VM-UNDERGROUND

Extreme Metal Fanzine est. 2012

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Interview

Nil Miserans

A new and promising band from Belgium called Nil Miserans gave sign of life with their debut album. A mixture between black and death metal with lots of technical skills is what they provide the listeners… but I wondered what the story about this band was and asked drummer Nicolas Christiaens for some background info. Read and shudder adepts of the dark side of metal! (Fredde)

Everything fine in Belgium with the lads?
Hey, we’re fine thanks!

First, and probably the most asked question I suppose…what’s the meaning of the bands’ name, why have you chosen this name?
Nil Miserans is a synonym for Hades. As we were working according to the Greek theme we were inspired by it during the search of our band name. Though it may sound as just the name of the God of the underworld it also means ‘no compromise’ / ‘no compassion’. This was another reason why we picked the name because for this album we all crossed boundaries of both our capacities and our vision in music.

Most members have been in several bands before they’ve joined this new band I heard…can you tell us something about the different members, their specific skills and eventual other bands they worked in?
As I told we all have our specialties, but for this album we all went a lot further and pushed those limits. For instance Pieter (vocals) and myself (drums) sat down and wrote the whole concept and lyrics together. Which is in contradiction with their former band Omerta, where Pieter used to do this. The biggest difference in working-method was the fact that we pre-produced the whole album and then started to re-write the songs in a way that they perfectly fit the storyline. This is where Timothy (guitar and backings + ex-all above hate) and Lazar (guitar + ex-rafflesia) played their part. The two of them had some sort of obscure chemistry going on from which the atmosphere of the album sprouted. Using midi-keyboards and samples they created the perfect vibe for our dark tale. This part took about a whole year of hard work and no play! As any musician will be able to tell you, not being able to play for a whole year requires character and brings frustrations! But ‘no compromise’ And it was worth it! Also Bjorn (bass + ex-Omerta/Thurisaz) wasn’t spared As you might have seen during our live shows, he does the trick with only 9 fingers. So as we didn’t give in on the bass-lines we can say he IS the embodiment of no compromise! All hail this guy!

About your debut album…why the choice of making a concept album from the first time? Not that common that bands start off with a full story and make their music around it…or don’t you agree with my point of view haha
Indeed, starting off with a concept album is risky and requires a lot of work. But we didn’t want to do the same thing we had been doing for over 15 years. We wanted to push ourselves and saw it big! We wanted to go even further and make a short-film about the story, but… and this is the downside of starting off with a concept-album, we didn’t have a starting budget.

Perhaps some kind of funding or Kickstarter project is a possibility for making this short-film to come true? Doesn’t cost you a thing, only have to make sure that what you promise will be executed…or do you hate such concepts?
This might be a plan indeed, but asking people to invest at such an early stage of our project seems a bit too much. We will be glad if people are buying our cd to start with. Perhaps a next video clip (we already have 2) can be a shorter version of our idea and will help us postpone the bigger plans to our next album.

Musically seen this album is a mixture between symphonic death and melodic black metal, where some band influences such as Behemoth, SepticFlesh and hell yeah, even old school Dimmu Borgir is audible…in fact, I stated in my review that a Norwegian black metal feeling comes alive when listening to it. Can you find yourself in my opinion or do you want to add something about the musical choices in your debut album to our readers?
Haha, let’s say those bands MIIIIIGHT have had a little influence on our vision upon songwriting yes But our intentions are not monotonous, we don’t like to limit ourselves by putting a label on our music. Of course we DO still have our favorite bands and love to flirt with the darker sides of symphonic music and we can’t deny often ending up with the mentioned above. This just doesn’t mean a next album will have the same vibe, because the songs are written in a way to reflect the story-line.

Stories about Ancient Greek and the different mythologies have been around in probably tons of metal albums, but yours handles about half-brothers and the God of the underworld Hades. Can you give some little summary about the story, off course without spoiling it for people who wants to discover it on their own. Short said: what’s the main aspect without revealing the end.
Our music deals with a lot of emotions and it can be sensed that way when listened to. These feelings are coming directly from the story in which Aaron is murdered over an impossible love-triangle. His situation is drained in feelings of desperation, deceit, betrayal, hopelessness and seeking a last resort. This kind of sums op his journey through the mythology of the Greek afterlife. It is indeed an often narrated subject in metal music, but the Greek mythology then again is amazingly interesting and large! We actually had great fun studying these tales. The only question now is: will we stick to this subject for our next album or not?! Pam pam paaaam!!!

So you guys had to read many books to tell this story or was a quick internet search enough to begin? You perhaps have any examples of books that are interesting to empathy the Greek mythology and then especially about Hades? In my personal live, I must admit that I only read comics when taking a shit, reading books isn’t one of my favorite things hehe
We must admit we aren’t spending most of our time in books either, but the subject really gained our interest and we just dove into it. Most of the info we found on the internet and old history books. And although it might sound boring to get back into the schoolbooks the subject of Greek mythology is really amazing and extremely profound. (… Or you can always just watch Clash of the titans… haha)

If people are interested in Nil Miserans after reading our fourth issue from VM Underground…where can you be reached? Any official page, clips, sounds, …where possible new listeners can give the album and band a try?
Of course we have a Facebook page and an Instagram where we post pics, gig-dates, clips,… And where you can get in touch with us to buy our album, shirts or book us. On youtube there are already 2 official clips to be found. Also our album is available on Itunes, deezer, Spotify,… But we recommend to listen to it in the right order as it is a concept album. If not you will most definitely miss the vibe of the story and therefore the whole concept.

