– Hello, thanks for taking your time, hope you are all healthy over there. Has the whole pandemic situation affected the band’s activity and the work surrounding the release of the new album in any way?
Thank you for the interview! There was some difficulties getting the cd:s shipped and pressed, so not the best year for releasing an album. Otherwise no big effect, we have had some time off from rehearsing, and naturally there’s no gigs. On the positive side plenty of time to write new material, so a lot of new riffs at least.
– You were formed in 2007, took an hiatus and then reactivated the band again in 2013. What did lead to this? What kind of activity did you have until your debut EP came out in 2014?
Yes technically we were formed as early as 2007, we were just kids still pretty much learning our instruments, so nothing much happened during that time, made few songs and some shitty recordings. Later some of us moved to different cities, went on to jobs or studies etc, so things quieted down naturally. Around 2013 our drummer moved back to Jyväskylä, where most of us still lived, I had been writing new songs at the time and didn’t have any other projects for them anyway, so we just decided to regroup and start playing again, got together few songs and went to record the EP.
– You have recently released your sophomore album, “Bitterness and Burning Hatred”. What significance does having this second album out hold to you? Is a second full-length a step further into your own personality and learning from the experience of making a debut album?
That’s exactly how it was with the second album. Our first album was kind of a blueprint of how to make a full length. After the debut we knew better what our sound and songwriting style is. So we continued with the same path, but intended to make the songs even more ambitious and intricate. Naturally the more you do things the better you get, so I think the songwriting took a step forward with Bitterness, as did our playing skills.
– The album was recorded over a year ago. In fact in summer 2018 you were already recording it. Why did it take so long until it finally came out?
Combination of things, the album also just took a bit longer to make, with mixing and such, also just stuff from our personal lives, took some time also to find a suitable label for the release. We definitely intend to be more active with future releases, it was frustrating to sit on the music for so long and waiting to get it released. With our luck a global pandemic also happened in the release year, but better luck next time. Already a lot of new material written.
– The sound here I’d dare say is more violent yet very atmospheric. What does this atmosphere express and where do you want to take the listener to through it?
That is a very good description, and I’m happy to hear it. That is the intention, our music is violent and aggressive, but also emotional and expressive. We aim to create different moods and shades of aggression. Sometimes straight brutality, and sometimes hints of sadness and emotions, not just violence for the sake of it. Some intention and substance behind it, it’s more interesting. For me personally extreme music is about cathartic emotional release, not just mindless brutality.
– In fact in general this record is more aggressive than “Dreadful Life”. Where does this more brutal edge blossom from? Does your personal life reflect somehow in the music you are doing at a certain moment in time?
The tone is definitely darker than in Dreadful Life, that wasn’t really a conscious decision, just happened organically, the writing process was pretty similar than with the previous album. There are some songs that definitely are more intense than in previous album, but I think there’s also longer songs, and overall more variety than before.
– The title already gives a hint on this. How dou you think the overall feeling of the release is reflected on its title?
I think the title sums up the emotions of the album pretty well. For me extreme metal is very therapeutic, taking negative feelings and emotions and getting them out in a healthy way.
– Besides being more violent, or intense, this record is also more intrincate. Was the songwriting process any different?
We always want to push ourselves a little with each release. Songwriting itself was a similar process than with Dreadful Life, but with the intention to push the music in a slightly more progressive direction. There’s some experimentation making the songs longer with more twists and turns, for example songs like “Apathy” or “Razors Edge”. Just fun to try to make songs a little more difficult and intricate, just natural progression. We aim to always retain our signature sound and style, but we are also always evolving.
– In fact still playing a traditional style you manage to add a certain weirdness. You have a personality of your own. How easy is to make something varied without straying from your traditional Death Metal path?
That is great to hear, it is very important to have our own authentic sounds. Sadly I think most of current death metal is just repeating the same things and copying the sounds of classic bands. We are of course influenced by a lot of the classic bands from 80’s and 90’s, but we want to have our own sound, we are not a retro band. In fact we find the “old school” death metal label kind of limiting and tired, we just want to make good death metal, and good music generally. We are making death metal of our own brand and own style, incorporating various different influences, not just from extreme metal. We are all about making honest and authentic extreme music, with some substance and emotion behind it. Not just trying to sound edgy, or being heavy or fast just for the sake of it.
– The cover reminds me to the “Prophecy” movie poster. Would you mind to elaborate a little bit on the artwork?
I can speak on that, as the artist behind the cover art. Nothing deep really about it, mainly just trying to match the music visually. Some hints at the psychological themes of the album with the surreal and nightmarish imagery.
I enjoy intricate and surreal artwork, I think the style matches the music pretty well, which is the main intention. Also wanted it to be really striking and memorable, to stand out from a lot of more generic album covers.
– Are you inspired by cinema? What other things fuel your creativity?
Not directly by movies, but of course you are always influenced everything you consume in some ways, consciously or unconsciously. We enjoy horror movies, and esthetically that is a natural influence, early on there might have been more horror movie influences in lyrics, nowadays we are mostly influenced by real life,, which is horrific enough.
– And what are some of the lyrical themes on this record?
The lyrical themes are more psychological and introspective, which the title hints. Generally I also tried to be more free flowing and lyrical with the writing, more abstract at times. There’s also some lyrics about historical real life subjects on the album, mainly I just write whatever things I might be interested at the time, and what I feel would be an interesting subject to write about, this time it mainly happened to be more personal subjects.
– All this about “Bitterness and Burning Hatred” being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
It’s already in the title! Bitterness and Burning Hatred, that’s it.
– And finally; what’s next for SKELETAL? How are you going to promote the album in these uncertain times?
I can’t say this situation is very different with an underground band like us, fewer gigs of course. Music promotion is already mostly online these days, so no huge changes. It is a strange time for everyone, this is a time for artists and musicians to innovate on new ways to promote and release things. A lot of bands have done things with streaming for example, that might be a thing bands will continue to experiment also in the future.
– That’s all from our side, thank you once more for answering our interview. If you’d like to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you for the interview! Wash your hands and listen to death metal!