Firstly I came across Slovakia’s Death Metal act Perversity when Dodi (guitar) sent me band’s first demo The Embarassed in 97 or 98. It was a great stab of Death Metal from below and we stayed in contact for years sharing the same passion for everything Death Metal. Those were the great times of utter Death Metal enthusiasm. Then a break came and our contact silenced since I got inactive in the period of Perversity’s In the Garment of Lust (2003) and Words Like Poison (2004) albums and furthermore. Sometime in 2007 I got my hands on Perversity’s third album material and immediately had to renew the old friendship. We got older, Dodi got married in the meantime and has a first–born daughter now. But over years we remained the same, the passion and spirit of Death are still burning in us as strong as ever before. It’s awesome to find out time changes and so do we and our lives but the love for the music of Death remains ageless! It proves many times said, Death Metal is not only music, it goes far beyond that and it’s what the interview turned out to be all about, the persistence, ardor and joy of music we have deciphered in our souls in order to devote ourselves to this cult eternally.
The new album Beyond The Reach Of Heaven brings no trends, no light, no prayers to life as it’s real Death Metal essence doesn’t allow such artificial manifests. Check it out and now read on!
Originally conceived in May, 2008.
PDF version of the interview (old design).
Hi Dodi, how’s the band doing? We were not in touch for some time and I am kinda interested how you and the band have gone through all those changes, line–up problems over years. If I remember correctly, it was in the period of the 2nd demo Personal, when you had relatively problems with line–up and overall musical direction was not heading towards the way you & former singer were intending to...
Hi Jan. At the moment everything is OK with the band but we are incredibly eager about our new CD. Things are a little bit dragging now but the CD should come out definitely in the middle of March (came out late April – ed.). I know the album release will help us all to find new inspiration. As for your question regarding my persistence, I’m sometime wondering about it myself, hehe. I have gone through a lot of exchanges in the band and I have lost quite a lot of time with some ex–memebers. I learnt, for example, a drummer all songs for half a year in 1998 and he quit afterwards. When it comes to the period around Personal demo, the music indeed was not evolving according to my taste. There was a problem with drummer again, all of the sudden he lost interest in playing blast beats and creating brutal music in general. He kind of stepped up to the side of other two new members and Martin and I became a minority part within our own band. It was really difficult to find any new musicians during that period, at the end of nineties. Either one wanted to play and was really fired into underground music and stuff but lacked of musicians skills or vice–versa. Not to paint it all black, nowadays I like the Personal demo period. The music itself is all right for sure and has found its fans. Myself, I have learnt a lot from those guys and this goes also for the other following members which went through the band. 19 members have already come and gone through Perversity. A real troop, I think, hehe.
Two regular albums have followed after the Personal demo. When you look back at those times, what do you see, how would you describe & revalue this period? To which extent did you appreciate the release of your debut album through a foreign label and what kind of benefit it was for the band? And how about the band’s musical direction itself at that time as well as in comparison to a musical vision of your own?
The period between 2001 and 2004 was beautiful. I am really drowned in nostalgia when recalling memories of that time. We were like brothers to one another. It all started when I found drummer Marek Stašák and then guitar player Dan Kochaník and bass guitarist named Martin Kukoľ. Marek and Martin were starting playing their instruments but they made great and fast progress. In January 2002, we recorded our debut abum In The Garment Of Lust and began to spread promos around. We received a contract from Empire records and almost shit our pants but they were “gaming” with us only and nothing happened. An offer from French PQR was a nice surprise. It was a real entry into realms of worldwide scene for us. I regret a little bit the fact that there was no re–mastering of the record done as PQR intended to do it at first. It could have helped in reviews for sure. I still have some of those reviews where we are compared to Cryptopsy or Sinister, hehe. Second CD was released under the belt of indigenous label Forensick Music. We have received a better offer and we went with them. PQR were interested in continuing our cooperation as well but they sort of stagnated and soon went bankrupt. They made to release only 5 albums. I am proud of both albums appropriately and remember of our ex–members in a best possible way. I was satisfied to the max with the musical direction the band took on those two albums. Certainly they are comprised of the most technical stuff the band has ever recorded and I had grown up as a guitarist properly. Dano was the best guitarist I have ever played with.
To sum this period up again, all members except the bass player Martin have left Slovakia and thereby the band as well. At one hand a pity and my grief, on the other hand there has a new phase begun for Perversity.
