Dargedik Rock Metal Webzine

Some time ago the term "British black metal" was related to a generation of bands that came out like Cradle Of Filth, Hecate Enthroned, etc, which had elements in common, including a certain melodic inclination, well Craven Idol is not within that group of bands if you thought that due to the place of origin there could be a certain relationship. But this "Forked Tongues" released by Dark Descent Records is a good job that does not fall into the same as always, without innovating, but with typical elements that are not exaggeratedly exploited, that is the Craven Idol formula, and that is enough to Keep this album in mind if you are a fan of black metal with Latin American doses. For this reason, Dargedik agreed to an interview with S. Vrath, vocalist and guitarist of this English band.

Leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Craven Idol

S. Vrath (guitar and vocals)

DARGEDIK: Welcome S. Vrath to Dargedik webzine pages, it's a great pleasure to talk with you about Craven Idol and this new album “Forked Tongues”. Again, the band presents a cover art of great proportions, and this time under the hand of Eliran Kantor. Why does Craven Idol always feature oil cover arts? Would you lean towards another style of art / painting in the future? 

CRAVEN IDOL: Thank you for having us! Craven Idol cover arts has always been epic and evil. For this style oil paintings are particularly suitable. I also grew up in a family of artists, so maybe there is also a subconscious bias. That said, I would be more than happy to try out different styles… who knows what the 4th album brings hah. 

DARGEDIK: Relating the first question. Do you let the artist be guided by the lyrics and music? Or do you help them with cover creation process? 

CRAVEN IDOL: It’s very much a collaboration. Whilst I cannot draw to save my life, I usually prepare a detailed document with all the elements that need to be included in the painting. I top it off with a very crude draft. The cover of "Forked Tongues" is influenced by the work of the Japanese artist Hokusai, in particular the cover pays tribute to ‘The Dragon of Smoke Escaping From Mount Fuji’. The lyrics and theme were absolutely essential on this release, hence why we went for a master craftsman like Eliran Kantor

DARGEDIK: One detail that capture my attention is that Craven Idol started their activities in 2005, but the band's first album was released in 2013. Tell me, why did it take 8 years to release "Towards Eschaton"? And what are your memories from the first days in the band? 

CRAVEN IDOL: The early days in the band were hectic... or shall we say alcoholic madness. We were young and dived into the chaos of London. We didn’t think of becoming a live band until 2010! We have fallen into a pretty steady 4-year a release pattern since. As an underground band we don’t need to rush things. The break between 2006’s demo and the "Ethereal Altars" (2010) EP was largely due to lacking know-how. We always kept writing songs, tracks like "Black Flame Divination", "Venomous Rites", and "Lured By Ethereal Altars" date back to those early days. I was also busy with my other band Scythian at the time and learning the ropes of touring and band life. When things quieted down, I recruited Scythian drummer J.C. Volgard, who also became our producer, giving wings to "Ethereal Altars" (2010) and "Towards Eschaton" (2013). 

DARGEDIK: Nowadays one of the biggest subjects is the pandemic around world and with this thing the biggest question. Did you write the album during this pandemic or was it before? Did you have any issues with lockdowns to record this and did the usual things into the studio? 

CRAVEN IDOL: We wrote and recorded the album before the pandemic, leaving Vagrant Studio in August 2019. What the pandemic really did was delay the release of the album by well over a year. Uncertainty put a stop to record sales and then the vinyl plants got so backlogged no one could release anything. What we really miss is touring though… 

DARGEDIK: I see that all three Craven Idol albums are available through Dark Descent Records. Have you ever thought about changing labels? And what do you think of the editions of an album made by various labels? 

CRAVEN IDOL: I consider Dark Descent the best underground label around. We signed with them for our debut album "Towards Eschaton" (2013) after sending in a physical promo pack. It’s been a great and we haven’t considered changing label. 

DARGEDIK: Relating the last question. I see that Craven Idol productions, a sense attached to the underground. When do you think a production was released by more than one label. Will this one not belongs to the underground? And did you plan to release "Forked Tongues" on Tape? 

CRAVEN IDOL: I’m not sure I follow, but the album will come out on vinyl, CD, and tape. I wouldn’t say the format itself defines what’s underground or not… only the content within. 

DARGEDIK: Now we’ll speak about other matters into the metal scene. As for how an underground band and a mainstream band should be considered, there are patterns where more vinyl or cassette productions stick to this concept, and the CD according to some fans only expands the collections. What do you think are the factors for fans to stick with this concept of underground metal? And where does Craven Idol belong? 

