Interview by Jason Guest
Jason: Hi Shyaithan. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. August will see the release of a new EP from Impiety, The Impious Crusade. Can you tell us about the tracks? what they’re about and what inspired them?
Shyaithan: Five tracks in total, overall inspired by the crusades from the 11thand 12th century AD that took its toll on hundreds of thousands when the sword was used to spread the name of the false messiah and since little has changed even in the world we live in today, I decided it was time. Only fair enough, to give new meaning, more heinous and twisted campaign where it was Impious Legions of death, launching their very own irreligious crusade upon the religious world. Overall, I’d say it’s a much more brutal follow up to Ravage & Conquer. We took our time crafting this release and the band is purely satisfied with the outcome. In short, a perfect killer record, one that makes you crave for more. Definitely The Impious Crusade stands as one of my favourites from the Impiety discography.
Jason: How did you approach composition for the EP? Did you have an idea of how you wanted it to sound or did that take shape as the tracks were being developed?
Shyaithan: I would already know during the writing process the sound and direction of the new material. I think give and take it was two weeks I wrote and finalised everything. We then spent just five weeks with ample space to breathe for rehearsals and the entire recording and production phase. Recorded once again at Studio 47 month of March, here in Singapore that belongs to Nizam Aziz our guitar player and he did a good job handling the production. Nothing rushed, all good in due time.
Jason: The EP includes a cover of Sorcery’s ‘Lucifer’s Legions’. Why did you choose to cover this track?
Shyaithan: Besides growing up with demos/LPs from Sodom, Bathory, early Morbid Angel, Possessed, Sarcofago, etc, I also in particular really like all the demos from Sweden’s Sorcery, so in particular I chose ‘Lucifer’s Legions’ one of the best tracks from their 1988 Ancient Creations demo tape. Always wanted to cover this song and I honestly feels it fits perfect to the rest of the 4 original compositions.
Jason: Why have you chosen to release these tracks as an EP rather than including them on an album?
Shyaithan: My dad passed December of 2012, so it was difficult to go all out and nail a longer release. Plus I felt it was much better to give it more space since the last Ravage & Conquer album. Release a mini album was a better option for 2013, and then hit hard 2014 with a new full length.
Jason: Can you tell us about the artwork for the album? Who’s the artist? Why did you choose to work with him? And how much direction did you give him in its creation?
Shyaithan: Lord Sickness (Thiti) from Thailand crafted this album cover, I gave him the concept and what he did was to sculpt everything from clay. Perfect. Looks like an ancient sculpted carving you see on a temple wall. Temple of the Damned that is. Ha! But yes, I drew it out on a sketch and handed it to him, usually it’s like that with most Impiety art, I would usually draw or sketch what fits best for the album. Album artwork is really important and I take that seriously.
Jason: The 2011 album Worshippers of the Seventh Tyranny was one track, an ambitious (and very good) piece of work. How do you feel about the album now?
Shyaithan: Ah yes! Great release, was just listening to this album few days back actually reminiscing those infernal times in Italy. Indeed, it was meant to be that way, one long monstrous track very much doom inspired. Always wanted to do a doom album and for the 7th album I found that fitting enough. Addictive album you know and just glad Impiety had a doom release under its belt. Love early doom, also been a big influence although not as major as black and death metal was.
Jason: To pull off such a feat must have provided countless challenges. Did the writing of Worshippers… have an effect on your approach to writing music?
Shyaithan: It was interesting and yes, it was challenging. Doom isn’t easy to compose, sounds easy but it’s a real challenge. It’s something that emanates from within; doom fans will tell you… you have to feel it right in the abyss of your soul to write really good doom. I just laid back and took one go at it, from then on start to finish I never turned back. That’s how it is when I write; never in parts. Music is something definitely that comes from within, I try not to think too much always and usually go with the flow. I am gonna listen to this album later today again, arrgghhhhh….!
Jason: Is the writing for Impiety a collaborative effort or do you write individually? Do you discuss ideas about what you want of each track or is it an evolutionary process?
Shyaithan: Dictator-style my friend, haha. Well more or less I prefer to write everything on my own. In the past when other band members gave input it really made me uneasy. And usually I ended up scrapping their ideas or riffs that just didn’t fit or feel right. I prefer to write on my own and then teach the others. It satisfies me totally. Not to mention my other band mates also dig and appreciate the material I teach them. If I need help I would ask but that is a rare occurrence.
Jason: Dizazter and Nizam Aziz are recent additions to the line-up. What have they brought to the band and its music?
Shyaithan: Dizazter joined in 2011 and Nizam recruited in 2012. Yes, of course they’ve shared good ideas. Nizam in particular who now works closely with my compositions. With The Impious Crusade I opened up a little more and combined, encompassing more new ideas and techniques with Nizam. It’s been interesting so far. Been interesting working with this great team… and always looking forward to rehearsing with them. Honestly, this formation is perfect!
Jason: You’ve recently signed with Hells Headbangers. Why did you choose to work with them?
