Malevolently Materialized Martyrdom
CoC interviews Karlos Kariano of Malevolence
by: Pedro Azevedo
Nowadays, Malevolence are simultaneously one of Portugal's best and also most promising metal bands. Not only is their second full-length _Martyrialized_ [CoC #46] more than able to make an impact on its own, the band doesn't seem willing to settle for anything less than highly ambitious achievements. Vocalist/guitarist Karlos Kariano has in the meantime started his own label, Maquiavel Music, through which _Martyrialized_ was released, and recently signed the remarkable Polish band Lux Occulta. Indulge in Kariano's massive answers below if you want to know more details about Malevolence and Maquiavel Music, and also find out how passionate Kariano is about his work.

CoC: I'm curious about the album title _Martyrialized_; what made you think of it?

Karlos Kariano: As you already know, our texts are just spinning in this useless hole in time. Upon them we are often trying to expand ideas of igniting something to perfectly achieve something different, something that's better than the present state of decline that Humanity faces. So "Martyrialized", as a name, just arrives with the conceptual idea reflecting that we will never agree with the schemes from people that always act as if they were supreme or flawless, because in fact there isn't a global truth upon mankind and no one shall suffer for the sins committed by others. We have just made the reunion of two interesting words to create the full conceptual idea for the album. So you have the word "martyr" united in accordance with the word "materialized" to give the full martyrdom thematic approach. Even if we take some lyrical influences from both Machiavelli and Immanuel Kant upon the thematic side of the album, we will never entirely agree with their own thesis and formulas. I believe that both of them have made a huge impact upon our systematic sound structures and thematic accomplishments, but that does not necessarily mean that we think they were perfect or even supreme compared to any other human form. It doesn't matter if it's just another writer or even a dissimulated human form that comes unto my thematic and lyrical approach, I am always able to create my inner individual approach to always construct new interesting themes and conceptual works. Therefore, on _Martyrialized_ you will be able to sense our own inevitable collision course with all those Christian persevering performances that people often take as true reality in their lives. We are just expressing that we are the opposition to the carnival of Christian madness. So instead of being abandoned in bleeding faith and afflictive penitence when the speech of the saviour (Christ) always sounds the same, we just prefer to be considered as the new researchers of progressive and supreme apocalyptic art. With the thematic side on Malevolence we have always been trying to show people that we all must unite our own efforts to get rid of the moral raping madness that's infecting our living path. That's to say that we need to constantly battle all the tyrannical ideals upon the carnival of morals and politics that we have had to face since ancestral times, not only in Portugal but also all over many other countries. At this point, in _Martyrialized_ we have expanded a conceptual view about the present state of Humanity's decline in general. The album becomes the perfect vehicle for us to amplify and bring about all these twisted visionary accomplishments because on it we made the supreme reunion of all the biggest aspects that we consider of the highest martyrdom of our own existence on Earth. We are just materializing on the album all the entities which have been previously marked and restricted by the laws of injustice, stealth customs and several other punishments. We are currently living in a society that is extremely dangerous and often cruel for their kind fellow creatures, so _Martyrialized_ exposes to people in general that all those entities that have been suffering that treatment will enter an inevitable collision course with all the aspects of their martyrdom. Throughout the use of our individual reflection we might be able to start renouncing over and over the same codes and models set by the entire segregating community we inhabit. Therefore, in conclusion, you also have a fine phrase in the album that sums up the entire concept when I say, ironically, that men teach men to kill their brother men. Just watch and listen to the statement I make: "I send my brothers to teach the brother men, I teach my brothers to kill the brother men...", upon the song "A Shining Onslaught of Tyranny" on the new effort, to get a glimpse of that particular conceptual idea of the conceptual word you asked me about.

CoC: I'm sure you must get this question all the time, but I still have to ask: what was the story behind the recording of _Martyrialized_ in the Fredman Studio in Gothenburg? That's not very common for Portuguese bands.

