Montreal's Maniacs
CoC interrogates Anhkrehg
by: Adam Wasylyk
What has become legend in Canada is the strength of the Montreal metal scene and the number of talented metal bands from the region. Bands like Kataklysm and Cryptopsy have gone from relative obscurity to international recognition. Anhkrehg are one of many Montreal bands who have high hopes in obtaining the success that the aforementioned bands already have. Conducted through Canada Post is an interview with guitarist Michel Monette [a.k.a. Shrapnel (Angel of Hate)] which touched on the band's history, prior work, and their newly released demo _Brutal Witching-Metal_.

CoC: How did the members come to join and form Anhkrehg? Didn't the band have two bassists at one point?

Shrapnel: It started in the winter of 1992, with Khayr (bass/vocals), Dead Christian (drums), Blac(K)night (guitar) and Killer (guitar) just jamming to heavy music. After the _The Oath of Sorcerer-King_ demo release, Killer left because of personal obligations and the band continued on as a trio. Shortly after I joined (with me knowing Khayr for some time prior to joining) as a helper, I then became band manager, mainly because I saw the potential in the band, music-wise. As the months went by, the second demo arrived which was called _Sacrificial Goat_. [The demo] was more serious than the first one, it helped us to establish ourselves within the very crowded Montreal death metal scene as well as gaining recognition for our still developing style of music. It is also then that I joined Anhkrehg on guitar, having Black(K)night become the second bassist. It didn't last long (only two shows), but we felt that it had to be tried (with him leaving afterwards). I still think playing live as a trio is the best line-up, for us anyway. Demo #3 _Brutal Witching-Metal_ was released in July 1996 with our new concepts and our own black metal trademark (Brutal Witching-Metal).

CoC: How would you describe the band's sound? I had always thought of the band being black metal, but to label it just black metal would be quite misleading.

S: Fast, infernal, and furious. That's how I describe it. Grindcore-ish type of riffs splattered with black screaming vocals with bits of the good ol' "blast'n'heavy" parts.

CoC: What has Anhkrehg released up till now, demo-wise? What is each release like/how do they sound/your thoughts on each of them.

S: First was the '94 demo _The Oath of Sorcerer-King_ which was our first try. A little underproduced and our sound wasn't quite perfected at that point. It was followed by our '95 demo _Sacrificial Goat_, which sound-wise needed better production. Next we were featured on a CD-compilation called _Underground Symphonies #2_ which helped to get contacts with different people. Following it was a live promo we did called _Howls from the North_ which was just a promo and isn't really for sale. It had a great live sound, the kind of sound I would like us to have all the time. Finally to the present with our release _Brutal Witching- Metal_ which is in our opinion the best release so far. Music-wise and lyric-wise a lot better, it's where Anhkrehg dwell now.

CoC: Tell me about the new demo _Brutal Witching-Metal_ and describe it musically and lyrically.

S: We lurk under our brutal witching metal banner which stands for black-grind music with lyrics about ancient history, merciless warriors, and forgotten wars.

CoC: There's a live track on the demo isn't there? What show was it recorded at and who were you playing with?

S: It was recorded August 31st 1995 in Montreal when we played a show with Sarnia, Ontario's Inner Misery and headliners Malevolent Creation.

CoC: What other bands have Anhkrehg played with that you consider notable?

S: In my opinion, most of the bands we've played with that I consider notable are Malevolent Creation, Kataklysm, Hidden Pride, Agony, Cryptopsy, Demence, Resisting Arrest (ex-Majester), Inner Misery, Corpus, Elements, etc.

CoC: Are there any other outside influences on the band, like perhaps an interest in the occult, or reading about history or war, etc.?

S: Khayr reads A LOT of books on history and wars, as well as having interests in role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer, etc.

CoC: You also run a management company called E.S.T Management. What bands do you handle? How did you start the business/why/when?

S: It started in the summer of '94 with bands Mortify and Anhkrehg, both from the same home town in the eastern part of Quebec. It was just basically me helping them from Montreal. A year later I became manager for Montreal's Demence and Repentigny's (Quebec) Hidden Pride and then Agony asked for me to do the same in November '95. Since then, I now work full-time for Anhkrehg, Agony, and Hidden Pride. I began on my own being insecure and unaware, making phone calls to people I didn't even know, contacting promoters, etc. After awhile I really got comfortable doing those sort of things. Helping my friends, meeting new people, and most of all, listening to great music all the time!

CoC: How is the Montreal scene right now? How many people go to your average show?

S: Everybody knows that Montreal is overcrowded with all sorts of bands (especially metal/alternative). Just last month, I received news from three death metal bands who are planning to relocate to Montreal! As far as shows go, it's very unpredictable. I'd say an average show is somewhere between 60 and 100 people (for smaller bands). For bands like Deicide and Morbid Angel, you could expect around 800 people.

CoC: Do the Montreal bands support each other? Do bands like Cryptopsy and Kataklysm help and support the lesser-known bands?

S: Yes of course. Each time a big band plays, inevitably they will need an opening act. And that's where the smaller bands come in.

CoC: You've played shows in Quebec and Ontario. Will Anhkrehg venture out further, like to the U.S?

S: We'd love to, but for now we try to conquer our own backyard before invading others.

CoC: Are you happy with the demo, production-wise?

S: I'm much happier with this one than the last one. It also had to do with the manufacturer we worked with this time. I'm looking forward to the next one. I've got a lot of new ideas.

CoC: Why was the decision made to have a good portion of the songs sung in French?

S: Khayr is in a better position to answer that question since he's the lyricist/vocalist of the band. I'd say it has to do with our French Canadian roots that he wants to explore and represent in the music.

CoC: What's the band doing now? Writing any new material? Touring Quebec?

S: Right now we're not doing much, as far as the whole band together. As for myself, I'm keeping very busy with my distribution for E.S.T. management, as well as keeping in contact with various people in the metal scene.

CoC: And finally, what do you feel sets you apart from other bands that play extreme forms of metal??

S: The fact that we are from an unknown region of eastern Quebec and that we play intense metal, and also the fact that we emphasize on our "brutal witching-metal" trademark. We also do not dwell on typical black metal trademarks (like female voices, chains'n'leather, Hollywood make-up, gothic keyboards, etc).

Demo prices: _The Oath of Sorcerer-King_: $4 _Sacrificial Goat_: $7 _Underground Symphonies #2_ CD: $12 _Brutal Witching-Metal_: $5

Contact: E.S.T Management, c/o Michel Monette 755 Muir, Suite #205, Saint-Laurent, Quebec H4L-5G9, Canada

(article submitted 18/11/1996)


DEMOS
11/18/1996 A Wasylyk 4 Anhkrehg - Brutal Witching-Metal
5/10/1996 A Wasylyk 3 Anhkrehg - Sacrificial Goat
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