Sickening Horror - George Antipatis
08/10/07 || Global Domination
This interview was done by ex-staffer/cocksmoker Naja.
By now, you should have at least heard of Sickening Horror, if for nothing else because of the absolutely fucken amazing review I wrote for their debut album, “When Landscapes Bled Backwards” back in August. Head Sicko George Antipatis submitted himself to be interrogated by GD, and since they have a kickass album out and all, I sent him a few questions. We discussed everything from the band’s music, the reasons for drummer George Kollias’ departure, to the loose morals and vaginas of Greek women.
Global Domination: First off, I want to thank you, George, for volunteering for what is the skull-raping known as a Global Domination interview. Why don’t you start off by telling the ass-clowns who haven’t heard of your band where you are from what you guys are all about.
George Antipatis: First of all, I would like to say that I am deeply honored for this interview, because I’ve been quite a junkie with Global Domination for a while, so it’s like a dream come true! My very own interview on Global Domination! Let’s start by saying that we’re from Greece. A country that it is so fucking hot, that it makes you want to rape yourself, especially in the summer, THIS summer. Also this place is overflooded with hordes of guys here known as “kaggours”, with abominable haircuts, ridiculous bikes and cars, where they listen to, at maximum volume, this shitty Greek music, with an IQ level less than a retarded worm, that should be gathered and impaled immediately for the sake of mankind. Any assistance is extremely welcome! Despite these inhuman conditions, we play Death Metal, injecting various and diverse elements, in order to express ourselves completely.
Looking at your discography, I see you guys have two releases… the ultra-creatively titled “Promo 2003”, and your debut album “When Landscapes Bled Backwards”, released this year. Why the 4 year fucken gap between demo and album? One would think it was a little early in your careers to be waiting nearly half a decade between releases.
Well, the album was actually recorded in 2005, a year and a half after recording our demo (about the stupid demo title, we made up for it with the album’s fantastic title), and then the avalanche of delays started. First it took 6 months for the guy who was doing the mastering to finish his job, and we don’t know the exact reasons for that delay. He said something about an “alien abduction”. Then it took us about 8 months to get a recording agreement and sign with Neurotic Records. The album was to be released in March but then Neurotic delayed it even more and finally released it in the summer. I got my hands on the CD in August and it was an overwhelming feeling I experienced for the second time in my life!!! The first one was when I was 10 years old and I had bought the Super NES console with Mortal Kombat 2, so that feeling came back that day!!! We are talking about divinity!!! Anyway, with all these delays, we have the music for the second album ready and half the lyrics, so you can’t say we’re lazy composers like Dodheimsgard… or maybe you can.
What is the significance of the title “When Landscapes Bled Backwards”? I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure that one out, because I can’t remember a time I’ve ever seen a landscape bleed, much less backwards. Were you simply trying to come up with a morbidly cool sounding title, or is there some deep, hidden meaning behind it I can’t quite wrap my brain around?
Are you serious? Of course landscapes bleed, much more backwards. Landscapes bleed at least once in a human’s lifetime. You just have to open your eyes and see. Let me put it this way. Consider a landscape as a visual, audio or emotional complex concept of perception, with yourself completely drowned in it, perceiving that everything is fine and concrete. Well, it’s not. And subconsciously you know it. When the collapse occurs, you’ll find yourself in a completely new state of perception, something we will analyze in the lyrics for the second album, so let’s leave it for now. The title has to do with this very moment in your life and now you can understand why it is ‘bled’ and not ‘bleed’.
Your debut album was mixed by Neil Kernon, who has worked some no-name bands like Queen, Dokken, Judas Priest, and a few obscure, new-to-the-game death metal bands like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, and Nile. He’s also worked with some band called Nevermore that no one’s ever heard of. Looks like he hit the jackpot with you guys though, and perhaps he’ll finally get some well-deserved recognition. Tell me how you guys hooked up with Neil, and how it was working with him in the studio.
