Interview was prepared by OccultBlackMetal (Extreme Underground Music Zine)
1.For those that have never heard of you before can you tell us a little bit about this band?
We are called Desert Near The End and we are a metal band from Athens, Greece. We have released two albums so far “A Crimson Dawn” in 2011 and “Hunt For The Sun” in 2014.
2.So far under this name you have released 2 albums, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?
Both albums share the same heart and are on the same path. If you must put a label on our sound then I guess you can tell it’s a kind of modern power/thrash. Because both albums are part of the same concept the music is story-driven so the differences between them are those of two chapters of the same book. Where “A Crimson Dawn” is mostly mid- tempo with a more monolithic approach and a more(at least to our ears) desolate sound as a man lost in a desert, “Hunt for the sun” has richer orchestration and it’s a lot faster and more aggressive like a man determined and driven who hunts it’s prey and all these will escalate in our third album which going to bring the story to it’s conclusion.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
As I already said both albums share the same story and everything moves around two ideas: that something is never lost as long it is not forgotten and may rise again someday and that the absolute light is not guiding, just blinding. Absolutes are not for men, you can hunt for them but you must never catch them. But that’s only the ideas behind the concept the story itself follows the story of a man who wakes by the sea in a world without sun and with no memory of who he is or what brought him there. So we follow him on his quest for his true self and destiny as he search for the sun renouncing the burning star in the sky as not his own and hunts for the sun the real one, the one who guides and not only blinds. We follow him on his quest from the shores of the sea to the deepest desert where time stand still and the flaming star never sets and from there through a passage of time to the heart of the sun where in flames as a burning star himself he is lost from the world but his trail remains in the sky as a promise for every man. There is where “Hunt for the sun” ends with a promise of return which we hope will be fulfilled in our next album.
4.The band was originally known as “Stormbringer” then “Eventide” but changed the names, what was the decision behind the name changes and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name ‘Desert near the end’?
Yes we used these names in the past and we stack with the name Eventide for quite some time. At some point we realized that there were at least two other bands with the same name one from Sweden and another one from USA. So we decide to change our name into something more personal, something that has a meaning only to us and was born from our music and our lyrics. So Desert near the end was the name and we’re following the path across the desert since. As for what our name stands for its simple: hope. It describes a situation familiar I think to every man when everything seems lost, nothing ever changes and the time seems to stand still, in a desert like this you have nothing but hope, hope to continue, hope to survive, hope that everything will change. Is like pandora’s box the thing that matters the most comes last. So hope it is.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Because we were a studio band for many years every show is important but if we must name a few then our show with Primordial in Athens was a dream come true because is one of our favorite bands. And also an incredible experience was our first tour in Russia because it was the first time we played abroad and it seemed that every show was better than the last. As for our performance we try always to give our best because metal is meant to be played live and the songs always take new life on stage and we try to do them justice.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
At this moment we are waiting for the world wide release of “Hunt for the sun” on February to announce some gigs in Greece and we are trying hard to organize something abroad but we don’t have anything solid to announce at this point.
7.Even with the different names the band has been going on since 1997 a year when a lot of bands where no longer playing this style of metal, do you feel that this genre has been making a huge comeback over the years?
I’m not sure , we’ve seen many revivals and comebacks during the years of thrash, old school death, epic, etc… with all these retro bands, but the era you referring to and I mean the mid-90’ was marked from milestone albums like “Burnt offerings”, “Imaginations from the other side”, “Sanctified” and others which are not present today in any form of retro-comeback. And I personally prefer it that way because I don’t really like any retro bands. The beauty of these albums was exactly that they didn’t fit in any genre exclusively, they stood in many worlds and didn’t serve under one banner that’s why they can’t produce any retro movement. Retro bands are like time capsules, they copy everything music, clothing, sound everything except personality. It’s good to have roots but it’s also important to have branches and leaves, if you have only roots you’re not a tree you are a potato. So I don’t see a comeback because the spirit of those albums was always here in every good metal album with no genre boundaries, and I can in the same way I once heard “Burnt offerings” to hear “Veto” from Heaven Shall Burn or “Desideradum” from Anaal Nathrakh and so many others, pure metal, aggressive-heavy-epic.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of the heavy, power and thrash metal genres?
So far we have very good feedback but it’s on a mostly local scale because our first album was self financed so it didn’t have any worldwide distribution and one could find it only through us or downloaded from the internet. Now with our second album and with the help from Metal Scarp Records we hope this would change .And the reaction to our first video clip for the song “Storm on my side” from “Hunt for the sun” was very positive.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
As I’ve already mentioned the next album will be the conclusion to the story we started to unfold with “A crimson dawn” and pushed forward with “Hunt for the sun” and it’s already completed but I don’t want to say anything about it yet except that it’s going to be a lot faster, heavier and more extreme than it’s predececcors.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Our basic influences are those we grew up listening to and will always define the way we perceive metal. So bands like Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Rotting Christ are our roots and all the great old ones who are behind everything. As for what nowadays I can give you a personal top 5 list of 2014: Anaal Nathrakh – Desideradum , Machine head – Bloodstone & diamonds, Primordial – Where greater men have fallen, Behemoth – The Satanist, Misery index – The killing gods.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
I can answer only for me here, so I love books I constantly have one close to me and I read every day even for a while. I like a good story wherever I can find it : books, movies, tv series, and of course music which I hear it as a listener and not a musician , I hate musicians opinion about music most of the time.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you for the nice interview and I want to thank everyone who will spend moments and thoughts over our music and always…follow the Path across the Desert…whatever this desert might be.
Interview was prepared by Raúl Sújar Pozo (Hijos del Metal Magazine)
1) Tell us how the band formed and the changes that have been to this day.
The band was originally formed in 1998, under a different name, during our last school year. Since then only Alexandros and me (Akis) are still in the band. We kept the band alive even when it was just the two of us. We were still making music for ourselves and we have even recorded a full length album in 2005 under the name Eventide. At some point we decided that we wanted something more and changing our name into Desert Near The End during the recordings of our debut album “A Crimson Dawn” felt like the natural thing to do since we needed something more personal to symbolize our progress in music and lyrics. Then we started looking for other people to form a full live band. And since 2012 the line-up of Desert Near The End is: Alexandros in vocals, Akis in bass and Thanos in guitars and George Tzitzifas in drums who is not a full member but a constant help in our concerts.
How would you describe the musical style of your band? What bands have influenced your music?
We play a kind of modern power-thrash metal with direct influences from the mid 90’s era but our goal is to bring this sound in 2015 because our influences may come from the 90’s and from bands like early Iced Earth and Blind Guardian but we didn’t stop listening to metal music back then, we are still active metal fans first of all and our influences become richer with every album we hear.
2) What have you published so far? What feedback have you received from the public and the media?
Our first album “A Crimson Dawn” was self financed so it didn’t have any worldwide distribution and one could find it only through us or downloaded from the internet but we received very good feedback but on a mostly local scale. Our second album “Hunt For The Sun” was released from Metal Scrap Records and with their help we reached a bigger audience and the feedback was very positive and the reviews where very good and also the reaction to our first video for the opening track from “Hunt For The Sun” which is called “Storm On My Side” was very good.
3) Why should a metalhead should buy your demos/albums? What do you think that unlike other bands?
If someone likes epic, heavy and aggresive metal with aggresive but clean vocals should give us a chance. Also our albums are concept, they are telling the story of one man and his hunt for the “real” sun (in very few words!!) in three parts which is going to be concluded in our next album. And I know that there are many people who finds the story driven albums more interesting because I am one of them. As far as what seperates us from other bands I really don’t know, maybe it’s that our roots are on a somehow forgotten period like the 90’s but this is only one aspect of our music. I really think that every musician owes himself to at least try to make his music sounds personal and tell “his story” and leave other people to decide if he was succesfull. So that’s what I’m going to do. I can only assure you that I did my best at that given moment.
