As we reviewed the whole discography of Haunted Cenotaph, and they were are all quite positive may I add, the time was there to give you some more insight in the musical excesses of this Doom/Death band from Poland. Menacing yet simplistic riffs as well as a profound atmosphere…Golem (guitar) and Coffin Crawler (vocals) are answering the questions… (Ricardo)
Golem: Hailz! Haunted Cenotaph was formed in late 2017 in our hometown Rzeszów. The idea came a month earlier when I and Coffin Crawler (the vocalist) thought of creating a new band that would play the music that neither of us had played before in our previous bands as well as something different from the stuff that was popular at that time in Poland. After a short conversation, we decided to form a Doom/Death metal horde, musically inspired by Autopsy, Asphyx, Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Pentagram, Trouble and etc. We’ve been fans of that kind of music for a long time, so the opportunity to play slow and very heavy and gloomy Doom/Death metal was amazing for us. In the first weeks of the band, we contacted my longtime friend Brewhammer (bass player) and the drummer Scholomance whom we had met at one of the local gigs, two months prior to forming HC. Both have accepted to join us and this is how everything has started, then we spent three months working on the tracks for the demo “Nightmares from Beyond”. Preparing the tracks went very quickly, we just could feel that everything was going fine and without major issues.
We’ve been fans of Doom Metal, Death Metal, and Death/Doom metal for a long time and we wanted to do something like that ourselves. There are few bands that play that kind of music in Poland, which was also one of the reasons why we decided to do so. Inspirations came mainly from the classic Doom, Death, and Death/Doom Metal hordes like Autopsy, Asphyx, Candlemass, Pentagram, Trouble but also we wanted the Black Sabbath’s spirit to be felt throughout our music, however, there are much more of the other classic metal genres inspirations to be found such as thrash and heavy metal which we all adore. In my opinion, everything that you listen to might be the inspiration for the new tracks, however, it has to be played in a way that fits the style of the band. The main things that appeal to me in the Doom/Death metal genre are of course its heaviness, gloom, the haunted atmosphere as well as its extremity but in a different way, extremity which is all about playing as slow as possible and as heavy as possible instead of unbelievably fast blast beats which are associated with extreme subgenres of metal. For us, Haunted Cenotaph is the example of that kind of extremity.
Your first release was the demo “Nightmares from Beyond”, which was released on cd and cassette by Fallen Temple. Can you tell us more about it…
Golem: “Nightmares from Beyond” was a very very important release for the band because those were our first steps as Haunted Cenotaph and we were pleased that we’d managed to prepare and record those songs without major mistakes or issues. Everything went surprisingly smooth and quick. The recording process had been divided into two parts, the drums were recorded at Roslyn Studio, guitars, bass, and vocals were recorded and engineered by Peter Krieg of Excidium in Rzeszów (our hometown). It took 3 weeks to finish all the instruments. I am still satisfied with all the songs that we put on that record. They’re all good representatives of where we were at that point as well as the representatives of our style. If I’m honest there’s nothing I would change about the entire demo. When it comes to the artwork, I think it’s amazing. It was painted by a friend of ours, Magdalena Mnich who is a very talented artist. The feedback that we received when the demo came out was very good, people liked our version of Doom/Death Metal and still, nowadays we’re receiving some good reviews for “Nightmares from Beyond”.
And after the demo, you released your self-titled EP, also released by Fallen Temple…
Golem: In my opinion, the EP “Haunted Cenotaph” shows the natural progress that we made as a band. The songs are better executed, they sound heavier and more powerful. Their final shape and sound which can be heard on the EP, we’ve managed to achieve thanks to Neithan, whom we met at the gig that we played in May 2018 with Abysmal Grief and it came out that that man has his own studio (Antisound). Later on, we decided to record the EP there and the results were all very pleased with the results. When it comes to the tracks, all of them had been written at the time when we were recording “Nightmares from Beyond” which means that we had much more time to prepare them the best that we could. The main difference between demo and EP, in my opinion, is that those on EP are more diverse, it can be seen for example on “Into the Realm of Thanatos’ ‘ which is arguably the fastest song we’ve written so far. I treat that song as my personal tribute to the classic Thrash Metal bands and albums which I adore and always wanted to do something like this. Similar to the case of “Nightmares…” I am still satisfied with the final results and with the songs that we put there. If we hadn’t liked any of the songs prepared, we wouldn’t have placed them on the album. The cover was painted by the same person who did the cover for “Nightmares…”, and yet again she did an amazing job here. The feedback that we’d received at that time was mostly positive. Metalheads did enjoy Morbid Doom Metal placed on “Haunted Cenotaph” EP.
And recently your debut full-length “Abyssal Menace” got released…once again by Fallen Temple…along with Redefining Darkness Records and Sign of Evil Productions….
