Heart of Steel: Interviews


Rainer Landfermann
The true riff-wizard behind German
Death Metal troops PAVOR

Intro & Interview by Luxi Lahtinen

One of the most appreciated and admired German metal acts in my unholy books must be Pavor. They are a highly skilled and innovative Death Metal band that like musical challenges and raise the bar of technicality and originality with each album they put out.

I became familiar with the bandīs debut album A PALE DEBILITATING AUTUMN 10 years ago already and was somewhat completely blown away by what I got to discover from that awe-inspiringly technical Death Metal disc. By that album, Pavor also became one of my very favorite German metal bands immediately even if I thought they were īonly 1 album miracleī simply because I didnīt hear anything from them for many years.

Then one of those miserable days in my life, I remember reading a review for their 2nd album titled FURIOSO from somewhere, more or less by accident, and felt much more cheered up by knowing Pavorīs story isnīt finished yet. Luckily they even had a new website launched where I picked up Rainerīs new contact address and...well, the rest can be considered as history.

I asked several questions from my long-lost soul mate Rainer Landfermann (the brains of Pavor) and he politely wanted to share all the information he had available from 10 years concerning this relatively underrated German Death Metal īgemī named Pavor. The band seems to be in a very good shape and strikes again. So please try to show at least some appreciation and respect toward them by reading the following interview I recently conducted with Rainer in order to become a bit more aware of their unique sound amongst other Death Metal bands in the metal scene these days.

The table is served... now enjoy what that particular table has to offer!


In my opinion, Pavor isn't that known or a big name in Death Metal circles. Why have you been making so little noise about the band as you have been around nearly 20 years already, but have only managed to record 2 albums thus far? To me that honestly seems rather a bit strange anyway...

I guess the main reason is that we are 100% uncompromising and that we see Pavor as art and not as a commercial product. We do not want to sell our music to labels, it is important for us to be in total control of Pavor. Of course we are very well aware that this means less sales and less popularity, but money and "fame" are surely not the reasons we are doing this.

 

 

FURIOSO is the latest offering from the band that was released last year (2003). Can you tell us how it differs content-wise from your debut album A PALE DELIBITATING AUTUMN that came out nearly 10 years ago, in 1994? What are some of the most drastic changes on FURIOSO compared your excellent debut album?

The style of Pavor is still the same, but we pushed all characteristics of Pavor to further extremes. The songs are even better, even rawer, more brutal and grim on the one hand, and on the other hand much more virtuoso, technical and complex.

 

 

Did you try to find a certain kind of title for this release that could describe songs on the album as well and fitting way as possible? I mean, you have got a very intense, brutal and 'furious' approach on this 2nd Pavor album, so at least the title FURIOSO sounds like a clever title for the album in my honest opinion...

Yeah, thanks, we chose FURIOSO to be a 'fitting' title for the album. Apart from that, it is also the title of one of the songs, and furthermore, "furioso" is a performing directive on classical scores, denoting "a quick movement, but principally that species of movement which requires a wildness of character in the execution".

 

 

Are you happy with the way the songs stood out for FURIOSO? Are there some particular songs on FURIOSO that you could say represent 100% of what Pavor is all about musically? Songs that you are absolutely completely satisfied with...

"Some songs"?! OF COURSE, we are absolutely and completely satisfied with ALL of the songs!! Otherwise we would not have released the album in the first place at all!! This is something that is totally important for us: No compromises or excuses in ANY way!! So, yes, we are ABSOLUTELY happy with the way FURIOSO turned out. Two songs that show off Pavor in a great way are "Inflictor of Grimness" and "Furioso" as very good examples, but the album is quite varied and multiform, so you'd better listen to the whole album to get a full impression.

 

 

Did the songs for FURIOSO come together easily actually? I mean, a bit easier than let's say building an enormous jigsaw puzzle of 3 million separate pieces...?

What is really fantastic in Pavor is that we absolutely share the same vision of what Pavor is all about and how it should sound like. We never have arguments or discussions when we compose and arrange songs, which is why the songwriting process is very inspiring and satisfying, and not hard at all. Apart from that, for us, our own songs aren't really intricate or complex in a "puzzling" way - we put so much passion and energy into them during their development that in the end, everything is just some kind of natural flow.

 

 

I guess one of your goals when writing material for FURIOSO, was to top your debut album both music - and even lyric-wise, correct? Do you believe you achieved those goals with FURIOSO?

Yes, of course, we wanted to top A PALE DEBILITATING AUTUMN (which we still see as a magnificent album) in every possible way, and I think thatīs exactly what we surely did so, too!

