Damn’ right! There it is… if you fukkerz still have not heard about Chton yet (pronounce K-Ton) be sure you’ll hear from them very soon; this act should get a chance from all you Death Metal fans who got bored of all those over technical, over clean, over clinical releases labeled as ‘Death Metal’ today, which is nothing but Death Metal without any taste it seems. Who said Norway was the typical Black Metal country? Hope you’ll enjoy this long and fructuous conversation with Torstein Parelius and up the hornz for them!
"Hey there man!"
First of all let’s start with the usual history of that Death Metal act called Chton…
"We started in the form we are today back in 1999 – that’s when I joined at least. Before that Øyvind (guitars) and Chris (ex-bass) had a Black Metal band going, doing covers of Mayhem etc. Nothing too serious. I brought with me more Thrash-inspired techniques (and some material) into the already existing band – I had just left the Thrash band Frost (yeah, I know… the name is a little unoriginal) because two of the members chose to move to Oslo."
Yeah, one of my questions is about that actually…
"Only me and Vidar (drums) were left here in Trondheim…"
Then the other part of the band moved to Oslo?
"Well, Harald (bass & vox in Frost) and Lasse (guitars in Frost) left to Oslo. Me and Vidar (then in Frost, now in CHTON) stayed here, I came in rather late in Frost (they had done like 2 or 3 demos before I joined), and I was in Frost for only a year or so… When I brought more technique into that more Black Metal like band, the drummer back then (Tom) felt we were moving in the wrong direction… so I called up Vidar… That’s it, I guess (…) We were called Nil Admirari in the first year or so. We wanted something shorter and in one word… Nil Admirari sounds more like a songtitle and CHTON is harder in some ways I feel… if you pronounce it right hehe – with a hard K."
Yeah, you answer my questions right before I ask them it seems hehe, ’cause here in France it’s hard to pronounce this name without a smile… it sounds like ‘SHton’ here hehe…
"It’s a hard K like in kill."
So our readers shall pronounce it K-TON.
"Damn right! No shhhhhhhh-ing."
Would you say that evolving from a Thrash Metal band to a more Death Metal one was a logical evolution in your musicianship?
"Yeah, I guess so. Basically I’ve been listening to Death Metal for a long time, and it’s a style of music I really enjoy playing… some of my favourite albums comes from that genre… like "Altars Of Madness", "Left Hand Path" etc. I mean Thrash and Death Metal are closely related, so I’ve never even thought about it… it’s just that it all comes natural from what I end up making on the guitar at all times…"
Well, now considering CHTON’s music…
Only two promo songs are available to this date?
"That is correct. I should also mention our split-tape with Supreme Lord (that is kinda our only "official" release, 333 copies on Time Before Time Records, officially that is…"
It’s a pure Death Metal band in the old vein as it prevails heaviness and rhythmic patterns… Could you explain us why you decided to play this forgotten way of Death Metal?
"I’m not sure about this "old" sound… some reviewers have pointed that out, but we’ve never considered ourselves retro in any way…"
Not retro, I meant it in the essence of the music… not about music in itself particularly…
"We just try to make hard hitting and sinister extreme Metal, but I understand your question… well, I can’t really explain that right out, but we’re going for what we feel is right, you know… it’s not "made up", if you understand me…"
That was basically the point of my question hehe…
"We want to make it dark and brutal at the same time."
Yeah, but musically speaking it really stays mid tempo with heavy guitar riffs sounding like burdens y’know. It’s not the typical brutal ultra blasting Death Metal of today…
"That’s it… we’re not trying to be the new Morbid Angel or something, nor do we try to be the fastest band in the world or the band with the most amount of blood on our covers… We want to make Metal that gives us something both playing it live and from a cd we’re driven by doing what we like to do. We’re not preachers trying to spread some sort of political or religious agenda, nor do we try to make money from this… We always try to spread a little amount of antichristian gospel, but well hidden behind titles like ‘Flies To Faces’ etc."
In the continuation of the previous question… I know the first album is forthcoming, could you tell us what it would be made of?
Where will it be recorded, with what kinda technology etc?
"We’ll actually record it this coming February at Godt Selskap (www.godtselskap.no) here in Trondheim. It’ll be released on Retribute Records (www.retributerecords.com) in the spring next year, 2004. We’re really eager to get it recorded now, as we’re polishing our songs these days. Godt Selskap has done some great recordings before us with bands like Necrophagia, The Apparatus, Gorelord etc. So we really think they’ll help us get a damned good result… It has been given the working title "Chtonian Lifecode"…"
Yeah which is without a single doubt a clear reference to Darkthrone’s "A Blaze In The Northern Sky". Tell us the reasons for this choice…
"Well, it was Kenneth (bass) who came up with a lyric bearing that name – and when we started talking about a name for our debut that one came up. It’s a good title, and yeah – it has an obvious reference to Darkthrone (one of my all time favourite bands). It’s meant as a sort of "this is our debut, here we are: this is our lifecode", you know… Plus people may start to learn that Chton is pronounced with a K, not a Sh."
Yeah it’s a multi parallel thing isn’t it?
"Well, yeah… in the sense that it’s not just a "here we are manifesto", but also a reference, or homage if you will, to one of the grimmest bands on the planet… Have you read Isten Mag #100?"
"…with an interview with Gylve?"
Not this one I guess.
"It’s a damn great zine! Provoking and entertaining as hell. www.isten.net I believe …it’s worth the cash – order it."
I’ll see that hehe, is it a paper zine?
"Yeah, they were a paper zine – but they’ve gone online now, check out the history page on their site…. great zine man!"