Golem: I started writing the songs if I remember correctly in March 2018. At that time I’d written the main riff from “Cursed Abomination”, and the entire “Rotten Existence”, which again shows that we like to have our songs written long before we even start preparing them during the rehearsals. Throughout the rest of 2018 and the first months of 2019, I was constantly writing the new stuff for “Abyssal Menace”. It took almost a year to complete all of the six songs that we recorded for our debut album. Once the tracks were ready we started rehearsing them for a few months. During that time we parted ways with the drummer Scholomance, who had been replaced by “Abyssal Conqueror”. With the new drummer on board, we had an amazing time while playing those songs which were ready after 4 months. In January 2020 we entered the studio. Similar to the recording process of “Nightmares from Beyond” it was divided but this time, even more, I mean, the drums were recorded and engineered in the Roslyn Studio, Guitars and Bass were recorded again in Antisound Studio and the vocals were recorded and engineered by Peter Krieg from Excidium. As the recordings were done, everything was mixed and mastered by Neithan from Antisound Studio who again did an amazing job!
To be honest, I don’t remember anything particularly interesting or funny when it comes to the release itself haha. There may’ve been some situations but I don’t think that it’d be appropriate to write about them hahaha. The reactions were amazing, we’ve received so many reviews and good words, even in the languages we couldn’t even figure out what they were which means that the album has spread worldwide and even people from the furthest parts of the world enjoyed Morbid Doom Menace. I hope that it will continue in the future with further releases.
As “Haunted Cenotaph” EP stands for progress in comparison to the demo, it is the same with “Abyssal Menace” and its predecessor, however, this time the progress was in my opinion much bigger and clearly seen. All the stuff that we’ve released under HC name reflects the highest level of songwriting and performing at the particular time and it’s no different with “Abyssal…” We’ve put everything that we could onto that record. I’m extremely pleased with all the tracks and the final result, the sound, the cover, basically everything, however, that doesn’t mean that those were the last words that we’ve said. We still will be giving our best on the upcoming releases.
How important are the lyrics for you guys?
Golem: Lyrics are a very very important aspect of the band. This is the message that the particular singer wants to tell the world. The rest of the band might do it through the music they play, but it is the singer who’s got the opportunity to clearly express themselves in a way they want to. In the case of HC, the lyrics are the inseparable element of the band’s style. Without them it wouldn’t be the same band.
Coffin Crawler: As a vocalist in HC, I am the person who writes lyrics. Most of them are based on the H.P. Lovecraft works. In my personal point of view, the atmosphere which can be found in his works fits perfectly with the music that Haunted Cenotaph plays. Mystery, filth, understatement, omnipresent darkness, and evil provide the perfect source for the lyrical themes for the Doom/Death Metal band. Apart from “The Ancients”, I often refer to classic horror movies. So far, I have written the lyrics based on the cult movie “Nosferatu…” from 1922 or “The Thing” by Carpenter. Those inspirations are not the only ones that can be found in Haunted Cenotaph’s lyrics. There are also lyrics that deal with “the other side”, death and hatred towards Christianity.
As Fallen Temple run like a thread through your discography…how did you get in contact with your label Fallen Temple?
Coffin Crawler: When the recording session of “Nightmares from Beyond” had been finished, we were looking for a label. At that time, a friend of mine recommended contacting Dawid from Fallen Temple. After that, we discussed the details of cooperation. Everything went smooth and a few months later “Nightmares…” had been unleashed. The release of EP and LP basically looked the same. For now, we are planning to release at least one more stuff in Fallen Temple. More info about that soon.
What are your expectations for Haunted Cenotaph in the future?
Golem: Recently, we’ve been working on the tracks which will be placed on the newest release in 2021, more about that we’ll tell in the future. There are also a few new ones written for the second LP which we hope to record and release in 2022. In my opinion, those songs don’t differ much from what we’ve done so far. They’re a continuation of the path which we’d presented on “Abyssal Menace”, which means that there will be a lot of slow, crushing, and heavy riffs as well as some faster parts.
Some of you are involved with acts like Excidium. Any news on them to tell our readers? Do you guys have any other projects?
Golem: Unfortunately, I cannot tell much about Excidium because I left the band in 2018, however, as far as I know, the guys are forging the new stuff and preparing themselves for the recording session. Apart from Haunted Cenotaph, in 2020 I joined the band named “Sexmag” in which we play Speed/Thrash Metal and there is the EP about to be released. I like playing with them very much, both bands differ a lot and that’s a great thing. I have an opportunity to play something fast in Sexmag and much slower in Haunted which means you don’t get bored hehe.
Are there any bands or albums of your recent playlist you would like to mention? A rediscovery, an overlooked gem or an unsigned demo band that deserves attention?
Golem: There’s a lot of good Polish bands worth checking out. When it comes to the newer ones, I’d say, Black Hosts, Gallower, Roadhog, Abhorrent Funeral, Ragehammer, Terrordome, Impure Declaration and many many more. I don’t remember anything that you’ve mentioned, but to be honest I’m not that much into Polish scene. Of course there are bands that I listen to, but they are mostly classics like Kat, which in my opinion is the best band to ever exist on the Polish grounds.
Any favourite labels, illustrators and zines?
Golem: If I am honest, there’s too many of them to list here. When it comes to distros, I don’t think I have the favorite ones. It just depends what albums they have available to order. If they have something which I want to have in my collection I simply order that and that’s basically it.
Before we wrap up this interview, is there something I’ve forgotten to ask you which you would like to mention? Thanks for your time!
Golem: Thank you very much for your time and the interview! Final words will be as usual: Worship Metal, drink beer, smoke weed and Stay Doomed!