Hails, welcome to our pages. I'm glad to have Beyond on this first issue, because “Fatal Power Of Death” is what every fan of obscure and vicious Death Metal would like to hear. How have you been doing since the release of the LP? Has the band been very active since then?
We’ve been struggling to put a new lineup together. It did cost us a lot of time however was worth the effort. I believe BEYOND is now stronger than ever. Also, we’re right into writing new song material that will rip helpless souls apart and just began playing live again. Last month we just finished our first show in 1 ½ years and it went very good. Recently we did another one that went even better – however there’s always place for more. Limits exist only in mind.
Well, I think we'll need to dig a bit into the history of the band, as I don't know much about it. Only that one of you had a previous band called Shapeless. Was it some kind of primitive form of what would lately become Beyond? What's the main difference from one band to the other? Did the rest of Beyond members already know each other before creating this new entity?
SHAPELESS was a very disgusting and primitive effort of Roland to put a death metal act together. The musicianship back then was horrible, however it was done in the most aggressive manner. It felt good at the time and satisfied the need for destruction, however Roland developed into a more technical and precise direction, being hungry for limitless violence and darkness. The SHAPELESS-drummer Andy now focuses on other primitive metal assaults.
As cliché as it sounds, SHAPELESS wasn’t entirely shaped yet however was the blueprint for what BEYOND would become and the step was natural. BEYOND is way stronger in all aspects. With BEYOND, the aim was to create the ultimate death metal band to put all the dickless modern acts to shame. Create the music you would want to buy, even if in a damn grocery store.
On a personal note, almost everyone involved knew each other way before experimenting with music together. I initially got involved with Roland at some death metal gig many years ago, and we’ve been insane with pushing our projects onward ever since.
I'm a pissed off and inscrutable person and Roland is another one of those guys nobody wants to mess with, and he’s even taller than I am. There was always lots of shit anti-social and violent stuff happening with both of us involved, take that and add the musical factor – thus we both naturally clicked on to this.
The only obstacle at that time was living too far from each other, so he got on with SHAPELESS/BEYOND and I did the same with my stuff with involvement into both projects of each other. I was really into BEYOND so I naturally joined the band later on since I’ve been 5th lurking band member all the time anyhow. Moreover, I possess song material that can destroy the world in a fucking millisecond. So naturally we just HAD to work together. Nobody has ever heard this yet however some of it will be incorporated into BEYOND’s style to ensure maximum audial rape of the listener.
The rest of the lineup now consists of Dave and Ced of CHAPEL OF DISEASE fame, great guys and very competent musicians. Since we like each other’s music and knew ourselves before anyhow we started collaborating. Check out CHAPEL if you never heard of them. Great stuff.
You've decided not to reveal your identities so far, and in fact each member of the band is described only with a letter which I assume is the initial of his name. What was the reason to do it? Keeping some of the mystery lost in these Internet ages or not mixing Beyond with other bands in which you may be participating?
To be entirely honest with you, I highly doubt anybody really gives a fuck about who we are personally. From an objective perspective, we’re just another four guys playing extremely violent black / death metal music. There’s no bargain from knowing any more. I personally don’t care about the personalities behind a musical underground entity as a music fan myself. We’re not SLAYER. We did use initials but in interviews we also use our first names, anything else doesn’t matter and does not add anything to the quality of the song material. About mystery: It’s almost as if this wasn’t purposed, rather subconscious and done from stomach.
I haven't had the occasion to listen to the demo released by Detest Records, but when I first listened to “Enter Transcendence” I realized how well your moniker suited the band, as your music drove me beyond this physical world to a higher state of (un)consciousness. Is this something you delve for when writing music for Beyond, to bring your minds and souls out of this globe/physical body?
Yes this is the No. 1 goal. The listener is to be thrown into an entirely different universe. I personally cannot stand normal party-metal. I want to close my eyes and be departed to somewhere else listening to this stuff. As good as the EP and album was, we’re going to delve much deeper into this in our new material by adding hypnotic fast/slow and piercing parts to the music. The soul has to be departed from this world while listening to black/death metal. Then wake up from this nightmare with a strange feeling in stomach however feel reborn. Anything else doesn’t make sense to me. What do you prefer? An intense and sick horror movie with psychic or non-psychic violence and possibly rape, mass murdering of innocent people or even children… OR some watered-down teenie bullshit including a love story? Tastes may differ, however the first choice is at least the real and unpolished one. If someone wants to musically take you to the path into the dark underworld, and there’s LOTS of dark and twisted stuff in our reality and far beyond it, then so be it. Show me the wrath!
