Much of today’s metal bands are a dying stagnant breed. We do still have a handful of new and old faces, that offer a refreshing change to the bunch. But it is rarely happening by new and upcoming faces. Which brings me to the music of Dead Congregation, a death metal band from Greece, that plays a charismatic mixture of death metal. I was privileged to have the chance to talk with them about several interesting topics. I hope you all enjoy.
Let me first off with saying how much of an honor and privilege to finally get into a dialogue with the band. Your music takes a chaotic blend of the earliest roots of death metal, and have delivered a new refreshing sound, to the stagnant death metal flock that has been a forbearance, in regards to the new flock of “death metal bands is a lot of cases a decline of the roots, of what makes death metal such a pivotal piece to a stagnant genre. What lead you to go with against the grain, and produce something that is so overtly driven to technicality in favor of a slew of releases that hold no boundaries in terms of the new death metal bands. A chaotic blend with rhythmic overtures which lead to an agonizing ministry of sound.
Thank you very much for the kind words. We never tried to go against the grain, we always write and play the music that feels natural to us, the band is a medium to channel our creativity and serves as a cathartic vessel with which we outflow our spiritual and artistic restlessness. There is not much thought behind our compositions, only primal instinct and emotion.
I want to slowly get away the obligatory questions and dive deeper into what makes you such a pivotal piece in the underground.
It’s not up to us to say if we’re a pivotal band in the underground so we can’t say what makes us that either. We don’t really feel like an underground band anyway, maybe a band that refuses to conform to the marketing side of things and sign to a big label but our music has passed the boundaries of the underground circles.
The geographical location Greece, has a lot of mythology surrounding your culture, and how much of that influences your impacts your music and lyrical approach.?
It doesn’t really. Although we all have huge admiration of our country’s history it doesn’t affect the way we write for Dead Congregation.
Your standard of lyrical content comes from a almost nihilistic stance as far the establishment of organized religion. How much does the church deter you away from social norms of religion?
Our lyrics are mainly about the ongoing decline of organized religion, however we prefer to write them rather abstractly so they can be loosely interpreted, as we don’t wish to preach our personal beliefs to anyone. We just want to create discomforting images/feelings to the listener by combining sardonic lyrics with the suffocating atmosphere of our music.
I want to also admit that my actual first introduction to your music was Promulgation of Fall*, which lead to me seek out your earliest releases, namely Graves of the Archangels, which still holds me in a contempt to your newest release, which is very unique in its ability to include what sounds to me like chanting monks, which surprisingly blends with the overall sound and creates an undeniable atmosphere, which works perfectly well with the sound surprisingly enough.
You mean ‘Promulgation of the Fall’ (not ‘Promulgation of Dead’). In regards to the chants in ‘Graves of the Archangels’, they were means to an end. The idea of using those chants came after we recorded all the music, then we thought about using some chants of Orthodox priests that sing hymns to the Archangels which we had and they sounded just perfect for the specific case. It was something that fit and enhanced the concept of the album.
Promulgation of the fall, has left behind the monk chanting and delivers a myriad of memorable riffs that derives the brutality and brings about a more presentable masterpiece. Slow churning riff, that assembles a opus of brutality. All the while, keep it all in context.
Indeed, it was a very conscious choice to not repeat ourselves by using similar samples but instead create all the opposing atmosphere with the sheer aggression of the riffs and compositions themselves. The new album is more direct and more diverse at the same time, there are a lot of things happening in the structures of the songs but all of feelings we want to get across are channeled through our instruments and our music’s balance between melody and disharmony.
The lyrical content is very anti-religion. and makes me wonder how much a part of the church in Greece, that fuels your hatred for the stigmas of organized religion.?
We just feel scorn towards people who are easily manipulated and have no individual thought, such as the mindless followers of any organized religion. Since Christian religion is not only prevalent in our country but in the majority of western civilization, our lyrics are mainly targeting that.
I guess my next question, is your worldview on life and morality. Do your lyrics directly influence your lifestyle of individuals?
In general we are into individualism and personal spiritual elevation. Each one should be constantly striving for self-improvement and not conform to hypocritically moral rules instructed by any church.
