|Title:||Cosmic views of death|
Founded in the autumn of 1993 by vocalist and bass player András Nagy, these Hungarian Black Metal-masters developed soon to a outstanding and superior troup.
Already on their brilliant demo „The Pagan Winter“ out of 1995, Sear Bliss created dark, aggressive and somber atmospheres which combine traditional Black Metal and his dark spirit with some unorthodox instrumentation and ideas. The result is until nowadays majestic music from the darkest abysses of the cosmos.
The wonderful played slide trombone became - beside haunting keyboard-atmospheres - meanwhile a accepted trademark in their melodic musical creation. Sear Bliss had their big breakthrough in the Netherlands in 1996, when their amazing and marvellous debut album „Phantoms“ was album of the month in Aardschok, Holland's biggest Hard Rock and Metal Magazine. This was pretty special since Sear Bliss was also the first ever Black Metal band which had this honour.
In 1998 Sear Bliss shocked their fans minds in positive way with another over the top-album, entitled „The Haunting“ – released by Mascot Records again.
The overwhelming frontcover artwork was done one more time by Belgian master-painter Kris Verwimp.
The year 2001 saw the release of the follow-up album-feast „Grand Destiny“ in Hungary, which was re-released one year later via their new label Red Stream.
As they released their fourth album-masterpiece „Forsaken Symphony“ on Red Stream, I‘ve contacted these highly talented berzerks for an interview. My questions were answered by beast-singer András Nagy.
Hey András, please tell me a little about the beginnings of Sear Bliss!
„Hails my brother, Markus! Finally here it is! I hope you forgive me. I really don't have any time as I had to write my diploma piece for many months but finally I did and I will finish the whole school next month. I'm terribly busy because of this. But I hope it's not too late and I hope you will like my questions. Let me know when it's online, please. Also let me know if you need something else too. Thanks for your great support brother! As far as the beginning of the band concerns, I formed at the end of 1993, so this year 2003 will be the 10th anniversary of the band. Hopefully we will have some surprises because of this later this year. Before Sear Bliss we played in some local bands. Our drummer and guitar player came from Extreme Deformity, a professional and at that time quite famous Death Metal band. Our second guitar player came from Animosity, another Death Metal band from our town. Sear Bliss was definitely the most important for each of us and we started writing music with total dedication. We didn't even give any sign of existence until 1995 when we recorded our first and only demo entitled `The Pagan Winter!`.“
Under which musically influences Sear Bliss has been founded?
„We have always had different personalities in the band, so I can't name a certain band that inspired us directly. Actually these differences gave the diversity of music. We never really wanted to be influenced by other bands as we were always striving for walking our own path. Our guitar players do not even listen to any music. Of course, bands like Bathory made a great impression on us back then for sure. I also remember that the band called Pan-Thy-Monium was something that we all liked when we wrote music for our demo.“
In which Hungarian city are you guys located?
„We live in Szombathely, a small town at the western border of the country. I love living here. This place inspires me in some ways. I know that I would write different music if I lived somewhere else.“
Surely it was not easy in the beginning of Sear Bliss, to get vinyl records and CDs in your country. Copied tapes were mostly traded, I suppose.
„Yeah, that's right but it was easier for us because we live 10 kilometres from the Austrian border and even if it was hard to go there often, yet we could get almost anything we wanted. From 1990 you could buy in Hungary everything you wanted, so it wasn't a problem anymore. The 80's were more troublesome over here but I collected many albums back then as well.“
Who of you guys had the great idea, to blend those well dosed trumpet-sounds with highly atmospheric Black Metal?
„Actually, it was my idea. I always wanted to create something outside the average and I always liked the sound of brass. Gergely [our former trumpet player] was a great friend of mine as he was a metalhead, too. He also played in a brass-band and one day he invited me to see him with his band. The concert was in a great hall and acoustics was fantastic. I was totally impressed by how powerful they played. I decided right away to ask Gergely if he wants to play in Sear Bliss which I actually formed in those days. He agreed and this is how the whole started.“
Who had the idea for the band‘s name and what's the meaning behind?
