Saturday, February 1, 2020


Hey brutalbangers,
some months ago I reviewed "Grünberger", the third album of this Polish horde called Warfist. Thrilled a lot by their album, not only I put them into the first episode of "Come on, burn my ears!" (the Timpani allo Spiedo's playlist) but I decided to interview them through their historical singer/guitarplayer Mihu. Ok, I waited for some months to receive his answers but you'll understand already that all this wait has been widely rewarded. In fact, he is a very talkative man, so you'll read a lot of interesting things, included real history lessons about his town, the Polish metal scene and so on.


Hail! How you doing? Let’s start this long interview!

Hi man! I’m fine. Let’s do this.

You play a black/thrash metal (that sounds thrasher than black) able to be very classic but also creative enough and, in addition, you aren’t so obsessed with the pure speed since some of your songs are more focused on the mid-tempos, instead of many black/thrash metal bands that are fast, fast and only fast. What do you think about what I said now? For you, what are the main features that strongly characterizes your sound in comparison with the other black/thrash metal bands out there?

Thanks! I’m really glad to hear that.
Well, we mainly focus on keeping the songs diversified. The most important thing is not to get bored with your music and that demands keeping it fresh. We have been labeled as a blackened thrash metal band, but I think that in time our music has evolved into becoming just… metal. We like to mix all styles of metal as long as they click together. There’s no use in limiting yourself. I see no problem in putting heavy or death metal riffs in one song with black or thrash metal riffs. Who the fuck says I can’t do that? So, I think that this might be a feature that distinct us from other black/thrash metal bands, although who am I to say that. People who listen to our stuff probably have their own opinion on this topic and it’s better to ask them such questions.

Usually, the black/thrash metal bands talks about Satanic topics but, at the contrary, you decided with “Grünberger” to do a concept-album about some bloody events happened in your local area. Why? And what were the sources you used for the historical documentation? Do you want to introduces us your friend Igor Myszkiewicz, that helped you to build this concept-album?

I will start from the end.
We’ve known Igor for many years. Actually, he’s the author of the album cover artwork of our debut full-length. He works in the local museum and is a total freak when it comes to the local history. He knows so many amazing and badass stories about Zielona Góra that cannot be found in any mainstream books. One day I decided to visit him, chat about some gruesome bits from Zielona Góra/Grünberg history and basically that’s how the topics from “Grünberger” came to be.
Of course, the lyrics are not 100% accurate reflection of historical facts. They’re sort of an adaptation. I’ve been a fan of history since I can remember and when I was in my twenties, I started to be more interested in history of Zielona Góra. I discovered that there are many interesting and dark stories related to my town, and at some point I thought: “damn, this would be an awesome inspiration for metal lyrics”.
The idea of making a concept album about the history of Zielona Góra came to me shortly after recording the debut full-length. One of the songs there, “1665 – the Last Pyre” was about witch trials held in Grünberg, so I thought, why not dig a little deeper and find more stories suitable for the album? However, we already started working on some songs for “Metal to the Bone” and I decided that it’s for the best that the “Grünberger” topic will wait and I will prepare myself better for constructing more intense lyrics. In my opinion it’s better to write about historical events rather than about satanic topics because in many cases the former are far more extreme, and on the top of that, they actually happened.

What do you think about Satanism? Do you think that Satan is real or only a symbol/metaphor?

I don’t believe there’s a god, so I don’t believe there’s a satan. For me it’s just a symbol of freedom, walking against the wind, having your own opinion and living the life you want to live it and not the way the others want you to live it. It’s basically everything opposite to all institutionalized forms of religion, which have a step by step tutorial how to live your life for you. And if you disobey this tutorial, you’re gonna suffer for eternity. Opposite to that, Satan is your own mind. Even in the Bible, Lucifer disobeys God, because he’s independent in his thought. I mean, he’s sort of the archetype of a rebel, although slightly ripped of from the Prometheus myth, hahaha! Anyway, Satan, Lucifer, devil or whatever you call it, is just a symbol of independence. That’s how I treat it. I also try to live an independent life, but I wouldn’t call myself a Satanist. I just follow my instincts, my knowledge and learn from my experiences.

Do you want to describe the lyrics of every song of “Grünberger”? In particular, I would like to know more about “Black Army” and “Slay, Swive and Devour”. For example, what is the name of the serial killer that you mention in this last track?

