After 11 years, Greek metallers Chained and Desperate have returned with a new album, Divine Authority Abolishment, an album that draws on a rich diversity of styles to push their sound and metal further into new territories. Sea of Tranquility's Jason Guest caught up with guitarist Panos Chained to discuss the 11 year gap, the writing of the album, the band's influences and musical evolution, and what to expect from them in the future.
SoT: Hi Panos. Thanks for taking time out to talk to us at Sea of Tranquillity. Chained and Desperate's previous album was 1999's Eleven Angles in a Circle. What took you so long?
Panos Chained: Hey Jason. Thanks for your interest in Chained and Desperate and your kind words. To answer your first question, it's been truly a long time since "Eleven Angles in A Circle" (1999) but so it happened that we were all preoccupied with other activities outside the band.
SoT: How long did it take to put Divine Authority Abolishment together? When did writing begin?
Panos: We began working on the tracks around the summer of 2007, with some of the ideas already existed since the time of the "Eleven Angles...", and in August 2009 we started recording them at Music House Studios, Athens. We took our time to correct or even change some of the material as we went. It's much more comfortable to work with no deadlines and try to achieve what you want. That's why the mastering of the album was completed at the end of 2010.
SoT: Can you tell us about the writing process for Divine Authority Abolishment? Are the songs collaborative efforts or does the band have a main writer?
Panos: I write the music but the final outcome is the result of team work. I'll have an idea, present it to the other bandmates, discuss it and come to a conclusion together. It has to be a team work, otherwise each member won't be satisfied and won't be able to express through our music.
SoT: Were there any goals you set for yourselves in making the album?
Panos: We just want to express ourselves through metal, as much as a stereotype as that sounds. For example, we didn't use keyboards in "Divine Authority Abolishment", on purpose of course. We wanted the metal guitars to create an atmosphere, we didn't even use acoustic guitars. There is also the length of the album: no fillers, no intros, outros, etc.--we say everything we want in those 38 minutes.
SoT: Can you tell us about the lyrical themes on the album? Is there a concept that links the songs?
Panos: C.M.Ain is responsible for the lyrics. They refer to religion from the atheist point of view. They are influenced by authors such as Richard Dawkins. That is the concept of the album and all the songs are connected to it: how gods and goddesses were born, lived and died throughout History.
SoT: Technically, the album is phenomenal and musically you draw on a lot of different genres. When writing, how do you balance technical proficiency with song writing and seamlessly blending those styles?
Panos: Thank you for your kind words. It's just happened. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we worked very hard on the composition and the structure of the songs. We wanted them to be catchy but technical at the same time, with memorable tunes but not jingles. We just wrote the songs we would like to listen to ourselves.
SoT: Can you tell us about the artwork, its origins and how it relates to the music?
Panos: AcidLifeArt, an Athenian graphic designing group, is responsible for the artwork. The cover was inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus, which I think suits the album's concept. Prometheus was the first human to reject gods, their wishes and rules.
SoT: For each of your releases, the band's style has always changed. Can you tell us about your reasons for this?
Panos: You're obviously referring to our musical style. I would call it evolution and maturity rather than change. Music is a form of expression and creation. I could never put myself under a label, which would dictate the way to express myself. But if you scratch on the surface of our music, you'll find lots of common characteristics in our compositions, even from the time of our demo tape, "Grieving for the lost sun" (1994) and that's maybe because I'm a self-taught musician.
SoT: Who are your main influences?
Panos: All those great heavy metal musicians that made us buy a guitar or a bass guitar and practise like crazy when we were kids and inspire us still: from Iron Maiden to Death and Manilla Road to Bathory.
SoT: What does the future hold for Chained and Desperate? Tours? More albums?
Panos: There's plenty of new material ready. We are hoping for many live shows in many cities. We are very excited about that because it's been a while!
SoT: Again, thanks for taking time out for this interview. The album is a fantastic piece of work and I look forward to seeing you guys on tour sometime
Panos: Thank you again for your questions and your kind words, Jason. We hope to see you on one of our shows! Cheers.
(Click here to read our review of Divine Authority Abolishment)