Dear friends, the latest full-length "Messtery" by the Czech thrash-death metal outfit Antigod was unleashed last week, which brings us to the latest installment of our "talks" series, which is all about this album and its authors. Enjoy!
ANTIGOD: The new Messtery album? The same old mess!
The gears of the Antigod metal machine are again moving. No rust, no material fatigue. On the contrary. The new Messtery full-length is as ravenous and wild as its predecessors. We discussed it with the guitarist Pedy.
The new album Messtery is out. What are your feelings?
At last! That is the only feeling I have, because recording of the album was postponed given what has been happening in the world. The original plan was to release it in 2020, and when that was not possible, we moved it to 2021. And now is 2023 (laughs). On the other hand, if released back then, it would have been a completely different album, since the vast majority of its songs were written as late as during the “worldwide cultural break” and many of those took shape during the first studio session, which means spring 2020.
You talk about the album as the beginning of a new period, if only because the band now has a new vocalist, which is always a big change. How would you describe the album music-wise in context of your discography?
The same old mess (laughs). If I were to go more in-depth, I would start with the writing process. That was pretty much business as usual, as I wrote the songs the way I am used to from the previous albums, meaning I compose the song in its entirety without any vocals, and then I send it to the rest of the guys. And this is where the first change took place. It used to be that I sent it to the others, and we would decide if we are gonna use it or not. This time, there was no pressure of a studio schedule, while the future of culture and its return to normal was uncertain. So, I just kept writing and piling up songs so that when things get better, we would meet up and pick the best songs. It was also important for me that the guys would hear no sooner than during this final selection. In the end, I had 53 songs; 20 of those we already done for the 2020 version of our album, the remaining 33 came about in the interim. Another change was that I was writing two or three pieces at the same time. Whenever I was in the mood, or got an idea, I sat down and started recording. It usually took me half a day. And afterwards, it could have been weeks before I touched my guitar again. Given the final count of songs, I would say it all went pretty well. Yet another novelty is the scope of my vocals. Previously I would sing only sporadically, now I pushed myself to do whole passages, which also gave the whole album a new direction.
With lyrics, it was similar to songwriting. They were written again by Chymus, who worked with Antigod in this regard already from the beginning, so no change there. What did change was the topic, which is very different from our previous albums, and which is a reflection of the time the lyrics were written. I can say it is again like from the archives of a psychiatric ward, which is exactly what we expect from Tom (smiles).
Speaking of Chymus, he was your vocalist for a time, yet left the band in 2021. At that point, did you consider calling it a quit, or was it clear that you will go on?
There were in fact two sides to that situation. On one hand there was of course our frontman leaving, which for a band is rarely a positive thing, on the other hand there was the timing, which did play into our hands. All songs for the album were picked, culture was still frozen, and it would be a long while before studio. There was no reason to consider throwing in the towel. The core of the band was stable, and we already had prior experience with changing our vocalist. So, the only thing I was interested in, was finding another maniac who would join us (laughs).
In the end you picked Martin Turek from Sinfull Crowd as your new vocalist. Was he your first choice, or were there other candidates?
Martin was the first who came to mind. We have known each other for some time now and I knew he would fit into the band as a person, which is always very important. So, then I just listened to some songs from Sinfull Crowd and gave him a call. We did have other candidates, but Martin was a priority. Only if he said no, we would approach someone else. Fortunately, he said no only the first time, but then made the right decision (smiles).
New album, first shows with a new lineup… What energy do you feel in Antigod right now?
I would say there are very good vibrations in the band right now. We did manage to play some shows already with the new lineup, looking forward to taking the stage, and we enjoyed it. That said, Martin was very nervous, but I think he got over it after the first song of the first show.
Does that mean that you are again about to go all in?
Well… most likely we will not be playing 30 shows a year, since the fun in that would soon vanish. On the other hand, we do have some plans or offers. For certain, we would like to pick up where we left off in 2020.
Will Messtery be the cornerstone of your live shows?
Yes. There are ten songs from Messtery in our current setlist. But of course, we included some good old hits as well, so that our show lasts longer than 20 minutes.
Speaking of shows, you once told me that playing live at MetalGate Czech Death Fest has always been the peak for you. What makes this festival so special for you?
I would perhaps correct it to “one of the peaks”. When we started playing live in 2012, MGCDF was our second or third show altogether. And already then and there, the big Antigod fandom was created. It was also the beginning of friendship with Tortharry (and with those around them), with whom we have spent a lot of time since both on and off stage. Besides, the festival has a really great atmosphere, so much so that some of us keep visiting regardless of if we play there or not. All four of our performances there were great; people always came, the organizers gave us good stage times, played release shows for one or two of our albums there, even our cooperation with MetalGate was born there. Simply put, it is the second home for Antigod.
When you mentioned MetalGate, which have been releasing your albums for some years now, how do you regard this label in the context of the Czech scene?
Personally, I registered MetalGate more closely precisely on MGCDF, when we first came into contact regarding our Wareligion album. Till that point, I never cared much about labels. Back then they have already been releasing top albums from the Czech scene, and since we had been unsigned till then, it was a big step forward for us. And our cooperation seemed beneficial for the future as well, and it still does. In general, there are not that many labels in the Czech Republic and most of them are either focused on a specific music or they have their established stables and are not really inclined to sign someone new. What’s more, labels had it rough during the recent “cultural darkness”, so I am glad that our collab with MetalGate is still going.
In 2021 you celebrated ten years on the scene. So, how was the first decade?
Excellent for Antigod. Even though the band was founded by people already seasoned and well known on the Czech metal scene, it was something new nonetheless. We were starting from the beginning. But we had one huge advantage, namely Hadgi. Without him, we would not be where we are now. His managing skills and his knowledge of the scene were already excellent back then, so even though we were a new band, in two years we were known state-wide.
I assume that your debut The Masquerade was your breakthrough. Is that correct?
Pretty much. The album got very positive feedback, which was largely thanks to Staňa Valášek of the Šopa Studio and Herdron who released The Masquerade in his Pařát magazine, thanks to which the album reached many people not only in the Czech Republic. These were the essential and the right decisions that we as Antigod made at the beginning of our journey. And the rest is history as they say. We were playing shows all over the country with bands such as Tortharry or Debustrol, and if you play alongside bands like these, people will remember you. And if they happen to enjoy both your music and your shows, the band is off to a very good place.
Besides Antigod, you are also linked to other bands, such as the iconic local doom metal act Euthanasia. Is that a chapter long closed?
For the most part yes, even though I have to admit there were some machinations as of late (smiles). From time to time I meet with Sikki (bass, vocals) and Honza (drums, now in Colosalist) for a beer and several years ago we decided, under the influence of course, to record again one very old album from a time when neither me nor Yabback were involved. It even went as far as me recording the whole thing at home (drums, guitars and bass) as a basis for further work. But then, one of us withdrew, so there was no longer a point to deal with it further. A full-on comeback is out of the question, but I cannot rule out the band’s reappearance, like in 2017, when we recorded the song Rozmluva s větrem for the tribute album of the legendary Dissolving Of Prodigy.