Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deathspell Omega: Les Mystères De Satan

With the release of their newest album, "Paracletus" ("Comforter" or "Holy Spirit" in Greek), Deathspell Omega has completed it's unholy trilogy of Satanic spiritual awakening which includes albums "Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice" ("If you seek his monument, look around you" in Latin) and "Fas-Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" ("By Divine Law, go you Cursed, into the Eternal Fire" in Latin).

The band has essentially created their own mythology within the metal underground by shrouding themselves in mystery (they have done just a handful of interviews, never play live, and have never revealed their true identities). As one might imagine, this has not only created a lot of (well deserved) hype, but also put the focus completely on the music as well as the concepts behind the music.

The primary lyrical concept behind their music is humankind's metaphysical relationship between "Satan" and "God". Their faith is what I would characterize as the most in depth Satanic philosophy in metal. They claim to practice a style of Orthodox Satanism with a heavy emphasis on the metaphysical. Despite the inherent contradiction of the name, they claim that the word "Orthodox" simply implies their acknowledging Satan as being of "divine essence":

"Let me say though that the main implication of the word "orthodox" in this context is a proud statement of the recognition of Satan being of divine essence, of the location of Devilworship on a religious and metaphysical level. The easy escape of using the word ideology instead of confronting oneself with the real challenges only portrays the terribly low level on which the major current of 'Satanism' is crawling.

Taken literally, the "orthodox" in Orthodox Satanism would imply that there is already a generally accepted canon of Satanic doctrine. In reality there is no standard Satanic doctrine, and it appears as if DsO reject the teachings of Anton Lavey, and therefore his infamous "Satanic Bible" which many take as the codified, universal explanation of Satanic ritual and practice. Instead, the members of DsO have taken influence by not only the Bible and other Judeo-Christian texts, but also texts as wide ranging as the writings of post-surrealist George Bataille to those of centuries-old Gnostic prophet, Mani. One could argue that there is really no other Black Metal band that has as in depth a grasp on their Satanic ideology, philosophy, and/or belief.

It appears as though the members of DsO are forging their own style of Satanism and they are using their own music as a catalyst to chronicle their spiritual journey. In other words, their music IS the journey:

"Professing a belief, or rather describing the different stones that pave the road on the quest that true faith implies, is synonymous with being active, it witnesses of spiritual evolution, of gains and of losses."

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, their music has been void of individual ego by choosing not to reveal their true identities. When asked why DsO choose to remain so mysterious, "they" answered somewhat esoterically:

"First and foremost, we want to avoid at all costs this very human illusion of being important and gladly leave these fifteen minutes of fame, as Warhol brilliantly put it, to whoever wants them. In regard to what we are trying to understand and dare to praise despite the immense restrictions of human understanding, we are nothing."

Within the interpersonal framework of a band, there is always individual ego involved.
The fact that they choose not to reveal their individual identities in some ways allows the music to develop a stronger identity of its own. However, if you remove the public existence of any said individual egos, and in some ways ignore the "human illusion of being important", the music, in a way, develops it's own identity. This is not to say that the music is "humanized" as a result. In the case of DsO's very inhuman and other-worldly style, the listener is discouraged from humanizing the music. Therefore, coming full circle, the identity that DsO's music develops, is that of their Satanic spiritual journey.

Now it should be said that at least a part of DsO's notoriety is due to the hype that surrounds the band. One has to take into account only the breadth of their concept, complexity of their lyrics, and caliber of musicianship to know that the hype is indeed warranted.

So I implore you, reader: join DsO, and take the journey into the everlasting fire.

- Judge Dredd

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interview with Patrick Mameli of Pestilence!!

Phone interview conducted on May 18, 2010.

WULF: Alright, so first of all I'd like to start off by saying it's an honor to talk to you. While I wasn't into metal when your last album came out, before your breakup, I've been checking you guys out now for awhile now and I really, really like your stuff. I really like the new album too. It's awesome, it's very brutal, but I was very surprised when I first heard it considering the experimental nature of your albums before the breakup. So I'd like to start off by saying that it's been a little over a year since "Resurrection Macabre" has come out, and over the course of this past year, how has the reaction been from fans and critics on your end?

PATRICK: Well, actually, I'd have to say it was like...mixed. (There were) mixed feelings because when you are in a band you want to create the best music you can, and it's a little child. It's what you think is best. It's the best stuff you think you are coming up with. On the other hand, with the following that we have, the fans that have been there since day 1, there's two camps. There's the "Martin van Drunen and 'Consuming Impulse'" camp, and then you have the "Testimony of the Ancients" camp with me on vocals, and then there's the 15-year gap. And then we come out with our new album, and it was difficult because a lot of people were comparing it to the newer previous material and then when you have two camps you can't really please everybody. So that's difficult, but I think that we succeeded in grasping the best of the Pestilence style and taking it a step further.

