“Keep the Black Flame Burning and Fuck NSBM” – Interview with Qwälen

If you follow this blog closely, you’ll be well aware of my passion for black metal and the attention I pay especially to those records and bands that are openly anti-fascist, RABM (Red and Anarchist Black Metal) or take a clear stand against the racist, sexist and homotransphobic scum that infest the extreme metal scene. If you have all that in mind, the following interview is definitely for you! Released a year ago by Time to Kill Records, Unohnden Sinut by Finnish Qwälen was literally a blaze in the northern sky, a devastating Nordic black metal record capable of mixing the second Scandinavian wave and the most modern sounds in an interesting and personal way. I recently managed to interview Qwälen, talking not only about their personal approach to black metal but also about their hardcore punk attitude and background and their sharp stance against NSBM. “Keep the black flame burning and fuck the NSBM”, this is the clear and unequivocal message screamed in the Nordic sky by Qwälen!

Hi guys! Would you like to tell us some biographical notes about your band? Most importantly, what does it mean and what inspired you to choose to call yourselves Qwälen?

Ville: The name is derived from the German verb quälen (“to torture”). I think Ari, our original bass player, came up with the idea to change the u to w. We thought the word would be quite suitable for a black metal band and well, here we are with a name that doesn’t mean anything so we’re quite happy with that.

Eetu: When I was asked to join the band, I thought the name Qwälen was twisted from the Finnish dialect word “kualen” (I am dying). Samuli, Ville or Henri can tell better about the birth of the band because I joined the band later.

Henri: Haha, I too have heard someone say “What is this mää kualen (I´m dying) band”

Samuli: Yeah, the start of the band was a rather boozy night when the idea came together. I have always had a drive to create something that I feel strongly about musically and thus had a strong drive already to start creating this kind of music. Six or so years ago Ville, Henkka, myself along with our former bass player Ari started doing music together and few of the songs of the first album were written already then. We had a different vocalist in the beginning but then Eetu was asked to fill that position and once Ville switched to bass, Antti was invited by Eetu. By then Qwälen started properly rehearsing with a goal to create an album.

As I’ve been able to read from a variety of places, you primarily come from a hardcore and punk background. How much does this connection of yours to the hardcore punk scene affect your way of playing and being a band?

E: We all have very different musical backgrounds. My background is in hardcore punk and grindcore. With my grindcore band, I’ve been doing gigs for over a decade, so it’s natural to bring Qwälen to those same venues as well. We have done gigs in free art facilities, bars and various D.I.Y events. The punk background is reflected in my performance and in that I have no need to obey the rules written in black metal.

Antti: In my case, the background is shown by accepting the equipment I already have. I don’t want to buy new instruments just for black metal.

Ville: I think it mostly shows in trusting more in power and pure aggression, sort of attacking your instrument instead of being technically that talented. In Qwälen, I switched from guitar to bass sometime around 2017 or 2018 and I think it can be heard on our recordings. Coming from hardcore background, I think it shows that I care more about the people I’m playing with than their talents and treat them as my equals.

Samuli: Punk is what I started with but that was a long time ago. I’ve been hanging in the local scene sidelines most of the time I’ve played in bands but the more I age the more I’ve been drawn into different kinds of music. I guess unconsciously the attitude and musical approach still remains. Simplicity, danger and aggression both in songwriting and in our live presence.

Henri: I myself come from more of a trash/melo-death metal background, but punk, hardcore and black-metal has always been in my playlists. In my opinion, our differing musical starting points is one of the things that gives Qwälen the twist that differs us from the traditional Finnish black metal.   

Starting from a purely hardcore background, how did you develop your passion for black metal sounds that refer as much to the second Norwegian/Scandinavian wave as to more modern sounds of the genre? Which are the bands that influenced your music the most?

Ville: I used to listen to more black metal during my teenage years, mostly Emperor, Darkthrone, Immortal and Bathory, so the passion definitely comes from there. I think at some point when I was diving more into grindcore, hardcore and crust punk, I noticed the similarities between the earlier black metal stuff and the crustier stuff, so in some way I guess the passion was somewhat natural and always there for me. Considering Qwälen, I’m as much influenced by Anti Cimex (think of Scandinavian Jawbreaker era) and Darkthrone. I think Young and in the Way’s “When Life Comes to Death” was also somewhat of a big thing for me and Samuli, but Immortal’s “At the Heart of Winter” was probably the album that made Samuli start the band.

Samuli: I wouldn’t say that “At the heart of winter” was the album that made me want to start Qwälen, but it was one of the albums that really opened my mind into the sounds of black metal. Darkthrone and Immortal we’re the ones that opened the genre to me, but from those two Darkthrone has remained a constant influence. Qwälen started out of a passion to create black metal rather than going after certain bands.

As a late-discoverer of black metal in my 20s, I felt a really strong connection with the genre from the start. The extreme aural aesthetics, connection to spirituality, raw emotionality and embracing the inner darkness felt real and meaningful. There was much more beyond the songs themselves, and for me music was at that point a long time ago gone beyond mere songs and notes. The core concepts in BM resonate very deeply to me still and the spiritual side has helped me evaluate my own philosophy and spiritual history. The music itself made me interested, but the deeper aspects started my passion.

Scandinavian first and second waves have always been the main reference points. I would not say that our sound or expression references modern sounds per se, but there are definitely bands whose influence might be heard. Young and in the way is definitely one. However, being a rather stubborn person musically I tend to gravitate towards primitive, raw, old and dusty sounds. One of the driving ideas was to go back to the very basics of playing as a band with Qwälen and approach everything with simplicity in mind. I still look for the same thing in black metal that I listen to and modern renditions rarely work for myself. There is however a fresh movement that captures the right sound in the raw US and UK BM scenes. The rise of both scenes is a rather modern phenomenon.

Henri: I grew up listening to 90s groove- and “cross-over” metal bands (such as Pantera, Machine Head, Sepultura and Biohazard) but got really into black and death metal in my teens (Immortal and Children of Bodom were the shit back then).  The rawness and multilayered dark and honest self-expression were the things that got me too into black metal in the first place. And hey, we live in a country that is dark and cold for 9 months every year.

