[INTERNATIONAL INTERVIEW] Autokrator release Hammer of the Heretics Album

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Our worker bee writer Seiran Evanora Lavea  had an opportunity to catch up with French, Suffocating Death Metal band Autokrator to get to know what makes them tick and find out what we can expect from them going forward.

 

 

Since forming the band in 2014 Autokrator has essentially been a two piece project with a studio drummer (which on Hammer of the Heretics is Kévin Paradis of Benighted). Is there any particular reason that you haven’t added any other ‘permanent’ members?

Hi! It’s really hard to find a permanent drummer. Our first drummer Oleg, had to move several times after the release of the first and wasn’t able to keep on playing with AUTOKRATOR. The drummer on “The Obedience to Authority”, wasn’t dedicated, so we’re no longer working with him. On “Hammer of the Heretics” we collaborated with the monstruous KEVIN PARADIS, who is among the best extreme metal drummers in the world.He helped us to cross a threshold, and gave another dimension to our music.

 

Initially Autokrator was signed to Iron Bonehead for your self-titled debut album, but moving past that and starting your own label Krucyator Productions what would you say is the benefits of releasing your own music instead of working through a label?We don’t work with Iron Bonehead anymore because the sales of first album were bad, so they didn’t have the desire to work with us again.
That’s being said, IBP is a great label, and it was really great to work with them.
Having our own label gives us freedom, no pressure about sales, and doing what we want, when we want. The more time goes by, the more i’m working on different aspect to music (recording, design) to become the more independent. Hammer of the Heretics still has some black and doom metal influences, but seems much closer to straightforward death metal.

 

How would you describe your song writing in comparison to the first two albums?

We wanted “Hammer of the Heretics” to be straightforward, leaving industrial and drone elements. Our goal was to play longer songs, with tempo variations, breaks, more elaborated structures and we wanted each song had its own specificity. The writing process is still the same, keeping in mind the direction i described. AUTOKRATOR music and sound is monolithic, we wanted to make it sound more versatile and dynamic.

 

What initially drew you to the subject of governmental oppression which seems to be main focus of the lyrics in your previous albums?

The first album was about the nastiest Roman Emperors. The second one about brain washing and submission to authority. We like to propose different themes from one album to the other, the common link between them is history. Dark sides of history.

 

Referring to the previous question the first track made available from Hammer of the Heretics does seem like a bit of a departure from your previous albums. “Against Flesh and Blood” references the Knights Templar, and specifically mentions sixteen of them by name in the lyrics. Are the Templars the focus for the entire album? Given their complicated history, I’m curious as to how they fit in with Autokrator’s running authoritarianism/oppression theme.

There are several themes in the album: “Against Flesh and Blood” is about Christians Duties in The Holy War, with lyrics based on the bible “Ephesians 6:12. “Le Sang Impur” is based on Rouget de l’Isle “La Marseillaise”, a patriotic rebellious war song which later became France’s hymn. “Hammer of the Heretics” is about Tomas de Torquemada, a Spanish inquisitor. “Inquistio-Denunciatio-Exception” is an inquisitorial procedure based on real questioning transcriptions.

 

What inspired you to reach for this sound? I’ve never heard death and industrial so fully made into one distinct union.There is no industrial elements on “Hammer of the Heretic”. The only non-metal parts are one interlude and an atmospheric outro. AUTOKRATOR sound is the quest to bring the nastiest elements of death metal at their peak: more guttural vocals, heavier bass, more corrosive guitars, more punishing drums. Pushing everything to the extreme. With AUTOKRATOR, the color is white or black, never grey.

 

I’ve noticed that in the notes for Hammer of the Heretics, all three of the primary musicians who play on the album are given recording credits. Were the three of you ever in the same room together at any point while working on Hammer of the Heretics? If not, what are the challenges of working that way? Or do you actually find it easier?

In fact, on each album, each musician has recorded his own part. I write music and lyrics and drumming schemas. I submit the whole to the other members, who arrange their part and interpreted them with their style and skills. Once recorded, the mixing process starts. There is no difficulty, as both David and Kevin are top level musicians. We don’t sit in the same room. Loneliness is to me the way to give the best of myself.

 

As far as I can tell, Autokrator has primarily been a studio project, is there any chance of the band performing live in the near future?

No, unfortunately there is no chance to see us live.

 

Who are your primary influences, both musically and from a historical/literary perspective?

We have no particular influences. AUTOKRATOR is like listening to a traditional death metal album, on an electric chair. We love history in general, dark sides and parts of history, old and modern times. History repeats itself, anyway, the human remains the same. What’s the difference between Caligula and Khaddafi?

 

What would you say is your preferential format on releasing an album CD, digital, vinyl, or cassette, and why?

I love all kind of formats. If I had to choose, I would say CD, because it’s the more practical, and the one which transcribes the more precisely the studio sound. But i love tapes and vinyl’s, who sounds warmer, and because I’ve been raised with these formats.

 

What can fans expect from the album Hammer of the Heretics?

All the feedbacks we had say that it’s our best album.Take a listen and you will judge by yourself.

 

Is there anything else you would like to add, any final words to the fans of Autokrator?

Thanks to all who support us. We had a lot of pre-orders of “Hammer of the Heretics”, and we’re very grateful for that. The full streaming premiere of the album was held by Decibel Magazine on the 5th of March this year.

 

Interviewed by: Seiran Evanora Laveau

(More from Seiran here)