2018. október 31., szerda

Erik Sprooten

Interview with Erik Sprooten
(Ancient Rites, Inquisitor, Plusminus)
Hail Erik, we are very glad to talk with you again here at Archangel’s Lantern. I must say, “Stigmata Me, I’m in Misery” is just a brilliant masterpiece of old school Thrash metal. Are you satisfied with how the album turned out? (In my humble opinion Inquisitor sounds stronger than ever)
- Hail Georgius, thanks for your kind words. Oh yeah, we are very much satisfied with the new album. We stuck to our guns even after almost twenty years, which is remarkable in itself, but we also managed to make some progress as well musically. Alex Wesdijk wrote all the lyrics, and some of his  lyrics are a bit more personal compared to our older lyrics. The new album definitely has an old school vibe and it sounds 100% like Inquisitor and it's great to have this album recorded in the original line-up too. We recorded our second album at the Toneshed Studio in The Netherlands, which is run by Erwin Hermsen, who is a former guitarist of Mangled and he did a fantastic job! I  recorded my guitar solos at home and sent the audio files of those to Erwin. “Stigmata Me, I'm In Misery” sounds like what people were used from us, but we also managed to include musical ideas which we couldn't have done or wouldn't have come up with in the 90's. For instance, the beginning of “Holy Man's Gallows Pole”, is something which we probably wouldn't have done in 1995 and I also wouldn't and couldn't have played slide guitar back then, but slide guitar playing by me can be heard in “Hammering Rusty Nails” now. The end solo of "I am Sick, I must Die" was in it's early incarnation just a nice guitar solo in D-minor, but later I changed it to what it has become now. Alex Bakker (bass player) showed us in the rehearsal room what he played underneath that D-minor solo, which was a very great bass line so I changed the guitar solo to compliment his bass playing. I rewrote it by adding a few unison bends followed by some fretboard tapping. The very end of “Northern Goliath – Death A Black Rose” was a great idea of our singer Alex Wesdijk. Our drummer Wim is highly involved in structuring the songs, and is always thinking how to improve his drumming and drumfills. Each member in the band contributed to the music and everyone had made progress throughout the years and widened his musical space. We do what we like to do without restricting ourselves regardless of any trend, criticism, image or whatsoever and we will continue to do so. 
Hey Erik, it has been a while, tell me the latest news about Inquisitor. (Anita vH)
- We finally have a new album out for some months now, and we are promoting it the best way we can, but we also started working on new songs again for a possible new album. We still have some new music in us to unleash upon mankind and there are quite some new really interesting ideas. Some ideas may be leftovers but some of those are great and will be used. We certainly do want to make another album, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Although we hardly have any budget, there are plans to make a video clip. In this digital and visual age it's important to have a video clip.

Saw you had a few gigs with Pestilence, Dead End and Dead Head. How were these? Any abroad gigs planned? (Anita vH)
- Those gigs were arranged via Hammerheart Records, and they were absolutely great. One was on a Sunday in Maastricht, in the South of The Netherlands and the other one was on a Friday in Drachten, which is in the North of The Netherlands. I personally felt that the gig in Drachten was the best in my opinion. The sound on stage was good, and I think that we performed damn well. However Alex Bakker, our bass player, felt that he had the perfect monitor mix on stage in Maastricht. Anyway, it was great to do these gigs as support for Dead Head and Pestilence. For us it was a great opportunity to open for Pestilence and Dead Head. Behind the scenes we are trying to get gigs abroad, and it seems that we will do a gig in Belgium next year! And we are looking forward to play with Pestilence again in December. 
“Laguz” has been your last album after 9 years from “Rubicon”. Will there be a new album soon? (Paco, Spain)
- I don't expect a new album very soon unfortunately, but there may be a chance that some of our older albums will be re-released. Most of the older album have been out of print for a very long time and  need a proper re-release in my opinion. Some have never been released on vinyl but there are bootleg versions circulating. For a new album we definitely need some budget, and that is hard to get nowadays. Because of this, we most likely need to change the way how we will write & record a new album. We probably can't do that the way we used to do. But we'll see what happens...

How were the Ancient Rites shows in Roeselare and Rotterdam this year and in Athens in 2017? Share us please your memories from these concerts.
- Although the schedule was delayed, we did get a great response from the Greek audience, and it was about 18 years ago since we last played in Greece, so some fans were kinda hungry to see us again but there were also new fans. And of course it was nice to visit some ancient areas  in Athens the day before the gig. We don't always have time or get the chance to visit beautiful spots in the area where we play live.
In Rotterdam we played in a venue called “Baroeg” in The Netherlands where we have played a lot, and I mean A LOT. This particular gig on the 31st of May was great, even a bit beyond my own expectations. So I felt very satisfied after the gig in Rotterdam.
Roeselare was also very good! The audience was fucking great, and it's always a pleasure to play in our own territory. Roeselare has always been good to us, also in the past. The venue (De Verlichte Geest) reminded me a bit of the kind of venues we used to play in the 90's. 
Recently we did a live show on Malta, which was a nice experience. We also spent a little time with the whole band near a historical place on the island close to our hotel, which was extremely satisfying.
Are you going to do any European tours (you might include some dates for Valencia, Spain – I believe you never done any shows somewhere here)? (Paco, Spain)
- Due to obligations, mainly work-related, extensive tours are not possible for us anymore but we can do weekend shows. Promoters can contact me directly for that.

I’m a faithful follower of the underground scene since the early 90s. Currently, several bands inside it are the scene, but... How do you see now the underground scene in general? Any bands are there that you like specially? (Paco, Spain)
- The underground scene is still vibrant and in some ways it still works the same way as it did in the 90's but internet has changed a lot of it and metal has seen an increase of substyles too throughout the years. I still go to underground metal concerts but not as much as I used to do. It's not always possible for several reasons, but I like to go to more underground concerts than I do now. I certainly like to have a good time and maybe discover new bands at those concerts. Nowadays via Facebook I get a lot like requests from people who want me to like their band and sometimes, some of those underground bands are interesting which is great. I remember liking a thrash band from South America called Maze of Terror, Cruentator from Italy and more recently Ancestor, a thrash metal band from China. I still like bands from the old underground days like for instance Sathanas, and Hellwitch.
How it’s going with your cover band, Plusminus? Did you play any live shows lately? What is your current line-up?
- Plusminus is doing fine. The line-up hasn't changed since December 2006, so we have a pretty stable line-up (Arie Kampman – vocals, Erik Sprooten – guitar, Peter Jung – guitar, Alex Bakker – bass guitar, Chiel Lozeman - drums). Meanwhile, we are working on “new” cover tunes to add to our set list. We just keep going and it's always fun to play together. In February we did a special but bittersweet performance at the “Celebration of  Life” of a good friend of ours who passed away a few days before. He performed TNT from AC/DC a few times with us since he was diagnosed with a terrible disease. On a Saturday exactly between the Inquisitor shows with Pestilence, Plusminus played a nice show not that far away from our area. Next year we will play again close to Belgium.

