BURNING SHADOW MAGAZINE (November 2000)

1. Hey George, what are your news? What's going on in Canada these days? Would you like to send a salutation to all the Greek guys who are reading this, since you are half Canadian-half Greek?

Yiasou Kostas kai olee ee ellenes pou diavasoune kai akoune to metal mousiki! Things are going good for Darkness Eternal so far, so for that I am very happy. Not too much news on DE other than that right now, just continuing to promote "Dawn Of The Suffering" and I'm currently writing new material for the next DE record. Things are pretty good here in Canada right now, the metal scene is really picking up here in Edmonton where I currently live, we have great bands here like Lust, Ouroboros, Axis Of Advance, Rites Of Thy Degringolade, Disciples Of Power, Dead Jesus, and of course Darkness Eternal HA HA!!

2. Would you like to tell us what led you to create Darkness Eternal? What was your aim when you started the band? And can you tell us if you have released any other stuff besides "Dawn Of The Suffering"?

I created Darkness Eternal to express all of my anger, depression, hatred, and disgust with my life, religion, and this tombstone called earth. My main goal with DE is and always will be to create the darkest, most hateful music that I can pull from the blackest part of my soul. Currently "Dawn Of The Suffering" is the first and only DE release, and it was released in July 2000.

3. "Dawn Of The Suffering" is an album that I enjoyed to the maximum, mainly because it sounds so pure and honest to my ears. It seems that the music included in the album is like a mirror on which one can see your feelings, am I right? And most of those feelings are dark, I have to say: hate, malice, and anti-Christian emotions are some of them, would you like to speak about the feelings you have put into this recording?

Thank you very much for the positive words on the CD! It really makes me feel good when people can feel and comprehend my music. "Dawn Of The Suffering" is nothing but utter darkness and total honesty, no fucking trends here! You are correct in assuming that it is like a mirror to which you can see my feelings, this CD is a total display of my dark feelings. In addition to hate, malice, and STRONG anti-Christian emotions, I also unleashed my depression, torment, and all the inner turmoil and the dark war that brews inside of me everyday of my life. To sum it up, I put my entire heart and soul into every instrument on this recording, which is what all recording artists true to themselves should do.

4. Talking about the musical part, the album combines elements from death, thrash and doom metal and sounds totally old-fashioned. I guess most of the bands that have influenced you are from the 80's, would you like to name some of them? Why, in your opinion, bands like old Slayer, Possessed, and Metallica are so few nowadays? What do you think of the styles that sell so much today, like N.W.O.S.D.M. and melodic black/gothic?

Actually, to be honest, I'm not really influenced by the 80's that much at all, I didn't discover death metal until the 90's, and it was bands like Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Immolation, Incantation, and Deicide that I first heard that got me into death metal. I ended up hearing the 80's stuff like Possessed, Venom, and Slayer after those bands I just mentioned. I know it sounds weird that I basically went in reverse, hearing the newer bands first then the older ones, but that's the way it happened. I love Possessed, I think for their time they were pioneers and truly great. Seven Churches is a classic metal album! The same goes for bands like Autopsy, whom are one of my favorite all time bands. I liked Venom's first three albums and the Canadian Assault tape, after that I wasn't into their later stuff. Nuclear Death ruled, they were totally sick. I recently got into Bulldozer, they are a great fucking old school band from the 80's! I was never a Metallica fan back then, but their old stuff is a lot better than what they are doing now in my opinion. I feel musically I am influenced by bands like Incantation, Immolation, Autopsy, and The Chasm. If there is much 80's influence at all, I am not aware of it and it is purely subconscious. Now, as for why bands like old Slayer, Possessed, and Metallica are so few these days, well, the only answer I can really give is that the bands that were metal that aren't anymore don't have their hearts into it, and that's really too bad because it's so sad to see someone doing something great and then abandoning it for money or whatever other reason. To me that shows that maybe they were in it for the wrong reasons all along. I can't really, I don't know these guys on a personal level so I wont judge them because I don't know what their motives are, but all I know is I don't like it. As for the "trend-metal" music like the black/disco/gothic/keyboard/flute/whatever else music; I personally hate it, but those bands don't need anymore recognition than they get already, so I won't waste space thrashing them. I just ignore them and concentrate my efforts on the TRUE and worthy bands like The Chasm, Incantation, and Immolation. Bands like these are true and honest to their cause, and they deserve the respect and support. This trend will hopefully die soon, and when it does I expect all the bandwagon jumpers to jump off the wagon and find some new gay trend.

