Susperia's Athera states firmly to everyone who is still labeling the band "an ex-Dimmu drummer project". Hard to disagree, especially considering the fact that all of the music for Susperia's latest effort 'Vindication' has been written by guitarist Cyrus, while the lyrics have been carefully Masterminded by Athera himself. Then again, this is the way the music business works - getting rid of such a tag is possible only with time and a certain number of albums issued. Time needs to pass befor ethe public and the press forgets about all the band members' past experiences and concentrate on the main act. Meanwhile we decided to talk to Athera and the bands latest release as well as a lot of other stuff…
MetalKings.com: Hey there, Athera! First I would let you dwell a bit on the new album that is tell us in a few lines about each of the songs (inspiration, what it's about, funny episodes - if any?) Cage of Remembrance (esp. Is that the way you imagine Hell and your own position in it?)
Susperia: Hmmm… Not really, that would be a bit drastic. Cause the story is about some guy who did some bad shit in his life. Raping, tormenting and abusing his children or other children badly. So now he gets his punishment in the form of being locked in the cage of remembrance with a beast of a guard giving him a piece of his own medicine. So it`s definitely not about me.
MetalKings.com: The Bitter Man (esp. who are you talking to here? Is that coming from a personal life experience? Or…? Why are you calling yourself the Bitter Man?)
Susperia: It`s a bit of a schizophrenic story where both a father and his son are bitter men. The father being a bitter man for some reason, giving his son shit, and the son taking the fathers life away and feeling very bitter himself about the situation and the end of it. It is partially about me in a way, although I did not kill my father.
MetalKings.com: Anguished Scream (The part that comes right after the main lyrics - the fast blast-beat one - instantly reminded me of Dimmu Borgir - was that intentional? The lyrics are deeply disturbing and reminded me of Cape Fear starring DeNiro…)
Susperia: Nothing is intentional when it comes to sounding like other bands. Although Metal is a wide genre with a lot of possibilities, there from one time to another occurs compositions that reminds you of something else. And needless to say it is a fact that Tjodalv, who once was the motor of Dimmu Borgir, has his special technique and style of playing, so when there comes a blast part as intense as this one, you might "feel" the Dimmu groove, which is not something to be ashamed over! I like it when you say the lyrics disturbed you, cause they are also intense. It is a lyric filled with dangerous passion and anger at a hateful level. About a guy being really fucked around by a vicious female, and this is his psycho way of speaking back to her, don`t ask me if this is personal… :))
MetalKings.com: Petrified (If I get the message right this one is about the so-called Spiritual Vampires so brilliantly described by Anton Szandor Lavey, but this takes us to yet another spiritual dilemma - should we help the weak just because we are stronger than them, or should we say fuck it - the strong survives. Where is the borderline for you personally when you stop pulling the weak out of the swamp they crawl and let them drown? For instance if you had a friend, who, say, suffered from some strong addiction - I dunno, heroine or something? Would you to salvage him even though in 99% o the case all the efforts are futile, or would you 'wash your hands' and let him live and eventually die by the choice he has made? Or if you had a friend who wanted to commit suicide because of something? Would you try to stop him or once again let him make his choice? I guess this also sort of brings us to the very last song - 'Bleed Yourself')
Susperia: Interesting point you have here, although I did not think of Anton Lavey when I wrote the lyrics to this one. I had in mind some friends of mine who succumbed to the life of drugs, and in this way giving up hope and future. Therefore the song starts of with; "Come along for the ride", which symbolizes the cool trip life can be if you put your mind and energy to it and try hard enough. The song talks about my efforts to help people close to me with their attitude and problems, but also reaching the point where you realize there is nothing more you can do. They will not listen or try, so you cannot waste more time on them, cause it does not make a difference, sad but true. The repeating sentence; "The fire will not take you higher" symbolizes their desperate need to have a altered state of mind trying to reach happiness or satisfaction, which is not the reality, it just brings them lower. The friends of mine who decided to continue even further with heavier drugs I tried to talk to, but it just doesn`t reach them, they think they have control, this you cannot change unfortunately. If they refuse to come to better thoughts and not care what I say, I walk away, it`s their life. But if it comes to a point where a close friend tries to take his own life, of course I would do all in my powers to stop such a ridiculous action. What a waste…. I think I express that quite well in the last song "Bleed Yourself". It may sound from that title as if I encourage people to bleed themselves, but that is not the message of the song if you read the whole chorus.
MetalKings.com: The Bounty Hunter (What do you mean by the symbol "the bounty hunter of mankind"?)
