”The Process of Dying – the stage of earthly suffering, death loss and change and their acceptance Metaflesh – the stage of balance between this earthly boundaries and the spiritual dimensions The Supernal Clear Light of the Void – the stage of detachedness, freedom, unity with God/the Void” – C.S.R.
With a track on a metal album called “Awakening From The Dream Of Life” , you know this isn’t your grandpa’s “Hair Of The Dog” type Nazareth hard rock. But no amount of preparation can get you ready in advance for the grandiose power of Schammasch‘s new TRIPLE album Triangle (Prosthetic Records). With each record exactly 33:30 and a beautiful Ester Segarra cover image that seems to capture the delicate creative power, triumph and frailty of life simultaneously, you are probably going to start pondering life’s eternal questions even before you drop the needle on this epic victory for avant metal.
It was a pleasure to speak with C.S.R. about the label support, philosophical acceptance of death or God and the musical meanderings on this beast. The closest things in recent memory might be Behemoth’s The Satanist combined with SunnO))) or Wolves In The Throne Room’s willingness to dissipate into ambient nothingness for the sake of apotheosis. Schammasch have navigated a hundred minutes of movement, fearlessness and skillful dark metal manipulation that will keep you returning for repeat ritual immersion for potentially years or even just one unforgettable spin.
Read more BELOW on the most ambitious release of 2016.
How did the idea for this three part record come about? It is a three part record which in itself is in correspondence of sorts as the closing act in a trilogy you started six years ago, from what I’ve read. Was it daunting to pull this composition off, let alone find a label willing to support such artistic conceptual vision in an age of MP3 culture?
The idea of the album being split into three chapters was there quite early, but first without actually thinking of splitting it up into three different cds. M.A came up with that idea, and I, after laughing at him… I started to like it more and more. Of course it gave me many hard times to realise all of this. My biggest worries were indeed to convince the label of releasing a triple album. They were into it from the very moment I presented it to them though, which was a big relief. The recording and production sessions were far from easy as well. At some point it felt like there’s just no end to it.
It is amazing the album is as long as it is, in a way. Each track has certain sections that could be studied for the majority of the year or into the future. The band seriously sound like they compose with the longevity or impact of the material in mind, no?
I compose alone, but I don’t know if you could put it like that. I primarily compose for the sake of composing and creative practice and that’s the result. I do it this way because that’s the right way for me. It’s not massive just for massiveness‘ sake.
Can you break down the three ‘acts’ of the record? I’m particularly intrigued by the ‘metaflesh’ stage (though I think part one is my favorite section of the album musically).
I will keep this simple, since it has been subject thoroughly in many interviews before.The Process of Dying – the stage of earthly suffering, death loss and change and their acceptance Metaflesh – the stage of balance between this earthly boundaries and the spiritual dimensions The Supernal Clear Light of the Void – the stage of detachedness, freedom, unity with God/the Void
Do you feel your music defies easy classification, because…I do, hahaha. But really, this band is very hard to sum up in a handy tagline to tell people about. I almost want to say philosophical extreme metal but that sounds so pretentious and I think would make people just go listen to Venom and drink beer, hahaha. Thoughts?
Obviously Schammasch is not bound by clear classifications, because they usually mean clear restrictions which is the opposite of what we try to express. Avantgarde is a fine term I think, one of the few which leaves enough space for artistic expression, since it’s not directly based on certain soundscapes, lyrical themes etc. but instead labels the artform as something deviant, self-consistent. But in the end, does it really matter so much? I don’t think so.
Being interested in numerology, are you also intrigued by the study of computation and the development of artificial intelligence? Thinking machines without the equivalent “soul”? Some people don’t even believe in the soul, actually. My brain cannot handle mathematical things very well.
I think one of the most powerful and dangerous human abilities is the ability to progress and overcome. Progression is a natural part of human behaviour, but the problem with modern technology is that it will lead towards a complete loss of all natural patterns at some point.
Modern machines are the result of the desire for comfort and simplification and have crossed the line of being simple and helpful tools. We give up our responsibilities, handing them over to technology to take care of everything uncomfortable and on the other hand feed on the illusionary pleasures it brings us, making us addicted to them, blind and ignorant towards all essential matters of life. People would do well to stop arguing whether there is something like a „soul“ or not and instead take a close look again to what those essential matters really are, because then they might be able to see that there is a deeper, underlying energy to all things existent, which has more than one name and will be there, with, or without the human anthill.
What are some artists during your lifetime who have inspired you to trust in your own creative process and journey, even when you are making art that sounds perhaps unpalatable to the average person? Perhaps Enslaved and Rotting Christ, a bit? I don’t even like the idea of the ‘average person’. Everyone is unique even if we have biological similarities in that we all eat, shit and die. But society molds people through conditioning to be wary of certain outside the norm styles of art, perhaps. And yet others are drawn to it like moths to fire or seeking liberation. But which is more damning? Conforming in suffocating sameness or maybe burning the Icarus wings on the sun?
The most important Metal bands to me have been Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer during my teen years, and Secrets of the Moon, DsO, Blut Aus Nord and Behemoth when I got into Black Metal. Secrets of the Moon though where always my strongest inspiration when it comes to having the courage of following my own path without caring what the people/the scene might think. Modern society only works through the majority of people functioning as gear-wheels, who therefore must be kept in the comfort zone of consumption and pretended security, guided by the media to keep them ignorant and blindly following. All of us who live in this society are more or less slaves to this system, that’s the price to pay. Everyone has his place, for most people this means being a gear-wheel. For some it means something else. There’s advantages and disadvantages to both sides and both are necessary.
Do you believe in God? Is that a rude question? The album is very concerned with transcendence, in a way. Yet it also seems to musically draw from different cultures.
I believe in something for which the word “God“ could easily be used, as well as many other words. I don’t see a need to define this, or restricting it to words. I rather try to express it through my art. And I draw inspirations from anything that I find inspiring.
Did you feel, as you were recording sections of the album, in particular the opening of Part III- The Supernal Light Of The Void, “The Third Ray Of Light”… like you were really participating in something bigger than yourself, the ego death, etc.? I always have loved how some Neurosis records made no bones about reaching for ambitious inner revelation and sort of grasping at the cycles of life, death and our place in the cosmos.
That particular part was played by a guest musician who lives in an ancient cloister. So this was definitely a magical moment. But to answer your question directly: no. Recording is mostly hard work which requires very strong focus. The thing you’re thinking of might rather happen during an improvised session, where you can let everything flow without need for technical precision and all these things. Triangle was pre-produced very very carefully, so there was not much space for improvising during the final recordings. Of course there were some magical moments, as I said, but if you‘re recording music like this, you cannot just dive into a psychic void and let things happen. At least I can’t. Moments like that rather happen during live shows.
Are you taking a break after this to sort of process what you have created or are you eager to get out and perform?
I never take long breaks when it comes to creating. In fact we will soon be ready for recording our next work, which will be done in late summer this year. It will be an EP this time. As for playing live, of course I am, and I’m speaking for all the rest of the band here as well. We will play some Europe summer festivals and then prepare for a big Europe tour in October/November together with Inquisition, Rotting Christ and Mystifier.
thank you for your time and consideration.
Thank you as well for the support.
Purchase Triangle now HERE.