Ye Banished Privateers declared Hostis Humani Generis

Ye Banished Privateers declared Hostis Humani Generis

If you like drinking rum, singing like a pirate and scream “Walk the plank !” when your friend has made a not funny joke : Ye Banished Privateers is made for you ! I interviewed Magda Malvina Märlprim, guitarist and vocalist of the band and asked her some questions to make you discover them and their past but also about their new album “Hostis Humani Generis”.

Hello how are you ? Are you impatient to present “Hostis Humani Generis”?

Hi, we are absolutely great, thank you. We are really psyched about letting our fans listen to our best album so far and to get some response to all the hard work that we have put into this project.

Before talking about it, I would like to ask you a few questions about what brought you where you are today. The first is simply, what led you to do “pirate folk”? Did you want to do folk and the pirate theme came after? Did a band inspire you?

Actually, we started off with the pirate theme with Peter having a nice costume and some beard. Then it turned out Björn had some nice songs that he had written years ago.

Our musical inspiration was quite diverse since the original members came from metal, folk, punk and singer-songwriter traditions. It was only after a couple of years as a band that we realized there are other active pirate bands around. Now, eleven years later, it’s a genre on its own, which is huge.

What are the lyrics of your albums about? Do they tell the same story? Several stories? Or are they mainly about pirate life?

Our last album, “First Night Back In Port” was all about returning to your loved ones after a hard life at sea, bringing gold and stories of great adventure.

This time, piracy is not all fun and games. The end of the golden age of piracy is around the corner and pirate hunters and fleets of the great seafaring nations make pirate life a dangerous and often short endeavor. Hostis Humani Generis tells the stories of how the end is coming closer and how every day as a pirate can be your last. We try to draw a nuanced picture of the idolized and stereotyped villains of the early 18th century, both including all the rum and swashbuckling but also giving voice to the oppressed, the ones left behind at shore and the human struggles in times of feudalistic nationalism.

How did you choose your costumes? Is it based on a character that you created for the group or is it based on a big size role-play dating from before the group was formed? If it’s group specific why did you choose this costume specifically?

Every member has a personal story about their costume, both related to a stage character with specific tasks in the pirate crew that is Ye Banished Privateers, and to the fact that spending ten years in a pirate band adds attitude, details and a lot of patina to anything you wear. Most stains are there because something happened…

I saw that the band has a lot of members, 20 if I’m not mistaken, have you ever had any problems with that? Do all of you travel for each concert? Isn’t it complicated to get everyone together for rehearsals?

I think we have been 27 members on stage once. Most of the time we are 10 to 12 when we go on tours. Sometimes it can be really crowded on stage, but most of the time it’s fine. The stage is actually more or less our rehearsal room, as our members are scattered all over Sweden at this point. Being a large crew is a lot of fun, but it does make traveling more difficult. Alestorm have said they don’t want to tour with us. They were afraid we were going to eat all their catering.

If you were offered an American show with all the special effects and decorations you would like, what would be the ideal show for you?

We would build a replica of the Swedish warship Wasa, fit it as a pirate ship, put it on a stage with flame throwers and finish the show by blowing it up with gunpowder.

Let’s talk about your new album “Hostis Humani Generis”. What are the lyrics going to talk about? Is it linked to the title and the notion of the enemy of humanity?

All the lyrics follow the theme of the duality of piracy. Today we think of pirates as pistol wielding party characters with treasure maps and hidden trunks of gold. We try to focus more on the real humans behind the myth. In the eyes of many, Pirates were violent criminals with little respect for human life. To others, pirates were devoted fathers, brothers and sisters, who had no other choice than to break the law in order to survive or provide for their families. Behind every person labeled as an enemy to all of mankind, there is usually a deeply tragic story to be told. In our album, we focus on a few of these individuals and their path to the gallows.

This will be your second album at Napalm Records, how is this collaboration going and has it brought you anything compared to the previous label?

Our team at Napalm is really good at what they’re doing. From bookings to social media to press. For us that are used to everything D.I.Y it’s a cool experience to be part of a major label. We still control everything creative and they have great respect for our values, that’s important and what makes our collaboration so successful.

Where does the drawing / painting that was used as the album cover come from?

The album cover was created by the talented artist Eliran Kantor. He has really captured the essence of Hostis Humani Generis.

Ye Banished Privateers - Hostis Humani Generis

Is it the same person / organization that created the lyric video for the song “Elephant’s Dance”? Did you make a contribution or is it something that was managed by the label?

The lyric video for “Elephant’s Dance” was produced by 4inch Media, using the artwork inside the CD booklet drawn by Felix Jonathan Jenkins. We are involved in everything released in the band’s name so we definitely sent it back and forth a couple of times before the video was finished.

Except for a date in Germany, no tour date has yet been announced. Do you have any idea if there will be a tour and if so where you could go?

We have a lot of dates in the pipeline, but we are still waiting for a green light from the promoters to make it public. If you want to stay up to date, keep one eye behind your eye-patch and the other on our social media.

We arrive at the end of this interview. Do you have something to say to our readers and / or your fans ?

Thanks for all your support throughout the years. It turns out, being a musician is bloody hard work, but you make it worth every second. We really hope you like our album and help us spread our music over the high seas!

Apart from that, remember that Piracy is about fighting the big fish, questioning oppressive norms and surviving.

Be a pirate!

“Hostis Humani Generis” will be released on February 7th 2020! If you liked the interviews, you know what to do!

Photo by Samuel Pettersson

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SCD - interview

SCD's Misleading Weapons at MassDeathtruction 2019

At MassDeathtruction 2019, I met and interviewed Seb, singer of the French “Death Grind” band Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition (SCD). Through these few lines, I invite you to learn a little more about the band but also about the musical universe which inspires them through musical extracts from the band present by Seb along the interview. Do not forget to take a look at their Facebook page and support them in concerts if they come close to your place.

Before continuing with Seb’s interview, I would like to thank Pedro, the organizer of MassDeath for his welcome and for allowing me to interview Seb in a very professional setting. Support the local scene and local organizers like Pedro and his MassDeath, it is thanks to all these people that we can still attend excellent events like these!

Let’s start with the presentations! Who are you and what is your job in Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition?

I’m Seb, singer of SCD since 1996. So it’s going to be 25 years soon. For 25 years, there have been small line up changes within the band but the current guitarist and drummer have been around for about 16 years.

For those who don’t know you, what is SCD?

So, we come from Paris. We made the band with friends that we met in concert when we were teenagers and then we decided to create SCD knowing that at the time in the same band there was the drummer and the guitarist who made Arkhon Infaustus (Black Metal) and Antaeus (Black Metal) so we shared the same studio since we had members in common. At the time what influenced SCD was really the whole underground scene with Grind, Crust, Gore, Porno gore with bands like Catasexual Urge Motivation, Gut, Last Days of Humanity, etc… Then there was the whole Death scene that we listened to when we were kids. We were in the scene for quite some time and we wanted to participate in the thing without knowing that years later we would continue to do so.

How do you feel after this moment on stage? What did you think of your performance, the atmosphere and the audience?

It’s nice to come here because it’s the third time we’ve played at MassDeath. We played the year there was Entombed (2011) and the year after (2012) with Obituary. At the time, it was not in the same venue. Then the MassDeath stopped for a few years and when we saw that Pedro started to do it again, we thought that we absolutely had to be there. Now we’re regulars. We also wanted to discover the new place. If I understood well, this is the third concert to be held here. We were told there had been The Nutcracker before. So it seemed to us that after The Nutcracker, they needed at least SCD, otherwise it was not a real baptism of the venue. So we are super happy to play here.

When we started listening to Grindcore, Death, etc., there weren’t a lot of concerts in France at the time and we often came to Belgium in Ypres, Gent, etc., where we have seen a lot of bands. They were small underground venue, but a lot more was going on in Belgium than in France at the time. There was very very little. We had all the big bands playing but in the really extreme underground scenes, there was not so much bands playing in France. It was mainly in Belgium that it took place. There was in particular Agathoclès who organized the Wee Lawaat festival in Zichem where we went every year.