4) Why Label/Magazines/Promoters … should be interested in your band?
Again I can’t really answer that. I know that we are doing it first of all because we love metal and our band and we were doing it before any label or magazine knew of our existence and we will continue regardless any interest from outside the band. We love our music and we want to be honest in albums and on stage. I believe that all of these mean something, so that’s the the best answer I can give on that question.
5) What’s your live activity so far? What has been your most significant concert?
Since the completion of our line up we try to play live as often as we can so we had a very busy 2013 and 2014. Our most significant live moment was when we had the chance to open for Primordial which is one of our favorite bands! And I have to mention our first tour in Russia along with Memorain and Insidead.
6) Have you any audiovisual material of the band?
Yes we have shot our first video-clip for the track “Storm on my side” from our second album and also there are many lyrics videos and live clips from our both albums on our youtube channel.
7) What are the immediate plans of the band?
At this moment we are in the middle of the recordings of our next album which going to bring the story we started in “A Crimson Dawn” to it’s conclusion. And always as many lives as possible.
8) Where can we listen to or buy stuff from the band?
You can hear a lot of our music on youtube on our channel and you can buy “Hunt for the Sun” from all the big internet stores and of course directly from Metal Scrap Records store. Also for our first album “A Crimson Dawn” or t-shirts you can contact us with an email or on our facebook page.
9) One hundred, thousand, million readers are awaiting your last words right now What would you say?
Thanks for the interview and I want to thank everyone who will spend moments and thoughts over our music and always… follow the Path across the Desert…whatever this desert might be.
“Hunt for the sun”, 2º trabajo de los griegos DESERT NEAR THE END, fue editado a través de Metal Scrap Records en el pasado año 2014; de estre trabajo y más aspectos de la banda hablamos con ellos en esta entrevista que os mostramos a continuación.
Interview was prepared by David Déniz Plaza (Necromance)
Answering Akis Prasinikas (DESERT NEAR THE END; bass)
1. How did you come all together to form the band? Which are the actual members of the band?
The band was originally formed back in 1998, with a different name of course, from a group of friends in our last school year. Since then only Alexandros and me (Akis) are still in the band, all the other members from back then have either lost their interest in music or they choose a different musical path which doesn’t involve Metal. We kept the band alive even when it was just the two of us. We were still making music for ourselves and we have even recorded a full length album back in 2005 under the name Eventide. At some point we decided that we wanted something more and so along with changing our name into Desert Near The End and the recordings of our debut album “A Crimson Dawn” we started looking for other people to form a full band so that we could play our songs live. That took us some time that’s why we had our friend and sound engineer Nik record the guitars. But since 2012 the line-up of Desert Near The End is: Alexandros in vocals, Akis in bass and Thanos in guitars and George Tzitzifas in drums who is not a full member but a constant help in our concerts.
2. Why the name DESERT NEAR THE END?
As I said in the last answer we were called Eventide for quite some time, but that name was used from other bands too. So instead of adding something to it we decided that, as we have involved in personal and musical level, we needed something more personal and less generic. So when we wrote the song “the desert near the end” and we saw that it sums up everything this band stand for in both lyrics and Music we named the band after that. As for what it means, although it seems very bleak in our musical world stands for hope, because it describes a situation when everything seems lost and the only thing that you have in order to survive is hope.
3. How do you feel when you look back to your first album “A crimson Dawn” now?
“A Crimson dawn” was a big achievement for us because we have found our musical path and we have assimilated our influences in order to write songs and not tributes. We are also very happy with the sound of the album because we used two distorted bass guitars along with the rhythm guitars so it was very difficult to mix, but everything turned up well and we have this dirty, earthly sound to our songs and we are still very happy with this.
4. In the past, you’ve released this debut album by self-financed way, but now you’re signed to the amazing Metal Scrap Records, how is it like to work with them and be part of their family?
We are very happy, everything goes very smoothly and nice and its very important for us to have a way to reach biggest audience with our music and Metal Scrap Records is very helpful with this.
5. How it is usually your songwriting process as a group?
Usually I write the music of a song and then we sit down with Alexandos and we work on the vocal melodies together and try to figure out which of our lyrics fits better in the song. Because usually we work the lyrics separately from the music and we put them together at a later stage and then we see which one needs modification. And because of that we often have lyrics without music or entire songs without lyrics because the connection between them is like a marriage you cannot put any piece of music with any lyric and vice versa, you must wait for the right one on either side.
6. Your label has described your music as a mixture of thrash metal with epic elements, do you each have your own personal word to describe your music?
Actually yes, often we call our music epic-thrash but we know that the correct term is power-thrash. We just wanted to underline the fact that we don’t use melodies just to make the music more melodic but to give a feeling of grandiose and the feeling that every song is a big epic-piece of music in its own world. Also we wanted to make clear that we don’t have this sweet and nostalgic flavor in our music that many connect with the term “power” which is beautiful when it happens but it’s not suitable for us.
7. This last year, you’ve released your second album “Hunt for the sun” through Metal Scrap, what can you tell us about this recording and the music we’ll listen on it?
“Hunt for the sun” was again produced by as in our own studio and it’s in the same epic/power/thrash vein as “A Crimson Dawn” and it differs mostly in terms of speed and complexion on its orchestration. And that because our album are concepts and share the same story (which going to be concluded in our third album) the music is story driven, so in the first album we wanted to build a solemn soundscape of a man lost in the desert this time we wanted the music to sound more aggressive and determined as a man who hunts his pray.
8. Why did you choose “hunt for the sun” to be the title for this album?
As I mentioned the album is concept so I must tell something about its story so that someone can understand the title. “Hunt For The Sun” it’s the second part of a story that will be concluded in our third album. It’s the symbolic quest of a man who wakes by the sea in a world without sun and have no memory of who he is or what brought him there. So we follow him on his quest for his true self and destiny as he search for the sun hoping that its light will guide him, but he realizes that the absolute light is blinding and nothing can survive under it. So he renounce the burning star in the sky as not his own and hunts for the sun, the real one, the one that guides and not only blinds. We follow him on his quest from the shores of the sea to the deepest desert where time stand still and the flaming star never sets and from there through a passage of time to the heart of the sun where in flames as a burning star himself he is lost from the world but his trail remains in the sky as a promise for every man. There is where “Hunt for the sun” ends with a promise of a return which we hope will be fulfilled in our next album.
9. What can you tell us about the recording process of “Hunt for the sun”?
As I said it was recorded and mixed by us in our studio by our long time sound engineer and studio-guitarist Nik Odious and the Mastering was done in England by the great John K. (Biomechanical)
10. What’s your favorite song of “Hunt for the sun” to play live?
My personal favorite to play is the first track of the album and our first video-clip “Storm on my side” which was actually the last song that we wrote for the album and that’s why it’s still sound very fresh to my ears and to my hands!
11. What’s the next step for the band?
For now and with the help from Metal Scrap Records we want to promote “Hunt for the sun” as much as possible with as many lives as we can. As for the next album, the one which will conclude the story we began with in “A Crimson Dawn” it’s already written but I don’t want to speak for it yet. I’ll just tell that it will be even faster and heavier than “Hunt for the sun”.
12. What’s your favorite record of 2014?
That will be propably “Desideradum” from Anaal Nathrakh. Its brutal and epic, every face of Metal in one extreme album.
13. Do you recommend any new bands from Greece that we should listen to?
There are many great bands in Greece, the local scene during the last years is enormous! Just to mention a few I would say: Agnes vein, Karma Violence, No Hand Path and Disolvo Animus. But there are countless more!.
