Back in the late 80s and early 90’s death metal ruled metal in the catacombs of the underground. The Finnish death metal scene was one of kind unique offering tremendous bands from every town around Finland. Every underground death metal maniac still recalls with tears in their eyes when death metal gigs were packed and how demo tapes got traded and underground DIY magazines were informative and of high quality. How about the bands back then; well the list is endless! Let the name dropping start: Demigod, Convulse, Amorphis, Abhorrence, Belial, Mythos, Purtenance, Funebre, Xysma, Disgrace, Mordicus, Purtenance and so on. Many years have passed by since those days. Most of bands have vanished and some of them are more or less activate or some were catapulted to another dimension of success. Does Finnish death metal offer something new, and above all, more than newer bands of the genre? Of course it does, even though the Finnish death metal scene lives and well. Believe or not. The scene is awesome and tremendous as the bands of the present day sound brutal and vicious. The article of the Finnish Death Metal scene gives a half dissection of six great death metal bands. The interviewed members of the following bands are :
Ville : Maveth
Samu : Swallowed
Tommi : Stench Of Decay
Roni Ä : Lie In Ruins and Neutron Hammer
Roni S : Lie In Ruins
Lasse : Hooded Menace
Let Death Metal reign
The interview can be started with the basic question; how the band was founded in the first place and who is involved in the current line-up?
Ville (Maveth) : Maveth was founded in the end of year 2007 in Varkaus, Finland. Me and a couple other guys were struggling to find full line-up to play death/black metal and then we heard that one guy called Christbutcher (Dethroned, Excommunion) moved from U.S (Colorado) to Varkaus with his Finnish wife. Christbutcher had just started working at local tattoo studio and we knew those people so we asked his phone number from them. Then we called and invited him to our practice place and since then we have been making music together. In the beginning we had to make one member change but after that the chemistry in the band has been solid. Current line-up is Christbutcher – vocals/guitar, Mikko Karvinen – guitar, Jani Nupponen – bass and Ville Markkanen – drums.
Samu (Swallowed) : Current line-up: Samu (gtr, voice), Ville (drms, voice), Mika (bass), Jaakko (gtr)… Samu started the band with Topi (who plays nowdays in Krypts) in the summer of 2007.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Stench of Decay took its first breath in 2004 when yours truly (Tommi Sookari – bass) and Rami Simelius (guitar) put the idea of a death metal band into effect. Besides the aforementioned founders, the current line-up also includes Jussi Rajala (guitar/vocals) and Markus Hietamies (drums).
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : Current line up in Lie in Ruins is:
Roni S. – Vocals
Tuomas K. – Guitar
Roni Ä. – Guitar
Jussi V. – Bass
Aki K. – Drums
Well, Roni S. can tell the story about how the Lie in Ruins was started. For my self, I jumped in the band when the first demo was recorded. We were at the bar, and Roni and Tuomas was talking with me about the logo they needed for the band, and I said that I can give it a try, and second logo was the one we are using now. Little after that they asked if I want to join the band. So we trained something like year or maybe two as trio, and after second demo, Statues, was given it’s birth, was time for some live performances. So we needed more people in the band. First came Kai Kinnunen for drums, and little after that Jussi joined as a bass player. With this line up we did gigs and new songs for a while, and just before it was time to record the first album, Swallowed by the Void, Mr kinnunen decided to go on his own way, because of he didn’t got enough time for band. So we recorded Swallowed by the Void –album without him, and Roni S. played all the drums for the album. After couple months, Aki joined the band and with this line up we have been going on since then.
Roni S (Lie In Ruins) : Lie in Ruins was born in 2002 when me and Tuomas dug our old death metal project from the grave and started to rehearse once again. Like Roni Ä. already said we did our first demo attack as a duo and then Roni joined the wagon as well. Now with this solid full line up we are stronger than ever.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : The current line up in Neutron Hammer is:
J.Pervertor – Guitar
Kaosbringer – Vocals
P.Malediktus – Drums
Ronitor – Bass
For Neutron Hammer, the band was founded by J.Pervertor, P.Malediktus and Kaosbringer, and I joined in the band in 2009, when they got some problems by their bassplayer and they got gig coming up in 3 weeks in Dublin with Gospel Of The Horns. Kaosbringer called me and asked if I would want to come to play that show, and if I can learn all the song before that by just listening the songs. So the 3 weeks was just and just enough for me so I managed to learn all the songs needed, and after that show I have been playing bass in Neutron Hammer.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : Hooded Menace was formed in the summer of 2007. Very much influenced by the first Cathedral album, Winter, and Asphyx we wanted to do play really doom-laden death metal that combined crushing and somber riffs with just a slight hint of melody that came from our love for the early Candlemass albums from the 80’s. It was about time for me to have a band like this as I´ve been digging Candlemass and Cathedral for ages. My old band Phlegethon had some doom influences combined to its death/tharsh style but now with Hooded Menace it feels good to play solely something slow and heavy. The current line up is: me (Lasse) on guitar, Jori on drums (also in Speedtrap, Death Toll 80k, Scent of Flesh…), Antti on bass (plays also in a couple of local punk bands) and Oula on vocals (also in Death Toll 80k).