Okay it looks great
"They’re *extremely* critical to the way Metal has ended up… they’re not very "scene-friendly". I agree with them in many ways, but I just can’t help wanting to name a CHTON song ‘Tormentor’."
It seems you had great probs to find a proper singer, how would explain that?
"I don’t fucking know! I guess it has to do with lack of motivation and / or dedication… now we have Terje – who is 110% dedicated, and has his bag packed allready for our Ozzfest tour hehe."
Yeah on the pix he seems "motivated"…
"Yeah? Which ones? He’s totally dedicated to Metal in all ways, and to CHTON in particular…"
He just reminds me on the Impaled Nazarene singer hehe…do you like "Tol Kompt Norz Norz Nnorz"??
"Hehe, he really is a blessing from below for us (who has a track called that?). I really haven’t heard much ImpNaz."
It’s Satyricon ‘dem dude!
"…but I like their attitude (Impaled Nazarene)… Ahh Satyricon, yeah…"
Do you know the band Tsatthogua?
"Nah, heard the name only…"
There was apparently an Impaled Nazarene guy in it…
"Oh yeah… ok."
The first album is fukkin sickness in your hoooole!
"Yeah, blackgrindpunk noise?"
Nah, sadomasochistic Black Metal hehe… but you have to listen to it at least. It’s called "Hosanna Bizarre"…
"I really like that fuck-all Punk attitude that seem to run through those ImpNaz guys… Ok, I’ve heard about it, but never heard it… I’ll check it out one more thing (hold that thought)."
"It’s just that I was in a chain-of-thought here – about that Punk thing I was saying: I really must say I prefer the more "realistic" (as opposed to "mystic" maybe?) no future kickass brutal style, like ImpNaz and bands following in the footsteps of Motörhead etc. than all that royal elite crap. Sorry for my off-trail thing there."
So my tiring question then… nowadays Death Metal as well as Black Metal (the same for a lot of other genres) seem to get totally crippled with tons and tons of formated, clinical and tasteless acts coming each month in record stores…
What do you think about the Death Metal case in particular today and the Metal genre in general?
"Well, I don’t really check out many new bands in either genre… I kinda listen to stuff – then think "hmmm, is this any good" and then I either buy it or I don’t. I’m not really into that whole over-the-top technical stuff that seem to be getting more and more popular… so I don’t really know what to answer… I’m into lots of different genres and styles, and if I don’t like it I don’t, you know."
Yeah I understand hehe… well and what kinda music do you listen the most to these days?
"I’m not really a "consumer" when it comes to music… I’m more selective y’know. Do you want me to list a bunch of bands? Metal ones?"
As you want man, or name artistic movements…
"I’m into a lot of South-American Death Metal… like Rebelliun, Mortem etc. and I like a lot of US Death Metal too, like Deicide, Immolation, Diabolic etc. and bands like Vader, Centurian, Entombed, Carcass, Bolt Thrower…"
I know you can listen to a lot of other genres too…
"Yeah, I like lots of non-Metal stuff…"
Like what in particular?
"Like Woven Hand and 16 Horsepower, as I know you do too…hehe. Beyond Dawn is cool … their "Frysh" album grows on me
Ipecac Records is a quality label that has many great artists – like Kaada, Isis, Fatômas, Tomahawk etc. The whole Bristol scene had / has many great bands like Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead, Everything but the girl etc. I really like Anathema…. their "Judgement" album is among my all time top 5. Strapping Young Lad is cool shit! I could go on and on… Mogwai is definately great."
You’re also playing in MANES which is now a musical complex hybridation; how do you live between both bands which are in two different points of view? Meaning one progressive and experimental and the other one rather more ‘traditionalistic’?
"How I can live with both? Well I just do… I have no problems with that at all, but I guess it may seem a little strange from "the outside"
maybe? I dunno, it’s great for me to have two such different creative outlets, and both bands are equal to me."
You’re playing live with Chton as often as you can. Could you describe us what is the particular feeling to play Death Metal in front of audiences?
"It’s fucking great man! it’s pure aggression and energy!"
Any of your best remembrance to tell?
"We played with Behemoth (Pol) about a year ago, and that was fucking great… and our gig at the Eat The Rich festival here in Trondheim was cool as hell too… other than that I can’t really say… the Zyklon gig some weeks ago was definately great, but we weren’t very lucky with our sound that night…"
With which band would you enjoy to play for example?
Hehe ….at the OOOOzzzfest?
"For example hehe…"
"Well, that’s just Terje hehe. Nah, I guess he’s more realistic than that – I just over-emphazised his dedication…playing with Slayer would be cool yeah … or Deicide maybe… or Bathory hehe, ’round "Under The Sign…" preferably hehe, yeah."
"Under the Sign" is great too definitely… I even think the one I prefer the most is the first one… with trax like ‘Necromancy’ hehe…
"Yeah – the first Bathory is a milestone within extreme Metal… great album! More realisticly – I’d love to play with The Crown from Sweden… I really like their stuff man! Especially the "Deathrace King" album!"
I think we’re done now with the interview Torstein. Of course you can add what you want we may have forgotten…
"Hehe cool. If people wanna check us out, both songs from our promo can be downloaded from our website www.chton.com, and we hope that we’ll manage to get our video for the ‘Book Of Black Earth’ track ready around the end of the year… it’s a no-budget, no-fx headbanging clip, but we hope it’ll turn out good… actually Lasse (and Anders) from FROST shot the thing and is busy editing it now… other than that: up the hornz! Contact us at chton-dot-com for booking, info etc."