14. Anything you would like to add?
Thanks for the nice questions and I want to thank everyone who will show interest in our music and always… follow the path across the desert… whatever this desert may be!.
Vo víre súčasnej politickej situácie je v rámci Európy a Európskej únie asi najviac skloňované meno slnečného juhoeurópskeho štátu, ktorým je Grécko. Na týchto stránkach či riadkoch sa určite nebudeme zaoberať politikou či financiami, práve naopak chcem poukázať, že spojitosť s touto krajinou môže byť iba čisto v rámci hudobnej a priateľskej sfére. Aténska kapela DESERT NEAR THE END nie je zatiaľ až tak veľmi známym pojmom na hudobnom poli, ale aj napriek problémom si srdnato razia cestu vpred. O kapele, ich hudobnej tvorbe i reálnej situácii som si pohovoril s basovým gitaristom Akisom.
Interview was prepared by Kremator (Rock Hard Magazine)
Answering Akis (DESERT NEAR THE END; bass guitar)
1) According to official information the band DESERT NEAR THE END was formed in 2010. It would be appropriate to introduce your band to fans who did not meet your music yet.
Hello, I’m Akis (bass guitar) from DESERT NEAR THE END and we are a metal band from Athens, Greece. We have released two albums so far “A Crimson Dawn” in 2011 and “Hunt For The Sun” in 2014.
2) On the other hand, you are experienced musicians who started as STORMBRINGER in 1997 and later you changed the name to THE EVENTIDE about 2001, and as DESERT NEAR THE END from 2010. What was wrong with the name of the band you had to change a few times? DESERT NEAR THE END is a follower of the aforementioned bands or is that a brand new band?
Yes we used these names in the past and we stack with the name Eventide for quite some time we have even recorded a full length (and still unreleased) album back in 2005. At some point we realized that there were at least two other bands with the same name one from Sweden and another one from USA. So we decide to change our name into something more personal and less generic, something that has a meaning only to us and was born from our music and our lyrics. So DESERT NEAR THE END was the name and we are both a new band and at the same time we continue to walk the same way as before. Because we are at the end the same people. When we changed our name we didn’t leave anything behind, we just needed to express everything we had inside us in a more strong and personal way. All the names you’ve mentioned were steps that we needed to take in order to find our musical self. Stormbringer, The Eventide (and some others that you hopefully don’t know..) are the story of our influences when DESERT NEAR THE END is our story!
3) The Greek metal scene (especially in Athens) made a huge step forward in the last years and its quality is undeniable on a global scale. ROTTING CHRIST, SEPTICFLESH, NIGHTFALL bands or SUICIDAL ANGELS with probably highest similarity to you are well known names in the world. How is this scene accepted by the Greek public, what are the relationships among the bands and how do you see it?
All these bands that you have mentioned are really big in Greece and I personally consider Rotting Christ as a big influence and one of my favourite bands. But we have also smaller groups that are equally good like Karma Violence and Agnes Vein just to mention a few. The entire scene has very warm acceptance by the public and you can see it from the increasing number of people that goes to shows of big and smaller groups, something that didn’t happen a few years ago. As for the relationships between the bands is good in general and most of the bands are willing to help and support each other. But we can’t avoid something that was always a problem in Greece: the formation of closed groups of bands based on musical or aesthetic similarities, which is a good thing at first glance but if you look deeper at least in my opinion is a problem because the collapse of borders between the different genres of metal is what made the Greek scene and Metal in general to flourish these past years. You must choose the bands you want to hear or play together (if you are a musician) based on which is good or bad or what do you like to hear, not on similarities or references.
4) I am about to come back a few months ago asking you of still fresh album released in November 2014. Eight tracks “Hunt For The Sun” was actually released three years after the album “A Crimson Dawn”. What was the main reason of that longer time-out?
The main reason was some technical issues that we had because we recorded and mixed the album ourselves and we were not happy with our first try. So we mixed and mastered the album twice and that took us some time! The final mastering was done by John K. (Biomechanical). And then the next reason was that we wanted to complete the line-up of the band before the release of our second album. We were a studio band for many years not actually by choice just gathered bad luck when comes to other band members. But we finally found Thanos (guitar) in 2013 and we were able to support our music on stage again! Then the final thing was to find a record label for “Hunt for the Sun” because we wanted to reach a bigger audience this time since our first album “A Crimson Dawn” was self-released and it could be found only through us. Our friend Ilias Papadakis from Memorain introduced us to Metal Scrap Records and finally November 2014 was the release date of “Hunt for the Sun”. We hope it will not take us that long for our third album!!
5) After the initial riffs (apart from the 20 seconds intro), every listener can feel your music is skillfully mixing thrash and power metal styles. Was it your goal from the very beginning or it processed gradually in the band?
It was definitely our goal from the start. We became fans of many genres through the years and we remain active metal fans first of all. So we try to assimilate every influence but we grew up with bands like Iced Earth and Blind Guardian in the mid 90’s and when you built your core around some things you cannot left them behind no matter how far your music path will take you.
6) When asking you what metal genre is mostly preferred in the band, what would be your response?
Almost everything I think, but to be honest I can answer only for myself. The correct answer from my part is that I don’t prefer a specific genre of metal and I don’t mean on the other hand that I like everything. I listen to bands because I like their music regardless of what genre they serve! So eventually I like bands from all the specter of metal.
7) How much time was needed to make the album? Who cares of lyrics, music writing and so on? Is that an individual or team work?
I’m responsible for the music and most of the lyrics and the usual procedure is when I have the music for a song ready we sit down with Alexandos (vocals) and we work on the vocal melodies together and try to figure out which of our lyrics fits better in the song. Because usually we work the lyrics separately from the music and we put them together at a later stage and then we see which one needs modification. I have to mention here that there is a concept that connects our albums lyrically and will be concluded in our third album. Because of that we often have lyrics without music or entire songs without lyrics because the connection between them is like a marriage you cannot put any piece of music with any lyric and vice versa, you must wait for the right one on either side. As for the time needed to complete the album was almost a year, the further delay was caused by mostly technical issues and line-up changes.
8) What is the basic idea of the album? Please get us briefly to the heart of the lyrics, alternatively to the concept.
As I’ve said in the last question “Hunt for the Sun” is a concept album. It is the second part of a story which started in our first album “A crimson Dawn” and it will be concluded in our next. Everything moves around two ideas: that something is never lost as long it is not forgotten and for that it may rise again someday and that the absolute light is not guiding, just blinding. Absolutes are not for men, you can hunt for them but you can never catch them. But that’s only the ideas behind the concept, the story itself follows the life of a man who wakes by the sea in a world without sun and without any memory of who he is or what brought him there. So we follow him on his quest for his true self and destiny as he hunts for the sun, the real one, the one who guides and not only blinds. We follow him on his journey from the shores of the sea to the deepest desert, a desert under a sun that never sets in a place where time stand still. He renounce this burning star in the sky as not his Sun and the star in return draws him in the sky and consumes him. And there in flames as a burning star himself he is lost from the world but his trail remains in the sky as a promise for every man. There is where “Hunt for the sun” ends with a promise of return which we hope will be fulfilled in our next album.
9) How did you come to the cooperation with the Ukrainian label Metal Scrap Records and how do you evaluate your cooperation (even though short, perhaps), their promotion, etc?
Last year in March we were on tour along with Memorain and Insidead and Ilias from Memorain, who had a contract with Metal Scrap Records at that time, introduced us to them and we came into agreement for “Hunt for the Sun”. We are very pleased with our collaboration so far, everything goes very smoothly and nice and it’s very important for us to have a way to reach biggest audience with our music this time, because our previews efforts had a very limited distribution.