Was the playing of death metal an obvious choice for each one in the band when you starting the band and doing the first rehearsals? Did you ponder about other choices to start playing in the first place when doing the first rehearsals?
Ville (Maveth) : It was an obvious choice that we wanted to make death metal with some dark elements.
Samu (Swallowed) : Yes, we wanted to play like Abhorrence and Nihilist. We wanted to play raw death metal, that’s why we started this group.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Playing death metal was and still is our main goal – from the very beginning up to this date. Before anything else, even before we had a complete line-up or actual songs, the course of style was decided.
Roni S (Lie In Ruins) : There was no question about it. Lie in Ruins has always been and will always be metal of Death.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : I have always loved Death and Black Metal, and at least for me, it doesn’t matter is it Death Metal or Black Metal as long it’s having the right athmosphere. Dark, brutal & Satanic. I have been playing many years before Lie in Ruins or Neutron Hammer, and I was always mostly playing Black Metal. I got to say, that something like 10 years ago I didn’t know any other good Death Metal Bands than Entombed, Bolt Thrower, Grave, Amorphis (old), Demigod, and some others like that. I was much more into Black Metal, but then I started to find more Death Metal bands that were just awesome. So for me, Death Metal came bigger at the very early in 2000. But still, it doesn’t matter is it Death Metal or Black Metal, as long as there is the right feeling in it.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : After some doomy and deadly jamming sessions it became clear what we all wanted to do. Actually, not many know that I already had some of this stuff written (a couple of riffs and the music for the song "The Eyeless Horde" was almost completed at this stage) and that I originally planned to use the music for Phlegethon but after all I didn´t want to change Phlegethon´s style this much but formed a new band instead.
Where was the name for the band taken from? Does it symbolize something for example grimness or present the band’s style in some way?
Ville (Maveth) : Christbutcher’s friend called Naas Alcameth came up with that name. Naas Alcameth also writes our lyrics. Maveth is an ancient urgatic god of death, and the Hebrew noun for death itself.
Samu (Swallowed) : You are SWALLOWED. Entrenched in something. Meditation. The ego is swallowed in the rivers of blood.
: The name is taken from an old Sentenced song, Disengagement. We considered this name to capture the spirit of olden days and to be a suitable banner under which the band could play sinister death metal.
Roni S (Lie In Ruins) : There’s no one explanation behind our moniker. It’s reflects so many things going on.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : The name refers to the Spanish 70´s cult horror movie series the Blind Dead that has a strong influence on the bands´ visuals, lyrics and music. If you have seen these films you´ll get it. Our music is almost like a soundtrack to the slow and menacing pacing of the hooded Blind Dead Templars.
Hooded Menace on the stage at the Black Mass Ritual III
As far as influences are concerned, which bands have influenced and inspired you the most and have you (so to say) borrowed the obvious killer influential riffs from these influential bands to your songs?
Ville (Maveth) : There are so many bands which have influenced us so hard to mention just some of them. We all like to listen lots of different kind of death and black metal bands.
: On the first demo it was Nihilist and Abhorrence who inspired us to start playing death metal. On the second demo we were inspired more by Autopsy. And nowdays we are discovering our own sound. You can still hear some influences from the past but now we have the idea how we should sound.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : I truly hope we aren’t just a medium for delivering feelings of nostalgia and that we have brought something genuine to this genre. Anyway, here are some bands that have influenced Stench of Decay’s approach to death metal: Incantation, Bolt Thrower, Necros Christos, Drowned and early Sentenced & Demigod. The first two helped us to understand the meaning of simplistic and yet crushing riffs. NC and Drowned are just very inspiring bands in their own right, who have managed to create a totally new point of view to death metal. I personally have always admired the sense of melody in Sentenced and Demigod.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : I think that my influences are pretty big mixing of some old Swedish Death Metal style and some Black Metal. Played as so low tuning as B, everything gets much more heavy and crushing. Perfect sound for a Death Metal, I would say. For the older bands I would say Entombed, Grave, Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Demigod, and Amorphis as influences, but I think that from next album you can here some influences from such a great bands like Necros Christos, Dead Congregation, Grave Miasma… Just to point out few. The list of new killer bands is way too long to be mentioned, and of course, when you listen something all the time, you will take some influences, even without knowing it.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) :Let the name dropping begin… 80´s Candelmass, early Cathedral, two first Paradise Lost albums, Winter, Asphyx, Autopsy, 80´s Iron Maiden, Goblin, Fabio Frizzi and more… but I´d say the most important are Candlemass and Cathedral. I grew up with their music so their riffage has etched in my brain very early on. So naturally my riffs can sometimes come close to theirs but it´s not stealing. It´s about taking influences and fusing it into an entirety that becomes your own. That´s how it should be. But we do have one riff in "The Haunted Ossuary" that I´d call a tribute to Candlemass´ classic "Under the Oak" riff. Of course it´s a little bit different but similar enough to remind of the "Under the Oak" riff. I realized it immediately when I came up with it but I left it on purpose just to pay a tribute to the song, album and the band that have been enormously important to me. Nothing wrong with that. I think it´s only cool and fun. Actually no one ever mentioned about the riff, so I don´t know if people can hear the similarity like I do. I salute constructive criticism but bitter and benighted feedback will be laughed at/ignored.
