Far more capable than the Nile clone that many would have them pegged for. With interesting lyric matter (Attila the Hun and Vlad the Impaler, what's not to like there!?), and a huge variety in tempos, and atmosphere, The Monolith Deathcult come fresh off the street and onto your doorstep with a fully fledged death metal album and with more trimmings then a French restaurant. I had a chance to chat with Michiel and Sjoerd about "The Apotheosis."
Well done with "The Apotheosis." It is quite an alternate slab of death metal, far more refreshing that the monotonous shit served up nowadays.
Sjoerd: Thanx! We indeed tried not to do the cliché things. You can also see that in our logo (you can read it) and the modern cover. We wanted to make music we like to make and we're glad we're not monotonous.
OK, the inevitable question will be asked; how much of an influence is Nile for The Monolith Deathcult? Do you think it is ridiculous that people refer to you as a Nile clone? I mean aside from the fact that you actually –think- about what you are writing for the lyrics and that a lot of your subject matter sounds slightly archaic in its scope, there isn't a lot for people to make a direct comparison to Nile.
Sjoerd: We are compared with Nile a lot. We don't care, Nile is a great band and when people compare you with it, it's a great compliment. I think we're very different than Nile if you look at the lyrics, song-structures etc. I think the reason why people make that comparison is because of the hysteric factor of the music. Both Nile and we are playing very hysteric and intense music.
But I guess on the flip side of that, having a direct comparison to Nile can't be all that bad, I know a fair number of folks out there who really dig Nile, and I am sure that this could do wonders for your sales figures...
Sjoerd: Maybe, as I said the comparison is a compliment, but of course people listen to our album and think they get to hear Nile. There are people that don't like it because it ain't Nile and others love it for being different than Nile but with some of its elements. The most important thing for your sales figures are promotion, reviews and live gigs / reviews. If all that stinks you don't get huge sales figures.
Two of the past bands The Monolith Deathcult played in were Altar and Deadhead. Were these two acts death metal bands similar to The Monolith Deathcult or something else altogether?
Sjoerd: Altar is a death metal band. I left the band in September 2001. Michiel played in Deadhead, which is a trash band. Two different bands compared to The Monolith Deathcult.
"The Apotheosis" as a definition refers to the act of raising a mortal to a divine or godly status. Does "The Apotheosis" carry the same meaning for The Monolith Deathcult? Is it an album about a standard mortal being promoted to the ranks of the gods? Such as Attila the Hun, for example?
Michiel: No, There is no special meaning behind it. We called it "The Apotheosis" because we wanted a short interesting title that will stay in the mind. And we are a little bit arrogant, [laughs].
I think the best track from "The Apotheosis" is 'The Deserved Reputation of Cruelty,' the saga of none other than Attila the Hun. Firstly the lyrics were a joy to read through. Much more interesting than the general thoroughfare in death metal. Is the history of some of the more classical civilizations a hobby for you or any other member of the band?
Michiel: It is a more than a hobby for me. I am doing education in teaching for the position of a history teacher. We don't want the boring overdone cliché death metal lyrics so we decided to take some stuff from the bloody fields of history.
The actual music of 'The Deserved Reputation of Cruelty' is really quite crazy. The drumming is extremely out there and the riffing, fast and intense. I find this peculiar because from the lyrical standpoint this track is probably your most measured. It cuts quite a stark contrast between lyrics and music.
Michiel: Well, that's possible, but the lyrics were already written before the music was there. It was a hell of a job to fit the lyrics on the total incongruous riffs but we did it, [laughs].
Can you describe the image on the cover of "The Apotheosis?" From what I can gather there is a partial image of Jesus Christ, and what appears to be an arm that has been skinned down to the muscle. Could you please elaborate on the significance of this for The Monolith Deathcult?
Michiel: I am sorry to tell you that it isn't a spectacular story. When we asked Mick to create a cover for The Monolith Deathcult we wanted a cover that will take attention when you are looking to a table with 100 CDs. It had to be modern (a little bit "Demanufacture" from Fear Factory) and shocking. It isn't an erect penis; it is the body of Christ, which is melting from the cross. There is no special meaning behind it.
Playing with The Crown and Skinless seems like it will be a pretty special tour for you guys in the future? Has this tour happened yet or will it occur later in the year? Are you fans of both The Crown and Skinless?
Sjoerd: This tour already took place. We went on tour from March 21st till April 5th. It was really great. I, for instance was already fan of The Crown. Other band members only knew them from name. Nobody knew Skinless but they were great. All the bands had great people so touring was really 'relaxed.'
Opening with a few lines from Gladiator, 'Colosseum Carnage' is certainly a vivid portrayal of a typical scene from Ancient Rome. Was this track inspired by the actual film Gladiator? Reading through the song, there is certainly some reference to mythology and ancient lore in through the track; Charon being one such example.
Sjoerd: This song was not inspired by the movie Gladiator, but Michiel who wrote these lyrics had seen a documentary of Ancient Rome with its coloseum, games, gladiators. We than found that the movie Gladiator was ideal for us to find a suitable sample.
When you visualize a track for "The Apotheosis" before it is actually recorded, for example 'Forest of Flesh,' will it come out radically differently when you end up recording it? Is the planning process for a track often different to what the end product will be?
Sjoerd: Sure, when we write a song we don't know exactly how it would sound in the end. We often change the songs till everybody is satisfied. We do record the songs in our rehearsal room so everybody can listen to it at home. This is also handy so nobody forgets the structure. Everybody can then say 'I'm satisfied' or 'maybe we should change something.' We only rehearse vocals at the last moment so when we hear our recording with vocals it can sound different compared to what we had in our head but that's also with the solos...
Vlad the Impaler and Attila the Hun are some of themes associated with "The Apotheosis." Will the follow up to "The Apotheosis" (which I hope there is) continue with this thread, or are you going to travel down a completely different road for a new concept to base your music around?
Sjoerd: We don't use a concept in advance. It depends on the ideas and influences at the time of writing songs / lyrics. We already began writing some new stuff, but so far no lyrics yet. We won't travel a completely different road, but we don't want all the lyrics of one album handle over the same thing. This is what you can see in "The Apotheosis" that there are different objects the lyrics handle about.
Man, I gotta say that the drumming for "The Apotheosis" is extraordinary. The production and clarity of the drumming right throughout "The Apotheosis" is spot on. It's certainly right to the forefront of the music, but not to the extent that it overshadows any other feature of the album, which I guess can be said about each instrument played. Was it difficult to come up with such an even balance? Did it take long to tweak?
Sjoerd: We recorded our promo in the same studio. We were very pleased with the sound. So when we were ready to enter the studio to record the full-length we decided to go to the same studio. Now we had more time to record and mix the album so it sounds even better than the promo. We're very pleased with the result. By the way neither one of us was there at the mixing so you get an as objective vision as possible on the mix. We've heard several mixes and could discuss it before the final mix.
Hey that's all I have for you guys at the moment. Hopefully we can have a chat for future albums. Thanks again!
Thank you for this interview and I'm sure there will be a future album to talk about!
Entered: 5/15/2003 4:16:17 PM