Return To The Blood Soaked & Entrails Strewn Jungles [2013-12-10]German based Cannibal Ritual is one of the most intense & unforgiving HNW project to have ever existenced, and it is some what of a legend in the worldwide walled noise scene. Behind the project is Italian Cannibal movie obsessed Ruggero Lenzi, & it initially existenced between 2007 & 2010- then it mysteriously disappeared. In late 2013 it reappeared again with a strew of new releases on various respected HNW labels, and Lenzi also set-up a new net based label Meat Hook Butcher. Lenzi kindly agreed to give M[m] a rare email interview from his jungle hide-out
m[m]: What first got you interested in noise, and in particular HNW?. And is there any one release or track that made you want to start making your own Ďwallsí?
RL I come from a metal/grindcore background and was always looking for noisier stuff. So it was only a matter of time until I'd received some obscure tape in the mail with a grind band sharing their split with some noise project! I think the first noise Iíve ever listened to was Flatline Construct.
RL I listened to various HN and PE stuff for the next couple years. But then one day it happened and I heard some Vomir: the split tape with Worms Of The Aftermath. I've been instantly blown away by this release and immediately got myself all other stuff thatís been available at this time. The 'Encore' cdr on Maisonbruit was the first pure HNW I heard from him, and it slowly started to eat me (alive)! All other non-HNW suddenly wasnít that interesting anymore and it did bore me to deathÖ and still does today.
m[m]: tell us a little bit about how & when Cannibal Ritual first came about? And is it your first sonic project?
RL I've been playing in various bands since 1996 but I think the first 'noise' I ever recorded was some early material by Ebola Holocaust, probably around 2004 or so. I never really was satisfied with the crappy stuff I did. It took me until December 2006 when things finally started moving forwards: I released 3 tapes on my Noise Annihilation label: Sissy Spacek Goes To Hell (based on source material by Sissy Spacek obviously), Evelyn and the first Cannibal Ritual tape. On all three tapes I performed a similar style and the projects were only different in their themes/artwork, a concept I still follow today.
m[m]: What sonic genre did your early projects fit into, & what did you do in these early projects?
RL I consider them Harsh Noise, or maybe just Garbage. Random noise, it wasn't monolithic, unchanging and static. I guess it wasn't even Ďbrutalí. It was necessary to get me into what Iím doing now, but the sounds were worthless and I got quickly bored and annoyed with them. But I guess everyone needs something to start with in the first place.
m[m]: You also involved in few other HNW projects- Bloodcraving, And You'll Live In Terror, and Evelyn. Can you tell us a bit about the history of each, their themes & how sonically you think they vary?
RL I released the first Evelyn tape together in a batch with the Ritual punishment (Cannibal Ritual) tape and it sounds quite similar. The follow-up Evelyn tape is pure HNW but I didn't release anything else under that project.
RL And Youíll Live In Terror is dedicated to Fulci movies. I released few tapes and CDRs. A new recording is planned for the near future. Bloodcraving is not fixed on a particular movie or director etc. so it features any horror movie Iíd like to. The first recording has been a split tape with Burial Ground (which I think has been BGís first release too), two others followed in 2009. Recently I released a new recording on Bandcamp dedicated to Jess Francoís Faceless, one of my favorite movies. I also re-released the Hell Of The Living Dead CDR in digital form.
RL There are few more projects I did during my first phase (2007-2010) and at least one of them has been released without me taking credits for it. Have fun... you guys will never find out! ;)
RL There are also few more (new) projects from my 2013 material like Bone Grinder or Black Demons, and Iím sure more will follow! Literally all projects sound the same and there are no differences in the way I record the material. Means if I recorded a new track I could use it for any project I want to. The only difference is the graphical content/theme. You could see it all as one big project, though I rather like to categorize them further. This has also the nice side-effect that the content for each project is usually quite limited, just as the sounds are.
m[m]: What type of equipment/ set-up do you use to create your Ďwallsí and how has it changed over the years?
