sobota 22. srpna 2020

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Interview - SABIENDAS - Metal is a very important part of my life.

Interview with death metal band from Germany - SABIENDAS.

Answered vocalist Jan Edel, thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Recenze/review - SABIENDAS - Repulsive Transgression (2020):

Ave SABIENDAS! Greetings to the German underground. Let's go straight to the most important thing. You have released a new record "Repulsive Transgression", which is literally packed with honest, dusty death metal. How did the album come about and how do you feel about it? What direction have SABIENDAS evolved to?

Hi it’s Jan of Sabiendas here! Yeah we have released our new Album on 22nd of May on Massacre Records and we are very happy with the good response and the great reviews. It is out third album and, as I would say the most professionally produced one. A lot of people say the “third Album” is the most important one, and yeah I think it’s the best one. There were always minor things on the first two records, we were not 100% happy about and we always thought, we could have made it better at some points, but we are 100% happy with new record. I think our songwriting has evolved the most. We only finished writing on a song, when everyone was satisfied with the outcome. We have a stable Line-Up for nearly 10 year, which is quite unusual these days. And last but not least our drummer Toni who made the mix (on two Albums) and Mastering (on Repulsive Transgression) had learned a lot about sound engineering since the last record and I always say that e knew exactly how the final product should sound from the first day of writing.

You released a new record in the strange times. No one could have known that Covid 19 would hit the world. Has the current situation affected releasing process in any way? You changed label for Massacre Records and concerts are usually the best promotion of new music.

At the time Massacre Records gave us the release-date, it was November 2019. Nobody ever expected that such sh*t would happen. Even in February we thought “yeah that strange disease is somewhere in china and will not affect us”, but then cases where rising and the release-date was rescheduled from April to May 2020. So we had luck with the shooting date for our video. It was on 15th of March. On March 16th schools, shops and most of public life was shut down in Germany and most of the borders were closed. So we did it just in time and everything was finished as planned. The “promotion machinery” of Massacred Records and Soulfood helped a lot. We still cannot play any shows so it was very helpful that we were featured a lot in magazines and online. We still have good sales on our Web-Shop so I think we made the best out of it. 

What is the current situation regarding Covid 19 in Germany? Clubs are already open, can you have a tour, for example? Many summer festivals have been canceled in our country, foreign groups will hardly reach us.

So it’s August now and there are still no real shows in Germany. Some clubs are open but mostly not for concerts. All tours or festivals are cancelled or postponed to 2021. So the next year will be a bit hard too because most promoters want to bring the 2020 Billings to 2021 so it will be hard to get booked next year.. but yeah..we are rescheduled too so we will see what time will bring. Hopefully we can play and have our “Release-Party” in late September. So it will be an “Already Released-Party” under Covid 19 restrictions. We can play in front of 100 People on chairs in a club for 250, but the only alternative is NO show. So we will try but I think it will be strange but we are hungry to perform again.

But let's talk about new record. I'm listening to it right now, and I have to write that this time it took me a while to get this record into my blood. I put the album into the player, I am listening to it in the car. I really like the sound. It is lively, organic, old school and at the same time clear. It seems different to me from your previous records. Where did you record and who is signed under the sound?

Damn I didn’t read all questions before I started to answer..haha. For this album it was the first time that we book a real studio. We recorded the first album in our rehearsal-room and in home-recording sessions and just gave the tracks to a studio for mastering. The new album was recorded at DNA-Studios close to our town. But the mix and mastering was made by our drummer Toni. He did the mix for our second album too and has very much improved since 2015. Sometimes it can be a curse when the producer is also a member, but in our case it was a blessing. I believe Toni had the complete production in his mind from the beginning. He knew exactly how things had to be and how “our” sound has to be. I think the reason for its live and organic sound is the case that we didn’t use a click-track for the recording. The drum-tracks were recorded just with a leading guitar and for the rest of the tracks the drummer was the “Click Track” just as playing together. This was common practice back in the 90th and that was exactly what we wanted. The other point what makes Repulsive Transgression different from the first records is that we tried to stay in classic song-structures. Not too much different riffs, just variations of a few main-riffs and leads and also refrain-lines. This is very progressive I know..we know.. but that makes a song recognizable. Some legendary songs in Death-Metal are only based on 3-5 Main-Riffs everyone remembers. 