„Actually, it was my idea. I found the phrase 'Sear Bliss' in one of the poems of Charles Baudleaire. Since I like his poems and poetry itself, I thought it would be a good band name. Also I was sick of the so many average band names at that time. It is just a strange metaphor. It rather expresses some kind of mood than has a certain meaning.“
Who created the really great and unique logo of Sear Bliss? Master Szpajdel?
„No, that logo was created by our former keyboard player, Winter. Kris Verwimp has created a logo, too, and you can see it on the covers of our albums.“
To my mind, there´s only one single troup beside Sear Bliss and Helheim (on their demo), which used trumpets in their Black Metal so far, and that is the Russian horde Valhalla on their CD „Winterbastard“.
„I have never heard Valhalla, so I don't know. As far as I know Ancient used trumpet in one of their songs on their early demo. But I'm really not sure.“
How were the responses to your albums so far?
„I guess, our first album 'Phantoms' was the most successful one so far. It was even elected to be the CD Of The Month in Netherland's leading metal magazine Aardshock. It was a great success. Then came 'The Pagan Winter' MCD, a re-release of our demo. Unfortunately the promotion was very poor for this release which is really shame because this MCD would have deserved more, as it contains the 12 minutes long epic bonus track titled 'In The Shadow Of Another World' which is the best Sear Bliss song of all times in my opinion. Usually we play it on stage at least. Our second full-length album 'The Haunting' was more successful but it was quite a strange album so there were people who loved it and there were people who hated it. The third CD, 'Grand Destiny' was a hard-to-find release until Red Stream Records re-released it last year. So far it is our most successful release financially. Finally, our latest album 'Forsaken Symphony' is out since a couple of months only but it seems it gets the same reviews and responses like 'Phantoms' did and that's really great!“
How many copies have been sold from each release? Any dates of sales?
„It's always a very difficult question for every band, unless you release your albums by yourself. We don't have exact information of our early albums but we know that 'Phantoms' reached 10.000 copies which is awesome, being a debut album. 'The Pagan Winter' MCD was sold about 3.000 copies, 'The Haunting' was about 5.000 copies, I guess. 'Grand Destiny' is above 3.000 now but it still sells well. As for 'Forsaken Symphony' we don't know it exactly as it's out for only three months but Red Stream told it sells very well, so it is very promising.“
What do you think about your elder lyrics nowadays?
„I like them the way they are. It reflects perfectly what we felt back then. We've got nothing to be ashamed of.“
And when you look back, how do you see your first done compositions?
„I can tell the same. I would not change anything. I love those the way they are. I still like 'The Pagan Winter' very much. I like those songs and whenever I listen to them I feel the same mood I felt at the time when we wrote and recorded them. That's great.“
Do you see any musical connections with the later compositions of Sear Bliss by now?
„Sure. Especially the new album reminds me very much to 'Phantoms' for example. It is due to the fact that our former guitar player Csaba Csejtei rejoined Sear Bliss. He was responsible most of the songs on that album. We felt the same mood now when we were writing music for 'Forsaken Symphony'. So, I believe there is a strong connection between the two mentioned albums. I think you can find many connections between our albums even if they seem to differ from each other.“
Who wrote most of the new tracks for „Forsaken Symphony“?
„We always write our music together but this time Csaba was the most active, just like in the past. He had many ideas and he wrote a lot of music. Even more than we could use on this album. So, now we have many ideas for the next album too. Anyway, all of us put something into the songs. This is how we write our albums.“
Who wrote the lyrics for „Forsaken Symphony“?
„I wrote them, except two lyrics that were written by Attila Halasz, a great friend of mine. Anyway, he wrote lyrics for our second album, 'The Haunting' too.“
What is the main content of them?
„They are about my own impressions. I wrote these lyrics while I was listening to the songs to reach the very mood of them. This way I could express what I felt in these songs. So, these lyrics are like an instrument. I mean they play a similar role. As far as the content of the lyrics concerns, they are dealing with death mostly but from a cosmic view.“
And what does „Forsaken Symphony“ mean?
