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Interviews

Terrordrome - Sakis

24/08/12  ||  The Duff

Terrordrome

Terrordrome are a Greek brutal death metal band. Their latest “The Day of Sacrilege” was released just a month ago. An album that breaks away from the traditional style of the sub-genre, adding a catchiness and flavour usually reserved for more showy outfits, it is a refreshing change that is surely to make Terrordrome a BDM band to follow in the future. Sakis is the guitarist and one of the founders of the band. If you’re into tech with a heavier brunt, I highly urge you check these guys out.

Global Domination: Okay. Tell us about your band, how long you’ve been together, major influences starting off.

Sakis: Terrordrome was formed in 2001 by me (Sakis) and Stelios (the drummer back then) and since then many line-up changes occurred leading to the present line-up which was solidified the year 2006. Since then Peter Ouzounis is on the vocals, Anestis Varitimiadis on Bass, Bill Stavrianidis on drums and me on guitars. We have done many live shows in Greece and around Europe, we’ve played some well known and respected festivals like Norway’s Inferno Metal Festival and Switzerland’s Mountains Of Death. We did a lot of local opening acts for big names of the death metal scene like Obituary, Bolt Thrower, Malevolent Creation and some others. Finally and to sum up regarding our discography “The Day Of Sacrilege” is our second full length, “Vehement Convulsion” our first full length and apart from them we have a MCD “Intravenous Multiplication, a promo cd “Sane-in-sane”, another MCD “Terrordrome” which was later released as a 5 way split cd from Australia’s Life Fluid Productions, a 2 way split with Oath To Vanquish and these tracks from the split with OTV were lately released in a 7” ep which is the first Terrordrome in vinyl!

I was raised up swamped in death and black metal tunes and as most young metalheads I also wanted to play in a band and release records. I do not know how exactly this thing happened, but I have the feeling that metal music is such a big motivator for people to grab a guitar, put some distortion and make some serious noise!

You guys are from Greece ; much like Turkey and Decaying Purity, your country only seems to have the one good brutal death metal band everyone is aware of. So are you guys fans of Blasted Pancreas? Am I funny? So really, you guys are awesome; what’s the Greek scene like?

Hehehe, I may be laughing but you are not funny at all! I liked the way you put it and indeed we know Blasted Pancreas! Regarding the scene here I will refer mostly to the underground death metal scene because this is the one I like and follow very closely years now. I can safely say that in the past 6 years the scene has grown significantly and many bands and very good releases appeared. At last the press worldwide shows some appreciation for what we are doing down here and finally some of us managed to break the borders and play outside Greece. If all these bands were in Germany or Scandinavia they would have been much bigger right now, touring and promoting their work much more efficiently. You just have to see on the map where Greece is and you will understand what I am saying. This is not the only problem though. Promotion for this kind of bands is almost zero from the local metal press (as I mentioned worldwide press is giving more attention) and we do not have any descent record companies to invest on these bands. So, generally things for the Greek death metal musicians are very difficult but it seems that they do not care that much and continue working hard. I have to suggest some bands whose work raises the standards and motivates too: Sickening Horror, Mass Infection, Mortal Torment, Resurgency, Disembowel, Blustery Caveat, Cease Of Breeding, Murder Made God, Birth Through Gore, Nocturnal Vomit, Cerebrum, Anal Treatment Xxxperience.

Did you know our web-host Statik designed the artwork for Sickening Horror’s last album?

Now that you mentioned it I got back to the Sickening Horror release and interview you did and saw it there as well. Marko Saarelainen, right? Really great work I must say! Awesome album by the way, the guys in Sickening are top-notch musicians.

Did you release any old-school E.P.’s prior to “Vehement Convulsion”?

Of course we did. We are still very proud of “Intravenous Multiplication” and “Sane-in-sane” releases which they clearly show the development and evolution of the band. We still have a lot of old school influences in our music and we feel that we are closer to the old school sound rather than the modern and plastic sound many death metal and core bands have developed. We have been raised with ‘90s death metal and our hearts belong there too!

Terrordrome

So, your first record; I must say I enjoyed it, but it isn’t nearly as memorable as what you pursued with your “Begetters…” E.P. What was the response to that album, taking into account brutal death is quite an inundated sub-genre.

