Baal of Hell-Born
Interview by Arto Lehtinen
The Polish death metal scene has already become one kind of concept
in the world wide extreme and death metal genre. During the last few
years the Polish scene has grown tremendously. Hell-Born has been
around several years and released their first the self titled
output in 1996. They kept a low profile until 2001 when they released a full length album called HELLBLAST.
I thought it was about time to get a hold of
Hell-Born's Baal to talk about the history of the band and above all,
their latest excellent album LEGACY OF THE NIPHILIM.
What's up in the pagan horde of Hell-Born ?!
Everything is ok. This month we're starting to write new songs for
the next album and next week we're playing on Conquer Festival in
The new Hell-Born output titled Legacy of Nephilim saw the light
of day(or the dark of the night) last year by Conqueror Rec. What sort of reception you have
received so far ??
Response is really great. "Legacy..." is getting very good
notes, we're getting a lot of interviews, reviews and mails with
congratulations. People seem to be really excited with new HELL-BORN
album, the same like we, because we also feel that we released very good
album. In every review we can read that is our the best album and we are
really proud of that.
What is the biggest difference between the material of Dawn Of
Megiddo and Legacy Of Nephilim? How do you view why Legacy Of Nephilim is without any doubts
superior to the previous output the great Call Of Megiddo album?!
"Legacy..." has definitely better sound and production than
our previous albums. We spent a lot of time on drums and guitar sound
and I think that final effect is really good. Hell-Born has never had
such heavy and massive sound as on "Legacy...". "The Call
of Megiddo" was recorded in hurry and some things were not good and
didn't satisfy us. We were fully aware of that during
"Legacy..." session and we were absolutely determined to do
everything as good as possible. I am absolutely sure that
"Legacy..." is level up when you compare it with our previous
Are you entirely satisfied with the results on
Legacy Of Nephilim or are you capable of finding any failures or
mistakes to be pointed out from the album?
As I said above we are really satisfied with "Legacy of The
Nephilim". Of course after a couple of months we have some notices
and new ideas, some things we would release in different way today. It's
normal for most of the bands I think. If you think that your album is
perfect it is time for you to be retired. As long as you are
self-critical for yourself you have power and will to continue your job.
Was the creation of the material of Legacy Of Nephilim an easy task? Did you have to go thru
any mandatory agony in
creation while composing and writing the material for Legacy Of Nephilim?
Not really. Both of us -I mean Les and me- are responsible for
HELL-BORN music, so it is not problem to prepare 8-10 songs for the
album. Problem is to write good songs, specific for HELL-BORN style. I
can ensure you that arrangements take some time and we always work
together on that. But when I read reviews of "Legacy..." I see
we are still creatable, ha, ha, ha...
I can't help but inquire about the kind of reception the new album
Don't expect any changes with HELL-BORN style. We are absolutely
faithful to our ideas and loyal to black/death metal scene. We going to
continue our crusade and play our Hell Fucking Metal on all HELL-BORN
albums in the future.
If we had a time capsule to return to the early days of Hell-Born
to have some historical perspective to the band.. The saga of Hell-Born
basically started out as a side project when Baal and Les from
Behemoth formed Hell-Born. Why did Baal and Les start this? As far as I know both played together only on Grom and
whereas Baal was on Sventevith and Les was on Bewitching The Pomerania…Did
you face unsolved personal issues with Nergal resulting in your departure
Do you expect any sensations after years, man? Baal had a different
vision of Behemoth than Nergal, so he decided to leave the band after
the "Grom" album. Les was a leader of DAMNATION, so his
playing in BEHEMOTH was just a parrallel job. As long as he was
satisfied with that he continued playing in two bands, but after the
"Satanica" album he decided to quit and devote all his time to
DAMNATION. By the way, we are good friends with BEHEMOTH and we always
have a drink when we have a time for meeting.
Before all the things got started, Les used to be involved more
and more in another band called Damnation and Baal was in the same combo
as well as far as I know.. Why did you decid to go on
with Hell-Born, not putting more effort to Damnation even though you
shared the same band?
It was a little more complicated. After DAMNATION's
"Resist" album, the atmosphere in the band was getting worse.
Everyone seemed to be disappointed and tired with playing in DAMNATION
and all guys started with other projects and bands: Bart and Bruno with
AZARATH, and Les and Baal with HELL-BORN. It was matter of time when
DAMNATION would split up and that happened. Personally, I think all of
them were not interested with technical death metal anymore. They wanted
to start with something else and the world has got AZARATH and
HELL-BORN. If you compare the music of DAMNATION and HELL-BORN you will
see two absolutely different bands. The music of HELL-BORN could
not be released as a DAMNATION.