We ended up doing more concerts in Belgium than in France in certain years. It has changed a lot in the past few years. It became a lot more Hardcore and less Goregrind etc. I think that for this album for example, it is the first concert we do in Belgium but we have already toured in the United States, in Canada, played Hellfest for the second time, Obscene Extreme Festival for the third time, SWR Barroselas Metalfest in Portugal for the third time.

Honestly we were super happy to come back to MassDeathtruction because it’s a festival where there are a lot of people, where the conditions are really great. Besides, it’s been a while since we last came. It’s always a pleasure to come back and we’re neighbors so we consider ourselves a little bit at home here.

Want to know what SCD at MassDeath 2011 looked like ? Check this here, it was filmed by 666Vassil.

On the occasion of this MassDeaththruction 2019, did you play “Misleading Weapons Of Mass Destruction” (Inventory of Fixtures, 2007)?

We didn’t play it today, we will have to come back to do so! It was one of the pretexts we had imagined. For today’s setlist, we started with songs from the first albums and then, chronologically, we moved forward. We played two songs from Inventory of Fixtures. Then continued for about half of the set with songs from the last album.

2019 was a year full of big dates with in particular the Hellfest and the Obscene Extreme Festival. So, are there still places after such big dates where you would dream to play?

Honestly, there are still plenty. Let’s say that in Germany there are still a lot of big festivals and we don’t play there a lot. We did the Berlin Deathfest not long ago but the very big festivals, we didn’t do them. So it would be great to play there. We were discussing Japan when we did the American tour with Viscera Infest, a Japanese band. In fact, their manager is Naru who was in C.S.S.O., whom we have known for years. We met in Germany at the Fuck the Commerce where we played in 2001 with C.S.S.O. So it’s been while since we know him.

So in the United States, Naru accompanied Viscera Infest. So we talked about playing dates in Japan which is a little more complicated because today, the European scene, is one of the best in the world between the number of festivals, the amount of people who come to each concert and festival, the people who buy merch, the reception conditions which are almost incomparable with other places …

People often think that the United States is great, but it’s not the same than Europe. Even the Maryland Deathfest where we replayed for the second time, it’s not the same, I would say that there is something like 3000 people attending the fest. When we compare with what we can have with Hellfest where we have about 50,000 people during three days. Even at the Motocultor I believe it was 42,000 people last year.

We, what we would really like to do too, is all of northern Europe with countries such as Norway, Finland… We haven’t been there often and these places welcome a lot of stuff in the Crust and Death scene. So, yes, these are scenes where we haven’t been enough yet and where we would like to keep going.

What is the date that marked you the most this year?

Hellfest, honestly it’s always extraordinary. When you listen to bands’ opinion, it’s still something you don’t see all the time. You should know that now the Altar and Temple tents can welcome about ten thousand people. In addition, with the giant screen at the back of the tent, there are still people outside the tent area and it is full. It’s just amazing because even big bands that tour a lot, they rarely play in front of 10,000 people.

It was the second time for us so we could enjoy it differently than the first time when we were a little bit more nervous. We had anticipated it, we had it filmed by the guys from Sombrero Production who work for Arte. We had the sound taken by the engineer of the Hellfest. So there was a little organization upstream and it was also very timed in order to be able to do it. It is not that there is a particular pressure but we wanted to leave Hellfest with satifaction towards our performance.

Hellfest completely exceeds the “environment” of metal. At work, or anywhere in fact, there are people who do not listen to metal music and who do not know metal at all but who know Hellfest and talk about it. So, playing there was great because everyone knew where we were going and what it was.

Obscene Extreme is also great because it is more specialised in the style that we play. It’s also different atmosphere. The public can jump on stage and do stage-diving so we are in something else. However, we are much more used to this festival since it’s been the third time we play it, we are getting to know it really well.

Each time it’s different, it’s not the same thing at all but we keep, for different reasons, a great memory.

Hellfest is great but at the same time I am almost sure that if you put a band playing chess on stage, you’ll have 10,000 people coming to see them. At the Saint Vitus (New York), you are in a venue where people have come to see the headliner in the first place. So this is a great memory too.

I liked more New York than the Maryland Deathfest. New York was really nice because we were headliners at Saint Vitus, a venue in Brooklyn where Joan Jett played for example. So we were happy to go there because it was a venue that marked the music history and it was full, we had a great sound and people really came to see us.

Your last album “Raping Angels In Hell” was released in 2017. So, what can we expect for 2020?

We still have a lot of concerts. Some are announced others are still under negotiation but we still have a lot of stuff in 2020. I think we will tour all year. On the other hand, we are already starting to project ourselves and say to ourselves that we have to start imagining putting ourselves into composition mode too. It’s quite complicated right now with all the dates we have because we play almost every weekend. So, it is complicated to succeed in working more on these new songs but we are starting to work on it.

With a name like Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition, I wonder where you get your inspiration from and what themes do you express in your songs?

It’s mostly porno gore on the last album. However, it has changed quite a bit in terms of style along the years. The first three albums had no lyrics so it was really just the covers and the graphics that set the tone with the music. We were really into porno gore.

Then we had a rather crust-oriented period which also remains a big influence that we had at the time. Then we became a little more death we will say and on the last one really we tried to get back to the roots. So a mixture of everything but with porno gore texts.

In terms of influences, I would say that it concerns everything related to the dirty atmosphere that even I found in bands that have influenced me very much like Gut who was born in Germany and with whom we played in Holland. It was the first time we played with them. It was a cult moment. We met in the lodges, I didn’t know them personaly. So I went to give them T-shirts religiously. So they offered us to help ourselves in their merch and we took photos together. Honestly, they are super nice people. Besides, the guitarist played with our T-shirt on stage, a great moment of emotion. It was a total accomplishment. Now what we do is a little bit of all those influences that we had when we started.

What is your best and worst memory as a member of SCD?

So, it is both the best and also the worst because we ended up laughing about it. We had a tour that was to do Canada, United States, Canada. It was around 2008, something like that. This tour was to last approximately 4 to 5 weeks. We were flying to Montreal, we had dates in Canada. Then we had to fly to the United States and then we had the dates in the United States. After that, we would return to Canada to play a few dates before returning to France. Until then, everything is great.

We take the plane, we arrive in Montreal and we are told that the instruments are to be picked up at another spot. So here we go, we get the instruments and there, plainclothes cops stop us to take us to customs. When we get to customs we are asked if we are really Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition and if we are going to play in such and such places.

To put things in context, at the time, we didn’t need the same permissions to play in venues that sold alcohol or food.

So to come back to customs, we answer them “Yes, maybe, it depends on the organizers, ask them.” There they told us to stop telling them shit and they detained us and then we were inadmissible to Canada. They put us in the cell behind the customs at the airport. We were entitled to the photos with the small plates etc. then, we spent the day in the cell.

At the end of our detention, they said to us: “Either we send you this evening to Marseilles then you return to Paris and you are inadmissible. Either, you discuss, you are prohibited 10 years of territory. Either , you discuss because you want to go back to Paris directly and we keep you in detention for a week. ” Finally we went back to Marseille and without having slept we did Paris-Montreal, a day in Montreal. Then, Montreal-Marseille and from Marseille, we took the train back to Paris and the tour was over.

We still went to the Canadian Embassy in Paris to try to negotiate. They told us: “You are not Aznavour so it’s over.”

Last year, when we went back, even if we had all the papers in order and the regulations had completely changed, we were not reassured.

Today it is much simpler but when we went through customs, we were still stranded. The customs officials asked us if we had already come. We explained to them that we had been evicted and we presented the papers. As the laws no longer exist today in the Canadian Code, they could not find the reason of the eviction and they did not understand why we were expelled so we were blocked again for a while. It is therefore both a good and a bad memory for us.

What is the song, the album that makes you crazy?

So there are several. First, Behind Enemy Lines album “The Global Cannibal” (2003) which is really great from beginning to end. Then there is always Nasum with the album “Helvete” (2003). Then there is “Bolt Thrower” which from beginning to end, is a masterpiece. Finally, there is also Napalm Death and their fabulous “The Harmony Corruption” (1990).

I leave you the last word of the interview.