„Our music is bordering on the extreme but it has so many dimensions that our music can be considered a 'modern symphony'. Our music is black and heavy but there is a classical feel to it, represented by the brass instruments and the synthesizer. Most symphonies are a result of a forsaken moment, our moment is the fact that there are six members but we are all on our own when we contribute to a song. You can feel that mystical individuality in our music. `Forsaken Symphony` is the result of our musical input, to produce something complex and multi layered.“
What does the marvellous drawn frontcover picture from Kris Verwimp of „Forsaken Symphony“ mean?
„With the cover of `Forsaken Symphony` we wanted to express a more aggressive image than before to illustrate the energy of the new songs and to establish the fact that Sear Bliss is back in full force. So you can see the White Witch again, who is now being burned at the stake. However, she isn't really burning as she even commands the flames (you can see small figures in the fire surrounding her, which represent the female spirits that have been present on the previous artworks in the trees or caves). Also, in the skies there are lots of eagles now, symbolising the many souls that aid the Witch in her fight. You can also see the full moon in the background as an indication to the cosmic powers that are at work here. In any way, I think this cover represents the struggle of the band to overcome every obstacle to reach the ultimate victory.“
Which specific influences flowed in the new music on „Forsaken Symphony“?
„Our personal experiences inspired us when we were writing 'Forsaken Symphony'. We tried to express what we felt inside and you can hear the result. We expressed feelings and emotions that dwelt inside of us. Plus I am always impressed by the immensity of cosmos. It's always a driving force for me when I write music or lyrics.“
About Red Stream Records – how you‘ve got into contact with them?
„Peter Schramm from Ablaze put me in contact with them firstly. They asked a copy of Grand Destiny and they liked it very much so they decided to re-release it as it was released by a small label. Plus we signed to them for two more albums. Actually Red Stream knew us as they were distributing our previous albums in the States.“
Are you satisfied with their work so far?
„We are absolutely satisfied with them! They are the perfect label for Sear Bliss. They support us in everything and the relationship is very good between us. Especially since we met personally in Germany when we played in Landshut. Patrick (the head of Red Stream) came over to Germany to see us and Dark Fortress live. We had a great party together. We have the same purposes for the future and that's great.“
What kind of music do the members of Sear Bliss listen to at home?
„I listen to Black Metal mostly, plus some ambient and keyboard music. As for the others, our guitar players do not listen to any kind of music at home. It's good because this way they are not influenced by other bands. Our trombone player is a Black Metal fanatic and our drummer listens to everything from AC/CD, Motörhead, W.A.S.P. to Satyricon, Darkthrone, etc.“
How often a week are you guys doing rehearsals?
„Usually we rehearse four times a week. We love it.“
Do you like vinyl releases?
„Of course I do! I think everyone would agree that Metal music is in close connection with vinyl. I do collect them since the late 80's. I fucking like them. 'Forsaken Symphony' will be released on vinyl by Miriquidi Productions from Germany. This will be our first vinyl release and I look forward to it.“
How big is your private Metal collection?
„Well, it's quite big and I'm proud of it. I still have many CD's and vinyls I miss but I'm trying to buy everything I need. I'm a Metal collector.“
Can you comment shortly on the following words, please?
Live: „Part of an eternal cycle.“
Death: „The most inevitable thing in life.“
Religions: „The most useless things in life.“
Church: „The hypocritest thing in life.“
Gods: „It is an interesting topic but I do not need gods.“
Mother nature: „She's dying.“
Tears: „I hate weeping. I hate it in every kind of situation.“
Dreams: „I'm often impressed by my dreams.“
Love: „Part of the human nature.“
Hate: „Part of the human nature, too.“
Eternity: „We should look for eternity in cosmos and not in ourselves.“
Thank you very much for this long interview. Please add some words to the fans!
„Thank you for your exciting questions, I enjoyed answering them. We will have a couple of gigs in Germany in October 2003. I hope there will be some people interested in it. Give a chance to 'Forsaken Symphony' and support quality music. Visit www.searbliss.hu for up to date info of the band.“
© Markus Eck, 17.12.2002
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