Kneel Before the Conquerors of Armageddon
CoC chats with Moyses Kolesne of Krisiun
by: Paul Schwarz
Even when competing with the likes of a new Vader record, a new Dismember record and the unexpected wake-up call of the Soulreaper album, Krisiun still managed to come out tops in the all-out-total-fucking-extremity stakes with their latest, rabid offering: _Conquerers of Armageddon_. After more than a decade in the Brazilian underground, permeated only by their deal four years ago with Gun Records (which brought their frenetic, chaotic debut _Black Force Domain_ and its Kreator-inspired, speed obsessed follow-up _Apocalyptic Revelation_ to a limited audience) and recent bouts of touring which have taken them as far as North America and Europe, Krisiun recently signed a deal with Century Media (which should hopefully push them to a bigger audience) and have secured yet more touring throughout this year. Guitarist Moyses Kolesne, through occasionally broken English, gave me the answers to all my questions about Krisiun: past, present, and possible future.

CoC: You guys have emerged slowly over the last ten years from Brazil, a country with a few metal bands like Sepultura, Sarcophago, etc.. How much do you feel part of a Brazilian scene and how supportive would you say that scene is of you?

Moyses Kolesne: We have seen the Brazilian scene from the very best years. We saw Sepultura and Sarcophago since they started playing here in '84 and '85. They were playing really raw thrash/black metal. So obviously since we were at their concerts we would get some influences. Maybe not really directly but the kind of influence that stays in a part of your subconscious. We witnessed this metal scene in Brazil emerge and become really aggressive over the years. We had these influences. We started a band and just wished to follow that path: make things more extreme, faster, whatever. We are doing the same kind of music, but we have this modern sound because we have the approach of modern death metal. We are just giving a following for that; we are proud to be part of [the Brazilian scene] and those bands opened up a lot of doors for the upcoming bands like us. But I have to tell you that some years ago the extreme metal scene in Brazil was almost dead. Everybody here was just caring about thrash metal or whatever, you know, the American, more fashionable kind. So these bands like Sarcophago, Blasphemy, Morbid Angel were not getting so much recognition here. We just started from the ashes of that [intending] to bring again more respect for extreme metal here in Brazil. That's our cause. We fight for this scene because in Brazil there are a lot of bands in other styles like power metal, thrash metal, hardcore, whatever. We came from this [extreme] scene and we are really rooted from the very beginning of it, 'cause we have witnessed all this history, you know.

CoC: Most bands, when they start out, want to be the most extreme, especially death metal bands. But you guys, you just seem to keep wanting to be the most extreme band and you seem to do very well at it. <I laugh> So with the album are you just trying to be faster, heavier than every other band out there, is that the idea?

MK: Well, no, man. I have to tell you all this aggression came naturally. We are never putting anything to a contest. The main thing is our feeling; it just guided us this way. There's no special reason, it's just a feeling to keep doing music you like to listen to, you like to play. And obviously we do that well -because- we practice hard every day, and we kept always taking another step ahead with each album. We kept practising, we did a lot of tours, we recorded a lot of demos, albums, but we had no budget, we had nothing. There were some small labels trying to put our stuff out, but actually they gave it nothing. So, we'd record our old albums in a very short time and so we'd go in with this -attack- feeling.

CoC: It did take you quite a long time to get a deal. Some bands take quite a while, but you guys went seven years?

MK: Yeah, more or less, seven years. So, this gave us a feeling, 'cause once you see so many trends happen -- like we saw many bands claiming to be, you know, the -most- extreme death metal band, like some bands did --, and all this gave us inspiration, 'cause you know this is a lie, so we have to tell them the truth; we have to show them the truth because we are pretty rooted in the real death metal / black metal basis, like those old Brazilian bands, old Slayer, Possessed, Dark Angel, Venom, Sodom, you know. But we are doing kind of really brutal death metal because, as I said before, we are a band that is -- now we are in the year 2000 -- still new outside Brazil. So that's why we have this kind of approach.

CoC: Starting the band as brothers, how much difference did you find that made? Also, did you find it made a difference that you come from a somewhat impoverished country like Brazil which is kind of out of the general music scene? How much effect do you think all that had on you as a band?

