What do you make of the current influx in the past few years of the blackened hardcore and grindcore groups? I find there’s a genuine chunk that have something to express through this style but as a band whose aura is unlike others I would like your perspective on this newer wave.
PANOS: Music like all things evolves in circles, or to be more accurate and use the heathen analogy about the course of history, music is a spiral. We cross the same points in an horizontal plane but at the same time it moves upwards, so at any given moment the new and the old co-exist together. This blackened hardcore/grindcore trend hasn’t impressed me much so far. It’s not that there aren’t some interesting bands that fall under this moniker, it’s more that darkness was always co-existing with violence in the hardcore and grindcore genres. For me it is a marketing and journalist sort of thing, trying to tag new bands and get people interested into them, and that’s all right.
I’ve grew up with bands like Integrity who were doing this sort of thing since the late 80’s. Then later in the 90’s there was Catharsis, Gehenna, Ringworm, Darkside NYC, the Belgian H-8000 crew (Congress, Liar), and of course Kickback with “Forever War”, a record with which 90’s metallic hardcore has peaked I.M.O.. You will probably take me for an old fuck, but compared to these bands, most blackened hardcore sounds really weak, sort of like shooting blanks. And that’s not even to mention some underrated bands of the 00’s, like fucking Cattlepress, Cursed, Uphill Battle, Black Eye Riot, (early) Canvas, Crowpath…
I can definitely relate to some bands who are more on the grindcore side of things, though. It’s good to see great US bands like Flourishing and Yautja follow the unorthodox path of visionaries like Cattlepress! It’s a lot a matter of past experiences too. As far as blackened grindcore goes, I’ve been blessed to discover upon release a record that is the epitome of the genre by a ridiculously unknown band, FORGARDUR HELVITIS from Iceland. Existing since the early 90’s, they’ve recorded in 2001 and released in 2002 “Gerningavedur”. This record had it all. It was grindcore, it was black metal, it was anarchist, it was heathen, it was political, it was D.I.Y., it had recited poetry as interludes, it was passionate and crucial in any sense and direction. I felt instantly connected with it, and re-released it via my label it in 2007 (the original version was a limited CD-R). Self-advertising apart, listen to it. The future was already there, laying hidden on the volcanic edge of the world.
THANOS: I try to keep track of what’s going on in the scene with the new bands in grindcore and such, but I feel most of the time there is a standard repetition going on, and the experimental parts for most of the bands are absent. I remember some of the last good releases for me were Insect Warfare’s “Noise Grind Power Death” and The Endless Blockade’s “Primitive”. I feel that more interesting things are happening in other scenes with bands like Young Widows and Hebosagil following interesting paths and experimenting more than other extreme bands do. Whatever brings to mind bands like Human Remains, Hellnation, Regurgitate, Breach and Asterisk is always welcome.
Is this a similar phenomena where you guys reside, and if you haven’t already, perhaps you have a few favorites (local or otherwise)? The style not as prevalent in Canada, but the USA has a sizable wave to sort through.
PANOS: I guess that bands like Kratzer from Germany, This Gift Is A Curse from Sweden or Ruined Families from Greece would appeal to “blackened *core fans”. The term doesn’t do full justice to the fact that they have their own personality and sound. There’s also The Psyke Project from Denmark playing awesomely heavy, darkened hardcore. I would describe them as how Zao would sound if they were European and didn’t wimp out after “Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest”.
To close, what are some of your other passions or interests outside of your piece in Dephosphorus? I’m sure some are curious as to whether in your spare time you guys hang out at observatories, digesting astronomical formulas and nebulae charts while enjoying Discordance Axis and Inveracity haha.
THANOS: I try to spend most of my time in nature. Sweden is a perfect place for that when it’s not raining, haha. I visited northern Sweden lately and got the chance to see Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights; a breathtaking and unforgettable experience. I was filled with energy for long time after that. Most of my time is spent, though, in music. I get very excited lately when I find modules and noise boxes, so that is actually part of my free time as well.
PANOS: I am deeply connected with the sea. My favorite pastime is hanging out at the beach at night with a few friends, gazing at the night sky and pondering about life on earth and the cosmos. Some of the happiest moments in my life occurred in such conditions – especially during free camping trips.
Most of my daily free time is dedicated to music. Running my label/distro, writing lyrics, enjoying and expanding my vinyl collection, writing for Metal Hammer Greece and my new webzine Legacy Future, etc. Occasionally I’m on a videogame/retro-computing binge, playing classic or new video games and collecting/modding old computers and video game consoles.
Once again, I would like to thank you for taking time to answer my questions, and for creating breathtaking music for us to reflect on and connect to. As always, keep exploring sidereal dimensions through grind. Be well and take care, the final words are yours.
PANOS: Since 2011 and the release of “Axiom” we have found our audience – a few, but hardcore music lovers from all over the globe – largely thanks to the blogosphere, to dedicated people as yourself and to entities like CVLT Nation, which pretty much feels like family by now. You are now member of our cause!