If you like proper Death Thrash Metal, with a nod to the Old School, then you’ll love Abyssus. Guitarist Chris Liakos took some time to talk to Steve (from Aussie Death Thrash band Aeons Abyss) about their new album, Death Revival
Introduce yourself, and who is in your band?
Greetings, Steve and Noobheavy! This is Chris, guitar player in Abyssus, from Athens, Greece. The Abyssus team also comprises of Kostas Analytis on the vocals, Panos Gourbaliotis on guitars, Jan Westermann on the Drums and Vangelis Deligiorgis on the Bass.
I automatically like any band with “Abyss” in the title, so “Abyssus” gets a big tick from me. Why did you choose this name and how does it influence the band?
Same here! It does throw a hook on what is to follow, usually something dark and old-school. The name was chosen by Kostas, when he first formed Abyssus as a one-man project complemented by session musicians. He wanted something that sounded similar to “Necrosis,” his former band’s name. Anything that has to do with the concept of the Abyss alludes to notions that revolve around darkness and bears the element of the uncanny. That is what makes it so attractive to us and to many other bands of the extreme genres. I wouldn’t say that the name influences the band much, but rather it describes the musical setting of the gnarly and sinister old-school music that we like making.
Your new album “Death Revival” has just been released on Transcending Obscurity. What are 3 things we need to know about this release?
Yes, “Death Revival” was released in late January, 2022. Now, about three noteworthy things concerning the album, I’d firstly mention that this is the first full-length album that the band has made with a full line up, since “Into the Abyss” was recorded by Kostas, Panos and session members. Secondly, there are songs that bear elements that are newly introduced to the band, for example thrashier songs, as well as compositions like ‘The beast Within’ or ‘When Wolves Are Out to Hunt’, that differ greatly in comparison to the debut album or the E.P.s that followed it. The third thing I’d like to mention is the cover, which was created by the legend that is Andreas Marschall. He did a phenomenal work, integrating Abyssus in his classic universe, also depicted in classic albums, like Obituary’s “The End Complete”. We are truly honored to have collaborated with an artist responsible for some of the most iconic visuals in metal.
Your Old School Death Metal / Death Thrash influences come through perfectly. If you could go back to 1991 and tour with any 3 Death Metal bands, who would be on your tour and why?
That’s true, the influences are many and evident, which is one of the things that we opt for. So, regarding the three bands we would tour with in 1991, man, that’s a tough one, and every member of the band would probably come up with a different triad. For me, the first one would be Obituary. Imagine what a blast it would be to tour with them right after having released “Cause of Death”. Then I’d have to say Death, who in ’91 were working on “Human,” and then I’d say Malevolent Creation, since the timing would be perfect for catching them on their “Ten Commandments” tour. Another band with which we all would like touring, would be Slayer, of course. Their influence in almost every facet of extreme music is undeniable.
What is the band’s approach to songwriting? Tell us about the recording, mixing and mastering for the new album.
So far, all of the songs have been composed by Panos and Kostas. They usually work on the songs, then present them to the rest of us and, after that, we give our input or our ideas and start working on them as a group. The riffs and instrumental parts usually come first, and as the songs grow on us, we then add little nuances and details. It’s quite straightforward as an approach.
Recording the album was a lot of work, but fun work. The songs themselves work in such a way that there was a live vibe when recording. The album’s recordings were completed in late 2019, but mainly the pandemic was the main factor for delaying its release.
The mix and mastering of the album were done by our former bass player, Kostas Ragiadakos, at Unreal Studios in Athens, Greece. He did a great job in making the album sound heavy and gravelly, while retaining the clarity that was necessary for showcasing the riffs and the songs in their entirety.
I thought the fiddle play at the start of the song Genocide sounded really haunting and well done. How did this come about?
Genocide’ is one of our favorite songs on the album. The intro is a sample form a Greek-Pontian lament, performed on a Pontian Lyre, about the genocide of Greek-Pontians and Armenians in the Black Sea by the Neo-Turks in the early 20th century, so it does carry a sad and haunting tone. It was Kostas’ idea to use the sample as an intro for ‘Genocide’, since the song’s lyrics are about this specific historical event, so I find it to be a very fitting intro.
What is your favorite track and why?
My personal favorite on the album is ‘When Wolves Are Out to Hunt”. It is very different compared to any other Abyssus song. It is groovy, it has its outbursts, it has riffs and lead parts that are truly enjoyable to play, but what makes me like it as much as I do is its build-up and the fact that it is our most melodic song so far, yet it remains powerful while it still bears a certain eerie ambience throughout.
Talk about the album artwork, and is there a story behind the work?
We really wanted to have an artist of that caliber to create the art for “Death Revival”. Given his impressive portfolio and the fact that we grew up with albums that carry his mark, Andreas Marschall was definitely the one. The band contacted him, presented him with some ideas on our view and described the vision of an ideal album cover for the album, and Marschall delivered in an emphatic way. For us, the vortex of souls on the cover symbolizes the album’s title. I do not know if the artist had something specific in mind while drawing it, but he captured the album’s essence masterfully, while including us into his legendary dystopic world depicted in some iconic covers of his.
Greece seems to have some quality metal acts coming through of late (last year we featured Rapture in an interview) … tell us 3 other cool Greek Metal acts to check out.
True. We have a really good scene over here, and not only in extreme metal. The last years there have been many new rising bands, as well as bands which consistently deliver good music and killer gigs. Now, three bands again, eh? Definitely a hard one! Well, for thrash-heads, Violent Definition is a band that will be greatly appreciated, I believe, they seriously rip it up. As you mentioned, you already know Rapture, who recently released a killer album. In the wider thrash genre, there is always the amazing Sacral Rage. Regarding death metal, Cursed Blood are a band that’s definitely worth checking out! Nasty old-school death metal carnage at its best! And, there are always bands, like Mass Infection or Dead Congregation, that consistently deliver great work. Man, I could be listing bands for hours!
Tell us an unusual fact, or one funny story about your band
Hmmm… I mean, it was not that funny for us when it happened, we have been having some kind of a cold war with the hard drives of the computers on which we have recorder our latest releases. While recording the “Unleash the Storm” and “Relics of the Past” E.P.s, the hard drive crashed and we had to re-record the guitars. Then, while recording “Death Revival,” an experiment of ours did not go as planned, so we had to re-record guitars, and after re-recording the rhythm parts, the hard drive crashes again, but luckily, we recovered the tracks. Finally, a few months ago, while recording rhythm for the pre-production of our third album, guess what; another hard drive crashed. Oh, well, let’s see where this goes!
What have you got coming up in the next 6 -12 months?
We are preparing for our album presentation gig in Athens, and we are discussing for more gigs around Greece, for starters. Meanwhile, we are re-scheduling the pre-production sessions for the third album, which are to be starting within the next few months. Whether it is gigs or recording new material, the next 6-12 months are going to be busy for sure.
In an OSDM band, who wins the fight and why; the singer, the guitarist, the bassist or the drummer?
Here’s the deal, anyone could win depending on the circumstances, but I’d have to say that the drummer wins. It’s the position that is harder to fill and the position on which the band depends the most to sound tight, and, since there are not too many drummers out there, like there are guitarists, for example, I think the rest of the band would just endure the scuffle and give it to the drummer just to maintain balance and keep the foundation of the band happy! Haha!