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W.E.B.'s Sakis DarkFace: "Death is something that sticks as a scar in one’s mind, like listening to the same phrase again and again but you repeat it with different intensity according to time"

Interview with Sakis DarkFace from W.E.B.
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 22 December 2021, 10:28 PM

It is possible that mankind will never learn from its past mistakes, and from what the present pictures and reflects, there is a little chance for someone to wake up and actually do something about it. Similar to ancient Rome, there is a pleasure in blood, meaning two people fight each other, and not for sport. The continuous fighting is a symbol, as if there is nothing more to take pleasure from. Blood on TV may just be the next stage, and no one would like to tread this field. The Greek extreme Metallers, W.E.B. took their new “Colosseum” to the next level, and it apparent that there are no stop signs. Steinmetal had a good talk with the band's founder, and leader, Sakis DarkFace, about his interpretation of all that surrounds the new album, and more…

Hello Sakis, it is awesome to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been?

Hello and thank you for having us. For sure all of us have seen better times yet, we are so excited with the release of our new album that there is no room for complains from us.

There has been a lot going on worldwide, mainly due to the pandemic that appears to lift its heads, even though counter measures are already in effect. When you look further to the foreseeable future, is this going to be part of our lives for good? Cultural wise, are artists going to be in constant fear for their future live plans?

I surely hope that this will not be the case. It is already awful to have to check how and when you are allowed to do basic stuff like going out, going to a bar, to a concert, to cinema, even to the super market for your basic needs. I believe that all of us are just being patient in the spirit that this will end soon, otherwise things could get really bad in a blink of an eye. Particularly artists of every kind are the ones being set aside most of all with the consequence of fucking up other professions, lives even more and I am talking about the people working behind the scene. The roadies, sound engineers, light techs and many more that the people might not be considering. It is an industry, not just the people you see that are affected. And to take your question one step further, arts are vital to the people. Taking arts away from the people is like slowly but effectively murdering their soul.

To date, you have reached quite an achievement with the emergence of your fifth album, "Colosseum". That record also landed you with a direct link to Metal Blade Records. How do you find this signing with such a juggernaut of a label? What are your expectations going forward?

We have been in the scene for quite some years now and W.E.B. are more active as time goes by. This means we are even more exposed to audiences; we have more contacts, we learn how to deal better with what we want to achieve, and our goals become stronger and more defined. Metal Blade was one of the labels we had already come in touch before “Colosseum” was finished. They believed not only in the record’s material, but to the band itself as well, thus came the contract. We are very pleased with the cooperation so far and it seems we are building the first step of many to come in the future.

 “Colosseum” is more than just death in an arena for the pleasure of others, it also characterizes us as humans, and our will to go beyond for a bit of temporary excitement., it occurred to me that you carry along a lot of criticism to the fact that we never really left a Colosseum, just changed its textures. What is your input on that?

You are right to say that. Yes, there is indeed a lot of criticism coming from myself to this. I mean, just look at the TV of the past 20 years with reality shows and Jerry Springer trash, or just have a look on social media. People are constantly fighting one another in every way and other people are posting popcorn memes. Because what is happening is people enjoy being aggressive to one another and at the same time like to watch this happen. You don’t watch Big Brother like shows because you enjoy the great characters, you do it to watch them fight. This is what gets the numbers at the end of the day. This is so sad and it makes me angry. People don’t see it and they should see that they are a self-destructing race.

One of the thoughts that I had in mind, in concern to the ancient pleasure out of violence, is those dystopian movies, such as “The Running Man”, where people are being hunted in a game of death or nowadays, which I see as the first stage to the direct, the “Big Brother” show, which you mentioned. Are we really going towards that direction? Is there a chance that we have no idea what we are doing?

I thing we are going this way with very small chance of realizing it. The media and governments benefit from this too much to let us have proper education and freedom to see what is going on. The people cannot understand that governments are not stupid. They always call out politicians as stupid but this is what they are missing. The politicians and governments are clever enough to be in a position to control you and they force controversial laws on you to confuse you. Now you are fighting with your neighbour then and not with them. Goal achieved.

