Polish death metal, you know the drill. One of the oldest scenes in the world of classic death metal. Following the left hand path of death metal since 1991, they are back with a brand new album called “Tremendum“. What does this new album have in store? Well, Metalpaths seized the chance to ask their frontman Adam “The First Sinner” Buszko this question and many more in a half-an-hour interview you can read below, while counting the days for their Greek invasion in June. Let’s walk through fire…
Good afternoon Adam! So, your 10th studio album “Tremendum” came out a few days ago via Napalm Records. How is the new album’s promotion going so far, and what are the fans’ reactions towards the “Numinosum” and “Asuric Being” videos?
Well, so far so good man. I mean the feedback we’ve been getting these days is very enthusiastic so to speak. Happy and proud that we’ve completed this album. Took us more than a year of intense work, and now it bears fruits, finally. And we can see the people’s reaction to it and it’s great. We’re really excited about going on tour in a week, the European tour with Nargaroth and Absu, and we’re going to bring the new stuff to the crowd. And we just can’t wait for that.
This time you’ve worked with a different filming company called 9LITER FILMY. You’ve also worked with Redpig as well as with Grupa13 in the past. Are you satisfied with the result and would you work with them again in future videoclips?
Yeah, absolutely. These guys were very enthusiastic about this script I had written for the video. The idea was to do a slavic/slavonic ritual, according to the old legend. This took some preparation, some permissions because we needed to film this at night in the forest with a fire and stuff. So we took quite all preparations and all kinds of permissions. But I’m really happy, I’m really satisfied that we did that without compromise, because it was filmed according to the script literally. It was really important to make it like that. What you can see, is a ritual of beheading a bird, actually. The bird is called kanja, and it’s a very popular bird of prey, very popular in Poland. And this ritual was performed once a year by the Slavic shamans. And the purpose of it was to get rid of all the evil powers and spirits that live inside humans. It was quite an important ritual.
So was it like an exorcism?
Yes you can compare it to exorcism. And it was performed within the slavic tribes, throughout all the slavic world, in Poland, in the Balkans and in Russia too. It was pretty popular, it’s a pretty ancient thing. So this was the basic idea that we build it up from there. As I said, I’m very satisfied with the final result. And I’d really like to work with those guys again. We made friends with them definitely, and that’s cool I think.
Judging from the material released so far online, it’s more black metal-oriented this time around. Is that so?
Well, it depends on what you mean by black metal. Because black metal to me is more of an ideology than a particular sound or technique. As you know we’ve been combining death metal and black metal for years, and maybe this album, it sounds more raw and organic and dynamic. And maybe it sounds more true to live, so to speak, because we decided not to edit the drum tracks and not to edit the guitar tracks so much. The additional were very little, we wanted to capture the feeling of a band playing live, as we do in our rehearsal room or on stage. This was very important, so this time you can see the production is not over-produced it’s more stripped down back to the roots. We changed the producer, because we recorded drums in Custom 34, and the rest in Sub Division studio in Warsaw, quite different studios than what we did before. And we had Attic Malpajesky the producer of the album, and it was all different. And also you can see or you can notice that when it comes to compositions, it’s quite a different approach. Because this time we worked on the songs on the rehearsal room, without using any computer, without using any pre-production or any sense of making it on a computer. We just made a lot of recordings of the rehearsal themselves, and then we selected the ideas we went through as pure versions of arrangements of each song. It was more like working in the rehearsal room, playing together, spending a lot time together, trying to capture the energy of the band, of the real people playing real instruments. So it was quite different in case of our previous record, and I think it’s a quality change. And I like the direction it’s more lively, it’s more organic you know.
Your record label Napalm Records has been very supportive, producing lyric videos and video clips to promote each of your 3 releases so far. In this internet age we live in, do you believe this is the best way for bands to promote their work, aside from touring?
