German band Ketzer is back with their third full length entitled Starless which represents huge departure from their previous black thrash sound which has put them in league with Desaster and the likes; Starless presents something completely different out there and the fans’ reactions are already quite divided. Judge the album for yourself and let’s hear what the bass player David had to say about it…
Hello Ketzer and welcome to the pages of Metal Sound! How are you guys doing these days?
We’re doing quite fine! Spring is just around the corner, we’re preparing for our upcoming tour with Primordial and Svartitaudi and a lot of exciting things are lining up in the future. Life is good.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your new album Starless: surprising yet very compelling listen! How do you feel about the album when all is said and done, how do you see it from this perspective?
It’s a relief. We worked on „Starless“ for three years and took about a month to record it last summer so of course it’s very nice to see that the album is finally out there. I guess it will still take some time to fully digest how this album is being perceived and what could have been made different or the same etc… but actually none of that matters right now.
Starless is for sure something different for Ketzer so please tell us how did the direction of the album was decided upon, was it a conscious decision or the songwriting simply took you where you are now?
I am pretty sure that the only thing we consciously know about our music is that we don’t want to sound like we have sounded before. Therefore, every album needs to have something new. We can’t really decide upon how that happens, we just know that it needs to happen. What you can hear on our new album is that approach to music combined with endless jam sessions in the rehearsal room.
To be honest, one could feel that Ketzer might change even on Endzeit Metropolis as it is one very unusual album for black thrash metal band. Do you agree with me here and how do you look upon the album now?
Is it that unusual? The album is a very important milestone in our history. Listening to it now, it always baffles me how incredibly fast those songs are, haha… But I guess it is a little different from your average black/thrash record in that there is an element of surprise in it, which is a key element of our sound. It often takes you off guard.
Please share some words about the lyrical content of Starless as I found the theme to be very interesting, state without stars being allegory for blind religions if I am right…
Yes, an allegory for the blindness in religion, but also the blindness of strict, scientific reason. We’re neither spiritual nor religious people, nor are we radical atheists who only believe in the cold, hard facts and numbers of science. Therefore we chose an outside perspective on the matter, trying to take a position that considers more than just the typical „anti-position“ that you might find in a lot of heavy metal lyrics. Every song also has a personal component to it, but that is for the listener to find.
Let’s get one hard question out of the way: I saw some people accusing you of being mere Tribulation copies with Starless, how would you comment upon those statements?
The lack of public knowledge on how an album is written and recorded often surprises me. Let me just say this: When Tribulations latest album came out, we had just finished the „Starless“ writing process (a period of 3 years, by the way). Go figure the rest for yourself, haha.
If I may say so, I don’t see those similarities: Tribulation are into horror while Ketzer are going for different vibes on Starless, the music is much more rocking while the atmosphere is rather bleak than dark. How do you see the musical direction of Starless?
It’s hard to describe such a thing as „one musical direction“ because the way I see it, „Starless“ goes into a multitude of different directions at the same time, while still meeting somewhere in the middle. Meaning that each song stands on his own, but also defines the album as a whole. Some songs are more straightforward such as the title song or also „Godface“ (that one is a real rattlesnake). But „Shaman’s Dance“ for example seems like an exact opposite because it is quite lengthy with a variety of emotions evolving through it’s playing time.
Since Starless is such a huge leap forward for Ketzer, do you see the band experimenting even more in the future… perhaps even moving out of the realms of metal?
Like I said before we don’t really plan that consciously but moving out of the realms of any genre definitely is our „thing“ so to speak… as long as it has that element of surprise we’re going to be fine I guess.
Bands like Ketzer, Secrets of The Moon, Tribulation, In Solitude and Morbus Chron are all taking metal into different paths in the last few years, how do you see the evolution of this direction in the future? What are your favorites from today’s scene?
That is indeed a very promising evolution and I can only hope that more and more bands (no matter what genre) open up to all kinds of influences because that’s what makes music interesting. Not necessarily better or worse, but more engaging to listen to. I don’t really listen to a lot of recent extreme metal bands, so I can’t say too much about that, but one „newer“ band that is quite incredible is the Dutch band „GOLD“. They released an album last year which is very different from anything one might have heard before.
Are you perhaps planning to release some video for the promotion of Starless? I think that it would be very interesting affair.
„Starless“ is an album with a lot of visual potential, so it makes sense to release a video sooner or later. We have never done a video clip before so this is kind of an exciting new thing for us. Just like putting lyrics on music, creating visuals for a song adds a whole new dimension to the overall experience.
What lies in the near future for Ketzer, are some tours already planned? Where can we see you live in the next few months?
D: We’ll be on a European Tour with Primordial and Svartitaudi, which will take us to France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic. There’s also a few single shows here and there…Let’s see what happens after that.
That would be all for this chat, I would like to thank you for your time and wish you all the best! Your last message….
We burn forever.
- Questions by Slobodan Trifunovic
- Answers by David Gruber