It has been a while since we last interviewed you. Actually this interview was done after the release of your demo ’In Death’ and just before the release of your EP ’Ascend To Chaos’. So, let’s catch up a bit. First of all, why did it take you guys 5 years to come up with a new full-length after your 2012 album ’Embodiment Of Death’?
Hails, Pim! It has certainly been a while and it was driving me crazy. We originally wanted to do a release every two years or so, but this time the songs just didn't come together as fast as we'd have liked. Also three of us have other projects, which at times slow things down a little bit. On top of having a long writer's block there were some critical delays after the initial recordings - which were mostly my fault too - which pushed the release over the holidays into this year. But now when it's finally done on our side, I'm very satisfied, if not a bit fed up with the material at this point.
You have had some line-up changes. First of all you switched drummers in 2012 after the release of ‘Embodiment Of Death’ and more recently long-time guitarist Jussi was replaced by Pauli Gurko. Can you tell a bit more about these changes and a bit about the background of the new guys?
Our previous drummer Tommi was an amazing musician, but never really sat with the band chemistry-wise. We felt very early on that it wouldn't work in the long term. After shit hit the fan we explored our options and we were in a bit of a rush, with an open air gig coming up. We asked Maveth's drummer Ville to fill in for the gig and maybe stay after, but his schedule was already booked. Ville directed us to his friend Kauko from Gloria Morti who came and dropped our jaws to the floor. His violent and sharp playing style was a huge contrast to the smooth and groovy Tommi. He's a very pedant and professional drummer and overall a great guy to have in the band.
Jussi just had too much on his plate at once and couldn't make enough time for the band anymore. He would have probably left a lot sooner, but we didn't want to look for a new guy. After we finally let him go, Pauli stepped up for the job. He's been a close friend for years so it didn't take him long to fit in, even if this is actually his first time in a proper band. He has certainly given some forward momentum for us.
How would you say your music has evolved when you compare the new album to your previous material? In addition to that question is it still you who writes most of the material?
I think the new album has more depth, richer harmonies and more powerful riffs and melodies. The songs and the album as a whole have a more defined structure. The music hasn't necessarily moved forward but rather expanded to multiple directions. The vocals are a bit better thought out. It's just a lot more varied. To me it has more memorable moments and at the same time more obscure parts, but I haven't really listened to the new album side by side with the older works yet so I might be way off. Of course for us in the band the differences feel more drastic because we know the songs inside and out. And yes, I write most of the music and this time also most of the lyrics with Tami doing the text for two songs.
Did things change when it comes to recording? You told us you basically recorded the ‘In Death’ demo live in the studio and I was wondering if you still use a similar approach?
Same studio, same guy, same method. One weekend for the band and vocals, but this time I did the solos at home...like six months later. Recording the whole band live is a great way to do it and you get a pretty good natural sound from the get go. It's very unforgiving on mistakes though, because it isn't so easy to fix fuck-ups you only notice months later during mixing.
When it comes to the release of ‘Severed Monolith’ not a lot has changed either. The CD is released by Dark Descent and the vinyl edition by Me Saco Un Ojo. I guess it’s a case of “never change a winning team”?
We didn't see any need to switch companies. It just works.
Have you been contacted by other labels with offers, by the way?
Not really, no.
I guess we could say that you are mainly influenced by American death metal bands and particularly by Morbid Angel. But I could name Immolation, Deicide and Sadistic Intent too. Can you tell a bit more about your influences and particularly how these bands exactly inspire you?
The things I like most in death metal are crushing riffs, merciless blasts and twisted, nihilistic melodies. There's got to be some fast turns to the unexpected territory. Yes, what you just listed are the big ones, but I try to draw inspiration from a variety of music. I'm interested in taking rhythmic and melodic cues from other genres and experimenting with them in a Death Metal context. I'm not talking about crossover things, but incorporation of very small bits, fundamental ideas and concepts that have caught my ear. However the core of the music is inescapably rooted in the musical language of the classical masters of the vile US sound.
You have done gigs here and there. Will you go out and do a proper tour in support of ‘Severed Monolith’?
We're working on a little something at the moment. You'll know more soon.
That’s all from this side. Last words are yours!
Go check out our new album before World War 3 starts, so you can learn the lyrics in time for the nuclear apocalypse.