What impressed me the most from that EP is how raw, furious and extreme your two tracks sounded. That feeling is rarely present in the majority of nowadays Death Metal bands, especially due to the fact that most of them go for catchier and less aggressive sounds, but another reason would be that most of them do not delve for higher states of mind and usually focus on dull subjects. And that's definitely something I miss from the times when I discovered the style and its utter brutality and darkness infected my ears and my mind, totally possessing me. What do you miss the most from those times and what do you think about my statement?
What I specifically miss is authenticity. Doing your own thing. Most of the classic bands we all worship just did what they wanted to and they were as inspired individuals as their records later on sounded. They didn't give a fuck about being accepted by society and specificially the „extreme metal scene“. I'm completely with you on this one. We sometimes feel like some of the last ones on earth who take black/death metal serious in that way. I've seen so many useless and faceless acts that I'm wondering wether these people are too stupid to get it or if guys like us are just a minority with the right taste. Everyone's responsible for his own actions and doing something honest and real nowadays doesn't really take that much work if we try to view this from an objective point of view. If 95% of all self-acclaimed extreme metal artists around you cannot write art, then being with the remaining 5% would usually be the easiest way for anyone to go – because all the mistakes have already been made by someone. Usually, you have to be forced by yourself into doing something on your own. Do you get what I mean? This is part of why I actually picked up an instrument, because I had this energy that convinced me to simply know that I have the abilitiy to put all the shit I fucking hated to shame. And so I did that and we'll even do more. Everyone's born with the same abilities, just the society/the music scene/whatever invisibly imprisons most people into some retarded state that doesn't allow them to think for themselves anymore. I visualize and create what I want. I musicially want to kill every living being and rape all things human love. Destroy safety...I want to express the utmost brutal and evil musical spheres – I cannot accept myself playing some watered-down bullshit just to be involved into „something“ to spread shitty demo tapes nobody will remember anyway...
To make it short: No taste results no quality. Quantity will never replace quality.
As I was just saying on the previous question, most of the Death Metal renewal seems to focus on the catchier aspect that the Swedish scene brought, or for the heavier and more suffocating sound of Autopsy, Asphyx, Incantation, Immolation and the likes. But, despite a bunch of exceptions, there seems to be less interest in the kind of sound inherited from bands like the first Morbid Angel, Deicide, Incubus or Necrovore. Why has it been forgotten by the new generations? Maybe because it's not so easy to play such a diabolic music?
You almost answered your own question. It's easier for them to be too catchy and normal because most people – even if they are into very sick stuff – don't seem to have the ability to look far beyond the borders of ordinary music where you need a nice sounding melody to write a song. This is entirely wrong. Songs are moments, movements, thoughts, evil spheres, demons. The major mistake is to say death metal is actually music at all. It's a total blackened demonic art that has to be respected this way. A simple disharmonic riff with strange timing can manipulate the human mind in subconsciously feeling danger and excitement. This is the way to go.
We also do have some catchy patterns, but we always mix it with extreme unearthly sounding stuff otherwise the music would not fit with the lyrics and would sound empty.
Focusing on “Fatal Power Of Death”, I must admit that the first time I listened to it I had the impression that it sounded less intense that the previous EP, but after some more listens I realized that effect was only caused by a much better songwriting, with stronger structures and more clever arrangements, which derive in an album that emanates as much aggressiveness as atmosphere and soul. What would be the main flaws you wanted to solve on your full-length and how close you think you have been to your idea of perfection for Beyond? Are you very perfectionist and demanding with your own creations?
Yes we are perfectionists and self-centered with our own music. Nobody wants to waste his time with half-assed and unfinished stuff that could have been written much better. The EP was a sharp and aggressive attack on your mind to promote things that would come. However it's difficult to express everything you need to on just a double-sided 7“EP. The album includes material that has partly been written already before the EP combined with deadly new songs. Alot of material has been re-worked – best example is „Appearance From Beyond“ that went from a almost catchy demo-tune to finally the intense evilness it demanded. The album was written to be a complete listening experience from A to Z, not just a collection of songs. The A-side is an improved way of kicking someones face, just like the 7“ but much better and the B-side has sicker material, like the ending track „Consuming Black Void“ that finally shows what BEYOND is also about and what we're capable of.
