Decibel was surprised, to say the least, when this new track from Romanian black metal act Persekutor showed up in our inboxes. And even more surprised to learn that the excellent “Can You Feel the Frost of Dawn” is merely the first single from the long-gestating full-length Permanent Winter, which is receiving the full CD/LP treatment from Svart Records in September 2020. According to the label, the album was recorded with Phil Vera (Despise You/ Trappist) and features album art from Leviathan’s Jef Whitehead.
We actually haven’t spoken with Persekutor’s Vladislav (“Vlad the Inhaler”) Bârladeanu since the band’s beguiling set on the opening night Pre-fest set of the inaugural Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest in Los Angeles in 2018. Most of that night is pretty hazy — Vlad disappeared after the band’s set, and the rest of the Persekutor guys hung out backstage just to make fart noises anytime someone from Night Demon passed the catering table, Turns out Bârladeanu liked California enough to stay, and he’s been living there ever since. We checked in with the Persekutor vocalist/guitarist to get the scoop on Persekutor’s new grim and frostbitten track, life during the time of Coronavirus, and the band’s new — and decidedly less Eastern European, but thankfully more prolific — line-up.
This is hard to believe, but it has been five years since the Ice Wars cassette came out. That is a long time in cat, dog, or human years. What took so long for a follow-up?
I am asking myself this question all the times. Answer is usual bullshittings like lineup change, drug binge, technical difficulty and all colorful problems of former Soviet Bloc country. Livestock auction is taking many months to organize also. But biggest time suck — as they say in US and A — is moving to Los Angeles. Where I move just in time for pandemic isolation. Yes.
Is it true that you live in California now? Have you adapted to the U.S. as seamlessly as Lars Ulrich and King Diamond, or does that only happen with Danish people?
Yes! I am not seeing Lars Ulrich around, probably because I am not spending much time at fancy art gallery or high-end bistro for famous persons. But I am talking to King Diamond at final Slayer show — ever — at Forum in Los Angeles. He is very nice guy and taking picture with new PERSEKUTOR drummer Scott Batiste. But I am still adjusting to life in Los Angeles, yes. There is a lot of what you call “large talk” here — “I’m so great, I’m making movie, I’m doing song with face tattoo rap guy, look at my abdominal muscles on Instagram.” This kind of thing everywhere now of course, but seem especially widespread here. Different kind of pandemic. But sunshine and beach and bikini ladies are making up for this by a lot — before Covid plague.
Looks like you have a new-ish line-up. What are your old bassist Ion Slasher and drummer Doktor Impossible up to now?
This is good question. Doktor Impossible was machine — literally he was drum machine. Broken drum machine, too, so he is not making trip to Los Angeles. This is for best — you can hear real killer lead drums on new PERSEKUTOR album by Scott Batiste, who was playing in Saviours band and Ides of Gemini band. Ion Slasher is more complicated story involving exotic powders, a slight maritime disaster in Black Sea and angry relatives of Romania’s greatest musician: Zamfir, Master of Pan Flute. But let us say he is departed for parts unknown. This is best for everyone, yes. Our new lead bassist is Adam Murray, also of Deth Crux — highly excellent goth rock band here in Los Angeles. And on lead guitar we are having Inverted Chris Velez, formerly of L.A. black metal stars Lightning Swords of Death. Best PERSEKUTOR lineup ever.
“Can You Feel The Frost of Dawn” is a real treat for longtime Persekutor fans. Did you consider submitting it to the Eurovision Song Contest?
Who is saying I did not?
Permanent Winter begins on September 4 via Svart Records.