Last year one of the oldest Death Metal bands from Poland returned with their 2nd official full-length CD “Death Then Nothing” and in my opinion they returned with a blast. “Death Then Nothing” is a killer album and continues ARMAGEDON’s path started with their great “Dead Condemnation” demo in 1990 and their first album “Invisible Circle” in 1993. In order to support one of the coolest Death Metal acts from Poland we thought it’s about time to contact them for a small chat about their history and questions about Death Metal in Poland. Read the interesting answers from Krizz, guitarplayer in ARMAGEDON…
Hi Krizz, good to have ARMAGEDON back. Say hello to the Voices readers, haha. Anything of importance to start with?
"Hi Thomas, thanks you’re back with ARMAGEDON! I believe, killing questions are coming… Using this opportunity, greatest hail to all of the Voices From Darkside readers!"
Between your new album “Death Then Nothing” and your first full-length “Invisible Circle” were 16 years. What happened in the ARMAGEDON-camp during this period? Was the band dead?
"Indeed, termination of the band’s activity took 16 bloody years… We never expected this would continue for such long period. There were several trials (in these invisible years) to be back, but due to different reasons (like death of our drummer in 2002) we’re not able to re-start… So (coming back to your question), not everyone from us, survived till current moment… (Glory to Rysiek Bieniek!!!). Anyway, we’re glad to be back with today’s line up!"
Now as you returned with such an incredibly great album I wonder what your goals for the future are?
"Thanks for the “Death Then Nothing” appreciation! After so many years of silence and a few very bad experiences from our past, we set up our goals in a “reasonable way”. Without big pressure and unrealistic targets. First point – to get us together and make ARMAGEDON alive. Then – to create new material, record and release via an official label in Poland. Then – to start with live performances. So far, we achieved our first targets. Our new “Death Then Nothing” album collects very positive reviews and day to day life, moves us forward. Hopefully in the nearest future ARMAGEDON will be able to announce next positive achievements!"
Poland already has 2 of the biggest names in Death Metal – BEHEMOTH and VADER… What do you think about these bands and the status they have? Is the Metal scene from Poland benefiting because of their worldwide success and popularity?
"BEHEMOTH & VADER are very good friends of ours! E.g. in the early nineties, we played many gigs together with VADER across Poland. In my opinion, these 2 bands are one of the best Black / Death Metal bands worldwide! I’m proud they’re from Poland. Unfortunately their status changes rather nothing in other Poland’s band’s careers."
Tell us something about the Metal scene in Poland! Is Metal and Death Metal in general accepted?
"Difficult subject… On one hand we have many “highest quality” bands, that could become very popular abroad, but this does not happen (with a few exceptions). I can present some figures to illustrate a little bit the Metalscene in Poland: hundreds of bands (really), good bands can sell from 500 PCS to 2500 PCS of their CDs, average attendance on “normal” club gigs: between 100 and 350 people; few festivals; many local gigs; few magazines; many webzines etc. Exception: BEHEMOTH, that sell much more CDs and can get much more people on their live performances."
Poland is a catholic country. Does this cause and already caused trouble due to the lyrics, image, outfit… of a Death Metal band? I read that some politicians want to ban Metal bands from the crowd or at least don’t want them to play live.
"It does not look so bad. Metal music is not the TOP subject in Poland (nevertheless BEHEMOTH appears on Billboard summary – then we have few news / interviews and different comments on TV). I think, as long (means: always) Metal will not be a streamline, no high attention will be put on it. There are single cases, protests, but in fact this helps more in a promotion of some extreme bands."
“Death Then Nothing” is a quite aggressive statement. How do you see this phrase and what does it represent for your life, your belief and for sure the ideology behind ARMAGEDON?
"On one hand it is a very easy phrase, but it also takes time to get to this statement on your own. We are very close to Dawkins’ theory that is in line with our perception of the existence. We look on everything around thru “death then nothing” perspective."
Your homepage is only in the Polish language so far? Are there plans to translate it into English, too? Is the reason why it is only in Polish that persons from outside of Poland don’t contact you right now?
"Well, we decided to keep the website in Polish (due to several reasons) and to maintain our myspace profile in English (www.myspace.com/armagedonofficial). We are contacted by our fans worldwide continuously (mainly via the myspace profile)."