Nowadays we seem to live in a much more polarized underground, in which bands are old-school or technical, dark or brutal, etc … Everything is categorized in its tinny drawer. And that's definitely something I miss from the glorious days of a style like Death Metal, when bands didn't fear exploring weird and complex ideas while they could still be of the most brutal and obscure kind, and weren't only influenced by other Death Metal bands. Could you please elaborate on this giving us your opinion?
I'll have to go deeper to adequately answer this one: First off, we're influenced not solely by death metal or music at all. I listen to alot of musical styles and I'm able to appreciate anything that is art in expression. Everything that happens to me 24 hours a day influences the way I'm writing music. The reason most other bands sound shit is because they are simply just some musicians, perhaps with the right „scene approved“ (...I'm laughing here...) favourite bands, however with no talent and no inspiration from whereever to create something that withstands the overflowed extreme metal market that needs so many „categories“ because most of the stuff is bullshit and lame anyway. McDonalds has alot of different burgers to offer, too...
Secondly, metal people are categorizing themselves to death and spending too much time on shitty internet forums discussing „genres“ and comparing collections to increase their artificial egos in order to compensate several feelings of inferiority. I know quite some people who had been around since late 80ies and early 90ies and one major difference basically is that more time was spent listening, physically trading or celebrating the music rather than wasting it on categorizing or collecting something in order to „be someone“ or „be someone elite“ to gain some kind of attraction nobody would give these low lifes in general anyway.
I sometimes have the impression that only 10% of our buyers or reviewers actually listened to the album entirely instead of checking out some YouTube-samples...
You may have noticed I frequently use the term „black/death“ because this is the upper and only description or „category“ anyone needs to know, anyway. We let the scene monkeys decide what other verbs are needed to be added to „categorize“ BEYOND. Let them waste their precious time overanalyzing what kind of music we are playing or should not be playing - we're having good laughs about these fools...
Working with Patrick W. Engel was definitely the best idea to perfectly capture the essence and energy of your songs. He's without the shadow of a doubt my favorite producer of the last times when it comes to obscure and extreme Metal, as his work always manages to keep the personality of every band he works with. How important was it to work with him and how would you judge the result with the emphasis he gave to your songs?
Patrick Engel aka A.O.D. was first choice since BEYOND had already recorded the 7“EP with him. He's a great and very competent guy and his credentials speak for themselves. We're very satisfied with the result especially because the recording itself didn't went as smooth as planned. Some chaos was present and technical errors had to be corrected. Given these requirements, the end result is brilliant. I still remember the moment he had sent us the first of his final mixes, I think it was Whirlwinds... it blew me away and I couldn't stop listening to it!
Looking at the cover of “Fatal Power Of Death” I can't help but think about the one of “Altars Of Madness”, with all those demented faces that capture the violent and demented aura of your music. I must say that the result is explosive, not only for the drawing itself but for the printed result with silver on black, it gives a really demonic effect to the whole. What kind of instructions did you send to Manual Tinnemans?
Well, if you add the t-shirt design of the LP to it, there's even more similarity to the Altars album. However we didn't even tell Manuel anything about MORBID ANGEL at all. The idea was to have an evil looking mass of creatures, demons if you will. Simply a dark incarnated storm of blackness. It took quite some time and some changes needed to be done however everything was worth the effort and Manuel created a great piece of sick art. I couldn't think of a better cover to describe the musical penetration of senses present on the record itself. Nobody will re-invent the wheel anyway so comparations with known albums are almost natural to me.
How would you describe the kind of feelings and images described through the whirlwind of chaos and darkness we can find on your lyrics? What would be the source of the conquering and unmerciful character they have? In that aspect, would you judge your lyrics as some kind of inner mind exploration to reflect some part of its members personalities/feelings/reactions to our world, some path of belief they follow, or should we see them more akin to literary or fictitious sources?
First and foremost, we didn't exclusively read about one main subject to write these lyrics. Every song represents something that is as real to us as the zine these letters are printed in. There's superiority, the ability to destroy everything in numb madness like the opening track, end of the world schemes like in Whirlwinds. Merciless at Heart is pure and simple violence. These are real feelings everyone of us experienced. We prefer reality or the least you can identify with over anything that is so „true“ or „occult“ that even the songwriters themselves can't surely tell or trace all of their believes to it's initial origin. I'm personally fascinated by paranormal events of any sort because I've expierenced some very strange ones that cannot be explained with common science and neither psychological backgrounds. It made me a sceptic.
The others have similar personal inspirations around these subjects.
