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Unholy Serbian Darkness [2014-09-08]

I’ve taken a huge interest in Propast since I discovered Věstnik Preispodnji, the band’s debut EP, at the beginning of this year. From the majestic, hateful, and undeniably powerful opening riffs and the first blood-curdling shrieks of “... u Plamenu” to the final, drawn-out chord of “Thurisaz” I was hooked. The way the band manages to create a unique sound while still remaining completely black metal (which, given the sheer number of releases is quite a feat in and of itself) is superb.  I recently had the opportunity to do an  email interview with vocalist/guitarist and front man kasapin where we talk about the band and black metal on the larger scale.

m[m]: Thanks for agreeing to an interview! Could you tell us a little about how you founded Propast? Have you known that you wanted to create black metal for a long time or was its creation more spontaneous?
kasapin Idea for Propast emerged in early 2007 and we had only few rehearsals at that time with little different lineup. Originally I started it with friend of mine who was vocalist of the band at that time, but he is not connected with the band anymore. After few years of constant lineup changes and few pauses, we finally recorded and released our first EP in 2013 (there are some earlier recordings of songs that appear on EP, but I was never completely satisfied with them to be released in public). I actually started doing vocals for the band because I was not happy completely with anyone who tried to perform them from 2007 until 2012, so I gave it a try, and I am satisfied with how it sounds, but there are still a lot of space for improvement of my vocal skills, as I am very new to this. Propast was created very spontaneous, first song - …u Plamenu, was composed “in-breath” in 2007 when I have got the lyrics for it. It just wrote itself. Similarly was for the second song I made – Čarna Pismena. I was involved in some projects and bands before that, but nothing worth mentioning.

m[m]: I would never have guessed that you weren’t a seasoned vocalist. The vocals are possibly my favorite part of the EP. So - Propasts plays a form of no-frills, hateful, intolerant black metal. How do you feel about bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Alcest, and Deafheaven that take black metal in another direction? And what would you say to people who believe that following in the footsteps of the second wave leads to stagnation?
kasapin I am not a fan of any of the bands you mentioned. It’s not about following some strict kind of style, like first or second wave of black metal, it is only about creating the king of music you personally like, expressing your emotions through it, and if it fits in any “wave labels” than good, if not, it is also good. It’s stupid to have strict bonds just to stay in genre even If you don’t feel it, but it’s also even worse if you are just making your music to sound like something different, just to be different. Propast just reflexed my own vision how it should sound and that’s all. It is true that I am mostly influenced by second wave of black metal (I also listen to a lot of different genres of music besides black metal), so it is natural that Propast sounds similar to that.


m[m]: Which bands have been most influential on your style?
kasapin Mütiilation, Vlad Tepes, old Dødheimsgard, old Helheim, old Mayhem, old Emperor (actually, only Wrath Of The Tyrant demo and Emperor EP), Burzum, Graveland, Horna, Behexen, Satanic Warmaster, Katharsis, Luror, Moonblood, Master’s Hammer, Judas Iscariot, Krieg to name the few that came to my mind as probably mostly influential for me with my work with Propast.

m[m]: On the inside of the J-card of Věstnik Preispodnji there are many Serbian words. Given that many of your fans don’t speak Serbian, could you give us a translation or a brief summary of what these words mean?
kasapin Even if you speak Serbian most of the stuff written inside J-card will stay cryptic to you, because it’s not written in typical nowadays Serbian dialect (thanks to guy who writes most of the lyrics - Księżyc). Two main things written there are heavily modified version of Cherubic hymn (Serbian orthodox church song) and one, also heavily modified version of song written by one of famous Serbian orthodox christian writers from last century. We are trying to capture that dark atmosphere of medieval ages that is still present in our fucking orthodox church here. Long live blasphemy!

