INTERVIEWS: Sebastian Dzialuk

THRASH 'TIL DEATH!

In the last years, to my ultimate joy, Thrash - the real, pure, without any nu-"metal" influences has been coming back to the Metal scene. Hard to say what it's due to - maybe just the history of Metal has made it's full turn and we've got a great come-back of the traditional sounds deriving from the '80s. The votaries of the musical progression can't be delighted, but I don't give a damn for "progression for progression's sake". The pursuance to be in bringing into play all the technical novelties and sounds makes sense only when it's being done by the real inner conviction and not because "we should play like this 'cause it's XXI century". Honesty is one of the values I treasure most - also in music and I'm hopelessly sentimental towards '80s Metal, so no wonder that when I listen to tracks like "The Reaper's Blade" or "Soul Afire" from the CRUCIFIED MORTALS debut EP, my head surrenders to the rhythm and hands seek for riffs in the air (as if I could ever play guitar! sic). And I don't mind the deja vu for these are the best memories. Especially that CRUCIFIED MORTALS don't try to copy any other band, but have successfully found their own recipe for the XXI century Thrash - rooted firmly in the best European tradition (Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, Minotaur, R.U.Dead?), but also in the American one (Bloodfeast, Sacrifice, Desultory, Rigor Mortis), thanks to which they sound as fresh as those bands in their early years. So if you dig raw, aggressive, uncompromising and tightly played old school Thrash, write to Seba for the EP and meanwhile I'll try to familiarize you a bit with these mortals.

Jowita Kaminska: Hello Seba! Has winter already come to Cleveland?

Seba Dzialuk: Haha, luckily not yet, and I hope that we won't get to see it for a while. Right now, we get the beginning of "Indian Summer", kind of like the "Polish Golden Fall" - but without the rain. :)

JK: OK, I'll start with the standard question about the history of the band, as I think a lot of people don't know it...

SD: Well, the history of the band looks like this: the band was formed by Craig, who started Crucified Mortals on his own around 2001. He went through a few unsuccessful members at the early beginning. In spring 2003 I joined on drums and the two of us started making it happen. Later Zack Rose "joined" us as the second guitarist - with this line up and Novy on bass we recorded our debut EP.

JK: Your album has been out for over a month now... What are your feelings when you've got it finally in your hands? Is there anything that you think could have been done better? For me there's only one downside about "Converted By Decapitation": it's too short, leaving me hungry for more.

SD: I'm definitely very happy that it's finally out. It took us a long time and a lot of work to finish the album. I can say that I'm happy with it for the most part, like 90 %. There's always something that could be done better. During the recording we had a lot of obstacles to overcome. One of the major ones, that I think had impact of the lenght of the album was that we were really pressed for time. The recording studio we picked was kind of a last minute deal. There wasn't a lot of time for errors and even less time for corrections. There were plans for recording more songs, an additional cover in particular that we just didn't have enough time to finish. It will be featured on our next full lenght album. I can tell you though, that it will be a classic cover by an old school band, that I don't think anybody else has covered before and I can't wait to lay down the drums for it, hahaha. :)

JK: What did the writing process look like? From what I read, everybody participated in it, right? Could you say something about the lyrics - especially that they're not printed in the booklet...

SD: Most of the songs on the CD are Craig's. Our writing process looks like this: Craig will come up with a bunch of riffs (20 - 30 at once, haha). I try to pick the best ones and kind of put them in some interesting order. That's how a lot of our music gets created. "Sentenced To Extermination" was written entirely by Zack Rose, "Masked Murder" was written by me and Zack - with the same typical scenario. We were just playing around at practice and recorded some of the stuff. I really liked some of the riffs, put them in order, Zack liked it and that's how another song was created. As for the lyrics, most of thtem get written by Craig, I try to help him out a bit and also Novy, who is pretty good in that department. Our lyrics are typical thrash kind of lyrics, without that Satanic stupidity. The title "Converted By Decapitation" was my idea I got from a movie I saw a long time ago. It was about Christians killing pagan nations by cutting their heads - that's how the idea was born - Converted By Decapitation. Craig really liked it to the point we decided to pick this song for the album title.

JK: And what are the reactions of the press and fans to your music?

SD: I am very nicely surprised. To be honest I didn't expect such a great response from the listeners. Our reviews have been really good so far and considering this is our first, debut effort we are all very happy. It is the greatest possible motivation for the next album and the band's future existence.

JK: There's "Stigmatized Records" logo and number 001 on the back cover. Is it a label you've founded just to release your EP? I guess you're sending out "Converted..." to different record companies - what's the feedback so far?

SD: Yes, our release gave birth to Stigmatized Records, which is a label I wanted to start a while ago. The need of releasing our EP kind of started the label on its own. I do have plans for bigger moves with the label and I hope time will allow to slowly implement them. Right now, my main focus is the band. We just started sending out the promos, so the response from labels is just getting started. Time will show...

JK: And you're doing the distribution by yourselves too, I guess? Or is there anybody who helps you with it?

SD: Craigs brothers - Eric, Justin and Chase from Hells Headbangers Distro have been helping us out a lot with the distribution and I think they're doing a great job. All metal maniacs and fanatics should check out their webpage : http://hellsheadbangers.com - you can find there lots of rare metal at limited press and at very good deals.

JK: What could you say about the Polish Metal scene at the time when you were leaving the country? Do you know what the situation looks like now? And how would you compare it to the scene in the States? I know a lot of great, usually underground (even though sometimes existing since the '80s) bands from there, but I often hear that there's actually no Metal scene in the States... Is that right?

