There has been a lot of quality stuff released as demos this year, and one of the huge suprises, was “Demo 2016” (se review here) from Iniquity, a brand new band from Athens, Greece. I was one of the lucky ones that managed to grab a copy of the demo before it sold out, but do not worry, I am pretty sure these recordings will find their way into other formats as well. By the way, the band is a good example of what can happen when you contact Metal Squadron, as I probably would have missed out on the initial tape run if the band hadn’t made me aware of it. I immediately got hooked on the material and suggested an interview so that I personally, and others that care, can gain some insight into this very promising act. Bass player P. V. and guitarist J. M. gathered to answer my questions.
Please let us in on the story of Iniquity. When was the band formed, and how did the four of you get together?
P.V: – Me and J.M. were playing in a thrash band before, so we knew each other for years and many times in the past we had discussed forming a heavy metal band. Two years ago, we decided that it was the right time to do this. We composed our songs pretty fast and started thinking about who’s gonna take care of the drums and the vocals. V.F. was the first one who came in mind as he was J.M.’s friend as well as an amazing drummer. We sent him our tracks, and he instantly said yes. It took us a few months to find our vocalist, and singer M.B. was the last to join our ranks. He is the bassist of Convixion, we knew him for years too, but we discovered his talent in singing on a concert where he was playing with a NWOBHM cover band. We were amazed by his performance, so we asked him to join. He agreed to give a try and that’s it!
There is already an established death metal band from Denmark called Iniquity, and even though it’s a while since they released something, from what I know, they’re still active. Why pursuing with a name like that? Surely you had a check on Metal Archives or other sources?
P.V: – To tell the truth, we didn’t know about their existence. We took that name after the Savage Grace-song “Sons Of Iniquity”. When we decided our name, we searched on Metal Archives and, yes we found this band. I’m pretty sure they were marked as split up at the time. They didn’t release anything for more than a decade, and we are also playing a totally different style of metal, so we thought that we will most probably not have a problem with it.
In the booklet on the demo you are only using the initials of the band members. Why is this?
P.V: – There is no specific reason for it. It’s just our initials, and they looked better in the small tape booklet.
Your drummer V.F is involved in a whole host of acts, with Sacral Rage and Saboter being the most interesting ones from my point of view, and he also has a history from some other good bands like Convixion. What can you tell me about the other musicians involved, I guess you don’t have the same experience as him, but surely Iniquity isn’t your first real band either?
P.V: – V.F. is an amazing drummer, he plays in many bands and handles a variety of styles like death, black, thrash, punk and heavy. Our singer M.B is the bassist of Convixion as I said before and J.M. is also playing in Vomit Bitch. Personally, I’ve played in a black metal band called Pyrifleyethon and also in a thrash band called Execute together with J.M.
There are new bands coming through all the time, also in traditional heavy metal or epic metal circles, what are your ambitions, and what do you think will be important for you to be able to fulfill them?
P.V: – We don’t have anything specific in our minds at the moment, but we would like to see the demo getting released on a 7” and having a new release out during 2017. We will continue making our stuff.
Do you think that the success a band like Sacral Rage has had, gaining awesome reviews in underground circles around the world, can help other Greek underground acts?
J.M: – Yes, I guess you could say that. Sacral Rage is one of the best bands in Greece at the moment and there is always an oportunity, that if someone likes their music, he’s gonna check out other Greek bands as well. On the other hand there are so many bands in the scene that it’s really difficult for the audience to check them all.
The booklet that comes with the tape says that “All guitars and bass (was) recorded at Iniquity studios”. I guess this is a home studio. Where were the drums and vocals recorded? In Entasis? Was it perhaps too expensive to record everything, were they full booked, or were there other reasons why you wanted to use two separate studios?
P.V: – Yep, Iniquity studios is our home studio and to be more specific it’s just a soundcard. Haha! We recorded guitars and bass at home as we couldn’t afford to record the whole demo in a studio. And yes, vocals and drums were recorded at Entasis studio.
You have had Nick Papakostas helping you out with mix, mastering and production in the Entasis studios, a very professional studio used by many Greek musicians. In which ways did he contribute and help you getting the best out of the recording?
J.M: – Nikos is a very close friend of ours and personally I had the oportunity to work with him in the past during the Vomit Bitch recordings. I was very satisfied with his job and it was a pleasure to cooperate with him again with Iniquity. Nikos is a heavy metal fan and that’s the point. It’s not necessary to give him specific instructions on how to do his job. We mention some productions as a reference point and highlighted some of the details we had in mind and he tried hard to achieve the best possible result.
You made 100 copies of the tape, which sold out in only a few weeks time, I think. The tape is released through Born For Destruction Records, and I believe your demo is the second release they have put out. What can you tell us about this small label, and how did you hook up with them to get your tape released?
J.M: – Born For Destruction Records is not a real label. It’s my creation just to be able to release the Vomit Bitch tape and we use it also for Iniquity. We had some thoughts about releasing some demos we liked on tape as well, but due to the lack of money and time, that’s something we are gonna have to think about again in the future.
