Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Interview with Terry Eleftheriou of Wargrinder

Terry Eleftheriou, the living legend among metal musicians. Like golden rays of 90's, memories are still afresh in his mind. Terry who debuted in a band as a drummer in mid 90's. Music though has always been his prime passion and Terry at the moment is reveling the success of d├ębut album from Wargrinder.

ST: Its a pleasure to have you in this interview Terry. It’s good to know that TFZ from Angstridden has joined Wargrinder as a guitarist. And he’ll help to construct the songs for the next full-length but which is scheduled in 2014!

Yeah it took me months to decide on whether I needed another member in Wargrinder since the band has been only me for many years, but it didn't take long at all to think WHO it should be. Longtime fan and recently a good friend, TFZ will help me with the new and more demanding material, especially as far as the speed goes!! I remember his letters from the 1st demo cd I did back in 2001!

ST: Good news is that you are going to release a compilation CD of the band's previous releases via Regimental Records (USA). The CD will be released in December of 2012. The title will be "Erased Seeds of Ignorance".

I'm very excited about this since these were released a long time ago and they're almost impossible to find! Especially the 1st demo cd and the 2nd demo tape cannot be found. It's time for the people who got The Seal of Genocide in their hands to get to know the first steps of the band!! The demos are so raw and brutal I think the cd will do great!! Thanks to Kim and Joe from Regimental Records for the cooperation and support by the way!!

ST: Recently, Pete Helmkamp lends his mayhemic vokills performance on one of the tracks on III Command Of The Absolute Chaos by Blasphemophagher. His contribution always will be great as well. My question is do you have plans to let Pete do guest vocals for your next album?


ST: Now we can talk about the debut album which was released this year through Nykta Records. The material is varied, dynamic, and it possess a raw and primitive atmosphere besides featuring a variety of tempos and showcasing great skill in songwriting. The production is definitely has an underground sound. How satisfied have you been after the release of debut? It’s not shitty under-produced sound and Satan-praising screeches all the time. And yes, production played a big role. How the deal with Nykta did came along?

The guys from Nykta supported me from the early days when we traded for the demos and when I told them that I got a full cd in my hands they were more than happy to release it. What people don't know is that The Seal of Genocide was originally recorded in 2005!!!Of course it sucked so I never let the label release it. I wasn't happy with the sound, the drumming and the guitars since somebody else played them. I did bass and vocals. So in The end of 2010 I went to the studio and recorded the whole cd from the start. 

Of course I did a few changes and added some extra material...I'm very satisfied with Nykta's release and I'm happy to tell you that they're almost out of copies so I arranged with Regimental Records to re-release it! Of course that will happen when Nykta is completely sold out I want to be ok with these guys and after all WE are the underground there's no room for assholes!!!

ST: The opening track ‘Burning Idol’ makes it clear that Wargrinder is going to go in a different direction than the average blackened death metal band. Short tracks but the band keep things tight and hits listeners with catchy riffs. Wargrinder does run into some issues with repetition riffs but I believe Wargrinder could outshine some of the groups in this genre. The vocals have a distinctive raw black metal feel. ‘Nykta Records’ treat your musical abilities as well; I think they did the best they could do. How much were you satisfied with the amount of promotion done by them?

Yeah I agree with you on the repetitiveness. That only occurs in the older tracks and these were composed back in 2003-2005!!!Long time ago...I was still in the whole demo mentality and didn't really care about refreshing the compositions. Of course when the time came to re-record the cd I left the old songs as they were and wrote new songs which you can easily distinguish since they got a much better structure. Nykta did the best they could and that's why 80% of the copies are already sold since February this year!!! I didn't expect the cd to do so well to be honest. I was scared that the world has gone far too long without Wargrinder. Apparently this wasn't the case.

ST: The intensity level returns with the next song called ‘Swallowed by Silence’. It wastes no time getting right to the point besides the listener barely having a moment to mentally focus on the riffs before the vocals rise up. Aggressive and powerful. Seriously, people like you creating the most profound and grotesque art in this genre.

I'm glad you like it. Swallowed is one of the old songs and the main riff has a Blasphemy-like tone and beat and then changes to double bass Rapture style from Morbid Angel. Although I must say it’s definitely not one of my best songs out of the album.

ST: ‘Hollow Grace’ begins with a drum solo and it accompanies interesting bass tune. That soon transitions to a riff that is reminiscent of Angelcorpse. There are somewhat thrashier riffs on ‘King of a Fallen Age’ that are interspersed with the sinister tremolo picking and the haunting lead guitar. The riffs are very much in the typical Gene style. The faster parts include some thrashy riffs and double-kick drums. This is what I like about your music. You are associated with grind influenced blackened death metal for long as there is something inexplicable chaos about Wargrinder’s music, more accurately Angelcorpse continues in the form of Perdition Temple or Wargrinder. 

