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Interview

Hate Guitarist Destroyer Discusses New Album "Solarflesh"

The long-running Polish metallers in Hate dropped their latest opus "Solarflesh" (reviewed here) earlier this month. The death squad will also be hitting the road in Europe in March to support the album along with the legendary Hypocrisy.

Metalunderground.com got in touch with Hate guitarist "Destroyer" to find out what the band was up to between the "Erebos" and "Solarflesh" releases and what went into this new release. Destroyer shares his take on over-produced metal ("We were looking for a really raw and organic sound that would match the wilderness of ATF Sinner's lyrics"), and also discusses the album's themes of humanity being enslaved on multiple levels. Check out the full interview below.

xFiruath: Can you fill me in with a brief rundown of what’s been happening in the Hate camp between the release of last album “Erebos” and now?

Destroyer: We've been really busy all the time between. After “Erebos” we started a serious campaign around the world, and we did more than 200 shows. Just to notice that we did four USA/Canada tours in that period of time. In 2012 we made a small break from playing regular tours, we just did a short Brasilian tour and metal fests, to focus on creating and recording our new album “Solarflesh.”

xFiruath: What was the writing process like for the songs on “Solarflesh?”

Destroyer: We usually start from guitar riffs and drum arrangement and then we add ambient background and vocal lines to it. Solo parts come last when all the main arrangements are ready. On this album we worked in an extended team of musicians. Besides the main instruments you can hear female vocals done by Androniki Skoula, a Greek artist known for her involvement in Chaostar, Septicflesh, and Rotting Christ, Polish guitarist Mateusz Szemraj (Arabic lute), and our friend Michal Staczkun with whom ATF made all samples and electronic backgrounds.

xFiruath: Stylistically and musically, what’s happening on “Solarflesh” that’s different from the previous albums?

Destroyer: We were looking for a really raw and organic sound that would match the wilderness of ATF Sinner's lyrics. The album seems to be under-produced, but that’s the way we wanted it to be. There are too many ideal productions nowadays that sound really artificial and empty. After a few listens you don’t find anything special in them anymore. “Solarflesh” is different. You can hear how many elements are there hidden in the music and all those small imperfections too. The songs actually sound the way we play them in a rehearsal room. We wanted to draw the listener deep into the atmosphere of the album. Also “Solarflesh” is the longest and most diverse album we have ever done. It sounds more organic and raw than any of our previous records. It has dark and “dense” atmosphere with lots of samples and additional vocals in the background.

xFiruath: What sort of themes and lyrics are present on the new album?

Destroyer: “Solarflesh” is inspired by dark aspect of nature – something universal which doesn't belong to any religion or philosophy exclusively. It is represented in almost every tradition. It's not a concept album in strict sense but it has some main motives that appear in most songs – enslavement, suicide, suffering, illumination etc. The songs hold a rather negative, apocalyptic message. There is a notion that man is nothing but enslaved scum – enslaved in every meaning of the word. Nobody is really free in their decisions. You are slaves to the system you grow up in, your religion, false convictions, other people who think for you, make decisions for you, etc. In today’s world, we like to think that we are free and we have full control over our lives. It's nothing but illusion.

xFiruath: Who did the artwork, and is there a story behind how it connects to the album’s themes?

Destroyer: The cover shows a ritual suicide; one that is committed with ultimate dedication to an idea – fanaticism and self-destruction. It relates to the condition of human kind. The cover art is meaningful and holds more symbols that you can see at the first sight. We still collaborate with Daniel Rusilowicz (graphic designer and occultist). Daniel listened to the tracks as a demo as early as in March 2012. He clearly understood that this album would be something much darker and more serious than anything we had done before. It was his suggestion that there should be a suicide act on the front cover and that idea seemed to match the whole concept well. We took pictures of a thin and tall female model. She is stabbing herself below the ribs on her left side. Her right hand is showing the “savior gesture.” Above her head you can see the sun eclipse which symbolizes violent change and downfall. It also shows the ultimate dedication to an idea or god. The whole layout is carefully designed with all symbols having their magical meanings. Even the colors are there for a reason. Soon we will launch a special graphic website dedicated solely to this album. It will contain more information about the whole concept, symbols, and creating of “Solarflesh.”

xFiruath: What’s happening in the Polish metal scene these days? Obviously we hear a lot about Behemoth and Nergal’s legal and health issues, but we don’t get too much other news about what’s going on in Poland with metal over here in the U.S.

Destroyer: Actually in Poland we have quite good and professional metal scene. There are a lot of bands, with a high level of performance. Our black metal scene is quite good with some amazing ones. What I've noticed, everything is working now on a better level than for example 10 years ago. I have a feeling that even small/beginner groups are focused on being as professional as possible. I'm not the best observer but bands like Sammath Naur, Masachist, Voidhanger, Mgla, Deus Mortem, and Vedonist are really worth listening to.

xFiruath: Do you have new tour dates or festival appearances lined up in support of the new album?

Destroyer: We start with four shows in Poland and a festival in Germany. In March we are going to join our friends from Hypocrisy, we toured USA with them in 2011, and play a regular three week European tour. After that we have some festivals booked like Summer Breeze. And this is just the beginning.

xFiruath: Are any of the Hate crew currently working with any other musical projects?

Destroyer: I’m working under new Kriegsmaschine release at the moment, I hope that we'll release our new album this year. Mortifer is engaged in Saltus and Naumachia. Hexen's got side project Dot and ATF's got Mothernight.

xFiruath: What was your favorite release of 2012, and what are you looking forward to in 2013?

Destroyer: I think it's Slash's “Apocalyptic Love.” Last The Cult album “Choice of Weapons” is really great too. This year I'm looking forward for a new Mayhem release. I'm really curious what they'll record.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to add?

Destroyer: Thank you for the interview and see you on our shows. Let the flame of Hate burn!

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Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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