The Great Mackintosh is easily not the biggest Black Metal fan out there, And yet has over the last few years found himself somewhat drawn to the work of one Nikolaos Spanakis, or ‘Wrath’ as he is known as to most mere mortals. I came in pretty late to the game with the release of Dødsferd‘s “Diseased Remnants of a Dying World,” but have wasted very little time since getting caught up to date with the vast catalogue of releases he and his band have unleashed upon the masses since beginning in 2001. I was lucky enough to have Nikolaos answer some questions for me recently, great bloke that he is, and this is how it all turned out! After the interview is a review of the recently released compilation album “Death Shall Purify the Wounds of your Fragile Mortality” if you care to have a read!
Hey mate, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with me, many of us here at The Metal Wanderlust are big fans, including myself of course!
It’s a great honour for me!!! I totally respect your work all these years and I was really glad for this interview!!! It‘s great chatting with people I appreciate a lot and have proved with acts not only theories their loyalty to the underground scene and philosophy.
Here is an easy one to start with then mate, for those who don’t already know where do you live?
I was born in Athens, Greece and before three years I returned to my homeland, Ierapetra, Crete!!!
Have you been there your entire life or have you moved around a bit over the years.
The last three years I have been living in Ierapetra, Crete and I will be here as long as the demons in my head are calm. I left Athens cause I couldn’t handle anymore my frustration and hatred towards the daily stupidity and parasitic behavior of human scum. It’s the same shit here, but not in such degree. It’s something that I can still handle.
What’s it like over there at the moment considering the current state of the world.
I spent a lot of time with my dogs, wandering on the beautiful mountains and beaches of this magnificent island; Nature can give you all the strength and peace of mind you need. I am working a lot on my music, bands and projects and since 2019 with my underground label, Fucking Your Creation Records. I am trying to isolate myself and thoughts and concentrate on my vision!!! There is no future for this world!!!
At what age did you first start getting into Metal, and what inspired you to get into it in the first place.
I think I was at the age of 11 when somebody gave me some Metallica tapes. They had strength and an uncompromising feeling against the plastic society, teachers, family, “friends”; generally I liked it cause it was against the beliefs and way of thinking that these useless shepherds wanted to plant on my head and become one with the mass. After that I started checking out more and more this genre. I was also listening to other genres of music though. I never stopped.
To continue the above question, how much of the music you first got into has influenced the music you make now.
I would say a lot. All the genres I listen to are for a reason. They have healed part of my soul, my heart and my spirit; they have been forged deep inside my mind all these years. And when it’s time to compose new music, or write new lyrics, my own demons recall them and then you can listen to this variety of feelings/genres depicted in my music, but with my own signature. I don’t follow certain recipes, or preferences of the masses, or useless advice from random people.
Why Black Metal in particular, have you ever been in any other bands of a different style?
It’s not only black metal. Most people just know me from my black metal bands and projects. I was involved in projects with Greek rock music, some ambient projects, death…I had also created Drunk Earth, a crust punk, sludge n roll band and later Drunk Motherfuckers, a heavy stoner band which is still active. I am recording the new EP this period for Drunk Motherfuckers. You can also check Gin Lane, a more alternative band I have created. I am also working on the new album for this project. All these will be released by my label.
Where did the name “Wrath” come from, was it a feeling that you needed a different name to put with your music to convey something in particular perhaps?
I chose it from the title of Wyrd’s Compilation album, “Wrath & Revenge.” A title that expressed the 666% of my feelings and my attitude towards human parasites and their society!!! And after so many years, nothing has changed for me. With endless Wrath I am travelling through the damned tunnels of this world to preach death and destruction to the ignorant masses of a bastard nation!!!
Ten full length albums and a slew of other releases, what inspires you to be so busy! Many bands would look at the amount of stuff you release and weep! How do you keep up the passion?
They are many releases, but there are also a lot of other bands with so many releases. The difference is that most of them have no quality and no reason at all for such a great amount of releases. I am trying to have a reason when I release anything at all and with the quality that suits for my vision and period of life. Dødsferd is the diary of my life and I have a lot of things to forge on the walls of eternity!!! Whatever I see, whatever I feel, automatically translates into music!!! I need to externalize these thoughts and feelings!!! I don’t do it for money or fame!!!
