Heart of Steel: Interviews

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Interview With Max Kolesne of Krisiun
Interview By Lord of the Wasteland

Death metal was at its lowest point in the mid-1990s but out of the ashes came the Brazilian metal monsters, Krisiun. The band is comprised of 3 brothers: Alex Camargo (bass/vocals), Moyses Kolesne (guitars) and Max Kolesne (drums). Their music is loud, fast and relentlessly brutal. Krisiun’s latest CD, entitled WORKS OF CARNAGE, is arguably their best album yet. I spoke with Max Kolesne from their tour bus somewhere in Ohio, as the band was traveling to Florida between gigs. He offered up his insights on the new album and tour with Deicide, the state of the Brazilian metal scene and he also had a great road story.

The new album, WORKS OF CARNAGE, has been out for a few weeks now and it is one of the best CDs I have heard this year.

Thanks, man.


How did you come up with the album title?

We are inspired by a lot of the bloodshed and the wars…the things that have been happening in the world in humankind history. The carnage, you know? We want to get some lyrics to fit our music. Something brutal. Our music is brutal so we have to talk about wars, tyranny, conquerors…things like that. We’ve been doing this for 12 or 13 years and fighting and struggling for death metal and keeping true to our roots, our music. We always try to deliver to our fans brutal death metal music.

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The new album has got a really cool cover, too. Why didn’t you use Joe Petagno, who did CONQUERORS OF ARMAGEDDON and AGELESS VENOMOUS, this time?

We used a Polish guy. His name is Jacek Wisniewski. He did covers for Vader and some other bands, too. He got really inspired by the Joe Petagno work on the AGELESS VENOMOUS cover with the serpents and the Armageddon going on. He wanted to keep the same theme.



I thought they looked similar.




The production seems a little better on WORKS OF CARNAGE than AGELESS VENOMOUS. Did you try for a different sound after getting so much criticism towards the last album?

Yeah, we tried to get heavier production. More guitars, more bass. We were trying to get a similar sound to what we have in a live show. More brutal, more aggressive. The drums sound more natural. You can hear what’s going on. When we did AGELESS VENOMOUS, we tried something different than what we did on CONQUERORS OF ARMAGEDDON. I know a lot of people didn’t like it. They think it was too clean or the drums were too clicky. It came out that way for some reason.



The new songs seem a lot shorter, too.

We were trying to do something more straightforward and more aggressive. We got the band together to start jamming and Moyses showed up with lots of riffs. Once we got everything together, it all came naturally, you know? It was more like a jam session. That’s just the way they came out.



How long did you spend in the studio recording?

It was a short time. Maybe 20 days or something. It was really quick. We spent a lot of time practicing before we went in the studio. Usually we’ll practice 4 hours a day and try to play the songs as tight as we can so when we go to the studio, we feel really confident. That way, we don’t have to record the same song 5 or 6 times. Sometimes it takes just one take to record the drums, bass, guitars or vocals. Alex did the vocals in, like, 2 days! Some guys take 2 weeks to record vocals because they can’t sing! We were really ready to do this album. Then Pierre (Remillard, producer) mixed the album at his studio in Canada. We did a pre-mix in Brazil and then he took the tapes to his own studio. He did the final mix and the mastering and the rest there.



The intro to “Thorns of Heaven” is repeated again as the “Outro”. Is there a concept to this album?

Pierre came up with the intro to that and the “Outro”. He did that by himself. It’s kind of a creepy sound.



It sounds great on headphones, too. It’s got an industrial feel to it.

Cool, man. Thanks! Yeah, it’s something like that. It’s supposed to be the sound of Armageddon, you know? Weird, creepy noises.


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The band does a great version of Venom’s “In League With Satan” on the album. What made you choose that song to cover?

We are big fans of Venom. We grew up listening to all those classic old metal bands like Venom, Slayer, Dark Angel, Black Sabbath, and Motorhead. Sometimes when we practice and play at home, we used to play “In League With Satan” just for fun. Moyses would start playing the riff and I would join in on the drums then Alex would sing. Then one day, we decided lets play it in the live show and then we recorded it for the album.