m[m]: How significant are Christianity and the orthodox church in Serbia? How would it affect you if people found out you were in a band that has anti-Christian sentiments?
kasapin It is strong and it’s becoming stronger every day, probably because of shitty economic situation. People in Serbia in general are not too religious, but the problem is that they think they are. Most of the people here almost never go to church (maybe few times during the year on some bigger holidays), but the problem is that people here usually connect orthodoxy with nationalism. It started after the fall of communist/socialist Yugoslavia, nationalism started to rise and people saw in orthodox church as a some national symbol – if you are a Serb, you must be orthodox, because if you are for example atheist, they would assume you are a communist (sad but true). Story is much more complicated than that of course, but this is a really fucked up topic and I can write probably a lot about it, but it’s better if somebody is interested, to read about it somewhere else – that topic is already covered a lot.

kasapin It would probably not affect me in a good way, but there are not a lot of really extreme christian fundamentalist here for now. I mean, they exists, but are mostly idiotic teenagers wannabe fundamentalist who are typically hypocrites that do not know anything about they own “fate” they pretend to “defend” and spread from “evil western culture” (and all others) – you know conspiracy theorists – like those in USA, but Serbian style – for example, fighting against RFID tags in their ID and passports, but all of them have mobile phones, fucking idiots…

kasapin Church by itself is strong organization here – true sect with a lot of money. Most of the orthodox priests drive very expensive cars and jeeps; it’s even a stereotype here. And there are of course monks – most hypocritical of them all probably – they practice asceticism by isolation from “sins”, vices and material world. If they are a true to their beliefs they would be able to practice it anywhere, not only behind monastery walls (and who now what they do there).

m[m]: I noticed that you added two people to the band’s lineup when you played live. Will they be added to the band as full members or do you intend to keep Propast a two-piece band?
kasapin No. Propast is and will stay two-piece band (three, if you count our lyrics writer Księżyc). For live performances, we need session members to fill in as I cannot do vocals, 2 guitars and bass all at the same time and we do not want to compromise our songs by playing them live with only core instruments. For some bands that is ok, and they can sound great when they play live even that way (Urfaust, The One and Inquisition first came to my mind, all three have mind-blowingly good performances), but our music is just too complex to sound good that way in my opinion.

m[m]: We are all familiar with the Norwegian, Swedish, French, Finnish, etc. scenes, but Serbia’s black metal scene remains relatively unknown to most people. Are there tons of amazing bands we’re just missing? Can you recommend more Serbian black metal bands for us?
kasapin Check out bands of our live session members Triumfall (especially the newer stuff) and Svartgren (full length is coming very soon!). Also to mention two bands, that are sadly not active any more – Maroth and Zaklan – both have some very great stuff! You can check also Dead Shell Of Universe (only one EP) and old The Stone albums, very nice stuff, but sadly I found their newer stuff quite uninteresting to me.

 

m[m]: Outside of Serbia, what do you think of the current state of black metal today?
kasapin Greatest problem in my opinion are probably trends and hyper-production. That was always present and it will stay that way probably forever, lot of people just like idea of following some stupid trend instead of trying to make something personal with their music. Just look how many Watain and Deathspell Omega rip-offs are there in last few years. Everybody is orthodox-occult Satanist these days… just sad… Before that, a bunch of people were making shitty bedroom bands/projects with awful production and no originality at all just so they can say they have a band (it was mostly in NSBM and DSBM subgenres as I remember, during beginning of 2000s, but also in other subgenres of black metal too), that was mostly helped by the fact that there are some labels, or wanna-be labels that just don’t care and would release anything, mostly on shitty CDr releases and tapes recoded at 1$ decks. Hyper-production of shitty black metal projects gets even more out of control with the rise of internet and especially nowadays with stuff like facebook, allowing any idiot to put there whatever he likes. Internet is really good to be used as a tool for promotion of underground bands and artists, but there is that ugly side of it also. Because of that, serious and good labels who really care about their releases are very hard to dig upon pile of shitty bands, just to find a few that are worth something. And btw. Intolerance all the way. Fuck politically correct black metal bands and those who are making compromises just to be better excepted by more people (or to get more likes on facebook nowadays… haha). Also, there is other side of the medal too, lot of shit is intentionally politically incorrect, because it is the only thing they have, nothing else but that to contribute with. 