KK: That's the main reason why we have recorded over there, if you positively ask me. It looks like nowadays we are a bit like a non-standard metal act based in Portugal. We never followed the natural procedures that other Portuguese bands like to follow too much, and we have always tried to improve when it comes to entertaining and pleasing ourselves in terms of musical achievements. Fredman Studios were a very natural choice for Malevolence after we decided to cancel the potential recording in the Abyss Studios, also in Sweden, with Peter of Hypocrisy. We have opted for Fredman, but do not look at it thinking that we made it just for the great role this studio has nowadays in the underground metal scene. If you ask me, I will tell you right away there's no great importance in having the name of the studio typed upon the band's promotional stuff. I am even against using all those procedures just to get some extra exposure at the end of the day. When we decided to record in Fredman Studios the main intention was just to get a qualitatively perfect sound plus a very powerful crystalline production above everything else that you might think. I know that nowadays people do have a great syndrome to get all those famous studios and producers to have half the work already done when it comes out in all levels. I also have to admit that the fact we have recorded this new one over in those studios has helped us in some aspects as well, but at the end of the day we were not even interested in the methods used by that single producer in his own studio just because he's actually one of the main gurus in the recording scene. Of course it was a phenomenal experience to record in such a great place like Fredman Studios with the support of Fredrik Nordstrom and Anders Friden of In Flames, but I guess all that is just secondary for us. This new recording was way more relaxing and even faster than when we recorded _Dominium_ unto all thy levels. As we have made some mistakes in the previous recording of our musical creations, this time we just decided that we had to get a professional studio with a professional sound engineer that could also make a final powerful mixing of all the ideas we were going to record for _Martyrialized_. In a way, this was certainly an unusual task to accomplish for a Portuguese band, but we will keep proceeding like that in the future, since in Portugal we might have good studios as well, but there's a great lack of good sound engineers and mixing technicians to help you achieve the final perfect recording result that you have in mind.

CoC: Did you enjoy working with Fredrik Nordstrom and In Flames' Anders Friden there at Fredman Studio? Is the final result as good as you expected?

KK: From my point of view, I think this recording was just phenomenal, if I have to compare it to all the previous recordings that we made for the demo and also for the debut album. Initially we had fifteen days to record the new album and I can assure you that on the seventh day we had almost everything completed down there as well. The recording, the mixing, the production and the final mastering have worked perfectly well, because to some extent we had already made all the pre-production of all the individual tracks by ourselves before we left Portugal. We all knew in advance the ideas that we wanted to capture and put in practice over there for the final result. What mainly made us focus on recording the album in that particular studio was that we had at least to have the chance for one single time in our lives to use the very same studio that a band like At the Gates has already used in the past to capture all that aggressive smell that tastes so good all over the most typical metal caterpillar albums assassinating men in general. We needed that crystalline quality and powerful sound from the Fredman Studios unto our audio bastardization in such a level that we ended up choosing that one as the perfect room to record all our annihilating production, as opposed to the raw production idea from the Abyss Studios. This time we were not only looking for a satisfying result like we did for the _Dominium_ recordings, as we also thought that way in the past and now there's many elements that we would have liked to change in the initial recording. We were just looking for the highest and final perfect result in order to also live with the album in the future without even wanting to change anything. After seven months since the album was released we still feel the same level of passion for all the songs gathered there, so we definitely made the right choice this time and we are very proud of this record on all levels. The differences are evident, in our own opinion -- and _Martyrialized_ speaks for itself without need to resort to any external influences. Fredrik just made the final mixing of the musical product and we think he did a phenomenal job. I still remember that Fredrik told us that we were a very talented band and that he was not expecting such a professional, tight metal unit from Portugal to record over there. He told us that while we were just accomplishing the final mixing for _Martyrialized_'s nine tracks. He also told us that he was more than surprised with our natural and powerful ability not to sound Swedish all over our musical pores, as every goddamn band that goes there strives only for that single purpose and achievement. I also remember his own words: "This material sounds really good, definitely not Swedish, but that's also twice as good for you as a metal band." Then when we were making the final mastering for the work with Mr. Goran Finnberg -- who also mastered the works from In Flames and Arch Enemy, among many others -- he also told us that he found our musical approach very original and refreshing compared to all the other stuff that he had already worked with. Believe me, man, we were the first ones to be caught by real surprise by that and these really are their opinions and words; so everything worked perfectly between all the parts involved this time and we are more than pleased with all of the final result.

CoC: I suppose recording an album there must have been quite demanding financially; did that influence the fact that _Martyrialized_ is only 30 minutes long?

