Analizator & The Grinding of Novi Sad
by Ryan Bartek
As the blistering cauldron of extreme metal madness that was the Brutal Assault Festival 2013 came to a close, I again was left in a random European city unsure where to tread next. In the near aftermath of this savage 100 band, 5 day Czech Republic festival, I was aware that I could go virtually anywhere. Greece made sense, but it was a boiling hot 100+ degrees for the next month straight. Romania seemed too titanic an odyssey, and I just wasn’t feeling a return to Northern Europe.
I slipped into the local bar and knocked back a pint as I got back to basics – a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie. All the kings men are worthless when you have the right slogan and a thick enough marker. In this case, it flashed like internal lightning – I would take a stab at the land of Tito.
I popped the cap off the black Sharpie and began writing the words “Need Lift,” Before I had the chance to even scribble the big S of Serbia, I felt a guy looking over my shoulder. “What are you doing there?” I replied very confidently: “Well, trying to go as deep into former Yugoslavia as possible.” He seemed slightly puzzled, since these were not the usual haunts of an American tourist. “Why?” he asked. I replied, quite simply: “Why not?”
The fellow immediately offered I hop on the bus to Belgrade leaving the next afternoon. It was packed to the brim with Serbian metalheads that had saved up nearly a year to rent a bus and a bus driver for one week so they could all experience the ultimate fest that Brutal Assault was. I accepted the offer, and 24 hours later I was headed deep south to get dumped off in Belgrade, alone, at 5am in the morning and not an idea where to go once I got there.
The looming figure that offered the ride was a guy named Alen Habek, who was loaded with samplers of his grindcore band Analizator. After I swirled a bit of this mans’ aggressive output through my eardrums, I knew at once these efforts at raw cataclysmic fury were destined for an audience far beyond random dive bars in Central Europe. Metal underworld, I give to you the skull-splitting, double-blasting, gray-matter squashing chaos that is Analizator…
Tell me the history of the band…
The idea for the band came around 2002. when I started a thrash / black metal band with a couple of high school friends. We sucked. We disbanded after 3 weeks. Then we reformed with a slightly different lineup, and sucked even more and disbanded after 2 weeks. Some time later, in April of 2003. I approached a friend from another local band (Frantz , now the drummer in Analizator) and asked him if he would play guitar in a grindcore band with me. The drummer and bass player were the guys from the previous bands, we all knew each other, we all loved Anal Cunt and stuff like that. That lineup stayed together for some 6-7 months, after which the bass player went away, and Frantz switched to bass and I took the guitar, and Gospava came in the band as a second vocal. We recorded our first demo in 2005. called “Igra Debela Mecka” (translates roughly to “The Fat Bear Is Dancing”). After that, we added a second guitar and another vocal to the band and recorded a full-length album called “We Are Not Your Neighbours” in 2009. It was an expensive endeavor, as it was a real studio album, with all the bells and whistles. There were some problems with finding a decent record label, so we split the album into smaller chunks and released it over several 3-way and 4-way splits, with a lot of songs ending up never being officially released. Mainly, we used that album to persuade our drummer that he sucks at playing drums and we kicked him out of the band. Frantz switched to drums, and we added yet another singer, a bass player and another guitar, with me returning to the vocals only, turning the band into a 7 piece. As that was a big change, we changed the name to PIGWORM (our songs were more gore oriented at the time and we slowed the pace a bit for a more sludgy metal tone). That lineup survived for a little more than a year, recording a 10-track EP with a mixture of new songs and old re-recorded stuff, and released it for some small net label. Only Frantz, Gospava and myself remained in the band after that recording, as the other guys focused more on their main bands. We recruited the bassist (Stajki) from a sludge-grunge project we also played in at the time, and a singer (Deni) from another local grindcore band that was defunct (Anus Dei, we have a lot of anally inspired bands, it seems). That is the current lineup, minus Gospava, who married and moved too far away to be able to contribute to the band. Since early 2010. we started recording and making new songs faster, and changed back to a more traditional grindcore sound, with more emphasis on better song structures and more serious lyrical content. We recorded “The Pigworm Sessions” (EP with all the PIGWORM songs re-recorded) in 2010. , then early 2012. a self titled, 20-minute, self-titled EP. Nowadays we are recording our second full length album, probably due to come out in early 2014. Also, we plan on releasing an EP with cover songs, a mixture of our folk music and some grindcore and rock staples.