In my opinion, death metal bands do have the identifying and recognizable sounds. Do you think you have managed to capture sounds identifying your band well?
Ville (Maveth) : I think we have managed to get good sound to our releases so far. But we are still quite new band so we need to adjust our sound little bit to get more identifying sound I think. We have that old-school tone mixed with modern bite and i think that is very good start.
Samu (Swallowed) : We have used Substraction and Tolerance, I would say we have an Identity.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Maybe so, but unfortunately often the recognizable sound can be identified with some other band than the one in question. I refer to the phenomenon of aping, of course. Sunlight sound, for example, has become so used that sometimes bands don’t have any other content in their music. I do hope we are not considered to be such band though.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : Yes, many bands have their own sound that is very recognizable. For example you will always know the guitar sound of Entombed, and you will always know the vocal sound of Asphyx or Hail of Bullets, ha hah… I think we got pretty recognizable sound in Lie in Ruins, although we cant really say that it’s our own, because there is so much elements that many other bands uses as well. Like using delay as lead guitar sound. Or HM-2 pedal. Although we don’t use those anymore in gigs so often.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : As much as we owe to the old masters I think we have our own identifying sound. You can hear the different influences here and there but the entirety is something that is our own.
Could you tell to all readers what you have released by now? Can those outputs be ordered direct from the band or your record label ?
Ville (Maveth) : So far we have released "Of Serpent and Shadows" EP and "Impious Servant" demo. "Of Serpent and Shadow" was released on vinyl by Swedish label called Blood Harvest and on tape by Aural Offerings from France. We also made very limited amount of self-released CDs from both releases and those are already sold out. Nuclear Winter Records from Greece is soon releasing album called "Breath of an Abomination" which includes those both previous releases in same CD. We are also printing our second shirt design to celebrate that release. All releases can be ordered directly from record labels mentioned above and from some prober death metal distributors. Also people can contact the band because we usually get some copies from the labels and we have t-shirts to sell.
Samu (Swallowed) : Putrefaction demo tape, Epitaph of Nauseation demo tape, Self-titled 7"/tape. All available SWALLOWED material can be found from EMPTINESS PRODUCTIONS.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : This far, we have released two demos: the first one was a self-released cd-r in 2005 and the second one, Where Death and Decay Reign, came out in 2009 on tape and vinyl by Detest Records & Me Saco Un Ojo Records. We have a 7" coming out very soon via the aforementioned labels. None of these are available from us nor our label at the moment.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : With Lie in Ruins we have released 2 demos called “Monuments” & “Statues”, and both are sold out by now. Then is this demotape, called “Demons, Rise”. It was made because people were asking those demos and we didn’t have any copies left, so we made this tape that includes both of the demos. I think that we might have some copies left our self, but not mutch. Then came out this Mini-cd “Architecture of the Dead”, released by Temple Of Darkness Records. You can ask that from the TOD label, or some distributions. After that, came out 7” split vinyl with Deathevokation, called “An Allegiance in Death”, which is available from Imperium Productions. Full length album “Swallowed by the Void” is the latest, and that came out by Spikefarm, and that is something you can order via band or KVLT store (www.kvlt.fi), or some distributions around the world. Many place has some copies in their catalogue. Also from spike-/spinefarm, but I’ll bet it easier from some of these other options.