 

 

How have your views possibly changed toward the song writing process of the band since you guys wrote songs for your debut album up to this 2nd album of yours? Have some things actually turned out to be more realistic and easier to achieve for you, or do things tend to get a bit more complicated when trying to rip the maximal capacity out of yourself as a song writer? Perfection surely isn't one of the easiest things to achieve, I think.

With our own increased experience and skills, and notwithstanding that our quality standards and requirements have proportionally risen as well, after all, it is easier. Not necessarily easier to achieve an aim (this can still be hard work), but easier to see what the aim should be and how to reach it.

 

 

You also re-recorded an old Pavor-classic for this new album; the song is called "Crucified Hopes". Did you have a huge demand from your fans for this song or what was the main reasons behind giving this song another chance and actually including it on FURIOSO? Now when you have re-done it, what you guys think of the final result? Do you actually think that it even sounds slightly better than its original version?

"Crucified Hopes", written in 1989, had never been recorded for an official release before, so you can't really compare it. Of course, we LOVE the final result, otherwise we even wouldn't have put it on the album!! "Crucified Hopes" has always been a part of our live set, and it's a great song, so we decided to include it on FURIOSO – similar type of song to "Symbols of Depravity", a song written in 1987, which was on our debut album.

 

 

Why did it take almost 10 years to get your 2nd full-length album out? As you know, 10 years is a damn long time and there's a good possibility that within that time people easily tend to forget you if you don't spread enough noise around about you. And you really cannot blame on those people, can you -eh?

Ah, we don't care... but actually, we get tons of mails like "THANK YOU SO MUCH that you still exist and released another album...!!", etc, so at least those people DO remember us, ha-ha!! Well, we just took things slowly and easy. We were and are not in a rush at all! Some factors that furthermore contributed to a break between our two albums, were some band members having to concentrate on their jobs and being forced to move within Germany / spend time abroad because of that, so Pavor became a 'long-distance band', and also the fact that the scene became really lame and boring, so we focused more on ourselves than just on having to get a new album out as soon as possible. We started to work on new material directly after we finished the songs for our first album, and it was obvious to us all the time that we would release the new album simply "when it's done", without any hurries.

 

 

Shortly after the release of your debut album, Holger Seebens was forced to leave the band due to having "not that developed skills to follow other musicians' strong musical development in the band" as you have officially stated in your website. I'm just a bit curious to know whether that was the whole truth behind this solution or didn't he just have the right chemistry to come along with other guys in the band?

"Seebens had to leave the band because of him not being able to follow suit with the other musicians' strong technical development" actually, and there's nothing much else to say about it. There were some other problems concerning him as well, but nothing that matters now, nearly 10 years after we asked him to leave...

 

 

Since then you have continued as a four-piece band. Why didn't you feel necessary to find a replacement to fill in his boots in the line-up? Do you find your current line-up as an idealistic for Pavor actually? Do you have any plans to use a session guitarist when doing gigs - just to add more power into Pavor's live sound?

There's a hell of a lot of power already, we surely do not need a second guitarist. Pavor is a perfect musical and personal unit now. Apart from that, it would REALLY be hard to find a guitarist who could meet our demands... But we didn't even look for one; now we have a perfect balance between bass and guitar, which are equally important rhythm and lead instruments in Pavor.

 

 

Would you see yourself Pavor more as a studio band or live band, by the way? And when you play live, are there some things in a live situation that you concentrate on beforehand so that you could offer a maximal entertainment level for your audience? How important are a properly made soundchecks for you anyway?

The live situation has always been an important part of Pavor, and we have always placed particular value on an extremely aggressive and intense, outgoing performance. What keeps up from playing live more often than we actually do at the moment, are a couple of aspects: A lack of an audience that we would care playing for and some organizational problems due to our jobs. With no soundchecks at all or very short soundchecks on festivals, unprofessional and incompetent engineers at gigs, etc. it is indeed quite difficult to ensure an appropriate sound, which is quite essential for our extremely fast, complex and dense music, so this is another reason why we are very selective concerning our performances.

 

 

I also have my good reasons to believe that playing the songs live from your new album is a quite hard and demanding task in itself as a technical aspect of your songs undoubtedly reaches such 'a-nearly-impossible-to-play' level that surely leaves people gasping for air by a sheer amazement. Have you been able to follow your audience's reactions right from the stage while performing, what kind of reactions you have seen amongst the audience in your gigs?

People staring at us with their mouths wide open actually, ha-ha!! Itīs always entertaining to see some perplexed faces after we finished the first song out from our set in a live performance.

