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