Zen and the Art of Finnish Death

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If you love your death metal dark, acrid, and Finnish, then look no further than the two-headed beast that is Desecresy. Exploding (or maybe “oozing at a medium pace” would be more fitting) onto the scene with Xtreem Music release Arches of Entropy and topping it up with last year’s The Doom Skeptron, the DM dirge of Desecresy is among the best I’ve heard, even in consideration of a Finnish scene rife with some of the world’s finest bottom-fed Chuggers of DM Darkness. Multi-instrumentalist/composer Tommy Gronqvist and catacombs-dwelling belch-bellower Jarno make one Hell of a team. Tommy offers this Demonstration of Death at no charge to the reader. Rejoice!

Not unlike the Tampa scene or the Stockholm scene, Finnish death metal is often recognized as having a relatively distinct “sound,” characterized by a certain dreadfulness in atmosphere, low cavernous vocals, and a driving dirge-like quality. To what do you attribute the development of this sound? Related to that, what bands do you believe are most responsible for giving Finland that recognizable sound?

It’s hard to mention a band or a few that would be responsible for the whole Finnish sound. I might just list all of them. I don’t think that the Finnish scene was that much driven by one pioneer that others followed. When talking about Swedish sound, people associate it with the “sunlight “™ guitar sound. The Finnish sound is more about the dark feel. Where that comes from, I don’t know. Maybe it’s one reflection of the Finnish mental landscape.

Along those same lines, how important is feeling/atmosphere in the music of Desecresy and how much consideration do you give to it when recording an album? Or is it simply that it is just what comes out of you when you record?

There is a great amount of consideration of the atmosphere in Desecresy songs. Not so much to sound as Finnish as possible, but just to have the right kind of atmosphere for Desecresy. Many riffs and even whole songs have been abandoned because of this. If they don’t fit the overall feeling they must go, no matter how good they are otherwise. The undeniable Finnish-ness comes quite unintentionally. I would say most of our influence comes from somewhere else than just Finnish Death Metal, but I believe your surroundings (cultural/geographical etc.) leave a mark in your music too, want it or not.

How would you compare The Doom Skeptron to 2011’s Arches of Entropy to someone that had either not heard the album or who was only familiar with the earlier release? I personally think you’ve kept all the darkness/evil of the first album, but actually made the songs somewhat more varied and memorable this time.

You sum up the comparison pretty well there. I’d say the atmosphere in Desecresy songs are dark, but less evil and sick as in many other death metal albums and perhaps more mystical and hypnotic. This is what we aimed for from the beginning and took it further on the second album, as well as making better composition in the songs. We have got much better reception for The Doom Skeptron than what the first album had, so I think we are on a right direction.

Are you ever concerned about “repeating” yourself musically from one album to the next? And yet it would seem important to continuing making albums that still sound like Desecresy.

After two albums and on the way to recording the third one I’m not yet that worried about albums sounding too similar. Within the tracks of an album this can be a problem and something challenging to balance with the atmosphere: To have consistency without getting too generic. Sometimes reading reviews of some established bands it seems to me that the critics are too demanding when they accuse a band being unable to renew their selves. It is not that often when a band creates a unique style. If a band manages to achieve that, it is most likely a once in a lifetime thing. Yet some people think that they should be able to pull it off on every album! Any way it’s important for a band to find their own sound and to keep developing it throughout their existence.

Talk about the process of writing and recording with you being responsible for all the instruments and Jarno the vocals Are vocals often written after the music, the other way around, or both?

The vocals are arranged after the music. Hard for me to see it done the other way around in Death Metal where the vocals don’t form a melody like in some more conventional styles of music, but I guess it could be possible. After all the vocals are one of the instruments too. The opening track of Arches of Entropy was first made with the drums and coming up with guitars on top of them. Maybe we will try to do the same starting with vocals someday.

That makes sense. What about the lyrics?

Giving thought to it, the lyrics are always done after the music. Never in the order of making the song based on pre-existing lyrics. That would be a more challenging way to compose for me, but it could be interesting too. In some songs on our forthcoming album I have used musical elements that support the theme of the song so that the lyrics and music are being constructed as an entity from the beginning.

What is the story behind your choice of naming the album The Doom Skeptron? Does it in some way tie the lyrical matter of the songs to together?

