Interview with CRAVEN IDOL
The Band: Craven Idol
Country: United Kingdom
Answers by: Sadistik Vrath (vocals, guitar)
CRAVEN IDOL’s new album shows a very much crafted recording, musically, in the lyrical aspect and also the great cover artwork. I guess they have a plan in their minds and they follow it until the last consequences, at least this is the conclusion you can get reading Sadistik Vrath’s speech below. Extreme metal with attitude, no time to sound commercial, now it is up to you.
Hello Vrath and congratulations for your sophomore album «The Shackles Of Mammon»
Thank you so very much. Glad you guys at Metalbrothers seemed to enjoy it! It’s early days and the interviews have started rolling in…. All in all, we are all delighted the way the album turned out and eager for people to hear it. Review have mostly been positive too!
Good! Craven Idol was formed in 2005, but your first full length didn’t arrive until 2013 with Towards Eschaton. It seems you have speed up already
Back in 2005 we had zero know-how on recording or anything related to being in a band. All we wanted was to create horrible hell-noise – which we (Scourger and I) did frequently in a cellar near King’s Cross in London. I somehow managed to self-release a 3-track demo in 2006. It took us four years to bring out its predecessor, the ‘Ethereal Altars’ MLP (via Hammer Of Hate), which featured Volgard on bass. Mainly the delays were due to out lacking expertise, logistics, as well as trying to find a label.
Volgard then moved from bass to drums, and Scourger assumed his natural role as guitarist. We then played our first live gig at the Armageddon Festival in 2010 with this line-up. From there it took us a further three years to sort out ‘Towards Eschaton’ (in fact we recorded it in 2012). But to come back to your question, things have certainly sped up. Not lastly due to the massive accumulation of riffs and ideas dating back to 2005 (we must have 2-3 albums of material backed up). Today we also have a very solid line-up and a strong writing team. And incidentally four song-structures for the successor of ‘Shackles…’ are already in the works!
Don’t turn off the machines. Comparing your new work «The Shackles Of Mammon» with its predecessor what are we going to find?
A much more complete album, yet one that is more fierce and aggressive than its predecessor. It is also a more varied album and I think you can really hear our wide range of influences running free. In a way I would call this record ‘unshackled’ (if you will excuse my pun), you will hear Master’s Hammer, Inquisition, Poison (Ger), and Bathory… as well as Manilla Road, Candlemass, and Pagan Altar. Fuck the barriers, this is extreme metal!
A big musical universe. You are releasing it on April 14th through Dark Descent Records, you repeat with the guys, it seems all of you are satisfied with it
Dark Descent is one of the best labels out there and we are honored to be on their roster. Matt Calvert picked up our CDr promo of ‘Towards Eschaton’ some years back and we’ve been working together ever since. An amazing label that I can recommend to all bands big and small. I would love to remain on the label for the foreseeable future!
When reading about your new album there are some names that arise, such big as Bathory, Gospel Of The Horns, Manilla Road, Venom… what do you think about it?
I think it is essential to draw inspiration from a number of sources rather than being a follower or adapting (or even copying) someone else’s legacy. Metal was never about sounding similar to other bands. It was only during the second wave of black metal that we started insisting on a certain sense of purity of sound, or as we call it ‘worship’. Sure, if you are good enough to be unoriginal, that’s great, and I’ll subscribe to that… but very few bands are. Metal is freedom, metal is destruction of all obstacles, looking for the most extreme form of music. But it’s our loyalty that is letting us down. We have become too comfortable in our skins. The only challenge we seem to set ourselves is how similar to someone else we possibly sound. Craven Idol ain’t reinventing the steel, but at least we reach a bit further than the current trend!
What is clear is that you blend some extreme metal with some dark or blackened metal, but how you define it?
‘Extreme Metal’ is the key word. The ingredients of it reach back into the ages. Every step can be tracked to a source. Metal is power in music… it’s the scratch on a damaged vinyl record, the ruggedness of Aetna, the climax of Sibelius’ “Finlandia” (1899), the utter despair of «Dies Irae» (1265), the raw expression of the “Sixth Hurrian Hymn” (1400 BCE), the fury of the Neolithic Folkton drums… It is the rage of man. Returning to your question, you are quite right. We are looking at late ‘80s/early ‘90s extreme metal at its peak. A raw mix of heavy metal and black/thrash metal as we’d call it today.
Listening to «The Shackles Of Mammon» the old school production calls our attention, what’s that your intention?
I’m glad you noticed that! We recorded with Greg Chandler (of Esoteric) at Priory Studio in Birmingham, a topnotch studio capable of producing pretty much anything. I had worked with Greg before and we had a number of conversations about what sound to go for. It was important to me that the performances could be heard, rather than just the production. There is heaploads of passion in what we do, and it must be heard loud and clear. A modern pristine clean sound kills all sense of humanity. And if metal is not the fury and loathing of humanity, I’m not sure what it is. It certainly isn’t some kind of performance sport, as some of the more modern bands would have you believe….