You sing and play the guitar, has this always been the way? Did you start one before the other? What other instruments do you play if any.
When I was at the age of 9, I started playing piano, which I stopped after one year. I couldn’t appreciate it and I had no one to teach me the value of it later. I also started playing classic guitar at the age of 16. I have several demos created with just me screaming my lyrics and performing with my classic guitar, recorded on tapes that were never released all these years. Singing came afterwards. I wanted to create different kinds of music and have the appropriate voice in order to complete my vision. I also record bass guitar when I have to. All the other instruments I use, I am just experimenting on them. If I like it, I keep it. I am not a musician!!!
As for your vocals, how do you keep up such an aural onslaught without tearing your throat out. Some of the stuff one “Death Shall Purfiy…” is utterly demented and torturous, surely it must take you a week to recover after each song!
Thank you for your words Andrew. In fact, I am tearing my throat out completely!!! You cannot put restrictions to your feelings when you sing. I know how to sing and protect my chords, but every time I record vocals for my bands, I cannot do it under mortal rules and restrictions. My feelings and the commands of the demons in my head, have their own rules on how should my voice be for each release, for each song!
Lineup wise for Dødsferd, how has that gone since inception. A lot of changes or fairly consistent.
My band is not just another band with members who are desperately seeking for acceptance and work under the preferences of the masses. I have my own rules, a world completely different from the one that we are living. Whoever tries to enter my world must be descent, loyal and ready to participate on something greater than the life he/she thought he/she was living all these years. They must be capable enough to follow and protect the vision I am fighting for; they must be worthy enough at the end to please the demons in my head and be part of this world. So my answer was that none so far could follow my will and passion for creation; creation for something greater than life itself.
We are big fans of Transcending Obscurity Records here at TMW, how did you end up signing with them. Was Kunal a big fan? Were you a big fan of the label?
Kunal is a descent man who keeps his word, a man of honor! All these years he has proved his loyalty to the underground beliefs and scene by supporting it with great acts and not just theories from the couch. He respected my work and he wanted to sign my band!!! I was really honoured!!! Total respect and support!!! More things will follow!!!
You have more releases coming out on TO yes? Can you tell us anything about that?
Transcending Obscurity will soon release my new 7” EP, “Skotos” that contains two new songs. They will be also included on the re-release of my sold out previous album, “Diseased Remnants of a Dying World” on various formats.
This period I am in the procedure of mixing my new album, the second part of “Suicide and the rest of Your Kind will follow” that will be also released in 2021 by Transcending Obscurity Records. Last, I am in the middle of recordings of a second new album, back to the roots of the band that will be ready in 2021. So a new 7” EP and two new full albums will be released till the end of 2021.
And now the all important question, what drove you to want to start your very own label. The desire to re-release some of your earlier material was a part for sure, but what else?
I was bored and really angry with the nowadays labels and their attitude towards underground bands. They have taken advantage of the greatness of the scene and they have turned it into a circus. The underground scene and the bands that are loyal and respect themselves don’t give a fuck about the preferences of the masses. Everyone wants to be a rock star these days and that’s what the labels and masses want to promote and have as a standard so they gain more money from these illusionary idiots. Luckily, there are labels like Transcending Obscurity who still fighting against all this stupidity and offer the bands what they deserve!!! I created Fucking Your Creation Records in order to promote the greatness of the underground scene and spread the propaganda of loyal bands and their underground philosophy to the real followers throughout this world.