WULF: Yeah, sort of evolved a little bit then? I'd say I'm in both camps, I love the brutality of the album, but while I like experimental metal and all of that like from "Spheres" and "Testimony of the Ancients", I really like "Consuming Impulse" and so for this album it was totally cool that it was really brutal and groove-y, kind of juxtaposed with (more), kind of technical parts. But anyway the tracks that I've played most on my radio show are "Dehydrated II" and "Devouring Frenzy". Especially because "Dehydrated", the first one, is one of my favorite songs by you guys. So is there a particular track that stands out as your favorite on this album?

PATRICK: Well, that's difficult because I want to top every song, so every song is kind of special to me but it almost seems that some of the songs that work in the studio really well don't work as well live. We have a great response on the song "Resurrection Macabre" itself, because it's slow and doomy and people want to bang their heads to it, so that gives you a great feeling but I definitely must say that I like "Hate Suicide" a lot because there's a lot of stuff happening in the song, the things that we like in music, it's got the blasts, it's got the "eerie", it's got the chunkiness, it's got the octave chords that get pushed around a lot, so it's difficult but I think I like "Hate Suicide" a lot.

WULF: Cool, man. I pretty much liked all the songs, I thought they were really good and I've given them a lot of airplay. So my next question-- this might be kind of a dumb question, but when you were in the studio, I know you guys are very technically-proficient players but was there a track that was more difficult than the others to record or write during the writing process?

PATRICK: Actually, no, it was like riding a bike. We kind of wanted to do it the easy way, we don't write songs to make it difficult for ourselves or to show off how technical we are. We wanted to do it with chemistry, and the whole thing with "Resurrection Macabre" was that I kind of had an idea of how the songs should sound but we never practiced. We never practiced before when we entered the studio. That was the first time that people got the chance to get into the songs and I brought my files with the ghost guitars on it, left and right, and a click track, and I just offered the guys a great opportunity to be as creative as possible so in other words, I didn't know what to expect and the guys didn't know what to expect. Of course they heard some stuff and little things here and there that I sent and said "OK, could you guys sound a little bit like that?" But when everything came together it was an amazing experience, it had lots of wild moments because like I said we hadn't practiced before so this was the first time we played those songs for everybody and when they put all the tracks together the monster came to life, and it was beyond my expectations, definitely.

WULF: Hence the title, "Resurrection Macabre"?

PATRICK: There you go.

WULF: That's cool man. So you worked with producer Jacob Hansen, and I was just wondering since I like to know "behind the scenes" types of stuff, how was he as a producer? What was it like working with him?

PATRICK: Very, very laid-back. (He's a) very laid-back person and he knows his stuff. He's got a very great ear. Although, it was kind of a clinical situation, because we didn't we have so much time. We had to do the whole album in two weeks. So when Peter Wildoer (drums) came in, he recorded drum tracks and then went off, and then Tony Choy (bass) (came in), so it's like one after another, and I would just be recording my guitar parts in another room all by myself. So that is kind of a clinical approach to everything and like I said, it really worked. We played many gigs with this lineup, with Tony Choy and Peter, and it sounded just awesome. It's kind of weird to be coming over to the States with a new lineup performing songs from the Resurrection album, but it's going to be awesome. We have a (new) great drummer now (Yuma Van Eekelen), this guy so is so fast with his double bass and he blasts like the real, single-footed blasts, like Derry Roddy. I've got Jeroen (Paul Thesseling) back up on bass, like he did on the "Spheres" album, so it's almost 75% like the original lineup.

WULF: That's awesome man. I'm sure old-school fans and new fans are also really excited to see that as well. Congratulations on that! When you talked about the US tour, that's actually what I want to talk about next. So congratulations on this upcoming tour, that's really badass. Now just out of curiosity, I know you that guys have come here before, to North America, is that right?


WULF: Now when was the last time you actually did tour here, though? Was it for the "Spheres" album?

PATRICK: No, I don't think so. I think it was for the "Testimony" album. We toured a bunch of times with Death. We did a small European tour but it was kind of a bad time for us because we were in the midst of splitting up with Roadracer (Records) and nobody dug the "Spheres" album so not too many people would show up or they would really want to hear those old songs and we just wanted to fuck the relationship up with Roadracer so we just went in a different direction. That went OK for us, but we were really frustrated at that time with the whole music industry, but it was our own mistake trying to combine metal and jazz and stuff like that. Bands like Atheist, they do that too, but they started doing that, man. We started as a death metal band, leading to that stuff, so that was our mistake. I think that the "Resurrection Macabre", if we would have come out with it after "Testimony of the Ancients" we would have been way bigger.