10) I am to get off the point now and ask you about the atmosphere in Greece. Media compete with each other bringing news of the situation in Greece in the last days. Is it really so hot in there?
Yes the situation is very difficult and actually today that I’m answering the interview is the day of the referendum here in Greece and they have closed our banks for one week now and everyone can understand what that means. As for the media are doing their usual job spreading terror trying to control the public opinion but it seems that they failed to do it. We are all hoping that the situation will take a turn for the better. But the worst thing is a general feeling throughout Greece about a lack of hope for the future in or out Europe.
11) Thanks for the conversation with you. Do you have a message for the fans in Slovakia and Czech Republic?
Thank you for the nice interview and we hope that we will have the chance to come and play there. And I want to thank everyone who will spend moments and thoughts over our music and always…follow the Path across the Desert…whatever this desert might be.
Welcome to the ATMOSFEAR pages! What’s going on in your band these days? What you’re working on now and as soon you’re planning to present your new stuff to the public?
Hello and thank you for having us. At the moment we are preparing for the recordings of our next album which are scheduled to start in October. So the plan is to have the album ready in the first quarter of 2018. At least that’s what we hope!
Since the release of your album “Theater of War” one year has passed. What feedback have you got? What’s fans’ reactions on it? What’s the most untypical have you heard about your album?
Indeed it’s already a year! In some ways we have been working on this album since the beginning of the band. Our first three albums form a trilogy and “Theater of War” was meant to be the conclusion from the start. So all roads led to this album. As for the feedback it’s almost only positive, both from the press and the fans. Most people seem to understand our multigenre vision for this album. And that really makes us happy because we really worked very hard! As for the most un-typical comment, I don’t know… many have a problem when they try to categorise us, so in our last show in Athens, where we mostly played songs from the last album, one guy who wrote a review described us as a death, thrash, power band!!.
What’s the main difference between “Theater of War” and “Hunt for the Sun” in your opinion?
The main difference is the production. Theater of War sounds way better than our previews albums. It was mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen at antfarm studio and he did an amazing job! He made the album sound exactly as we imagined! On a second level the songs are more aggresive and that is something we intended to because it is the final part of the story and we wanted it to be more intense! So if I sum it all up Theater of War is and sounds heavier than anything we have done so far.
Let’s talk about your band’s beginning. The info in internet tells that you began to play about 20 years ago under another name. And during the 2000’s you called “THE EVENTIDE” and even recorded the album. What’s that album’s fate and how strong that music differs from your nowadays sound?
Yes, the band was original formed by me and Alexandros (vocals) back in 1998 during our final school year. We changed line-up and name numerous times and indeed we stuck with “The Eventide” for some years. During this period we recorded several demos and finally an album in 2005 but we weren’t happy with the final result because of the poor sound and the drums performance. So we decided not to release it in any way and in fact we put the band on ice for some time. When we restarted in 2009 as “Desert Near The End” we wanted a fresh start with new songs, so we let this album to rest. I still like the songs of that album very much but the overall sound and the drums didn’t do them justice. As for the differences with our sound nowadays.. in my ears there’re not so many.. Yes we play a lot faster now and we are better musicians but the heart of the music and the identity of a band is always the melody and that hasn’t changed or our influences! So if you hear these songs now they sound like a “Desert Near The End” demo! In fact two reworked songs from this album will appear in our next work!
“Theater of War” is already third album under the banner of “DESERT NEAR THE END”, but there was a debut album “A Crimson Dawn” earlier, which I haven’t heard. Are there any plans to rerelease it in any future?
I know, we self-released this album in 2011 and it’s difficult to find it in physical format. Actually we’ve discussed the idea of rereleasing it or the possibility of re-record the whole album in the future but we actually like the vibe of this recording and we don’t want to lose that. Also we have an new album coming out next year and we’ve some plans for after that already! So we want to focus on new material, at the moment at least. If someone wants the album he can get it by contacting us directly and I know for a fact that you can find it online! And not only in YouTube!
You’re releasing the second album already via ukrainian label “Total Metal Records”, that actually is a sub label of “Metal Scrap Records”. As I understand, you’re glad by the label work? Have you looked for another offers?
We don’t have any complaints from Total Metal Records. Everything went very smooth from the start. That’s why we worked together again for “Theater of War”. As for other labels, we discussed our options prior to the release and theirs was the best and most balanced offer that we had, and since there was no problem with our collaboration we gladly repeated it.
There’s not really lot of the videos from your shows in the web. How often do you play, what show you remember the most?
Let’s talk about “ICED EARTH” band, as with this band you are constantly compared in the press. How true are these comparisons? Do you like the music of these americans, and which album do you like the most?
Big question!! Ok obviously we don’t play as often as we would like because too many things get in the way, like jobs, kids, families. And since we don’t do this for a living unfortunately, we have to put a limit to our shows because how many times can a band play in it’s hometown? And the cost of playing in other cities and other countries force the number of our shows to a minimum. But we try to take every given chance to travel and play. Also I know that there are not many live videos in YouTube but that doesn’t represent the number of our shows. For example we have played more than 20 shows since the release of Theater of War and none of them are online. As for Iced Earth, first of all it’s one of my favourite bands especially in their 90’s era (not a big fan of their last 3 albums) and it’s an honour to be compared with them. My favourite album is Burnt Offerings and I consider it one of the best metal albums ever!! It’s one of the reasons I became a metal fan and a musician. Iced Earth was, and still are, one of my biggest influences alongside with Blind Guardian, Kreator and Rotting christ and ofcourse there are similarities but not as many as they say. Its propably the easiest way to describe us because, yes the foundation of our music is 90’s Power/Thrash and we still insist on having clean vocals, (agressive but clean) and all these are ofcourse part of our identity but not the whole picture. So it’s somehow misleading to mention only them, because you are leaving outside a big portion of our sound.
What’s happening to the Metal scene in Greece these days, how strong financial crisis in the country does affect ot it? Has the number of bands and concerts decreased?
Quite the opposite! We have more bands than ever and there are concerts with greek bands almost every day. Financial crisis in my opinion can’t affect the creativity and the music itself. What suffers from it is the amount of money and time that people and bands can spend in themselves. You know, hunt for shows, tours, bigger production, videos, better deals with labels, staff like that. So the Greek metal scene is at it’s best when it comes to music and the albums coming from it. The wounded part is reaching bigger audience.
Final chord. Here you can say what you wish!
First of all thanks very much for the interview. Also I want to thank everyone who spend time listening to our music! And to invite all that doesn’t know us to check “Theater of War” it might surprise you!
Interview was prepared by ANDERS EKDAHL (for Battle Helm)
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
-Actually it was really difficult and we struggled with it for many years. Because a name is in a way the identity of the band and it must fit with the music, the lyrics and most of all, since music is or it should be a way of self expression, it must reflects the musician’s vision about the band! So it should be personal and unique and not only impressive and “metal”. For us the name “Desert Near The End”, although it seems bleak, stands for hope! Because it symbolize the last thing that you have when everything seems lost and barren!
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-Ok, so.. we are Desert Near The End a Power/Thrash band from Athens, Greece. We began our journey back in 1997 and we changed many names and line-ups since but the core of the band was always Alexandros (vocals) and me: Akis (bass). We have released three albums: A Crimson Dawn in 2011, Hunt For The Sun in 2014 and Theater of War in 2016, the last two were released from Total Metal Records. We consider ourselves a missing link between the mid 90’s Power/Thrash Metal and the edge of today’s metal and our mission is to connect these two sounds!
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
-Even if you were a musician my answer could be a lot different than yours! There are more than one answer on this question and everyone works differently! I personally like to mix all my influences and not “pick” something but let everything in! And when I say everything I mean it! I still like everything that made me a metalhead and thankfully I keep adding to that list! Because that’s my secret, I can’t be a “musician” whose job is to write music, I have to be a fan first of all! If I don’t have fresh and new things to listen and be excited about, I lose my enthusiasm and my drive to create music!
