DATE OF INTERVIEW:
27th March 2017
Following their reactivation after a decade long period of dormancy, between 1999 and 2009, Dutch blackened death crew Antropomorphia have been steadily unleashing new works; their latest being 'Sermon ov Wrath'. A richly atmospheric, mixed-tempo amalgam of elements, from groove-driven passages to death idioms to quasi-black metal riffery, it sees the band at their most expansive. Metal Discovery quizzed frontman Ferry Damen about the album's sounds, themes, boobs and decapitated heads...
METAL DISCOVERY: There’s a quote in press blurb, where you say: “We turned into a different beast and I think people will hear that.” In what ways do you regard ‘Sermon ov Wrath’ as progressing your sound and style from previous releases?
FERRY: I’d say there’s a lot more diversity on this album. We expended on the frame that was built with ‘Evangelivm Nekromantia’ and ‘Rites ov Perversion’, while not abiding to any limitation within or outside the genre and that’s something that reverberates throughout the whole album. Not to take anything away from these predecessors but this album is more in balance on every level, be it songwriting, sound or lyrics.
(Ferry Damen on the jovial pleasures of the new Antropomorphia album, 'Sermon ov Wrath')
"Most of ‘today’s’ lyrics are more personal inspired lyrics, finding their inspiration in Sex, Satanism, Nihilism, and Death, for example."
Antropomorphia - promo shot, 2017
Interview by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2017 - Dennis Wassenburg
Antropomorphia Official Website:
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
Antropomorphia Official Facebook:
MD: There’s quite a gap in your discography between studio albums and a long period of inactivity – from 1998’s ‘Pure’ to 2012’s ‘Evangelivm Nekromantia’. Do you regard there being two distinct eras of Antropomorphia, or was it a natural continuation from where you left off when the band was reactivated?
FERRY: For us, it’s a natural continuation/progression of our sound and songwriting. When we went into our deathlike slumber we kept writing and recording songs whenever we had time to do so. Within that period of ’99 till ’09, we released several of those songs through our Myspace page and, if you would place those songs after each other and listen to it, the journey sounds only logical. I can imagine that, for some people, there are two distinct eras as there might be only one for others; those who just got to know the band, for instance.
MD: In the new songs, there’s a great balance between different tempos, heavy grooves, atmospheres, blackened riffage, and crushing death passages… did you see where the compositional process led you, or did you try to lead the compositions in certain directions, to combine all these elements?
FERRY: While writing, I let the inspiration lead me; it dictates where the song is going. I cannot sit down and write a certain song. So, when a riff presents itself, it leads where the song is going; it’s not a predefined process, nor do we constantly copy/paste riffs into a song till we get a certain type of composition. It’s a natural process which, sometimes, requires a lot of patience and time.
MD: The production has a very natural, organic sound, which seems to work well in conveying some of the atmospheres in the compositions. Did you spend a lot of time on the production to attain the perfect sound for the music?
FERRY: Marco (our drummer) is the one responsible for the production, so I guess he’d be the one to ask. I know he spends quite some time on getting things right but, while doing preproduction, he already knew where to go; he feels the music; he know atmosphere that’s in there and how to translate that into the sound it needs.
MD: From where do you draw inspiration for songs’ themes? You seem to use variations of the word ‘Nekromantik’ on your albums and beyond, which presumably derives from Jörg Buttgereit, so are horror movies, and the horror genre in general, an influence?
FERRY: When we started out in 1989, most of the lyrics where influenced by horror movies (and, yes, Jörg Buttgereits ‘Nekromantik’ was one of them), serial killers and necrophilia, but all lyrics written back then had a female portraying the serial/killer or performing the necrophilia, which was also a big part of the imagery. Even though these gore type of lyrics are part of our roots, their part has become smaller and smaller with each album. Most of ‘today’s’ lyrics are more personal inspired lyrics, finding their inspiration in Sex, Satanism, Nihilism, and Death, for example.
MD: The title of new track ‘Suspiria de Profundis’ sounds like it could be Argento-inspired?
FERRY: No, it has nothing to do with a horror movie and it’s not based or a continuation of Thomas De Quincey’s ‘Suspiria De Profundis’; the lyrics are written after taking a halogenic drug.
MD: Do you ever get contacted by fans who take any of your lyrical themes a little too literally? Have you inspired any budding necrophiliacs, for example?
FERRY: No, I’ve never been contacted by anyone and I doubt it would be taken seriously. The lyrics that cite this topic are only a very small part of our latest releases and, when the topic is touched on, it is still written with a female nekrolesbian perspective.
MD: The female vocals on ‘Crown ov the Dead’ work really well in how they’ve been integrated with the textures of the music. Did you always have a female voice in mind for this track, at the compositional stage?
FERRY: Yes, even while writing the music for the song I heard a female voice in the repetition of the chorus. I have no clue why but I kept hearing it. So, when it was time to record the preproduction vocals, I asked Ryanne van Dorst from the band DOOL, if she had any interest in being a part of this track. We send her the early demo and she liked the song. The result is what you hear on the album.
MD: The cover art is very striking (if a little Spinal Tap, dare I say… in a positive way!). Did you give the artist, Madeleine Hoogkamer, free reign with her artistic interpretation of the music/lyrics, or did you demand boobs and a decapitated head?
FERRY: I had a clear view on what I wanted to see visualized and how I wanted the cover to look and feel. I wanted that late-80s/early-90s feel, so we sat down together and discussed the idea, the lyrics and, based on that conversation, Madeleine made a sketch, which already met most of my expectations and went from there. The nudity was her choice, loosely based on Celtic Frost’s ‘Emperor’s Return’. The decapitated head stands for all Abrahamic religions and refers to our Sermon ov Wrath.
MD: Coming from the vinyl generation, is it satisfying to see your new album also released on the vinyl format? I imagine the analogue, organic sounding production is a perfect match for the format?
FERRY: All our releases have been released on vinyl so this wasn’t really a new thing for us but, yes, it’s good to see it’s been released on vinyl, also sound-wise.
MD: What’s your take on the whole vinyl boom in recent years? The resurgence in vinyl seems to have taken everyone by surprise…
FERRY: Personally, I am glad vinyl is ‘back’, so to speak. I never liked the CD format; it was a necessity if you wanted to own an album, but I think the artwork is too small and, most of the time, you can’t read the lyrics and you’re not as involved with the ‘product’.
MD: You recently acquired a new booking agent, The Flaming Arts, so can we expect a lot more touring from Antropomorphia in 2017 and beyond?
FERRY: That’s what we are going for. At this point, our main priority is to present this new music in a live setting. Be it through festival/clubs shows or touring.
MD: Finally, what else lies ahead for Antropomorphia during the rest of the year? Any more perversities planned? Any new videos in the pipeline?
FERRY: Like I said, our main priority is to play live so we are working on getting that realized. Other than that, no immediate plans are made… maybe we’ll do another video but, at this point, there are no immediate plans to do one.