SD: The Polish metal scene to me right now seems very impressive in comparison to what I saw back in 1989. I think the musicianship and skill of most of the Polsih metal bands is definitely dominating. I am very glad to see it, because I always remember how difficult it was to be a band in general in the early '90s in Poland. There were so many barriers. The cost of the equipment was so ridiculous and its availability so limited. There were so many people that wanted to play metal and yet they couldn't afford instruments. There were very few recording studios with decent recording equipment. Polish metal bands were known for the particular "rough" sound of the recording - I have heard a lot of American musicians say it. There was always will and determination, and that's all that counts. When I listen to new records coming from Poland these days (like form Hertz studio for example) I have to say that their recording quality matches the quality of recordings of professional studios in the States. There's a lot of Polish bands that I think have a great opportunity to sell great here. If I was to name a few, it would definitely be THY DISEASE, DIES IRAE, SCEPTIC, HATE. I think all of these bands are well worth to be distributed in USA. It makes me happy, because the American metal scene is weaker than the European metal scene right now. I never really realized that when I was living in Poland and I hate to say it - but it seems that the metal scene here is getting weaker every year. Most of the kids born in the '90s have no clue about metal, they have never even heard of bands like Kreator, Destruction or Sodom. They don't even know that such bands exist. Besides, there's a new wave of "New Metal" bands, to me it's something I cannot even label as Metal. There are a few good Thrash bands out here though - such as Cleveland's SOULLESS or AVENGER OF BLOOD. These are the bands that should be getting major record deals. I can't stand that New-metal crap!!!

JK: I know you've got your own show on the local radio station... Tell us something more about it... When did you come up with that idea and how long have you been doing this?

SD: I got talked into doing this by one of my old, good friends - Mike, who also has a show on the same radio station. I guess the station was in need (I still think they are) of dj's that can cover the metal format. I got the offer, I went through 3 months of training, passed the license examination and this is how it got started. It's been well over a year since I got my own show and we are the only local radio station that broadcasts and archives all the shows through the internet. Every show is in the archives for 1 week and you can download it for free at: www.wruw.org

JK: I bet you remember the times when entire LPs were broadcasted on the Polish radio. More than often it was the only chance to get an album from a band (even though usually a bad quality mono copy) - except for the pirate cassette copies of course. Any special memories connected to "Metalowe Tortury" or "Muzyka Mlodych"? Has any of the presenters had a particular influence and inspired you to start your own show?

SD: Hahaha, can those time be ever forgotten!?!? I remember I had a radio, a Grundig tape player/recorder connected to the radio through the recording cable. That was my way of collecting records back in the days. There's a reason why my radio show is called "Metal Tortures". This is my way of gratitude to both of this shows, especially Chris Brankowski - who I listened to the most. If someone would tell back then that I will be doing the same thing 15 years later in USA, I would never believe them. As far as the musical inspirations and influences I play a lot of Polish metal on the air. Mainly, because it's good and because it's so hard to obtain for people here in the States. I recommend to all young bands and metal labels to send out promos to our station. The address can be found on our webpage and if you're a metal band and you decide to send us your promo I guarantee it will be played on my show :)

JK: Circling still around the Polish themes... The EP has been recorded by the Polish-American line-up. However lately Zack has been replaced by another guitarist of a familiar sounding name: Adam Cudnik. What was the reason for this change? I hope that not a will to transform the band into a 100% Polish one, because I wouldn't accept Craig's departure. ;)

SD: Hahaha, no. Adam is an American, although he is 3rd generation Polish. It just so happened that his last and first name sounds like a name taken out of a Polish phone book, but unfortunately he doesnt's speak a word in Polish haha, well maybe a word or two. :) Adam is Craig's friend and our newest gain. He is replacing our ex-guitarist Zack Rose, who never wanted to be a full member of the band. Zack Rose was more of a session musician. We did ask him at one time if he wanted to be a part of the band but he never expressed any interest. The whole deal with that is not yet finished and it's complicated to the point that I would prefer not to talk about it. We'll just see how Adam is going to work out, I'm sure he is more dedicated already than Zack ever was...

JK: And how did it come to that Novy joined the band? Did you know each other before?

SD: I met Novy when he was touring United States with Behemoth (for the "Zos Kia Cultus" LP - on which he also plays bass). I was really impressed with his skills and style of playing. We got along very well and quickly became friends. In terms of finding a bass player I don't think I could have done better than him. He is an awesome musician with incredible studio experience which helped us so much during the recording session. The idea of having him play bass for us was more so a joke when I asked him about. He accepted it with great deal of enthusiasm to my surprise. I'm sure he will record another album with us.

JK: Do you have any concert plans for the near future?

SD: Yes, of course. We are currently getting ready to do a few shows next year. We've had a lot of offers from other promoters and bands and we will defintely take advantage of these offers.

JK: Who would you like to play before most of all? You can let your imagination free and forget that some bands don't exist anymore...

SD: Haha, Well that shouldn't be too hard. Kreator or Destruction would definitely be a dream come true. There still are a few good thrash bands out there and we would love to support some old school metal bands. I also would love to do a small tour in Poland. I'm sure the idea is doable somewhere in the near future.

JK: So when do you plan to visit Poland?

SD: Haha. Let's just see what happens. I think we all will start thinking about it more serious next year.

JK: Who would find himself on your list for decapitation? ;)

SD: I'm sure I'd find a few posers...

JK: OK, I think that's it. I wish you that whole legions are converted to Thrash thanks to your EP - without the need for decapitating!

SD: Thank you for the interview. I stronly recommend our EP to all hardcore fans of old school Thrash. You can download samples of our songs on our web page and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Hail to all Metal fanatics, see you at shows!!!

October 2004
Copyright by: Jowita Kaminska