Polish death metal stalwarts Hate are back with a brand new record and a crippling message in the form of Crusade Zero. Having dealt with the passing of their bassist in 2013, the band thought it was best to create deep songs with more dimension than they have in the past. The record seems like a clarion call to civilization’s demise, and according to Sinner (vocals/guitars) that’s very much what it is. He declares religion, doctrine and the belief in any god to be the reason for mankind’s coming downfall, while at the same time asserting that life is truly valuable and rare in this universe.
Your new album Crusade Zero sounds absolutely amazing. I think it’s the best Hate record I’ve ever heard. Tell me a little bit about the album and what your goal was for it.
Our purpose was to open up a new chapter in our biography and leave all the bad things behind us. I’m referring to our bassist Mortifer’s passing away while on tour in April of 2013 and all the consequences that followed the tragedy. We wanted to deal with the emotions that had gathered in us, and use them to create deep and authentic songs, somehow based on our own experience and perspective.
Lyrically, what kinds of themes did you want to reflect on the disc? It sounds like an all-out call to arms, a veritable warcry of an album. What inspired these themes?
Let’s start from the title Crusade:Zero. The idea of the title comes from some novel, which was written in the nineties and released by a sci-fi underground publishing house in Poland. It was about a religious crusade, full of arrogance which certainty ended in complete failure and death for all the main characters. Not a happy end whatsoever. This was the main inspiration for the whole album which is about the conditions of humanity and its way to self-annihilation. It’s about the world ruled by entropy and decline; the twilight of the civilization as we know it. It’s about trying hard to make this civilization last, but every civilization in the past has collapsed (even the greatest ones) because of human inability to learn from past generations and experiences. We a have a tendency for conflicts which result in wars. This “War Mem” is so strong in us that we can barely exist without wars. Life is too short and there’s not enough time to change the mechanisms that rule the world. Religions are illusions. God is nothing but a deaf creature of mass illusion. Evil triumphs because humans are mentally too small and shallow. You mindlessly march toward self-annihilation, while still creating new gods. The result of this big human effort is none. Zero.
Tell me a little about the writing and recording process for the album. How long did it take to write and record the record and what was the atmosphere like in the studio? Did you have any issues, or did everything go smoothly?
Once we decided to work on a new album, it was fast and intuitive process. The whole of the material was written between February and June of 2014. Initially there were more songs that we eventually recorded, but we decided to choose the nine that would have represented our style in the best possible way. We also had a lot of discussions about the message of the album, as well as the overall sound. As you probably noticed, the material sounds live and authentic. It has a lot of space and dynamics that our previous record lacked. When it comes to music, it’s a hundred percent Hate. It’s powerful, dark and twisted. It is extremely intense in some parts and majestic and hypnotic in others. I think the new record constitutes the essence of our style and is probably our biggest artistic achievement thus far. We decided to record in Hertz Studio here in Poland again, because we were impressed by the progress in recordings and equipment they had made over the last two years. The studio built a new great room for recording acoustic drums. When I heard the results from the first records done there, I thought it would be the best choice for us. We realized the whole album at Hertz, together with mixes and mastering.
There were some odd sections of electronic music on your previous record, but I don’t really hear any major electronic tracks here. What are your thoughts on electronic music and it’s relation to metal?
This time we wanted to make a record that would sound more organic and we concentrated on those elements of our style that have been with us for a long time. So this album has less industrial influences than the two or three previous ones, but it does have some additional dimension, which is made of samples that sound like dark-ambient. I generally find dark-electro and industrial combined with metal very interesting. It builds an atmosphere of dehumanized, cold music. In ‘05 we released Anaclasis – A Haunting Gospel Of Malice And Hatred, which was the first attempt of a fusion of death/black metal with industrial elements in the Polish metal scene. The album was recognized as one of the most innovative works in extreme metal in Europe back then.
Let’s talk influences. What are some of your major influences and what do you think are the five greatest albums ever written by mankind? What are records that no Hate fan should be without?
