Labyrinth Of Abyss
Labyrinth of Abyss. A name which can suggest many things, but actually means only one thing: Old-School Black Metal with a Thrash edge from the heart of Transylvania. Take Labyrinth as a blend of thrashy riffs, and then take Abyss as the void of Black Metal, as the presence of the absolute darkness and combine these two connotations. What results is the expression of a unique and quite old Transylvanian Black Metal band, which is probably the first one of his kind to come from this haunted region. Drummer Kerti Jozsef was our man to answer all the questions which have risen with the release of their new/old album, The Cult of Turul Pride.
Hail Joco! First, please introduce Labyrinth of Abyss to us and tell us when the band was formed, by who and why. Where the band’s name - Labyrinth of Abyss - came from?
The band was formed in March 1999, we had a lot of line-up changes, nowadays I’m the only former member who is still in the band, our guitarist László Zsolt joined the band in May 1999, and our vocalist Kicsi Sándor in September 2000. We recorded our first demo “Transylvanian Abyss” (contains 4 songs in necro thrash/black style) in March 2000, but this demo was released only in April 2001 by a small Hungarian label: Turul Productions, and later on CD-R format (300 copies) by the Transylvanian Mirgilus Siculorum with a different cover and lay-out. In December 2002 came out our second stuff “Rehearsal Promo 2002” (2 songs), which was released by the Hungarian Kárpátia Productions in only 100 hand-numbered pieces. This was a rehearsal tape with a raw and primitive sounding and besides that a step further, the style hadn’t changed so much but it was more individual and if I can say more aggressive. Now both releases are sold-out and I don’t know if they will be ever re-pressed, at least the promo will never be out again, the demo maybe. We recorded our first album between 2003-2004, and in the same year came out at the Hungarian label Kárpátia Productions on tape format in only 333 pieces. We formed the band because we were very deep into black metal, this was and is still the main reason why the band after 8 years is still alive. On the other side we wanted to do something special, something that you can’t hear often from black metal bands. The band’s name came from our vocalist, Kicsi Sándor, it has a multiple meaning, for me it’s something very deep, spiritual.
How did you get in touch with Kárpátia Productions? I know that there were some problems with Nádudvari Zoltán, the "brain" of the label, can you tell us something about this?
I’ve met Zoltán Nádudvari in 2000, when he got in touch with me and the band. At the beginning he was a serious assistant of the band, and in spite of what happened, we are grateful to him and his label. Without him we won’t be well-known, but it’s true, that we could’ve been more famous without his „elitism”.
The main cause of the break-up was that our way of thinking was different. The distance played its role too, we couldn’t collaborate so well, partly because of us, partly of objective causes. The things he spreads about us in the undergroud, that we are a black metal „hobby band” is not true. People, who know us, knows our mentality. The limit was when he tried to make us to pay our own album: we undertook, that we’ll submit the album in Romania and we’ll send the returns subsequently. In spite of this he wanted us to pay the albums before we’ve sold them. This is a thing that has no example in the underground. It is unacceptable and not allowed for a high leveled label to do these kind of things.
Another problem was the fact that they published one of our tracks on a Hungarian NS compilation without asking us, and they didn’t even sent us a copy. If this is the strategy of the Kárpátia Prod., we don’t really need this. At least it was a good lesson for us, we’ve learned of this…
You released an EP at Turul Prod, which later was re-released by Mirgilus Siculorum in CD-R format. Who's idea was the re-release? Why did you feel it necessary to re-release this EP?
To edit again the demo, was the idea of Mirgilus Siculorum Records, naturally the label and the band was thinking about re-editing the demo, because it is a rare stuff, and the first edition appeared in a very low number. As I know, this demo is not available, but we’d like to release it again, I don’t know yet exactly when, but it’s planned.
Do you consider Labyrinth of Abyss the first Transylvanian Black Metal band?
As I know, we were, and still are the one and only Hungarian black-metal band in Transylvania, and of course Siculicidium, and we are proud of it. It may be, that my answer can be refutable, but I don’t know about any bands like these before us.
Does it have a special feeling to be part of a Transylvanian Black Metal band?