Neutron Hammer has released demo called “Apokalyptik Attakk” and that is sold out,same goes with 7”vinyl EP “Damnation’s Bringer”. But you can still get “Extermination Command” EP as cd or 10” vinyl from many different distributions, or straight from the band or label, Primitive Reaction (www.primitivereaction.com). There will be cd-version out of Damnations Bringer later on.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : Here´s the discography:
"The Eyeless Horde" Demo CD-R Self-Released 2007 TAPE Witchhammer Productions 2008 TAPE Rusty Crowbar (coming up 2011)
"The Eyeless Horde" 7"EP Doomentia 2008
"Fulfill The Curse" CD Razorback 2008 2LP Doomentia 2008 CDdigipak Doomentia 2010
Hooded Menace/Anima Morte Split 7"EP Doomentia 2010
"Never Cross The Dead" CD Profound Lore 2010 2LP Doomentia 2010
Hooded Menace/Coffins Split 7"EP Doomentia 2010
Hooded Menace/Asphyx Split 7"EP Doomentia (coming up 2011)
Hooded Menace/Ilsa Split 12"EP Contagion Releasing (coming up 2011).
If it´s fresh from the print the band usually have are a few copies for sale. Most of the time the band don´t have any releases for sale which is the case right now also. Of course the label, distros and record stores carry the stuff.
You have a deal with a label, could you tell a little bit more how you got signed and how the co-operation between the label and you has worked in general?
Ville (Maveth) : Blood Harvest and Aural Offerings contacted us with e-mail and said that they are very interested of releasing our music after hearing it from internet. And co-operation with those labels has worked very well especially Blood Harvest has done very good distribution in my opinion. Nuclear Winter Records is run by singer from Dead Congregation and we met him end of the last year when we were playing at Black Mass Ritual III Festival in Helsinki. We gave him our self-released CDs and after the fest he contacted us and said that he wants to put them out. The master version of the cd is now at the pressing plant so it will be out soon and might be already when you are reading this interview. We are very happy that somebody is finally putting our music out on CD format.
Samu (Swallowed) : We are doing our full-length with DETEST / ME SACO UN OJO / DARK DESCENT. I only have experience from working with DETEST. Hopefully everything works out well since now we are dealing with three labels at the same time.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Indeed we are signed to a Belgian label, namely Detest Records. In all its simplicity Jerry got in touch with us few years ago and offered a deal for our second release. Working with DR has been nothing but satisfying this far and we’ll continue collaboration with them in the future as well.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : Well, with Lie in Ruins we got this deal with Spikefarm, and it was agreed with Sami Tenetz, and we trusted that everything would go just fine with him, even than we were a bit sceptical about the label. But then Sami quit working in Spinefarm, so the rest of the people didn’t quite know how to handle us, because they weren’t used to UG bands, and they didn’t have clue where to try to sell our album, or what would be the best magazines for our advertising. After many misunderstandings and frustrations we decided with the label to not continue our paths together. But I got to say they were really fair with us, when they gived their blessing for releasing the vinyl of Swallowed by the void by Nuclear Winter (www.nuclearwinterrecords.com). So at the moment, Lie in Ruins is without a label, and focusing only for the new material.
In Neutron Hammer I got to say that I don’t know much about how the things was with Autumnae Distribution (later No Sign Of Life), who released the first demo, but with Primitive Reaction everything has been pretty alright. Everything hasn’t gone like planned always, but at least with PR you can trust the guy. That’s a good thing, so we are pretty sure that next release will also come out via Primitive Reaction.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : Profound Lore offered us better promotion, distribution and support than what our previous label Razorback could offer so we switched the label. Profound Lore has become quite well-respected label during the past few years. They have done good job for us. Everything is just more professional than before but not starchy at all. Communication is easy and fast.
Neutron Hammer on the stage
How has your band improved and developed in terms of musical approach and sound during these years of existence?
Ville (Maveth) : I would say that we all have merged together very well and everybody in the band knows how our music should sound like. If someone in the band comes up with new song ideas we all know are those ideas suitable for Maveth or can they be used in our other band projects.
Samu (Swallowed) : Development has been huge from the first demo.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Maybe we have developed more in-depth and diverse vision of how death metal should sound. Even though our sound has been stripped down to a more simplistic one we are trying to experiment with new ways of playing/composing and thus creating something new.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : From my point of view, when you have been playing and doing some kind of songs for a years, you will star seeing what kind of sounds fit with the songs and your own style. You will start knowing easier what kind of sound you want instead of just trying different options. These days it’s easier to get decent guitar sound faster than it was 5 years ago.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : We aren´t an old band with a long musical history yet but I can definitely see some progression from the first demo to the latest album. We are more diverse now but we haven´t lost any of that menacing part I think. The extremities are stretched which makes the music a bit more interesting to write, play and to listen to. Now the dark is darker and the melodies are more graceful. The contrasts always work in art and I think we have become better at this matter.
Playing gigs is an essential part of the existence of every metal band. About your gigs, what kind of places have you mainly played and what sort of response have you got from the audience and with whom have you played?