Susperia: This song was just a funny idea I had while just sitting at home thinking about different concepts to write about for the upcoming album songs. And I had already a couple of very down to earth realistic stories about humanity and other matters personally inspired, so I thought it was time to write about something completely different for the variation. And the first thing that came to mind was this topic of a bounty hunter actually. Don`t ask me why, I just always had a thing for the bounty hunters. From the old wild west up until the future ones in like Star Wars or something. The hunters coming from outer space in the movie "Critters" to hunt the little man-eating bastards and all that stuff. I think their line of work is cool. So I wrote down some words about being a bounty hunter and about their attitude. Think it worked quite good, and it fitted the song actually perfectly. And I mentioned the Star Wars bounty hunters, and the Critters bounty hunters, so this is lyric talking about the bounty hunter of mankind…
MetalKings.com: Completion (I esp. like God is a Virus - that's surely a good one - respect, man! Care to elaborate, by the way? ;)
Susperia: He he, yeah I also like that ending! It`s a short story philosophy on how the universe started to exist and how it could end, with all the shit that has happened in between. I am stating that the whole existence is purely coincidental and that we fuck it all up by not respecting the forces of nature. And when all this shit is happening you are given the proof that there is no god, so the conclusion is simply; God is just a virus, that maybe triggered the whole existence of everything. Nothing more, nothing less.
MetalKings.com: Warmaster (I notice this with many a black metal artist there is a certain obsession with war. And quite often not only on the musical/artistic/poetic level but also on the personal one. A lot of people in the genre that I know are what do you call them - military freaks - collecting memorabilia and all that kind of thing. But, seriously though., have you ever really imagined what war is like? How would you yourself behave should you find yourself a soldier in a full-out war - with dirt, blood, stench, and death all around you?)
Susperia: I don`t know how I would find myself in an eventual war. I hope I never have to deal with that shit, what a waste. War is mainly created cause of political and religious differences, the two very things I hate the most, so you can imagine these things are not in my blood to fight for. But from what I have seen during my travels in Sarajevo and Kenya after their wars it doesn`t look pretty and it makes a permanent mark on the countries. I am not so obsessed by war I have to say, but I do have a fascination for the whole Manowar concept of it, these old ancient warriors clashing together on the battlefields, head to head with mighty axes and hammers, much alike our own Vikings back in the days, that shit was wicked and fascinating. That`s mainly the concept behind the song Warmaster, some ancient warlord who got struck down in one of these battles, but rises again with the mightiest of the swords which he finds in a castle and so on, I really tripped good when I wrote this song, he he, naturally tripped by the way, ha-ha. Also a small hint of a tribute lyric to Manowar, HAIL!!!
MetalKings.com: Dead Men's World (This one is rather transparent (pun unintended :) to me - still how did you and Memnock come up with the whole idea?)
Susperia: Memnock also gave me the idea, and wrote half the text, for the song Specimen on the Predominance album, inspired by the movie The Matrix at that time. And when we discussed Dead Man`s World for this album he again gave me an idea inspired partially by another movie, The Sixth Sense, he-he. So maybe we`ll turn it into a tradition, having one song on each album inspired by a movie from the actual time we write music.
MetalKings.com: Cast Life Into Fire (This one sort of reminded me of Death's 1990 song 'Living Monstrosity' where Chuck condemned drug-addicts not actually calling for their extermination but coming very close to it. Anyways, the question is have you ever personally encountered somebody having this problem? And what experience of drugs do you have yourself - direct or indirect does not matter)
Susperia: I think I explained quite well your question of encountering someone with a drug problem earlier above, so yes. Is a continuing statement of the song Petrified, but a bit harsher. I`m not calling for the extermination of drug addicts, but pretty close. There is also a message to my former self in there, cause yeah I have experimented with different drugs, though not the harder ones. But at one point in my life I had a morbid fascination of altering my mind. Given the point I stopped at, and from the aftermaths of what I saw and experienced, I grew stronger from this period.
MetalKings.com: Phew, well, now that we are done with the first question…:))Musically Susperia's new effort has moved very far down the line from your debut album, in fact taking a more thrash/death oriented approach with a subtle touch of Voivod here and there, and a major touch of Death everywhere - how come?
Susperia: It's not like we sat down after the first one and said we had to change or anything. It all just happened naturally. We just continued writing music the same way and tried to make the best music we could. I think most of the changes, which are for the better, are my vocal approach. Instead of gutting out some standard Black Metal voices, I wanted to really find my own personal voice which I could develop and work with. Much more challenging and fun to do when you get the hang of it. The music we made now called for a different treatment when it came to the vocal lines. It wouldn`t be that special if there were only grunts and screams on there. I felt like giving each song a strong personality and give them variation to make them more individually interesting. We didn`t start out to become a Black Metal band. We started this band to make powerful Metal the way we want it to sound, metal the Susperia way. With Vindication we are closer to the point we set out to reach. We have grown stronger as a group and a family. And the strong bonds we connect reflects upon the album.
MetalKings.com: You finish the credits in the CD inlay with a note of respect to the late Chuck Shuldiner (RIP) - how did you learn about his death and what the man meant to you as a fan and as a musician?
Susperia: I learnt about his death (very ironic word in this sense, hmmm…) through my record company who gave me the sad news. It is really a big loss to the metal scene loosing one of the greatest composers in the genre of death metal. I have always been a fan of Chuck and his music in his bands. He inspired me greatly cause I listened a lot to Death albums through my teen-ages. Whenever there was a party with the guys, there was Death and Lack of Comprehension, memories that stick with you of good times, that is rare…
MetalKings.com: Although all of the music on the new record is written by Cyrus and all of the lyrics are created by you, for many people Susperia is still Tjodalv's band with a constant ex-Dimmu sticker on it… I gather that could be getting pretty annoying?
