With your first full-length out I felt it was time again to do a little interview. Back when you released ‘1585-1646’ I did an interview with your former vocalist Mestema. So, my obvious first question is why he has left?
Mestema took the decision to leave Possession for reasons that belong to him, end of the story. He was a part of a chain that he decided to break. For a moment, we had doubts, we had to retreat and reorganized ourselves, but that time of weakness didn't last long. 'Exorkizein' is the evidence – if any was needed – that we are still burning with more determination and strength than ever before.
Was it also clear straight away that Viriakh would take over the vocals and that he would quit playing bass? Tell us some more about the decisions you made.
As Mestema asked Viriakh as a favour to personally take the vocals duty, we were in need of a bassplayer. S.Iblis came to us and reclaimed the place as his own, even before we started to look for someone. This strong attitude – and the fact that he knew all the songs at the very first rehearsal we had together – convinced us: it was the evidence of his devotion and ambition, two values we respect.
Did the fact Mestema left have any impact on your song writing as far as you are concerned?
Not really as Mestema was not a musician, he was not really composing anything directly, even if we all used to share and are still sharing opinions on the composition works. At the very beginning of the band, Viriakh was bringing most of the riffs that we were then working all together. For now, S.Iblis bring also a lot of new ideas and got very involved into the album's working process. 'Exorkizein' wouldn't be what it is without him and it is as much his work as any of Possession former members. His presence definitely brought something strong to the band.
When it comes to the lyrics it seems not a lot has changed when it comes to subject matter, right? I’m assuming here Mestema had a large part in writing the lyrics to the earlier songs?
We work practically all the time all together, as an entity, into Possession's rehearsal room. Every member brings his own ideas and ways of playing during the writing process. So with or without Mestema, you have to understand that it doesn't change a single thing for us regarding our way of working and the future of the band. Our aims are the same as at the very first day of the band, our faith is burning and will be for years to come…
When you look at other aspects of ‘Exorkizein’ not a lot has changed opposed to the earlier recordings. You once again recorded with Phorgath (Enthroned, Emptiness) at Blackout Multimedia. Can you tell a bit more about the recording sessions? Was it a rather quick recording or did you take your time to get the smallest details correct?
Working with Phorgath and the Blackout studio is complete part of Possession identity. Nevertheless, for the first time, we completely changed our way of working and recording in the studio: Phorgath was really willing to make this album an even bigger success than the '1585 – 1646' MLP and he wanted to spend way more time than usual on every aspect of the recording work. So, for the first time in Possession history, this album is not a live recording. Nevertheless, we didn't use any click for the drums or for any other instrument, in order to keep our aggressive and chaotic way of playing. Phorgath's work has been once again remarkable and satisfied us totally, way beyond our expectations. We eternally hail him for his devotion, patience and talent…
In addition to the earlier question it seems you’re not the band that wants to change a lot. I assume you are completely satisfied working with Iron Bonehead and Invictus as your labels as well as Chris Moyen doing the artwork? Did it ever cross your mind to use a different kind of artwork for instance?
No, never, and as long as Chris Moyen, Phorgath, Iron Bonehead and Invictus will have the will to keep working with us, we will never change this sacred oath we took with them some years ago.
We are supported by devoted artists and labels, we have a total and mutual faith toward each of us, why would we want to change this ?
I think there’s a rather interesting story behind the intro you used. Can you tell us more about that?
Creating a strong and relevant atmosphere is mandatory to us. Telling sincere stories calls for such work. All our releases so far have such atmospheric passages. For 'Exorkizein', each of them have a different meaning and goal: the introduction of the album leads the listener into a Vatican's crypt where a possessed women is being exorcized in pain while the moon is shining through the night. The moon is a strong part of the Possession identity. That is why the organ parts behind the screams is related to her.
Can you also tell a bit more about the lyrical concept of ‘Exorkizein’?
Among other subjects, the idea and concept of the Oath cross the entire album. But most of all, 'Exorkizein' tells a story that is flowing through its six songs : the life, the work as an exorcist and the death of Gabriele Amorth, last-known chief exorcist of the Vatican, who died on the 16th of September of 2016. We started writing about him before his death but it seems that the Devil was once again on our side, as the exorcist died while we were still writing lyrics. We changed some in regards of that event. Each song could be summarized like this :
- 'Sacerdotium': "His heart filled with faith, a young & devoted priest is about to accept the exorcist sacerdotium...." This song is about the young priest Amorth, swearing the oath of the Exorcist.
- 'Infestation - Manifestation' – Possession': “as written in the holy book of exorcism, demoniac possession comes by progressive steps ...when the last one is complete, it is already too late..." This song explain the three steps of the demoniac possession that were teached to the young priest.
- 'Beast Of Prey': "Hear the words of the Evil invading your soul, feel his fire burning inside you, let him speak through your throat and tongue...". The demon speaks through the voice of the possessed one.
- 'In Vain': "Hard is the work to fulfill the exorcism ritual, only a few can achieve it, many are done in vain ..." The Exorcist performs the ritual on the possessed one, but preaches are sung in vain as the demon is the strongest.
- Take The Oath': "Used as living weapons, exorcist priest must kneel before the altar and swear an oath for lifetime..." The now old Priest Amorth, indoctrinates young priests to force them to take the exorcist oath.
- 'Preacher's Death': "At the twillight of his life, devoured by sickness, the priest is waiting to join his creator, but demons are tormenting him as they wait for his soul to ascend..."
On his deathbed, the priest wishing to return to his creator is now tormented by demons telling him that Evil can't be defeated...
You’ve been doing quite a few gigs over the last couple of years and you’ve got more to come, including a first appearance in the USA. How do you look back on your shows so far and can you name any highlights? Perhaps some expectations towards future shows?
Many were very intense, the latest one in Holland was one of them. But we couldn't chose a particular one, even if playing with bands we worship for years or sharing the altar with friends and brothers is always a memorable moment. In April, we are invading Ireland for the second time and England as well. Berlin is also on the list, as well as Brussels Dead City for the release ceremony of the album in the city where everything started. And of course, doing our very first USA show at the Destroying Texas Festival this summer is as motivating as you could imagine. Then, we hope to hit different countries for a minitour in autumn in order to promote 'Exorkizein'… Things are slowly taking shape in that order…
That’s all from me. Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for your questions, we hail your readers supporting us and curse all those who said that we were done: you were wrong!