Ever since the origin of VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE we wanted to do a feature on one of Mexico’s best Death Metal masters SHUB NIGGURATH, which unfortunately never became reality while the band was still together. But thanks to Ricardo of Peru’s very cool CRYPTS OF ETERNITY ZINE we can finally present you this in-depth feature now. It was originally released in CRYPTS OF ETERNITY # 4, but luckily he agreed to let us use it here as well (thanks again, mate!). You should nevertheless make sure to contact him for ordering information about his zine (more details here)… But now, read on and enjoy the interview!
We all know about the magnitude SHUB NIGGURATH represents for the worldwide Death Metal scene. I was gratefully surprised when Nocturnal Slayer (Eduardo Aguilar) contacted me to purchase a copy of my zine (thanks to Isaias from NECROCCULTUS’ contact). I took the opportunity to ask him for an interview and he agreed so cordially! It’s a great honor for me to present this interview here, since I have always been fascinated by their Lovecraftian Death Metal, so horrific and abominable…
Ave SHUB NIGGURATH!!! How are you Nocturnal Slayer? You were in the sickest era of SHUB NIGGURATH, were you a founding member of the band? How did you get to be in SHUB NIGGURATH and why did you leave the band?
"Infernal Hails Lucas, thanks for the interview! Everything is fine here in Mexico. Well, actually I was in the most devastating SHUB NIGGURATH era, ‘the sickest era’ as you mentioned; I think like you, hehe! Yes, we could say that I was part of the band since the very beginning, as the band was formed after TORMENTOR’s death due to some problem issues of Angel Rivas (TORMENTOR’s guitarist / vocalist) but just after one month we created SHUB NIGGURATH. Arturo Alvarez, being our friend, offered his voice and new ideas to us (Paco, Julio and me) to form a band with much more violent music than the previous one; to create SHUB NIGGURATH! So we started to rehearse and play some MORBID ANGEL, TERRORIZER and MASTER covers, in order to adapt to new musical ideas and form the horrific, brutal, sick and blasphemous SHUB NIGGURATH. But after recording the "Horror Creatures" demo, the 7"es "Unknown Adorer" and "Blasphemies Of Nether World" and some shows around our town and country, I decided to leave SHUB NIGGURATH because I had some little complicated personal problems, so I decided not to affect the band to go ahead, so I continued to support them, even I looked for some guitarists to cover my place, but if I remember well the band never got another guitarist to replace me."
What are the other members doing nowadays? We know that Julio Viterbo continues with THE CHASM. What is Arturo Alvarez doing these days and what about the other members?
"Well, my brother Paco (drums) lives far from the city, I almost have no contact with him, but I think he is still playing drums, but I don’t know what genre or anything like that. Last time I saw him we have talked, but I don’t know what he’ll do in the future regarding music. We know Julio is THE CHASM guitarist… He has forgotten his friends down here in Mexico, hahaha! About Arturo, I know he works on weekends, we live far apart, I talked with him but it’s very difficult to meet each other, but he’s a great friend, hehe! He is still on the dark side, cursing and invoking the fucking ancient ones! And Eduardo ‘Femur’ is living in North Carolina-USA, but I don’t know absolutely anything about his life. I hope he is fine."
What did you do after leaving SHUB NIGGURATH? Did you play in any other band, which ones were them?
"I had to leave SHUB NIGGURATH because I had some problems that I had to solve. I didn’t form any other band, I did not keep playing, I had to stabilize my life and move on, but I didn’t stop listening to Metal of Death and continued getting news of what was going on in the world scene, which if I remember correctly was about dying. I can only remember that if a new band came out, it would be ignored not long there after, hahaha! I didn’t know what was happening, but most bands bored me to death, not all though. You know, good bands must be remembered and some of them still continue with the insanity. You know I had in mind to create a total Doom band with WINTER, NECRO SCHIZMA influences, do you remember them? Argggghh!!! They were and still are cult bands for me!!!!!! But I could not create this project; nobody had those ideas, everyone wanted to see which band was faster, stupid ideas people have nowadays…"
A lot of people love the sound you had back in your demo and 7” days, but are not so happy with the sound you had with your debut LP with a cleaner sound, though maintaining the obscurity and technique… what is your opinion on that?
"I think that before recording the debut album, SHUB NIGGURATH had a completely crude, sick, violent, abysmal, filthy and blasphemous sound, but when it came to recording the debut album I feel it lacked a better production, someone who really knew what ‘Brutal Death Black Metal’ means. I remember that there were no people with that knowledge to a 100%. SHUB NIGGURATH’s music was evolving at the time. I felt that the band was loosing its brutality. I saw they were putting musically a lot of ‘decoration’ to the music, and I with my personal problems and the changes that were happening with the band decided to quit. After a few months when the album was already released, I listened to it and I thought it was not going to please the fans. If you can hear the crash of cymbals, they are cut!! It sounds very bad, and personally the sound of the guitars is very clean. I do not wish to criticize it badly, but I don’t like the debut album, but I am still listening from the worldwide deadbangers that it is a very good album, I don’t think the same. If I had recorded the entire album (I recorded only some riffs) I had not been satisfied with the production."
Why is it that we see a lot of SHUB NIGGURATH releases these days? 2 splits and a CD with recordings of old demos and EPs. People are still very much interested in the older material of your glorious band, how many copies with those releases?