Ville (Maveth) : We are quite new band so we haven’t played live very often yet. We have played few gigs in some small clubs with other Finnish death metal bands like Scent of Flesh, Kataplexia and The Zombi. The biggest gig so far has been the Black Mass Ritual III fest which was held in Helsinki last year. We were very honored to play with so many killer bands in that fest. All hails goes to the KRK (fest organizer) that they helped us out and got us to play there. The respond from the audience has been good as far as i know. But like I said we are new band so we need to get our name more familiar to the death metal crowd.
Samu (Swallowed) : We have played in clubs and at Kill-town Death Fest. The response has been good.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Yes, we have done our share of gigs. We have played in many places, from youth centers to various kinds of bars/clubs and festivals, and with various bands. Some of the more recent highlights have been with our comrades and compatriots Lie In Ruins. Also Kill-Town Death Fest in September 2010 and Black Mass Ritual Fest III in October were pleasant events. The response has been mostly good.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : I really love playing gigs, it’s the best part of the whole thing. It’s nice to see new places and have a drink with other good bands. We have been playing mostly small clubs, and I think those fits better for this kind of bands. Some festivals have been nice also, but I think it’s better to play at small and dark club than big festival stage on bright daylight.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : It was until 2010 that I had a line up around me that I wanted to play live with. I´ve always been more into the creative side and performing is not something I live and breathe for but it´s okay to play a show every now and then. We have very busy people in the band so it´s impossible to take all the gigs we are offered. We have been forced to turn down lots of very cool and tempting shows, tours and support act slots. But that´s okay… like I said I´m no too crazy about playing shows anyways. We have played only three gigs so far. All indoor festivals: Black Mass Ritual (w/ Necros Christos, Dead Congregation, Grave Miasma, Demigod, Nirvana 2002 etc.) in Helsinki, Finland, Live Evil Fest (w/ Angel Witch, Ramesses, Ghost, Vulcano etc.) in London, UK and Dutch Doom Days (w/ Revelation, Place of Skulls etc.) in Rotterdam, Holland. The crowd has been pretty cool in all places. Maybe London had the most enthusiastic audience. I know we could sound a lot better live with two guitars but finding a second guitarist seems like too much trouble. Right now it´s enough hassle with four busy members in the band. But who knows what happens in the future. As for the forthcoming shows here´s a rundown of what´s lined up:
Apr 15 2011 Roadburn Festival Tilburg, NETHERLANDS
Apr 17 2011 Hooded Menace, Ramesses, Eibon Paris, FRANCE
May 28 2011 Maryland Deathfest Baltimore, USA
May 30 2011 Hooded Menace, Ilsa, Anhedonist, Oak, High Priest Blockley Pourhouse Philadelphia, USA
May 31 2011 Hooded Menace, Ilsa, Anhedonist, Negative Plane Union Pool New York, USA
Jun 02 2011 Chaos in Tejas Austin, USA
Jun 04 2011 Doom in June Las Vegas, USA
Jul 15th-17th 2011 Ilosaarirock Festival Joensuu, FINLAND
Jul 22nd-24th 2011 Tuska Festival Helsinki, FINLAND
Lie In Ruins on the stage
What has been the most memorable gig ever done by now?
Ville (Maveth) : Black Mass Ritual III.
Samu (Swallowed) : Trip to Denmark was great. Also the show with Electric Wizard.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Not sure, but I’d say KTDF in last September. There have been other memorable gigs as well, picking out just one is almost next to impossible. Maybe the one with Nunslaughter back in 2007 would qualify as such too.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : It’s really hard to say just one, but let’s say that when we were doing mini-tour with Nifelheim and Master, it was really memorable. Also last summer in Lithuania at Devilstone Festival was quite nice. I think those are the highlights for me with Lie in Ruins.
With Neutron Hammer, I think the most memorable gigs were one with Gospel Of The Horns at Dublin and Hammer Open Air Festival. Good bands and good people.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : Live Evil Fest in London was a bit contradictory because personally I think it was our worst performance, because I screwed up the opening track, although I picked up along the set trundled onward… but on the other hand the audience was probably the best and it was very exciting to play that fest, meet all these people and to hang around in London. So I´d say London was the most memorable.
Some bands pay attention to how they look on the stage like having chains, bullet belts etc. Is the way of looking and having bullet belts and spikes important for the live situation essential for you, or just is just having old shirts and pants more enough for you on the stage?
Ville (Maveth) : We definitely like to put some effort to how we look on stage and i think it is very important in this style of death metal. We use huge wooden inverted cross stands on stage and we cover our selfs with real pigs blood. And sometimes we use candles to give the right atmosphere.
Samu (Swallowed) : I think if you are going to add vision as well to your existence, eg. live shows, then you must also use the art of vision.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : We look this matter from another point of view. We like to strip down all extras, just regular folks playing death metal, plain and simple. In a way, this too could be defined as paying attention on our appearance.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : Both ways work for me really well. I like some decoration on stage and spikes, chains and corpsepaints also. But I truly hate when some bands wear the blue jeans and Adidas shirts, and on the stage they got the biggest spikes ever and more leather and flames you have ever seen.