Well, definitely it’s advisable to be active in this way too. All we do, is not only play music, but also present some ideas that are behind it. And sometimes, it needs to be visualized more. Shooting videos, or making lyric videos, or playthrough videos like we had, for example, published today. And there are more to come in the upcoming days. So yeah, I think it is all important to draw people into what we have to profess and the message that we have to spread through the album and through the medium that we consider the band to be, you know. I think it’s not just about playing live shows, but live shows is the most important aspect of our activity. And it has always been like that I think. We record the album, to later present that on stage, and that is a very important aspect too.
Adam, where do you draw inspiration from when writing lyrics for HATE?
It’s different on every album. But this time, most of the songs are kind of dedicated to paganism, to that lyric domain you may call it. The slavic world the pre-Christian times. I thought it was important in a way, because first of all it’s been pretty unknown domain to people today. It’s a world that’s been kind of buried and destroyed by the Christian civilization as it came along. Over the last two decades, a lot have been discovered, there have been quite a lot interesting publications in Poland about that. It was a great source of inspiration to me. I think it’s the philosophy, the belief of those people that has been reconstructed in a way and are really a great source of inspiration. It’s a great legacy I would say and I use it as a source of inspiration cause it’s fantastic and an eye-opening thing, because when it comes to the notion of holiness, which was the idea for the “Numinosum” track, it’s about what’s considered holy can be good and evil at the same time. One element didn’t exist without the other. What does it mean? It means that holy doesn’t necessarily mean good, it means both at the same time. So this idea of holiness, which was quite widespread in the slavic world, is very inspiring and I took a lot from it to write lyrics for the new album.
On the topic of musical inspiration, which are your all-time favorite records or artists of all time?
Hmmm there’s a lot of stuff cause I don’t categorize music. My musical tastes go across different genres and different kinds of music, you know. I listen to so different kinds of music. If you ask me about artists in general I would say bands like, for example, Dead Can Dance, Fields Of The Nephilim, Diamanda Gallas, from new bands I like Skupsja, it’s really cool I think. When it comes to metal, I still listen to the old school of course beginning from early stuff like Possessed, Death, early Slayer, Destruction and also some new stuff too. But these days it’s more like black metal or alternative rock, that’s my favorite today. For example, recently I’ve been listening to blues, Mile Davis, I discovered his album or re-discovered it, it’s a fantastic piece of music, fantastic energy. So, for a change from ferocious death/black metal that we do, I like to listen to stuff like that you know. My new discovery for example is a band called Zealand Order, never heard of them before. But just a few days ago I found out they were playing a show here in Warsaw. And can you imagine, it’s a combination of gospel music and black metal, something like that, and some alternative stuff in it, or blues even. So it’s a really interesting combination, I like the things that surprise me you know.
You’ve been on many strong tours throughout the years. However, which bands would you like to tour with, both old and new?
Well, I would say Morbid Angel, probably. Those guys are still one of the big death metal classics that we’ve never toured with. Even though we’ve met them many times on different festivals. But a tour with them would be something, would be really something you know. I think that’s a great answer to your question. But we’ve been fortunate enough to share the stage with bands like Sepultura or Mayhem, we played tours with both bands in the United States 2 years ago. We shared the stage with Hypocrisy, which was fantastic. We also played another tour with Belphegor, Vital Remains and some other bands. It’s great to take part in tours like that, definitely, because you can always get inspired by your peers, you know, and sometimes you know by the legends like Sepultura. It was definitely the best tour we’ve ever done, 5 or 6 years ago.
I think you also did a tour with the two greats from Poland, Behemoth and Vader
Yeah, two years ago we played a full-fledged tour with Vader around Europe and with Behemoth we played just one tour. It was a fantastic tour, cause Vader was there too! It was in 1999 in Poland. Behemoth, Vader, us and Krisiun. Can you imagine? It was fantastic! It was a crazy tour, I remember it was 12 shows all around Poland, just confined to Poland for some reason. It was like a traveling festival and it was absolutely fantastic.
