Last month saw the release of “Vdelygmia” by Chestcrush, a full debut album that was highly anticipated in these parts after their demo quite literarily landed in our lap courtesy of Cardiff based Record Label FHED who released it on cassette. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Evangelos Vasilakos (guitars, bass, lyrics, programming) that fuses Blackend Death Metal to Sludge in a witches cauldron, the album is a dark monster the like of which you may not have heard, grinding through the gears of malice with a restless and relentless desire for vengeance. We had the pleasure of a chat with the man who created it and asked some burning questions around the release. Here’s how that went…
How have you found the reaction to “Vdelygmia” so far? “The reactions are better than I expected to be honest, and the reason is that I wrote these songs exactly the way I wanted to, without thinking what people might like, and given the fact that I have a really weird taste in music (movies, books etc.), I’m surprised that there are people out there liking this so much. Shipping costs outside the UK and Europe are as high as the physical product itself so when I see orders from Canada, Alaska, Malaysia, Australia etc. and I read some very positive reviews and comments, and the sales are good enough to plan a second run of copies, it’s definitely more than I expected”
The album title is a Greek word originally spelled “Βδελυγμία“, which refers to the feeling towards a person sorely corrupted and depraved or act of extreme repulsion or abomination; so hailing from Edinburgh how deep do those Greek roots run? “I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. I moved to the UK almost 6 years ago, first in Wolverhampton and then in Edinburgh after I travelled around the UK to see where I like it the most. The album title and the Greek titled songs were a last-minute call. Vothrodoxia was called something else at first and I wasn’t supposed to name the album at all, but at some point I changed my mind. Naming the album seemed more practical and the Greek language is really rich in vocabulary and disgusting sounding words, so that made it easy for me to find a word that accurately represents the lyrical themes and the sound of the album. Also, I think it adds a little character and authenticity as well”
Chestcrush itself is a solo project which has seen you joined by vocalist Thomas Blanc (Helioss, Celestial Swarm) and drummer Krzysztof Klingbein (Vader, Hate, Deathspawn); how did you find and then persuade two such fine musicians to work with you on the material? “Both of these musicians are session musicians. I started looking for session musicians after everyone else I found that they wanted to work with me failed to deliver. It’s very frustrating when people come to you saying that they like your music and they want to sing or play the drums and you send them the files and you just wait for them to send something back and they never do. This album could have been ready months ago if it wasn’t for some people wasting my time. That’s why I started looking for session musicians, and it wasn’t an easy process. Thomas was the third singer I tried to work with. I found him after many hours of browsing in websites for session musicians. The same happened with drummers, I tried to work with three or four before Krzystztof, but it wasn’t working for various reasons. A friend suggested to me Krzysztof and he was definitely the right guy for the job. I’ve sent both of them the Demo, they liked it, we talked about our requirements and we started working on the album”
Do you see Chestcrush evolving into a live entity with different musicians (due to the logistics of the other musicians on the album) at some point or is it purely a studio project for the time being? “It started as a studio project only, to be honest it started as an instrumental only project and I was happy with the drum sampler at first, but as it was progressing it was screaming for vocals and real drums. I don’t see live gigs happening though. In the past I’ve gigged and toured with other bands and I can’t see how I could make it work now with my personal and professional life. I could hardly have the time to rehearse, I also don’t have the patience anymore to look for the right people and deal with all the shit until I find them”
We’ve mentioned Incarceration and Napalm Death in our review of the record but who (or what) are your influences when it comes to creating the Chestcrush sound? “It’s hard to say, because I started this project after having a long hiatus from music. I have some all-time favourite bands like Morbid Angel and Slayer but I don’t know if you can find any of that in Chestcrush. I didn’t have something specific in mind when I started other than to record my ideas but as I was experimenting with riffs, tunings and tones the darker and heavier I was going the more right it felt. Then when I started writing lyrics, I wanted the music to represent the lyrical themes, which some of them are personal, about things that are darkening me and crushing me, causing me a feeling of asphyxiation, and then there are other songs about situations and people that just make me so fucking angry, so I wanted the music, the sound and the performances to be like the lyrics. Now when I sit back and I listen to it I listen to the aggressiveness and chaos of Grind, the bleak atmosphere of Black metal and the heaviness of Death metal. Lots of reviews are mentioning Sludge as well but I don’t know about that, that was an accident, I just wanted some really slow doomy parts but I guess being in the blender with everything else made them Sludge”
What’s next for Chestcrush? “Next is promoting the album, keep shipping orders, finding a couple of distros and writing new music. A larger label is interested in the next Chestcrush album but I’ve no idea when this is going to be ready. I’ve started putting some ideas together but it’s a slow process”
“Vdelygmia” by Chestcrush is out now and available over at bandcamp.