If you haven’t yet heard Iperyt’s No State of Grace, you’re missing out on one of the finest slabs of industrialized black metal to come along in years. The Polish quintet’s mix of eviscerating, blackened riffage and pummeling electronics pushes the intensity so far into the red that few if any can ever hope to match it. I spoke to programmer/vocalist Shocker via e-mail to get the lowdown on No State of Grace and the inner workings of Iperyt’s nihilistic musical assault.
Josh Haun: For our readers who might not be familiar, can you tell us about how Iperyt started and what your motivations were for forming the band?
Shocker: Hi! To make a long story short: it all started a long time ago when I met Hellhound (guitar). I was coming from a speedcore/hardcore techno world and he had been involved in black metal for a long time. We found a common ground on our views, music and world and we decided to experiment a bit and try to compose some music together. And that’s how the whole idea of Iperyt came to life. Later Black Messiah (guitar) joined and finally People Hater (vocals) and Abuser (bass). Our first EP Particular Hatred was released. Then some gigs, some problems, new releases and so on. Typical stuff for a band.
JH: Is it correct that the word “iperyt” is a reference to the mustard gas used by the German army in World War I? Why did you choose this moniker for the band and what does it represent for you personally?
Shocker: Yes, this is the word for mustard gas in the Polish language. For me personally the name is more in connection to the whole chemical warfare notion and even to all weapons of mass destruction. The thing with such a means of warfare is that, on the contrary to conventional weapons, the results and the consequences of its usage cannot be fully predicted. I mean when they are used the situation gets complicated, not only for the ones under attack but for the aggressors as well. Because extreme means usually means extreme retaliation.
So on the more subtle level this goes as well for us. We create but we don’t know what the final outcome will be. And what final impact it will make on us too. On the other hand the word ‘iperyt’ sounds quite harsh for me, which is, well, a nice thing hehe.
JH: No State of Grace is Iperyt’s second album. What were you looking to accomplish with this recording, and how has the band evolved since 2006’s Totalitarian Love Pulse?
Shocker: I think that NSOG is more metal orientated. The arrangements and song structures are more similar to metal songs than to industrial or hardcore techno tracks. The whole sound is more in your face and there are also more melodic riffs. Of course it is still aggressive, fast and full on sonic impact. But this is the main difference to TLP – the structures of the songs.
So far reviews and opinions vary. Some say it is for a better, some that it is not. But that’s fine with me. We wanted it this way. I really like NSOG and next time we will make something different again.
JH: Tell us a little about Iperyt’s writing and recording process for the new album. How would you describe the experience and how did it differ from previous recordings?
Shocker: In general we try not to put any limitations on our creative process. Usually it happens this way: I get riffs or whole tracks from our guitarists and then chop them up like hell and try to really rape the guitars with a drum machine. Thanks to that completely new ideas arise and we can add new things. But sometimes it is all different: I deliver a rhythm and then riffs are created. Sometimes we are just jamming and so on. So there is not just one way. A lot of things happen spontaneously and it was no different during NSOG recording session.
JH: What can you tell us about the album’s lyrical themes? I’ve noticed a lot of apocalyptic, anti-religious and extreme sexual (rape, sodomy) themes in reading the lyrics. How do the lyrics reflect your worldview as a band?
Shocker: Well you should ask People Hater this question because he’s the author hehe. I think that just observing the world really gives a lot of inspiration. But for me the main idea behind all of this is a nihilistic attitude and nihilism is a negation of the world as we know it, the reality we are forced to live in. So these apocalyptic themes are just kind of metaphorical nihilistic hymns. As the title says: No State Of Grace here. But of course your mileage may vary hehe. That’s how art should be – you should find interpretation on your own.
JH: Everything about No State of Grace, from the music to the lyrics to the artwork, seems to suggest that mankind is heading towards some kind of apocalypse, whether it is literal, spiritual, sexual, etc. What are your thoughts on the end of the world and do you believe it will happen soon? Does your music reflect mankind’s downward spiral?
Shocker: There’s one rock song with the title: the end is the beginning is the end. I agree with such a point of view. I believe in cycles. Some things end, others are born and so on. I mean – I don’t care whether there will be the end of the world or not, a crisis or not, because after every storm there’s silence, and after silence there’s storm again. The cycle always takes place. What is really important is what is inside you and what you are doing with it. Change yourself and your world will follow.