First, I would like to say thank you to all the readers, some of whom may have been following us for quite a few years. Otherwise, today I am 45 years old including 24 years of singer of Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition and what I hope is that in 24 years I’ll still do the same thing. And that’s thanks to everyone we meet here. Thank you all.

We leave you with a video extract from SCD’s performance at MassDeathtruction 2019 filmed by Yohann Thibaut.

Video of SCD at MassDeath 2011 by 666Vassil.

Video of SCD at MassDeath 2019 by Yohann Thibaut.

Picture by SCD

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Brutal Sphincter - interview

Our 5 rising stars: Brutal Sphincter

For some time now, they have been getting more and more attention. We interviewed for you Spermain from Brutal Sphincter, a Belgian goregrind band who were awarded a place at the famous Hellfest festival (Clisson, France). From the underground to one of the biggest and most famous metal festival in Europe, how did they get there? Spermain tells us everything in this interview.

To begin, who is behind Brutal Sphincter and what is your job in the band ?

Brutal Sphincter is a band composed of 5 members, namely: Spermain (bass), GG Stalin (vocals with effect), Major Diarrhea (vocals without effect), Leopoold II (drums) and Corde Sensible (guitar).

In the band, everyone has its role. Personally, I take care of writing the music (bass + guitar) / structure of the songs, band management (distribution of tasks, meetings, etc.), booking, Facebook page, emails, management budget and merch (orders and shipments).

GG Stalin is responsible for collecting the information for the preparation of the concert (tech rider, hospitality rider, accommodation, etc.) and writing the lyrics for the songs.

Major Diarrhea also writes lyrics, is in charge of everything related to the use of Photoshop software (design, memes, flyers, banner, etc.), mastering (sometimes recording) of our songs and technical problems (live, internet, etc.).

Leopoold writes the drum parts, manages Brutal Sphincter’s Instagram and regularly relaunches festivals that have not anwsered our emails.

Finally, Corde Sensible helps me in the composition of the songs and manages the YouTube channel through the creation of content.

How did you come to create Brutal Sphincter, for what purpose?

The creation of the band actually emerged from a joke with one of the group’s founding (ex)members (Jason ANANIA). During our studies of social worker, we studied (too) often the psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud. In his theory, he talked non-stop about the anal stage and sphincter control. Therefore, we thought it would be funny to call a goregrind band Brutal Sphincter.

A few months later, the delirium saw the day. I was personally looking for a more extreme band than what the scene in Liège offered at the time. In addition, I wanted to be the creator so I could direct the project where I wanted… I never thought the band would work as well as it does.

Musically speaking, you define the band as a “POOlitical” goregrind band. The goregrind, I see what it is. What about “POOlitical”?

Truth be told, bands from this scene tend to always describe their goregrind with stupid adjectives. Generally, the themes of porno / gore grind revolve around everything that is fecal, sexual, sick or gore… Here, without denying where we come from (SHIIIIIIIIIIT), with our second album “AnalHu Akbar”, we wanted to change the game because we found the previous themes boring.

We think that goregrind must be shocking as death :etal was at before and as the style was in itself when it emerged in the 90s. What better way to offend people than to joke on sensitive political subjects like Islam, pedophilia, Nazism, etc. ?

However, even if the titles are extremely provocative, the lyrics behind them make sense. These are generally criticisms, observations or simply massive trolls. It would have been silly to provoke without wanting to make you think…

In addition, our lyrics should soon be uploaded to certain websites dedicated to lyrics.

Since the release of your second album “AnalHu Akbar”, the band continues to gain popularity. How do you explain this success?

First, there is the musical element. We have, I think, created a fairly unique form of goregrind. The song structures are quite complex and the riffs more or less technical compared to the rest of the scene. Then, we went to a professional studio (Blind & Lost Studios) which made us a production just as we wished. Add to that original themes and varied vocalizations and we get the Brutal Sphincter style. This is what allowed us to stand out in the scene.

However, music is not self-sufficient. The band’s image and reputation must be taken care of. It is important to be well perceived by the public and to build good relationships. It’s about creating a network.

Finally, add hours of networking and management, per week. It is a constant work that requires great assiduity. That’s why most big bands have managers… It takes a long time.

You did quite big scenes this year including the Obscene Extreme, one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Europe. What remains to accomplish or rather to conquer for Brutal Sphincter ?

We saw the OEF as a “springboard” scene. It was a very important show for our credibility among the general public.

This interview was sent to me a few months ago. At the end of December, I only find the time to answer it. A few months ago, I would have said that I would have liked to play big scenes like the Netherlands Deathfest, the Summer Breeze, the Brutal Assault, etc.

Not so long ago, we have been confirmed for Hellfest and for Netherlands Deathfest. While this is still surreal to us, we don’t want to stop there. We want to make our participation in mainstream events something regular. Other continents also remain to be conquered.

In terms of popularity, we would like to become a reference in style. What may seem a bit pretentious.

You released a clip rather “cartoonesque” but “trash” enough for the song “Make Goregrind Great Again”, what were the feedback about it?

About 4 months have passed since its release and the reactions have been gigantic… No less than 220,000 views, more than 16,000 likes, thousands of shares. This clip has allowed us to assert ourselves even more and gain a lot of visibility.

In addition to these advantages, the clip allowed the new Belgian talents of Shit Knuckles to be brought to the fore when it was their first video. We are also continuing to work with them.

What are your projects for 2020?

Play as many concerts as possible, gain popularity, create a lyrics video for our song “Autistic Meltdown”, clip “Prohibit Anime”, re-record one of the “cult” songs from the first album, create new merch and write new songs for our third album.

If there is one thing to remember from Brutal Sphincter, which one would it be?

Come and party at our concerts and have a drink with us. You will see, we are nice guys!

If you had to recommend an album or a band to begin the discovery of goregrind, which one would it be (apart from you of course)?

“Shit Beast” by Gutalax. Our friends of Gutalax are without doubt the most easily entry door to begin with Goregrind. Their music is simple, groovy, efficient and personal. Note, however, that they would be more likely to describe themselves as gore ‘n roll. There are actually few Goregrind elements musically speaking.

Albums like “Paraphelic Elegies” by Spasm, “Splatter Tekk” by Ahumado Granujo, “Keep On Smiling” by Rectal Smegma or “Gargle Cummics” by Rompeprop remain excellent alternatives. These are personal choices which benefit from good production and which have perfectly balance blast passages and more groovy passages.

A last word for our readers?

It would be nice to have more goregrind bands in Belgium. Go ahead and twerk on stage with us.

Photo par J.Huyssens Photography.

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Imperium Dekadenz - Interview

Authenticy, one word for Imperium Dekadenz

During the Night Fest Metal X, I had the opportunity to meet Vespasian, Horaz and the guys from Vagsheim representing the live line up of Imperium Dekadenz. The band was at that moment on tour to present and defend their latest album “When We Are Forgotten” which proposes a more intimate approach than before. Leaving their historical background behind, Imperium Dekadenz goes deeper into emotions and intimaticy without forgetting their authencity.

Let us first start with a short presentation of the band. Who are you and what’s your job in Imperium Dekadenz ?

Horaz: I am Horaz, the singer. We founded the band in 2004, it was just me and Vespasian. Vespasian and I are coming from the south west of Germany, Baden-Württemberg in a region called the Black Forest.

After two albums, we found the guys from Vargsheim to join us to play live. They come from Würzburg, a town in the middle of Germany. Since they joined us, we played a lot of festivals and stuff and we had a signing on Season of Mist, a French label.

For the last release “When We Are Forgotten” we did a signing on Napalm Records, an Austrian label.

Vespasian: My name is Vespasian and I’m playing the drums. Studio wise we share the guitar recordings; I play the bass and we both play synthesizers. So, all the productions are made by us.

All the live activities have been done with the guys from Vargsheim for about eleven years, I think. So, they gave us that opportunity to go on stage. Before we met them, we had only released two albums: “…und die Welt ward kalt und leer” and “Dämmerung der Szenarien”. But this was the next big step to make live happening.

