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Interview With FOREST OF IMPALED


FOREST OF IMPALED
By Stéphane Bélanger

A little while ago, I received a promo from Red Stream of a band which I had never heard of before... I take a look, see the name FOREST OF IMPALED and then I think: "Oh man, this must be another B-series Black Metal band!" Once I put the CD on and had listened to "Demonvoid", I decided that I was a top-rate fool to have underestimated this American combo... So the only logical thing to do to redeem myself (in my own eyes anyway!) was to send the guys an interview... And the following interview is the result of the conversation I had with Adrian Adamus, guitarist of this infernal quintet of blasphemous Black-Death Metal from Illinois...

FOREST OF IMPALED

—>Are you young musicians working with their first band, or did you play in other bands before?<—
"Actually we've been around since 1992, with the original line-up of Mark Trela (guitar), Dan Prawica (bass/vocals), Andy Rusin (drums) and myself on guitar. Back then, we were under the name of NOCTURNAL SERENITY and focused mainly on creating melancholic/atmospheric Metal in the vein of AMORPHIS, PARADISE LOST, AT THE GATES and with some touches of MY DYING BRIDE. Eventhough all of us played in a couple of bands previous to NOCTURNAL SERENITY, most of these projects fell apart after a couple of months and we were all basically just starting to play. At first, we concentrated on playing a lot of covers to develop our musical skills and establish a connection between each member's strengths/weaknesses and the ability of the band as a whole. As time progressed, most of us saw that the band was really going towards a more melodic/grind style typical of most Black Metal at the time. Thus a name change was evident, bringing forth FOREST OF IMPALED. Currently all original members are still in the line-up, except for the addition of Mike Zielinski on keyboards and our new drummer Terrence Manauis."

—>Who found the name and why this name? Is there any deeper meaning behind it?<—
Adrian Adamus "Mark discovered the name while reading some book on the history of Prince Vlad Tepes of Transylvania. Apparently this infamous madman had a peculiar way of torturing his people: One of his most ecstatic experiences was to impale a multitude of humans on wooden stakes, creating a makeshift forest. In a popular woodprint from this era, Vlad sits at a table beside his 'creation', drinking blood and consuming human flesh. Today in place of impaled humans, where the ground was drenched with blood and vile, a marker stands indicating 'Forest of Impaled'."

—>Your debut demo "Enter The Darkness" was released in 1993... How did it do back then? Did it get you any attention from the business?<—
"For the most part, the demo was very poorly recorded due to the fact that we recorded it Live with a 4-track in our rehearsal space. It contained an intro, two songs and an outro. Since the sound quality wasn't what we wanted to portray to the general public, we only distributed it to our friends and other bands in the Chicago area. Basically, it was our first attempt, but many people liked it anyway."

—>I don't think that you ever remade any songs from that demo on your CDs... Why?<—
"That's right, we never put any of these songs on our CDs since they were more in the vein of AT THE GATES and we felt that they would not blend well with our current material. Actually, we have been thinking to change some of the riffs and eventually re-record maybe one of the songs to be released as a bonus track on our next album."

—>Then in 1995, you released your first official recording; The "Mortis Dei" mini-CD... How did this one do? Was it self-financed?<—
"'Mortis Dei' was actually supposed to be our first demo; we recorded it over two days in Sheffield Studios at our own expense. Looking back on the recording process, it went fairly well, except for a couple of overlooked factors. This being our first time in an actual studio, we were not knowledgeable with the process. Unfortunately, we later found out that the recording of the drums was actually all done using triggers and drum machine patches. Also, we should have recorded at least two tracks for each guitar on the album. Besides this, the demo was mostly what we wanted, in that it possesses a clear distinct guitar sound and good production all around."

