Skeletal Augury is one of the many extreme metal bands out of China breaking into the global metal market. With the release of 2009’s Victory of the Holocaust, they have turned the world’s attention to their brand of black/thrash metal, complete with their musical and creative influences. We talk to Lord Freeze, mastermind and vocalist behind Skeletal Augury.
LordFreeze: Hello, I am pleased to accept your interview, Skeletal Augury released the first album last year “ Victory of the Holocaust”. It can be said to be the most blasphemous, evil and crazy record in china, ten tracks of demonic black metal at blasphemous speeds, aggressive and creative song arrangements… This is what we have accomplished with a low-cost production. We didn’t care whether our music would sell or not, but the response was pretty good after the album released.
Skeletal Augury is often placed at the top of the Chinese black metal scene along with bands like Ritual Day and Midwinter. How does it feel like to be put at such high regard, and be known in places other than in China?
L F: I don’t care about other people’s views and evaluation, but Skeletal Augury has been and will always be underground and unknown, and in my opinion, playing music as Skeletal Augury will better benefit me to let metal fans understand what I want to express. Yes, that’s evil thrash/black metal at the moment. Ritual day and Midwinter are great talented bands, its not a disputed the fact. We play something different, but I still feel the honor to be on the same rating.
With Asians in general being close-minded about extreme music and challenging of the norm, has it been hard for Skeletal Augury to spread your brand of black metal?
L F: We are from China, I think you mentioned how the situation in China is. Metal is “illegal” in China, where human rights are fucking shit,. it make me sick! So we don’t expect our music to go in all directions, because it is meaningless to us .In Asia, there are many prosperous country with metal music, such as Japan and Singapore. I hope to have more open-minded Asians hear our music. As for China’s norm? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
What is the extreme metal scene in China like? In our interview with Deng from Pest Productions, he mentioned that metalcore and nu-metal scene is growing fast, but what about the extreme metal scene?
L F: Chinese people like to eat nu-shit the most, look at the mess they’ve made, “prostitutes metal”, “cunt metal” and “twisted ass metal”… With so many shit veteran black metal bands here, the standards are high for newer bands to meet. Cut it short, China’s extreme metal is usually active in the war of words among music fans, but I admit there are a few pieces of good bands in our country, such as Zuriaake, Chaotic Aeon and Varuna. The underground scene in China is as strong as it ever was. Death metal in China tend to be more likable, this is the tradition, is also a fact.
In a previous interview conducted with Singaporean band Bhelliom, who have toured China, they mentioned that gigs in China are organized on such an underground basis that not even posters are printed. Is it hard to find a gig to perform in China?
L F: Welcome to our country, here are the most passionate and professional metal fans. In China, there are still many bars for performance, but you can choose a better environment for the rich.
I have to say that when I first got to hear of Victory of the Holocaust, I was blown away. What was the songwriting process for the album like?
L F: I finished most of the creative part of the record，my two brothers contributed the others. Just look at what we’ve done, a pure fucking crazy album . I can tell you that we all like the old school black metal, we had a habit of ugly bands and nasty distortion.
I notice that there were a lot of spoken parts sounding like they were taken from horror movies in some of the songs – definitely a nice touch. Perhaps you would like to tell us about some of your favourite horror films and literature?
L F: A lot of horror movies I like, especially those of unknown cult film, such as “Basket Case”, directed by Frank Henenlotter, “Blood Feast” directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis… Regarding literature, I like religious and mythical themes.
Victory of the Holocaust has a very raw feeling to it. Was the move to make a raw record an intentional move? What was the recording process like?
L F: Victory of the Holocaust is really very primitive and barbaric, and those recordings are all quite “raw”. Our music totally roots on the traditional metal sound, and it is a great motivation. But even so, there are still many defects in this album and exists in the record on.
On the album, besides doing vocals, you are also the one handling bass duties and drum programming. Perhaps you could tell us more about your personal musical journey?
LF: I can tell you I am not a great musician, recording this album, the other two members were of great help to me. I just like to play fast and aggressive, and all these are attempts for me to fully express such sentiments, and it is enough.
How did you eventually get into metal (and in its most extreme form) and decide to play this genre of music?
L F: About 7-8 years ago, I heard about metal music, but I didn’t care in what form. I liked a lot of metal styles. In high school, I loved bands like Motorhead, Misfits and Venom. Later, I heard more and more extreme stuff. I like the voices of those who sound frantic and angry. When I first heard Mayhem, I said to myself, “Well, this is the sound I need.” I like the pure voice of the underground. I kept listening to traditional/typical metal music besides playing in Skeletal Augury. My ears were hungry for various forms of evil. I just like metal. Recently, a Singapore band sounded very appealing to me, they are called Draconis Infernum. A promising young band that has a great talent. I don’t know whether you like them, but their voices are indeed shocking.
With Pest Productions, it is now easier to get extreme music such as yours out of China into the international market. How do you get your dose of extreme music?
L F: We will not miss any opportunity. We love crazy and frantic music. To maintain a firm belief and passion is the key to continuity. We already have long-term plans for the future and we will be making more formal music creations. Our music will get increasingly violent, it will be more evil.
What are some of the band’s inspirations and influences when writing music?
L F: The major influences are basically shared by the band as a whole: Motorhead, Venom, Slayer, Bathory, Mayhem, Sabbat, Darkthrone, Immortal, Desaster, Impiety, Root, Aura Noir, Swordmaster, Nocturnal Breed, and so on…
Now that Skeletal Augury has a full line up including a bassist and a drummer, will there be any new material to be released any time soon?
L F: The new album’s songs are being recorded, the news will be out soon. It is by far the heaviest, rawest sickest stuff I’ve ever done. Look out for the new assault! It’s coming.
We have one last question for you. As a black metal artist coming from a country that is so conservative like China, what are some of the advices that you can give to an aspiring musician?
L F: Stick to your beliefs and play more evil are the rules.
Thank you once again and we wish you all the best in any of your upcoming endeavours!
L F : Thanks for your support. Hail to all black metal maniacs and black metal warriors everywhere! Thanx for the interview!!!
Skeletal Augury on MySpace.