Ophidian Oration
CoC interviews Thy Serpent
by: Adrian Bromley
The Finnish quartet known as Thy Serpent brought about a considerable amount of interest with their 1996 Spinefarm debut release, _Forests of Witchery_. That 6-song release helped showcase the bands rotating style of musical diversity: dark melodic metal, mixed with haunting keyboards, rough vocals, and a true and sinister ambiance circulating throughout. The new album, _Lords of Twilight_ (featuring old demo material and new and remixed stuff), touches on the same style of playing, though the band - Azhemin on synth/vocals, drummer Agathon, guitarist Sami, and bassist Luopio - have worked hard with this release to bring about more of a chaotic feel within the material. The music is still heavy, though now more intriguing and the emotional/ambient deliverance is top notch. By e-mail, guitarist Sami answered a few questions that Chronicles of Chaos fired his way. Here is how it went:

CoC: Where do you feel this record (the newer material) differs from the material found on _Forests of Witchery_? How has the band grown musically? Also: This record seems to have a laid-back, atmospheric sound at times as opposed to the groove and deliverance of _Forests of Witchery_. Do you think that's true?

Sami: Yes, I think that's true. Thy Serpent has grown musically 100% since the early demo days, changing as I found some great individuals to play with me. We all have played our instruments for more or less about 10 years now. So we have to do some quality music, there's no other way!

CoC: Do you think that playing music, especially in this genre of music, needs to offer something new and different each time out?

S: No, I don't think so. If the music is good, you don't have to do something new with every release. I mean you don't have to change your style...just do some killer tracks and that's it!

CoC: What influences around you (musically) went into the creation of the material played on _Lords of Twilight_? Do you feel the need to copy or borrow from other band and/or genre styles?

S: _Lords of Twilight_ is some kind of middle release for those who want to hear something from us before we strike with our second full-length album. There was a lot of people who wanted to hear some old material from Thy Serpent. And seeing that both demos we've released had really bad sound quality, we decided to re-record some of those tracks for this release. What influence do I have? Everything that I see and hear.

CoC: How do you think the imagery and lyrical ideas of the band help the music? Do they work well off each other in your opinion? Also: Atmosphere and emotions are drawn from all the songs you create - what's more important to you for the song: atmosphere or emotions?

S: Both atmosphere and emotions, as well as aggressive music, are important for us. We also aim to have good lyrics to fit our music, and that's why Antti L. from Babylon Whores is helping write material for us. His lyrics are much better than ours.

CoC: How has the band been received in Europe? Is there a strong fan base for the band there? What do you think about the European (or Finnish) metal scene?

S: I think Thy Serpent is quite well known in Europe. At least I think we are. I get tons of mail from all over the world. The Finnish metal scene is growing all the time. Check out bands like Twilight Opera, Bethel, Gloomy Grim, I Flow in Depths, Shadow World, With the Winds... and many more great ones!

CoC: When did you become involved with music? At what age? What drew you to play this type of music?

S: I started to listen to this type of music fifteen years ago when I was nine. I was listening to bands like Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P., Accept, Judas Priest. They were very heavy, and then a little later came Sodom, Possessed, Kreator, Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, and Bathory. I have never liked bands like Kiss, Destruction, or Venom. As for what drew me into playing this type of music? Nothing drew me into this kind of music, it was very slow and natural happening. This is my nature, and I can't change it.

CoC: Do you feel that what you create and do with Thy Serpent is exactly what you want to be doing with the band (musically) or do you feel that the band has yet to find their own style/sound?

S: Yes, I want to do just this kind of music with Thy Serpent. This "mid-tempo melodic and atmospheric dark metal" is Thy Serpent's style! If I want to do some other type of music, I will form a side-project band. In fact, I've ideas got ideas for two projects. I've just got to find some time for them - let's see what happens shall we?

CoC: How often does the band write and record music? Is it an easy process? How do the ideas and songs start?

S: Since the last recording we did in June of '96, we have had only four rehearsals. And we didn't even rehearse much. We've just worked on the second full-length. About writing: when I write music, it's quite an easy process, and I think it's quite easy for other Thy Serpent members, too. Thy Serpent rehearse usually a little bit before we head into the studio, too. And you ask, how do the ideas and songs start? Hard to say, they're just born in our visions.

CoC: Does the band play live? If so, what can fans expect from a live performance by Thy Serpent?

S: No, we don't play live shows. People have asked us to play in France and Germany, even go out on a European tour and we have said, 'No.' Maybe that'll change come album number two. Who knows? As for our live show, fans can expect a good live show, I guess? I haven't thought much about the live show from us yet, so I don't know how to respond to that question.

CoC: How do you feel about mainstream/commercial music?

S: I don't have an opinion about that at all. It's nice if they (bands) can earn some money with music. I know that I would like to earn some bucks with Thy Serpent.

(article submitted 14/7/1997)

8/12/2000 A Bromley 9 Thy Serpent - Death
11/19/1998 D Rocher 10 Thy Serpent - Christcrusher
7/14/1997 A Wasylyk 8 Thy Serpent - Lords of Twilight
1/2/1997 S Hoeltzel 5 Thy Serpent - Forests of Witchery
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