It’s a little bit hard question, but what do you think about an idea to play some massive shows together with following bands: Ancient Rites/Inquisitor/Sammath? 
- I'm certainly in for it. I'm pretty sure that I can handle playing guitar for Ancient Rites and Inquisitor on one evening. For Wim it may be tough but I'm sure he can handle it but after two shows on the same evening, he might be totally wrecked but certainly satisfied, but I guess he can answer that question much better.
(my Ancient Rites and Inquisitor-treasures with dedications- GF) 

What is/are your favorite cartoon(s) from your old band-mate of Ancient Rites, Gunther’s work?
- I can't name a particular cartoon from Gunther which might be my favorite but I always enjoy his cartoons every Friday on Facebook. It's great that he does this 'cause he certainly has talent for this. I also love to see another comic by him of Van Roy & Sid.
Dank je wel/thank you very very much, Erik, please send some thoughts from the medieval inquisitor chamber to the readers.
- Georgius and also Anita & Paco  Thanks a lot for this interview. Your support is highly appreciated!

(Questions compiled by Anita vH, Paco and Georgius)

Important links: 

2018. október 2., kedd

Tobias Fongelius (Voodus)

Interview with Tobias Fongelius (Voodus)

Hail my old friend/brother Tobbe, it has been a while since our last conversation, hope you are doing fine! Thanks so much for sending me the pre-listening stuff of the debut full-length Voodus-album, called “Into the Wild”, congratulations, excellent work! Tell to the readers please, when and where it will be released officially? Share all the important information about the circumstances of the recording process, lyrical-conception, guest-songwriters and cover-art.
- Hail! It´s great to hear from you again! Hope that everything works out fine with you.
Thank you very mutch! We are extremely proud of the album. It ended up being exactly as good as we wanted it to be! The album will be released by Shadow Records November 26. It will come in all formats! Double LP, CD,Tape and Digital!
The recording session was very intence. We had only 10 days to “make it happen”. And Ingo, our drummer, did get sick or something so we had to call for a stand in. Jocke Wallgren from Amon Amarth was just back from his world tour and he had a lot of time off, so he came down to the studio. He listened to the songs for about 5-6 hours. Then, like the fucking machine he is, he just went in to the recording room an fucking nailed the whole album! I think it took him about 2 days to record everything, and he had never heard the songs before! I am still stunned by his professionalism! The result of this drum-mess in the beginning of the recording did catch up on us in the end of the recording. Me and Erik had only 5 days to record all our guitars! And if you have in mind that every single guitar track must be recorded with 4 ( 2+2 ) guitars + a lead + solo! Man! Thats very tight with time! We worked like 12-13 hours everyday. We didnt have any time to do song or bass in Necromorbus because of this. So the bass is recorded in Armageddon Studio (Anders Backelin from Lord Belials studio). And the vocals in Studio Fabriken in Gothenburg.
Just like you mention we have two guestwriters on the album! A friend and magical inspiration of mine “Idlu Lili Regulus” did write the lyrics to “Communion amid the graves” and the fantastic Johannes Kvarnbrink (ex-Ofermod, Mortuus, Head of the Demon etc) did write the lyrics to our longest opus this far! The Terrain of Moloch, the last track of the album.

Let’s talk a little bit about Voodus: “Serpent Seducer Saviour” EP, which has been released through Swedish Shadow Records (distributed & marketed by Regain Records) in Summer, 2017. Enlighten us about the lyrics and songwriting processes. 
- I guess that the lyrics speaks for themselves.. But we can speak a bit about the songwriting process! It´s quite easy for me and Erik to write together nowdays. We know each other so so well after all this years! I have a riff, Erik has a riff and then it´s just to go with the flow! I use to do the fundamental melodies, bridges and paths in our songs. And Erik lay his magic upon all this riffs, and then we have Voodus! It´s not always like this thou. Erik has for example written every single riff in the song The Golden, except for one passage, on our new album!

How was your Scandinavian tour with legendary Mayhem last year? Hope, we can see some live Voodus-video very soon from these hellish performances.
- It was a fucking blast! I mean wake up on the hotell and knew that tonight we will standing on the stage with fucking MAYHEM!!!!!! And tomorrow! And the day after that! Haha! All my respect to Mayhem. They are the real deal, I promise you. They give 666% every fucking night! It´s very inspiring to see and to be a part of! We did get along really good with the whole band, so we hold our thumbs for more rituals together!

I have listened to your debut material “NightQueen” EP under Voodus name a lot of times (my personal favourite tracks are “Mors Ianua Vitae” and “The Burning Light of Daath”). How were the reactions from the black metal fans after this release?
- Mutch better if you compare the reactions from our Jormundgand-era! We felt in a early phase that we were on the right track with this recreation of the band! 

There’s a little change in the Voodus line-up. Desekrator debuted on bass at the Belsepub gig along with Grá the 1/6 in Gothenburg. How was this live-performance?
- Yeah! That was a great show!!! And Grá is a great band! As you said Desekrator did his first live performance with us that evening. He is a powerful individual who fits perfect in our band. We have done one more change in the line-up lately! We have a new drummer. Marcus Fors (ex-Vornth, Death Reich, XUL, Vulcanic etc etc) has now joined us instead of Ingo. He is a great drummer and contribute with a great deal of fierce fire and aggression to the bands energy!

Are you playing at your live-shows a few Jormundgand-tracks or just Voodus-songs?
- Just Voodus. Jormundgand is dead to us.

