The Carnage Continues
CoC chats with Max Kolesne of Krisiun
by: Jackie Smit
"Pete Sandoval is a legend and I will never ever compare myself to him."

Surprisingly humble words from a man the Commando himself once described as the best drummer in extreme music. But then, more than anything, humility and true passion have been the driving forces in the decade-long career of Brazil's most brutal sons, Krisiun.

Now on the eve of releasing perhaps their most polished, aggressive and accomplished album to date in the form of _Works of Carnage_, Krisiun are still just as fired up for the cause of metal as a band who are on the eve of recording their first demos -- and as drummer Max Kolesne tells me on line from Brazil, "Krisiun has many more doors to open and many more fans to conquer".

CoC: When Krisiun released _Ageless Venomous_ in 2001, a lot of criticism was leveled at the band for supposedly repeating yourselves, and for sounding -- for lack of a better word -- lifeless. Did this is any way influence the changes you brought about on _Works of Carnage_ in terms of your overall sound and the more diverse approach you brought to the structure of the music?

Max Kolesne: Well, I don't think so, man. The way that we did _Ageless Venomous_ was exactly the way it was supposed to have come out. When we were writing and rehearsing for that album -- even before we went into the studio -- we wanted to do a record with a clearer production, but given the Krisiun style and sticking to our roots. I think it differs a lot from _Conquerors of Armageddon_ and I think that people who said that we were repeating ourselves don't have a clue about what extreme death metal is all about. They just hear blast beats going on and they don't fucking understand a thing. We're never going to write any differently or change our music just because some critic is talking shit about us. And when we're composing a new album we try to do it in a totally natural way. We get together in the same rehearsal room and basically just play the music that we love to play. That is what we did with _Works of Carnage_, which is different from _Ageless Venomous_ but still has the Krisiun trademarks: it's fast, brutal and aggressive. Of course we want to get better and innovate, but we want to stay true to our roots and do whatever we do with a lot of passion and a lot of feeling.

CoC: There definitely are a lot of changes on _Works of Carnage_, specifically as far as the differing rhythms you used and the difference in sound from the previous records. How much of an influence was Pierre Remillard [producer] on the outcome of this album?

MK: Everything happened naturally and I definitely think that Pierre was the right guy for the album. We were looking for someone to give us a more powerful and a more natural sound -- bringing the guitars and the bass to the front, making the drums sound more powerful. And we were very impressed with the work he had done in the past on bands like Cryptopsy. We wanted to make an album that was heavier than _Ageless Venomous_ -- more straightforward, more aggressive, with shorter songs. I think that when you play death metal it is more effective to be more straightforward. Also, we needed to do something different from _Ageless Venomous_.

CoC: So what was it like to work with Pierre?

MK: It was really great, man. He is a really great guy and we're really good friends with him now. His duty as producer for _Works of Carnage_ was to give us the proper sound for our music, because we had just about everything done before we started recording, so he didn't change anything. He gave his opinion about a couple of little parts here and there, but 99% of the album was already done and he didn't want to change anything. So his main role was to give us a good sound, and he spent hours and hours looking for simple things like a powerful drum sound or brutal guitar sounds. It was really important for us to have someone we could trust, because when we go into the studio, we need to be able to concentrate 100% on the performance -- when you play this kind of music, you have to give it your all when you are recording. And Pierre was definitely someone we could count on and he did a great job.

CoC: Apart from the changes you brought about in your sound, you also seem to have moved away from dealing with religious topics in your lyrics. What are the main issues or themes that you cover on _Works of Carnage_?

MK: Well, I think we kind of kept the same vision, but more focused on the many wars and battles that have happened in human history. There's even one song about Genghis Khan and the lyrics tell his story. Also, all the things that we see around us -- even here in Brazil, there's a small war going on and there's twelve year old kids walking around with shotguns and killing people. There is war going on everywhere and these kinds of lyrics really fit in with our music. We're not trying to give a good message to our fans, we're just trying to find matters that will suit our music, and war, I think, has a lot to do with the way we play.

CoC: With the sampled interludes that you used in between the songs on _Works of Carnage_, would you say that there is a underlying concept running through the record?

MK: Yeah, kind of, because as I said, all of the topics are either about war or about battle or about killing -- so all of the songs are more or less about the same things.

CoC: Coming from a third world country with its accompanying economical and political struggles and the problems that go with that, would you say that this has an impact on the music you write?