You'll probably agree with me that the cover sells. Your cover is really brutal this year. The author is Björn Lensig. Is the motif a banquet of cannibals? Personally, I like this cover. I'm just wondering if it's not "too" brutal. You know, on social networks, artificial intelligence evaluates what is and what is not right. Many bands had problems due to similar covers. How did you get together with Björn and what exactly does the motive have to express in relation to music?

I was afraid it could be too brutal myself, but it is still on social-media for three month now and I think it will be okay. I spoke to a few people who don’t want to wear the shirt because they say it is too graphic to wear it in public so they have to buy the “Column of Skulls-Shirt” ;-) We are totally happy with the artwork it is old school as f+ck and Björn is a very talented artist. He already made shirt-designs for Amon Amarth and illustrates Books for Tabletop Role-playing games..and of course Cover-Artworks. We had this digitally created Artwork on Column of Skull and we wanted to go back and have classically painted. Björn contacted us two years ago and asked if we were interested in some of his works. We told him about the lyrics and the concept we had in mind and he had the same imaginations as we had, so it was very productive creative work. 

It is what is left after a banquet of cannibal right. The lyrics of eight songs are about the different aspects and manifestations of cannibalism in human history. It varies from cannibal murderers like Albert Fish to ritualized cannibal ceremonies in ancient tribal cultures, cannibalism in classic literature or the story of the three sailors lost on the ocean who have kill and eat their comrade just to survive..and so on. So the artwork represents a harsh contrast between brutality and being reduced to lower instincts, and a fine cultivated Victorian dining-room and good table manners.

I put "Repulsive Transgression" in my head again and again and I say to myself that I like the most this old school death metal feeling that's hard to describe. Then I look at your promo photos and the singer has a t-shirt of my favorites MASTER. Looks like we're of the same blood. Who were and are actually your idols? Every musician started somehow, there are patterns that shaped his signature. What about you? 

So let me quote a line from your review “they open grave with grace and kind of morbid elegance, which, in my opinion is best done by bands that experienced the golden times of real death metal in their youth”..Except of Toni we are all 40+years. I think the records from your youth are the ones which has the most influence on your own musical taste. Yeah I really agree that the late 80th and early 90th were the “golden Age”. Don’t get me wrong! There are a lot of really great bands out there today and I am a fan of lots of them. But when you listen to “Altars of Madness”, “Slowly we Rot”, Scream Bloody Gore” or “Symphonies of Sickness” for the first time in your was not just great, it was mind-blowing and everything was really new. There was no such music like this before. Some people say we do not play real “Old School Death” but I think we do. But it’s mostly influenced by the Florida or US - Old-School. There is a funny anecdote about the shirts on our photos. Before the show in Edinburgh I guy came to and told me “Hey guys I didn’t know your band, but I saw your flyer this morning. I own every Shirt you are wearing on your photo myself, so I came to the show” Like in the 80th when you decide to buy a record you didn’t know because the band-members are wearing shirts of your favorite bands.

I remember that when I wrote a review of your first album "Restored to Life" years ago, you came to the Czech Republic to support the album for a concert in České Budějovice. Then I think you played at the Czech Death fest. Unfortunately, I was never able to see you due to work duties, but how did you like Czech Republic? What do you think about Czech fans? I know you've toured Britain, for example (I'm an ATOMWINTER fan!). Can you compare where and how was the experience to play there? And what about Germany, how do you enjoying it there? 

We were booked for Czech-Deathfest 2020, so we will play there in 2021 and I hope to meet you there. We already played there in 2013 and the fans were really great and enthusiastic. I think nobody ever heard about us before so the reaction of the crowd was really great. We played two shows in Czech-Republic on our first Tour. First on in České Budějovice ,the second show was in Brno. Sometimes you have this “unknown Band play on a Tuesday”- days on Tour. But the people were always very nice and caring. In Brno we play in front of..i don’t know..30 people, who went totally crazy. Better than 200 who just stare at you..hahah. Same in UK one Night you play in a city with a big metal-scene in front of a big crowd, the next day you play in front of 25..i think that’s the way it is when you tour with as and with Underground-Bands in a Van. Always better to play on a weekend. So I cannot really compare the fans in different countries. I think it depends on the regions inside the countries and how big the scene is there. Same in Germany. 