I agree that there’s so much stupidity in the world right now that you can really just sit down and have a devilish laugh watching all of this. But I think that unfortunately it was always this way and probably always will be.
Shocker: It was created by our friends from Mental Porn Prods. It has this kind of ‘Fall Out’ feel to it. You know that computer game with a really deep atmosphere of seclusion and world demise? And the gas masks symbolize on the one hand us – Iperyt – on the other hand the whole thing with unknown consequences I talked about answering your second question.
JH: Iperyt mixes elements of black metal and industrial music. What is the common ground between the two styles? Why do you think they compliment each other so well? Do you think there is any conflict between the two styles, being that industrial music tends to embrace technology, whereas black metal tends to shun it in order to remain raw and lo-fi?
Shocker: It went differently for us, because first we realized that we’ve got similar views on different things and similar things inspire us in music as well. Because I came from this speeedcore/hardcore techno side and Hellhound was always into black metal we ask ourselves what would happen if we mixed the styles together. The result was a surprise. It went really well together. So to sum it up: we just tried and it worked. We are still exploring this mixture of black metal and industrial, seeing many different ways we can still discover. But this absolutely doesn’t mean that raw black metal or strictly electronic industrial should disappear! There’s a place for every experiment. I think there are no borders or limits in the progress of music.
JH: Have you been influenced by other bands combining industrial music and black metal, such as Aborym, DHG, Axis of Perdition, etc? What bands do you consider to be your contemporaries? Are there any key bands or albums that inspired Iperyt?
Shocker: We of course know and like these bands you mentioned. And we must add Mysticum and all early black metal bands to the list. But in our case it was really a natural process. I’m a terrorcore dj so I know these bass drums and drum machine stuff from my own experience. I hope we don’t copy anyone. We’ve got a lot of inspirations, not just a few key bands or something. We’re always seeking something new and fresh in extreme music and in music in general.
JH: It’s my understanding that Poland is a very religious country. How does this influence your music, if at all? Is Iperyt a reaction to your location/environment and the world around you?
Shocker: Yeah, in Poland catholicism is still very strong and priests mess with politics, want to have more control and so on. There is also a lot of corruption in Poland, I think that it is a general rule that catholic countries are rather poor and full of corruption. Of course this annoys us, the power and influence on politics of the Church. But it will change. You can see that Christianity is quite weak in the world right now. But then again there’s Islam which seems to get stronger. We talked about that. Cycles.
JH: Iperyt wears ski-masks in band photos. Why do you choose to hide your identities?
Shocker: We chose to hide our faces in the beginning because we didn’t want people to know that some musicians from Infernal War are also members of Iperyt. We wanted people to pay attention to the music in the first place, not to who is involved. It didn’t work to the max because some gossip concerning our lineup was spread. But on the other hand we thought that wearing masks during gigs would give a more dehumanized feel to it, the bigger madness, the bigger impact. Again – some people enjoy it, others find it dull. Right now we sometimes use masks and sometimes not. No rules here. Probably depends on our mood.
JH: Does Iperyt perform live? Will you be playing any shows in support of No State of Grace? What would the ultimate Iperyt live experience entail?
Shocker: Yeah from time to time we play a gig here and there. The most important thing during our performance is a proper sound system. Because we use a drum machine the PA must be powerful enough to make people feel these bass drums. The rest is pure insanity. I mean during performing I become a little “possessed” and let myself be just a tool. Hard to explain, you’ve got to see it hehe. But we like that energy of playing live. When the music is loud, when there’s a wall of noise, your brain starts to work differently and you behave differently and this is what I like!
JH: What are you currently listening to? Do you have any recommendations for our readers?
Shocker: Oh damn! I listen to a lot of different music all the time so it is hard to choose just a few things. Lately I’m getting into the French scene. Black Lodge, Merrimack, Vorkriest, Antaeus, Arkhon and so on. You can also check my project at http://www.saviour-syndicate.org. Underground electronica. And of course have a listen to my pals’ bands: VoidHanger, Infernal War and Mastiphal. Just a few ideas.
JH: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Shocker: Thanks for the interview! Lets hope to meet somewhere at a gig. Don’t believe the hype and stay hard!