The label I am working on for my full albums is Transcending Obscurity Records and for all the other releases, only my label is the only rightful owner for releasing them. I created FYC Records, so I don’t have to lower my standards every time I have to speak with other labels for releasing any material of my bands or projects!!! And by the way, here is something very important to mention cause I have seen lately some labels that I had never been in contact with, so I can give my approval, releasing the discography of my band, or re-releasing previous albums of mine and I am not pleased with it. I was never asked about these releases, nor have I given my approval. And the bad thing is that they have the name of my band written in the wrong way. So remember this; every new release, re-issue, re-release you see that has the name of my band in the wrong way especially after 2013, I consider them as bootlegs. I was never asked about them; I never gave my approval!!! Only through my official Facebook site, someone can informed about the new official releases, or re-releases/re-issues of my band, or through the labels that I am working with, which is Fucking Your Creation Records and Transcending Obscurity Records. No other label has the approval from me to release, or re-release/re-issue anything at all.
When I was younger I was not paying too much attention every time they were writing the name of my band in the wrong way!!! Even when they were making the layout for my albums before 2013, I was not paying too much attention. Since 2013, this shit has changed and I am very strict to that. I am very pissed when I see the name of my band being written in the wrong way, especially for a new release, re-release, re-issue. That’s disrespectful!!!
How has the reception been to the re-releases so far. Did they exceed all expectations and are you happy with the end result?
I don’t earn money from my label. I am not doing it for money. I don’t create music or create bands/projects for money or fame. So I was very pleased for the support and the cooperation with important people of the scene, like you Andrew, who involved in this project with great pleasure and dignity, in order to support and spread my vision. I am very pleased and feel much honoured with the bands and individuals who trusted me their music, in order to release them from my label. I have got a lot of work to do, so I create the scene I have envisioned. But the first steps were made and I am very glad with it.
The re-releases had the impact I was expecting to and I am really glad and proud of it. They were released exactly as I wanted to!!! I managed to combine the spirit of the past with the new era for the band!!! I respect my true followers and I wanted to offer them something unique, something that has the essence of the true underground scene.
“Death Shall Purify the Wounds of your Fragile Mortality” is a collection of your more sombre and introspective works, even harrowing is a term that often springs to mind when listening. What made you decide to release these all on the one compilation. Was the timing just right in respects to the state of the world around you as of right now, or did you just want to show a different aspect of your music to those that may not be aware?
This cursed collection contains the most depressive songs of my band since 2001. Even the lyrics of the new song, “Deterioration” which is a new song, include lyrics in Greek, which I wrote in 1999. This world has been long dead for me!!! All these songs I chose for this compilation were to support the soundtrack for the end of this world! This is the future of mankind, the day after tomorrow!!! When people finally wake up, the only things that they will be able to see, will be the ashes of their own existence!
You recorded “Deterioration” specifically for the release. Had the song been sitting around for a while or did it materialise as the idea grew to release the rest of the material was forming.
No, “Deterioration” was created especially for this release! Lyrics were written in 1999, but the song was composed for this new compilation in 2020. When I finished the recordings for “Suicide and the rest of Your Kind will Follow Part II” album, I had also some riffs from this song ready. So it was the best way to connect this compilation album, with the second part of “Suicide…”.
There truly is some tortured, and as mentioned before harrowing material on “Death Shall Purify…” How far into yourself did you have to reach when you wrote these songs over the years, or does this kind of feeling lurk just below the surface at all times and occasionally boil up and need to be put to music.
Imagine a beast that never sleeps and waits patiently to unleash all its fury and frustration towards these worthless leeches who consider themselves as rightful masters of this world! It’s a very soul destroying procedure, especially when I record vocals, cause all the feelings my music creates, increases the voices of the demons in my head!!! That’s why I left the big city and returned back to my homeland. Here I can be closer to nature and animals and find some peace of mind. But these voices never get some rest!!! They always remind me all this filth and what should I do, so I don’t become one of them!!!
What would you say IS your main inspiration for writing the kind of things that you do. The lyrics for the above mentioned “Deterioration” invoke, at least to me, images of a very tortured soul (or souls), full of malevolence and bitter twisted hatred. What kind of thing inspires you to put pen to paper in such a way?