Man, we are turning into old beasts. Perversity grew up to the age of 13, time is running away fast. You are actually the only one original band member of the band nowadays and you still keep on going. Such a persistence is quite unmatched in Czech, I ought to think bands are giving up easily which is sort of cheap as in the case when bands are just one step from a real success and they give up being satisfied that they almost did it in fact. What’s your opinion about it, you have seen many bands rise and fall during all those years, you know. What’s hidden behind the urge that doesn’t let you give up and forces you to go on, where do you draw motivation and inspiration from?
I have never been waiting for problems to solve it–selves. When something broke up I immediately acted, phone–called and reorganized things. The band is like energy to my life. There are moments when things are turning really difficult. I’ve also been lucky that I have not to travel abroad because of my occupation and I’ve met my wife and found a family and this is inspiration and backing for me. At this stage the moving engine for the band is the new line–up. We are all real friends and brutal dark Death Metal freaks. Yeah!
Would you have some suggestions, know–how or longevity receipt for bands, which just stand at early stages of their existence, of how to solve problems any band has to face now and then so that it won’t endanger their existence too much?
It’s hard to recommend anything. It all comes from the inside of an individual, the way one behaves, sacrifices himself and basically what one needs from life. I don’t know what to advise.
You are releasing your 3rd actual album Beyond The Reach Of Heaven in a slightly changed line–up again. Tell me about the path that led to the creation of the material placed on this album. You will most probably agree on the fact that the current effort represents most sombre face Perversity have ever had. Incantation and Immolation inspirations have sort of replaced the darkened brutal Death metal Suffocation influence. Where has this obscure urge embodiment arisen in you and actually how enjoyable this ongoing musical eclipse in the band is?
It all started with drummer Martin Horgoš coming to the band sometime in May 2004. Again, I am talking about the drummer, but it’s the most important thing which matters for a band. He is actually the person who has initiated our leaning towards darker realms. At last I’ve got a drummer, who wants to play fast, uncompromising Death Metal and is able to execute it for real, hehe. But even before, in September 2003, after Martin left the band, the frontman position changed with a new singer Juraj Handzuš, who is the demonic element in Perversity. He writes profane lyrics and loves hordes devoted to blasphemy. Last addition is the arrival of young guitarist Robert Vanya so we could run into more extensive creation of new material. Hearing new songs I finally felt that we’ve started playing real metal, hehe. Since then on it’s all a joy.
How have you come across your new guitarist? Could you introduce his musical potential and personality a little closer? You have told me that he is really drawn to the spirit of pure Death Metal obscurity. In which ways has he enriched the band musically and humanly? How do you complement and motivate each other when composing?
WE ARE ALL REAL FRIENDS AND DARK DEATH METAL FREAKS. THE BAND IS LIKE ENERGY TO MY LIFE.
I didn’t know Robert. He is like 6 years younger than me. One of our good friends have introduced Robert to us. He made a good impression on us all. Long hair, Nile shirt and solid skills. He’s really into Immolation, Cryptopsy and Nile. At this state I am really pleased he is getting involved in singing and we are checking out how two voices could work for us. He even did vox completely on one of our gigs when Jura was not able to attend. Musically, Robert tends to make guitar patterns more technical whereas I would take it more to simple areas. I mean, not simple guitar riffs but more straightforward songs’ structure. We all really comprehend one another.
Beyond The Reach Of Heaven sounds completely underground. In fact you have never been attracted to really clear, almost overproduced sound and have always kept on the filthy cult underground earnestness in your sounding. How important is such a sound for an image you want your music to transcend onto listener?
I have really took highest care so that we avoid the typical Slovakian sound. I think we have accomplished quality UG sound. I like that a little bit plaguesome, filthy and beautiful sound at the same time and we will stay loyal to this formula.
How have the Reach Of Heaven intermezzo made it to the album? Why did you place a fragment of some cantata under the almost–album–title? Who is the original author and where have you taken the massacre sounds in the background? I think its pomposity, drama and darkness corresponds with the raw Death Metal brutality at its best, would you agree?
We tried to achieve exactly what you are talking about, to come up with atmosphere and give a listener some rest. It really appeared as a cliche to us to use it as an ordinary intro besides it has fit after the 6th song as an intermezzo nicely. Juraj was the one who brought it. He had arranged it himself at home, I don’t even know how he did that. We also used some keyboards record of our friend Mr. Hellmeczy and mix it all together. It sounds rather like of reach of hell.
According the title, should your album symbolize some deliverance of religious values? Can we consider it a nihilistic catharsis of Perversity members? It appears to me like if the Reach Of Heaven track stands as a dividing line between belief–questioning part ending on the album with song Apocalypsis and then there is a part of two remaining songs left taking listener sort of “Beyond” that heavenly reach, could one perceive it like this?