Maybe you don’t know it, but Queen and Priest chose Neil after hearing his work on our album! We receive lots of fan mails from Glenn Tipton and Freddie Mercury saying how much we rock and how great Neil is! C’mon, this guy has done “Dreaming Neon Black” and “The Wretched Spawn”. You wouldn’t say that these albums’ sound is some “demo” sound, would you? In our case, when Neil recorded “Annihilation of the Wicked” with Nile, George Kollias gave him some of our stuff and Neil liked it, so he asked George himself if he can do the mixing for our album. We agreed to do a fan a favor for once. Plus he paid us really well. He did a great job with the mixing, since the recording data we sent him wasn’t that good, due to our inexperience with recordings. We never met, he did the mixing alone in 3 days and he really transformed the sound. There are some bad news for him though… We’ll do everything for the second album by ourselves, and when you hear it, it will be the end of Neil’s 15-minute fame.
What’s the metal scene in Greece look like these days? The only acts I can think of that hail from Greece are Rotting Christ and Yanni. Perhaps that’s due to my own ignorance though, because I only listen to trashy American bubble-gum pop. Anyway, share with us the status of metal in the land of Zeus.
Is Yanni Greek? I didn’t know that. Unless you’re messing around and I just made fool of myself. The metal scene in Greece is really good today. There are dozens of bands in every genre, mostly in black metal and stoner rock. There are many good bands but most of them sound like other well-known bands. For the last few years, nearly every band works on a very professional level and even the most boring ones have good sound on stage and play really tight. This is a bad thing to some extent, because when we attended small concerts not so many years ago, we were laughing ourselves to death with bands that didn’t know how to even tune their instruments, they were caring only for their image on stage and having absolutely no sense about their abilities. There were so many ridiculous bands that every week we were waiting for the next concert to take place and just go and laugh. It is better now that all of this has changed, but sometimes I really miss those hilarious days.
I’ve been delaying bringing up the inevitable interrogations about George Kollias for all of 5 questions now, but the time has come to talk about him and his split from Sickening Horror. What’s the real deal here? I mean, obviously he was sharing time with Nile, but was there more to it than that? What were your feelings regarding him choosing Nile over Sickening Horror? Is there any bad blood between you guys or are you still all hugs and kisses?
Ok, let’s clear things up a bit. We knew from the beginning that the whole Nile thing would take most of George’s time, and we knew where we stand and where Nile stands, so certainly we couldn’t say to him not to go. At first we managed to balance it, but as time passed it was clear that George was holding us back. Apart from that, we had many serious problems with George, and there where endless arguments within the band. Finally, his complete inconsistency made us to let him go. In hindsight, the best thing to do was to part ways when he joined Nile. Of course there is no bad blood, but there are no hugs and kisses either.
Obviously, Kollias is an amazingly talented drummer, and he did some absolutely brutal work on “When Landscapes Bled Backwards”. Certainly his leaving must have been a blow to the band, especially since the caliber of his playing is fairly tough to match. Have you found a permanent replacement for him yet?
We are still working on finding a substitute for George and as you can assume, this is quite tough. But in the end I think we’ll come up with some guy blasting it up. We have rehearsed with some guys, but nothing has worked out yet.
What kind of touring plans do you guys have? I’m guessing you gig around in Greece a bit, but what about internationally? Have you been a part of any major tours? Any plans or offers to come to the U.S.?
Our priority no. 1 is to find a replacement drummer. When we find a new blaster, we’ll start touring immediately. So far we have played only in Greece, so going on tour is the next big thing for us to achieve. We had really good offers for touring, but we had to turn them down, because at that time George was with Nile, touring or recording.
I know you are a big fan of The Project Hate MCMXCIX, and you cite them as a musical influence for Sickening Horror. Have you heard the new Hate album, and if so, what do you think of it? Pay no mind to the fact that K will be reading this interview, just dish out the straight dirt on what you think of it.
I’ve been listening to it the last week non-stop and I really can’t be objective with this band. It’s just another masterpiece, a perfect 10! It has all these parts that you’re like “What the hell was that sound/melody?”. The feeling of massive darkness is back. The vocals are perfect as usual, the drum sound is unbelievable, the production is crystal clear. I would prefer the guitars a bit higher in the mix and with more gain, but this is nothing considering the overall outcome. The samples are once more absolutely sick and all the songs groove as hell! Albums like this come out and you are with a constant smile on your face all day, whispering the lyrics and the riffs. I will certainly buy this one when I find it at a reasonable price (this goes to you K) on a webstore, because it’s impossible to find their CD’s in Greece.
I’m gonna list a few albums, and on a scale of 1-10, following the standard Global Domination definitions of 1 equaling “ ‘St. Anger’ by Metallica. Yeah, it’s that hideous” and 10 equaling “Global Domination. Penis. Touchdown. Perfection”, I want you to rate them and write a sentence or two about what the album means to you. Kinda like your own, personal Audio Autopsy.