MK: I have to tell you that we came from a normal family life, a normal family. We went to school. So, we didn't live in all this poverty, but of course we can see that. We live in Sao Paulo, it's a big city, so we see more of these things. I saw more of that on TV as well. Whatever, of course this gave us some feelings like other things, but concerning the fact that we are from Brazil, this brings us another kind of influence, because this is a -future-, different future, different everything. Brazil was outside from the tours in the best years, but now all the bands are coming here. I saw Venom in Brazil in '86, I saw Destruction, I saw Slayer, I saw Metallica, I saw Motorhead: I saw a lot of shows to get influence but never did bands from Brazil just go outside. But maybe in the next few years it will be normal for bands who come from Brazil, like it is for Europe or the US. This country is really new for metal, we don't have a really old future here. They were stopping the rock 'n' roll scenes from the beginning, so metal and rock 'n' roll happened here in Brazil more in the eighties, after the seventies. Kiss, I guess, were the first band that played here in '81, so from that the scene started to grow up a lot here. People get more interested to play music, more metal fans, you know, so that helps a lot and Brazil has a good infrastructure, so that's why people are coming from here more and not from the other countries in South America.

CoC: Yeah, the influx of bands from Brazil is an anomaly. There aren't really any Argentine or Bolivian bands who are big, there are a couple of Mexican ones [if we're talking Latin America, since Mexico is geographically in North America --Paul] like The Chasm. Sepultura got into that kind of Brazilian percussion thing, do you think that whole rhythmic basis for some of the culture of Brazil affects your music at all?

MK: I don't think so. In my music I guess not. We are more into metal, whatever, we don't need that kind of stuff. As I say I never had it in my culture; I saw that but I didn't live it. I never, you know, started to play some instruments of this culture, playing samba. I never cared. I was always into metal, pure metal. So we would never use that.

CoC: What made you decide to go to Germany to record and use Andy Classen and Eric Rutan as producers?

MK: Well, we had been to Germany since we signed with Gun Records, we stayed there for quite a while, but of course we returned to Brazil a lot of times. So, once we were there, I met the guys from Morbid Angel, we became good friends because we saw them here [in Europe] -- I saw them in Brazil in '89 but we never spoke -- and I gave Trey our first album, _Black Force Domain_, so since then he supported our band, kept mentioning us. So, the other guys from Morbid Angel got interested from that and our band kept evolving, we recorded another album, we did some tours and also did a show in Tampa, Florida, and there were all the guys from Morbid Angel. There, we and Eric talked a lot and he told us that he has a studio, that he works as an engineer, producing bands, that he has a new band, Hate Eternal, and that he was about to go and record and produce this band. So once he knew that we were about to record our new album he phoned us and told us that he should be our producer. We figured that would be great, so we told Century Media about our intentions and they thought it would be great, so they got in touch with Eric's manager Gunter [Ford]. Eric made everything really easy for this to happen. He didn't charge very much money and he had a tour to do in December which we did too. So we had the same tour to do, the label is in Germany, the studio [Stage One] is one of the best studios in Germany. A good studio that you can record in and don't spend as much money as in Brazil or the US: they are cheaper in Germany. So, all the factors just made it better for us to do it in Germany. It was easier for everything: for the flight tickets, for the studio, for the label, for the tours.

CoC: Coming back to the album itself, it's called _Conquerors of Armageddon_ -- is this a reference to the band, or the lyrical concept around the album?

MK: It's for the band, man. We achieved as a band a conquest inside us: the Armageddon is our battle. We knew that we had been fighting for a decade. So we knew that this time we should be able to put a really good album out. Also we went to the studio and we realised we had achieved a good sound quality; we had conquered this final battle. So, we are conquering over ourselves, over what's inside of us, not over any other bands. We don't claim to be the speediest, the fastest, just to create hype, because words are words and music tells the real facts. So, we don't need to do that. Many bands claim to be, you know, all this shit, but, you know, they are not. Liars. So the conquest is inside of us over these hard, rough times that we came through. So we knew that we had established our name as a band -- as a very important band for the death metal scene --, we got a new label, we got a lot of tours to do, a lot of support, and we went to the studio and we kept doing our style. We didn't decide that because we were on a new label we'd do one or two softer songs or whatever. We just don't care man, we just say "fuck off, we're gonna keep doing this". We are not leaving this style like many bands are doing. Many bands are just making death metal way melodic or saying it's dead, it's just making it easier for people. You know, if you like techno you can like a lot of death metal bands nowadays. If you like really soft, melodic stuff you can like some death metal bands: they are full of these melodies like Iron Maiden. But we don't want to be part of this. We want to be the real flame of death metal. The real, real death metal like Morbid Angel did in the beginning, Deicide, Blasphemy and Sarcophago and Vader and Sodom, whatever, but playing, of course -- because we are younger than those guys and we had influence from them -- at a higher level.