What is the situation with covering other, legendary bands? Do you plan to play live some covers or record them? I’m really curious, how it would sound a Dissection-cover for example by Voodus.
- We do never play covers, and we will probably never do. But yes, I can see what you mean! Dissection is absolutely a band that would have been great to pay our tribute to. But they have already done the songs 100% to the max, so the only thing you can do by trying to cover Dissection, is to disgrace yourself. I have never heard a good cover on Dissection this far at least.

Which bands/albums are you listening to currently? Could you maybe recommend some interesting bands from Sweden?
- Hmm… I do not listen to so mutch Swedish bands now days. I think that the German and the Greek scene is more interesting with bands like Ascension, The Ruins Of Beverast, Katharsis, Acrimonious, Thy Darkened Shade etc etc. 
But you asked for Swedish bands! So i have to say Valkyrja, they are coming out with a new album very soon and i have heard a little bit from this beast to be unleashed! And man! That album will kick some serious fucking ass! Then we have the absolute amazing Funeral Mist and the new “Hekatomb” album! Mortuus is another band that I found very inspiring. Mephorash is recording a new album as well. I think it will be a fucking killer! And of course Voodus!

After the official release of Voodus: “Into the Wild” will you plan to play in Europe? It would be awesome to meet and see you live.
- Yes! We have the hooks out for a lot of festivals and promoters around Europe. We just have to wait and see I guess!

What landscapes, museums and places do you recommend to visit in Sweden?
- Västkusten (the westcoast) or the far north if you want to visit the nature. The westcoast of Sweden is loaded with pure magic! You can almost feel the breath of the old when you standing on a windy shore at this wild landscape! With lots of runes and petroglyphs carved in the rocks around the area, it contribute to this whole “sacred” feeling. If you want to visit museums then you have a great deal to choose between! But I guess that Stockholm is the city to visit if you want to learn more about our national history and our nations more palmy days!

Tack så mycket/Thanks a lot, brother, it was great feeling to talk you again. Hail and Total Support from us to Voodus!  In the end send some thoughts from the “Communion Amid the Graves”…
- It is a monumental song, with a wide spectre. It´s one of the most intense tracks on the album. The lyrical theme is based on an ancient ritual of Hekate. And the song should be played with respect and devotion to HER in your mind!

Io Io Hekate!
Io Io Hekate!
Io Io Hekate!

Important links:

2018. augusztus 17., péntek

CON (Pontus and Steven)

Interview with Pontus Norman and Steven  
"The First and Final Era of CON" 
(Questions compiled by Cornelius of Encomium 'zine and 
Georgius of Archangel's Lantern) 

Hail Pontus and Steven! First of all, tell the readers of Archangel’s Lantern, when and how this occult alliance within CON began?
Pontus: Steven got in touch with me with a question a couple a years ago, and over time we developed a trust and friendship, especially during these last couple of months. The decision to include Steven as a member of CON felt given. It will be an amazing collaboration between the both of us as we write new songs together with our different influences. 

“In Signo Draconis” EP is coming soon in tape format through Clandestine Faith. Pontus, how many tracks will there be? (I congratulate you for the brilliant songs, such as “Rest in the Arms of the Dragon” and “Naamah”, which are already available to listen to). Any plans to release the EP on CD/vinyl in the near future? 
- The tape will include the same three tracks as the EP that will be released on CD this coming autumn. I am incredibly thankful for your response to the two songs so far. 

I see most of the EP songs were ready for a long while, as we could hear the pre-production versions of “Naamah”, “Rest in the Arms of the Dragon” and “Leviathan’s Grave” years before. Why did it take so long to finally materialize your ideas? 
Pontus:  It has been an incredibly long journey with these songs. I wanted them to be perfect in every detail and I feel that they have gotten exactly to where I could have only dreamt about before. However, I confess that it has taken much more time than it normally would have due to having almost done all of it myself. Now though everything’s done, and that's what counts really. 

Steven, please introduce us your occult record label, Clandestine Faith, from the beginning to nowadays. Which are the releases that you are proud of the most?
- The tale of Clandestine Faith is an entangling struggle which is: unchaining the unperturbed metaphysical mind. My small organization came to be after I had become a bit more developed in what I viewed occult music to be through my own perspective. Not much has changed since the beginning, though when I started, I was initially more prone to paying attention to the constant emails of artists’ attempts to release music through me. Today we work from within to release material. I am open certainly to other artists presenting their work to me, though I have become much more selective as I described in a previous interview concerning its qualifications. All releases in Clandestine Faith serve as a pinnacle of the mind and direction of the label. Personally, I view [the releases] absolutely all as equal; though I would say truly that a release I highly value is Samhara's "Deathkult Sutra". It was my first release from the label. It opened the doors to allowing the outside world to dwell in the web of what this all stands for. It represents "The Opening of the Gates". 

What should we know about the upcoming CON material under the new line-up? Please enlighten us more details regarding the current band-members.
- Pontus: Steven Santos is the new member of CON. We will write new songs together and he will deliver everything from his heart as I. This is big because back then I would write the songs myself. I have written a new song already for the coming full-length album with a sound that looks back to the demo days, but with new elements involved. We operate without limits, so all instruments that feel right will be included; as may be the case with synths and software tools. I'm so glad to have Steven joining the band. We will work perfectly with each other.

Are you involved in any other musical projects? (I know of Duskbearer and Kāla so far.)
- Steven: Yes... Kāla (pronounced "Kaahl") is a project I created to honor the philosophy and Vedic dissolution in ancient Sanatana Dharma. Through it I present how fragments of that body contribute to the oneness which is Truth, under my interpretation of such a large work–humbly to spew of course. Both Sridash (a devoted Aghori) and I decided to gather up our years of experience within the Vedas as an act of devotional service to this particular knowledge. 
Concerning Duskbearer: it has remained dormant for many years, though it is truly my heart and most delicate project. Pontus has decided to join me and my other guitarist J.N. in the completion of this material; the release of which remains to be seen. Due to label work and being involved in other projects, it has taken quite a long time. When the time is right for it... it will emerge. 

