From the long list of demos released last year, DIKASTERION´s debut demo is by far my fave. An outstanding piece of raw and dark black metal that makes the future of this belgian band gleam in the dark in a threatening ways. Death Commander and Pz. Kpfw answered the following questions. Enter the Dikasterion…
Please tell us how did the band started, P.Z. also plays drums in Possession, was he among the founding members of was he invited to join later?
Death Commander: In 2010, Pz.Kpfw, Cinis and I met at the university. We all studied History and where passionated by Music. We wanted to start playing together for pleasure and without any ambition. But because of lack of time, we never really started. After more than 5 years and a personal awareness, I decided it was time to do it seriously : the 6th January 2017 marks the first rehearsal of the band.
In the beginning it was just the three of us but Hanghedief joined few weeks later. He was first supposed to be there as live session for the second guitar but after our first rehearsal together we already felt a powerful connection between us. So we proposed him to join the band as second guitar. Now he's doing the leads and we share vocals.
When you started to rehearse, were there many conversations about the style of music or did it come naturally?
Each of us has his own taste. We listen to really different kinds of stuff. The first idea was to play some Black/Thrash, but after few minutes of rehearsal it went following another way.
We never decided in advance to play what we play, it came by itself. We loved it and it was so natural than we continued on that way. Most of the riffs of Matthew 4-9 have been written on the first rehearsal.
Who came up with Dikasterion as the name for the band? Tell me about the meaning and if there is a whole concept which embraces the ideology and spirit of the band
Finding a name was the most difficult thing we had to do so far. Pz.Kpfw was really complicated to please (for the best, I must say). Viriakh (Possession) gave us the idea to search about Vatican and this is where I found the name. The dikasteries refer to the departments of the Roman Curia. It represents the law courts, councils and congregations that give the Pope his absolute power over catholic Church. There is another signification related to ancient Greece but it has no connection with us.
Your debut demo is in my opinion among the best releases of 2018, can you tell some details about the recording process and the way you worked on the sound?
The demo have been recorded by L. in our rehearsal room in Brussels. It's dirty wet small room of 10m² we share with few bands like Possession and Saqra's Cult. We recorded everything separately in two weekends : drums, guitars, bass and vocals with L. equipment. He did all the mixing and mastering afterwards. It's really far from a professional studio.
What do you find distinctive about your music, how would you describe your sound and style? Do you have a fave track of the demo?
We don't have any favorite song. They all have something different and bring us different feelings when we listen. Of course some riffs are more catchy but in general we love the demo as it is, in its entirety.
First of all, I'd say we have a distinctive "old school" vibe and vision. We are far from the actual pseudo-occult empty shit the last generation is playing. We would describe our music as "passionate" and "honest". We don't have any writing process, we don't calculate or think about "how to write a successful song". We just play together and riffs come along, as catchy as they can be.
Our music is deeply marked by our vision of what metal should be. This vision differs among us but we are deeply attached to the valors and behavior of the 80s-90s scene. We truly believe in it and I think you can feel it in our music. The idea behind Dikasterion goes beyond music. We want to prove the old school spirit is still alive. Not by copying it, but by living it with passion and intensity. For us metal goes way beyond music. It's a way of thinking and living. People from our generation forgot it totally. Metal became something fancy. There is no more attitude, no more passion, no more intensity. This is what we want to fight. This is what we find distinctive.
About our sound, we'd say it's quite modern by its quality. Clean and listenable but still raw and aggressive. Of course it's a demo and it an "homemade" recording but being old school doesn't mean you must have a bad sound. We decided to work mainly on the atmosphere for the demo.
The sampler used in the beginning of “Revelation 13-6” was also used by Marduk on Accuser/opposer, fits very well with the track. Will you use more samplers in the future? Where does that sampler come from anyway?
We don't listen much to Marduk actually so we didn't know they used it. And even now, we don't care about that.
The sample comes from the movie "Dracula has risen from the grave" (1968). We added it after the recording of the song. It was not planned in the beginning but Hanghedief came up with the idea and we all though it fits perfectly so we kept it.
There won't be any sampler on the upcoming release but we'll probably use some in the future. It will depend if it fits or not with the songs. This is something we think about when the songs are finished, never during or before the writing.
Hanghedief already mixed an interlude and outro for live appearances but nothing else yet.
You recorded the cover of “War Metal” by Barathrum, what do you find special about this track, how important is Baratrhum as your influence.
The song reflects the vision we have about our music : simple, straight to the point, no bullshit, no show off,...
War Metal's riffs roll again and again like an unstoppable war machine.
You also name other Finish bands like Archgoat and Beherit as your influences, why do you find appealing about those bands and their music?
Those bands have the same spirit and vision as we do about extreme metal and underground.
Slow penetrating, mesmerizing riffs.
What is your point of view about the Belgian scene? What aspects of the scene do you usually talk about?
The Belgian scene is rising again since few years now. North and South are united and produce great bands.
Belgium have always been a fertile soil for metal bands : Enthroned, Ancient Rites, Acid, Black Shepherd, Goat Torment, Gae Bolga,... After a quiet period we've started to conquer the scene again : Slaughter Messiah, Spermafrost, Pox, Maleficence, Possession, Saqra's Cult, Heinous,... and now Dikasterion.
The Belgian underground scene is very united. We created a strong family around Bruxelles. All the bands are not from there but this is the center of our world. As said before we share the same rehearsal room with 5 or 6 bands, we hang out together, we work together, we share members, we travel together, we fight together, we support each other in the scene and outside the scene, in our private live. We are more than bands members or good friends, we are a real family.
