Iron Fist Magazine

CRAVEN IDOL INTERVIEW: “IT IS A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR NOT ACTING LIKE A TREND-WHORE OCCULT DEATH METAL BAND”

CRAVEN IDOL by Jack Latimer

Craven Idol return with a crash of thunder after almost four years of deadly silence. Not only do the London Black metallers have a killer new release, ‘Shackles Of Mammon’ (Via Dark Descent on April 14), they will also open for Nifelheim at the Underworld on May 26. All this with a brand new line-up, as guitarist Scourger and drummer Volgard, have been replaced by Obscenitor (also of Crom Dubh) and Heretic Blades.

We entered Greg Chandler’s Priory Studios last year and emerged a week later with around 40 minutes of old school extreme metal swearing by the legacy of the first god.” That’s how frontman Wrath starts his epic story about their latest album, which the band launch with a gig at The Black Heart, Camden, this Saturday April 8.

“Our new album ‘The Shackles Of Mammon’ is more varied and way more aggressive than its predecessor ‘Towards Eschaton’,” he continues. “It is a ‘complete’ album with significantly better song-writing and a rawer, old school production. Greg Chandler, from Esoteric, is a brilliant producer and we spoke to him at length during the run-up to the session, and we had a clear vision for the sound. I had in mind the first wave of extreme metal and bands like Bathory, Master’s Hammer, Sarcófago, Poison (Ger) and Mercyful Fate. These titans created new genres out of thin air, inspired by raw demo tapes of their times and fuelled by the frustration generated by their dreadful living conditions. You can feel in their sound the desire to unleash their fury in the fiercest way possible. These are the sort of bands we aspire to sound more alike.

“As a band, we don’t consider ourselves a black/thrash band,” he adds. “We find genre tags incredibly counter-productive within metal, creating trends and limiting our collective horizons. I myself believe that inspiration is more profound than that. I adore bands the likes Manilla Road, Candlemass, King Diamond as much as I do Gospel Of The Horns, Absu and Sodom. Hence all of this will reflect in my music, and therefore in our new album, regardless of the flavour of the month or genre-tags. I also draw from authors like Vonnegut, Bukowski, Dick, as well as a wide selection of non-metal music. Whilst this will mostly likely mean that we will never appeal to a larger audience, I believe that is a small price to pay for not acting like a trend-whore occult death metal or a noughties NWOBHM band.”

So, what changed for Craven Idol since their last interview for Iron Fist? “A lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same,” Wrath posits. “Four years can be, in the same time, an absurdly short and long period. Line-up wise we have had a bit of turnover, guitarist Scourger and drummer Volgard, have been replaced by Obscenitor (also of Crom Dubh) and Heretic Blades respectively. Dynamic-wise, these changes have ultimately transformed us into a more compact band unit. We do a lot of the writing together in the rehearsal room – usually starting with me bringing structures and riffs to the table. Stickman Heretic Blades has stepped up massively to take over from Scourger as a song-writer.

“Lyrically, I have taken over the reins from the departed Scourger as well, which resulted in a more complete and comprehensive concept. Therefore, in this album everything ties together, from the artwork to the structures and to the lyrics. The cover image [by Daniel Corcuera] displays the demon of avarice, Mammon, holding a famished and succumbed mankind in chains, dangling the measure of his dreams – the currency – over his head, beyond reach. Mammon is a man-made creature, to the same degree as currency, the shackles, and the visions in flame are merely manifestations of the mind. We have wrought our own phantom chains… and they consume us.”

Tonight, the band unleash their album at the Camden venue, The Black Heart, immediately followed by a Craven Idol DJ set at The Devonshire Arms, just down the road. What’s in store for the black heart of London, tonight then?

“Free release shows at the Black Heart have become a bit of a tradition by now,” Wrath says. “It’s a chance to showcase some of our new material to London’s underground and our local fans and friends can purchase ‘The Shackles Of Mammon’ at a reduced rate. The album’s official release date is April 14, so with the launch gig tonight, folks can get the record a week in advance. The week after this show we are heading to Glasgow for an attendance at the North Of The Wall festival on Saturday 15.”

About that sought-after Nifelheim slot, then…

“We are/were contractually obliged not to announce the show until mid-April (due to a clash of interest between two gigs). But yes, we are co-headliners of the show with Nifelheim on May 26, and supporting the Swedish giants alongside our comrades Funeral Throne. It’s fantastic to be invited to support Nifelheim at the London Underworld. Not only we are huge fans since 2005’s Tyrants Festival, when we saw them live for the first time at the very same venue but we also played with them before, at the 2010’s Armageddon Festival, our first show ever. It will be an absolutely devastating night!”

What’s in Craven Idol’s future then?

“What has risen may sink, what has sunk may rise. In addition to the concerts mentioned above, we are releasing our 2010 EP ‘Ethereal Altars’ on tape for the first time via UK tape label Carvetii Productions. The cassette will also include our unreleased cover of Onslaught’s ‘Thermonuclear Devastation’, Poison’s ‘Slave Of The Crucifix’, as well as our 2006 demo.

“We are also writing for our next release. This is extraordinary, considering that ‘The Shackles Of Mammon’ isn’t even out yet and it took us three to four year to release it. I have a feeling this won’t be the case this time! At the time of writing, we have four basic structures in the works. One of these we are looking to include on a split 7”, hopefully through Dark Descent again – a label that we’ll ideally stay on for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, make sure you check out our preview tracks currently only ‘A Ripping Strike’ and ‘The Trudge’ on the No Clean Singing and Deaf Forever sites respectively. Stand strong against the ranging tides!”