We almost got two main goals when it comes to live music : it’s this kind of rock and roll factor and the action on stage. You can’t realize it with only two guys. It’s possible but it’s no fun because maybe you have some samples of keyboards and stuff like that and it’s not what I understand when it comes to rock and roll.

So, these guys (Vargsheim), they have their own band. We immediately became very good friends and we shared so much hours on the road together the last eleven years and that’s great fun.

It’s like the other side of Imperium Dekadenz. There’s the creative part of it: albums, records, composition, lyrics and stuff like that. The other part is to go on stage where our music is rougher. You have these two guitars but sometimes on the album you have like a pile of guitars for example. So, we have to reduce it to the atmosphere we want to communicate.

The guys from Vargsheim perfectly understand, to be honest, and they are perfectly able to reduce all the stuff they hear an album to make it functional in a live situation.

Do they (Vargsheim) have their word to say about the composition or not ?

Vespasian: To be honest, no!

Horaz: But everything that happens live, they have a word because they have to manage what they do. You know writing songs and playing songs live is a completely different thing. They have to think about how they can make this song happen on live. So, they have to manage all our guitar tracks and they are doing that brilliantly in my opinion.

Vespasian: We have a little tradition going on with Vargsheim and Imperium Dekadenz. It’s, if they recorded an album, we get the first listening when the album is finished and the other way around. But as Horaz already said when we are in the rehearsal room and we are discussing some parts then of course they have their word to say.

Horaz: And about today’s performance, don’t forget that we had a sound engineer today who was not used to our music and who does not know how we sound. So was doing his own stuff and he was mixing all together hoping it would sound good. And of course, that could be different from the album. If we have had our sound engineer from the album, it would have sound like the album.

Vespasian: But there are always different opinions about that. Some people say that it sounds like the album and that they love the album version much more. Other people say they like this rough version more. So, everybody has got his opinion about that.

Horaz: Sometimes it’s better for bands if something comes rougher and sometimes not.

In your opinion what do you think is best for your band ?

Horaz: We do what we want to do. We feel like a metal band. It’s Black Metal but we are ourselves. We could wear makeup and costumes but that’s not how we are. We just go on stage the we want and it’s just about emotions and how we feel. If you look at the other bands, they are not really into headbanging and all that rock n’ roll stuff. But we do that and maybe it does not fit with the atmosphere of the album, I don’t know.

But that’s how we are, and some people say “Hey, that’s Imperium Dekadenz. I never expected that. They are fucking rock n’ roll and they do metal.” Others say “That’s not the stuff I like. I imagined more steady guys, doing more atmospheric stuff.” But we’re doing what we are, what we want and what we feel, that’s all. We will never change it; people can accept it or not.

Imperium Dekadenz (2) - Interview

About the composition and the lyrics, what are your sources of inspiration ?Is there one of you who’s in charge of the composition and the other of the lyrics or do you cooperate ?

Vespasian : It’s always mixed up. So, we are both into films, books but also daily life which is maybe the biggest inspiration. The emotions you are experiencing day and night. I think you cannot divide music and lyrics because sometimes it’s like a battle of inspiration: if I write a riff, he has got inspiration for some lyrics and the other way around.

Horaz: The point is that each of us has a home studio. So, I come home from work or I’m sitting at home at the weekend I’m take my guitar and I start working on a new song and when I have the feeling that that’s a good song, I send it to Vespasian. So, he is the first person to ever listen to the song and then he says, “Hey the song is… shit” *laughs* or to be friendly, he says “The song is pretty good, maybe there will be something cool.”

So, we send material to each other and that’s just the first step to decide whether if a song comes on the album or not. About the lyrics, for the last album most of them came from me because I’m a singer and it’s a good practice when I write the lyrics by myself because it’s easier for me to put them onto the rhythm and to bring the song to life on stage. But he wrote his own lyrics to for songs he’s very into it.

Vespasian: In the end, the main goal is that both of us are satisfied for 100%.

You are currently defending your latest opus “When We Are Forgotten”. What is his album about ?

Vespasian: I think first of all we have to take a look at the previous albums because their lyrical themes were related to some historical events. This time, we wanted to change, we wanted to have more intimate atmosphere, more thinking of ourselves not this historical context about Rome or stuff like that. We wanted to reduce the epicness so to say. We wanted to get more to the core of our heart.

Horaz: When we listened Dis Manibvs and we noticed that the songs became pretty long and the whole album is an extremely epic conclusion of songs. So, we decided that this time we wanted to be more compact, more rock n’ roll, more old school and more intimate.

We always use the historical background for the lyrics but this time we decided to make lyrics about ourselves. So, about what we are thinking. I think this will be the way we will continue because you get more satisfied with the song and if you listen to it later, it’s closer to your heart, to your current situation. We still love the old school stuff from the 90s and now we said decided to do a step back to a more old school stuff.

Vespasian: Now we have to make something different. We don’t want to repeat it. We want to challenge ourselves. So, it was a challenge for us to make us happy with the new stuff.

Are you happy with the new stuff and do you think that you are going to continue in that way ?

Vespasian: Yes, definitely. We now feel the time is right to make experiences, to make stuff we never did before. From my point of view, we have more freedom than we ever had. I don’t give a shit if people want to buy the old Imperium Dekadenz because they expect it to be this way. That’s OK for them but they have already six albums, hopefully in their collection. But for us, we see this new stuff differently. It’s more what can we do together to give us that special feeling of progression.

What are your hopes and projects for the coming year (2020) ?

Vespasian: There are more things to come but we cannot announce it yet.

Horaz: We just released the new album, but we’ve already started with new song writing. That’s what we want and what we want to do.

How was today’s show ?

Horaz: I was the first time in Belgium so we were pretty excited of what would happen. There were a lot of people looking to Imperium Dekadenz.

Were you happy about the reaction of the crowd?

Horaz: Yeah, absolutely. I think that during the first song, some people came in. They probably had never listened to our stuff.

Were there more people than you expected or not ?

Horaz: No, because I watched the other bands playing since we are here and there were a lot of people that are interested in looking to the bands. And I was pretty sure that they were going to check what we are doing.

Vespasian: We have played live for 10 years now but it’s always a big pleasure, a big surprise when you enter for the first time in a foreign country. There are people who are interested in music. It’s amazing. We started in the Black Forest as a duo and now here we are in Belgium answering your questions. It’s always a great pleasure for us because I think these are experiences most of mankind will never have.

Horaz: It is also kind of legendary that people from Belgium are really into live shows. You are more focused on what’s going on. I thought that many people would come because of 1914. They are really actual; a lot of people like them. They talk about the First World War. I talk to these guys and they are very passionate doing their stuff.

I leave you the last word of the interview.

Vespasian: If we would see us as business partners, it wouldn’t work because there’s so much emotions in the music and the lyrics. It’s like a voyage. We are going through hell and we are entering heaven. I think it’s rather romantic. The last romantic topic for tonight it’s magic. Do you know so much bands who played together for twelve years ? It’s not usual. So, to me we can sum things up as: authenticity, friendship and magic.

Horaz: The whole week, I was just looking for the drive. We have 4 hours to come here. I was waiting to sit in this new van and listening to music and talking all the crazy stuff we can. We are on tour with friends, not just any mercenaries playing your songs and going to the hotel after the show. We are still here and when we have finished the interview, we will raise the beers, the wine and the cigarettes together. Together we walk, together we fall.

Vespasian: The main topic concerning Imperium Dekadenz is stay real. The most important thing is friendship. We are not business guys trying to earn as much money as possible and who change their musicians. We are bunch of very good friends and this is more important for us than to be the most technically perfect band.

It’s about emotions because the gig is one highlight of the day. But I can assure you that driving to the gig with this bunch of men it’s also a very big highlight every time.

Picture by LauPi Photo

Want to know more about Imperium Dekadenz?

Brutality Over Belgium - interview (6)

Meeting Will from Brutality Over Belgium

For some time we have had the pleasure of going to the concerts of the Brutality Over Belgium team to make some interviews. It seemed interesting to introduce the team behind this name, so that you can learn a little more about their ideas, their goals and their programming. So, we met Willburn to offer you a small interview of this 100% Belgian organization.

First of all, what is Brutality over Belgium?