You cannot get closer to my mind with what you just said. I have so many influences that I try my best to mix with my personal style and what comes out is Wargrinder...King of a Fallen Age was composed in 2001 and originally released in 2002 in that split tape!! Fucking fast shit huh?? The Hollow Grace intro riff is so grind core I just love the bass guitar sound! It's what made Wargrinder stick out all these years!!!Wait 'till the demos come out this December!!!My MAIN influences are so many that I cannot mention them here I need a whole page for that. But just for reference: Apshyx, Terrorizer, Angelcorpse, Morbid Angel, Destroyer 666, old Kreator, Sodom and the absolute gods of raw sound Venom!!! Although I wouldn't compare my guitar abilities to Palubicki’s let’s not go nuts.

ST: The final track ‘The Principles Of Ancient Discipline’ is probably stands out for me. Excellent song writing. Awesome guitar riffs that are fucking raw and hateful Black Metal that keeps in the tradition of old school.  It is not a copy of them but there are some similarities in the sound. I am comparing you to the bands like Order from Chaos, Angelcorpse, and Perdition Temple. Do you think that this ‘genre’ is getting more popular besides more bands are tending to this genre these days?

Nah this genre never had any ups and downs, with Impiety, Angelcorpse holding the torch and bands like Diabolic, old Vital Remains, Impiety, and Order from Chaos standing tall. This particular scene was always in the shadows as far as publicity goes, talking of course about actual financial success. But the fan base has always been strong and indeed nowadays there are so many bands that even people like us who trade nonstop and buy cds all the time, don't know half of what's going on...This song started originally as a few riffs I wanted to give to Naer Mataron when I was in the band, but it they didn't match the rest of the material. When I played them to my wife she loved it and insisted that I include them to the Wargrinder cd. So I completed the song with more riffs, put it in the debut and dedicated it to her. It's definitely more black metal than the other tracks.

ST: Terry has been part of many metal bands as you started your music career with Wargrinder in more than a decade ago am I right? Whereas ‘The Seal of Genocide’ was a result of twelve years after the formation of the band. Do you feel that Wargrinder is still underrated band?

I actually started playing in bands in 1995 and before that did rehearsals at junior high school. But I did my first demo tapes in 1997 and in 1998 I did a little death metal nothing that serious but it definitely created the path that led me to my career today. Yeah I absolutely feel that Wargrinder is underrated and that's why I started taking care of things a lot more lately, lots of e-mails tons of trades and some interviews here and there. Everything helps, that's for sure. All it needs is to be heard. The quality of the music is guaranteed.

ST: You are a drummer by profession but how comfortable or challenge was taking vocal and guitar duties for The Seal of Genocide? 

Album that barely lasts more than half an hour.The whole Cd took me about 12hrs to record. There weren't any delays although it WAS strange for me to record guitars and bass, since it was the first time after 7 years, and of course the 3rd demo was a lot smaller in duration, yet it was cool to hear my drumming and play guitar at the same time. Plus there was no metronome. I've always recorded drums to a click so it was definitely strange but after recording guitars for the first few tracks I loosened up.

ST: Terry, you have drummed for Angelcorpse, how important was Angelcoprse for your career? Besides, you apprised a lot of amazing responses from Perdition Temple as Gene had a definite idea about what he wanted from you. How did you meet Pete and Gene as you from Greece? How was/is your experience working with them?

I never got to actually play with Angelcorpse. I found Gene through MySpace and sent him a message as a fan. I was moving to the US at the time and they weren't satisfied with the live drummer so he said that who knows we might cooperate someday. One thing led to the other and I ended up sending them a promo package with cds from my whole career. The fact alone that I was mentioned on the band's page as the new drummer was an honor for me. I was the only guy I can remember walking around in my area and downtown Athens with the Angelcorpse long sleeves. Been a hardcore fan since Exterminate came out. I never rehearsed the Perdition Temple tracks before I got in the studio. I only practiced them at home and mapped out everything on paper. I recorded everything by memory since there was no guitar on my headphones. Just a metronome and my paper. Gene was indeed ecstatic when he got the drum tracks. Judging by his reaction I'd say I performed 95% close to what he wanted.

ST: Words such as War, Army, Vengeance, Blood and Death can be found in the lyrics.

