Hi! How do you feel the band has evolved musically and artistically since “Foretold Monuments of Flesh”, especially considering the growth and maturity showcased in “Portals To Oblivion”?
Greetings and thank you so much for inviting me on this interview.
Well, evolution is an everlasting and everchanging phenomena in all forms of art. The songwriting and structure of the songs has been evolved from release to release and this is something artists should opt for, not covered by their own shadow. Foretold monuments of flesh was a fast paced monstrosity whereas portals were more mid tempo abomination! The newest release, Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky is also leaning towards foretolds monuments of flesh but also has some key moments similar to portals to oblivion.
KHNVM recently embarked on their first tour, the “Ophidian Madness Tour,” playing shows across Germany and performing at various renowned festivals. How was the experience for the band, and what were some memorable moments or challenges you encountered along the way?
Ophidian Madness Tour was something remarkable. We started the tour with Metal Frenzy open air where we opened for mighty „Sodom“!!! And then Inflammen open air, which was like one of the most memorable gigs as we were the first band to open on Saturday and the minute we hit our first note, we just saw that the whole tent was completely full! At least 3000 people were there and we delivered may be one of our best set till date. Then we went to Berlin to play along with the legendary USA death metal gods, Sadistic Intent!! Absolute banger! Then we played a local festival near Magdeburg which is called damned days 2022. then we played at the infamous masters of the unicorn which was in the middle of mountains! We played on Saturday during heavy rainfall but still saw people ignoring the rain and enjoying some hefty amount of extreme metal! Then we did a headlining gig in Wolfsburg, which is like our first headliner appearance and it was nasty! I had severe fever and cold and also had my work in the corporate office but still we managed to do the gig. The next day we go headlined in Berlin along with death veterans Master in metal attack fest 2022. This was also a memorable one for us as we met our idol Mr. Paul Speckmann! The last gig of the tour was in Magdeburg in the legendary club factory Magdeburg where we presented an hour long.
Obliterator had to relocate from Magdeburg to Berlin, which must have presented its own set of challenges. How did this transition impact the band’s dynamics and creative process, especially with the collaboration with drummer Alex Simpson for the “Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky”?
It is a critical issue for the band. Though there is a direct train from Magdeburg to Berlin which takes 2 hours, it still had an impact on the band as the rehearsal became not that often. We use to rehearse once every week, sometimes two times a week but it came down to once a month. And there comes the biggest problem. Although we wanted to involve all the members in the writing process, the relocation made this extremely hard. So Obliterator came out with this idea of releasing a mini album, which will actually buy the band some time to think and figure out how we would function in the future. We have a grave chemistry within us where we all know what to do, and we intend to keep it the way it is. But, life is not linear and it will never be linear. So we have to prioritize our choices. As far as I know, Khnvm is always Obliterator‘s first choice as we did our first international tour in Brazil despite our original drummer could not make free time from his work. Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky was a try out to see, in spite of having not proper time for the band, if the band can function the way it should be, and I can see that it is a success.
“Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky” delves into multiple philosophical and spiritual concepts through its lyrics and music. Can you provide some insights into the themes explored on the album and the band’s motivations behind addressing these topics?
Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky is a mixture of different philosophies and ideologies. For example the opening track and the ending track are describing the concept of thousand year old theory of finding your inner alchemy. It’s a process of opening the third eye and finding salvation within your life. The title track Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky is also a depicted theme of time when the apocalypse begins. Instead of everything being destroyed during the apocalypse, I imagined that the worlds (multiple dimensions) will collide and the creatures from those worlds will be the demise for the mortals in this world. The instrumentals, “Hourglass of Decadence 1 and 2 and the song “From the Depths of Duat” are basically within a single timeline where these oriental instruments (Saz) were used to build up an atmosphere from that era. And also the song grand evisceration depicts the eternal concept when the brothers become enemies, and for survival we have to kill our brothers. There is no cut throat ways of selecting the themes or the lyrical concept of the album. Whatever I am reading and watching on that particular time, I try to build up a story on it and try to express it through heavy riffs, hahahah.
The album features a fusion of Eastern classical influences with Death Metal. What inspired the incorporation of these elements, and how do you ensure a seamless blend that enhances the album’s ambience and overall impact?
Eastern classical influences are very common, specially in the realms of extreme metal. For example, I am a huge fan of the band Nile. Specially by Karl Sanders and Dallas where they used a lot of harmonic minor scales and Phrygian dominant modes to build up epic Nile riffs. This particular scale and mod is very common also in the eastern classical music which is called “raga”. I am a schooled eastern classical musician so I had to learn those in my childhood. Later when I started to get more into playing riffs and listening to death metal, I incorporated those learning into writing my riffs.
Mitchell Nolte created the artwork for “Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky.” How did the collaboration come about, and how does the artwork align with the album’s themes and messages?
Mitchell Nolte is an exceptionally outstanding artist. I have followed him for the last 3 years and his artwork were absolutely top tier. I wanted to have a coloured interpretation of the album concept, and I think Mitchel has nailed it. The collaboration was easy. I mailed him my song and asked if he is interested in drawing the artwork for the new album. And he was pretty easy going and agreed and thus came the artwork for “Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky”.
