I think the first natural question should be about your feeling about releasing the very first complete album of Denial Of God after 16 years and so many smaller releases. As I said on my review, I think it’s always better to have done it like you did than releasing a bad album fast, and “The Horrors Of Satan” is definitely a great album. Is there any detail you'd like to change from the album now that some time passed since its release?
Good evening. You are not the first to ask me that question for sure, but I certainly understand why it comes up every now and then. It took a long time to finish the album as we had many different problems and spend a lot of time on perfecting the songs etc., but now it is finally done and it feels great. The album has been out since a little more than a year now and I can still only find a very few small things on it I would have done different, but we didn’t know better at that time, so that’s how it turned out. It’s probably just things only we notice anyway. I think it’s a very strong and highly original album that stands out from the crowd. Some reviewers have already said this will be a classic album for years to come, so I have only good feelings about it. Most people have embraced it with open arms and it seems like many people really tried to understand what we do and get into it and that’s just great. There will always be retarded children like for example the Global Domination webzine fool, who slagged the album, despite he in some hatemail on the website openly admits he doesn’t even listen to the stuff he reviews (Good one), but honestly, who cares? Opinions like that means as much to me as the paper I used to wipe my arse with yesterday. Please get cancer.
I’ve felt some differences between this and your previous releases, even if I discovered the band only this year. Maybe the new songs have a stronger Heavy Metal influence and a bit more melody (not on a wrong way), what’s your opinion about that? Which do you think are the main differences?
The HM influence has always been big on us, but it has most likely grown even stronger the past years as we have become better musicians. If you listen to the “Klabautermanden” mini album, it’s more melodic in some places and “old school” (I abhor that term) compared to the first mini and the new album is just a natural development from that. Some of the songs are written in 1994 or so, so it’s not like it has changed, I think. It has always been like that and now maybe just a bit stronger. I’d rather listen to, let’s say, Desolation Angels, Cerebus or Manilla Road than some new ultra shitty bedroom “Black Metal” band run by some snot nosed kid anyway. To Hell with the so-called BM scene of today. We have always stated we are influenced by bands like Mercyful Fate, Infernäl Mäjesty, Hellhammer, Death SS, Alice Cooper, (old) Mayhem and everything occult and dark and we still say so. It never changed and we never changed. Even big, respected names like Darkthrone are nowadays doing funny Rock’n’roll Black Metal with silly songtitles and people eat it raw, because the masses are stupid. It’s incredible how much shit sells today. “Let’s split up the band, reform in 6 months and play a reunion show in Wacken” etc. Fuck off.
Focusing on “The Horrors Of Satan”, we can say your sound is between old-school Black Metal, Thrash Metal and some dark Heavy Metal influence, and I think Mercyful Fate can be mentioned without any doubt as a big one, but how would you describe nowadays Denial Of God's sound and which are and have been the biggest influences on your sound?
Like already stated we are inspired by things like Mercyful Fate, Infernäl Mäjesty, Hellhammer, Death SS, Alice Cooper, (old) Mayhem and many other things besides music really. We are also inspired by dark books, movies, crazy dreams etc. If you take the best of all that and blend it together you might get something like us. I’m not too sure about the Thrash Metal reference you make, but to say it’s a blend of old Black Metal and dark Heavy Metal is fine with me, ‘cause that’s pretty much what I would say it is too, if I had to explain it. We have really fast BM parts with shredding guitars along with dark Doom Metal parts and neckbreaking Speed Metal parts all blended together. How the music turns out depends on the lyrics, ‘cause it has to fit together and go hand in hand or else we could just as well just release an album with the same song on it 10 times. Many bands seem to do that today and I say fuck that. People put no effort in writing music anymore and no one seem to give a shit about what they write about anymore either. Our songs range from 5-13 minutes and again that depends on the story in the lyrics and how the music can follow it. If it takes a long time to paint the picture, you take the time to do it. If you don’t, you ruin your song and you are a fuckwit.
Is all the lyrical part of the album under a concept, or you’re just speaking about different stories? I ask you because some of them seem to have a relation. Which band, movie, book/writter or any other source especially influenced you on that side?
Good question. The songs on the album are really different stories, but in the end it all connects, ‘cause all the tracks are about the horrors of the Devil and the creatures of the night and in the final songs it is kinda all summed up. So in some way, you can call it a concept album, but not with a real story through it, more like a red line that in the end ties a knot around your throat… What influenced us to make the songs the way they are? Also a good question. There are a lot of different things involved here, so it would take ages to explain, but let me just take some parts and explain. The song “The Book of Oiufael” was written by me (lyrics) and Azter (music). I based the lyrics on this cursed book of the same title. It’s about this book that puts you in some kind of trance when you read it and all demons of Hell are summoned to haunt you, because you read it and it’s hypnotizing. It’s some of the sickest I have ever read. I don’t think the lyrics are hard to understand. The latin intro is a warning not to read the book, ‘cause you know it will get you killed. I own a blood splattered copy of the book, which makes it even creepier… The titlesong is simply a description of the most horrible night where everything comes alive; the dead rise, bats fly, witches chant, people are sacrificed etc. I am not sure how it happened, but I wrote it spontaneously in the middle of the night one October. That month is always good for writing.
