Hi Chris and welcome to Grande Rock webzine. Your new album, “Gods Made of Flesh”, is finally out after 5 years. How do you feel about it?
C: It’s always a great feeling to release your new music. This time I think it as a special one as we feel that this is our best and most complete – in every aspect – album so far!
Can you tell us what happened during these 5 years since the release of your previous album “The Abyss Noir”? Why did it take you so long to come up with a new album?
C: The truth is that the album could have been out a year earlier, the problem was that the label had all its available release dates occupied by other bands! Now, if you ask me again why it took us 4 years to release it, I should tell you that we really took our time to compose, arrange, record, mix and master a 1-hour concept album in order to make it as best as it gets – and we are really proud of it!
The only thing that drew us back was the crashing of our PC, and the transfer of all our projects to a new one with updated software that gave us a really hard time to make them work together. What a nightmare! Thankfully, John (Karousiotis – guitarist) gave his best and finally did it.
The new album was released again via Satanath Records / GrimmDistribution with More Hate Productions? Are you happy with the overall cooperation and the way they do things generally?
C: Aleksey is a nice and honest guy to work with, so why not? We had our previous album released by GrimmDistribution, so we had tested the label’s capacities. Surely, a larger label could have some advantages, especially in promoting an album, but the deals we had in our hands from other labels were a bit “expensive” for our standards.
Now if you ask me about our latest album, it was an unpleasant coincidence to have released it some weeks before the bloody war in Ukraine, and we had some issues concerning the production of our CDs (we finally had to pay for ordering our own copies from another source), because of the international bank restrictions towards the Russian citizens. We all just hope this war gets over and all the peoples live peacefully together.
Which are the similarities and the differences between the new album and the previous one?
C: The “Abyss Noir” at first, was meant to be an EP that would prepare the road for the “Gods Made of Flesh” full-length album. We would use the engineering knowledge we’d gain during the recording/mixing process and reduce the time period between our official releases. What really happened is that the “Abyss Noir” was released as a full-length CD and not as an EP, as our label considered it as one, due to its duration (about 35min). The album has some excellent songs, the feedback we got was great, and it really fulfilled more than its purpose.
Now, the similarities between these two albums have to do with the procedure we followed, some similar sounds and presets we used. The main difference is that “GMoF” album has a main concept, which is the different kinds of enslavement we face during our lifetime. Another difference is the time we needed to complete this album, and indeed, I must say that the hours spent (or “invested” on its outcome) were endless this time…
Nevertheless, if I had to choose just one difference, I would say that the low-bass area got a better process this time, and that highlighted the whole sound and quality of the songs. For instance, the main riff in “Cruel and Bitter” song was so heavy that we couldn’t stop banging our heads while mixing, (haha).
What has changed in your songwriting formula or the way you approached the songs this time?
C: We became more demanding from ourselves concerning the songwriting. We just make changes over and over till all the parts and structure sound nice to our ears. We really have the ability to make many different alterations to original ideas, but in a way, we try to refine those ideas and use as few as we can, in order to make a song sound compact without being restricted, make it sound complete without sounding messy. And all that, in a way that the story of the song will be told as should. Let’s say we try to find the “standard” of Aristotle.
What does the album title “Gods Made of Flesh” declare? Who are those “Gods” that are made of flesh?
C: Humanity is the answer. If we take a stand and look at all the achievements that man did in such a short period of time, and compare it with the other living beings on this planet, one could certainly use the word “Gods”. But, there is a flaw on all this, and that is the way man is enslaved to the material world. We are made of flesh, we are bound to it, and we can’t escape its nature. If you think deeper, you’ll see that the effort to gain as many things as possible is a dooming fate, and such a pity for a gritty being that succeeded so much to be its own great danger of self-destruction. What I imply is that our energy now should focus on how to improve our spirituality, as persons and as a whole – but that’s a long discussion…
Do give us a hint for each track…
C: “The Cynic and the Beggar”: A great song to introduce the album. Heavy, speedy, melodic, with a beautiful chorus. Its story is inspired by the great contradiction of mankind having made great cities, with beautiful expensive buildings, luxury cars and wealthy people, while it still hosts poor beggars sleeping on the streets.
“Nogard”: It’s a speedy, thrashy song with some wonderful progressive parts. I still remember the night that John sent me his original idea, while half an hour later, I sent him back a demo with the vocals!
“Cruel and Bitter”: Heavy as a black hole. Excellent riff by John. In the couplet parts it reminds me of My Dying Bride combined with Alice In Chains voices. Kostas Platanias is our guest here, he’s giving one of his famous great guitar solos.
