translated by Duzl, thank you!
Interview with Polish death metal band EMBRIONAL.
Ave EMBRIONAL! I have not found any interview in Czech language with you. So I beg you on behalf of the readers (who do not know you yet),to introduce the band. You can start from scratch and tell us the whole history of EMBRIONAL.
Hail. That’s true, we are neighbours, and lots of Poles are actively involved in all metal events you hold in your country, and they’re perfect, yet we haven’t had a chance to be featured in a paper or an online version. Of course, there’ve been several reviews of our various recordings, but this interview is the very first, so it’s all the more a surprise and an honour for us J . Let’s start with day zero, then. EMBRIONAL was founded in 2003. In 2005, the line-up and the core of the band got stabilised, and the band started to perform live intensely throughout the country. In 2006, we put out our first, 43-minute-long demotape entitled ‘Cusp Of Evil’, officially released in 2008 by OLD TEMPLE Prod. In 2007, we recorded the next demotape entitled ‘Annihilation’. It was 21 minutes of totally extreme, underground death metal. In 2009, owing to OLD TEMPLE again, we released a split record with the Warsaw-based EMPHERIS, with two original tracks plus four cover tracks per band. We covered Mayhem, Sarcofago and Pestilence, and we recorded a track featuring various heavy metal standards. In 2012, OLD TEMPLE released our debut album, ‘Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors’, and in 2014 they officially released the ‘Annihilation’ demotape on CD; as a bonus, they included a live performance recorded on our tour promoting the debut album. The second album, ‘The Devil Inside’, was put out in cooperation of various labels, and on various media. OLD TEMPLE released a regular CD, GODZ OV WAR/THIRD EYE TEMPLE released a limited CD in a black box with a silver print and our 3D mask, and a tape, and HELLTHRASHER PROD. released two vinyl versions. A regular black version and a red and black splatter with a flag.
In February you released a second full-length album in a row titled "The Devil Inside". What is the feedback from the fans regarding this album? What are the criticism and how does the songs work live on stage?
After we put out ‘The Devil Inside’, we and GODZ OV WAR started sending the stuff out for promotional purposes, to get some reviews. The response has been truly positive. There’ve been lots of reviews, mainly flattering and enthusiastic ones. Lots of people recognise the load of work put into the album, the atmosphere of the record, the diversified music featured on it, various motives and original nature of the music. I can’t deny we were really surprised although we didn’t expect much of the stuff. It’s a realisation of our fantasies which turned out to be interesting to some other people, too. At present, this kind of music isn’t very popular with metalheads, but the stuff actually delivers. Unfortunately, due to our drummer’s serious health problems, we had to cancel all our shows after we released the album. We had already booked a couple of really interesting events held this year. In fact, save for one gig, we didn’t have a chance to verify how the new material would massacre live.
When I look at your discography I have noticed that you have not released many albums. If I remember correctly you have on your account, only two long-playing records. With that, you have been operating since 2003, and it's not much. What is the cause? Was there no time, money or ideas?
I’ve mentioned all our releases before. Time and reality are the only constraint; we don’t have enough of time to devote ourselves to music completely. We lead normal lives in which the family, the work, music classes, fun and lots of other everyday issues keep us from it. Fucking mundane reality in a country like Poland quite reduces the possibility of pursuing your goals and developing on a wider scale. Of course, financial matters as just as fundamental. We’re not extensively supported, and we can’t pursue our visions without any limitations.
The first thing that "hit me in the eye" was the great cover from Mariusz Krajewski. Not Much about this guy can be traced from the Internet. Can you introduce him, please? How did you get together and why his work? Did you choose from the works already created or did Mariusz paint the cover directly for you?Has he previously heard your album as a source of inspiration?
Mariusz Krajewski is our long-time friend who lives in the same town (Gliwice, the Upper Silesia Region). We love the same sort of music. We grew up together. Many years ago, he offered to draw something for us. It was the ‘Annihilation’ demotape cover. His style, vision, ambience, technique and compatibility with our sound ideas surprised us enough to decide to cooperate with him only. Mariusz has his own characteristic style which perfectly fits EMBRIONAL’s music and underlying ideas. Apart from outlining the music to be featured on the record, and the topics to be discussed in lyrics, we don’t need to interfere with his visions in any way. He creates various morbid worlds which are perfectly harmonised with the record as a whole. Once about 60% of the image is ready, he gets the music and the lyrics from us so as to be able to complete it. But it only slightly modifies the direction he’s already taken. He’s a genial graphic artist who we’re going to cooperate with as long as possible; still, the prose of life doesn’t let him pursue his morbid visions without any constraints just like he would like to.
