Interview with ASPHODELUS
The Band: Asphodelus
Answers: J. Väyrynen (guitar)
Debut album by ASPHODELUS is here. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat clean riffage and melodic solos, they are just a wishful thinking before the whole thing sink down again in the gloomy pit. Their debut album is everything except conformist and put them right in the map of doom death metal, a step forward regarding their previous band Cemetary Fog.
ASPHODELUS was born from the ashes of Cemetery Fog. Why the change of name?
Hello, thanks for the interview. It’s Jussi answering here. When Cemetery Fog was formed back in 2012 the band started playing death/doom with some black metal influences. The early material was quite primitive and plain as we didn’t know how to compose music like we know nowadays after many years of playing. As the music developed and changed towards our current sound we didn’t feel that the earlier horror and cemetery imagery would fit to the new style or full length album anymore. We didn’t intend to change the music style but it kind of changed by itself. Our current lyrical themes and overall imagery is much more versatile and gives us more freedom to work under the new name. I would compare it to the name change of bands like Hellhammer to Celtic Frost or Treblinka to Tiamat for example.
Quite interesting. However, your music shares the same or very similar roots as your previous band, right?
Basically, yes but there are a lot of new influences too which you don’t probably hear in Cemetery Fog recordings. I think the reason is that we have also grown and our music taste have maybe developed during these years so we are now listening to many bands and music genres we hadn’t in the Cemetery Fog days. But the “main roots” are still the same, I think.
“Stygian Dreams” is your first album, how long have you worked on it and how was the creative process?
The first songs or riffs were written in 2015-2016 after the recording of Dying Beauty & the Silent Sky EP. It took some time to write and rehearse the songs as we changed our rehearsal room to Helsinki around that time and all the members live now in different places. We recorded four tracks from the album as a demo in the early 2017. During that year we rehearsed and wrote more songs and made some changes to the older ones. In 2018 after our tour in Eastern Europe we finalized composing and went to the studio. The studio was planned already to the end of 2017 but it delayed due to our choice to record the album with our previous recorder who was busy at the time.
The album was recorded in Finland but mixed at The Devil’s Mark Studio in Rome, welcome to the 21st century 🙂 ?
Yes we recorded it in our home town Hamina with a guy who has recorded all our earlier recordings too. Terror from Hell hired Marco from The Devil’s Mark studio to mix and master it. Glad they did as he did a fucking great job!
It contains seven songs where you mainly move between doom and melodic death, which side you feel you belong more to?
Hard to say because we have a lot of influences from different genres nowadays but I would still define it as death/doom if I had to. I’m personally more into doom and I don’t like melodic death metal so much besides a few exceptions.
Although you have influences or reminiscencies from bands as Katatonia or Anathema you also show your own personality
I think it’s due to our wide music taste and the fact that we can put a lot of different influences from pop to black metal in the mixture.
For being such a young band, and people too, this album sounds really mature, where do you think is the key for that?
We are all 23-24 years old and have listened to metal since we were kids. Hamina is pretty boring and small place to live so all we did here besides rehearsing and drinking was driving in the woods and listening to music when all members still lived here. Maybe it had something to do with the influence and how delicately we and Jari especially have listened to the bands that have influenced us.
In my opinion the keyboards, although not the main element in any moment, contribute to create that gloomy mood that you successfully build along the album. Who is responsible for that part?
Our recorder and Jari’s cousin Tomi played the keyboards. He did a fantastic job! The intro (Les Océanides) fits very well to the cover art.
True enough. The harsh and melancholic screams are also an important part
of your picture, nothing new in the genre but fits perfect with your approach
The screams give a lot of power and cruelty to the approach, I think. Death agonies and screams! Rotting Christ for example had quite similar screams on their early albums and they fit very well to their major key melodic style.
Another good point is the cover, like a premonition of what we will find in the album
The painting is Les Océanides (Les Naiades de la Mere) by Gustave Doré. The cover art is perfect for the album in my opinion. We used a lot of time to find an old painting with some mythological sea or water elements. Gustave Doré is also one of my favorite artists and many great bands have used his works as album covers. In my opinion old paintings and art like this fit better to our style than any new modern art would…
A great choice indeed. Any favorite song in this “Stygian Dreams”?
Scent of Venus is my favorite. I’m also proud of Stygian Dreaming which is the first full song I wrote for the band as I have only suggested riffs and melodies to Jari’s songs before.
Is there any lyrical thread in the album or each song is something apart?
There’s not a lyrical thread or a concept on the album but many lyrics have similar themes.
Do you have the intention to defend these songs on a tour?
Defend? We are going to play 6 songs from the album and maybe two early Cemetery Fog songs from “Shadows…” demo if we get to some tour.
Good. What are your plans for the future?
We are probably going to play some gigs this year after the release and we hope to get a tour in Europe. After that we probably start to write new material.
Excellent idea! Thanks Jussi, if you wish to add something…
Thank you for the interview! Go listen to our new album and support the label if you like it.