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Fans of brutal US Death Metal should watch out for Danish Deathers EXMORTEM, because their newest effort “Pestilence Empire” is an excellent example of how this kind of music has to be. Frank did not have to torture me a long time to convince me that interviewing this act would be a worthwile experience. And indeed, Sigtyr (guitar) came up with some precise and humorous statements... but enough of preface talking, start reading you fuckers!

Hi Sigtyr, what’s up?! I hope you put on some brutal music and made yourself comfortable in front of your PC to answer my questions! You got a great new album out, what reactions did you receive on it so far?
“Everything is pretty ok I guess and I am sitting comfortable in front of my computer with a beer and the new IMMOLATION on the stereo! So cheers hehe. The reactions are great and I’m doing tons of interviews, so that is really great!! I think that people are beginning to get their eyes opened for EXMORTEM and I think that people will realize that we are better than a lot of these “melodic sugar semi pop Metal” bands that are around heh!! Hail extreme Metal!!”

What are the main musical and lyrical differences and improvements on “Pestilence Empire”? What has changed compared to “Berzerker Legions”?
“We have improved our song structures and writing over all. We have also got a darker and more organic / powerful production this time, which I think is really great! I must also mention that I think Simon has done an even better job on the vocals with this album. We have also tried to variate the music a bit more this time, with more midtempo parts and stuff like that, especially in songs like ‘Pestifer’ and ‘Icecold Ugliness’.”

Which songs on the new album are the most important to you? Do you have an EXMORTEM favourite song or even one you wish you would have never recorded?
“Well, I don’t have a song that I wish we wouldn’t have recorded. The songs that I like the most right now is ‘Funerary Sculpture’, ‘Pestifer’ and ‘Icecold Ugliness’.“

You changed the label and went from Hammerheart to Osmose. Did you make any negative experiences with Hammerheart? How did you come to choose Osmose? In my opinion Osmose Productions are getting really strong again. Acts like THORNSPAWN, AXIS OF ADVANCE or HOUWITSER show that this label is pure killing underground again, would you agree?
“Our experience with HHR was not that good and that was obviously the reason why we cancelled the contract. It didn’t take long after we published the fact that we had left HHR, before Hervé got in contact and asked what our plans was etc. Since Osmose has been one of our favourite labels for a long time it didn’t take too much thinking before we choose them. I would agree that they are surely going in a more underground direction again, so it’s interesting to follow what they are up to.”

Please tell me the details of the production of “Pestilence Empire”? Were there any problems in the studio or was the whole recording process an easy affair?
“It was by far the best studio experience I have had so far. We were well prepared and had a good time with the recording, we worked a lot more as a band this time around! It’s not the biggest or most fancy studio or anything, but it was perfect for us and Tue is really easy to work with, he understands everything we wanted him to do.”

There were some line-up changes on “Pestilence Empire”? Who left the band, who entered it and of course why they had to go?
“The old guitarist Kolle left because he didn’t have the motivation to continue any longer and Reno left, because he wanted to go to the US and get a career... so instead we got new drummer Michael and Andreas on bass (we didn’t have a bass player for five years or so...).”

Your first album came out in 1995 and honestly spoken, I did not like it very much, how would you describe your development since then? What do you think about your first offering? Are you proud of it? What can you tell me about “Dejected In Obscurity” (1998). Unfortunately I have never heard it.
“Well, I didn’t play on the first one, so I don’t have the same sort of “connection” with that one as the other albums really. I guess it was ok for a debut album, but it was a hard time for Death Metal back then and when you look at the fact that it was around the same time that an album like “Covenant” was released it probably wasn’t so interesting for most people...?!”