In the past, you’ve covered song by Sodom, Kreator, Morbid Angel and Slayer. Who else would you like to pay respect to with a cover of their songs?

I’d like to do Motorhead or an old Black Sabbath song from the first album or some of their old shit. In the future, I think we’re going to do one of their songs.



Any one in particular?

Maybe “Symptom Of The Universe”. One of their old, evil songs.



The song “Black Sabbath” would be interesting for you guys to do because it is so much slower than the music you play.

Yeah! They have a lot of great songs. It’s hard to pick one. We’ll have to spend some time thinking about it. They are the creators of metal in my opinion. They were the first band to really play metal. They had all their influence from jazz and blues bands, Jimi Hendrix…all those. Godfathers of rock ‘n roll!



WORKS OF CARNAGE features 3 instrumental tracks and AGELESS VENOMOUS had two. Is there a reason you put so many instrumentals on your albums?

We like to play them. Like I said before, it was all natural the way it comes out. We have this song on the new album called “War Ritual”…



That song actually SOUNDS like war (laughs)! The drums sound like machine guns…

Yeah! We tried to make it sound like that. The guitar, the noise, the drums playing some kind of machine gun. Then we have “Shadows”, which is a darker song…deeper…more different. The next album will have an instrumental but it will be totally different from what we did on WORKS OF CARNAGE.



On the CD, there is a CD-ROM track with the video for “Murderer”. Great video!! Where did you film it?

It was done by a company called Firma Filmes and we went to a very old house that was totally fucked up. We got inside this place and had the gear and the lights all set up. The people who did the video were really professional guys. They had art direction…really professional. The place was really scary. A big abandoned, old house in downtown Sao Paulo.



Will there be any more videos done for the album?

Yeah, maybe. We might do one more. It depends how things go with the album.



In the liner notes of the CD, the band has dedicated WORKS OF CARNAGE to Altemir Souza. Who was he?

He used to play guitar for us in 1990 to 1992. He was the rhythm guitarist. We had a second guitarist in the beginning. Not in the VERY beginning. That was just the 3 of us. But after 1 or 2 years, we decided to have one more guy playing the rhythm guitar. That ended up being Altemir. He was a really good friend of ours, like a brother. He quit the band because he didn’t have the same passion we had for the music and for the band so it was good decision for him to leave but we still kept in touch. He died in a motorcycle accident a year and a half ago, so we dedicated this album to him.



Would you consider bring a 4th member back into the band again. Maybe a second guitarist or a bassist to let Alex concentrate on vocals?

No, I don’t think so. Alex has improved a lot as a bass player. His bass guitar has a much heavier sound now and you can hear that on the album. It’s really up front. We prefer to stay as a three-piece. The 3 of us have been struggling together for 13 years so it’s better to keep things like this.



I read in an interview from this year with Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles that Devin Townsend from Strapping Young Lad was interested in producing the album. What happened with him?

He was really busy doing a tour or producing some other band. We really wanted Pierre. We liked the productions he did. He did Anvil’s PLENTY OF POWER album, which is great production in my opinion. It’s totally different music from us. They play real heavy metal but in a totally different way. I’ve known this band since the beginning of the 80s!



They’re a Canadian band, too!

Yeah…”Metal On Metal”. They are a great metal band. They never rip off. They are always true to real metal and we wanted to have something similar to that kind of production. The drums sound really natural. The guitars and drums are right up there. We wanted to do something different from AGELESS VENOMOUS and from most death metal bands. We wanted to have “old school” production like DARKNESS DESCENDS (Dark Angel) or REIGN IN BLOOD (Slayer). Something similar to that. He did a really good job and he’s a good guy. Really professional.