The cover of “The Horrors of Satan” looks absolutely impressive (it's my favourite one from this year), and is perfectly fits with the concept and ambience of the band, and, as I said on my review of the album, it reminds me a bit to the one of Usurper’s “Skeletal Season”, from which you aren’t so far as well in concept and musical ideas I think. Who was in charge of it? Did you give him some ideas or you just left him? What do you think about this comparison?
Thanx for the kind words about the cover artwork. I too think it fits the whole concept of the band and album very well. In the beginning we were planning to use this American artist, but he got into a bad accident and had to go through a long rehabilitation to get back on his feet, so he had to turn us down in the end even if we were getting close to deadline, but then we remembered our old hero, Juha Vuorma from Finland. First time we saw his drawings were in some old Finnish BM mag in the early 90s and I never forgot his name. If you think our cover may have some similarity to Usurper’s “Skeletal season” it might be because it’s the same artist. We loved his way of painting, because it’s very dark, but also kinda ugly and primitive, which makes it way more grim. His style suits us way better than the first artist we had in mind, so it was good it turned out this way. We told him we wanted a dark cover where each song is represented in some way and this is what it turned out like. I have never seen someone put so much effort in drawing a cover. It took him maybe a week of sleepless nights to make it, because deadline was getting closer and we wanted the album out on Halloween. We will most likely use him in the future too for albums. I don’t mind the comparison with the Usurper cover as I really like that one a lot. A million times better than all the new Photoshop covers that look like a big mess of random colours and shapes anyway.
The most of your releases have been unleashed on vinyl, especially EP's, and this new one was released as an impressive double PicLP which looks absolutely incredible. So, are you vinyl freaks or it was just a decision of the label? By the way, I saw somewhere that it will be re-released under No Sign Of Life, so, did you break the relations with your previous label?
We are big vinyl freaks, count on that. We all love the sound, look and shape of albums and EPs. CDs might be easier to handle, without doubt, but they don’t have the charm vinyls have. Call me nostalgic or whatever, but that is how I see it. We would never work with a label that wouldn’t put out our album on vinyl too as we love vinyl so much and think it’s important to keep alive, so Painkiller had to do it too. It was no problem though as they did a really good work on the album. It turned out really good looking like you said and you certainly get value for money. As time goes by you start to wake up though and start to notice things that are not right though and so did we. Not everything with Painkiller went as supposed to and we decided to cancel further work with them. They were disappointed, but that’s how it goes. We were not ripped off, but things went way too slow etc. And you can’t have a slow label holding you back. We bought the recording by actually paying the studio bill and sold a CD licence to No Sign Of Life from Finland. It didn’t even take a month before it was out, I think, so they really did a good job. Unfortunately the printing firm didn’t and fucked up the booklet pictures, so they look really shitty with big pixels etc. And 200 of those copies were mailed out to people before it was discovered, so that’s a real collector’s item now. The new covers are in the printing now though... Azter still has some contact with Painkiller Recs because of his Horror Recs label and distro, but I don’t really.
Recently you did a tour through Europe with old-school deathers Demonical, which I had the pleasure to see in Berlin, and another one before in Australia. How did they work? How was the response and where was it better? What about the bands you played with, like Demonical, Nocturnal Graves (great!) or Gallhammer? Are you planning new concerts for 2008?
Actually, between the two tours you mention, we also toured in Finland. All three tours went well in each their way, I guess. The Australian tour with Nocturnal Graves was great because it was unknown territory for the band. I knew the country from my earlier trips there, but had never played there. The crowds there are a bit quiet, I think, only Sydney destroyed fucking everything. The crowd was like only maniacs or so. The venues don’t treat bands as good there as we do here in Europe, but we survived and had a hell of a tour even if it was very chaotic. Finland was just amazing and the easiest tour I have ever been on probably, because the road crowd had done such a great job planning it and we were treated with huge respect everywhere. People there are very fanatic. We toured there with Gallhammer and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult and all got along well. Can’t wait to return to there again. The last tour was the European tour with Swedish maniacs Demonical. Absolute killer guys and we had a great time there too. Some nights were better than others of course, that’s impossible to avoid, but all in all it was great and a nice experience. Martin (Demonical) is a pro in planning things like that and we hail him for that. A blood dripping chalice is raised for the road crews and bands we played with… We are already working on some new live shows, but till now there is only one event that has a place and date and that will be at the Hell’s Pleasure festival in Pössneck, Germany July 18th+19th along bands like Pagan Altar, Demonical, Zarathustra, Nocturnal, Hellish Crossfire, The Lamp Of Thoth etc. It will be insane. There is also talk about a tour with a Swedish and an old English band through some Scandinavian countries in July/August, but I don’t want to say too much now.