What inspired you to play this brutal Death Metal the American Way? Did you shun the Scandinavian bands and listened only to stuff like DEICIDE, MALEVOLENT CREATION or MORBID ANGEL? What do you think of those bands and their latest releases?
“Personally this is the style I have always wanted to play, but it wasn’t like we didn’t like the Scandinavian style, we were all very hooked on releases like Carnage, Entombed, Grave, Dark Throne etc... it was just simply because we were very inspired by bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Immolation, Malevolent Creation, Suffocation and stuff like that. About the bands you mention... I think that Malevolent has a tendency to repeat themselves nowadays and Deicide I don’t care the least about, but I still think that Morbid Angel has something to offer, even though I like the Vincent period better!”

And talking of inspiration, what influenced your lyrical work on “Pestilence Empire”? Are there any books, movies or personal experiences that had an impact on EXMORTEM’s lyrics?
“On this album it’s mostly personal views that shine through. When I look around in this world it can make me sick to see how people live and behave, how fucking stupid some people are!! But there is always a bit of inspiration from books and movies I would say, but for this album I can’t say any specific ones though. On “Berzerker...” I used inspiration from a lot of Northern Mythology.”

What do you like to express with the album’s title?
“It’s my view on this world and the people that live here, it’s a stinking pestilence!”

Tell me more about the Danish Metal scene! What bands are your buddies? How strong is the support among each other? I only know ILLDISPOSED, DENIAL OF GOD (great band) and INIQUITY. Are there often Metal concerts in Denmark?
“The scene is weak and sucks a great deal! We rehearse in the same room as Illdisposed and they are fun enough, but I don’t like their music. I was in contact with DOG earlier and I’m still a bit in contact with Iniquity. The most important bands right now is Exmortem (of course hehe), Ad Noctum, Apollyon, TPP and… that must be it actually.”

Are Danish people as often drunk as the other Scandinavian savages? In Sweden people drink three beer from those Alcohol shops and are totally pissed! I hope you do better in a fuselage, ha ha!
“I can promise you that we do a lot better, Danish youth generally drinks a lot!!! I think that most Metal people drink Friday and Saturday...?! I have lately tried to cut it down a bit, so I can have more time for the music and so, but it’s hard haha.”

What do you love and what do you hate about your country? Me and my girlfriend drove through Denmark, when we visited Sweden this year and we were happy that we just had to drive through it and had not to stay there a long time. Denmark looks so damn flat and boring, we saw maybe two trees there. I hope you can tell me a bit more positive things about your homeland, ha ha!!!
“I love the fact that we are probably one of the countries with least religious people! It’s also a country where you can do pretty much what you want so to speak (no ugly censorship here... hehe). I hate that the Metal scene is so weak and that it is so hard to find dedicated people to play with! And a few mountains wouldn’t hurt either I guess hehe. Don’t know what else to say right now really…”

Alright, let’s get serious again! What do you find absolute disgusting about today’s Metal scene? Are there any Metal styles that you totally despise? When I listen to stuff like HAMMERFALL, GAMMA RAY (or “HAMMER GAY”, ha ha) or IN FLAMES I could puke! What do you think of these bands?
“I think the mentioned bands are a bunch of cheesy faggots, or in other words I totally fucking hate their music! That’s not the kind of Metal I want to be associated with, that’s for sure! I totally hate Goth shit as well, it stinks!”

When you compare the early days of Death Metal with the scene of today, what has changed to the better and what has become worse since then? What are your faves of that time?
“A lot has changed I think. The good thing is that it’s coming back now and that there are a lot of really talented musicians right now. I also like the speed that a lot of bands have now, even though it can be a bit too much with all the fast releases I guess. But I think that bands in the old days were more honest and more unique. The bands back then were working harder on their own identity, today almost every vocalist is sounding the same. When you look back there were singers like: David Vincent, Kam Lee, John Tardy, Chuck Shuldiner, L.G. (Entombed), Martin Van Drunen, Karl Villets, Mark (Morgoth), Glen Benton, Ross Dolan, Craig Pillard etc... and they all sounded different. Today everyone tries to sound like Frank Mullen / Chris Barnes.” (Definitely, absolutely correct statement - Stefan)

What were the latest brutal releases you bought? Any cool underground acts you would like to recommend?
“The last one I bought was the new Immolation and I have always liked that band. The latest underground stuff that I think is pretty cool is Excommunion and Dethroned from the US, I also just got Sargatanas Reign from Sweden and I think they are a band to watch in the future! Kaamos gave me a feeling of being back in the early nineties again.”

