Three guys from Brazil. Three brothers. One band and no side-projects. 11 full-length albums. 29 years on the scene, providing consistent material to the fans of extreme death metal with powerful death growls, overwhelming blast-beats and fantastic solos. Not many bands can be described this way and not many of them present their material on stage with such precision and at the same time with such passion coming from all 3 musicians, with Alex thanking fans almost after each song. But apart from being one of the living legends of death metal scene, Alex is also a very nice person and ready to answer any questions about the band. What questions? Put on "Scourge of the Enthroned" to play in the background and read on.
Your latest album "Scourge of the Enthroned" must have been properly tested on stage by now. You mentioned in some interviews that it was going back to your roots, to faster playing. Was it more difficult to perform it live?
Alex: Yeah, definitely, the songs are bit more demanding, it is more complex album I think, but we practice a lot, we do a lot of jam sessions, so it's not a problem. It is harder, and it is more demanding, but with all the practice when we come on stage it all comes naturally.
Yes, it is definitely more complex. Have you ever thought of playing the second guitar line from tape on your shows or getting some guest to play these lines live? Especially with that different material?
No, I know we could give more "metal" and fill it up more, but we try to keep it raw. Keep it the way it is, I know that some bands like to use samples and stuff, but it's not what we do. It is a tricky question, because another guitar would add more stuff, but on the other hand we want to keep it raw, to keep bass up there, we'd rather keep it a 3-piece for real.
Last night you played a show in Poznań, how was it?
It was a killer, man. It was surprisingly good. The kids went crazy, lots of circle pits, we love Poland, man. Every time we play around here we feel that death metal is still going strong, it's definitely good experience and last night was definitely a good show.
Do you have any special memories from shows played in Poland?
Lots of good memories, lots of good bands that we shared the stage with - Vader, Decapitated... It's always a great experience. The crowds are good. When we came here the first time, for Thrash'Em All festival, in early 2000s, ever since we've been having a good time, I'm not saying it because I'm talking to you, we always feel special in Poland. That's why we released our DVD from our show some years ago ("Live Armageddon" in 2005 - M.) and it's nothing but only good things to say about being here.
So far, the longest period between your albums was 4 years. How long do you think it might take to record the next one?
Well, this album came up with better reactions, better responses, so we've been getting more offers to tour, go on and play, so it's definitely going to be a shorter period, because we're going on tours, one after another. We're coming back for summer festivals in June, in August. The demand for touring has gone a bit better, so we're going to do few tours and then start working on the next album. So, it's going to be shorter period.
So, I understand you haven't started working on it yet?
No, we always got ideas, sometimes when we're home, when we're playing together, not for real, just jamming. We always get ideas here and there, we work as a unit, so when we get together usually things come up naturally for us. Definitely looking forward to it, man, the process that we're involved in is usually new album, then tour, then new album and so on. Doing what we're supposed to, it's always good experience, good to get focused on new material, looking forward to it.
What was the plan with the setlist for this tour? Do you play the same tracks on each tour promoting "Scourge"?
No, it's a good question, because on this tour it is a kind of a different package, if you think Septicflesh, Diabolical, it's more of a mix-it-up. So sometimes it depends on the crowd, sometimes there's a lot of younger kids, so then you don't want to go much harder, make it a balance. We try to keep the same songs, but we change it, we don't follow strictly the same setlist for every show, it depends on what crowd it is, we see they liked this song, so we're going to play another song, you need to pay attention, not keep on playing the same thing.
That's quite unique, most of the bands try to keep the same setlist.
Yeah, you got it, they just keep the same setlist, but we definitely change it. Sometimes we keep the same songs for a couple of days and then we put another song, take this song out. And I think it's a good thing, because we don't keep the same routine, we definitely change it, depending on the day.
Any songs that definitely need to be played? "Bloodcraft" maybe? (I heard it during sound check, so thought they would play it during the show. They didn't. - M.)
Yes, some of the tracks, like the title track from the latest album, we are opening with an old track from our second album, "Kings of Killing", we play that all the time, yeah, few songs are mandatory.
And how did the idea come up with putting these bands on tour together?
We got an offer from our booking agency, the same agency as Septicflesh and they told us it could be a good idea, because it's a different tour, because usually it's only death metal bands strictly. Sometimes you need to step outside the box, try something different. It is metal after all, these are great bands, Septicflesh is brutal, so it's not really a big deal, but it's a bit different. They have that kind of black metal approach. It is a different package but in the end it's kind of a same thing, you know? So far, so good, the responses are great, it is a little bit different, but I think we're having a good time.
Does touring with different bands affect your song-writing? Are you getting some new ideas?
Yeah, we do, we do. You know, sometimes during the sound-check, sometimes you feel inspired about certain subject, you know, "this is a good thing to talk about", and I'll write down a couple of lines, then I get back home and try work it up. We don't do something like "let's do it on the road", but we definitely get a few ideas here and there.
Going back to the latest album. With this one being faster and coming back to your root’s album, do you already have a kind of vision of how the next album will sound like?
It's hard to say, man. We're definitely going to keep it brutal, keep it fast, definitely not trying to follow in the same direction, it's going to be us, it's going to be Krisiun, but we'll try not to follow strictly "let's go back and play fast". It's definitely going to be brutal and fast, but we may add few mid-tempo tracks. At this point it's hard to say, because when we get back home and get focused on the new album then we're gonna start jamming and discussing things about it. We'll see, man, we'll see what's gonna happen.
What would be your recommendation about some good Brazilian metal bands?
