You noticed how Rage Of Achilles is slowly becoming a label that means business? Promising artists like OMNIUM GATHERUM, MANITOU and ELENIUM are making a name for themselves in the Metal scene, same goes for Sweden’s Death Metal aggressors CHASTISEMENT. The band put out their debut album “Alleviation Of Pain” a couple of months ago and so far people are giving them a warm welcome. An interview would be a most fitting prelude to their next album, which is not that far away. Here’s what singer Johan Klitkou had to say about the ride so far.
Hello Johan! How’s it going for you these days?
Hi, things are going well, we are currently working with material for our next album. We have changed the way we work with new material, now we take the time to pre-record everything at Tommy’s homestudio complete with vocals and everything. This gives us time to go home and listen to the result and make changes to the arrangement if we feel we need to.
Your new album called “Alleviation Of Pain” is out. How’s it being treated in the press?
So far it’s been treated very well I must say. Most reviewers rank us in the top segment but of course not all can like what you do, we are just pleased with the fact that most of them seem to. We would like to believe that we contribute to the scene in some way or another.
The album recently got released but it’s not exactly a new album as it was recorded back in 2001?
Yes, that’s correct. We released this album ourselves back in -02 if I’m not mistaking, then we hooked up with Rage Of Achilles that chose to release this album as our “first album”. Before “A.O.P.”, short for “Alleviation Of Pain” we also released “...But Lost We Are” ourselves back in -99.
Does this mean that you’ve got a bunch of newer material ready to be recorded?
Yes we have a bunch of new songs, enough to fill a full length album, as mentioned before we are recording these songs now to see which ones to keep and which ones to throw in the garbage. We are pretty hard with ourselves and we never keep a song unless it contributes to the album in some way or another. I am really looking forward to the new album, one common things reviewers say is that our next album will be the one that decides our future, either we make it or we fall into oblivion, kinda. So we do have some pressure on ourselves, I mean; its not alright releasing an album that’s not better than the one before. However, we will do what we please and hopefully the fans will appreciate it.
Now let’s talk about the album itself. I think it’s fair to say that you play Death/Thrash Metal but in my opinion you have some atypical arrangements that can be considered as a CHASTISEMENT trademark.
I hope so, practically all bands out there say they have “their” thing going on and so do we. We have always tried to keep the melody in songs but we are carefully letting the melody take over, you need to keep the raw anger that you have in this kind of music and unfortunately big bands in this genre loose more and more of the pure anger that’s within Death Metal.
The album also has the important element called variety, there are many types of songs you know?
Yes, we have different taste of music and a big variety of influence. Everything from BJORK to MORBID ANGEL, also the great difference of the guitarists/composers Marcus and Tommy adds to this variety. Marcus makes songs that are more straight forward, more of a “feeling-based” writer, Tommy on the other hand composes more with thoughts behind the different elements in his songs. Both of them are equally important and neither of them we could go without. Nils is a strong drummer and when adding his most personal drumming and my vocals and all these element works in harmony with each other then we have a song worth the name. Also we feel it’s important to give the listener variation when listening to the album, it’s not fun buying an album and all songs sound the same.
In Death Metal you often have these over the top solos, but you seem to be more song oriented, has it always been like that in the band?
Yes, it has been like this since the start, however, if I have something to say about this we will have more solos on the upcoming album.
How come you’ve included three instrumentals on the album? By the way I love the intro, sounds like MESHUGGAH, SCARVE and DARKANE all meeting up for a round of crack hehe!
The first track is actually a part of Nils special-exam work at school he made quite a while ago now. It kicked ass so we included a part of it, I cannot think of a better way to start an album. We included the other two instrumentals to slow things down and once again give the listener some variety, the Rage-release excluded some tracks we had on our self-release which made these songs to “stand out” more than we intended to do.
My favourite track is “Tsavo – The Land Of Slaugther”, it has a hidden stoner appeal in the main riff. What do you think of this song?
We also feel this is a strong track, the killer riff is made of Marcus and he really nailed it there!
The drumming is excellent, definitely one of your strongest assets. How many hours a day does Nils practice to get this machine like?
Oh hell, all the time! Nils is devoted to playing the drums and highly professional about it. Back in the days he practised like 3 hours a day for the sheer fun of it. These days he has a more professional attitude towards his practising, his goal is to live on this some day and to always be better. He practices at least one hour of metronome training and about 2-3 hours rehearsing with the band, per day that is, so it comes out to 3-4 hours per day, when not busy with other things that is.
You stand for the lyricism on “Alleviation In Pain”. Is there a theme going on or do you write about separate topics?
