April 24, 2016

Interview - Paroxsihzem

Given that I recently reviewed Paroxsihzem's latest EP, "Abyss of Excruciating Vexes" and also considering the fact I've been a fan of the band for quite a while it didn't take long to decide to take the band up on their kind offer of an interview. See below for a fascinating insight into one of Canada's greatest underground bands...

Hi, many thanks for agreeing to an interview with The Lair of Filth, we’ve been fans of the band for a while now so the opportunity to find out a little more about you is very much appreciated. For those reading who may not be as familiar with Paroxsihzem could you give us some background information regarding its formation etc. and also the meaning behind the name and its relevance to the band?

Paroxsihzem was formed in 2007 by Impugnor and Krag to create extreme black/death metal, influenced by different themes than those commonly found in the scene, and that is apparent in the layout if you own any of our material. The name Paroxysm, “a sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity.” Another meaning, “a sudden recurrence or attack of disease; a sudden worsening of symptoms”. Both apply to our influences, direction and intention with the band. The spelling was slightly altered to fit our directive as well as looks more aesthetically appealing in our opinion.

I recently reviewed your latest EP Abyss of Excruciating Vexes” and was very impressed with it, how pleased is the band with the final release and could you give us some detail around the lyrical themes covered?

We are very pleased with the final release and will only continue in this direction.
The lyrical themes are as follows:

Dilettantes Torture – A case involving relentless inhuman torture.
Bellicose Psychosis – Based on a case regarding slow agonizing deterioration from radiation poisoning.
BZ Experiment – (3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate)
Isolation – Just as the title says, if you're unaware of the effects of isolation, feel free to look into what happens to inmates thrown into what is deemed “the hole”.

The Arkhon Infaustus cover was an interesting addition to the EP – why was this track selected and have Arkhon Infaustus gave you any feedback on your version?

This track was selected because it’s always been a personal favourite from back when  “Hell Injection” came out.  We played it live for our first show and just decided we would record it for the EP. Arkhon have not contacted us about it either. I've tried contacting some of the most recent members but no luck.

I’m aware the fantastic artwork and EP layout were designed by your vocalist Krag. Krag, could you tell us about the design process and were you involved in a similar way for previous releases?

For the “Abyss of Excruciating Vexes” art, Impugnor had sent me a few demo tracks early on which I was able to listen to and get a feel for where the album was headed.. After hearing the songs my vision just developed over time as I started drawing. For the design process I started with pen on paper then spent a few months meticulously painting all the art in digital. I always make sure the artwork fits the mood and atmosphere of the music. So for AoEV its chaos, death, filth, delusions and manifestations of sorrow in art form. Same process for the previous releases – I always hear some early material to set the tone and direction of the art.

The new EP was recorded and mixed by the band – did you adopt a similar in-house approach for earlier recordings and what do you feel are the advantages of doing so?

We did all Abyss of Excruciating Vexes recordings by ourselves. For the self-titled we did the in-house approach but for the split we went with a more professional guy.  We need a sound that truly represents what the band is about... and it’s just not going to work or be honest if it’s clean sounding or polished to shit.

Does this approach bring much added pressure to the recording process and are there any associated disadvantages?

If anything it makes it easier to capture the essence of the band if we do it ourselves without any outsider input and we can take our time with it. 

Could you tell us about the recording process for Abyss of Excruciating Vexes, the location, how long it took, etc. and how did Damian Herring from Horrendous come to be the one who mastered it?

Abyss of Excruciating Vexes was recorded in our jam hall in October 2015 over the course of a few weeks. Vocals and mixing took about another few weeks. Our drummer was going through the height of a serious sickness, we dealt with all sorts of computer issues, and were moving out of our hall a few weeks later, but in the end it all came together. Damien Herring was actually recommended to us by Adversarial. So I got in touch with him and it worked out very well.

Impugnor – you perform bass, guitar and backing vocals, does this in turn mean you’re responsible for most of the writing or is it a wider, all-inclusive process?

I'm responsible for all of the writing up to this point. Of course Krag has been critical over time with what riffs and sections should and should not be used, so I cannot take all the credit, but writing is primarily in my hands. The guitars and bass are written first and foremost, the drums are written afterwards to fit the riffs. Of course I cannot play drums to the degree we need it to be, so I program drums to give our drummer an idea of what is desired.

On previous recordings Frog/Forge Stone performed session drums but this changed for the new EP with Abyss, the bass player from Adversarial, playing drums, is he now a permanent member of the band?