What impact do you hope the album will have on listeners, and what are some key takeaways you want them to derive from the experience?
Well, I am not sure what impact will it pose on the listener. I mean, we are a small DIY band, so obviously we will not reach people like the other bigger acts. But unlike the other bigger acts, putting the same old formula into their songs, I think, the album has much more to give. It is a completely unpredictable album, with lots of surprise elements which definitely will make the listener spin the album for the second time, or maybe more. There are a few key elements that definitely need to be checked. For example the outro solo from Visions Of A Plague Ridden Sky, and also the main solo from the Depths of Duat are my personal favourites. Also, the ending track awakening the inner alchemy part 2 has a lot of surprise elements which might become a favourite. So far the reviews we got are extremely good.
With the upcoming release at the prestigious Protzen Open Air, how do you feel about sharing this album with fans in a live setting, and what can audiences expect from your performances during this event?
Protzen Open air was a successful Event for Khnvm. We played a couple of tracks from the new album and in spite of heavy rain, we got astonishing feedback from the crowd. There was a review of our performance on that festival by Zephyrs Odem (renowned online webzine for fans of metal) and they described that we in spite of being a 3 piece band live, we managed to produce a humongous sound what 5piece bands dream for. So this is actually a great compliment for us as a band that we are able to put this thought on people’s minds. Also we don’t use any samples or anything in our live, so it’s the natural sound of a three piece death metal band.
The cassette version of the album will be released by Bitter Loss Records. What drew you to collaborate with this Australian label, and what are your thoughts on the resurgence of cassette tapes as a physical format for music?
Well, nothing particularly drew me to release the tape with bitter loss records. I was analyzing my Spotify demographics and location wise Australia is a nice place for extreme metal. We wanted to introduce ourselves to the metal heads of Australia, so I reached out Rob from Bitter Loss records for the cassette release. A lot of things are going on behind the curtain, so if things work accordingly, in 2024 we shall conquer the Aussie soil.
KHNVM recently completed a successful Brazilian tour. Can you share some memorable moments from the tour and any standout experiences performing alongside local legends like Violator and Headhunter BC?
Brazil was a game changing experience for us. I never thought that I will be able to form a band that will also tour, but who knew that Khnvm’s very first international tour will be in not just a different country, but also another continent!! We played 12 concerts in 14 days With a total of 6000km driving. We played in front of 20 people to a proper festival with Violator and DRI with over 2000 people. So you can see the range of audience and stage we got. On the other hand, we played in the middle of forest to the most famous club for extreme metal concerts over all Brazil. I can write a whole day about what happened during our tour. But all I can say is, Brazil got some of the most tastiest food and some of the most crazy metal heads to play for. Absolutely amazing experience.
You have a Baltic tour scheduled. What excites you the most about this upcoming tour?
Yes we have a 6 day baltic tour starting from 24h of October to 31st of October. We will go to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia for this tour. These are also some places with a great metal scene but not much explored. Actually, with Khnvm, my intentions are pretty simple. Release albums and play in cities and countries that I have never played before. This is what excites me the most!
How does the band approach the translation of the intense energy and atmosphere captured in your recordings to the live stage? What elements are crucial in delivering a powerful and memorable live performance?
We have a thick live tone. That is what I believe to be absolutely essential for any band, a solid cutthroat live sound. All three of us are skilled musicians and we have been in the scene for a long time. So we can actually replicate almost 90 percent of the studio sound in live settings. But one of the most essential thing for an engaging live performance will be the groove of the songs. We try to sync and feel the groove all together and then channel it through our movement to the crowd. Hardly there are crowds that do not headbang with us while we are playing so, yeah that is how we act in the live setting.
KHNVM’s music often explores dark themes such as death, human suffering, and existentialism. How do you personally connect with these concepts, and what impact do you hope to have on listeners through your exploration of these subjects?
To answer this question I have to be a bit more personal. The thing is, I am an immigrant from Bangladesh in Germany. My struggles are not the same, my environment is not the same as before. So I need to have a battle within me to adopt, accommodate and embrace the change. This resulted into a lot of depression, frustration and a lot of battles within my mind to stay sane. To overcome those psychological demons, I created Khnvm as a gateway. And personally, I believe, humans are the most wicked creature on earth as we see, and a lot of wickedness are in their mind. I wanted to address those through my music, thinking of my emotional and psychological situation. That is how I incorporate those themes in my music and songwriting.
Looking ahead, what are your future aspirations and goals for KHNVM? Are there any specific musical directions or collaborations you hope to explore in the coming years? Thank you for your time!
As for the future plan, we want to continue releasing albums in every 2 years and major tours every year for at least 15 days. I have a full time corporate job so it doesn’t allow me to take music professionally. But I am happy with this setting as it allows me to have full control on my plans for the band. We will end 2023 with one Brazil tour, one new album and one Baltic tour. 2024 we have the Australian tour and also we will commence a Europe tour to support the new album. Hopefully end of 2024 we will complete recording another album and set to be released in 2025. This cycle will continue as long as I am living in Germany.
Thank you so much for your in-depth questions. It was much more exciting to write those answers. I wish all the best to Antichrist magazine.
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