Nice to hear about how you perceive things and how those can be explained with some imagination. We did not have any deeper reasoning when tracking the album, we wanted it to flow well and keep being interesting till the end. As far as lyrics goes, the main idea behind is Death, spiritual suffering, heresy and darkness of human mind. We are not aiming to be a Satanic band. Through artistic expression we tend to picture insanity of this world, at least we try.
How much fun or necessity means lyrics–writing to you, is it hard to catch all the thoughts and transcend them into words? Could you a little bit approximate the lyrical content on the album or at least those two texts you have written?
I was probably writing like 80 percent of lyrics to this day but Juraj writes good enough lyrics so it’s become his job. Sometime I have to amend him so that we are not like Mayhem or Deicide, hehe. Lyrics to Gods For Us is about a man who has a right to choose of thousands of gods and religions and that poor man is not able to choose any single one seeing only chaos and suffering of mankind. Irresistible Destruction is about a spiritual fight, about angels, who rely on their master. As master sins, unable to resist sexual temptation, angels are being punished and whipped. Metaphorically it’s a look at reality. One can decline and fail in his life and his surroundings, close friends, will suffer. It’s also interesting in a way that, in the past, I wrote more socially–politically driven lyrics which suited more into at that time popular fetus style, I was not forcing anything out of me, those were just my feelings yet nowadays – along with our new direction – dark visions are coming to my mind. Certainly I will put some of those visions on paper.
As I see you shot a band–photo in front of a church. How about your personal belief, do you consider yourself an absolute nihilist? And how’s it with other members of the band? How do you perceive the existence of church around you? How strong is the position of religion in your region and in which ways it does it affect a normal man?
The temple is about 100 meters from our rehearsal room. We went out to shot some photos and spontaneously we came across that place. Myself, I respect religious people, who needs religion for themselves and I accept religion when it is able to help, there are people out there who need it. Religion has large impact here in Slovakia but I am out of its reach. But for example I do not see anything wrong with 10 commandments, it’s just general politeness. Mind and character is what is dominant and if these are bad there’s nothing that could help.
I must admit you have picked up an excellent cover for the album, could you please talk more about the pleasure & hardship of finding it? Were you actually having an idea of the cover? Tell us more. I can only say for myself, I love such art, I am able to look at it forever.
It all went smoothly with booklet and cover issues. Juraj’s brother has started designing bands’ CDs and stuff, he works under the name Digital–Vortex. Since the very beginning, he was aware of what we are up to for album’s design. I really like his work, the cover illustration looks like if it come from middle–ages, of the inquisition period. Booklet’s content looks dark as well. Good thing is we don’t have to look for a graphic in the future, we’ve got one almost in the family, hehe.
Chaos, darkness, epic, melody, (dis)harmony, catchiness, technique, straightforwardness, simplicity. I know I am kinda balancing on the edge but anyway, how do you try to work with those elements, merge them in the music? Which of those are important for you more or less? Did I omit anything you would add?
Certainly we want the music to have energy. It’s hard to say how a song should sound before you actually create anything. Many times, we agreed on making slow, heavy track and it sounded completely different in the end. Darkness and brutality, those 2 are our elementary points, which we are going to focus on in new songs. First we have to be satisfied with a song itself, which means we won’t tend to change anything dramatically after playing it 30 times. Songwriting is a spontaneous process.
When we try to sum it up, how important, eventually demanding is to incorporate a feeling into music and work with it for you? Do you divide the instrumental and feeling aspects in your music? How do you work & treat those ingredients? How would you re–evaluate meaning of those elements for the band as time went.
Personally, I can say that when I feel intensive tension inside me and my bloods is about to boil then I am satisfied. Same when coming up with riffs at home, I always play to the state that feels similar to aforementioned state. As we play the song in our rehearsal room with addition of drums and second guitar we tweak and arrange the song. We read lyrics before we actually start the ritual of song creation. We were not used to do it like this in the past. Music came first and lyrics was adjusted to the song afterwards. We are much more satisfied with the new album in this direction as well.
I wonder how is your attitude towards rhythmical section’s sound. I mean, all your releases carry a distinct bass sound, which is not really too common. Generally speaking, bass guitar is not effectively put too ‘forward’ as it could be in Death metal and many times it just uselessly follows guitar patterns instead of drumming. What’s your opinion?
I like bass guitar. It’s a beautiful instrument. Bass player could even make a mistake while playing and it will sound good anyway, hehe. Martin Kukoľ was the man who recorded bass on all three albums. Even–though some reviews were not completely positive everytime bass was almost always well–received. Bass is laid a little back on the new album but it still can be felt anyway. Martin is no longer a member of Perversity he has chosen a jazz path to follow. We have a new bass player since September 2007. His name is Slavomír Kovaľ, he’s my ex–class mate. He’s a fingers player as well and his style suits our music even more. We have been always lucky finding good bass players for Perversity. Some bands indeed don’t aim at distinct bass patterns, I have no clue why, maybe their bass players use one string exclusively, hehe.