Talking about black metal, you know better than me that the international black scene is full of overtly Nazi bands or ambiguous bands that sympathize or collaborate with openly racist, homophobic or far-right bands. What is your position on this? Do you consider, also because of your past in the hardcore and punk scene, Qwälen a political band or at least openly anti-fascist?

E: Our music is not political, but we strongly bring out that we stand with anti-fascism. In our lyric sheet you can see our statement “FUCK OFF NSBM SHIT” and we have merch with ANTI-FASCIST BLACK METAL -print. There’s no room for misogyny, sexism, homophobia, ableism, racism or any shit like those in any scene. We are very precise about who we work with, so do not contact us if you do not stand behind these ideas.

Ville: Sometimes it feels a bit hard for me to talk about Qwälen as a black metal band since our sound and mindset is quite far away from the black metal scene. It’s hard to even consider us or at least myself belonging to any black metal scene, since that’s something I definitely don’t identify with. Probably the traditional black metal scene wants us to stay out and I’m totally happy with that. I come from a small town and there was a neo-nazi wave going on in many small towns in Finland during the late 90s/early 2000s so my disgust with any fascist or nazi ideology comes from there and for me, hardcore and punk has also had a big impact on taking a stand against fascism/nazism.

Henri: Ditto. We don´t like assholes.

Over the decades Finland has been extremely fertile ground for a lot of more or less extreme genres, from black metal to hardcore punk of bands like Kaaos and Riistetyt, how is currently the situation of the underground and DIY metal and punk scene in your country? Which are the most active and valid realities (clubs, fanzines, bands, collectives) from your point of view?

Ville: I guess the overall situation is pretty good, even though there hasn’t been that much going on due to the covid situation and I’ve been a bit lazy about following new bands during the last couple of years. I think the biggest problem might be that there’s not that many small or mid-sized venues, even DIY-venues, for bands to perform and many of the existing places are quite overbooked. New Yleiset Syyt and Kohti Tuhoa 7”s just came out and Stolen Kidneys just released their new album “Maailma loppuu”, those are definitely worth checking out.

E: The D.I.Y scene has grown in Finland in recent years. There is a D.I.Y venue in almost every big city, where you can arrange performances for small bands (Tukikohta, Kenneli D.I.Y, Mäkitorppa, Hoi Sie!, Kirjakahvila, Oranssi). When I started touring with bands over a decade ago, gigs could only be held in bars. The number of distros has also risen in recent years.

We made a Spotify playlist some time ago where we collected songs from our friends ’bands. Definitely worth a look! It’s called FULL SATANIC SPEED WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS BY QWÄLEN.

Continuing to talk about Black metal, do you notice any similarities and differences between your approach to the genre and that of more classic Finnish bands, from Beherit to Sargeist?

Ville: I guess the approach was originally to just play and do something new. I think we’ve managed to develop our own twist on black metal and not just replicate something that’s already been done. So there might be similarities and differences, but I don’t have that deep thoughts about it…

Samuli: The main idea might be the same. A great desire to express what we have inside. Soundwise the cold atmosphere is something shared, but then again that is a general trait of the genre. Also I guess there are some similar approaches to riffing in utilizing melodicism together with power chords as a starting point? One becomes rather blind to things written by yourself and I’ve always thought that the ones outside are better at pointing out similarities etc.

The finnish black metal scene is heavily coerced by unwritten rules of what black metal is and thematically limited in the sense of what is accepted. We do not care. We can do whatever we want. Fuck your rules. In this sense we might have more similarities thematically and approach-wise with the modern raw BM of the US or scenes outside Scandinavia which tend to look at BM in a thematically broader context.

What does it mean for Qwälen to play black metal in 2021? What do you think is the potential of such a controversial, hostile and extreme genre nowadays?

Antti: When Qwälen plays live, the band offers something new and extreme that hasn’t been heard in the DIY metal and punk scene.

Ville: Taking a twist on the traditional sound and mindset. The potential is huge, for example the new Pan-Amerikan Native Front with its approach from an indigenous person’s point of view is a great take on black metal and opens up discussion for current problems, even though the album deals with a historical event and persons (Little Turtle, Blue Jacket and the Battle of the Wabash).

Samuli: Playing black metal means to look inside. Bands in my opinion at times point too many fingers and my idea of black metal is looking into the spiritual mirror within. It is not ours or the point of the music to tell what to do or think, but hopefully to spark thought. It is self-expression both lyrically and  in instrumentation. Black metal in a way is a tool for reflection. Destroy your temple, build anew and in the process lift yourself up. Life is the ultimate oppressor and the answer for moving forward is within.

Your first record “Unohdan Sinut” was released this year and it is absolutely devastating! How did you get in touch with Time to Kill Records for the release?

E: We contacted a few labels when we got the record ready and Time to Kill Records were selected from those who were interested. We didn’t know much about the label but the choice has proven to be the right one. The collaboration with Time to Kill Records has been really smooth and we look forward to the future. We are really grateful for this opportunity. Thanks to Time to Kill Records and Enrico.

What are the songs contained in “Unohdan Sinut” about? What are the songs you are most attached to and why?

E: The last few years have been quite heavy for me mentally, so the lyrics are based on my inner world. ​The songs eschew the usual anti-religious black metal themes and focus instead on self-portrayals. Temppeli is the most important song from the album for me because it was the first text I wrote for Qwälen. It’s also the last song of our set list.

Future projects for the Qwälen? Have you been able to play live during these last months despite the difficulties due to the pandemic situation? What difficulties did you have to face releasing a record in a period when it was not possible to play live in many European countries?

Samuli: Future projects include a second album and possible a shorter release, but the shorter release is still on an idea-level. Second album is coming, but no timetable is yet agreed and we’re not going to hurry anything. Most of the members in the band have multiple things musically going on and that also affects how things work and when things can move along. Not to mention family obligations. I have been focusing solely on writing Qwälen for a long period of time and there is quite a lot of demo material written already! I think Henri had some ideas for music videos as well.