Steven, when did you begin your journey as a musician? Do you play any other instruments, and what other musicians have served as an inspiration on your path? 
- I began with the guitar as my primary instrument at the age of 14. By that age I realized I wished to be involved in the extreme metal scene through my own personal creations, which would project the mysterious forces I perceived and felt even at that age. Being shocked by the speed and creativity of Randy Rhoads is something I could reminisce about from those early days. I believe that in my family we carry the “Musician's Gene” … Perhaps this is why I took the road of a composer in the record label I have created. My family is principally of the Pentecostal Christian and Jehovah’s Witness denominations; all of whom developed their musicianship in one way or another. Obviously, what I do differs greatly from the Judeo-Christian worldview; and you could imagine some of the situations I have faced throughout my youth as a result.
In his "Book of Pleasure", Spare states something I could relate to on this matter: "Oh, folly of the world, deny thy faith, renounce this Bloody-Sceptered God and confess. The completion of folly is the beginning of childhood, but of knowledge there is no end. It was the straying that found the path direct."

What are your personal thoughts about the path Black Metal music has taken today? 
Steven: All things must reach their peak then come to an end, and black metal music is reaching its final steps on its path. I personally have little interest in any new band recently emerging from the scene. This is not to say they are not worth listening to, but most likely you can interpret it as such! I personally concentrate on my personal work and that of the network that surrounds me and my label. One of the worst things musicians can do is concentrate highly on other artists within the same scene. Slowly that deteriorates originality due to the leaks of influence that creep in. It is more valuable for one's music to be inspired by a painting, or even more potently, a feeling within, rather than by another musician. Being yourself is something highly exercised in CON, and we have high respect to those few who put gimmicks aside and step up to do this. When asked more directly... "Has Black Metal music progressed in organic artistic expression?"– and I am certainly not pretentiously placing myself upon that hierarchy – for today's artists to have to reflect upon their own level of originality within their own creations must be like bitter wine to swallow. Refer to the first sentence of this paragraph to understand this statement.

What are your most noted pieces of literature? 
Steven: It is difficult to come forward and name which books proceed others in value when speaking of occult, religious, metaphysical and philosophical literature, etc.; which should always be the reading focus of anyone interested in some sort of "Final Truth” as I am. I spent my entire youth dwelling in the writings of contemporary occult Icons such as Crowley, Spare, Grant, and so on. Such works opened many paths and ways of thinking in my life, though they all left me with an even greater spiritual hunger and a void of insufficiency. Could a Man believe truly that the secrets of nature and of the universe are beheld solely in one book? To answer this shortly: One should not limit his intake of knowledge and should be open to observing all from above. True pollution of the mind begins when one closes the door to any other form of information that one does not already have. (One may later begin to know what to keep or discard as time proceeds.) Sanatana Dharma, for example, contains an immeasurable amount of information as a whole, such that it would take a lifetime to understand. They are a massive source from to which obtain keys to other ways of thinking–among many paths, through them I conjured Kāla, which I mentioned above. 

Steven, you were born in the United States, but with Puerto Rican roots. Would you be so kind to partake some thoughts about your beautiful Island? What could you say about its mythological Gods, traditions and culture in general?
- Though much of our Carib/Pre-Columbian history has been shattered through colonization, westernization and the plagues that are the Judeo-Christian and Catholic supremacists, I still consider myself very close to the spirits of my ancestors. I strongly incline myself not only towards our recent Taíno/Carib roots, but to their predecessors also; the inhabitants of the Amazon basin, by which research ties our people's origins long before the Spanish expeditions of today's Insular Spanish speaking culture. Most of us in the world quite adore our own roots, thus I have a strong fascination with the multiple tribes of the Amazon and their common warrior spirit. I admire such traditions of Shamanic divination through psychoactive entheogens – which I am highly connected to – as well as the more grotesque Jivaro celebrations, like the beheading of opposing tribes to create Tsansas (Shrunken Heads) as both for war trophies and for the usage of spells of magic. A man with open eyes will find disgust for the modern world over time the deeper he delves into his cultural past. 

Archangel’s Lantern is eternally dedicated to the memory of Jon Andreas Nödtveidt. Share some of your thoughts about Jon, please. Which are your favorite tracks and albums from his musical heritage? (And not only from Dissection.)
Steven: Throughout my time involved in music, I have had the pleasure of being surrounded by many individuals who have gotten to experience him in person. They have told me many stories about his humble yet powerful presence. It is no doubt he is one of the legends of this artform due to his level of devotion towards what was behind the music; musical talent and also his realistic attitude which was far from the false gimmicks artists pretend to uphold today. “Soulreaper” and “Nights Blood” must have been the tracks that first caught my ears at an earlier age. Those compositions contain a somber undertone which severely magnify the lyrical content within. “The Somberlain”, “Storm of The Light's Bane” were albums I overplayed and basically grew up with during my youth. It would be exaggerated to say they did not serve as great inspiration for my melodic and somber style which is to contribute to the future of CON. From my point of view, some of the most interesting work are those 80's "Thunder" recordings from his childhood. It shows how musically developed he was at that age, and of course served as a preview of all that was to come. 

Thank you very much for the interesting interview, Pontus and Steven. At the end, please radiate some occult thoughts on behalf of CON.
- Here begins true birth and death of CON. All that shall be left behind at the end will be nothing but rubble. All actions, words and thoughts therein serve the purpose reflected unto this creed: To elevate unto the throne of mind.

Important links: 

Clandestine Faith website: http://www.clandestinefaith.com/

2018. augusztus 14., kedd

Cornelius (Castrum, Encomium)

Interview with Cornelius (Castrum, Encomium-zine, ex-Chamos, ex-Vulvulator)
done by Sorin Necrotrooper, 13.VIII.2018 
The last interview ever 
for Sadistik Witchfukk webzine (2012-2018)

Hello, Cornelius! As this is your first interview for Sadistik Witchfukk, introduce yourself to the readers of the zine!
- Hail to all the dedicated readers of Sadistik Witchfukk and thank you, Sorin, for your interest. Since 1994 I play guitar for the Transcarpathian Death Metal horde Castrum, since 1998 I am the editor of Encomium ‘zine, organized a hell of a bunch of gigs for the “underground” masses in Uzhgorod.