These are the things that I find most interesting and exciting. Always with a respectful approach of course. I just love war history and history in general. I like to use emotion in my music. No emotion no Wargrinder. It helps to let out the negative energy through music. It works like that for a lot of musicians out there. If it wasn't for that a LOT of people would be in jail right now, trust me...Or in trouble in general..

ST: Words do a major thing. They provide food for the mind. When a book is able to motivate the minds of its readers, then that is the real success for its author. I’d like to know about the most influential authors/books for you.

Too many book titles to mention so here’s the authors: Aristotelhs, Epiktitos, Heraklitos, Protagoras, Pythagoras, Diogenis, Anaksimandros, Thalis from Miletus. My absolute passion is Plato and Heraclitus. Especially Plato's writings changed my life. Plus dozens of war and history books, too many to mention.

ST: What is it like working with musicians from other bands? All the bands you have worked with so far have been amazing and there has been a lot of learning in the process I think. Embrace of Thorns, Stutthof, and these bands are fantastic and have their own approach to make music.

The bands you mentioned were just quest appearances. I was never a member. It's true that it's difficult to be able to match your style with so many different musicians but if you got the ear for what you do, it just happens naturally. You got to step out of the "drummer" sometimes. Being a good or bad or whatever drummer isn't enough you got to think as a MUSICIAN and understand what the rest of the members want. THEN try to deliver that as a full concept. Just do that and you will always be in demand. Right now I play the drums for these bands: Wargrinder (bass and vocals as well), Crucifiction (Gr), Apocalypse Command (USA), Altars of Teshub (USA brand new project). As soon as I get back in 2014 I will record a full cd with each one of these bands. A lot of work, but a lot of fun too! Altars of Teshub is a project that include Matt from Trigon Aion and Kelly from Adipocere, both great guys and very talented musicians. I'm very excited about that one since the material is insanely fast. These guys are trying to kill me haha!! I'm also working on a new project but nothing is official yet. I'm the composer on this one and I'm not playing the drums. You got to visit my Facebook page for updates since that project started a couple of weeks ago, we'll see how it goes.

ST: As I said before, we have mostly seen you working in Blackened death metal bands; do you think this genre has better prospects from other genres such as black metal? You have appeared in Theosophy by Gauntlet's Sword with hateful beatings.

Yeah Theosophy is a beautiful record. Too bad the guy doesn't play music anymore. I think that the popularity of a band depends on its style; I mean a death metal band can be great but it takes more than that to sell like Cannibal Corpse or any of the bigger names. Same with black metal. As for myself, believe it or not I've done probably the same amount of black metal recordings as much as I've done death metal. Here's my full discography aside from 2-3 more demos I did in the late 90's: 

1. Celestial Scream - Promo 2001
2. Stellar Darkness - Promo 2001
3. Wargrinder - Command for Wargrinding - demo cd 2001
4. Wampyrinacht - We will be watching 2001 (unreleased)
5. Scythe - promo cd 2002 (unreleased)
6. Legions of Antichrist - promo cd 2002 (unreleased)
7. Sun of Nothing - Demo 2002
8. Wargrinder - New age Terrorism - split tape 2002
9. Sun of Nothing - And voices, words, faces complete the dream 2002
10. Stutthof - Towards thy astral path 2002
11. Bullet hole - Incarceration 2003
12. Naer Mataron - River at dash scalding 2003
13. Crucifiction - Crucified with horns demo 2003
14. Wargrinder - Superior Onslaught - split cd 2003
15. Stutthof - An ode to thee ancient great goddess 2004
16. Chaosbaphomet - Temple of the Serpent Baphomet 2004 demo tape
17. Naer Mataron - Aghivasiin (lessons on how to defeat death) 2004
18. Gauntlet’s Sword - Conquer Miss 7’’ 2005
19. Naer Mataron - Discipline manifesto 2005
20. Naer Mataron - 7’’ split with Voice of Hate 2006
21. Gauntlet’s Sword - Theosophy 2006
22. Embrace of Thorns - …for I see death in their eyes…
23. Naer Mataron - Praetorians 2008
24. Perdition Temple - Edict of the Antichrist elect 2010
25. Crucifiction - Portals to the beyond 2010
26. Wargrinder - The Seal of Genocide 2012
27. Naer Mataron - I am the Light of the World 7'' 2012

ST: Are there any plans for a live performance from you for Wargrinder? Au revoir.

No, at least not yet. I'm focusing on composing right now since I'm on abroad and I got material for 2 full length cds haha! The next cd will blow you away I promise. Keep an eye out for the demos this December from Regimental Records!!