Well, it hasn't really changed. Some of the older bands, they're still going on, still playing, with new bands I would mention Exterminate from South Brazil, they're playing very good death metal, Decomposed God or Evil Syndicate, Hideous Monarch, those are the ones that come to mind now, but definitely there are few newer bands that are worth to check. When we talk about metal and heavy metal in Brazil it's something big, but a lot of subdivisions, like thrash metal, it's all metal, but when you talk about death metal, it's not the most popular style, I guess. It's hard for some people to understand, some of them just prefer to listen to more melodic style. Death metal seems to be a hard pill to swallow.
Your one of the very few bands that have that stable line-up and no side projects outside Krisiun. Does that mean that all 3 brothers can feel fulfilled when it comes to your artistic expression through Krisiun?
Well, as far as Krisiun goes, as far as the style goes, I'm satisfied with anything that it involves. The way we can express ourselves, we don't have any side-projects, but we like jamming with some other guys, different kind of music, I like old metal bands, old rock'n'roll, like from Judas Priest to AC/DC, sometimes it is a bit of jamming, but nothing serious. We got some friends, we get into practice rooms and we play more for fun, but nothing serious.
The lyrical subject of your last album was some kind of apocalyptic vision of war and violence. It seems to be your area of interest. Where do you usually get your inspiration for lyrics?
For the last album I went to find something about the ancient, Sumerian culture. Very early, probably the first civilization, the way that they discovered things, the way that they developed things, there are crazy similarities to what is going on right now. The things that were happening in the ancient days, those civilizations, they already knew lots of things that people don't have a clue about these days. There's a connection with outer space, I just connect it with what is going on right now, the music is brutal, so the message is kind of brutal, too. We like to deal with occultism and the apocalyptic visions of this world. But it's not like we're preaching anything negative, but I think it's good to have a connection between what you play, and you see these what's going on these days, the world is degrading itself. The religion, their preaching’s, it's just causing degradation and war and some people just close their eyes for it. In South America we see different things and so we make a connection with this occultism and real things that are happening these days, trying to put it together. Anything that will fit with our instruments, maybe some of the songs nowadays I did about that realistic subject, but not much where we could do. I could sing about rainbows and flowers, we don't try to bring anything bad, but, aggressive music - aggressive messages.
Playing that kind of extreme music probably requires quite durable equipment, both guitars and drums. Do you have any favourite brands?
Yes, being on the road, some of the stuff breaks or is getting lost. At the moment we're endorsed by certain brands, Max, the drummer, is endorsed by Gretsch, good drum brand, we're endorsed by Dean guitars, they supply us with good stuff, the Peavey amplifiers, it all makes it for this kind of music. Sometimes when we go on tour we don't have all of the stuff that we ask for, but we have quite good sponsors now and they supply us with everything we need. And I'm happy with what we've got.
Are you thinking about getting some custom models from Dean?
(laughs) I wish! I know, there are a lot of famous artists that have that, personally I don't really care about it that much, as long as they give me the stuff, sometimes you have to customize it yourself, change pickups or the wires, try to sound better, you definitely have to customize it. I don't know, maybe someday if they want to do some of our stuff, customize and personalize it, it would be good.
Speaking of sound - do you feel like you found your perfect sound or are you always approaching new album with a thought "let's try something different this time"?
Yeah, that's a good question, it is very hard. Because our songs are really "busy", a lot of sounds going through, especially on the drums. Our goal is to sound brutal, but clear at the same time. And it can be dangerous sometimes, if it’s too clear people complain that it's too clear, should be dirtier, more old-school. So, we definitely try to hit a certain balance between brutality and the crispiness of the sound. Sometimes you miss some of those sounds, it's really hard. I don't think there's any band that is super satisfied with the final outcome, because it can always be better, man. You get in the studio, start putting things together, that's why you need a producer, a good producer who understands what you're doing. I'm happy with our sound, we can always be better, I like some of the sound from our old albums, I like the production, but it's definitely a hard task to nail the right sound, the right production. It's very special because our music is very busy and heavy, so if I go and tell you what the point is, it would be "sounding brutal, sounding heavy, but make people understand what is going on there."
And you mentioned producer - the one on your last album was Andy Klassen. Did he have the final say when it comes to your sound or do you make the final decision?
It's hard, man. When you get into the studio it's very hard to agree on everything, everyone has different ideas, we trust him, but definitely sometimes we have discussions and arguments. It's not like we have to do everything he wants, we definitely talk about things, sometimes we spend hours working on something. It's hard, he's a good producer, we trust him, but we don't agree with everything he says.
Is he going to be producing your next album?
I'm not sure, man, I'm not sure. We'll see.
So, what are your plans after this tour?
We got some shows booked in South America. It's going to be like a tour festival, with some Brazilian bands, for 10 shows or something. Then coming back to Europe for some summer festivals, we might go to United States in September, maybe, it's not 100% confirmed, but we might do that. And then at the beginning of the next year we should come back to Europe for a tour, maybe headlining tour. Then it'll be all for now, this album brought us better response from the promoters and agents, so we might do lots of tours and shows and then we go to start working on the new album.
What are the festivals you're most looking forward to play at?
I like Brutal Assault a lot, Hellfest, Motocultor in France, I like Party-San, it's pretty cool, good line-up, Summer Breeze, it's all good experience. Sometimes you play in front of shit-load of people and you don't feel that, just people staring at you. So sometimes I like to play at festival not that big, but you can feel that energy. Some of these festivals are big, like Hellfest, but the crowd gets crazy, it's not about the quantity of people you play for, but about the energy as well.
Any last shout out?
I want to thank you guys for the opportunity, thank you for supporting us, supporting metal in general, we appreciate it a lot. We're going to carry on what we're doing, we're not going to be sell-outs, Krisiun's gonna be Krisiun forever, thanks for everyone who's been around and "dziękuję" Poland!