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Monthly Archives: October 1999

Interview with Xaphan and Xul, October 1999; taken by Melanie


MR: Hail! Could you give me a brief, dark history of the band?

Xaphan: Hail! Azazel started out in October of 1998 with a drum machine and myself. Being that I pretty much suck at programming I brought in who would be Azazel’s first drummer Beleth to do all the programming. We managed to get two songs programmed but never got them to tape. Around March of 1999 I decided I wanted to form a whole band and asked my friend Xul who was writing and recording on his own as Erebus if he would be into doing it, so the beginning of April Azazel took on the form it is now.

MR: What is your present lineup?

Xaphan: The present line up is Xul on bass and demonic screeches of pure unholiness, Mortis on drums, and myself on guitar and blasphemous shrills of hatred.

MR: Describe two of your favorite songs and their composition; key elements fans should listen for, etc..

Xul: Garden of Shadow and Forever Heaven Gone would be my favorites, because they are the 2 newest songs and they incorporate everything involved with Azazel.  Garden of Shadows is lyrically based on darkness and strength within yourself overcoming the weak and foolish. Musically the song has a very strong foundation incorporating straightforward blasting and penetrating breaks.  Forever Heaven Gone is also a favorite because it basically full of rage against xianity, it was originally called “We Want Jesus Dead.”  This song is one that will posses you.

Xaphan: My two favorite songs would have to be the same as Xul. Garden of Shadows is just a blazing force of blasphemy with some very unique breakdowns in it. This was one of the songs I had written in the beginning yet when Xul came in we incorporated some of his riffs into it. Forever Heaven Gone is another fav for its song structure and the riffs that are played. The riffing is total holocaust up to the middle of the song where it breaks down into this slow acoustic piece that is basic but makes for the whole feel of the song.

MR: How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard the band before? Who would you say you sound LEAST like?

Xul: Azazel’s sound is like the Hiroshima bomb destroying everything with someone screaming Satan in the background…powerful, raw, and blasting.  I would say we don’t sound like anyone, and we don’t have keyboards, which are showing up in the newer black metal.

MR: What do you think of the present (underground) metal scene?

Xul: The underground is strong right now because of the recent blow up for black metal and change.

Xaphan: The current state of the underground has remained strong not only because of what Xul said but just for the sole reason metal will never die. There will always be the underground and one’s like ourselves that will continue to keep it alive.

MR: What are your goals and aspirations for the band?

Xul: We are looking for a deal and distribution, when this is achieved we want to rape the world with our music touring as much as possible and keep releasing CD’s.

Xaphan: Beside what Xul has stated another of my goals is to spread blasphemy to the four corners of the earth and to gratify my need for evil.

MR: What can fans look forward to seeing live, and hearing on your releases?

Xaphan: Utter chaotic unholy US black metal.

MR: Is song or lyric writing collaborative, or do certain members do certain things?

Xul: So far I’ve written the lyrics because I’m the vocalist, its easier for me to put my vision into the song because I will be putting it together.  Xaphan and I both write the music.

MR: Do you find it hard coming up with original material?

Xul: Writing original material has come very easy and natural for the pace that the band has been going.  Because of shows here and there we have just started to write new songs and working on covers, so yeah it has been pretty easy so far.

MR: Where did you get the band name? Who came up with the idea?

Xaphan: I came up with the name. Being that I am a Satanist I decided upon the infernal name of Azazel, the demon who taught men to manufacture weapons to wage war. We in fact are here as well to rage war upon xianity hence the infernal name. The name is also Hebrew for hell which is what I envision our music as being.

MR: What are your musical and lyrical influences or inspirations, and how do you blend them to sound unique?

Xaphan: Lyrical I can’t touch upon since I do not write the lyrics. As far as musically my influences are the bands I grew up listening to such as Venom, Bathory, Possessed, Destruction, Frost/Hellhammer, etc. It’s weird that you ask how I blend them to sound unique since I myself do not hear any of my influences in my music, to me I have my own style and only hear my ideas in our music.

MR: What is the funniest thing you have seen lately?

Xaphan: I just recently re-watched the great Monty Python movie “The Life of Brian”. That movie is the absolute fucking funniest!

MR: How well, do you find, the band has matured and evolved since the beginning?

Xaphan: I think Azazel has matured a lot over the few months we have been together. We have become a lot tighter as a whole and our ability to write songs together is incredible. We have only gotten faster and will continue to rage in our compositions.

MR: Do you feel that the band has a relatively large fanbase, so that there is pressure on you to impress and keep it interesting?

Xaphan: I don not know exactly whether we have a large fan base or not. We bring a nice number of people out to our shows locally for the time period we have been together as a band. As for nationally I can only go by how many people have been to our site since April which at the moment is going on to 2000 hits, which isn’t that bad in my opinion.

MR: If you could tour with with any 4 other bands, who would they be?

Xaphan: Great question! The four I can think of right away would be Venom, Possessed, Darkthrone and Marduk.

MR: What do you feel your band brings into the scene?

Xaphan: I think Azazel brings a new definition to the US black metal scene. It has been stated in a review that we are setting the standard for US black metal and I believe that to be true. We are doing our own thing with our own style and not copying some of the great Norwegian bands and claiming it to be “US” black metal. We are Americans and we play American black metal. Plain and simple! So don’t expect to hear another generic black metal band when you hear our CD “Order of the Fly” or when you see us live.

MR: Any words of wisdom to the masses?

Xaphan: Order our CD now since there are only a few hundred that have been printed! Watch for our cover of Mayhem’s “Chainsaw Gutsfuck” that will be on the Mayhem tribute “Reges Mortis Aeterni” coming out in November. Keep supporting the underground black metal scene.

MR: Any last words?

Xaphan: Thanks very much Melanie for the interview! It are the few like yourself that continue to help spread the hate among the herd, and thanks to all out there that have supported and helped Azazel along our left hand path. Hail Satan!

Xul: Yes, thank you for the interview and keep the blood black. Hail Satan!