Abyssus from Greece celebrate death metal in every possible way. Completely dedicated to the ways of old and focused on music and music alone, the Athenians have forged two amazing EPs and a number of split albums that reek like an open casket. As their first full-length Into The Abyss is taking its final shape, Zero Tolerance had a word with bassist/growler Kostas Analytis about the band.
“Abyssus formed back in 2011 as a one-man project with guest musicians and released Monarch To The Kingdom Of The Dead E.P in 2012” begins Analytis when asked for a short bio. “After this release, Panos (Gkourmpaliotis, guitars) joined the band. Through the next years and many changes in our line-up we managed to release several splits and of course the Summon The Dead E.P. (2015).”
I put it to the frontman that their first works sound like a perfect mix between Bolt Thrower and Obituary. Is this their plan as a band? Which other bands do they cite as influences?
“Actually, there is no common plan, we play old-school music the way we like it as fans. Of course Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Celtic Frost, Death and many more are influences that have marked our childhood, so playing this music is like a need for us.” But is there something outside their own bodies that inspires Abyssus? “Metal itself! I usually listen to something cool and get the need to take a guitar in my hands and play!” comes Analytis’ enthusiastic response. As for the lyrics… “I like the approach of writing about war as an observer- the brutality and suffering that war produces. Also, the end of the world as we know it, due to the endless exploitation of what the planet offers.”
The band habitually makes references to works from metal’s history. For example, their first demo is titled Monarch To The Kingdom Of The Dead (Slayer), their logo reminds that of Obituary, the frontman’s label is called Chaos And Hell (a line from Venom’s Black Metal), and Abyssus’ upcoming first album is a wordplay that alludes to the first full-length from Grave (1991’s Into The Grave). How important is it for them to keep the tradition of extreme sound alive through their music and overall presentation?
“First of all, everything’s for joy and pleasure! We are not professional musicians, we have our day jobs, live in routine and oppressed, and if you keep in mind the factor of living in Greece nowadays, then you can imagine how difficult our lives were, are and will be. Abyssus and heavy metal in general are our shelter and a way to express ourselves. The reason behind these metal references is our honest feeling of being true to our metal roots, show respect, dedication and determination to keep the flag of pure metal high.”
Abyssus also show their dedication to the scene (past and present) through the act of sharing releases with other bands… the famous split! “We are fans of split releases and they have always been a collectors’ item!” exclaims Analytis. “It is really cool, getting in touch with friendly bands (as we have done in Obscure with Slaktgrav and in No Life In The Coffin with Nocturnal Vomit) or with bands whose music you love (like it happened for From the Abyss Raised the Morbid… with Morbider). There are many more splits to come in the near future, be prepared for a cataclysm of such releases!”
The death metallers are clearly on the old-school, organic side of things. What does Analytis make of other sub-genres, like Brutal Death Metal, Progressive Death metal, Slam, Deathcore etc.? “I can’t stand endless triggered drumming and guttural vocals, and all those endless splattered artworks and childish lyrics, I am old enough for that… Although I really love some grind things such as Terrorizer (we have recorded a cover song), Rotten Sound, Insect Warfare and some more. For me progressive death metal is bands like Death, Atheist, Cynic, Possessed ect. Those bands are adorable!” And what about other music styles? “I have no problem to listen to other kinds of music. My favourite band is Black Sabbath, so many stoner / rock’n’roll things are often on my stereo. Hellacopters, Kyuss, Fu manchu and many more. For sure punk stuff like The Exploited, G.B.H. and from outside the rock style, some artists such as Herb Alpert, Jean Michel Jarre, Prodigy are totally respectful and enjoyable as a listening.”
The two main people in Abyssus also play in other bands… How do they manage their time-schedules, and how do they know which song goes to which band? “Well, my total priority is Abyssus” states Analytis. “Even though I play bass in a legendary band such as Soulskinner, I am not responsible for composing their material. I also sing in Carnal Garden and Cryptic Realms but they are projects without any live show schedule so I just write down the lyrics in both bands. Last but not least, I am in a band called The Escorts as a singer/ rhythm guitarist, where I compose the whole stuff – the music is too different from Abyssus as we play rock’n’roll! Panos plays in black metal bands but, believe me, he lives for playing metal and he has no problem at all with managing his schedule!”
“In September a compilation cd with all the tracks we have ever record ’til now is going to be released through Transcending Obscurity, called Once Entombed… At the end of 2015 our debut Into The Abyss will be released through Memento Mori. Also some split releases with bands such as Blessed by Perversion, Slaughterday, Church of Disgust and more. Stay tuned!”
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