I have no clue what’s the situation like in Slovakia – probably you are doing a little bit better than our country does – but are you aware of the fact there’s almost no pure Death metal the way like Perversity are able to execute it. Well, Martyrium Christi resist the test of time here and from time to time they smear this art with some living water. This silence is stylish for a Death reign but it’s not great for the music. I just can’t get why soulless brutality wins over music, which instead of guts and piggy shrieks has got a soul. Can you comment on the current state and say if you see future any better?
I know what you mean. I would appreciate more Death Metal bands to come out in the future. Personally, I don’t orientate myself in so many gore–grind bands. Yet this situation could help to introduce Perversity to hungry Czech fans and Grodhaisn could contribute to it as well. However Slovakia abounds with some pure Death Metal bands of well–known names like Dementor, Contempt, Pathology Stench. We can be lucky that there are great foreign acts coming up from time to time, to name a few: Dead Congregation, Impurity, Drawn and Quartered, 9th Plague, Dissenter. Polish scene is doing well, the spirit is widespread there.
Perversity as a name could appear simple, cliche and cheap for some and maybe it is however it’s still actual and to the point. Do you look at it similarly?
To this day, I am still surprised I haven’t found another Death Metal band with the same name. There is one in Australia actually, but those guys play some hip–hop dance floor. Perversity is a hell of a universal word, hehe. I wouldn’t name the band like this nowadays but I am satisfied with our name, for sure.
Same goes about the meaning of Perversity logo in terms of importance as a property and sign. When you look at it, what it means to you as a symbol or whatever after all those years? Haven’t you been thinking about some slight redesign?
We have not been thinking about changing our logo in any way. I think it will be with us till the end. It’s like a testimony of our history.
Material for your new album was recorded sometime around middle of 2007. The whole process of finding suitable label and releasing the art broke into 2008. Except the question how do you look forward to finally holding the album there’s another question at hand aiming at Perversity’s future and new upcoming material. What we are about to expect and what not?
Firstly, we will dedicate our time to promote our new CD. I can tell you that we’ve got one new song ready and we try to cover some songs. There will be the addition of two vocals coming with new material. I want it all more demonic and aggressive. All in all we plan on having fun and joy of our music.
From a listener’s point of view, what is your major musical joy? Where do you see Death Metal heading in the form we adore the most? Aren’t you lonely for the old good times in these Myspace days?
I receive greatest delight thanks to all those old albums which I am adding to my collection in CD format. This makes my heart really beat. Last things I’ve got recently are Gorguts’ Erosion of Sanity and From Wisdom to Hate, Dismember’s Like an Ever Flowing Stream and Indecent and Obscene and Unleashed’s Where No Life Dwells. These albums are simply jewelry of Death Metal. As for the new ones, I really look forward to new Suffocation album although it’s announced for an August 2008 release but I will gladly wait. Return of Pessimist has pleased me a lot. I don’t have the new Diabolic CD yet. Whooa! It’s a lot of great stuff. When it comes to Myspace, I don’t surf there too much yet it is a great opportunity of how to get your band’s work & name out. It can never replace the old times though, especially the atmosphere, which was surrounding the scene neither the hunger for new bands from then. I remember curb markets which took place in that time and where gathered the whole metal communion from around Prešov. Gigs were precious feasts back then. I even remember how I recorded metal relations broadcasting on our radio through a microphone of my old cassette player. You do certainly remember that too, Jan (note – yes I do, I have always got tapes to check out from the lucky fuckers that had a player with recording function because I had only walkman, brutal, ahah). Also in the beginning, when Perversity started, there were more fanzines and I had been receiving letters from our fans. Last year I found in my box just one, actually two letters. One was from a guy from Ukraine who doesn’t have internet and the other one, kinda funny, from a guy who’s sitting in some Polish jail and did want our CD. Anyone send me a letter too, hehe!
Dodi, I will stop tormenting you here even though I did enjoy that pretty much. Hope, your new album will get the recognition it deserves with its abyssal Death metal darkness and the band will be in this stable line–up creating hell on. Thanks.
It was a cool interview indeed. Thanks, Jan, for your support. I am really glad we have pleased you with our existence. Regards to all Death Metal fans. If you are interested in anything Perversity related or you can arrange a gig, feel free to get in touch with us. Check out our web or myspace as well. Ave maniacs!