The album release without playing shows has gone better than we hoped. Time to kill records did an amazing job in promoting the record and people who have interest in this music have found it. I would hope to be able to play outside of Finland in the future as there have been interest from abroad as well. We’ve been able to play a few shows in Finland this fall and reception has been overwhelming. A lot of people have come to the shows just to see Qwälen, which feels very weird. Album release was many months ago and the hype has died, but I guess people have been waiting to see us live. I am weirded out by the fact that people care, but am at the same time extremely grateful.

Henri: As Samuli said already, I think we all are still baffled and confused about the positive feedback from our first album (and extremely grateful too). Live shows have suffered but the covid situation might have worked a bit in our favor since most of the world had to sit home, listen to music and reflect on their inner worlds that might not have been so rosy in the past times.

And yes, new music videos are coming.

E: I haven’t received such good feedback on any of my previous music projects. It’s great to see how warmly our music has been received around the world. People have bought records, shirts and cassettes. The most important thing, of course, is that people have also come to our gigs. Thank you.

I look forward to the moment when we get to release new Qwälen songs for the world to hear. Be prepared.

We have come to the end of this interview. I leave this space at your complete disposal, feel free to add anything you think might be interesting for the readers!

Samuli: Support the underground and keep the black flame burning. HAIL SATAN.

Henri: Don´t be an asshole, drink beer and hail satan.

E: Support the D.I.Y scene, hate the police, spit on the face of the fascists and remember that NSBM is for the losers.

“Musica del Barrio, para el Barrio” – Interview with Generacion Suicida

In October 2017, Generacion Suicida, a melodic punk rock band from Los Angeles, played at Villa Vegan in Milan in a two-day event that on paper seems to have been great, given the presence of other great bands like Canadian Massgrave or Kontatto. I say on paper because for work reasons I was not able to be present, thus missing the live of one of my favorite bands and I still regret not being able to enjoy them live and not being able to chat with them in person. Years later and after the publication of their latest album entitled Regeneracion, which I’m listening to on repeat, I decided to write to them to propose an interview. Fortunately they accepted and Tony answered in a very enthusiastic way and really in a few hours to my questions, so I leave the word to him and Generacion Suicida, nothing but punk in its purest and most sincere form, that is “musica del barrio, para el barrio”!

Hi Generacion Suicida! I’ve been listening to you for many years now, since the days of “Con la Muerte a tu Lado” and “Todo Termina”, so I’m very happy to be able to ask you some questions. I would start by asking how and why you chose a name deeply steeped in nihilism and disillusionment as Generacion Suicida?

This may seem anticlimactic, but we chose our band name based on a song by the Vicious (Suicide Generation). There wasn’t any real meaning behind the name when we chose to name our band that, although these days we feel differently about it. Maybe it was a subconscious decision, but there is definitely a sense of hopelessness and despair in our daily lives, especially when we were younger. So we often lived every day like it was our last and did tons of reckless things. So I suppose the name fits in that sense.

You have always defined your personal punk rock using two definitions: “KDB punk style” and most interestingly from an attitude point of view, “musica del barrio, para el barrio“. Would you like to deepen these definitions and explain us what does it mean for you to be a band still so strongly anchored to a very underground and neighborhood dimension?

Sure. When we say “KBD punk”, we mean lofi or low quality sounding punk. Often times, those old KBD comps from the early days didn’t sound the best, but you were able to feel the emotion and feelings that the bands were trying to convey. We feel the same, that our emotion and feel comes first before everything else. “Musica del barrio, para el barrio” is better translated as “music for us, by us”. We’re from South Central. We have pretty much nothing in this area and the kids growing up here have very little resources. It’s important for them to know this is theirs and it belongs to them. Our music belongs to the people.

You are from Los Angeles, specifically South Central L.A. How much has your neighborhood influenced your band, your musical approach and content?

All we sing about is life experiences. All the lyrical content is about the things we experience on a daily basis. The music we play is in contrast to our environment. Things around here are typically loud and chaotic, so we wanted to play in contrast to that, with more rhythm and less distortion.

You have always decided to sing in your native language. Is it a way to stay true to your origins and your community or are there other reasons behind this choice? How important is the choice to write and sing in Spanish for you?

We often say that the voice is also an instrument. We think that the vocals sound better in spanish than in english. Our style of spanish is different from the spanish they speak in Spain or anywhere in Latin America. They call it “Spanglish” here in the hood, and often times even people in Latin america do not understand us. It’s almost like the kids in our city have their own language that’s different from everywhere else. This becomes just another way that our band gets identified as an LA band.

Your style of punk rock is very melodic and slow compared to most of the hardcore and punk bands that are part of the scene. Why the choice to prefer melodies and this style over more furious, chaotic and fast sounds?

We love bands like Discharge, Kaaos, Wretched, or Indigesti. But we don’t want to sound like those bands. When our band first started back in 2010, every band in our town was a fast hardcore band. We didn’t sound like everyone else, so we decided to play in a more stripped down melodic style. Suprisingly, people liked it and we continued in that style.

The message and the more “political” and protest approach have always been central and inseparable from playing punk (in all its forms). What sense does it make for you to play punk today in 2021? Do you think that certain sounds, being only a means to convey messages and ideas of struggle, revolt and solidarity, still have potential? If yes, which one?

When it comes to music and expressing political discontent or struggle, we don’t think that punk is the only way. There are many hip hop artists that are political in nature or talk about their daily struggles. It’s really just up the artists to decide what kind of forms they want to use to express themselves, but we believe they are all valid.

Your latest album (which I can’t stop listening to) is titled “Regeneracion“. Would you like to explain the meaning of this title that seems to evoke a dimension of “rebirth”?

“Regeneracion” was written during a time when we really wanted to rewrite and redo everything we thought we know about how to play. Unfortunately, it was during Covid lock downs, so we weren’t able to actually go into a studio to do it the way we wanted to do it. Basically the album is about rebirth and starting all over again. Discarding old ideas and trying to grow into something new and bigger. We’re actually going to head into a real studio in January of 2022 to redo the entire album the way we intended to do it in the first place. We’re very excited to have it come out the way it was originally intended and can’t wait to share it with everyone! In it’s current form, it is only limited to a few hundred copies, and is only available in Europe.