Morbid Angel – Blessed Are the Sick: 6. This was always my least favourite album of Morbid Angel along with “Formulas Fatal To The Flesh”. It has 3-4 great songs and that’s it. I never understood what all the fuss was about, especially compared with albums like “Covenant” or “Gateways To Annihilation”.
Cynic – Focus: 9. Probably the best progressive Death Metal album. It has so many diverse elements so perfectly combined that you can’t help but to get inspired by it.
Rotting Christ – Triarchy of the Lost Lovers: 7. Some of the best Christ songs are in there. The thing is that with a Christ album, half of the songs are great and half of them are boring. That’s the way it has always been, but the good songs uplift the whole level somehow.
Nile – Ithyphallic: 5. My favourite Nile album is “In Their Darkened Shrines”. I mean, that album has “Unas – Slayer Of The Gods”. How much more can you ask from Nile after that? “Annihilation Of The Wicked” was good too, but this one, though good, does not have a song to blow your mind completely. I also prefer the earlier production which was muddier and fitted the songs better.
Metallica – St. Anger: 0. The most pathetic album in history of music. The very bottom of the cesspool. A shame for mankind. All the CD’s sold must be gathered and burnt, all articles and writings about this album must be deleted and everyone should forget about it, much like they did on 1984.
Mayhem – De Mysteriis dom Sathanas: 10. This one and Immortal’s “Pure Holocaust” are the best black metal albums of all time. It’s cold, grim and the blackness is overwhelming. Euronymous’ riffs are evil incarnated.
Carcass – Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious: 10. The perfect balance between brutality and groove. The riffs are so brilliant and diverse and Jeff Walker’s vocals are clinically dead. The amazing title is the icing on the cake.
Slayer – Reign In Blood: 10. Brutal thrash metal at its best. Here, Slayer give the word “riff” its ultimate definition. I found my way on guitar playing through Slayer.
Atheist – Elements: 7. Atheist lost much of their aggression on this album. The songs are good but can’t beat “Unquestionable Presence”.
Sickening Horror – When Landscapes Bled Backwards (yes, you get to rate your own album cuz I wanna see how conceited you are): 8. The songwriting is excellent. A new Death Metal point of view. We create albums to be perfect 10’s, but the production isn’t what we had in mind, especially the drum sound. Also, the vocals should be a bit higher in the mix, so…
How has the reception for “When Landscapes Bled Backwards” been, in terms of media reviews and overall album sales? Undoubtedly, the brilliantly written review of it I wrote for this site helped you guys sell a shitload of copies. I’ll shoot you an email later and let you know where to send a royalty check. Anyway, how is the album doing?
I don’t have a clue about the sales so far, but I really hope it’s the way you mentioned. This way we can both be rich and I’ll be able to buy that cabinet I crave since last year. From our webstore we have sold about 12 CD’s, so the only thing I can buy with this is the cable to connect the amp and the cabinet. But I’m sure everybody will order our album from our site after reading this interview, cause it costs only 10 Euros and has a pure evil photo of us in the booklet that would make Fenriz run away ashamed.
What are your plans for the rest of 2007 into 2008? Is there a new album in the works, and if so, give the readers at GD an idea of what they can expect in terms of the evolution of the bands sound. You guys aren’t planning on taking another 4 years to lay another slab of metal on us, are ya?
As I said above, we have 14 new songs ready, from which 10 will end up on the second album. I need to finish the lyrics for another 5 songs and then the recording will start, which will most likely happen at the first quarter of 2008. The new material sounds much more solid and catchy somehow. There are plenty of twisted riffs for sure, the bass lines are more off-the-wall and the vocals are more diverse. The sound will be devastating and you’ll be able to hear the toms this time. The title will be something like “Album 2008”. We’re planning to get it released in a year and a half, unless the curse of delays strikes back.
I’m running under the assumption that at this point, Sickening Horror is not quite successful enough for it to be your sole source of income. What kind of day job do you have, and how much does it suck?
No, we’re not that successful yet, I’m still in college and Ilias is now finishing his master degree. We had some jobs occasionally to buy new equipment and do the production for our album. Ilias has worked at an office doing a PC job and I have worked as a fire-guard. which was pretty cool because I was alone just sitting watching for fires to call the fire brigade and listening to my mp3 player for 8 hours. They paid me to listen to music! Another job was when I was working on a place where we were carrying fridges and washing machines. That really sucked. Anyway, these were occasional summer jobs and I never stayed for more than 2 months.
