Blinding Intensity
CoC talks to Konstantin of Kaamos
by: Adrian Bromley
I know, I know, "kaamos" sounds like a fucked up word. I even laughed about the band name with guitarist Konstantin during his interview with Chronicles of Chaos. Seriously, I was like, "Um, tell me about this bizarre band name." He just chuckled and said, "Well, let me explain it..." and laughed some more. Hell, I even have a hard time pronouncing it sometimes. But regardless of my slip ups with the band name and people asking me to repeat myself when I mention the band (for those who care, "kaamos" is a Finnish word that means "period of darkness", a time in Finland when the sun won't rise at all), there is no doubt that Kaamos' self-titled offering on Candlelight Records is hands down one of the best brutal death metal releases in 2002. I can't stop cranking the album and talking about how cool this band is.

"Thanks a lot for being totally into the album", beams the guitarist as we start our chat. "It feels good knowing that we did a good record that people can get all excited about. I'm really excited about this album as well, and I don't think we could have done a better debut album for Candlelight. I think the reason why this album turned out so good is because we have worked hard over the years and a lot of the material is from when we first started the band (1998 in Stockholm, Sweden). I think this album has a good mix of old and new songs that really work off well with each other."

And how did the deal with Candlelight Records come about? Were they the first label to approach the quartet?

"Actually, no", the guitarist states. "There were about five to seven other labels, both underground and major labels, that had approached us about a record deal, but we turned them down. In the end, signing with Candlelight seemed like the right place to sign to for our debut. They really believed in us."

Seeing that the band (Kaamos is rounded out by bassist/vocalist Karl, drummer Chris Piss and guitarist Niklas) hail from Sweden, a country that many metalheads call the "metal Mecca", how had that music scene affected the band growing up as metal fans and what music ideas they brought into the band?

Says Konstantin, "When I was growing up here, I was into all the music, but I never really wanted to be in a band. I really had no interest."

How did you join a band then? Did someone say, "Hey we need a guitar player!"?

"No, <laughs> not really... well, sort of", he clarifies. "We had this gang of friends who used to hang out a lot and they wanted to form a band and needed a guitarist, so I gave it a shot. The ideas behind that original band have nothing to do with what Kaamos is now, but it did awaken my interest in being in a band and making music. I think that lit my creative spark."

"Ever since Kaamos became Kaamos, I think the evolution of the band has been very minimal. I think we have worked hard to keep our sound brutal and pretty much along the same lines as it was when we started", he says. "We formed out of being tired of all the melodic metal crap coming from the music scene here in Stockholm. All the bands were playing the same type of music over and over again and it was getting boring. We wanted to re-establish the old spirit (in death metal). It might sound presumptuous, but..."

Hey, good for you guys wanting to change things up a bit and not go with the flow. That is very cool.

"I think if you listen to our music, you can hear a bit of Morbid Angel influence, more of the older era of the band. I think you can also hear the vibe that was part of all those Satanic bands early on (e.g. Deicide), the common element that all those bands were working with in our music. In order for us to play this style of music, we really couldn't go out and make our music very extreme, we had to go back to the basics and just turn out really evil and dark music."

I'm not a big Morbid Angel fan at all -- and forget Deicide, I hate them -- but I dig what Kaamos is doing for sure.

"Wow... really? We all love those bands. Just the sheer brutality and intensity of what they did back then and now is killer."

Konstantin hit it right on the head: intensity. That is one of the key reasons why I think Kaamos' debut disc is really grabbing me by the throat this year. It is so fucking intense. The band has basically gone back and brought what seems to be missing in today's metal scene, but at the same time adding their own character to the music.

"When I play back this record, I hear a lot of fire in our music. There is a lot of spirit in what we do. We are not trying to suppress the spirit in order to create something. We'd rather see the instruments act as tools to create states that can manifest the spirits. Sounds weird, huh?"

Yeah.

"We sound like a hippie band, don't we?", he laughs.

And laughing I respond, "You sure do, Mr. Woody Guthrie."

Does Konstantin feel that this album will make an impact on the metal music scene? How does he want the album to be received by metal fans worldwide?

"We just want to see some success, but not really in album sales or whatever else; more in the success of making music", Konstantin answers. "We don't do this for anybody else but us. We don't really care how it is received. If people like it, I am happy, but if people hate it, oh well. I think most bands pretty much feel the same way as we do."

He ends, "I don't know why people think most musicians want to sell millions of records and be rich. I mean, we all do, I suppose, but I think musicians get more out of a good album and good material. I know I do."

(article submitted 3/7/2002)


ALBUMS
6/3/2005 Q Kalis 8 Kaamos - Lucifer Rising
5/29/2003 M Noll 8 Kaamos - Kaamos
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