What do you think about the current trends, widespread mainly among young bands, where they try to play as technically as possible, they often insert a saxophone, various keyboards into death metal and look for a way in a very complicated way. Do you enjoy such bands? For example, if I ever come to a concert and someone like this performs there, I'm confused. It seems like a rehearsal of a jazz school to me, but in the end I don't remember anything at all. What about you and current trends in death metal?

A saxophone in Death-Metal!? That sounds weird. Personally I like technical Death-Metal. For example Nile took this to a new level. I think the point is not how technical a band is. It’s all about writing good memorable Songs. They combine it perfectly. The first Band I remember who brought keyboard to Death-Metal was Nocturnus. I was in a Band myself who had Keyboards on the record. 

When Bands become too experimental it sometime became music for musicians. You know that’s it is great what they play, but as you say you cannot remember just one song two day later. I really don’t care what kind of instruments Bands use or what experiments they do. Only the outcome is important. If its results in music I like to hear, great. Sometimes it works and sometimes it goes terribly wrong. .

The borders are gradually opening up after the pandemic, and many of bands are already planning tours in the autumn and winter. What about you and "Repulsive Transgression" promotion? I'd like to finally see you live. Are you planning to visit us in the Czech Republic?

We will play on Czech-Deathfest next year and maybe on Massacre Fest. For us it’s a long travel to Červený if anyone reads this who can help us out with a show on on our way in mid June 2021, please conatct us. We are thinking about a tour in 2022 for now. In 2021 we have the shows which were postponed because auf the Virus. 

In the end I always ask a slightly philosophical question. How would you define death metal and what does it mean to you? I don't mean the playing technique now, but rather what it brings to you, how you perceive it in relation to the fans. Did you grow up on it?

It was always a part of my life. You know…I started with Metal when I was twelve I think. As I discovered more music of that kind I came to Thrash-Metal like Exodus, Slayer and of course the German Bands like Sodom, Kreator, Tankard. Then I think, it must have been in 1988 a friend gave me a tape. Side A – Death “Scream Bloody Gore”, Side B. an EP of Extreme Noise Terror and Songs of Sepultura’s – Morbid Visions…damn that blew my mind. I Never heard such music before. Then came 1989 with Morbid, Angel, Obituary,..well you know what I mean..The rest is history and I never looked back. I had a phase were I was not interested in new bands late 90th/early 2000th I was just listening to my old records. But then a few Bands came back or got re-united and my interest in Bands an new music came back too. What can I say I am in my 40th now and I still wear the Morbid Angel Leading the Rats Backpatch, and Bandmerch and Leatherjacket everyday and I don’t think this will ever change? Metal is a very important part of my life. Before the word “Metalhead” came up, we just said “I am a metal or people are metals” I still see myself in that way for 32 years now. And yeah Death-Metal is still my favorite. Depends on my mood if it is a Hate Eternal or an Asphyx - Day and I know a lot of people who feel the same way. The scene has different trends that is right..a few years you had the Brutal-Death-Metal/GoreGrind-Stuff and came all the Re-Unions and Sweden-Death- Retro Bands..and a few always did their thing and stayed on their way. 

Some people criticize Cannibal Corpse or Behemoth for selling out or being to “commercial”. But when I see them play in front 5000 fans they still holding the flag of extreme music high. Maybe people discover more small Bands because they like the big ones and had no idea how big the genre really is. I had no idea of the Thrash Tape Trade Underground when I started to listen to Iron Maiden. 

Thank you so much for the interview. I appreciate it. Now let's talk music. I'm going to play "Repulsive Transgression“ really loud! I wish you good luck and all the best in your personal lives. Thank you!

It was an honor and a pleasure..stay healthy and brutal!! 


Recenze/review - SABIENDAS - Repulsive Transgression (2020):

Recenze/review - SABIENDAS – Column of Skulls (2015):

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