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Interview - SEPULCHRAL CURSE - An occult, mystical black death metal ritual, full of bloody dark shades! Your soul will burn in flames!

Interview with blackened death metal band SEPULCHRAL CURSE from Finland.

Answered Kari Kankaanpää (vocal), thank you!

Recenze/review - SEPULCHRAL CURSE - Abhorrent Dimensions (2023):

Ave SEPULCHRAL CURSE! Greetings to the catacombs! When I wrote a review of your their last full-length “Only Ashes Remain”, three years ago, I thought, damn it, this band would be worth an interview. I listened to the album over and over again. The morgue massacre, exactly as it should be, I thought. Can you please introduce us to SEPULCHRAL CURSE? How did you get together? I'd be interested in your very beginnings.

KARI: Thank you for the kind words Jakub! A lot of water has certainly flowed through the rivers of time in three years. The initial spark to form Sepulchral Curse came from the burning need that me and Jaakko had to start playing Death Metal, the ancient way. We had known each other for some time already, but never played together. We visited the same gigs and listened to great music together. We had this thing of hanging out at each other’s places watching some live DVD’s from bands and drinking beer! Neither of us really played the style of Death Metal we really wanted at that time with our bands, so it was easy decision to put our idiot heads together and form Sepulchral Curse back in 2013. First year of existence Jaakko mainly wrote the first EP “A Birth In Death” and we recruited Tommi to play the drums and Niilas for the bass duties. One could say that Sepulchral Curse was born from need to play Death Metal and friendship and we have been on that path ever since.

Let's go to the new album „ Abhorrent Dimensions"… I've had it at home for and I listen to it over and over again. I really enjoy it! This is the perfect exhumation of old death metal! How was the record made and what has changed in the three years since the last one?

KARI: As mentioned, a lot has changed! If we go back to the time between our first and second EP’s, the biggest change was addition of second guitarist in the form of Aleksi. Our music started to evolve and become more and more ambitious, so we needed to expand our musical horizons. Aleksi has been extremely crucial member ever since, as a lot of the material has been written by him. Biggest change by far was that our dear brother Tommi stepped down from his drum throne to put focus on his other interests. We were not adrift for long as we already had a drummer in mind to replace the hole left. Johannes already played with me and Aleksi in Yawning Void, so it was natural and to be honest the only choice for us. Sepulchral Curse is like a family, so we wanted someone from the band’s inner circle to join, not just some random person. I think Johannes has been such a boost of new energy and his heavy and precise drumming really fits our music well!

This album is solely written by Jaakko and Aleksi. Of course we do a lot of arrangements as a band in the rehearsal room. I think that was one of the major differences to the way we have worked before. We searched for the natural flow and the best form for the song. We also began to rehearse every week, so the band is in extremely tight condition all the time. For “Deathbed Sessions” EP we went to Oxroad Studios into the loving arms of Tomi Uusitupa. This way of working was perfect for us as the chemistry with Tomi was undeniable. He understood immediately what we were after and what the band should sound like. His studio is also in the countryside of Finland, so the environment and atmosphere is perfect for Death Metal! The outcome truly satisfies us and I think many will take good notice of the wonderful work Tomi does! We already have a time schedule booked for our third album, which will also naturally and without a doubt be made in alliance with Tomi. I do not think he will get away from us so easily…

I've been listening to death/black metal since its beginnings and you know what I still find incredibly fascinating about it? The sound, yeah, the dusty, moldy sound. You guys sound like such a "mix" of albums from DEMILICH, ADRAMELECH, CONVULSE, LURK, DEMIGOD. How did you manage to achieve such a great sound on the new album? It sounds very analogue!

