Interview with BURIAL HORDES

Interview with BURIAL HORDES

- in Written interviews

Hi! It has been five years since your last album, what have you been up to during this time?
Well, to tell you the truth we didn’t feel like it has been a very long time. The pandemic distorted the perception of time a bit, and the period between 2020 – 2021 is a bit foggy, like a surreal dream. Ruins is a pure “pandemic” album, so the process of creation was slower than usual. We started to work on the compositions in December of 2019, and we completed the writing of the album in March of 2021. After the completion of the album, there was an issue that occurred with our drummer F. V. which prevented him from recording, so some time was needed to find a replacement and to eventually solve that matter. On top of this, there was a long period that we had to wait for the completion of the cover and also the well known huge delays of the vinyl factory plants, and with all these you get the whole picture.

“Ruins” is your latest release, can you describe the creative process that went into making this album?
The creative pattern has not changed for all the Burial Hordes releases. In every release, the whole process begins with which concept we want to materialize, and once the main theme is ‘locked’, it serves as the foundation in which everything is built upon. So, the first step is the concept, then D. D. and T. K. compose the music. After that I write the lyrics, and the last stage before the recording is to fix every detail of the songs. The matter of the cover (with exception of the “Θάνατος Αιώνιος” album), is the last thing that we usually do before we complete the whole process. The vision for our new album is, “Ruins” as a symbol of decaying. The ruins are a visualized representation of the passage of time and the inevitability of collapse, reminding us of our own transience. Everything ends; the end of a person, the end of civilization, and the end of the universe. “Ruins” as a symbol of the ephemeral. Everything toward the void.

Musically we wanted a more violent and intense expression than our previous album, which was violent (it’s our identity), but dark to the core. An intention to approach more vividly the destructive nature of the Cosmos, while the claustrophobic dark parts are always present like a voracious black hole. The production was done again at Descent Studio, which is our guitarist’s studio, and this gave us the ability to work alone and do things exactly as we have visualized. Regarding the sound of “Ruins”, we wanted to enforce the fierce nature of the songs, and to succeed in that, we chose to have less reverb and to dress the songs with a more “dry” approach and full of dynamics. In the same frame and my vocals, they are following intense lines, and to be the voice of hate and tragedy. It is a different perspective from the “Θάνατος Αιώνιος” and “Incendium” albums, which was more narratively styled in the voice of darkness. For that reason we didn’t add reverb in the vocals, (just some delays in specific words) with the purpose to be totally natural sounding and the ripping of the vocal chords to be clear, transmitting the pain in every word that I spit. “Ruins” contains 8 songs, and each song has its own personality, depending on the states that we are describing, and in its totality it’s embracing the temporal, the finite, and the ephemeral.

What were your main influences when creating “Ruins”?
Everything in Burial Hordes refers to the phenomenon of death and the destroying of hope. Even from our earlier years in our life, the researching became our principal function and a daily routine with studies, deep introspections, and long conversations with purpose, to build for ourselves a clearer view of life with the phenomenon of death to be the main subject of our interest. We are digging deep in the darkest fields of our existence, and we are looking straight to the eye of our grotesque fate. We are not here to bring fake joy, to please, or to give illusive hopes to anyone. We are here to unveil and to confront the unpleasant truths of our species, so death is our driving force, our inspiration, and all of our studies and ideas will be manifested into music. “Ruins” is born under the same conditions. Musically, Burial Hordes is in total harmony with the destructive nature of the Cosmos, and that’s the only way for our ideas to be presented accurately.

The album has a very balanced mix of black and death metal influences, was it a conscious decision to blend these genres together, or did it happen organically? Do you feel that genre labels are important, or do they limit the creative process?
Burial Hordes spawned as a classic violent black metal act, and it was forged in that way, to be a direct hit to the entire religious system and their flock, designed with the force of a war machine to bring chaos and destruction. We expanded our philosophy to deeper and darker fields, and naturally the same happened with our sound. That was one of the reasons that in the “Descent” 7″ of 2012, we used for first time 7 string guitars and 5 string bass. With this choice, we managed to have the capability to use darker colors to our canvas. We needed to expand our musical choices, and to add more information in our songs. With the embodiment of death metal ingredients (low tuning, changing my vocal style from screams to low), plus the addition of harmonics/disharmonics, we have succeeded to enrich our black metal basis and violent identity with claustrophobic atmospheres. That evolution was totally necessary according to our vision.

Now about your second sub-question. There is no doubt that your only limit is your mind. The genres are not personified god-like figures, which are curved by dogmatic laws that we are bound to follow, but we perceive it exactly as they are. They are artistic paths containing specific characteristics, and if these characteristics are in total alliance, with our views, studies, and emotions, then we will use it.