You can follow me here: (news on all of my projects, discography)

Thank you for the great questions! Support the extreme metal scene!

ST: Thanks to Autumn P for the images and logos.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Interview: Stoic Dissention

A Colorado-based band, Stoic Dissention's creation came about with the end of their bass player Dave and Zach’s band Acheronian Dirge. Stoic Dissention plays an amalgamation of black and doom metal. Through luck they came across Isaac and Kelly besides they found that they had common taste for what they wished to express musically and decided to pursue it. From there Isaac's roommate Peter joined the band on drums and thus had a full line-up for Stoic Dissention. They released a demo earlier this year and it sounds immense! Six tracks of deep spheres will propel you into a swirling void of aural effects as from Peter's apocalyptic grooves and hellish blast beats to Isaac and Kelly's infernal dirge filled harmonies, Dave's pulse of decay bass and Zach's decadent chants and howls of despair, they've created a mighty force indeed.

Before you began Stoic Dissention your musical efforts were concentrated on your long term black metal project called Acheronian Dirge. Can you discuss how Stoic Dissention was conceived and what inspired this new musical direction?

Stoic Dissention came about when Acheronian Dirge ended. Still wanting to work on arcane themes and despondent principles I start talking to Dave our bass player about returning to the essence of what we lost with the passing of our previous band. Dave and I started asking around for kindred spirits and happened to be at a Centimani and Kastigation show where we met Isaac and Kelly. Both were interested and thus the inception of the band came about. Our drummer Peter came along a few months later and we've been dredging a path ever since.

What do you feel about the number good reviews your mini album Senium has received? Six melodies for 37mins long Ep. All the songs are relatively lengthy.

We were glad that Senium was well received. It’s good to hear rewarding comments about something you grasp at so passionately. I believe it was a combination of proving to ourselves we were capable to write something so vehemently held close to us musically and talent wise. Luckily we are all rather like minded with what we wished to achieve as a final outcome. The length of the songs we felt perfect for achieving everything we wanted to convey without drawing out too much. The life of an entity with a succinct purpose and function.

As the opening track ‘An Ubiquitous Coming’ begins to meander through the guitar and it joins drums later you prove to be a brilliant exercise with enticing vocals. Senium is not something to be forgotten fast! It’s a perfect amalgamation of black and doom metal, quite weird but original. You put out very dark and depressing music.

Thank you! The darker side of the mind and heart has always held me in a certain fascination and depression being one of the strongest emotional states it was only natural for me to want to convey it with the meager talents I can portray. Luckily for me both mediums (black and doom metal) coincide with my expression also. Their embodiment of the mysterious and dark in a congruent state of mental decay was a key part in bringing A Ubiquitous Coming to form.

‘The Arcane Rites…for me some fond memories attached with this song. Vocals reminiscent me that Senium sounds not completely different from Acheronian Dirge! What is it that you learnt from your first band that helped shape your versatile vocal?

Essentially it’s just practicing and pushing myself beyond the limits I originally believed possible for myself. I liked what I did in Acheronian Dirge and felt I should carry on what I was doing. That was my foundation, and then I added and played with certain aspects to start to bring out a stronger representation of what Stoic Dissention represents. The new album has some new twists vocally for me which am good so that I don't become stagnant as an artist.

I’d be happy if Acheronian Dirge are still active. Stoic Dissention's creation came about with the end of bass player Dave and your band Acheronian Dirge, but is there any possibility of re-union of Acheronian Dirge? 

As far as we know Acheronian Dirge is no more. Clay (A.D.'s guitarist) and I have talked about maybe working together on a black metal project but with schedules and life and our bands we'll have to wait and see if it comes into fruition. I do what to do another black metal project so hopefully one day soon. The anger within black metal is a very cathartic release and I find it paramount for me to have that form of release. 

Acheronian Dirge was not the most prolific band in the US metal scene. Had been in existence since 1998, had only released a full-length album, along with three demos and an Ep release in 2009 but the band had built a strong cult following for it, were you happy with what you've achieved with the Acheronian Dirge?

Yes and no. I think we did well representing what we wanted to get across musically, yet feel it needed to be better represented. A lot of the fault lies in the fact that both labels we were signed to did not have a strong work ethic and understanding of what was needed to help bands on their line-up. Also we started writing and recording a second full-length that was never completed which is a letdown. It is weird now that people enjoy what we were doing when at the time we didn't really have much support externally. I guess its good black metal if you stay "cult".

I love Acheronian Dirge and I love Kastigation! So what happens if these two bands create music together? Hell yeah something likes ‘Deception of the Genuine Intellect’. This is constructed with slowly excursions that sustain the excitement until the end. How did you meet Isaac and Kelly?