 

 

Speaking about playing live, you are also quite an experienced band to conquer stages. Like f.ex. your live performance at the Bang Your Head -festival in 2000 must belong to one of your most memorable experiences ever?! But how about your forth-coming gigs? Do you have any plans to play at some festivals this year or have you any tours coming up or anything?

For the abovementioned reasons, we won't play any festivals, and will play not more than very few and select shows in the rest of the year.

 

 

Is there any band or some bands that you would like to do some gigs some day?

Not really.

 

 

What about some venues and countries then? Are there some places on this planet you'd like to go and play there for a bunch of crazy metalheads?

We do have some ideas involving some 'unusual' venues and a very limited, selected audience, but as we might realize that in the future I don't want to mention any details yet.

 

 

I'm quite damn positive that you have heard an uncounted number of positive comments about your band during all these years, but are you still able to remember the most polite and flattering comment that one of your fans has spitted out of his/her mouth toward your face, like after seeing playing live somewhere, f.ex.?

Really hard to choose one, so just take a look at ANY review we got for FURIOSO and simply pick one up for yourself, ha-ha!!

 


tape/ep -1993

 

Without even saying it, I bet that you guys in Pavor have become quite close friends with some other members from some other bands during the past 10 years or so, so could you possibly reveal some of those guys from some specific bands that have been totally supportive to Pavor and therefore earned your respect in your books?

We made a lot of contacts and some closer friends, but I don't like "name-dropping", so I won't mention any names here, sorry.

 

 

How easy is it to get gigs in Germany if you don't have your own gig organizer who takes care of these kinds of things for the band?

Quite easy, actually, to an extent that surprised us a bit after our long 'absence'. We got and get a lot of offers from organizers or bands that want to play with us, but turn most of them down for the reasons mentioned above.

 

 

What bands do you consider as the hugest inspirations or influences for Pavor? If you let me guess a couple of names, then obviously bands like Atheist and Cynic technicality-wise and Immolation brutality-wise come to my mind on the top of the pile...

Atheist and Cynic are mentioned often in reviews, but just because they're the most known high quality technical extreme metal bands out there. Both are great, but they do not have much in common with Pavor really, and were no influences for us. But I think the description from your review ("Kind of in a nutshell, just try to think of such an equation where Atheist meets Cynic technicality-wise and Immolation meets Demigod in brutality-wise and you should have a good idea about Pavor’s furious Death Metal ride on FURIOSO") is really ok, because even though we do not sound like any of these bands at all, the combination should give someone that hasn't heard us before, a useable idea of what Pavor is about musically i.e. a sheer and utmost brutality in an offensive exhibition of superiority - a perfect optimum of nonstop aggressive grimness and superlative virtuosic finesse.

 

 

When you compose new songs for Pavor, are you always after some challenge as far as song structures are concerned? Like not always trying to find the easiest way out when putting different musical bits together for a song?

We just write the songs in the way they feel right. It is a totally natural thing.

 

 

Which do you find more challenging and time-consuming for you; to write music or lyrics for Pavor? Also, do you see yourself often striving for, if not for absolute perfection, the at least some sort of perfection as far as your own song writing process is concerned? I guess it's kind of hard to please yourself sometimes if your ultimate goal in the song writing in general, is to achieve some sort of balance between your mind and opinions of other people concerning your material, am I right?

No, you're not, ha-ha!! We don't think or care about opinions of other people at all when composing our material. Concerning our lyrics, the same amount of detail, quality requirements, etc. are applied as with the music. When I write a song text, I make sure every single syllable has been used to its maximum effect concerning semantics, phonetics and syntax and the lyrics suit the music to the best advantage in order to form a perfect unit.

 

 

Like it already was with your debut album, A PALE DELIBITATING AUTUMN, you have also produced, mixed and mastered this new album. How was this time different to work in the studio compared to the experience with your debut? What kind of things did you pay more attention to in the studio since your last visit in a studio environment?

9 years after A PALE..., we had better equipments in our studio and also a lot more experience, of course!! It was a bit more relaxed as well because this time, I worked on the production together with our guitar player Armin Rave and we could cooperate and split some very easily.

 

 

Do you think that you have the best understanding to produce Pavor due to some very obvious reasons, heh? Have you ever even considered to get some "outsider's" view or help in production matters or anything alike?

No, we haven't considered to get some outsiders help, simply because we do not need any help at all. We knew EXACTLY what we wanted the album to sound like and we are 100% content with our production.