CRAVEN IDOL: Simply put, Craven Idol is an underground band. As far as format is concerned, I only really collect vinyl these days. CD was fairly big in the 90s, but I don’t much bother with it anymore. Vinyl is the original shape of metal; the art, the layout, the sound... nothing will ever come as close to being the complete, ultimate product. This is why Craven Idol have always put so much focus on the LP, making it look perfect in every way. Something you can read and discover for hours. 

DARGEDIK: Other detail is about the listening methods of the fans, coz this new generation prefers to hear one or two songs into the digital platforms. What are you think about the albums doesn’t have the same impact in compare of the 80s or 90s? And what are your solutions to improve the listening of all songs in albums? 

CRAVEN IDOL: It’s a tough question. The shortened attention spans of the new gen isn’t particularly good news for challenging music like metal. We don’t need no instant gratification here. In that sense "Forked Tongues" is quite unsuited for the impatient listener, as a common thread follows through the entire album… all whilst not a concept record musically (at least not in the traditional prog sense). So if you read along you are served a story. It takes time and focus… like all good metal should. That said, I’m not really concerned… metal will endure. 

DARGEDIK: When I listened "Forked Tongues", one of the most remarkable details is that the band is attached to Latin America influences such as Sarcofago, Vulcano, Mutilator, Sexthrash and more. And I see that nowadays bands like Scythian, Grave Miasma, Lvcifyre and Craven Idol are very influenced by this Brazilian scene. Why is this sound gaining strength in England? And what latin albums are your references every time you compose a new Craven Idol album? 

CRAVEN IDOL: Latin American bands are – and always have been - a huge influence on a wide array of European bands. The violence and fury on some of the Cogumelo releases (just to name one great label) remains largely unmatched. I’m originally from Finland, where bands like Beherit, Impaled Nazarene, and Archgoat have always praised and worked with the South American scene. The same goes for grind in the UK, and the early Polish scene (where Lvcifyre stem from). The music captured something unique… and we are al worshipping upon its altar. I don’t reference bands in my writing as such, but if I had to name one, it would be Sarcofago. What Wagner did across their discography is similar to Quorthon’s Bathory. These two remain our main influences. 

DARGEDIK: I always saw that Craven Idol's lyrics are related to historical and mythological data. So, what is "Forked Tongues" about lyrically? Is there a historical moment within the seven songs? 

CRAVEN IDOL: We have come a long way from ravishing angels to album spanning concepts. In a way, the general theme of evil vs evil rages on. The lyrics on "Forked Tongues" act as a sequel to an event in Greek mythology, more specifically the tale of Typhon, the father of all monsters. Born from the wrath of Gaia at the closing moments of the Titanomachy, Typhon - a hundred headed hydra of sorts - challenged Zeus to battle for universal supremacy. Typhon stood for the old gods, whilst Zeus and the Olympians were the usurpers. After the fiercest battle the world has ever seen, Zeus defeated Typhon by throwing Mount Aetna on him, hence imprisoning him under the massive vulcano. Yet our story starts in the present day, as Typhon escapes from Tartaros, hellbent for vengeance. A old and decrepit Zeus takes on the fight once more… and loses spectacularly as the multitudes flock to Typhon’s support (as a symbol of a falsified Golden Age). The tale ends with Typhon’s tyranny… As with any gods, they serve only themselves and their creators… us… 

DARGEDIK: How do you separate the ideas of Craven Idol with your other projects every time when you think of a next album? 

CRAVEN IDOL: Writing Craven Idol is a very natural process for me. It’s always been that way. From all of my bands it’s definitely the most intuitive. I only have a few other projects on the go right now, like my new heavy metal band Phaethon (which is a completely different style), and Crom Dubh (for which I don’t write any music). Scythian are currently fairly dormant. 

DARGEDIK: In a possible case that Craven Idol would come to Latin America. What are the requirements that the band has for its live performances? And with which bands would you like to share the stage in this part of the world? 

CRAVEN IDOL: Our only real requirement is to not be out of pocket. We tour to enjoy the metal lifestyle. It’s never about money (until we are losing loads of it). So as long as you fly us over, put us up, and give us some beers we would adore to visit Latin America! We would love to play with so many bands over there! Goat Semen, Anal Vomit, Mortem, Reencarnación… or any Cogumelo band really (still waiting for Sarcofago reunion haha)! We have played with quite a few bands from over there through the years, like Mystifier (European tour), Vulcano, Pentagram, and Rebaelliun

DARGEDIK: Well, S. Vrath, the sad time arrived at this interview, I hope you enjoy this one as I did and thank you very much for your time. Take care during this pandemic situation and our best wishes from this part of the world. Any last words for your new fans in Latin America and Dargedik readers? 

CRAVEN IDOL: All hail to our Latin American brothers! Truly extreme metal would not exist without you! Stand strong against the raging tides! Vrath.

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