“Ruins” features Eugene Ryabchenko of Fleshgod Apocalypse as a session drummer, how did this collaboration come about? Can you discuss the role that collaboration plays in your creative process, and how it has influenced your music over the years?
As I mentioned in a previous question, right before we started the recording session of Ruins, the issue occurred with F. V. and he had to cancel, so immediately we started to search for a seasoned drummer. We needed someone with a very dynamic style and Eugene Ryabchenko was the ideal choice, so we got in contact with him and he agreed to cooperate. Eugene didn’t have any role in the creative process. We sent him the programmed drums and he rerecorded them live, reading the midi. He did a professional job in all aspects and we are totally satisfied with the results.

“Ruins” features artwork by Khaos Diktator Design, which perfectly captures the album’s sense of chaos and atmosphere. Can you talk about the importance of album art in the overall presentation of your music?
In every Burial Hordes work, the lyrics, music, and visuals must be absolutely connected to form a singular entity. In our first releases, satanic symbols were embodied and have been used as weapons to enforce the dynamic of these assaults, but later on as we expanded our personal research to darker paths, the same thing happened with our way of using of these symbolic expressions. In our later works, our literature became more cynical and poisonous, creating a narrative with a beginning and an end, and the visuals emphasized the actual representation of human suffering, although symbolism has its place in our art and always will have. It gives us the ability to multiply our choices and to construct a variety of strong images that help us highlight our thesis and create apex moments inside of our work. Those expressions combined give us exactly what we want to achieve in every release; to craft a detailed picture, which will be constituted by many layers, so as to penetrate more effectively to the dark areas of human thinking and to illuminate roads directly to the concealed areas of consciousness. Burial Hordes uses symbolism as an extension to realism. That means we use symbolism to make our realistic pictures more vivid, instead of the common practice of using it to hide the terror and distract attention away from the suffering.

From the moment that we captured the main theme of the “Ruins” album, the name of Khaos Diktator was the first and only who came into our minds. He was the perfect person to visually manifest our ideas. I will not waste your time and your readers’ time telling how amazing and special of an artist he is because that is well known. During the session, we had just a little conversation and it was enough for him to capture exactly what we have envisioned, and he presented to us an incredible piece of art, truly a masterpiece!

Can you describe a particularly memorable moment from the recording or writing process of “Ruins”?
Not something extraordinary that deserves to be mentioned.

How do you see Burial Hordes fitting into the wider black metal scene?
We don’t care at all to fit into anything. We are only following our own ideas. We have proven for 22 years now that all of our activities are aiming entirely towards our art only, and we are using any tool that is necessary to achieve that. Burial Hordes, to say it graphically, is our wagon which has a single mission; to be a carrier for all of our energies, thoughts, studies and emotions, and inside this wagon there is no room for other concerns.

The black metal scene in Greece has produced many notable bands over the years. Can you discuss the impact that the Greek metal scene has had on your music, and how you fit into that larger context?
My respect and admiration for the classic Greek Black Metal albums is unspeakable. I grew up with those albums and they still have the same Magick, and the same intense effect upon me, although Burial Hordes doesn’t have any connection with the Greek Black Metal sound. The band was formed with a central purpose and philosophy to be a poison and a wound on the religious body/society, while musically we wanted to explore different paths totally in the contrary of the established Greek Black Metal traditional sound which had dominated the scene in those days. At the end of the 90’s and after, the glorious days of the first half of this decade, the Greek Black Metal scene was in a decay. Trapped by the ghosts of Rotting Christ/Varathron, the scene was overcrowded by multiple clones of them, with the result of an uninspiring period with bands lacking will and ability to present something different. In a way, for the Greek scene, this fact didn’t change radically and prevails to the current day. For Burial Hordes, this style of sound doesn’t work. Just that! Burial Hordes spawned and was doomed to explore colder, darker, and more violent paths.

What is your opinion on the current state of the extreme metal scene?
Things are still happening. We have good albums, bad albums, innovation, experimentation, classical sounding stuff, everything. If you know what you want to listen to, and where to search it, you will always find something interesting.

Here are five questions on which I would like to hear your personal opinions:
Does the acceptance of existential nihilism lead to a life without meaning, or can it provide a framework for creating our own meaning and purpose?
We are temporal creatures, placed in this vanishing, transient and precarious interval between the past and the future. With the acknowledgment of your true place in the cosmos, you find yourself to be floating in a void without direction, without purpose, grasped by the claws of this cold cosmic system, being totally naked without the comfort which can provide any of the psychological tricks or systems which are producing hope, happy endings and new beginnings.

I believe that each person has their own personal way to manage this realization, but to put it in a general frame, this can lead to 2 states. You will be passive and have resign, or you will be active expelling the fears of death, and will find purpose, embracing the concept of personal freedom. In my case, I have perceived my place in cosmos. I know that we are creatures with a finite path, without objective meaning and purpose and our only certainty is that all we will blow away like smoke in the void, and I’m aware about our limitations of our species, which makes it impossible to reach absolute knowledge, but the fact that fundamental questions will never be answered doesn’t sway my voracious curiosity. Even from the earlier years of my life, the researching became my principal function and a daily routine with studies, deep introspections, and long conversations with purpose to build for myself a clearer view of life and the absolute interest to explore through my studies and through art, the cavernous abyss of consciousness and confront the angsts of existence. Also, hate is my inner weapon and a vital quality. The awareness of my true nature doesn’t mean that I have accepted my passing on life, with depressive or stoic stasis. I can’t deny that I’m literally fucking furious about the absurdness and the meaninglessness of the whole structure. My hate works as a transgressing thrust, allowing me to destroy every obstacle which is standing in the way of my mission to submerge into the deep structures of human psyche for a scrap of understanding. In the end, walking and not crawling, I will look directly into the eyes of death with dignity, with respect for its totality, and also with a self-respect, because life didn’t succeed to bend me on its feet.

