Band: CASTRUM
Country of origin: Ukraine
Style: medieval death metal
Questions by: Kai Mathias Stalhammar
Answers supplied by: Cornelius Kontros (guitars, bass and keyboards)


Introduce your band to those who read these lines the way you want… Also, what does "Castrum" stand for? Have you ever heard about your namesakes from Croatia?

- O.K. The origins of CASTRUM came to darkness in September of 1994. Of course, our line-up has changed a lot from the beginning, but we’ve always remained as a trio. Nowadays CASTRUM combines of the invincible forces of Doni (drums), Roma (bass) and me, Cornelius, (guitar / vocals). Until now we have released a rehearsal demo "Burial Of The Affection", two studio demos "Flames By Impiety" & "Pleasure In The Deeds Of Horror" and "The Leading Spirit Of Medieval Tortures" MC which contains all the aforementioned materials. All of these materials were recorded back in 1996 / 1997. Yes, you read it right... We don’t recorded new stuff since 1997. It’s all due to the chaotic line-up and other problems like rehearsal base, equipment, etc. we had so far. Now when the line-up seems to be complete I think we’ll enter the studio soon to record our debut album, temporarily titled as "Hatenourisher". Well, CASTRUM stands for the pure essence of death metal, the way it was supposed to be!!! As for the impostors in Croatia… First I heard about them was back in 1998. They came from nothing and rightly with an album, as usual nowadays for the newcomer black metal bands. I’d contacted them and told that we were the first but they refused us and said: "we have a deal with Folter Records, so you should change your name guys…". I guess you know, what was my answer on that. It consisted of two short words, ha-ha… In short, I don’t give a shit for these Croatian assholes. Just remember the stronger will survive. We were the first and we will be the last CASTRUM on the earth!!!!!!
 
Once I’ve been told you’re going to have a debut CD out soon… Please, give us more info on that subject…

- Right! But we’ve got a lot of problems with our local studio engineers (they still don’t have a clue what death metal sound is all about) and decided to record our debut later on abroad. So, you should wait a bit for the upcoming devastation of CASTRUM. Anyway, it will be released by the same underground label, called METAL FORCE Records.

How has the response been to "The Leading Spirit Of Medieval Tortures"? Furthermore, who’s idea was to release all the demo works you have in the shape of one recording?

- So far so good… We’ve got a bunch of positive responses from all over the world. Well, first I got such an interesting offer from another ukrainian label UKRAGH Productions. But finally this idea was realized by METAL FORCE Records.

One more question regarding "The Leading Spirit…". Why didn’t you re-record all the stuff in pro-studio? The rehearsal tracks, despite being undoubtedly exciting musically, sound rather weak in terms of production!

- Oh man, if we have had a lot of money back then we’d recorded all those materials in professional studios, it’s for sure. The only way out from this situation is to re-record some of the older songs when we’re going to record something new. We’ll do our best I promise…

Is the cover artwork an important subject for the band? Besides that,
where did you take that fabulous painting "The Leading Spirit…" features?

- Sure! We always try to use the most-fitting cover artwork for our materials. This time we used the famous painting of Hieronymus Bosch as we did for the "Pleasure…" demo as well.

Could you tell us more concerning Georgius’ lyrics? Why did he choose medieval history (and events mostly dealing with christianity and stuff) as the main subject for his writings? Also, isn’t he going to improve his English a bit, huh?

- Yeah sure… Georgius always liked the medieval history. That’s why his lyrics are talking about witch-hunts, stakeburnings, hellfires, demons, bloody massacres, etc. He tried to uncover the hypocrisy of christian church and represent the failed ideology of the Middle Ages. As for the improvement of his English, it’s needless after he’s no longer part of CASTRUM anymore.

Where are those Latin verses "Book Of Malediction" features, taken from? "Malleus Maleficarum", I suppose?

- As far as I know they were taken from the "Malleus Maleficarum". So your supposition is totally right!

The overall CASTRUM’s sound bears a strong resemblance of black metal and bands like f.ex. ANCIENT RITES (the one I compared you to in the review on "The Leading Spirit Of Medieval Tortures")… What about that? What path are you going to embark on in time to come? I wonder whether it’s making the sound more death metal-alike or on the contrary?

- Well, thanks for the compliment. But as for me, I don’t see any similarities with ANCIENT RITES in our music. According the black metal resemblance, I guess it’s due to our weak sound quality and maybe Georgius’ vocal style we managed to get back then. For CASTRUM the right path is everytime means death metal. Anyway, I should point that my vocal style is more aggressive and more screamy compared to Georgius’ one. I would say it sounds really blackish in some way, but then you should take into account such death metal bands’ vocalists as Jon Nodtveidt (DISSECTION), Tomas Lindberg (AT THE GATES), Peter Tagtgren (HYPOCRISY) to name a few, whose stuff can be characterized only by the words: death metal!!!!!! (well, in fact these bands' stuff appears as a death / black metal combo... - ED)

"The Leading Spirit…" was unleashed through Metal Force, some kind of a neophyte recording label, right? Enlighten us a bit regarding them. By the way, have they released anything else?