Shyaithan: We signed with them end of 2012. Hells Headbangers is the Perfect label honestly. It has been a pleasure working with Chase, very efficient and quick with things. Pulverised Records is also great, we also enjoyed many years with them and will continue to be good friends. We ended the last deal after Ravage & Conquer and I decided perhaps to push forward onto a new record label, just felt it was fitting for Impiety and since Hells Headbangers has plenty of bestial bands, we felt at home. Haha.
Jason: Other than Agonia Records, Impiety have rarely stayed with a label for very long. Do you foresee a long relationship with Hells Headbangers?
Shyaithan: Yes, we move if things stagnate and/if there is little progression on the part of the label. There are pros and cons for moving to new record labels, etc. Deals are important too because it helps keep the band moving ahead. It all depends on the individual band what they are looking for. So far so good, Hells Headbangers is doing their best for us all the time.
Jason: In January, Hells Headbangers released the Vengeance Hell Immemorial limited LP, a compilation of early releases and material from splits with other bands from 2004 and 2008. Did you choose what would be on the album? And if so, why that particular material?
Shyaithan: Yes we never had the demo officially released on CD media before, and plus it was a request from many fans who missed certain limited vinyl releases and also taped EPs/demos back in the day. Impiety released Vengeance Hell Immemorial on Digi CD via Evil Dead Productions (Sabah, Malaysia) on limited 1000digicd and we also wanted it out on vinyl, so I spoke to Hells and they agreed to release the vinyl version that comes in a gatefold 12” LP with A2 poster. Anyways, important is that now it’s easier to pick up one release that contains the Re-Mastered demo and early 7”EP singles on one release rather than hunt them down separately. Convenient for newer diehard Legions seeking Impiety’s early past material as well.
Jason: Included on the release is the 1992 demo, Ceremonial Necrochrist Redesecration. How do you feel about that demo now? What does it represent to you?
Shyaithan: It’s the first full demo, there are a lot of memories. Raw and Vulgar, Crude in production. Perfect really for the start when we were teenagers. Looking back, it was the beginning to a really long impious journey that has taken Impiety all around the globe, destroying stages, meeting all sorts of cool people from vast continents. I never would have thought of that back then you know, so it’s just been amazing. That was a start point to putting the band on a hellish journey from the unknown underground to entire metal world.
Jason: How does the Impiety of 2013 compare with the band on that demo? How has the band evolved since its inception?
Shyaithan: Just been doing the same really, only progressed a lot more having established further, Impiety’s dreaded might and prowess. Thinking of it right now, it’s funny because I never knew that it would become my full time job in the end. Thanks to that demo I guess! Haha!
Jason: Impiety has been in existence for 23 years and has written and released a lot of music in that time. How do you work to keep it fresh and avoid repeating yourself?
Shyaithan: I am my best critic so I always will check if it’s something I have done before, I usually try not to compose or thread on what’s been done. It’s hard not to do so; most bands have their signature mark in song writing and just because it’s that natural style of the composer/song writer and also importantly, the direction of the music. Too much progression is bad and may kill it all. Sufficient is enough I think but most importantly, to feel what you are writing as opposed to just writing for the sake of finishing an album, etc. I think that’s crap. Let’s see what the future holds, I’m anxious to get started but usually I wait till four months before projected release before I embark on it all, keeping everything fresh while taking on every challenge as well.
Jason: In that time, Impiety has had a long list of band members. It must have been frustrating without a stable line-up. How has Impiety maintained its identity through all of these changes?
Shyaithan: Yes, some band members get lazy; others would have other sudden commitments or change in taste, etc. Sometimes it’s about the overwhelming cost having an international line up, etc. So it’s been challenging and tough maintaining a good strong formation, until 2012, everything has been sweet Jesus inverted on the cross – all good, if not great. Always enjoy working closely with Nizam and Dizazter. They are Very passionate about Impiety and always hungry to do more. We also have Guh Lu which sometimes stands in during Live shows on bass. He’s an ace barbarian as well. Anyways Impiety have prevailed through thick and thin, as long as I am there to command, lead conquer and destroy!
Jason: What does the future hold for Impiety? Can we expect a new album from Impiety any time soon?
Shyaithan: We have a few tour offers for the rest of 2013, but only time will tell. But full on for 2014 will be the new full length and festivals, also tours. So we’re looking forward to that.
Jason: Will you be playing any shows or touring in support of The Impious Crusade? If so, will we be seeing you in the UK?
Shyaithan: Yes hopefully, I don’t have the full dates now but it won’t be long before I know. Always a pleasure to hit the UK and turn it upside down!
Jason: Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Shyaithan: Jason, see you when we see you – that, hopefully soon. Thanks for the interview. Check out Impiety via www.facebook.com/impietyofficial for limited merch and touring updates. The Impious Crusade has just been released 6 August via Hells Headbangers so check that out here, Volume up and destroy your speakers! PRAISE CHAOS!
And you can read MR’s review of The Impious Crusade & Vengeance Hell Immemorial here