Psychedelic Fanzine #7
Turun Sanomat 21st July, 2000
Bombastic & Cataclismic fanzine
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Every now and then, unknown names arise from the underground, ones that you could immediately send to record and release their material to the larger public. The most recent of such cases is the doom metal band Reverend Bizarre, whose heavily Black Sabbath-/Cathedral-influenced playing sounds very complete. Sue decided to find out more about Reverend Bizarre, and met the orchestra on one beautiful autumn evening. The whole band was present, ie. the bassist/vocalist Albert Magus, the guitarist Peter Vicar, and the drummer Earl of Void.
Reverend Bizarre is a rather new band. Have you released anything else besides this new promotional CD Slice of Doom? I'd also like to ask about the changes your line-up has gone through. What happened to your original drummer?
Magus: Well, first I should point out that
Reverend Bizarre was originally formed in, say… ninety…
Vicar: Was it…
Magus: … four…
Vicar: Yes, nineteen ninety four.
Magus: … and we had this Juippi, a kind of a legend, in drums. We haven't actually got very far from that, since… Well, he had these hobbies, you know… He's tried about every possible thing you can inhale, or inject… or whatever… From nitrous oxide to LSD. So, there was really no progress… or…
Vicar: More like regression.
Magus: Right, and I think he eventually even sold his drums. So that's when we originally started, but now, about six months or so, we got back to…
Vicar: … to serious business again.
Under the same name?
Magus: Well yeah, it was…
Vicar: It was clear from the beginning, the concept of the whole thing.
Magus: Nowadays Juippi works as a hardware salesman in a very small and narrow-minded town in southern Finland. With no musical activities whatsoever.
Okay. You play doom metal in the vein of such old school names as Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus. Which records (pick one or two) have most influenced Reverend Bizarre's music?
Vicar: Can we all mention one or two, or
should we just decide together…?
Magus: Well, we probably can't make any decisions concerning Black Sabbath's albums…
Vicar: Yeah well of course all the classics…
Magus: You could say the first six ones…
Vicar: Right, can't really put them into any order.
Magus: No, but I'd still say that Sabbath Bloody Sabbath has had the greatest influence on this so-called doom metal.
Magus: It would be easier to name a couple of St Vitus' records, but the variety of the vocalists they've had makes it a hard task as well. Still, I'd say… perhaps the stuff with Christian Linderson, Children of Doom. And about that "old school" thing… That what you nowadays call old school is what we call doom metal! All these so-called new school bands aren't really doom at all, more like atmospheric, or whatever there is now….
Void: Yeah, we don't play any symphonic metal stuff! I guess my main influences come from Sabbath's Paranoid, and then also from Saint Vitus' V. But it's true that you can't really put those Sabbath's into any…
Magus: That's probably…
Void: … you can't really make any compromises there.
Vicar: My guitar then again has been mainly influenced by, well, Sabbath's first and Master of Reality, but also by Pentagram…
Magus: Well, I think Pentagram has influenced all of us at least as much as Black Sabbath…
Vicar: Yeah, you could say so.
Magus: And of course Witchfinder General too.
Right. In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend has parts slightly faster than 'average doom', and I'd say the track 'rocks' in other ways as well. Do you consciously try to compose varying pieces, or do these parts just get there naturally among the slower ones?
Void: I'd say the interviewer is talking
about this newer 'doom' again… Black Sabbath for example have pretty much
of that rock stuff, even jazz. And then bands like Witchfinder General…
St Vitus and the others some even call doom rock nowadays, then…
Vicar: They actually do rock quite a lot occasionally…
Magus: Yeah, and doom metal shouldn't even be defined as 'slow and sad'. It comes from… Of course it is that too but… it's also so much more. It's a way of life to us. And song-writing then, well… That happens totally in the terms of the song itself. I can't think like 'might be useful to put a bit more dynamic part here', and 'now it's wise to slow down again'. When you start to make a song and the riffs start to come… you suddenly just realize that here we go, and there we go then. And… there are some other things too which have affected the process, but it's not probably… necessary…
Vicar: … not necessary to mention in this context…
Could there be also songs that had no faster parts in them?
Magus: There already is. At the moment
we've got songs in store to fill an entire LP, and also some extra material
that could be used as b-sides or something. But all those, you know, most
70's kinda songs just winded up on this promotional CD, so there are…
Vicar: …you shall hear darker stuff in the future…
Magus: … yeah, and this Trouble style stuff too. But we're still gonna go in these old… old heavy and doom metal genres.
The 'Amanita muscaria' on the cover of Slice of Doom might refer to activities that are relatively common among bands of this field. Would you like to comment my implying, and how did you eventually choose this picture?
Magus: Perhaps you should speak for yourselves
Vicar: The cover is mere coincidence… Perhaps we shouldn't talk about our spare time activities more than…
Magus: Well, I'm very interested of the subject, you know, but… haven't actually yet had the honour of getting to know the mentioned stimulant better. And as the maker of the cover picture, I should perhaps mention that the manifestation in question wasn't really intended, I was more like searching for a Lovecraftian atmosphere there, and then when the picture was finished everyone just paid attention only to this one thing, for some reason… There's lots of other stuff as well, you know, like bubbles, and flowers, and…
They could refer too (laughter)… even more…
Magus: Maybe, maybe…
Vicar: Mere coincidence…
Void: And we did originally have a slightly different idea for the cover, but somehow it just got to this, and… and it is a fine cover.
Magus: And it does eventually suit us well.
Vicar: Yeah, it does.
Magus: To be honest, the first idea we had in mind was rejected because it had too much reference to this kind of stoner department, and we don't really want to have anything to do with that title.
Void: Right, like this cover has nothing to do with those things… (laughter)
I wonder what that was like…
Magus: Well, actually… two women and a cross, so I guess… (laughter)
Well, how does the Reverend Bizarre crew think of music styles like stoner rock and gothic doom? Both of them have some same elements as you do, like the 'rock' in the first one and the slow speed and heaviness in the other.
Vicar: Perhaps we could say something about
the puritanity we have in our relationship to our work…
Magus: Yeah, it's quite strict… We do have songs with some kind of reference to many styles that are popular nowadays, but you should keep in mind that for instance stoner rock has been very influenced by bands that have influenced us as well, and the same goes with this so-called gothic doom too. We may have been influenced by the same bands, but to put it straight, we really have nothing to do with these areas. I find it really horrible that even some true doom bands have turned to this trendy stoner thing, like Orange Goblin who originally started as a real band but who nowadays play that total… But I do have to say that with the Finnish doom situation being practically in zero, it is profitable for us to be in at least some kind of contact with stoner activity, since it nevertheless is the closest…
Vicar: In Finland.
Magus: … closer than all these gothic gloomy stuff. They're probably even more annoying… I mean, there are great bands in every category, but that… We try to maintain total puritanity in this one.
Do you have any special line concerning your lyrics, or are all themes appropriate? The titles of the tracks on Slice of Doom don't refer to very secular things, what are they about?
Magus: Well, we don't really have a line
that would exclude anything… Of course there's again the influence of the
bands that have influenced us in other ways as well, but when you write
those lyrics you just mainly think of the whole song, the underlying composition.
At least I mainly concentrate on what words suit…
Vicar: And of course on the entire atmosphere of the song.
Magus: Yeah, and we do have a lot of these traditional themes, like witchcraft and all these Christian things, and… It's mainly about paying respect to the good old heavy lyrics, what we're… But nothing is excluded… Or perhaps something…
Vicar: There's always something.
Do political lyrics belong to doom metal?
Magus: Well at least Count Raven
seem to think that way… Thank God they have done that kind of stuff, so
perhaps we can now too!
Void: And eventually, politics do come in many forms.
Magus: Right. For instance, in a song called Doomsower we could even be seen taking a political stand, although there are also religious aspects in it.
Void: Like we said, the composition is mainly the basis for the lyrics. If certain lyrics fit to a song, they just turn out that way.
Do you all write lyrics, or does some of you write them all?
Vicar: The whole band writes lyrics.
Magus: Yeah, or at least we're getting to that more and more. I've made a lot of songs even before we got back together, so we've got some of that stuff still in store, but… now we make the songs entirely collectively. That's why we don't mention anyone as the song-writer, it's the whole band. This works pretty much in the way that all the arrangements and stuff just sort of 'happens' when we start rehearsing the songs.
So music first, then the lyrics?
Magus: Yeah, that's our way.
Vicar: Pretty far.
Okay, I guess that's about all. If you have something in mind…
Vicar: We wish to be able to spread this
gospel of doom also to those crowds that can't hear it now, when interest
in traditional doom metal is fading…
Magus: … or has practically died.
Void: It's in a way contradictory and even sad that this stuff which has nearly killed traditional doom, I mean stoner and stuff like that, it can be the only channel and genre through which we could bring this…
Magus: That's true.
Void: … music back. There is contradiction, but also a flicker of hope.
Magus: It's too bad that we have to work in a way on the enemy's turf, but… with Hellhound and all quitting… we really have no one else to turn to anymore than some stoner labels.
All right, thanks for the interview.
Vicar: Thank you!
Kimmo Niukko (transl. by Void)
Interview with REVEREND BIZARRE from Finland. The line-up is : Albert Magus-Vocals,Bass; Peter Vicar-Guitars and Earl of Void-Drums. Their first recording was the "Slice of Doom" demo.
PLEASE, TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT THE BAND`S HISTORY. HAVE YOU PLAYED IN ANY BANDS BEFORE?
REVEREND BIZARRE was formed in a small southern
Finland town in 1994, with a mission to revive the music we grew up listening
to but which by then had quite completely been suffocated by its own offspring,
namely Stoner Rock, Atmospheric/Gothic Doom, etc. We set forth on our quest,
with our first drummer Juippi still on board, but things didn´t really
work the way we had intended. When Peter eventually moved to a bigger city
the whole thing came to nothing. Years went by and nothing happened, until
Albert too wound up in the same city with Peter. It soon transpired that
old love to true Doom had never died. Our drummer, however, had meanwhile
taken to doing drugs, having no interest left in anything else anymore.
Luckily, it turned out that Earl of Void, an old band mate of Albert´s
and a sprout of the same small town, had been lodging in the city in question for many years. Quite soon this musician, doomster alike, found himself playing with these two fellows. REVEREND BIZARRE was born again. Things started to really roll along when this new drummer was released from prison, and here we are now. Each of us does have at least some kind of background in various musical activities (e.g.. bands, ´zines, gig organizing), and we are still active in other bands as well.
YOU`RE PLAYING IN THE GOOD OLD TRADITION LIKE SAINT VITUS OR WITCHFINDER GENERAL. WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER INFLUENCES? DO YOU LISTEN TO OLD FINNISH GROUPS LIKE CHARLIES ETC.?
That`s right! REVEREND BIZARRE is influenced only by true Doom Metal bands,like the ones you mentioned. Still, it is necessary to pay tribute to the other masters of this style as well, such as TROUBLE, THE OBSESSED, and PENTAGRAM. Of course there are also a couple of newer bands we like, namely WARNING and MOURN. Unfortunately, most of the promising new bands seem to switch camps to this Stoner bullshit. And we hate them all! We have of course heard CHARLIES , but they aren`t really any big thing to us. However, their vocalist did have another band, HAIKARA, which we do find worthy of mentioning. They played something like dark progressive rock. Our greatest inspiration comes, naturally, from BLACK SABBATH, whose Last Supper Tour by the way happened to reach our poor secluded Finland as well. Very all right indeed !
HOW IS THE SITUATION FOR BANDS LIKE YOU IN FINLAND? ARE THERE ONLY BLACK METAL BANDS OR ARE THERE ANY OTHER REAL HEAVY ROCK BANDS?
Unfortunately, there are no publishing channels for real Doom Metal here in Finland. If we played Stoner Rock, we´d probably be much better off, as that shit is currently the rising trend in music business here too. The last one was, actually, the above-mentioned Black Metal, but that trend is seemingly starting to die down by now. And we´re not really interested in that kind of culture. There are great Heavy Metal bands here in Finland, tough, such as CHILDREN OF BODOM and UNHOLY. Very popular are also bands like HIM, NIGHTWISH, SONATA ARCTICA, AMORPHIS, and SENTENCED. PAKENI and DISGRACE aren´t really popular, at least in a hit chart kind of way, but we think they should be mentioned as well. We, then again, seem to be the only Doom band here. Even UNHOLY, a band usually labeled as Doom Metal, is quit far from our conception of true Doom.