Why did you lay Damnation to rest, did you find it impossible
to carry on with two different bands at the same time or was hell-born
closer to your heart !?
When DAMNATION split up there were some misunderstandings between
them. I think they needed time to rest from each other. Today everything
is fine and reunion of DAMNATION could be possible.I know that Les and
Bart were thinking about new album of DAMNATION, but the main problem
was to find a new drummer. Instead of new album you got compilation
"Resurrection Of Azarath" released by Conquer Records.
In the beginning, Sodom, Destruction, Possessed and other cult acts
were named as the main influences for Hell-Born. Do you think the current
style of Hell-Born still breathes the old school death/thrash metal
spirit? It is obvious Hell-Born won't adopt the same brutal blastbeat approach like the Brazilian death metal blasters Krisiun have…
The spirit of the old thrash/death metal scene will be always present
in HELL-BORN music. It's our roots and it flows in our veins, it's our
heritage. It doesn't matter how fast you play because it's a matter of
feelings in your music. KRISIUN are great, they are absolutely death
metal gods and that feeling is also present in their music.
The self titled debut album came out already 1996 via Pagan
Records. Are you still satisfied with the debut album's material and
secondly what led to the bitter dispute with Pagan Records ?
"Hell-Born" mini-cd was released in 1996 and I don't think
you can compare that to present HELL-BORN albums. It was different time,
different circumstances and different reasons of playing. HELL-BORN was
just a project. After releasing the mini CD they started to think about
transforming HELL-BORN into a real band, but Les was too busy with
DAMNATION and BEHEMOTH to manage it. Personally I don't like that album,
but that is the album of Baal and Les. But we still have "Hellraiser"
in our live set, because we don't want to forget about that stuff.
Reason for the dispute with Pagan? Tomasz is very chimerical person and
he was offended with Baal about something stupid one time. That was end
of cooperation. But believe me, we were not first and not last.
There were more than a couple of years between the first and
second releases because of Damnation and Behemoth activities.
Hell-Born was about to fall apart even though the debut album got strong
positive respond in the press?!?!
As you know Les was involved in DAMNATION and BEHEMOTH and he had no
time for third band. "Hell-Born" was his only single activity.
Baal, after releasing "Hell-Born" mini-CD, decided to leave
BEHEMOTH and continue his carrier with HELL-BORN and (for reasons
unknown for me and anybody) one year later he gave it up and just faded
away from music scene for couple of years. HELL-BORN was resurrected in
2000 and I don't want to talk about the past and reasons of absence
Conquer Records stepped in and signed Hell-Born. I assume the
Conquer deal brought your motivation back to continue with Hell-Born.
How did you get hooked with them?
Who told you that story?! When we entered Hertz studio to release the
"Hellblast" album we had a deal with Pagan Records for one
album. In fact "Hellblast" was just a new mini CD, but in that
time Tomasz was interested in re-releasing the miniCD from 1996 so we
decided to put both on one CD . Because Pagan was not interested in
releasing "Hellblast" outside of Poland we started to look for
a label interested in that. And then we found Conquer Records and we
sold them "Hellblast". In fact it was their second title
(after April Ethereal album). After that we signed a contract with them
for two albums and we released "The Call Of Megiddo" and
"Legacy Of the Nephilim" albums.
HellBlast came out 2001 and The Call Of Megiddo 2002 and the
latest output Legacy Of The Nephilim 2003, you haven't rested that much
on your laurels instead working on the material for albums. Where do you
find the never ending energy to forge the iron all the time?
It's not like that. When HELL-BORN came back in 2000 many people
supposed that was just an occasional reunion and the band would split up
again after one record. We were totally determined to prove to them that
HELL-BORN came back not as a project but as a real band. That's why we
decided to not have a rest and to release albums in every year.
Hell-Born has toured The States a couple of times. First in 2002,
then 2003 with Demoncy and Forest Of Impaled and then continued with
Noctuary and others during the same year. What sort of places did you
play, what of reception have you got there and in general what kind of
experience it was anyway?
We played in the USA in 2002 with LifeSruin and Psychomancer. That was
our first US tour and our first experiences with playing in pubs and
cellars, ha, ha, ha. In fact we played one very good show on MetalFEST
III in Cape Girardeau for about 400 people. But after two weeks we were
out of money and we came back home, because more than half of shows were
cancelled or not confirmed by JCM Records. In 2003 we visited USA second
time and we were touring with Demoncy and Forest of Impaled. It was
about two weeks, we played all over US East coast and that tour was
really good. Its the first time that I heard that we continued that tour
with Nocturnal in the same year. Don't believe in everything what is
written on Conquer Rec. site.....