I tend to agree with what you say about “Vehement Convulsion”. This album is full of anger and depleted of any other feeling. We were so pissed off because of so many difficulties which lead to present our first full length 7 years after the birth of the band. The songs in the “Begetters…” EP were prepared in a completely different mood. The line up this time is very solid and strong, we were together 4 years already and the songwriting became much more mature and technical. It was also somewhat a test recording, a pre production so as to see how to handle the flamenco tunes in our style. We wanted to prepare the path to the new album as well and it was indeed very helpful. The response was really really good and I think most of the people agreed on the fact that it was a step forward from Vehement. But “Begetters…” was a two songs EP and it is not as representing as “The Day Of Sacrilege” is.

Was it daunting re-inventing yourselves for your new record, so to speak? What made you think ‘flamenco and death metal’? Do you fear a backlash from purists?

I wouldn’t say that we re-invented ourselves but evolved. This is because what we did in “The Day Of Sacrilege” was something that came in a natural way and not intentionally. You can find many references to the Vehement album but the execution and ideas are much more mature and better delivered. The sound production is also way better and helps a lot. Regarding the flamenco addition, it was something that also happened naturally. I have countless times mentioned that Terrordrome add different genres with the difference that we absorbed them in a death metal maelstrom and not put them just for the sake of it. We have jazz, blues, classical influences but do not expect to hear them as they are delivered traditionally. So, this time we thought to take it further and add something that initially doesn’t seem to fit with death metal. I was studying flamenco when I was a kid and I thought to try it on the electric and distorted guitar. As mentioned above, the “Begetters…” EP was the test and in “The Day Of Sacrilege” we knew exactly what we were doing. So, do not expect nylon strings and latin shredding but metal strings and distortion and blast beats on a latin rhythm section!

When we compose we do not think what people will like or hate we just externalize our passion for creating the music we like. Of course when you hear the final result you can not stop wondering if the rest of the people will be satisfied as well. And yes, we believe that the hardcore brutal death metal fans may be disappointed and I will answer back that creating a second Vehement album was too easy and not so exciting for us. We could play fast and brutal all the time but where is the point in the end? There are soo many bands out there playing only fast and brutal for the sake of being fast and brutal. Also, if someone listens to each Terrordrome release he will definitely see the progress and that there is no repetition or stagnancy. So, do not expect another “The Day Of Sacrilege” in the third album.

Why did you include both tracks from the E.P. on the new record? I mean, the artwork to “Begotters…” is ace and all, but did you not find it short-changed those who bought the E.P.?

We never thought about it this way, no. As I mentioned before, the “Begetters …” EP was a test recording too so as to see how the flamenco parts will sound. It was also a new material after 2 years from the Vehement release and it was a good intermediate between our two full length albums. I think 4 years is a big gap between two albums, isn’t it? So, we would like to present something new. We also knew from the beginning that these tracks will be in the “The Day Of Sacrilege” and that is why we re-recorded them a bit faster and we also added some extra themes as well as new sounds in the flamenco part in “…For Mayhem to Begin”. In addition these tracks are part of the concept of the new album. To be more precise these tracks open the story and you can read them as one track “Alas (salt in Greek), in the wound, for mayhem to begin” too.

Were you pleased with the split? Are you fans of Oath to Vanquish? They’re a pretty unique band, I was surprised.

In continuance to the previous question, with the split release some got to know Oath To Vanquish and some others Terrordrome. So, we still feel that the “Begetters…” ep is a unique release. Of course we are fans of Oath To Vanquish (we all loved their debut “Applied Schizophrenic Science”) and when Tom from Grindethic told me about them having two new tracks, a split release seemed the perfect idea. It turned out really great although only released in 100 copies. That is why we took the initiative and we released our part of the split in a limited to 500 copies 7” ep with special mastering for vinyl and renewed artwork from Tom of Grindethic. We also changed the title a bit to “Seeds Of Fear, Begotten” and it was released from Sevared Records, Floga Records and Noise Effect, under licence from Grindethic Records, of course.

What other bands do you support? Are you likely to release another split in the future, and if so, who ideally would you want it to be with?

Apart from the Greek ones that I mentioned in a previous question we support every band that plays great music, at least for our own ears. It doesn’t have to be in the metal genre too. Hmmm, there was a proposal for a 4 way split but we do not have any new material at the time. Terrordrome songs are complicated, not on a music recipe and with many riffs and sometimes we feel so empty of new and fresh ideas. There are some plans for a split release with Mass Infection (ideal band to do a split) now that the guys are recording a new album and again in connection to your question about the “Begetters…” ep if we are doing another split the tracks will be exclusive this time!

Your new album hasn’t got any reviews up yet online. What’s going on there? Have magazines been more supportive?

