– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. To start, please tell us what are DEAD CONGREGATION currently up to, just after releasing your new album.

We just had a couple of shows in Greece to promote the new album with Grave Miasma and Cruciamentum supporting the event and we are rehearsing and getting ready for the next gigs that are to come.

– This new opus, entitled «Promulgation of the Fall», hits the street 6 years after your debut album came out. How could you say has DEAD CONGREGATION evolved, both as individuals and as a band, throughout these last years? When did this newest opus started to get shaped?

Well we are not getting any younger that’s for sure! A great deal of things has happened between the release of Graves of the Archangels until now on all levels, as individuals and as a band. We have played a lot of shows all around the globe and our vision for Dead Congregation has become clearer. On a personal level a lot of things have happened that allowed us to be even angrier and more frustrated than before. We composed the material for the album whenever we felt an inner urge to create – a lot of songs have been ready since 2008 already, the rest of them done between 2010-2012.


– Your debut album, «Graves of the Archangels», created quite a big buzz and got an overwhelming response, creating a great impact into the underground. With such a superb first release, did you feel any kind of pressure while creating your new «Promulgation of the Fall»?

We never felt the need to prove ourselves to anyone, being under pressure to meet other people’s expectations would be insincere to ourselves as artists and would compromise the quality of the final compositions. A better fitting word is ‘challenge’ as we always challenge ourselves to become better and more original, trying to find new ways to channel the same energy. So although the new album sounds exactly like Dead Congregation, it doesn’t have any similarities with our older recordings. A few people have ‘complained’ that the new album is less ‘atmospheric’ than Graves of the Archangels because it lacks an intro song and the orthodox chants, what they fail to understand is that NOTHING we do is left to chance and EVERYTHING is done with a specific purpose in mind. So, not wanting to repeat ourselves is something that was done very consciously/deliberately. We wanted with Promulgation of the Fall all of the focus to be on the actual music and create the same suffocating and blasphemous atmosphere with more direct ways, instead of going the easy way and using predictable formulas.


– After giving the album some spins, I can say is an album that keeps the listener interested from start to end, never knowing what will happen next. How important is this for you? Not just for your listener, but also for you as songwriters and musicians.

We wanted the songs to sound unpredictable and the final results sounds exactly as we wanted, not overworked or overcomplicated but incredibly strong and to the point, having no filler riffs at any moment. As listeners we felt that Death Metal has become quite predictable and less dangerous than before and we wanted to change this. A lot of bands follow the easy road of generic riffs and structures to become part of a scene and trend, it depends if you want to be a leader or a follower…


– I noticed a strong improvement in songwriting terms, as you have managed to create a more diverse record. Was this something you were aiming for or did it just come out like this?

Yes, as said it was our goal to create something more versatile and diverse than before.


– And in line with the previous question; how is the songwriting process like in DEAD CONGREGATION? Something planned or do you just let things flow on a natural way?

Almost all the riffs and solos are written from Anastasis and then when rehearsing the rough ideas into songs some things may evolve or change a bit. We always leave some room for evolution while working a song nevertheless we don’t “jam” in the rehearsal room until a riff is written. The writing process is something demanding that needs concentration and a very special state of mind.


– For instance, I found some more of those Doom parts. Are you open to new influences and broading them?

The doom parts have always been present in our music, sadly on most occasions they are played faster than how they were initially conceived so they lost their effectiveness. When you record live without click tracks, it is very easy to get in trance by the energy of the recording process, get carried away and play more intense and fast. On the new album we made sure to maintain the ‘correct’ speeds while being more intense at the same time. So now the Doom parts are more prevalent and effective and the fast parts are way more aggressive, twisted and rabid than before. As for new ideas, we are definitely open to them as long as they serve a purpose, we have a lot of influences (not necessarily musical) and if we come up with something that may sound out of the ordinary but fits the musical concept of the song, we’re not afraid to keep it. So although the album is very dark and atmospheric, it is also more epic and musical than our previous works.


– The guitar work is really outstanding here, there’s no repetition at all so, how did you approach your guitar work on the album? Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to come up with new riffs and ideas?

It is impossible to answer that. Sometimes you just pick up the guitar and while playing around some idea you had, riffs start popping one after the other and a complete song takes shape.


– All in all, still being brutal and dark, you haven’t lost an interesting sense of melody, and also of epicness. How easy is to get a good equilibrium between apparently opposite terms? And how important is that? As I think having melody makes brutal parts more brutal, and the other way around too.