Last year, after the racial murder of George Floyd caused by a cop, intense and very long days of revolt and mobilization against the systemic racism of US society broke out. The four of you have Latino’s origins, have you ever faced racial discrimination inside and outside the punk scene? What are your positions on systemic racism in the United States, and how did you live through those months of protests, demonstrations and attacks on the symbols of this age-old oppression in Los Angeles? (If you think this is too sensitive and personal a question I apologize to you, you may not answer.)

Last year was pretty difficuly, but honestly nothing new. We have been dealing with this for decades and now it just seemed that people had had enough. But it isn’t the first time. We’ve had uprisings in 1965, 1968, 1992, and now in 2020. It just seems after a few years, these revolts get swept under the rug and people largely forget. To answer the question tho, yes we have faced discrimination both inside and outside the punk scene. Everything from only getting allowed to play with Latino bands in fests, to not even being considered for playing because we sing in Spanish. It often feels like we have to work 10 times harder than an average band that does not have latino or black members.

What is the current state of the DIY punk scene in Los Angeles? Which are the most active realities? Are there collectives or squats that organize concerts?

There are no squats or collectives that we are aware. Since the beginning of the pandemic a lot of bands have broken up and a few new bands have popped up, but we haven’t had a chance to check them out. I’m sure a lot of younger kids are taking the helm tho and are organizing their own shows in spaces that we are not aware of.

Generacion Suicida thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. This space is all about you, you can add whatever you want!

Thanks for taking the time to write to us! Hopefully we’ll see you all in Europe in 2022/2023!

“Playing Stenchcore Means Resistance” – Interview with Corrupted Human Behavior

I’ll never get tired of repeating how much I’m obsessed with all those sounds and bands that for one reason or another can be traced back to that primordial soup that emerged in the British underground of the 80s and known as “stenchcore”. Fortunately, I can share my love for certain sounds with bands like the Portuguese Corrupted Human Behavior, authors of a splendid debut last year of epic, apocalyptic and bellicose crust punk. Luckily with Kizas, Crostas and Tiago I share not only a musical passion but also the same vision of what punk music has been and must continue to be: a “symbol of resistance” and a threat. In the days when I was writing these questions Corrupted Human Behavior and mainly Crostas were hit by state repression for resisting the eviction of a squat in Lisbon. Complete solidarity and complicity with Crostas, with the 13 comrades arrested for defending Ladra Squat and with everyone who fight against State and Capital and suffer police repression! Let’s not stop making punk a threat to this existing of exploitation, oppression and misery!

Hello dear Corrupted Human Behavior! Let’s start the interview with some obvious biographical notes, would you like to tell us your story? But above all, what is hidden behind your fascinating name and what do you want to convey with it?

Hello dear Disastro Sonoro and dedicated readers, we started this band in mid 2019 when the political situation in our home city of Porto started to tremble and we took the initiative to create a band that would help spread our ideals. As a group of politically revolted friends we started to play together and define our sound both aesthetically and ideologically.

Corrupted Human Behavior is the way we found to indicate the greediness and selfishness that lives inside every capitalist pig that rules our world and way of life because cops, fascists and capitalists are corrupted in a way their humanity is long gone, stiped away by the corruption of money and doing nothing more than terrorism. Its a critique to the Fascist leaders of our modern world but also taking steps back in time to understand that this corruption has been wandering around our minds and cuminities for centuries.

As soon as one comes across your first work and looks at the cover artwork, an acrid stench-crust smell is immediately in the air. What is your relationship with certain sounds? Which are your main influences? But above all, what exactly does it mean for you to play this “sub-genre” of punk?

Me (Kizas) and Crostas started this project when we were underage, and dream that we wanted to accomplish for a long time and for that we listened to lot crust, our main influences since the beginning were always Sacrilege, Bolt Thrower, Amebix as well as Instinct of Survival and Swordwielder and of course Carnage and Misantropia, both bands from Portugal.

For us stenchore is a way to not only write powerful lyrics with meaning along with jawbreaking riffs but not being rebels without a cause. This metallic crust gives us and idea of what the horrors our people and our martyrs have suffered struggling to survive this chaotic social structures that is capitalism and imperialism. The king skull killed in the cover artwork is a direct comparisson to Imperialist leaders that taint our world and that seek to destroy the working class in order to fullfill their foul ideologies. For us, playing stenchcore means resistance, means not giving up the fight and obviously a way for us to sing about all the martyrs that have died in the fight for revolution all aorund the world.

Reqviem for a Broken Blade, the instrumental intro that opens your album, perfectly succeeds in calling to mind landscapes and atmospheres that recall battlefields (among jingling swords, horses neighing and war screams), apocalyptic scenarios and feelings of desolation, destruction and death. What fascinates you about this apocalyptic and warlike imagery typical of certain stenchcore? What do you want to convey by using these images and atmospheres?

The shadows of our kings still perpetuate today. The hordes of orcs come to reality when we take a look at our everyday lives and see the efforts made by the greedy in order to destroy what we fought to create. We try to capture this exact feeling in our sound and imagery not to escape reality but to give us hope and strength to fight on with our ideals, as what we scream about is real and affects us all directly. All escapists seem to want to flee from our daily reality, but we do not, we seek to make people understand that this horrors that can only be described in fantasy are real, affects real people and are real stories. In the afftermath of all the battles fought in this world, all the mothers kept screaming in wrath, and we can ear this screaming in the winds everyday of our lives, and for that we must do whatever we can to fight back the imperialist notion that their war is bringing peace.

In your lyrics you deal with topical issues such as the oppression and control of the state in our lives or the destruction of the ecosystem in the name of profit, showing how punk in all its forms is not only a musical genre but a means to take clear political positions. So what does playing punk mean to you? Do you still see in punk a possibility of attack and threat to this system of exploitation, devastation and oppression?

Punk was, is and always will be a threat to every greedy organisation set to exploit and dominate us. It is a symbol of resistance be it in gigs, squats or the streets and that is why we put all our efforts in this cause, not only musically but also politically. Punk is more than grabbing a guitar and screaming to a microphone, it’s mutual aid and fighting back that gives it meaning and that’s why it will always be a threat.

