to be printed on wax as well... so why not.
I'm also wondering about the recordings. Where did you record and how did you manage to get such a brutal sound?
Everything was recorded by ourselves, with Matti handling most of the sound engineering. It's something he has been doing for the past seven years, other examples being the two Tyranny albums plus some other works, so getting the sound we wanted was not all that difficult. We managed to pull off the recordings with our own equipment, partly at our rehearsal room (the drums) and the rest at Matti's homestudio. I don't know if it is too interesting for anybody to start listing the methods on how each instrument was recorded and such.... The output what came from it is what matters. The basic idea was to strive for a crushing and heavy sound with loads of emphasis on low frequencies. Only the mastering duties were given to an outsider of the band to have a "second set of ears" to put in the final touches after we were done with the recordings. Damien Herring did the master for the CD and the vinyl was mastered by D. Lowndess. This recording method was extremely satisfying for us, since there are no pressures time wise like there would be if we were to record "in a proper studio". This way we could take our time, play around and find the exact sound we wanted.
You aren't afraid of using keyboards like in the track 'Nameless Cult'. Is that something you're planning on doing more often?
Actually, they're not really keyboards… its sampling and sound effects. There's no rule or exception concerning whether we should use keyboards/samples or if this would be a sign on what direction we are heading. The samples are added to songs where we think they suit the purpose and serve the song – nothing more really. We like to experiment and add some interesting details to the songs, though they will never be the main focus. If a song has a part that feels like it would sound great with an additional sample, we'll use it but I don't think we will be bringing in a keyboard player to the band anytime soon, though we are currently experimenting with samplers/pedals to see if we can import these effects into our live set as well.
It seems there's a lot of bands playing old-school death metal once again and in Finland there's quite a few acts too. What's your opinion on this revival?
There have been loads of bands playing death metal for the past twenty years. It's somewhat cyclic as to what sort of style seems to get the focus during which period. A few years ago it was the traditional doom metal revival, at the moment loads of death metal bands seem to get the focus, even if the bands have been there for some time already. Some of the older acts seem to be rising back from their graves as well. Can't deny though that there is some interesting new fresh blood on the scene - especially in Finland. Bands like Lie In Ruins, Gorephilia, Swallowed and Stench of Decay are well worth checking out.
Some of your are or have been active in other bands too, like Tyranny, Wormphlegm, Cardinals Folly to name a few. These bands are quite different style wise. So is Corpsessed an outlet to venture different ideas? Are you guys still involved in these bands or perhaps any other bands? Anything interesting to tell about your other acts?
Yes, both of our guitarists have been part of doom metal bands before, Jyri with Cardinals Folly which is more traditional doom and Matti with Wormphlegm and Tyranny which are more on the extreme side. Though Jyri is not playing in Cardinals Folly anymore, Matti is still active with Tyranny doing some gigs and slowly preparing their third album. For Niko, Corpsessed is his only active band at the moment. Jussi is playing drums in some unnamed projects, and Mikko handles bass and vocal duties in his old band Azure which is active when need be. However, we wouldn't call Corpsessed a sideproject of any of these bands, but a group that strongly stands on its own. This is a band where we can pursue other kinds of musical ideas and passions. Of course echoes of Doom can still be heard from some of the riffs we come up with.... the inheritance of doom can not be denied.
Okay, I think I have covered everything. Have you got anything else to add?
Thanks for the interview, Pim!