I don’t mean that you should dress with spikes and bullet belts every day outside the stage, but I think that if you don’t look at all like “heavy meal guy” outside the stage, then maybe you shouldn’t try to look like that on the stage. At the moment I’m thinking of one Swedish guy, who dyes his hair black before every gig, and wash the colour off after the show. I’m pretty sure people know who I mean even without the names. Be your self and do what comes from your nature, that’s the thing that works, and what I respect.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : Jeans and shirts do it for us. Of course some of us always wear a hoodie, heh! Visceral performance is something that fits to our personalities although I know when our drummer Jori gets on stage behind the mic with his other band Speedtap he´s a freakin´ hellraiser!
Swallowed on the stage
Writing material to fit to the concept of death metal is an obvious way to catch more fans, so how do you usually start writing songs? Do you first create riffs on your own and later gather to a rehearsal place to create the rest of songs to the final form?
Ville (Maveth) : Yes, that is the way how it usually works but sometimes we just might start to jam with some new ideas and then we just come up with new riffs and soon there is a new song.
Samu (Swallowed) : Whatever means necessary.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Rami is mainly responsible for the riffs. The rest is shaped at rehearsals or maybe even at the recording session. This is how it usually goes.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : In Lie in Ruins Tuomas does the biggest part of the song writing, and even when someone else got new riff’s, we usually work out those with Tuomas to create whole songs.
Roni S (Lie In Ruins) : The final magic will happen in our rehearsal lair where all parts will be put together. With Neutron Hammer, J.Pervertor and P.Malediktus does pretty much all the song writing andKaosbringer does the lyrics, and those 2 or 3 times a year when we are gathered on rehearsal place, we’ll try those new ideas and riffs and talk about what works and what doesn’t.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : I write all our music and for every song I record a demo with a drum-machine. This helps me to test how everything really works together. The songs, even the drums, are very well-thought out and complete at the demo stage and I rarely make any changes to them afterwards. The guys learn the songs from the demos and of course the drummer adds his own twist to it and the vocalist does his thing and so forth but basically everything´s very carefully thought out at the demo stage.
What is the most important part of songs: brutality, technical and catchy riffs, rapidly played parts?
Ville (Maveth) : The whole atmosphere have to be right, it have to be dark, evil and fierce. We don’t pay attention to technicality we just listen what sounds good.
Samu (Swallowed) : Good songs.
: None of these alone, but the way they’re combined and structured into a song. The big picture, the song as a coherent whole, is what matters. Maybe complexity has the least important role in our songwriting, though.
Roni S (Lie In Ruins) : Atmosphere, if you can’t nail the atmosphere then it’s all worthless. Roni Ä / Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer : Well, at lest I like most about the feeling that song gives. It’s the best part. I like gloomy and eerie riff’s… There’s place for all those parts, but the complete feeling is the thing for me.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : From the options you listed I´ll say catchy riffs and brutality. It´s all about riffs, heaviness and soul.
As far as I know, your music is available thru myspace, are these kinds of tools important for your bands to promote your band and above all spread your music for those ones interested to check out? What others sites and tools do you use to spread your name and music?
: Yes we use myspace and I think that it is very easy way to promote your band. People can check out some songs from there before they buy your stuff. We have also Facebook site for Maveth.
: Yeah it is a good medium, but I think we might manage even without the internet. However if we would observe the healthy attitude of the tape-trading circuit to that of the myspace age, it’s clear that less people take chances also on what releases to get. In this respect the world is bigger, but it is smaller.
: Yes we have a Myspace account and along Youtube it is the only medium we use for sharing our music on-line. They are useful, sure, but I really can’t see them as indispensable. In certain ways they’re very annoying and have helped to create an era, in which everyone can publish music without the slightest sense of self-criticism.
: I think Myspace, youtube, etc. are really good places to promote band, because people can go there listen the songs and see how the band works on live. I’m too lazy to upload any stuff on internet but I really like to see new stuff that some others are uploaded there. I actually have hours of videomaterial of LIR and NH, on stage, backstage, on the road, rehearsal place, etc. but I’m pretty sure that the band members are the only ones who are interested to see all this stuff, so I don’t wanna spend my time editing videos that nobody cares to watch.
Spotify is also one channel for promoting music, and I think it’s good that our album is available on there, although I hate spotify and I don’t wanna listen anything from there, ha hah… I keep listening my CD’s and LP’s.