Speaking of Devin Townsend, Krisiun just did the New Jersey Metal & Hardcore Fest with Strapping Young Lad as well as Morbid Angel, Nile, Dimmu Borgir, Nevermore, Type O Negative, Superjoint Ritual and Children of Bodom. There were a lot of really great, diverse bands on that bill. How did it go?

It went really great, man. We met the great Gene Hoglan and talked to him, had some beers together. He’s a really cool guy. Really knows his shit.



It must have been great for you, as a drummer and as a fan, to talk to someone like that?

He’s the fucking king, man!



He’s a big guy, too (laughs)!

YEAH!! He’s a big motherfucker (laughs). Gene Hoglan fucking rules, man!



You’re just finishing up the tour with Deicide, Hate Eternal and Cattle Decapitation on Tuesday. How has it been playing with those guys?

We still have 2 shows ahead in Florida with Hate Eternal and Cattle Decapitation. Decide isn’t playing. They played in Florida already this year so they’re playing somewhere else in the U.S. They finished the tour 2 days ago but we’re going to make these shows in Florida with hate Eternal and Cattle Decapitation.



Deicide have a new album out in February of 2004. Have they been playing any songs from that album on this tour?

No. Actually when they are doing soundcheck, they are playing a new song. It sounds killer…it sounds brutal, man! I think their new album is going to be real killer. Much better than the last one they released. I think they are coming for revenge. A lot of people were talking shit about Deicide, saying their album sucked and they weren’t the same anymore. Now it’s time for them to come back with revenge.



When their bus broke down on the way to Montreal last week, the bands all did longer sets to compensate.

Yeah we did a 40 or 45-minute set. When we played with Deicide, we had half an hour but since Deicide wasn’t playing, we had longer. We played some old songs and some new songs.



After Florida, what’s next for the band’s tour schedule?

Well, we go back and make a few shows in South America. We’re going to play in Chile and Colombia and two shows in Brazil, as well. Next year we are heading to Europe. We’re doing a long tour all over Europe. England, Germany…all those places. Then hopefully we’ll be back in the U.S. for another tour. This tour was kind of short…only 25 shows. The album was just released a month ago so we’re still looking forward to one more tour for WORKS OF CARNAGE.



I hope you get a chance to come out to the west coast. I live in Vancouver in Canada and we had some “problems” when you were here in March 2002 with Dimmu Borgir and Cryptopsy (laughs)!

Yeah. I really hope someone can book a show for us there. The last time we were supposed to play there, we had all these problems with the local promoter. He didn’t have the gear. Did Dimmu Borgir even play?



They played for about 20 minutes because the show had to be over by 10:30 to let the “club kids” in.

(Laughs) That’s right. Cryptopsy played without the PA! They only had the kicks and the vocals on the PA. It was awful, man (laughs).



When I heard the venue that was chosen, for that show, I thought, “WHAT?!?!”. It’s a dance club for ravers every other night and it was full of metalheads that night!

Next time, man! We really hope to get back to Vancouver and do a really killer show and drink some beer and smoke some bud with our friends there.



How does the band stay healthy and focused with such a demanding tour schedule?

We have to be well fed and sleep well. Sometimes it’s really hard to have a good night’s sleep because every time the bus moves…we only get 4 or 5 hours sleep. That’s the way it goes. We really like to be on the road and play every day. After every show, we drink beer and smoke weed with the local metal people and have a good time. That’s the best way to stay on the road…have fun and play some death metal!



What is the most memorable gig you’ve ever played?

Oh, man…it’s hard to say. After so many good shows… We did a show at Wacken in Germany for 40,000 people that was great. We did a show in Brazil at a big festival and we were the only extreme metal band playing there. There was more than 50,000 people in the place and we had a fuckin’ great response! That was amazing. The shows we did with Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, of course we’re never gonna forget it. So many good shows, so many good places. Japan, Europe…it’s really hard to pick one and say that’s the best. Sometimes we’ll play for, like, 100 people and the show is fuckin’ great, it’s fuckin’ amazing. Just the energy of the crowd. Sometimes we’ll play in very small places and we just love it!