RL In the very beginning I used random vinyl recordings as source material, and I clamped the vinyl arm to a fixed position. Quickly I realized stuff sounds much better if no record is on the turntable at all. This, and the aforementioned Vomir release finally led me to pure HNW. Later I replaced the turntable player with radio static to achieve more suitable results. I never used one of those overpriced white noise generators!
RL When I decided I want to record again after my hiatus first thing I did was turn on some radio static and plug in some pedals, this time amplified by a guitar amp. However something was totally wrong with it and I never got a good sound I really enjoyed. So instead I went on and created source sounds on my laptop, played them through my pedals, and finally got some pleasant results.
RL The difference these days is also that I'm not recording pedals directly into line-in anymore but instead I'm smashing them through my amp and record using a microphone. Iím recording in a small basement so this sounds really massive! The raw live sound created in this process fits my projects just fine!
m[m]: How often do you record, and how much of what you record do you release?
RL Iím always recording when Iím in the mood and get some spare time. Unfortunately thereís other things in my life with equal or higher priorities so I canít always record as much as I want, nor finish planned releases as quickly as involved people are maybe expecting them. In the meanwhile when someone asks for a release I already tell them in the first mail that it will take some time.
Currently Iím doing recording sessions approx. every two weeks, often two-three nights in a row. I release (almost) everything I record, but unfortunately I donít finish every recording. So for example if Iím 10 or 20 minutes into a track and figure out I donít like the sound anymore, or if I need to change some details, then I throw it away and just start all over again. A few times I deleted some material when re-listening to them after few days (happened when I had recorded too much stuff in one night), but usually they are all good.
m[m]: Gory Ďní perverse Italian Cannibal films of the late 70ís & early are clearly a huge influence on your project. How did you first get introduced to these movies?
RL Again I've been influenced my metal/grind bands, especially Mortician and Impetigo. Their material got me really curious when I was in my twenties so I tried to get a hold on as many horror movies as possible in order to figure out where all the song intros were taken from. I remember the first one I ever checked out was Texas Chainsaw Massacre. After some time I managed to score a big box of VHS tapes on EBay containing around 60-70 or so original movies with all the good stuff finally available for me! During this time I had my VCR running almost permanently, even early in the morning before going to work! Great times for sure!
RL The cannibal movies had some great effect on me. The first one I watched was Mangiati Vivi and it was so great I didnít even realize there were real animal killings in it... I just became one with the movie and it was very much normal for me that such things would happen. When I had seen Cannibal Holocaust for the first time then it would touch me even more and from this day on I couldnít resist and watch it all over again and again
m[m]: What stands as your top five favourite cannibal movies, and please explain why they are?
RL My top favorites are definitely and will always be Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox! They are really outstanding and unique in their gruesomeness and the only reason why Iím doing this project. They are completely wrong in so many levels and go a lot further than the usual horror film and thatís exactly why I love them so much! Some other cannibal flicks are really great too like Trap them and kill them, Mangiati Vivi and maybe Mountain Of The Cannibal God
m[m]: This year you decided to re-animate the project after 3 or so years away from the scene- please explain why you decided to start making noise again? And do you think your sound has changed with the projects resurrection?
RL I've been burnt out from too much work so I figured out I'd need to do something else to get a free mind. A loud dose of sonic walls literally does a good job so thatís why Iím back! Besides I also noticed I've personally became a little too tame for my taste so better slaughter some more again!
RL The sound has changed because I don't have anything left from the equipment I had originally used, except for a DOD Death Metal. Also I'm recording in a different way and use different source material! However one thing thatís still the same is the attitude and focus, so Iím sure the new releases are clearly recognizable as Cannibal Ritual.
m[m]: When you resurrected the project you also started net label Meat Hook Butcher- tell us a little bit about why/how this happened, and why you decided to go down the net label route?
RL In the past I've been dedicated to physical releases a lot. However during the last few years I realized I'm only ripping all my stuff on my PC anyway and listen to it in the car or at work. So all the records themselves are collecting dust and are actually played only on rare occasions. At the same time I've been running out of space left and right and there's not too many free spots remaining for new goodies. So I just got over it and started to purchase digital releases. Sometimes I still buy few real records but really not a lot of stuff anymore. So itís pretty natural Iím taking this approach for my own labelís stuff too.