—>There are several labels mentioned as having a part to play with this one... Which were they and what were the deals here? And what's the deal with Terrorizer Records? You seem to have terminated relations in bad terms with them...<—
Demonvoid "After making a couple of cassette copies, we sent them to a variety of labels and were offered a deal with a label formerly know as Terrorizer Records, currently Nightfall Records, to release the demo as a mini-CD. Basically, the record deal involved the band receiving a percentage of the original pressing and subsequent pressings of the CD. Although we did receive the first installment of CDs (one hundred out of a one thousand pressed), after this point however Terrorizer did not track their pressings and we have not received anything from them ever since. After closing the deal, we had learned, from talking to other bands that were also released by the label, that in all the cases the bands expressed great hatred for the label and stated that it didn't keep their promises. Despite all these problems, the CD did help to establish FOREST OF IMPALED in the worldwide-underground scene. We also licensed the record to Vox Mortis Records, in our native country of Poland. At the time, Vox Mortis was mainly a Metal zine but had released a couple of albums from around the country. I must say that they did a great promotion, which included interviews on local radio stations and a distribution of the album as an attachment to their monthly magazine. This was very beneficial in that many people were able to hear our music."

—>The lyrics off this one are said to be mostly about war... Do you support the idea of warlike times? Why? There isn't a single good thing about war; It only brings pain, horror and destruction to any society, especially the innocent civilians...<—
"Yes, the record mostly deals with the savagery, bloodlust and the triumph of the individual spirit during warlike times in the Middle Ages. At this point in history, warfare was a means of conquering land and acquiring resources. Although war does produce some inevitable consequences, such as pain, horror and destruction, it also brings the development of new culture and changes in the belief structure of the area being conquered or emancipated of previous rule. Sometimes these new ideas and beliefs are not freely accepted into the mainstream of the society, as with the Crusades led to Christianize pagan lands. In addition, war is basically a means of population control. In my opinion, today's nuclear and chemical warfare is certainly a great change from ancient warfare and I don't advocate the use of such weaponry. But war in the classical sense is a triumph over fear and death itself. The lyrics on 'Mortis Dei' are written in such a way as to envelope a story of a young warrior on the eve of his battle and his eventual triumph over his enemies and transcendence into the dark realm of the forest. Each song contributes to the overall structure of the story and reveals deeper insights into the realms of astral travel and esoteric thought."

—>Am I mistaken or did you release another demo after that MCD?<—
"Yes, our next demo was entitled 'The Seventh Dominion' and was also recorded at Sheffield Studios. It was a four-song demo, featuring a more complex structured approach to songwriting. It was still mostly focused on the Black Metal style but there were certain hints of our progression towards incorporating Death Metal elements into our songs. The overall recording sounded good and we were pleased with the sound. This demo was primarily used to promote the band and was distributed to labels and some zines. The lyrical content continued where 'Mortis Dei' left off. It primarily focused on the rise of the now spiritually ordained warrior and his reign of terror among the dominions of Earth. The outmost being 'The Seventh Dominion'. The concept of dominions or realms of Earth developed through a vision an oracle had of a celestial alignment of planets, which unearthed the ancient kings/demons of Sumerian mythology. Upon his return from the Forest of Impaled, the warrior pillages the dominions, taking his rightful place at the throne of humanity."

—>Then how did you find your deal with Red Stream, afterwards?<—
"After receiving some offers from various labels in Europe, we decided to sign to Red Stream, being that the label was located in the United-States. We thought that this would give us more control over the release and promotion for the band."

—>Your first full-length album "Demonvoid" has been out for a while now... How has it done so far?<—
FOREST OF IMPALED "'Demonvoid' has proved to be our most technical effort to date. It utilizes many elements of Thrash, Death and Black Metal. Although it is still mostly in the Black Metal vein, songs like 'For Ours Is The Kingdom (Desecrate The Heavens)' and 'The Impaler' demonstrate our incorporation of SUFFOCATION-style grinds and riffs. We have also received many good reviews form zines like SOD, Metal Maniacs, Chronicles of Chaos and Renegade2K (and Soundscape! ;-)) - ED)."