We try to help as much as we can everyone around us and to be present in the street and in the squats, we try to learn with everyone we meet along the way and everywere we play, for us punk started with simple symbology and ended up in a life long fight against the un-human system.

In this period I managed to interview two more interesting Portuguese bands, Nagasaki Sunrise and Carnage, bands that showed me that there is a quite fertile and active hardcore punk scene in Portugal. What can you tell us about the scene in your country? Are there collectives and squats resisting repression, organizing concerts and benefits and working to keep the scene alive?

Besides the bands that already exist there are new bands being formed such as , Dishuman, Diskrasüki, Päria and Nukke. There are a lot of squats and organizations in Lisbon such as A-da-Machada where we played a gig last month and Disgraça. Recently our bassist Crostas was arrested with another 13 people during an eviction of Ladra squat in the center of Lisbon where they fought the police and after that he and some of them created a band called Polluted Existence.

What is the political situation in Portugal? As bands and individuals are you active in particular paths of struggle, from anti-fascism to solidarity with comrades affected by state repression?

We are all part of any struggle that helps anyone fight against capitalist exploitation and fascism. With the rise of far right parties in Portugal in recent years we feel the need to clean our streets in any way we can and will continue to do so as long as it’s necessary. In our gigs we always incite people to do what they can to stop this from happening, we try to create a safe enviroment for us all. And everytime we see a nazi we punch him.

Are you already working on a new record? Do you have plans for concerts and tours in the near future or is the pandemic situation still preventing you from thinking about all this?

We’ve been working on a new record during this summer with a dear friend of ours and we hope to release it sometime in the next few months. We’ve also been playing some gigs and with the lockdown situation becoming more light here we have much more to come hopefully enough to make a tour, who knows.

We have unfortunately come to the conclusion of this interview, so all that’s left is for me to leave this space for you to say whatever you want or think might be important to those who will read! I send you a big hug my dear friends!

We ask everyone to take a stand and to directly help in what we can, we sugest Kopi and squats around the world, or the current situation in northern syria were kurds are being directly affected by turskish fascism. We encourage all to take a stand against fascism, racism , imperialism and any other kind of right wing power seekers. Also to spray the notion that everyone is capable of doing something against this sytematic horror, that we should not be afraid to fight, be it with a pen, a guitar or a sword, tho sing is to fight if the accuracy is enough, of course!

Also we want to thank you a lot, personally and in the name of our band!

Schegge Impazzite di Rumore #12

Quando è stato l’ultimo appuntamento con Schegge Impazzite di Rumore? Non me lo ricordo nemmeno più ma azzarderei più di un anno fa. Si è vero, qualche mese fa ho rispolverato questa rubrica per una sorta di puntata speciale dedicata a due pubblicazioni (Sentiero di Lupo e SLOI) targate Sentiero Futuro Autoproduzioni, ma tolto questo, si potrebbe quasi parlare di rubrica morta e sepolta. E invece no, “cosi de botto senza senso“, ecco che Schegge Impazzite di Rumore rompe l’assordante silenzio giungendo al suo dodicesimo capitolo, in cui, finalmente, riesco a parlarvi di tre devastanti ep che sono stati pubblicati prima o durante l’estate. La copertina quest’oggi se la prende una iconica fotografia degli scontri di piazza ad opera dei militanti dello Zengakuren, ovvero un sindacato studentesco giapponese di ispirazione comunista attivo dal 1948 e protagonista di grandi momenti di protesta e rivolte, come le mobilitazioni del 1968. Perchè questa scelta vi chiederete voi? Ancora una volta, apparentemente, “cosi de botto senza senso“. Oppure perchè questa stessa immagine è stata usata come copertina di uno splendido split del 2018 tra gli Arno X Duebel e i Crystal Methodist che mi sto riascoltando a ruota in questi ultimi giorni. Quale sia la reale ragione, non ci interessa, perchè quello che conta sono le righe che ho scritto in merito alle ultime fatiche in studio di Negative Path, Always Never Fun e Fever. Perché l’hardcore suonato da questi tre gruppi è pronto a colpirci forte in pieno volto con tutta la rabbia possibile, come evoca, del resto, l’immagine di copertina.

NEGATIVE PATH – SELF-DESTROYED 

Non sono un amante dell’etichetta di “supergruppo”, però se dovessimo pensare alla scena palermitana non credo ci sia modo più onesto e preciso per definire i Negative Path. Annoverando tra le loro fila gentaglia attiva in grandissime band come ANF, Eraser o Cavernicular, fugano dal principio ogni minimo dubbio sulla loro attitudine e sull’intensità con cui suonano l’hardcore punk che fu! Beh a distanza di qualche anno dal precedente debutto che fu una vera e propria dichiarazione di intenti dei nostri nei confronti della loro passione per l’hardcore ottantiano, oggi i Negative Path son tornati con Self Destroyed, un’ep di dieci tracce che punta tutto su intensità, velocità e su una buona dose di “non prendersi troppo sul serio“. I punti di riferimento dei nostri rimangono gli stessi dal primo giorno che han deciso di mettersi a suonare insieme, passando dai Poison Idea ai Negative Approach, fino a giungere a sonorità vicine al fastcore in stile Larm. Un fast-hardcore punk senza fronzoli insomma, che picchia forte sul muso e che tira dritto veloce senza perdersi per strada, con un minutaggio medio che si aggira sotto il minuto, dandoci costantemente l’impressione di venire investiti senza pietà da una raffica di vere e proprie schegge impazzite! Otto minuti totali che passano troppo in fretta per un ep che ci ritroveremo a rimettere dall’inizio infinite volte senza annoiarci nemmeno un secondo. Da Palermo con furore, lo spirito continua!

