Progressive death metal in Greece is not really the most popular genre of the scene. However, there is a band that keeps on walking on its own path since the early 90’s despite their inaction from 2001 to 2011; ACID DEATH. Ever since we’ve had “Eidolon” and now the brand new album “Hall Of Mirrors”. Savvas Betinis (bass, vocals) has given an in-depth interview to Metalpaths, about the band, the scene, promotion and so much more. Enter the Hall of Mirrors….
Hello Savvas! The new album “Hall Of Mirrors” marks the second album after the reunion of 2011, and was released on September 11th. What are your thoughts on the record now that it’s done?
Hello and thanks for this interview! As time passes we feel really proud for this album! It is a 100% Acid Death album, including all the elements that the band had the previous years plus a really modern touch that is only visible to new bands. We made to “marry” the past with the future. The album still takes really good reviews from a variety of people, with some of them to be away from band’s music style…. And this is really important for us.
On this record you started from scratch, with a brand new guitar player, John Anagnostou (Released Anger). How did he affect the overall musical direction of “Hall Of Mirrors”?
John came to the band in a really “in time” moment. He came when we started processing the new songs and he started the game from its beginning. Everyone from us gave his 100% on this album. On the other hand just because he came from Thrash Metal, John gave a new “air”, more “thrashy” to all of us.
You’ve been inspired from everyday life issues to literature and philosophy for your lyrics throughout. What inspired you to write lyrics for “Hall Of Mirrors” this time? And could you tell us more about the lyrics in general?
The inspiration is always the same! Life! Especially its horrible side. Stories true or phantastic that could be a reallity to everyone. “Hall Of Mirrors” includes more personal, let’s say, stories that the previous albums…
You and Dennis remained active as musicians for the decade that followed the disbandment of Acid Death. Taking into account that the new record has a balance between what’s currently going on and your trademark style, do you think that it was just a result of you staying active in the metal scene, or was it something else that affected this?
Well, I think it has to do with the entire way that we try to reach what we do as band. Of course if we had stopped playing music back in 2001 and started again in 2015 things would be really different. We try to follow the “today” but not to copy it, the same time that we always try to keep our past. You know, to be “in today” having a history of 25 years in back is not easy. In our case at least in this album, we made to do it….I think
And to follow up my previous question, you have the following guests on this album: Jon Sotis (Floating Worlds), Nick Melissourgos (Suicidal Angels), Iliana Tsakiraki (Enemy Of Reality), Nadja V and Manthos Stergiou (Tardive Dyskinesia). Great musicians, each of them in its own right. I’d say it shows your varied material as well as great connection to the present and future of the Greek metal scene. Do you agree with this statement and what else do you have to add?
Yes, they are all great musicians and personalities! In fact we would like to have some guests in the album, but not just “good players” who would have nothing to do with us after recording their parts. We preferred to have friends, real friends, as guests! The result was really perfect and with this we show that even different musicians can work together, can create something interesting. Greek Metal scene is full of good musicians. We can help each other, we can cooperate and the result will be great!
You have a sound with various influences from progressive Death metal of the 90s to modern bands like Gojira, Meshuggah etc. Does this help you to enter more diverse billings in festivals or does it isolate you, being one of the few in the scene who follow this path musicwise?
Well, this is a really difficult topic… Actually, yes, we are one of the few Prog/Death bands arround, not only in Greece, and this happens for many years. This is good and bad. Good because when someone hears the name Acid Death, he know what to expect… No 3-riff songs, no catchy music etc. On the other hand, following a “lonely” direction prevents you for being “popular” not only for festivals but also in generally. In our case, we just do what heart says! Playing the music we always love. If someone believes that we deserve to be in his house by buying our album or to be a part of his festival, or anything like this we would be more than happy to to hear it, if not, no problem!
What are your thoughts on the scene today? Which bands separate themselves apart from the rest in your opinion?
Things are getting better day-by-day. There is a variety of good bands out there but the same time only few can be out of the glass… This is today’s “curse”. Internet gave the absolute freedom and some really good tools for promoting your work but the same time it is easier that ever to get lost just because there are many like you around… I can count more that 100 bands that I really like the last year but most important for them is to find the way not to be at the “one more” position….
You’ve been around officially since the mid-80s – early 90s. You’ve done some things the old school way, be it promoting your band with flyers, recording promos for record labels etc. Nowadays, some things have changed through the wide use of internet for band promotion. Since you’ve seen both ways of promotion, what’s the best advice you could give to an up and coming band today?
In all cases, in all cultures, in hard or easy ways there are only three words…”Never Give Up”!!
You’ve booked a series of shows in various cities of Greece, supported by bands like Soulskinner, Aherusia, Caelestia, Sacral Rage, Murder Angels, Thorn Burial etc. Mostly new bands of the scene, as Rotting Christ have done it for many years now with the Balkans tour etc. When I asked Sakis of Rotting Christ about it he said about “giving those newcomers the chance we never had when we were their age”. Is that the way your whole generation sees it?
It is not just a view from an entire generation…It is a “must”. At first, we feel, as band, although we started from 1989 that Acid Death still can be improve doing many things. We don’t feel that we have “supports” to our shows, just friendly bands that are sharing the stage with us. It is really important to pay attention to the “cooperators” in these cases, to be honest with them and to make them feel that you are working for the same target.
What can we expect from the upcoming Acid Death gigs?
Everyone will see a band that has worked really hard over the years, performing songs from all its releases.
Thanks a lot for your time Savvas! It’s been a huge honor, the final words are yours.
Thank you again for this presentation! Hall Of Mirrors is here, waiting for his chance. I am sure you will love it!