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Interview with DEAD CONGREGATION...

Hello to the Athenian congregation of the dead and the first question cannot be different: it is some time away from your current album "Promulgation of the fall", how satisfied are you with the feedback and its acceptance by the fans? Have you registered any negative response or all of the responses have been positive, as you expected?

Greetings. Our new album has been out since May and up till now the response has been extremely positive on most occasions. When a band‘s reputation grows the music is heard by more and more people, so it is always expected to read comments from a minority of haters or simply people who don’t understand what you’re trying to do with your compositions. We don‘t spend too much energy on the response - it’s always great to see that there is wide recognition but in the end we mainly compose music for ourselves. We definitely appreciate all the great response we’re getting for sure though.

This year completes the first decade of your existence, thanks to your approach and recordings you have become almost the„ living cult „- Does It feel Dead Congregation is at the peak of his powers?

When we start feeling that we’ve peaked we’ll split up. As artists we like to challenge ourselves to move forward and do better as times passes by.

The New album "Promulgation of the Fall" was released under the Martyrdoom Productions which is a label founded by your band. What are the ambitions of Martyrdoom Productions? Will it be used only for issuing Dead Congregation or do you have a plan of publishing other  related bands?

It’s too soon to say, at the moment we only focus on Dead Congregation.

Have you been contacted with the release of the new album by some bigger label? And if that happened in the future, would you accept the offer?

We were approached by many big labels, we just wanted to keep everything under total control so we decided to do it ourselves instead. Our previous album was released 6 years ago so it was very important for us to plan our moves strategically, most importantly, not to have any material leak before the release of the album and not to have a stupid promotional campaign that doesn’t fit the band’s profile. We couldn’t trust any of the big labels with something like that! At the time we’re negotiating with a couple of big labels for the re-release of our debut album ‘Graves of the Archangels’, maybe we’ll also license ‘Promulgation of the Fall’ as well in the future. Each move represents our current wishes, for now we feel more comfortable being independent.

Back to the history. The first release of your EP "Purifying Consecrated Ground" (2005) was released by the Singapore Konqueror Records. How was the cooperation and what was the satisfaction levels with this virtually unknown little firm?

We had absolutely zero expectations from our first release, we had no idea how well it would be accepted because at the time Dark Death Metal was not popular at all. The deal with Konqueror actually came out of nowhere because they were interested to sign a previous project of ours, Nuclear Winter. We told them that the band was dead but we have a new project in the works and Konqueror Records still offered a deal without having heard a single note from Dead Congregation. We appreciate their faith in us, that EP put us on the map and was the stepping stone for the launch of our recording ‘career’.

The Debut album "Graves of the Archangels" (2008) definitely kicked off your band to the forefront. How many copies were sold and exist on this material and if you had to change something on it, then what would that be?

So far it has sold 7.000 CDs, 2.700 LPs (200 of them picture discs) and 600 cassettes. CDs and regular LPs have been sold out for quite some time now and after the release of our new album there has been a huge demand on ‘Graves’ as well, that’s why we’re negotiating a re-release, as said before. As for changes, there’s no point in regretting things of the past, you just walk strong into the future and try to avoid making the same mistakes in your new material. Sure, you can always improve things but every mistake you make is a learning experience that makes you stronger.

I really liked the black and white photos in the booklet   in the mentioned debut album of 2008. Where were they discovered, and what is the source and inspiration?

All photos were taken during several trips of A.V. to parts of Greece or other parts of the world. Some are from abandoned/demolished monasteries, some from mausoleums, one if St.Peter’s tomb in Rome… We always keep an open eye for any kind of inspiration and when it comes to photos it’s not different. You see something and you KNOW that you’re going to use it somehow eventually.

We got back to the year's news. Expectations were great which could be onerous for you, in a certain sense.  You have to resolve it masterfully and you have created a really strong materiál. How long have you been composing this material and how long did the actual recording took place?

We’ve had material completed from as back as 2008. Then we had some tracks that were reworked after a long time and some of the tracks were newer. We never plan on writing songs, it just happens when you have inspiration and when you’re not too busy to even grab the guitar and play a little bit.  The recording lasted around 11 months (with a huge break from May 2013 until September 2013) mostly due to the fact that we wanted to feel sure that we will not regret a thing. We recorded the core of the album very fast, then listened to it repeatedly and re-recorded 2-3 songs to get a better vibe for them. The songs had been instrumental until that point and only a few of them had lead guitars. So after careful consideration we added solos and vocals exactly where we felt that the solos and vocals would contribute a great deal to the whole of the compositions… Every detail was important and keeping a perfect balance was something we had in mind from the beginning.

Musical content of "Promulgation of the Fall" is the most diverse in your history, and I feel that you've perfected the art of expressing dark emotions. I can find in your band what I'm missing in many of today's extreme metal bands. The music of your band is composed by you all in rehersal  or do you need some special atmosphere  for composing?