No posers here. How long have you worked in «The Shackles Of Mammon» and how was the process?
The oldest material on there dates back to 2006, however, all in all we wrote this album incredibly quickly, in a year perhaps (from when we really got going with it). The process was relatively painless with everyone working towards a common goal. It was mostly composed by Heretic Blades and I in a small basement studio near Kentish Town in London. Countless hours of toil went into it, but when it’s your main passion that can only be a good thing! Recording at Priory also went seamlessly.
Craven Idol has seen new faces coming on board in the last years, did it have any effect on your sound or style?
I think, if anything, it has made us a more close-knit band with more identity! All in all, the most key departure was Scourger, and I wasn’t sure if we could continue without him. I gave it a go, and I believe the new material sounds distinctly like Craven Idol. And whilst, I’m gutted that he’s no longer in the fold, I find that as a band we are stronger than ever. Also, we’ve never been ones to stand still and our sound has developed gradually from a distinctly black/thrash outfit to a diverse extreme metal band; to me at least that’s a positive.
More than diversity I would say that what better defines «The Shackles Of Mammon» is its consistency, the trend of obscurity and aggressiveness it follows from the very first song to the last
Consistency of high standards is paramount to us. We have strict quality control within our group. ‘Towards Eschaton’ was not only a shorter record, but was also initially aimed as a second E.P. One we had recorded it, we realized it was around 35 minutes long (as are most of our favorite albums) hence we went with the full length format. ‘Shackles…’ was always intended as a full-length, sonically re-creating the experience of a specific locker of hell. So whilst the album is more varied than its predecessor, it also is more consistent due to a common thread running through the entire piece.
I imagine these songs played live and I can see a devastating gig…
Devastating is what we go for! The fire and wrath has to transfer into the crowd, or the whole exercise is utterly pointless. Even if the audience don’t know the lyrics, they have to feel them. If they do not, then we have failed.
The awesome artwork by Daniel Corcuera also deserves a mention
I’m glad you like it! It’s a brilliant piece of art indeed and I don’t think he receives enough credit for it! The cover is an extension of our previous album and continues the journey ever-deeper into Eschaton. The painting is loosely based on Sascha Schneider’s wood carving ‘Der Mammon und sein Sklave’ from 1896 – depicting human kind on its knees, worshipping the great vulture that is Mammon (the God of Avarice), holding beyond our grasp the utmost item of our desire: Currency. More than any religion today, the West worships Mammon. The takeover is complete and religion is dying. Salvation can now be found on this plain of existence in the form of pixels on your phone (the measure of your dreams).
I think you have also done a good work on telling things and taking some classic matters or issues to the arena. What are the lyrics about on «The Shackles Of Mammon»?
Yes indeed, the lyrics deal largely about the self-made hell of humanity. How we create our own demons, how we grant them power over us, and how they ultimately consume us. We wrought the plagues that bleed us dry. The theme of ‘blinding light’ (fire, celestial illusion, the sun) is a recurring one on the album, a perpetual state of somnambulism as we trudge through the day-to-day on someone else’s’ terms. As creatures of comfort we accept, we endure, in the name of Mammon. The enlightened world has no other Gods…
As a London based act how do you see the scene in your country? It keeps up to the glorious days from the past?
Oh it certainly doesn’t, ha! I don’t think the scene is anywhere near to the glory of the NWOBHM! Back then bands competed for world domination. These days the bar has sunk very low, and instead of unique music, acts measure themselves based on who has the funniest album title and/or gimmick… or who puts the most reverb on their albums. I suppose this is largely a result of metal music breaking into the main-stream and being easily accessible. People listen to bands that are a copy of a copy of a copy, and base their musical opinions on that. Never a good sign; forgetting your history. On the other hand, I’ve seen the same phenomenon in many counties by now, so it’s not only the UK; it’s global.
Of course, there are some excellent bands in the U.K. like Grave Miasma, Adorior, Scythian, Crom Dubh, The Wounded Kings, Leathean, Salute, Terra, Dungeon, Esoteric, Sepuku, HVP, Lvcifyre, etc So it’s a decent scene. Yet, given the population of London (around eight million) it’s quite meagre, we certainly have a way smaller scene than say Helsinki (which has a population of under one million).
A good picture of the current situation, Have you or will you release any promo material before the official release of your album?
The second track of the album – ‘A Ripping Strike’ – is currently streaming at No Clean Singing Webzine.
Are you preparing for touring around?
We are not really a touring band, however, we have some one-off gigs planned, including a release show in London and an appearance at the North Of The Wall festival in Scotland. Of course would love to come and play across the channel, but only if the demand I there. We are open to offers, so feel free to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your attention!
Thanks for the interview! Stand strong against the raging tide!