It is a concert organization in Belgium specialized in grindcore, goregrind, brutal death metal and slam death metal.

Who is in the Brutality Over Belgium team ?

At first, in 2017, there were Willburn and Germain, from Liège, as well as Roy, from Flanders. Then, added to the team Yohann, Christophe (for some time) and Marvin, from Charleroi, and finally Jesse, from Flanders.

What made you want to be part of this project?

Me (Willburn) and Germain had the idea of bringing goregrind bands from all over Europe to Liège, because at the time, there were very few concerts of this style in Belgium. Roy, being motivated by the project, was added to the team from the beginning and it was from this moment that we created our first festival, Brutality Over Belgium, in Liège.

The other members added themselves to the team as they also organized shows in Belgium, and were motivated to join the Brutality Over Belgium.

What are the values you want to defend?

I do not know if we can talk about values, but we had the ultimate goal of bringing good goregrind, slam death and derivatives bands in Belgium. We also wanted to make people move to see such bands. From the first edition, it worked, so we continued to organize concerts. Now people are most of the time present, and other organizations started to organize more and more concerts of this style. We are very happy and our goal has been achieved very quickly.

What is your best and worst memory about Brutality Over Belgium?

Even though having Gutalax and doing a sold out in less than two weeks, months before the day of the event, was probably one of the best memories, I do not think there is only ONE best memory.

When we bring bands that we love in our region, and we see people attending the concert and having fun, move and applause with enthusiasm, it gives us a feeling of incredible happiness and satisfaction. At least for me (Will), but I’m sure it’s the same for the others, otherwise they would not spend as much time to organize concerts.

When someone from the public comes to thank us for organizing a concert, it’s the best memory.

For the worst, I think this is the time when someone hurt his skull in a moshpit and we had to call an ambulance. But these are things that happen, and you have to react quickly. That’s what we did.

What is THE band you would like to have at one of your concerts?

For others, I do not know, but for me, it’s Gronibard without hesitation. I contact them for each edition, and this since the first one, but they are very busy and make very few concerts. They are interested so I do not lose hope.

What are your goals and expectations for the coming year?

We would have liked a bigger venue in Liege but we can not find one with conditions that suit us. So we stay at the Garage in Liège. The venue is small but we get on well with the team.

We also have a big date coming in late summer but we can not say more for the moment.

What is the next concert ?

The Brutality Over Belgium – south edition 2020. It will take place on Saturday, March 21st at the Garage in Liège. There will also be a pre party in Flanders the day before, but we have not officially announced it yet.

A last word to end this interview?

Thanks to Metal Overload for offering us this interview, and thanks to the readers for reading these lines.

Come to the concerts, ours or those of other organizations, and talk about it around you, because it is by having audience that we can afford to organize more dates and bring bigger bands for you.

Brutality Over Beligum (1) - interview


Logo by Vaizal Rotten Art

Want to know more about Brutality Over Belgium ?

Report Night Fest X - Saor

Following the forgotten paths with Saor

During the Night Fest X, we met and interviewed Andy Marshall, the mastermind behind the band Saor. If you want to know more about the band, read this interview.

First, how are you and how do you feel about playing here tonight ?

I’m good thanks, we are really looking forward to playing tonight.

Do you feel like Saor fits on the poster tonight ? I mean do you feel like it matches with the other bands of tonight’s concert and why ?

Yes and no. Most of the other bands are a lot more extreme than us and we use a lot more folk elements in our music. We have some black metal influences, but I wouldn’t class us as a black metal band.

What’s the story behind Saor ? How did you end up creating this project ?

I started it in 2013 because I wanted to mix Scottish folk elements with metal music.

How would you describe the band musically speaking?

Caledonian Metal. A mixture of atmospheric metal and Scottish folk elements.

What are your inspiration sources for both the composition and the lyrics ?

I take inspiration from the landscapes, nature and history of Scotland. I find a lot of inspiration for lyrics from traditional poetry.

You are presenting your latest album “ Forgotten Paths”. What is it about?

The forgotten paths we once trod.

I’ve read that Neige from Alcest had contributed to this album. In what way ? How did your collaboration together go ?

It went well. We are good friends and work together well. It was an honour to have him on the album. He has one of the best voices in metal.

You are on your own on the composition (lyrics + music), you have session musicians with you when it’s needed. Why did you choose to work on your own and not with a “full band” ?

“Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

What are your plans for the coming year (2020)?

Play more shows and festivals and continue writing the next full-length album.

Anything you wish to tell us to end this interview ?

Thanks for your support and we hope to see you next year !

Picture by LauPi Photo

Want to know more about Saor?


Back to the essence of power metal with NorthTale

Through this interview, the Swedish singer Christian Eriksson (ex-Twilight Force) introduces us to the new band he formed with the American guitarist Bill Hudson (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, UDO, Savatage, …) : NorthTale. At that time, the band composed of well-known and experienced musicians was about to release its first album, « Welcome To Paradise », and hit their first stage under this new name. Since then, everything seems to rock for them !

My first question is quite simple : « Welcome To Paradise » will be released in a few days now… So, how do you feel about that ?

I’m starting to get nervous right now actually. Because during this period of time when we promoted it and recorded it, I didn’t even think about releasing it. And now, we are a week away… I’m starting to feel the nerves. But it’s ok. It’s a lot of anticipation on my side. The only thing we can do now is hope that people will like it !

But you already had a lot of feedback on your first single and they seem really positive.

Yeah there’s actually a lot of positivity ! Of course, we are super happy about that. We also received a lot of reviews and many of them are like ten out of ten or almost. We shouldn’t complain I guess. (laughs)

Apparently, you and Bill met during a festival in Sweden last year and that’s how the project began. From that point, could you please sum up the building of the band ?

We met in my hometown that summer in 2017. But we were just talking and initially Bill wanted me to sing on his solo album but I turned it down at that time, because I was too busy with Twilight Force and he was also too busy with his stuff. And then, after my leaving of Twilight Force, Bill called me and Patrick (drums) called me, because me and Patrick are from the same hometown and we’ve been discussing things of starting a band for like 10 years, but it never happened. Both Bill and Patrick called me and said basically the same thing independently from each other. They said : when you’re ready again let’s make that band, let’s do this for real. At first, I was so tired that I didn’t want to continue with music anymore. But then I gave it some thoughts and I thought that if we can write and record an album that we can be proud of, that if we were 14 we would have shat our pants if we heard it, we had to do it. That was the goal for this band. So we decided to start that band but we needed members. So I brought in Mikael, the bass player, and Bill brought in Jimmy (keys) because we knew them from before. After that, we needed a name, because we didn’t come up with anything. So then we thought : let’s try and make a contest out of it. We noticed that we had some fans around this band with not doing anything. So we announced a contest and we thought that maybe we could receive 20 names or something, but we received 1500 names ! That’s pretty much how we ended up as a band and with the name NorthTale.

Then, how did you manage to have your debut album ready so quickly ? Could you please sum up the creation process of this first album ?

Actually, the day before yesterday I received the CD from the label and I was sitting on my couch and I held it in my hand and I was like : how the fuck did we manage to do this in one and an half year ?! (laughs) But somehow we did ! Mainly, it was me and Bill writing all the songs and we were sending things back and forth online. The thing is we have the exact same vision of what we want to do with the music. So, it was super easy actually even though all odds against us with living across the sea.

It was a question for Bill actually, regarding the guitar parts, but maybe you can answer for both of you if you know. What inspired you when you wrote for this album ?

Actually, I also wrote music. I mean, me and Bill wrote the album and some songs I wrote all the music on and all the lyrics on and some songs Bill wrote all the music on and also the lyrics. We can say it’s a 50-50 process with this and that’s what we wanted. If you look at power metal like 20 or 30 years ago and if you say power metal today, our metal can be so many different things. But we wanted to go back to what we call power metal. I mean, that era of the old Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stradivarius, but also some of other influences like Judas Priest or Yngwie Malmsteen. We basically wanted an album that we wanted to hear, whit elements from the bands we love throughout the years.

Regarding what you just said, do you think that power metal is now less rich or less interesting ?