WHAT ABOUT RECORD COMPANIES? ARE THERE ANY SMALL LABELS FOR DOOM/HEAVY STUFF?
As we already mentioned, our field isn´t much noted here in Finland. Thus we´ve focused our promotion mainly to Britain, and would appear that we´ve aroused at least some sort of interest there.
IN SCANDINAVIA THERE ARE A LOT OF BANDS AND PEOPLE THAT ARE VERY DEEP INTO HEAVY ROCK. ARE THERE ANY FESTIVALS?
We have only two Heavy Rock festivals here in Finland, Nummirock and Tuska Festival. All the other events seem to be just some occasional club gigs. We aren´t really sure about the situation in the rest of Scandinavia, but since Sweden holds very strong scenes in many different styles, there are probably a lot more festivals there than here.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR (TOURS, RECORDS, ETC.)?
The year 2000 appears quite good before us. Surprisingly
many quarters shown interest in our work, and, actually, we shall even
appear on MISKATONIC FOUNDATION`S forthcoming compilation "At the Mountain
of Madness II" (should not something unexpected happen!). We have also
planed to working on a new promotional CD ("Crush the Insects!"), which
means that we´re still seeking for a contract to sign. So far only
some modern Metal Labels have contacted us concerning a possible record
deal, but those bastards haven´t even heard our music yet, they´ve
probably just read a couple of reviews and figured we might sell. We will
not be their fucking puppets! We rather work with friends, like MISKATONIC´S
Rich (our blessings to him!). Of course we´d really like to go touring
stuff like that, but that´s really difficult here. People have to hear our music before they can decide whether to come see us or not, and for that we first of all need the deal. We can´t afford to release anything by ourselves. If we could, we would. As for the rest of our plans, the crusade goes ever on.
O.K.,THANK`S FOR ANSWERING AND THE BEST FOR YOU!
Psychedelic Fanzine #7
Please let us know a few words on the band´s development, where did you start playing music, which demo(s) have you released until these days?
Peter: We started playing in 1994 in a small and narrow-minded town called Lohja in southern Finland. From this background comes the Doom within each of us. Lots of factories and nothing to do except drinking and playing. The first line-up of Reverends' lasted only for about a year and a half, featuring me, Albert, and a mystic man called Juippi. In 1999, Albert and I decided to start all over again. To drums we found Albert´s old band mate Earl of Void, and from that on things have been going on quite well. We have released only one demo, ´Slice of Doom´, in 1999. We have also recorded a few new songs this year as you know, but they are not intended to be on any demo.
Introduce the members of Reverend Bizarre in a few sentences to the readers of Psychedelic. What kind of personalities do the members have and what do you have to do, if you don´t play, listen to music?
Albert: Our line-up is Peter on guitars, Void
on drums, and I play bass and do the singing. As personalities, we are
all quite different, and sometimes good nerves are needed while we are
rehearsing. The only things connecting us are actually our year of birth
(which is by the way 1976), the fact that we are all students, our background
in Lohja, and,
being the most important thing, our pure love to True Doom Metal! When we are not spending our time with music, we are mostly reading, watching films, and, in the case of me and Peter, drinking heavily. To describe our social life, I´m married and the other guys also have girlfriends, so we don't really have many opportunities for so-called bad lifestyles.
Void: Nor any need for such, either, I might add. So, what can you say... Albert and Peter seem to me hopelessly lost in their worlds of the Mystique, whereas I tend to walk more profane lanes (as they would probably put it). That suits me fine, although these two bastards dare offer me their pity every now and then, for something they consider I have lost. Well, that's their problem!
Your debut demo entitled ´Slice of Doom` was a great one, and it was excellent welcomed in the true doom world. What do you think of the demo now, would you have changed something or are you totally satisfied with the sound/songs etc.?
Albert: In a way I still can say I love it, mainly because it opened our ways to the world of Doom. Of course there was much work to be done with our playing, but I think the sounds are quite good considering the conditions of the session.
Peter: Because we didn´t have much money to spread, we were forced to work very hastily. That can be heard especially in my solos which were recorded with the second rhythm track. Without ´Slice´ and people who found it worth listening we wouldn´t be where we are now. Thanks to all those true fanatics out there!
Void: Yeah, and I, of course, must complain about my drum work... Due to the cheap equipment, the other guys couldn't play while I was doing my bit, so I don't think I really captured any true feeling during that session, or at least not deep enough. And, as Albert already mentioned, there's truly no reason to be proud of our skills back then, but as I consider the touch of the Hand of Doom much more important than mere technical provess, it doesn't really matter. A document of an era. And I like it that way.
The success of the demo led to a deal with the Miskatonic Foundation in England. So, Reverend Bizarre will be featured with a new song called ´Doomsower` on Rich´s ´At the Mountains of Madness pt. II`. Are you happy about the deal and which are the other bands that will be a part of this upcoming true doom compilation?
Albert: Actually it isn´t a record deal, it is only this one track, but of course we are more than happy for the chance to appear on an album series which we adore. Especially when part II features some of our favourite bands, like Internal Void, Penance and, last but definitely not least, the majestic Electric Wizard. (Or at least this is what we have been told!)
Peter: Rich Walker is a very important and special person for us! Our deepest bows to him.
You have recorded three songs (two new ones) by early 2000 and I have to say that the new songs reminded me a lot on Warning. Can you agree with me and what kind of (non)musical inspirations does Reverend Bizarre have? Which bands do you praise a lot?
Albert: Warning is a magnificent band, in my opinion the best of the new bands around...
Peter: And in mine, too!
Albert: ... but they have not been of any influence to me musically, for when I wrote these songs I hadn't heard any Warning stuff yet. Warning has, though, encouraged us in our never ending battle against this weak fucking stoner shit which is currently praised as some kind of a stupid trend. Surely we are all flattered by such comparison.
Peter: Warning rules! It would be great to play with them some day.
Albert: And speaking of inspirations, I´m interested in some forms of occultism as well as other religious systems. I have a deep love for everything dark...
Peter: And for God!
Albert: Fuck you! Where was I?
Peter: About the bands... Well, I think you already
know about our influences, but here they come again: Saint Vitus, Witchfinder
General, Trouble, Pentagram, The Obsessed, Count Raven, Iron Man, Blue
Cheer, Mountain, and Internal Void. There are so many great bands in Doom...
Solitude Aeturnus, old Cathedral, Solstice, Revelation, Penance, Mourn,
Paul Chain... We could go on forever...
Albert: Why didn´t you mention the great Cirith Ungol with Tim Baker?
Peter: ... and of course the mighty Black Sabbath!
The rewritten version of ´Pyramids of Mars´ will appear on Black Widow Records´ upcoming sci-fi Tribute album. Would you tell us a few words about this Tribute album? How did this deal come true?
Peter: Well, first of all, the forthcoming compilation is called ´Not of This Earth´. Apparently the guys at Black Widow Records liked our version of the Doctor Who theme and contacted us. The track in question is not the kind of stuff we are working on today, it is much more groovy than most of our songs. But what is done is done...
Albert: Fucking stoner bullshit it is!
Void: But cheers to Massimo, anyway.
Albert has a side project beside Reverend Bizarre, it's the highly recommended KLV. What does the name of the band mean and where do you see the differences between Reverend Bizarre and KLV? Do the members have any other projects and have you recorded/released demos with KLV yet?
Albert: KLV was formed way back in 1992, and at first it was pure noisecore. The line-up has actually always featured me and Void. Other members have been coming and going. We have come up with quite a pile of tapes, actually... Like ten or so. And in 1999 we also released a 7" split ep with Viikate. As a matter of fact, we haven´t been very active with this project after 1998. Maybe some day again... KLV is much more progressive and wider than Reverends, and has only some shades of Doom. You don´t want to know what the name originally meant. I´m also involved with a gothic style band called The Candles Burning Blue, which has been working since 1997.
Peter: I too have a band besides Reverends; the style is dark progressive rock, and the name is Mesmer. It might amuse you to hear that also this band features Earl of Void in its line-up. He is currently playing in several bands, you know... Busy fellow!
Does Finland have beside Minotauri and Reverend Bizarre any other real doom bands and what's your mind on bands like Disgrace, Unholy?
Peter: If there are, they are not certainly showing their faces in broad daylight...
Albert: I have heard rumours about a band called Spiritus Mortis, but don´t know anything else about them.
Peter: ... Minotauri is a great band, sounding
like old Pentagram. We have been in contact with them, and co-performances
are under planning. And, I can say, that could truly turn into a great
Doom show! You know there is no scene here in Finland. We and Minotauri
are true pioneers here! Actually, we share the place we rehearse in with
Disgrace, and their guitarist, Anton Q-Pias, has produced all our stuff so far. He also played the solo in ´Fucking Wizard´ in our first demo. True madman!
Void: But, unfortunately, he has this tendency of going a bit off-limits every now and then. We just have to keep a close eye on him - all the time. If you can sense something weird, groovy, or otherwise ridiculous on our stuff so far, blame him!
Albert: I think Unholy is brilliant in their own field, but they definitely aren´t a Doom band. Rather avantgardist, you might say... Still, their two first albums are among my favourites! There's another band we would like to play with.
Void: Yeah, I even dreamt about it once! First I wondered, how come they were playing first (as there were many totally unknown bands meant to play after them), but then I remembered that it really WAS a True Doom gig (haven't seen any of those here in Finland). That was rather amusing!
How often does the band play live and tell us a few words about your gigs. Do you have a huge fellowship in Finland?
Peter: We don´t play live very often, since there is not too large a Doom audience here. So far we've played live only twice here in Turku. Generally, we were received quite calmly by those who were around. Speaking the truth, we actually weren't in too good mental and physical condition, either... To have a huge fellowship we should get out of here and write songs about some fucking Star Shaped Clouds or Leaves of Mellow Grace... We can assure you we will hang ourselves first! You won´t see the dawning of the day we are messing with such stoner crap!
Albert: Yeah, fuck that!
Void: Sadly the only gigs we've so far been offered
have been either stoner or gothic events. That is really annoying. The
last gig we had was meant to be a DOOM METAL concert, but since we were
the only True Doom band the organizers managed to come up with, the whole
event turned into this totally gothic thing. And, of course, we had to
very early, for about twenty or so spectators. We were really pissed off for those wretched souls who came in too late and had to either return home without their long-awaited Doom Metal dose, or force themselves to listen to some gothic whining shit and try to get into the mooD with that. Not likely.
In one of our conversations you have told me that you are planning on to release a new promotional CD called "Crush the Insects!" by the Summer/early Autumn. Anything to be said about it? How many songs do you want to put onto this?
Albert: Actually, there will not be another demo! And the reason is that next we are going to work on a full-length album...
Peter: Right! We have a deal of two records with the Finnish label Mastervox.
Void: After all the record companies that contacted us just for the warm welcome we had received and for the money they thought they could make with us, this label actually approached us with knowledge and interest in our roots. They seem honestly excited, and hell, so are we!
Albert: Yeah! This is so great I´m going to loose my mind. A dream come true! Our first record will be called ´In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend´, including, besides the title track and ´Doomsower´, four brand new babies. It will be so monstrously heavy!
Peter: Pure, and I mean PURE fucking destruction!
Albert: I guess if you have liked our stuff so far, you will fall in love with this. Recordings are planned to begin next winter. We will see what happens. But we haven´t buried the title ´Crush...´ either, as it shall live on as an ep featuring some tracks missing from the album. Some tracks intended to appear on the original demo will also be included.
At last, your last words, hellos, you know...
Albert: What can we say but many thanks to you and all the others interested in our music. And, of course, greetings to all involved in The Great War against weak stoner bullshit! We shall never surrender!
Peter: Yeah, let the battle rage on. Crush the insects!!!
Void: Doom is no laughing matter, and if that is what you are twisting it into, you are a wrongdoer. Correct your wicked ways and REPENT!
Turun Sanomat 21st July, 2000
Reverend Bizarre defends traditions
The word 'Doom metal' has never had a very good
echo in Finland, or in the world for that matter. There are not too many
fans, and even when the music is wanted the bands themselves don´t
have very good chances to function.
Reverend Bizarre from Turku is a rather new Doom band. They have existed now six years, but because of a long pause the real activity is only few years.