- Yes they’re a neophyte label and I would say a very effective one. METAL FORCE Records is an all-sided metal label, I mean they do distribution, promotion, putting out their great magazine and last but not least sign deals with promising metal acts of Ukraine. Till now they released CASTRUM’s "The Leading…" MC and recently out VAE SOLIS’ "The Blazing Shadows Beyond Eternity" MC as well. Hey pal, they have the same name as your magazine, he-he... Did you know them? I hope so. Well, for further information about them I can recommend you to check their cool web site at: http://come.to/metalforce

Here’s some place for you to promote Encomium ‘zine…

- O.K. let’s see the details… The 2nd issue of ENCOMIUM ‘zine is out a while. Find enclosed there interviews with ABSU, ANCIENT, ANCIENT CEREMONY, ACID DEATH, APHASIA, AVULSION, CATHOLICON, CRYPTHOWL, DEMIMONDE, DEVASTATION INSIDE, DUSKFALL, ENSLAVED, FORGOTTEN SPIRIT, GOOSEFLESH, HORDE OF WORMS, IMMORTAL DOMINION, INTERNAL BLEEDING, MENTAL DEMISE, ORA PRO NOBIS, PATHOLOGY STENCH, SERMON, SICKNESS, SOULBURN, SUNCHARIOT, WASTELAND, XUL, etc. You can get it for only $4 or check its web version at: http://castrum.tripod.com/encomium . Also still available the 1st issue for $2 with the following interviews within its 26 A/4 pages: OBITUARY, DEMENTOR, ZAVORASH, GRENOUER, CRACK UP, IMPALED NAZARENE, SWORDMASTER, AVERSE SEFIRA, GARDEN OF SHADOWS, MENTAL DISSECTION, PHANTASMAGORY, HEAVEN GREY, APOSTATE and RENAISSANCE 'zine.

What do you associate the notion of "torture" with? What actually is evil to you?

- Nowadays "torture" has a more deep notion as it had in the Middle Ages, I mean it is still about pain and suffering of human beings but in meantime it incarnates more into the mental behaviour of people as in the physical embodiment of it. And what actually evil means to me I would describe it in this way: Only Evil Is Real!!!!!! Maybe it’s too short for an answer but I do believe it’s enough.

What do such words as "honesty", "honour" and "devotion" mean to you? Is there any sense left in them nowadays, when it seems like the Dark Ages are mentally revived…?

- The triumvirate of these words still have a significant meaning today. As for me they play an important role in my life and I think in others as well, but most of the people are trying to put these things in darkness and forget them forever.

How is the scene in Ukraine and your area especially? Any new bands emerging who are worth mentioning?

- The scene in Ukraine is growing day by day. There are lots of talentful bands over here. To name a few: NOKTURNAL MORTUM, MENTAL DEMISE, XUL, FORGOTTEN SPIRIT, PHANTASMAGORY, LUCIFUGUM, ASTROFAES, TESSARACT, ARTEFACTED IRRELIGION, MUNRUTHEL, RUNES OF DIANCEHT, etc. All these bands playing on quality level their music. And I hope, that soon will be more and more bands presented to the World’s scene from Ukraine. It was generally the part of Ukrainian scene in some words. Concerning the local scene in Uzhgorod... Well, there are only a few bands like SOULREST, TINNITUS, L.O.B. and THE NEW BRAINS. The first two bands playing something similar to death metal but not the way real death metal supposed to be. The last two ones are playing hardcore which style I don’t like at all. So there is no need to describe their abilities. As for any new bands over here I think I should point only HIDEOUS which combines an evil form of death / thrash / black styles.

Would you like to express any thoughts of yours regarding Russia? Anything regarding political situation (elections and, therefore, a new president…) as well as our metal scene…? Furthermore, a lot of friends of mine disdain Ukrainians just because they’re Ukrainians, while the same crap goes on in your country in regards to Russians and Muscovites… What is the reason for that, in your opinion?

- Let me think… I guess I’ll do some notes only regarding your metal scene, ‘coz I don’t like to dive into criticizing the political sphere of any particular country. Russia has a very strong metal scene which is far better than the one here in Ukraine. Bands as MERLIN, TALES OF DARKNORD, MENTAL HOME, GRENOUER, SERMON, MENTAL DISSECTION, CRYPTHOWL, etc. or the ancient metal acts such as ARIA, CRUISE, MASTER, SHAH, etc. are simply great, you know… Answering on the second part of this question. I really don’t have a clue how could happened this disdain between Russians & Ukrainians, because I always speak with my friends in Russian language and as far as I know they do the same with the friends of their friends and so on… So the reason of this crap should be searched somewhere else, maybe in the political systems of these lands, maybe in hell, ha-ha…

The last words are yours. End this as you wish to end it.

- First of all, I would like to thank you, Kai, for doing this interview and supporting CASTRUM. It was great to answer your interesting questions. Keep up the good work with your webmagazine!!! For all the readers of VAE SOLIS: Be the part of the music you like! Keep the flame of underground forever burning! Fans!!! Check out CASTRUM and discover the medieval death metal the way it was supposed to be! Stay who you are and support the death metal!!!
To finish the interview I would also like to mention for all the fans interesting in CASTRUM don’t forget to check out our new updated web site at: http://come.to/castrum
That’s all I had in my mind. Death Metal Renaissance To Be Continued...

E-mail: cornelius@kontr.uzhgorod.ua
Snail mail: Kornel Kontros, Yarockaya str. 7, 88000 Uzhgorod, Ukraine
Another great web site of CASTRUM: http://castrum.tripod.com