Recenze/review - SOLSTICE - Casting The Die (2021)



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Home » » Interview - CIANIDE - Live your own life, be honest with yourself and life-type shit really just gets easier. Trust me…

Interview - CIANIDE - Live your own life, be honest with yourself and life-type shit really just gets easier. Trust me…

Interview with legendary death doom metal band from USA - CIANIDE.

Answered Mike Perun, thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx. 

Recenze/review - CIANIDE - Unhumanized (2019):

Ave CIANIDE! Greetings to the Chicago Catacombs! When I was preparing for this interview, I found all the albums I have from you over the weekend. I found out that the first record that came to us was record „A Descent Into Hell“ from 1994. Do you know what is interesting? I haven't found a weak record in your entire discography. How is it possible? Do you have a recipe for that? So many years to keep the bar of quality so high? 

That is a bit strange as our debut album The Dying Truth is the one people are still the most familiar with, even to this day. Thanks for the compliment on the “no weak records” thing though. The answer is both simple and complicated. Simple in the fact that we write songs that WE want to hear first and foremost. It’s gotta be a song/album that I/we would enjoy listening to as much as playing live. I obviously know quite a few people in bands and through talking to them, it comes across that they are NOT actual “fans” of their own music. Which is goofy to me. How can you not be a fan of your own shit? The complicated side of that, since we are fans of our own stuff, we’re our own harshest critics, which is why it takes us for-fucking-ever to complete writing a new song. Maybe to some people I guess they’re simple “caveman” songs or whatever, but every note, every bend, every pause, every drum hit MEANS SOMETHING to us – and ultimately to the song itself. All killer, no filler. I dunno, to do it any other ways is well, just not CIANIDE… 

We had to wait for the last EP “Unhumanized” for eight long years. In the meantime you released a split with NEKROFILTH, which by the way was released on vinyl by Czech DOOMENTIA RECORDS, but I have to admit that I was very eager. Why did it take you so long? Was money the reason? Or time? 

Definitely not the money. These are just the songs we had written and completed up until this point. As I said above not only does it take us forever to finish a song, we are also not a “serious” band in the sense that we don’t have any reason to commodify our music. This is not our bread and butter. We don’t need to play to eat. We still like to jam once a week or so, but “real life” does happen and get in the way. Even more so, when you get up into our vintage. Next thing you know, 8 months will fly by and we haven’t touched our gear. Then a “must play” show offer will come our way, so there’s another 2-3 months of prepping for that. Then a month break afterwards turns to 3, and then the cycle repeats all over again… 

Anyway, the EP "Unhumanized" is out and immediately become my most played albums. While listening, one feels that it has returned on the timeline back to the 1990s. It's excellent! How was it created? And how does CIANIDE create new material? 

There’s not really any set pattern except that it all starts with The Almighty Riff. Then we just build the song from there. We’ll dissect it every different way, slower, faster, switch parts around, usually just to come full circle back to where we originally started from in the first place. We’ll record the raw versions ourselves and further scrutinize from there after a good listen. Because at least to us, the playback “listen” is a completely different experience than just playing and hashing it out live. Then I’ll take those recordings and “John Tardy” vocal patterns over it until I get one that sounds the best, and then compose lyrics on top of that… 

I always liked the sound of your albums. “Unhumanized” is no exception. If I'm not mistaken, you recorded with Jack Controla at his Enormous Door Studios. How did you get such a dense sound? Seems to me as if it was recorded in analogue way or am I wrong? The sound of the record seems to me similar like the sound of previous album "Gods of Death. Do you talk a lot about how the record should sound or do you leave it to the sound masters? 

It actually was recorded by Sanford Parker at Decade Studios in Chicago March 2019. We always wanted to work with Sanford and that is where he is currently working out of right now. This has been the first time we went to a “real” studio since Divide and Conquer which was our last “pro” studio outing. We recorded Hells Rebirth and Gods of Death ourselves in the basement (Slaughtersound Studios) so we felt we perhaps needed a different take on our music. We know what we are capable of when we do the recording ourselves, but with our current resources/equipment we probably reached the absolute best we could ever sound studio wise. It was time to take it to another level, and it shows since this is the best we've ever fucking sounded I think. Another reason is we would've taken way much longer if we recorded ourselves. With Sanford we knew we could get this done is less than a week. He did the mix on his own without much input from us. Little tweaks here and there but that’s it. We were like, "Here you go dude, have fun with the mix and shoot us some files when you got it down". Fucking rules! I don't think we could ever go back to recording ourselves anymore now. This shit spoiled us.... 

I am an old school fan and I really like the covers of the albums. “Unhumanized” is signed by a person named „Nev“. I found out that it should be an artist named Michael Nevler. The theme is so great for me that I put it on my desktop as wallpaper. But I didn't find more information about Michael. How did you get together and how was the cover for the album created? 

Nev Michael @ Gruesome Graphx  is mutual metal mutant freak pal of ours (not to mention fellow Godzilla nerd) I don’t really know his real name and it doesn’t really matter. When I saw this piece that he did, I knew instantly that was for us. I was like – “Well there’s our next album cover… Dude you gotta let us use that.” Nev was stoked and the rest is history. He did all the inner sleeve artwork and the lyrics too. Keep it all uniform. Nev rules!!! 