RL It's quite refreshing for me to work that way. When a release is finished and ready to go I can just push an upload at Bandcamp and people can listen to them instantly. No delays when I needed to purchase more CDRs, labels, printer ink and what not... and not to speak of the time needed to dub all of them. Well I did only very limited edition releases but still. So now you can stream all stuff for free, or buy it if you want to listen to them offline and if want to support my work.
m[m]: Do you plan to release any physical releases on Meat Hook Butcher, and if so what?
RL Sometimes I think I should release physical releases too, in other moments I think that's just overrated. I mean there's so many other labels interested in putting out physical releases (Iíve been blown away by all the offers), so why not keep doing something different on my own net label. So thereís like the best of both worlds
m[m]: In the past you have been very anti projects that have taken HNW away from itís dark & violent origins( both sonically & theme wise). What are your thoughts on such projects now, and could you ever see yourself adding more progressive edges to your Ďwall-makingí?
RL Some things never change. Itís called HNW for a reason. Itís monolithic and if itís not then itís not HNW, itís as simple as that. Descriptions like Ďdynamic HNWí or Ďprogressive HNWí (what the fuck?) are contradiction in terms and should not exist! That said Iím sometimes feeling little guilty too because there are few tracks when Iím switching between different walls but those are rather occasional exceptions and not a permanent part of my style... and no, thereís no way Iíd even call this stuff dynamic or progressive! I guess like 95% of my material is monolithic and unchanging.
RL As for themes I remember removing some content on the HNW forum back then because I believe if thereís suddenly some comedy movie HNW popping up I canít take it for real! Back then I didn't want that HNW turns into the Ďone-man-porngrindí of grindcore, which is pure ridiculous garbage with people who only want to be part of the scene Ďbecause itís coolí, as opposed to being really serious and focused about it. From what I've read about online I think thatís exactly what had happened to the scene during my absence so itís probably really good I wasn't there and that HNW is now (hopefully) back to normal ;)
Actually HNW doesn't need to be purely dedicated to giallo movies and such. Most HNW projects aren't. But itís my personal preference. I donít really want to have some HNW in my collection about Ďcute girlsí, Ďfirst baby smilesí or Ďflower powerí or whatever. If people are dedicated to it, well fine for them, but I definitely donít want to have it. Since Iím no longer running said HNW forum anymore they can probably get away with it now!
m[m]: Youíve got a few new releases out, or shortly coming out- could you tell us a little bit about each release?
RL First there is a 4-cdr box set on Vagary records called ďStill thirsty for revengeĒ. On each disc there are two tracks around 30 minutes each. Like with all my stuff I usually try to make each track a bit different. Sometimes the differences between the tracks are subtle but if you really got eaten by a track then this step is massive!
RL Then thereíll be a 2x split tape with Dead Body Collection on Phage Tapes, a C-100 tape on Narcolepsia, a C-40 tape on White Gimp Mask, a split tape with Wet Dream Asphyxiation (though I think the guy is still looking for a label to release it), and a split tape with my side project Bone Grinder and Sleep Column on Vomit Bucket Productions. On my schedule is also another 4-cdr box set on Victimology Rec. and a special 6-cdr box set on Altar Of Waste. There will also be more releases on Nahŗsh Atrym and Ecclesia Inferi records.
RL Iím also trying to do one batch each month for Meat Hook Butchery, though as Iím so busy with so many recordings (and I donít always have enough spare time) you probably wonít see too much stuff for the next few months. Though Iím currently also working on a small Cannibal Ritual concept series that will span over 4 releases.
Thanks to Ruggero Lenzi for his time & efforts with the interview. The projects band camp can be found here & it's blog here . And the Meat Hook Butcher's blog/ bandcamp page is here , where you can of course download a whole new batch of Cannibal Ritual & related projects work.