"There are several editions, reissues, splits and how much crap is coming out, I think it’s not good to reissue the debut album, but Guttural Records does it because it has good demand. In fact I really don’t know how much the prints are, Arturo knows about that because he’s the holder of the band, but re-issuing and reissuing, I feel it lost the cult, it’s my point of view. I respect Guttural Records and Arturo’s decisions. I can’t investigate because there are no rights on my side. I had to do something in the two splits, the bad thing was that Distorted Harmony Records didn’t put enough dedication to release the split CD, Arturo was very upset, I’m not satisfied, and it will never be reissued. The Iron Bonehead Productions’ release is a great one, except that Arturo was angry too, cause I didn’t told him anything about it. I just think we should be thankful as a band for this production, but there are very different ideas between Arturo and me. The Iron Bonehead split LP was limited to 500 copies, that’s ok because it is only for the few real warriors of this shitty worldwide scene, that is so fucking infected with trendies, posers, rip offs and kids who feels that they are ‘oldschool’; but are nothing but only children who at that time used to shit on their pants and were cleaned their mom, ha ha ha!!! You know who I mean, or does that not exist in your country?"
Talking about your releases… do you know about those bootlegs of SHUB NIGGURATH? What do you think of them? By the way, back in the 90s a lot of bootleg releases were coming out of Mexico, some of them were really cool, some others not that much… Do you have any worth mentioning? Have you seen any SHUB illegal merch or bootlegs being sold? Someone you would like to point the finger at??
"The unofficial SHUB NIGGURATH releases… I think they are two, one that has been edited in the year… if I’m not wrong… in 2000 or 2001, by a ‘label’ called Dahmer Productions that was a shit, because it was done without Arturo’s permission; as I told you he’s the holder of the band. It contains the demo, the two 7" EPs and some live tracks, but with a horrible production, it’s a shame! And without offering royalty percentages, a shit work, dishonest, false, anyway…. This person is hidden, cause he made lot of shit in the scene. The other one was made by American Line Productions, I think the owner is a guy called Joel, I speak bad about this production because it’s a dishonest release; in a nutshell, he has never given Arturo royalties’ percentage, those were done only to get easy money, and I say this because I am not mistaken. What other thing can I say about those shitty releases?? DIE IN PAIN!!!! Talking about bootlegs, I think if we are collectors it’s good to have them, because at the end, most likely never know who did, even if it’s a good edition, because for me it’s a bootleg. When it’s in my hands I look carefully at the art / layout, and if it’s numbered it is better, because when it’s sold out it’s valuable for trade. I have several bootlegs like DARK THRONE, MORBID ANGEL, BEHERIT, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, SAMAEL, SLAYER, METALLICA (the old one of course) and many more, but we must distinguish from bootleg to bootleg, cause there are some that are really great and some are so terrible. What do you think? But, yes I really like them. There are some SLAYER, METALLICA, WASP vinyl bootlegs that were made in Mexico; but they are no so good, since they are a copy of the originals, but poorly made. I had the "South Of Heaven" and "Reign In Blood", but their sound was very bad, so I sold them. Yes, of course I’ve seen unofficial SHUB NIGGURATH merchandise sold brazenly on the scene. Here in Mexico, since the beginning of the band, there were t-shirts on sale in some places; we talked to prohibit the sale, but it was difficult to stop. Until today, I have watched on the internet some patches and shirts for sale that have never been official, and here in Mexico people continue selling them without shame, I only can say fuck them! I don’t complain, but someday they will die."
Tell us a bit about the labels such as Erosionable Records, Distorted Harmony Records, Guttural Records… Do you have anything to say about them? I think its kind of too late to talk about all that shit from the past, but what the fuck, right ? Hahaha!!! Arturo Alvarez was part of the cult label Distorted Harmony Records, right? Do you still keep in touch with Jose Adolfo the owner of Distorted Harmony? He’s still producing bands but this time on CD. Do you know about his next atrocities / releases?
"Well… Erosionable Records: This label was the best for SHUB NIGGURATH, because it was the only European label that released our stuff in the early days. Dany unfortunately died in a car accident. It was a label with a brilliant future concerning the REAL and HONEST bands for the European and Worldwide Underground scene; I feel that with this Dany’s regrettable situation, his label and the 7" became cult in the scene, because it was the only one he released. It is a limited edition only, I can’t remember if it was 500 copies, but I have mine. About the production, I can tell you that is good, because the producer knew the real essence of DEATH METAL, and we were satisfied. I have seen this vinyl on ebay and internet auctions and it is very expensive!!! Distorted Harmony: It is a label with many years here in Mexico, they have enough nuclear weapons, I have almost all their vinyl and CDs, besides Adolfo Lameran is a good friend of mine. What I like most about his 7"es …is the NIHILIST 7" called "Radiation Sickness", it’s a great piece of wax; pure cult! You know his other releases: CARCASS, CARNAGE, ETERNAL DARKNESS, TRAUMATIC, SHUB NIGGURATH, CENOTAPH, ANARCHUS / DEMOGORGON, FUNERAL MOON, etc… We (Distorted Harmony and me) are talking about if we will release a TORMENTOR official CD. It’s a project we are still discussing about. I hope we can reach an agreement, but if not, I will go ahead with my project. Guttural Records: Uff! No doubt it’s a label with much violence! Raul Rosales is a very good friend of mine, I know him for almost 20 years!! He has enough nuclear weapons, like SHUB NIGGURATH, FUNERAL MOON XIBALBA, AVZHIA. Guttural Records have a very important distribution in the world, he’s well known by many important record labels like No Colours Records, From Beyond Productions, Iron Bonehead Productions, Iron Pegasus Records, Nuclear War Now (I didn’t want to mention this one) and others. I have nothing to complain about these labels, they are / were really HONEST, and therefore it’s the most important in the scene, apart from being good friends. I would complain if we never drink beer together listening to Metal of Death! Cheers for them!!!!!! Arturo Alvarez, the great ‘hongo’ (mushroom) was part of Distorted Harmony. I remember well when together with Adolfo, of course, they released the NIHILIST and THOU SHALT SUFFER 7"es. Arturo, besides being the SHUB NIGGURATH vocalist, was a very active tape trader. He used to have a zine called DAMNATED DEATH, which was the reason why he knew a lot of the underground beginning. Going back to Adolfo, its next nuclear releases, he told me about the CARCASS 7" he released years ago, this time the complete session on CD. He is also planning to release another CD with only Swedish bands such as: CARNAGE , TRAUMATIC, ETERNAL DARKNESS, DAWN and LUCIFER."