5. As I said in a previous question, your anti-Christian feelings are more than obvious, starting with the cover of the CD and continuing with the lyrics which mainly deal with our "beloved" Jesus! Would you like to make comments on both (cover and lyrics) and can you tell us why you decided to deal with this subject? Do you have any personal experiences that made you hate Christianity or did you do that just because it's kind of a "trend" to write about all this stuff?

I decided to deal with this subject because I have a great deal of hatred towards "God", "Jesus Christ", Christianity, and all organized religions in general. First off, I want to point out that my beliefs come from my life experiences, and that I try to be as open-minded as I can be. I don't know for sure if a "God" or "higher power" exists or not, and no one else does either, but if a "God" does exist, I have an utter hatred towards him because all I used to hear when I was young that "God" is our savior and he loves us all and he died for our sins and on and on and on, and then I realized all that was a bunch of shit. No "God" was ever there for me when I was a tormented youngster. I started a concept on this album called "Satanchrist", which is a term I created and used on the last song "Unrepenting Malice". Basically, the way I see it is that the general Christian society sees this "Jesus", as loving, caring, giving, and all-mighty, but the only thing I see in this world is suffering, despair, and darkness. I don't see this "light", this paradise, I see this planet as a vast polluted land of hell, where millions are suffering and tormented every single day. I see a world of greed, lies, and deception. I see a world of total hypocrisy. To me, this so-called "Jesus" is a lot more evil than he is good, and I feel that we are all his puppets that he manipulates for his own satisfaction. The cover of the album illustrates this, where there is the "Virgin Mary" like figure holding this new born spawn of deception called the "Satanchrist", and the flames they are engulfed in symbolize that this paradise called earth is actually hell. I just wish I could have afforded a professional artist to portray the image better, but I didn't have the funds. As you can probably tell by now, I write everything musically and lyrically 100% trend free! I realize that it is the norm for death/black metal bands to be anti-christ and Satanic just for the image, but that is not the case at all for me, I write 100% straight from my heart and soul, and I will continue to do so until I die!

6. And since we're talking about religion, I'd like to ask you if you believe in a God. I'm talking in general, and not only about the Christian God. You know, many people believe that the God is Nature itself, or maybe that the aliens that watch us from space are the God, or even man himself is the only God. What's your opinion about this, and do you think we need nowadays a God to believe in so our life will be happy and all that bullshit?

That's a real good question. It's very hard for me to give a yes I do believe or no I don't believe answer, so I'll put it this way: like I said before I try to be as open-minded as I can, everyone has their theories and no one knows who's right and who's wrong. I haven't seen a "God" in front of my face before. I've seen some extremely dark and weird things in nightmares I have, but in reality, I haven't seen it, no one has, so if something isn't proven to me, I have trouble believing it. However, based on my life experiences, I have has such strange and unexplainable things happen to me that sometimes I do question if there is a "God" or a "higher-power" out there cursing me and getting pleasure out of tormenting my soul. I hate the fact that I have so many questions and never any fucking answers, but that's the way it goes. The only thing that I can say I believe in and have faith in is science. If there is a "God", I have to say that science is the closest thing because it is based solely on facts and logic, and everything in science is proven. Like I said before, you have to go with your own gut instinct and base your life on your experiences. Now, do we need a "God" to believe in so we can be happy? That depends on what your definition of God is, but as far as the way Christians are, that to me is a pathetic lie, and a joke! They are such fucking hypocrites that it makes me want to vomit! It seems to me that they use this God as someone who will forgive them every time that they sin, so then they feel like "it's ok now that I'm a piece of shit and did wrong, because I repented to God and now he forgives me". I mean come on! They use God as an excuse to sin. Fucking brainwashed plebeians! I mean if you believe in something for a valid reason and it improves your quality of life, then good for you, but if you believe it because you read a book or mom and dad told you this is the way it is end of story, then you allow yourself to be manipulated and you don't think for yourself. I think as long as you are true to yourself, you will find peace within, and you'll be a lot better off than a poisoned sheep.

