Interview with Azatoth (answered by the whole band unless otherwise indicated)
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: October 23, 2022
The Finnish death metal scene has been blooming for many years since the first boom died out in the mid of the '90s. It took several years until the second wave of Finnish death metal started bubbling under the surface with bands like Krypts, Swallowed, Ascended, Stench of Decay, Goreaphilia, Vorum, Lantern and many others being at the very frontline of the genre.
Nowadays the Finnish Death Metal scene is going stronger than ever, producing bands constantly. This ongoing phenomenon has been noticed within Finland as the country has two annually arranged underground festivals (Finnish Death Metal Maniacs and Helsinki Deathfest) these days that offer an opportunity for many of these newer bands to play in front of bigger audiences. The 4-piece act, Azatoth, is one of them.
These young lads (all of them are well under 20) have released two well-received EPs thus far—Ruins of Humanity in July 2021 and Ungodly Carnage in August 2022—and there seems to be no stopping them. They are hungry and they understand what Finnish old-school death metal is all about: morbid, murky and eerie sounding, forcing you save your prayers.
We here at the gore-reeking and blood-soaked tower of The Metal Crypt wanted to know more about this young band (which was formed in 2020), so decided to ask them to shed some light on Azatoth.
Hello! How's life after two long COVID years for Azatoth?
We've been busy. We are playing a lot of shows and we're writing a ton of new material.
AZATOTH — THE FORMATIVE YEARS
Up next, we here at The Metal Crypt would like to know how you guys met each other and formed Azatoth? Are you all schoolmates?
Juuso and Joel met through another project and when it broke up, they formed Azatoth with the former guitarist. Akseli joined at the end of 2020 and soon after that we released Sacrificial Suicide. We met Daniel at his old band's gig and soon after that we became friends and eventually, he joined Azatoth.
Was it easy to find like-minded musicians for Azatoth who all shared the same vision of what the band should be musically all about?
It's been really hard, and we still have some difficulties sharing the same vision, but we always find a compromise which makes everyone happy.
How do you share responsibilities within the band as far as songwriting is concerned or would you say you are a democratic unit, in which each of you is allowed to bring ideas in, either musical or lyrical?
Our songwriting process is shared evenly, and everyone's ideas are used.
OF FAVORITES, INSPIRATIONS...
As all of you are still very young, under 20, I was just wondering what kind of things led to playing murky and down-tuned old-school death metal? What are some of your favorite bands in this genre?
Joel: I started listening to black metal bands like Mayhem and Darkthrone through a friend of mine at school and then I started expanding my music tastes to death metal bands like Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation. Right now, my favorite bands are Galvanizer and Sotajumala from our own home turf of Finland.
Akseli: I heard Entombed's Left Hand Path in the eighth grade with a friend and then I started listening to more and more death metal. Right now, my favorite bands are Dying Fetus, Motörhead and Cryptic Hatred.
Daniel: I started playing guitar when I was seven and my guitar teacher soon showed me his band Kiuas. Then I started to listen to heavier and heavier stuff until I found bands like Death and Terrorizer. Currently my favorite bands are Corpsessed and Demigod.
Juuso: At the age of 13, I started to listen to heavier thrash bands like Slayer and Dark Angel. Over time I discovered more brutal genres like death, grindcore and bestial black metal. My favorite bands at the moment are Terrorizer, Autopsy and Pestilence.
LOVE FOR H.P. LOVECRAFT
According to some sources, you are the only active band in the world carrying the name Azatoth. How did you pick that name out of all the other names that you probably had on the table?
Juuso and our former guitarist love H.P. Lovecraft and since the idea was to create chaotic music, Azatoth (which is also known as Nuclear Chaos) in the HP universe was the perfect name.
Azatoth clearly belongs to this so-called second wave of old-school Finnish death metal, which started some years ago with bands like Krypts, Worthless, Cryptic Hatred, Lie in Ruins, etc. How do you see the band's current position in this scene? Do you feel like you are a known name amongst other death metal musicians here in Finland and getting a decent number of gigs due to this fact?
We already have a bit of hype in the local scene, but we're really not known that well outside of the scene.
How would you see Azatoth's popularity outside of Finland? Have you been asked to play any gigs abroad?
As we stated before we don't have a ton of hype or following outside of the scene, but we do have some contacts in Sweden like, Black Wound, Xorsist and Atonement.
Your debut EP, titled Ruins of Humanity, was released in 2021 and didn't go unnoticed here in Finland or abroad. How was the response to it? Were you happy about all the positive reactions that it received among the death metal community?
We think that the songs were pretty solid, but we aren't happy with the production. We are happy that a surprising number of people actually liked it.
What can you tell us about your 5-track follow-up EP, Ungodly Carnage? Does it follow the same musical recipe that you used on your debut EP, or does it sound a tad different than Ruins...?
It follows the same recipe but it's way more brutal, chaotic and putrid than Ruins of Humanity. Also, the fact that Daniel joined the band a bit before we started writing Ungodly Carnage made a big impact since he brought up a ton of ideas and changes in the sound of the new material.
Would you say you are more satisfied with the songs on this new EP than the songs you did for your debut EP back in 2021?
Yes, definitely! We put way more care and effort into Ungodly Carnage and we have improved and grown as songwriters so the material is higher quality than on Ruins of Humanity.
THE OTHER RECORDS
A small Finnish record label, The Other Records, will release your new EP on CD, together with the previous Ruins... EP. How did you start your cooperation with this label and how has it been working with them so far?
Working with The Other Records started when they asked us if we wanted them to make cassettes of Ruins of Humanity. After that we stayed in touch, made some merch and eventually it just felt right to release Ungodly Carnage with their help. The people at the Other Records are great and it's a pleasure to work with them.
Out of curiosity, have you gotten offers from labels abroad that would like to work with Azatoth?
Yes, many labels have asked us to work with them, but it's just felt the best to work with The Other Records.
I guess it's safe to say that you'd like to see the new EP as a step up regarding the band's future comings and goings, i.e., getting more recognition for the band, and getting more gig offers. What else would you like to accomplish with this new EP of yours?
We would love to get some attention also outside of Finland and maybe even play shows outside of Finland.
... AND, HOW ABOUT THE FUTURE?
What are some of your future plans, let's say for 2023, for example?
More shows and music for sure. Maybe a split or a full-length album, but we'll see what the future brings.
Thanks a lot for your time to get this interview done and I'd like to wish you all the best in your present and future endeavors with the band. Any closing comments perhaps?
Buy or stream Ungodly Carnage—buy our CDs, tapes and merch. Also support the Finnish underground death metal.
Azatoth thank you for having us! Stay safe, and more importantly stay disgusting...!
|Other information about Azatoth on this site|
|Review: Ruins of Humanity|
|Review: Ungodly Carnage|
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