KK: Yeah, that affirmation might be right, but that had nothing to do with the actual length we decided to accomplish for _Martyrialized_. It might sound strange to you, but be sure that since we started the promotion of this brand new devastating full-length album people have been systematically approaching us with questions similar to yours. So at this point I guess I have to take that observation of yours as another fine compliment towards our musical art instead of narrow-minded criticism. [My opinion on that subject can be found in CoC #46. -- Pedro] If you ask me, it's more than great to know that in fact we have been able to drive away so many people this time as we also had that purpose among our ideas when we started to develop all the musical themes and structures for this new album. That's one of the main rules that make us move, actually. We just love to shock people just for the individual pleasure. I guess if the album is only 30 minutes long, that's also twice as good in our own opinion. We have in fact recorded two more songs in the studio that could have been in the album, but the whole idea we had was just the creation of a shorter one in order to create that dependency over pissed off people who will always find the album shorter than many others out there. We hadn't released a new album for almost three years, so we positively had to come back twice as aggressive as possible, if you understand what I mean. If you ask me, at the end of the day, whether this was done on purpose for this new full-length effort, then I have to reply with a positive answer, as we just wanted to be able to achieve a very short but mighty album on all levels with _Martyrialized_. We were able to do just that, as you are not the first one to ask us this question. Many people really react like you and say that the album could have been longer, to some extent. Anyway, we do think that those 30 minutes of sonic mayhem are more than enough to make the conceptual idea that we initially had in mind. You will be haunted by a caterpillar-like rhythmic section full of original and intense ideas during those 30 minutes, and when you get to the end of the album you will feel an urgent necessity to press the play button once again, as you are so marvelled by all that's going on that you don't want to stop the sonic mayhem addiction that the album possesses on all levels. Some of the best metal albums out there, in my opinion, like for example Slayer's _Reign in Blood_, Deicide's _Legion_, At the Gates' _Slaughter of the Soul_, Vader's _Black to the Blind_, or even the new album from Hate Eternal, _Conquering the Throne_, also had that impact on us and are actually some of the jewels of the extreme metal scene. So why would we try to expand the albums sometimes a bit longer when with 30 to 32 minutes you have already accomplished all the ideas that you had in mind with strong effects in general all over the masses? It's always better to have 30 phenomenal minutes of pleasure than 45 or even more of boredom and disgusting musical approach, in my sincere opinion. Besides that, we have managed to accomplish a very diverse album in the end and we just want to allow our potential listeners to listen to the album more than only a few times, as they will also have the necessity to understand the album with a couple more listens than the first normal ones. This is an album full of annihilating new elements, so this means that after all the attentive listening you will see that the album really grows on you, and that keeps it twice more interesting than many of the long running albums that nowadays are made just to have that schizophrenic depressive effect unto your mind.

CoC: How satisfied are you with _Martyrialized_? [Retrospectively, looking at Kariano's previous answers, I wouldn't have asked this had this been a real-time interview. Such are the shortcomings of e-mail... -- Pedro] Sales-wise, I've been given numbers around the 8000 mark for sales, which is quite impressive for a Portuguese band on a national label.