To me you have made a credible sound for yourself, in the ability to bring a unpresented disregard, for the typical run of the mill death metal bands. Slow churning, while instantaneously delivering a hard driven force to meld together a perfect blend of chaos with rhythmic sections that leave a lasting impression in your mind.
Again, thanks, it’s nothing intentional. That’s just how we express ourselves through music to feel fulfilled as artists.
Now I would like to lighten up the mood a little, and ask about hobbies, and work related obligations. Its presumably with this brand of music, it must be difficult to make a reasonable living outside of your touring and being an active band.
I think the majority of our hobbies are very much music-oriented. We also read books and personally I like a lot of activities that bring me closer to nature, from snowboarding to fishing, mountain biking, even just a walk in nature. All of us enjoy trips very much so it’s a great privilege to be able to see all these foreign countries when playing with the band. Sometimes if we play in a city that is particularly interesting we’ll make sure to stay some extra days, like we did in Prague, Bergen and some others. We do have regular jobs as well so that we can afford a descent life and not live like bums.
Not to back step a little and ask, where does the monk chanting come from? is that all done and performed by the band.
No, as said, they are Orthodox hymns to the Archangels, sung by monks in a Greek monastery.
I always want to lay the nail in the coffin, because when I first heard your music, I found a slight influential from the band Incantation. But to be honest the more I listen to your music the more I hear less of Incantation, and a created sound all of your own.
Maybe our ‘sound’ and our music’s suffocating atmosphere has similarities to Incantation’s sound/atmosphere but the music and riffs and drumming themselves don’t have much in common with Incantation. We have tons of influences and the strongest are probably Slayer’s first 5 albums and Morbid Angel but as a principal we don’t try to sound like anyone in specific. We just filter all our influences and have our own interpretation of how Death Metal must sound.
What is your favorite brew of choice?
I like a lot of beers from small and big breweries but if I have to narrow it down to favorites from ‘known’ brands I’d say Kozel Dark for anytime and Corona for the hot Greek summer days when you need something very refreshing to cool you down.
Favorite past times? outside of music.
Movies, books, historical documentaries, trips, walking my dog, spending time with my girlfriend and close friends and spending time in nature.
What is the Greece metal scene like? any notable bands that you respect?
It’s quite active lately, we always had a lot of passionate metal heads in Greece and in the last 10 years we see many good bands popping up in the underground. My respect goes to Acrimonious, The Psalm, Resurgency, Embrace Of Thorns, Impure Worship, Convixion, Exarsis, many others…
I would be interested also into know what your philosophical approach to live? and what has determined your worldview?
I’m a fucking pessimistic nihilist.
The tone of your music has a inherently depressive tone, and chaotic as all hell. You hold no boundaries in your abilities to create something almost esoteric. It’s outright original in presentation. Not a single track is left without a guided direction, your writing approach is absolutely blasphemous.
Our music IS very esoteric and not calculated at all. Maybe it appears like we have tremendous
attention to detail but in reality all the layers in our songs that work together in favor for the bigger picture are just strokes of inspiration – sometimes you sit down with the guitar and an entire song takes shape without effort, ideas pop in your head one after the other and you don’t even know how you came up with all that because the composing process is not a conscious one at all. It’s not like we can sit down and say ‘ok, we’ll use this riff, then we must do a riff like this and put a lead on top like this’ and voila a song takes shape. Our music is multi-dimensional because balancing fast aggressive parts with oppressive slow parts and chaotic moments with melancholic melodies is OUR way to express ourselves, at least on this specific album. Other artists feel fulfilled with creating a 10 song album out of 9 riffs, like VON’s ‘Satanic Blood’ for example, and there is nothing wrong with that either! There is no recipe on how to write songs, you just need to be in a certain (inspirational) state which may last for a few or a lot of ideas before you fall in a writer’s block for some time. But in any case, if you’re sincere to yourself as an artist, you never force yourself to create on purpose, everything just comes naturally.
Well that is all I got. Feel free to share any final words to publicize your music accordingly. As I have said before, your music alongside Triptykon, are the reigning champions of the calendar year of 2014. Slow foreboding harmonies that leave a lasting impression. All the while unleashing a chaotic face ripping masterpiece.
Again thank you for your kind words and for having us here.
I thank you for this opportunity. And I am thoroughly impressed with your ability in musicianship.