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Azarath's Marcin Sienkiel: "I want to feel emotions, listening to loud music, meeting with friends, drinking beers and generally enjoying life. Streaming will never replace such feelings. I hope that this circus will finish soon."

Interview with Marcin Sienkiel from Azarath
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 16 December 2020, 11:54 PM

It is never easy being the new guy in a veteran band. However, the possibilities could be endless if there are those that are willing to accept new forged ideas, new influences and a direction that is not really a stranger. Therefore, no catastrophes, no need for bickering and protecting the heritage, appearing like a bunch of nonsense. The Polish Black / Death Metal band Azarath, featuring Behemoth's Inferno, recruited the promising vocalists / guitarist, Marcin Sienkiel to become part of the band's legacy of uncompromising extreme Metal. In light of the band's new album, "Saint Desecration" had a chat with Marcin about Covid-19, being the new guy in town, his first album with Azarath and more…

Greetings Marcin, it is quite an honor to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Hell-o! I feel perfect. Thank you for the invite for this interview. I’ve just opened my beer and during listening to the new Benediction album and I start answering your questions.

I have been watching a bit on what has been happening in Poland and the massive protests against the government, mainly due to the Abortion Ban. With the Covid-19 pandemic still taking lives worldwide, even that factor doesn’t really have any effect on the people in the streets?

Yes, currently we live in very strange reality. Often, I feel like an alien in my home country… During the pandemic, our government is taking rapid decisions often without any sense. I completely do not understand such approach… Why during the pandemic these fools vote for abortion instead of focusing on a plan to recover economy…  For provocation only. On the other hand, I see that Polish society start to wake up from this lethargy. We started to protest against the government as well as the church, which is conservative, closed for progress and full of paedophiles. We started to protest generally against PIS not only because of the implemented by them more restricted abortion law which limit women’s laws. They constantly change the law against the constitution and start to drive the country towards catho-comunism… Furthermore, they’re dividing the Polish society, causing hate and violence between us.

As you can see, it is a serious problem, if peoples risk their own health and walk in protests. Sick government… Fuck them all.

Talking about the pandemic, how have you been keeping yourself busy, especially on the lockdowns, in order not to lose your sanity? Do you see any way out of this situation going on in the world?

We had restrictions and total lockdown from March till end of May 2020, however, I was really busy at that time. We composed songs for new Azarath album. I was focused on composing and practicing my guitar skills. I had more time for my family as well. It was not bad.

However, during the second wave of the pandemic it started to get annoying. Currently, again, we have cancelled gigs and we don’t know what new restrictions we can expect. Together with dark grey weather sometimes, my life has become depressive… I think that this madness will finish when pharmaceutical corporations sell vaccines and all of us have to take it.  However, I don’t fully believe that this pandemic is so deadly. Of course, older peoples should be isolated or take more care of themselves, but younger people should live normally. I hope that this panic will finish soon.

I bet that you miss going live on stage right? How have you been coping with the fact that it would probably take a while, could be a year, before you get back on stage?

Of course I do. I miss the live shows, seeing maniacs under the stage and feeling the adrenaline. It is the main reason why we do it. I cannot imagine that only streaming gigs will be possible. I love taking part in gigs as the maniac in the crowd as well. I want to feel emotions, listening to loud music, meeting with friends, drinking beers and generally enjoying life. Streaming will never replace such feelings. I hope that this circus will finish soon. Otherwise, I will fall in depression haha.

I gained interest in Azarath a little while back, and I noticed that you were about to release a new album, “Saint Desecration”. After receiving the album’s promotional copy, I simply dwelled on it, listened to it time and time again. No doubt it is a band that should have been in a different position. When you sit down and listen to the finished product, what is going through your head? What are you thinking of?

Generally, we are proud of this album. It cost us lots of effort to compose and then fix all ideas together. Especially during lockdown, it was not easy. We had no single rehearsal while composing new songs. Three days before the studio session, we’ve met and played all of the stuff and that’s it. Of course, the main work was done individually at home. Now when I listen to this album I am impressed with the final effect which exceeds my expectations. I’m proud and happy.

For one thing, I really liked the album’s title, and could serve as a word game between black and white, an oxymoron if you may. However, as far as I can see, it can also be a pure assault on everything that is religiously considered as saint. Where do you stand with this title? What would it gains to desecrate the saints?

“Saint Desecration” can be interpreted in several ways. On the one hand, it can be treated as the rebellion against all religions, false dogma and other manipulation tools. The single word “saint” is pure form of utopia. People are usually blinded by religion in theory, striving for being ideal, but in reality, most of them are steered and exploited by sect for sect purposes.

They become enslaved, trying to force others to follow the same way, even if you don’t want or do not agree with them. They are able even to kill in the name of imaginary god using religion for justification. Nevertheless, each life can be treated as the saint gift, which must be finally destroyed to allow rebirth of a new one. It is eternal law of nature necessary for any progress.

As a concept, when thinking about it, and your opinion here would be highly appreciated, there have been countless examples of corruption within religion, no matter which. It would seem that the saints aren’t really saints, so in a way you proved a point out of your doctrine that is anti-religion isn’t it? You can’t really desecrate the corrupted am I right?

As I mentioned before religion is simply tool for manipulation and great machine for getting money and dominating over believers. I’m definitely against it. I usually name them black mafia (especially relating to polish church but not only). They all are above the law, they own huge fortunes and still taking more. Totally possessed by greed. This whole shit is deeply corrupted. I still cannot understand why so many peoples are still sitting in this saint shit.

What can you tell are the main themes that are being dealt with on “Saint Desecration”? Which of these conceptions are closer to you, in the highest importance?