No, not at all. I don’t know how to say this without sounding rude ! (laughs) But I think nowadays many bands are trying to take everything to the next level, they’re gonna dress up in costumes, they’re gonna take things on stage, they’re gonna do whatever and they are taking everything to the top. But in my opinion, the top is already reached and for us, I think we just wanted to focus on great songs and not like have a gimmick or… We just want to play music. I’m not saying that other bands don’t write good music. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel because we know that it’s been done before, but hopefully we can catch the essence of what is NorthTale and form something on our own.

If you allow me a personal comment, I was really surprised by the album because I was expecting a sort of power metal cliché, if you know what I mean, but the music is really rich, the guitars are really crazy and the choruses are amazing. Everything is very powerful….

Thank you, we appreciate that. That is exactly what we wanted to do with this album. And I mean if you listen to the album you can hear that it’s it is a very diverse album. We take a lot of different directions Because we didn’t want to write songs like this or like that, wanted to explore and the sky was the limit. Because if you listen bands from the 70’s, there is a huge spread of the songs, they don’t follow a certain template. And that is what we wanted to focus on.

On another hand, was it difficult to convince Nuclear Blast to sign you with this new project ?

Well… No. (laughs) I mean, that was also kinda surreal, because at first we said that we’d release the album on our own. Because, initially we wrote an EP and we recorded that. So we thought : let’s just release it on our own. But then we started to get some offers from small independent labels, like they wanted to sign us without even hearing a word or a note… So then, we realized that we had some good connections with Nuclear Blast. So, we decided to try them. But we never expected them to sign us, we were nobodies, we’re a new band and we haven’t put anything out. But they got super into it. I mean, right away. That was a really cool experience ! Then, we had to finish up for a full length album. I’m not saying that it didn’t take time but we didn’t have to be standing on our knees and beg. We were presenting ourselves and ask if they wanna work with us and they said yes. So yeah, we were surprised and very happy about it.

You said a few words about that earlier, but if it was not so difficult with the record label, what about the audience ? Because, like you said, you are a new band. So, is it difficult to start a brand new band, especially nowadays, and build a new fanbase ?

I don’t know, actually. As I said earlier with the name and the contest, we saw that we had some followers from the start. And a lot of fans and friends I had from before, from Twilight Force, and a lot of fans from Bill’s side, from UDO, from Trans-Siberian Orchestra and also Patrick with Yngwie Malmsteen…So we were like getting together and people started to show interest in just us being together and like feeling really hyped about us. But it’s super weird because I don’t know how it happened. Now the single « Higher » reached 60000 views on YouTube or something now and that’s a good vibe for the album.

Back to the album now, it’s called « Welcome To Paradise » but the cover artwork looks a bit dark and cold, which doesn’t represent the idea we have of paradise, or at least to me… Do you have a comment about that ?

Yeah that’s exactly why we wanted it that way ! I mean, what is paradise to you ? What is paradise to me ? Hopefully, we wanted people to think about that. Because my paradise, I’m sure, isn’t the same as your paradise. Paradise can be whatever. And this title is picked from the opening track of the album where paradise stands for something really bad in my opinion because that song is about what I call a cult in which I grew up in. But for those who were in it and running it, they thought of it as a perfect paradise. So that’s why we wawe wanted to call the album « Welcome To Paradise » and right away you see this is not paradise but it could be to some people.


So, when you write lyrics do you always inspire you from personal events or experiences ?

Yeah, always. The topic are picked from life. For example, « Time To Rise » is like me singing to myself when I was a kid because I had a period of time when I was bullied in school. And the message with that song is that it’s time to rise, it’s not always gonna be like this. There is a better future to come. And « Siren’s Fall » is about how I experience anxiety attacks, because I’m living that since I was a kid and nowadays I can handle them. But I also wanted to put that in words because I do believe if I sing about something that is close to heart, that is emotional I sing better, hopefully. (laughs)

But it’s really interesting because when you hear the songs for the first time, you don’t especially pay attention to the topics. I’ll do it the next time I’ll play it. But now, do you know what Bill’s songs are about ?

« If Angels Are Real », for example, that song is dedicated to his friend who passed away. They played together in Circle II Circle and that it’s a tribute to him. So, it’s all about real life experiences. That is also one thing we want to get away from, we are not a fantasy band. I respect the guys who do that, but we want to try and write about real stuff.

And it’s also something that doesn’t make the band sound like a cliché, actually. It’s really interesting. But now here is a question that most of the artists hate : do you have you a favorite song out of this album ?

Actually, it very much depends on my daily mood. It’s hard, but the songs I listen the most are « Bring Down The Mountain » and « The Rhythm Of Life ». I mean, all the songs are personal, so it’s very hard to pick a favorite but for me today, it would be « The Rhythm Of Life ».

You will play a few festivals in August and especially the Sabaton Open Air. So how did you get the opportunity to play there ? I had an interview with the bass player of Sabaton a few weeks ago and he said that it was really important for him to bring new bands on stage to keep the scene alive.

Sabaton and me grew up in the same town and I used to sing with Sabaton back in the days. We’ve always been friends. They created something, I mean, Sabaton is a unique band, there’s something special about them. And they created a great festival and they always wanted to work with local produced things. I mean, from local produced food to local produced bands. So, that’s great for us that they believe in us and then wanted to take us in. So that that would be our world premiere show there.

So, how are you getting ready for this first show ?

First of all, it’s starting to get real : we are really going to play this first show ! I mean, we’ve been going in this bubble like, yes, we’re gonna play live later… And now it’s only three weeks away ! (laughs) Now, we need to start rehearsing for real and everyone is rehearsing at home now, then we will meet up a week before the festival for some production rehearsals. And hopefully, we won’t sound like shit ! (laughs)

But by the way do you think we can call NorthTale a super band ?

No ! (laughs) I mean, I know that we’ve been labeled like a super band. But the thing is we never called ourselves a super band and we will never ever do it. But what is a super band ? We’re just five guys who like the same music and join working together.

So, after a few festivals you will play next month, do you already have plans for touring after the season ?

Yeah, we are working on that. I can say we have a booking agency that wants to work with us, but I can’t mention the names right now. But things are looking good !

I’m now done with my questions, so I let you the final words for our readers…

Yeah the only thing I can say is that I really hope you’re gonna like the album. And I hope to see you soon ! I mean, our work is done. Now, we can only hope. I’m not gonna say : if you like us do this or that blablabla… Just take a listen if you like it !

Learn more about NorthTale :


L’Œuvre au Noir, a bewitching artist

For some time now, I have been following the illustrator’s page L’Œuvre au Noir on Facebook. Since her style has a link with black art and she has already made some artworks for metal bands, I chose to put this Belgian illustrator in the spotlight. Talented, friendly and humble are for me the three words that characterizes Natacha. I invite you to visit her page and discover her captivating universe.

First of all, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Natacha, I am 30 years old. Damrémoise by birth, I currently live near Ciney. I followed studies in advertising, layout of space, web design and web development. I like long walks in the forest, watching birds, red wine, herbal medicine, family celebrations, my cat, the storm, laughter, madness…

L’Œuvre au Noir, what is it? How did you come up with the idea of creating this project?

I created this project by chance… In early 2018, I felt the urge to go back to drawing. I created a Facebook page in the process, without a particular objective, and received very quickly a first request from a band for a t-shirt design.

The name “L’ Œuvre au Noir” corresponds, in alchemy, to the first stage of the Great Work (this one aims at the realization of the Philosopher’s Stone). This stage refers to death, putrefaction, dissolution… From a psychological point of view, it is an uncomfortable episode of awareness of our deepest suffering, of a slow process of deconstruction of our first nature, animal and chaotic.

What inspires you in your creations?

I have always been attracted by the engravings I found in the ancient treatises of alchemy, like those of Basile Valentin or Johann Daniel Mylius. The symbolism behind each drawn element really interests me a lot.

In a general way, hermetism and all that has a link directly or indirectly with the occult sciences inspire me.

On the other hand, I am also very interested in the work of many artists such as Adrian Baxter, David S. Herrerías and Artem Grigoryev.

You have created artworks for the Belgian death metal band Exuviated. Would you like to move towards the musical illustration?