The band started playing again a couple of years ago, and ever since things have gone forward quickly. The trio sent their demotape to Metal Hammer, after their move from Lohja to Turku, and had good reviews.
Since then they have been offered gigs even from America and Japan (in our dreams! -transl.).
Also the record companies around the world have have been contacting the band, but the did prefer a small Finnish label. The contract is waiting for its signatures.
- The songs are ready. We are now waiting for the papers to arrive, says singer and bassist Albert Magus.
- Some record companies tried to change us to more progressive metal, but we won´t do that kind of stuff, continues guitarist Peter Vicar.
The members of the band laugh, when asked the grandeur of the future success. Drummer Earl of Void reminds that the legendary doomband St. Vitus had to quit because of the lack of audience.
- There´s no fear we would leave HIM second. The doom-scene is somewhat small, sighs Magus.
The mission is to spread knowledge
Old school doombands are having a
hard time, because guitar and bass based roll seems not to be enough. The
band blames the music press, which doesn´t write about the bands.
And several record companies demand changes in the music.
- We want to spread information about other bands too. In our sleeves we thank all those bands which have influenced us, so that the listeners could be able to find new bands, says Earl of Void.
The members of Reverend Bizarre have had doom metal as their hobby since they were little boys. They never meant to make money with the band or to be famous. The band was born when the trio wanted to try how the playing of doom feels.
- We don´t feel our playing is constrained, we are not in it for the money or fame. Our mission is to spread the word about doom. People don´t know that Black Sabbath is doom. Many come to say that they don´t like grunting for vocals, but doom is not about that, Earl of Void and Peter Vicar correct.
Categorization makes things clear
Very often the bands criticize the
categorization of music, but Reverend Bizarre does support it. Much of
the music now considered doom is already in the side tracks. Earl of Void
points out that the borders between different forms of music must be defined,
so that everyone can be aware what is going on.
- We don´t go to music store and ask for music. Everyone do define what kind of music they want to listen. The borders make things clear, finds Earl of Void.
It is not necessarily bad that the music develops, even if Reverend Bizarre sticks to tradition. The trio explains the importance of knowing history and tradition.
- These days modern classical music is made, but the old classical is still played. So why couldn´t we exist, asks Earl of void.
- We sound new again, even if we make old music. We don´t have a thing of our own because our music is based on a certain structure which produces new songs. Doom is kind of the same as old blues, we repeat old formulas, enlightens Magus.
Although the possibility of making a living with doom is not a big one, the band does hope to do so some day. In Finland the opportunities to have gigs are rare, but band waits to get to England, where the traditions are appreciated. Today the band plays its third gig in Down Town.
Earl of Void remarks the old truth about the corrupting quality of money. Other player, then again, could use some.
- We could use a background banner in our gigs, dreams Peter Vicar.
- Wish we first had the money for a smoke machine, concludes Earl of Void.
Marko Säynekoski, TS (Transl. by Vicar)
1. Would you please introduce us REVEREND BIZARRE?
The band consists of Magister Albert on vocals and bass, Peter Vicar on guitar, and Earl of Void on drums – three doomsters on a crusade to put HEAVY back in metal! Today’s doom scene has been seriously infected by a virus called stoner rock. The situation was bad enough when only styles such as atmospheric/gothic/symphonic metal or slow-tempo death used to confuse and divide the scene, and now it has turned even worse with the emergence of this happy shit lifestyle some people wish to associate with doom. But the essence of doom is not fast cars, semi-naked chicks, or any fucking cosmic vibes; it is death, suffering, the end of the world – just like the word itself suggests. So, this is Reverend Bizarre. Doom metal, the way it was meant to be!
2. When was your official founding? Which releases have you done yet? Tell us about sound, layout and so on...
The founding of Reverend Bizarre dates back to
the year 1994. Several hardships clouded the first years of the band, and,
eventually, the whole thing came to nothing. In 1999, after both Peter
and Albert had moved from inland to the coastal town of Turku, the Bizarre
Reverend was once more resurrected. By that time, the original drummer
of the band had been totally engulfed by his drug addiction and, thus,
had left music behind altogether. Since Albert and I had together formed
a would-be progressive gothic doom band called KLV already in the early
90's and since I had later on played with Peter in a dark progressive rock
band Mesmer, Albert and Peter asked me to take part in their Mission. Our
first release, “Slice of Doom“ cd-r, saw the light of day by the end of
This summer we’ve mainly concentrated on recording our debut full-length album, “In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend“. Besides our own releases, we have contributed tracks to several compilations as well, e.g. “Out of Focus“ released alongside with Psychedelic Fanzine #8, and the forthcoming “Not of This Earth“ by Black Widow Records, “A Timeless Tale – A Tribute to Saint Vitus“ by Raven Moon Records, “At the Mountains of Madness II“ by the Miskatonic Foundation, and “Doom… or be Doomed…“ by Stoned Bunnies.
Our sound is plain and simple doom metal, just like it was done in the good old 80's. Instead of turning to those ever-popular haunting atmospheres too many musicians have sold their souls to, we always strive at a heavier sound. Slow burning behemoth riffage, that's our trade!
3. Please find the words to describe the essence of darkness! By the way, could we call REVEREND BIZARRE a ‘dark’ band in any way?
The essence of darkness… Well, is it not something
that lies far beyond the worldly thresholds of this realm we live in? We
all come from, and eventually return to, an everlasting dark void. From
a less universal perspective, we humans have always treated darkness as
both a friend and a foe; while it has served as a sanctuary for those who
wish to hide in it, it has veiled and given shelter to their enemies as
well. The night knows neither right nor wrong, and darkness favours no
one. Still, darkness has mainly been considered as a threat; most of us
are afraid of the dark, in a way or another. Perhaps this has something
to do with the close bond between darkness and death I touched upon above.
And since death is something most people try to escape at all cost… Well,
it might do good for many of us to stop for a minute and think why such
a vast majority have such a distorted view on life itself.
Oh yes, we are definitely a dark band.
4. Finland has got a special status in Metal history: Some of the craziest, most insane bands hail from there: WALTARI, IMPALED NAZARENE, BELIAL, THY SERPENT, BEHERIT, FINNTROLL, ELÄKELÄISET (I’m not sure...?), AMORPHIS – as you see, still a lot more to mention... What actually makes you going mad over there? What is the reason for this kind of extraordinary behaviour?
Well, it is quite cold, rainy and dark most of
the year here in Finland, as we have a very long wintertime. When you put
together the depressing climate and the rather secluded location of the
region, you can’t expect its inhabitants to be too stabile either. Finland
is actually one of the leading countries in the entire world when it comes
Another thing is the distinction between living in cities and living in the countryside. In the north of Finland, there's not really much to do, save drinking and fighting. Thus, as there really is considerable time to be spent on practising, the technically most skilled musicians tend to come from these regions. And, naturally, when these musicians get together to form bands, their lifelong anxieties and antipathies find a way out through the songs they write.
Perhaps it should be mentioned that there are also bands that use certain imagery and texts just because they think it suits their style well, because it looks and sounds "cool". This, of course, is something they leave unsaid when interviewed, as "commitment" to and "consciousness" of their national heritage plays a major role in their image. We have no sympathies for this kind of raw commercialism.
5. There’s always a connection between Doom rock and the consume of hemp: Do you also smoke some pot in order to inspire yourself?
Definitely not! Even if some of us would happen to smoke something every now and then, this has nothing to do with our music. The source of our inspiration is no joy-filled high, but, on the contrary, dark depths lower than low. Six feet underground, to be more precise. And we do not rock, we are pure metal!
6. Would REVEREND BIZARRE support an `Anti-hemp-campaign`?
This band has no political agenda, so we do not want to take any stand in this issue. Everyone can do what they want. We might support an anti-stoner campaign, though, but that’s a different story.
7. Ah - I forgot - Just tell me about this obscure band name: Have you ever met this Reverend Bizarre? Who is it? Where can I find him? And how did you become the "Earl Of Void"?
You could say that we have met Reverend Bizarre
many times… unfortunately. You can find him everywhere, he's behind the
masks of the people you pass by on the streets. He is the time bomb just
waiting to explode, a product of these twisted times. Moreover, the name
symbolises the numerous twofold traits or properties invested in each of
us by the Western (Christian) culture, especially "good" and "evil", or
God and Devil. There are so many people these days who are totally confused
by all the expectations they are supposed to come up to. As a consequence,
Reverend Bizarre is both good and evil at the same time. Schizophrenic,
someone might call him. Just like most people appear to us.
I was named the Earl of Void by my childhood friend Albert. He seems to think that I, not having faith/interest in any supernatural forces or phenomena whatsoever, am missing something valuable, that my life is thus somehow less meaningful than, say, his. I, however, find this sense of nothingness rather relieving; with no predestined purpose, without any greater plan I would be supposed to be part of, I have no need to come up to any of those expectations I mentioned; I have no respect for any "forces" I have only heard other people speaking or writing about, as I'd rather concentrate on people and beings I find worthy of my respect. Anyway, Albert and I have had our fair share of arguments and even fights on these matters, so I guess this name of mine originally started out as some sort of mockery. Well, this mockery suits me just fine!
8. Our band, GARDENS OF GEHENNA, plays a doomy style of music which also integrates elements of Death Metal and electronical music: How do you like these different styles? Do you just wanna play pure Doom Metal and nothing else?
We want to keep our doom as pure as possible, since that is the way we like it. Of course we do listen to other styles as well, even these so-called atmospheric/gothic/symphonic ones I referred to earlier, but that has nothing to do with doom metal as we see it. Mixing different styles means either creating new ones or simply playing crossover metal. We, however, don’t want to “evolve“ into anything “new“, but to do what we find most rewarding to ourselves, and neither do we want to cross over to any “new“ regions, as this is the one where we have found our peace. There are some doom bands that, in our opinion, can’t keep their concept together with all their inventiveness. We tend to find some of their progressive elements rather irritating, as these usually just ruin the dark and heavy atmosphere of the otherwise so crushingly doom-laden songs. That is the reason why we so strongly fight for true doom metal; we don’t want it to be suffocated under any trend-setters, or to be forgotten as a mere milestone on the way to some other socially and commercially more accepted and celebrated music genres. So, even though we think it is quite ok to experiment, Reverend Bizarre will never get into that. We just want to play pure doom & heavy metal.
9. You got some philosophical as well as some phantasy-influenced lyrics: Where do you get your inspiration from?
I don't really know what to say about the philosophical part you mentioned, as our lyrics usually deal with religion & occultism, horror romantics, death, and occasionally, but very rarely, even some personal subjects. Hence, our inspiration comes mainly from the dark and obscure paths of the human mind. Since that subject has been very thoroughly covered by a number of classic poets and other great minds, we find it rewarding to further explore the worlds created by these mighty visionaries from Edgar Allan Poe to Michael Reeves. Also, as the good old heavy metal way of saying things appears very suitable for this Mission of ours, you can easily trace some of the references we make back to the Britain of early 80's.
10. There’s also a text named ‘Cirith Ungol’ dealing with the saga of the `Lord Of The Rings`: Is this one of your favourite books? In the end of this year there’ll be this movie in cinema: Will you watch it? I personally don’t know actually `cause I really adore the book of Tolkien and I for sure will be disappointed because a film can never come near to the feelings connected with the written saga!
We do like the works of J.R.R.Tolkien, although we are no fanatics in this matter. As a personal note, I consider the fantasy worlds of Stephen R. Donaldson - especially the saga of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever - much more interesting and rewarding than Tolkien's b/w creations. So, since Tolkien's writings are no holy texts to us, we are not really afraid of the outcome of the forthcoming movie adaptation, either. Still, even though Peter Jackson is a great director, it is true that the story in question can never be captured on film in its entirety. We'll just have to wait and see.
11. Besides, do you like CIRITH UNGOL, the band?
Yes we truly do! Voted the worst metal band ever, they must be the most underrated band in the entire metal history. It is true that Tim Baker's rather chaotic expression demands a bit from the listener, but hell, the same goes with Scott Reagers of Saint Vitus as well! As a matter of fact, our "Cirith Ungol" started out as a homage to the band, and the Tolkien theme came actually later, through the title. This unbearably slow and colossal 23-minute funeral hymn that serves to end our debut album does not sound at all like the band Cirith Ungol, though!
