We are a four-piece assault squad formed in 2013, from the western shores of Finland, where the city of Turku is acting as our headquarters. Sepulchral Curse is the name, and the individuals behind this abomination are Jaakko Riihimäki (guitars), Kari Kankaanpää (vocals), Niilas Nissilä (bass guitar), and finally me, Tommi Ilmanen (drums). Old school Death Metal with some hints from other forms of music is our main weapon, and total world domination is our goal. At the moment we have recorded only one EP, and played a handful of gigs, but new acts of terror and propaganda are under planning.
In December you had released an EP, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
As hinted above, the music on “A Birth in Death” has its foundations strongly in late 80’s and early 90’s Death Metal, but there surely is some Black and Thrash Metal stylized riffs and melodies to be heard. In other words I would describe the EP as a perfect soundtrack to set somebody on fire, then smash their bones with a hammer and finally feed their remains to a pack of filthy rats. Or maybe one should imagine how it would feel to get hit by a truck?
What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?
It really depends on the fact who has written the lyrics. Kari writes more about the “basic” topics of this genre; death, war and so on. You know, fictional grotesque stories. I think that the lyrics he wrote for this EP are printed in the booklet, and maybe they are somewhere in the internet, so I encourage you to read them to get the idea. I myself have written lyrics for a couple of new songs, and they are based on some morbid visions and fucked up nightmares I’ve seen about desolation of mankind brought by obscure, malevolent deities and beings. As a writer I’m heavily inspired by occult and satanic texts and teachings, as well as by horror. And by horror I do not mean movies or such, but rather all the things that humans fear, find terrifying and grim, or experience as something that shouldn’t exist at all. But as you might know by now, we do not write about partying, drinking and breaking up with girls. We leave those topics to pop stars and other wimps.
What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name “Sepulchral Curse”?
Before our group had a name, or even single rehearsals, we had a couple of songs already written and we really wanted a name that would characterize perfectly our music and sound (to come). At the time I was thinking that I’d like our name to describe something ancient, otherworldly and so evil, that its true name would be forgotten long time ago by the living things on Earth. Something so hard to understand that there are only few words to portray it. Then, somewhere behind the walls of consciousness, came “Sepulchral Curse” and when I presented the name to others they accepted it without hesitating.
What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
I think that I’m not too far from the truth if I say that our best gig was here in our home town in May 2014, when we were playing at this small bar Portti. The atmosphere was so intense and full of energy that you were almost able to feel it on your skin. Our playing was sharp, yet aggressive, and the audience shared our madness without questioning. It was just perfect. Our stage performance in general is kind of simple; no props, banners, light shows, trampolines (fuck you Dragonforce!) or visuals behind our backs. Just violent bursts energy and dedication, and fair amount of sweat. Although I have to admit that I’m very fascinated about the idea to experiment with some abstract visuals or videos and to combine those with our music. Something to consider in the future!
Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Touring must wait, but some random single shows are coming. Let us talk about that tour in the future when there are more people aware of us and more material released!
The EP was released on Chaos and Hell Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
They are a small label from Greece, founded in 2012, “A Birth in Death” being the seventh release by them. The cooperation between us is working nicely and everything has gone as planned. They do their job with passion, and deserve to be noticed by all true metal-maniacs.
On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of Death Metal?
Oh hell… I think that Kari could be able to give you a better answer considering the topic. But as far as I now (or think I know) the most of our fans come from central Europe or South-America. But generally speaking the feedback has been positive all around the globe. Only truly negative comments have been spoken our fellow countrymen, hah. But what can you do; most of the people here only like to listen “metal” played in radio, which in reality is just bad pop music disguised by distorted guitars and harsh vocals.
What is going on with some of the other bands these days that some of the band members are a part off?
Jaakko isn’t playing in other bands right now. Kari is doing vocals in a Death/Doom Metal band called Solothus, and I think that they are focusing on new material at this very moment. I myself have this solo project; Gambanteinn, a frantic piece of Black/Thrash Metal. This small label, Fettered Redwoods, is releasing Gambanteinn’s debut EP as a cassette in the near future, so watch out for that! I have also this other project, which Niilas is participating too, but I think it’s better to talk about that when we have recorded something.
When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We are actually composing and rehearsing new material for a full length! Currently we have two complete songs, and two under construction. If all goes as planned, nothing awful comes across and the stars are aligned right, then the full length should come out at the end of this year. At the moment it seems that we are expanding out from the pen of old school-sound. Of course our musical basis is there, but there sure are more elements from other genres in the new compositions. I think that there are more influences from classical Scandinavian Black Metal-albums. These four new pieces we have at our hands are much darker and somehow introvert, so to speak. They feel somehow more intimate than the older songs. Genereally speaking it is hard (of not impossible) to foretell where our musical path is going when more songs are made, but I’m pretty sure that the listener will always able to tell that “Yeah, this sure is Sepulchral Curse”. You know, we have our sound and we are not going to lose it.
What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I think that nowadays we do not wittingly take influences from the music we are listening, compared to that how the composing process worked when we young. Then you would listen to a band and think “This is something I want to do or try to do”. But today it is something that happens at our sub-conscious levels; you just grab your instrument, play and almost accidentally create something. I know that this is a cliché, but what can you do? It is the truth. When Jaakko and Kari were talking about forming this band, they talked that they’d like to do something that sounds old school Death Metal, something like Autopsy, Dismember and Nunslaughter have done, but that’s about it when we are talking about bands that have influenced us in a direct way. I’m not sure what music the other guys are listening to these days, expect that Jaakko (and me too!) likes Perturbator very much, hah. I have myself listened to bands and artists like …and Oceans, Havoc Unit, King Dude, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Kauan, Hans Zimmer, Chelsea Wolfe and Svartidauði. And of course Nobuo Uematsu, who is my all-time favorite composer ever.
How could you describe your views on occultism?
This is a topic I can’t talk about on behalf of others, but something that I can almost definitely say is that we do not share our views or believe in same things. Let’s just say that I have my own occult/spiritual dogmas and perspectives on things, and all you need to know about them is to be found in the music and lyrics I make.
What are some of your non musical interests?
As said before, all kinds of occult/satanic/spiritual texts and writings, horror literature and macabre poetry. I’m also a big fan of old horror/gore/exploitation films! Psychology is a topic I’m interested in; especially all the studies considering the behavior and mindset of murderers, psychopaths, sadists and rapists. It is interesting how people act when they are totally fucked up. That and the writings about why humans experience fear, hate and other extreme emotions are very fascinating. Quality rum and whiskey is also more than fine with me, hah!
Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?