Yes, Abyss is now a full-time member of Paroxsihzem. We needed a local drummer to play shows and rehearse on a regular basis. Abyss had drummed previously in other bands such as Dead of Winter and he was a friend of ours so he fit in quite well.

With Abyss also being the bass player for Adversarial can we ever hope to see a Paroxsihzem / Adversarial tour?

No tour, but the odd shows together for sure.

When you’re playing live C666S from Adversarial plays guitar for you – are these close ties with Adversarial due to the fact both bands are from Ontario and if so, have you known each other for many years?

CS from Adversarial was helping us out on live guitar for the first show we did with Mitochondrion but since then we have recruited a new guitarist, Abhorr who will be a full member and will make his debut at our show in May. Adversarial live in the same city as us, we use to share a band hall with them, and we have known all the Adversarial guys for about 4-5 years now.

Your last release prior to Abyss of Excruciating Vexes was the brilliant split with Adversarial, “Warpit of Coiling Atrocities,” a great release with both bands on top form and the sound of both bands complementing the other extremely well; can we expect to see future collaborations with Adversarial?

Thanks, we are very pleased with how the split turned out. The only collaborations with Adversarial in the future will be in the form of shows and the Warpit of Coiling Atrocities vinyl release.

You’ve had an association with Hellthrasher Productions since they released a vinyl version of your self-titled debut in June 2013, what factors do you feel have contributed to this long term association and can you see the relationship with the label continuing for future releases? 

Yes for sure, Hellthrasher Productions has always been good to us... fast, reliable and quality releases... no point in changing at this point.
Our intention is to work with Hellthrasher on every release of ours in one form or another, they have done nothing but exceed expectations.

Abyss of Excruciating Vexes was released in a limited quantity of 250 on vinyl are there any plans for a vinyl re-press if the first pressing sells well?

We will see about re-pressing anything - I guess time will tell but we also like the idea of it being limited and exclusive.

Does Paroxsihzem have many live dates scheduled for 2016?

Just a few dates so far. One is May 19th at “Briefcasefest 2016” and the others will be announced shortly. We don't play live very often though, if you wish to see us live, do it when you can.

Black/Death Metal has enjoyed a massive resurgence in recent years, do you feel this is a good thing for the sub-genre and do you feel it will have the same audience in 5 years’ time?

Yes and no. The resurgence initially was welcomed, but over time things became over saturated, bands starting to try a fit into certain circles, styles and categories. Originality and authenticity diminished, and idiots who have no business playing or listening to this music flocked to it, sheep in wolves clothing are everywhere in the scene. We will see who likes it in 5 years, but it doesn't matter to us, we will keep making this music regardless of how many people want to like it.

Do you think Canada’s underground has benefited from this resurgence and are there many Canadian underground bands you feel are set for future success?

Hard to say, I haven't noticed anything new to black/death scene here in a while… just the usual suspects. Perhaps the crowds have been better at more underground shows. 

Which bands would you say have influenced Paroxsihzem’s sound the most and do you all have similar tastes in music?

A bunch of bands over a period of time. We do share a lot of the same music taste, but not always.

Which releases from 2015 did you enjoy most and what future releases are you looking forward to hearing in 2016? 

Impugnor: In all honesty, I don't keep up much with new releases any more unless they are recommended to me, or by a band I know delivers good material. For 2015, albums that come to mind are Revenge, Adversarial, Embrace of Thorns, Vorum, Genocide Shrines, Tetragrammacide to think of a few. I'm sure there are many others that I can't think of at this very moment.

Krag: Besides the ones mentioned from Impugnor: Pissgrave, MGLA, Abyssal, Autokrator. Temple of Baal were all great releases last year among a bunch of others but those ones are the ones I listened to the most.

Speaking of 2016, what plans does the band have for the rest of the year?

Play the few shows we have lined up and start working on the next full length album.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s great to get some in-depth information about Paroxsihzem and it’s very much appreciated. The closing comments are all yours……

Thanks for the interview. 

Mind, Torture....Mind, Torture...Mind, Torture...Mind, Torture.
Paroxsihzem 2016

Abyss of Excruciating Vexes by Paroxsihzem is currently available from Hellthrasher Productions.

Warpit of Coiling Atrocities and Paroxsihzem's self-titled debut are currently available from Vault of Dried Bones, Hellthrasher Productions and Dark Descent Records.

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