12. All the images, photos and layouts I’ve seen on your homepage remind me of the legendary 70s as Doom Metal was celebrated by great acts such as BLACK SABBATH, WITCHFINDER GENERAL and so on... What would you say if I'd accuse you of being unoriginal (this is for sure NOT to be seen as negative)?
You do hit the spot, there. In a way, we are unoriginal, as we take all our inspiration from the music and the style of the bands we deeply admire and love. By combining only these specific elements, we attempt to result in music that would please us most. Nevertheless, we do feel that we have the competence to create something new from these traditional elements.
13. Do you believe in god? As I’ve seen, the REVEREND-BIZARRE-logo always contains two crosses in it.
Whether we believe or not is irrelevant. It is more like a question of style; just take a look at the imagery of the bands that were before us! Besides, to us the cross primarily symbolises death. Also, especially the Old Testament carries such visions of blood and murder that it is no wonder the early Christians had to write a new one with a totally different message! So, if there is any god that "exists" for Reverend Bizarre, it must be the old God of Judgement. And as I mentioned earlier, we consider Reverend Bizarre in between God and Satan. Actually, some of our lyrics even deal with black occultism and early Satanism.
14. Would you also write a text with political influences someday?
Probably not. As I already mentioned, the mission of this band is not a political one. On the other hand, it is sometimes a bit difficult to draw the line between political and un-political. Many songs by bands such as Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, and especially Count Raven deal with the current state of the world and the direction the negligence of our kind is taking it to. I think some of our lyrics (e.g. "To the Promised Land") could be taken in this way as well.
15. As I see you play quite often live: Where have you yet played? How’s the situation in Finland for an underground band: Is it easy to play in the clubs?
In the last two years we have done five gigs, all of them in very small venues, and we do not consider that much. Still, the situation has been surprisingly good for us, even if we haven't really been able to gather a following of our own. To answer your question: it is quite easy for underground bands to play in clubs, since most of the clubs aren't too big, either. The only problem is how to get the crowds interested in your music. As a matter of fact, our crowds have mainly been rather hostile towards us!
16. Which concerts will you do in future?
We have been planning to do a small-scale record release tour with the other two doom bands in Finland, Spiritus Mortis and Minotauri. Should this really happen, it would mean the first true doom gigs in Finland ever, so in case you are somewhere around in October, make sure not to miss this opportunity to check out the entire Finnish doom metal scene all at once! After the release, there will probably be some other tours and gigs as well, but we don't really know anything about that yet.
17. What about MASTERVOX RECORDS: Do they support and promote you strong?
That’s difficult to say at the moment, as we are still to release our first album through the label (or actually through Mastervox’s sublabel, Sinister Figure). So far we have got all we want from them, which is simply to be able to record and release our music on our own terms. We have been granted total artistic freedom, which was one of our top priorities. Another one was that the people we are working with must know where we come from. After visiting the Sinister Figure label manager Jukka in Oulu and hanging around with him in a couple of local bars (cheers to all the metalheads in Woodoo!), all our suspicions were wiped away. A true Sabbathian headbanger! Jukka actually told us that, prior to meeting us, he had been wondering whether or not he should wear his Black Sabbath shirt; eventually he had decided to come just as he was, and, hell, Peter and I were really left speechless when, instead of the well-dressed businessman we for some reason had been expecting to meet, we were welcomed by a bearded and long-haired doomster who actually wore an Aleister Crowley t-shirt! Doom what thou fucking wilt, man!
18. At last I’d like to know when we can expect new releases from REVEREND BIZARRE...?
“In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend“ should be out on the 12th of October, and after that we start rehearsing for our second album, “Crush the Insects!“. We have the material for about 4 full-length albums ready and waiting, so the release-rate depends mostly on Sinister Figure and Mastervox. And as for us… the Crusade goes ever on!
You come from a country that hasn't any special tradition to doom metal, like in other metal music kinds. How come you decided to play doom metal?
It's the style we love! How could we not play
it? The honesty and strength found in doom metal is rare in today's commercial
and over-polished music markets. Even metal isn't what it used to be, as
the importance of technicity and skills in general has constantly increased
at the cost of creativity and pure passion for the music itself - just
like it was before punk and later on NWOBHM declared war to the elitism
of the academic progressive rock.
As a sort of a prehistory to Reverend Bizarre, Albert got seriously interested in doom in the early 90's, although he had been listening to Witchfinder General's excellent "Friends of Hell" track on some heavy metal compilation already as a child. At first it was just ordinary record collecting, but then he started to want to play the music himself too. KLV, an experimental band he and Void had formed while at junior high, evolved into a kind of progressive gothic doom band, with elements from so many different music styles that, eventually, no one seemed to show any interested in the band. As Void moved to another town, Albert formed Reverend Bizarre for the first time. Luckily enough, he found in his friends a couple of guys ready to take part in his expedition to the core of doom. After a few years, Peter, too, moved away, actually to the same coastal town of Turku Void lived in. There he formed a progressive rock band called Mesmer, and somehow Void ended up playing drums in this band. Eventually Albert got to Turku as well, and as the old passion had never died, he and Peter decided to resurrect the Bizarre Reverend. The original drummer wasn't really interested in music anymore, so Void was asked to join the band.
So, we all have come here a bit different paths. Before Reverend Bizarre, Albert's musical interests lay in death/doom/heavy metal and some gothic shit, Peter had concentrated on listening to progressive rock and Metallica, and Void's background was in punk/hc, NWOBHM/doom, apocalyptic folk and neo-classic dark.
How are the things in Finland for doom metal? Are there serious doom metal activities?
No, the situation is very bad for doom around
here. As you may know, there are practically no bands, no venues to play
in, and no channels for publication in Finland. And how could there be,
when you can't find doom metal records in the record stores, you can't
get to hear the music on the radio, you can't read about the bands in magazines...
Well, to be frank, the things couldn't be much worse.
Now, however, it seems that there might be some sort of activity awakening here as well. Aside from us, there are three Finnish true doom bands, namely Minotauri, Spiritus Mortis (www.metalprovider.com/spiritusmortis; they have actually been around already from the late 80's!), and a bit more epic/gothic band called Majesty. Majesty have just recently released their first full-length album, Minotauri have released a 7" single, and both Spiritus Mortis and we have been signed to the Finnish Sinister Figure label. We have been in contact with all the bands mentioned above, and there are already plans for true doom tours, and perhaps even sampler records. Furthermore, Albert has written an article on the history of doom metal, and the first part, published in Finland's biggest metal magazine Suomi Finland Perkele (www.sfperkele.net), received a lot of praise from both the readers and the publishers. So, only time will tell what shall become of this.
Now how do you judge today's doom metal scene?
That's a difficult question, especially with the doom vs. stoner wars dividing the scene. The true doom scene seems to be in good condition as there are plenty of new bands. Still, how many of these are pure doom all the way is quite a different matter. The danger is that young fellows start to fool around with the groove/stoner bullshit. No good comes of that! The style has to be kept clean, or it will blend and die. Two of the more recent bands that we really appreciate are Warning and especially Cold Mourning.
Do you believe that like in other metal kinds there are major or minor differences between the american and the european doom metal scenes?
The differencies are pretty well hidden nowadays, as there are bands in Europe playing US style doom with the Maryland sound, while at the same time you find epic viking bands in the States. Perhaps the American scene is a bit more blues-oriented, though. Whereas our stylistic inspiration comes mainly from the British Isles, our sound has been greatly influenced by many American bands.
What do you think that R.B. can offer to doom metal?
We bring you the best sides of different doom styles in a single package, played slower and heavier than ever before! Besides, we can promise you that we shall never disappoint our fans with any slackness, be it of stoner influence or whatever. We try to be a kind of a schoolbook example of what doom at its best and worst can be.
Could you tell us somethings about "Slice of Doom"? Now that it's release is far behind are you happy (?) with the result of it?
The demo was recorded in an empty rehearsal house
in the middle of the woods of Lohja, our hateful place of birth. We practically
had no food, no running water, not even a toilet. We sneaked to shit on
some football field nearby in the dark of the nights (no, we did not have
any paper with us), and the trickiest part was to avoid the excrements
of those who had been there before us.
We started to record the demo with a digital 8-tracker of a friend of ours, but after we had finished the drums, guitars, and bass lines, the fucker ran out of memory. Thus, we had no choice than to mix the stuff we had come up with so far, get back to Turku and go to a cheap studio of a friend of ours, and record the remaining parts (ie. vocals, guitar solos, and keyboard parts) there. Nevertheless, we are actually getting more and more pleased with the outcome as time goes by. Although it didn't turn out much more than a lousily played demo recorded with crappy equipment in crappy circumstances, we still, somehow, managed to capture the spirit we were looking for on the songs. All this and our own capabilities at that time taken into consideration, we think we succeeded rather well.
I think that " Slice of Doom" is a great piece of doom metal. Is there any other characterization that might fit your music?
Heavy metal, down to the bone!
In your site you are reffered in more song than there are in "Slice of Doom". Do you plan to release these songs somehow?
Yes, all the songs are going to appear on our forthcoming releases. We already have material for about 4 albums, so now we don't have much more to do than concentrate on rehearsing and, eventually, recording the stuff. For those who just can't wait, check out these compilations: "Out of Focus - vol. I" included with Psychedelic Fanzine #8, "A Timeless Tale - A Tribute to Saint Vitus" by Raven Moon Records, "Not of This Earth" scifi tribute by Black Widow Records, "At the Mountains of Madness II" by Miskatonic Foundation, and "Doom… or be Doomed…" by the Greek doomsters Stoned Bunnies.
I think that a record is coming out. Can you give us all the thrilling details?
Sending "Slice of Doom" to all the true doom labels
we knew about didn't lead to any results, but after Malcolm Dome gave us
9/10 in Metal Hammer, we were contacted by a few record companies. They,
however, knew nothing about us and our Mission, they had just read the
review and thought that we might be profitable to invest in. It was clear
from the start that a record company we'd sign a deal with had to be aware
of what doom metal was all about.
Then, a Finnish label called Mastervox Records wrote to us and asked if we could send them our demo. We knew that there were no markets for this kind of music in Finland, and we didn't have too many copies of "Slice..." left, so we hesitated a bit. Reluctantly, we eventually sent them a copy with no covers. As it turned out, the guys at Mastervox were total doomsters, and they got so excited about us that they even wanted to release the demo we had sent them - just as it was! We assured them that we had better stuff coming up, and so they signed us to Mastervox's sublabel Sinister Figure for three albums.
The actual recording session, which fortunately is over by now, had its fair share of hardship, of course. The crappy drumset Void was cheated into buying several years earlier nearly fell to pieces under his blows; Peter's guitar suddenly just stopped maintaining the tune; Albert had serious difficulties with some of the vocal parts, since we had recorded most of the songs much slower than we had ever played them in our rehearsals; we had to record a couple of songs all over again, because we had forgotten to play some essential parts in them; the 6 tracks ended up a bit too long (ie. slow!), as the total length of the album is currently over 80 minutes (this is a problem we haven’t solved yet); the analogical recorder eventually cracked up; etc. etc. Oh yeah, not to mention the fights we had… Well, actually, we are trying to forget that part. We were all pretty tense back then, which made us say things that should have been left unsaid.
How the hell do you manage to write and to perform so slow, so lengthy and so heavy music?
We have no hurry, and the weight of the world is on the shoulders of everyone. Or, in other words, this all comes natural to us. The background for the heaviness of our music can be found in Lohja, the town we all grew up in. A bloody dismal place! But when it comes to playing the songs, well, that's a different matter. We do have difficulties getting through certain extremely slow parts, and we have to work hard in order to make them sound at least bearable. We are no virtuosos, you know. Still, we always strive at a heavier sound.
Do you believe that the stoner/heavy movement music harmed somehow doom metal or it didn't touched it at all?
There are at least two ways in which the stoner
trend has harmed doom metal. First of all, certain doom bands have suddenly
turned from heavy and dark metal into this groovy happy-shit rock'n'roll.
That makes you wonder why they ever played doom in the first place. Not
only single bands, but also entire record labels have switched camps in
their pursuit for commercial success. There are former doom labels that
no more bother to remain in contact with, let alone support, the underground
doom metal scene. It is sad to see this kind of things happen when people
start to make a living of something they really love.
Another problem is that the meaning of originally distinct terms has been obscured. There are already young bands that describe their music as doom (and are labelled as such in the press as well), but when you get to listen to them yourself you find out that they are nothing more than the worst kind of cosmic flower power soundscapes, or some fucking post-grunge! Obviously, the youth of today have not listened to Witchfinder General.