Saint Desecration is a half divided album, if we take into consideration the lyrics. "No Salvation", "Death at Will", "Beyond the Gates"…, "Life is Death" and "Sancta dei Meretrix" these five has been written by Greg Gwizdz. He is fascinated in ancient Aghori cultures. Mentioned lyrics coming from his hand are more philosophic with second bottom that can be variously interpreted. Fascination the act of death and journey just after… Remaining lyrics are mine. With blasphemy approach to all what is pseudo saint. It’s hard to say what is closer to me. It depends on my feeling and state of mind. Both concepts fit me personally.

The new record serves as a fistful of black covered Death Metal, marking the strong elements of the extreme Polish Metal scene, which is hard to ignore, along with various elements from the Western European and American Death Metal sceneries. How would you say that this unholy blending of Black and Death Metal was developed even further on “Saint Desecration”?

I think that "Saint Desecration" includes many influences. Each of us is deeply rooted in death and black metal early 90’s… We love death and black metal bands from that period. During composing often each of us return to that golden years. During the recording sessions, we mainly focused on the most natural sound. We tried to mix classic death metal with black metal nostalgia to achieve something fresh. I think that "Saint Desecration" is full of energy and included pure devil which is quite rare in other current death metal productions.

Since there have been many examples sharing this kind of mixture of extremity, what would you say that Azarath brought forth as uncanny and fresh through “Saint Desecration”?

For sure, the "Saint Desecration" sound is not plastic and clear as fuck, what you can often meet in current modern productions. Inferno completely resign any trigger on the drums, what caused that drums to sound natural. We recorded this album old school style and finally gave it an analogue sound. I think that such approach is quite rare in nowadays productions. Sterile productions kill the devil aren't they? We mixed several genres of extreme metal music. The effect is that we obtained various and really sick material.

What would you say were the peak moments throughout the songwriting process of “Saint Desecration”?

I don’t remember peak moments to be honest. All songs were created quite spontaneously. We had the time due to corona lockdown and we fully used it for composing. Before we achieved the final shape of the album, we threw away many riffs. Our purpose was singular; this album must kick ass otherwise we will not record any riff. Because it was my first album, I decided to prepare/record pre productions with vocals to see whole picture. And it was a great idea. We could rearrange some parts in the whole structures of the songs (drums, guitars, vocals) before and in the studio. It saved a lot of time and stress. Such approach I implemented for the first time in my music career but for sure, it was a worthy effort. The final effect satisfied all of us and saved time and our potential frustration haha.

Whether the Covid-19 or simply being mind blocked when writing songs, what would you say were the challenges that rose while the album was being worked on?

The main challenge for me was to fit Azarath's style and in parallel to try to add something fresh inside. In the beginning, Bart and Inferno rejected many of my riffs before we achieved a common direction. It’s normal especially in the beginning of any cooperation.  I needed time to change a little bit of my style and focus on previous albums more than simply listen to it. Finally, after many attempts, the effect has been achieved. Second challenge was the vocals. I knew that my throat sound is completely different in compare to Necrosodom or Bruno. However, when the new songs appeared and I had completed lyrics, I used my imagination and just started to arrange track by track. It took many evenings before I was completely satisfied with my role.

Coming in as new on the record, your debut appearance as the band’s new voice. What do you think that you are bringing to Azarath that was needed for the band to go forward with its music? How do you find your chemistry with the current band members?

Maybe I will start with second part of the question. The chemistry with other Azarath band members was perfect from the first meeting, when I was invited for a rehearsal during “application” process.  We felt very good vibrations while playing the songs and after normal discussions. After rehearsal, I subconsciously felt that we would play and compose together. The common tour with Immolation in 2017 just stamped our friendship.

Regarding question what I brought to Azarath would be better to ask Inferno or Bart however, what can I say is that for sure I brought with me passion for the music, full involvement in band life and composing process.

Right on the first round that I had with the album, I took pleasure in the chaotic “Profanation”, quite an exhilarating experience, with a variety of whether Black, Death and Thrash Metal. Could be a great live feature. What is your appreciation of this track?

Yes, it is chaotic and aggressive. We added during the recording sessions additional vocals arrangements and with a creepy effect. The riffs are brutal and dirty.  This song is essence of evil and fury. I agree for sure that it would be a killer during live shows. I cannot wait for performing it live.

 “Let Them Burn” is a scorcher, yet it decimates also with its old school melodies, along with its gut splitting solo effort. Would you say that Azarath would incorporate additional melodies features in its coming ventures?

I’m really glad that all Azarath band members are open for new ideas. Of course I had to fit into the style a little bit however, some of my style I smuggled into the compositions and this result ended up as a variety within the album, as well as some new melodies. If nothing will change (I’m sure that current collaboration is on perfect level and will stay for the future) yourself and listeners can expect further progress of Azarath music.
From my own band experience, I know that if in band you have influential members than machines, everything clicks. For sure, new melodies will appear in the future and after longer collaboration will be even better.

I know that it is always a headache question, yet I will ask anyway, which of the album’s songs do you find as your personal strongest? Please elaborate on your pick

You are right, it is hard to choose the strongest one, because I like whole album as the completed act of art. However, my personal favourite song is "Beyond the Gates of Burning Ghats". From composing and lyric aspect, this song really fits my vision that looks like a journey through the gates of death. If you add the music you will get perfect mixture for contemplation.

Earlier we talked about going live on stage, with it now impossible, have you thought about live stream opportunities?

To be honest I cannot imagine stream live with Azarath. I think that we all don’t feel such need. Personally, I would feel strange playing gig without audience. It would be more form of clip and actor role than real concert expression. However, if such opportunity will appear and rest of Azarath approve streaming live idea I will not refuse.

Marcin, many thanks for your input and time for this interview. You guys made a great record. I wish you nothing but the best sir. Cheers.

Thank you


 



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