It seems that now you are in charge of the answering the mail for SHUB NIGGURATH. It used to be the job of Arturo back in the 90s. Are you still in touch with Arturo? Do you share the royalties of the band with Arturo or is he not really interested in the band anymore?
"Well, about the mailing, it’s not that I handle it, but I’m in the scene lurking like a demon and as the people know that I was a SHUB NIGGURATH member, I represent it, so, yes I almost do, I answer emails, I answer the mailing as I mentioned, but actually the SHUB NIGGURATH owner is Arturo. It costs me nothing to answer letters or emails for SHUB NIGGURATH, on the contrary, I am pleased and honored to continue representing this band. I’m still in contact with Arturo, he is a good SHUB NIGGURATH keeper, I tell you again, he is the owner and any matter I have to let him know and discuss it with him, I can not exceed the band business, Arturo must know everything, if I don’t tell something to him, uffff, he could kill me, hahaha! He is a good friend, and of course I got my share of royalties from SHUB NIGGURATH, Arturo is a serious person in these matters, he is honest and clear with his ideas, and never lets us down to the rest of the band."
Let’s talk about the band’s lyrics: I know Arturo was the one writing all the lyrics for SHUB NIGGURATH, he was into the occult, right? Were the other members of the band also into the occult? Are you still interested in those topics?
"Yes, of course Arturo lead the thematic; he handled entirely on the lyrics. He explained us how we could understand lyrically and musically at the same time to relate the bestiality SHUB NIGGURATH expanded. In the first place, we would be the worshipers of this demon, creating invocations and evocations to HIM, under the influence of true and only religion of the real BLACK DEATH METAL, wrapped up by demonic fields of occultism, cosmic terror, and deep cavernous pit of eternal damnation, committing our blood to the damned and bestial SHUB NIGGURATH. Maybe in that time we had the interest to relate our life with the occult based on some books like THE NECRONOMICON, THE DOGMA AND RITUAL OF HIGH MAGIC written by the author if I remember well called PAPUS, THE DEVIL, etc. Nowadays I like to know little about HIM, hahaha, it’s interesting, but I think time has passed, it’s not time to play that much with the devil, haha but my life is always walking side by side with the occult and Satanism through the path I am in the BLACK DEATH METAL UNDERGROUND, its a way of life, and as for the rest of the band, I don’t know what they think now, I prefer to say nothing, hahaha! I only know Arturo is still being the blasphemous cosmic keeper of the horrible SHUB NIGGURATH."
You must be aware of the fact that SHUB NIGGURATH is one of the few bands that used the lyrics based on the horrid writings of HP Lovecraft in a very smart way. Could you tell us a bit about the myths of Lovecraft? Is it only fiction? What do they mean to you and what can you tell us about Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, and Azathoth?
"Talking about Lovecraft is talking about a cult writer of horror stories; I consider him as if he’s almost the direct competition to Edgar Allan Poe. I can say that their stories speak about evil psychic possessions and oniric worlds where time and space are irrevocably altered. Its pages are full of ghoulish monsters’ tales who come from other worlds in forgotten books as dangerous as the legendary NECRONOMICON, FROM LOST CITIES AND LEGENDS, from perverse gods, madness and horror, and probably with all of these requirements, our mind will go into shock, fear and terror. We learnt all this through time, as Arturo was based directly on their stories and mixing his ideas with that horrible book called NECRONOMICON, in that way we felt and turn our music into something hateful, horrendous and malevolent BLACK DEATH METAL. If we talk about the CTHULHU Mythos I might say these are the most celebrated titles by this author. There are a series of mythology stories that combine the occult itself with scientific rationality, are his most representative work of beasts crowded with unpronounceable names submerged in of the most hideous of our nightmares. Among their myths I can mention: ‘The stranger’, ‘The hunter of the dark’, ‘At the Mountains of Madness’, ‘The Shadow over Insmouth’ ufff what a great memories! Listening to ABRUPTUM, MORBID ANGEL, WINTER among others, and reading at the same time. Now we can listen to CATACOMBS; fully associate with the most brutal Lovecraft tales. I describe Cthulhu as a grotesque octopus-headed monster with many tentacles and dragon body with his respective wings. It has the ability to alter its shape. His body is composed of a scaly substance distinct from those found on Earth, as a kind of gelatinous mass that makes it virtually indestructible. Anyway, if his physical body is completely destroyed (which is very unlikely) his extra terrestrial nature would be reformed in hours. He was one of the conquerors of Earth and he also dominated from the deep ocean. Nyarlathotep is a primordial god, appears in many stories, and it’s apparently a large polypoid mass with a long red excretion and is characterized by adopting various forms depending on their pretensions. It seems like a big monster, apparently about 30 feet long, with arms and legs like octopus shape and is linked with similar Egypt figures. Azathoth is represented as the "blind idiot god’, a nuclear chaos monster. If I remember well, they call him the ruler of the foreign gods. It’s for the demons or gods who were in the outer space. It is from the great old ones and very powerful, and I remember a story in which he was a demonic being that lurks in the doorway!"
