A new black metal force emerged from the depths of the Greek underground scene. Amnis Nihili release their first EP ”Christological Escalation” and vocalist P. and drum programmer A. give us all details we have to know about their first step in discography. Check also their opinions in numerous stuff concerning issues in and out of music in general.

* Just a few days right after the interview, we officialy informed that P. has quit the band. There are no further information regarding the reasons so far.

First of all congratulations on your first effort, the ”Christological Escalation” EP is a great start. How does it make you feel after its completion? Did you achieve what you first had in mind concerning the sound and the outcome’s whole approach?

A.: The feeling you get when you have created something unique cannot be described in simple words. It would be trying to explain the Grand Canyon or the Himalayas. It just ain’t gonna happen! In my humble opinion -and beware this is just me talking, not on behalf of the band- we did arrive where we were heading to. And being the one who shaped and engineered this work I can safely say that it did come out as planned, taking into account the equipment and time put to it.

The four tracks produce a grim feeling of what’s about to come. An armaggedon for which all of us must be cautious. The great production helps a lot to pass this end-time message. You sound a lot like an French/American mixture of latest black metal bands to me, more influenced by ”atmospheric” parts in music of Leviathan, Thralldom, Lurker Of Chalice, Deathspell Omega and such stuff. Could you tell us how long it took you to complete this release, concerning composing and producing it?

A.: We all bring our influences, bits and pieces of life into this band. The artists you mention are indeed some of our respected influences, albeit a mere fraction of them. All in all it did take some time to produce, mainly because we work rather slowly and we like to take our time doing things. Also me being the one who recorded, engineered, mixed, mastered -and in general produced together with D.- and having a busy schedule, had a lot to do with the time it took to come to completion. But for specifics I guess D. or P. would know better.

P.: We took our time and it turned out this was only for the better.

As you did with your other band Dephosphorus for the year of 2011, you first release an EP. Is there a will to do small but steady steps, or do you want to make clear that the band’s direction will change in such a way that these tracks had to be released now individually? Are there any new ideas for the upcoming Amnis Nihili release?

P.: You’re right, it’s a similar approach than the one we followed with Desphosphorus: getting an initial recording done in order to test the waters. We are underground fiends therefore we think that bands who release directly an album are most likely not ready, therefore have delusions of grandeur, and are doomed to failure and oblivion. “Christological Escalation” is a good standalone release representing the first period of the band. Indeed our new material is much more challenging and intense, and we did not want to mix things up, by re-recording some tracks from the MLP for example. Our debut album is meant to be recorded with a real drummer – which we haven’t found yet. In the meanwhile, we want to give a hint of the horrors to come with one or split-7” EP’s. We will also participate at some point to the Monomaniac compilation 7” EP series (http://blastbeatprod.wordpress.com/monomaniac) that I’m preparing through my label Blastbeat Mailmurder/Productions.)

Putting atmosphere in music is not an easy thing to do. Whether you play black metal or anything else, you must be able to transmit it in a right way. There comes the amazing ”Radiation” instrumental, which adds a lot to ”Christological Escalation” in my humble opinion. At first it sounds simple but it grows within the listener, and in the end it becomes a very personal track. Three minutes that sound maybe a little hopeful in this storm of catastrophology. What do they tell you about this track specifically and how does it affect more extreme fans of music to become fans of Amnis Nihili in the end ?

P.: Our guitarist/songwriter D. has proposed this instrumental track after the three others were already recorded. It is meant to give the listener a break, allowing him to digest what he just experienced from the first two tracks, put him in a trance before the final fury of “Infamous Judeochristian Seed”. It is part of the dynamics and of the flow of the overall release. It’s not really meant to convey a specific feeling like “hope”, nor does it have any specific purpose as to make the recording more accessible to a certain category of listeners. The ambient/drone sounds that it is made of are part of our music style, we’ve just focused on them at this point of the recording for the reasons that I explained above.

Can you tell us the secret of where this vocal madness comes from? Knowing your influences in music generally, there are a lot steps which could be the basis of your expression, but which is your personal touch in the end, that makes you spit your guts out like there’s no tomorrow? Is there any advice to future growlers, concerning vocal endurance and expression by your side ?

P.: With Amnis Nihili I explore the sickest and harshest tone of my voice. This requires a different approach than the one I follow for Dephosphorus, or the one I did in the past with Straighthate. The vocal lines are more sparse, allowing me to better concentrate myself in regulating and tuning my vocal delivery. Through this approach the throat becomes an entity apart, as if the regulated flow of air and the friction of the vocal chords invoke something. The voice takes the reigns really. It was an intimate and ritualistic experience.