I can remember of a funny story connecting to this question, because our first demo, the „Transylvanian Abyss” got to a Russian webzine, and when the jurnalist wrote the prospects said, that the „Transylvanian feeling” slogen is quite funny, but he didn’t know that we really are Transylvanians. Returning to the question, I have to repeat myself: we are proud of being a Transylvanian black metal band, and only a Transylvanian band could give the feeling and proudness of this place. I know, that there were many bands (like Carpathian Forest or Wallachia) who tried to give back this feeling, but we can’t compare these bands with ours. I’ve already mentioned, that every band should remain at his own roots, or else they become ridiculous.
You played live several times, tell me about these live performances. Were you satisfied? What about the audience?
To tell you the truth, we haven’t really had too much concerts, because of many things, and we haven’t really been that kind of band, who jumps on every possibility to play in public and advertise themselves. But this has its good side, because every appearance was special, had its own magic, and I hope not only for us, but also for the public. I am proud of one of our appearances, when we were only 17-18 years old, the fact, that we could give such a shocking and extreme, but innovative concert. At times, we used to paint ourselves, but slowly occurred, because it became a cliché, that’s also why we took out the reversed cross from our logo. Of course the public wasn’t too big, but who were there, won’t forget what they saw and heard.
When was the last time you played live? When will you play live again?
The last time we played live was in September 2002 (!) in Székelyudvarhely, we had a lot of problems why we didn’t play in the last years, but I hope that we will be able to play live again this year, I don’t know yet when exactly, but I’m sure we will have our first live act this year after a long absence from the stage.
Your album “The Cult of Turul Pride” contains the riff of Megadeth's Symphony of Destruction. What can you tell us about this?
When we made the track “From the Abyss we have Returned” we didn’t realized that the riff was almost similar to the Megadeth riff, it wasn’t intentional, we saw this Megadeth thing in the reviews, but I think that it’s okay if it sounds good.
The artwork of the re-release is a little primitive with a demo feeling. Why didn't you want to make a more professional cover for this release?
I don’t agree with this, I am totally satisfied with the cover, I think that this cover totally suits to the album, and it’s not a demo-level. And the other thing is, that I think the music is more important, we aren’t Cradle of Filth, to make a super-designed cover, make some teenagers buy it, just because it’s extreme and looks nice. Important is, that things you can see on the cover, has its meaning.
The lyrics are not included in the booklet of the Cult of Turul Pride, please explain us why and what are the lyrics about.
Our vocalist didn’t want the lyrics to appear in the booklet, but if someone is interested, they appear on our website. Our lyrics include more subjects, it presents our philosophy, anti-christianism and different subjects from history. A part of these lyrics are personal, but people who know us, knows the background of it too.
You are a session member of Siculicidium, also a Transylvanian Black Metal band. How did you get in touch with them? Do you like their music? Have you enjoyed playing their songs?
I know the members of Siculicidium for a couple of years, they are my good friends, they helped our band from the beginning. Naturally I like their music, besides I wouldn’t help them. Have to admit, that I was a bit surprised, when they asked me to play on their “Lélekösvény - Soulpath” album, but I did it gladly. I really liked to play with Siculicidium, but unfortunately because of lack of time, the drum-parts didn’t become as I expected.
I'm curious about your philosophy concerning life and death, and of course about the ethnical problems here in Romania.
I've never really liked politics, but I can't allow myself being passive neither. In ethnical questions, I think this is a complex problem, I don't have to mention, that Romanians are ignoring the rights of minorities, and then they are explaining to the west, and everything remains the same. I think, the negative effects of communism still have an influence on the thinking of people, maybe after a couple of years people could change their way of thinking. I have to admit, that it really bothers me, when we got the kind of letters containing "courage, because we're coming and expatriating Romanians" etc. Those who are thinking like this, have no idea about the situation here, and I'm really getting bored of this revisionism, it's really good to hope, but it's clear that we don't really have the possibility to reunite, and if we're thinking rational, I don't believe in autonomy neither.
About the first part of the question: we could talk about this a lot, it'll be really hard to explain this shortly. I've been thinking what the meaning of life may be, I have minutes when I feel this it's really worth living, but sometimes I'm thinking of the worthless side of it. I think that we are just a moment in this whole universe, a very small part of it. I think, it's only worth living, if you leave something for the posterity, create something that remains. In this point of view I say that we can understand the death of Jon Notveidt, he said that he got everything in his life, he thought that after all of this he had enough of it. Besides, I am not religious, I don't believe in reincarnation, live after death, neither in resurrection. It's hard to talk about what we didn't lived through yet, but I imagine that death must be something that doesn't have an end, an entire darkness what lasts forever. Couple used to say that there is only one thing that is for sure, and that's death. I agree with this.