I have seen some Drowned Productions advertisings in some old zines. In those, the release of the debut album of SHUB NIGGURATH "The Black Goatlike Arise" was being announced. What happened? Why did you never release anything through that label ? Why did you finally decide to change the name of the album?
"It’s very difficult to understand, because SHUB NIGGURATH had received several offers from different labels, being one of them one of the most important in the worldwide scene: Peaceville! I cannot remember why there was not an agreement with this label, it’s a pity. It was almost done with Drowned Productions, but apparently Arturo decided to change it to "Evilness & Darkness Prevails" due to the change that had taken place with Guttural Records, since Guttural Records did a better offer than Drowned, and there were some misunderstandings with that comrade in Spain. The important was that at that time we were so busy in rehearsals for the recording, and as Arturo was the one who arranged all these matters we conclude that Guttural Records was the best option, even if we were already advertised by Drowned, there was already an agreement, but there was something Arturo didn’t like, hahaha! I badly have a brain, but we, the rest of the band, also did not agree, and decided to change the label. "The Black Goatlike Arise" would become the title of a very well recorded rehearsal and of course very brutal, with good sound. I remember that I owned it, but it took a lot of time for me looking for it at all my tape arsenal, and I do not have it. I don’t wanna lie, but I think and believe this rehearsal is the same that ended up pressed on the split by Iron Bonehead, so we have decided to release it via Iron Bonehead. I could ask Arturo about it, but it’s difficult to contact him."
What’s the reason behind the split with NECROCCULTUS? Why didn’t you release it with CENOTAPH? Or any other ancient band from Mexico?
"The split LP release with NECROCCULTUS means a lot to me, it means my life in the underground scene, I belong to NECROCCULTUS, which to me is a band that has excelled in the Mexican and worldwide scene of course. Isaias has many years struggling for NECROCCULTUS, he has faced many obstacles, but he has managed to endure, because he has the real Metal underground fury in his blood. He considere himself as a real SHUB NIGGURATH fan, and when I was invited to be part of NECROCCULTUS, I didn’t say yes because they look good, I just listened to their album and it’s pure Metal, total Death Cult, and I won’t play just for playing, I just play with a band that fills my intensity of pure and real violence. Isaias agreed with Iron Bonehead to release the SHUB-NIGGURATH / NECROCCULTUS split LP. There is some controversy about the royalties from the SHUB-NIGGURATH members, but I said we would be thankful to Iron Bonehead by releasing this split, if it’s released through a honest label, well known by all the scene, so there should not have any doubts about this split; that’s my way of viewing things. I have also heard the question you asked here in Mexico, I think it was a good idea, but why not with CENOTAPH? Well, CENOTAPH is one of the best real bands I’ve seen in Mexico. I remember the tours we did, as the TORMENTOR / CENOTAPH and SHUB NIGGURATH / CENOTAPH ones in Mexico, I will never forget them! The friendship was really good, the music in the two bands was brutal, there was much understanding, so there would also be a great idea to do a split with CENOTAPH, but nobody really thought about or have not thought about it, if this offer come someday I would really like it, either as TORMENTOR or SHUB NIGGURATH. I still met with Oscar Clorio in the local scene, he’s a good friend, it would be very good to talk about it."
As we all know SHUB NIGGURATH is considered as a cult act in the worldwide scene. Did you ever thought the band was going to reach such status? Nowadays there are a lot of bands that with only a demo or 7” are considered cult, what do you think of that? What would you say are the main elements for a band to be considered as such? And which ones do you consider as cult (in the Mexican Death Metal scene as well as in the South American scene)?
"Yes, in fact I realize it from some years ago but now it’s a stronger reality, because sharing the stage in Germany, which is the heart of the underground, with European bands like NECROS CHRISTOS, KAAMOS, GRAVEYARD, and meet members of bands as DROWNED, PROCLAMATION, TEITANBLOOD, KATHARSIS, STENCH OF DECAY, NECROVOMIT etc, they asked me when SHUB NIGGURATH would come back to life or said that when the ‘Abominations Of Ancient Gods’ cover was played it was a total chaos with the European headbangers! I know SHUB NIGGURATH is a cult band in the worldwide Metal scene. Back then I never thought inreaching that level with the band, but if things did really well, with dedication, without shits and lies, without being trendy, there was a very positive result… Well, what I’m trying to say is that I never wanted to be ‘famous’ , it’s like any other activities you develop, if you do well you will have recognition and you will be respected, and this is a triumph in my personal life. Now, the bands with a short career or with only one recording that want to be consider ‘cult’, I feel they lack mature, musically and personally, because a cult band does not mean having one or two years in the ‘scene’, to record a demo or 7" , if they want to feel realized, maybe they would have to be honest with themselves, have knowledge of the true UNDERGROUND. What do mean BATHORY, VENOM, MERCYFUL FATE, DARK ANGEL, SODOM, DESTRUCTION , GRAVE DIGGER, ACCEPT, METALLICA, POSSESSED, ANIALATOR, NUCLEAR DEATH, NECROVORE, DERKETA for them… anyway, there are some more to mention, what can they say about KREATOR "Pleasure To Kill" (this record was a start in the scene for me), talk about "Hell Awaits"! Not that fake SLAYER tour with MARILYN MANSON! hahaha! What a wimpy! Maybe these bands wouldn’t have the fault of being the pioneers in this genre. I think as now everywhere, anybody with rich parents, if their children like "Metal Rock", they invest money in release a 7" for an X band (I will not mention what shitty bands I know to avoid problems) or playing with some important band of the 80s, 90s they consider themselves as ‘cult’! This ruined the national and international scene, and now that we are infected by this kind of bands, the scene is not like before, there are the rights to continue generation after generation, but if they aren’t honest, they are destroying the real path of death. I think the necessary tools to achieve this is: first, being honest with ourselves, discipline, time, dedication, knowledge for pleasure, not for copying the other who have this knowledge, and there is something very important to make a real band, I think it’s TRADING; with that you learn, know, criticize, and above all you collect; the collections is one of the biggest supporters in oneself to feel and create for what you want to transform. And never say the wrong word that I really hate "A BAND CREATED A LA OLDSCHOOL"… fuck! It stinks like child urine and we say "OLDSCHOOL"!"