Whoa, do you really have that much time? Hahaha! Ok, here I go.
“Black Army” is about the attack of the Hungarian army of mercenaries on Zielona Góra. They were called the Black Army because of the colors they were wearing. There are two versions of this attack. One is that duke John the Mad, the ruler of Zielona Góra at that time, burned the castle so that the Army had nothing to attack and paid them money to leave the townsmen be. The other version, more interesting in metal lyrics regards, is that the Black Army just went berserk, entered the town, killed and raped everything in sight and burned the castle themselves.
“The Chapel of Death” is a very interesting story about the black plague. After one hundred townsmen survived the plague by hiding on a hill in the outskirts of the town, they built a chapel as a token of gratitude for god. A few years later another wave of the plague haunted Zielona Góra and the townsmen remembered the story about the hill, so they hid in the chapel and decided to wait until the plague is gone. However, this time they all died in the chapel. 
“Feasting on Dead Bodies” is also about the Black Plague, or about the things happening in Zielona Góra when the plague was over. There was a huge shortage of food. So huge, that cannibalism became pretty common. People were eating cadavers of the deceased townsmen, but also killed the living in order to eat them.
“The Burning Flames of Ignorance” is about religious wars that were pretty common in Grünberg. Funny thing is that they were among Christians – catholics and protestants. In 16th and 17th century the power over the city very often went from protestants to catholics and vice versa. As far as protestants were ok with other beliefs when they were in power, catholics were fighting them severely. One of their methods was to burn protestant books. So, basically like nazis in the 1930s or early Christians in ancient Rome.
“Slay, Swive and Devour” is about Michael Hermann, who was a serial killer in Grünberg. He lived in the break of 16th and 17th century. He admitted killing 8 people – 4 men and 4 women. But killing was not enough for that dude. He would also fuck his female victims and eat all of his victims after taking their lives.
“The Punishment” is linked to “Slay…” because it’s about Hermann’s execution.
The next one is “Death by the Cleansing Fire” and it’s about witch trials. They lasted pretty long in Grünberg. Most of the women sentenced to death in these trials were innocent. They were mainly poor, disabled or lonely and served as a scapegoat for some reasons.
“Grünberger (Drinking with the Devil)” is about the wine produced in Grünberg. Right now Zielona Góra is famous for its wine, but before the 19th century it was so horrible that barely anybody wanted to drink it. There was even a legend that vignerons would summon the devil to have somebody to drink the wine with. In many cases, the devil couldn’t endure these libations and went back to hell extremely drunk.
“March of Death” is about one of the largest death marches that happened at the end of World War II. In Zielona Góra there was a branch of Gross Rosen labor camp. It was a camp for women. At the end of January 1945, knowing that the Red Army is near, the nazis decided to leave the camp along with the prisoners. A few thousand women went on this march that lasted a few months in severe winter. Most of them had died.
And the final song is “Atrocious Savior” and it’s about the Red Army entering Zielona Góra after the war. They entered the town without shooting a bullet, but afterwards there was a lot of raping, killing of the civilians and things like that.

Are there particular reasons behind your decision to use the German language in “Death by the Cleansing Fire”? Do you speak also in German?

Not very fluently. I used to learn German in elementary school and I still remember the basics, but I haven’t been using the language much since then.
The reason behind a German excerpt in “Death by the Cleansing Fire” is simple. In 17th century Zielona Góra, or back then Grünberg, was German. And the fragment in German is an excerpt of an authentic witch trial sentence.
Please tell us something about the lyric video that you made for “Death by the Cleansing Fire”. Why did you choose just this song for the video? And, in the future, do you think to make also a more classic promotional video for your album?

We chose this song because the people who had a chance to listen to the entire stuff before the release said that this is one of the strongest songs we’ve ever did. Due to the fact that we like all songs from “Grünberger” very much and it was difficult for us to choose just one, we decided to go with the vox populi. We wanted to have some footage from witch trials in that video and together with Greg of Godz Ov War we decided that we will use the fragments from an old horror movie from 1960s, “The City of the Dead.” I think it came out awesome.
We’ve been thinking about making a video for the title track, but we will see what future will bring. We don’t want to make a video just for the sake of making it. If we decide to do that, it has to be something top notch.