ALWAYS NEVER FUN – II

Dopo più di un quinquennio in cui sonorità che spaziavano dal thrashcore al powerviolence imperversano da destra a sinistra all’interno della scena hardcore italiana, negli ultimi anni sembra che questo filone/trend/moda (chiamatelo un po’ come cazzo vi pare) si sia lentamente affievolita, lasciando spazio ad altro. Nonostante ciò, e per fortuna mi verrebbe da dire a gran voce, possiamo ancora contare su i palermitani Always Never Fun (ANF), band attiva nella scena dal 2014 e che prosegue nel suo intento di suonare una mistura devastante di fastcore e powerviolence senza guardare ai revival del momento e anzi continuando a suonare quello che piace a loro con tutta l’attitudine e la sincerità a cui ci hanno abituato fino ad oggi. Non si smentiscono difatti nemmeno con questo nuovo “II”, dieci fast-tracce che non sforano mai i cinquanta secondi e che arrivano dirette come un pugno nello stomaco. Un hardcore veloce e senza compromessi che prosegue il discorso già iniziato anni fa con il loro primo S/t album e che sembra aver raggiunto ormai una maturità e una forma a limiti della perfezione in ambito fast-violence. La suola hardcore a cui si rifanno gli ANF è sempre la stessa (e l’hanno ribadito più volte negli anni con le compilation tributo a cui hanno partecipato) ed è quella incarnata da Capitalist Casualties, Lack of Intereset e Crossed Out su tutti, dimostrando come il tempo passi ma la passione per certe sonorità è dura a morire. Come i loro compaesani Negative Path, anche gli ANF ci danno in pasto un ep di pochissimi minuti (sette per un totale di dieci tracce) che non ha bisogno di far prigionieri perchè già al primo ascolto il fast potere-violenza suonato dai palermitani rade al suolo qualsiasi cosa, lasciando solo macerie e polvere al suo passaggio. Servono dischi come questo per tornare a ribadire un concetto semplice ma fondamentale: il powerviolence non è moda, il powerviolence è guerra!

FEVER – S/t

Da dove partire per parlare di questi quattro brutti ceffi di Imperia e della loro prima fatica in studio? Dalla splendida copertina che tradisce l’iconico stile di Caticardia? Dalle sonorità hardcore oscure e nichiliste imbastardite con echi post-punk che animano queste quattro tracce? Dal fatto che avendoli visti suonare live posso assicurare che sono ancora più devastanti rispetto a quanto mostrano su disco? Difficile scegliere da dove iniziare, così la faccio breve e un po’ da paraculo e inizio dicendo semplicemente che questo self titled ep dei Fever è un bomba senza se e senza ma. E’ realmente difficile resistere alle melodie post-punkeggianti azzeccate e alla generale atmosfera oscura che avvolge l’intera proposta dei nostri, così come ai momenti più spiccatamente hardcore. Tracce come Remember o la conclusiva Empty offrono un esempio perfetto dello stile dei Fever, un hardcore punk intenso e ben suonato, in cui molto spazio viene lasciato alle atmosfere che strizzano l’occhio alle sonorità più dark di certo post-punk, conferendo al tutto quel tocco personale e assolutamente non scontato che cattura al primo ascolto e si insidia facilmente nella testa. Se il buongiorno si vede dal mattino, questo primo ep dei Fever lascia ben sperare per il futuro e anzi mi costringe a chiedere a gran voce un loro nuovo disco. E mentre Imperia annega in un mare di merda e noia, la rabbia hardcore dei Fever brucia minacciosa dimostrando che la scena da quelle parti è più viva e attiva che mai!

“Too Punk for Metal, Too Metal for Punk” – Interview with Collapsed

Over the decades the Canadian hardcore/crust punk scene has given us great bands like Iskra, Storm of Sedition, Massgrave and many others, proving to be an extremely fertile ground for certain sounds and a certain approach to punk. Quite recently from the desolate and cold lands of Quebec have emerged Collapsed, authors of a destructive mix of crust punk and death metal as we have not heard in a long time. Since finally a real DIY conspiracy (including Phobia Records and other labels) has released the self titled debut album of the Canadians on vinyl, I thought it would be a good idea to do an interview with Collapsed in which we talk not only about music, but also about the punk scene as “support not competition”, solidarity and complicity with the decolonial struggles of the Canadian First Nations and the importance of taking a clear position against the fascist scum present within the extreme metal scene (mainly in black metal) in Quebec as elsewhere. All this and much more in the words of Santiago, Michel, Kev, Paskk and Yan. TOO PUNK FOR METAL, TOO METAL FOR PUNK. SLAVES TO NO ONE!

Hi Collapsed! First of all, thank you for agreeing to answer these questions! You are a fairly recent band, so for those who don’t know you yet, it’s time to ask you some banal biographical questions: when, how and why were Collapsed born? Where did you get your name from?

Hey hi! Well, everything started in 2018 when I (Yan) got flooded and had to move back to Montreal. We (Santiago and Yan) were already talking about reforming a band, our other project Hang them All broke up around 2013. We did a jam session at my place to build some songs and Santiago mentioned some guy (Paskk), from Belgium who used to play in Segregated back in Liege, was looking for a band in Montreal. He can play guitar and do backing vocals, he also has a roommate (JP) who plays bass. So, we met and rehearsed the song “Man/wars” and it sounded good. Then, we kept rehearsing on a regular basis. We needed a singer… tried a couple people while doing a cover of Anti-Cimex; but it wasn’t it. We asked Konfront singer (Mike), but unfortunately, he didn’t have the time. Luckily, we kept asking more and more (we knew Michel was the right guy for the job) and he finally accepted. The lineup was now completed…for a while. We managed to write a couple songs and played a few good shows (scene is pretty cool in Montreal). Meanwhile, we totally self recorded, mixed and mastered our first album during winter 2019-2020 and released the LP on Phobia records (Czech Republic) in partnership with Up the punx (Poland), Deviance (France) and Hecatombe (Spain). Bullwhip Records (Malaysia) also did a tape release! Stiv from Vision of War did the artwork for that album. Later that year, JP had to leave the band going back full time at school. Matt tcheval Deadly Pale filled in for a couple of shows to help us while we were looking for a new permanent bassist. We then asked Kev, also from Konfront to play bass and he learned the songs and joined the band quite rapidly. We got on a couple compilations, played a bunch of shows and recorded at Nomansland studio (Thanks Chany Inepsy & Dizz) an EP in two days for the Pils session in June 2021. It’s getting released on tapes right now. We are almost ready to record our next album! Ho yeah and we sucked so bad finding a name…. Nenuphar and other crappy ideas like that made us reach for help… My (Yan) girlfriend found the name.

