Interview with Serbian death metal band SACRAMENTAL BLOOD.
- answered Milan Dobrosavljević.
translated by Markéta, thank you!
Ave SACRAMENTAL BLOOD! I didn´t find any interview with you in Czech. So, I would like you to tell our readers, who don’t know you, something about your band. You can start from the beginning and tell us the whole SACRAMENTAL BLOOD´s history.
Sacramental Blood was risen from ashes of my previous band Androphagous, in January 2002. We did few unofficial demos and in 2005 we signed deal with Walk Records for recording and release of our debut demo "Inception of Ceremeony". It came out in 2006 as a part of split cd with Ophiolatry from Brazil. Both bands hit the road together few months later, playing European Blastour 2006. In January 2009 we started recording of our debut album, taking short break for playing "Storming the Balkans" tour with God Dethroned and Fleshgod Apocalypse. The recordings were finished after the tour but some disagreements between band members forced me to put the band and album on ice. In 2011 we recruited new vocalist/guitarist Srdjan Todorovic and recorded demo "The Second Death" for the promotion of upcoming "Disgorging the Balkans" tour with Mexican Disgorge and Natron. Srdjan's vocals gave us whole new sound so after the tour we decided to re-record all vocals on album and most of guitar solos. Album was reamped, mixed and mastered in 16th Cellar Studio (Rome) by Stefano Morabito and released in 2016 on different formats by 3 different labels: Ghastly Music (Japan), Miner Records (Swiss) and Rebirth the Metal (Germany). By the time people you publish this interview Brazilian labels Insane Records and Lab6 Music will also release digipack for territory of Brazil.
Last May you published your new album “Ternion Demonarchy”.How do you feel about it now? What are the fans´ reviews? And how about the critics?
It feels great releasing it after so many years working on it and waiting for release. Reactions are great. We haven't seen any single bad review and everybody seems to like it. It ended up on several lists of best releases in 2016 so we are more than happy with response to it.
How did you create new material for “Ternion Demonarchy? How do SACRAMENTAL BLOOD compose?
Material was composed during period of many years. 1-2 songs I composed even before composing songs from the first demo, but I kept them for the album. Basically I write the riffs at home and others guys from time to time show me what they wrote and I turn at home all those riffs into songs. Once I think the song is finished I show it to drummer, we work out details and then the rest of the band learns the song and maybe add something to it. Riffing is bit more complex and intricate so there's no chance we could come up with such riffs and arrangements together, jamming at rehearsals. It takes lot of mental work and not only playing, for which I need peace of my home and enough time to work on details.
Who is the author of your lyrics? And what are your lyrics about? Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
I wrote all the lyrics on this album. They are dealing mostly with religion and destructive nature of mankind. Some of the topics are also touching subjects like mental and social alienation, cloning and sorcery but those songs are multi layered, having horror stories in the first plan carrying some deeper thoughts between the lines.
Who is the author of the cover for “Ternion Demonarchy”? I really like his work. How did you chose the cover?
Cover artwork was painted by amazing Spanish artist Juanjo Castellano Rosado, also known for his artworks for Revel in Flesh, Avulsed, Vomitory etc. I like his paintings a lot so I contacted him and asked if he was interested to make cover for us. I gave him some ideas about concept of it and he came up with this amazing piece of art. It's definitely one of his best artworks ever.
The sound of the album is great. It is dark, cold and sharp at the same time. Which studio did you chose for recording? Did you have any opinions about the final sound and mastering, were you able to change anything?
The album was originally recorded completely in Wild Cat studio in Kragujevac (Serbia). Later we went through some line up changes and decided to re-record vocals and about 60-70% of solos and that was done mostly in Archsound Studio in Belgrade. Complete album was sent then to 16th Cellar Studio in Rome (Italy) where Stefano Morabito (known for his work with Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour of Penance etc) did re-amping, mixing and mastering. We told him what kind of sound we would like to have and then he worked on it, sending us different versions until we thought it was good enough. It was him doing it all but we also had our saying, couple of times asking him to go back and start again from the scratch. Personally, I wish we had more old school sound, more organic and less triggered and compressed but on the other hand it was our decision to make album that way, to avoid typical shitty Serbian sound. Lot of people praise the album because it's early 90's death metal with modern sound that doesn't sound like we are recycling anything so we are happy with the final result.
The new album was published by Japanese Ghastly Music. Why this label? Were you satisfied with their work?
They gave us the best conditions, that's the only reason. We talked to few other labels and some big labels also showed interest but at the end nothing happened so we signed for Ghastly Music. The contract gave us opportunity to give license to other labels as well so we used it and released it through few different labels, to make sure we have better distribution and all formats fans could be interested in. Rebirth the Metal from Germany released it on tape, Miner Records (Swiss/Serbia) released cd for ex Yugoslavia territory and some day hopefully they will release vinyl too. Finally, Insane Records and Lab6 Music from Brazil will release in 2-3 weeks digipack for Brazilian territory.
You have been playing since 2002 which is a long time for a band. We can say that you are legends now. How was the beginning of your band? How did you create the band and what was the first impulse to build something death metal?