MK: I think so -- all the bad things we see going on and happening really close to us definitely inspired us to come up with some very brutal music.

CoC: And do you think that because of where you come from, you perhaps deal with and experience success in a different manner to, say for example, a band from the USA?

MK: Maybe. I think it depends on the band, but all the bad things that we have been through like when we started the band and we didn't have gear or whatever -- I think that those things just make you stronger in the end and make you want to keep going and keep struggling and keep on believing in the band. If things are too easy, it's too easy to quit as well. But again, that really depends on the band and not where the band is from.

CoC: And when you guys were starting out and going through your struggles, did you ever think to yourselves "enough is enough"?

MK: No, we never thought about giving up, and I think that's because of the passion we have for playing this kind of music. I mean, to play metal is more than just making music, it's a lifestyle for me.

CoC: What's the metal scene like in South America?

MK: There are a lot of bands in Brazil -- everything from melodic metal to extreme, brutal metal. There are more small record labels supporting the newer bands and more people are going to shows now -- it's definitely better than ten years ago when we started playing; things were much more difficult back then.

CoC: How many people went to the first Krisiun show?

MK: I think maybe about thirty people.

CoC: And if you played a show in Sao Paulo now, how many people would be in the audience?

MK: Now, when we play here we play to about two thousand people. But it's taken time and grown slowly. Every album we make or every show we do, we try to make it a step forward for the band and conquer new fans and keep a strong following.

CoC: So with the success you have achieved thus far, do you ever start feeling complacent and think that you've achieved everything you've wanted to?

MK: Well, we're still feeling the same way that we felt when we started. I think there's many more things to conquer and I think that Krisiun can be much bigger than they are now, and we can definitely bring a lot of new fans to the death metal field. We did a show two months ago where we were playing a big festival here in Sao Paulo in front of about 40,000 people. We were the only extreme metal band on the bill -- the rest of the bands were all pop metal or nu metal or rock or whatever -- and we had a fucking great response from the crowd. They fucking loved it, so we definitely can bring more people into death metal, in the same way that Morbid Angel has done -- there are a lot of doors to be opened and there are a lot of things to be done.

CoC: With the increasing number of good death metal bands in the genre right now, do you ever feel like you're in competition with anyone?

MK: No way, man! Maybe when we were younger, we would want to play heavier or play faster than someone else, but now it's like "What the fuck, let's just play music". It's not a competition or whatever. I just think about us and I don't care if another band sells more than us or play faster than us. One thing in the metal scene that really sucks is the competition and the bands talking shit about the others. We just want to see more and more great bands doing tours and selling more records.

CoC: With bands like Hate Eternal being played on MTV right now, do you think that death metal is set to get much bigger?

MK: Yes. I think a lot of the kids who listen to stuff like Korn or whatever are going to see a band like Hate Eternal and just be blown away, and a lot of those kids will definitely start listening to more brutal and more extreme music in the future.

CoC: What bands do you look up to in the scene right now?

MK: Nile -- and then of course the older bands like Morbid Angel and Deicide. Decapitated, Vader, Diabolic -- there are a lot of killer bands out there.

CoC: Krisiun is a very hard-touring band, and at the speed and the level of intensity you guys play, how do you prepare for and survive a tour?

MK: You've got to keep playing all the time -- never quit playing, because if you do you'll be rusty and it will take time to get back to the right level to be playing this kind of music. We just keep practicing for like five hours a day and I think that's the best way to keep in shape. And I do some extra exercises, like jogging, working on my flexibility. You don't have to be really healthy, but I think you just need to keep playing all the time and that definitely helps you to not get tired when you're playing and when you're on tour.

CoC: What are your plans for the next five to ten years of the band's career?

MK: We're just going to keep playing and getting bigger -- we're not going to be the biggest band on earth, but I just want to be able to draw more fans to our music. We have a lot to show and a lot to innovate, while still keeping our roots -- our strong feeling to play aggressive stuff forever, and holding the death metal flag always.

CoC: Thanks for your time, Max.

MK: Thanks a lot, man. We're going to be touring with Deicide and Hate Eternal in the States later this year, and we'll be in Europe in the beginning of 2004, between January and March. So, come and check us out!

(article submitted 6/10/2003)

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5/25/2000 P Schwarz Krisiun: Kneel Before the Conquerors of Armageddon
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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