—>How are the sales and how did the fans receive it?<—
"At this point, we don't know the actual amount of sales for the album but according to Red Stream, the sales are very good. As for the fans, many were a bit surprised to hear our new material, since most were expecting something in the line of 'Mortis Dei'. Overall, many of the fans I've talk to enjoy the album!"

—>How was the recording? Did everything go according to plan or were there some things that you are not totally satisfied with and is the final result within your expectations?<—
"The recording went well, except for some minor problems in the mix down. We basically developed three different mixes of the final recording. All of them varied in sound; one was more highly pitched, like most Black Metal recordings; the second was a bit heavier and deeper in sound and the final mix was a compromise between the other two. Looking back at the recording and listening to the album, I could find so many instances where something could have been changed or played differently, but at the time of the recording, we were very satisfied with the whole project."

—>Who did you work with in the studio?<—
"Jason Walsh (Jem Studio Complex) was our engineer and we worked closely with him to make sure everything sounded the way we wanted it. He was very helpful with picking our guitar sound, which we were a little worried about since it sounded flat during the recording. He kept on saying that in the final mix, it would sound fuller and very tight. At first, we wanted a much heavier sound but according to Walsh, this would result in a muddy guitar sound during the mixing. He was right on the dot with the sound and we will probably record with him again."

—>What about the lyrics on this one? What are some of the things that influence you when writing new lyrics?<—
"The lyrics mostly deal with the same kind of esoteric and transcendental realms as on our demo 'The Seventh Dominion'. All the songs off that demo are re-recorded and also included on the 'Demonvoid' album. As for the new songs on the album, most deal with blasphemy and utter hatred of Christian ideology. 'Desecrate The Heavens' is about the destruction of the holy dominion, led by the perverse Anti-Christ or the main character. The armies of the Seventh Dominion enter and utterly pillage and sacrifice the angels and divine source of God, who is left bleeding from the tree of Eternity."

—>How do you go about planning and composing new material? Is there a sole writer or does everybody pitch in ideas and arrangements?<—
"In creating new arrangements, we mostly try to focus mainly on guitar riffs and drums. Every member is entitled to and contributes his opinions towards the songs. If everyone isn't satisfied with a song or a riff, we try to change it or don't use the riff at all. Most of the time, Mark or myself write most of the music, but sometimes the other members contribute as well. Oftentimes, there may be some animated debate, since a guitarist's riffs are often very personal and criticism is not taken lightly. Eventually, the songs are structured and arranged to everybody's liking."

—>Are you satisfied with the work Red Stream has done so far? Do they support it well with promo, etc.?<—
Mortis Dei "Yes, we are very pleased with Pat and all at Red Stream! For promotional purposes, the label pressed about seven hundred promo copies and distributed it to labels, zines and radio stations around the world. After receiving feedback and e-mails from many of these people, we were surprised that a lot of people enjoyed the record and thought of it as original. There is a plan to release a LP version of 'Demonvoid' with different artwork and maybe a bonus track. Currently, we also have a T-shirt available directly from Red Stream or our old 'Mortis Dei' shirt, featuring our logo in gold on the front and wooden print of Vlad Tepes on back, available directly from the band via the web site."

—>Are you planning a tour in support of this release?<—
"Actually, we are planning to do a mini-tour late May-June in the Midwest, Texas and parts of Mexico. We are also scheduled to play the Metalfest in July. We don't know yet with whom we'll be playing, but you could expect to be plunged into the Dominions of the Demonvoid!"

—>In general, do you play a lot Live, or do you consider yourselves as mainly a studio band? What can one expect from a FOREST OF IMPALED gig?<—
"Actually, we haven't played a show for some time but when we do, it is a display of pure chaos and blasphemy. As always, we put on a very energetic show with a lot of intensity. We can't wait to tour this summer, since we just recruited our new drummer. We will be practicing heavily in anticipation of the May dates in Mexico!"