 

m[m]: I completely agree with you about the “wanna-be” labels. It seems like any band can get a label to release their album these days, regardless of how terrible it is. Did this contribute to your decision to found your own label to release Propast’s EP? And while we’re talking about Misanthropic Intolerance, do you have plans to expand your label and release material from other bands, or will it just serve to release Propast’s work?
kasapin Of course, that was one of the reasons I wanted to start my own label, to be able to release my own stuff and bands I really like. Besides that Misanthropic Intolerance is also booking organization, I am really proud that I organized (together with Superbia Templi, at that time known as Blasphemy Promotion) first open air black metal only 3 day festival in Serbia last year – Darkness Rising festival, but the shitty thing is that we will probably not make volume II of it, because of finances (there were more people from outside Serbia that came and supported the festival, then people from Serbia – true Serbian internet/youtube blackmetalheads).

kasapin Besides that, I released in 2008 Kozeljnik – Sigil Rust, also very good Serbian black metal release and Likferd (Russia) demo tape will be available for order really soon. Also, few t-shirts – Graveland “Carpathian Wolves” and Krieg “Unmedicated”, I will release more shirts soon (Graveland “The Celtic Winter”, Krieg “Destruction Ritual”, Nattfog and probably some Nav’, Old Wainds and maybe Infernal War), expect Propast “Věstnik Preispodnji” very soon also.

kasapin The biggest problem for me is because Serbia is not in European Union, which by itself is a good thing in my opinion, but it’s fucked up if you want to have your own label or distribution. Bureaucracy and stupid laws make it really hard to send and receive things from outside Serbian borders by post office, especially if you try to send a lot of stuff in one package, but for single orders it’s mostly ok. Also, I for example cannot just find professional tape duplication company and order tapes, I must record them all by myself, make covers and cut the excess tape from them (I hate when I get tape from some band and it have on itself 20 minutes of music for example on 90 minutes tape), details are important, and I have pretty good cassette decks with calibration options which is another thing that is really important – I received during the years so much shitty recorder “DIY” tapes – fuck man, that’s not the point of DIY, that’s just shit and laziness.


m[m]: Propast recently contributed a cover of the song “Thurisaz” to Azermedoth Records’ Graveland tribute album. What’s next for the band? And are we going to see some Propast merch?
kasapin Very limited (only 99 blood-numbered copies) 12” vinyl reissue of Věstnik Preispodnji will be out probably in late October or November as a cooperation of 3 labels – Necroterror Records (Cyprus), Deathhammer Records(Cyprus) and my own label – Misanthropic Intolerance (Serbia). Also, Necroterror records will release 7” vinyl Triumfall/Propast split probably by the end of the year or in early 2015.

We will probably release some shirts and patches soon also on Misanthropic Intolerance.


m[m]: Thank you for your time. Do you have any final parting words?
kasapin Thank you for the interview! As I said earlier, fuck trends and long live blasphemy! Judeo-christian plague should be forever eradicated from this world and black metal should celebrate that upcoming age of their end! As the last verse of song we covered on our EP said. Those interested should definitely check it out.


Huge thanks to kasapin for agreeing to do this interview. Like I said at the beginning, Věstnik Preispodnji is a killer EP, and all true fans of black metal owe it to themselves to check it out. Until the vinyl reissue drops late October, Věstnik Preispodnji can be streamed/downloaded and the tape (limited to 198 copies) bought on their Bandcamp. (http://propast.bandcamp.com/) And be sure to check out Propast on Facebook as well. (https://www.facebook.com/propast) They’re without a doubt a band to keep an eye on in the years to come.

Tyler L.
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