 

The German metal scene has always been one of the best metal scenes amongst the metal scenes globally. Especially the German Speed/Thrash - and Power Metal scenes have been producing many great new bands for many years. To me it seems like the German Death Metal scene hasn't reached the same popularity level as your Thrash and Power Metal scenes for some strange reason. Probably the most known and popular German name for Death Metal, has been Morgoth and they haven't existed for a while. Are you able to see any reasons why the German Death Metal scene hasn't become as popular and a known phenomena worldwide as some of your other genres of metal have? Do you think that a relatively big part of the German musicians who want to play metal in general, have a lack of traditions in the Death Metal genre when comparing to Swedes or Americans, for example even if this may sound childishly absurd?

The most common problem of German Death Metal bands is that they do not have their own identity. Much too often it's even "bad songwriting" plus "bad musicianship", the worst combination in music as a matter of speaking ...

 

 

What's your personal view about the current state of the worldwide metal scene right now? I find it very cool that some of those bands that quit the metal scene for a while, have made their strong comebacks (i.e. Exodus, Dark Angel, Death Angel, Suffocation, etc.) and are there to make a hell of a great noise again and prove to be in excellent musical shape as they have been in their early prime. On the other hand, I personally don't get overly thrilled about every new band any longer as I used to do in the past, especially from the early '80s to mid' 90's period that I honestly still consider the best era for every kind of metal anyway...

Well, I personally usually hope that old defunct bands that I like will NOT reform, because it is obvious that it won't be as great as it once was anyway. I totally agree with you about the early '80s to mid 90s being the best era. Luckily, there ARE some great newer / current artists as well, but the 'scene' in general surely has become much worse.

 

 

How would you overall see Pavor on the current map of German Death Metal scene? I bet you are relatively popular band at least there in Germany, but how much you have following outside of your own home country? What are some of those countries where you receive lots of mail from due to people's awareness of this highly intelligent and talent band called Pavor (heh!)?

Overall, we are surely not a very "known" or "popular" band... But a lot of people in the US seem to like us, for example, and apart from that, it's pretty much a mixture of countries from all over the world.

 

 

Are there any new bands coming out from your country that have a quite similar sound when being compared to Pavor's unique and highly technical sound? Any recommendations that we should seriously consider to check out...?

Obviously, NO! You mentioned the word "unique" yourself.

 

 

Out of my own 'ever-burning' curiosity, what's up with your land mates Jumpin' Jesus these days? Have they already split up or something...?! I remember that they did this fuckin' killer debut album of theirs titled THE ART OF CRUCIFYING for Morbid Records in 1993, but since then I haven't heard or read a single thing about them? Do you know what have happened to them? Damn, they are (or were) one of the most underrated metal bands out from the German scene in my opinion anyway...

Jumpin' Jesus does not exist any more for about 10 years, I guess (And their album was released on Morbid Music / West Virginia Records, by the way!). Their drummer and one guitarist played in a band called Wretched Lord afterwards (much better than JJ in my opinion, one demo MCD released in 1995 called BLACK AS DEATH. LOUD AS HELL), the drummer switched to the guitar in Baron, with two demos out (1997 and 2003). Both were decent bands, but do not exist any more either (thanks for the info Rainer... very much appreciated!! – Luxi).

 

 

As for this matter 'bout 'underrated German metal bands', I was just wondering whether you even might have some band names in your mind that you kind of have always, more or less, considered belonging to the same league with Jumpin' Jesus as 'one of those underrated German metal bands'? Now here's your chance to make some noise for them in order to support them the way they should have deserved to become supported in the first place... ;)

Well, I personally do not like that Jumpin' Jesus album too much... and I don't really think there are many underrated German metal bands.

 

 

Do you have some kind of goals that you'd like to achieve with Pavor sometime in the future? Like desiring to achieve a status as the finest German Death Metal band in the whole history of the German metal scene? I bet that would be neat as hell, wouldn't it Rainer, heh?

We do not have any goals like selling a certain amount of CDs or achieving a certain status in a certain boring scene or playing at some lame huge festival (in front of 99% wimps...) or whatever. Our goals with FURIOSO were self-realization in the music and creating a perfect manifestation of our concepts, ideas and creativity, and we achieved that. Now the next goal would be to do the same and top FURIOSO with a third album, whenever that one might be recorded.

 

 

So, what will the year 2004 have in store for Pavor?

We'll see...

 

 

Well, I guess I (hopefully) covered everything for this interview that I have in my mind. So thank YOU Rainer for talking to Metal-Rules.com and I wish you many successful years with Pavor in your world conquering, he-heh! Any last words, curses, anything...?

Thanks a lot for the interview, Luxi! It was cool to hear from you again after 9 years or whatever...! And to anyone interested, visit our website www.pavor.com for more info (f.ex. including mp3s).


Official Pavor website:
www.pavor.com