Indeed, the musical environment, and in particular the metal environment, is a rather favorable ground and rather open to this type of illustration and thematic. To continue in this direction and to receive new orders from bands, whatever they are, would be for me a real pleasure.

How do we contact you if we want to call on you to create artworks for a band ?

You can contact me by e-mail or via the various social networks, all the necessary links are on

What other types of creations/services do you offer besides artworks for bands?

I am open to all requests, if they are not too far from my aesthetic and if I feel able to complete the project to the end.

What is your favorite creation and why?

My favorite creation was my very first t-shirt design commission from a band, Oldd Wvrms. Firstly because I did not expect to receive a request after having posted only three drawings on my Facebook page and, secondly, because they left me “free hand” on the visual, by simply imposing the general theme, which was far from displeasing me.

Unfortunately the group split before being able to release this t-shirt. One of the members, however, asked me to keep the illustration for one, perhaps, future musical project… So I can not yet unveil the entire drawing.

Natacha still provided us with a small overview of the design she mentions above.


Is there a band for which you would like to make an illustration? If so, which one and why?

The first band that comes directly to my mind is Der Weg Einer Freiheit. For the emotion that I feel from their first notes, for passages sometimes explosive, sometimes melancholic that are linked in a remarkable way… Their music hypnotises me.

Do you have any expectations or goals that you would like to achieve in the coming year ?

I do not have a specific goal, but I sincerely hope that some of the different requests received in these weeks are coming to fruition and leading to fruitful collaborations.

I also have the idea of releasing, at more or less regular intervals and if people are receptive, stuff in the colors of L’Œuvre au Noir. The series of three bookmarks illustrating the steps of the Great Work was the boot of this project.

Apart from L’Œuvre au Noir, do you have other artistic projects? If yes, what are they ?

Yes, I have two other projects with my companion, Jean-Philippe.

For a few years, active in the metal environment under the name  “Threadbare Artwork”, we have offered other types of visuals, the realization of logos, websites, as well as the printing on a whole series of objects (t-shirts, backdrops, etc).

Our second graphic studio is called “TagoraSign”. Within it, we offer more “corporate” services for companies and small independents (creation of complete visual identities, websites, business cards, etc).

I also do a little bit of photography on occasion, under the pseudonym “La Jusquiame Noire” (as amateur).

A last word for our readers ?

I can not remain indifferent to the marks of interest. I would like to thank all those who have shown me their support, encouragement and trust in any way. I am deeply grateful.

For the more curious, I can already announce the release of tote bags L’Œuvre au Noir in pure organic cotton for the end of year celebrations.

Pictures by l’Œuvre au Noir.

Want to discover Natacha’s work in more detail? Follow the links below.

The Agonist

« Everything is going to be ok at the end of the day » : an interview with Vicky Psarakis from The Agonist about « Orphans ».

Last month, the Canadians from The Agonist released their sixth studio album, « Orphans », via Napalm Records. It was the opportunity for us to discuss with their American singer Vicky Psarakis about this new album. The band just finished a couple of release shows and is now getting ready to tour Europe with their fellows from Jinjer.

So, « Orphans » has been out for a couple of days now, how do you feel ? How are the feedbacks so far ? You just finished a couple of release shows too, so how was it ?

It was fantastic, actually ! It’s probably the most excited I’ve ever been for an album and after an album release. And the feedbacks have been really really good and what I loved about the release shows that we played is that we played new songs and people already know the lyrics. The crowd, they were singing along, which was crazy to see because I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before. So yes, all has been very positive so far, it’s great !

That’s awesome ! Do you have particular expectations with this new release ?

I’m hoping for the best, obviously. Whenever a band puts out a new album, there’s always that anticipation to see how the fans and the listeners in general will receive it. And it seems that it’s the best feedback we’ve ever had. A lot of people are saying that it’s our best album ever. So, we think our expectations are getting bigger because of that. Now, we are hoping to tour as much as possible and visit places that we’ve never been to before, maybe and… Yeah, we are hoping for the best !

So, more about the album now. The first thing I thought when I heard « In Vertigo » was : OMG it reminds me the old school The Agonist, so to say ! And I was really excited about that. What do you think ? Was it a pure choice to come back to the roots of the band or it just happened like that, during the creation process ?

Yeah, I think it was a combination of both. I think everyone in the band kind of felt that for this album we should stay true to ourselves and do what feels natural. And that’s what I think, like you mentioned, there’s some elements from older albums in there, maybe infused with a couple of new elements too. And I think it’s a very mature sound for this band. It is the direction that suits us and that we should be heading towards from now on. And for myself, it was definitely a challenge because the songs were heavier and faster than anything I’ve done before vocally. But it also felt very rewarding. I mean, when I finished a song and I was listening to it, I would feel really really good about it, very strongly, and positive about it. So, I think that’s a good feeling to have. You know, when you finished something and you feel comfortable with that and happy with it.

Yeah I think it’s really more violent than your previous albums ! You just mentioned about your voice and so on, so let’s talk about it. I’m really really impressed and I feel like you do more and more things with your voice and I especially think about the really deep and kind of demonic growls you do sometimes, they are huge ! But how did you work on these new skills ? Did you work with someone or it’s all on your own ?

No, I’m completely self-taught. I think it’s just I’ve always been very curious as a vocalist to know different vocal techniques out there, both for singing and screaming. And I think that after many many years of singing and kind of figuring out exactly what I’m doing there, I decided to focus more on my screaming the past couple of years. I was just looking at other metal vocalists that I admire and I really love how they sound and how great they scream and just trying to figure out how they do it and, just like anything, I think it’s important to try stuff out and experiment. You also have to realize that it’s not going to always sound great in the beginning, you’ve got to work at it. And that’s basically what I did. I think a combination of that mentality that I have with vocals with writing these songs specifically brought that out, because I felt the music enabled me to do it, like it would fit on this music. I just had do it ! It really suited the vibe here.

Ok, it’s really impressive ! We just talk about the growls, but you also sing some « lyrical » parts, if you know what I mean. Did you also work these parts on your own ?

Yes ! Everything I’ve done is self-taught ! I feel like singing and screaming is a lot like voice acting, you know, your ear has to pick up on certain things and then you have to find how to emulate it with your own vocal. And I think I’ve just always had that curiosity and also I enjoy so many different gendras of music so, of course, I always feel like the temptation to do it myself. And I think this album was a really good album to show that diversity in the vocals.

Let’s talk about the process now. You toured a lot between the last release and this one, so how did you work on this new album ? How long did it take ?

I don’t know for the music because the way we work is Danny who does most of the instrumentals. He writes them at home and then he uploads them. So, he was constantly sending me songs but I only really started working on them after I got like nine or ten songs already. There, I was like ok it’s time to start working on the vocals and the lyrics. I maybe started at around February 2018 and then probably finished around April, so it took me maybe three to four months, I would say, to do the vocals and the lyrics for this album.

Is « Orphans » a concept album ? Or if not, what are the lyrical themes you chose this time ?

It’s not a concept album. There’re many different stories there. Some of them are based on personal experiences or experiences with the band. A lot of them are just based on fictional stories, books and stuff like that and some of them are based on real life tragedies that happened in the world. So it’s just different songs and different vibes. But I would say that the common factor between all the songs is that there’s usually this theme very dark, ominous sort of violent, like you mentioned, lyric. And just talking about something generally unpleasant but that should be talked about. And I think the common factor is that there’s always a part in the song that there’s a moment of positivity and the feeling that everything is going to be ok at the end of the day, which is, I think, the most important message you can put in your songs. I’m talking about something serious and that’s something that everyone can connect with, but at the end of the day I want to give them hope and faith that things will be all right.

It’s a beautiful message actually. Do you already have a favorite song out of « Orphans » or it’s too early ?

Yeah it’s always definitely hard to choose. And I do feel like the longer the album sits and the more you listen to the songs the more you realize which ones you actually prefer. You know you might get tired, there’s some faster than others. I would say as a whole based off like my own personal taste I would probably choose « Orphans » as my favorite song. It’s just really very « Vicky » I guess ! (laughs)

By the way, do you have a favorite song out of the whole discography of the band, maybe one you you love to sing on stage ?

