After a concert which proved that black metal is ideal for lives, Marduk's frontman Legion, was more than willing to declare the following:

M: First of all, welcome to Greece
L: Thank you
M: What do you think of the audience?
L: I think they were fucking great. There was some dead air, you know, it's just like when everything is silent between the songs, but it's not very strange. It was pretty hard tonight. We are only doing the speedy songs and I can imagine that people get tired. All and all, we were fucking satisfied. Greece has been very nice so far. Nice people, great food, great arrangements, so we'd love to come back.
M: You started out as a death/black band with many death metal elements in your music. You are now totally dedicated to black metal. Is it part of your natural evolution as a band or was it done on purpose?
L: We just play what we want to play. We'll play those riffs, that we feel sound great and fit with the concept for each LP. You'll see when "Panzer Division Marduk" is out, there should be Marduk's lyrics and the total concept involves some more riffing. It's more like back to basic. Real flesh riffs. "Nightwing" was more atmospheric and stuff like that, more like we did the "Blood" theme. On that one, vampire stuff and shit like that and also that part for Dracula demanded some heavy riffing. So, we have done the "Blood" theme on "Panzer Division Marduk", and the next LP will the "Death" LP. Actually, we've changed the title on that one, because the painting which we were going to use for the cover, was used by another band. In this one, we'll have only extreme death cult lyrics, like Slayer in "Reign in Blood", like "Die, die, die". Everything should be connected to death. Then, we've done the "Blood, Fire, Death".
M: It's Bathory
L: It's a trilogy of LPs to salute Bathory but anyway, regarding the riffing, we only do what we wanna do and we are still pretty influenced by death metal in a way, because some of my really favorite bands are still Morbid Angel, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Angelcorpse, Krisiun, which all go to death metal style. So, I guess, if we should put a label on this LP, what is black metal and what is not, you should judge by the lyrics, more than the music. All that we are into is really violent metal, we do riffs that we feel sound great, but if people want to put a label, that's fine by us. I mean, Marduk will always be Marduk. That's all that comes to me and all of us.
M: Is your next LP going to be the fastest and most brutal album ever created, as you had declared to a French magazine, two years ago?
L: Yeah, it is, because even extreme grind bands like Terrorizer, for example, go fast, but also have some heavy parts. All grind LPs so far have heavy parts, we don't have any heavy parts, any double base drumming and all the riffing is really, really fast. You heard 2 songs tonight, that are really speedy all the time. Through the 8 songs, 30 minutes, pure fucking mayhem (note: He obviously refers to "Panzer…"), we are coming for full speed, that no band has ever done before us. Of course, there are bands which play really fast and intense, but they always have some slow parts and we don't have any in "P.D.M.". We are the first band to do such a thing, to just go for full speed all the time.
M: Even Immortal have some slow parts in their new LP.
L: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All have slow parts and we had on the previous LP as well. Some songs are very intense. All have slow parts but not in this one. It's just like full fucking speed all the time. So we were really anxious what people should think. It should be like an LP to love or to hate. I knew that the really devoted Marduk fans would love it, but a normal record buyer who just buys black metal LPs would find it too extreme. But we've got so many congratulations and everything from labels and journalists, who heard the CD. And Terrorizer is going to give it almost the best grade there is. I don't know yet, because I haven't read the magazine and the French Hard 'n' Heavy will give it 5/5 and the Italian (note: it's a magazine's name, but I'm not sure about it) will give it 10/10 and stuff like that. So, it's been celebrated. It's not released yet, it's coming in 2 weeks, because there were some problems. We had to remix the shit because the guitars didn't sound as we wanted.

