Necromantia - Interview
Greek black metal legend Necromantia has released a final farewell album due to the fact that the one founding member, Baron Blood, died in 2019 (read review here). I had the great honor to talk to Magus Wampyr Daoloth to talk about the bands past and possible future, the other projects he was or still is involved, the Greek scene and a lot of other interesting stuff. Enjoy the interview!
Hi Magus Wampyr Daoloth, how are you doing in these times?
I’m doing fine, thank you!
So now it is the time to lay Necromantia to rest. Why did you decide to record a farewell album after the death of your fellow Baron Blood?
There are two reasons for it. The first reason is that we were talking with Baron Blood before, four years ago I think, to release a new album. We discussed about it, but we didn't find the time to start working on it. There was no pressure, and we could start when we want to. We were all busy with normal life, family, work and so on and we didn't start writing. The second reason is that I feel to pay some kind of tribute to him because this is the only way for me, to express myself through the music. Baron Blood was my friend since high school so that I knew him about 35 years. Not only as a band member but as a friend, like a brother. It was my moral obligation to honor him the only way I could – by making music and the last music actually.
Don't you think that he would have liked it that you have continued without him?
No, it's a farewell album for him. I mean for example, if he had departed the band, not the world for some reason, like we had an argue about something and he would have said that he is leaving the band and I would continue the band while he is alive, then yes. But now this album is a tribute for him because he departed this world. This is also the reason why we re-recorded some of the songs we did with him. It's one of the reasons.
You said that have re-recorded two old tracks ('Lord Of The Abyss' and 'The Warlock') from your debut for this album. What's the reason for that besides to pay tribute to Baron Blood?
These are from the split with Varathron and our debut Crossing The Fiery Path. Both are some iconic tracks for us and for the people who support us. I wanted to record them for Baron and for me it was a fucking damn pity that he wasn't with us to work with this team, with George Emmanuel and Yiannis Votsis. He would have loved it.
Can you tell a little bit more in detail about the new songs?
In the beginning my thought was to make an EP as a tribute. To record a couple of songs and to make a 7'or something like that. But during the Covid pandemic where my work was closed, I found refuge in music and creativity and the fire sparked again and I said why don't we do another album? The new songs are six. Four are completely written by George Emmanuel and me; 'Inferno' was written by Inferno, one of our past members but the final arrangement was also done by George and me. 'To The Depths We Descent' which actually closes these six songs is done by Giannis "The Worshiper Of Pan", another ex-member of us almost completely, we added some parts and did the final mix with George. So, this is more or less their contribution to this farewell album. Working with George was a great experience. Why? Because I started working with him for the Yoth Iria album and together we realized that we have a very good chemistry and not only that. We also understand the feeling that we want to put into a song in a certain moment and how we will create it. This is very important. He is a musician and not only very talented but also very academically well-educated in music. Besides that, he is a guy that captures the spirit and the feelings I wanted and makes music out of it. This is very important. The same goes for Yiannis our drummer. He is more or less my personal drummer (laughs) because we play together in a lot of bands. Almost wherever I go he is with me: Thou Art Lord, Principality Of Hell, Yoth Iria, Necromantia – in all these bands he is playing the drums. We have the same chemistry; he's a very good drummer and I don't need to tell him anything to play like this or that. I agree with 90% and don't change anything. It is very important to have a team like this to work with. Since I don't have Baron Blood, it was very important to have people in the band who understand me and where I want to take a song to, which path I want to follow. The pre- and post-production was done in George's house because of the Covid restrictions we couldn't go to the studio, so we did the whole pre-production at his house and when the restrictions were lifted, we went to the studio to record it. And this time it is the first time that Necromantia has the sound it is supposed to have. The funny thing is that people may say "Oh, Necromantia has a cool luxurious sound, and they sound like some commercial bands" but I have to say two things about the sound. First, we didn't have a good sound in the past because we lacked resources, not because we wanted it. And we lacked knowledge when you go back into the past. As we proceed as musicians and recording artists, we found our ways. And the second thing is for Necromantia it was never only the fact if the sound is good or bad, it is the feeling and the atmosphere. For me it's better to have the atmosphere delivered in a good package, meaning a good sound and this is the first time very good. I'm sure Baron Blood would not agree 100% but 200000% with me, he would love the sound.