The band name is an odd Serbian sounding one, but it also does have the word “anal” in it. Which either means weird Serb translation or you’re singing about poop sex. Or maybe just about poop, period, which is just as classy…
We were strongly under the influence of Anal Cunt at the time, and also loved bands like Anal Blast and Serbian grindcore bands Analni Karakter and Anus Dei. So we figured we have to have the word anal in there somewhere. Analizator means analyzer and is deceptively inoffensive at a first glance, but also is a kind of a wordplay, because “Anal Lizator” means “anal licker.”
Well then. tell me about Serbian music scene…
The most popular music in Serbia is folk and its modern dancelike incarnations, they are aggressively stupid, awful sounding and are mostly carbon copies of Turkish, Bulgarian and Greek mainstream music. In terms of rock music, most of the big names are from the period of late 70s till early 90s. Metal scene is dead, with a couple of names “pushing through the media wall” for brief periods of time, and those are mostly some wannabe glam revivalists or really sleazy heavy/power metal bands. There are some great bands that should be getting way more attention, though the fans are scarce, most are stay-at-home metalheads. The biggest challenge here is to keep the band motivated enough to remain active. Just in Novi Sad I could name a bunch of active, great sounding bands with varied mileage behind them : Tales Of Dark, Wolfram, Concrete Sun, Tona, Conviction, Reflections Of Internal Rain, Ground Zero, Annathema… As for the sub-sub-scene of grindcore, there aren’t many of us around nowadays, older bands from the 90s barely play nowadays (Acroholia, Nominal Abuse, Analni Karakter, Scared, Osmi Putnik 2…). There are some bands we usually play with, like Niyazov, Pro-Liv, Sakagija, Glib, Agitator, and maybe 10-15 more in the whole country, not counting one-man projects…
What gigs are the weirdest or best you’ve performed?
Restricting only to Analizator gigs, some of the best were our first anniversary gig (we played for 90+ minutes in a packed club and eventually stopped because of exhaustion), gigs in Ruma (we have a strong and young fan base there, and always have a blast), our first gig in Belgrade (we played with 3 black metal bands and we made fun of all satanists in the crowd, of which I’d guess there were many), our pre-New Year gig in 2004. (we played with a funk-rock band called SlapTrap, so we mangled two entirely separate crowds together for a very fun show for everyone involved). Also, most of our gigs in the last two years were consistently fun and good sounding. As for the weirdest, there were two gigs in Cacak (Gospava’s hometown, btw.). One was on a live radio concert, a thing that one of the national radios organizes weekly throughout the country. It is basically a platform for promoting the same 5-6 bands of the people involved in the said radio, and it leeches of local bands for the fans, giving the local bands way less time and bad putting them to play either first or last. We played two songs that didn’t speak highly of that radio, or its main editor-in-chief (radio is called 202, so we made a song called 202 Reasons To Kill Yourself, and the radio’s host/chief editor is called Vlada Jet, and we had a song called Jet Generation ). As you may guess, they weren’t too thrilled to hear our songs being broadcast live, so they cut the feed off, but it was too late. Because they got pissed, they cut the rest of the local bands play time, which didn’t sit well with the crowd, previously made to listen to hours of radio’s cover bands. They were booed out after announcing the end of the evening with 2 bands left not playing at all, and their tour bus was stoned, sparing only our side as everyone cheered and chanted our band’s name. Of course, nobody spoke a word with us on the way back, and we never received an invitation from them again (big surprise, I know). The other Cacak gig was on Gospava’s wedding day, and it was a blast, as you may imagine. One more was this year, when we were called to play on a high-school prom night. We weren’t allowed to bring alcohol in, because of school policies. We kinda cheated a little, tho. The gig was awesome, only the faith teacher (yes, we have faith as a subject in schools nowadays) wasn’t too happy with our soul-rotting music. 5 what are your side projects? I play alongside Frantz in dreDDup, which is an industrial metal/rock/punk crossover. Also, I have an electro drone project called X-=p0q=-X , and am currently forming a post-metal band with some like-minded people. My hiatus projects – Neman (post-black), B.S.F. (sludge-grunge), Borrelia (goth rock), Apocalypse Logic (IDM), Brothers Grim (noisegore)… My past bands – Descendant (black), MAD Goya (thrash), Pixelizirane Iznutrice (8bit goregrind), Defilement (death), MASSS (stoner rock)…
It’s a cliché question, but to get that decimating grindcore sound, what is your favorite guitar head and guitar?
