text: Dawid Krosnia
Since witnessing Sathamel’s live performance in Cardiff at Eradication Festival last year I could not wait to hear their debut album. The waiting is finally over as the Yorkshire based, blackened death metal horde is about to release Despair at the end of July. The countdown started with the release of the first song presented by the band and entitled, Great Mass just over two months ago. Few weeks later, another song, The Evangelist, went viral. Both of the songs are brutal and fresh sounding. I don’t think there’s another band on this Island who plays similar and as brutal as Sathamel. Despair is made of nine captivating songs. For me, the vocals are unbelievably good, they just sound insanely barbaric and vicious. What I like about this record the most is that the music keeps you on your toes. Many intriguing tempo changes and enthralling guitar arrangements are definitely one of the biggest attributes of this offering. I don’t want to write much more about how excited I am about the Despair, instead I’ve conducted a short interview with the band about the album itself.
The Goat Tavern: If you had to sell your debut album, Despair, to a person who has never heard your music before, how would you sell it in just one sentence?
KVN: Wow, that’s a tough one [laughs].
I never said it was going to be easy [laughs].
KVN: A mixture of black and death elements focusing primarily on groove and memorability without keeping to a single format of song structure. To name bands, we would suggest bands such as Behemoth, Vader, Hate.
What was the biggest challenge for you with regards to writing, recording and finalising the Despair?
KVN: The line-up change most definitely. Our previous guitarist left during the recording process so I had to re-record all his guitars at home. We also had shows booked in between this, one of which was supporting Witchmaster, we decided to play the show still as a 4 piece. We didn’t pressure ourselves with writing too much.
Kruk: During the process of writing lyrics and the events on which the lyrics were based, I experienced creative blocks and overcoming this was quite the task initially. This set an atmosphere for myself of despair which eventually became the album title.
Valdr: With the drums, I tried to write some interesting parts for the album, like a break away from the traditional old kind of thing. The ‘typical‘ style of black and death metal drums is there for sure, but I did try to add my own flare from different influences for my performance.
Sathamel – Despair – OUT ON 28.07.2017
Did you have any personal goals you wanted to achieve with the release of your debut record?
KVN: Just to establish the band more and as our press release stated, to build upon the humble beginnings of our EP.
How did the recording and writing process look like for this album? Did you all contribute on the same level or is there just one or two people in the band responsible for the creation of Despair?
KVN: The majority of the music was written by myself, the bare bones, ready for rehearsal and demo recording, we created pre-production before deciding on a time to record. Valdr and I worked on the drum parts and Deimos expanded on the bass parts written. The songs were not finalised till the recording process was completed. The producer, Sam offered advice on embellishments and extra portions to the songs which we took on board.
Do you have any expectation with regards to how this album is going to be received by people and does the opinion of others matter to you much?
KVN: We hope the album will expose us to a wider audience while also keeping us on our current trajectory, and of course we hope it will ‘open some doors‘. The album is personal to us so therefore we do not care too much of others opinions, we are of course grateful for support and constructive criticism alike.
Valdr: Yeah, we have always done what we feel is right by ourselves, considering how when we first started people were literally laughing at us for wearing corpse paint. But we never conformed in that respect and just carried on doing what we are passionate about. Reactions and opinions, both good and bad are welcome but it will never change anything from our perspective.
In my opinion the album sounds very strong. There’s not many bands in the UK who sound as professional as you guys. Despair is definitely on the international level. Do you think this album will open the ‘Gates to Hell‘ for you and you’ll be touring extensively in the UK and Europe? Is playing live important for you guys?
KVN: Playing live is the reason primarily we write new music. It is the core of our activity as a band. For us, a band is a live unit and a being in itself. If the collective do not want to hit the road and perform as much as possible (without re-treading the same old shows over and again) what is the point? Thank you for the comment on the international level of the album, we do hope to begin touring and expand, hopefully overseas.
Valdr: Sathamel has and always will be a live force and we will work as hard as we can to do more tours with a goal to constantly improve and expand the live show into something truly memorable to witness.
Out of the 9 new songs on the Despair which song is the closest to your heart and why?
KVN: I personally am proud of The Evangelist in terms of writing and composition.
Kruk: The title track for me, as lyrically it ties up the whole album and song itself still reflects exactly the time where I was mentally when writing this. It will forever remind me what I had to personally overcome and change to complete the record.
Valdr: Great Mass – it’s such an enjoyable track to play live and definitely my favourite from the whole album. Seeing people’s reactions to this track over the last few shows has been incredible enlightening. Just solid musicianship all round and probably the heaviest track on the album.
photos: Sathamel at Eradication Festival 2016, April 2016, by Dawid Krosnia
You have mentioned at the beginning about certain bands that had an influence on you, the Polish extreme elite, Behemoth, Vader, Hate. Everyone is different and each one of you got inspired as some point by someone? Where did you get your inspiration from to pick your instruments up and form the band?
KVN: Initially inspiring me to pick up the guitar was the likes of Iron Maiden. But yeah, most of the black / blackened death bands easily identifiable within our music, I guess you could say, such as Vader, Behemoth and Dissection.
Valdr: It all started with nu-metal and late 90’s / early 2000’s punk rock that inspired me to start playing drums. I was raised on classic rock and metal but it was after hearing drummers like Joey Jordison and Tre Cool that I really got inspired. Since then, it was a steady progression through power metal which got me in the mood to start playing fast metal drums like Dave Mackintosh, Anders Johansson and Ingo Switchenberg. Then, naturally embracing black and death metal with big influences from Fredrik Andersson, Paul Mazurkiewicz, Inferno and Dominator. I still find myself being influenced by new discoveries but recently mainly from the abundance of incredible drummers on the UK scene like James Burke and Dan Mullins to name a few.
Guys, thank you for your time. I wish you all the success possible with the release of your debut album. Do you have any last thoughts you’d like to share with our readers about the Despair?
KVN: Thank you for supporting the band any of those who choose to do so. We hope to see you on the road!
Valdr: Thanks are definitely owed to absolutely everyone who has supported and believed in this band and who has helped us on the journey. We hope you enjoy the album and we will definitely see you at another show very soon!