Earlier this year, the Serbian death metal Sacramental Blood released their 1st full length album, “Ternion Demonarchy“. In order to find out more about this band and their latest release, ScrollsofDarmoth sat down with Milan Dobrosavljevic (guitars), who kindly provided in depth answers for this new episode of the interview series.
I strongly recommend this album, it’s one of the best surprises of 2016. Listen “Ternion Demonarchy” and enjoy the interview!
- Tell me a little about Sacramental Blood’s history. When and how was this band formed? What was it like in the first years?
Sacramental Blood was risen in January 2002, from ashes of my previous band Androphagous. Ivan Petrovic contacted me to fill in position of drummer in Androphagous but I told him I wasn’t interested in resurrecting that band and suggested him to start together new band, under a new name and with completely new line up. We asked ex Androphagous short time guitarist Dusan Vucicevic to join us and Sacramental Blood was born. 5-6 months later we were joined by vocalist Kosta Kovacevic and bass player Milan Suput and we started strong live activity. In first couple of years we played all over Serbia and few neighbour countries and in short time we built strong name in Serbian scene. However, we didn’t have too much luck with first few demo recordings so it took us 4 years to get first demo officially released. That was “Inception of Ceremony” and it was released by Walk Records (Bosnia) on split cd with Ophiolatry (Brazil). The same year we played our first EU tour with Ophiolatry, as well as some single shows with bands like Sinister, Vader, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse amongst many others. In 2009 we started recording of our debut album, that was continued later in 2012-13. The same year we hit the road again for our second EU tour with God Dethroned and Fleshgod Apocalypse. In 2011 we played another tour with Disgorge and Natron and recorded our 2nd demo entitled “The Second Death” (released in 2013 by Darzamadicus Records as a part of “Triple Death Threat” split cd). That demo helped us get more of our own identity and we finished the album “Ternion Demonarchy“, with new members re-recording some parts of it. It was mixed and mastered in city of Rome, in 16th Cellar Studio and released through Ghastly Music/Miner Records/ Rebirth the Metal Prod. Now we are waiting to hit the stage again and promote it all around the EU and hopefully some other continents as well
- Some months ago you have released your first full length, “Ternion Demonarchy”. How was it received so far and what have done you after its release? Did you have any concerts/tour in support of this album?
“Ternion Demonarchy” came out on 6th of May, through Ghastly Music from Japan (sublabel of Amputated Vein Rec.) and since then was licensed from Miner Records (Swiss), for release of cd for ex-Yugoslavia territory and LP worldwide, and Rebirth the Metal (Germany) for tape version. Few days ago we also made deal with Insane Music and Lab6 (both from Brazil) for release and distribution of digipack in Brazil. Reactions are fantastic so far. Every single review has been full of praise for it and fans’ reaction is also overwhelming. Unfortunately, we haven’t played live shows for last 2 years because of drummer’s health issues but hopefully we will start concert promotion from November/December this year.
- What exactly is “Ternion Demonarchy”? How did you come up with that album name? (Ed note: read the review for “Ternion Demonarchy” here )
The title of each release is in connection with ordinary number of that release. The first demo marked the beginning of our discography, the inception, so it was entitled “Inception of Ceremony“. The second demo was our second death metal offering so it was called “The Second Death” and the debut album is our 3rd release so the title has to deal with number 3. “Ternion Demonarchy” means “reign of 3 demons” or “government ruled by 3 demons” and cover artwork reveals their nature. 3 demons sitting on the thrones represent 3 major religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) and 3 obelisks behind them represent 3 city states – Vatican, Washington and London – spiritual, military and monetary centers that control the world.
- How do you see the Serbian (extreme) metal scene? Are there any magazines/fanzines, labels, distros that support it or you mostly rely on your connections abroad? What are your connections with the other Serbian metal bands, do you have brothers in other bands or it’s each for his own?
We have few web zines and portals that are quite supportive, presenting new releases, doing show reports and announcements, interviews with local bands etc but I’m not sure how much fans pay attention to them. There are 2 serious labels that deal with extreme metal: Grom Records and Miner records, although Miner is officially Swiss label but they have office in Serbia and they sign mostly Serbian metal bands. With bands it’s like everywhere else, I guess. Few bands work together and they help each other, play shows together etc. We have been out of scene for few years now, since we haven’t played shows for last few years but we always tried to have friendly relationship with all bands that have crossed our path.
- 3 years ago, you released a 3 split cd, “Triple Death Threat”, together with Heretical Guilt and Blasphererion, each band having a set of three songs. Quite surprisingly, you covered a thrash metal band, Kreator(Storming with Menace). Why that cover, and not any other from a death metal universe?
I wanted to cover of that song since the first time I listened to it and it just seemed like good idea. There’s no sense doing cover of any song if you can’t give it your own touch and make it sound like your song. We had idea how to make it sound different from the original and we like it a lot so it was no-brainer for us choosing to record it.
- Who writes the lyrics in Sacramental Blood and what are they about? Are they gory, typical death metal lyrics, or there’s an actual message behind them?