KK: All we have been achieving since the recording of the new album has been more than impressive unto all thy levels. The reaction to our new full-length effort so far has been more than phenomenal, both in terms of promotion and distribution. To be honest with you, we were positively the first ones to be caught by surprise this time. I mean, we knew since the very beginning that we really had a very good and twisted accomplishment upon our hands when we got out of the studio, but the idea that we had from the very first reactions really had nothing to do with all the major and amazing feedback that we have been receiving so far in terms of promotion and sales in general. In Portugal we were able to sell 1000 copies just in the very first weeks, and now we will soon be reaching more than 8500 copies sold worldwide, including three different licensing deals upon countries like Poland, Norway and Malaysia. So far it's been one full year since the release of the album and it still sells very well, since there's still a great demand for it nowadays. I guess we are more than in the right path to duplicate the number of sales, because there's definitely a lot of promotion to be done in the future as well. We will very soon also be reaching more than 750 interviews answered regarding the promotion for the record, and believe me because these are not fake numbers, as in fact I have been dying to come up with the answers for them all since we also started the promotion. We are mainly doing exclusive interviews for many radio shows around the world, including per example as many diverse places as Canada, Australia, France, England, Romania, Mexico, Chile, Spain, Holland, Belgium and many others. What really surprises me at the end of the day is the fact that this time we have also been able to be included with interesting and deep interviews in some of the biggest and most professional magazines in the world, including for instance names like Terrorizer, Hard 'n' Heavy, Legacy, Nordic Vision, Grinder, Torment, Riff, Metal Hammer, The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds, Ancient Ceremonies, Oskorei, Imhotep, Thrash 'Em All, Necromance, Black Light, Masterful, and many others all around the globe. At the time I am answering this one, you can be sure that I also have some more to answer soon. All of this sounds very amazing and I am the one still not believing all these recent happenings for sure. I am also more than surprised with the name we are spreading at the same time for the label, as actually we already have exclusive distribution in Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, England, Holland, Slovakia, Greece, Czech Republic, Canada, Italy, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Scandinavia, Brazil, Russia, Belarus and Chile. Besides, we are currently working towards also closing a couple more exclusive distribution deals in some other countries like Australia, Bulgaria and Romania to mention just a few more. It's just unbelievable what we have been able to accomplish, all this recently with such a new label as well as with our second full-length album so far, metal brother Pedro. As the entire rejoinder in general has been so great, we are already thinking of taking a support slot for some bigger bands upon the end of 2000 on our possible first ever European tour. We've already had some offers to make some interesting ones with bands like Immolation or Behemoth, but we just want to do some more promotion in the meanwhile to see if in fact we can obtain an even bigger tour package at the end of the day. As if all that was not yet enough, I can also tell you in advance that lately we have also been receiving some number one positions in some radio play lists, so what the hell can we complain about this time when everything is going so marvelously for the band on all levels besides the sales -- which are not the most important thing in music for me.

CoC: Do you feel the success of other Portuguese bands such as Moonspell has made more people notice you, even though they play a completely different style?

KK: About this one I cannot totally match my opinion with yours. That's a major fact, that those guys are now the biggest band from Portugal, even if I don't think that nowadays you can classify them as a metal act. Anyway, I never did see in their interviews any words of support towards other bands from Portugal. It might be just my schizophrenic point of view, but to be honest I remember that in the beginning of their career they even told the media out there that we had no underground metal scene in Portugal or even any metal bands to look out for. Just seek some of their interviews and let me know how many Portuguese acts they mention in their interviews to open those gates for the Portuguese underground metal that you mention. All of what we have been accomplishing with Malevolence is a direct fruit of our hard work behind the existence of this band and nothing else, in my sincere opinion. The fact that they are in a very large record company does not mean that all the Portuguese bands will get more credit just for that single reason. I believe that all the Portuguese bands have to strive for their own metal niche and also start to support their fellow creature bands, as we do have one of the biggest and most talented scenes of the entire metal world. One thing is for sure: Malevolence is now able to be among all those higher level acts and is even capable of surpassing some of them in terms of achieving better reviews and amazing rejoinder from all the media metal press. We are even considered in some countries out there as being the best Portuguese metal band that people have the chance to know. In some cases, believe me or not, they only know Moonspell and we just become so amazed how can that be in the world we live in nowadays, since bands like Heavenwood are just in a bigger label than us. So this means that we are finally able to be exposed unto the most underground magazines and also over the most notable and professional radio shows all over the entire world. I have to agree with your proposition in some levels, since sometimes certain names involved can just give you a bigger chance to succeed out there as people will look at your work from a different perspective, but in Moonspell's particular case I guess you are treading a totally wrong path, as I do not remember honestly to have seen them defending our competitive metal scene. [I never suggested that. Unfortunately, Kariano misinterpreted my question. -- Pedro]

CoC: You recently played live in Portugal with Behemoth -- a concert I unfortunately was unable to attend. How good was that experience for you? Any European touring projects yet?