Your guitar work on “When Landscapes Bled Backwards” is pretty fucking killer and definitely speaks volumes about your technical abilities on the instrument. How long have you been playing? Do you take lessons or have you taken them in the past, or are you self-taught? How can I become as good as you? And don’t say “practice”, cuz I’m far too fucken lazy for that.
Until I was 12 I listened to techno/pop stuff like The Prodigy and Michael Jackson. Then I listened to Babylon Zoo’s first album (anyone remember them?) and I was thrilled of how heavy this instrument (electric guitar), that I had never heard before, sounded. Immediately I realized I HAD to learn how to play the guitar, so I convinced my parents to buy me an electric guitar and I went to a music school. The music school sucked, the teacher gave me stupid stuff to learn, so I started searching stuff on my own. I found some tabs of Maiden and Metallica and they were ok, but the massive shock came when I got some Slayer tabs. I couldn’t believe the riffing could get so sick with all these strange scales and licks. I drowned in it, so Slayer stigmatized my guitar playing.
Strangely enough, I stayed in the music school for 5 years which was a complete waste of time since the teacher was trying to convince me that Death Metal is not music, so I learned everything I needed by myself and I had learned to play countless of songs by Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Death and Sepultura. Back then, there was no guitar pro or tabs of such bands, so I learned everything by ear. Until I was 16, I was practicing about 7 hours per day. Then I realized there was no point to try to play as technical as I can, so I tried to understand the songs. I mean, I tried to understand what made Alex Webster, Trey Azagthoth, Vicotnik compose their riffs and how they came to life. When I was able to comprehend that, I started developing my own style. I’m afraid that practicing is the only way to play technical and the best thing is to like practicing. I don’t like practicing today, I did when I was 12. Sometimes I say that I’ll practice all day for a long time to play like Jeff Loomis, but I get bored after a few days, so that’s it. I’ll never play like Jeff.
Have you previously played in any other bands that released anything, or is Sickening Horror your musical debut?
Before Sickening Horror, I was playing with Ilias since 1999 in a Death Metal band called Serial Killer, which was actually a premature form of Sickening Horror. I was on guitar/vox, Ilias on bass and my brother Vassilis on drums. Things turned out like the Nihilist/Entombed thing with Johnny Hedlund. When we split up, me and Ilias started looking for a new drummer, so we found George Kollias through an ad, and we formed Sickening Horror. Me and Ilias’ first release is this very album, “When Landscapes Bled Backwards”, and I think we did quite good a job.
Here in the U.S., metal, especially extreme metal, gets a somewhat bad rap among uptight parents and general all-around dipshits. The consensus among these people is that death and black metal are destructive forms of noise that will lead the misguided souls who listen to it to kill themselves or someone else. Were your parents pretty cool with your musical tastes, or did they try and tie you down for a good ol’ fashion exorcism?
I think it’s quite the opposite. Someone should tell these pieces of lowlife that you’ll end up killing someone if you don’t express that rage through creative forms of expression, like extreme music. I also don’t want these douchebags to like extreme metal, just to respect it as a higher form of art that they are quite too dumb to understand. My parents always supported me, no matter what I wanted to do, although they hated it when I was listening to Obituary’s “Cause Of Death “ at max volume and headbanging like crazy. It was funny, because they were getting angry only with “Cause Of Death” and not with “Butchered At Birth” or “Battles In The North”.
Switching gears a bit, I may find myself vacationing in Greece one day, and I want to know what the odds are of me being able to get a lot of sex with the ladies in a short period of time. In other words, in general, are Greek women of loose moral character and slutty, kinda like the ones we have here in the States, or are they more conservative and selfish with their vaginas?
Unfortunately, I’m the worst person you can ask about such stuff. I’ve never hit on a girl, girls hit on me in some cases, so my statistics are poor. I guess you won’t have any problem at all, most girls here seem to lack anything moral.
Alright, back to the music. You are the guitarist and vocalist for Sickening Horror, and some dude named Ilias is the bassist. How are songwriting duties shared, or do you write all of the music and lyrics yourself? Kollias seems to have been involved in a good deal of the song arrangements on Nile’s “Ithyphallic”… was he as involved with the songwriting in Sickening Horror?