7. A very usual question I think, that I'm sure people ask you often, is why there's only you in the band? Have you tried to search for other members but you were unlucky, or did you just prefer to handle everything by yourself? Anyway, supposing that your main instrument is the guitar, don't you think that the result would be better if you had a real drummer playing in the band?

Yes that is a frequently asked question, and a very valid one too. One of the reasons that I am the sole member of DE is because I am a visionary, and DE is the total deliverance of my personal dark feelings, both musically and lyrically, and for me it would be very difficult to find people that have the same vision, passion, and attitude that I have. I didn't search for members, I knew I would be doing everything on the CD right from the start. Obviously not having a live band is a negative in the sense that it makes it a lot harder for me to fund and promote DE, but at the same time having that creative control is very important to me, both from a music standpoint and a management one. Maybe one day if I can find the right people I will take DE on a stage and unleash a live assault, but if/when that happens, it won't be in the near future as I have many things going on in my personal life right now, so even if I wanted to I couldn't. Actually, I consider myself more a drummer than anything talent wise, because it is the instrument I've been playing the longest and am most comfortable with, but yeah, I suppose it would sound tighter if I had a line up of musicians backing me, but to me it is the music that comes first and foremost. How good and how dark the songs are is more important than anything for me. The fact that I only need myself to keep creating and recording music is a definite plus for me, and also this way no band split up will ever end DE, only I have the power to do that, and I don't plan to do it for a very long time!

8. Apart from the problems concerning music that you're probably facing because you're the only member of the band, don't you also think that it's pretty difficult to take care of both of the music and the promotion/management? Anyway, what have you done until now for the promotion of the album? Have you sent any promos, bought ads, traded with distros etc.? Can you name some zines/distros in the underground scene that have supported you?

Oh yeah, it's definitely not an easy task to write/arrange/record the music AND to handle all the funding, management, and promotion for DE, especially when you consider the fact that I don't make money off it at all right now, and I have to work a regular job 8-12 hours a day on top of all that. But I do it for my love and passion for metal and darkness. This has become in many ways a second job for me now whether I like it or not, but I enjoy doing it. This is the only satisfaction I receive in my miserable life. It gives me great pride to work hard at something and to earn it, that is why I created Dark Salvation Productions, because I am doing all of the promotion, funding, and management for now anyway. The business end of it sucks, but at least I am in total control of it and I am aware of what is happening with DE. The musical end is obviously the gratifying part of it! That's what makes this all worth it. I sent a ton of promos to zines world wide, and a lot of zines have contacted me for promos and I've sent them, and the overall response has been amazing!! Some of the zines that have supported DE thus far (and I thank you all for the support!) are: Canadian Assault Zine (CAN), Eternal Frost Webzine (USA), Erebus Webzine (USA), Prelude In Darkness Webzine (PERU), Alberta's Necrocult Zine (CAN), Grendel Webzine (USA), Violated Rot Zine (USA), Unchain The Underground Webzine (USA), Vae Solis Webzine (RUS), Unbound Zine (CAN), Unholy Terror Zine (GER), and about 30 more zines world wide. Prelude In Darkness Website has a band feature on its website where you can get info on death/black/doom metal bands and DE is featured there along with other killer bands, the address is www.geocities.com/prelude666. As for distro, I am currently working with a company out of New Mexico, USA called The Sigil Distribution. They will be distroing "Dawn Of The Suffering", their web address is www.the-sigil.com. DE has also been featured on the Canadian Zine's Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles "Knuckletracks" compilation CD (Sept. 2000), and is currently slated to be on the Eternal Frost compilation CD, as well as the Dark Legions compilation CD out of Singapore. I haven't bought any ads yet, but I plan to do that soon when I get some current ones made up.

9. How much did the whole "package" (CD + studio + booklet etc.) cost you? Everyone involved in the underground knows that earning money from it is very difficult, so do you expect to get some of the money you paid for it back? What's more important for you, when someone buys your CD, the money you get, or the satisfaction that there are some people out there that appreciate what you do?