How did you got into metal? Can you describe your "rock/metal" journey until you formed Castrum? And if you can describe the metal scene at that time in your country?
- I was eleven when I got my first cassettes with bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Krokus, Magnum and stuff like that. I’ve been trading tapes and records with my school-mates at that time and shortly after I discovered the genres of Thrash & Death Metal, such bands as Destruction, Kreator, Sodom, Testament, Slayer, Exodus, Sadus, Death, Obituary, Deicide and Morbid Angel just to name a few. But the real impel to form my own band was caused by the Swedish Death Metal movement around 1991-1992. We’ve massively dived in with my friends into the first releases by Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Unleashed, etc. It was magical back then. The metal scene was pretty variegated at that time as being a deathrasher I hung out with fans of glam rock, heavy metal or other less extreme subgenres of rock & metal, but it was just amazing. If there was a gig with any kind of local rock/metal act, not mentioning the possibility to go and watch the show of some band from abroad, most probably everybody was there, huge crowd and family-like atmospheres. It was also a good reason to meet other metal fans (from other regions) and do some trades of tapes, posters, magazines, etc.

 In 1994 Castrum came into being. Can you summarize your biography so far?
- Yeah, sure. Castrum was founded in 1994. The early days marked three demo releases on the band’s account: “Burial of the Affection”, “Flames by Impiety” & “Pleasure in the Deeds of Horror”, all of them came out in 1996. In 1999 the band signed a deal with Ukrainian underground label Metal Force Records. The first result of this alliance was an MC release of the above mentioned demos unleashed under the banner of “The Leading Spirit of Medieval Tortures”, which was followed by the band’s debut album “Hatenourisher” in the fall of 2000. Shortly after this tape release the band signed a deal with Canadian Bloodbucket Productions. Thus three full-length CDs were successfully spread into the underground masses, namely “Hatenourisher” in 2001, “Mysterious Yet Unwearied” in 2002 and “Phenomenonsense” in 2006. After a few member changes the line-up of Castrum finally became stable in 2012. It consists of the relentless forces of Cornelius (vocals/guitar), Victor (bass) & Eugene (drums). To celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary a compilation CD titled as “MediEvaluation” was released in 2014 by the band’s long-time label Bloodbucket Productions! The band’s fourth full-length album is still in process. It is going to be the fiercest and most sophisticated one! So watch out!!!

You also did a demo under the name Chamos, with the same line-up as Castrum, back in 1997, called "Hellish Reveries". Do you see it as a separate release from Castrum? 
Will it ever be re-released?
- It was a separate release by all means. I was pretty productive back then and I’ve got some riffs that I didn’t imagine in the repertory of Castrum, so we started this side-project. We did that 2-song demo in 1997 and that’s it. Will it be ever released officially I can’t say it as of yet, but never say never, right? So time shall tell us… 

Back to Castrum. I know that you recorded a follow-up to "Phenomenonsense", but it never saw the light of the day. Can you enlighten us about it and if any progress in this direction has been done lately? Will it include the Possessed cover ("Death Metal"-ed)?
- Yes, all the instruments have been recorded quite a while for our 4th studio album, we’ve recorded 11 songs in total, I even did some raw pre-production mixes, but unfortunately I couldn’t proceed with the recordings of the vocals parts thence. Somehow I always felt not ready to do it, my bad, I know. The Possessed cover was something exceptional, we did it pretty fast, even if I am not happy with how my vocals turned out there, but I really wanted to make it happen. That song is available exclusively on the “Seven Burning Churches” a tribute to Possessed CD. 

As far as I remember, Castrum was about to play in Bucharest, Romania, in 2011, as an opening-act for the Impaled Nazarene concert. However, the ImpNaz tour was cancelled and Castrum didn't got to play. How were you chosen to be one of those opening bands and why you did not got to play or to postpone it? Have you received any other offers to play here?
- Right, that gig was announced exactly for 1st of February, 2010. We’ve been on tour with our Polish friends from Underdark and I clearly remember that we did our first show in Lviv and we were on our way to Debrecen (Hungary) when I received an sms from the promoter that Impaled Nazarene had to cancel their appearance, so the whole event was just cancelled immediately. Due to Coro of Axa Valaha Productions we’ve got the opportunity, but it didn’t happen in the end. I knew Coro for a long time, we’ve been in contact from time to time, so I suppose it just felt right to bring us once there, he is a hard worker and true supporter of the underground movement. We’ve got other invites as well, but somehow I always had to refuse them, sometimes because of bad timing and other times just because of my health issues.

According to Encyclopaedia Metallum, you also played guitar in Vulvulator and drums in ЙYЙ. Can you tell us about these collaborations?
- Yes, that’s right. I was a member of Vulvulator from 2006 to 2008. Played all the guitars & bass parts for the debut full-length “Obscenario” (2007) and for the “IV Way Split” (2008). Those were funny times, but had to quit, because the evolving musical path wasn’t mine any more. ЙYЙ was a band formed by local guys in 2016, they had 2 songs written, but they didn’t have a drummer at the time. I’ve been always fond of playing drums, so I offered them to try out myself in that position. In a short period of time we’ve completed around dozen songs and the same year the band had its only live show with me. Again, had to quit, due to the same old story, the music they wanted to play further wasn’t my cup of tea. Now they’re functioning as a studio project.

Apart of your metal activities, I know that you released an ambient album called "The Mindscape Seeker" under the name Kornel Kontros. Can you enlighten us about it? How was the feedback so far?
- You are very-well informed. I have a piano at home since ever, so I was always sitting and trying out myself creating different harmonies, moods, melodies and stuff like that. The time has come to record all those little pieces in 2015 when I finally borrowed a synthesizer for that purpose. The feedback I received was always positive and mostly from people close to me, and it is totally OK with me, as this release was meant personal. Its follow-up is in progress as well; it will be more medieval-like with the use of acoustic guitars in front. 

Do you plan to perform it live?
- Good question. I really have plans in my mind to make those pieces happen to played live too, but still searching for the right musicians.