Every day you face misery, stupidity and destruction of Mother Nature!!! They have turned this world into a hostile graveyard for useless parasites!!! You see people with no values, no vision; just helpless humanoids taking advantage of weaker and unprotected forms of life in order to feel powerful and valuable to this dead society!!! For years I have rejected their world, their rules and their methods to survive in the expense of others!!! I hate all forms of religions, political groups and generally whatever the masses create in order to achieve their pathetic points of view against the uncompromised ones. All these images that humanoids create with their ignorance and their pathetic lives; their sick and disgraceful attitude enforces my opinion and my hate upon them and gives me plenty inspiration to show my disgust for them on my lyrics!!!
The video for “Deterioration” is highly disturbing viewing, not so much in a gory horror kind of way but more of a mental thing. Claustrophobic, scattered, the flickering images inside the mind of those insane. Who directed it, where did the concept come from and where on earth was the horrible place you filmed it!
All these images are real and come from old documentaries from psychiatric asylums. These images express in the exact way the lyrics of my song. You can find a lot of disturbing images and things that humanoids support, with their ignorance and their apathy. They don’t want to see what is going on, in order to continue living their pathetic lives!!! I am cooperating with m.Sarvok for the videos I upload through my official you tube channel. I give him directions and what images the songs should create and he translates them into these videos!!!
Many may not be aware that you joined a new band this year, Leeches, who you are handling on your own label as well. Why did you feel the need to join another Black Metal band. Did you feel you needed yet another creative outlet to unleash your wrath (pardon the pun) upon the world?
Leeches is a project that was created by N.D. the drummer also of my other bands Dødsferd and Grab. When he finished with the songs from the EP, he asked me if I was interested in singing and being a part of this project. When I listened to the songs, I was really amazed by the old and raw atmosphere of the past, so singing on this EP, was an honour for me. That’s how it started!!! We are both working on music all the time; it is something that we cannot avoid. He is loyal and dedicated to the underground scene, like me, so there is no limitation on our expression.
The Leeches release, “A Plague in the Heart of Light” is pretty much raw as you stated, and goes straight for the throat so to speak. Was this an urge to go back to earlier times and just get back to grass roots?
Exactly!!!! To revive the old days, the pure days where the underground scene, was not for the masses!!! A forbidden fruit straight from hell!!!! True underground anti massive black metal, against all!!!
How many other bands have you been in over the years may we ask?
Dødsferd, Grab, Leeches, Drunk Motherfuckers, G.N.LS., Gin Lane… There are also some new projects in the process, but each one of them, has its own purpose of existence! Feeding my soul and working with people I respect and share common points of view and vision is another important reason!!! It’s the will to create!!!
A fairly common question to ask these days, but what are your views on the whole digital age. A lot of us still like to purchase the actual physical copies of what we like, but the convenience of digital downloads makes it very easy to just purchase that way and be done with it. Postage to many other countries is now also utterly outrageous. Is this affecting your sales in any major way? Do you still find many that still prefer to purchase physical copies regardless?
Digital age? I am buying mostly physical copies! That’s why I am releasing various hand numbered limited formats for the ones that still follow the same path as I do. For the ones that still want to follow the old days of the great underground scene! For the ones that still support the bands and labels who are trying to revive the great old days, without taking advantage of the whole situation and gain money in expense of the creators and the true followers!!! I know about the high cost postage and I always include merch of the same value, so my followers pay only for merch and nothing else. I respect them, cause they spend their money on supporting my vision, so I am doing something to show them my respect and appreciation!
Do you guys in both Dødsferd and Leeches get to tour much? Of course it’s impossible at the moment but before this Covid crap did you do much? And as for after any major plans?
We want to tour again, especially with Dødsferd! The new blood that recently joined my band has the guts and exactly what it needs in order to start spreading the live propaganda by the time this covid shit finishes!!! There is always a US tour on my mind, since the day I returned from the previous one in 2011. I really missed those days!!! True underground atmosphere and dedicated followers!!!
You seem to have a real fondness for animals from what I see. Is this because you see them as more trustworthy than the average filthy human like a lot of us Metalheads do? Do you have a lot of pets, and if so, may we inquire as to what they are?