You’ve been a part of the Polish death metal scene since the early 90’s. What are your thoughts on the local scene today, and death metal in general? Do you think there are new bands that stand out?
Well, I wouldn’t call it a death metal scene. I’d rather use the term of extreme metal. Because this kind of genre is very very active in Poland. The scene is active and growing, all the time since I remember it. I started the band as a teenager in 1990 and we were one of the first bands that played a declared extreme metal in Poland. But since then, I think, as long as I remember, it has always been very creative and a lively metal scene. It’s a kind of phenomenon. Because you can see new bands coming all the time. For example, this time you have Batushka and MGLA those two black metal bands. But these guys didn’t come out of nothing, they have been on the stage for years. We’ve been friends with them for many years. So you can see new projects coming out, but it’s the same creative environment, filled with the same people, inspiring each other in a way, motivating each other and it’s like a creative melting pot. I cannot really explain this phenomenon, because it’s growing all the time, and I always get surprised by the new things coming. There must be something in the Polish water I think. (laughs) I can’t find an explanation, but it’s great to be a part of it. And I’m so proud of it.
You’re planning a Greek mini-tour in early June. This is going to be the second time coming to Greece, one year after the two gigs supporting Decapitated last year. What are your memories from those gigs and Greece in general?
Very good, very good. And no wonder that we are coming back again. I remember it was our first time in Greece as a band. I remember that fantastic reception we got in Athens and in Thessaloniki too. So, it was very inspiring so to speak, and also promising. And that’s why we continue. We are coming back with a longer set now, as a headliner, and I think we’ll be able to present more and in a more proper way and I can’t wait! Absolutely, and I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic show. And with a new album in our hands, the new repertoir. I’m sure it’s going to be great.
What can the Greek HATE fans expect from your upcoming gigs?
Well, first of all, we’re gonna bring longer full set of songs from different albums throughout our discography. But also, most of the set will be devoted to the new album of course. We’re gonna bring our own stage design, also our sound guy who we’ve been working for years. It’s going to be more of a Hate proper performance. Because every time you join other bands like we did with Decapitated, and playing support to them it’s a different thing and you’re confined to 40 minutes or something like that. This time there’ll be no limits like that, and I’m sure those shows would be more adequate to satisfy real Hate followers, cause I know that we have quite a few of such in Greece. Cause we get quite a lot of good vibes and good reviews from Greece and a lot of welcomes. So I think it’s high time for us to come to Greece to play headlining shows. And as I said, I can’t wait for that.
What are the future plans for HATE now that “Tremendum” is out?
Yes, yes, a lot is going on these days. We’re talking with some American agencies, it seems that we’re going on tour to America. We’re returning to America after a few years of abscence. And this time it’s going to be like a full-fledged tour in November. I cannot tell more details now, because it has been confirmed, it just hasn’t been announced yet and I shouldn’t go first, we are supporting some great thrash metal band. And also there will be another tour in March 2018 in America with us on board. So it looks very optimistic. And also we’re gonna play more in Europe, cause it looks like more offers coming out, more festival appearances will be confirmed very soon. And I’m sure that after releasing “Tremendum” we’ll be more and more active concert-wise. And there will be more activity from us, tours and festivals too. There’s one more tour that has been confirmed, the Russian tour with Marduk and Destruction in autumn. I also can’t wait for that because we have a really good audience in Russia. We’ve been there 4 times up to now, so it’s going to be our 5th stay in Russia. It’s also pretty exciting. We’re gonna work more and more on that aspect of our activity: touring. Bringing the music to the people.
That was about it Adam, thanks a lot for your time, it’s been a huge honour. You get to say the final words.
I’m sending big greetings and respect to our Greek followers and I welcome them to the shows. I highly recommend it. And what I can also say is to visit our official website cause there’s much more coming up from us, in the upcoming days. There’ll be more videos, playthrough and stuff like that. So yeah I recommend it too. And thank you John for the interview, it’s been a pleasure man.