Thank you, we were going for an actual blend of doom and black metal and "Deception" is a great example of our ideas brought to form.  I met Kelly a few years back at a Watain show I believe. Also Acheronian Dirge and Kastigation played a show together at the end of a tour we did in 2009. Isaac I met about a year later at a Kastigation show and we talked about music and found we liked a lot of the same bands (although we did argue a lot too).

Stoic Dissention as you guys have learnt a lot of attention through an Ep release besides you guys recently shared a stage with amazing Nightbringer and Weapon. Zach and Kelly, tell us yours live experience with them? Musically, both are unmatched insanity but two of my absolute favorite. 

It was a great show, although Nightbringer was a little different as their vocalist was touring Europe at the time so their guitarist filled in on vocals. He did well but it’s not the same as the regular line-up. Weapon was awesome and is great people as well. Total annihilation! A great time for sure. Hopefully there will be future shows with both.

Kelly, Kastigation is one hell of an Ep. All the music Kastigation has recorded has a different vocalist as well as you do high pitched growls in dreadnought’s new stuff. Do you have plans to do vocals for Stoic Dissention?

Thank you! We have just recently begun toying with the idea of having clean vocals incorporated into our music. Along with harsh vocals, I've begun singing clean which has opened up new possibilities for future songs. Zach has a new lyrical idea for a song that splits the lyrics between two people as two different characters, where one would use harsh vocals and the other would sing. We should start piecing this idea together in the near future.

How do you go about creating a new album? Zach, Can you discuss what is involved in the creative process for you? What are your main influences for your upcoming release? How many compositions will there and how will it be different from Senium?

When creating new works it usually starts with Isaac and Kelly presenting some riffs to the rest of us and we change them or add to them. As far as my portion of writing for me I listen and critique mainly. I might have some suggestions here and there but when you’re working with people more talented than you musically there is only so much I can do to contribute in that fashion. My moment usually comes after we have a partial song then I start writing and or placing lyrics to the music. Then I work on the placement and so forth. For the new release I and a lot of influence from a myriad of sources but mainly from the music itself. The music was very compelling and actually brought everything forward, almost an invocation of some inner demon summoned by the music working as an incantation. The difference between “Relinquished...” and “Senium” is a more refined approach and presentation. We also branch out into some funeral doom on this album.  There are 3 songs and it’s about 50 minutes of dark psychedelic depressive music. Also it is a conceptual album, so all the songs tie into each other. I think it’s the natural next step in our approach.

Any particular offers already from any labels?

No not yet but hopefully.  We are currently searching and have a few in particular that we want to work with.

You grew up listening 80’s, 90’s metal, opera and classical so you’ve literally seen different eras in metal and you must have good enough experience, what I’m saying is do you wait for music to come to you or do you keep up some sort of writing routine?

Yes I have been around for many different "trends" and styles in the metal scene. Some good many more bad! With my own music I try and do both.  If a song is captivating to me I will write for it but also I try and write by myself for a multitude of different reasons. It helps with staying sharp and keeps the creative process more prolific as well as honing my craft to a more succinct image.

What do you think about the many bands who copy someone else's style?

I find it disappointing that many people actually support these acts. Imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery but it’s also a dead end way to help destroy a scene. A saturation of unimaginative and basically untalented people trying to pass themselves off as musicians. I understand being inspired by a band and all but there is a limit before its plagiarism.

American bands have always had a place in our heart since the late 80’s due to their uncompromising attitude to create the profound music. How much do you feel part of an American metal scene? Are there any great new bands coming out from your area in the near future?

There is a very small scene here but it is decent. It’s growing though slowly. America has been a strong institute as far as uncompromising and angry in its musical forms. As far as a part of the American scene we are barely part of it since we are so "underground." We are hoping to be more contributing though in the future and let everyone know we are a force to acknowledge. There are some good Doom metal bands, but black metal wise I can't think of any right now besides “Achral Necrosis”. They have a good Scandinavian throw back sound. 

I'm obviously a big fan of instrumental music, and would love to hear more in the black metal area. Instrumental metal seems to be a wide open playing field right now; I hope more bands explore this sound. Can you tell us your massive interest on Dark Ambient music?

Dark ambient music is the perfect form of meditative pure expression almost an anoesis. A bliss of the perfection of simplicity brought about by the expression of soundscapes and moods of psychological decay in an almost classical approach. I've been enjoying how some have been adding guitars to the music to an almost funeral doom style. I cannot wait for more people to try their part in this genre as long as it doesn't become generic.