The last album appeared in 2004 (re-released in 2007 on CD ). Are you working on some new material? Can you give us some clues about it?
We have a couple of new tracks, actually three, but it will be too early to tell you the titles, these aren't ready for the studio yet, but I hope it will be for summer. I think that they are a bit more diversified, but you can also find the typical LOA characteristics. Related to the new material, we don't know yet, if we'll make an album or a single, but we're planning a split too.
Which are your favorite bands? Are you listening to Black Metal?
I'm listening to black metal, naturally, but I like many other styles too, like thrash, death, doom, and sometimes I listen to "non-metal" things when I'm at a kind of mood. I'd like to mention some bands which influenced me and our band too: Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Bathory, Darkthrone, Judas Iscariot, old Mayhem, Tormentor, Burzum, some of Carpathian Forest, Possessed, Sodom, Slayer, old Sepultura, Desaster, etc.
Have you ever played in other bands besides Labyrinth of Abyss and Siculicidium?
I've played in many bands, my first band called Calamity which changed later to Astaroth - this was also a black metal band, mainly the norse style of it, we had a couple of concerts, but I left them in 1999 and later they split-up. My other band was Oblivion, I was a member of this band from 1998 to 2000 until their breaking. We played a kind of old school heavy metal, we had concerts too and we made a demo.
Which is in your opinion the best Romanian metal band?
Technically the best bands for me are Taine and Psycho Symphony, but Negura Bunget is very good too, Korruption was good at times. Besides I think it's very sad, that there are only a few good metal bands in Romania. Well, it has its own causes, and I haven't really discovered much advance related to this.
Do you consider Labyrinth of Abyss a good band?
I can give only a subjective answer: yes, I think we are a good band, because we don't play popular kind of stuff and it's hard to tell about us that they heard it somewhere. If people wouldn't consider us a good band, probably we wouldn't exist at all, it wouldn't make any sense to continue. In a technical point of view, I think that there’s room for development.
Why are there so much guitar solos in your music?
This is an interesting question, it should have been asked from our guitar player, but I will try to give an acceptable answer. I know that people were surprised, when the album appeared, because including one, there are many longer solos, but I think that this is a positive thing, because without it, the music would be too “empty”, besides these solos are very good, we heard some good opinions about it, that the guitar player is very talented, and we should take advantage of the opportunity. It’s not a typical black metal feature to have such long solos, and this is why we aren’t a typical black metal band.
Are you satisfied with your new label Sun & Moon Records?
We are absolutely satisfied with the mentality of the members of our new label, we have a really good relationship, we know each other and we are friends for a long time. We will work together in the future because our collaboration is very promising, and absolutely having trust in each other. I don’t think that we will change the label. This is a small label, it started recently, but it’s developing and the work of the people behind it is very laudable.
Do you consider your band a nationalist one? Do you like nationalist or NS music?
This band has nothing to do with National Socialism. I know that the cover was a bit delusive, or some of our tracks, but I’d like to stress, that we are far from this mentality. If we look deep into it, we can observe a little nationalism but that is necessary, because I think everybody has a bit of this feeling. To tell you the truth, I’m not really a fan of NS, but sometimes I listen some of these bands, like Absurd, Aryan Blood, etc.
If you could chose between Hungary and Romania where would you like to live? Would you stay here?
This has no doubt, naturally I would like to stay at home in the future. I know that Romania is not a Paradise, but I don’t think that I would go elsewhere. I can’t tell you what the future brings, but if it’s my choice, I will stay here.
Please close the interview, thank you for the answers, the last words are yours.
Thank You for the interview and the possibility, I hope you’ll find my answers satisfying. I’d like to take the chance and give thanks for the people who had faith in us, and helped us, it meant really much, without them we wouldn’t be where we are. If somebody would like to get in touch with us, he or she can write us to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our web page isn’t working yet, but we’ll manage it as soon as possible. Have faith in the true underground movement and don’t let the flame of true black-metal to burn out!