I suppose the only records that a Hate fan should not do without are Hate albums! (Laughs) Anyway, if you ask me about metal records that I value especially, I would name AC/DC – Highway to Hell, Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance, Slayer – Reign in Blood, Morbid Angel – Covenant, Mayhem – Grand Declaration Of War, Venom – Black Metal, Death – Individual Thought Patterns, Fear Factory – Demanufacture and some more classics like that. My influences are various, from heavy and thrash metal of the eighties to extreme metal of any kind from the nineties and nillies. I’m also influenced by alternative music as well as contemporary classical. I’m a big fan of music in general, but there are other things that inspire me other than music, like things that I see around me when I travel, films, the news, talking to people, reading books, etc. Music is just a part of it.
So what do you think about the fate of the world? Do you think that we’re in the beginning of the end right now and that we should all prepare for our demise? Or is there hope left for mankind?
If we’re talking about the near future, we should definitely be prepared for a demise of the civilization we live in. It is gonna be replaced by something else and it will not happen without paying a big price. Democracy won’t be the same in, say, twenty to thirty years, and it may happen as a result of wars. It’s a shame for mankind. The cause of all this shit is doctrinal thinking, religion and bad politics.
What are things that you enjoy doing outside of playing metal? Is there anything you might recommend to us?
I might recommend mountain climbing. To me it’s the best way to escape from civilization and its white noise, so to speak. Climbing means effort, concentration and meditation. You can experience dead silence on mountain peaks. It is a metaphysical sensation.
Let’s talk about touring. You guys have been a band for a long time, so there’s no doubt that you’ve witnessed many awesome things. What are some of the most awesome things you’ve seen on the road? Additionally, what are some of the most unexpected setbacks you’ve had while on the road and what do you do for enjoyment while on the bus?
We have been in places like Siberia (eastern part of Russia) as well as Brazil, Mexico, North America etc. Every tour is an adventure to some extent. You often see amazing places like Niagara Falls or the Brazilian jungle or meet fantastic people etc. But sometimes you have to face really dangerous situations, like happened to us while on tour in Russia in ‘09. We were visiting the city where Lenin was born, when some strange looking men approached our guitarist while he was signing CDs for fans and offered him a gift. They said he would have to come with them to see the gift because they kept it in the car. Fortunately our tour manager heard the conversation and told him to go to the bus immediately. As it turned out later, it was a kidnapping attempt on our guitarist. Adding to that, the guys who tried this kidnapping attempt were Russian plain clothes policemen. I don’t think this story really needs more comment. If you asked me what we enjoyed doing while on the bus, I’d say that it depends on what you like doing in your free time. Some watch lots of movies and read books (that’s me). Others like drinking and talking until dawn. Our sound engineer spends hours being stuck to his PlayStation.
Finally, do you consider yourself believers in the occult? What are some things that you have witnessed in your lives or things that have been revealed to you that would prove there truly are other forces out there in the world? As far as occult literature is concerned, what would you recommend? It’s been said that Crowley’s books have been disappearing (as in literally stolen) from libraries all over the world as of late, so someone’s obviously very interested in them.
I’m not into occult myself when it comes to practicing rituals or stuff like that. I am generally against religious bullshit and I’m sure the world is fascinating and mysterious enough without those old, stupid and harmful assumptions. I agree with Christopher Hitchens that “religion poisons everything”. However, it is worth studying because if you don’t, you cannot understand a big part of the culture and civilization you live in, not to mention other civilizations and cultures that existed in the history of mankind. Same with the occult, alchemy and stuff like that. Crowley is interesting because what he tried to make was a synthesis of a few religions excluding doctrinal…stuff. It was revolutionary then, but in my opinion as worthless as every other religion. You ask yourself if it’s all predetermined, what is the role of accident etc. I think we control our lives (it’s not predetermined) and we all have free will and not because it was given to us. There is a big mystery in the Cosmos and the ways that it functions, but God is not the answer. It’s a shallow and rather stupid idea which is entirely man-made. I believe that most people do not realize how much we’re really worth and how precious life is, being such a rare phenomenon in the Cosmos. Each person means much more than any god in any scriptures ever written. Fuck gods and set fire to their icons!
Thanks for an incredible record and I wish you the very best of luck on this awesome release. One of the best I’ve heard all year so far. – Eric
Great! Thanks Eric. It was a pleasure.