Let’s talk about EXMORTEM live! The photos on your website suggest that you know how to kick the shit, what can I expect of an EXMORTEM show? Do you cover songs sometimes on stage?
“We have never made any cover songs actually, but I won’t say that it couldn’t happen in the future… who knows..?! Anyway, I can promise that we always give 110% of what we got, you won’t see us give a half ass show! We have really got this new line up worked in now, so it will be really great live with the new tracks!! We are working on some stuff for live situation that can help creating the right atmosphere. I hope that we will get the money to work more with this in the future, because when I saw the X-mas festival before shitmas in Strasbourg, it hit me that I could hardly tell the difference between the bands (performance wise that is!!) because it was just four guys standing there headbanging a bit a nothing else... EXMORTEM live is intense and violent!”

Do you remember a funny or disgusting story you experienced on tour and might share with us?
“I can’t really come up with anything right now, sorry…”

When can we expect EXMORTEM to blast through Germany again? Are there any bands you wish you could go on tour with?
“I hope that we will get there really soon, we are desperately searching for a management right now, because we want to get things done more professionally than I can do myself. But I hope that we could get on both a European tour and a German tour as well. There are lots of bands that I would like to go on tour with for sure! Some bands because they make great music, some bands because they are cool guys and some bands because they draw a lot of people. A few of the bands I’m sure we could have a good time with are: Immolation, Incantation, Morbid Angel, Cadaver Inc., Nile, Hate Eternal, Pessimist, Malevolent Creation, Severe Torture and shit like that...”

What’s your opinion about Germany and the German people? A Swede I know told me that they think all Germans are perverts!!! I’m not perverted at all… eating the eyes of small children is absolutely normal, don’t you think?
“Germans are a bunch of drunk motherfuckers haha!! We have always had a good time in Germany, I remember when I played in Annaberg with Mordülv, that was fun hehe!! Getting totally pissed with Patrick and the rest of Witchburner etc...”

Would you agree to the common European opinion, that Americans are naturally a bit… ahem… stupid or let’s say ignorant towards other cultures?
“I don’t know, I’ve heard that there are a lot of fat people hehe. The Americans I’m in contact with are all really cool so I don’t really give a fuck anyway.” (Before anyone starts bombing my house – I don’t have anything against Americans, but you know that there are some really nasty idiots over there - Stefan)

Ok, back to fucking Metal, what according to you is essential for being Metal? How would you define the Death Metal lifestyle? What does it mean to you?
“Well, you actually said it yourself, Death Metal is a lifestyle!! I live and breathe this shit, it’s the main thing in my life and I’m very serious about it!!”

What are the future plans of EXMORTEM? Will you put out some vinyl EP’s again once in a while?
“Yeah, I hope so, but it of course demands that we got some exclusive stuff to release on them, but we got some plans to do some 7” stuff. Our plans right now are to get out and play live so that people can see what we are all about!! I’m also having a lot of ideas for new material, so I guess that if time permits we will soon start to make some new metal of death!!”

Well Sigtyr, I think these are by far enough wicked questions, I would like to thank you for your time and answers and hope you enjoyed the interview! All the best for EXMORTEM and keep on shredding weak humanity, ha ha!!! Please give me some last words now and than it is time to go to bed, I’m fucking tired
“Yeah, me too, my eyes are getting all weird on me now, too long time in front of the fucking computer haha. Thanks for this really great (and long) interview and for your support!! If people want to know more about the band and what’s going on, then check out www.exmortem.com. I try to update it at least every 14th day. Thanks for your time and see you in the clubs soon!!”

Stefan Franke

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