KARI: It is all thanks to Tomi! He really knows what the band needs and he goes to extreme lengths to achieve what he wants. His band mate Ilkka Sointu was the drum tech at our drum sessions and the duo really found the best drum sound for the album. At least when it comes to drums, the two dudes are complete nerds! To me the most important aspect of studio work is the relaxed and inspirational atmosphere and that happens with Tomi. He does all kinds of music productions like Brutal Death Metal, Black Metal, Power Metal, when ever he starts a project, he really takes a deep dive. I think that is what is the difference between him and many other studio guys. He understands to serve the purpose of the music. Top quality dude! Tomi also has done all our music videos and will do them forever! Maybe the only negative side is his unnatural fascination for certain Kymenlaakso artist… Folks really need to keep their eyes and ears out for Tomi and Oxroad Studios!

The theme of your lyrics is death, occultism, nihilism, mysticism. Where do you get inspiration and which authors are your favourites? Do you have any movies that you can watch all the time? How were the lyrics created and who is their author? Do you also read books? Which one influenced you the most?

KARI: “A Birth In Death”, “Abhorrent Dimensions” and “Howl of the Cursed” EP and our upcoming split with Ashen Tomb are written by me. In between these releases the lyrics were written by Tommi, our ex-drummer. Tommi is probably the best lyricists I know, so it was natural decision for him to do the lyrics, as he was inspired to do it.

Inspiration can come from pretty much anything for me. Real life, movies, comic books, books, other bands music or poetry. I have noticed that a lot of things can grow into song lyrics. My main inspirations as growing up were fantasy literature like RA Salvatore, Robert E. Howard, Tracy Hickman/Margaret Weis, Michael Moorcock etc. but I think I have started to draw a lot of inspiration from other aspects too. One big influence has been Mike Mignola and his Hellboy comics. Also I find Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher-series fascinating. HP Lovecraft has been also more and more growing inspiration.

To be honest, nowadays I have almost no time to read books, because of trying to be involved father with my wife and two kids, but when I do have time, it is in the lines of these. A lof of folklore too inspires me. I feel like I am a storyteller. I am not big on religion or philosophies, but I love to come up with a story that takes an aspect and studies it. I do have a lot of personal matters in our lyrics, but I always try to dip it very deep in the pool of sword & sorcery or other unnatural worlds. When it comes to movies I think I have very basic taste, I like darker movies like “Requiem for a Dream” but I also love Marvel-stuff with all my heart. I am a geek by nature! I used to be also avid gamer, but nowadays I rarely play anything anymore, except Nintendo.

How did you actually get into playing death metal? You can feel from your music that you are also a fan of true death! When did you start playing and what bands did you go through? What about the first concert? Who was your role model and whom did you admire in your beginnings?

KARI: I joined my first band at the age of 17 or 18, don’t really remember exactly. It was sort of Death/Black Metal, but mainly some covers. I did not quite enjoy that, and I formed Solothus with couple of friends. Death/Doom Metal was the style I wanted to sing when I was younger. Solothus started to grow more stagnant over the years and I had more fire burning in me to play faster music and hence Sepulchral Curse was born. I always wanted to play Death Metal or one of its subgenres, so me there really was never other choices what to sing or play. In the first Solothus rehearsals I sang clean vocals and played bass. I think in the next rehearsals I only sang, as I am a shit bassist.

The first gig I ever visited was Reverend Bizarre, Minotauri and Spiritus Mortis. It was one of the funeral gigs of Reverend Bizarre. Truly a monumental moment for me! After that I really can’t remember, then I started to visit so many gigs when I was living in Turku. One of the biggest role models for me in Metal overall was Messiah Marcolin. If a man like that can front a band that awesome, I can do that too, heh! In the Death Metal scene I would say my biggest influences were Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom), Anders Jacobsson (Draconian), Mike Perun (Cianide) and Craig Pillard (Incantation). Those were the artists whoms music I listened and sang along. I guess my vocals sound something like a mix of those by accident. Never tried to sound like someone else.

The theme of the concerts is also connected with the previous question. How are SEPULCHRAL CURSE with them? Do you play often and often? Do you prefer festivals or smaller clubs? And are you even willing to travel far? Aren't you attracted to a longer tour?