Is your impression that fans of this kind of metal want the music on physical format, or has the interest for the digital download you put up on bandcamp been as big as the demand for the demo?
P.V: – The demand on bandcamp was not as big as for the physical format for sure. In fact very few people has taken it through bandcamp. We were approached from a few digital distribution companies but we decline it as we are not familiar with that.
The demo tape says “All songs by Iniquity”, but please give us an insight into the songwriting process in the band. Is it a band effort from the start, or do a couple of members come with some ideas for all the members to work on?
J.M: – The main composers is me and P.V. In fact, the songs were written before the other guys joined the band, but when they hit the studio, they were absolutely free to put their own ideas into the songs. When we are working on new material, we’re writing riffs and thinking about how the vocal lines should be. When the songs take on a final form, V.F. and M.B. will add their parts.
Having been able to read the lyrics to your two self composed songs on YouTube, I felt they were the kind of stuff you can expect from a band playing this form of music. Will you focus only on fantasy/historical-lyrics, or are there other themes that can be suit your music as well?
J.M: – Our main inspiration comes from Greek and Scandinavian mythology. You know, gods, Vikings, death and stuff like that. We are also fans of horror films and this plays a role in the songwriting too. I believe this style of heavy metal doesn’t leave enough space for the themes of the songs. We are interested in politics and have a lot to say about politics, economic crisis, terrorrist attacks and things that happens in our daily lives, but I don’t think Iniquity is the band where we should express our social concern.
I think there are some pretty strong American influences to be heard in your songs, is US metal, primarily from the eighties the main source of inspiration for the music in Iniquity? Are there any specific bands or releases that are important for all members of the band, or do you bring along different musical influences into the band?
J.M: – You’re absolutely right. Our music reminds to the listener the eighties U.S. heavy metal scene. And the truth is that we love bands like Helstar, Steel Assassin, Brocas Helm, Savage Grace and Iron Cross, to name only a few. We are different people regarding musical tastes and our influences are many, but I believe the style that we play with Iniquity is very specific. We have the ability to play another genre of metal in our other bands.
For the demo tape, you have covered “Cry-Wolf” by Witchkiller. The only bands I can think of having covered Witchkiller is October 31 who did “Day Of The Saxons” and Hyrkanian Blades from Greece who did “Riders Of Doom”. What is your relationship to Witchkiller, their EP and their demos and the song “Cry-Wolf” in particular. Why did you choose to cover it?
J.M: – Most bands cover songs from well known groups. We wanted to cover a song from a real underground band. Our style is very similar to Witchkiller, since we both play simple and steady heavy metal with the epic element and dark lyrics. “Day Of The Saxons is one of our favorite records from the Canadian scene.
Have you already been approached by labels who want to release your material on other formats? A 7” inch for instance would be nice. Would you be comfortable releasing it with your two own songs only, or would the cover song need to be there as well?
P.V: – No label has approached us so far. Of course we would like tο see our demo on a 7” format. I would like to have only our songs on that, so the cover song could be considered as a bonus on the tape for those who supported us around the time of our very first step.
I am really impressed by the demo. Both “Hang Em High” as well as “Till We Meet Again” are awesome songs. What has been the most encouraging feedback you have received so far, either from fans or media? Have there been any constructive criticism you can use to improve?
J.M: – Thank you for your words. We received many positive emails through our Facebook page but as a constructive critisism I could use Dutch Pearce’s (Decibel Magazine) review. His quotes such as “They call themselves Iniquity and their arcane metal leaves Hermes exhausted and makes Achilles look like milquetoast” made us feel really great. Haha! Michael Haifl (Streetclip T.V.) and Hugo Fernandez (El commenta mierda webzine) also reviewed the demo and they left some very encouraging comments for the band. I would like to thank them all for this
How much material do you have ready apart from the songs you have included on the demo tape? Do you know already now what will be you next step when it comes to recording?
J.M: – We have already recorded one more song called “Island Of The Dead” wich was going to be included in the demo. We wrote this song before M.B. joined the band, so the vocal lines didn’t match with his voice and we decided to leave it out. We suggested to Nikos Syrakos, who sings for Steamroller Assault to help us only for this song, he’s going to record the vocals in the near future and there are some thoughts of releasing it as split with another band. We are in talks with a band but I can’t tell anything right now, unless it’s not 100% sure. We’re also working on some new songs for the next release.
What can you say about the rest of the material you have ready, is it in the vein of these two songs, or do you have songs that go in a different direction as well? Is diversity important for you? If so, how do you try to show this in your songwriting?
J.M: – The new songs are also dark and heavy as the demo stuff. We’re going to keep the same musical style with speed and mid tempo parts, it depends on the song. We don’t rely on diversity so much. Generally we are writing songs spontaneously, and if the riffs are good we keep them, otherwise we don’t. The most important for us is not to be a another clone band. We can’t reinvent the wheel of course, but we’re trying to put our own identity on our material.