What do you tell about the cover artwork of “Grünberger”? What exactly represents it?

The guy that you see sitting at the hill on a pile of skulls is Bacchus. He’s an ancient Roman god of wine and lust. Basically an equivalent of the Greek Dionisos. He’s the patron of Zielona Góra due to the wine producing traditions. Down in the valley is the burning town of Zielona Góra/Grünberg. It used to be on fire many times, especially in the 17th century. The cover artwork just represent the gruesome periods of the town’s history.

“Grünberger” is your second album released by Godz ov War Productions, so I imagine that your relationship with this amazing label is strong. But how was born this relationship with it?

Yeah, I can only say positive things about our cooperation with Godz Ov War. We’ve known each other with Greg for many years. After having recorded “Metal to the Bone” we were looking for a label. GOW was one of our first choices, but at that time Greg said that his schedule was booked for one year ahead. It took us many months to find some other label. There were a few offers – some of them serious, some of them less serious. Eventually, nothing came out from that, so I decided to contact Greg again. He said that it was still quite tough with some space in his schedule, but he also asked me to send the stuff over so he could have a listen. After a few hours he messaged me back asking what are our conditions regarding the release of the album. That’s basically how the cooperation started. We’re very happy about the way it has been developing and we hope it will continue in the future.

I read that Nechrist, once your bassplayer for the live gigs, is now into the official line-up of Warfist. Why did you take this decision only now? And how did you find him back then?

Well, I’ve known Nechrist for almost 20 years now. Also, he and Pavulon played in a few bands together. He’s actually a guitar player, but he has no problem in handling bass as well. After Wrath’s and our ways departed, I contacted Nechrist immediately if he wants to play three shows with us that we had booked already. He agreed and at the beginning we told him that we only want him to play live shows with us. Nevertheless, after almost two years of playing together, we decided that it will be more practical to make Nechrist a permanent member of the band. That’s basically it.

Throughout your career, you suffered very few line-up changes but what led you to be a duo in these last two years?

It was the problem with Wrath and his commitment to the band. I don’t want to dive into the topic. Bottom line is, we didn’t want to hire any permanent member immediately, due to our respect to Wrath and the years we’ve spent as a band. Plus, we wanted some artistic space for ourselves and make an album completely as we wanted it from A to Z.

I know that you played in the IV edition of the Black Silesia open air festival, opening for bands of the calibre of Nunslaughter and Pseudogod. How’s about your performance? For you, what was the most memorable moment of the entire festival?

You can say that because that was one of the rare moments when we were sober, hahaha! Black Silesia is an awesome festival. It’s not just the line-up, but the overall atmosphere, maniacs, etc. One of the events that you want to come back to, regardless of who’s gonna play there. I was there the year before our performance and I’m gonna be there this year as well, especially that the bands confirmed so far are kickass! I mean, come on – Sabbat, Exciter, Omen and Archgoat at one festival? How often do you get that? And I think that there are going to be some more stunning band announcements. As for our performance at Black Silesia – I’m not the right person to answer this question because I haven’t seen us play 😉

I must say that Poland has one of my favorite extreme metal scenes and I strongly believe that your country has now a real world power in the metal music, also thanks to bands such as Vader, Behemoth, Hate and Mgla. Are you agree with me? For you, what are the pros and cons of your national metal scene?

I agree – Poland has a very strong metal scene. Nevertheless, I don’t like any of the bands you’ve mentioned. Our scene has a lot more to offer and I hope that at least some of the bands I’m going to mention will have the similar status as the most popular bands from our country. The bands I’m talking about are Stillborn, Voidhanger, Infernal War, Deus Mortem, Anima Damnata, Embrional and also a few more. However, I hope that youngsters will follow these bands footsteps too, because unfortunately a lot of them are just trying to copy the '80s heavy metal bands. One of the exceptions in this case is Truchło Strzygi, which, of course, has a lot of '80s influences, but they blend them in quite a unique way.
I wouldn’t like to talk about pros and cons, since I have no bigger picture of other scenes. But, just as everywhere, you just have to do your thing and stay true to yourself.

Timpani allo Spiedo ‘zine is literally full of bands coming from Poland, so I have the impression that the metal music, especially in its most extreme forms, is popular in your country. Is correct this impression of mine? And why are there so many metal bands in Poland?

