Tag Archives: Germany

Interview with Robert Brockmann (Naturmacht Productions)

Robert is a musician and a label owner I met through promoting my own band, and we starting talking about various things, life in general, and found we have much in common. Having done a lot of work in the Metal underground releasing many quality records, and playing in a few interesting bands himself, I wanted to chat with him a bit more.

Hello Robert, how has the autumn started for you in Germany? Keeping busy with your studies, label and bands I’m sure?

Hi Antti, autumn is nice so far, I love this season very much! Especially the foggy and rainy days. Aye being busy as always, making decisions and so on. But life is good.

Your label has released a lot of quality albums in a few years, and you also have a side label specialising in more Doomier stuff. Is this really as time-consuming as one might imagine? Do you ever regret taking too much projects into your hands, or do you deal with releases one at a time?

Yes label work is demanding very much time, at least if you want to do it right and professionally. Already the promotion is an intensive job as you nowadays must be all the time available, online and active at social media platforms. Luckily the behind the scene stuff is now already operating well and effective, so it is not stressful at least. Sometimes I wonder if I got too much, but then also many projects or bands just stop to work and everything works out anyway. But at the moment I am not really signing any new bands at all, especially not black metal, as I got enough for now in this genre. And basically I set dates when a band is ready with the material, so its releasing piece by piece with 2 release max per date.

Your releases always have a very classy, atmospheric and professional visual side. How important do you see the visual aesthetics of a band in comparison with the music itself? Does all the visual planning come easily out of you or do you spend a lot of time with it?

Well it goes mostly easily from hand as the bands deliver always great visual art too, so putting everything together is not hard at all. The artwork is as essential as the music itself. Music and artwork are one at the end and must merge and catch the attention of the customers of course. Especially nowadays with those masses of bands and labels.

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As physical records don’t sell much these days, I imagine you focus more on quality than quantity when deciding about pressings etc. How important do you see digital sharing and perhaps even exclusively digital releases compared to physical releases?

I like CDs and always will and NP/RWE will always be a CD Label, for me CD is what for many is Vinyl nowadays. Digital sharing is very important though. Today the customers want to know what they buy. I think very less do blind shopping these days just because of a great cover or something. And for us labels it is a very cheap and easy way to earn money. I can not understand the whining of many labels. The market is changing aye, but you got nearly zero costs with digital stuff, no shipping and so on. And yet people will also buy physical stuff in the future. At the moment digital is new and exciting, but it can not replace a solid physical product, which you can touch and where you can browse through the booklet or simply watch the cover art while listening. And the people will recognise that. It is the same with books. First they feared people would switch to e-books, now the book market is again growing. Because it is not the same and you can not fill shelfs with e-books or digital releases. To sum it up, for me digital releases are a nice addition and they are practical for compilations and stuff but it is not replacing the CD in any way.

Your own band Lebensnacht has a very primitive yet beautiful nineties Black Metal style approach to melancholic visions of life, death and nature. I’m guessing it’s not hard for you to find inspiration for your art in you surroundings? Do you see yourself as a melancholic and perhaps even pessimistic person, or is this style of music a way of releasing negative energies from your consciousness?

An interesting question! I am melancholic indeed. For me melancholy is one of the purest and greatest emotions a human can have, it is so deep and somehow rooted, you as a Finn probably know what I mean. Inspiration is easy to find indeed, also the negative ones of course, but I am a realist rather than pessimist and normally a happy person. I say, everything has two sides and so also good ones. You can take from every shit thing also a good one, especially if you think in bigger terms than just the here and now. Related to that: Where is light is also darkness. The dark things in our universe always attracted me as we live in the light and tend to shut down the darkness and bad feelings. But I think they are as important as the nice things. One needs the other and you can just fully enjoy and understand life if you face all of them.

You’ve done this project for a few years now, and new album is coming out soon. Is this project something you devote a lot of time to, compared to other activities in your life?

Well, it is a big part and it is my musical baby, but I am a very balanced person and I try to balance also my hobbies and general activities, of which I got much, because too much is never good in anything.

Lebensnacht features titles in Finnish, as you share your life with a Finnish girl. How do the Finnish and German personalities meet? Do you share your individual art together in the form of mutual projects?

My lady is more the Death Metal, melodic Metal type (no surprise) but she also likes Black Metal, but not so much the Lebensnacht style unfortunately. But I am planning to “use” her as a guest singer on a future release with Finnish lyrics of course. I also learn Finnish now, so maybe in 5 years I can actually write Finnish lyrics myself.

You also play in the band Sado Sathanas, which has a more Satanic and Occult approach to Black Metal. How do you see these bands compared to each other? How has the response been so far regarding the new material?

They are both atmospheric black metal bands with an old school touch, but from the lyrical concept Lebensnacht deals with Nature mostly and Sado Sathanas with Occult and mystic things. I think they are bot unique in their own way. Sado Sathanas is more complex though. The response is very positive so far, also at the live gigs. I think we are able to deliver the music from the album one to one to the stage and the people like the mix between modern atmospheric and old school Black Metal.

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You’ve also played live with a few bands. Do you enjoy the live performances, or playing at a rehearsal place, or do you prefer working on you own?