 I can't help but realize that your instrumental material seems to be connected with the "Tears of Eternal Expiation" intro. Do you have any other tracks written in this style that will see the light of the day? Or, perhaps a follow-up to "The Mindscape Seeker"?
- Definitely good comparison. As you’ve already noticed I did quite a few instrumental tracks for the Castrum releases so far, but the ones which were selected for “The Mindscape Seeker” kind of didn’t fit with the new approach Castrum musically stands for, so I better published them under my name. The new tracks will be atmospheric- and ambient-like too, but with a touch of medievalism.

You also run the fanzine Encomium, which has become a webzine for some years. Can you tell us about it and if there will ever be any printed issues in the future? How was the reaction for the printed zine of the 4th issue?
- Encomium is one of the oldest English-written ‘zines out of the Ukraine. Totally dedicated to the extreme forms of underground music. The first 3 issues (1/98, 2/99 & 3/2001) were pro-printed on A4 format pages. After 2001 it turned to a webzine, but in August of 2017 the 4th printed issue has finally seen the light of the day. The reactions to it were just positive so far. You can expect the fifth printed issue to be released soon, so watch out! 

I know you organized some concerts in your hometown Uzhgorod/Ungvár such as Napalm Death (in 2009), the open-air festival UzhGoreRot, and also Total Cover Party, among others. Can you tell us how the Napalm Death concert actually happened? Will there be any upcoming editions of those festivals? Or any upcoming concerts in general?
- The Napalm Death show happened due to Obscure Promotion from the Czech Republic. They’ve contacted me regarding a possible show in Uzhgorod and I’ve agreed right away to make it happen for our small city! Until last year I was managing to organize all the mentioned events and series of the Death Metal Assault concerts, but as my health got worse I decided to stop all my activities until I fix it. So no festival or concert plans at all actually. 

One cannot overlook the situation in Eastern Ukraine. How did that affect the metal activity in your region?
- Our region is still quite poor, even if we are the closest of the cities to the European Union and the prices are much like in the EU, the wages over here just horrible, hard to make for living. Most of the citizens just surviving or go abroad to work and get better conditions for living there. It limits the possibilities for any normal behaved metal activities as well, just in terms of organizing a show, you mostly bump into minuses rather than pluses. So you can’t make it forever. The same goes for the local bands, they simply can’t survive and fade out quickly. 

  Castrum's current line-up. L-R: Cornelius(guitar/vocals), Eugene(drums), Viktor(bass). 2014

You also mixed/produced several albums of some local bands and Domhring's "Vicar of Satan" (Hungarian black metal band fronted by our mutual friend Georgius - ed). Can you tell us about this activity? Are you still doing it? If so, any releases we shall hear for ourselves?
- Oh, I did plenty of such work in the past. Mainly for local bands, as you noticed. Besides the Domhring material I also mixed demos & albums for Vulvulator, Rise of Cadia, The Symbioz, GAZ-66 Intrusion, etc. Now I stopped doing this, but still fond of the whole procedure. So sometime maybe I will return to this hobby again.

You also re-designed Archangel's Lantern logo (our mutual friend Georgius' webzine). Have you done any art that was used by other bands or that is simply available somewhere else?
- I was mostly doing poster designs in the past for my events and for others too. I always liked the graphical way of manipulation, learned a few tricks, but nothing special. I designed the old Castrum logo, by the way.

What are your hobbies?
- We already touched most of them above. My hobbies connected with music, but when not, I like to swim, play football or table tennis, walk the nature.

What albums do you deem as influential (those who changed your vision towards metal and music in general)?
- Oh, there’s really plenty of them. But if focus to a few, then I would definitely mention albums with Destruction, Death, Dissection, Hypocrisy, Sodom, Kreator, Morbid Angel, Dismember, Vader, Grave, Kataklysm, that list is just endless, ha-ha… Too many good and influential albums to mention, you know.

And about your local cuisine: what foods and drinks can you recommend us?
- Well, the Transcarpathian cuisine is strongly influenced by the Hungarian, which I adore very much. I really like “gulyásleves”, which is a Hungarian soup, made of beef, vegetables, ground paprika and other spices. Also “lecsó”, it is also a Hungarian thick vegetable stew. But my top favorite is “Bécsi szelet” that is “Wiener schnitzel” as in Austrian, is a type of schnitzel made of a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet. As for the drinks, even if I do not drink alcohol at all, I would definitely recommend some sorts of local wine and our local specialty, which is cognac. 

Our interview is drawing to an end. Please tell us your future plans, and some words for the readers!
- Well, thank you so much Sorin for this in-depth interview and opportunity to be included at the webzine of Sadistik Witchfukk. Really great combination of questions, liked to answer them from the start till the end. Plan number one is to get fixed my health asap. Then to finally record my vocal parts for the 4th album of Castrum. Afterwards, I will be definitely interested to have some journeys in the form of tours. I hope the readers enjoyed our conversation and found out something to check out or simply listen to. Keep supporting your local scene, listen to the music you love, buy records, visit shows and have fun! 

                                          Castrum live in Uzhgorod/Ungvár, anno 2016

Important links: 

Castrum's official website: http://www.castrum.com.ua/ 

Bandcamp: https://castrum.bandcamp.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/castrum 

Myspace: https://myspace.com/castrum 

ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/castrum 

VKontakte: https://vk.com/castrum 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/castrumofficial 

Encomium-website: http://castrum.com.ua/encomium/ 

Encomium (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/encomium.zine

DMA (Death Metal Assault): https://www.facebook.com/deathmetalassault/

UzhGoreRot Festival: https://www.facebook.com/uzhgorerot/ 

Original source of this interview:  


Eric Daniels

English version of the Soulburn interview, 
done back in  09.II.2017. 
Interview with Eric Daniels, committed by Alister of Atmosfear. 
Originally published in Atmosfear magazine in Russian language, 2017.

Hail to all members of great Soulburn! So Eric, congratulations on completing work on a new album! What is your general impression of this record?
- Thank you very much! Not only mine but all of us we like the new album very much, we worked about one year to complete this one, the result is very satisfied for us. To us it’s the perfect continue album after “The Suffocating Darkness” album.

"Earthless Pagan Spirit" is quite intriguing title. What meaning you put into this title?
- Earthless: Beyond this world
Pagan: Beyond god
Spirit: At one with the cosmic foreverness
This meaning connected to our music gives the right atmosphere we wanted to spread around.