"The Devil Inside" has a very good dark sound. It is signed by Arkadiusz Malczewski (Malta). Why was he?I say this sincerely because according to us, when we mention about Polish death metal, everyone just jumps to Hertz studio and start working with the Wieslawski brothers. But their sound seems to me still the same lately. I like that you sound different and more darker. How do you collaborate and record with Arkadiusz?
We chose Arek because a few people and his accomplishments prove he’s an ideal person to make our ideas come true. Sure, Wiesławski brothers’ perfect but diverse recordings from the Hertz Studio are the top in Poland now. But, as you’ve already noted, everything sounds so alike. Still, it’s not only a faults of the producers but of the bands who are recording at a given location and what to sound like someone else, someone popular. Just to remind the Morrisound Studios, The Abyss, the Sunlight Studio, and so on, and so forth, where they had problems with bands wanting to sound like their predecessors although the local sound engineers could deliver hundreds of other interesting creations. It’s important for a band to have an idea of themselves, to know what they want to accomplish, how they want to accomplish, and where they’re going, and a good sound engineer will surely get the most of it. You don’t need to copy others, you need to look for your own way. It’s an ideal solution, and it satisfies us the most. And that’s what we needed Malta for. We had a great time together; he got to know us gradually, he could see we had our own vision of music, and with the next release we and Malta should get to a completely different, abstract level of satisfaction, ha ha ha.
How long have you been preparing the songs for "The Devil Inside"? "Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors" and the last album is shared for three years. That's not much time, but it is said that a band should issue the album after every two years to be constantly on the eyes.
Given our everyday duties I’ve already told you about, plus ongoing bassist changes, the time between the two recordings has significantly extended. Just before the recordings, we had to enjoy the help of our INFERNAL WAR friend who recorded bass tracks. Given the complexity of our music, it couldn’t have been done in just a few days. Plus, we had some production problems as Malta does the sound for BEHEMOTH. As you know, they guys play live quite a lot, so we had to follow Arek’s schedule. When we had the whole album recorded at the end of 2013 and mastered in mid-2014, we had to face some publishing problems. And all that resulted in the three-year-long gap between our full-time recordings. But for the problems, the stuff would’ve seen the light of day as early as at the beginning of 2014. We don’t know if putting out albums on a regular, two-year basis makes us perceived more positively. Sure, it would be cool to let people know we’re still there at regular intervals, but there are so many irritating situations which prevent it, at least it’s our case.
Who was the author of the lyrics on the new album? Where did you take your inspiration? Personally, I can not get out of my head certain phrases of the tracks! Along with the music which form a perfect whole. Did you write lyrics over the prepared music or was it vice versa?
‘The Devil Inside’ lyrics are our original lyrics. Before that, we made use of the lyrics by our friend, Arek Jędzicki, the editor of the ‘Morbidous Pathology’ zine. For instance, he wrote all the lyrics for ‘Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors’. All the lyrics featured on ‘The Devil Inside’ were influenced by the 19th century insanity, by ‘The Flowers of Evil’ by Charles Baudelaire, but also by our everyday sick thoughts and authentic situations, and our fascination with Evil. It being an integral part of the essence of mankind. We tried to sound like Charles… There’s lots of analogy with our remarks on our Selves, our experiences and observations regarding our environment.
Both the albums you have released on the Polish label Old Temple. Are you satisfied with their work and promotion? In my opinion they are doing their job very well, because I encountered on your album abroad almost at every step, but what we will talk - as it's a small label and the comfort of large companies can not provide for you. Have you tried reaching some larger publishers?
So far, I mean since 2006, all our CDs have been released by OLD TEMPLE. At first, Eryk – the owner of the label – was the only one interested in our stuff, and he’s strongly believed in us ever since. Unfortunately, due to the limited budget, capabilities and contacts, promotion of our individual releases was not particularly astonishing. Despite the involvement, there’s still much to be done about it, but we can’t influence this status quo. It’s nice there’s someone willing to release EMBRIONAL records at all. Apart for OLD TEMPLE, for a couple of years now our friend, an underground maniac and an old school crew member Greg, operating under the label name of GODZ OV WAR, has been helping us to get through via some underground channels, and it’s brought about some interesting results. Owing to the support from GODZ OV WAR, we can reach really interesting places around the world with our music. That’s why you came across ‘The Devil Inside’ reviews in so many different places. Greg also helped us look for people willing to release the record on other media, and he keeps on carrying our promotional activities. No distinguished label has expressed interest in our music.
"The Devil Inside" was released in two formats - CD and cassette (Third Eye Temple). Are you going for a vinyl release as well? This medium gets back to the great popularity. What is your relationship with this medium?Are you buying and listening gramophone records? When I did an interview with DEMONICAL, Martin Schulman said a beautiful sentence: "Old music belongs to the old medium - there stands out the most!"