—>There are a few similarities, musically-wise, between you guys and the Austrian band BELPHEGOR; mixing the insanity and uncontrolled hatred of Black Metal with the gory brutality of Death Metal... Do you agree with that and what were your influences/ideas when you started the band? And do you know of BELPHEGOR?<—
"I'm not quite familiar with this band, but if I'm not mistaken, they released an album entitled 'The Last Supper'. I think it was them or MIASMA, I'm not sure. But one of my friends played it to me and I remember it was quite different from most of the shit coming out at the time. Well, one of our main goals is to find a way to incorporate more catch and rhythmic riffs into our music. Since most Black Metal is dominated by fast picked chords, we try to stray from these but nevertheless use them with other elements, trying not to play them too long so it doesn't bore the listener. Well, I have always been heavily into Death/Grind Metal and some of my first bands focused on that type of music. Nowadays, I'm trying to incorporate these kinds of elements into FOREST OF IMPALED. What I particularly like about Black Metal is the melodic guitar work and harmony. I think with the right mix of Black and Death Metal is the band's main goal at this time."

—>And what of other bands? What are you guys into nowadays? What are the characteristics that make you love... or hate a band and its music?<—
"Presently, I'm listening to the new DEEDS OF FLESH album, 'Path Of The Weakening'; the new KOVENANT is pretty good; SATYRICON 'Rebel Extravaganza'... EMPEROR, GEHENNA, DYING FETUS, SAMAEL, HATE ETERNAL, ATROCITY and HOLLETHON are all excellent. I have many diverse influences, ranging from classical music to all types of Extreme Metal. What I listen for with good bands is the overall originality of the band and how catchy and intricate their arrangements are. Most importantly, the vocals have to be to my liking or I will probably hardly listen to an album, eventhough musically it is a masterpiece."

—>What would be your top 10 favorite albums of the 90's, now that it's over and done with?<—
FOREST OF IMPALED "In no particular order:

  • ATROCITY 'Willenskraft'
  • SUFFOCATION 'Effigy Of The Forgotten'
  • IMMOLATION 'Dawn Of Possesion'
  • AT THE GATES 'Slaughter Of The Soul'
  • SLAYER 'Seasons In The Abyss'
  • SINISTER 'Cross The Styx'
  • EMPEROR 'Anthems To The Welkin'
  • CANNIBAL CORPSE 'Tomb Of The Mutilated'
  • ENSLAVED 'Frost'
  • SATYRICON 'Nemesis Divina'

—>How's the Death/Black Metal scene in the Illinois scene nowadays? And what about the rest of United-States?<—
"The Death/Black scene in Illinois has some great bands, such as DYING FETUS and LIVIDITY, and Chicago specifically is truly excellent, with bands like GORGASM, DISINTER, USURPER, THE CHASM, SCEPTER, CIANADE and AD INFINITUM, which all help in promoting the scene. Although there are many bands in Chicago, there seems to be a lack of fans. Let me put it this way; most of the people that attend local shows are somehow involved in the scene, whether they play in a band, write in a zine, or have a radio show... They are usually there. Although most of these shows bring at most two hundred people to a show, when a national act like CANNIBAL CORPSE plays, suddenly everyone comes out of the woodwork and the show gathers almost five hundred to one thousand people. There never is enough support for local bands. As for the rest of the United-States, I believe that New York still thriving as a major source for new and upcoming bands."

—>What would be your best fan bases, aside from the local one? And outside of the US? Do you have any kind of decent feedback from here in Canada?<—
"Our fan base is mainly Mexico, Poland and Germany. Aside from these three, we are equally spread around the world. We are actually in the process of scheduling an interview with BW&BN, which should give us some exposure in Canada."

—>Ok man, that should put a lot of people on their toes and get them to buy "Demonvoid", wherever they are from! Thanks a lot for your time!<—
"Thank you for the interview and hail to all our fans and extreme Metal fucks in the underground! Screams of angels, a dark symphony dirge, we desecrate the Holy!"

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