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-Definitely, but not only when you are in a band, even if you are a just a listener can or should make you feel like that! That’s the important thing that we share, we love the same kind of music! And that something more than just playing an instrument.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-It is very important, not as the music or the lyrics of course, but everything from the covers, to the logos and photos are a medium that helps you communicate your vision for your art to others! So you have to deal with it with respect because it would propably be the first thing that someone will see from you. But also you have to remember not to judge a “book from it’s cover” and that a good cover has never saved a bad album, It’s the other way around!
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-First of all they are very important, almost as important as the music, something we tend to forget especially those of us who don’t have English as our mother tongue! Lyrics matter! Learn what you are singing about!! As for what influences I have on my lyrics I can say that everything that has an influence and an impact to me as a person does the same on my lyrics! From books, films and music to life in general! Everything that makes you think and feel will find it’s way to your lyrics. Also I have to say that the first three albums of Desert Near The End form a trilogy based on the same concept. It’s about absolutes and how they enslave people with their blinding light. It’s a symbolical story about a quest for a Sun that guides and not only blinds. Whatever this means for every one of us.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-You know, I don’t know (or really care) if digital is killing the album as a format, I’m more concerned about what is doing to the album as a musical proposition, you know a bunch of songs that form a musical and aesthetic entity, and also what impact is having on the way we listen to music. I think it’s killing the experience of listening and discovering an album. The whole experience nowadays is fast, easy and a litle no-brainer, songs needs their time to sink in. And we just don’t give them that.. a little bit of streaming here and a little bit of streaming there. And it may work for pop music for example but it doesn’t work for metal. You have to invest (time) in order to take something back.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-I don’t know, it’s as the question above, I mostly care about how we listen to music and not from where. But if I may add, I’m a little old school and I like to have thing that I can touch, smell and turn their pages and obviously I’m not talking about the songs now, but I’m referring to the whole experience that a musical album is. And no, a jpeg file on my screen doesn’t do the job the same way! I know that is easier and most of all cheaper and things can’t turn around and it may be a good thing after all you know, to be able to listen to everything from anywhere with just a press of a button. But why I have the feeling that although its becoming cheaper, easier and with so much more music to choose from, people are listening to less and less music?
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experiencevwith you like?
-We can’t tour and play as much as we would like because time and money are making it more and more difficult. Also some of us have families and kids and since we are not playing music for a living (unfortunately) we try to work our schedule around these things! As for our lives we try to make them as intense as possible. We don’t have them as often we would like so every live is special!
What lies in the future?
-At the moment we are working for the successor of Theater of War! It’s almost ready and I believe that we can start recordings in the summer! So more music and more lives I hope!
Thank you very much for the questions!
So here is the epilogue of the trilogy that started with your debut, can you say some things about it..
Indeed! we finally made it here, right? So our last album ended with a prophecy, here we begin with it’s completion. We have the birth/return of our hero in the world that he left so many years ago. In a world that now is ravaged by war. In his journey he chooses not to lead but secretly walk beside mankind and be a fellowman. And when a new legend begins to form around his name, he walks away in order to be an inspiration and not an idol who will enslave with deeds that noone else can do. And somewhere there, at the middle of the album, and more specifically at the song “A Martyr’s Birth” the narration shift from the hero to mankind and how they handle this inspiration. You could say it’s a battle between a creator and his creation. At the end of course men always find their way, no matter how many pieces they leave behind, and one of these are their inspirations and idols, or that could be the plan from the start. So our story ends with the track “At the Shores ” with our hero where we found him three albums ago, on seashore alone. Only then he couldn’t remember anything and now he remembers everything.
How you came up with the title of the album?
The title was pre decided many years ago because the lyrics of the title song of the album were written a long time ago. Around the time when we writing our first album. So the beginning and the end of the story were known to us, the things in the middle were unclear. So we knew from the start that our third album was going to be named “Theater of War”. The title of course has a second meaning outside the concept, it’s about how almost every war is a theater, a stage show who hides it’s real face and purpose behind slaughter and bloodshed. An expensive show which costs lives.
The story went as planned from the start? or did you drift away by making use of the privilege of the story teller to change the course of things?
That’s for sure! Some things, as I said earlier, were known to us but all the rest were found on the way. Even the things that stayed the same on the surface, they may got a new meaning or symbolism through the years, because the journey, and how you get from one place to another, defines things! And to speak a litle more personal, as I am responsible for the story and there are many peronal things and thoughts of mine hidden inside the lyrics, there are things that we carry along the way with us forever, but their significance change as we change and that’s the way it should be!
We must remember why we loved something at some point but why we love it still it’s something that we must rediscover constantly! Even if we refer to a band, a record, an event or a person!
Do you feel that the concept album are over or we should expect something like that again in the future?
I don’t know about the future but for now propably no. Not that the songs in the next album will be all over the place lyrically. I believe that all the coherent albums are concepts in a way! But when it comes to strict storytelling, no, I don’t think the next album will be a concept.
When it comes to music I believe that “Theater of War” is easily your best effort to this day. What you did you do different this time?
Thank you! That’s what we think too! We are crazy happy with how the album turned out both song-wise and sound-wise. Honestly we love all our albums, they are paintings of who we were, and how we got here that we are today! But now for the first time we had the experience and the know-how to tell 100% what we wanted the way we wanted! That’s why we decided to make a big step forward in our sound and to work with Tue Madsen and Antfarm studio for the mix and the mastering of the album. I love his work especially with Heaven Shall Burn and I wanted him to work on the album. And the man made the album sound exactly as we hoped!
Also, it sounds more aggressive than your previews works and at the same time it also appears to be more melodic than ever. That’s a very attractive contradiction as long you are able to hold a balance…
Yes indeed, the contradiction and the combination of these two elements is crucial to metal, at least as I, with my background, perceive it. And the balance between them must exist in the decree that every song demands. And definitely was out intention this album to be more of “everything” because, apart from everything else, the story demanded it!
Thrash, Power, Doom, Eastern Folk Metal, modern Metal… a cocktail that you combine very effectively…
Thank you! That’s exactly what we want. Everything that you mentioned and even more are our influences and we want them to be heard in our music. Everyone has his own start as a listener and as the years pass our influences become richer and richer but if we were sincere from the start why should we leave anything behind?
Alexandros shows big improvement in his vocals, especially in the clean/melodic parts. How did this happened? Did he make any lessons? Did he work more in the studio?
Yes he sounds even better this time! He did all the things that you mentioned but l believe that the all the shows we had the chance to give since our last album helped him also!
You still don’t have a permanent member behind the drums, right? Who takes the credits for the drums on the album?
That’s a difficult story and we are thankful to our friend George Tzitzifas from AmongRuins who help us in our shows! But we still hope! In the album the drums are programmed by me. We are very lucky that technology give us this ability!
I beleve that “Season of the Sun” is a song that was missing from your albums, as it features constant tempo changes and clearly shows you abilities. I think it’s my favorite in the album. As also “At the Shores” which is not a typical song from you. For which song you feel especially proud?
“Season of the Sun” is a very important song for the album and for the concept in general! Actually it’s one of the first songs I wrote for the concept many years ago. And along with “Road to Nowhere” from our last album and the title track from “Theater of War” form a trilogy within the albums trilogy! All three should be in “Theater of War” but “Road to Nowhere” was completed long before the other two and enthusiasm led us to put it in the last album “Hunt for the Sun”. Bad call! It should be right beside the other two. “At the Shores” is out guitarist contribution in the album and is a beautiful song and exactly what we needed as an epilogue for the concept. I had the lyrics for the end of the story and I knew that they wouldn’t fit in an aggressive song but I couldn’t find the right music, maybe because they are my favourite lyrics and the more personal! So when Thanos came and told me that he has the music for a song, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of the album, I asked to hear it, and when he played it I knew immediately that it was exactly what we needed! Very quickly I adjust my lyrics upon it and the album found it’s fitting epilogue! As for which song I am more proud, that would be “Theater of War”. It took me more time to complete and it summarizes all the band stands for!