Ah, it seems that what I said above is noticeable indeed. I’m not sure how melody affects the brutal parts but it is certain that we use everything as means to achieve the certain mood that each song is meant to have. So if one part calls for a more melodic theme on the guitar, we just go for it. A lot of the lead guitars were worked at home over a rough mix of the recording, we are not musically trained guitarists so again we just played what felt/sounded right for us. At some point we did realize that a few leads were more melodic than what we’ve done in the past but we decided that they actually have something substantial to add to the songs so we kept them as they were.


– Something else that seems to be an important part of the band’s essence is the dark, oppressing atmosphere. Is there anything you want to convey with it?

This is just what feels natural to us.


– This has been your first release with your new bass player, GS. How has he fitted in? And what could you say has he brought new to DEAD CONGREGATION?

George joined the band in 2012 and we believe he completed the lineup perfectly. He is a very gifted bass player and he has brought a fresh breath of enthusiasm in the band since, for the first time, we now feel like a 4-piece instead of a 3-piece. He also is a beast on stage which is definitely something extremely positive.


– Once more, you have had some external contributions for lyrics. Timo Ketola brought his touch to «Nigredo» and Haasiophis (of ANTEDILVIAN), did the same with «Quintessence Maligned». Would you mind to elaborate a little bit on this?

Timo Ketola is a close friend on a personal level and has followed and supported the band through the beginning. He is an individual whom we respect a lot, so when he provided the lyrics for Nigredo we gladly accepted and put it together into a song. We met with Haasiophis in person on our tour to the USA in 2012 and we have been in contact since, so again when he offered to write some lyrics we accepted.


– Nigredo is one of the three phases of alchemical transcendence, the period of suffering so to speak. So, what does this tune deal with? What’s the story behind it?

You need to ask Timo on that, it is a very personal lyric for him and we do not wish to speak his mind. All lyrics are open to interpretation to the listener, whilst to A.V. as a vocalist they are also a medium from which he gets inspired to have a more raging vocal performance.


– Anyway the overall lyrical theme is somehow a critic to religious morality. Could you please elaborate a bit further on the themes covered here and the inspiration behind them?

The lyrical concept of the album is the fall and decadence of the christian dogma. Sometimes we try to make this point through abstract stories, some with more direct hits to the ethics of the christian faith. We wanted the whole album to be a declaration of the fall of god, the final nail in christ’s coffin. The lyrics praise in a certain way the true essence of DEATH.


– You recorded this album locally with your own equipment. How was this whole process? Did you get the sound you were looking for?

It solved a lot of problems as we didn’t have to search for a guitar sound or Vagelis didn’t have to strive on a drum set that was unknown to him. Using a studio with good recording equipment and a sound engineer who knows how to capture the band’s own sound was crucial for us. The process was extremely smooth, the raw sources were great so very minimal fine tuning was required to come up with the final mix.


– On the other hand, once more the cover artwork is impressing. Who’s the artist and what input did you have? What does it represent?

The artist’s name is Ayis Letras. At some point he contacted us saying that he would be really interested in being involved in the new Dead Congregation release. After a few meetings he showed us some sketches that really impressed with that weird old slayer feeling they had so we agreed on working with him. Moreover, we didn’t want to work with any acclaimed artist as we felt the music on this album is too important and it should be the only focal point of reference, instead of trivial things like the identity of the illustrator or whatever else can be used as a ‘selling point’.


– In fact it seems to reflect quite good some of the ideas on the album, moreover it feels like everything on «Promulgation of the Fall» works as a whole; from the lyrics to the artwork and music. Is this something you strive for?

Absolutely! The vision of the project was to work as a whole, from the riffs to the layout and from the sound to the lyrics. The fact also that almost all of the above were done from the main songwriter of the band gives you this feeling of absolute flow in this release. It is a very introverted album.


– All this about «Promulgation of the Fall» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Triumph of Death.


– And finally, what are your near-future plans?

We are playing in Belgium at Metal Mean festival in late August, and then a couple of weeks later we are playing in one of the best Death Metal festivals in europe Killtown fest in Denmark, Copenhagen. Later on we have confirmed a live with Primordial in Dublin for the release of their new album on november the 28th. Also there are two tours that are being already planned one for the USA that will take place around october 2014 and one in europe that will probably take place in early 2015.


Tania Giménez


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