Do you play often live?
Not really. We've so far had five gigs in two years, and that's not too much.
Do you think that doom metal is the appropriate music for live appearances?
That depends on many things, most of all on the venue, the audience, and the band in question. If all these work together, then hell yeah! Unfortunately, our problem has been all of the three. Since nearly all the venues we've played in have concentrated on other styles than heavy metal, the audiences haven't really been able to appreciate our effort. Besides, our doom tends to be so unbearably slow that it may be too much even for the common metal audience. Since the overall atmosphere has usually been more or less hostile towards us, we ourselves haven't, of course, felt too good performing either. It's a vicious circle. Nevertheless... Those who know what we're all about have always come to thank us afterwards, so I guess we've been ok, after all. And if we can be ok live, I can't even imagine the impact bands such as Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Trouble, Solitude Aeturnus, etc. can have/could have had on the audience...
Can you give us some info about yor lyrics? From what I have seen you are into fantasy/horror fiction and movies.
That's right, most of our lyrics deal with the dark and obscure paths of the human mind, and that subject has been covered very thoroughly by such masters as Edgar Allan Poe, H.P.Lovecraft, etc. At the same time, we try to pay homage to the good old heavy metal way of saying things. Our lyrics can roughly be grouped into four: religion & occultism, horror romantics, death, and subjects rising from our personal lives (these are quite rare, though).
You have covered the theme form "Dr. Who". Is there any other song that you would like to cover?
Well, we play live Pentagram's "Broken Vows" (so in case someone is planning to release a tribute to them, we're the first band to record on it!), and our version of "Dark World" is included on the Saint Vitus tribute. Aside from those two tracks, we are also planning to cover some Manilla Road, and Burzum's "Dunkelheit". We have also this dream of making an entire cover album, which would include our most favourite doom/heavy metal classics. But that is really the last release we have in mind at the moment, so it will probably take its time. Perhaps we've even learned to play well enough by then!
In this issue there is going to be an article about St. Vitus. Any comments about them?
Well, like Violet Vortex put it, they are our fathers. The influence of Saint Vitus on today's doom scene is so tremendeous that only an ignorant fool would leave them behind and concentrate on the modern sound alone. They are a great inspiration to us, especially when it comes to the attitude. It was truly an honour to be granted the possibility to pay our own personal tribute to the band, so our warmest regards to Frank Owen for that! We really hope that also the public at large would some day find this important band.
I think that you have some friends here in Greece. Do you believe that someday we might see you live here?
We really hope and believe that we shall some day perform there. Greece is a magnificent country, and if it depends on us alone, we are definitely going to be there!
Is there anything you would like to add now that we are closing this interview?
Not really, you had it all pretty well covered. Just check out our album when it is released. Murdering metal mayhem with slow burning behemoth riffage, that's what you'll get!
That's all from me. Do you have anything to add?
Thank you very much for showing interest in our Mission, Giannis, and cheers to the guys of Kerveros, our doom brothers of Violet Vortex, and Tassos "Travelling Man" Tassopoulos. Doom over the fucking world!
Bombastic & Cataclismic fanzine
These words of Judgement were passed by Magister Albert (vocals, bass). The rest of the puritans fighting in the ranks of Rev. Bizarre are Peter Vicar (guitars) and Earl of Void (drums). Translated into English by Void.
1. Do a brief history about the band.
I founded the band around 1994, because I wanted to deepen my Doom Metal interest from mere reception of music to its production as well. The first line-up was active for about a year and a half. In 1999 the band was put back together again, and Void was asked to take care of the drumming. During that same year we made our only demo, Slice of Doom, through which we made a lot of contacts in the Doom underground, etc. Now, in 2001, we are finishing our first full-length album.
2. Tell us about Reverend Bizarre (on stage).
How has the band been accepted?
We always strive at a brutal performance with the heaviest sound possible, but so far we've only made it half way there. We haven't had the opportunity to play live or even rehearse much, so unconstrained playing is still in the works for us. We aim at an intensive but unpredictable performance. We don't want to end up too routined. Some people on our gigs have seemed quite enthusiastic, but most of the crowds don't seem to be too interested in our music. Finland is a very small country in terms of population, and there are only a handful of people into Doom here, so I guess it may not be that easy for the general crowd to get accustomed to our extremely slow playing.
3. The press in a lot of countries says that
Rock, Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Hardcore, Grind etc. are all dead and the
future of the music is Techno & Dance. What do you think about that?
In a way, techno is today's music, while Heavy Metal belongs to the past. What I mean is that techno is, more than Heavy, a manifestation of the time we are now living. But the music of the future is something about which we can have no idea yet… Perhaps it's just sound waves or mathematical formulas. I live in the past, and thus Heavy Metal suits me fine. Most of my influences come from the 80's, when I was going through my childhood.
4. What is the band's biggest influence?
The Doom Metal genre on the whole. On a more abstract level, all things that express darkness and horror.
5. What is the objective of the lyrics?
Referring to the previous question; horror romantics, occultism, reflections of destruction, the Old Testament, inner coldness and emptiness.
6. Give your opiniong about these themes:
Generally speaking, we have no political agenda when it comes to this band. Of course you can read things between the lines, but at least I have no interest in any straightforward effort to affect people. Actually, I don't give a fuck about what other people do, as long as they leave me alone. But since you asked, I'll try to comment the things you took up.
Possibly the subject matter I'm most interested in, in addition to death. I don't personally believe in any deity, but this doesn't stop me from writing about religion. To me, gods and demons are archetypes to things I find within myself. So on a certain level e.g. demons are for real. I guess my own conviction is closest to occultism.
b. Racism and Nazism
Racism is full of shit, and so is the political content of Nazism, but I am interested in the bombastic aesthetic used by the Nazis and fascists, in its ruthlessness and gloom.
This ideology has both positive and negative sides to it. I know too little of it to make any further comments. I am not interested in connecting myself with any specified ideology.
I have no personal tie or interested in this matter. It doesn't make any difference… But those who are against abortion and birth control can go to hell. It's a lot better to kill a fetus, whose life is still on a very conceptual level, than to bring into the world even more children who won't be loved in their childhood. I feel genuine sorrow and hatred when I see how the children are treated.
Those who want to use them should be allowed to do so. I couldn't care less. I'll do just fine with alcohol. Drug-inspired music is usually a load of shit, though, so on this level I am strongly against drugs.
f. Death Penalty
In principle, I'm really pissed by that lynching mentality which prevails especially in the USA, but if some fucker kills defenseless people and gets caught red-handed, then I think he deserves to die as well. Let's think about e.g. dictators guilty of genocide, or other clear cases. The problem lies more in the fact that if an innocent person is executed, there's no way to repair such a mistake. Those who oppose death sentence by appealing to the intrinsic value of life should think how they would react if someone hurt their close or loved ones. I'd at least thirst for vengeance. On the other hand, if I decided to commit a murder and would end up in prison, I'd rather die than sit there for the rest of my life. I don't hold human life sacred.
I guess this is somewhat the same as Nazism (which comes from the word 'nationalism'). One can value his or her native place, but this doesn't have to mean holding other places in contempt. One should remember that the original meaning of the word is not negative. Negative is what all the extreme right-wing wanker patriots make of it. Personally I feel strongly connected to the land I live on, to its climate and nature, and I don't think I could end up living the rest of my life somewhere else, but I do have great respect for other cultures as well and enjoy getting to know new countries. There are shitheads everywhere, just like there are nice people too. It has nothing to do with one's country or nationality.
7. To finish… Leave a message to the readers.
Doom What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law! Check out our forthcoming album, and decide yourself what you think of it. If nothing else, it will at least be HEAVY and SLOW! I just hope it would some day sell enough for us to come and perform over there in Brazil as well. I've heard you've got excellent metal crowds there!
Custom Heavy: The history of Reverend Bizarre is very interesting... Can you tell it to us in your own words? Who is currently in the band?
Magister Albert: Well, this history of ours has been told so many times that I'll try to cut it short this time. If anyone wants more details, he or she can visit our website. I founded Reverend Bizarre back in let's say latter part of the year 1994, and the first to join me was Peter Vicar. Back then our drummer was a mysterious man called Juippi, whom I knew from my other band or project called Wehrmacht. This line-up lasted until Peter moved to Turku, but we had had also various personal problems before that. I was really depressed, Juippi was a quite hard user of narcotics, and so on. And we were really poor as musicians. Horrible, you could say. I tried to keep RB alive with Juippi, but little by little it died. Then all kinds of things happened. The second coming of RB came true when I, too, moved to Turku and talked to Peter about re-starting our old band. I asked my old-band-mate Void (with whom I had played in a band called KLV) to take care of the drumming, and he was interested. And so, RB was alive again. We made a demo "Slice of Doom" in 1999 and sent it to a few labels, but didn't get much response. As we didn't have enough money to make another demo, we nearly ceased to exist as a band for a while. Then we had a message from mr Kyrö, who is the manager of Sinister Figure label. He was excited about our music, so we got a chance to do them an album. Recording that fucker is another long story, but to say it short; after all the problems and delays and broken equipment, the album is now ready and just waiting to be released.
Peter Vicar: Well… I remember that already in the first half of 1994 Albert and I had several discussions about starting a Black Sabbath cover band, just for the Hell of it... And then Albert had this weird dream about a band called Reverend Bizarre. Quite soon we had it going with our non-existent playing abilities. It's still actually quite amazing, hearing those old tapes now, how fucking raw and heavy we were even back then. No vocals on the tapes, it sounds like we were just trying to murder our instruments.
Void: I guess it was not that much of a surprise that I was asked to join this Mission as well when Reverend Bizarre was being resurrected, since besides playing in KLV with Albert I had also played in a band called Mesmer with Peter. Both of these bands had their roots more or less in the Sabbathian sound; KLV was strongly influenced by doom metal (although we never considered our music to be doom), while Mesmer followed closely in the vein of dark 70's heavy/progressive rock bands. Needless to say, I was very excited about joining the ranks of Rev. Bizarre!
Custom Heavy: Everyone that I've talked to that has heard you guys, either live or recorded, is blown away by your music! It's very raw and slow... very old school in its approach... What are some of the bands that have influenced Reverend Bizarre?
Albert: We are definitely delighted to hear that! Our main goal is to do music we like, and I think that if we manage to do this there will also be others who can find it pleasing - and with others I mean mainly the true Heavy Metal and Doom Metal audience. Maybe it's quite easy to guess our influences, but here comes some, though: Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General, Pentagram, Trouble, Count Raven, the Obsessed, Iron Man, Manowar, Venom, etc... And of course the mighty Sabbath. And it has to be said that when we started, one really important influence was Cathedral's first album, because it had this list of Doom bands, which helped us to find more music we could fall in love with.
Peter: We have also been influenced by that fucking stoner crap, desert rock, or whatever those hippies are called. From our hate we find strength to carry on our musical crusade!
Albert: Yeah! Strength through hate!
Void: And, if I may add one more slogan, old school or no school! Many of today's metal heads consider 80's heavy metal stupid and out-of-date, but all I can say is that I have nothing against these kids sticking to their nu-metal alone. Just keep it away from me, ok? And the same goes with all these poetically “depressed” gloomsters, and their completely opposite counterparts, the happy-go-lucky hot rod rockers. Get a life!
Custom Heavy: Most of you come from an Industrial part of Finland... Does where you live or your background have any influence on the music? If so, how?
Albert: My opinion is: definitely. I could not write this kind of music if not having lived in Lohja, which is an odd combination of beautiful nature and ugly buildings, and ignorant and violent people. I have been beaten up so many times I cannot even remember, and only because I differ from those rednecks. But as I said, Lohja made me play Doom and other kinds of dark music, so I have to be thankful of that. Now, living in Turku, I can write music when looking back at my life in Lohja or visiting there, and because I have become so misanthropic after all that has happened to me and what I have seen there. All those who dig our music should visit Lohja once in their lifetime. There's lots of activities.
Peter: Lots of activities... "You get your Cut from Lohja", as one really beautiful commercial stated... Yeah! (laughter)
Void: Did anyone mention that we all come from that same hellhole? Well, we do. And it's a fucked up place, as you may have figured out by now. This has naturally had an enormous impact on our personal lives and general activities, not of course least in the music we write and play.