As true ofspring of the 90’s, what do you miss more from that era?
The truth is that I miss some things from the 90’s, but to be sincere the thing that I miss more is my age back in those years! The age when you discover metal and everything sounds fresh and magical! Everyone of us has some albums that came out when we were young and we literally grew up with them and we believe that nothing like this will ever come out again! We may be right, we may be wrong, but because this will be read by younger and older people and everyone has it’s own answer in this question let’s not nag about it! Thankfully metal is still here with great albums coming out from everywhere and all the time! It just need a litle more effort from older listeners to find the magic again!
We are in the middle of the second decade of the new millennia. As a fan, how do you see the last 6 years?
Great! It’s that simple! We have, I don’t know how many, great albums from small, big, new, old or very old bands. And what is more important more and more albums break the boundaries between gengres of metal and those albums turn out to be the most interesting if I may say! Because I see that many people tend to listen to bands that play safe when it comes to boundaries and styles of metal and I consider this as not a good thing. But what can we do? It’s their loss. But in general the second decade of the new millenia is super. When it comes to music of course.
A TRILOGY IS NOT AN EASY TASK, ESPECIALLY IN MUSIC WHERE INTERESTS, INFLUENCES AND IDEAS HAVE A DIRECT IMPACT WHEN COMPOSING. DESERT NEAR THE END DESPITE GROWING MUSICALLY ALBUM AFTER ALBUM HAVE KEPT A FRAMEWORK LINKING EACH RELEASE, SOMETHING THAT AKIS PRASINIKAS IS PROUD OF.
RICARDO AZEVEDO (for Metalegion #2/2017)
The new album “Theater of War” closes the chapter of the trilogy started back in 2011 with your debut “A Crimson Dawn”. After all these years working under a well-defined concept, how is the feeling of the band now that this chapter is closed?
“Yes we finally made it! It’s a big relief actually, especially for me because I wrote the first songs for this concept back in 2006 when there was not even a band let alone a trilogy of albums in my mind! It was just me and Alex writing songs. So to see all this completed is a very big thing. Also it fills me with anticipation because apart from all the differences between them in song-writing or in production, l think of them as one big album or even better, like three chapters of the same book! So I look forward for the next step, I’m curious about what it will turn out to be!
The trilogy talks about the story of a man’s search for himself, something that most people can also relate to. Can you explain us in more detail the whole story starting in your first album?
“Difficult question, you know everything is clear on my mind but when I try to express it I really don’t know if any of it would make sense to anyone else. It’s basically a symbolic story about a quest for things that anyone can relate to, as you said. Everyone’s life, at some point, can look like an endless desert and everyone searched for a guiding light, or a Sun if you want, to light his way. That’s the beauty of art I suppose, you create by fighting your own demons and other people can relate even if they don’t know you or what you are really talking about. So the story that we unfold in our albums is the story of a man who wakes by the sea without any memories of his past and finds himself wondering in a desert world under a Sun that never sets. He renounce the burning star in the sky as not his own, because nothing can survive under such blinding and all revealing light, and embarks on a quest to find his own Sun. And by doing so he made a legend out of himself and people looked up to him to lead them, to become a “Sun” and reign over them. But he refused and in secrecy walked beside mankind and became a fellowman to all. He choses to be an example rather than a messiah, not to enslave people but to become a “mortal Sun” whose light inspires and guides and not only blinds. As for his own Sun, he finds it in the end, but just in time to see it sets over the sea. But as they say, it’s the journey that counts.”
The idea of creating a trilogy was something that preexisted even before the composition process of “A Crimson Dawn” or it was consolidated during that process?
“Actually it was born when I completed the song writing for “A Crimson Dawn” and looked back to what we have done. As I said in the first question I had written the first story based songs back in 2006 but there were not complete and they were never meant to be included in our first album. I thought they were great songs and I didn’t want to rush them. The songs were “Road to Nowhere”, that ended up in our second album, and “Season of the Sun” and “Theater of War” from the new one. So I had the end of the story and when I looked to the lyrics of “A Crimson Dawn” I realized that they were describing the beginning! So two things happened then, first the idea of a trilogy was born and second that “Desert near the end” became the name of the band.”
I suspect that the band name Desert Near The End also has some sort of connection with the story itself, right?
“Absolutely! It describes all the ideas and thoughts behind the concept and express ourselves in a unique and original way, it’s something personal that was born from our lyrics not just a band name. As for its connection with the story it describes the place in which our hero finds the false sun that never sets, in a desert where everything is visible, naked and endless. Nothing can survive under such an absolute light, At least nothing with a human soul. That’s where the story and our hero turn their back on this star and hunt for the real sun, one that guides and not only blinds, one that sets every day to rise the next. And that’s what our name stands for: hope. Where everything seems endless and you seem to know where every road leads, you have nothing but hope! It’s like Pandora’s box!!”
The band has evolved during the years and “Theater of War” is the culmination of that process where not only you have built a more personal sonority but also cut some of the chains with the Power Metal/Iced Earth influences that were present on the past. This third album feels like you have given another step towards a slightly more extreme and thrashier sonority…
“Yes indeed “Theater of War” is heavier than the previous two albums and that happened for two reasons. First of all the story reached its climax and the music should underline and support that, and second, and maybe even more important, is that the way I perceive progress and evolution in Metal is that for as long you are able and with inspiration the heavier road is the right one! With your own “words” and “colours” of course but somehow you must always at least try to be more intense than your previous work. As for our influences, they are still there, just more assimilated. I’ll never cut the chains with the bands that made me love metal I’ll just keep adding new ones!”
Tue Madsen, who already worked with bands like Holy Moses, The Haunted, Kataklysm, Vader or Moonspell captured perfectly your essence and “Theater of War” shows a band with an intensity and slight edge of modernity not found on the previous records. If I’m not mistaken this is your first experience working with a renowned producer, so how did this possibility come about and tell us your thoughts about the final result?
“First of all I agree with you totally, he gave the songs an edge and a punch that our previews albums lacked. In fact he made them sound exactly how as I imagined them when I was writing the album and that’s a very big thing. And indeed it’s the first time we worked with a producer of his class and we couldn’t be more happy with the result. We knew from day one that with this album we have something big (at least for us) in our hands and we wanted a serious upgrade in our sound. And Tue Madsen was the first that came into my mind because I’m a huge fan of his work with Heaven Shall Burn, so we approached him, we send him a pre-production demo and luckily he agreed to work on the album and the result was the best sounding Desert Near The End album to this day.”
Did you had the opportunity to travel to Denmark to Antfarm Studio and personally follow the mixing and mastering process with Tue Madsen?
“Unfortunately no, we would like that very much but it was very difficult. Thankfully the work was done very easy through the internet. He send us samples during the mix and we send him back comments and that way the mix and the mastering was ready in 15 days.”
One of the aspects that I also liked during the release of the three albums was that you not only had a lyrical concept but also a strong visual approach that interconnects them. I guess it was a main concern to have some sort of guiding line between all three albums?
“Definitely and thank you for noticing! I wanted the covers to follow the concept and maintain an aesthetic continuity between the albums and provide a visual background to the music. In “Crimson Dawn” we have a barren wasteland full of fire and ash under a sunless sky where in “Hunt For The Sun” the cover shows a celestial desert and in “Theater of War” we see the end of the journey at the shores of the sea and a world consumed by flames in the back. The big difference between them obviously is that the first two are photos and the new one is beautiful handmade by Panagiotis Vlamis an artist and a friend of mine.”
