A new dawn for MEGIDDO could be a good sentence to introduce this interview, as this Canadian force returns with a new album after 13 years…“The Holocaust Messiah”. Chorazaim spoke about this new release and the obscure essence of MEGIDDO...
Hails Chorazaim! How are you? A new full length after 13 years is beast of an event, so how does it feel?
Ave CTODP - It feels as if the albatross has finally been cut, and now comes the burial.
You released a few splits in 2003, but after that what have you been doing the last twelve years? How long did you worked in the creation of “The Holocaust Messiah”?
After 2003, I no longer had the vitriol needed to continue with Megiddo, and so it quietly slipped into oblivion, save for a moment here or there where I would have enough bile to pen a song or two. During that hiatus, I formed Sepulchre (in 2008) with the original members from the full Megiddo line-up, and that continued until I decided to once again fully resurrect Megiddo in 2013.
As for “The Holocaust Messiah” - from the point of sifting through the 21 tracks I had written over the last 13 years, to finalizing structure and lyrics, then demo versions, mixing, layout etc, it took approximately 3 months to complete.
How was the recording process like? Did you record all instruments except for the drums as on your previous albums?
After the initial groundwork, the final recoding itself was very quick, perhaps 10 hours over a handful of sessions, but unlike the previous 2 full lengths, this album was performed strictly by myself without the assistance of others.
There is a variety of tempos in the music of the album, fast parts, mid-paced tempo as well as slow parts, all of them evoking the ancient gods of the 80s. How would you describe the music on the album?
I suppose stylistically the album (much as all other Megiddo material) would be first wave black metal with a heavy dose of second wave trappings. And yes - a variety of tempos is always important, otherwise songs become faceless and identities obscured.
Musically speaking, how do you see the album in the context of your earlier releases? Would you say it is more “old school” than its predecessor the Atavism Of Evil”
I’d wager “The Holocaust Messiah” is closer to the cut-throat minimalism of the demos more-so than having similarities to either “The Devil & The Whore” or “The Atavism of Evil”. I actually see TAOE as being our most “old school” album, at least as far as first wave black metal references, as it had the most overt thrash elements of any of the albums.
What would you name as the strongest points of each of the full lengths you released so far?
It’s difficult for me to view the albums in that sense and gauge them in the same way an outside listener would – having said that, “Four Suns” and “The Oath” have always been what I considered to be the strongest off TDATW, while it would be “The Christwhore” and “The Atavism of Evil” from TAOE.
What depends and what is important at the time of writing a fast or a slow song? Is it in connection with a specific lyric written or still in your mind?
I never set out to write a song to be specifically fast or slow - it almost always begins with a distant melody, which I put through various tempos and rhythms until it resonates with me. Lyrics are always written afterwards, depending on the atmosphere and mood the song conjures.
Titles like Tombs, Walpurgisnacht or Onslaught Eternal might seem very descriptive, but tell in your own words the meaning and the roots of your lyrics.
Most lyrics are either hymns of misanthropy voicing disdain for humanity and existence, or they are allegorical and steeped in the mythos of dark age catholicism. I don’t think much more needs to be said, and it’s better for people to draw from them what they will.
What can you tell about the cover art of “THM”, what do you like about it? What comes to your mind at the time of choosing the cover art?
I forget the exact chain of events, but the front cover artwork (done by Nicola Solieri) was originally commission by KK Warslut for a Megiddo EP that never came to pass – when it came time to work on the layout for THM, I thought the artwork quite fitting, so contacted and got the OK from the both of them to go ahead with it – such is how it came to be.
I like the promo pics for the album, Is the visual aspect important for you?
I think it has always been important to accompany music with dark/occult topics if you think about Hellhammer, early Celtic Frost, Sarcófago…far better than the “modern” black metal ala Immortal don’t you think?
The visual aspect has always been very important to me, and I’m grateful to Annick Giroux for her photography that was used on the album – and yes, occult overtones fall heavily into the dark age catholicism I mentioned above, so they fit in very well with what I’m attempting to convey, and indeed with what I believe black metal should be representative of, so I completely agree with your opinion on the matter.
Last year Iron Pegasus reissued “The heretic” and “Hymns… demos on LP… were you longing for a long time to see those demos released on vinyl? What are your memories concerning those demo days?
I was very pleased to finally see them released on LP, and Iron Pegasus did a great job, as is standard for them really. What I remember most about recording the demos (and that time in general), was the intensity and drive to get things done – it was all piss and vinegar with very little attention to the small details. Neither of those demos took more than 6 hours to record and I think that comes across in the rawness of those recordings.
You recorded several cover tunes of bands such as Sodom, Darkthrone Beherit, Amebix, Hellhammer, Motorhead… is it right to assume that those bands influenced Megiddo´s music? is it just the way to pay tribute?
A bit of both. Some, such as Amebix and Sodom, were very influential to Megiddo, while the others like Beherit and Darkthrone were a case of me paying tribute to bands that I admired.
What about Canadian bands? Having great and influential bands like Voivod or Blasphemy…are you proud of the Canadian scene and the Canadian metal tradition?
There were (and still are) some great Canadian bands yes, such as those you’ve mentioned, as well as Razor, Exciter, etc, and of course there’s an influence from some of those older bands. But as to the rest…other than to reiterate the above and say there have been and continue to be some great bands in Canada, I piss on the notion of a Canadian metal tradition, identity or scene. If any of that exists, I certainly feel no part of it.
Are you concern about new and emerging bands of the worldwide underground? Are there new bands that have caught your attention?
I don’t keep up very much on new bands unless they’re brought to my attention by someone who’s tastes I trust. I think the last new band that stirred any sort of strong response in me was Bolzer, who aren’t exactly anyone’s definition of new. I could also menton Force of Darkness and Eurynomos, but being label mates it almost seems incestuous to do so.
With which bands active or inactive would you like to share stage?
In the realm of the utterly impossible, absurd and never to be realized: Bathory, Hellhammer, Sodom, Destruction and Venom, all circa 1982-84. As for currently active bands, I’ll hold my tongue. When and if we ever perform live again, it will be revealed then.
How would you describe your shows to any who haven´t seen Megiddo onstage?
There is no posturing, no masquerading - just pummelling rhythms and hypnotic deathtrance communion, minimalistic yet all encompassing.
What was the best show you played so far? what exactly made it so special to you?
Our first appearance was the best by far – a packed venue, rabid audience, and dark atmosphere. I believe we managed to exceeded both our expectations as well as those bearing witness, which was no small feat considering a decade had gone by and I was never convinced of the fact the material would come across appropriately live – but by all accounts it did.
What´s the strangest place and the most shocking place you have been?
None as both performances to date took place in concert venues.
What would you say are your current future plans? Any shows or even tours coming up?
At the moment I’m concentrating on further recordings to be released later this year and early next. Apart from that, there are no current plans for performances, although I’m certainly open to reviving our previously aborted mini-tour now that I have all travel issues ironed out. Time will tell.
Thanks for your time Chorazaim, is there anything else you would like to add?
Much appreciation for the support. Long live death.