Since their origin in 2017, German Death Metal four-piece NEKROVAULT has released two EPs (“Obscure” in 2018 and “Cursed By Ascended Darkness” in 2019) and their debut full length “Totenzug: Festering Peregrination” via Ván Records earlier this year. Musically the band can be filed somewhere in-between INCANTATION, BOLT THROWER, AUTOPSY, TRIPTYKON, DEAD CONGREGATION and NECROS CHRISTOS, or in other words: very dark and rotten Death Metal, often on the edge of heavy Death / Doom, with a lot of eerie melodies and ultra deep brutal vocals straight from the deepest depths of Hell! We hooked up with drummer “V”, who kindly answered a bunch of our questions for the following interview…
All current members have already been active in various bands before you joined forces in NEKROVAULT and a lot of those bands even still seem to be active these days… So, what made you form yet another band and what makes it different, so that there was still the need for NEKROVAULT?
“We wanted to set ourselves apart from that typical and supersaturated Death Metal scene a little bit. We just tried to pick up our own and personal opinion regarding “blackenend“ and “sinister“ music again in form of a Death Metal band. How “necessary“ we are, is not our decision. But due to all the positive feedback we get, it’s maybe not the worst thing we did!”
Did you all know each other already before you founded NEKROVAULT? Who came up with the idea to work together and what was the motivation at that time? Was there maybe something you missed in your other bands, that you try to get across in NEKROVAULT now?
“P. (vocalist / bassist) and myself know each other for more than 10 years. P. came up with the idea to start a band to create our personal vision of darker and atmospheric Death Metal, which we want to hear ourselves and without any limitation. And myself… Yes, I was a little bit tired, because of the development of the Death Metal “scene“ and my personal urge to find my “blackened“ musical roots again.”
Who came up with the name NEKROVAULT and what does it mean to you? Was it chosen to evoke certain expectations right from the start when it comes to your music, especially since you went for a spelling with a “k” instead of a “c”?
“Choosing NEKROVAULT was a mutual decision. Right before the entrance of a catacomb into the deepest vaults, which you’ll never enter alone, downstairs in total darkness… the invisible hand, which touches you… let you scream… hold you… let you never see the light… that’s NEKROVAULT! The “k“ just means, we’re bloody Germans…nothing more!”
You all just use your initials in NEKROVAULT instead of your real names or pseudonyms… any particular reasons for that?
“No, there is no special reason for that. The music has to speak for itself. It’s unimportant, who stands behind.” If my information is correct, NEKROVAULT started in 2017 and about a year later you already released your first 4 song EP “Obscure” via Ván Records. Tell us a little bit about those early days and how things developed until that EP release…
“The first musicial steps we did, were between P. and myself. We started rehearsing some of his ideas in late 2016 and wrote the first 4 songs, which later came out as “Obscure“ EP. So, NEKROVAULT was founded in early 2017 by P. (bass / vocals) and myself. And as I said before, we just tried to go back to our “blackenend“ roots and build music, which we want to hear ourselves without limitation. We found in SS. (lead guitar), a more than talented guitarist (longtime friend and also founder of mighty SACROSCUM!). He added the final note to the “Obsure“ EP with his lead-guitar and solo parts and of course later he composed and devised the most parts of our debut album “Totenzug: Festering Peregrination“. Our line-up was completed with our female guitarist S. around fall 2017. She’s also a very talented guitarist and showed her first musical tunes on our debut full-length album.”
Was “Obscure” supposed to be an EP right from the start or was it your debut demo maybe, that Ván Records then offered to release as a 12″ vinyl EP instead?
“We defined it from the beginning as our “EP“. Before we were choosen by Ván Records, to release it there, we wanted to do a tape version on our own (which later Aderlass Kunstverlag did for us). But it was just our “debut“, that’s it!”
How did you actually get together with Ván Records? And when and how did Aderlass Kunstverlag join the picture to release the cassette version of “Obscure”?
“I sent the “Obscure“ EP around summer 2017 to Krugi from Ván Records… the rest is history! So, Krugi from Ván Records was the “initiator“ of all. Fun fact: I played my last show with REVEL IN FLESH in September 2017 somewhere in Holland. And on the way back home I got a message from Sven (Ván Records holder): Ok… your EP sounds incredible good. How about releasing it on my label!? The ending of a new beginning at the same day! Both “individuals“ behind Aderlass are longtime friends of mine and good friends of us. As you have noticed maybe, we wanted a tape version from the beginning. So, there was no thinking about it, as they asked us, if we’re interested in a tape version via Aderlass.”
Were the 4 featured songs all brandnew NEKROVAULT compositions at that time or did you partly also use ideas that didn’t work out for your other bands in one way or another?
“All 4 songs were brandnew compositions at that time. The riffs and ideas just slumbered in the repertoire of P. and also SS.”
What kind of reactions did you get on that debut EP? Since it was limited to 200 copies only, I suppose you didn’t have any problems to sell all of them, did you?
“It sounds hackneyed, but we got only positive reactions on the “Obscure“ EP. For example: we reached our slot at the mighty Party.San Festvial in 2019 with only that EP. The CD version was limited to 300 copies and the vinyl to 200 (100 black / 100 white) copies. And yes, all copies were sold out really fast.”