Reading on your facebook page and bandcamp, you define yourselves as a band that plays crust metal influenced as much by 90’s crust punk as by swedish death metal. How did you come up with the idea of combining these two souls in your sound? What do you think are the links that have always united the crust punk scene with the extreme metal scene?

We didn’t really think about it… Paskk and Yan usually write all the music and our sound came out like that. We knew we all liked loud angry crust punk in the vein of Skitsystem’s Stigmata (we are all fans of Swedish crust).

Paskk brought the old school death metal influences. We forged out our sound around what we like to hear! Pretty simple no? We’ve all been in the scene since the end of the 90’(Paskk is younger though) and we’ve all been in different bands in the same scene since then.

What were your first approaches to music and the hardcore/crust scene in your life? And what are the bands primarily that have influenced your music and approach?

Santiago: As for a good majority of non-conformist teenagers, the punk rock scene was not satisfying enough at the level of hate and aggressivity. The grind crust universe was more suited to me (late 90’) when I first entered the music scene. My biggest musical influences were at the time Extreme Noise Terror, Human Greed and Driller Killer.

Michel: My first approach to the punk/hardcore scene started listening to bands like Conflict, Crass, DK, Flux of pink Indians, ENT, Disorder, Subhumans and Chaos UK. Those bands really got me as a teenager and brought me to love music, and especially to this way of life. Around the age of 15 I began to play music with friends, we were in the early 90’ in Montreal, Canada, The best time for the Punk hardcore crust scene here in my opinion. Maybe I’m just nostalgic hahaha. So many good bands and crazy shows. Civil disobedience, State of fear, His hero his gone, Global holocaust, Dropdead, Human greed and so many more. All those good bands threw me further in the crust sound like Disrupt, Wolfbrigade, Tragedy, Fall of Efrafa, Consume, Disaffect, to name a few. I’m still enjoying and discovering so many good bands and I still need to sing and scream to empty the rage of all injustices.

Kev: When I was 10 years old, I’ve started listening to Swedish death metal bands like Dismember, Entombed, Grave, etc… my first tape was Entombed Clandestine. Around 16, I’ve started to listen to punk bands and I’ve fallen in love with all this way of life. Around 20, I’ve discovered bands like Wolfpack, Skitsystem, Aus rotten, etc… And boom!!! The mix of the two styles made my head burst!!!!! Now at 40, I play death crust in my best band project in my all life!!!

Paskk: I’ve been a punk rock fan at first glance, when I was about 13 years old. When I was 17 years old, I started to discover more underground punk bands; mainly uk82, anarcho punk and street punk stuffs. When I was 19 years old, I saw a Born/Dead show and not long after, a Sangre show and it was a revelation to me. The energy that crust punk music was unleashing made me enlightened. When I was 20 years old, I pursued my discovering of the genre and started to listen to bands as Wolfbrigade, Skitsystem and Tragedy, to name a few. It wasn’t long for me to focus mainly on crust music (the Swedish style always has been my favorite) and let the street punk genre and look back behind. I started playing in a crust band around the same time back in Belgium. Before moving to Canada, I experienced playing in bands in that music style with 3 bands. Two as a guitarist singer, and one as a singer. Around 23-24 years old, I started to appreciate metal music again, because in my streetpunk phase, I kind of let it denied for a while. I was loving metal again and more especially old school Swedish death metal. Bands like Entombed, Interment, Demonical Unleashed, Bloodbath, Entrails, Asphyx or the later LIK rapidly became an inspiration and a passion to me. I started looking for bands that were merging the kind of death metal I love and the kind of crust punk I love. I already knew the mighty album “Stigmata” of Skitsystem which was a perfect example of how Swedish crust and old school Swedish death metal could become the perfect cocktail. This album is still in my top 3. I discovered bands such as Totält Jävla Mörker, Guided Cradle, Misantropic or Fredag den 13 e, again to name a few. When I arrived in Canada, I was willing to make a new band of that style of music, which I call either crust metal, or death crust. And it’s what we did. I incorporated elements of death metal in my crust riffs, Yan did too, and Collapsed was born. Get ready for next album!

Yan: My approach to music might be different than my band mates. I don’t like to consider genre, I listen to pretty much all kind of music. I’ve been introduced very young to 60’-70’ music, learned guitar pretty young in the early 90’and never stopped. I’ve been in some school band and liked the feeling of being on a stage. Some friends played in a Ska-punk band Downshift in Case in the late 90’ and I joined them for a good while, we played shows all around Quebec. We were underage playing in bars but it was fun! That band went on hiatus after a few albums and several years. Through common friends, I replaced the guitarist in a local legendary crust band Global Holocaust in early 2000 and got introduced to crust punk. I already liked extreme metal and grindcore complexity and speed but that mix of punk rock and metal sounded right in my ears! Played with them for some time then started various bands projects. I’m still very into experimental music of any genre. I’m all about Emerson Lake & Palmer, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bad Brains ,Assuck, Django Reinhardt, Dystopia, Spazz, Wolfpack, Elvis, Flat & Scruggs, Deicide, Choking Victims, State of Fear, Ravi Shankar, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Monster X ,Hendrix, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Fuck the facts… the list goes on and gets more and more on the weird side, I got to be careful when I write music for Collapsed not put too much weird things but the guys are watching me.

Canada has been famous for years for giving birth to many interesting and valid bands in combining crust punk and extreme metal, from the seminal Iskra (fundamental for the development of RABM) to Ahna, from Napalm Raid to Massgrave. How do you explain this extreme fertility of certain sounds in your country? What are your relationships with the punk-hardcore scene in Quebec and Canada in general?

Well, there’s a bunch of extremely talented bands coming out of the north, let’s say it’s so cold you can freeze to death ½ – 1/3 of the year…people are stuck inside and music is an excellent way to get together and do something artistic and fun! The country here is really really wide so there’s a scene but it’s spread. Let’s say from Montreal to the next big city is 300+ km and it’s like that (or worse) all across the country. However, There’s a really nice scene in Montreal. Usually shows of all kinds pretty much everyday, lots of festivals… Underground music scene is active all across Canada but mainly gathered in every big town. I think we have good relationships with other bands and venues but we’re pretty much a bastard kind of weirdos cousins… Too metal for punk rock shows and too punk for metal shows… but it works out! We’re not too much politicized, but more about raising awareness… Not here to preach, we don’t have to justify our ideologies, we say what we think, like it or not.

