Sammath Interview by Jarod Lawley
Jan Kruitwagen, all guitars, vocals
Ruud Nillesen, bas Koos Bos, drums
Thanks for the interview! The band’s sound is like lying on cold concrete floor while a tank runs over you, again and again.
We try to record everything as raw and honest as possible. Its sounds like a mix between Immortals Battles in the north and any Mortician album. Well, that’s what some people say in reviews about our latest album. Being compared to those legends is great. What I absolutely hate is the way modern black metal sounds, neat and tidy. So we keep it sounding as dirty as possible, without losing sound quality, meaning that you can hear all the instruments well
The band started in 1994, what influenced you to start playing black metal? 3. Are there any particular records that helped shape the band’s sound in the early days?
I think it was Gehenna’s 7 inch Angelwings and Ravenclaws that really got me hooked on black metal. In 93 I think it was.
I had been listening to metal since 86. I was a huge Metallica fan at first, Kreator, Sodom, Coroner and local Australian acts ( I grew up in Sydney) The vocals of the early black metal bands really grabbed me by the throat. Early Satyricon albums, early Dimmu Borgir, Dawn, Blasphemy, lots of influences, I could go on for hours. Also thrash and speed metal.
The band is now based in Germany, not in your home of the Netherlands, what was the reason for this move?
It’s cheaper and there are less people. We live in a very quiet part of western Europe. I can look out my backyard and see only forest and some hills. I spend my youth in Australia, studied in The Netherlands, and soon after moved to Germany. I only live 2 km across the border, but the difference is huge. But I’m proud to be Dutch, I just think its way to crowded.
So, Godless Arrogance is your new album, and the first in 5 years, what has the band been up to in this time?
Being a daddy! Two out of three band members have two kids or more, young kids, so instead of metal I was mostly busy with babies, trying to stay awake and work.
After I record an album I usually never touch my guitar for at least six months. After recordings I am mostly a train wreck. My voice is screwed or totally gone, my fingers hurt and my back aches, haha. The drummer is mostly sick after recording albums. His legs are beaten to a pulp and he can’t walk normally. He seems to break everything. We are all self-taught musicians, so we do everything wrong and the hard way, the only upside to this is that we are free of the usual basis that every musician has, that’s probably why Sammath sounds so fucked up. I spend a great deal of three years working on this album. Every day, a couple of hours, or when I was busy at work I would record at night.
How does this new album differ from your previous effort, Triumph In Hatred
This is probably the first album that I think represent perfectly who we are. We wanted to capture more of a live sound and take the aggression to a higher level. When we rehearse it always sound devastating , but on cd it always ended up sounding to crap or to overproduced. This time we found the right balance. This album is a giant leap forward in many ways, so it should be, otherwise the band should just stop. The arrangements are way better, thanks to our bass player being involved more in that process. I did everything myself until this album, but came to the conclusion that even if I write all the music, letting someone in the band look at the structures can work well. The voce is also a lot better. You need shitloads f luck to record a good album luck was on our side this time.
Could you please explain the front cover artwork to us?
It’s one of the Normandy beaches just before the allies landed. Due to the lack of colour and the dark atmosphere you know it’s a metal album. Nothing happens, but you know the shits going to hit the fan at any moment. Just like the album, no intros or any other atmosphere build up bullshit, straight in to rip your face off. The only relation to the lyrics are our themes of
What formats is the new record being released on? And which one do you think suits this album best?
It’s out on cd, vinyl and digital. On vinyl it always sounds the best in my view. But im a vinyl freak. I never listen to mp3 except when I’m on the computer, which as normally as little as possible, I’m only online when I’m doing something to promote the band. I enjoy grabbing some beers, sitting down and listening the entire album, check out the cover, read along with lyrics. The entire way of listening to music has changed. On vinyl everything just sounds and feels better. Lucky for us we also have a great digipack cd that looks great.
Thanks! We wanted it to sound as close to total chaos as possible, without it all being a bloody mess. In some parts its way over the top and we ask a lot of the listener, but most people who buy Sammath are used to this. We got 99% great reviews, even from the big magazines. Pretty much surprised me, I knew being on a big label would change things a lot, we get way more exposure then we used to, but that the regular metal mgs would like this album surprised me.
For some, who like their black metal modern sounding it’s just too loud and aggressive. I even got some flack about the lyrics being too simplistic, I only see that as a compliment, I don’t have to prove my intelligence with writing deep and meaningful or ritualistic lyrics. This for different reasons, I can’t stand that whining, al hail satan or the world hates me crap and second of all, metal lyrics should, in my view be as primal as possible. What we bring to the mix is straightforward terror black metal, put in a blender with death, thrash and speed metal riffing.
Thank you for your answers, what would you like to finally say to our readers?
Support your local record dealer! www.facebook.com/sammath666 check out the Hammerheart records store www.hammerheart.com countless classics for a good price.