The whole thing ended up costing me about $3500.00. I was actually pretty lucky on the recording end because the engineer who recorded it for me charged me a good price because I had worked with him before, otherwise it would have been more for sure! Also the fact that I was forced to do the artwork because I couldn't afford a pro artist helped keep the price to my range, but that is still a lot of money for just one person, as I had to fund the entire thing myself, but like I said before those are the sacrifices you make when it involves something you love to do and have a passion for. The most important thing for me by far is the satisfaction I get when people appreciate, feel, and comprehend what I'm doing. For me there is no greater feeling. The response for DE so far has been a lot better than I could have imagined, and I am very grateful for that, hail to the underground!! Making a profit in death metal is very hard and basically non-existent, so if you are in this to make lots of money, I suggest you quit and get a career, because it won't happen playing this extreme style of music. I would be more than happy if I sell enough CD's to break even, and make the money I spent back. At least that way, making the next DE record will be easier for me financially. If DE can keep supporting itself without me having to put extra money out of my everyday life into it, that would be great, but even if that doesn't happen, my love for this is too great and I will keep doing it for as long as I can, no matter what obstacle stands in my way!

10. In the "fuck-off" list on the booklet of the CD, you mention "all the pathetic parasites that saw fit to take advantage of me, lie to me, rip me of, or use me in anyway during my life span", and I'm wondering who these people are. I don't want you to tell me names, but only what kind of people did those shitty things to you and in what ways?

The kind of people that did these things don't even deserve to be mentioned here or anywhere else for that matter, and they deserve nothing but the worst torment and eternal anguish that is possible. Unfortunately I don't like to discuss my personal life, so I can't go into to much detail on this subject, but I will say that these things unfortunately do happen to not just me, but to a lot of undeserving people as well, because we live on planet that has become malicious and totally fucking self-serving. As I stated earlier, I form my beliefs and make my decisions based on my life experiences and I have gone through a lot in my short existence on this hell on earth. As I said in the CD booklet, "Karma is a bitch that will bite you in the ass...". I really believe in what goes around comes around, and I believe this because I have seen it with my own two eyes. I have seen what has happened to most of the worthless pieces of excrement that have hurt me, and they have had tragedy strike them, and the best part is that they were the cause of their own downfall, I didn't have to touch them, and now they are in regret for what they've done, but it's too late now because you can't reverse time. They are fucking nothing now, and I am and always will be above them, I will always have integrity, honor, and pride, and I will always give you respect if you give it to me, and I vow to die with those things intact. Those bastards will never ever be able to say that. I am a wiser person because of my bad experiences, but also a much colder, darker, and hateful person as well. At least I find a little bit of relief in the fact that some of them are suffering now, and as for the ones that have yet to feel the dark wrath, your time will come soon!!

11. Talking about the band's name, what do you mean with "Darkness Eternal"? What does darkness mean to you (except being absence of light of course!) and does it express you as a person? Have you heard of a US fanzine called Eternal Darkness? It seems that its editor had the same source of inspiration when searching for a name as you, he he he!!!!!

Darkness Eternal was an easy choice for the name of the band because it is the definition of me and my life. My life has been engulfed in darkness for as long as I can remember. Darkness means everything to me and definitely expresses me as a person. Darkness means so many things to me, I don't know where to begin. It's mainly the darkness from within me, all the depression, hatred, suffering, misery, you know, that inner war with the world and with myself. I will never ever be happy with myself or my life, I wasn't when I was young, and I'm still not today. I have so much pain and hurt inside of me, some of which will never go away, and it sucks to feel this way, but there isn't much I can do about it except for release it with creating and playing dark, extreme music. That is the only satisfaction I get in my life. I only have "love" for two things on this earth, and that is my family and metal, that's it. I basically hate everything else. I'm not capable of loving anymore, I've become too cold, I know that sounds bad, but it's the truth. There's so many questions and no answers, and the only thing that has ever made sense to me is death, everything else is confusing to me, but death makes perfect and total sense to me, and long for it. I embrace death with open arms and can't wait for my time to perish out of the miserable prison of flesh and leave this hell. Yeah, I have a couple of Eternal Darkness issues, and that is just a coincidence. I had the name "Darkness Eternal" before I heard of the zine, but I agree with you, I'm sure we had the same concept in mind when we came up with our creations, and Keith did a great job with Eternal Darkness, it was a killer zine!

12. As I can see in the booklet of the CD, you thank bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Immolation, and Angel Corpse, so I guess that the US scene of brutal death metal is among your favorites. Would you like to tell us what you like most in these specific bands, but in general in brutal death metal too?