I love me a good old Les Paul for a deep full sound, and a good custom Telecaster for a more mumbling evil-like sound. Also, I love guitars like Fender Mustang/Jaguar, BC Rich Bitch, Hohner Headless series, all those weird Japanese surf rock brands, and generally all good LP and Tele shaped guitars from various manufacturers. Of course, being both broke and left-handed, I ended up with owning a Hagstrom UltraSwede, an old Ibanez LP copy, and a couple of modded Chinese Strat copies. As for the amps, I’m going with Vox AC30, Marshall JVM series, ENGL Fireball in the valve department, and Roland JC 120, Ibanez TBX150H (which is my weapon of choice, incidentaly) and Marshal MG100 solid-states.
When you think of grindcore, what comes to mind?
I think of aggression, violence, Napalm Death, Lock Up, Nasum, corrupt society. I think of anarchy, partying, porn, depravity, alcohol, Anal Cunt, Cock And Ball Torture, Fleshless. I think of Czech Republic, Cerebral Turbulency, Leng Tche, about life and death… Our overarching message is for people to be rational and think for themselves, and to fuck off if they don’t. We preach tolerance, unless it’s tolerance of backwardness and stupidity. We preach humanism before survivalism, and survivalism before dogmatism.
What are differences between Europe and American scene people should know?
Well, first off, Europe and US have different issues, and so different things move and inspire bands. Popular bands in Europe and US tend to greatly differ, or have a “lag” of a couple of years till the other side of the ocean catches on. Also, from what I can see, Europe is more segmented and localized in terms of unique mini-scenes than US (for instance, 10 years ago, Norway was all black metal, Finland all heavy, Italy all power, Czech all gore-grind…). I’d say the differences were way lessened in the last decade, because of ease of access made possible by the internet. Anyways, what I noticed was the waves of influence circling around, with a British or Scandinavian bands influence a surge of similar sounding US bands, and those in turn influence European bands and the rest of the world to create even more of the same, due to sudden popular demand (Gothenburg’s death metal scene’s influence, for example, still mutates and jumps over the ocean from side to side). Also, logistics for touring are worlds apart in the US and EU, both having merits and flaws aplenty.
You got a nightmare tour story for me?
Luckily, we didn’t have many of those with Analizator. We had a gig when our original drummer went on a summer vacation 3 days before a gig without giving us heads up beforehand. So, as Gospava was also a drummer (and a better one, at that), he wanted to play that gig, and me and Frantz would sing. We had a single rehearsal and it went decently well. And then we came to the city in question and both Gospava and the bassist got way too drunk before the gig. So we ended up playing wobbly, they constantly crapped all over the songs, and the peak moment was when we played a hip-hop orthodox gospel song and Gospava literally fell asleep on the snare drum in the middle of it, while the bassist stopped playing some time before that and started texting with his girlfriend. We kicked the bass player out of the band afterwards, and Gospava was never allowed to drum in Analizator again.
Who would win in a barfight – Vic Rattlehead or Ed Hunter?
Well, that’s a dead heat race (no pun intended). Ed, as he is older, wiser and more resilient.
Is power metal big in Serbia?
Yes and no, we had a single big power/prog band that “made it big” for a couple of years (until everyone figured out they were stealing riffs and even whole songs left, right and center), and we have a couple of them hanging around and opening for really big metal names without playing anywhere and having any significant fan base. There are way less power metal bands now than there were some 7-8 years ago, nowadays it’s all about thrash revival here. On the other hand, Blind Guardian is probably the only band that can come here every year and sell out any decent venue in a matter of days.
Is it true there is no metal scene in Albania?
Probably there are some bands there, but it is pretty much a dead zone, those guys have to go to Greece, Macedonia or Bulgaria for gigs. I’ve heard Nihil, a black metal band, but the only song I’ve heard of them had a Swan Lake melody as a starting riff.
What are your favorite European city to hang out in or play live?
To hang out – Prague, Munich or Ljubljana. To play live, I don’t know – as of now Rijeka, Geneva and Velenje.
Best horror movie kill of all time?
Any one of the kills in Final Destination 2. The airbag one probably takes the cake. Also, the one with needles in Saw 2, I fucking hate needles. Also, why do the dumbest movies always get to have the most awesome kills/deaths ?
Are aliens real ?
Yup. But not the flying saucer, little gray/green man, government controlling variety. Or the space monster variety. I have zero idea how they look, but numbers say they simply must exist.
For now, we plan that full-length and the covers EP, and then we are concentrating on making a mini eastern-central European tour in the summer. We are also thinking on recording a couple of videos for the songs from the previous EP, and putting our band website back on (it’s down since circa 2006.) and releasing all our previous albums as free downloads. We are modest in our expectations, we merely wish to have good times with crowds that dig our kind of music.