About the music, here’s how it goes. Me and Ilias exchange riffs and ideas about a song and then I record some rough guitars and do the arrangements on my PC with a drum machine, where I compose the drum parts as well. Then we give the song to George and he changes some parts of the drum machine, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. About the lyrics, I write them along with the vocal lines after a song is finished, so sometimes I have to rearrange some parts to have a perfect structure. Samples are added when I think they may intensify the vibes of some parts.
At one point, you guys had a second guitarist named George Bokos in the band. That means that there were three fucken guys named George in a single band. The odds of this occurring seem incredibly small to me. Is George an exceedingly common name in Greece, or was some strange shit just happening in the Sickening Horror camp?
Here in Greece it’s like a pact, made by the people with the god of masturbation, that everyone must name their son “George”. 60% of the male population is called “George”. Despite that, it was still quite a fucked up situation with 3 George’s in a Death Metal band, so now it’s all better that 2 George’s are no more in the band. I hope the next member won’t be called George, but after that – how possible is this? The truth is that it’s quite possible. There was a 5-piece power metal metal band in Greece called Power Crue and 4 of them were called George!!! I think that’s way more fucked up than our situation.
When you’re not rocking out with your cock out to metal, what other types of music do you abuse your ears with? Obviously, Sickening Horror has some jazz influences as well, so who do you draw inspiration from in that genre?
All this jazz stuff comes straight from Ilias and he would be able to mention some artists. I’m not into jazz at all. I love techno/industrial/synth pop music like Wumpscut, Deine Lakaien, Wolfsheim and The Prodigy which is one of my all-time fave bands. I worship some classical pieces like Beethoven’s 9th symphony (yeah, that classic). There is also a Greek Hip Hop/Hardcore band named Terror X Crew that I am a big fan of. As I have said many times, I listen to anything that’s intense in its own form. When I want love I’ll listen to Celine Dion, when I want hatred I’ll listen to Cannibal Corpse and so on. I am a female voice addict as well, I melt when I listen to Amy Lee of Evanescence, Jonna Enckell of The Project Hate (new Hate album, song no. 2, 3:57 = divinity), Tori Amos, Pink, Meredith Brooks.
A Global Domination interview wouldn’t be complete without the word penis somewhere in it. To my knowledge, I haven’t said it before the previous sentence, so I’ll say it again… penis. Feel free to say whatever you want here, there is no specific question.
All I can think when I hear this funny word, is the first “American Pie” movie, where Jim’s dad explains him how perfectly natural masturbating is and lectures about penis and vagina!!! Every time I watch the movie, this scene cracks me up!
Any crazy stories of fucked up shit that happened at a Sickening Horror show or while on the road? Every band has at least one fucked up story.
I don’t have too wild stuff to tell, but there are a couple of things. In one of our first gigs, I was headbanging really hard, my hair was entangled in the guitar keys and I couldn’t play, so we had to stop the song. One other time, we had driven 200 kilometers to play on an extreme metal open fest and we were the last band to play. The concert didn’t start on time, so when we got on stage it was too late and after a couple of songs the neighbors call the cops and shut the concert down. We were really pissed because we had driven that long to play just 2 songs.
Okay, let’s pretend you’re stranded on a desert island. Yeah, it’s this type of question. You can have 5, and only 5 CD’s with you…what are they?
That’s very limiting but quite easy. Here’s the list:
1. Cannibal Corpse – “Gallery Of Suicide”
2. Dodheimsgard – “666 International”
3. The Project Hate – “Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eliminate”
4. Morbid Angel – “Gateways To Annihilation”
5. Arcturus – “La Masquerade Infernale”
Well, I didn’t say you could have a CD player, so you’re fucked no matter what. Hails to you, George, for being such a great sport and putting up with my bullshit. You’re a true metal warrior, and I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more of Sickening Horror’s brand of metal in the future. Hopefully you guys can make it to the U.S. sometime for a tour, that would be fucken awesome. This is your space to say whatever you have on your mind, and bring this fucken interview to a close.
Thanks for this outrageous interview, I really loved it!!! I usually end an interview with something like “nothing is what it seems”, but now I think it’s pretty obvious after reading all this. When we make it to the States I’ll dedicate a song to you my friend, probably the song “new song 11”. Keep dominating! Hailz!