Actually Sado Sathanas is my first live band. I come from the village where I was the only metal guy and in my school we were like 3. So making a band was not really possible as we also had different tastes. I like both, solo project and the band experience, especially if you have great guys around you like at Sado Sathanas and playing live is really fun once you get used to be stared by people. It has its very own magic.

Germany as a country has a lot of people and bands. Are there clearly certain perhaps geographically or ideologically formed scenes in Germany, whom pretty much stick to themselves, or is the spirit of underground Metal strong and soldiery there?

Hard to say for whole Germany from my side. I just know the local “scene” which is not very strong and more parted geographically than “ideologically”. You do have some areas where there is more Black Metal and then others with more Death Metal but at the end it is mixed and kind of open. We have quite much festivals in our county Saxony with mixed genres and with the clubs it is the same. But at the end I am not really a member of any scene or group here. At the end I have more global connections than local because of the label.

Are you into other styles of music besides Metal? Were you always an metal kid, since a child, or did this come about later in your teens?

Nope, I am or better was a classical Metal teen. Started with Linkin Park when I was 15. Before I listened to everything coming in the radio, also Techno and stuff. But I still listen to other music like Classic, Rock, Medieval music and Folk, also all this cool psychedelic stuff like Chelsea Wolf or Darkher is something I like. Tenhi is one of the best bands I know. When it is dark, melancholic and deep it is something for me.

What can you tell me about your views on spirituality and these typical themes in Black Metal such as Satanism and Occultism? Do they serve you only as philosophical metaphors, or is there something deeper there for you in you personal daily life?

Pretty much the first when it comes to Occultism and Satanism. In fact, I am not a big fan of super true Satanism. Actually I do not like extreme things in any way. I find those “true” satanists as ridiculous as Islamists for example, or Nazis. But I love occult stuff as mentioned above, it is also part of this universe. But really deep spirituality I feel when I am alone in the nature, that is why I love Finland for example so much. There I feel free and being really a part of something big and amazing. Hard to describe but my soul connects with everything around me then. A great and intensive feeling. And I do not feel like this in cities or in urban areas at all.

Thanks for this interview my friend! What are your future plans?

I really thank you buddy. Excellent questions you asked! Well, making a fourth Lebensnacht -album, a third Sado Sathanas -album, and grow with the label and continue my way of balance and real life.

All the best for your zine!

Naturmacht Productions

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Drowned – Idola Specus

(Sepulchral Voice Records, 2014)

Drowned is an old band, over 20 years old. Their discography is filled with demos, one Ep, and now this first full-length. The guitarist, who is an ex-guitarist of Necros Christos, has been in the band since the beginning (the other two members are also in the band Essenz among other things). The band used to have Mors Dalos Ra of Necros Christos, and music wise these two bands have had of course (because of these two members) some things in common. These two bands now also share the same label Sepulchral Voice Records, which has some similar sounding bands in their ranks, although they all have an atmosphere of their own, and Drowned is also something original in it’s own way.

The album starts with a calm ominous intro-like song “Die Niederen Weihen” (reminiscent of the latest Ruins Of Beverast album with it’s spoken but growling vocals, which may or may not have something to do with the vocalist and bassist being also a live member of Ruins Of Beverast), and as the song continues in a very slow manner, this is what we might expect the album to be at first, but we soon find ourselves to be mistaken. As the drums change gradually to faster beatings in the second song “Antiprism”, we are reminded of stuff like early Obituary with it’s slower and faster changes, but Drowned has a lot more tricks up their sleeve.

The album continues in completely gripping and interesting ways, keeping the listener hooked at all times. Sometimes you get the feeling you are in Florida in the early nineties, sometimes you are taken to Sweden of the same era, but always in a Drowned way. The songs are filled with amazing riffs throughout the album, never going too fast to sound like anything else than pure fucken old-school death metal, but never going slow enough to make us feel wanting a change in the parts. Perfect symbioses.

The tremolo-like guitars mix with the damps and the slower strokes fantastically, and the technical abilities of the guitarist are shown in many parts without being too performing. Just the right amount of technicality and groovy deathly doom. Also the bass-performance is of magnificent quality. The drummer does his job just as well as the guitarist and bassist, staying always in the concept of the music style, but keeping things interesting with small details here and there. The vocals are done kinda in the same manner as in Necros Christos, sounding spoken like more than loud growls, with just the right amount of reverb and echo.

The overall sound of the album is great, not too murky and not too clear. Drowned does not sound low-fi enough to be in the deep underground, or too produced to sound boring in that sense.

The music doesn’t venture anywhere outside the realm of death metal at any point, but using only this formula, Drowned manage to sound amazingly fresh, intriguing and multifaceted. This album is a great example of music being preformed in the limits of a particular music style but showing you something new at every turn. The album has so much material in it, it keeps us interested for numerous listens ahead.

If you are looking for the death metal album that made you worship this style of music in the early nineties, or if you just wanna find out what the hell is all this fuzz about old-school death fucking metal, this album will give you exactly that, with updated production.

Only Death Is Real.

9/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

Drowned

Sepulchral Voice Records