You have played since 1988 and you have a relatively stable line-up. Respectively you (Mike) and Scott have been in CIANIDE from the beginning. This is not very common. Have you never had a submarine disease? Did you had different opinions, how should your music sound? You know, someone prefers blondes, another brunette. Then a few sharper words are enough. Someone once wrote that the band is like a family. What about CIANIDE? 

Correct. After all this time, at this point we are all more like family than mere friends. We all have keys to each other’s houses and considered family to each other’s families and shit, but we can also go a couple of months without any communication with each other at all. We pick up right where we all left off once we start jamming again. The “family” extends to our former members Jeff Kabella (drums on TDT and DIH) and Jim Bresnahan (guitars on DD&D and D&C now the main KOMMANDANT). Do not fuck with any of us or our own… 

Today is good in having the Internet. At least I can remotely look at your concerts. Although it is not perfect, because the sound on you-tube is always weird, but according to all available information - you perform mainly in Chicago? I'll write it straight, I'd really like to see you live, but there's no opportunity. Aren't you going on tour? I could imagine you, MASTER and maybe you can take AUTOPSY then my dream would come true. Well, seriously - what about CIANIDE and concerts? What would you say on a trip to Europe with a stop in our country? 

Nope. Touring is out of the question for us. We’re not road dogs and never will be. Andy and Scott are my brothers but being cooped up in a van with those assholes for a month or more just to play some toilet show for 50 dollars a night sounds like a version of hell I don’t ever, ever, ever, want to inhabit. More power to all bands that do that shit though. Go get em! I’ll be on my couch… 

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend in the pub about how everything has gone crazy over the past years. Everyone has the internet in the pocket, young people are more influenced by pictures and videos than by music and lyrics. Nobody reads much, we agreed that a lot of things are more superficial. Maybe it is different in America, but in the Czech Republic I see it every day. Music is not different. How do you perceive changes in society as a musician? We have a lot of new technologies, recording studios are better equipped, ideas can be sent over the Internet. 

Christ, it’s worse in USA, we created this shit after all. But also being a “weirdo” makes you oblivious to all the bullshit. I know it’s a cliché but honestly I don’t give a fuck what anyone says, thinks or does anymore. Live your own life, be honest with yourself and life-type shit really just gets easier. Trust me… 

Another is the world, also in terms of labels, publishing. CIANIDE is a band which for me is synonymous for underground death metal. We have band-camp, you-tube, labels can spread your music faster and reach more people. But you know, vinyl is vinyl, cassette tape and CD also has its magic. Did you had to change your approach to publishing your music? Or do you still drive old school way and the no novelties don‘ t bother you? 

We had to go through publishing and signing agreements for our first two albums, but like you said it was a different time. Even stupid Displeased records tried pulling some shit with us to sign over our demo rights to them. Hilarious. At the end of the day, this is still underground metal. Nobody’s getting rich off this shit. Are you gonna get some high priced lawyer to represent your case to sue us for you losing money on your hobby label? Good luck Champ. See you in court… 

You founded the band in 1988. You were actually at the beginning of something new. I love Chicago's deadly school. I like it because it sounds dirty, raw. What was actually the 1990s in Chicago? Please remember for us. Which bands do you like to go to see? Who were your idols? Feel free to add some cheerful story, surely you have a lot of them. 

This question seems to come up in every single interview and each time it gets more difficult to answer. Those days were great but they’re gone. I guess maybe younger metal heads sort of “romanticize” that era, but to be honest during that time, we were interested in doing our own thing. There was no magic except for living in the moment. We were just young metalheads who happened upon the coolest underground music going. Just a lot of drinking and listening to tapes and records in my bedroom. Being from Chicago, Paul Speckman is personal hero. Worship every band he does. DEVASTATION, TERMINAL DEATH, SINDROME, TROUBLE, ZOETROPE were also big stars in my world as well. 

I ask this question to every band and your opinion really interesting me a lot. What does death metal really mean to you? How would you define it? You can hear a lot on the CIANIDE records that you put everything in your music that it is played by the heart. I see it as a fan. So what death metal means to you…? 

I don’t think it is anything that could be put into words and explained in that sort of sense. Just like with everything that comes naturally. You either have it or you don’t. Having an overall metal attitude of FUCK OFF AND DIE to the rest of the world. Says it all really… 

Finally, a classic but important question. What are CIANIDE preparing in the near future? Can we look forward to a new album? Alternatively, and I firmly believe in this, will we finally see you somewhere on a club tour in Europe? 

Well once this Coronavirus shit ends hopefully we can start jamming again and take it from there. Feeling the urge to write some new shit! Unless we get offered crazy money, no tours for our old asses… 

Thank you very much for the interview. I really appreciate it. I'm an old CIANIDE fan and actually one of my dream come true. I wish you a lot of sold out concerts, so that the fans will tear your hands off with merchandise and I will enjoy more of your music. Hopefully I'll see you live. Good luck in your personal lives. CIANIDE RULES! 

Thanks Jakub! METAL NEVER BENDS!!!!


Recenze/review - CIANIDE - Unhumanized (2019):

Recenze/review - CIANIDE – Death, Doom and Destruction (2015):

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