The release of your previous album "The Suffocating Darkness" was scheduled for November 17, the new album release is expected on November 18 - it's just a coincidence or some kind of cyclicality in the bands history? ))
- Sharp notice you have. Yes it was planned this way and also Century Media Records had the release in mind to do this. It’s the right season of the year to release an album, just before winter time! Atmosphere and surroundings.

What should we expect on "Earthless Pagan Spirit", and what is its basic concept?
- Our goal was to make this album more dark and evil, the style we like. Also making the songs bit longer for the right feel. This album has more doom covered, and the structure of the songs is like the whole concept. Every song is connected towards each other so the whole album breaths that kind of dark atmosphere we had in mind. We also believe that with this album we give a true face towards what Soulburn stands for. Dark, black, doom, death.

In general, the album title and its cover evoke associations more with Black metal than Death metal. To tell the truth, on the previous album apart an old school Death metal can be heard the elements of Black metal in terms of sound, some riffs and vocal. Can we say that on the new album you decide to pay more attention to this part of your music?
- Yes as I mentioned in the question before, we wanted to show the real face of Soulburn. Back in 1996 when I had the idea to form Soulburn, what you hear on this album was the whole idea for this band. Dark, Black, Doom, Death. All those ingredients you will find in this one, so we are very happy with the final result. This new album breaths more black indeed, but that’s what we felt to do, and make the songs this way.

Why this time you decide not to seek the help of Dan Swanö for mixing? Did you want to make brand Netherlandish sound without Swedish flavor?
- It still has Swedish flavor. We decided to work with Devo (Marduk) at his Endarker studio in Norrköping Sweden. Bob and I went there for a weekend when Devo was mixing our album. When we arrived at his studio he already had the mix done, it sounded awesome, so, we are very happy with the result. We like his work very much as he did with the Marduk albums. For us he is the perfect engineer for our music. He also mastered the album.

Are you satisfied with the work with Century Media Records? Personally, I think that for a band like Soulburn it’s a great label, given its catalog (my favorite label, by the way). I believe that this label has kept its concept and connection with the roots, that’s why even in today’s label catalog we continue to feel the spirit of those legendary albums that have been released previously, since the 90's. Is not it?
- Century Media Records we are very satisfied with. Bob and I we know them for a along time since 1990 at the beginning of Asphyx. We have a very good relationship and they do a great job for us. It’s really important to have a good back up from the record company. Yes they have an old school opinion about bands from that era, bands which all began with.

A personal question about your bass/singer Twan van Geel. He has played and still plays in many bands besides Soulburn: Legion Of The Damned (special respect!), Bunkur, Flesh Made Sin, Verbum Verus. And he plays on the bass guitar, drums, guitar and vocal in all of these bands. How he manages to combine all this? Is he a regular member in all these bands, or just a session member in some of them?
- It’s all about the good organization and appointments. He can manage and does that very well. We had an agreement from the start since he has commitments with LOTD. We have a professional approach so we manage this. In Soulburn and LOTD he is a steady member, full time member.

Now let’s turn to mega cult band Asphyx. To begin, I ask you an uncomfortable question. Now you play together with Bob Bagchus in Soulburn.  That is, it is not just 2/3 of Asphyx, but just you two have invented the classic Asphyx sound! I think this situation is a little strange when you exist along with Asphyx with the only original member in line-up... Or maybe Asphyx now is a “branch” of Soulburn, its subsidiary? And you have plans to create in the future “Death metal concern” of current and former members of your bands? ))
- Well, things went how they went. Asphyx and Soulburn are separate full bands, no “branch” or other strange names for it. We play different kind of music, each of them follow their own path. We are friends along, and we bump towards each other on festivals ect. No plans, we are both busy with our own bands. 

By the way, how often you contact with Asphyx now? How do you like their new album "Incoming Death"?
- I sometimes grab a beer at Martin’s place, we both live in the same town Oldenzaal here in The Netherlands. We like to listen to the old heavy metal 80s era, and drink some nice beers and talk about everything. Yes I listen to tracks from “Incoming Death”. Well played, my respects, and I like what they are doing.

Do you have plans for join performance Asphyx/Soulburn?
- No plans, but in music-land, everything is possible.

Tell us about your split album “Imperial Anthems No. 17” with Desaster. Whose initiative was to release it and what is your opinion of this band?
- We had the idea to do a split 7”. Cyclone Empire did a great job, and CMR also liked the idea. Desaster is cool, stick to their roots and I like the pure old school attitude. That’s why we liked it to join on the 7”. “Monuments of God” we also did another version of this song on our new album as bonus-track, so it’s not their exact copy you listen too. We like the idea to have something special into the 7”.

Tell me, when did you decide to become a professional musician? Was there any album or a band that have influenced your decision to become a musician?
- Yes back in the 80s when Venom’s Welcome to Hell was released, I knew that I wanted to play the guitar aggressive like Mantas did. This band and his playing was my biggest inspiration. I play guitar from my 14th year so almost 36 years I play guitar now, and I still like it very much to do.

Do you have a wish to come and play gig in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine?
- Yes of course we want to play in those countries. If the conditions are good, we come over and play. It would be awesome to do.

Maybe you want to add something to the above, or some greetings to your fans?
- Thank you very much for this interview and towards our fans reading your magazine we say, when we come over and play, we give you the Soulburn you expect and want. YOU Rule!!!

Official Soulburn facebook page: 

a conversation with Eric Daniels 
(Grand Supreme Blood Court, Soulburn, ex-Asphyx) 
on Sadistikk Witchfukk webzine (7th of May, 2013):
(Questions compiled by 
Sorin Necrotrooper and Georgius)

Hail Eric, Grand Judge Daniels! How are you now? We 've checked out a video about Grand Supreme Blood Court-show at Turock, Essen. How was your concert?
- Hi Georg and Sorin, I am doing fine, thank you! The concert at Turock was awesome, we had a great time overthere, and we also give our gratitude and thanks for the good time towards our fans visiting there.