Custom Heavy: What are your thoughts on the current underground music scene in Finland? I've recently become a big fan of Circle who play a sort of kraut/space rock hybrid. What do you think of the doom bands from there such as Minotauri and Spiritus Mortis?
Albert: I have no particular opinion about the Finnish underground scene. There are listeners to all kinds of music and I respect that. Of course there’s lots of bands that I truly hate, but I can't help it. I used to like Circle in the beginning, but I am not too interested in what they are doing nowadays. It truly has become more space-like. One band I would like to lift up is Finntroll. They are great! Rap is a big thing now among the youngsters, and maybe I'm not too pleased about it remembering my childhood when everyone listened to Iron Maiden, but I can't say what's good or bad. Everyone can do as they please. So youngsters keep listening to that rap if you will, but leave me be with my relic music taste. Minotauri and Spiritus Mortis are almost like brothers to us. I like both very much, musically and as persons. I think that everyone who is into Doom should check them out. Great music! We have had good time with them so far, and in the future we will have even better time!
Peter: We have done so far two shows with these maniacs of Minotauri, and Spiritus Mortis... What a fucking great scene! Who would have believed it could be possible to have a 100% old school Doom Metal concert in Finland?! We just love it to Death to play with them - up the Hammers!
Albert: Can three bands form a scene?
Void: I guess that depends on what you mean by a scene. If it's just the bands, then I'm not very convinced, but in my opinion a scene encompasses so much more than mere musicians. There are a lot of people here in Finland who are totally into classic doom and heavy metal, but they just don't know about each other or the rest of the doom scene. What is great is that now we - that is Spiritus Mortis, Minotauri, and us - have somehow managed to make some contacts with these people, perhaps even unite them a bit. And that is how scenes are formed. I think Peter meant something like that, since he was referring to our Friends of Hell doom metal tour and all, right?
Peter: Hell yeah! Our three bands are the dark seed sown in these regions… In my opinion there are many potential doomsters around, just waiting to realise the fact! Anyway, if you are into Sabbath… and who serious Metal Maniac isn't?! Think of the situation in England, where they have Solstice, Warning (I hope they still exist), and Electric Wizard… Just in comparison… Those three bands sure as Hell form a giant fist to crush the weak supporters of flower power.
Void: I think the general Finnish underground scene is best known abroad for its experimental nature. Circle is only one band in a set of sincerely original bands that started to gain recognition in the early 90's. There's nothing wrong with being experimental, but when every band is demanded rapid development and even changes in their musical style, then things get pretty fucked up. I'd say this whole “musical progress” thing has already turned into a non-progressive “style” of its own, with every second band promoting themselves as a champion of some new genre, and shit like that.
Custom Heavy: Does the band get to play live very much? If so, what are the live performances like? I imagine lots of candles onstage...
Albert: We don't play live too often, but that suits us well, for we all have also many other activities. I think we play as often as we should. Our "shows" are quite minimalistic. The music is what matters. No candles or other gothic and gloomy shit. The darkness comes from our music which destroys everything near it. I guess our gigs could be seen as quite similar to the shows of Vitus or other "roots" bands.
Peter: Right! No tired sadness, just the power of ultra-slow Doom Metal! But it's just great to see how people still seem to relate to our Gospel, even if we don't offer them any state-of-the-art gimmicks or even proper lights. It's just us, standing there, playing with devotion... Of course the faster NWOBHM style numbers put both us and our audience on the move.
Void: I don't know… I still think we'd need to do a lot of work about our live performances… But hell, I'm never satisfied with anything anyway. Besides, we've been always told that our gigs are extremely heavy, and isn't that what this is all about?
Albert: Yeah! The truth is that technically we may stink, but what is important is the heaviness, and we are HEAVY!
Custom Heavy: You have the CD-R of “Slice of Doom” out now and you are soon to release your first full length album, “In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend” on Sinister Figure. How would you compare the two works? Are some of the songs from "Slice..." also on “In the Rectory...”?
Albert: The album is a hundred times heavier than the demo, and nowadays we can almost play our instruments properly. Everything is darker and more destructive, well, more DOOM! The original demo had these moments of almost stoner vibes (like on Pyramids of Mars) and shit like that. Now all that has gone, and what is left is total darkness and murder, but in a way and style that makes Doom fans feel good, for our music isn't any pathetic Gothic Death Doom either. The album is also much slower than the demo. There's one song from the demo included, the title track In the Rectory, which is the first song I ever wrote for RB.
Peter: I've been lately listening to the mastered CD of "In the Rectory...", and it just brings fucking tears to my eyes when the bass drum hits me like a raging bull! The sounds of Apocalypse!!!
Void: That they truly are… But I'm afraid a large part of the metal audience is going to dismiss this effort of ours as too slow and boring. Well, that's their loss. Did you know that there are actually some people who consider “Forest of Equilibrium” Cathedral's worst album!?! What the hell have they been smoking?
Albert: I just hope the only smoke drifting around them would arise from their own flesh burning… Ha!
Custom Heavy: Are any of you into the occult at all? More than just reading about it I mean? What are your thoughts on religion either organized or individual?
Albert: I used to be more into occult few years ago. I mean rituals and shit like that, but nowadays I don't have time and interest for this kind of dedication. I do collect and read books on occult still though, and I could say I am a half-time student of occult arts, Crowley, Spare, Levi, Abra-Melin etc... I know enough about these things I can say I know nothing! There is so much to find and learn! Anyway these kinds of things give me lots of inspiration! Peter is also deeply interested in Occult Arts, but our difference is perhaps that I am more into darker things, Left Hand Path and Black magic. We do talk quite much about esoteric things, Abraxas, Odinism etc...
Peter: I have always been more a scholar than a practicioner when it comes to Occult Arts, but I find these sealed traditions causing me obsession like no other! Hermetic Ritual Magic, and Qabalah are the root. The Templars, Freemasonry, The Golden Dawn, Waite, Mathers, Regardie, just to mention a few Albert missed or avoided... And northern mythologies influence us greatly as a band. Of course these Occults Arts filter into Albert's and my songwriting... But then again, so do the old horror flicks, Old Testament, and the shit like that...
Void: So, I'm the only profane member of this band. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be interested in sagas, belief systems, etc., but on a strictly cultural level. In my opinion, organised religion is the root of many evils, and this has led to my negative stance even when it comes to the individual sense of religion. I used to “believe” in some kind of a god when I was a kid, but only because I was taught to think that way, only because I grew up with this “fact” never questioned. Many people seem to need someone or something to tell them how to lead their lives, so that they would not be responsible of their actions themselves. Thus I say: No gods, no masters! Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!
Custom Heavy: What are you guys currently listening to? Any bands past or present you really love? I've read that Albert likes Amon Duul II... A friend recently hipped me to that band.
Albert: Right now I am listening to bands like Trollmann av Ildtoppberg, Ungl'unl'rrlh'chch, Summoning, Gehenna, the new Pentagram album of course, Blood Axis, and Iron Man as always. I have lately been into more experimental music for a while, again, and I am actually starting a new experimental project of my own. These things come periodically. Sometimes I listen to only old school Doom, or Black metal, or no metal at all. Amon Düül II is great, even though I don't like these other Kraut or Prog Rock bands too much. It has to be said that one of my biggest favourites is Burzum! All you so-called Doom fans there, listen to Burzum, it's slow, brutal, dark and beautiful!
Peter: Right now I'm in the depths of old Heavy and Doom Metal, like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar, Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General, Pentagram, Saint Vitus... Pretty much the same as our influences as a band... Besides Metal, I'm into darker prog rock bands, namely Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Black Widow, etc... Lately I've found that my obsession on the Ennio Morricone's Western themes has returned... These things just come in cycles... Right now I'm much into music with any kind of power!
Albert: Shall the truth be known: Conan the Barbarian soundtrack is perhaps the greatest recording ever! And we are always into music with any kind of power! I don't recall you listening to any whining hippie shit lately, or what?
Peter: (in falsetto) “Strawberries mean love…” Hell no! Crush the Insects!!!
Void: Well, power in music is very important to me as well, be it the passionate and anger-filled lyrics of anarcho-punk/hc like Conflict and Catharsis, or the uplifting intensity of true heavy metal like Manilla Road and Manowar - not to mention our fellow doom-sayers Warning, Solstice, and Cold Mourning. Also, I have always felt comfortable listening to various styles of melancholic music, from Dead Can Dance to Current 93 to The Candles Burning Blue. But Albert truly said it; the mighty Conan soundtrack by Basil Poledouris is one of my all-time favourites as well!
Albert: All Hail the good old Basil! And cheers to Pale Divine! I've been listening to their debut album a lot lately!
Custom Heavy: Thanks for the interview… Anything else you'd like to say?
Albert: Thanks to you, Chris! Check out our forth-coming album and stay Doomed!
Peter: Support your local Doom Metal underground, make the Brotherhood prosperous! Hail Caesar!
Albert: Hail Odinn!
Void: I guess that pretty much sums it up...
Vanhan liiton doom-musiikkia edustava Reverend Bizarre on ensimmäisellä levyllään herättänyt erittäin paljon kiinnostusta alkukantaisen doom-henkisen musiikkinsa ansiosta. Suomi on pitkään edustanut perinteistä doom-metallia, mutta harvemmin korviin kantautuu näin voimakkaasti kuvailevaa "sitä oikeata kunnon doomia" kuten "In The Rectory Of The Bizarre Reverend"-levy. Magister Albert saatiin vastaamaan pariin kysymykseen, joista tuhansien järvien maa voi ylpeillä. Onneksi meillä on kännyköiden, rallikuskien ja hiihtomaajoukkueen lisäksi hyviä bändejä, tässä yksi niistä.
Miten Reverend Bizarre sai alkunsa? Biografia lyhyesti.
-Kyllä se lähti ihan yksinkertaisesti siitä, että piti saada vähän soitella doom metallia. Joskus vuoden 1994 lopulla kokosin tuon ensimmäisen kokoonpanon, jossa oli Peten lisäksi ukkeli nimeltään Juippi. Vaikutteet otettiin niistä harvoista doom-levyistä joita tuolloin olin onnistunut käsiini saamaan. Varmaankin Saint Vitusin "Die Healingia", Pentagramin kahta ensimmäistä pitkäsoittoa ja ehkä jotain Troublea silloin kuunneltiin, ja Witchfinder Generalia ja Black Sabbathia tietysti. Aika suurella todennäköisyydellä omistin silti Lohjan kattavimman doom-kokoelman, koska tuohon aikaan tyylisuuntaa ei kotipaikkakunnallamme tuntenut juuri kukaan. Ensimmäinen biisi jonka bändille tein oli "In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend", joka nyttemmin löytyy sekä '99 demolta, että levyltä. Aika karua ja alkukantaista oli soittomme tuolloin, eikä ollut oikein biisejäkään koossa. Peten "Sodoma Sunrise" on toinen noilta ajoilta peräisin oleva biisi, jonka olemme nyt myöhemmin levyttäneet. Sitä emme aikoinaan ehtineet koskaan treenata, sillä yhtyeen aktiivinen toiminta ehti lopahtaa ennen kuin biisi oli täysin valmis. Varsinainen loppu tuli kun Pete muutti Turkuun. Kyllähän minä Juipin kanssa vielä senkin jälkeen joskus treenailin, ja joskus vuoden '97 tienoilla haaveilimme tosissamme, että jatkaisimme bändin kanssa ja tekisimme ensimmäisen suomalaisen true doom-levyn. Peten kanssa kävin aiheesta kirjeenvaihtoa, mutta treenejä emme saaneet aikaiseksi. Oli oikeastaan aika onnekasta, että toimintaamme tuli tuo vuosien tauko, koska kun vuonna '99 jatkoimme musisointia oli meillä jo aika kattava asiantuntemus aiheesta ja pystyimme tekemään täysipainoisempaa doom-musiikkia. Takana oli myös vuosien musisointia muissa bändeissä, joten soittotaitokin oli hieman parempi kuin alussa. Voidin kanssahan olin soitellut erinäisissä kokoonpanoissa jo vuodesta '92.
Mistä nimi RB on peräisin, Lewis Carrollista?
