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THANATOS (PAUL/STEPHAN)

Thanatos-1

HI! HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? Stephan: Just got home from my first day at work after three weeks holidays, so things could be better… works sucks, haha… Paul: Hey metalhead, doing fine. I’ve just updated the other Thanatos internetsite run.to/thanatos) , now I have the time for it. NOW IT IS FINISHED, HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH THE FINAL RESULT OF “UNDEAD. UNHOLY. DEVINE”? Paul: Yes, we all are happy as hell about the result. It exceeded all expectations and crushes its predecessor on all counts in my opinion ON YOUR HOMEPAGE, YOU MENTION SOME “DELAYS” IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING THE ALBUM RELEASED. WHAT EXTACTLY WAS THE PROBLEM? Stephan: The album was recorded in november 2003 and was originally planned for a march/april 2004 release. Things went kinda slow at the record company so the release date was postponed to june 12th, we finally received the albums on july 15th so we were a bit pissed off that it took so long before the album was finally released. But shit like that always happens I guess. I’m happy now that the album is finally out, but I doubt if releasing an album in the summer is a good move… we’ll see IN A WAY, ONE COULD SAY THAT AFTER COMING BACK TO THE SCENE FOUR YEARS AGO YOU ARE AT THE SAME POINT AS IN 1992: JUST HAVING RELEASED YOUR SECOND ALBUM IN A NEWLY NASCENT DEATH METAL SCENE. DOES IT FEEL LIKE THIS TO YOU – LIKE A NEW BEGINNING WITH A HUNGRY BAND? Stephan: Well, we sure sound like a new, hungry band but the feeling is different of course. The scene has changed very much; everything’s got to do with politics and money these days. Bands can only tour or appear at bigger festivals if they and their label are willing to pay huge amounts of money, and in the eighties and early nineties it was more the music that counted… but in a way you’re right. We just made a great album and we’re ready to play these new songs live for everyone who wants to hear us. We’re still motivated and hungry to play live… YOU DON’T SEEM TO BE ESPECIALLY KEEN ON BLAST-BEATS, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS SOME PRETTY FAST DRUMMING TOWARDS THE END OF THE RECORD. HOW COME? Stephan: What do you mean?! There are more blast-beats on ‘undead…’ than on any other thanatos record! Six of the nine songs have blast-beats in them!!! I have nothing against blast-beats, but I think it gets boring when a band uses blast beats all the time. When you use blast beats only at certain places they add that little extra speed at certain points. So you’re listening to a fast ‘polka rhythm’ and then it gets even faster because of a blast beat. When you use blast beats all the time all the other parts sound really slow in comparison… THE INSTRUMENTAL SECTION IN THE TITLE TRACK OF THE NEW ALBUM HAS AN INCEDIBLE FLOW AND REALLY SUCKS THE LISTENER INTO THE MUSIC. IT WOULD SEEM TO ME THAT YOUR VISION OF DEATH METAL HAS JUST AS MUCH TO DO WITH BRUTALITY AS WITH FLOW AND POSSIBLY EVEN TRANCE. AM I CORRECT? Stephan: Thank you very much! Paul: The title track just exist of a couple of riffs, but has a old school intensity. Stephan has a great feeling for songwriting and uses mostly non-nonsense but efficient riffs. This is a perfect song to play live by the way! A QUESTION IN THE SAME VEIN: ONE CAN ACTUALLY HEAR EVERYTHING EVERY SINGLE INSTRUMENT IS PLAYING AT EVERY POINT IN TIME. DID YOU PURPOSELY EXCHANGE JUST A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVINESS FOR TRANSPARANCY? Paul: The previous album ‘Angelic Encounters’ has mainly death metal elements and needed a heavy sound and deep grunts. The songs of ‘Undead. Unholy. Divine.’ have a more thrashy character. During the recordings it became clear that the songs needed a transparent sound, just a pure thrash/death should sound. Besides that, the ‘new’ Thanatos sounds very tight so we could afford this kind of sound. YOU DON’T SEEM TO BE USING OVERLY MANY EFFECTS FOR YOUR VOCALS (I MIGHT BE WRONG ON THIS ONE). ARE YOU OF THE OPINION, THAT TOO MUCH PROCESSING ON THE VOICE IS TAKING AWAY FROM ITS INTENSITY AND DIRECTNESS? Stephan: Yes, you’re right. Vocals should sound raw and direct. This way they sound more aggressive and ‘in your face’. IN “ERASER”, JUST WHEN YOU ARE SINGING “THE NIGHT IS FALLING”: IS THAT BRUCE DICKINSON SCREAMING IN THE BACK? Stephan: Shit man, how did you find out??!!! Haha, no it’s Ed Warby, the drummer of Gorefest/ Ayreon/ Star One etc… He’s a good friend of mine and he came by in the studio a couple of times. I knew he could do these high-pitched screams so I asked him to do a couple of screams in this song… Bruce can’t reach those high notes anymore, so we didn’t even call him (but please don’t tell him, cause he might get upset!) THE BEGINNING OF THE GUITAR SOLO OF “BEYOND TERROR” MUST BE ONE OF THE MOST UNUSUAL I’VE HEARD ON A DEATH METAL RECORD FOR SOME TIME. IT REALLY SEEMS OVER THE WHOLE OF THE ALBUM THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO GIVE THE GUITAR SOLO SOME OF THE EXCITEMENT BACK, WHICH IT LOST TO A LOT OF CLICHES. TRUE OR JUST A COINCIDENCE? Paul: Thanx for the compliment! Thanatos always had remarkable guitar solos and they were an essential part of the songs. I’ve tried to mix melody with tremolo-abuse-brutality in the solo. The guitar solo you mention, reminds me of the good old Slayer times. “SIGN OF SADAKO” WORKS GREAT AS A SLOW-FLOWING STREAM OF EVIL. HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED MOVING MORE TOWARDS DOOM? HAVE ANY BANDS FROM THIS GENRE INSPIRED YOU OVER THE LAST YEARS? Stephan: On our second album ‘realm of ecstasy’ there’s also some doomy stuff; parts of the title track and escpecially the last song on that album ‘terminal breath’. I like to have some slow parts or even one or two slow songs on an album that’s generally fast. A lot of people seem to like ‘Sadako’ so I guess we made a good slow one this time. There will be one or two slower songs on the next record as well I guess, but we won’t turn into a doom band. I don’t listen to a lot of doom metal but I’ve always liked Black Sabbath and Candlemass and of course Celtic Frost and Hellhammer. I also like the slow, filthy parts of Necrophagia very much. THE LYRICS TO THAT SONG (“SIGN OF SADAKO”) SEEM TO IMPLY THAT THERE IS RETRIBUTION FOR EVERY EVIL DONE AND THAT SADAKO MIGHT RISE FROM THE DEAD AND TAKE REVENGE. HOW COME YOU INTERPRET THIS STORY, WHICH MANY ACTUALLY SEE AS A METAPHOR FOR “NEVER GIVING UP” IN A DIFFERENT WAY? Stephan: The song is inspired by the japanese ‘Ring’ movies… You could indeed see it as a metaphor for ‘never giving up’ but when I wrote the song I simply tried to capture the eerie atmosphere of these movies, both in lyrics and music… MAYBE YOU ANSWERED THIS QUESTION SOMEWHERE BEFORE, BUT I COULDN’T FIND IT: ARE THE VERSIONS OF “BEYOND TERROR” AND “DEVOUR THE LIVING” FROM THE “BEYOND TERROR”-EP IDENTICAL WITH THE ONES ON YOUR NEW RELEASE? Paul: They’re different and newly recorded versions. The songs haven’t really changed that much, but of course they’re re-recorded in a better studio. YOU MENTIONED IN AN INTERVIEW THAT YOU WERE NOT TO KEEP PLAYING WHEN ALL YOU COULD DO WAS SELL A MERE 500 COPIES OF YOUR LATEST ALBUM. I THOUGHT THIS WAS INTERESTING, SINCE MOST BANDS THAT COME BACK