Sacred Substance
An Interview with Israel's Substance for God
by: Gino Filicetti
Straight out of Israel comes Doom metal's newest contender, Substance for God. Formed in 1992, the band has had to overcome many obstacles to get their message across. Naturally, one comes to appreciate the fact that making a name for oneself in a country not recognized for brutal music is a formidable task in itself. It has been three long years that these musicians have been waiting, and have finally released their debut album, distributed by Nuclear Blast, entitled _Assembly of Flowers_.

When asked to relate some of the emotions being relayed across this album, drummer Dor Caduri answers, "It was a very sad album, if you read the lyrics you can understand. It's an album that's made by Israelis, so it came together reflecting the way we grew up here."

Caduri is also anxious to relate the difficulties that they have encountered on the road to their current state of success, "Heavy metal music in Israel is not very popular so playing metal music in Israel is very hard. The only chance at making music is to get a contract in a country outside of Israel; Europe or the United States or whatever. These are the main obstacles we have." The obvious reason for these difficulties is the fact that the popularity for this type of music is severely lacking in Israel. He continues, "Well in Israel, the music is kind of mainstream. You have the Israeli kind of music which is what people like to listen to here. But you know, you can hear everything here, alternative, classic rock, whatever. But in Israel people mainly like to listen to Israeli music." And how does this fact affect the scene? Continues Caduri, "Well, there is a scene, but it is very, very small. So we have like 500, 600 people per gig, but no more than that. A few years ago, when metal was bigger, you had a lot of bands; but now there are only a couple of bands, 10, 20 or something like that."

Growing up in a country torn by such turmoil and social upheaval must have been harrowing for the band as impressionable young kids. Caduri however tends to disagree; "As a matter of fact, it's pretty cool. It's different than living in Canada. I know that because I've been in Canada. It's just different. For example, music is not that big here in Israel like in Canada or the US or Europe. You can not have a band, and make a living off of it here. So it's very difficult playing music here, especially the music that we do." So why, if it is so difficult to achieve, is the band making music that they know will not garner them any significant financial return? "Because this is the thing we're meant for. We just love it, and we wouldn't want to do anything else in our lives."

Seeing as _Assembly of Flowers_ is now almost a year old, the focus of the interview turns towards the next album, their sophomore effort, the album that usually makes or breaks a band. "Well, this album is a very gothic and metal album, but the stuff we are working on right now for the next album is going to be very different. It is going to be totally, well, less metal." So you are going to expand on some of the non-metallic elements on this album? Answers Caduri, "Well, the stuff we are working on right now is kind of like a Pink Floyd versus Paradise Lost thing."

Everyone knows what happens to most bands that like to change their direction constantly and without warning. A loss of hardcore fans is eminent. The obvious example that springs to mind is Sentenced who have failed to keep one direction over more than a single album. However, sometimes change is beneficial, and, agrees Caduri, sometimes necessary; "It's not going to be that much of a radical change because the emotions are still going to be the same, but it's going to be presented in a different way. In _Assembly of Flowers_ we presented it in a more metal/gothic way but the next album is going to have a lot of orchestral instruments, violins and stuff in the background and more melodic music. The band is going to sound like the band but there is going to be more production and things done differently."

An album is an album, but live shows are what separates the men from the boys. How does the band feel about playing live? "Well, we haven't done that many, but we have played a few gigs here in Israel like a dozen or so." Does touring seem feasible? Continues Caduri, "Well right now we are waiting for an answer from Nuclear Blast. Maybe they might send us touring with Gorefest, but I'm not sure yet. And it'd be in Europe. We are just waiting for an answer."

When asked if he had any last thoughts, Caduri was obliged to answer, "Some day we are going to tour Canada, so don't you worry."

(article submitted 17/1/1996)

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