What do you think are the greatest achievements you have reached with the band?
Well, all these years we have made, not in all our music but in a big part of it, quite a lot was very original and influential in the scene because we did it in the very early years. For me it's an honor to have Necromantia be quoted by established bands as their influence, especially in the beginning. Necromantia was supposed to create dark music that we liked, if other people like it it's awesome, if they don't, it's great, too – we didn't care. We care about us first and it was an expression and extension of our inner self, and we were putting our souls into the music, and we like it. I'm a metal fan since I was 13 years old. But the music I do with Necromantia is something different, it's not a typical Rock 'n' Roll or metal song. It's more some music to create images and not something you can listen to like Rammstein when you go to a show and start headbanging. I say Rammstein because it's a typical mid-tempo band which is very great for live shows but when I listen to them at home, they don't give me anything. It's okay to listen to it in the car or with friends but Necromantia is not like that.
You were and still are a big influence in the Greek metal scene. What would have been the scene without Necromantia and without you – I mean you were involved in many other projects since the early 90s.
I don't know how it would be. Of course, there would be a scene without me (laughs), I am not God. I know that Rotting Christ, Varathron and we were the first Greek black metal generation. We inspired a lot of Greek bands, and we influenced the scene for a long time. Now the Greek scene has everything – all kind of metal, all kind of rock. There are a lot of good bands. I was listening by chance to a local metal radio shown and they played quite a few new bands playing different styles, death, thrash and black metal and I was impressed. I was impressed by the technical abilities of the musicians and the performance.
Apart from Necromantia you have started another band – Yoth Iria. What's the intention behind it? Do you want to live up the spirit of the early Rotting Christ?
First of all, I didn't start it. Yoth Iria is Jim's (Mutilator; – they both played together in Rotting Christ in the 90s on the first two albums; M.) baby. In the beginning of the band, I wasn't so interested in joining it. At some point, two years ago, Jim called me and told me that Dayal Patterson, who wrote the Rotting Christ biography, tried to contact me. Jim told me that he was forming a new band and he was looking for someone to do the vocals. I said that I would have the time and that I would maybe do a guest appearance in the band because I knew him for so many years. I told him to send me the songs he had written and if I liked them, I would do the vocals. Jim sent me the pre-production of the EP "Under His Sway" and some songs from the album in a very primal form. After I listened to them, I agreed and joined the band and not only as a guest appearance because I liked the stuff. It is some kind of old school but with a new attitude. I remind me of the Greek scene of the early 90s but not in a cheesy copy way. It has a lot of fresh stuff. That's the reason why I joined the band. Yoth Iria is a little bit more melodic than the music I am normally doing. I would even dare to say that it's a little bit more commercial in the sense of more easy listening. The songs are more heavy metal stuff and are more melodic. On the album "As The Flame Withers" are a couple of songs that I would love to have written them by myself. Jim had the base ideas and then George and I added some ideas to this, working together with Jim. And a couple of tracks are done completely by us with Jim's additions, just the other way.
What about Thou Art Lord? The band is still listed as active on MA. Will there be another album by them?
Thou Art Lord is a band that will never die but you never know when I'm going to release anything. Maybe in a year, maybe in five years. Thou Art Lord is like in hibernation. If we feel the need to record, we will meet each other and do that. It was always a band for personal enjoyment. It was a fun band, and with that I don't mean funny, and we spent good time playing without caring too much about how it sounds like. If we liked it we just played. It was like a rehearsal band.
Looking back in retrospect – you were involved in two, okay it was one but changed its name, (in my eyes pretty cool) electronic metal bands – Diabolos Rising / Raism. What do you think about this project today? Would you do it again and if so, is there the possibility of a reunion?