The guys in Behemoth told us a road story where you got into a fight at a bar in Poland?

YEAH! We had a fight there, a very stupid fight. We had some chicks and one guy was really pissed about it. Maybe he was trying to get the chick or something but he started talking shit to Alex in Polish. We don’t understand Polish so it was just “Blah blah blah blah blah…” and he tried to pick a fight with Alex. Alex ended up kicking this guy’s ass! Then the security guards were friends of those guys. It was just a big mess. We were all drunk and we punched those guys…it was really fucked up, man (laughs)!



As long as you won (laughs)?

We kind of won the fight. They were all big security guys and strong but kind of slow. I don’t like this fighting shit, though. Beating the shit out of people really sucks with all the negative energy going on. What goes around comes around, so we try to avoid all the shit but it wasn’t possible because the guy just started fighting with Alex and he had to react.



Any other good stories come to mind?

I remember we were playing in Germany and this local guy was complaining that the music was too loud. This guy was really tall and he turned down the whole PA sound. Our sound guy is really short and he ended up kicking this guy’s ass! It was really funny because the really tall German guy called the cops and the cops were like, “Who’s the guy?” When they saw the sound guy, they were laughing about it (laughs)!



The band has a live DVD coming out next year called LIVE ARMAGEDDON. Will it just be one live show or clips from a bunch of different ones?

No it’s going to be a few shows from the AGELESS VENOMOUS tour and some new shows we are recording on this tour. We did a show in Los Angeles and they recorded the show. We’re going to tape the show in Brazil and we’re going to add this to the DVD. There will be scenes of us recording WORKS OF CARNAGE, some backstage scenes. It’s going to be some good material for the fans.



Will there be a live CD as well, or just the DVD?

I think just the DVD.



What’s happening in the Brazilian metal scene right now? Sepultura, Krisiun, Angra, Horned God, Rebaelliun all came out of Brazil. Are there any new bands that we should watch out for?

There are a lot of good new bands coming out of Brazil. There is one band called Nephasth. They are really good, I don’t know if you have heard of them. Their album was released in Europe but I don’t know about the U.S. There’s another band called Torture Squad, too. They’re all good bands that are trying to do their own shit, you know? There are so many copies in Brazil. Bands who are trying to sound like someone else, which is a waste of talent.



A lot bands try to sound like you, too!

Yeah…some bands just try to sound like us. Whatever. It’s all right to have an influence but trying to rape other band’s stuff is not good.



Are Krisiun as popular in Brazil as you are in the rest of the world?

We do lots of shows and draw lots of people in Brazil. We have a good name in the metal scene. We are maybe the biggest extreme metal band in Brazil right now. We’ve been struggling and fighting for a long time. We have 5 albums out now and we’re growing step by step, little by little. We want to build up a solid following.



Outside of Brazil, which country is the most enthusiastic when you play there?

It’s hard to say. Every city has a different metal scene. Some parts of the U.S. aren’t the good and some are great. California is always fuckin’ killer. Same as in Europe. We play in some cities and there aren’t many people but others are packed.



Do you think being from Brazil helped or hindered you from making it big earlier?

I don’t think it matters where you come from. You have to do something original and have your own personality and fight really hard for what you believe. You can never give up. That’s the only thing that really matters. There are so many bands these days trying to get a record deal or book shows. You’ve got have a lot of passion, a lot of dedication. You have to dedicate 100% to your music and your band.



What does the band’s name mean?

“Krisiun” is the deepest crater on the moon. In Latin, it means “sea of abomination”.



Who is the main lyricist in the band?

On WORKS OF CARNAGE, Alex wrote all the lyrics. He spent some time on the lyrics while Moyses and I worked on the structure of the songs.



Alex did an interview with Metal Rules back in 2002 and he said that UNMERCIFUL ORDER might get released on CD. Have you decided whether or not you will definitely be releasing it or not yet?

No, we haven’t decided yet. We might release it with some re-recorded songs or some live songs.