Most of the music and lyrics on the new album were written by you. During the creation of the trilogy, the composition process has suffered any sort of modification or evolution?
“I’m responsible for the music and most of the lyrics for Desert Near The end since day one. It’s not some kind of dictatorship, its just the way we’ve always worked. I’ve been writing for this band my whole life even before there was even a band. I know our DNA and which way and how we should evolve or change, better than anyone else. And all this came very naturally by the plain fact that I write more than everyone else in the band. So in this album too, I wrote the music and the lyrics for most of the songs. Alexandros wrote the lyrics for “point of no return” which is our video for this album and Thanos wrote the music for “at the shores” which is the epilogue of the album and the story, and it’s a beautiful song for which I had the lyrics but I couldn’t find the right music.”
I’ve seen a few live footages of some of your past gigs and you usually use session musicians to fill the spots and for that extra dose of live energy. Have you ever consider adding a second guitar player to the band? In fact, I heard some rumours about a new addition to the band already…
“Exactly! After a long long time we have a second guitar on and off stage! Panos joint the band just before our show with Flotsam and Jetsam. Just in time actually because it was the live debut of “Theater of War” and it was great to be able to play the new songs with a sound closer to the one we have on the CD. We were always meant to be a band with two guitars, we just haven’t found the right guy! You know, someone who could play the songs but without being a member in two or three more bands! That was the problem with all the guitar players we tried over the years.”
Lithras has been your live drummer since the beginning I guess, is there a reason for him not joining the band as full time member? Don’t you think that a real drummer would withdraw some of the limitations and difficulties of having programmed drums?
“George or “Lithras” is our live drummer since the beginning and the reason for him not joining the band is that, if you are a full member in a band you have to share the good and the bad, and with bad I mean the expenses. And he is already a full member in two bands, Among Ruins and IceCrown, and he can’t afford being in a third! We have already made plans to have someone record the drums live in our next album so that we can have that extra human feeling and creativity of a real drummer. I only wish we could find a full time member behind the drums until then! But even if we don’t, the drums will be live next time, one way or the other!”
You have opened in Greece for Flotsam and Jetsam. What can you tell us about that experience? Flotsam and Jetsam belong to that lost Power/Thrash Metal era that we all love.
“Great experience in many ways, first of all it was our first show with songs from “Theater of War” and the first one with two guitars since 2013! And also we had the chance to meet Flotsam and Jetsam which was an honour for us! Everything went great that night. As for the long lost Power/Thrash Metal that we all love, yes, we love it, we were born as metal fans into it and we continue to serve it! And if I may share a thought here, I don’t think it’s real lost, yes it went off the grid for some time especially in early 00’s but it emerged again. And I mean that, they may have a little more extreme touch on the vocals, but many bands who are considered to be death or core or black are in fact power/thrash bands when it comes to music. They may not even know it yet and that goes also for many of their fans! Which is fine by me, I always liked extreme metal and that gives me the opportunity to hear some great and new Power/Thrash Albums.”
“Theater of War” is the second album for the Ukrainian record label, Total Metal Records. Are there any plans for the future and how are things going on?
“We are totally pleased with Total Metal Records, we don’t have any complaints, everything went very smooth since the beginning of our collaboration. As for the future we don’t have any plans yet, it’s very early! We are already working on our next album but it’s too soon to think about its release.”
To end, the last song ‘At The Shores’ really feels like the closure of a chapter, besides being the most melodic song on the album has a sort of melancholy really reminiscent of a goodbye… Was that a concern for the last song in the trilogy?
“Yes, you captured it perfectly! It is the closing of a chapter, a last goodbye to something you chased for so long! It describes the last moments of the story when our hero returns to the shore, where everything began three albums ago, as he finally reached the sun but just before the sunset. It is out guitarist contribution in the album and exactly what we needed as an epilogue for the concept. I had the lyrics for the end of the story for many years and I knew that they wouldn’t fit in an aggressive song but I couldn’t find the right music, maybe because they are my favourite lyrics and the most personal! So when Thanos came and told me that he has the music for a song, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of the album, I asked to hear it, and when he played it I knew immediately that it was exactly what we needed! Very quickly I adjust my lyrics upon it and the album found it’s fitting epilogue!
Interview was prepared by GOREGRINDER (Rock Hard Magazine #36)
Greetings guys. You’ve just released new album- „Theater of War“. What can you tell us about this piece?
Hello! Yes we finally managed to reach our third album! We’ve been waiting this for very long because although we are very pleased with all our works, we always had the belief that “Theater of War” was going to be our best effort. All our albums until now are parts of the same concept, so we were anxious to create the music for the conclusion of the story. We even had the title ready, we knew from the start that our third album was going to be named “Theater of War” so we are very pleased that it turned out exactly as we hoped. We liked the songs so much that we took a step forward and worked with Tue Madsen and Antfarm studio for the mix and master of the album and he made an amazing work! He made the album sound even better than we hoped!
Why did you choose this title? Do you think our world is a part of war theatre show? Should we expect something bad to happen when looking at what’s happening in Europe now?
As I said above we choose this title many years ago for our third album, because it represent the final part of the story and it’s about conflicts and what hides beneath the surface. Even if it’s about a real war or an inner war with ourselves (but still a real one!) with our dreams and beliefs or even a war between a creator and his creation! And of course I think that our world is a big war theater, a Theater that we all take part, some times as actors and other times as spectators, we are both needed in the play. What we never see is the backstage! As for Europe, something bad is already happening, let’s hope it won’t escalate into something even worst. Because in times like these the worst of men thrive and I have the feeling that those that shout louder about danger are the ones who craves it the most. Not that there are no dangers but these people needed in order to exist.
What’s the album about from lyric’s point of view? Who’s the author of the cover and what does it express?
The album lyrically is the conclusion of the story we began to unfold in our first album. In very few words it’s the story of a quest, a quest of something so elusive as a sun that doesn’t blind you with it’s light, a personal or an inner sun if you like! And it’s also about how all this can be an inspiration for other people, it’s like the purpose of art, you create fighting or following your own demons and other people can relate even if they don’t know you or what you are really talking about. That’s the beauty behind art. In Theater of War we have a “chosen one” who decides not to lead or to enslave people with acts noone else can do, but to be a felloman and an inspiration to others. A mortal sun who shines but also guides. The cover is made by Panagiotis Vlamis and it’s based on the lyrics of “at the shores” which is the last song of the album and describes how our hero’s path ended at the sea after all the war in the background. The sea which is something constant and ever changing at the same time. In our concept stands for rebirth and hope.
As far as I know you don’t have permanent drummer. Who did record drums on the new record? How do you cope with this situation when it comes to live shows?
Yes, we still don’t have a permanent member behind the drums. But we still hope! For our lives shows we have our friend George Tzitzifas from Among Ruins to help us. In the studio I programed the drums as I did in previous records too.
Were all members involved equally in composing process of „ Theater of War“?
No, I’m mainly responsible for the music and lyrics of Desert Near The end. So in this album too, I wrote the music and the lyrics for most of the songs. Alexandros wrote the lyrics for “point of no return” which is going to be our video for this album and Thanos wrote the music for “at the shores” which is the epilogue of the album and the story, and it’s a beatiful song for which I had the lyrics but I couldn’t find the right music. It’s not some kind of dictatorship, its just the way we’ve always worked. I’ve been writing for “Desert near the end” my whole life and I know our DNA and what is fitting better than anyone else. And all this came very naturally by the plain fact that I write more than everyone else in the band.
