The new Kreator album ‘Gods Of Violence’ via Nuclear Blast was officially released on January 27th. There is already two official videos, ‘Gods Of Violence’ since November 2016, and ‘Fallen Brother’ merely days ago. To promote ‘Gods Of Violence’ Kreator are embarking on a European tour as headliners within February and March, with Sepultura, Soilwork and Aborted, and alongside Obituary in March and April. In the meantime, we had the opportunity to interview the guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö about Kreator and the new album among others.
‘Gods Of Violence’ is the fourteenth album by Kreator and is the one which is released after a longer time comparing to the previous releases. Usually the time gap was 1 to 4 years, and this comes after 5 years since ‘Phantom Antichrist’. Although one more year doesn’t make so much difference, Mille said in an interview that Kreator indeed needed a break. So, what were the processes of making this new album, both in personal and musical level?
Hi Mary, this is Sami. I’ll try to answer your questions.
We started with demoing the material already around 3 years ago. First songs were sent by Mille back then. I also sent some rough ideas over which proved to be inspirational. Afterwards we met with the entire band to arrange the songs and to make them sound like us. Then we recorded another demo of most of the songs before we headed to Sweden to record for Real.
The first official video of the new album which shares the same title comes with an uncensored version. I think that it is probably the first Kreator video that is so dark and ominous. If someone mutes the sound, it would be easily a video from a black metal band! What led Kreator to this darkness?
The video attempts to depict the birth of the Kreator “Demon”. Symbolically also the birth of evil within mankind. Naturally Dark images are needed to depict these sorts of thought patterns. The story continues in medieval times where Satan was Real. The same idea is brought to more modern times on the 3rd Video.
Talking about the lyrical themes, Kreator has been a band which since the beginning had the expression of violence – either from higher forces to the people or the other way around- and a criticism of God and religion as main themes. This time it seems to me, based on the artwork of ‘Gods Of Violence’ and the video, that “something wicked this way comes”. What is the main lyrical theme of the album and what is the difference, if there is one, comparing to the previous albums?
I am an Atheist and have been one from a very young age. Back then I would never have thought religion could have such a dominant role in the lives and beliefs of mankind in 2017. This is one of the themes being analyzed. Other topics are inhuman governmental oppressions, Homophobia and near death experiences just to name a few.
In 2010 the band signed with Nuclear Blast and released ‘Phantom Antichrist’ in 2012 which was a major success. Personally what I appreciate as a Kreator fan, is that as a band with such a long history, you have managed to confirm your thrash metal identity without hesitating to explore other technics of playing. How do you generally experience as musicians the transition to the recent new era?
We always try to broaden our sound and experiment music further. But as the band has existed for so long already we do recognize our strengths and also try to focus on them.
For ‘Phantom Antichrist’ (2012) and ‘Gods Of Violence’ (2017) responsible for the cover artworks is Jan Meininghaus and the production of the two albums by Jens Bogren. Do you feel that the band’s musical and lyrical vision has been made real in a satisfactory level?
I guess it never is or ever will be on a completely satisfactory level but we were very pleased with the work of Jens and Jan on both occasions.
You Sami have been responsible for the guitars since 2001. You are known as a member of the crossover band from Finland Waltari, and as a session musician in bands such as Tiamat and Grip Inc. As a musician you get into many genres, if not all of them! How do you perceive Kreator as a guitarist and for the last years as a member?
Kreator is my priority number 1. Recent other musical endeavors have been Barren Earth and also last October the Jimsonweed album ‘Ghosts Of Kopli’. With Waltari I am no longer in the current line-up however we performed together on a 30th anniversary show just a couple of months ago.
Thrash metal emerged during the 80s in USA and Europe. Personally, I feel that the slight differences are obvious since the late 90s. In Europe, Kreator is one of the bands which wield the scene. As an experienced musician, what is the dynamic of the genre and which elements have made the scene evolve through time?
This music style was born in that time. But of course as it is such a long time ago. Kreator and other bands of the genre have developed in different directions. Hopefully to their own and in Kreators’ case I dare say that we have.
Kreator is about to hit the road from January 26th until August in a big European tour, including also a US tour, in order to promote the new album. Is there a probable recording in DVD or audio format?
We will for sure be recording stuff. If it’ll be worth releasing remains to be seen.
In your live shows is there a preference to a specific Kreator era or do you try to include as much as you can from the band’s discography? Are you also influenced by the crowd in order to perform some songs?
We want to please ourselves but of course also the crowd. For any musician playing new material is always most exciting. Since we feel so confident about our new release we will be doing just that. Not forgetting some older tunes as well…
Talking about live shows, what is the strangest place you have ever played?
Many places come to my mind. I remember a show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where the local mayor and chief of police were present to make sure that the audience sang the national-anthem wholeheartedly before we kicked off ‘Enemy Of God’. On our next visit to the same country our show was banned the last minute.:)
Being a successful band and musician takes a lot of effort and one has to love what they do. However, many people love music but they don’t share the same success. What other factors contribute in order to be a respectful musician/band?
Luck, being in the right place at the right time, charisma, musicianship etc. I’m not saying we possess all of these characteristics but even if somebody does it doesn’t mean anything successwise. I think you should just do your thing and if success follows, see it as a bonus.
Would you like to share with us which are your favorite Kreator albums and also any recent releases from other artists that have drawn your attention?
I would be too close to the matter to name any favorite Kreator album. Recently I was listening to the new Imsomnium and Opeth to name a couple…
Thank you very much for your time! I wish you good luck on the new album! Leave a message to all Kreator fans!
See you on tour ! We are so much looking forward to having the opportunity to perform our new tunes for you. Thank you for your interest and support!