-Ihan omasta päästäni on tuo nimi peräisin. Alun perin tuota oli tarkoitus käyttää yhden noise projektin nimenä joskus vuosien '92-'93 paikkeilla. Nimen syntyyn eivät siis vaikuttaneet mitkään doom yhteydet. Ehkä jonkinlaisena inspiraation antajana oli King Crimson. Oli varmasti hauska vitsi silloin… Kun sitten aloitimme doom-musisoinnin oli päivänselvää, että nimi Reverend Bizarre otetaan käyttöön, olihan esikuviemme joukossa nimiä kuten Saint Vitus, Count Raven ja Witchfinder General. Lewis Carrollin tuotanto on kyllä tuttua, mutta Reverend Bizarrea en osaa ihan heti yhdistää mieheen. Kieltämättä hänen vapaa-ajan harrastuksissaan oli aika bizarreja piirteitä.
Olet itse ollut mukana muissakin projekteissa kuten KLV ja The Candles Burning Blue. Vieläkö ko. bändit ovat aktiivisia vai nouseeko niiden tuhkasta uusia säädöksiä?
-KLV ei enää ole aktiivinen, mutta tämän vuoden lopussa tulee täyteen kymmenen vuotta sen perustamisesta ja tästä syystä on ollut Voidin ( joka on siis yhtyeen toinen jäsen ) kanssa puhetta, että nauhoittaisimme muutamia ennen kuulemattomia kappaleita "juhlan" kunniaksi ja eräänlaiseksi päätökseksi koko projektille. Olen tehnyt KLV-biisit niin paljon nuorempana, etten niitä kaikkia voi täysin enää allekirjoittaa ja uusia ei ole syntynyt joten mitään syytä jatkamiseen ei ole, varsinkin kun emme koskaan sanottavampaa menestystä onnistuneet osaksemme saamaan. The Candles Burning Blue on juuri valmistelemassa toista pitkäsoittoa, mutta julkaisijasta ei vielä ole varmuutta. Keikkoja on tehty harvakseltaan, mutta tasaisesti. Periaatteessa KLV:n tuhkasta on noussut sooloprojektini Herven Agal, koska olen joitakin KLV-aikaisia biisejä sovittanut uudelleen tätä uutta projektiani varten. Yhdistävä tekijä on myös erilaisten tyylien yhdistäminen.
Kertoisitko hieman vielä uudesta Herven Agal projektistasi?
-Kyseessä on sooloprojekti, joka antaa minulle mahdollisuuden tehdä musiikkia ilman mitään kompromisseja. Reverend Bizarressa genrerajojen olemassaolo on täysin tiedostettu ja erittäin keskeinen asia, mutta Herven Agal ei tunnusta muita rajoja kuin omat mieltymykseni. En kuitenkaan tarkoita, että hyvin selvästi genretietoisen musiikin soittaminen olisi minulle rasite tai rajoite, päinvastoin, mutta musiikilliset intressini ovat siinä määrin laajalla ja hajanaisella alueella, että ajatus vain tietyn tyyppisen musiikin tekemisestä on täysin mahdoton. The Candles Burning Bluessa meillä on mahdollisuus kokeiluihin, mutta Herven Agalissa voin viedä kaiken huomattavasti pidemmälle. Harrastin aikoinaan piirtämistä ja kirjoittamista. Ammensin inspiraationi "omasta sisäisestä" maailmastani. Samasta vaikkakin suuresti muuttuneesta maailmasta on lähtöisin Herven Agal. Keskeisiä elementtejä ja inspiraation lähteitä ovat maaperä, eloonjäämisen taistelu, kurinalaisuus ja ajoittainen kaipuuni pois ihmisten keskuudesta. Näin tänään pitkästä aikaa elokuvan "Jäniksen vuosi" ja siinä kuvataan hienosti tätä viimeksi mainittua aspektia. Vaikka ensimmäinen kokonaisuus ( albumimittainen cd-r ) tulee sisältämään hyvin raskaitakin osuuksia ei varsinaisesta metallimusiikista mielestäni kuitenkaan voida puhua.
Valoisten hetkien toisella puolella
Teitte aikoinaan myös demo-nauhan, jonka myötä myös päädyitte Sinister Figurelle. Muistaakseni teillä oli joitain ongelmia studiossa. Oliko Sinister Figuren ohella muita varteenotettavia lafkoja?
-Sekä demon, että levyn tekemisessä oli suuria ongelmia. Demon jouduimme nauhoittamaan digitaalisella raiturilla, jossa oli vain kaksi sisääntuloa, joten emme voineet soittaa useita instrumentteja samanaikaisesti. Void joutui soittamaan ensin rummut yksin, ilman mitään demoraitoja, ja tämän jälkeen yritimme sovittaa sitten muut soittimet rumpuraidan päälle. Lauluja emme voineet enää samalla laitteella tehdä koska muisti loppui. Teimme välimiksauksen, mikä ei ole koskaan kovin järkevää ja nauhoitimme urut ja laulut studiossa. Samassa studiossa teimme myös levyn. Ongelmia riitti. Studio muutti toiseen paikkaan kesken nauhoitusten, josta johtuen joudumme pitämään varsin mittavan tauon. Muutoinkin mahdollisuutemme käyttää studiota olivat epäsäännölliset, koska aina oli joku muu siellä hommailemassa. Hermot olivat kireällä kaiken kaikkiaan. Loppuvaiheessa meni ensin kelanauhuri paskaksi ja lopulta kaikulaite. Tuntui välillä siltä, ettei levy valmistu koskaan. Lisäksi olimme treenanneet niin huonosti, johtuen siitä, ettei meillä ole omaa treenitilaa, että soittokaan ei oikein sujunut, vaan jouduimme runkkaamaan tiettyjä kohtia tuntikaupalla. Ja voin sanoa, että on varsin vittumaista nauhoittaa rumpuja parikymmenminuuttiseen biisiin. Yksikin virhe ja palataan alkuun. Vaikka studioaikaa käytimme tuntimääräisesti varsin vähän, jakaantui se todella pitkälle ajalle. Taukoja oli koko ajan, eikä tästä johtuen päästy kovin intensiivisiin studiotyöskentely jaksoihin. Nauhoitusten päätyttyä emme meinanneet saada sopivaa masterointi aikaa ja sitten saimme vielä tapella kansitaiteesta. Tämä ensimmäinen levy oli niin raskas prosessi, että olin henkilökohtaisesti jo aikeissa irtisanoutua koko hommasta. Sinister Figure oli ainoa levy-yhtiö, joka oli meistä kiinnostunut ja hekin ottivat yhteyttä viime tingassa, koska olimme niin vittuuntuneita siitä, että kukaan ei ollut kiinnostunut eikä meillä ollut mahdollisuutta uuden demon tekemiseen, että olimme aikeissa siirtyä taas telakalle. Black Widow oli jo aiemmin kylläkin ottanut yhteyttä, mutta meidän olisi pitänyt muuttaa sovituksiamme progressiivisemmiksi huiluilla ja uruilla, ja tähän emme tietenkään suostuneet. Erityisen käärmeissämme olemme Rise Aboven väelle sillä heiltä emme saaneet mitään vastausta, vaikka lähetimme live-videonkin kylkiäisenä. Onneksi emme heille päässetkään. Hirveätä paskaahan sieltä tulee.
Saitte julkaistua erittäin perinteitä kunnioittavan debyytin. Oletteko itse tyytyväisiä kokonaisuuteen?
-Olen hieman huono vastaamaan tähän sillä minulla meni aika kauan ennen kuin pystyin kuuntelemaan koko tuotosta lainkaan. Koska olen tehnyt valtaosan levyn biiseistä ja osa teemoista on jo vuosien takaa (vanhimmat biisit kuten 'In the Rectory ja Hour of Death', joka oli alun perin KLV:n "ohjelmistoa ovat vuosilta 1994-1995) ja olen niitä "mukanani kantanut", on niiden siirtäminen tallenteelle "oikeassa muodossa" täysin mahdotonta. Koskaan ei voi päästä siihen mitä mielessään kuulee tai luulee kuulevansa. Olin suoraan sanottuna aluksi varsin pettynyt jo ajatukseen koko levystä sen ilmestyttyä. Minulla oli mielikuvia siitä kuinka paska ja keskeneräinen se olisi. Tämä kuitenkin perustui henkilökohtaiseen loppuunpalamiseen ja frustraatioon. Olisin halunnut siirtyä eteenpäin ja erota koko bändistä ja siksi aloitinkin työskentelyn Herven Agalin parissa juuri nyt ( Olen sitäkin suunnitellut jo vuodesta '98). Nyt olen kuitenkin kuunnellut levyä pari kertaa ja voin sanoa olevani itse asiassa varsin tyytyväinen. Vappuna tulin sopivassa kännissä kotiin ja kuuntelin levyn alusta loppuun korvalaput korvilla ja kaikki vitutus purkautui ja oloni oli todella vapautunut, suorastaan liikuttunut. Olin jo aikeissa soittaa ukoille ja jauhaa jotain paskaa siitä kuinka hienon levyn olemme tehneet, mutta onneksi en siihen sentään sortunut. Tästä "nostattavasta" kokemuksesta lähtien olen suhtautunut taas valoisammin yhtyeemme tulevaisuuteen. Ehkä ajatus ensimmäisestä levystä oli minulle liikaa ja tasapaino yksinkertaisesti järkkyi. Biiseihin olen ollut tyytyväinen koko ajan, ja suurimmilta osin soittoonkin, mutta alkuun harmitti se, että miksaus suoritettiin niin nopeasti. Kyllähän levyllä olisi paljon voitu tehdä toisin, mutta käytössä olevan rahamäärän ja ajan sekä prosessin aikana läpi käydyt ongelmat huomioiden voin sanoa, että parempaan emme varmastikaan olisi pystyneet, joten olemme kaikkemme antaneet. Seuraavasta levystä tulee kuitenkin huomattavasti parempi, koska osaamme varautua vastaan tuleviin ongelmiin ja biisejä on soitettu enemmän jo nyt. Toki on syytä olla tyytyväinen jo pelkästään siitä syystä, että pystyimme tekemään levyn, joka sisältää näinkin marginaalista musiikkia ilman että olisimme joutuneet suostumaan kompromisseihin. Saimme Sinister Figurelta täysin vapaat kädet, mistä suuri kiitos! Sitä paitsi haaveemme on nyt miltei toteutunut: Minotauri tosin ehti singellään ennen meitä, joten ensimmäistä suomalaista vanhan koulun doom-levyä emme saaneet omiin nimiimme, mutta käsittääkseni tämä on ensimmäinen tämän tyylinen pitkäsoitto Majestya en laske tässä yhteydessä traditionaaliseksi doomiksi, ja luulenpa että Lord Gravehill on asiasta samaa mieltä kanssani. Kaiken kaikkiaan yhtyeemme tulevaisuus näyttää nyt aika hyvältä, vaikka seuraavan levyn julkaisusta ei tällä hetkellä olekaan tietoa. Edessä on sopivan mittainen tauko, jonka aikana voimme kaikki ladata itsemme täyteen tuhoa ja tuomiota ja palata sitten "taistelukentille" raikkaina ja intoa puhkuen!
Minkälaisen vastaanoton levy on saanut ulkomailla, täälä kotimaassahan siitä ainakin on pidetty?
-Tällä hetkellä olen kuullut ja lukenut vain muutamia kommentteja, jotka ovat olleet poikkeuksetta positiivisia. Osasimme kyllä odottaakin sitä, että ns. doom-maailmassa vastaanotto tulee olemaan suopea, koska jo demo tuntui kiinnostavan monia. Mielenkiinnolla odotan arvioita ja muuta kommentointia. Tämän tyyppistä musiikkia ei kovin moni kuuntele, joten mitään suurta suosiota emme toki odottelekaan, mutta täytyy toivoa, että kaikkia halukkaat tuon levyn saavat käsiinsä ja, että niiltäkin jotka eivät doomia muuten kuuntele tai edes tunne löytyy kylliksi mielenkiintoa, että uskaltautuvat levyn hankkimaan tai ainakin "tsekkaamaan".
Doom What Thou Wilt!
Mitä mieltä olette modernin doom metal -genren bändeistä kuten Unholy, Skepticism, Shape Of Despair suhteessa vanhan liiton doom bändeihin verrattuna?