Which other "foreign" bands have you played with in Mexico? I know you played with GOREFEST, SADISTIC INTENT and BENEDICTION, just to name a few… are there any anecdotes you like to share?
"I cannot answer directly to this question because when I played with SHUB NIGGURATH I had not the opportunity to share the stage with international bands. When these events occurred I was no longer in the band. I was aware that playing with GOREFEST was awesome! I knew that curiously SHUB NIGGURATH closed the night! I don’t know why, with some memorable performances by Arturo, ha ha ha, I would not discuss it because it would perhaps be trouble for me, but if any banger from Mexico saw and remembers what happened that night, ask him to talk about that story. About BENEDICTION, I always knew that the concert was cancelled, but not, it wasn’t, and if SHUB NIGGURATH and BENEDICTION played together it seems they played out of Mexico City, and it was brutal. With SADISTIC INTENT? Indeed to this day I am aware of this. I could talk about an anecdote I had, but with TORMENTOR, when we had the privilege to alternate with MORBID ANGEL! They came with the "Blessed Are The Sick" tour, for me it was the real MORBID ANGEL, the bestial image of the four demons on the stage gave off a totally dark, violent, and mysterious atmosphere! After the show we went with them to dinner and take several beers, personally I kept a very long talk with Richard Brunelle, until we got totally drunk and high! It was a great honor to be among the first Mexican bands to open a concert in Mexico for MORBID ANGEL. But to talk directly about SHUB NIGGURATH as an anecdote I can say that it was always very pleased to have alternated with SUPLISSIUM outside the city, I remember that the scenario was quite simple, with a small scene but more importantly it looked REAL, I remember that this event was organized by Arturo Alvarez from INFECTED zine. And without leaving behind those days where we played alongside memorable CENOTAPH, first the trip out of town and then living together as friends and then share the stage was unforgettable for me, listening to demos from the Swedish scene, advance LPs, and having beers until dawn, well, memories that will never leave my mind."
Are there plans of releasing new material by SHUB NIGGURATH in the future? Are there any unreleased tracks you could use in the next releases?
"I think there are no plans for more releases, although it’s Arturo who decides, because everything SHUB NIGGURATH did has been already released by Guttural Records and I also think it would be boring to continue releasing the same material, the only thing that would change would be the name of the labels. If I had too many tracks perhaps they could be edited in different parts, but ALL is already released. I think with all the stuff edited, all maniacs overseas already have it, and if someone miss some stuff it’s more exciting to look or buy something on ebay, or by trading, such as the vinyl 12" released by Guttural Records, that is numbered! But if it is re-release again… how many copies will they release? 500? 1000? In my point of view the first edition is always is more valuable, even if it haven’t photos or credits, I don’t know, but with that wave of re-releasing some cult vinyl around, adding some ‘posters’ or ‘patches’ or another shit, I think they are losing the cult status, because they are sending into the hands of people who really doesn’t know what happened in the 80s and 90s. And if some tracks were left without editing… then may they remain like that, and I say again: Arturo will take care of this."
I noticed that many Mexican bands were influenced back then by the Swedish Death Metal sound, however SHUB NIGGURATH showed a more brutal American influenced sound, am I right? Which bands have inspired SHUB NIGGURATH to create such an obscure style of Death Metal or even made you form the band back then?
"I think you’re right, because at the time we were walking through a stronger influence in MORBID ANGEL, MASTER, TERRORIZER, SLAYER, DEICIDE, OBITUARY, personally KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, SODOM, all these of course are old, but I always listened to bands like NIHILIST, CREMATORY, CARNAGE, OLD FUNERAL, MERCYFUL FATE, VENOM, among others, and of course we took the good of them as influence. At that time the scene was pure, clean, and highly respected, the scene was in the first stage of life, but only some of them got to be noticed, I personally liked the refinement of the guitarist Hoffman from DEICIDE, if I remember well. I’ve clung a lot to his style, so dry, raw and heartbreaking, and not to forget the brutal and hellish solos of Richard and Trey! But I liked slow, doomy parts, as NECRO SCHIZMA, WINTER, THERGOTHON and others. The speed was exceptional, but the slowness marked the holocaust in my veins, the fire involving the body and leaving ashes and desolation in a world so demeaning and abandoned!"
Imagine you are the editor of a zine… could you please review the works of SHUB NIGGURATH? Feel free to be harsh on your reviews, how many points would you give to those releases?