KK: In my strong opinion, playing live is great no matter whether you play with bigger bands like Behemoth or with small underground bands. What positively interests me is all the chemistry behind the bands and the live situations in general. The single show we made in Portugal with Behemoth was not an exception to that rule, and I can tell you that they are wonderful people to play with. Playing live has some magic and that's when you have that special chance to meet a great amount of your fans besides many other people related with metal. Everything happened that way regarding the show with Behemoth and we had a great time together. I shall also mention the devastating metal act Devileech, since they were also great people to deal with. On that particular show, if you were there in the venue I guess you could see the rage flowing from the eyes of the crowd from a different point of view that you don't have while you are recording the material for the album in a studio. Believe me, this is just one of the best sensations you could ever get towards your musical approach in rehearsals and later in studios. Playing live with wonderful, down to earth people is always sacred, because you have a common place like the stage where you can share all your emotions no matter whether they are more aggressive or even more intense. When Malevolence play live we can express our musical views even better and even get a great dose unto the mind of the attentive listener directly, with no subterfuges. We do not use any effects in general in our own shows and we are of those few who still believe in the integrity and rawness of thy music to make people move with a certain vibe of energy. No one can stand deeply concentrated in one of our live shows without feeling a strong vibe for moving. Recently we have played with bands like Behemoth, Sinister, Purgatory, Asgaroth and also some others acts from Portugal including Devileech, The Firstborn, Goldenpyre, Holocausto Canibal, Theriomorphic, Sirius and some others. In the meanwhile there's also some plans to share the stages in Portugal and also Spain with bands like Necrodeath from Italy and Avulsed from Spain, but nothing has been decided yet. Lately we were also supposed to play at the shows that Testament made in Portugal, but that did not happen due to the fact that the promoter took us out of the bill in the final hour. Concerning European tours, we had an offer from Metalysee from Belgium in mid-1999 (as I have already told you) to open for the American act Immolation. Anyway, we were at the beginning of the promotion for _Martyrialized_ all over the place unto thy magazines and radios from all over the world and we just had to refuse that one due to the 700 exclusive interviews that Maquiavel Music Entertainment Lda. had already booked for the band. At this time there's a huge demand from the fans throughout Europe to see the band live and we are going to try something out during the fall of 2000. If we cannot get something interesting in the meanwhile, then we will take our time to concentrate upon the recording of the third album and then we will move towards the European tour later on. I just hope that we will have some kind of opportunity in the future to play out there and watch the same relentless emotions in foreign lands all over Europe like we have been able to feel when we play on Portuguese soil.

CoC: You used a drum machine on that concert with Behemoth, and it was Genocide drummer Gustavo Costa who played in _Martyrialized_. I assume you're planning to bring in a permanent drummer -- any news yet?

KK: I guess that you will always have that lack-of-drumming insatisfaction while you watch our live performances. I mean, we are no longer interested in using a live drummer, as we only want to use him for studio recordings. This is one of our best actual options and is resulting in a very phenomenal way. Gustavo Costa, the drummer, is a very occupied person as far as his own personal life, and it happens that sometimes he would not be available for the same live dates we have on offer for Malevolence. So this was our best survival option to keep on playing live without more problems in our career. Anyway, you will not be able to feel the drummer's absence, as we are using the same real drum recording from the Fredman Studios live upon a very advanced studio processing machine allied to our own extreme and devastating live performance. It works with bands like Samael, so why shouldn't it also work with a band like Malevolence? There's no way to incorporate a live drummer in our performances. People just have to respect our own choices no matter whether they will love us or hate us. We have made the best options unto our musical path and we just want to keep them that way. This new line-up works perfectly in the strength of each other and as you know _Martyrialized_ is the result of a collective work, even if I was the main composer of the musical and lyrical structures for the new full-length effort. Gustavo Costa will keep on recording in our future releases and in the live environment we shall keep the performance the way it is nowadays. Everything worked more than fine this time and we shall keep it that way in the future.

CoC: Speaking of Polish bands like Behemoth, Lux Occulta recently signed for your label, Maquiavel Music, as well. This seems to reveal a very positive attitude from the label; what's the story behind Maquiavel?