: Myspace used to be very useful to promote the band until they upgraded it. Loads of people got fed up with its nonfunctional madness and left. Anyway, we still have our myspace page and we update it regularly. There are still some life in there altho it´s pretty much dead compared to what it used to be. Along with Myspace we have Twitter and after they messed things up on Myspace we created Reverbnation and finally started using Bandcamp and Facebook also. Seems like everyone´s on Facebook now. It´s a good forum to share information but the music player blows! So far we have preferred to stick with these free sites instead of setting up a proper good ol´ homepage.
What other way do you attempt to promote your band or music? Do you have official websites?
: Yes we have maveth.com website but so far it has been basically gateway to our myspace page. There is also some mp3’s available for download in that site.
: Yes we have a website. Also flyers and stickers.
: We don’t have an official website at this point. Discussion forums, occasional fliers, interviews and reviews have proven to be sufficient enough for spreading the word.
: Yes, websites is good, I prefer those more than myspace. From websites you can easily see all the things you need to know, gigs, pictures, news, etc. And everything works a lot faster on websites, when myspace is full of shit, like advertisings, and it takes forever to open something from there.
: Playing live and capturing the magic on albums is pretty much all you “should” need. Word of mouth will do the rest. But having a good and informative website does no harm.
: Those free pages I mentioned earlier are our tools for promotion. The label does the rest.
Death Metal has been ruling the metal world for almost 30 years and some musicians are reaching 50 years. Do you view the current and younger generation of death metal would achieve the same kind of status as the legendary and classic ones?
: I think it is very hard to achieve same kind of status anymore because those older bands started the whole scene. And people will always look back at them and i think that it is good thing that the honour belongs to the old bands.
: It’s happening already, but age creates status.
: There are few acts, in my opinion, who hold such artistic vision that they could become regarded as classics. Only time will tell if this actually happens, though.
: Well, time will tell what current bands will be legendary bands when I’m reaching the 50 years, but there is couple band that I’m sure their albums will be the classic ones and will keep playing at least on my cd-player at that time, Necros Christos for example. I’m sure there will come lot of good albums that will last through the time.
: It´s hard to think any newer band ever achieving the same kind of status the creators of the scene have achieved. Of course there will be new classics and highly respected and important bands/musicans that will be remembered almost as Chuck Schuldiner´s of their own time but the originators of the genre will always be there above them. I mean all this is based on their pioneer work.
Stench Of Decay on the stage
The Finnish Death Metal scene used to be known quite well all around the world when Funebre, Disgrace, Abhorrence, a couple of dozens of other bands used to rule the scene, do you view the current death metal scene could reach the same kind of status or is the Finnish death metal of that time kind of unique and special there is no way to try to challenge it ?
: It is. But let us hope we go beyond… And I don’t mean everyone should start playing rock.
: Again, this is highly speculative subject, but if I wanted to venture a guess, I’d say that it is possible to a certain extent. Of course, the classics will always have their value as originators, but creating something truly original, even within the boundaries of death metal, is possible. Thus, similar status with the classics isn’t entirely out of reach.
: I sure hope so. At the moment, Finnish Death Metal scene is looking really strong, and promising new bands is coming all the time, like Gorephilia and Krypts to mention few. I’m sure there will come lot of good bands that will be well known through world, but of course I you cant compare those new band with older ones, because times have changed. The world ain’t the same as it was 1990…
: No matter how awesome the newer bands are or how popular they will get, there is no way them achieving the status of the first wave of Finnish death metal bands. That era was quite unique and special indeed. The early bands will always be up there as pioneers. In my eyes they will always remain above others. However the scene is very strong in Finland and many bands will surely leave their mark and will be seen as the significant acts of their own time.
Have you succeeded in seeing some of the older Finnish death metal bands live?
: Demigod and Demilich are maybe the oldest which I remember seeing.
: Demigod, Necropsy, Abhorrence singer doing a cover of Abhorrence…. Anything else?
: Well, I saw Demigod playing their old material at the Black Mass Ritual Fest III last autumn, but apart from that, no I haven’t. Being 21 yrs old I really haven’t had the chance. I’ve heard that Necropsy are doing gigs again, so I still have chance to see them though.
: Hell yeah. I have seen some ok shows and some lame shows for old bands, but Demigod comeback show at Black Mass Ritual Fest was something that I’m really happy that I was there seeing it.
: Yes I have because my old band Phlegethon played gigs with most of these bands. I´ve seen Beherit, Demigod, Sentenced, Amorphis, Funebre, Xysma, Convulse, Mordicus, Disgrace, Unholy, Belial etc. Basically all the important bands except for Abhorrence.
Even though there were already the question about influences, but before concluding the interview, enlist the most important and value death metal albums ever released from your point of view and why them?
: Not in any order:
1 ) Goatlord – Reflections of The Solstice… Pure filth and songs that stick in your head, EVIL.
2) diSEMBOWELEMNT – Transcendence into The Peripheral… The fucking holy grail… You can but stare at the glory of GOD.