Is Satan a symbol of rebellion against oppressive power structures, or a literal embodiment of evil?
Satan is a man made symbol, and as all symbols it represents an abstract idea and can be interpreted with various ways depending on what’s your purpose. The religious symbols have significant importance for most of the people and I can understand why. These symbols (as Satan), embodied with fantasy can give a sense of imperishable beauty, of continuation, of rebirth. Through the symbols, the individual gets a feeling that life has significance, and is not just a product of evolution that will appear for a tiny fraction of time and then vanish for eternity. All these religious/theistic manifestations are just byproducts and reflections of humans’ ultimate fear; inevitable death. I can find reasons and understand why people tend to believe metaphysical things. The world is not so scary when you believe in magic. Now, to get back to the question, I think the characteristics that make Satan more appealing is that he was portrayed as a rebellious figure, an anti-systemic weapon who is fighting the established organized religion, so he is the enemy of the system. However, I’m experienced enough to know that all the so called anti-systemic movements of all kinds are just the best trick of the system itself, and in reality everything is functioning with only purpose to feed it. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that Satan is a powerful symbol, so an excellent tool of propaganda.

Are there fundamental truths that can be discovered through symbolic logic, or is it a purely formal system with no connection to reality?
Symbolic logic is a very useful tool for clarifying the philosophically, important concepts of meaning, truth, and proof, but it’s not a tool that you can use on your quest to find answers. Symbolic logic is the total lack of concern with the epistemology of knowledge, and in its formalism. It is concerned mainly with the analysis of the correctness of logical laws. It is a fact that my inner foundations are based on logic, and most of my searchings are founded in the art of realism. Literally realism, existential philosophy, history and science are the fields that I am interested in and explore, although I’m totally aware it is impossible for our species to reach ultimate knowledge. The evolution of human intelligence is developing very slowly due to the fact that our brains are extraordinarily expensive metabolically. The human brain consumes massive amounts of energy, far more than almost all other organs (the heart and liver being the exceptions). Why don’t we have fundamental answers to the life experience? Probably because there are not existing fundamental answers. If you dig at the core of our existence, you will not even find a single thought, and everything is covered by a tenebrous impassive silence in a terrifying abyss. We have no power at all to change that, because the curse of the human’s existence is within the structure of life itself. We have just been captured by the claws of a randomly and indifferent mechanism, without purpose and meaning, and to be acutely conscious of this despair is our anathema.

Is it possible to be completely rational and objective, or are our emotions and biases always present and influencing our reasoning?
No, absolutely not! It’s impossible to be purely rational. What we have as a species, is the capacity for rational thinking, and this capacity exists in a large neurobiological structure and that is driven by emotion. It’s a complex procedure, because in our every thought and decision, the rational thinking, self states, and emotions are dancing with one another. The person that has constructed a strong individual background with an analytic self process of reasoning will automatically develop mechanisms in his brain which are essential to generate balance between rational thinking and emotions.

Is death a necessary and natural part of the cycle of life, or does it represent a tragic and irreversible loss of consciousness?
“The paths of glory lead but to the grave.” Yes, death is a necessary and natural part of the cycle of life and also yes, with the death of the brain consciousness is extinguished. All thoughts, ideas, dreams, nightmares, and knowledge will be vanished from your head some seconds/minutes later from the moment that your heart stops pumping blood to your brain, and your last thought will die together with your last electrical impulse. Everything is infused with a particle of chaos, and the systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium-the state with maximum entropy. All the systems are bound on the second law of thermodynamics, one of the essential laws of the physical universe, making it impossible to escape from the claws of this harsh reality. The way to overpass it is only with your imagination, and we humans have plenty. The universal mechanism is using the death process, to put it simply, to replace the parts that run out of energy with new ones, and this circle of events will continue until the entire system will fall. Every star will die, all matter will decay, and eventually all that will be left is a soup of particles and radiation. Even the energy of that soup will be zapped away over time by the expansion of the universe. The only certainty is that we are hurdling towards the end of our life with the post vital non-existence waiting for us. We will all blow away like smoke in the void. Death is a transformation if you consider the fact that when a body is buried, all the molecules infuse into nature and will be parts of another structure. This is the cycle of life until death vanishes everything into nothingness.

What are your future plans for Burial Hordes?
We have already started working upon our new album

Thank you for your time. I hope you found my questions engaging and insightful.

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