Another aspect of the lyrical concepts going on within “Colosseum”, at least from what I could gather, are the occult references. Following our previous discussion, how do you connect between your social criticism and let’s call it, the religious aspect mentioned on the record?

Organized religion is a great part of the western society’s decadence. It is all just a power game to them. Nothing to do with religion. Nothing to do with the spirit world. We believe in balance and freedom. We oppose against the tyranny and crimes committed by religions.

The artwork of the record is rather straightforward, it grants the listener, which I believe is looking at it while listening, an idea that for humanity, everything is possible, even today, at being brutal. What can you comment about the vision that was in mind while this piece of art was at work? Who made this fine feature?

The artwork is created by John Toussas and we believe he did a great job. We had many talks on the album visualization and the whole idea behind it as well as the aesthetics and atmosphere we wanted to achieve. The cover shows a human like figure. You cannot tell if it is a demon or a woman and this was intended from the start. Around the figure you see lions and tigers savaging on human flesh. It is brutal yet elegant and the whole picture has many symbolic meanings. We let everyone give their own interpretation though.

With your various statements, and also a bit of anguish, throughout the record, which are just, would you say that “Colosseum” shows a way out of it? Perhaps underlining a solution for a better future?

Not really, no. “Colosseum” is meant to make one behold of the reality we present. We make no suggestions to show a way out of it and this is because to get out of something you first need to observe it, get to know it. In some sort of sense, we hope that if people observe themselves better, they will find the solution easily, yet the toughest part is to acknowledge you may be part of the problem first.

There have been a lot of cinematic related Metal albums going on nowadays, as if every record with orchestrations, may as well be a soundtrack for a movie. Truth be told, it is kind of thrilling and exciting. W.E.B. has been on that path for several years now, always evolving its dramatic flavor. How do you believe that it came to pass in “Colosseum”? How do you believe that these orchestrations on the record contributed to the shock element?

Metal music, and especially its extreme subgenres, were always very dramatic and theatrical. At least this is what attracted me to atmospheric and melodic black/death metal several years back. There was always a theatricality there that spoke to me the way I wanted it to do so. We have been using orchestral and symphonic elements since our debut album “Don’t Wake Futility” and I think we did it quite extensively in our previous album “Tartarus”.

In “Colosseum” we intended the symphonic elements to be more precise and absolutely and only wherever the composition was asking for them. To be honest with you, the album had twice the symphonic orchestra parts in the beginning than it actually has as a finalized creation. So, I believe that this was what gave the shock element you speak about. That there is more metal in this album and the orchestra hits you right where it should, making the album brutal and epic at the same time.

Since I have always been a sucker for heavy and meaty riffs, it was hard to deny, beyond the sort of symphonic and blackened elements of the record, the Death and Thrash Metal outputs. Such furious, untamed, heaviness, conveying an early 90’s atmosphere, were, as we say, music to my ears. How would you say that W.E.B. refined this mixture between the ambiguous extremity along with the straightforward elements of its music on the record?

I am very glad you get that from our music because this was the core vision of how W.E.B.’s music should be. I cannot say much apart from the fact that what you are getting is what comes out from us. Especially in “Colosseum” in fact we let ourselves express with no much though. This made the album pure, impulsive and has this feeling of spontaneous fury throughout the listening process in my ears.

Hel Pyre has always been busy in your local Metal scene, whether on the music or the business side. Going a little back in time, how did she find her way to W.E.B.? Would you say that it was a “meant to be” kind of situation, a future that was sealed in stone?

We were friends with Hel Pyre before she entered W.E.B. When we were in need for a bass player naturally, I contacted her and told her we are looking for a new member and we are opening auditions and asked her if she was interested. Her reply was that she wanted to give it a go and come to the audition like everybody else and in the end it turned out that she was the person we clicked the most with. One of the best decisions we ever made as a band was to welcome her on board, definitely. She has offered to the band many things we were lacking of and you can easily see that by how much we have evolved since 2017 when this line up was completed with her entrance.