The songs are not composed while jamming in the studio, if that’s what you’re asking. It takes a certain amount of concentration and frame of mind to compose the riffs and we are not taking that lightly. All material is composed at home and most details are worked out before all of us get to learn the material and play it as a band. There’s always a possibility to change something in the process while rehearsing but the fundamental ideas are set at home during composing privately.

Your lyrics are very anti-Christian. Do you consider yourself to be a satanist? And how do you perceive Satanism? I mean, do you take it as a protest against the Church, religious dogmas and heresies, against the controlling machinery or do you look at it from a deeper perspective? Are you interested in the occult?

All of the band members have strong anti-Christian beliefs and some of them are religious. However we do not wish to preach our beliefs, being religious is a very esoteric state that seems hypocritical to try to enforce it upon others. Everyone should strive for personal spiritual elevation without caring about what other people do.

Its Not just me though but you are certainly one of the bands which returns death metal  to where it belongs. I hear references to Incantation, Immolation or old Morbid Angel in your music. Are you ready to take control in the realm of dark and orthodox death metal after the „outgoing leaders“  leave the scene?

That’s not up to us to say. It remains to be seen if our albums will stand the test of time and be remembered 20 years from now, as it happens with the great bands that you mentioned.

It is nice that you can create a dark, gloomy and obscure atmosphere   even with a clean and clearly legible sound. Many death metal bands "smirch" their sound to induce a similar atmosphere and makes it sometimes “ impermeable  muddy sound .  What do you think about creations, such as the last Impetuous Ritual?

There are bands that use a very dirty and rough sound approach that really suits them and there are others that do so in order to hide their own lack of musicianship and lack of inspiration. We believe that our music manifests itself perfectly with the sound we chose as the production allows the listener to hear every hidden detail lurking in the darkness of our compositions without being digital or overproduced. On the other hand we don’t believe that this is the only correct approach, what works for us might be counterproductive to other bands and vice versa. I would hate to listen to Bathory’s ‚The return...‘ with a ‚good‘ production, for example.

Greece has a lot of great bands in dark underground metal. Apart from your band I can mention  Nocturnal Vomit, black metal Ravencult or brutal death metal Mass Infection. Could you recommend some lesser-known names which in the future can come into a wider awareness?

Wider awareness? Maybe Resurgency or Necrovorous.

When you founded the Dead Congregation did you think you could make it so far to the position which you are now?  What are the current ambitions of your band? Is there something that you have failed which you would like to make good?

We always live for today and don’t act thinking of what will become tomorrow. We just write our music the way we feel it and then let things take their course. But we definitely didn’t form the band as a pass time project so we knew we’d keep it going for a long time. We’ve been lucky that our albums had a good following but we wouldn’t have done anything differently even if they didn’t. The new album has just been released, we’ll do shows as usual and maybe new songs will start taking shape soon. It’s too early to say. The only ambition we’ve always had is to be the best that we can be for ourselves.

About the gigs. In our country  you had a gig last year. Are you  planning to play any time  soon again in the Czech Republic ? I assume (because of the atmosphere) that you prefer playing in clubs than big festivals  where you get 20 -30 minutes in daylight  and nothing more - mainly that you participated. Do You refuse certain offers or take-all? Do you have some memories of the most successful shows, or vice versa about the worst?

Unfortunately we don’t have any plans for the near future to play in the Czech Republic so far. We definitely don’t accept all offers we get, every show must have a specific purpose for the band. Playing big festivals is also a great experience however, maybe the audience is not as dedicated as on smaller shows but there are other benefits such as bigger exposure, more money, getting to play with old legendary bands. Last year we played in Hellfest for example and it was super good. Small shows are amazing but every once in a while a big festival is nice to break the pattern, it helps with not repeating yourself all the time.
Every show is special in its way, we’ve had a lot of great ones and the worst was at PartySan when one of our guitars stopped working so we missed 15 minutes trying to fix it in the middle of our set and some minutes wasted while playing with one guitar and terrible sound.

Music is obviously not your main source of livelihood.  What are your civil jobs?

When Death Metal cannot pay the bills we work part time as grave desecrators to make ends meet.

Since the vinyl and cassettes are back on the scene, your recordings were released on these almost primitive medium  .What do you think about these mediums?

We love vinyl and tapes. Every one of us got his first album on tape in the past so you cannot erase that memory ever. We find also that the warmth in the sound of these two formats is perfect for metal. CDs are great too, only digital downloading sucks!

In short: Are you able to agree on the best death metal album of all time?

The one and only best Death Metal album of all time? That’s impossible to say… We can say that the best Death Metal BAND of all time is Morbid Angel and everything they released from the debut until (and including) ‘gateways…’.

For me it's everything.  Thanks for your existence and  , that thanks to you guys for keeping  real death metal still alive. If there is something you would like to tell us that I have missed out, you have the space here …!  Thanks so much for your answers! Stay true  and strong!

We certainly hope to visit the Czech Republic again for a gig, last time it was a night to remember with all our good friends there and the amazing atmosphere in the club during the show. Also the beer was great and cheap and Prague was incredible altogether!

Zveřejněno: 28. 09. 2014
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Autor: Prepil | Další články autora ...



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