ANAAL NATHRACK :  interview with V.I.T.R.I.O.L.


interview by  Haavard Holm  ___ 

official website: www.anaal-nathrakh.tk







For my part there is very little doubt on what the best Black Metal release of 2004 would be. ANAAL NATHRAKH's "Domine Non Es Dignus" (released by Season of Mist) ran over anything else in the genre this year, with blasting, raw Black Metal, still infested with somewhat melodic tendencies in a rather unique mixture.

I just had to get in touch with vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and his opinions around the new album, and he could also give me some more insight to what the band also stand for outside just the musical side...



Haavard - First of all, I must say that "Domine Non Es Dignus" to me is the highlight in the whole Black Metal genre this year, do you feel that this new album is some sort of milestone for the band ?

V.I.T.R.I.O.L. -   Thank you.  We think it sounds very good, too.  I don't think of it in terms of being a milestone, it's just us taking things to the next level.  It's a stronger all round album than we've done before, and it sounds great, and it's on a label that can take us forward.  Plus I think it could be remembered in the future as sort of milestone.  So in those senses, it could be described in that way.  But at the same time, it's not something that we've been striving for in the past and failed to achieve, and it's not the first thing that we've felt happy with once we'd finished it.  Getting our first demo recorded was an event for us, getting the original CDR release of the two demos was an event, getting outr first album out, getting album of the month awards, getting Attila on our EP for some guest vocals, being asked to do a session for John Peel.  They were all milestones in one way or another.  To us, this is simply the latest chapter.


How would you compare your debut "Codex Necro", your follow-up MCD "When Fire Rains..." and this new effort ?

The new album is broader, it has more of everything.  Some people have mentioned the more melodic aspects, and it's true they sound like a new element.  But most bands who say thing like that are really talking about the fact that they've become easier to listen to and more... nice.  Not Anaal Nathrakh.  There's some huge melodies, but also the fastest song we've ever done, and some sections of total ferocious insanity.  The new album is just more of everything.


How do the band handle the song-writing process ? With this kind of very aggressive music it tells me that the band has to be quite focused on maintaining this aspect of the "typical" sound of AN...

Not necessarily.  Anaal Nathrakh comes naturally to us, it is a part of how we think about music.  Plus we're not so concerned with making sure everything sounds like typical Anaal Nathrakh - we just do what we want to hear.  The song writing process is very simple.  Irrumator writes all the music, then I put the vocals on.  We spend a long time before starting work on a recording discussing our ideas and coming up with things we want to use and so on.  So by the time Irrumator picks his guitar up, he's already got a lot of the stuff in his head.  The music for this album was mostly written in about 3-4 weeks.  Once it's all recorded, we do the vocals and other parts that might go on top of the music in sessions of a few hours at a time over a week or two, simply because of the way we work in the studio and the fact that we have the luxury of time because we record ourselves.  Most of the material is sorted out before we get into the studio, so it's just a case of arranging what parts and ideas go where in terms of the different sounds we can use.  A lot of the vocal styles are decided quite spontaneously, so there's not so much of an organized writing process needed.


Still being a very rough experience, the track "Do Not Speak" is a fantastic affair, but with more melodic leads and even clean vocals. Without a doubt for me the greatest track on the album and a potential classic BM track... How did this song come about and how do you in the band feel about it ?

It came together in the same way most of our songs do - on the spot.  When Irrumator writes and records the music, it can still be difficult to hear what the finished track will sound like.  We add bits and come up with ideas right through to the end of the recording process, and the vocals and other sounds we add can change a track a lot.  So for example the chorus on 'Do Not Speak' just came into my head when we were listening to the track to record the vocals.  So until we actually did it, we didn't know exactly how the song would turn out.  It's not the only strong track on the album, but it was one of our favourites.  Because of the way we work, part of the mixing and mastering process it to take rough mixes to pubs and get them played over the sound systems, to get a different perspective on what needs to be done.  And it was that track we used to begin with.


For me if comparing AN to any band, it would have to be with Emperor, also something that I've seen several other magazines do. Do you think it's a problem being compared to others ?

It's not a problem, but we generally think it's irrelevant.  It's gratifying to be placed in the company of talented musicians and writers like Emperor of course, but it doesn't really change anything in the end.  Personally, I'm not sure where the Emperor comparison comes from because I don't think we sound particularly like them.  Yeah, we both use a bit of singing, and we have both enjoyed listening to their music.  But when we first heard of the comparison, we were both a bit puzzled.  Emperor use keyboards!  Maybe it's because I haven't really heard any by them since 'Anthems...'.  In the past it was more often Mayhem we got compared to, or sometimes other bands.  But that is all something for other people to worry about, it doesn't really affect us and won't change the music we make.  It might be flattering sometimes, but in the end we just sound like Anaal Nathrakh as far as we're concerned.

A rather unique experience is the fact that while using very aggressive "typical" vocals in AN, you also combine them ,with some rather fantastic growling almost grind-like background vocals. A tough combination ?

Thanks.  Not really difficult, although it is quite a different style.  We like to throw various things into the cauldron to keep everything interesting and give it more depth.  Brutal, ultra-grind vocals are something I like listening to, so we put them into Anaal Nathrakh.  With the 'typical' vocals, we always wanted a totally extreme version of singing, and we fucking got it!  A lot of people seem to think there's distortion or harmonisers used, but there's not.  The low vocals really are that deep, and the violent vocals really are that savage.  The only places we use vocal effects are on parts that are obviously 'sound effect' parts.


If you can say something about the influences of the band, would they range only from extreme forms of metal or do the band also enjoy other forms of music ?