About a year later, another EP followed… this time the 2 song 7″ “Cursed By Ascended Darkness”, once again released via Ván Records and limited to 500 copies this time. What was the reason to release another EP instead of a full length at that time? And what can you tell us about the cover artwork, which has a similar style as the one you had used for the “Obscure” EP? Was it created by the same artist?
“Maybe the reason was, that the process of composing and creating our debut album took more time. The 7“ was just a little “wanna do“ for us and a musical “sign of life“ at that moment. ‘Cursed By Ascended Darkness’ was the first “new“ song after over a year, or something. And it just made sense to us, to release it. For “Cursed By Ascended Darkness“ we worked together for the first time with the “Italian stallion“ Roberto Toderico (Toderico-Art). The style was a little bit similar to the “Obsure“ EP. A circle of “Nekromants“, who worship and call the “Ascended Darkness“!”
The “Obscure” 7″ also included a cover of MORBID’s ‘Necrodeath’, a track that was never properly recorded in a real studio by MORBID, so what made you choose this particular track and do you think you did the original justice with your version?
“You gave yourself the answer! We chose it, because this track was never regular recorded in a real studio and ‘Necrodeath’ is worth it to “see the (un)light“. It was just our tribute to genuine Death Metal. I personally think, we created a more than worthy version. But someone else has to “judge“ that.”
Did you already play some shows in support of those two EPs? If so, how did your setlist look like at the time? Did you just play those EP songs or also any additional cover songs or songs of other bands that you are / were involved in? Any standout shows in your rather short career already, that you consider as your personal highlights?
“We started playing in 2018. Our first show was in February 2018. Before “Cursed…“ found the way in our setlist, we only played all 4 songs from “Obscure“ and a very sinister cover version of ‘Under A Funeral Moon’ by DARKTHRONE. It was later replaced by “Cursed…“. We also played ‘Necrodeath’ a couple of times on top. In the beginning we had mostly live slots, which had a playing time of around 30 – 35 minutes. So, it works perfect with our songs. Personally last year’s shows at the “Wolf City Festival“ in Berlin and of course Party.San Festival will be personal highlights. But, there are also many other shows, which sometimes found the way from the foggy mind. Our first show was also very special for us, for example.”
All 6 songs of both EPs didn’t make it onto your debut full length “Totenzug: Festering Peregrination”, which was released earlier this year, once again via Ván Records… Since those EPs were both limited editions and vinyl only releases, do you think there’s a chance that they might get re-released as CD bonus tracks or a CD compilation at some point maybe?
“At the moment our main focus is only on our debut album “Totenzug: Festering Peregrination“. I don’t know, if there will be a re-release as a compilation maybe in the future. For now I can just say… maybe… maybe not! We will see.”
Tell us a bit more about your debut full length, “Totenzug: Festering Peregrination”… If you compare the material that is featured on it to the songs from the EPs, would you say you have improved as songwriters in any way? Or did you just try to stick to your style as good as possible in order to make the album sound as much like the NEKROVAULT EPs?
“Our old recordings were more based on, maybe, “Black Metal roots“. The debut album “Totenzug: Festering Peregrination“ and of course the new songs, screamed for a more brute sound and it is musically different, but never less darkened. Everyone grows with this album as a musician a little bit. And our guitarist SS., who wrote most of the songs, could really “let off steam“ with his compositions.”
Since the album starts and ends with similar noises, I was wondering if its a concept album maybe? Or was that idea just inspired by what SLAYER did on their “Hell Awaits” album back then?
“Those “similar noises“ you describe, are nothing more than the sound of the “Totenzug“ walking. The Totenzug walks in, gets you… and after all, leaves the scene into nothingness! So, the circle get closed on the album.”
Tell us about about the lyrical content of the album and how much the cover artwork is connected to it.
“The lyrical concept was created by our guitarist SS. The album tells stories inspired by grim local folklore, necromancy and, of course, Dis Pater himself. SS. had devised most of the album and also the idea for this visual implementation. He wanted a illustration of a “Monolith“ paired with this kind of unusual purple colour, which you can find on some versions from “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas“ and which radiated some kind of menacing and mystical atmosphere. Chris from Misanthropic-Art implemented his idea perfect, as you can see. And so… the Totenzug will overrun you!”
Which bands do you personally draw your main musical influences from and do you also admire bands just for their lyrics?
“Main influences for our guitarist SS. on the debut album were CELTIC FROST / TRYPTIKON and of course MORBID ANGEL. But our personal musical taste ranges from PROFANATICA to THE CURE. Personally I prefer lyrics or “stories“ away from typical Death or Black Metal themes. For example IN SOLITUDE on their “Sister” album, or REVENGE… on all releases!”
Did you have any activities planned in support of the “Totenzug: Festering Peregrination” album, that Covid-19 totally ruined? Have you ever thought about a full NEKROVAULT tour or will you stick to single shows here and there?
“Oh yeah… very sadly our planned release show at the Braincrusher Festival in March this year!!! We got offers for touring last year, but we couldn’t make it. So, maybe in the future. We will see. But we also try not to play everywhere and too much. Less is even more, in that case.”
Ok, that’s all for now. Thanks for taking the time and all the best for your future activities. If you would like to add anything else to this interview, you can do so now.
“Thanx a lot for your support! Join our Totenzug! Ugh!”