"Ok, let’s do it! Today (2009 a.b.) I have a zine called Dismal Fog! Haha!!! Here are my reviews: "Horror Creatures": Mexico needed bands like SHUB NIGGURATH, starting with the intro closing to the deadly voices of darkness invoking the demons behind SHUB NIGGURTAH; Nyarlathotep, Hastur, Azabu, linked with Nightmares from beyond, with slow, heavy and frightening riffs, destroying the brain of each of his victims trapped in front of a stereo! Thus, those SHUB NIGGURATH members could show how to make real Blackened Death Metal in Mexico, continuing with the following tracks: ‘Hybrid Race’, ‘Disembowelment’ and ‘Horror Creatures’, they made my ears meditate about this shocking speed, along with those drums well gifted with violence, endless, well proportioned refinements, a bass with clean but violent posture at the same time, the voice is very impressive too. Maybe the only thing that can be criticized as a failure is the production, since the sound is dirty, but if you’re really familiar with these demons, so forget the bad production and put it among your collection of cult demos. There are only 1,000 copies released with original cover, if your copy is xeroxed you don’t have the original one, haha! At the end I hear the horror outro. They had some influences, it’s obvious, because they were a new band back then that needed bases and influences, but not copy from others, simply Dark Black Death Metal, find their influences yourselves… 8 points. "Unknown Adorer": After listening to their demo from 1990, now they present themselves with a with a 7" produced in 1991 by Danny Koeyer, who died after his first release on his label Erosionable Records. Now they have a better production, we can hear every instrument and voice, and I don’t want to say ‘cleaner’ because I like to listen the dirtiness, but well done. I admit, Dany demonstrated his dedication and knowledge to this scene, with a good presentation of this vinyl. ‘Abominations Of Ancient Gods’ on side 1 and ‘Demons Conjurations’ on side 2, now with only 2 guitars alternating with solo to solo, well coordinated, and its violence unleashed at every second; the bass sound is better, it sounds higher in the recording and better developed, as at the beginning of ‘Abominations Of…’ , the fulminating drums and the totally horrendous and murderous voice. I think this production deserved to be born in Europe, because there was starting a real wave of bands that now are cult. The curious thing about this 7" is that its sound and style is more American than European. It’s numbered to 500 copies if I’m not wrong, but it’s a great relic for those who posses it in their collections. 10 points. "Blasphemies Of Nether World": Oh shit!! Now I see that SHUB NIGGURATH in the year 1992 created a daemon on another demon!!!! The best I’ve heard of this band makes me feel fire in my brain; fast, violent, devastating at a short time from every track, but with a speed and sound so obscure that if I’m drunk I could kill every poser that invaded the area! Their performance never lose coordination that had in the past 7", which is what called my attention and reflects a clear influence of Trey and Richard of MORBID ANGEL. I cannot compare it with the earlier productions; it is simply a SHUB masterpiece! The atmosphere that breathes in this horrible cult is Arturo’s voice, who takes us to the most bloody and deteriorating necrocosmic abyss! 10 points. "The Black Goat Like Arise": Actually I knew it is a rehearsal demo, but I have no real knowledge about this demo tape. There is no arguments to criticize. "Evilness And Darkness Pprevails": Mini LP released by Guttural Records; as the beginning of this label (giving them very good luck), but in my own point of view; I ask firstly: where was the essence of this band? I know it’s a very accepted album in the entire underground, but I do not hear the sound so real as on the 7"es and the demo. Musically it has a pronounced and reflected ‘evolution’, with the drums sounding dry, and listening to their cymbals: the crash sounds mainly interrupted, its final cycle of sound is cut; the guitars are very high, stealing the bass sound in all directions; if the drums sound come down a bit we would say that it’s one of the best drummers that existed in the Mexican scene – and so he was -, the voice is just as brutal as in all their releases, but if the sound could be more raw, it would be a totally powerful, brutal, raw album. Without more words, it’s said it’s one of the best records ever released in Mexico, but not for me, it’s far away from what SHUB NIGGURATH used to be. It is noteworthy that the lyrics and cover bear the image and obscure concepts of the band. 6 points. "The Kinglike Celebration": Wow! I never thought to see Oscar Clorio (CENOTAPH, DENIAL) as a member of this band! I see a logo outside the orbit of what was SHUB NIGGURATH. To sum it up: if Arturo did not appear on this production, what would be about the name of this project? Musically I feel a dry sound, boring, not impressive at all, but the whole concept Arturo has is pure respect, in his brain exists the most occult world of necroblasphemy waiting for the doomsday! Sure, you can see the label that released it, lacking in experience in the underground scene, it’s more for a kind of "hard rock" label, especially dishonest, fake and boring. Doesn’t deserve qualification."
What do you miss the most from the "old days" in the underground? Do you think that the magic of that era is lost? Are you aware of what’s going on nowadays with bands, zines or labels? Which current Death Metal bands seem interesting to you?
