Today's guests made an impression on me back in December 2013 when I reviewed their debut demo. It was a startling and brutal affair that mixed Death, Doom, Death, Drone, Sludge and Black Metal riffs with bone crunching vocals to match. It won acclaim from fans and critics alike.
Now Legion Of Andromeda return with their even more heavier and disturbing debut album – Iron Scorn – which was recorded and mixed by music legend – Steve Albini. Iron Scorn will no doubt be considered as one of 2015's heaviest, brutal and most dangerous albums.
This is what I had to say about the album:
“The album sounds incredible from start to finish courtesy of legendary music whiz - Steve Albini - who mixed and recorded this album. Let me say Iron Scorn can lay claim to being one of the heaviest, brutal and disturbing debut albums you are ever likely to hear. This is filth ridden dirge induced Death/Doom/Black Metal on a grand Drone Metal scale.
The instrumental work is intense and quite painful at times as Legion Of Andromeda play very aggressively with different sounds noises combining that will take time to fully understand. However, it seems the drums are being hit with sledgehammers and guitars with Freddy Krueger's razor sharp gloves. Many people will be very scared to listen to this album and I do not blame them. It even scared me at times especially with the vocals.
Legion Of Andromeda are the new harbingers of death and they are here to collect a few souls along the way. I need a rest after listening to this. Only listen to this if you are feeling brave enough.”
I have been given the chance to interview M and R who make up this deadly and dangerous duo. So it's time to hear what Legion Of Andromeda have to say to us!!!
Hi guys, Thanks for doing his interview. How are things with you today.
Hi Steve, thank you indeed. Pretty busy with the album release and stuff and listening to Cop Shoot Cop right now. Holy fuck, what a band that was.
For people not in the know, can you give a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.
Our wives are colleagues and a few years ago they discovered we listen to the same music (which they hate) and then decided to introduce us. After listening to loads of records and going to several shows toghether, -M- later proposed me to do some shit together and I accepted.
Why did you choose the name Legion Of Andromeda. Any particular reasons for this name.
I love to use the sound of words, carefully choose between them and combine them together to create something that sounds powerful. In this regard the word Andromeda sounds extremely evocative: it’s enormous, roaring, menacing…it’s quintessentially onomatopoeic, it’s dark, alien, utterly bombastic. Fusing it with the word Legion (which is of course a cliche word often abused in metal, to which we also want pay homage) resembles an anti-entity devouring galaxies and sprawling total destruction moved by the sole, primal, bestial feel of hate. It’s cosmic hate, literally.
By no means we endorse hatred as some idiotic fascist ideology, neither we “fight” for some foolish, politically-correct hope to change the world with peace and love and blah, blah. Fuck that weak shit. Instead, hate for us is a nihilistic way of intend existence, a catharsis to sublimate consciousness. In this regard the name Legion Of Andromeda is majestically psychedelic. Being the world a place populated by that scourge called humanity, Legion Of Andromeda is a massive beam aiming at that scum. It’s a reaction, a necessity, a constant state of mind. Ultimately, it’s our interior battle against the constituted order.
How would you describe your own sound as it falls under many different categories, Noise, Sludge, Doom, Ambient, Drone, Death, Black.
Brutal, minimal, primitive metal. Or brutal, minimal, primitive noise. We don’t really know. Maybe The Velvet Underground playing Godflesh.
When you created the band, did you already know you wanted to create a nightmarish sound compared to other bands.
We didn't necessarily want to create a nightmarish sound, instead we started with the idea of forging that minimal, extremely repetitive, torturing psychedelic trance in order to induce ourselves and the derelicts who listen to it in totally altered states of consciousness.
You released a stunning debut EP back in 2013. Very dark and violent. Did the acclaim you received for that EP surprise you a great deal.
Yes, we are positively surprised, being the demo long sold out and praised by many outlets, still one of the best comments came from a fan saying that he typically listen to LOA while doing heroin.
Looking back would you change anything about your debut EP.
Was it a hard or easy EP to write and record for.
Natural, smooth and efficient for both the situations.
Now you’re back with your even more depressing and crushingly loud debut album – Iron Scorn. Can you tell our readers what they can expect from that album if they’re feeling brave enough to listen to it.
A sharper, more focused approach fuelled by a truly monster production. Trance inducing repetition. Abandon all consciousness, embrace disintegration, fuck off.
I found it a very hard and challenging album to review. As the structure and tone of the album doesn’t really change a great deal. It feels the album is one 46 minute song instead of 7 individual songs. Was that your intention when recording the album. To keep the tone and structure basically the same throughout the album.
While we get your point and in part agree, we still feel the album as 7 distinct songs, while of course sharing the same atmosphere. Let me explain it better: we want our albums to sound extremely cohesive, dense and coherent, the key of minimalism for us is to take a single sound, a single vision, a single approach, even a single riff and penetrate it as deep as possible and in every possible implication, way and perspective. And from this process creating separated, individual songs.