AFTER QUITE SOME TIME JUST DO IT FOR THE FUN OF IT (OR FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, WHICH YOU PROBABLY WON’T BE EXPECTING). BUT YOU STILL SEEM POISED AND EAGER. HOW IMPORTANT IS SELLING RECORDS STILL TO YOU AS AN ARTISTIC REWARD? Stephan: I don’t think I exactly said that; selling records isn’t that important to me, cause we’ve never made any money with this band and we’ll probably never will either. I’m in this band cause I love playing this kind of music and of course I love it when people tell me they like our records and when we play in front of a good crowd. I just want our records to be available to the public in a proper way, so I want a label with good distribution , that’s all… Paul: Of course we’re playing for fun and it’s great playing live and creating new songs. Unfortunately, you have to take care of the business; the hell of every musican. When a band is selling just 500 copies, than it’s not interesting for labels to corporate with the band. The break-even-point is mostly at a higher point. No record deal means that the band has to pay all costs and must take care of the distribution and promotion. It’s a big financial risk, which we’re not able to take. DO YOU SOMETIMES THINK BACK IN A LITTLE BIT OF DISAPPOINTMENT AND WONDER HOW BIG THANATOS COULD HAVE BEEN, HADN’T SHARK RECORDS MESSED THINGS UP? Stephan: In a way yes, but we fucked up things ourselves as well; back in the early days we were too much into partying, alcohol and drugs. Certain people in the band acted like little Rock Stars and we were just a small fucking band so that didn’t work. The combination of a bad attitude and a bad record company were the reasons for not becoming a bigger band in the early nineties. Of course it’s a shame cause I would have loved to be on a higher level then and now, but shit happens and nothing can change what has happened back then… ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT ATARI TEENAGE RIOT USING ONE OF YOUR RIFFS WITHOUT PERMISSION? AS I ACTUALLY HAD PROBLEMS DOWNLOADING THE TRACKS I WASN’T QUITE SURE OF WHETHER THEY ACTUALLY PLAYES IT AGAIN THEMSELVES OR WHETHER THEY SAMPLED IT? Stephan: They sampled the main riff of one of our songs. We’re not going to do anything about it. Blabbermouth hyped the whole thing which was kinda funny. I only found out about that song a couple of months ago…I didn’t even know that they released “their” song back in 1996 already and that they have split up now… so it’s no big deal… but they could at least have told us about it, you know…. ON A LIGHTER NOTE, YOU WILL APPEAR IN A DUTCH ZOMBIE MOVIE AS A ZOMBIE. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MOVIE: WHO’S BEHIND IT, WILL WE BE ABLE TO SEE IT IN GERMANY? Stephan: The film will be shot next year I guess; the title is ‘Worst case scenario’ and it’s about dutch and german hooligans who meet up after a soccer game for a fight, but then they come across these hordes of zombies emerging from the sea… I hope it will be available in Germany as well… It will be a real professional movie, so not some sort of amateur video… The producers are recruiting hundreds of people for a giant zombie army and I will be one of them (hopefully) WHY ARE YOU PLANNING TO RE-RECORD SOME OF THE VOCALS OF THE “REALM OF ECSTASY”-ALBUM? WEREN’T THE EARLY ALBUMS ALREADY RE-DONE AND RE-ISSUED? OR AM I REFERRING TO OLD NEWS HERE? Stephan: There might be some sort of compilation album on one of our previous labels later this year and if that happens I will re-record the vocals for 4 tracks from the ‘realm’ album, cause I don’t like the way the vocals sound on that album (not sharp, direct and aggressive enough). So there won’t be another re-release from that album, cause a re-mastered version was already released on Hammerheart records back in 2000, but maybe some songs on a compilation (or simply available for download on our website if the compilation doesn’t happen) AS YOUR RHYTHM SECTION IS ALREADY PLAYING WITH MELECHESH: WHY NOT JOIN THEM ON TOUR? IT SOUNDS LIKE A FASCINATING PACKAGE TO ME… Stephan: I’ve come up with the same idea already, but Yuri (our drummer) does not want to play two sets a night…He’s a lazy bastard you know… I think the guys from Melechesh don’t want that either… I wouldn’t mind personally YOUR OLD PALS FROM JUDGEMENT DAY HAVE ALSO RELEASED A NEW ALBUM THIS YEAR. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE YET TO LISTEN TO “40 MINUTES TO IMPACT”? DO YOU FEEL A SPECIAL CONNECTION BETWEEN THANATOS AND THIS BAND, AS YOU WERE BOTH THERE, WHEN IT ALL STARTED? Stephan: No, not really. I know a few guys from the band and of course our former bass player Theo used to play with them, but there’s no special connection between Thanatos and Judgment Day… In the early days we played more with bands like Gorefest, Dead Head, Sinister etc… WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON THE CURRENT DEATH METAL SCENE? THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE CLAIMING THAT IT IS VIBRANT AND EXCITING, BUT I HAD THE STRONG FEELING THAT THE BEST ALBUMS THIS YEAR WERE ACTUALLY BY OLDER BANDS COMING BACK AFTER PERIODS OF SILENCE… Stephan: Yyou’re so damn right! I totally agree with that! Paul: Yes, I agree. Top albums of this year are released by ‘experienced’ bands, such as Death Angel and Exodus. Dutch veterans Occult kicks ass with their killeralbum ‘Elegy for the weak’. FOR SOME STRANGE REASON YOUR ENTIRE BACK CATALOGUE IS SOLD OUT ON YOUR WEBPAGE, BUT AN EXTREMELY RARE LOOKING LIVE-TAPE FROM 1987 ISN’T. WHAT CAN LISTENERS EXPECT FROM THIS TAPE THAT CAUGHT YOU WHEN WERE ALMOST STILL WEARING DIPERS? Stephan: Since we’ve been on many different labels who sometimes still own the rights of certain albums, it’s up to those labels if they do another pressing of the early albums. We haven’t got anymore copies left of our first three albums now, only the MCD ‘beyond terror’ and of course the new album are still available. The “1987 live tape“ is made up of three different shows if I’m right and sold more copies back then (I guess something like 2,000 copies!) than any of the official demo tapes we released. A lot of old fans like this tape very much and asked us if we could release it on a CD cause the old tapes had worn out. So now we’re selling them for a very low price (5 Euros) on a recordable cd (with the original cover of course). The recordings sound very clear and very thrashy… we played pretty well at those shows and the songs still sound ok… So everyone who wants to hear some very early Thanatos stuff should check it out… CAN I APPOLOGISE FOR POSSIBLY CRITICISING YOUR ALBUM JUST A LITTLE BIT TOO MUCH IN MY REVIEW? I JUST PUT IT IN MY CD-PLAYER AGAIN AND THOUGHT IT WAS GROWING ON ME WITH EACH LISTEN. Stephan: No! Fuck you! haha, yeah of course. I write for a magazine myzelf (Aardschok) and sometimes I do a review and when I listen to that same album one week later I appreciate it much more than the first couple of times I listened to it… or vice versa of course… Paul: Don’t worry, just give us your address so we can ‘visit’ you soon! Ha! Ha! WHAT’S NEXT? Stephan: Writing new songs I guess and hopefully a lot of shows throughout europe! Paul: Cheers to all readers and thanx for the interview! Check out our website www.thanatos.info and leave a message in the guestbook

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