"What I miss most about those days, first: my old friends I grew up with in this movement, which are Daniel Corchado, Oscar Clorio, Guillermo, Pala, Gustavo el rojo, Angel Rivas TORMENTOR’s vocalist, Julio Viterbo, which are the main maniacs with which we started this movement here in Mexico, along with bands such as MORTUARY, DEADLY DARK TOXODETH, NECROPHILIAC, NOCTAMBULISM, FATALNARCOSIS, HARDWARE, TENEBRARUM, PENTAGRAM, HELLNOMORF, etc., now I have much real friends in this scene, but I didn’t know at the time. Also I miss getting demos in tape format, now everything is on CD, I don’t refuse to continue getting material on CD, but I’d rather get the tapes, as for example: INCUBUS "Supernatural Death" recorded on a tape instead a CD. I feel that most of the essence of those times is lost, the time was very exciting to get advance LPs from MORBID ANGEL "Altars Of Madness" or ENTOMBED "Left Hand Path", or very rare to get demos rehearsals of bands as: SLAYER, CREMATORY, DISGRACE, or maybe bootleg live tapes from the European tour of 3 awesome bands as AUTOPSY, BOLT THROWER and OBITUARY! I remember this tour well because a trader from France sent me 4 tapes recorded with these bands and good sound, I don’t know but, there was a scene that I don’t feel today, well, at least not here in Mexico. It’s boring to meet with friends and just talk about CDs distribution, anyway there are friends who still remember and continue to enjoy the tape format. Other great thing was also to have shirts of those times, which could be with shirts of MORBID ANGEL’s ‘Morbid Tour’ or shirts of NIHILIST, SAMAEL, SLAUGHTER, the classic VOIVOD! SINDROME of Troy Dixler, wow their demo "Into The Halls Of Extermination" rule forever, with this I’m replying you, yes the magic is lost, but now it’s another time, everything changes, I stay with those times, but I’m still in this scene, you know, it’s different now. I’m not aware what is happening with zines and bands nowadays; if I see a zine that brings information of vinyl, tapes, 80s scene, I care a lot, like yours: Crypts of Eternity, Temple of Adoration haha, I think these are the ones that have drawn my attention until this moment. I’m still making copies of old zines as Slayer, Peardrop, Putrefaction, Underdeath, Infected, Merciless Noise among others. About the bands, I don’t pay enough attention to bands of today, of course I’m not against them, but I always look for old bands, but I have pay attention to some who would be, hmm… unless I’m not mistaken, KARNARIUM? I don’t know how old they are… TEITANBLOOD, they just released their first LP I guess, GRAVEWURM, KILL, STENCH OF DECAY, NOCTURNAL GRAVES, SLUTVOMIT, TRENCH HELL, ASSAULT, SODOMATOR, NECROVATION etc., maybe they are not so new, but they are the last stuff I got."
Did you know that two books about Swedish Death Metal have been edited? Do you have them? What do you think of that? What do you think about a book about LATIN AMERICAN DEATH METAL?
"Yes, I know about these Swedish books, but I could not buy them or at least see them or find someone to lend it to me, I find it interesting at 50%. I can’t guess, who wrote it? Is this person who wrote a connoisseur of this genre? If he’s a person under 25 years of age, I think it has to be a very poor book in knowledge, but if he’s our age of 39 or 40, should be interesting. As for a Latin American book it’s a good idea, it would be interesting because the scene of America has been fallen short in the worldwide scene, I immediately guess about three reviewed pages of SARCOFAGO, SEPULTURA, VULCANO, MUTILATOR, ATOMIC AGGRESSOR, SADISM, DEATH YELL, TOTTEN KORPS etc."
Personally I’m not really into tribute albums, I think most of the time they are worthless pieces of crap trying to get money out of the listeners, and most of the time labels that edit those tributes don’t even have a clue of what they are doing. What do you think of those tribute CDs you see everywhere today? I wouldn’t be surprising to see a tribute CD to SHUB NIGGURATH… what would be your reaction to that? What bands of the scene today would be up to the task of playing SHUB NIGGURATH creations?
"I don’t like these ideas also, I get bored, so I do not buy or get this kind of recordings, I think it’s different doing a cover of a band based on your influences and present sometimes only live, maybe in a rehearsal or on a 7". I can criticize these ‘tribute’ releases, as the one I listened to with the title "Holy DARKTHRONE"! Another one I listened to and I could ever listened anymore in my life is the BLACK SABBATH one, hahaha, it’s so boring, 2 SLAYER tribute CDs I also listened to, and finally, kind of 2 years ago, the POSSESSED one, that is nothing in my collection. Maybe those bands weren’t the best chosen ones for these releases. About a SHUB NIGGURATH tribute, I had a contact here in Mexico that asked for it about 4 or 5 years ago. I told him that ‘could’ be a good idea, but I didn’t take it as seriously as it isn’t really important. I asked him what bands he would, and I never got an answer, however, I see that SHUB NIGGURATH is cult in several countries, but I don’t think it would work as a tribute, since it has only few material to offer. There could be, and there are bands that tend to be more interesting for these achievements and, if so I would like to listen to ATOMIC AGGRESSOR, ALMIGHTY SATANAS, THRONEUM, NECROCCULTUS already did, STENCH OF DECAY, KINGDOM, INCANTATION, GRAVEYARD, maybe NUNSLAUGHTER, NECROVATION, SANCTIFIER, SADISTIC INTENT, VOMITATION, GOREAPHOBIA, maybe some others more."
Tell us about the great Mexican Death Metal scene back then, was there unity between the bands or maybe the bands didn’t get along because of jealousy or hate between them…? What was the relationship of SHUB NIGGURATH with bands like CENOTAPH, RIPPING FLESH, ANARCHUS, TOXODEATH etc.?
"Those days!!!! I will never forget the shirts, the demo tapes, people who grew up with us, the first and small gigs that were made with ANARCHUS, DEMOGORGON, ATOXXXICO, PACTUM, KAHFRA, TRANSMETAL then coming the following wave of bands like TORMENTOR, DAMNED CROSS / CENOTAPH, MORTUARY, DAEDLY DARK, TOXODETH, RIPPING FLESH, among others, all blended with unity, but at the same time mixed with several misunderstandings, jealousies, favoritism, that made me realize that people from our environment, which was already in conflict with people from other bands, looked for the stupid word to say, ‘we will win’, win what? Seeking competition? I didn’t know it was a competition! Haha! I laugh a lot of these people that are now no longer here, that was simply little a pest in the little scene that existed at the time. How did SHUB NIGGURATH relate with the bands that you mention? Really well, especially with CENOTAPH. We used to share rehearsals, concerts, tours, and the friendship at the time was very good. We had an excellent friendship with RIPPING FLESH, they are people who I no longer see, but they will always be respected wherever they are. Currently I only used to meet with Oscar Piñon – who would say that now we would play together in NECROCCULTUS? With ANARCHUS it has been a very good friendship, as we are still in contact with Pancho and Adolfo, they are excellent people, very drunk!! Great folks! And with TOXODETH, the friendship they gave us was very nice! Those tours we did in their city were bestial; thanks to the hospitality of Raul Guzman along with his brother the ‘dog’ and his band FATALNARCOSIS, we used to booze until the next day!! And a big salute to Pedro Guevara, Joel Alanis, Joel Leal, Arturo Vilchez, Alberto Vela, Aram Peinado, and many more."