With Hel’s experience as both a bass player, songwriter, and a vocalist, it sounded to me that her contribution, both the songwriting, and sharing some of the vocals, on “Colosseum”. How do you find her token of experience as a game changer this time around, a possible change in the band’s approach towards new songs?

Hel Pyre is one of the most talented persons I know. She is into art not just as a musician but also painting and sculpture as well. She has a special uniqueness to everything she does and it would be a shame if all that was left out of W.E.B. of course. She has contributed ideas throughout the whole album, also lyrics and many vocal lines as well as her own vocals in Dark Web, Pentalpha, Colosseum and Necrology that made these songs really great with her timbre included.

As for yourself, as the main man behind W.E.B., how did the experience of “Colosseum” have you on a learning curve, portraying what the band stands for even better than previously? As a songwriter, what does this record teach you?

I would like to think that through time and passion to what I do, I do evolve in some aspects both as an artists and as a person. Yes, now we know more than ever what we want from ourselves and what we stand for. What we can say most of all about what the creation of “Colosseum” taught us was exactly what this album is all about, that is to face our mirror and get to know it even better.

One of the toughest songs, yet also one of the most varied, is “Necrology”. It is like a deathly grinder with a spiritual sense, a dangerous meeting between utter ferocity and a gothic nature. No doubt one of the album’s uncanny examples. What can tell about the creative process of this track?

Musically this song came out pretty easily up to a certain point. When I was stuck and didn’t know how it should really turn out, Hel Pyre came up with the lyrics and vocal lines for it. We decided to make it a duet. We sing together in the whole song both the brutal and the clean parts. This kind of “battle” between our vocals is what I personally enjoy the most in this song. It is brutal and at the same time carries very powerful lyrics.

The last track, the instrumental “December 13th”, still has me puzzled, it is quite strong in its approach, yet I believe that there is more than meets the ear. What can you tell about it? What does it symbolize?

“December 13th” is instrumental because what this date stands for me and W.E.B. is something you cannot easily express. On December 13th of 2001, the great Chuck Schuldiner passed away. Exactly one year after this, on December 13th of 2002, W.E.B. had its first live performance. On December 13th of 2017, I was in the extremely difficult situation of seeing my horse from the “Tartarus” video die and at the very same time I got a message on my phone about Warrel Dane. It is a Memorial Day for death took away souls that I absolutely love, yet the stage birth of the band is like a sign that we move on carrying their enormous legacy. Death is something that sticks as a scar in one’s mind, like listening to the same phrase again and again but you repeat it with different intensity according to time. This is how the music works in “December 13th”. No words, just the thoughts.

When you listen to the album, what goes through your mind, other than the astonishment that you actually made it? What sort of journey are you taking while listening?

I listen to it as a fan that enjoys a record he likes. I think the album is perfect to keep me company and have what I really seek in a record. Aggressiveness, speed, emotions, adrenaline. I simply enjoy it.

Since it is barely evident of what will happen in the near and far future, due to the pandemic, have you made plans, whether A or B, in order to support the record?

The absolute way to support our material for every band is to get on the road. Everyone knows that. There is nothing than getting on stage and exchange vibes with the audience. We have some dates booked with Fleshgod Apocalypse for October 2022 and we are discussing for more tours. The pandemic always gets in the way though so this makes things every time even more difficult yet this is another fight we need to give and win. Giving up is not an option.

If there is a chance that things are going to be shut down all over again, is there a chance to start working on the next album? Do you have a stack of ideas waiting around?

We want the next album to be ready sooner than 4 years that was the gap between “Tartarus” and “Colosseum”. Yes, there are always ideas but at the moment we have not entered a stage that we are focused on working with new material. What matters to us mostly is the quality of what we deliver and present and what I can leave you with is that we will never settle on that matter than the absolute best of us each time.

I wish to thank you for your effort on this interview, this is quite a step that you made with this album and may you continue to enthral the sense of Metalheads on your next venture. All the best

Thank you for this interview and your support to W.E.B. all these years! STAY DARK


 



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