3) Morbid Angel – Altars… Real medieval, psychedelic, purely satanic sounding, real profound lyrics here.
4) Demilich – Nespithe… At the right mood it’s absolutely claustrophobic.
: Here are five bands/albums that first came to my mind in no particular order:
1) Demigod – Slumber of Sullen Eyes: Demigod really hit the bullseye with their debute. Everything’s in order: The sound is clear and powerful. Riffs, melodies and lyrics mediate the atmosphere perfectly. Not a single miss on this album.
2) Necros Christos – Trivne Impvrity Rites: Truly inspiring work in the era of modern death metal. The ethnic music influences combined with unique riffing and lyrics constitute a work that can’t easily be beaten. The carefully crafted album reflect the bands high working ethics as well.
3) Portal – Swarth: Yet another unique act from the recent times, although they may not be characterized strictly as death metal. However, this atonal chaos that forms coherent songs and albums, is really remarkable entity. This applies to their other releases as well.
4) Autopsy – Mental Funeral: Innovative work that has stood against the test of time. No further analysis needed.
5) Morbid Angel – any album from C to G: I can’t choose between these. I don’t mean to underestimate the early albums, but these are the truly creative works. MA never ceased to create something new, but laid down their own path.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : Too much to mention just couple, but let’s say that my first touch to Death Metal wassome really Brutallo’stuff, and I didn’t like it a one bit. Then I hear some even more brutal stuff with lot of grind influences, and I was thinking that maybe this Death Metal aint my thing, and so I stayed with my Black Metal albums and stayed on that road, until I heard Entombed’s Left Hand Path, and that was the point when I realised that THIS is the way that Death Metal should sound! Still it takes me long before I started to search some Death Metal bands.
But for old Finnish Death Metal Albums one of the dearest for me, is Amorphis Karelian Isthmus. That Album was really something when I heard it first time.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) :
1) Death – Leprosy If "Reign in Blood" was a thrash metal bible of Phlegethon, "Leprosy" was definitely the death metal bible. Huge influence to my songwriting and even to my drum playing. I realized that I will never be the next Dave Lombardo so I adopted a simpler way to play and Bill Andrews was a big paragon for that style. "Leprosy" still destroys most of the other death metal albums.
2) Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness Twisted riffs and solos, awesome musicianship, one of the best vocals in death metal, great songwriting and totally evil atmosphere… The sound could be heavier but despite of that, back then the production was quite amazing. They had the clarity and aggression captured. This is just about as technical and soulful as technical death metal can be. Again quite big influence for Phlegethon. Back in the day then they called this techno death metal. I guess kids wouldn’t call it that these days which only proves the sad fact how technicality has taken over the soul in so many cases.
3) Entombed – Left Hand Path Entombed and the Swedish death metal in general wasn´t a huge influence to Phlegethon but I always loved the band and admired (and still do!) Nicke´s songwriting and drumming. Maybe this albums captures best what death metal is all about. Incredibly heavy and buzzy guitars, memorable songs and riffs, tight playing… This is an epitome of death metal. It´s been more important album for my more recent bands than for the old Phlegethon.
4) Pestilence – Consuming Impulse Best vocal performance in death metal ever! Besides their amazing debut, this was a very, very important album for Phlegethon and for my learning process in solid songwriting. Now as I look at the cover art it is so cheesy it´s almost awesome! But when the album came out I hated the cover! Despite the comical artwork this is pretty much a flawless album.
Maveth on the stage
Is there any particular death metal band you would be eager to testify in action?
Samu (Swallowed) : Portal.. I heard they kill.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : There are lots of them actually. For example Portal, Autopsy and Morbid Angel would qualify as such and they are within the realm of possibility too.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer) : This would be also really big list of name dropping, so let’s not go there. But I got to say, that I have been really fortuned to see lot of my favourite bands alive, and I will see many more when there is good bands coming to play somewhere near or far. I like to travel even long distances to see some good bands, so it doesn’t matter if the bands not coming to play my hometown.
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : Classic acts like Morbid Angel and Autopsy would be cool to see. Actually the latter will happen soon because Hooded Menace and Autopsy play Chaos in Tejas this year. I cannot wait!
I for one thank your time to do the interview for Metal-Rules.Com, so spill the last words to conclude the interview
Ville (Maveth) : Thank you for having us in this Death Metal Special. Stay morbid and support the underground!
Samu (Swallowed) : Witness our seal.
Tommi (Stench Of Decay) : Thank you for this interview. Be sure to check out our forthcoming single "Visions of Death" later this winter.
Roni Ä (Lie in Ruins and Neutron Hammer & Roni S / Lie In Ruins) : Hail Death!
Lasse (Hooded Menace) : Thanks for having us! Doom or be doomed to death!
The official sites of the bands interviewed in
the Death Metal special