Exclusive Interview: Deathcraeft talk “On Human Devolution”!

Greek Death Metal trio Deathcraeft created an Odyssey of their own with their freshly released debut album “On Human Devolution”, which sees vocalist Nikonas Tsolakos and guitarist Kostas Kalampokas and drummer Giannis Chionidis (also of Progressive Death Metal act Echidna) join forces to created what they termed as a piece “describing the self-destructing nature of humans. Will humans be free or enslaved in the end? If you have read Lovectarft’s novels maybe you have an idea how it will play out, although it is not the destination that matters but the journey, right?”. So after reviewing the record, we spoke to them about the album and asked a few burning questions…

The guitar tone for the record is incredible! Can you tell us which gear you used to create it? Thank you for you kind words, I’m glad you liked it. The amp used was an Engl Savage 120 head, with just a maxon overdrive pedal in front of it, going to a 4×4 Peavey cab. But I think the most important thing was, that the basic guitar parts were 4 layers recorded with an Ibanez S series, and another 4 layers recorded with an Ibanez jem. Then, every layer was captured with 4 mics, so you have 32 channels just the guitars! A mixing nightmare, but in the end I think not all mics were used for every layer. I wanted to experiment. But I’m sure next time I’ll keep things simpler!

How did you come to be inspired by “Cthulhu Mythos” by H.P. Lovecraft for “On Human Devolution“? Has life in Greece brought the socio-political angle in the lyrics? “I used to read Lovecraft and all those writers that were associated with his type of work from a young age and those stories stayed with me my whole life. It is the fear of the unknown and the insecurity we all feel when faced with new and difficult situations. During these situations – like, let’s just say an economic crisis – people always try to find someone to blame and most of the time they’re not looking at the right place. It is easier for them to form an opinion based on difference of race and cultural background. This angle in the lyrics doesn’t have to do with Greece or any country in particular. It has to do with human behavior and how humans react when  – “for no apparent reason”  – life doesn’t go their way.”

What was it like working with Peter In de Betou (Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Dark Funeral) for the mastering of “On Human Devolution”? How did you come to choose him for the task? “He was introduced to me by a friend of mine and I liked his work. The thing I liked most is that he didn’t try to change the material as many mastering engineers do – strip it from any dynamics and mess with the stereo image, and generally make it as loud as it can be. He just corrected some masking here and there and that’s it.”

On the album guitarist Kostas Kalampokas also performs the bass parts. When you come to perform these songs live, do you plan to get a separate bassist or use a backing track for the bass? No, we’ll never use a backing track… Well only for the orchestral parts of course! But never for the guitars or bass. We don’t like that. Right now we are trying to complete the band’s line-up and start rehearsing.

We’ve described the Deathcraeft sound as having elements of Thrash, Black and Death Metal in our review of the album. Which bands inspired you on your Metal journey? The bands that have inspired me most – and certainly that happens in a larger degree when someone is young and just starting playing an instrument – are bands like Testament, Forbidden, Helloween, Megadeth, Death, Morbid Angel – mostly bands that were very active in the 80s and early 90s.

If someone asked you “what kind of music do you write?” and you could pick only one song to play for them, which one choose? “I think I would go with “Free Into the Void”.

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