The result, to profane ears, is all that you have is only this apparently identical, monotonous, monothematic, uninspired, static music. Paradoxically, it’s more challenging (and for us more rewarding) to understand this kind of approach than understanding, for example, intricate, technical progressive rock. Progressive music is often annoying to us (with many exceptions of course) while minimal and repetitive music is instead exciting. Take as an example Ildjarn, early Sunno))), Von, Ride For Revenge, Shellac, the first Om album: when those records came out nobody gave a shit, instead a lot of posers blamed them as boring and lazy but then praising them later only because they got hyped by some random journalist.
You worked with Steve Albini on this album. How did you guys become involved with Steve.
We simply contact his studio and booked the session. Big Black is one of our main influences, it’s 20 years that we listen to them along with Rapeman and Shellac. Ultimately, we felt that Albini’s extraordinary engineering skills would have been perfect to encompass our vision.
What was the recording process experience like with Steve. And did he offer you any words of wisdom.
Recording at Electrical Audio has been a massive achievement for us and the whole experience was astonishing. Steve’s wisdom and precious advices were addressed to the technical aspects of the recording process, while the artistic decisions were totally up to us, as he consider himself a pure sound engineer, not a producer. In this perspective he has great respect for the band’s music without letting his personal taste interfere, a modus operandi that we totally support.
What is the song-writing dynamic in the band? Is it down to one individual or a group process?
It’s totally a group process: we share the same distorted mindset so writing is always smooth and linear.
M – you deal with all musical instruments. R – you deal with all the vocals. Do you both have an equal say on how each person plays there part in the band. Or do you just focus on your own role within the band.
While we focus primarily on our own instrument, we often exchange suggestion on how this or that part could sound better on our respective roles. It’s an enriching and complementing development as we always struggle to reach the top within every song. We do not tolerate to settle on music.
Which bands or musicians influence you to become a musician? Any particular albums that stand out.
If I (-R-) had not heard Iron Maiden (Killers) when I was 9 I would not be here, same goes later for Naked City (Torture Garden-not a minimalist band, indeed!) Big Black (Songs About Fucking) Fugazi (Red Medicine) Rollins Band (The End Of Silence) Cop Shoot Cop (Ask Questions Later) Morbid Angel (Altars Of Madness) Darkthrone (Transilvanian Hunger) Godflesh (Streetcleaner)…the list goes on but these were the most important bands in my formative years, between elementary and high school: I don’t want to say that they played a decisive role in forging LOA’s sound (being Big Black, Darkthrone and Godflesh the obvious exceptions) instead they gave me an immense perspective on the way I look at music (and even life) as a whole and played a fundamental role for me to became a musician.
For -M- there was Big Black (Atomizer) Thought Industry (Mods Carve The Pig) Unsane (Scattered, Smoothered and Covered) Neurosis (Through Silver In Blood) The Jesus Lizard (Goat) Slint (Tweez) and loads more that I cannot remember.
How important is a physical product (CD/Tape/Vinyl) to you as a band.
It’s primary. The physicity of the product, the artwork and layout, even the credits and the thanks list, everything contributes to the whole vision. It’s mandatory as a band. Thinking about the artwork for Iron Scorn was like writing a song as it involved the same energies.
Which musical formats do you listen to and own the most – CD, Tape, Digital or Vinyl.
We prefer vinyl, but we’ve got more CDs than vinyl: that’s because most albums are recorded in digital and then get transferred to vinyl...it’s a total no sense and in this case the CD sounds obviously better and costs a fraction. Only albums recorded and mastered directly and entirely on analog tape, (like our debut album!) are the real thing and sound really good, the rest is hipster bullshit.
What is your musical setup when playing live or recording in the studio? Do you have a basic setup or advanced setup?
Just a gtr/bass amp+cab combo for guitar, the drum machine and the vocals going through the PA. Vocals are not effected (even on the album), just delay and a little reverb.
What is the scene like in your home town and country. Are there opportunities for you to perform gigs on a regular basis? Or do you travel further afield to perform regularly.
Japanese scene, while fragmented, has always been variegated and extremely creative. It’s an extremely exciting scene, even from a sociological perspective. And it’s not so difficult to play gigs in Tokyo.
So apart from the album release what other plans do you have for in 2015. Anything exciting you can tell us.
We’re already writing new tunes that sounds even more minimal and brutal. I think the next album will be a punk one and probably inspired more by Ramones than Godflesh. The Ramones, what a great band.
Well guys, thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any last words of wisdom for your fans?
LIVE TO HATE. COSMO HAMMER MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE.
Thanks for doing this guys. All the best with your new album.
I want to thank Nathan T. Birk for arranging this interview and Legion Of Andromeda for taking the time out to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ.