by Ryan Meehan
Vesania (Latin for insanity) is a Polish symphonic black metal/blackened death metal band. They were formed in 1997 by Orion, Daray, and Heinrich. Later members were Annahvahr and Hatrah, who left the band in 1999 and was replaced by Siegmar. Their first album, “Moonastray”, was a split with Black Altar, released in 2002 by Odium Records, exclusively in Poland. The release was limited to 666 copies and each album was signed with blood. 2003 saw the release across Europe of their first full length album “Firefrost Arcanum” on Empire Records. This was followed by the departure of band member Annahvahr. Their second album “God the Lux” was released in April, 2005, and shortly thereafter Valeo (Sammath Naur, Mortis Dei) joined the band as lead guitarist. Their third album “Distractive Killusions” was released in 2007 on Napalm Records, from which came their first single “Rage of Reason”. Their new album “Deus Ex Machina” is now available on Metal Blade Records, and Orion of Vesania as my guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How much of your summer was centered around the making of this album? When did you guys actually finish mastering the new record?
O: My summer was centered on playing summer festivals with Behemoth, all studio work with Vesania was already done. I was already working on the release, but rather on graphics, and all other release details, not on the music anymore. Mixing was finished early spring and the album was mastered in May as far as I remember. It took us a long time, almost two years to make this album, then to record. We take that much time, Vesania is not a full-time band, we have to divide all the sessions into some time periods due to all our other commitments. Plus it’s a complex and quite complicated music, so arranging these structures takes just more time. At least for us.
RM: What’s the most important element that a guitar player needs to focus on when creating music that is classified as symphonic black metal? Since you are a vocalist and a guitarist, do you feel like when you are writing music that fits within that genre it’s easier for you to create the landscape on guitar because you know what’s coming with the vocals?
O: There’s no rule here. Some things I write using guitar, some things I record just singing to the phone to remember the idea, some of the stuff goes directly to the computer. I don’t try to keep up with one method. I write down ideas, all the time, whenever something comes to my mind and I keep them so they may be used in the future. Usually the music comes first and vocals are the last stage, so I never start with them. And I never think anything like, ok, now Im gonna do something that sounds black metal. What any musician should have in mind while creating any music for the band is the fact, that beside the idea for the melody or riff, there’s arrangement and other instruments. And they create a song and the sound all together.
RM: When some American metal fans think of black metal, immediately their brains go right to Scandanavia and they incorrectly assume that all of it comes from Sweden, Norway, or Finland. What do fans here in the states need to know about Polish death/black metal and its popularity in your home country?
O: Most of the black metal comes from Scandinavia and there’s no arguing that, so I don’t blame anyone for thinking that. What is more, I think that today, most of the good music in general, including extreme metal, comes from Scandinavia, Sweden especially. Poland has a strong metal scene with quite a few names shining bright, and underground scene is strong as well. We have veterans, like Vader, Behemoth, Hate and many others, and we have a lot of younger good bands, like Mgla, Odraza, Kriegsmachine, Morowe, Thaw and so on. Polish metal music has some factor that makes it unique in some way – thats what I hear very often from the people. From my own perspective – it’s good and solid, but not exceptional.
RM: Now that the band is part of the Metal Blade Records roster, you are likely going to be exposed to legions of North American fans that have never heard your music. How would you best describe the your music in one sentence to those who are interested in hearing it for the first time?
O: Is it really possible to describe in one sentence what you’ve been working on for so many years, treating it like it was your precious child, investing a lot of thoughts, time and money? I doubt that. For me personally it’s rather impossible. But I know the market needs that, so lets try this way: Vesania is the avant-garde symphonic black metal, going far beyond the boundaries of the genre.
RM: How does the material on “Deus Ex Machina” differ from that on your previous records? Was there anything about your approach to the songwriting aspect of the process that had changed since your last album?
O: It’s been 7 years since our previous album, that’s a lot of time and a lot of changes in life. We’ve came up to the point where we didn’t really feel the convention of symphonic black metal holding us that hard anymore. This time we were not afraid to cross some borders and to walk on the very edge of the genre. There’s way more rock influences, there’s some progressive parts and the sound is not a typical metal sound. We didn’t want to have madly edited drums, kick sample straight on the face, super high gain guitars; we wanted to let this music breathe, to give it some air. We were more looking for dynamics than for brutal speeds or crushing compressions. That was the idea during the songwriting process and I think we’ve achieved what we wanted. Vesania is now way more theatrical, it’s like a story, an open book, a play of opposites.
RM: Is the Satanic imagery that accompanies the band’s work something that is done for the purpose of stirring up controversy, or because you are genuinely interested in the subject matter? What kind of advantage do you think music has in conveying that imagery when compared to literature or film?
O: To be honest, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Vesania has never really used any satanic imagery, other than our old symbol which was based on a five winged star design… But that’s really nothing comparing to any other band of thins kind. And we had never too much to do with religion, other than a few comments about religion in general here and there in the lyrics. I don’t think we’re wise enough to speak about the names of the gods we’d like to believe in. So, answering your question at least partially, most of what we do, we do on purpose, but we never tried to be too controversial just for the sake of doing it and that has never been our goal. Shocking with this sort of imagery is not really shocking for metal fans anyway.
RM: Which of the guitars that you own do you consider to be your most prized axe and why? How many different guitars do you use during a live set; and have you explored the realm of 7 and 8 stringed instruments?
O: I don’t have too many guitars, but collecting them is becoming a bit addictive. I’m starting to get rid of the ones I don’t need and Im getting the ones I always wanted to have. Love a few from my ESPs, one Eclipse on passive Seymours especially, I really dig strats, so my’96 Fender Stratocaster is a shining superugly star, I still need to get a good one Gibson Explorer from the nineties – feel free to contact me if you have one, I might be interested. Each of the guitars I own has its history and some of them I cherish much more than the others due to this history. During a live set I only use two exactly the same ones ESP Ex’s. Luckily most of our songs are in the same tuning, so I don’t need to bring a train full of guitars with me. And for me, the realm of more than 6 strings is still undiscovered. I represent rather old school approach here and 6 is enough.
RM: What’s up next for you guys in 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
O: We’re planning on European tour early spring with Vader and also working on summer festivals. There’s also a video being discussed right now. We have come back, and we feel stronger than ever before.
Official Website: http://www.vesania.pl/
Vesania on Facebook: https://pl-pl.facebook.com/VesaniaOfficial
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