Here’s some advice for future growlers;
• Practice as much as possible. Nothing good will happen without hard work. Try to record rehearsals in order to listen to your voice afterwards and adjust.
• Know your limits. Don’t force yourself. In general you (or others) can tell straight from the beginning if you have vocal potential or not.
• Quit smoking.
• Alcohol and coffee will make your throat dry. A non-caffeinated hot drink (even plain water) is what’s best.
• Like Ryan Lipynsky (Unearthly Trance, The Howling Wind) recently said in an interview: “Practice drunk if you are going to play shows drunk. Smoke at rehearsal if you are going to smoke live”
• Last but not least, have in mind that being expressive is the real challenge, not the technicalities: doing the longest scream, the deepest growl, the higher-pitched shriek…

The cover artwork in a group of yours is once more colossal. It looks threatening and grim, without getting into the typical anti-christian cliche’ by mocking God, Christ or whoever else. It kinda prepares the listener for what he’s about to listen for the next 17 minutes. How much important is for an artist to give a detailed piece of work to the fans? Doesn’t it make you feel than once completed, this (or any possible) release was worth the wait and creation?

P.: I’m glad it didn’t suggest to you the typical clichés because it’s not meant to! Our music is part of the whole of our overall aesthetics. It is intended and designed as such, a complete and comprehensive experience. Our comrades at Viral Graphics have done (once again) an outstanding work in turning our concept and music into a majestic, palpable, visual reality. We are grateful to them. Of corpse, when we’ve been finally able to hold in our hands the complete release, after many hardships and delays, it felt like the whole thing finally came into life. From that moment on “Christological Escalation” became an entity apart, unleashed into the superior sphere of art and ideas.

What kind of response did you get from Greece at first and from the global underground scene in general? Which is the part in your music that you’d personally like people to give more importance and why?

P.: We’ve received encouraging feedback and a fair amount of praise. Apparently some ecclectic extremophiles worldwide really got into our trip, appreciating our attention to detail and comprehending our intentions…Locally, “Christological Escalation” has been generally acknowledged and hailed as a work unexpected and unheard from a Greek band. We are not supposed to appeal to the main bulk of the extreme metal audience, therefore earning the respect and obtaining constructive feedback from likeminded and focused comrades is something that motivated us even more. The elements and parts that constitute our music are not meant to be disassociated. They are part of the grand scheme of things as we’ve designed it. Amnis Nihili execute and deliver Harsh & Mesmerizing Metal. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it!

Coming to gigs, how and when will it be possible to enter the stage? Is the band’s formation complete as a trio or is there space for more persons to help you in the future?

A.: We are currently in a stage where we are giving this mammoth of a project a real band formation. It is a difficult task, and of corpse a trio is out of the question. Amnis Nihili is intended to be a full band with six members when it will be possible. It was conceived this way and it will remain as such. And we will definitely perform live! When and how and under what circumstances will this be, remains to be seen.

I find very helpful the fact that you offer your lyrics through your web page. I can clearly say that they helped me get maybe a little easier to your approach of things. So full of description and creating pictures. I can’t help but refering to ”I flick a switch, 5.5. billions die” from the title track and ”Cowards will vomit their coward soul, traitors will be hanged and rot” from ”Infamous Judeochristian Seed”. What kind of shitty situation put you in the mood of such nihilism and how much possible is to face the world’s destruction, while in the meantime all who are to blame for everything bad, may face justice in the end ?

P.: Originally we included the lyrics in our web page because we didn’t want to include them in the CD nor the vinyl in order to give more space to the artwork. It turned out that this way whoever is interested can get a clear picture of what we’re up to conceptually. We don’t have any hidden agenda. Our music, lyrics, concept, aesthetics are interwined. The lyrics of “Infamous Judeochristian Seed” have not been inspired by a specific situation of everyday life. I refer to the fall of the lords of this world. We all know who they are. They will be crushed sooner or later. I only hope it will be through the triumph of science and reason.

Last but not least, we’d like to thank you for sharing your thoughts with our readers and your fans. Close this interview by telling us which are your future plans at first, and how are you going to spread the word about the band. Good luck to whatever you do and we hope we’ll hear from you soon again.

P.: Hails to Metalpaths for the support, it is appreciated! You can order “Christoligical Escalation” as a digipack CD and/or cross-shaped 10” vinyl (limited to 300 copies ) from Blastbeat Mailmurder’s distro: http://blastbeatprod.wordpress.com/distro-instructions/. Expect later this year from the Amnis Nihili camp some new music in the form of one or two split-7”EP’s and a short, deadly contribution to the Monomaniac series (http://blastbeatprod.wordpress.com/monomaniac).

Interview by: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.