We listen to a wide range of things.  Between us, we vary from Japanese noise, Grindcore, Black and Death Metal to traditional Metal to Jazz and blues to electronic stuff like LFO to classical music.  A variety of things, although the bulk of it is made up of metal and extreme metal.  I terms of influences on Anaal Nathrakh, when we started out we were thinking of things along the lines of Mayhem and the nastier end of the Black Metal spectrum.  Since then we haven't really been influenced by anything, we've just thought about how we wanted Anaal Nathrakh to sound.  I suppose outside influences might be present without us thinking about them, but generally speaking we've just been influenced by ourselves, if that makes sense.


The recordings you've made so far has been in your companion Mick's Necrodeath Studios. Do you feel comfortable to be able to record in safe surroundings without time pressure and external producers ?

It's ideal for us.  Both from the point of view of the time we have, and from the point of view of the way we work.  If there was a clock ticking in the backs of our heads, or we had to think about the fact that in a studio, time is money, then we wouldn't be concentrating fully on the music.  And with noone else involved, it makes it easier for us to concentrate on how we want things to sound, without having to explain things to another person, who might not immediately understand.  We both think about Anaal Nathrakh and sounds in general in a pretty similar way, and that could be hard to get across to someone who doesn't deal with us day in day out.  For example, when we went to the BBC studios to record our Peel Session, we had a bit of difficulty explaining some of the sounds we were trying to get to the studio engineers, despite the fact that they were very good at their jobs and helpful guys.  The process of creating sounds and shaping the feeling of the recordings we make is one of the things we enjoy about being in Anaal Nathrakh.


Being located in Birmingham, how is the local metal scene in the area ? Do you follow what other British bands are doing these days ?

There's a lot more people around now than there used to be.  There was a time before we were really old enough to be involved when there was a lot happening around here with Napalm Death and Benediction and Bolt Thrower etc. all starting out.  But that had disappeared to a large extent by the time we were around.  A few years ago I never thought I'd ever see another person who'd heard of Impaled Nazarene.  Now there are girls in Mayhem shirts in the pub I normally drink in, it's very strange.  We don't follow British bands in a studious way, we follow the music we like regardless of where it's from.  But we have contact with bands like Labrat or Narcosis or Akercocke through playing Mistress gigs with them and finding out they're good guys, or in some cases seeing them in the pub (most often Napalm and the other Benediction guys).  We have been criticized by some local people for not supporting the 'scene', but to be honest, we are interested in things that interest us, and not in things that don't.  That might sound blindingly obvious, but that's how we think, regardless of what that might have to do with any scene.


Do you feel a general discrimination for the fact that you are from England when you try to promote the band ? I mean, BM fans seems to be rather discriminating about non-Scandinavian bands at times...

Not really.  People might remark that we're English but that's natural because there aren't so many English bands that sound like us.  Or maybe they'll say they were impressed that we were giving Scandinavian bands a run for their money or whatever.  But that's not negativity, it's just speaking the truth.  But then we don't go round trying to convince BM fans to like us.  Fans of any kind will either like us or they won't.  If they refuse to like us because of where we're from, or have to be persuaded that we're OK, even though we're not from a country where it's dark for 6 months of the year, then who cares?  Fuck them.  Listen to the fucking music and decide if you like it, end of story.


"Domine Non Es Dignus" is your first album on a more commercial metal-label. Do you feel comfortable now to be more available for the audience ? Why did you make the choice to move over to a bigger label ?

I'm not sure that more commercial is the best way to describe the difference between the labels.  Despite the fact that bigger labels tend to be more commercial, there's a certain level where that's not always the case.  You can be big enough to have good distribution but not so big that they're money driven monsters.


Myself I am not a big fan of Black Metal in a live-setting, and in any case with Anaal Nathrakh's music I can not imagine at all the band to be able to recreate the intensity and violent feeling live. What do you think ?

I'm sure we could.  I'm not sure that we will, but I am sure if we decided to do it, we could succeed.  But it would take a lot of time and effort, which makes it harder for us to consider.  Without wanting to sound like rock stars, it would have to be a concert that was offering a comparatively large amount of money because of the costs involved.  We will see what the future brings...


None of the Anaal Nathrakh albums are available in the vinyl format, is this something the band care for at all or do you think the vinyl is a surplus format these days ?

That's not out of choice.  In fact, we would like to see vinyl releases.  I'm not as convinced as some people seem to be that vinyl sounds better.  Unless you've got stereo equipment that costs far more than we could ever afford, a really good CD player sounds just wonderful to me (I have an Arcam CD73T, which is superb).  But vinyl is just cool!  A picture LP would be something I'd love to see come out.


What do you think are the 3 best albums released so far this year ?

To be perfectly honest, I lose track of when albums I like come out, so I'm not sure whether the stuff I've heard recently was actually released this year.    Was Human Harvest released this year or last?  That is a simply brilliant album, just because of the whole sound of it.  The production's hardly perfect on anything but the vocals, but it's just so fucking brutal!  Real Gone might not be as good as Alice, but I'll say that just because it's new Tom Waits.  I wanted to see him play in London recently, but first of all the tickets were 70 each, which is just a huge price.  And then second, when I looked back to check, it had sold out.  Apparently the gig sold out in around 20 minutes, tickets were going for hundreds of pounds on Ebay.  If only I had fucking bought a few when I had the chance!

zum Seitenanfang top - inizio pagina


presentation|news|reviews|interviews|live reports|specials|f**king bollox|tours|dates

  upcoming releases|underground|artwork|videoclip|MP3's|venues


[I Despair]


GryphonMetal.ch   2001-2005Niederrohrdorf - Switzerland