That is definitely even harder to choose. I would say actually that the songs that we played live aren’t my favorites necessarily maybe because we play them like so much and sometimes you get sick of them. There’s a lot of good good live songs in there so it’s fairly hard to choose. If I had to choose a song that I really love that we never played live, I think it’s a beautiful song, I would say « As Above So Below » from « Eye Of Providence ».

And so, you are sick of some songs, can we know one ?

Oh you know when I say « sick », I mean, I’m just a bit tired of them. Maybe the older songs like the ones I didn’t write because those are especially songs that we played the most. But, I don’t know, maybe « Thank You Pain ». It’s a great song, don’t get me wrong, but we played it so many times…

I understand, there’s always an expectation of the audience for you to play this one.

Exactly ! And obviously, in the moment when you’re playing it feels really good. But then when you’re puting it on the setlist, you’re like : that song again ?! (laughs)

On another hand, did you work with new people for do recordings and stuff like that for this album ?

No, actually for this one we went back to our longtime producer Christian Donaldson from The Grid Studio country. And every time we work with him it’s better and better. There’s this feeling of being comfortable with him because he’s practically the sixth member of the band at this point. We also see that through time he gets better and better at what he does and he tells us that we get better at what we do. So it seems like every time we do a new album with him it’s always better.

Do you have a comment to tell about the artwork which is I think really nice but also really simple this time ?

Yeah that was kind of intentional. We had the whole artwork discussion thing through an email chain and no one could really think of some crazy idea that was suiting the music. And I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was Danny at that point. He was like : how do you guys just feel about doing a basic black background with our logo on it and just having some images in the booklet ? And we thought it was the way to go for this album, like sort of let the music speaks for itself and just have a suitable artwork but not anything too flashy or crazy. Maybe it doesn’t need to be this time around.


You’re about to tour with Jinjer. How did the deal happen ? And I’m just curious, but what do you think about their music ?

It all started when we played a show with them back in 2016 in Europe and we really instantly connected as people and we kept in touch since then. We were having this discussion for a long time, like we should tour together, we should do something together and it just happened : the stars aligned and we have a new album out. Their album is coming out very soon so we heard it through management, because theirs is the same as ours and, that they were planning a European tour but they didn’t have any bands booked yet. So we just contacted them directly and asked and they were very excited to have us. So that’s great. I think it’s gonna be a really good tour because both bands have certain similarities, but we’re also very different at the same time. So, I think it’ll be good for the crowd, they’re gonna get a different vibe from us and a different vibe from Jinjer, so it’s kind of refreshing. And then, personally, I would say I do like their music a lot. I think with every release they’re getting better and better. And they’re really finding their own sort of style that really works for them, people really like it. It’s great to see bands we met rise, gain a fanbase and stuff like that.

On another hand, there’s a topic I would like to discuss with you, but I’ll understand if you don’t want to. Unfortunately, you experienced a sort of bad buzz recently. How did you get through it ? I mean, people can be horrible and especially on the internet…

I think it’s a combination of both, you know. When you put something out there on the internet you’re going to get a wide range of reactions. You’re going to get extremely horrible ones like you mentioned, but you’re also going to get the extremely positive and supportive ones. And you know, when that happened I was actually very okay with that. I saw an enormous response from our fans and other peers in the industry, like people we toured with… We don’t talk too much, but they reached out and messaged me and told me some very positive things. So that was really good to see that at the end of the day you’re not in anything alone. Like a lot of people told me that they had similar experiences and they really understand it. So, it was really good. I don’t feel bad about it. I think you should be able to be free and be yourself and embrace whatever comments you receive whether criticism or positive when they come your way.

The sad thing about that was like you said nothing wrong actually and it got so big… But fortunately everything is good now !

Yeah it’s the classic click bait thing : you do a full interview and they’ll take that one little thing sometimes and blow it up out of proportion to get people commenting and liking. But I anticipated that might happen and it might happen again in the future. You know, when you’re in the public eye there’s no way to escape it. So, I’m really ok with it.

Now, as we still have a bit of time, do you want to take a minute to talk about your passion for puzzles ?

Oh puzzles ! I didn’t expect that ! You did your research ! (laughs) But it’s just one of those things I guess that I like doing when I want to escape everything. I don’t do that often, it’s not like every week I do a new puzzle. But I think when you’re working on a puzzle your brain is really focused on that, so you don’t really wander into all these other thoughts. I think it’s a combination of being able to shut off from everything else that’s going on in the world but also it’s a throwback to my childhood  and maybe a lot of kids’ childhood from the 90’s before this whole era of technology. You had to do stuff like that or play board games or puzzles or whatever that was like the entertainment. So yeah, it’s a combination of I guess nostalgia and escaping everything else that’s going on.

More seriously, do you have something to add for your fans from Belgium to finish this interview ?

I just want to thank our fans from Belgium and I’ll see everyone very soon because we’re playing in Belgium. And I remember actually shows that we’ve played there and always been fantastic and the crowd is great, so I’m really looking forward to it. And just a big big thank you for supporting us over the years and I hope you really enjoy « Orphans ».

Learn more about The Agonist :

Wind Rose

Wintersaga, the dwarf universe of Wind Rose

Wintersaga, the new album of Wind Rose was released on September 27th. Francesco, the singer of the band answered our questions about this album, the band, their music videos and the way they work on their albums.

Hello, how are you ?

Fine, thanks!

Where did you get the idea to create a band mixing JRR Tolkien’s stories with the power metal? And why did you call it “Wind Rose”?

To be honest, nothing was invented. We are huge fans of Blind Guardian and we followed their path, with original stories at the beginning and more into Tolkien later. Wind Rose gave us a sense of freedom, and it’s very easy to remember, so that’s it 😀

For the lyrics, how do you create them? Do you inspire yourself on his stories or his universe to create them?

I use to get inspired by Tolkien lore / Myths and legends to write my lyrics, and I gave to the stories a personal vision of them.

Regarding the new album: “Wintersaga” which came out on September 27th, what are the lyrics about? Is there a story behind?

“Wintersaga” whole album is around the dwarven lore by Tolkien and other fantasy lores, something from ancient pagan myths and legends as well.

We find in this album a special song from the Internet: Diggy Diggy Hole. Why did you pick up this song? Have you had feedback from its original writer: Yogscast?

We had the idea to make it for years, a lot of people requested it even live, so we caught the moment to crash into the major music business like a hammer to the anvil. Obviously we found a deal before with Yogscast and we started to rearrange something that was already funny and powerful. It was hard to match the original, but we surely did it.

Have you changed your way of working regarding the latest albums?

Nope, the way we work is the same: me, Claudio (guitar) and Federico (keyboard) in front of a computer with instruments and beers. The result is and will always be what we are in that moment, as long as we live. We experience, we change and our ideas/style change as well.

How is the collaboration with Napalm Records compared to previous labels?

Napalm Records for us is the best deal we can have, they have a name and the means to make us grow up. This is what we looked for in the past as well without success or with lack of means to grow, until we reached the world of professional music industry.

Is this your ideas found in the music video or have you been advised? If you have been advised, by whom? How are the recordings generally? How long do you take to shoot each clip?

At the moment, all the videos that you can find on YouTube were managed and “invented” by us. But the experience and talent of Tommy Antonini helped us a lot to explain what we wanted to show in our videos. Usually all the shoots for one clips take around 2 days, it depends what we have to do and where we have to go.

I had the good fortune to watch your clip “Drunken Dwarves”, some scenes seem unrealizable (or complicated) to return if it misses. Was not it too complicated to record?

It is. We did all as first take because we messed up an entire tavern so we were not able to clean all and do it again :D, as I said our video maker knows what to do, it’s important to have professionals around when you are doing something that has to be perfect (or close).

For those who do not know you yet, which song would you recommend them? Is this your favorite? If no, which one is it?

I recommend to listen the whole album, but spend more time on the songs that didn’t came out as singles because there you can find tons of details that you would love.

We leave you the last words of this interview to say what you want to your fans and to our readers.

Glad to have answered your questions, and I hope to see you all when we will play in your countries ;)!

Glory hammer

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