Tell us about what Death Metal means to you… what boundaries should never be broken to keep the genre in its pure and traditional form?
"It is a way of living individually, a way to feed my sixth sense in the darkness and internal violence. Musically Death Metal should be dry, raw, consisting of 2 guitars, bass and drums and the voice must be naturally guttural without harmony or melody, no female voice, of course! Unless they are Dana Duffey or Lori Bravo! Personally it reflects my truth, my "I" inside. I think to keep the Death Metal in a pure and traditional state, bangers have to know how to listen, to assimilate it, respect it, understand it, be them from the old or new school, and know that there’s no requirement for competition between any music genre, it’s needless to wear oneself with musical ornaments, much less communicate oneself with the "Metal trend". It should never be mixed with religion or politics, it is only Death Metal, if one put Death Metal in evidence as kind of protest against religions or politics, so it should be labeled as Hardcore Punk! Haha!!! I do not use it to protest, it’s part of my human being. Death is Metal, Metal is Death, Death Metal!!!!!!!!!!"
Tell us about you being a member of NECROCCULTUS… how was the show in Berlin and why was that one your only show in Europe? Are there any plans to go back to Europe soon? What’s new in NECROCCULTUS nowadays?
"I felt really accomplished with NECROCCULTUS in my musical career, they are honest and above all: friends! The Death Metal that explodes from NECROCCULTUS is exactly the one I like to play. Sincerely from the 3 bands in which I participated, NECROCCULTUS is the band where I’ve felt better, the only bad thing is when we have a rehearsal, the distance that divides us is 4 to 5 hours of journey; we are in different cities, but whenever it’s worth the travel and stay with them. The show in Berlin was brutal, we are 100% satisfied for having played that show there! The most important was the scene so real and bestial, we were surrounded by warriors and infernal bands, as those that we shared the stage with, besides the people of TEITANBLOOD / PROCLAMATION, DROWNED, DESTROYER 666, NECROVOMIT, STENCH OF DECAY, KATHARSIS etc. We did only one gig because the plan was scheduled for a certain date, but it seems that was changed and the trip had to be quick, because the line up was already published, but the satisfaction of being there, doing a good show and share the stage with bands like NECROS CHRISTOS, KAAMOS, GRAVEYARD and MORBOSIDAD was brutal. There are plans to return, I think NECROCCULTUS must create new tracks, and release a new LP, so hopefully we will soon make a tour for Europe and South America with several dates… the latest news with NECROCCULTUS is that Salvador (guitar) just quit, and a new guitarist called Mauricio (from LUST) took his place. I think these are the latest news in the band."
Could you please name the 10 most influential Death Metal albums of all time and that every Metal head should have in his collection? Also including the sickest releases (demos, EPs, CDs) of Mexican Death Metal?
"I think they are at least 15, but basically it would have to be about 20 to 25 but I’ll give you my main 15 in my collection: SLAYER – "Hell Awaits", MERCYFUL FATE – "Don’t Break The Oath", MORBID ANGEL – "Abominations Of Desolation" / "Altars Of Madness", NUCLEAR DEATH – "Carrion For Worms" / "Bride Of Insect", CARCASS – "Reek Of Putrefaction", ONSLAUGHT – "Power From Hell" / "The Force", NECROPHAGIA – "Season Of The Dead", DESTRUCTION – "Infernal Overkill", SODOM – "Obssessed By Cruelty", KREATOR – "Pleasure To Kill", BATHORY – "The Return…", HELLHAMMER – "Apocalyptic Raids", CELTIC FROST – "Morbid Tales", INCUBUS – "Serpent Temptation" and CARNAGE – "Dark Recollections". And as for Mexican Death Metal I can mention: TORMENTOR – "Visions Of Darkness" (Demo Rehearsal), SHUB NIGGURATH – "Horror Creatures / Blasphemies Of Nether World" (7"), CENOTAPH – "Rise Of Excruciation" (Demo), CENOTAPH – "Tenebrous Apparitions" (7"), MORTUARY – "Where Death Takes Your Soul", NECROPHILIAC – "Putrifact Death", ANARCHUS – "Total Hate", DEADLY DARK – "Vade Retro", SUPLISSIUM – "Demo" and PENTAGRAM – "Demo" (an unknown band, they were one of the first bands playing Brutal Death Metal in Mexico)."
Well, Noctural Slayer, it was a great honor to do this interview with such underground legends as SHUB NIGGURATH in these pages. Thanks for taking some time answering these questions, and if you have any merch you’d like to show you can do it here. Finish this interview the way you want.
"Well Lucas, thank you very much for this very interesting interview! I want your zine to prevail in the worldwide scene for so long, and never lose that real and honest essence. To the readers, thank you for reading this zine, and if someone think that some of my comments offended you, don’t think like that, I simply say what I feel and see on the scene these days. Many people who think it’s a trend or it’s simply a season in their lives – and it isn’t so -, it’s simply a way to live. I lived over the past, but everything is changing and creating new tendencies, and with all the right in the world one can make real Death Metal, but you must be honest and real with yourself above all. Hail the Metal of Death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"