KK: Maquiavel Music Entertainment feels like an old dream since I got into metal. This is the lifestyle that I love and as I am also addicted to metal I had to create my own drug. I have the necessity to maintain myself always hyperactive in all ways. Since I had that Embryonic Magazine thing that I got the possibility to discover many people from different cultures engulfed in many obscure life models from the entire world, so I guess this is just the progression of those old emotions I got from metal. As you also know, there are many elements and aspects from life and humanity in general that I have a strong aversion to. By releasing this art upon a label that I have created is another fine chance to be able to show my contribution to the installation of some radical difference unto the normal musical models of Humanity. I am now in a superior position to deal with the rebellion of the oppressed masses, so it's like giving new chances for the appearance of new flesh sent to the lions with our overall support unto their back. I am just inaugurating thy arena of musical insubordination to keep the flame of artistic freedom alive. I am always struggling towards the most depressing moments in life in general with the creation of this new extreme label. Therefore, I am now giving the opportunity for people to voice their own disgust for the actual situation of decline of humankind, as well as giving them the possibility to release their own dreams and skilled metal machinery upon albums, merchandising, tours and everything that a band really needs to express their own hatred out of their individual human mortal forms. In my own opinion, music is the strongest vehicle to amplify those twisted visions, and by using this "weapon" I can crush cretinism, hypocrisy and the carnival of the Christian madness in a more effective way. Maquiavel Music Entertainment and Malevolence being two of my individual creations does not mean that I have created the label just for my own creations and twisted visions. So signing Lux Occulta is a very natural progression from the work we have been developing with the release of the second professional album from Malevolence. This is a label for all the extreme metal bands like Malevolence and Lux Occulta and also for all of the Earth that might share our ideals, philosophies and individual ambitions in general. So far everything has worked perfectly between the label and the band and we are by now preparing all the necessary procedures for the their fourth full length release, since they are going to enter the studio during December 2000 to record their debut album for our label, as they left Pagan Records from Poland to stick with us for their next musical creations. That's for sure a very positive and devastating addition to our new extreme metal catalogue and we shall keep being so selective with signing professional and original bands as we have been until now.

CoC: What are your plans for the near future? When can we expect a new album and what can we expect from the evolution of your musical style?

KK: I cannot wonder about the band's future since I am not a total visionary. Of course we do always have some new ideas to develop with every new musical creation that we accomplish. But at this time it's pretty difficult to tell you too much information in advance about the next album or even about the next moves for the band. We do have many long term barriers that need to be surpassed within the band, but at this level what I can tell you in advance is that we will keep on composing our music by making the reunion of our bestial and natural musical skills like an elite. This means that we will keep the musical progression we have carved with the very unique and multidimensional metal element upon our _Martyrialized_. The differences between each single new release from Malevolence are always huge, so I cannot advance much more for now. What mainly differs between all of our full-length achievements is our refined and polished individual potential to play and compose even greater audio hymns to remember each time that we release a new work, if you ask me. All the preceding years have taught us the highest experience and granted us with enough knowledge in order to deliver much more than simply a normal album saga upon the metal masses, so we will be able to still shock people with the third release. There's always a whole new universe that we can use to develop our music one step further. So we will never lose the band's already achieved integrity and identity, as you can be sure that we will always be very pissed-off individuals. I guess that we positively know extremely well how to handle our own instruments, so that's only a matter of using our inner force, our mental madness, as well as our strong individual imagination to keep on breaking the boundaries of metal and keep on twisting everything louder than anyone else. We do not have a specific formula to produce our multidimensional metal, so we will just keep on gathering all our extreme voracious emotions with our dark enigmatic atmospheres upon each single new musical achievement. The material for the new album is already in process of composition and that's all I will advance for thy current moment.

CoC: Any closing comments?

KK: With Maquiavel Music Entertainment Lda. we do not have any kind of restrictions imposed upon our audio bastardization or even our musical themes and dark philosophies in general. This also means that we are more than able to keep our imagination as well as our ferocious metal rebellion intact and preserved from all those infiltrators behind our back. Everything has changed for the better and I am now proud to state to you that we are finally happy with all our latest achievements -- the recognition, promotion, distribution and sales for the new full-length effort. There's a very fresh chemistry of mutual co-operation unto the entire band right now and we shall keep it that way since all the members are interested in breaking all the musical barriers imposed upon the band by making the union of all the power and inner strength inside us all. Malevolence will keep on fighting, conquering and discovering always-new dimensions within this scorched Earth we inhabit. Thanks for all the support and keep the pain, the invention and the madness of Chronicles of Chaos running forever, because we definitely need more powerful and dedicated metal magazines like yours in the devastating metal scene. Thanks for everything and keep the Christ fucking metal raping madness alive!

(article submitted 12/8/2000)

3/5/2000 P Azevedo 8 Malevolence - Martyrialized
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