M: Do you have two guitars on the LP?
L: We had three guitars
T: Three guitars?! All played by Morgan?
L: Yeah, we always do that. You play one guitar, then you play it again, to get it in stereo and then we do some reversed chords, just some small solos and shit like that, so it's three guitars. Anyway, what I was thinking about, was that we had to remix that stuff and also we had some problems with the layout. That's because scandinavian computers and French computers don't work very well together, so the layout was totally fucked on the Osmose computers. So, we had to do it again and stuff like that, but it will be out in two weeks.
M: Tell us some things about the lyrics of your upcoming LP. Is it going to be concept, as the previous one?
L: No, no, the only thing that connects the lyrics is that they all deal with pretty mortem and warfare. It's still the same satanic based theme, as always. So, we haven't really changed style, as some people might think, just because there is a tank on the cover, just like "What, they're only singing about war now." When you read the lyrics, you will find out that they are in the same vein as always, the thing is that there aren't medieval spells anymore, now we sing about tanks and cannons and shit like that, but it's the same antichristian stuff. We've even included two songs that don't fit the "Panzer Division Marduk" concept, just to tease the Christians even a bit more. So, they are called "Christ-raping black metal" and it's most likely the meanest lyrics I've ever written. Then, there's one which is called "Fistfucking God's Plan", which is also pretty intense, so it's still the same antichristian stuff, as always.
M: In "Nightwing" the lyrical concept was about Vlad Tepes, known as Count Dracula. Don't you think it's a rather much used issue? What has inspired you to write about him?
L: Yeah, but I would say not. All the bands that have dealt with it before, it's been like "Ooh, Dracula under the Transylvanian moon, and here comes the batleee" but we didn't do that. We did a totally historical and correct version of his life, since he was born in 1431 until his death in 1476. I don't know of any band who has done that. So, we wanted to show that he was a really great man, a great conqueror and a warrior and a really strong man, who knew what he wanted. We thought it would be more interesting than all this vampire stuff. Of course, that's interesting as well, but we didn't want to mix Dracula within it, because that's not what really happened, so we wanted to tell people the truth. There are hardly any people, that knew the true story, so we got really surprised when everybody was like "Oh, can I read more?". It's a great story really, so it's cool to find out.
M: In the "Glorification" EP you performed some cover versions of bands such as Destruction, Bathory and Piledriver. The third one is rather unknown to the public. Could you tell us some things about them?

