Since the first time I heard a band in the 90s that preached Finnish Death Metal, with a heavy and hard sound, at times doomers, and with that arcane idea in their rhythms, I was, am, and will be a lover of that sound made in that part. of the world. So every time Desecresy releases a new album, I'm really looking forward to where Tommi's music will take me next with that Finnish sound of a personal nature, because even though this style has populated the world with new copies of the 90s, Desecresy is always heard as a milestone other than the common denominator as far as Finnish Death Metal is known; being for that reason that this “Unveil in the Abyss” has many interesting things. For this reason, Metallerium interviewed Tommi Grönqvist, the only member of this gang for the release of this new album.
Para leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Desecresy
Metallerium: Welcome Tommi to Metallerium webzine pages. It’s a great pleasure to talk with you about the mighty Desecresy, this new album “Unveil in the Abyss” and other things in the metal world. Starting, me Desecresy is maybe the last band that perfectly preserves that 90s Finnish Death Metal sound without any external agents or mixing with other types of Death Metal. What were your influences from the beginning to form Desecresy? Cuz every album stays sick, heavy, raw, and distinct.
Desecresy: Thank you for the interview! The acts' influences are mostly 90’s death metal in general. It’s very difficult to cherry-pick some influential bands over others and I’m not good at coming up with band references. The label describes it as reminiscent of Bolt Thrower, Incantation, Rippikoulu, Mythic, Abhorrence (fin), Rottrevore, etc. All those bands have certainly influenced Desecresy and perhaps give some idea about where Desecresy dwells musically. Despite the early solid 90s influence I never felt the act is or should be some kind of retro or tribute band, recreating the sound of that era in some kitsch way.
Metallerium: Since the beginning, Desecresy was a unipersonal band in all ways, coz Jarno just recorded the guttural parts for the four first albums. For that, what did you decide to include Jarno at the beginning and not do the guttural parts by yourself? Coz the last three albums (including this “Unveil in the Abyss”) you recorded the voices and all are great!
Desecresy: Thanks! Jarno played bass in Slugathor (pre Desecresy band I was a guitarist of) before that band broke up. He had/has his one-man-band Serpent Ascending where he also does vocals obviously. I didn’t have much experience or interest in doing vocals (I had done some vocals for my own stuff younger, and for some songwriting-recording for the previous band, but I wasn’t happy with my vocals) and I liked to discuss and develop the lyrical themes with Jarno, so he became the vocalist. He left when he moved to a different part of the country and the collaboration and recording became, therefore, more difficult. Around those times I made some rehearsal recording examples for vocal patterns for some songs and came to the conclusion that I could do the vocals too.
Metallerium: One element that I think is sometimes overlooked when it comes to your material is how well the artwork ties into the music. I believe this is something you handle yourself as well? Can you tell us more about the role the artwork plays when it comes to Desecresy? And why are you just selecting one color and skulls into the cover arts?
Desecresy: I’m glad you noticed the interconnection of the music and artwork! Yes, I do the art too and I use it to support and further explore the ideas and atmospheres of the songs. In most albums, the cd booklets' inner pages have images illustrating themes of separate songs. In the “Unveil in the Abyss,” the booklet has a painting of each seven songs in their own spread pages.
As much as the skull is a reminder of our mortality it also has other meanings. The skull has a pure form and it is stripped of any extra layers. It is the true shape hidden behind the mask of a face.
The color schemes started with the first album. The original cover art was a drawing on red paper. I actually still used paper and scissors to do some of the layout work back then. So, the next became blue, then green, etc. I often only use one color for one artwork.
Metallerium: One detail relates to the cover arts and pure curiosity. “Stoic Death” (2015) was the last album with Jarno and the only one that hasn't a skull on the cover art or skeletons. Did this cover change have anything to do with Jarno's departure on subsequent albums? Something like a prediction? Or maybe it was already an announced change?
Desecresy: One of the figures in the cover art (other in the back sheet) has visibly a skull-like head and it could be assumed the others would have too, but that is just speculation. There is no connection between Jarno leaving the band and the cover art, at least conscious to me. It was not being planned in the time of “Stoic Death”.
Metallerium: A detail that for me is inevitable not to ask you is about the skulls, that's why the last question was related to that. But this time I would like to give you the focus on what death means to you? And could we relate the geometric symmetries to the covers with death being the entrance to a new dimension? That’s why we see dead people in our dreams.
Desecresy: The cover art of “Stoic Death” does illustrate a kind of entrance that the figures are gravitated into, I use this allegory to answer the question. What is down on the other side is unknown. The artwork extends to the left (the back sheet of the CD booklet) where you can see another dark entrance from where the figures are coming from, as they are just passing through the odd cyclical reality. Their origin and destination are both a mystery.
In dreams, the dead may forget they are dead. Sometimes we forget too. I once had a dream where I talked to a relative on the phone while I was at his house. The phone connection was very bad and we found it difficult to hear each other. I suddenly realized I have to leave the house because it was sold and doesn’t belong to him anymore. When I woke up, I remembered that the reason the house was sold is that he was dead. No wonder the phone connection was bad.
Metallerium: The first time that I heard “Arches of Entropy” (2010) my brain exploited many particular layers. Then with the next three albums, you maintain the sound heavy, with lower tunes, low guttural stuff, and overwhelming structures that feel doom (like the meaning, not the style.). But in “The Mortal Horizon” (2017) and “Towards Nebulae” (2019) your sound changed completely to raw and savage at some points. Was this a conscious decision? or did the songwriting just naturally shift in this direction?