There's mystery and dark stuff out there. The real world is fucking upside down and even far more than that... however I adorate the fascination about it and unlike most people I do not pretend to be the all seeing and knowing eye that knows everything about the purpose of evil, good and existence in general. We retarded humans fucking know nothing. We have advanced computer technology, space travel but on the other hand still know way less about the depths of the seas on earth. Also, for the past decades science has been struggling to accept the possibility of mind influence on real existing material in general even if it (allegedly) has been proven in various laboratories. I've had so many coincidences in my whole life that cannot be explained off as being any at all – what is „reality“ as we experience it at all? There are scientific hints that an unseen „world“ or background layers could be responsible for some of this, but well, this would be another interview and goes way too far.
Yet, I must say I find a very poetical way of speaking about such savage ideas. You sound majestic and powerful, but definitely not dull or senseless as many “violent” bands; despite using pretty simple and straight verses, they derive in such a grandeur that it gets directly stuck in the mind of the listener. Do you feel the need to spread that chaotic message through your barbaric invocations to gain the listeners minds and unleash their inner forces or would you classify them as just personal thoughts without any mission?
I have to disappoint you that a small number of topics are actually as blunt or as dull as you described them in the first place. We can proudly proclaim this because it has to do with authentic feelings that were experienced during the time of the creation of the songs. As of this, the lyrics were written in a way the words would stick in your mind, also because there's lots of naiveness still stuck in the material. If you have a feeling that you musically want to express, there has to be an instrumental feedback from the music itself answering to the idea. The songs themselves are made to be eternal living moments, various catches or recordings of unrelentless violence and darkness. Any further interpretation is still up to the listener.
We're not going completely insane yet, but be forewarned...I can tell this in advance anyway: There's far more stuff that can and will be explored by the 2nd album but I cannot reveal anything of it yet.
When it comes to the lyrical side of Death Metal, can it be based on a rational source or should it stay far from it and be more passionate and impulsive? And related to this, is there place for intellectual, esoteric or even pseudo-religious themes in it?
I think I already answered this but I can elaborate some more: Rational to me is anything you can experience. Just because most humans are blindfolded and cannot see the bloodthirstyness in themselves as necrovores and living individuals, it doesn't mean they have the right worldview. Reality is full of badness already, so if you're delving deeper, you'll find the paranormal, esoteric, religion, science, et cetera. Generally, both of what you proposed applies to me. But the issue that metal in general currently has are all these people spreading out of nowhere with their hippie occult believes that just seem like the replacement of lacking creativity or lacking personal experience in life. Read answer 11 again. I have my own definition of reality that stands way above all this infantiIe shit. I surely like speculating as well, but time's too short to waste my whole life (and thus playing Death Metal) just about shitty religions or new age esoteric world views. Want me to be honest? Fuck all this man made shit with false interpretations and mostly errors involved. What kind of religion, occult, esoteric worldview helps you in an urban street battle one versus three guys trying to kill you?
When I have a look at Germany's history regarding Death Metal, I must say I'm not very impressed (with a few very good exceptions, as Morgoth, for example) of it's past comparing it to other countries, but if we speak about the present day, then everything changes. Bands like Hatespawn, Necros Christos, Drowned, Excoriate, Charon, Venenum or Alchemyst have showed the world there is a new and very strong underground scene, especially focused on the dark and occult atmosphere of the style. Do you agree with my words or would you still mention some bands that deserve it?
This is correct in my eyes, because Germany always had this front banner of classic thrash metal (SODOM, KREATOR, you name it...). Sure, there were bands like POISON or early PROTECTOR that had a very deathly sound to them however they were off radar looking at all the rather known acts from the past. I keep discovering cool demo bands from the early 90ies however nobody recognized them when they were active. So this is a true statement. For whatever reason there has been a slow but growing explosion of killer death metal within in the last ten years. You should add SULPHUR AEON and CHAPEL OF DISEASE to the list as well.
As a last step before ending my questionnaire, could you please let us know what will be happening in Beyond's quarters in 2014? Have you already been working on new songs? Have you already set some new recording plans? Will you directly go for the second album or first you'll work on other shorter recordings?
There's lots of new material that has to be rehearsed and perfected. I can disclose one fact in advance: The stuff sounds much more intense and evil in atmosphere. However everything still needs alot of work and I estimate there will be no new album before we're into 2015. Until then, we'll play live gigs (PARTY-SAN will be next, in summer) and keep working on the new material and album II concepts.
We finally arrived to the end of this interview. Thanks a lot for your time and patience, and good luck for Beyond's future. I hope to be able to listen to some new recordings soon. Last words are yours, so you can close this as you prefer.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.