Much Love Lost

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When was the last time you heard of a band from Slovenia? Devil Doll doesn’t count. So, maybe never. I mean, it’s a little country. Smashed between Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria, with a slice bordering the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia is like, say, Estonia (Hello, Loits) or any of the other Baltic countries. There’s a […]

When was the last time you heard of a band from Slovenia? Devil Doll doesn’t count. So, maybe never. I mean, it’s a little country. Smashed between Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria, with a slice bordering the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia is like, say, Estonia (Hello, Loits) or any of the other Baltic countries. There’s a small scene and even with the advent of the Internet most of the bands within these countries stay confined. Unless they’re plucked from obscurity, which almost always never happens. I guess Earache gave Vader a shot back when mold was cool. In any event, Ljubljana-based Dekadent, formerly Vigred, is changing the rules.

Instead of waiting for their chance at stardom, Dekadent takes a major label approach with less than indie label means. DIY. Hollywood style. Heaps of talent is necessary to for the transformation — from unknown to sorta unknown — to be complete, but talent is a thing Dekadent has plenty of. So, why not scrap the cellar-quality black metal concept for something grander. Out of the house grander. Like lofty. Normally, high brow stuff doesn’t work too well — Therion repeatedly shows promise but never delivers –, but Dekadent is doing it the right way. Like Emperor. On second album The Deliverance of the Fall, the Slovenians, fronted by the ever-friendly Artur Felicijan, essentially turn black metal into a movie score. No, it’s not inspired or based on or influenced by Lord of the Rings or Excalibur. Rather, Dekadent looked inward and found a topic worth writing about and filming. Loss. And all the emotional baggage that comes with it. Musically, The Deliverance of the Fall is a sweeping epic, focusing first on atmosphere and then — a few tracks basically — on aggression. To that end, the album isn’t something best enjoyed in pieces — though bonus track “The Renaissance of Purity” is all kinds of awesome — but rather it’s best experienced as a whole. The tracks are connected physically and emotionally. Yeah, it’s good.

Sit back and enjoy Dekadent. Then hit up their MySpace. Artur Felicijan answers our questions.

I hear lots of Emperor, at least from an atmospheric point of view, and maybe Joe Satriani/Steve Vai. Cool combination.
I am a huge fan of all three artists you mentioned and without a doubt they left a mark on my songwriting. I used to listen to a lot of black and death metal in the ’90, and I still love to listen to those old albums from time to time. However, for a number of years now I get inspiration from deep inside. From the things I feel. These emotional journeys provide me with loads of material.

It seems like big keyboard chords play a role in the backdrop of Dekadent’s music. A lot of times keyboard is used as a main instrument, competing with the guitars for example, but in Dekadent it’s really a textural instrument. Was that the goal to have it play more of a background/landscape role?
They really add a lot to our atmosphere and help to bring out that harmonic essence of our music. They are set into the background, as I don’t prefer synthesizer solos and progressive stuff. At least not in Dekadent, where keyboards are employed as a tool for maximizing the atmosphere. However, they played almost an equal role with other instruments on our new album The Deliverance of the Fall. That was because the whole album is based and structured on Classical music.

“Renaissance of Purity” surprised me when I first heard it. I don’t think I’ve heard such a sweeping epic in a long while.
Thanks, I tried to hold this “epic” criteria throughout the whole album, so it is really great to hear when people get this epic impression listening to it. However, this particular song is a bonus track on our new album. I had originally written it in 2001, but it never got recorded properly. I thought it was a good song worth being resurrected and released.

Are both Valentina Lacovich and Katja Kodelja featured as session vocalists on The Deliverance of the Fall? From the song I heard it they really add a sense of melancholy to the music.
Valentina was a guest female vocalist on Dekadent debut album Manifestation of Seasonal Bleeding. On Deliverance…, Katja Kodelja is the only female vocalist. I think female vocals are necessary from time to time to create a bit of contrast and to strengthen the character of music. I don’t really enjoy listening to female-fronted metal bands nowadays though. They all follow the same commercial pattern and it just doesn’t do the trick anymore.

The short promotional film for The Deliverance of the Fall is incredible. It’s almost like watching Lord of the Rings. Who directed it and long did it take to put together?
[laughs] Thank you. Unfortunately, we didn’t get as much money as Peter Jackson did. We did it with no budget whatsoever. It was directed by myself and my colleague Andraz Sedmak. We were filming it from January till May in 2007. The post-production took us another 5 or 6 months. The two of us did mostly everything by ourselves. From shooting to visual effects, package design… the whole thing. Although it was a very good experience, it started to turn into a nightmare at the end of the process.

Was it filmed in Slovenia? The landscape is stunning.
Yes, it was filmed entirely in Slovenia. Our land is something special indeed. Very diverse and interesting. You need to see it for yourself!

The quality, even of the “Dissident Dream” video, is amazing. For such a young band and relative anonymity you hold high visual standards. Was that a goal from the start to have a strong visual image?
It was, indeed. I think the image tells a lot about a band. How they take things and themselves seriously. Dekadent is a very serious thing. There is no point of doing something artistic if you don’t do it with a 100 percent commitment.

What, in your mind, makes Dekadent black metal?
Probably the vocals and playing technique. The atmosphere in our songs is very strong, but some people don’t find it that much black metal, mostly because of its uplifting and, at times, positive nature. But I still think the vocals and guitars are such strong stylistic components and are the main reason why we are recognized as a black metal band.

What is the story of The Deliverance of the Fall?
It is about how we handle death of those who were close to us. In this metaphorical story an unnamed individual grieves because of his terrible loss. In his sorrow he also meets his demons and fears, which take him on an extraordinary emotional journey where he will find the answers to the questions that troubled him. Simply put.

Why the name change from Vigred to Dekadent?
Vigred means springtime in archaic Slovenian and even on local soil people had problems recognizing the meaning. After the deal was inked with the Swiss label SMP, we decided to change the name to Dekadent as it sounds a bit more international. A lot of people link the name to the decadent movement and lifestyle, but we have no connection with either of them. In 19th century literature, a Decadent was someone who appeared as a minor, but in truth was a major, a hero.

What do you think it will take for Dekadent to break out of Slovenia and become an international outfit? I mean, everything screams ‘next big thing’ to me.
It is very hard for a band from Slovenia to make a major breakthrough on the international scene, especially in the U.S. We might do our best and should be considered next big thing by all rights, but if media says no, the thing won’t happen. The scene is driven by the media and labels nowadays. We still might get a lot of support from our fans, but it is hard to stand out without proper promotion, which costs a lot of money. Too much for a small band like us. Hopefully, we will get the support nevertheless.

You’re signed to Swiss-based Pentacle Music. It’s a pretty young label. Was it important to find a label outside Slovenia?
Of course, since metal is poorly represented in Slovenia. There are no labels here with interests in metal. In order to get known abroad and gain good distribution, we had to sign with a foreign label. We chose Pentacle Music because they hold is in great esteem and were willing to support us with their hearts, not because of commercial interests.

Plans for Dekadent in 2008?
Hopefully, a small promotional tour across Europe, a few festivals here and there. At the end of the year, we will slowly start preparing for the recording of our third album. But, that is still long from now, it is time for The Deliverance of the Fall.

Comments

  1. Commented by: eestinews

    when did you write it?


  2. Commented by: Chris D.

    May 13th, 2008… why?


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