A new album mostly comes with lots of promotion…what’s the status about the bands touring schedule? Any plans to play outside of Belgium in the near future?
We still have one last show for this year in Lokeren with our friends of powerstroke. After that we have a little break as our drummer leaves the country for 3 months. But the very same week he gets back we already hit the stages again in Ghent and the week after in Bruges. We recently were added to the list of bands represented by NCObookings and can tell you now that some nice shows will follow in 2017, but for now we are still filling the schedule. So people, contact us now when we’re still cheap! Haha.

NCObookings…enlighten us please?
I just started this agency. It’s still in a starting phase, but looking to grow. The concept is, as the name tells you, Nicolas functions as a ‘Non Commisioned Officer’. He helps out new bands to play the shows they deserve. He does this solely to support them and to help organizers by putting a kind of ‘label’ on bands as being a great band to put on their bill. It appears that mostly coverbands or the same bands keep on being booked. But this way organizations can be sure the band they are booking will provide an awesome show. The other band under NCO at the moment is The curse of millhaven. They are an awesome live band you should really check out as well!!

Webzines, metal magazines and off course the listeners are the best people or mediums to review an album…what are the reactions so far about the album? And also important, how do you look back right now at your own release?
We are very pleased with all reactions given so far. Overall the feeling seems mutual with the reviewers and everyone seems to get the bigger picture! We only had one disappointing review so far of a magazine that focused completely on the production of our album and not on the content, referring to a similar album called ‘the satanist’ of a band named ‘behemoth’. Well now, that’s a smack in the face. Where is the music industry going if new bands are expected to bring a debut album with a pricetag of several thousands of euros?!!
Well, that’s the reason you only have to believe VM-Underground cause we’re in for the support of unsigned, unknown bands. Ha!
But hey, we don’t complain, every other review was really positive on the music and each show we played so far we got nothing but praising feedback! Which in our opinion is still the main goal.

Sadly the last years weren’t that positive for rock and metal music with the dead of several important musicians. How do you think or feel the metal and rock future will be in the next ten years or do you think all hope is lost for new metal bands? Who is personally the most important musician that died the last years, and can you tell us why?
Is there any other answer to this last question than Lemmy?! And do we really need to tell people why?! If someone says yes to this, we’d say, try listening to Motörhead! Hahaha.
As for the rest, the future of metal, rock or any other kind of music in fact, is totally in the hands of the people listening to it. We’d say: discover new bands, go to shows of bands you don’t know, share new music, don’t stick to what you know, that makes you narrow sighted and stops musicians of trying to break boundaries and stops music from evolving. If any better example: the bills of every big festival over the last 5 years nearly didn’t change! Who will be the next headliners when Bruce, James, Dee, Angus, Ozzy, Alice and Rob aren’t rocking the casbah anymore?!

Time for some trivia question…
Deathcore or metalcore?
We’re fans of both genres since we played those style ourselves in previous bands so no preference.
Most technical metal band in your opinion?
Origin?
Worst metal act ever and off course why?
Haha! There are many bands that don’t answer to our taste, but are they therefore bad acts? No. But primo Victoria? No thanks!
Most underrated band in the world?
Small local bands such as we have plenty of here in Belgium: The curse of Millhaven, Resistance, Deconsecrate, Crimson falls, Fields of troy, Guilty as charged…
Entombed/Entombed A.D. -what does A.D. means?
After death? As the band Entombed split.
Baby Metal…shocked or thankful?
Let’s say, the music scene should always be open minded and you gotta love those Japanese people for all their freaky stuff!
Behemoth, SepticFlesh or Dimmu Borgir?
That’s a Hobson’s choice (look it up!) Hobson’s Choice is a British Comedy movie from the year 1954 from director David Lean. Or perhaps you meant: a Hobson’s choice is a free choice in which only one thing is offered. Because a person may refuse to accept what is offered, the two options are taking it or taking nothing. In other words, one may “take it or leave it.”
Preferred one-night stand?
Pamela Anderson, for nostalgic reasons.

Perhaps my question comes to soon, but already working on new stuff? Will this story get a sequel?
We recently started thinking about the possible subject for our next album, but we will take our time first to enjoy this one and the shows still to come. We’ve been off-stage for way too long.

I’m also from Belgium so as you know Holland isn’t that far away from us…Some years ago I had the chance to see Immolation play at Neurotic Deathfest Tilburg, I guess in the year 2010 but pity I had to miss it…and by the people comments they played their best gig ever…were your present at that festival and did you think this was a killer gig? Or weren’t you around that time? Or does Immolation doesn’t ring a bell…which would be a shame in my opinion…
No, unfortunately I was drinking Heineken in a bar and lost track of time, so I missed it! I could kick myself that moment when I realized I chose Heineken above Immolation…also I let some friends down that time, cause I was responsible for the time schedule that day…I suppose my friends still haven’t forgiven me for that hahaha… but one day I’ll pay for this error I’m sure!
WTF!!

Okay, I’m out of questions for the moment…any last words for our readers?
Thank you for reading this whole interview! You took the effort to look up a zine! To start with that’s already a sign of commitment and respect for music. Kudos! And then you even decided to read the whole of this long blabbering… Well, this makes you the person we make music for! A humble thank you. (Also to the magazine of course for having us!)
Hail to that!
Cheers and stay brutal!