I respect all animals and Mother Nature!!! I am spending more time with them, than with humans. They have kindness in their eyes and a code of honor that no any human will be able to have!!! I have three dogs and I am taking care of the stray cats and dogs of my city as much as I can. But all the animals deserve to be free and not to be slaughtered in order for humanoids to feed their fat bellies!!!
Have you had the chance to travel much over the years? Any places you would insist people must visit at least once in their lives? How about Australia, have you ever been down here?
It’s been some years ago, since I have been to another country. I think it was 2015, when I visited France, for a live performance. Australia is definitely one of the countries I want to visit! I have relatives there too! Great landscapes and magnificent animals!!!
What do you do in your spare time, if you have any at all. Is music the be all and end all or do you have any other passions?
Taking great walks with my dogs and working on my music and label!!! Oh, and drinking some Gin, while listening to good music in my yard!!!
An incredible label so far mate, how has the reception been to it in general? Positive? Are you getting the word out as far as you can about your stuff?
Thank you very much Andrew for your words!!! I am very pleased so far with the evolution of my label! I have a great team cooperating with me, in order to spread my vision and great bands on my roster to support it!!! It still needs a lot of hard work, but that was something I knew from the beginning, but I have a lot of strength and patience to achieve my higher purpose and spread clearly my vision!!!
Many thanks for this mate, we truly appreciate the opportunity to listen to your music and share it with the masses, anything you would like to add?
Thank you very much Andrew for your nonstop support and your great interview!!!
Support the underground!!! Nothing is external!!!
And there you have it. A great bloke as stated, with a razor sharp vision of what he wants to achieve and how to achieve it. We here at The Metal Wanderlust will continue to support him in any way we can, and will as always keep you updated about what both he and his label are up to whenever the opportunity arises, of that you can be assured. On a personal note I would like to thank Nikolaos for taking the time to give such great answers. I certainly have learned a lot more about him and his work in the process, so it’s a win win all around I say! Thanks brother!
Review: “Death Shall Purify the Wounds of your Fragile Mortality” – Dødsferd
Many a word has been written about this release so far, and pretty much all of them have hailed it as a remarkable collection of songs that can hit you on so many levels. I applaud them all, and then ask myself the question do you need more words added to the pile to make you see this release in a different light from what has already been said. The answer to that question is quite simple. Yes, you do, because to let this pass without comment would be an injustice to both the artist and those that have not already had the pleasure (if such a word could be used to describe the experience) of listening to it.
I may not put this in much of a different light to be honest having stated the above, so the only way I personally can explain it is, as previously stated, an experience that you must treat yourself too, regardless of personal genre preferences. “Death Shall Purify the Wounds of Your Fragile Mortality” could be an exercise in exorcism, with the end result being not so much how casting your demons out should work. Indeed, as stated in the above interview, Wrath and co are more than happy to keep their demons inside, take their council when necessary, even support them and help them flourish for their own ends. No, this is more of a display.
Yes, a display of inner torture and torment. A display of utter hatred and despair for all the world to hear in the ghastly expanses of Wrath’s vocals, a show of force perhaps in the mildest and most gentle way that Dødsferd will allow the world to see. A collection of their finest and most resplendent demons from over the years lined up like prisoners in a death camp ready for execution. But they shall not be executed, they have instead been chosen to be nurtured, fed by the other hellish thoughts, the misanthropy, the rage contained inside the very band themselves.
Track by track you are lulled into a sense of calm unease. You are waiting for the beast to rise and destroy your mind, the edge of the razor is so close, the click of the trigger that will bring blessed darkness into your tormented world, and yet you will keep listening. A kind of soothing beauty is found within the harsh and often discordant fury being belched at you, a kind of bleak fragility that is hard to resist. You stare into the void that is your shitty world, and somehow this sustains you, somehow it is almost inspiring. Yes, you can keep your demons, and maybe use them to a better end, maybe they may make you stronger as they seem to have with this band.
The closing track, “Deterioration,” sung in Greek, will make you understand the madness contained within. The intention is clear, the insanity you will feel, and you will be left with an incredible urge to hear it all again. Your demons will thank you.
Rating – 5/5