Tell me about the lyrics, why did you choose those specific biblical passages? Are you going to continue with this topic in the next works or were chosen only for this demo?
Those parts of the bible are not lyrics actually. We put them for each song to mock Christians by using their own words. Each sentence introduce our songs pretty well by blasphemy.
The next songs are still related to Vatican and Christianity but in another way. Each song tells a story.
For the demo, most of the lyrics talk about the coming of Evil Forces to conquer the world. It's also a warning to the fools who will be convicted by us after their defeat. Exodus is a bit different. The lyrics are about an old Flemish folkloric legend.
Beyond the topics that inspire you, is there any ideology or philosophy that you share as a band?
We all have different opinions about esoterism, philosophy, religion,... and we don't promote any idea or philosophy through the band. We'r not a "ritualistic" whatever band.
The only philosophy we claim and fight for through the band is the Old School behavior and attitude. The idea behind Dikasterion, as I said, is to fight back against the new weak generations. Kick their asses and make them believe again in fucking metal. We want to keep this fire burning !
We don't do politic, fake magic, etc. We play music, for the Rock n Roll part of it.
Besides music, are there other artistic expressions that interest you?
Cinis (who draw the logo and artworks) is deeply passionate by illustrations, books, photos, painting, draws,... Anything related with pictural art. But among us he's the only one who really do something else than music.
Of course we all love art in general. We spend hours in museums, exhibitions, historical buildings,... We are really receptive to the power and beauty of "well made" art. especialy classical and ancient art.
The demo was released by New Era productions in collaboration with Darkness attack records. How is the relationship with both labels? If I´m not wrong the first press was quickly sold out and a new press was recently released,
Both labels are old brothers. We know each other since years before Dikasterion. In the beginning, Darkness Attack was supposed to release the demo on his own but New Era proposed us to work together and it matched perfectly.
First press (gold tape) is sold out mostly everywhere I think. As it was a limited pressing, we did a second one on black tape. There will also be a CD and 10" version through New era.
The artwork is quite different from the usual black and white demo covers, tell us about this cool drawing, the concept and the artist who designed it.
Every artworks and the logo have been drawn by Cinis. It's deeply inspired by medieval art and imagery. That's why we used so many colors.
The front cover represents the circle of men's infinite sufferings, tortured by their own demons. It shows us as gargoyles, inspired by French and English medieval paintings.
The other draws represent each of us following medieval tradition. We choose it instead of photos.
I would like to know about your fave albums and demos of 2018.
Pz. Kpfw : here's a short selection, in no specific order :
Black Oath -Behold the Abyss
Evil Warriors - Fall From Reality
Angel Of Damnation - Heathen Witchcraft
Mooncitadel - Moon Calls To Wander... The Winter's Majesty
Runespell - Order Of Vengeance
Forbidden Temple / Ultima Thule - Split LP
Vomitor - Pestilent Death
Solstice - White Horse Hill
Mournful Congregation - The Incubus Of Karma
Transilvania - The Night of Nights
Master's Hammer - Fascinator
Evil Spirit -The Imageless Mirror
The Rite – The Broken Fires
Prophets of Doom – Sermon of the Impostor
Ploughshare – In Offal, Salvation
Death Commander : I would just add Deströyer 666 - Call of The Wild
How many shows did you play so far? Would you like to play big festivals?
We had to cancel our date with Oraculum and Coscradh in August 2018 due to important health problems.
We weren't supposed to play before March (A Thousand Lost Civilizations festival) but we accepted a last minute replacement on 12th January in Bruges. Not the best conditions I must say : I was sick and loose my voice, Hang's arm was fucked, Pz.'s leg was fucked, Cinis just had some important personal problems, no rehearsal, two month in advance,... BUT it was as rock n roll as expected !
The next one will take place on 9th feb in Seraing. Small event in the bar upstairs our second rehearsal place. Then 6th March in Bruxelles and 30th April in Deinze with Vomitor and Slaughter Messiah.
We have few other propositions for 2019/2020 but nothing official yet.
In my opinion, festivals are getting worst every year. I can't handle big festivals anymore. But of course playing there is different than just being there.
We prefer small gigs : more devotion, more energy, more passion,... but we wouldn't say no to festivals.
What´s the strangest place and the most shocking place you have been?
Death Commander : I've been in so many disturbing places I couldn't tell you the strangest one. But one of them for sure is the Chartreuse Fort. Build in 1817 and forsaken since 1981, it's a ruin now. You can still visit (illegally of course) some chambers and underground galleries. Nature is slowly taking back its due, what makes this place especially hostile.
Pz.Kpfw : Nothing extremely shocking but, let's say, evocating. There's a WWI fortress in the fortresses belt around my city, Liège, called the Loncin Fortress. The 15th of August 1914, during the siege of the Fortress by the German army invading Belgium, an explosive shell entered the powder room of the fortress, leading to its complete explosion. The structure got lifted off the ground before falling back on itself. 350 soldiers, out of the 550 defending the place, died in the explosion and got buried into the ruins of the fortress. Their bodies are still there, under tons of rocks, concrete and iron structures...
What will be the next steps for the band, do you have proposals from labels to release your full-length? Do you have a release date in mind?
The next release will be done through Amor Fati Productions. Another close friend who signed our brothers from Saqra's Cult.
We don't want (at least for now) to be signed (and stuck) on any label. We want to keep our freedom and the opportunity to work with different ones.
We don't think about full-length yet. We'll probably do some short releases or splits before.
Thanks you for your time, last words are yours...
Thanks for your questions. I would say to people who'll read this interview to keep the fucking fire burning !! Live metal with passion and intensity or get the fuck out of our way !!
See You In Hell !!
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