There are a couple of reviews around the net and the feedback is really good so far. Also, there are threads in big forums and blogs where generally the response is really positive. There are of course those who prefer the Vehement release and explains what we were saying earlier about the hard core fans. We are open-minded persons and we accept both positive and negative comments but in both cases they should be based on a solid opinion. What makes us happy at this point is that many people understood the meaning behind “The Day Of Sacrilege” and they seem to agree that it is a release with strong unique character and a more personal sound. Of course it is too early to comment further.

Terrordrome

There are no shortage of blogs sharing the album for free, so please feel free to comment.

It is true that from the day one that the album was released numerous blogs are sharing our music for free. I did have the first visual with the actual copy in one of these blogs too! We really do not care though because much more people heard our album and we got more attention. Where things are getting bad is when someone stays only on digital. Especially the metal bands are presenting their albums in high quality packaging and with great attention to detail. I also believe that whoever is into metal music should buy as well. Of course it is impossible to buy all the releases you like but you should buy as much as you can afford. I also spend almost half of my monthly salary on buying records that I like and seriously supporting bands and labels. Also, digital is not the right form to listen to metal music, you’re loosing so much intensity and I hate people saying “I have 4TB death metal collection”. Pathetic. So, the bottom line is, you can download but if you like go and buy it too and erase the digital shit.

Who designed the artwork?

Tom Bradfield who also runs Grindethic did the artwork. This time the artwork is in connection with the album’s concept which is about a second fallen angel who tries to steal the throne of the Rightful One. Tom cleverly shows the rise of this angel against an orthodox church (do not forget, we are Greeks!!) which symbolises the throne room of the rightful one and it should not be connected with a war against heaven and the light. Orthodox (which is a Greek word too) means the one with the correct faith/belief.

Whose idea was the print in the booklet? Your vocalist wrote the lyrics to a concept record, but you can hardly read what’s in the booklet. So, what’s the concept?

Haha, indeed it is quite difficult to read the lyrics in the booklet and it was Tom’s idea. He wanted to present the lyrics as a cryptic text which is difficult to decipher so someone should give an extra try and understand the concept. Yes, Peter is behind this concept and as I mentioned in the previous question this second fallen angel is gathering damned souls and a civil war in the classes of hell starts (“Alas, in the wound…For Mayhem to begin”). He looses one battle and is captured (“Bounded”, “Moribund”). He then asks for “borrowed” strength from outer forces so as to fight again (“Compel to Sin”). A new titanic fight begins (“The Day Of Sacrilege”), he looses again and a secret is revealed to him, that these outer forces were granted from the Rightful one himself and you should never ask for what it is not meant for you (“Conceit is the disease”). He is of course sent to death (“Impale the unfit servant”) and the greater meaning is that everyone of us gets what he deserves and it depends on how much you fight for it. So, do not ask for things that you do not deserve._

Is the guest-riff by Sverre the Darkthrone riff? What was the idea behind that? Who is Sverre? Why did you write an instrumental to close things off?

Exactly! That “Darkthrone” riff is executed and composed by Sverre Daehli who is the guitarist and vocalist of the godlike thrash/black metal band Audiopain. Audiopain hail from Norway and I am in touch with Sverre many years now and I wanted a Darkthrone/Motorhead black & roll riff exactly at that moment of “Antediluvian Malediction”. So, asking him was a no brainer. It was an honour that he finally did it as he is an amazing guitar player. You should listen to Audiopain and feel some of the most razor sharp riffs out there. I will break down “Antediluvian Malediction’s” structure and give you a rough idea and the thoughts behind this track. The song starts with a swing like rhythm and a melody that evolves into a typical heavy metal riffing with double bass drums, majestic breaks and heavy guitars and it is followed by a pure drum & bass section. After the drum & bass there is a small thrash metal bridge and rock & roll kicks in! After Sverre’s contribution a typical Terrordrome blasting thing starts with some minor references to Deathspell Omega’s paranoia and the whole tracks reaches its peak with typical heavy metal riffing again mostly inspired by Pantera. The album closes smoothly with that section and it is in contrast with its beginning where “Alas, in the wound” unmercifully opens the album. I think you can understand why instrumental and no vocals at all. Music speaks for itself here.

Why did you decide to go with a heavier production than on “Begotters…”? I think it’s all fine, but given the more tech nature of your new material?

Although these releases are in the same tuning “The Day Of Sacrilege” it is indeed heavier than the “Begetters…” EP. The main reason is that we wanted to combine heaviness (yet clear and not muddy and bassy) with technicality. It is also in relation with Peter’s guttural vocals in tech passages, which as mentioned previously, is one of Terrordrome’s differences to other tech death metal bands. Brigos did it just fine and we are so happy with the final result.