I write all the lyrics and I try to bring some message out there. I don’t preach but I speak my mind. I don’t enjoy typical gore lyrics so much anymore but I stick to darker side of humanity (misuse of religion, mental and social alienation, sorcery/cloning etc).
- Your debut album was released on cd by a Japanese label (the tape and the LP will be released by 2 different labels). How did you come across Ghastly Music and what made you sign with them? Will the next material be released by them as well?
I contacted Amputated Vein Rec. and they offered us to release album through their sublabel Ghastly Music. We talked to few other labels but GM gave us the best offer so we decided to sign with them deal for one album. Contract gave us option to give license to other labels and since GM releases only cds we got in touch with Miner records to release album on vinyl and Rebirth the Metal for cassette version. Miner records also decided to release cd exclusively for territory of ex-Yugoslavia and now we got an offer to release digipack for territory of Brazil. It’s too early to talk about next album and think about continuation of our contracts. First we want to spend 1-2 years on the road and promote “Ternion Demonarchy” as much as possible and then we’ll see what other options we have.
- Please tell me about the bands that influenced you over the years. Can you name some metal albums (not only death metal) that really impressed you? What was the first death metal record that you listened to/bought?
Uh there are way too many albums that impressed me. Some major influences are Suffocation, Monstrosity, Sinister, Luciferion, Morbid Angel, Disincarnate, Sadus, Seance, Forbidden, Nevermore amongst many others. First death metal albums I heard/bought didn’t impressed me that much at first. I can’t remember if the first one was “Spiritual Healing” (Death) or “Beneath the Remains” (Sepultura) but the life changer was definitely “Cause of Death” (Obituary). I already had “Slowly We Rot” but didn’t like it that much. Still “Cause of Death” bought me forever after only few seconds. Sides of tape were messed up on my copy and album started with “Dying“. Opening riffs and vocals mesmerised me and I instantly became addict of that new sound. I started searching for other bands with similar vocals and that was impossible to find but still it led me to some other killer releases like “Blessed are the Sick“, “Harmony Corruption“, “Testimony of the Ancients“, “Human” etc. Every single death metal record you could get around that time was killer so it was easy to sink deep into death metal waters
- You (guitars) and Ivan Petrovic (drums) were together right from the very start. Srdan Todorovici (ex Blaspherereion, vox and guitars) joined you later on, in 2011. How many line-up changes did you have before realising that this will be the “successful” formulae? Did those changes prevent you from releasing the first full length until now?
We had too many line-up changes to remember them all but that’s not the only thing that caused delay of release. We were not satisfied with mix of album so it took us long time to find proper studio and get money for it. Good thing about that delay is that during that period of waiting we found Srdjan and recorded with him “The Second Death” demo. It showed us the right way to go so we re-recorded all vocals and half of guitar solos on album, gaining more unique sound and we distanced ourselves from many other brutal death metal bands, with vocals not so usual for this kind of death metal
- What is death metal for you? What does it mean? Is it by definition a genre dealing only with topics like death, gore, guts etc or it’s about something more?
It’s my life, man. I’ve been listening to it for 25-26 years now and it’s part of who I am. It’s lot more than just a music. It’s way of life. It’s in my DNA. Considering topics, it can deal with whatever you want. There’s no limits and you can choose just any subject you want to write about, but I prefer darker stuff. I think death metal should deal with gore, horror stuff or dark side, but it’s not necessary and there are many great albums that have more positive lyrics. I think there are more limits riff wise as you should keep it aggressive and energic, without sinking too deep into melody, if you want to call it a true death metal
- A new wave of death metal bands was born these recent years. Bands like Grave Miasma, Cruciamentum, Domains, Embrace of Thorns, Qrixkuor, just to name a few, have emerged from the depths chanting about unholy blasphemies. How do you see this new current, is it a breath of fresh air that Death Metal needed?
I’m not sure you can call it new when most of those band are heavily influenced by Incantation, who have been around for decades now, but I think death metal needed it since too many bands went too technical and polished, the same time loosing sense for song writing. These bands you mentioned are leaning toward darker lyrics and sound so I like it, no matter I don’t listen too much to such bands. They still carry the flag of true death metal and therefore they have my respect.
- Last question, non-music related: Partizan Belgrade or Crvena Zvezda? Many thanks for doing this interview, Milan. It was a pleasure having Sacramental Blood on Scrolls of Darmoth. Really hope to catch you guys on tour in the near future. Till then, the last words belong to you.
Haha, honestly, I despise sport, or better said sport system in this country. It’s the continuation of politics and politicians’ dirty games, so I would be happy if both clubs get closed down (with all others clubs as well). Their criminal fan leaders should get arrested and we should get back to sport as recreation and healthy way of living, instead of sport as a way of organized crime (many of fan leaders here are nothing more than violent hooligans, involved in criminal activities like drug smuggling, robberies, murders etc. and politicians keep supporting them and their clubs by giving them hundreds and hundreds thousands of euro, instead of giving that money to socially vulnerable persons). I was Partizan fan as a kid but now I don’t give a shit about any of them.
Thanks for this nice interview and hope to see you on tour soon. We are working hard to book as many shows in Romania in 2017 as possible. See you there. Cheers!