L: You should check out their LP "Metal Inquisition". It's pretty cool They look like totally pervert sexual maniacs and shit like that. On the cover there is this leather mask with studs and shit like that on it and all the lyrics are fucking great. I love Piledriver.
M: Could you tell us about the choice of these bands?
L: Unfortunately, it became a fashion in '97 to record cover albums and we just became one of all these bands to release a cover CD and that was not the point from the beginning. We had decided to do "Glorification" before "Heaven shall burn" and that's printed on the "Heaven…" booklet, that we were going to release "Glorification". Anyway, we thought like, let's do some tracks, which people usually don't do, because everybody does Destruction and Bathory of course, but not these tracks. It's always the same tracks that everybody chooses to cover, so we said "Let's do something else", so we did.
M: Unlike most present black metal bands you declare that black metal is ideal for lives. Why do you believe that? Most of the bands think that it is very difficult to perform their songs on stage.
L: Yeah, but all the bullshit bands say "Oh we are too evil to play live, we don't want ordinary people to hear our music". Why the hell are they recording albums? It makes all sense. "Oh, I'm a misanthrope". Oh, yeah, sure. It's all about bad musicians who don't know how to play their instruments and they can do 200 tracks in the studio loaded in the hard disc and just pick out the correct tunes. So, you have your black metal LP, but you'll never be able to perform it live. I think metal music in general is mode to be played live. I mean, what the fuck would Judas Priest be without the live shows or Iron Maiden with Eddie on stage and stuff like that or W.A.S.P., it's always been fucking cool with metal music live. So, we just got to do it and that was one of the reasons why we chose to record "Live In Germania", just because of all this talking that black metal bands cannot play, we got a label on us. Immediately when we released "Heaven…" people thought that "It's a fake, they're faking it in the studio", so we included it in our set and performed lives, so that people can see for themselves that we can play this stuff. That was also the reason for releasing "Germania", just like to show people that we are able to put up the same aggression on stage as we do in the studio. At that time, we did only European tours. We wanted to release a live LP for all those guys who didn't see us, but from this year on, we'll tour the entire world, so now we've solved that problem. However, we'll release a new live CD from this tour, which we're going to do in the Fall of '99 just to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We'll record it and it'll be a limited box set with 3 picture discs and a booklet and stuff like that. And I think it'll be on CD as well, but the box set will be strictly limited, just like something for the Marduk fanatics.
M: Since the beginning, your lyrical concept seems to be intensely anti-christian. Do you oppose just Christianity, or all religions, as a medium to keep the people under control?
L: Yeah, I mean, people should be able to think for themselves, because if you are just following somebody, it'll never lead to anything good for you. Just look at all the people that got fooled into cults and stuff like that, like Tim Jones Edwards (note: I'm not sure about the name), to drink poison just because they want it. I mean, it's the same thing, it's a fucking spiritual poison. Imagine if entire Europe just had to rely on strong and creative people, instead of just following a God, it would be a fucking beautiful place today, which is not the case right now. I think it's just pure bullshit. People should be able to think for themselves and that's what we always say.
M: You are one of the first bands of the second black metal generation. What is your opinion about the present state of black metal?
L: Well, I lost track of it, because it's been gigantic. Everybody wants to be black metal. Before, the thing was that… like when we got into the scene. I bought my first Iron Maiden LP when I was 7 years old, then I discovered Dio and Manowar at the same age, and I kept listening to them maybe until I was 12. Then I discovered Kreator and Slayer. I remember the first time I heard "Hang the Pope" from Nuclear Assault. I thought "ooh, how can they play so fucking fast!" Ha, ha, totally! It's been to another level all the time until '89, when I really discovered death metal and knew about some death metal bands. Then Morbid Angel released "Altars Of Madness". I mean, nowadays people got into the scene and one year ago they were fucking hop hopers. So, everybody who wants to be in the scene, they have to got a band of their own, people just hang out in their rehearsal rooms. There is nothing more to it, that's why we have so many bands. Back in '91 a demo tape would mean something, it was important, if you didn't release a demo, you couldn't get anywhere. Today, it's like: Hey, we got some cool promo shoots, we shot some pictures in the cemetery, oooh", "Yeah, yeah, release a CD". I mean, when the Swedish thrash metal band Agony released "The first Defiance" or Entombed with "Left Hand Path", that was something really special, like a Swedish metal band releasing an LP on a pretty big label. Releasing an LP now, ha! What's that? It's just like garbage, the scene got out of control. I don't care about it anymore. I just stuck to the people, hang out with them, stuff like that, just keep in touch with people that I know are great. It's not very often that I like a new band, because most Swedish and Norwegian bands all sound he same. Either they sing about fairies and blue lught and biolet roses and fairies crying in the forest. People should create something of their own, instead of just copying others, as a copy can never be better than the original, so…
M: When I interviewed Mayhem's Maniac, a few months ago, I was told by him that bands such as Dimmu Borgir and Covenant are gay metal.
L: Ha, ha, I don't really care about Dimmu Borgir. I can tell you one thing for sure: Dimmu Borgir was supposed to play above us on this year's Dynamo and we said "No, no, no way" because they were the t-shirt of the weak, just a couple of years ago. Now, they are really big, but we won't play live before them. We said "No, no, no Dynamo this year, sorry". And they came back to us "Oh, you can headline, you can headline. We'll increase your fee to like, blah, blah, blah". And then, we were OK to play over them. Their LPs, of course, sell more records because they're really, really popular but I don't like it at all, I don't think it should be black metal. But, I don't know the guys or anything, I don't like their kind of music, I really don't.
M: The cover of "Live in Germania" reminds me of an era in the German history, which most people would rather forget. Was that done on purpose? What did you want to declare through this?
L: The thing was that we recorded 18 shows all over Europe. And when we got home, we went to Peter Tägtgren's Abyss studio and just listened to all the tapes. We found out that 4 German shows were superior to every other show, like the sound was much better, we didn't do any defaults when we played. Like everything was perfect. So, we said like "Let's use those versions". It was in (Note: name of a German town), where we played with Immolation and Cannibal Corpse. It was Essen, (…) and some other place in former East Germany. We thought "Let's use those four" and just to pay respect to the German metal fans, because at that time Germany was the best place for metal bands. Now, Italy is great as well, Greece is fucking amazing and France, the Frenchmen are like total maniacs, they tore apart the stage and the last time we were there. Every amplifier and shit was like falling to the floor. They were screaming. That's an ultimate country. At that time, we thought that the Germans really deserved some respect for being just like such Marduk fanatics. So, that's why we used the eagle. It's not the eagle of the 3rd Reich.
M: It's very similar though.
L: Yeah, yeah. But, you know, the German guards we saw the other day at the airport when we flew here, they had the same eagle. The thing is that this eagle has been a national symbol for Germany since the 11th Century. The funny thing was that the Press started to scream immediately: "Oh, you can't use that, we are going to boycott it", but the eagle which is featured on the German 1 Deutsch Mark coins, it's exactly the same. Harvey just exchanged the whole other coins and he sent them to journalists and nobody ever spoke again.
M: Peter Tägtgren had participated in your live LP, as a session 2nd guitarist. Is there any chance of repeating this cooperation in the feature?
L: No.
M: As a producer?
L: Yeah, maybe a co-producer, as a studio technician of course. But he has so many things to do now, he's got a real family with kids and all that. We are doing great as a 4-piece. So, I mean, if we should bring somebody on the tour, Peter is the only one we want, 'cause he's just like us. We have a really gallow sense of humor, a black humor, if you see what I mean. All the old members were like "Mmm" and what the fuck! If I had a choice to bring Peter on tour and he accepted, of course, I would. Nowadays, we are doing great as a 4-piece. It looks better with only 4 members, 3 in front of the drum kit, than 4. So, Peter has shitloads of stuff to do, so it's not actual.
M: The number of the EPs you have released almost matches the one of the LPs. Do you think that this is necessary?
L: We've done 6 LPs and 3 EPs, but we're going to release an EP son again and the reason why we are doing this, is because the concept on that one, we can't use for an entire LP, so it'd be just 2 new songs and maybe a couple of covers. It would be like totally abusive and disgusting porno. I'm currently writing a song on a lyrics that's going to be so great, ha, ha, it's totally disgusting. You just have to wait and see. We are not just doing an EP to staqre around the ball. Compare Marduk's releases to those of many other bands, especially from Sweden in our generation, like Dissection, or Dark Funeral. They've been around for a long, very long time, but they don't put out many LPs just to.
M: Do you know Arckanum?