-Meille toki läheisempiä ovat vanhan liiton bändit, mutta olemme kyllä kuunnelleet myös näitä modernimman tyylin edustajia, etenkin Unholya, jota Lohjalla käytimme kaljanjuonnin taustamusiikkina. "Juhlamme" olivat aika synkkää laatua. Molemmilla suuntauksilla on paikkansa ehdottomasti, mutta hieman vituttaa joidenkin uuden linjan fanien suhtautuminen vanhoihin bändeihin. Heille vain nämä modernit yhtyeet edustavat doomia ja kaikki muu on jotain rokkia tai vastaavaa. On meitäkin nimitelty doom rockiksi jne…Jos me olemme rokkia niin siinä tapauksessa joku Judas Priest on poppia, mitä he eivät siis todellakaan ole!!! Vielä pahempi loukkaus olisi kutsua meitä stoner rockiksi!!! Se tietäisi jo totaalista sotaa! Skepticismilta en omista kuin ensimmäisen levyn, mutta keikoilla olen kuullut uudempiakin kappaleita. Totuuden nimissä pidän enemmän niistä vanhoista. Unholynkaan uudempi materiaali ei kolahda ihan samalla voimalla kuin pari ensimmäistä, joten tieto hajoamisesta oli oikeastaan huojentava. Shape of Despair ei ensimmäisen levyn perusteella liiemmälti kiinnosta, kuten ei myöskään useiden ylistämä Thergothon, vaikka kunnioitusta herättää se, että niin nuoret pojat ovat 90-luvun alussa tehneet jotain mitä yhä pidetään esikuvallisena ympärimaailmaa. Aika monta (paskaakin) bändiä on Thergothonin innoittamana perustettu. Omiin korviini heidän musiikkinsa kylläkin aiheuttaa lähinnä hilpeyttä. Kokeellisemmista "doom"-bändeistä parhaimmat ovat minun mielestäni ehdottomasti Trollmann av Ildtoppberg ja Until Death Overtakes Me. Nämä kaksi ovat melko lähellä Herven Agalinkin henkeä, vaikka marssiosasto puuttuukin. Meille termi doom merkitsee kuitenkin nimenomaan tätä old school-meininkiä ja siitä pidetään kiinni. Ja jos ihan rehellisesti puhutaan, emme edes pidä näitä "moderneja" bändejä doom metallina, sillä heidän lähtökohtansa ovat useimmiten lähinnä death metallissa, kun taas "true" doom-orkestereilla esikuvat ovat Black Sabbathissa, Saint Vitusissa, Candlemassissa ja muissa vastaavissa.
Biisit eivät ainakaan ole nopeudella taikka lyhyydellä pilattuja, mutta RB tuskin koskaan tulee tekemään radio-edit versioita euro chartia varten vai?
-Eipä meillä ole oikein mahdollisuuttakaan moiseen operaatioon, eikä syytäkään. Biisimme eivät ole mitään radiosoittomusiikkia. Poikkeuksellisesti yhtä biisiämme on radiossa jopa soitettu! Metalliliitossa soi "Doom over the worldin" raituriversio. Kyseinen kappale tulee avaamaan seuraavan levyn. Toivoa sopii, että tuolta levyltä löytyy muitakin radiobiisejä, että saadaan vähän korvauksia. Levylle tulee muutenkin hieman nopeampia ja lyhyempiä kappaleita. Oikeastaan voidaan siis puhua vieläkin vanhakantaisemmasta doomista. Tämä ensimmäinen levyhän on huomattavasti perinteistä tyyliä hitaampaa.
Stoner rock on viime vuosina noussut median trendin aallon harjalle. Ette ilmeisesti itse pidä stonerista, vaikka Electric Wizard on päätynytkin kiitoslistalle, ja havaittavissa on myös joitain stoner ja proge elementtejä?
-Stoner ja proge elementtejä…huh huh…alkaapa kiristämään pään tienoilla…jos tuollaisia elementtejä on kuultavissa johtuvat ne siitä, että meillä ja stoner bändeillä on samoja esikuvia kuten Black Sabbath ja vaikkapa Blue Cheer, mutta en näe että meillä on mitään yhteistä stoner rockin kanssa. Minulle raja menee riffinen intensiteetissä ja sanoitusten aiheissa. Me emme laula kärpässienistä ja jostain saatanan taikahatuista ja marenkipilvistä, emmekä soita mitään laid back riffejä ja tehosta musiikkiamme kivoilla psyke-efekteillä. Meille stoner rock ja kaikki siihen liittyvä autojenrassaus, skeittailu, autiomaahihhulointi ja kukkien haistelu on selvin esimerkki ihmiskunnan rappiosta! Ja mitä tulee Electric Wizardiin, niin kyseinen yhtye on ihan omaa sarjaansa. Tylyin ja sairain yhtye mitä tiedän. Se, että ukkelit vetävät kaikkia mahdollisia aineita ei tee heistä mitään happy shit stoneria. Kieltämättä heidän levyillään on elementtejä joita emme itse käyttäisi, pulputuksia ja vastaavaa ja kansissa tällaisia amerikkalaistyylisiä tissikuvia etc…mutta pääosin diggailen yhtyettä kyllä aika helvetisti. En katsoisi heidän kuuluvan samaan kategoriaan jonkun Sleepin tai varsinkaan Orange Goblinin tai Fu Manchun kanssa. Unelmamme olisi päästä soittamaan Electric Wizardin lämppärinä! Itse asiassa kusetin Peteä aprillipäivänä tällä aiheella. Väitin, että Jone Nikula olisi soittanut minulle ja pyytänyt meitä Nosturiin Electric Wizardin lämppäriksi. Mies oli todella vihainen kun totuus paljastui. Odottelen kostoiskua yhä suurella pelolla! Olemme kaikki kuunnelleet progeakin, mutta pyrimme välttämään näitä vaikutteita musiikissamme. Itse inhoan nykyisin koko proge-genreä. Saatanan shakinpelaajat fiilistelevät muna pystyssä jotain vitun taidefuusiopaskaa ja höystävät koko roskan karmivilla sooloilla ja synamatoilla, silloin kun eivät hämyile jossain "gilgamesh"-utuverhojen takana. Van Der Graaf Generator on hyvä, mutta kaikki nykyproge tyyliin Dream Theatre on kyllä jotain hirvittävää. Hyi saatana. Petelle tulee Colossus lehti ja sen kylkiäisenä tulee näitä mainoskokoelmia, jotka sisältävät "uusia" kykyjä. Voisin saatana tappaa jos minut pakotettaisiin kuuntelemaan moista epäinhimillistä nössöilyä tuntia kauempaa. Uskoakseni muutkin sällit allekirjoittavat tämän. Biisejä sovittaessamme pyrimme välttämään ei-toivottuja elementtejä, mutta ainakin minulla nuo biisit syntyvät aika "luonnollisesti" ja jos sinne jotain huruhommia sattuu mukaan eksymään, niin ei niitä automaattisesti pois leikata. Olihan Black Sabbathillakin jotain tahtilaji kikkoja. Pahimmat progeilut tietysti poistetaan. Voidilla on varma tapa saada minut suuttumaan treeneissä. Lause "Tuo oli kyllä aika progea" riittää mainiosti ajamaan minut raivohulluuteen. Ero on siinä, etten itse tee noita juttuja siksi, että ne olisivat jotenkin edistyksellisiä tai nokkelia vaan koska ne tulevat tietyssä muodossa päähäni. Pääsääntöisesti pyrimme mahdollisimman yksinkertaiseen soitantaan. Ihanne olisi tietysti tuollainen Saint Vitus tyylinen biisimateriaali, mutta toistaiseksi emme hallitse noin tiukkaa minimalismia. Mainittakoon, että Petellä on oma progebändikin, Mesmer, jossa Void paukuttaa rumpuja, ja itse asiassa minä lauloin demolla, eli oma pesä on liattu, mutta se ei ole mitään "proge on iloinen asia"-paskaa vaan lähempänä juuri tuota mainitsemaani Van Der Graafia. Tulen olemaan mukana myös ensimmäisellä Mesmer levyllä jahka sellainen joskus tulee, eli koko Reverend Bizarre on siis edustettuna, mikä tiedoksi keräilijöille. Ja olihan KLV:lläkin progressiiviset hetkensä. Vaan ei ole enää. Toivonpa totisesti ettei meitä enää tämän paasaamisen jälkeen yhdistetä tuollaisiin alhaisiin asioihin.
Olette heittäneet keikkaa ainakin Pohjanmaalla ja Turussa, mutta miltä keikkarintama näyttää lähitulevaisuudessa?
-Missä muualla sitä ihmisen pitäisi sitten soittaakaan kuin Pohjanmaalla ja Turussa, paitsi tietysti Lohjalla, joka meille vielä on haaveen asteella. Aika hiljaiselta näyttää keikkarintama, johtuen osittain omasta päätöksestämme. Jätämme keikkailun kokonaan ennalta määräämättömäksi ajaksi, koska keskitymme kukin omilla tahoillamme muihin hommiin ( Mesmer, Herven Agal jne), ja jossain vaiheessa alamme treenata seuraavaa levyä varten. Vähänhän noita keikkoja on tehty ja vähän niitä tullaan aina tekemään, jotta jokin innostus ja ainutkertaisuuden tunne säilyy. Osittain tämä johtuu myös siitä, että olemme varsin kiireisiä kaikki kolme ja musiikki on meille vain harrastus. Itse en edes pidä keikkojen tekemisestä, vaikka takahuoneessa onkin hauska istua. Viikon päästä on Tampereella Friends of Hell-keikka, joka lienee viimeinen sitä lajia vähään aikaan, ja mahdollisesti loppukesästä soitamme yhden keikan Helsingissä, mutta siitä ei ole varmuutta vielä.
Onko mahdollisesti ulkomaan kiertueesta ollut puhetta?
-Ei. Tuskinpa tällaista on tulossa ihan heti. Yleisöä tuskin edes löytyisi riittävästi. Mukava olisi lähteä kyllä katsastamaan, vaikka enpä tiedä olisiko se kaiken vaivan arvoista. Minua ei kiinnosta etenkään tuo treenaaminen niin kovin paljoa ja jotta kiertueesta voisi puhua pitäisi soittoon saada varmuutta...
Ja lopuksi vielä Kymppitonnin jokerikysymys. Mitäs vikaa Tikkurilan poliiseissa on?
-Terveisiä vaan Tikkurilaan. Vituttaa aivan saatanasti vieläkin. Kyseessä on sen luokan paskalakki episodi etten mielelläni sitä edes muistele, perkele. Lyhyesti voin mainita, että minä ja kaksi kaveriani vietimme kolkon yön Tikkurilan putkassa syynä se, että yritin puolustaa vaimoani joka oli rusentua väkijoukon puristuksessa Ankkarokin uloskäynnin luona. Tämä ei miellyttänyt sinisiin haalareihin sonnustautuneita ali-ihmisiä ja sain maistaa hieman kuristusotteita. Saimme osaksemme harvinaisen epäasiallista kohtelua virkavallan taholta, vaimoni mm. jätettiin heitteille, eli hänen kotiin pääsyään ei varmistettu mitenkään, vaikka hän oli liikkeellä meidän kanssamme. En saanut edes soittaa hänelle, jotta voisin varmistaa onko kotiavaimet matkassa tms. Nuo mainitsemani kaverit pääsivät mukaan protestoituaan minuun kohdistettuja toimia. Toinen, joka muuten musisoi kanssani The Candles Burning Bluessa, sai vielä käsiraudatkin! En ole mikään "kyttä on natsi"-punkkari, eikä minulla sinänsä ole mitään poliisivoimia ja kurinpitoa vastaan, mutta jos tuollaisia imbesillejä päästetään noihin hommiin niin se ei hyvää kyllä tiedä. Toistan vielä, että special fuck you teille jotka olitte vuorossa kyseisenä yönä. Tämä tapahtui kai pari vuotta sitten, en muista tarkkaan. Toivottavasti tyhjä ja harmaa elämänne polttaa sielunne karrelle! Panee ihan vihaksi vaikka aikaa on kulunut. Kävin tapauksen jälkeen oikeusavustajan luona ja hän kehotti tekemään valituskirjelmän, mitä en tehnyt ja sekin vituttaa. Tuskinpa se olisi mitään auttanutkaan, mutta olisi ehkä parempi mieli. Muistakaa ihmiset aina pistää vastaan jos koette joutuneenne mielivaltaisen kohtelun alaisiksi! Molotovkin oli aikoinaan tyytyväinen kun Venäjä ei Suomea onnistunut valloittamaan. Olisivat saaneet ikuisen riesan uppiniskaisesta kansasta!