Grand Supreme Blood Court's debut album, "Bow Down Before The Blood Court", is one of my favourite death/doom releases of the last year. What is your most-liked track from your debut? Did you started to write some new riffs for the new material?
- First, thank you very much for you like our debut-album, that’s nice to hear. My personal track I like most is “Circus Of Mass Torment”, the fact was this track was composed as last and due to the fact the CD was becoming too short without this song makes it special also, the lyrics are killer-one, and the structure of the song is like continue and continue, the drive of the song is just great. Of course the other tracks are good as well, but this one I like most. Oh yes, ideas are always flowing around, Alwin and me already have some good material as riffs on the shell, we definitely gonna sort them out together and make a new song. But it’s on an easy going base, first we have to support the album as much we can.

Do You have any plans to make a videoclip for one of G.S.B.C.-tracks?
- It sure crossed our minds to do a videoclip. We like to do a killer live-one. However still the ideas are there, maybe after the release for the second album, not sure about that, but we still like to do one for sure.

You put your killer guitar-riffs on a French death metal band called Affliction Gate's EP, "Shattered Ante Mortem Illusions", last year. Share with us, please, some info about this collaboration!
- Yes that’s true. I was asked by Grief if I would like to do a guitar-solo in one of their songs. I like their material very much, it has the pure soul for real doom/death metal, and that’s what I like and did. I heared it back later at the EP, and we both are very happy with the result. It’s not the way I gonna do often to appear as guest-musician, if the atmosphere gets me from the songs I have the urge to do it, but consider it as an one-time activity. I wish AG succes and good luck with their new EP. Just check it out people I would say.

Last year you also did a guitar solo to one of bands of Rogga Johansson, Megascavenger, on the track "To Revel With Vermin". Would you be so kind tell about it?
- Also correct, Rogga asked me a time ago if I would like to do a solo-part on one of his songs he made, and it was far before the recordings for the Blood Court, so I was thrilled to record it. I did the solo at home, and sended it to him, and he liked it very much. I heared it back later and it was damn cool.

Going back to the past you played death/doom for almost 25 years. Some other Netherlandese death metal bands such as Pestilence, God Dethroned, Gorefest to name a few, changed their style to something new. Would you like to try something new too?
- Well, I realy don’t care what those other bands did or do concerning there playing style, that’s their decision, bit for me and I can say also us, we just play the real doom/death metal how it was and is mentioned to be. I realy cant understand why they will do that, maybe they felt bored of what they were playing, I don’t know, or it was trendy to play death metal. If style will change, believe me, the true soul will be gone. But I don’t speak and judge about other bands, what we know, we just do what we think are best in. We are no super musicians, but people don’t have to try to learn us how the right music is played with heart and soul. There are so much possibilities within our music, be creative, no style to change, or try something new. Its like, bands don’t have to think they are original nowadays, all kinds of metal is invented, the circle is closed. The challenge is how to bring it on an pure way.

You are one of my favourite guitarists of Death metal and I'm always fascinated about your awesome sorrowful solos. From where do you get inspiration to create them?
- Thank you very much for the kind and nice words, that makes my day! Well, back years ago around 1989 when I joined ASPHYX we were reharsing for the 2 songs 7” Mutilating Process, at the rehearsal I just played some long notes inside the song, it wasn’t hearable, but when we listened back the tape of the rehearsal, Bob called me and said, hey Eric what did you do there on the song..it sounds amazing. I was realy flattered about his words. I cant play fast soloing, only by tremolo, I like to abuse that thing to the core, but normal fast soloing I hate to play, so I decided just to play the solo’s very slow and doomy, it went super and it feels great to do. It gives more atmosphere. I play those solos only with a digital delay pedal, nothing special. It wasn’t planned, it just felt to play the solos this way. It are the base-riffs behind the solos which give me inspiration. When the right doom-riff comes up, the doom soloing is a perfect match for it. Not technical skills for that but I can say with all the feeling I have inside my body I play em.

Were you in contact with bands from Eastern Europe? Can you recommend us such bands from this area?
- As you know I was off from the metal-scene a long time, almost 9 years, so I had to dig up in a short time now almost 3 years to hear good metal-bands again. Sorry, you have to fill me in here for the Eastern Europe-bands, cause its sometimes hard to find the right and good bands. I follow the stream of facebook and when I am curious about a youtube vid, I click it. I hardly listen to music from LP’s or CD’s, I use the internet a lot. That’s one of the progress matters since the last years. The digital period is nice to develop and follow. The band I realy like is: Coffins, the tank rolling sound, the voice, all the right and pure ingredients of death metal. We play with them on the Party San. Hope I can buy a shirt from em there, looking forward to that!!

Which are your all-time favourite albums?
- I give you my all-time favourite top 5:
Possessed - Seven Churches
Venom - Welcome to hell
Bathory - Hammerheart
Riot - Fire down under
Sacred Blade - Of The Sun + Moon

As we noticed you are into movies also. Which ones are all-time faves and what movies do you wait this year?
- Owhh I have so many movies I like, this would be a very long list, but I give you also my top 5 favourite movies:
Evil Dead (original)
The Exorcist
The Shining (original)
Halloween part 1 and 2
Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 1
I wait for Evil Dead the remake and the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Also the new Die Hard I like to watch too. All this movies I haven’t seen yet, but for those movies I take time to watch them.

Can you recommend us some kind of Dutch tobaccoes and coffee?
- Well, I can only give you recommends about the things I like myself, it’s a personal taste, I like “van nelle export” tobacco, handrolling, I am not a cigaret-freak, I don’t like the filters on cigarets, and I like douwe egberts coffee fresh made, however I use my senseo coffee maker most of the time, in the morning strong tasting pads, to wake up better.

What recommendations do you have from Dutch cuisine?
- Stew, kale with sausage, dutch winterfood I like most, however I am not an kitchen-prince, I like Italian food the most, pasta, pizza, ect, but since my heart-attack 2 years ago I managed to live more healthy, it’s something to face. I like lots of different food, not much I don’t like to say. A nice dinner, tasty, I can enjoy that very much.

Dank u wel, Eric, your message to the readers of Sadistik Witchfukk webzine?
- Graag gedaan and good-luck with your webzine!! Your Dutch is great! To the GSBC readers of Sadistik Witchfukk i say, thanks for your support to the Blood Court..you RULE !!, and towards the GSBC-unknown readers I say…check the album out, we sentences you to…pure brutal Death Metal !! We hope to visit you all soon ! in the meantime..check our facebook-site :