The Devil Inside’ was published as a regular CD, as a CD limited to 100 copies, coming in a black box with a silver print and a #D mask, as an MC limited to 100 copies, and as an LP in two versions -150 copies in black and 90 limited copies in red and black splatter with a flag featuring the band logo. We believe vinyl versions of metal releases are the best way to get in touch with and to interact with this sort of music. Sound quality, publication format, enormous images on the front cover. Everything simply soaking in magic and mysticism. Of course, driving your car or running your errands, all you need is music, not the media; still, the vinyl undoubtedly brings the most of that magic you need to fully enjoy the music and the concept of the album, to celebrate your interaction with art. It’s fucking great the medium has long been as popular as it used to be before years of its non-existence, and now virtually everything that’s released on CD is also released on vinyl. But the call is yours, listener.
In your music often appear also elements of black metal. What is your relationship with this style?"Polish death metal school" is clearly discernible by the fact that you're not afraid to combine death metal with black metal. At the same time, if you remember, that in Norway the supporters of these two styles are mutually enemies. How is it in Poland? In Czech Republic these two scenes blend together quite well and collisions do not occur.
We’re metal maniacs in general, maybe apart from those exceptions in which the sissiness of the content and of the performers is deplorably low, artificial and pathetic. Death, black, thrash, funeral doom, industrial, grindcore, noise, drone, nwobhm, classical music, ost, etc., etc. We don’t limit our preferences and inspirations to just one genre of music. It’s mind-constraining. We love diversity in music. Of course, there are some acceptability limits, but in general we follow the golden rule that everything that’s dark, morbid, gloomy and fucking great in art lets us get free and reach satisfying levels of self-conscience and satisfaction. It lets us feel fucking great and creatively accomplished, and we keep doing things to make ourselves feel better all our lives. Different kinds of music, or of art in general, let us develop in different aspects, so why be limited by anything, save for your knowledge and skills? We’re not afraid to combine completely different genres, although it’s not that easily clear from the start. We also prefer quite an orthodox attitude to the matter because of our musical roots, so – all in all – it turns out we like to play with the sound, with different conventions, and to develop in an unrestricted manner, but within quite hermetic and specified limits of the death metal genre :))!
Polish death metal in the world has a great name. When you say Norway, everyone starts imagining immediately the black metal scene and when we say Poland then its about the death metal genre. Norwegians have a fairly sophisticated system of support bands and due to their presentation abroad, they tend to receive finances from the state.Does something similar exist also in Poland?
Back to the origins of your question – animosities between genres occurred in Poland, even if slightly delayed, as frequently as they did in Norway. Hatred, the new wave of black metal getting through to death metal, its increasing popularity and changing direction of its development which back then turned towards intense exploration of technically advanced areas of the genre. Also, work to improve your musicianship, while leaving out the original, dark, evil, hellish atmosphere was radically different from the emerging new fury. Natural negation of the previous status quo that accompanies every type of art, underlain by excessive self-repetition, triggered yet another revolution of the genre and development of extreme and primordial instincts. Of course, it was all associated with the domination of musical and non-musical activities in Norway. A strong crew developing in Poland back then, uncritically and dogmatically following the genre, and trying to copy the Scandinavian environment, only reinforced conflicts and hatred between maniacs of different subgenres. Back then, no one in Poland could imagine making friends with another metal genre. Diversity and purity of a specific subgenre was strong, so the scenes were independent of one another. Today, the situation is diametrically different.
What about EMBRIONAL and its concerts? What I searched on the Internet, I could not find many. I know that it's all mostly about finances but what about a European tour? For example I can imagine you playing as a support band alongside VADER on some smaller tour.
It’s nice you mainly associate the Polish scene with high quality death metal. Thanks!!! Still, the situation has changed diametrically over the last several years. There are now really few bands playing high quality death metal of any sort. Of course, genre icons known all around the world keep on doing fine all the time. Behemoth, Vader, Decapitated, Hate, Dead Infection, Lost Soul, Christ Agony, Azarath, Epitome, etc. The situation has changed radically, it’s been refreshed and balanced, and there’s more self-consciousness when it comes to looking for new genres. The process does involve some copying of other, further productions, but as a scene, we’re not different from others in that respect. For many years, we were perceived as a death metal hatchery, which was not wrong to think, and which was similar to Norway is terms of domination and the black metal scene, although we now know if because of some obscure and old school death metal acts. Similarly, we mainly associate your country, the Czech Republic, with goregrind, etc. They’re just labels, we know many other different bands music wise, be it Masters Hammer or Thor. In Poland, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint alpha genres as everything is mixed up, alive and kicking in various aspects... Just like French black metal, Canadian death metal, Australian black, death, thrash, Polish death metal, old scene in Holland and Sweden, German thrash, South European black metal and South American mind-blowing stuff, or revival of Norwegian basements and forests. Whatever you wish. It keeps on trembling and pulsating.