This is going to be the second time your band has its place in our magazine. First time you emerged in RockHard Slovakia in issue 29, which was a year ago. Tell us what changed since – both in your personal and professional life.
In my personal life not much but from another point of view my life is, for good or bad, tied with “Desert near the end” so what changed is that I completed the journey that began in my mind more than 10 years ago when I first wrote songs that would end in these three albums. And for that I’m grateful!
Although you’ve released just three albums, you’ve been on the scene since late 90s. Why did you change your name from STORMBRINGER to THE EVENTIDE and later on to DESERT NEAR THE END?
Stormbringer was the name of the band when we were still in school! obviously it had to change for somerhing more personal. The eventide was a name that stayed with us for many years and I still like it, but it had to change too because there were other bands with the same name. This came at the same with the first songs of the concept so it was obvious… Desert near the end was our real name. So I’m with Alex in the same band since 1998. Sometimes the name changed for various reasons but the music stayed on the same path that lead us here.
What can you tell us about Greek scene in general? What’s the major difference between Greek metal scene and the rest of the world?
The Greek Metal scene is really at it’s best! And I’m not refering to the big bands which are known internationaly but to the numerous underground bands. Bands like: Karma Violence, Need, Agnes Vein, Aenaon just to name a few are delivering magnificent world class albums. As for the differences between Greek scene and the rest of the world I don’t know… I guess there isn’t any, because great albums and great new bands are coming from everywhere. That’s the problem nowdays, it’s not difficult to find great bands it’s difficult to keep track with everyone who deserve it!
Please, tell us briefly why the metal fans should buy your albums?
Difficult question, because every listener is unique and our albums they may form a picture as a whole, but each one is quit different. So I will answer about the last one in which I feel closer at the moment. It’s an honest album of modern metal with it’s roots in the power /thrash scene of mid 90’s and it’s eyes in every branch of today’s metal. Everyone who likes fast, aggresive, story driven and melodic metal could give it a try and if he likes what he hears them he can support us by buying.
What are your immediate plans?
To comlete the first video clip of the album for the track “Point of no return” and then to hunt as many lives as possible.
DESERT NEAR THE END and personal life – can you tell us more about it?
In general it is difficult to combine a band with personal life, as everyone in a band and not still a teenager knows. For example Alexandros has two little kids so as you imagine it’s not very easy to be there for rehearsals, recordings and lives but if you like what you do and you have enough will and determination everything is possible.
Where can we see you play? Anything near Czech Republic and Slovakia?
Unfortunately no! We don’t have any immediate plans for lives outside Greece in the upcoming months, but every invitation or proposition is more than welcomed!
To wrap this up, tell us a little secret.
Ok… so… the next album is already finished, not recorded yet but finished! Don’t tell anyone ok?
Группы из Греции всегда выделялись своим нестандартным подходом, хотя в большей степени это касается групп, так или иначе связанных с black metal. Однако и в других металлических стилях есть интересные коллективы. В более классическом power metal с некоторой долей трэша стоит, например, обратить внимание на DESERT NEAR THE END, чей новый альбом наверняка порадует фэнов такой музыки. Поэтому и мы не стали игнорировать эту команду.
Interview was prepared by Thrasnmentor (for Terroraiser 60/2014)
I think it would be good if you would sum up your band’s biography and line-up. In what bands did you play before starting DESERT NEAR THE END?
Alexandros and me started the the band back in 1998 under the name Eventide and we pushed mostly as a studio band for several years. After the completion of our first (and still un-releashed) album we decided that a change was needed both in name and in musical direction. We choose the name Desert Near The End because it symbolizes our vision in both music and lyrics and we began slowly to built the song that would form our debut “A Crimson Dawn” which we issued as a self-financed release in 2011. Then we felt ready to hit the stage again so a complete line-up was needed, Thanos(guitar) joined the band in 2012 and since then we’ve played many shows inside Greece and abroad. As in the same time “Hunt For The Sun” was completed.
Hellenic Metal scene has a load of strong bands, but a lot tend to do dark metal music like Rotting Christ or Septicflesh. What is it so attractive for you in Power/Thrash Metal that made you play this type of music? . What do you think were the most important bands or albums that influenced you in the very beginning?
Yes we have many great bands and I personally consider Rotting Christ as a big influence and one of my favourite bands but let’s face it nowdays the thing that seperates the bands we call dark or “extreme” from others is mostly the vocals. We consider our music to be heavy and dark but we insist on using clean vocals, aggressive but clean! And when we speak about darkness in metal music I personally can’t think many thinks darker than “Burnt Offerings” for example. And to answer the last part of your question we grew up with bands like Iced Earth and Blind Guardian in the mid90’s and when you built your core around some things you cannot left them behind no matter how far your music path will take you.
Congratulations of the new DESERT NEAR THE END album, “Hunt For The Sun”. Did this release fullfill your expectations?
Thank you! Yes I think that “Hunt for the Sun” is perfect for what it is : the second chapter in our path across the desert as we like to call it and it summarize everything we stood for at the moment of it’s birth. There are always things you’d like to change when you look back but it was the best we could afford production-wise and it’s a step further from our debut and a doorway for the next chapter in our journey.
“Hunt For The Sun” came up with a lyrical concept, right? Would you mind telling us about it in a few words?
“Hunt For The Sun” cannot stand alone it’s the second part of a story that will be concluded in our third album. In a very few words it’s the symbolic story of a man who tries to find himself in the face of the sun. So he renounces the burning star in the sky as not his sun and embarks on a quest to find the real sun the one who guides and not only blinds. We follow him on his journey from the shores of the sea to the deepest desert under a sun that never sets and from there through a passage of time in the heart of the sun where in flames as a burning star himself he is lost. But his trail remains as guide and promise for every man… And there “Hunt For The Sun” ends with a promise of return because all story moves around of the idea that if something is held deep in your heart may be forgotten but not lost and may rise again.
Your previous album “A Crimson Dawn” was released in 2011. How do you look back on ” A Crimson Dawn “? How would you summarize your development as a band from that album up to now? What has improved, changed?
“A Crimson Dawn” was a big success for us, not commercially of course but on an artistic level. We managed to have the exact sound that we wanted and we were able to give this earthly feel to the songs, to make them smell soil if we can say this for music. We used three bass guitars on the album two distorted and one clean along with the rythm guitars and it was very difficult to find the correct balance but we succeed and I really love the sound of this album. As for the “Hunt for the Sun” it’s a big step forward we were more focused on the songwriting and we wanted to lead the music in a certain place. Where in “A Crimson Dawn” we followed the music now it’s the other way around. That’s why the album sounds more determined and more driven, we knew exactly where we wanted to go. I can’t say we’ve found our sound on this album because every album has it’s unique sound and feel but certainly we have the correct direction.
As I know you shared the stage with many bands in 2013 and 2014 promoting ‘’A Crimson Dawn’’. With what bands did you play? Since you toured so much last year and this year, are there any cool stories that happened and that you’d like to tell about?
It was a great period and every show was special, especially for me and Alexandros because we were so many years buried in the studio and the opportunity to communicate our songs was a dream come true. We played with many bands all these months, and just to mention a few we played with a great band from Cyprus BLYND with WOLFHEART from Finland and we also made our first tour with MEMORAIN and INSIDEAD in Russia. We also had the chance to play with PRIMORDIAL in Athens one of our favorite bands and another dream come true. As long for cool stories the most memorable but not very cool at the time was when we lost passports and visas in Moscow on the last day of the tour and stack there but we survived somehow.
What are your concrete plans for the near future?
First of all we want to complete our first video clip for the opener track of the album: the song “Storm on my side” . Then the ongoing and constant plan is to play as many shows as possible and of course always creating new music, new paths across the desert.
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