Brisbane’s Astriaal continue their run on a bunch of the Bastardfest shows this Saturday night when the tour lands at The Espy in St Kilda. They’ll also be a part of the Sydney line up later in the month. This week in The Hotseat we check in with Arzarkhel from the band. Expand this post to check out his answers and details of the two Bastardfest shows they’ll be on.
Name : Arzarkhel
Band : Astriaal
Job In Band : Oration and Scripture
Website Address : www.facebook.com/AstriaalMCMXCVIII
Hometown : Brisbane
Hometown is best known for : A thriving and unique heavy music scene.
Best venue in your hometown : For heavier music The Hi-Fi in West End or The Beetle Bar. Not so much for metal but in general, my personal favourite would be the Tivoli in the Valley. It has a great atmosphere, a superb P.A system and a very professional lighting rig.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Psychrist and Cruciform in 1994, Armoured Angel and Misery in 1994, Cannibal Corpse in 1996 and possibly Mayhem in 2010…too many epic shows to recount.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : Our ‘Return’ show in 2010 was quite a grand evening. Plus our various international support shows…Mayhem in 2002/2010, Opeth in 2003, Suffocation in 2007 and Arcturus also in 2007. It was a great moment for us to perform and tour with some of our most revered artists.
How did the band first come to exist? Through a mutual appreciation and commitment towards music held within the more extreme end of the musical spectrum.
How long has the band been going? Astriaal started in 1998. Nigh on 14 years now.
Any particular story behind the name? Astriaal is primarily a merging of the word ‘Astral’ and the Hebrew word for ‘lord’ or ‘master’ etc ‘Baal’ which also has references in the study of demonology.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… ‘Anatomy of the Infinite’ is our latest album which was released in 2010. It resonates with a more raw, primeval and organic musicality throughout. We travelled to Molla Lydstudios (Ulver, Aura Noir, Mayhem, Arcturus, etc) in Gjerstad, Norway to mix the album with Knut Magne Valle (Arcturus) behind the engineers desk. So this was quite a momentous occasion for us.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Probably the fact the we have all kept our musical creativity for this long and the fact that we all still share a great devotion to musical expression. Also getting to perform with some of our most revered musicians/bands in black and death metal is always a rewarding moment. Namely Arcturus, Mayhem and Suffocation…old school elite.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? Collectively I would probably have to say that Metallica was our first and most primal introduction into the world of metal. I think it is most male teenagers rite of passage if heavier music is to be your pathway and preference.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? Concerning Astriaal I would have to say that for our original guitarist Baaruhl who is/was critical in creating the ‘sound’ of Astriaal was heavily influenced by James Hetfield of Metallica when he was in his formative teenage years for inspiration in generating solid rhythm riffs and sections. Also in creating a more powerful dynamic between intense and heavy rhythm sections that flow into melodic more epic passages of music. Much like the flow of songs like ‘Fade to Black’ and ‘Welcome Home:Sanitarium’. The great Swedish black metal band Dissection definitely played a role in this creative approach as did Demonaz of Immortal with his intense picking style and speed of riff delivery etc. These influences definitely helped shape Astriaal to become the band we are.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? My first band was also with Gryphon and Baaruhl when we were around 16 – 18 years old called Decimate. We mainly played death metal covers with a few originals we wrote at the time. We covered bands like Obituary, Pungent Stench, Misery, Armoured Angel, Cruciform, Napalm Death, Sepultura, Banished, Entombed, Sinister etc. 1995…too old, too fucking cold.
Most prized music related item you own? My vinyl collection…it does indeed hold some gems and has the power of a black hole with its ever expanding power.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Finding, searching and hunting new music to absorb…I think I have a serious addiction.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Unleashing new material and playing places we have never been before…like Perth.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… No sound checks, rushed set times, long travel and inevitable hangovers with long travel.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Alcohol is the standard elixir.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Hobart is Tasmania in 2010 was a great weekend as have been our times in Melbourne over the years. A great city regarding atmosphere and venues for live music. The ultimate goal would to play overseas primarily Europe and its festivals…dead but dreaming.
Most memorable show you’ve played and why? I would have to say supporting the infamous Mayhem for the first time in 2002 and then touring nationally with them again in 2010 was a brilliant experience and definitely remains as a milestone and highlight concerning our live performances over the many years. The black metal prestige, hierarchy and notorious legacy that they have set in stone over the years is black metal history, so to share in these moments on stage remains a great and rewarding memory for us all in Astriaal.
Got a favourite song to play live? Not really, more looking forward to unleashing the intensity of the newest material. It is great when a set sounds epic and goes well though.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? A few years ago I had bought a new Jamman foot pedal for samples during the show. I went to kick into an opening sample and hit the wrong button which actuated the metronome click track sample which I just couldn’t turn off. It was booming over the P.A and I was just down on the ground saying ‘fuck’ into the mic a lot trying to turn it off ha. Needless to say we no longer use or own that pedal. To quote a great man Vim Fuego “It sounds better without Bossa Nova you know”.
Any pre-show rituals? No.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Mainly the cost and the vast distance one must cover when touring Australia.
Last song you listened to? The song ‘Quintessnce’ on the album Panzerfaust by Darkthrone on LP. Just felt like having a big Darkthrone revival day yesterday.
Last album you acquired? Blut Aus Nord’s ‘Cosmosophy’ on vinyl. The B.A.N trilogy is complete and essential.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? Late to the party but I have been greatly enjoying the albums ‘The Time Of No Time Evermore’ and ‘Come Reap’ by The Devil’s Blood lately.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? A dark and defiling new band from Brisbane called Consummation…support!!
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? Initially we will complete our upcoming performances on the touring Bastardfest Festivals throughout October and November 2012 which will be a grand run of shows indeed. After this we will withdraw from the live arena to complete the final stages of writing and arrangements for our as yet untitled third opus. The new album will herald a more intsense, darker and forboding chapter in Astriaal’s sonic legacy…Our rite MMXIII.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? A hard question, perhaps Borknagar – Borknagar as it was a pivotal and very influential album for us in our formative years. It is one of those great albums that has the best of grim black metal that flows effortlessly into majestic epic sonic expanses.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? For me an interpretation of ‘Renascent Misanthropy’ by Vindsval of Blut Aus Nord would be a grand thing indeed.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Emperor.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? In Australia, the Tivoli in Brisbane would be a great venue as would The Palais Theatre in Melbourne for vintage ambience and aesthetics.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Maybe Frank Mullen from Suffocation cause as soon as they played songs off Effigy of the Forgotten it would be so crushing to be on stage in that moment. That was a massive album for all of us in Astriaal.
Got any final words? Well we will have an exclusive shirt design available for the Bastardfest shows and also digipak copies of ‘Anatomy of the Infinite’. Greatly looking forward to our first ever performance in Perth and playing with some of Australia’s great extreme metal artists. All future updates concerning Astriaal’s activities can be found at our official Facebook page.
CATCH ASTRIAAL PLAYING THE FOLLOWING BASTARDFEST SHOWS
3rd – The Espy, St Kilda [18+]
17th – The Sando, Newtown [18+]
—> For ticketing information, head to www.bastardfest.com