Still about your live action, I found it quite cool that you used a lot of paraphernalia on stage, even if it was quite an underground show, with all those crosses, puppets, tombs with your names on them and fire in the end. Do you always use it? Who influenced you more on that side, the Black Metal scene or older stuff like Alice Cooper, Wasp or Mercyful Fate? Haven't you had any harm with the fire on any show?
Yes, we always use as much as we can. It all depends on how much room there is on the stage really and if we are allowed to use fire. Sometimes we have used the burning cross without letting the promoter know first, but now we normally let the venue know first by mentioning it in the band rider simply to stay out of possible trouble with payment etc. In Australia we couldn’t really bring anything because we had to fly such a long way and all the shit simply was too heavy for the plane, but on most other shows we use most of the effects. Sometimes we add something to it like drinking blood from puppets etc. We will try to come up with more things in the future and make the show even darker and sicker. Just wait and see. It just takes a lot of thinking and planning. I guess you can say we were inspired by Mercyful Fate, Alice Cooper and Death SS for the show thing, but it’s not like copying at all. We always liked it that way. When I go to a show I not just want to listen to music, I want to be entertained and I am not entertained by a bunch of dudes playing sloppy Thrash Metal in their working clothes or something. Your band needs to have a face and it has to be interesting... We haven’t had any harm with the fire yet, but on one show in Belgium once the cross got more burning fluid than planned and the flames started licking the ceiling, which could have ended pretty bad, but nothing happened. On the Berlin show you mention, our crazy roadie went and grabbed the burning cross just to hurt himself and burnt himself badly, but, well, that’s what happens on tour.
What do you think about nowadays extreme Metal scene, especially after being so much time into it and having seen a big part of the evolution? It seems the scene is quite big again and there are a lot of different bands and styles to choose. Do you see it as a better thing or not? Which are your favourite acts?
I see it as a horrible thing. I see a million bands, but I don’t see many good ones. I see a lack of quality and originality and praise of quantity instead of quality. The scene of today makes me sick. There are way too many bands today. It’s simply too crowded and takes away the attention and success of the ones who really deserve it. Everyone can copy, but who can actually create something unique? If you ask me, hardly anyone today. It’s just one big sea of bullshit. I run Tornado Magazine since quite some years now and you wouldn’t believe what I sometimes have to listen to. People send me the worst shit and expect big praises, but none will be given. Fuck off. If I could change everything, I would set the whole scene back in time like the mid/late 80s or so, when there weren’t so many bands. The internet is a great tool when you have to find info about some band etc., but it is abused by all these faggot kids out there to download music instead of buying it and also it was their window into the underground scene, so now every normal arsehole has access to even the most obscure bands, ‘cause no matter how obscure you are, someone will put something about you on the net sooner or later. I’d love to erase 90-95% of the scene. It has become much too easy to do a band or label nowadays and too easy to record something. Even people who play like shit can now sound like a tight band because of shitty Pro Tools (Fuck off). We recorded our album analogue not just because 1) it sounds better, but 2) it also shows you can play and it’s more honest. Fuck digital dance recordings. We don’t see ourselves as having to be a part of anything. I love Black Metal, but what Black Metal has become is just a joke and stupid nowadays. I know only the real dedicated people will stay in this genre (like in all other genres), but I just can’t put up with any more forest/clown/genocide “Black Metal” for now. Great underground bands of today to me are names like Necros Christos, Anael, Nortt, Nocturnal Graves, Arckanum, Mortuary Drape, Abysmal Grief, Shackles, Pagan Altar, The Lamp Of Thoth, Mortem, Upwards Of Endtime, Portal, Necrovation, Grave Miasma, Ram, Vomitor, Invidious and many more. I listen to a lot of different styles. Too bad for every good band there is at least 100 bad ones.
So, I think you've had enough questions for this time. I hope to listen to some new stuff of yours soon (maybe a new album sooner this time?) and especially to see you live again somewhere. If you want to add anything else, this is the time...
Thanx for the interview. It’s good to spill some bile, I needed that. A new album is being planned, but before that we will do some split EPs with some other bands. The only name I want to mention right now is the mighty Abysmal Grief from Italy. Luckily nowadays we are blessed with a good line-up with dedicated members and that affects the writing too, so new stuff will come sooner this time it seems. As I write this 4 new songs are pretty much ready (You heard one of them on the show in Berlin) and more will come. We are still talking about what to do with the album yet, but time will tell. We have too many ideas really, but be sure it will be even darker and sicker than the last one. Keep yourself updated on everything at www.denialofgod.net and myspace.com/denialofgod
Tu fui, ego eris.
Ustumallagam, January 2008
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.