Czech black metal veterans, Maniac Butcher, returned this year with a monstrous new album entitled Masakr. I put some questions to Barbarud to get an insight into the resurgence of this cult band:
Hi and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! Your latest album Masakr is your first album in ten years so what has been going on during this period?
Nothing special, I was almost completely out of the scene, living an ordinary life, listening only to the old albums from old bands. Blasphemer was partially involved in a few underground Czech bands. The horde was disbanded for a long time but Maniac Butcher's name was still alive thanx to numerous CD and vinyl re-releases. Now, after ten long years, we are back with a brand new album called Masakr...
Are you happy with the way the album has turned out? For me its one of the strongest black metal releases this year.
Thanx. It is always nice to hear those words. Yes, we worked hard and I am fully satisfied with the final result.
Has anything changed in the way you write and record your music over the years?
We have always used the same method: Blasphemer composed the music and recorded a demo tape, I then wrote lyrics and created vocal patterns and then we entered the studio. This past recording session was much different thanx to our label, Negative Existence. We were able to spend more time than ever before in the studio. In fact, the album was recorded in 3 different studios over 3 months. I must say that the present recording studios' possibilities go much further beyond anything we had in the 90's.
If you had to describe Maniac Butcher's music to someone who had never heard a metal band before, what would you say to them?
To someone who had never heard metal before? I would say "Sorry, it's nothing for your ears." See, we are not looking for some new listeners and we don't care about Facebook / MySpace / Youtube worshipers. Only our true fans are important to us.
Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics?
Since the first album, my lyrics have been written in an ancient form of Czech. This was the language of our medieval forefathers, which is not easily understood by modern Czechs. This has been the best way to recount the legends from our fatherland's forgotten past and simultaneously express my personal feelings and views. After ten long years the story is continued in the same manner on the new album.
What are your thoughts on the black metal scene at the moment? Are there any bands you would recommend to check out?
There are thousands of new bands and thousands of new albums every year. It is hard to find out about something really good. Unfortunately, the quantity has exceeded the quality for many years and it is going to keep getting worse. Now any teen can record an album in his playroom coz' he can do more with his small notebook than we could accomplish in expensive recording studios 10 years ago. Recording is much cheaper and easier now and it doesn't help the scene, it kills it.
Which bands / albums got you into metal and black metal in particular? Who or what are your biggest influences? What is the single most important black metal album in your opinion?
We grew up on 80's thrash and heavy metal bands like ... and many others. It is quite a wide spectrum but we worshiped all of these bands as if they were gods. ...The most important black metal album? The early releases from Mayhem, but you were asking for the album, so I must mention Darkthrone's old jewels A Blaze... and Under....
What do you think of the black'n'roll stylings of Satyricon and the punk-oriented Darkthrone albums? Have these bands lost their way or do you think there is scope for this kind of music within black metal?
Hmm, as a metal fan, it saddens me to see a cult band change it's music style and/or its image dramatically or if they change their logo into an easily legible form... I question if these changes are really a natural progression or if they are a calculated attempt to gain more listeners and increase sales. I can only promise that Maniac Butcher will never do this, we will never betray our roots. But speaking of older bands like Darkthrone, I must say that I will forever worship their old cult albums.
You have a strong aversion to keyboards in black metal. Does this extend to the likes of revered bands such as Emperor?
Emperor was the first band using keyboards in black metal in a great and original way. Their early recordings are cult. But in 1996-1998 the scene became infested by hundreds of Emperor sounding clones. In that time we started to proclaim the "No keyboards, no female vocals" slogan to cleanse the scene. Unfortunately, later on, a much worse enemy appeared that totally destroyed the old scene - the internet.
I think you're the first Czech band I have ever heard... Does the Czech Republic have a strong metal scene? Is it easy to get gigs there?
There was very strong scene here in late 80's and early 90's. Unfortunately, the conditions were very hard and many talented bands never had the possibility to enter a good studio. Now, it's nearly the same as anywhere else in Europe. There are many possibilities and many bands but very few are really good.
You played your first gig after eight years in 2009. How was it to get back on stage under this band's name again? Was the gig a success?
At that time we hadn't had any ideas about the possibility of a comeback. It was just a 'one time only' appearance. It was nice to meet with old friends and to see that after such a long time there were still many fans who wanted to see us live. Some of them even traveled very far from Germany, France, Slovakia etc...
Do you plan to do any tours or festival shows to support Masakr?
No, we will play only very few selected shows in Europe just for our pleasure. Numerous gigs and touring turn the performing into ordinary work and we would rather look forward to every gig and enjoy it.
What is your favorite song to play live? Which gets the best reaction from the crowd?
As a metal fan, I know that the crowd wants to hear old well-known songs. As a musician, it can be a bit frustrating when you want to perform some great new song and the crowd chant for some old simple tune from your career's beginnings. This is why we usually alternate between old and new songs.
What do you think of downloading music? Do you think sites like Myspace, Youtube and Last.fm help or hinder the metal scene?
Twenty years ago we didn't have money, so when one of us bought some vinyl, like 10 or 20 friends each made a copy on cassette. Is that the same as downloading? Perhaps... but, no one can say that downloading helps the scene because the scene was MUCH stronger before downloading existed. It alone doesn't kill the scene, it's not the main problem. The internet and things like e-mail, and later, all those fucking social network sites, totally changed the scene and our lives. Even though I use it I hate it all. Arrgghh, take a look at any forum or blog... Any stupid kid can post anything. It's really hard to find something serious on the net. It's the same problem with everything now, quantity kills quality. In my opinion the true black metal scene, and Maniac Butcher, belongs to the ancient pre-internet times.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions for Ice Vajal. Keep it brutal!