How are things with Grindethic? Their output is slowing some; are you fans of their latest major release, Indecent Excision? It’s a bit nondescript as far as brutal death metal goes, no?

Things with Grindethic are great! I mean Tom was and still is so helpful with Terrordrome we couldn’t ask for more at this point. Indeed, there are a few releases out from Grindethic and I think the main reason is quality above quantity. Also, Tom gives more attention to each release so you are not buried in a pile of new releases. Yes, I really liked Indecent Excision’s release which is more in the slam side of death metal. It is very well executed and filled with great riffs and huge doses of brutality. I am very selective as far as slamming brutal death is concerned because most bands are so generic and uninspiring but the Indecent release is really good.

Give us a rundown of your gear.

Apart from Bill’s drums which I really do not want to go through (fuck there are sooooo many drums and cymbals and I will miss something for sure..hahaha) the rest of our gear is as simple as a Jackson RR3 guitar, a Warwick bass and a Shure mic. Nothing special there and we believe that the player makes the instrument and not all the way round.

Your drummer is remarkable. Did you find him or was he on board from the get-go? I don’t remember him being so good as on “Vehement Convulsion”. Even your vocalist is a supreme performer.

Terrordrome

Thanx a lot for the compliments man, surely they are both blushing right now! haha No, Bill is not from the beginning and he is the third drummer of Terrordrome. Bill has quite a big history in the local metal scene and he is regarded among the best, ever since I know him. The first time we saw him perform with his band Disembowel, our jaws dropped. We were playing with Disembowel that night and I can not forget that live show. From that moment I was hoping to have him aboard and we did so at 2006. Big time for Terrordrome and ever since we practice a lot and in a better base. He has definitely become better than the Vehement release, that is for sure and he will be better in the third Terrordrome album. Peter is here from the very beginning and hard as a rock in all the difficulties we had. I owe him much and he is also getting better after each release. He is also for the first time somehow satisfied with this performance in “The Day Of Sacrilege”.

What’s in store for the band? Live shows? European tour?

We mostly want to do some European festivals in 2013 and we are already in talks with some that we really want to play and support our new album. There were some plans for a Ukraine tour but again we have to wait and see in 2013. There are also some thoughts for some shows around Europe but yet again nothing solid. For the moment we have a show in September with Cerebral Bore here in Thessaloniki and we wait confirmation for some shows in Athens. Things will get more busy after September though.

Do you tackle the guitars solo while playing live or do you recruit a fifth member?

No, we perform live as a 4-piece. The main reason is that fast and technical death metal can be really noisy performed live and sometimes it is so hard to synchronise the guitar players. Our music rarely needs a second guitar, I mean that we do not have many parts needing 2 guitars playing different things and all the soloing that I do is part of the rhythm guitar. So, you are definitely not loosing intensity and so far we have seen that one guitar works really well for us. Man, I was raised up with Dimebag and Pantera!

You’ve played with Defeated Sanity – what do you think to the band? How was the gig?

Indeed, we did a mini tour in the UK with Defeated Sanity and I have to say that they are Awesome! Jazzy perverted brutal death metal in the veins of Disgorge and Suffocation’s Pierced and all of them are incredible players! The gigs went really good especially that one in London where we also did a 5 years anniversary party for Grindethic’s existence. Amazingly brutal times we hope to have again in the future.

New album? I think the next one could be your breakthrough going by the quality of “The Day of Sacrilege”. How long was the writing process?

Of course there are plans and talks about our third album and thank you a lot for the trust and kind words! We firstly want to improve some technical things and the songwriting will come along. Right now I am feeling so depleted of new ideas but I am not pressuring myself to write new music. Anestis though has already sent me a new song and some many new riffs which are great to start with! We were composing “The Day Of Sacrilege” for 2 years and we needed one year to bring it to its final form. I do not know how much it will take us to write the third album but we want to be a step further than “The Day Of Sacrilege”. Time, inspiration and hard work will tell.

Any last words?

We would like to thank you for this awesome and in-depth interview and the massive support we are getting from www.globaldomination.se. Really appreciated and please keep on supporting extreme music. “The Day Of Sacrilege” is out from Grindethic Records and anyone enjoying it please buy it as well and support both the band and the label. We hope to see you on tour and we are expecting your comments on our new album. Hails all!!

Cheers buddy – thanks for your time. Seriously great band, nothing but the best.