WULF: Well you know, it's funny, in hindsight I know you probably hear this all the time about how the experimental "Spheres" and stuff like that was awesome, even if people at the time didn't dig it or whatever, but honestly man, the first Pestilence album I ever heard was "Spheres" and I thought it was really cool, so then to go from that to "Resurrection Macabre" I thought was really awesome because I like both of them. But anyway, yeah so when you did the last tour here, based on that experience, is there a city here in particular that you look especially forward to playing in? I'm assuming besides the Maryland Deathfest, because that's going to be awesome.

PATRICK: Yeah, that's going to be one of our highlights as the start of the tour, so it's crazy to start off with something like that. But we have fond memories of lots of cities that we went through, but not one really in particular because we had so many great moments in so many amazing cities. But Houston was awesome.

WULF: Houston?

PATRICK: Yeah, man! Houston was awesome because fans are crazy but also like Mexico, Tijuana, that was crazy, but also New York because that was crazy, it was snowing and that was a crazy time. But there are too many to name because the US is such a beautiful and great country and to have so many've got the great countryside. I love Florida, I love L.A., I love the's just crazy. Too many different options there, you know?

WULF: Yeah, and the different states and regions kind of have their own character too, because we're pretty big, but I see what you're saying. That's really cool, man. Alright, so for plans for Pestilence's future, I know that there's this tour, and then it looks like you guys are going to be playing some dates in Europe after that, but what I want to know is, and I'm sorry if you've talked about this before in other interviews and I've missed it, but are there plans for a new Pestilence album or EP on the way or anything like that?

PATRICK: Well actually, I have, like, five songs written already.

WULF: Really?

PATRICK: Yeah. Like I said, it's like riding a bike, but we want to top all our previous material so this album's going to be even more crazy, if I put those five songs already in perspective. The album will be recorded I think in September, and (released) in February. It will be called "Doctrine", and it's going to be sick, it's going to be something that is different from all the other Pestilence albums. So one never knows what to expect.

WULF: (laughs) Yeah, cool man! So you said you're going in in September, and it will be out by February of 2011?


WULF: Awesome, man! Just in time for my birthday! (laughs) Alright! So I don't know if this is too far ahead or anything, but are we ever going to be able to see a Pestilence DVD or anything like that?

PATRICK: Well, actually what is going to happen is that we are going to try to bring that out ourselves and sell it (on) our official website because there will be so much footage and nowadays everybody can record in HD-

WULF: With YouTube and stuff like that.

PATRICK: Yeah, we'll edit it ourselves and come up with a nice, nice DVD for y'all.

WULF: Oh, cool man! I'm really into metal DVDs, especially because I'm in the Midwest and not a lot of shows come through here. So we have to drive a lot, and sometimes I can't make it. So this is kind of a way for me to get at least part of that concert experience. Now, I know that we're running out of time here and you've probably got other interviews and stuff, just two really quick questions...are there any future plans for the band C-187? Is that still going on?

PATRICK: No, that's not going on. When I started that project I thought that that was going to blow up a lot, so that was my thing, so that was my thing, and in the end it only sold, like, a thousand copies. So most people bashed it because it was kind of promoted as "ex-Death, ex-Pestilence", so people (inaudible), I had to get that music out of my system, I guess, but recording with Sean Reinert (Cynic, Death), that was amazing. So for me, that was enough. When I was doing interviews for C-187 everyone kept asking about Pestilence so I just went back to the good ol' roots and that's when (inaudible) and resurrecting Pestilence.

WULF: Awesome. Well I mean, that's cool too, but I'm sorry C-187 didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, but then again it's good to see that Pestilence is back too, so, I guess I can't explain. (laughs) So, my last question, this is just a question based just on my own curiosity, just because I like to know, but of all your tours that you've gone on with Pestilence, is there a certain band in particular that stands out to you as like, the craziest, just behind the scenes? Like, dudes that are the most wild, or out of control?

PATRICK: Well, I haven't been in the scene for many years and so I would not know, but I know that when we were growing up and listening to good ol' Napalm Death, with Mick Harris on drums, he would take a shit in the shower and (inaudible). (laughs) And, of course, our great, great friend G.G. Allin is like...he's a goner but-

WULF: You knew G.G. Allin?!

PATRICK: Oh yeah, dude. I didn't know him personally, but I knew of him.

WULF: Yeah, that guy was nuts. Yeah, I was just curious, I like to know the behind the scenes stuff, so...anyway man, that's all the questions I have for you. I know you have other interviews so I'd just like to say that it's been an honor to talk to you and I wish you the best of luck on this North American tour here.

PATRICK: Thank you so much, and hopefully we'll get a chance to say hi to each other and shake some hands and drink some beer.