Yeah, definitely the US brutal death metal scene is among my favorites, but I more or less thank every band on my thanks list for a number of reasons, one of them being is that I am in contact with some of them and they have been real cool to me over the years. Another reason, and this goes for all the bands on the list, they are just awesome and inspiring! As for what I like most about the bands I thanked, you got me started on the wrong topic, because I could go on forever here HA HA!! Anyone that knows me knows that I don't just listen to metal, I fucking live it! It is a passion for me, and something I couldn't live without, and a lot of these bands are more than just "good bands" to me. Deicide, Immolation, Incantation, and Morbid Angel were the bands that got me into death metal, so I am grateful to them for that. Angel Corpse was a great band, and put out three amazing albums, and they broke a lot boundaries when it came to extremity and speed. Incantation, Immolation, and Autopsy brought dark music to a new level for me, and influenced me in that way, they are all pioneers. These bands have put out the darkest sounding albums I've ever heard! The Chasm holds a special place in my heart, because they write the most soulful, passionate, and depressing music I've ever heard. They are just an amazing band whom I have so much respect for. Every record they've released has been stellar, all their albums are among my all time favorite album list. They are the most authentic and original bands I've ever heard. So every band I just discussed has affected me in a certain way, and I owe thanks to all of them for their music, and for the ones I know, I owe thanks for their friendship as well. What I look for in brutal death metal is really simple: Honesty, feeling, and darkness. I prefer the darker/demonic style of death metal. I don't care how fast or how heavy or how technical the music is, just as long as it is dark as fuck! I like technical death metal like Cryptopsy, and fast gore metal like old Carcass, but overall I prefer dark death metal. I also am a big fan of doom metal, bands like Thergothon and Worship rule!!

13. As I can see in the songs included in "Dawn Of The Suffering" took you three years to write them, so when should we be waiting for your next release? In 2003 maybe??? Seriously now, do you plan to release a new album, and if yes, do you have any ideas in your mind?

Well, it didn't exactly take three years to write all the songs on "Dawn Of The Suffering", they were written over a span of three years. Actually, only "Shadow Of The Scorned" was written in 1997, the rest was written in 1998-2000. I had a very productive year in 2000, as I wrote half the album this year. I recorded at the end of April, so I wrote five songs in four months, so that's pretty good. The reason I recorded in 2000 and not in 1998/1999 was simply more or less time and money reasons. I planned the recording of the CD for over a year, so I had time to write newer and better material, rehearse it, and most importantly, save money! I can't say right now when the next record will be out, but I sure hope it's before 2003 HA HA!! But I yes, I definitely plan to release a new album, and I plan to release records for as long as I can. The only thing that makes it difficult is the time and coming up with the money for doing it. Writing new material won't be a problem, unless I suddenly get writers block! I have lots of new ideas in mind right now! I am currently going through the worst period I've ever gone through in my personal life, and that will show itself in the new DE songs. I currently have one new song written and arranged called "Cursed To An Eternal Damnation", and I can say with great pride that it is the darkest song I have written to date! I have some real good dark and morbid riffs and ideas, but nothing constructed other than the song I just mentioned, but I can say that the next Darkness Eternal record will be one of the darkest, most evil creations in a while!

14. Hails to you George for answering this interview! If you have anything to add, the following space is yours!

Thank you very much Kostas and Burning Shadow Zine for the interview, it was a pleasure doing it. Thanks as well for all the support, I really appreciate it! Keep spreading the black plague over Greece! Eternal hails to the underground, you are the blood that keeps the heart of TRUE metal pumping! Thanks to everyone world wide that has bought "Dawn Of The Suffering" and supported DE and it's cause, you rule! Lastly, Euxaristo para poli se oli ee ellenes pou akoune to metal mousiki! If you don't have "Dawn Of The Suffering" and would like to own a copy, you can get it for $12 USD (Shipping and Handling included), money order (make payable to George Velaetis) or well concealed cash accepted to: George Velaetis, P.O. Box 5002, Spruce Grove AB, Canada, T7X 3A2. E-mail me at: Darknesseternal666@hotmail.com. Look for the Darkness Eternal website in the coming months as well. Death to Jesus!!!