Quebec is unfortunately famous for having an important Black metal scene whose protagonists are often linked to environments of extreme right or with strong nationalistic-racist feelings. What are your positions about this scene and bands that use extreme metal to convey messages and positions openly fascist, reactionary, racist and oppressive towards minorities?

FASCISTS ARE NOT WELCOME!!!

We’re greatly against all kinds of discriminations. The Antifa movement is really strong here in Montreal and Fascist acts in the punk/metal scene are really watched. Some bands try to book right wing shows from time to time I’ve heard, but most get cancelled or stopped. They are now a minority. Going out in more rural regions people can be more redneck… Our position towards bands openly fascist, racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic or oppressive toward minorities ? FUCK those persons, they don’t want to meet us in person.

With your music do you also want to convey your political ideas or do you focus on other themes and topics?

Collapsed isn’t much about politics, more about critical consciousness. We talk about premature death of ecosystems due to overconsumption, war, pain, mankind stupidity, relation interactions. Ideologies will bring conflict and there’s enough of those, we are more about exposing problems that are bringing us all down the drain. Not to be pessimist, but the future does not augur well for planet earth if we keep running that kind of system…

Recently, in the last few months, horrifying news arrived from Canada about the discovery of mass graves of First Nations children. A news that certainly does not surprise in a continent born from colonial oppression and genocide of native peoples, but that returns to emphasize the importance of the struggle and the movement of decolonization. The reaction of the First Nations was in some cases violent with the destruction of churches and other symbols of European colonialism on Canadian soil. What are your positions on these anti-colonial protests and revolts as a response to the horrors of yesterday and today of (neo)colonialism and oppression suffered by First Nations? Do you also deal with certain issues in a track like “Lost Tribes?

One of the biggest Holocaust that ever happened in America. In 1924, Paul Rivet estimated that between 40 to 50 million of people lived in the hemisphere before the Indigenous Holocaust began. With some historians arguing for an estimated 100 million, or more. That population got eradicated, their lands got stolen, children killed, women raped…first nations have the right to be angry and we support them. We’re opposed to repression against the first nations and Inuit people. Who doesn’t like a nice church fire? We’re against religion anyway, people can think what they want but not impose their ways of thinking to others.

What does being part of the DIY hardcore scene and playing crust punk mean to you? What do you think about a quite famous slogan within the hardcore scene that says “make hardcore a threat again”?

Slaves to no one.

Isn’t it making punk a threat again? Bunch of good bands on Profane existence! We did our first show with Appalachian Terror Unit!

The Goal of punks was, at the beginning, to shock and provoke, and we are part of that generation of punks. -HATE US.

Unfortunately, there’s division in the scene, people get sometimes offended for nothing and stuff. We like it wild, like back in the days.

Punk is support not competition.

Your first album was recently pressed by Phobia Records and others labels. What is your relationship with this important labels? How did the decision to release your first s/t album come about through a true DIY conspiracy between multiple labels?

We started and will always stay fully DIY, it’s a way of life, we don’t want to depend on anybody. We’re able to record and produce our music ourselves and all our merch is made locally by punks. We had the help from Stiv of Visions of War for the artwork and meanwhile Paskk talked to Mirek from Phobia record to release and distribute our first Lp. We did it in partnership with other labels, it surely does help for a larger distribution! Phobia is planning another pressing of the s/t, since the first one sold out pretty fast. We’re about to go recording a new full-length album in a few months and we plan to release it on Phobia too. So you might get new Collapsed material during winter 2022! (Hint Hint we’re starting preprod really soon!) We would really like to tour Europe and meet everybody from those awesome labels in person during summer 2023, we already had plans for last summer but Covid fucked that up solid… We still managed to do a couple shows around our home town. And it seems like everything is going better now! We just recorded the first of a long list of Pils sessions at NoMansLand studio, an initiative of Chany<Inepsy> and Dizz. They have started those sessions to help to promote the DIY underground bands. They’re releasing some small batches of tapes for every band and eventually gonna release a compilation. Ours got mastered at Enormous Door Mastering (Huge thanks to Jack Control<Severed Head of State, World Burns to Death>). Also, we recently covered the song Godforsaken for a cool State of Fear tribute album with a bunch of nice crust bands from all around the globe. It’s getting released by D.I.Y. Koło Records in Poland. The S/t album also got released on tape by a local label called <Still not fast enough>. Our friend Arnaud did some limited edition tapes and patches. Bullwhip Records in Malaysia also released some tapes of the s/t to have some distribution in south east Asia.

Are you already working on the new record? If yes, do you already have in mind when you will release it and through which label you want to press it on vinyl?

Well, we have answered that in the previous question. When our rehearsal space was closed during the early pandemic, we managed to rent a secret warehouse bunker to continue rehearsing during the lockdown (avoiding the spread of the virus by safety measures though), we kept composing more and more, and now pretty much everything is ready for our second album. We might have a split coming too…

You recently participated in a tribute to the immortal State of Fear along with other great bands, from the Swedes Misantropic to the Italians Cancer of Spreading. How did the idea of participating and collaborating in this compilation come about?

Yeah!!! State of fear is a major influence for us! It’s an honor to be part of the tribute compilation and the line up is insane. Paskk saw that tribute and contacted the label to bring us in. We had to choose, learn and record the song in the same week to send it to the label which needed it very fast to send it to the pressing plant! There’s some delays with the pressing plant but I heard it’s on the way. We’ll get it in a couple months. You can already listen to our cover on our bandcamp. (Collapsed – Pils Session)

We have come to the end of the interview, I leave this space for you to write anything you want and that you consider interesting for those who will read! Thank you again and I send you a big hug Collapsed friends!

TOO PUNK FOR METAL

TOO METAL FOR PUNK

SLAVES TO NO ONE

FUCK YOU ALL

CHEERS