You’re right. Extreme metal is very popular in Poland. I’m a little disappointed that classic metal is not as popular here, even though we have big traditions in this area with bands like Kat, Dragon, Open Fire, Wolf Spider or Turbo. Nowadays a lot of heavy metal bands from Poland sound very artificial and focus more on their image than the music. Nevertheless, this refers to young heavy metal bands in general, not just in Poland. I even read once an opinion of one blogger that the '80s heavy metal can be compared to knights and nowadays heavy metal bands are just a historical reconstruction group. I think this comparison is pretty accurate. Getting back to your question, I think that Poland used to be quite an extreme country to live in – hence extreme metal bands.

Are there Polish metal acts that manages to be into the national record charts of your country? Or are the record charts full of stupid pop/trap/Latin American music like here in Italy?

I think only Behemoth managed to do that. But that was at the time when Nergal was dating a local celebrity chick. Normally the charts here in Poland are just like you said. Only shitty music for masses that is not written, but produced. Sadly, mainstream music reminds more and more of a product built in a factory…
Despite all, Poland had already a very good metal scene during the Communist dictatorship, thanks to bands like Dragon, Kat, Turbo, Imperator and other ones. But what were the conditions to play the metal music in Poland, back then? I read from an Italian book about the rock music in the Soviet bloc that they weren’t so easy as in the Western countries.

How should I know, man? At the time communism had collapsed, I was only five years old, hahaha! So the only knowledge I have about those times is from books or tales from older colleagues. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. I know that at those times there was barely anything in stores when it comes to groceries and such basic stuff, not to mention music equipment. Anyway, even in the early nineties things weren’t much easier. Of course, access to music equipment and other goods was better, but still not many people could afford a good quality guitar or an amp. But I guess that what made this scene so strong – passion. It didn’t matter, whether you have money, or something is accessible or not. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and bands were mainly created by maniacs that wanted nothing more than to create metal music. At least that’s what I’ve heard about that period.
Anyway, the moral of this story is: when passion is something that drives you, you can’t go wrong with anything you create.

Is it easy to organize metal gigs in Poland?

It’s been getting easier each year, judging on the number of gigs organized here. And more importantly, people who are in charge of organizing them are becoming more and more professional in what they do. In the past, bands from outside of Poland mainly praised the maniacs, but weren’t so fond of the organizational side of their shows. Now, it has changed and both gigs and open air festivals are on a much higher level. Luckily, the maniacs have remained as crazy as they were.

How many live gigs you play per year? Did you play also outside from your country and where?

Not many. You know, we all have our regular jobs, some of us have families and it’s getting more and more difficult to play a live show each time you’d like to. Plus, we also don’t have any pressure for playing live. I mean we love doing that, but we don’t knock on promoters door and ask if they let us play in their city. If somebody approaches us and offers fair conditions, we’re in. Last year we played a total of five gigs. Not much, but we enjoyed each of them, so you can say it’s quality over quantity. 

Can you suggest us some good places where we can attend good live gigs in your city? Also small places, like metal pubs, are well accepted!

There are three places like that. One is Wyspa, a club at the university campus. They organize some metal shows from time to time. There’s also Fabryka, a big music club in the city center. And we have Jazzkino. It’s a very small venue for about 60 people, but if you want a true underground feel of a live show, that’s the place to be.

What will be the next live gigs of Warfist? I know that you’ll support Neolith in a gig scheduled for 23rd November 2019 in Warsaw.

We’re already after that show (sorry for taking me ages to reply to your interview, hahaha!). It was an awesome gig. We know personally all the bands that have played there, so it was a very friendly atmosphere.
As for our upcoming plans, the only confirmed show is in Chorzów in April, with Besatt and the Czech Inferno. We also have some plans for later this year, but I can’t share them yet.

Other upcoming news about the band?

We’ve been working on our fourth full-length. We already have a few songs ready and some drafts to go out from. It’s gonna be quite different than anything we’ve done so far, yet similar, at the same time. Wait and see.

Okay men, the interview is ending, so, to top it off, feel free to add everything you want, and thank you very much for replying to these questions!

Thank you for your support! Stay Metal to the Bone!!!


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