“The Cry of the Gods”: While on its first riff sounds like Gojira meeting Meshuggah, the voices added give a doomy feeling. Proud of this song, as well as of its story and lyrics. It’s a story of an enslaved man traveling through unknown worlds.
“Dreamers Lost”: It’s an atmospheric introduction to “Of Flesh”. It’s a haunting melody, dark and beautiful.
“Of Flesh”: Another journey, this time through philosophical questions that still haunt us. In the lyrics you can see the picture of Plato’s cave: “Do we live in a world of shadows chained in the deepest cave…”. That’s the main idea behind the album’s cover, Achilleas Gatsopoulos is a great artist and once again, delivered a high-quality cover – we are so lucky to have his help.
“Trigger of Pleasure”: Truly, it’s a death metal song with clean voices on! It says about the way the people is manipulated by the power of the media.
“Desertion”: A great Opeth-ish melody that turns to be a Nevermore-like melody with a black metal blastbeat before the chorus! One of the best choruses we’ve ever written.
“The Shores of Our Destiny”: It’s a sad intro of the voices of the dead people that lost their lives in the sea while trying to get a better future for them and their children. Aspa Lambropoulou has recorded some haunting female voices too.
“Under the Waves”: A quite different song compared to the whole album, as it’s slow, dark, gothic and doomy at the same time. Some say it’s the best song we’ve ever released. Matthew Dakoutros of Art of Simplicity gave us some great violin tracks. I just love it.
“L.I.F.E.”: “Lost in Forevermore Existence”. It’s the longest of the album, it’s heavy as hell, it’s emotional and it’s coping with the meaning of Life. We used excerpts of Kazantzakis’ “Askitiki” and “Odysseia”, the thrilling voice of our legendary actor Vassilis Diamantopoulos is there too. We tried to pinpoint its dramatic nature of the biggest question concerning our very existence, bass voices are all over this song. A great solo by John, maybe one of his best ever, and a great closing riff. The most suitable ending Disharmony song ever.
Where did the recordings take place and who is responsible for the production, the mixing and the mastering? What has changed in the way you recorded and what do you think of the final outcome on the whole? Did you face any issues due to the covid restrictions?
C: We recorded with our own equipment exclusively in our home studio. It’s easier for us to work in that way, we have plenty of time whenever possible with the minimum restrictions. John and I (Chris – voice) are the responsible for the technical part; this time John had the leading hand and he dedicated countless hours of studying, editing, testing and mixing to get this extraordinary result – the best we’ve ever had. He did a great job.
Now about the recording procedure, one thing that has changed is that Panagiotis updated his bass gear. Nikos (drums) dedicated hours of testing different patterns, he gave us 3-4 different versions to choose from. John used a new guitar plugin that matched his standards and, maybe the most important, he got rid of his allergy on nickel, so this time he recorded without a special glove that restricted his play.
The covid restrictions gave us a hard time, I had to walk to John’s place and back using some not so popular routes, when we exceeded the time deadline. What a fucked-up situation, what a ridiculous measure against covid!
The new album also features a new member, the drummer Nikos Miras. How did the line-up change occur and when did Nikos join the band?
C: The lineup had to change when Thanos (Pappas – drums) had to step off. It was a blow because Thanos is a great drummer, and we asked for the help of Nikos in the recordings of the new album. I have to mention that I’ve been playing with Nikos in Bigus Dickus (live cover band) since 2010, so he was a safe bet, he’s a great drummer too. Nikos liked the songs, and the orientation of our music is something that challenged him to be more than a session musician. He accumulated tones of energy in this album, we are so grateful to have him with us.
What are the band’s touring plans in general?
C: We actually don’t have any “touring plans”… let’s say “concert plans”, it’s safer. We have tight schedules, so we are really refining any concert offers made, we only play when the circumstances are fruitful. Such as was the offer for the 5th “Under the Quarry” festival which we couldn’t turn down, so we’ll meet at Galatsi on September 10 along with other 13 great bands! Be there!
What are your expectations from “Gods Made of Flesh” and what do you wish to achieve with Disharmony over the next years?
C: I just wish that “GMoF” will get the recognition it deserves, and in order to fulfill that, it just needs to get to as many ears as possible. My ambitions as far as Disharmony is concerned is to keep making fine metal music every 2, 3 or 4 years. I’d be happy with that. Now, if a nice touring proposal comes, the plans might change – who knows?
Even though Disharmony was formed back in 1996, this is only your third full-length release. What are the main reasons that hold the band back from releasing more stuff all these years?