Susperia: Yeah, especially now like 3 years after his departure from Dimmu. Yes it is a fact that he once played in that band, but a man must be allowed to move on and still be in the scene if wants to creating a new band, and not just sit on his ass!?! All this project here and there comes from the hype of all the actual project bands that suddenly come and then disappear after a short while. So whenever a well known musician starts a new band after leaving one, you get the sticker "project" on you, it`s just the way it goes. But we are not a project and never set out to be one. We are five individual people, some of us friends from years before, who teamed up after meeting coincidentally and decided to work together, cause we found this special magic feeling that lacked in many of my former bands from earlier days. It just so happened that our drummer was once in a quite famous band, but that is in the past and people should really put all that behind and realize that this is different. We are not an all star band, far from, and we are not a project. Quite a normal band trying to make it somewhere, which we have done all our musical lives. There`s just many record companies who like to play with the whole "star" promotion to get more attention, which falls both ways.
MetalKings.com: What's the name of the guy on the cover artwork and who is he? :))
Susperia: His name would have to be Metalfetus, cause that what he is, and it`s really a symbol of us as babies. A metal baby with one of the typical metal symbols in the form of the devil horns growing on the forehead, getting ready to be born and come out and kick some metal ass! He-he, it`s about the band, a growing metal source that will fight for existence.
MetalKings.com: Okay let's turn to more everyday stuff - what's in your fridge right now, and what is the best thing you can cook?
Susperia: In my fridge you will always find at least a six-pack of beer, for inspirational and hot moments. Apart from that you have the normal shit like eggs and other quick meals. My favorite thing to cook is either Tacos or Italian pasta dishes! And of course nothing beats Norwegian salmon!
MetalKings.com: Where did Tjodalv get this silly hat of his? Ugh, terrible, is it not? ;)
Susperia: It would be terrible if he wore it out in daylight and all, but I think it looks quite good on the pictures. It`s something about the total look. His argument for wearing it was that; "come on, we play Texas Metal!!" He-he, or something funny like that. It could also maybe be a personal statement to the general audience that they should understand he is no longer the corpse-paint wearing Dimmu drummer, but a new individual of his own, playing in a different band. It makes the pictures look a bit different from others and gets attention, he -e, obviously since you had to ask about it, ha-ha-ha
MetalKings.com: What is Athera's most weird phobia?
Susperia: I don`t know if it`s a phobia but I have respect for heights. Maybe because you wonder how it`s like to just jump and feel how it is, I don`t know.
MetalKings.com: Okay that was just doing some stretching before serious fun starts - and now (blast beats please) - the infamous and glorious stupido questions from MetalKings.com. Basically those are the totally off-the-wall senseless questions that require an equally stupid answer, so be my guest… No, you don't have a choice - every musician talking to us has to go through it ;) Okay the devil on the cover of Vindication has red eyes - an indication of the fact that he has just been weeping. And now you are facing a lawsuit from Lucifer himself for discrediting the image of Satan as the Ruthless lord of all fevers and plagues - talk yourself out of it!
Susperia: I would tell him to shut his big mouth, cause if we manage to piss him off he should be proud of us, cause being evil and pissing people off is in his own nature, so then he must handle that people are capable of pissing also him off! In your face!!! He must have other things to do than bitching about a cool self portrait.
MetalKings.com: Some twat hacks your website and replaces all of the information with some cool free porn stuff. Eventually you manage to reclaim your property and put everything back in order - but then you start receiving tons of fan-mail saying they want the porn back - your actions?
Susperia: I would use the opportunity to gather new potential Susperia fans in all the bastards coming looking for porn. Lot of potential there. Porn, horror and Metal go hand in hand, he-he! To the people not wanting Susperia stuff but only porn, I would recommend to go to www.transvestite.com!
MetalKings.com: Your girlfriend comes home and finds you in bed with another girl - talk yourself out of it…
Susperia: Wouldn`t have to, she would join in, h- ha. No, I think I would get my balls cut off. But then I could sing some more cool falsetto, couldn`t I?!
MetalKings.com: Your manager goes nuts and says you have to become a wimp-ass pop boy-band, you try to get out of it - but the contract is too stringent - yes, you have to cut your hair and stuff - invent a new name for the band, what your biggest hit will be called and what it will be about?
Susperia: Even if the contract was too stringent this would never happen. We would just tie the manager up in some basement until the contract was invalid, and then kick his arse. But just to please your curiosity, the pop band would be called Backstreet Bitches, the biggest hit would be; "Standard industry chewing gum pop", and it would be about that, untrue cynical stuff that brainwash young potential metal kids.
MetalKings: Okay, thank you very much indeed for taking the interview this far and now your final comment to all of your fans here in Russia…
Susperia: Thanx to all the readers for taking interest in and discovering SUSPERIA. I hope you all will continue supporting us and check out our two current albums! Support us and who knows, maybe we`ll even get the chance to come over and play some shows for you all! Metal forever!!! Hails!!! Susperian greetz, Athera and the guys
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