Desecresy: The guitar tuning got lower on those albums. There are also faster drum parts here and there on “Towards Nebulae” compared to the previous albums. Those were conscious decisions. In “Unveil in the Abyss” the tuning is back to where it was in the first two albums. Also, in the new album there is the usage of faster parts as in “Towards Nebulae”, and more tempo changes than in the older albums.
Metallerium: I’m thinking about one sound in the Death Metal… Coz if I’m right, Desecresy uses microtonal temperament, and just one or two bands used those arrangements in Death Metal sound. Cuz in this temperament, all step sizes 'Large' and 'Small', as well as musical triads are reversed. 'Major' becomes 'Minor', 'Minor' becomes 'Major' via microtonal temperament, teaching a lesson that applies deeply to life itself. Do you think this could be the new path of Death Metal in terms of classic sound?
Desecresy: I don’t understand the terminology, to be honest, but I hope Desecresy does all the things described there. I’m very specific in which scales I use and which I don’t. The songs are there to evoke certain atmospheres and I want all the riffs and leads to add up to that. Any note that does not fit the purpose should not be there. The lead guitars are used somewhat differently compared to a lot of death metal; they are mostly extensions of the riffs instead of just being isolated guitar solos on top of the riffs. I think Desecresy has a unique style in death metal that I think more people are starting to recognize.
Metallerium: You’ve released all of your material on Xtreem Music so far, a label that’s well known for quality underground extreme music. How did you originally connect with them and what’s made Xtreem Music the right home for Desecresy? Have you ever thought about changing the label?
Desecresy: When the first album “Arches of Entropy” was recorded I offered it to Xtreem Music. They had an empty slot in their schedule because of a delay from some band, so Dave gave it a chance. I’m grateful for getting that chance from Xtreem.
Originally, I didn’t even plan to release the songs in “Unveil in the Abyss”. We didn’t renew the contract after “Towards Nebulae” and I went some time without wanting to record an album. I recorded one-off songs and threw them in the abyss of the internet for whoever might stumble on them. I figured that if I wanted to make a physical release someday (and I wasn’t so sure I did) I might do it as a self-release with a very small volume or ask around. I didn’t take it for granted that Xtreem would want to release it. At any point, I haven’t had an issue with Xtreem Music. It always delivered what was promised and has not delayed releases. I never had a reason to look for another label regarding that.
Dave contacted me and after some talks, we agreed to release the new songs, this became “Unveil in the Abyss”. I think working on each song separately worked well this time.
Metallerium: A detail that always comes up in the conversations that many fans and reviewers say. It's that the first album of the band is the best of their entire career, and at the same time, the bands always say that the last album is the best. What is your opinion about this subject? and is this “Unveil in the Abyss” Desecresy's best work to date? Or maybe you're on your way to finding the album that immortalizes the band.
Desecresy: There are many reasons why the first albums of bands are often regarded as the best. Sometimes the first album is the more groundbreaking introduction to the band’s music (talking about the bigger influential bands). The later albums don’t have the same effect anymore. Sometimes the first album has material from several years before the band got to release a full-length and the later albums have songs grafted in a shorter span of time, and maybe bands can run out of steam after the first one. Call me cynical but I think for some fans it can just be a way of saying “I was there listening to this band in the beginning”. They would not admit or even realize that of course. Then others parrot the statement and it becomes the approved opinion.
I could not have an objective opinion about the best Desecresy album and I wouldn’t like to try putting them in order over preference. Then again, I don’t really like to rank albums of other bands either. I’m usually most fed up with the latest album because of just having worked on it and think the next one I’m working on will be the best.
Metallerium: I know that the following question is a common one in many interviews. Have you ever thought about playing live with Desecresy? And if so, who would be the musicians selected to interpret all the live paraphernalia of Desecresy? Cuz for me and other fans would be a placer to see you live.
Desecresy: I haven’t given it a serious thought and I wouldn’t know who I could ask to join if I did. I have always been more interested in the creative aspect of making music, songwriting, and the recording process, and I never really enjoyed the live performance part. I also feel I played enough to live with my previous band Slugathor. I have heard some people say “it isn’t death metal to not play live” and “You are supposed to want to play live”, but I disagree! The only way to stay true to your music is to do what you have passion for and not just do what you are "supposed to”!
Metallerium: We’re very close to the ending of this interview and as I told you. We’re going to speak about another matter within the metal. Do you have time to hear new music? And do you think the death metal is saturated now for the excessive productions around the world?
Desecresy: I often restrain myself from listening to new bands because I’m writing new songs and I don’t want to take influence accidentally. I’m not actively looking for new music to listen but every once in a while, I come across something interesting and enjoyable to listen to. It could be said that death metal is saturated, but I don’t think that is anything to complain about. Nowadays it is quite easy to check out new music without having to buy it first. No one has to keep up with all the new releases coming out right now and there is the possibility to find some gems later if you don’t hear them now.
Metallerium: Well, Tommi, the sad time to arrive at this interview. I hope you enjoyed this one like me and thank you very much for your time. As usually an album from Desecresy is a great one!! Love it in many ways! Any last word to add to your Latin American fans and Metallerium readers?
Desecresy: Cheers to the Metallerium readers! Check out “Unveil in the Abyss”. I have already heard comments that it is better than the previous work. Metalheads in Latin America, keep the flame burning! May your stereo speakers stay loud and may your bands excel! Thanks, and salutes!