Emerging from the isolated near arctic climes of Raahe, Finnish grind emissaries Feastem are counted amongst the highest ranking violence vendors around. Deploying an icy blitzkrieg of riffs and battery that could be likened to the tactical onslaught of Nasum, they remain true to the time tested campaigns of Siege whilst adding that je ne sais quoi that differentiates a band from the thousands of troops behind them. After a couple EPs, it was their first full-length, ‘Fear In Concrete’, released in 2008 got the ball rolling and after impressing the folks behind Obscene Extreme, next thing you know they’re on Obscene Productions for their last album ‘World Delerium’ in 2011. Undeniable talent and many an accolade aside, they haven’t exactly had the easiest of runs, suffering more than their fair share of vehicular turmoil, at least in the Czech Republic. First time round, their van was broken into and goods stolen, next time there, thieves decided just to take the whole shebang, though luckily most of their gear was inside the venue.
Despite setbacks that would crack those of a weaker constitution, they’ve persevered, and they’ve already completed 25 new jams set for release, recorded with long-time engineer Panu Posti (of Afgrund notoriety) including a cover of Sayyadina’s ‘Swallow’. Seven of these will be on a limited 10″ split with Kill The Client, released by Doomstar Records, to celebrate their upcoming European tour while their new full-length, ‘Avaritia Humanae’ is due out early 2013 on Obscene Productions for the CD and L’inphantile Collective for the vinyl. Poised for nothing but well-deserved mad hype, vocalist Petri Eskelinen kindly checked in whilst preparing for their imminent European domination. May the grind gods be with them.
ZT: What is it that gets you off about grind and how did you discover it in the first place?
PE:The unbridled energy. It’s like vitriolic hatred, one big ‘FUCK YOU’ to everything people consider “normal” while cowering inside their confined comfort zones. The aggression, that’s what gets me off. It’s a great outlet, I might have already killed somebody if it weren’t for aggressive music. My first contact with grindcore was through Napalm Death’s ‘From Enslavement to Obliteration’ and Terrorizer’s ‘World Downfall.’ Both are still amazing records, especially ‘World Downfall’ which is probably my favorite grind record of all time.
ZT: Why did you move away from the metallic leaning grind of ‘Fear In Concrete’ and more towards the punk side on ‘World Delirium’? Is this just a matter of your tastes evolving or did you set out to do something different?
PE:This is something the other guys would be better equipped to answer since I wasn’t in the band when either of these records were written, I joined Feastem when everything except the vocals for ‘World Delirium’ were already recorded. However, I think ‘World Delirium’ is more varied than ‘Fear In Concrete’ so I think it was natural progression and not so much trying to do something that was “more punk.” Fear In Concrete is an album that kind of wraps up the beginning of the band. It has songs from the first rehearsals to the point of recording the album. It was a period of the bands journey to find its sound and style. Changing the theme to more punk wasn’t on the agenda, it just came naturally. We wanted it to be more aggressive.
ZT: There was three years between these two. What took so long and did you run into any trouble? Was it just a matter of being busy?
PE:Everybody moved all over Finland, people got jobs, they kicked out their old singer, so it was a little bit of both.
ZT: A lot of underground bands seem to find it hard to get out of Finland but metal actually makes it on the charts relatively regularly compared to the rest of Europe (alright, whether newer Amorphis or Nightwish is ‘metal’ is debatable.) What are the scenes like in the smaller cities? Is it as healthy as this would suggest? Is there a big mix between bands at most gigs?
PE: Bigger metal bands do make it to the charts in Finland but then again, you don’t need to sell THAT many records to make that happen in this country. The underground scenes are actually pretty good when you compare them to the size of the cities / towns. Everything is pretty small here, except the country itself! There’s a lot of mutual support in the grind / hardcore scene here, lots of great bands and great people. There is quite a good mix at shows, we’ve played metal shows, hardcore shows and punk shows. Or maybe it’s just us who fit into all these different shows, haha! But really, it’s not uncommon for a death metal band, a grind band & a punk band play the same show.
ZT: Being that you all live busy lives between work and other bands, how hard is it to organise yourselves to get on the road and do you wish you could do it more?
PE:Work and other bands are not as big problems as the fact that we live literally on different sides of the country. I live down south in Helsinki, Olli lives in central Finland, Patrik lives on the northwestern coast and Antti lives even further north from Patrik. Everything is manageable though, we just put a new album together + a split 10″ with Kill The Client AND we’re doing a proper European tour, starting from Bloodshed Fest. I personally would love to see the band tour more but we’re just gonna do things when we can. Basically it boils down to planning ahead as early as possible so people can adjust their schedules.
ZT: What’s the absolute worst experience you’ve had on the road? Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
PE: Feastem has had it’s share of shit but personally the worst experience was definitely when our van was stolen in Prague on our last European tour. Luckily most of our gear was safe in the club we played that night but all our merch was in the van. We had just got it from the printers, it was pretty early on the tour… There was definitely a fleeting moment or two that day when I thought of just hitchhiking home. Fucking thieves.
ZT: I asked FUBAR this question as they also lean towards social commentary but even if you are all keeping it fairly neutral and not running amok black bloc style, what do you think is the best way to protest and change our circumstances? It’s an issue that divides a lot of people in the underground and I’m always curious. If we’re just going to sit there and take it, they’re just going to continue to consolidate wealth and power, but does that mean we have to go around smashing shit up?
PE:Tough question. Change by “due process” of voting and whatnot is probably not going to happen anytime soon, the system seems to be pretty much set in its ways as are the people who run it now and the people who will run it in the future. There’s not enough people with good ideals to vote and the idealists who usually make it in the elections are generally right-wing populists that speak to the Joe Sixpack who votes with his gut, not his brain. The people that actually have a desire to change things for the better (for everyone, not just their own interest group) are usually trampled in the system so we’re shit out of luck there. I also think fucking shit up is probably not the right way either, it will most likely make the system to enforce tighter reigns on us. Besides, western societies are neck deep in complacency so people generally do not want change enough to actually go out and do something about it. I think general civil disobedience, just going against the grain here and there would be the way but for actual change to happen… That would require a huge collective effort and once again, I doubt people are willing to do that in this age of complacency and apathy. Our western world is a consumerist society so adjusting our habits as consumers would probably be a good first step towards change. Money controls everything so why won’t we vote with our wallets? But really, I don’t see that happening anytime soon either. We’re fucked.
ZT: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Bloodshed?
PE:So many sick bands there, can’t really pick just one. I’m stoked about Dropdead, Wolfbrigade, Looking For An Answer, Gride, Chiens, Livstid… Sooo many good bands to see, I’m gonna grind my face off!
ZT: What’s on the cards after the Kill The Client tour? Going to try and keep up the momentum?
PE:Our new full-length ‘Avaritia Humanae’ is due early 2013. We’re gonna try and make another tour happen during the spring, play as many festivals as possible in the summer and start writing more stuff during the fall. We had a bunch of offers for splits this year but we wanted to focus on these two releases for now. There might be a few smaller releases coming up later in 2013 but nothing’s for sure yet. Definitely we want to keep up the momentum, keep fucking grinding!!!
You can check a couple newbies from the 10” here, including the Sayyadina cover HERE .
IF you haven’t already heard, BLOODSHED FEST is the only festival you need to worry about in Europe this fall.
And if you can’t catch ‘em there, be sure to check them out at The Black Heart in Camden on OCTOBER 14 with KILL THE CLIENT + MORE or in Newcastle, Preston, or Bristol.
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