Diabolos Rising was an industrial project I had with Mika (Luttinen; M.) from Impaled Nazarene. This started quite spontaneously because he spent some time here in Greece for some months because his wife was working in the Belgian embassy. The decision to create was when we were drinking a beer. I said, let's call Hervé (Herbaut; M.) from Osmose and send him the idea that we have. So, we called him and told him about that project and asked if he would release it. He said yes if it good and we just said that we hope it will be good, but we don't know, it's still an idea. But we got the green light from them and the first two albums of Diabolos Rising I would do again. I like them very much. We got a very good support from Osmose by the way. They even funded a video tape with nine different video clips. In one video clip it was Cronos from Venom, and it was shit. I mean the video was good, but it was shit because I couldn't go to the filming of the videos in England. Mika called me and told: "Hey man, Cronos will join us" and I said "Fuck, what?" Venom is one of my top bands. I think that Diabolos Rising is also a part of me. The lyrics, the music and the aesthetics, it's a very different thing and I am glad that I did it. Raism on the other hand, I am not so satisfied with that what we did with Raism. Maybe the full album was okay, but the mini album wasn't. That's the reason we stopped that band. We stopped enjoying what we were doing. It wasn't pleasant for us to make this kind of music anymore.
So, there won't be a reunion?
No, it won't. The only band that I am involved in that will never dissolve officially is Thou Art Lord.
What do you think are the most influential Greek metal albums for the scene?
I think it is our Scarlet Evil Witching Black, "Thy Mighty Contract" by Rotting Christ and the split we did with Varathron. For me these three bands are most influential but there are two more bands that continued and were also quite influential, Septic Flesh and Nightfall. Us three and these two bands are the main core of inspiration for the Greek scene, I think. At least this is my opinion; other people may have other opinions of course.
And for you? What has the biggest influence on you?
I would say Mercyful Fate – "Don't Break The Oath", Venom – "Welcome To Hell", Celtice Frost – "To Mega Therion". These are my top three extreme metal albums that influenced me. The fourth place is Morbid Angel – "Altars Of Madness" and then Slayer – "Hell Awaits". But when I started listening consciously to music with 12 or 13, I started with rock like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton. I went progressively into metal: heavy, thrash, death and black and also a lot of punk and hardcore. Therefore, my evolution as a listener and as a musician was gradually. I still enjoy listening to a track for example by Ratt. If you ever be in my car and listen to what I listen to…one day it can be Warlord, then Maiden and Bathory, then for example Krokus and Morbid Angel and Deicide, it can be everything. I live for extreme metal, but I listen to everything that is connected to metal because it's the music that I grew up with. Newer generations go directly to the special things. They start listening to death metal but never listened to Black Sabbath as an example.
Yes, that sounds like I evolved in my career as metal listener. Bon Jovi, Guns n' Roses, Black Sabbath….
Actually, when you said Bon Jovi, my first metal album that I listened to was Black Sabbath because I found it in my uncle's house. I found an original tape of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and the next year my cousins from the USA came and they brought me the first Bon Jovi album and "Pyromania" by Def Leppard. And then everything happens normally. This way you can understand and appreciate music much better. I can listen to Mortician and then I can switch immediately to Pink Floyd. I like them both. But I also like a lot of classical music which is for me a different level - not operas that much but symphonies.
The last words belong to you!
First of all, I would like to thank all the people who are listening to our music and appreciate it all these years and supported the band. Second, it's a blessing that people find great music and support that whenever and wherever they find it. I know it's difficult these times because there are a lot of information and a lot of average bands. So, it's difficult to distinguish the good ones but they are there. Maybe they don't have a cool video clip or something like that, but the music is there. So, support the good music wherever you find it.
To The Depths We Descend...
Chthonic Years / Demo Collection
People Of The Sea
The Sound Of Lucifer Storming Heaven
Scarlet Evil Witching Black
From The Past We Summon Thee
Crossing The Fiery Path
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