C: It has to do with the past. At 1997 we released our first demo. At 1999 or 2000 our second one, let’s call it a miniCD as it had 5 tracks. We kept working over new material while in the same time we were performing often. So, between 1996 – 2002 we were quite active. Things got another direction when along with the army and job obligations came the first member departures. It was a numbing phase, I guess we never thought that this line-up would change, so, John, Panagiotis and I, the remaining members, formed a nucleus that started composing and recording music and in 2004-5, the idea of making our debut album was on the table. We didn’t have a label giving us deadlines, neither we were a five-member band as we used to be, so we just started working on the new material till we got it ready, and that is about 2009. We started searching for a contract, and we did find one, offered by an English label which turned out to be a rip-off, so 2011 was not going to be the releasing year. To cut a long way short, we had got a complete album in our hands since 2009 and it got released in 2014 – the economic crisis played its part for sure. The important thing is that since 2014, we are delivering new music, and we plan to do so.
How did you come up with the band’s name Disharmony initially? You are aware that there’s another band from Athens with the same name, right? Are there any issues (legal or not) regarding this thing?
C: No, we didn’t know there was another band in Athens called “Disharmony”. It would be stupid to choose the same name. When we had to choose a name, back in 1997, we had a lot of ideas. “Disharmony” was my idea, it was just one word, it had a Greek root, it sounded beautiful and made a nice contradiction with the essence of our music which was the quite opposite.
We send our demo to the magazines and Tolis Palatzas confused us with the other band, and that was the time we realized that something’s going on. We asked the guys at Metal Hammer (they were the actual “Google” of the Greek metal scene at that time) and reassured us that the old Disharmony (black occult metal band) had split-up for sure, and that we won’t have any problems in using that name.
And that was true, until some years ago that the old Disharmony came back to business. Fortunately, we are playing a different kind of metal, there are not any legal or financial conflicts, and thankfully, those guys changed to Disharmony Tagma Mageia, that suits them better in my opinion. We wish them the best – hope we’ll share the stage someday, it would be special for sure.
Time for our “strange questions”!!! Do you think that the streaming services have helped the band and music business in general?
C: The streaming services are mainly set to help the music industry to feed itself, so the answer is no, we didn’t get much help from it, we are an underground band, why should we get help from the system?
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
C: Look, industry has always been “industry”, that is; its main goal is making lots of money. In terms of money, art is restricted to play its true role, which is the free expression of feelings and thoughts. The artists need to feed themselves, so they are forced to create things that are easily sold to the audience. Making money sometimes can collide with the free spirit of Art. Think about it. Use as an example the quarrel between Queen and their producer concerning the “Bohemian Rhapsody” masterpiece. The industry could not cope with its quality, the band had to force things happen against the industry’s opinion and release it as a single. Can you believe it?!
Are “social media” a “compulsory part” of music biz these days or bands, artists & labels can do without them as well?
C: The social media is a powerful tool, everyone uses it, so it is useful either you’re a mainstream band or not.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
C: Rockstar: Led Zeppelin, Queen!
Metal God: Rob Halford – for God’s sake!
Eurovision: a fake music competition (?) for shallow minds!
Music Realities: a clever business for the mainstream pop industry to feed itself!
Fill in the phrase… “Heavy Metal music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
C: … it’s true spirit. ”
Best 3 Heavy Metal albums of all time?
C: “Master of Puppets”, “Painkiller”, “Powerslave”.
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced rock/metal music the most?
C: Tony Iommi I guess.
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock/metal history?
C: It’s a hard question to answer, it depends on many aspects. Female, I’d choose my favorite, Anneke Van Giersbergen, she has a heavenly voice. As a male, I’d choose the Metal God himself, as he’s sung so many different things, and gave the ultimate metal screams ever.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
C: Black Sabbath – the early years – and live the making of history!
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
C: “Metropolis pt. 2” by Dream Theater is a great peak to climb! It’s full of inspiration, great songs, great melodies, excellent composure, structure and story told. If I had another pick I’d choose Metallica’s “And Justice Foll All” for it is maybe the rawest album I’ve ever listened to.
If you had the opportunity to invite any musician, living or dead, to play on your album whom would you choose and why?
C: James Hetfield for his rhythmic guitar, Jeff Loomis for his solos, and Crimson Glory’s Midnight for his unique voice. Warrel Dane would be an amazing addition too.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
C: Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” is the right answer or is it too good to be human, (haha)!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
C: I’ve already thought this scenario, my answer is ready: back in the year the “Black Sabbath” song was recorded.
That’s all for now Chris. Thank you very much for talking to Grande Rock webzine. Just say anything you feel like saying before we close… take care!
C: Thank you guys for this unique interview! Wish all the best for Grande Rock! A message to the metalheads out there: take a listen to our new album, there is a full album YouTube upload here. And then, if you like it you can order it here. Have a great time!