KARI: Well, we just did over a week European tour with Cryptic Brood, so tours are not a mystery to us! We all enjoy playing live tremendously, so it is a matter we aim to do as much as possible. I think Sepulchral Curse is best experienced live. We are wild and intense on stage! I don’t mind if it is a festival or club show, I love all of them! We have played huge festivals and smaller venues in our ten year career. To boost the chances of people seeing us live, we have Ile and Kallo Agency doing our booking. If you fancy seeing us in your home town, hit Kallo Agency a message!

You come from Turku, Varsinais-Suomi and you play extreme death metal. Our readers would certainly wonder how the death metal scene works in Finland. To tell you the truth, so lately I hear only the great bands from there. Does this mean that the scene there is so strong at the moment? What about concerts, how many people coming to them?

KARI: Well, Death Metal scene had sort of a dwindling season some years ago. Now I can see that some bands are calling it quits but at the same time there are new upcoming bands coming out like Cryptic Hatred, Morbific, Azatoth etc. So the scene is getting new blood to its old veins! Finland is definitely more of Black Metal country, but we do have enthusiastic Death Metal crowd still! Helsinki Death Fest is without a doubt doing awesome job keeping it alive and spinning! If you have not, you should visit Helsinki Death Fest! One fine festival that is!

From your music is possible to feel that you are influenced by American death metal old school and as well by the old European bands. How do you feel about it as a fan? Do you prefer the original death/black metal of the 1990s or do you get inspiration as well from the new albums? If yes so, I am wondering which bands had the greatest impact on SEPULCHRAL CURSE.

KARI: We love all kinds of Metal, not just the old ones. There is so much great music coming all the time, that it would only be ridiculous to focus on albums released decades ago. From the old bands such as Dismember, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Incantation, Darkthrone, Demilich are definitely influences. If we look at more recent bands, then I gotta name Sulphur Aeon and Misthyrming. Those have been playing in our speakers on repeat!

If we talk about just Death Metal, I think it is pretty evenly between US Death Metal and Finnish Death Metal. But I am very adamant that if it was not for Dismember, this band would not exist. I am obsessed with finding new killer bands and because of my work, I listen to great amounts of music every day. It is always cool to find some brilliant new band!

What does death/black metal mean to you? Is it a lifestyle, a hobby, relaxation? How would you define it? You can easily embark on philosophical considerations.

KARI: First off, I am not a Black Metal guy. There is of course a bunch of bands that I love, but I am 100% more Death Metal guy. Death Metal for me is a way of life. I breathe and live it with my every atom. I would say I have a holy triforce: My family, music and then other things like work. I love digging new bands and going out to shows. When ever we play with a new band, I like to check them out! Like in Bratislava we played with a really cool band Hrob! Check them out!

A necessary question at the end. What is SEPULCHRAL CURSE planning in the coming months? What can we fans look forward to?

KARI: As I am writing this, in few days our next opus “Abhorrent Dimensions” will be out through Transcending Obscurity Records. So that is of course a major thing! We have reached the age of ten years, so in couple weeks we will have our 10th anniversary party and album release show here in our hometown of Turku with Ashen Tomb and Cumbeast. We are also releasing a split with Ashen Tomb, but I a have no idea when Godz Ov War Productions are putting it out. We are also having one more gig in December in Kuopio with Goatroach and Proscription. After that we put our 100% focus on getting out third album ready and hit the Oxroad Studios next Spring! More Death Metal coming!

Thank you so much for the interview. I'm leaving for work in a minute. I'll go around the cemetery. It is clear what will play in the player - "Abhorrent Dimensions". And really loud. I wish the album the best possible sales and I hope that it will reach as many listeners as possible. Good luck to you in private! Death metal forever!

KARI: “Graveyard Lanterns” will be suitable soundtrack for your cemetery travels! Thank you for the interview Jakub! You are always doing great work for Death Metal! Keep it up! UGH!

Recenze/review - SEPULCHRAL CURSE - Abhorrent Dimensions (2023):

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