Ha, I wouldn't go that far calling us legends. That's bit too much but thanks anyway. I always wanted to play death metal and that's why I picked up guitar, so I could form my own band. From 1994 to 2001 I played in band called Androphagous, with short stints in Heretical Guilt and Stone To Flesh (The Stone). In 2001 I disbanded Androphagous but few months later original drummer of Sacramental Blood contacted me asking to join Androphagous. I had no interest in it but later I suggested him to start completely new band and SB was born. My love for death metal was and still is so strong that I had to find the way to make this happen.
“Ternion Demonarchy” is your first long-played album in the history of our band. That is not a lot considering the time you have been playing. Why is that? Was it because of money or time?
It was mostly due to lack of money and good studios in Serbia + some line up changes. Songs for album were ready in 2008. We tested some other studio before we decided to go back to Wild Cat studio, where we recorded "Inception of Ceremony" demo. Studio was overbooked so we could record only few days in a row every 5-6 weeks. During that time we changed vocalist and went on tour with God Dethroned and Fleshgod Apocalypse so we had to put album aside and prepare new guy for it all. Once it was finally recorded we didn't like the sound and decided to send it to some other studio for mix and mastering but bad blood between some member forced me to put everything on ice and wait for some better times. Once we gathered new line up and recorded new demo we realised it was time to complete the album and then it took us lot of time to get money, to get time in studio and then again to find proper label so it turned into 6-7 years long project.
Nowadays, a lot of people download new albums online and they use digital form of music. How do you feel about this as a musician?
I'm not happy about it. I understand when fans don't want to make pre-orders since there are so many shit albums that are advertised as masterpieces, but once you realise you really like some stuff there's no reason not to order it. Especially because we don't live in early 90-ies anymore, when it seemed that every released death metal album was amazing. Today, with very few albums that are true diamonds, sales of such albums should be much higher. But even that is ok, if you are at least going to show up at concerts and support bands that way, but then again so many fans prefer drinking beer in front of club and bitching how they can't afford to buy tickets and that scene sucks. Another awful thing that is caused by low sales is expanded offer of "merchandise" that more and more bands start to sell. I'm talking about selling of bands' branded beers, wine, spaghetti, cheese, underwear and what not. So many bands started whoring their image and themselves that it makes me sick. I understand that some of them are doing this for living and they need somehow to compensate low sales but still it's disgusting.
I really believe that “Ternion Demonarchy” would be great as a vinyl. Do you think about it? How do you feel about LP albums and their sound? Are you a collector?
Yes, we thought it deserves to be available in all formats so Miner records got the rights to release it on vinyl. It seems like these days everybody can release cd so getting LP is something special. Unfortunately I don't collect them but I definitely prefer their sound more than sound of cds.
In the Czech Republic, there is not a lot of people on death metal concerts. How about in Serbia? Do fans support bands? Do they buy CDs, merchandise, etc.?
It depends on the kind of shows. Some shows are well visited and some others are fiasco. Things were lot better when we were starting the band as we could easily over 300 tickets at our shows. "Ternion Demonarchy" is selling good for our standard and fans are ordering merch from us but I'm sure it could be lot better.
Do you have any albums which have caught your attention recently?
I've just discover band Resurgency from Greece. It's killer old school death metal and album is called "False Enlightment". Check them out. Bolzer is also interesting band. I heard the name some time ago but didn't check them until recently. Latest Asphyx is also surprisingly good, I played it a lot last few weeks.
Do you know and listen any Czech bands?
Of course, Czech Rep always had some killer bands. Dark "Sex 'N' Death" is still one of my favourite. I'm also big fan of Krabathor ("Lies" and "Orthodox"), Hypnos (especially "The Revenge Ride" and "Heretic Commando"), Root ("The Book" and "Black Seal" are amazing albums). I know many other bands like Pandemia, Fleshless, Intervalle Bizzare, Heaving Earth, Godless Truth and bunch of grind core and black metal bands that I don't listen to.
What are SACRAMENTAL BLOOD´s plans for the next few months?
We want to keep busy playing as many shows as possible in next 2 years. We had to stay off the road due to drummer's issue for too long but now we are complete and we want to play wherever it's possible. It seems this is going to be busy year for us as we already have around 15 shows booked in 2017. I'm working on new dates all the time so we will visit many new places this year, including performance at you festival. In September/ October we will tour Balkans with Deranged so it seems it's going to be good year for us.
18.03.2017! This is the date when you play on DEADLY STORM IN BOŽKOV festival in the Czech Republic. I am so excited to have a beer with you! Do you have any surprise for fans? Like a new song or something?
We can't wait to get there and finally play our first show in Czech Republic. We hope this show will open some new door for us and that we will play lot more shows there in future. We are also booked for Anti-trend festival in August so I hope we are on good way to achieve that. No plans for something special except maybe playing Ternion in it's entirety. Like I said it's our first show there so any set list will be never seen there before :)
Thank you so much for the interview and I wish you a lot of sold CDs, hundreds crazy fans and tons of great ideas.
Thank you for all support and nice wishes. See you soon on Deadly Storm! It's going to be blast!