Yes there is a theme-thingie going on, I have so far mixed my own personal thoughts into fictionary stories and “A.O.P.” is a continuation of the previous album “...But Lost We Are”. In short “B.L.W.A.” dealt with pre-chaos scenarios and at “A.O.P.” the chaos is all over humankind. I base a lot on my own feeble feelings and what I see everyday sharing this world with the rest.
I’m curious to know what you’re singing about in “Tsavo...” care to enlighten me on that?
The lyric “Tsavo” is about seeing the destruction of our world through eyes of the destruction. The destruction could be looked at as a state of mind, (finally having the wisdom which enables you to see what others don’t). We spend our time living in our bubble busy with our fictionary/self-created worries. If you would just take a few steps back and look at ourselves you would see that we stand still running, chasing what’s not there. We basically have misunderstood what real happiness is. One line that I think says it all is this one “the newborn ones tell no lies, still they share the same air as the dumb”. Meaning, everyone is born into a society where you at an early state learn the wrong set of values. Finally, regarding the title of the track; I was searching for a way to express all this in the title and happened to watch a show on TV about the wild-life in Kenya’s national-park (Tsavo) and while looking at the animals fighting each other I saw many similarities with humankind so I snatched it and used it as my own.
Ok, so tell me, how did CHASTISEMENT come to life? Are you satisfied with the band’s evolution so far?
CHASTISEMENT was started by Marcus and he quickly recruited Nils and later on I and Tommy joined, I think everything has been running smoothly so far, both albums have gotten good reviews and we are eager for the big break through, that would be awesome to come out and play world wide to a broad audience and spread the word of CHASTISEMENT.
A rumour was recently issued out and said that you thrown in the towels, care to comment on that?
Haha, yeah well what can I say, I have no idea how these rumours start, being in a band has its ups and downs and I guess someone overheard some member being tired at that particular moment. Being in a band like CHASTISEMENT means putting alot into it, it requires alot of work, blood, sweat and tears if you know what I mean. CHASTISEMENT does not in any way intend to split up and we feel that we have something good going on and by the looks of it there is no sign that we should throw in the towel for external reasons either.
I understand you won an award for the Metal act in your hometown, how big an achievement is this for you as a band?
This was a Music Award that had bands nominated in different genres, Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop and of course Metal. As you probably figured out we were one of the nominees and to our surprise we won in the category Metal up against once-upon-a-time-major Metal acts like 220 VOLT and others.
We did a short show, an intro and then we kicked off with a short compressed version of “Tsavo”. Playing in front of a sitting audience was strange but what the hell, we got their heads to bang anyway. The price was a microphone of glass that looked like a huge dildo so we had a good laugh holding it.
Signing to Rage Of Achilles must be quite an achievement as well, they’ve got some good bands like OMNIUM GATHERUM and MANITOU.
Yes we hope that Rage Of Achilles can spread our word to as many people as possible, it’s a tough business though.
And how well does the label treat you, are you considered a high priority in their list?
We just signed so I cannot say that much really, they treat us good and what’s most important is that they always discuss things with us. It’s important to have a good relationship with the label and we feel that we have that with Rage Of Achilles. I don’t think we are a high priority though, I think they are waiting for the result of this release first, before taking the next step. This is just me guessing though, based on what I would have done being a label-owner.
Death Metal musicians like to form side-projects, are the members of CHASTISEMENT an exception to the rule?
No we are not, Marcus started a side-project called SOULDRAINER a few years ago, he had a lot of material that didn’t fit CHASTISEMENT. He wanted to play all instruments himself but he quickly discovered that he wouldn’t be able to so he asked Nils and me if we were interested in participating and we were. In the last 6 months he also recruited a bass-player, Jocke from EQUINOX OV THE GODS and a second guitarist, Daniel from AEON so now SOULDRAINER is a full act. SOULDRAINER is for the sheer fun of it, we are doing what we feel like and when we have time for it, so it doesn’t take any precious time from CHASTISEMENT. Go check out www.souldrainer.com if you are interested.
Any touring planned for the band this year? If so are you going to try out some new material?
No, we don’t have any tours planned at the moment, we just have some scattered gigs and yes we intend to play some new material on these gigs.
Final question. Out of sheer curiosity, what do you think of our site?
It seems like a good site, filled with a lot of reviews and Metal material, the way it should be. One question though, what purpose does it serve to have that dude on the first page ? ;)
Ok, thanks for doing this interview. Any last words?
I’ll just take the opportunity to thank you and “The Metal Observer” for doing this interview and hopefully our roads will cross in the future, until then: Embrace your rage!
1999: …But Lost We Are (CD)
2002: Alleviation Of Pain (CD)
2003: Live At Gamla Tingshuset, Östersund (CD)
2004: Alleviation Of Pain (CD, Rage Of Achilles)
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