Since Vader broke the former Eastern Bloc countries on an international scale with 1992’s The Ultimate Incantation, bands from Eastern Europe have defined what it means to be dedicated to death metal and black metal. To wit, bands like Root, Drudkh, Mgła, Decapitated, Lost Soul, Hate, Sceptic, and, of course, Behemoth (featuring Azarath drummer Inferno) have taken the mantle, paving the way for new sounds, new extremes, new ventures, and new ways to express counter-culture convictions.
Azarath, formed by Inferno in 1998, has released an impressive array of technically proficient, religiously fervent (against Christianity) death metal over the course of 16 years. The group’s newest album, In Extremis, yet again proves why Poland, of all Eastern European countries, is at the forefront of the death metal movement. There’s an efficiency here that’s unprecedented. There’s an aggression level here that’s heretofore unheard of. There’s an intent here that shatters even Deicide’s most controversial moments (back in the early ’90s). Azarath are death metal and death metal is Azarath.
We sit down with drummer Inferno for a quick set of Q&A before the beater of unholy skins ushers in and pontificates on “Annhiliation (Smite All the Illusions)”, the second song premiere from In Extremis. Brave the depths! Live to see beyond! Bring on Azarath!
Why is it that Poland produces some of the best death metal? Catholic oppression?
Inferno: Probably because every action produces the reaction and it always happens, especially in extreme cases. As a country that grew up under a Communist regime, Catholic oppression and attempts of political dictatorship, at this moment, you can expect even more brutality and anger from the people.
Who are some of your death metal idols?
Inferno: Possessed, Hellhammer, Dissection… And many more. To be honest, the most important thing is the band’s soul and its overall statement and proper values.
What can death metallers expect from In Extremis? It’s been six years since Blasphemers’ Maledictions.
Inferno: I hope that our fans will be satisfied as much as we are. And I have to say that we are very proud of this record almost in every aspect.
You spend most of your time drumming for Behemoth. How do you find time for Azarath?
Inferno: I don’t treat the band as a duty and it is all about passion and dedication. Also, I can frankly say that I’m addicted to playing this kind of music and I can’t imagine a better companion than creating the metal of death.
Tell us about the Azarath song we’re going to premiere.
Inferno: “Annihilation”, musically, is probably the most extreme song we’ve done for this record. I automatically start sweating when I think about playing this monster live. You’ll find here and there some crazy parts inspired by the Brazilian death metal school, typical Azarath dynamic changes and a rally of guitar solos at the end. Lyrics refers to the Aghori and Vama Marga –- left hand path tantra. Aghoris see Creation as a self–transformation, which manifests itself in the possibility of destruction (for example, the annihilating void destroys the illusion of dualism). In other words, creation can also be seen as destruction. Once you go beyond the fear of death, you go beyond all fears. Once you drop fear, all possibilities are open to you. And when death has no value to you, there can be no fear.
And with that bring on “Annhiliation (Smite All the Illusions)”!
** Azarath’s new album, In Extremis, is out April 7th on Agonia Records. In Elxtremis is available physically (CD and Viny) by clicking HERE. And digitally by clicking HERE. When you’re done clickity clicking the links, visit Azarath’s Facebook page by clicking HERE.