If you compare support ‘for’ and capabilities ‘of’ bands in a specific country, for instance Scandinavia, and Poland, well, let’s leave this stone unturned, we all know the support authorities provide to any cultural activities of those ambitious and creative Scandinavians. Smoothly, easy, nice, no stress and money, ha ha ha. Here, it never happened for various political and social reasons, and that didn’t even change when we started to copulate with the European Union. Bands keep on fighting for their very existence without any support from regional organisations which could at least make it easier to hold rehearsals at all sorts of buildings. Shit to the nth degree.
Which albums got your attention the last time?
In Poland, since 2007, i.e. since the released of our second demotape, 'Annihilation’, we’ve been steadily playing more and more live gigs. After the ‘AAHB’ was released, we toured the whole Poland for two years, and we shared the stage with different Polish and foreign bands. From those insignificant names to those really well-known bands. We played clubs, and we played open-air gigs. We gradually reinforced our position in the Polish underground. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to play abroad, save for one live performance in the Czech Republic with Vader and Hate during Hardline Therapy. We don’t know too many concert promoters in Europe, and our everyday professional duties keep us from going away for extended periods. After releasing ‘The Devil Inside’, we wanted to go to different European locations along some befriended bands; unfortunately, our drummer’s serious health problems made it impossible for us to promote the album live. It’s hard for us to find a replacement for Kamil as he put some complicated and demanding drum parts on the album, and none of our friends can read musical notation, so they can’t identify various parts where we play in unison, change the metre or the rhythm.
Here in Bohemia we perceive the Polish scene as something huge in comparison to our small country which is unreachable. You have a lot of clubs, a large amount of great bands, labels, thousands of enthusiastic fans. Is it so in reality? Do really a lot of people go to concerts? Do you feel the support as band from the fans?Do the fans buy your CDs, vinyl, merchandise, etc? When you have a concert in a small club, what is the crowd turnout?
Reality looks quite different when you look at it from a perspective of another country. Although there’s a strong music scene, lots of underground ‘zines, some well-known bands and plenty of underground ones who create very original and ambitious music, and lost of local and foreign bands play live gigs here, and there are quite a lot professional clubs, the number of maniacs attending those concerts, if you compare it to the early 1990s, has radically decreased. Nobody feels like going out to small underground gigs, and bands like Deicide no longer attract huge crowds, either. It’s sad, but the number of metalheads in our country must have dropped by 2/3. Sissiness, tracksuits and disco music are top out there. Abundance of metal gigs and bands, easy access to music, fast-paced life, no money and no involvement in the scene. It all looks like a withering branch of a tree. Of course, there are still a lot of people deeply involved in the underground, they’re true maniacs, but the fresh and young blood doesn’t know those values that well. In fact, Poles only go to Czech and European festivals in really impressive numbers. We’ve been regular Brutal Assault goers for ten years. Organisation wise, anyone can learn from you. Unfortunately, Poland is quite different. There may be two hundred people, but there as well may be five of them. And you don’t know what causes the difference.
Do you know of or are you following some bands from the Czech Republic?
We sure know lots of Czech bands. I might forget some valuable ones, but my memory no longer works that fine, he he he he. Master’s Hammer, Thorr, Hypnos, Krabathor, Patek XIII, Jig-Ai, Fleshless, Cerebral Turbulency, Adultery, Dysangelium, Inferno, Spasm, Silva Nigra, Tortharry, Root, Trollech, Apocryphal Death, Brutally Deceased, Godless Truth, Gutulax, Helena Vondrackowa.
Where is EMBRIONAL going in the coming months? We look forward to see you at some concert in our country?
We’re still promoting ‘The Devil Inside’ – in the underground, via different channels, thanks to four promoters. The stuff has reached lots of addressees throughout the world and in Poland, too. There’ve been lots of interviews with the band. Unfortunately, due to our drummer’s aforementioned health problems we can’t present the stuff live. We’re working on the replacement to appear at several live performances promoting the album. I think we’ll start working on a new album next year, and we’ll definitely be more active concerts wise.
Thank you for the interview and wish you the most CD sales and crowds of devoted fans.
Thanks for your support and the opportunity to introduce EMBRIONAL to Czech maniacs!!! I hope you will forgive me for such a long time you've had to wait for my answers, but, as I said in my e-mails, it’s a very difficult period for us, for many reasons. We hope we’ll meet somewhere at our gigs in your country!!! Regards.
Recenze/review - EMBRIONAL – The Devil Inside (2015)
Recenze/review - EMBRIONAL – The Devil Inside (2015)