When will Hell-Born be on bills of big European
metal festivals because I don't remember having seen your name on the
bills of the big European metal festivals?
Good question. But it is a matter of our label so you should ask
Conquer records first. We have been fighting for three years about that,
without any results. This year we were promised to play on 3-4
festivals, today we have end of June and we don't know any dates. What
can I say...?
There are a couple of metal festivals like Metal Mania which is
quite a huge event indeed, I guess you haven't got the chance to play
Not, man. That's very simple dependence: if you belong to Metal Mind
Production you will play on Metalmania Festival. If you don't you have
to try very hard to play that. HELL-BORN seems to be to small to play
that. But we don't care, we will wait....
The Polish society stands for the fundamental Christian ideology.
Is forming a more occult pagan based metal band kinda your way of
rebelling against the society and battle the church's way to represent
their strong visibility in the normal everyday life? Have you ever faced
any kind of problems with the religious organization of any kind ?
Not at all. Sometimes I think it's just a inventions of journalist.
Of course there were some accidents with a MARILYN MANSON show in Poland
or some shows of black metal bands but those were single events and only
in some old-fashioned regions of Poland. If you expect some sensations
or religious pickets in Poland you will be disappointed. It is not Near
Does the whole hilarious scandalous fuss about the controversial live
show of Gorgoroth show about how tight the grip of
religious issues is in Poland. I mean people got scared about their
grotesque live appearance, but getting to the court because of the
violation of some religious section of a law goes beyond my personal
I don't know nothing about that fuss, I was out of Poland for four
months so maybe I missed that. Personally I have never had any problems
with "grip of religious issues in Poland".
Speaking of the Polish extreme metal scene.... it has grown a lot and got
more deserved attention among the metal press because of
several bands with deals with bigger labels and especially the
quality of the extreme metal stuff is definitely outstanding in my
opinion, or how do you view the current Polish metal phenomenon ?!
It's right. The extreme metal scene was always very strong in Poland. But
I would not call it a phenomenon that so many polish bands have deals
and albums released for big labels these days. It's a matter of present
times, Poland is not the same poor country like 20 years ago, there is
no problem with good instruments and good studios today, so you can hear
more and more good albums of polish bands these days.
Has Poland become the new kingdom of death metal after the domination
of Sweden and Florida?
I don't think so. There are a lot of great bands in Poland, but
things like rehearsal rooms or good concerts are still main problem for
most of them. Of course many of them have released good albums and could
start their world career but the fact is that death metal is not so
popular like 10 years ago. I don't think we can expect the next MORBID ANGEL on today's death metal scene in the world.
Speaking of the Polish scene, the most common names usually pop up
like Behemoth, Vader, Decapitated and of course as to the black metal
stuff like Graveland, but what sort of bond do you have between other
bands in the Polish extreme metal scene? Do you get along with each
other, is there a tension between some certain bands ?
All serious bands always have a good relationships with each other.
That's a matter of their professionalism, characters and just a belief
in themselves and what they do. I don't talk about any personal matters,
but generally we try to support each others. There is a place for
everybody on music scene and if you are in war with other bands just due
to music or ideology it means you don't believe in your own music.
During the last four years the whole death metal scene has
experienced a new kind of renaissance with several new bands
dedicated to the
brutal approach. Several bands have risen up and gained the deserved attention like several Brazilian blasters, Polish
death mongers,the Swedish, and the older bands
are still around… Honestly are you kinda pleased to see the new era of the extreme metal and above all death metal?
I'm not sure we can say about new era of extreme metal. Heavy music
is very fashionable today but it's not the same explosion of black
and death metal of 10-15 years ago. I see some comebacks of old thrash and
death metal bands but it's nothing original and fresh with their new music. Personally I'd like to see death metal as an
elite form of
music, not for masses but for true extreme maniacs.
All right, it would be about time to conclude the interview, but I gotta ask what sort of plans do you have for the future? Will you head
back to The States for tours !?
On 4th of July we're playing on Conquer Festival in Poland. We don't
have any more dates confirmed by our label on today as well as any plans
about next visit in USA are known. So at that moment we're writing new
songs for the next album.
I for one thank you for this interview and of course you can unleash
the last words to make the interview end !!
Thanks a lot for the interview. Chains, Leather and Metal Forever!!!!