The album has varied lyrical themes so it’s not a concept album or anything, but The Doom Skeptron fits well for a title to put over the album. In the cover art you can see the cracks that fill the whole artwork in all the sheets starting from this skull-headed sceptre or Skeptron in the centre. Another presentation of this is the black sun over the obscured landscape in the centerfold also being the starting point of the shattering.

You kept the album art rather bleak and uncomplicated, which happens to fit the sound of the album quite well. Of course, when someone that is actually in the band is also responsible for the artwork it would seem to make connect of music to the artwork a seamless process.

I think it would be impossible for us to have the same correlation between music, lyrics, all the thought we put into them and with the artwork if we should rely on an artist outside the band. In the CD booklet each song’s lyrics are placed on its own page and each page has an artwork in the theme of the lyrics. It was important for me that the artwork is part of the album and not just some random decorative pictures to fill the sheets.

You mentioned the vocals being another instrument earlier. What is most important to get across to the listener with the vocals of Desecresy? Is it just one more element that gives the music its feel?

If you can define a band Death Metal by just hearing one instrument, I would say most likely it is the vocals. It is also the instrument that gives a character to a band. If you listen to Serpent Ascending, which is Jarno’s solo projection, you will hear his vocal approach is somewhat different.

Do you think being a two-person band makes things easier, whether it is writing, recording, business decisions, etc?

Honestly I think it makes everything a hell of a lot easier! The more there are people with their own likes, dislikes, ambitions, frustrations, etc. the more difficult everything is. It is also possible that I myself am so difficult to deal with that a full scaled band would have a hard time working with me. Writing and recording is much easier when there are fewer people who have to learn and practice things properly. Also there are fewer people wanting to put their stamp on and having their way with things. There isn’t that many business decisions to make with an underground Death Metal band but yeah, I think dealing with the label for example is easier too.

Speaking of the label, how did your association with Xtreem Music begin and are you satisfied with how things have gone and continue to go? Are you on any other labels in different territories and/or will you be releasing a vinyl version?

The Doom Skeptron is out in vinyl too. The debut has not been released on vinyl, but that may happen someday. I heard someone wanted to get the license to release ‘Arches of Entropy on vinyl in South America, but the rights are owned by Xtreem. There are no other labels putting out Desecresy in other territories or formats. I contacted Xtreem about releasing Arches of Entropy. That was honestly the first label I thought about and I was happy to sign the deal with Dave Rotten. Things have been going swell and we are signed for two more albums.

It certainly wasn’t difficult to find the CD in the States, as I purchased my copy from the Dark Descent distro. I would imagine that’s the kind of thing you like to see.

I’m glad to hear that Desecresy can be found relatively easy. There’s no reason why the band should be kept hidden and to be revealed only for the few chosen right people, whoever those would be. One reason I wanted us to sign with Xtreem is that their releases can actually be found somewhere. Obviously Desecresy is and will be a small band, but to be signed to some guy we happen to know who happens to keep some sort of label and to have those albums bought only by some other people we know, all within some small circles wouldn’t make any sense! We could just as well keep it to ourselves.

By the way, how did you come up with the name Desecresy and what does it mean?

I think of the word “desecresy” as an revelation. The word has the kind of sound that I think fits this for a band playing this kind of music

Have you ever enlisted other musicians to play live and/or would you ever consider doing so?

We haven’t and it seems unlikely. We see that as a possibility, but thus far we haven’t given much thought to live appearances. We want to bring out our Death Metal in the form of records and unlike for many others the idea of live playing is not that important for Desecresy.

When you aren’t writing and recording the music of Desecresy, what kinds of work and play activities fill your time?

I work in a warehouse. The time and energy I have in my free time from all the mandatory mundane dullness, I don’t have that many activities worth mentioning besides Desecresy, which does consume much of my time. Jarno is a librarian and interested in literature, plus of course he has all this other Metal activity going on too.

Thanks so much for your time. This last spot is reserved for pure Desecresy promotion, so feel free to commence promoting!

I use this opportunity to ruthlessly forge our next release into your awareness. Beware of the third Desecresy album! It should be out during 2013 if all goes as planned. That’s all from me. Thank you for the interview!





  1. Commented by: gordeth

    Great interview with a great band. I’m psyched to hear that they’re working on a third album already. They’ll probably end up on my best of the year list again this year.

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