CoC: With the lyrics, I get the impression there is a spiritual aspect to it, a mystical aspect, but it seems almost medieval. "Iron Stakes" and "Cursed Scrolls"?

MK: You're right, man. We kept, kind of, the apocalyptic vision that we had on the other albums. We always had this idea of bringing destruction and vengeance from the natural order, from what makes us stay here on Earth. Now we are bringing in more of this occult science, the occult side of life, like really old traditions that many religions just banished. I guess we are pretty near to the third world war, you know, many things that are happening in Europe, we are really near so we had this feeling of Armageddon. So maybe next time you just can't avoid that, it is just a man's decision to push a button or whatever. We know that this destruction came from mankind's hand. We are talking a lot about vengeance using the anti-Christian and Satanic philosophy to talk about reality. Because we are not worshipping devils or doing sacrifices or whatever: not living the Christian Satanism. We are more concerned to be like the old Sumerian, very ancient cult of Scheitan [I think this is what he means, but I am not expert --Paul], like the people who discovered mathematics, who discovered the real facts of biology, astronomy, the planets, whatever, and so became a religion with subdivisions. They [Christians, I think --Paul] just banished a lot of knowledge to inflict their prophecies or whatever. So we are anti-Christian, but we are doing it on a real basis. Like, the history, the facts, -prove- they were -wrong- a lot of the time. They made a lot of mistakes. Also, the worst enemy for the Christian, or any religion, is science, the numbers that prove that you are wrong. They have a lot of contradictions. So this is just a part, just one religion that inflicts this. So, that's what we are most concerned with, this vengeance came in really strong like a big storm, big devastation, something that fits with the feeling that the music gives, you know. So, once you are in some music claiming "Kill the Christ" it is like "Kill the lies", you know, kill what has been inflicting all the shit in this world. So our lyrics, they have this occult, Satanic side, but actually this is just reality, not so much fantasy or whatever.

CoC: It's like a way of expressing things in metaphor?

MK: It's a way of being political sometimes, but really into this kind of Satanic and Sumerian prophecies.

CoC: Right, and the cover kind of plays with that a bit. It's got a kind of like Tolkien-esque thing to it with the four riders, and also that's like four riders of the apocalypse. You've got the cross, and a scimitar and what have you. How closely did you link the whole lyrics and the cover and the title and everything? Is it at all conceptual or is it just an expoundary of beliefs?

MK: Yeah, there was a concept, but I have to tell you that at first we had another cover. We were divided between ourselves and the label people, half liked it and half didn't. So we just decided we had to have something better, because this label is really professional. They know some things. So they just called Petagno in Denmark and asked him to send a sample and told him about the album, the lyrics, the apocalyptic vision of Armageddon, and so he sent that. He said this is the pure apocalypse, the knights of apocalypse. It was perfect. It represents the meaning of this album.

CoC: Anything you want to mention about what's happening with the band now, before we finish?

MK: Well, we are just releasing this album. We are pretty proud about this new wave of death metal that is emerging again, that is coming really strong. We are not alone. There are a few other really powerful bands who deserve to take a higher position in the metal scene. This is just claiming vengeance again against the weak, soft metal bands claiming they are the best shit or whatever. But we are here not telling you we are the best, we just want to banish the fucking dogs that infect our ground. This is our fight. This is the reason we are here. We just want to say thank you, thank you to everybody who has been supporting our band. We are here to stay and not to wimp out just because we signed with a big label or whatever. Once again we are really aggressive and really brutal; fighting for the cause of the real death metal.

(article submitted 25/5/2000)

9/2/2005 J Smit Krisiun: Devastation Is on the Way
10/6/2003 J Smit Krisiun: The Carnage Continues
7/2/2008 J Smit 9 Krisiun - Southern Storm
2/17/2006 J Smit 9 Krisiun - AssassiNation
9/30/2004 J Smit 9 Krisiun - Bloodshed
9/12/2003 J Smit 9 Krisiun - Works of Carnage
5/25/2000 P Schwarz 9 Krisiun - Conquerors of Armageddon
5/19/1999 P Schwarz 9 Krisiun - Apocalyptic Revelation
10/31/2004 J Smit Krisiun / Behemoth / Incantation / Ragnarok A Beauteous Riot
3/5/2000 M Noll Morbid Angel / Gorgoroth / God Dethroned / Amon Amarth / Krisiun / Occult Formulas Fatal to Gorgoroth
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