What types of music does the band listen to?

We listen to Black Sabbath, Motorhead, REIGN IN BLOOD, DARKNESS DESCENDS, old Razor like VIOLENT RESTITUTION. All those classic metal bands. We listen to jazz, some blues. Not just all metal. We don’t listen to crappy pop music or nu-metal. None of this kind of shit.



So there are no Britney Spears CDs that get cranked on the bus (laughs)?

(Laughs) No man…come on! No way!



Besides Gene Hoglan, who are some of the other musical influences in your drumming?

My main influences are Dave Lombardo, Pete Sandoval and Gene Hoglan. Some other guys, too. Some jazz drummers. Guys who I’ve picked up things from and try to put to our music.



What is it like working with family? Do you guys fight a lot or are things pretty calm?

We fight and argue sometimes but five minutes later, we’re friends again. We are each other’s best friends. We have a fight and then we just forget about it. That’s the good thing about being brothers. We aren’t going to split up for a stupid reason. Fights start over small things and then the band splits up just because of that, so we try to put those things aside and have a good relationship.



How many more CDs are left in Krisiun? Do you see yourselves still doing this in 5 years? 10 years?

Much more than that, man! I believe we can play for much more than 10 years. As I get older, it gets kind of easier to play this kind of music, I can tell you. When I was 20 years old, I had a hard time playing a one-hour set. I’d feel bad, like dying. Now we have improved our skills and got certain techniques to help us play fast. I think, as we get older, playing this shit will be no problem for us.



Do you think you can top WORKS OF CARNAGE? Do you have any plans for the next album yet?

Fuck yeah, man! When we get home, we’ll start jamming again and try to do some more crazy shit. It’s definitely going to be really brutal and really fast. 100% fuckin’ death metal like we always do.


How many more albums do you have left with Century Media?

Five albums altogether, I think, so two more. We are really happy with them. They are good people. They really support us and have done a great job so far.



Have any other labels been sniffing around?

If we split with Century Media, then we’ll think about it. There are a few out there who are interested in working with us but we aren’t really thinking about it right now.



Does the band have any feelings about the music file sharing and Internet downloading that has been going on the last few years?

I think it’s really cool that you can show your music to other people that aren’t your fans. You can go there and download the music. They can download one song and hopefully if they like it, they’re going to buy the CD. I don’t know if it’s good or bad.



You guys are all heavily tattooed. Do you get most of them done in Brazil or while you’re on the road?

All in Brazil, man. We get them for free because of endorsements. We put the name of the guys in our CDs so we don’t have to pay for it. Chileno did some of our tattoos so his name is in WORKS OF CARNAGE. He’s actually from Chile. He’s not Brazilian. Anytime I get the chance to do some more, I’m going to.



Since Sepultura has changed their sound so much on the last few albums, do you think when people think of Brazilian heavy metal, the name Krisiun comes to mind first, instead?

I don’t know, man. Every band has to go on their path. We’re not trying to be replacements for Sepultura or anything. They were great and they’re still doing well. There will be more bands coming from Brazil in the future. It’s not just 1 or 2 metal bands representing the whole metal scene down there. People know, Sepultura. They know Krisiun, but they also know new bands, too. I know Sepultura has changed their music and I don’t really like the new stuff, but that’s just my personal opinion. I know a lot of people think that. I really like their old shit like SCHIZOPHRENIA and BENEATH THE REMAINS. They were classics, in my opinion.



What do you think of what Max Cavalera has done with Soulfly?

I don’t really dig that, man. I don’t know it really well. I’ve only heard a few songs but I’m not really into that. I have to hear the whole CD to have an opinion about it.



Well thanks for talking to me today, Max. It’s been a real pleasure. Good luck with the last few shows on the tour and I hope to see you guys back in Canada again! And no more fighting (laughs)!!

(Laughs) Thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it.


Band Website: www.krisiun.com.br
Label Website: www.centurymedia.com