ARMAGEDON started around 1988 with the self titled demotape (which I don’t know). This makes your band as one of the first Death Metal bands out of Poland together with IMPERATOR and VADER. Tell us something about these days, the scene back then, the infrastructure for a Metal band, equipment and the friendship with other bands.
"The world (especially its Polish version) was completely different… Difficult access to Metal music; to musician equipment; censorship etc. caused our day to day life very hard. It was rather “time of survival” then normal life. We were very young, but extremely motivated people. Indeed we were one of the first Death Metal bands in Poland, that started their career almost together with the bands you mentioned. But those bands differed from each other a lot. ARMAGEDON was different too. Many wild shows that were performed by us that time helped us to deserve a big respect from our fans. Our last tour across Poland (Creative Act Of Music Tour January 2010) confirmed, that by termination of the band in 1994, we left a pretty big army of our fans – unfortunately that time we did not know how popular and respected ARMAGEDON is among Polish Metal fans. Many of friendships from the past are still alive!"
What do you think about your first efforts (the self titled demo and 2nd demo “Czas Przetrwania” from 1989. Where those tapes a good start?
"The first demo called “Armagedon” was especially recorded on our fans request. They were supporting us during the first shows and wanted to have our music recorded (that time: on tape). This was an amazing experience. We recorded 7 tracks and our fans were copying the tapes for themselves. It was fantastic (after all) to see them screaming our songs with us during next shows! The second demo called “Time Of Survival” was more mature and in fact this was the start up of ARMAGEDON style. I have significant sentiment for this material."
My first contact with ARMAGEDON was in 1992 with the great “Dead Condemnation” demo. I still count this demo as one of the best Death Metal demos of the early nineties. Tell something about it.
"This was a new experience for us. Mainly because it was our first session in a professional studio with a real sound engineer. Then because this demo was a breakeven point in our career. Very wild music combined with extreme screaming vocals, supported by official release – let us join the top of Metal bands in Poland at that time. Many shows, interviews and huge interest and support from existing and new fans. Amazing time!"
Due to the fact that it was distributed by Polish Carnage Productions I imagine that you sold quite a huge amount of tapes? How many copies did you sell and do you see this demo as a success?
"I do not remember the exact number, but it was close to 10.000 copies sold in Poland. From this perspective it was a huge success for ARMAGEDON."
How was the deal with Carnage Productions?
"This was a very good deal for us that time (and the first that we signed up in our career). And I have to say, we received significant support from our label."
During this time the tapetrading scene and the underground movement was quite healthy. Did you also spend a lot of time writing letters and trading tapes in the early nineties? Are there some funny and interesting anecdotes available from these days?
"Well, I rather see this as “normal way of living” that time. No internet, mobile phones, CDs etc. but writing letters, using a post, copying tapes etc. It is good, that the world changed into a correct communication direction. You can not imagine, how difficult it was to send our tape to e.g. Argentina (form Poland) in 1988. Fuck!"
Later on came your awesome “Invisible Circle” debut album. Something to tell about it?
"After “Dead Condemnation” we felt a quite big pressure to record and release our debut album that would confirm our big potential. Months of rehearsals, talks, quarrels among band members resulted in a brand new concept material that we closed in “Invisible Circle” title. I have to confess, we were (and still are) proud of this album. Magnificent, mysterious climate of this material is quite unique. Just for your info, in Metal Hammer (Polish edition) we scored max points in a review and in the yearly summary we reached the 2nd place for “Polish release of the year”. This was a huge success for us, especially that this album was very well avowed by the Polish scene. That time we’re convinced that this was the first step to our professional music life. Unfortunately, life started to write a different scenario for ARMAGEDON…"
Is it correct that “Invisible Circle” was released only on tape? What was the reason that most of the releases in Poland in the early to mid-nineties were only released on cassettes?
"Difficult to say, but indeed “Invisible Circle” was released at first on tape only. This was a common practice that time in Poland and we did not have an influence on it."
I wonder why you didn’t use some of the songs from your “Dead Condemnation” demotape on your debut? Is it because you had so many other songs or weren’t you satisfied with those songs?
"We decided: new album – new songs. Indeed we had much more new songs than we recorded on “Invisible Circle”. I do not regret from time perspective our choice and selection. After all, our demo “Dead Condemnation” is treated as a “cult masterpiece” by many of our fans."