L: Yeah, I don't know them, I know about them.
T: In Sweden, both the NWOSDM as well as the retro-thrash are very popular. What is your opinion about these scene?
L: The reason why I like At The Gates is that Alf Suenson is a friend of mine, he's the guy who has done all my tatoos. But I don't like Dark Tranquillity, I don't like In Flames. I don't think it's death metal. People over at our place, should look at the american scene. Those are really trying to do some violent music. I mean, like the new Suffocation mini "Despise The Sun" or the LPs from Morbid Angel, Deicide, Angelcorpse, Krisiun, Immolation, Cannibal Corpse. That is death metal, really violent and brutal metal, with totally repulsive lyrics. I don't get the point of doing fucking pop music and then grow a little bit. In my eyes, that is not death metal, so they can do whatever they want, but I won't label it as death metal. Death metal to me is Deicide and Morbid Angel and not In Flames.
T: Could you express your opinion about the following bands:
Emperor: L: I haven't heard the latest Emperor stuff, to be honest. I've heard some song of this, what is called "At the Welkin at Dusk" or whatever.
M: "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk".
L: Yeah, right. We were in the studio but I was more into Emperor a couple of years ago, when they did the mini and "In the Nightside Eclipse" and I wrote a lot with their previous drummer. It was really cool and I enjoyed Emperor but I lost track of what they're doing. We have divided into separate drections, we are just going for more and more speed and they are more artistic, but it's all a great band.
T: Immortal: L: I like Immortal a lot. Especially the music is great, they are just like the best Norwegian band there is and also the members are really great. Abbath, Demonaz and Horgh, the new drummer, are really great guys. I fucking love them. The second last tour we did, in March and April '98, on the No Mercy Festival tour, me and Abbath stayed up until 11.00 in the morning from maybe 12:00 at night. We began drinking and we stayed up until 11.00 in the morning just drinking whiskey. He's a real great guy.
T: Limbonic Art: L: I know of them, but it's nothing I listen to.
M: Arckanum: L: I hear a lot of this stuff, but we used to listen to it in they studio, but it's an OK band. However, it's not of my favorites.
T: If you would express yourself through another form of art, which one would you choose?
L: I am already doing that. I used to paint and draw a lot and now I bought myself a tattoo equipment for $5000. I've just begun to do tattoos, so in a year or so in a year or so, I'll be very good. I'm going to be a skintattoo artist when I'm through with Marduk. That's what I want to do, when Marduk is totally done. I'm goint to be a tattoo artist.
T: Do you believe that elements such as corpse-paint and unholy image in general, have become a trend?
L: Everything is trendy at first. That's how something becomes something. First, it starts out as a trend and those who are really devoted, will stay no matter what the trend. I mean, all these death trends are pretty funny. I think corpse paint on serious beings, which is done with devotion, is great, but it oculd look rather stupid as well. That depends on who's using it.
T: You started out as a band with 2 guitar players and you used a 2nd session guitar player in "Germania". Why don't you get a permanent one?
L: We don't wanna do that.
T: You would sound better in the shows?
L: Maybe, but first of all, it would look worse and then the hustle is to get a guy who really fits into the band. Now, the person chemistry in the band is totally amazing. We get along so great and we are very good together. And when we tour, as much as we do now, maybe 4 months a year, it puts a lot of strain on you. We are so close together and work every night under such conditions. So, a guy who doesn't fit perfectly in the band will drop out, because he won't stand the pressure. If it's not a guy who's not on our level, it will be hard for us to achieve and that's not very nice. Until we meet a really perfect guy to join Marduk, we'll go on as a 4-piece.
T: Could you name the sources of your inspiration, as far as your lyrical and musical concept are concerned?
L: The lyrical inspiration is like stuff you read and see, like thought you want to express and everything. And then you read some History and you find something but it's just life. But in the musical stuff is like early Kreator, Morbid Angel, Possessed, even some Wagner operas, that are interesting. And other classical composers as well. Some movie soundtracks you find very fascinating, it's a lot of stuff.
T: Ok, thanks for the interview. See you next time.
L: Thank you.

Yiannis "Thrasher" Psaltakis

PS: Special Thanx to Haris Katinakis from Metal Invader, whose help was valuable. Thank you!

Band photos are taken from the OSMOSE PRODUCTIONS website (except the live ones, which are taken from John "Thrasher" Psaltakis in the band's gig in Athens)

victims where sacrificed on the ALTARS OF METAL since 3/7/1998