Then came nothing! What happened to ARMAGEDON after this release and why didn’t you release anything after it?
"There were a plenty of negative issues (private and band related) cumulated at that time around us. We were too young and inexperienced to solve all of them in a good way. So, we decided to “hold on” for a while. We did not intent to stop with ARMAGEDON completely. Unfortunately our “inexistence” took too long…"
Around 1993/94 the interest in Death Metal stagnated and Black Metal became the big thing. Did this have an effect on your band?
"Not. The real (and negative) reasons came not from the music itself."
BEHEMOTH started as a “Scandinavian sounding" Black Metal band and therefore was in the lovely position to develop their sound with the interests of the masses (I know it’s not exactly like this…). Do you think this is one of the reasons of their amazing reputation?
"This could be one of the many reasons of their reputation indeed. But I also know, that they care about every single detail regarding the band with highest attention. This is a complexity of everything around the band (music, image, live performance, promotion etc.). On top of these, the hard work is situated."
Finally speaking about the current Death Metal scene in your country. As I said you have some really big names, is ARMAGEDON ready to succeed against them and is your name still in the heads of the fans?
"I’m proud to see we are still treated as a cult band with big respect from the fans. We do not look around with competition approach. We are who we are – you like it or not. We always respect our fans and other bands."
I guess around 2008 you returned, from my point of view, stronger than ever. Why do you think is it now the right time to come back and release an album as “Death Then Nothing?
"As I said before, we tried already several times to be back, but due to many circumstances, this was not possible. We released a new album, when we’re ready. This could also have happened 10 or 7 or 4 years ago, but it happened right now. We do not look behind and from our perspective, every moment would be (was) good to release “Death Then Nothing”."
Did some other old Death Metal underground maniacs from the past like me already contact you and praised your new release?
"Yes! This was (and still is) fantastic! I have to confess, that during our last tour we played, many older Metal maniacs came to see us on the stage and to present their full support to ARMAGEDON. Such fans’ appreciation moves us really forward!"
Now it’s time to say some praising words about your new effort “Death Then Nothing”. Feel free to promote it now and here.
"This is a very special record, it comes after so many years of absence, and yet it is both mature and contains a simple message. The powerful, succulent and selective sound, bursting voice and an uncompromising attitude to composition combine to make a very interesting whole. The album is very coherent. We had quite a lot of time to create a work that would be entirely satisfactory to us. There are no unnecessary sounds here. Dense, dynamic tracks enriched with interesting melodic lines, a clear verbal message contained in the lyrics: “Death Then Nothing”, and the strongest line up in the history of the group, this defines the today’s image of ARMAGEDON. Check us out!"
As far as I know this CD is currently only available in Poland. Do you think Mystic Prod. is the right label to promote your band in the way you deserve and need it? How can the fans buy it outside of Poland and are there plans that some European, probably American label is licensing it?
"Mystic Prod. in our opinion is the best Polish label (e.g. BEHEMOTH) at this time. So, we are proud to be represented with our new album by them. Moreover, there is a plan for European release of “Death Then Nothing” scheduled for April 2010. I hope this will enable ARMAGEDON to be recognized name soon among Metal maniacs in Europe!"
Talking about the rest of the world. How as the interest of the media and the fans about your band in the early nineties and how are the reactions about your new album so far outside of Poland?
"It’s coming! More and more contacts from Metal fans around the world. Those are mainly new fans, that found ARMAGEDON via our new “Death Then Nothing” release. But to our surprise, we are also contacted by people knowing us from the past years. And what is important to us – only positive reactions, so far!"
As I’m an addicted Metal maniac (mostly for oldschool Death Metal) it’s always interesting for me to know what are musically the most outstanding releases for you? What is essential for you, for which release would you kill?
"There are many of them but the absolute number one for me is “Slaughter Of The Soul” from AT THE GATES."
OK Krizz, guess that’s it so far. If I missed something to ask feel free to use this remaining space for it now. Thanks for answering my question. The last words are yours…
"Thanks Thomas for the opportunity to share some info about ARMAGEDON with the Voices From The Darkside readers. We plan to record and release our new album in 2011. So, I will be glad to talk to you again after the official release. Greetings and hails to all Metal maniacs!!!"