Deiquisitor’s “Humanoid”-Eradicating Death Metal Bursts Into the Modern Age (Interview)
Deiquisitor has always been a tiny bit of a mystery. An ancient band in a modern age, they formed in Denmark in 2013 and largely kept off the internet until very recently, which always made it hard to promote their music or recommend them to friends. This shroud of olde occultism that surrounded the band was not necessarily ideal for their overall popularity, but lent itself to a certain air of wonder and secrecy that just doesn’t exist often in the internet age.
Years later, Deiquisitor has finally given over to the tide of time, and are available for consumption on Bandcamp and other streaming services—just in time to talk about their newest EP, Humanoid. Deiquisitor's sound stretches across the sea to some extent, and is perhaps most reminiscent of suffocating bands a la Drawn and Quartered or Immolation. Humanoid’s frantic, ugly riffing carries a sense of urgency, a need to deliver blasphemous riffs at top-speed right down the gullet of unsuspecting death metal freaks. Harrowing vocals (much improved since the start of the band!) howl over a whirlwind of furious drums, and for a three piece, Deiquisitor have enough wrath to match a much larger lineup.
Though Humanoid is being called an EP, it’s almost as long as an Undergang record, and more than 25 minutes of devastation can be found in the playtime. The band uses that time to the fullest, packing in a series of tempo changes that go from chunky doom riffs into swirling tremolos into powerful pummeling at a moment’s notice. One of the biggest make-or-breakers of a band playing in this style is the drumming, and Mr. Bestial Butcher has a great sense of when to change from blasting into skanks into evil hammering, aiding in a sense of dynamics that carries throughout the entire EP. Deiquisitor resist being easily lumped into a single category, and there’s a little something of everything for fans of all creeds of evil metal of death within each release.
Deiquisitor will never be called “progressive,” but they play a much more nimble take on the genre than the average band, and the improvement that they’ve made over the years has been a joy to see in a genre where most bands take the exact opposite approach. It means that after years of wondering, it was time to finally ask the band questions that I had for years. Full interview below.
Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to do this! To start, you guys had a new EP come out last week- your second EP since 2019’s Towards Our Impending Doom full-length. Why another short-length instead of working towards your fourth album? What draws you to the EP format?
Hi, Thomas from Deiquisitor here, thanks for letting us do this interview. We did actually have enough material for a full-length album, but we decided to make 2 EP’s instead for several reasons. First of all, because we’ve always wanted to make a 12” EP played at 45 rpm, we are convinced that the sound quality is superior in this format compared to a 7” and even a normal 33 rpm Record. Second because we have been experimenting a lot with our sound, using different studios and producers, we didn’t feel that the production on our previous releases represented us quite like we wanted, too far from our live and rehearsal sound. On Humanoid we feel that we are pretty close to achieving that. Third reason is that the 2 tracks we put on the EP “Religiously endorsed masochism” are but about the same theme, the self-tormenting and submissive perspective on life practiced by religious fanatics. Where the lyrics on Humanoid are more about science, technology, conspirations and are even a bit political in a way.
When the band started it was difficult to check out any music digitally, let alone buy it, and everything was really limited to physical formats. What is your relationship like with digital music, and why did you decide to start moving towards it? Have overall sales seemed to improve since you guys went digital?
Well, I am a bit divided about that. In a way I really liked how it was back in the 90’s. Back then it was a bit exclusive when you got your hands on rare albums, and could introduce unknown bands to others in your circle, nowadays everything is available to anyone. The good thing about that is that you are able to spread out your music to a much larger audience, check out unknown bands, and then if you like what you hear, buy their stuff. And for us, also selling our releases as digital downloads has improved the sales a lot. You can be pretty sure that you can find almost any record ripped on the internet already the day after it has been released. Often in very poor mp3 quality, and with a low-resolution scan of the cover artwork. Now you can offer them a download in high quality Wav files, all cover artwork in high resolution, to a very fair price. We are glad that a lot of listeners apparently choose this option. Bad sound quality kills good music.
Deiquisitor has from the start operated as a three-piece. Will that ever change? What are some advantages to having a compact lineup?
I can see that there are a lot of advantages in a bigger line-up, especially as a guitarist. The guitar sound can be much more massive, and you can incorporate a lot more details and leads in the songs when there are 2 guitarists, and it can be a problem live when playing leads, it’s like a lot of massiveness disappears when I start doing solos and leads. So that why I always make my solos so short. But there are a lot of considerations associated with recruiting an extra bandmember, one of our biggest strength as a band is how well we know each other, and a friendship that goes back almost 30 years. Even Daniel who’s the youngest one of us, have we known for like 15 years. So, it has to be both someone we know very well, and a person that shares our ideologies and taste in music. That is hard to find, I can only think of a very few, and they are active in other bands. But again, in a way I think that there’s something “magical” about being a trio.
Most of the lineup played in several active bands at a time until just a couple years before Deiquisitor’s inception. What led to the overall drop-off in multi-band activity and increased focus on a single songwriting outlet?
The short answer must be, not enough time. We have always enjoyed jamming new ideas and experimenting with different styles of metal. And we felt that some of these projects really had some potential, and resulted in some interesting music. But instead of using these ideas in our main band, we decided to release them as a project bands under a different name. Until 8 –10 years ago, we were a part of a sort of ideological band alliance which we called “Order of the Nonagram”, this alliance led to some great side projects with members from these other bands involved. Unfortunately, we all moved in very different directions both musically and ideologically, so this order no longer exists.
Most of the band has been making music for a long time, even back to the ‘90s. How has the extreme music scene changed for both better and worse over the years?
As I see it, the metal scene is growing strong again now, after being a bit dormant for almost a decade. Thanks to some very dedicated concert arrangers, underground zines and a rapidly growing underground metal scene, there are a lot of excellent Danish bands these days. In many ways the scene nowadays here in Denmark, reminds me of how it was back in the early 90’s. Things were going so great until last year, more and more sold-out concerts, great foreign bands, an increasingly intense audience. But then came Corona, hopefully this pandemic will end soon, and we can start gigging and experience some great concerts again.
The band has been with Night Shroud Records since the beginning, with the label handing most of Deiquisitor’s vinyl releases. Is Night Shroud Records the band’s own label? What’s the relationship there?
No, Night Shroud Rec. Is not our own label, but is owned by a very good friend of ours. He has supported us and believed in us since the very beginning, and has done an excellent job with the creation of each album, we really appreciate all the support we have received from this label, along with Extremely Rotten Productions who has released all the tape versions of our albums, and are co-releasing the vinyl version of our newest EP. We did have our own label some years ago, Phlegm Productions, and did actually release a lot of stuff, but it has been laid to rest now. We didn’t have the necessary promotion network and promotion skills to successfully run a label selling physical medias. But all the releases we managed to put out are all available as digital downloads from our “Order of the Nonagram” Bandcamp site.
How did you guys get in touch with Matt Calvert and Dark Descent Records? Are you happy with your work with them?
I think it was Extremely Rotten prod. that got us in touch with him. We needed a label to release the CD versions, and since our music is influenced by the American old-school way of creating Death metal, it made good sense for us to try getting in contact with an American label. And no doubt, Matt has helped us a lot. His promotion has been incredible, and Dark Descent Records has become both a known and respected label worldwide, so we are indeed very happy to work with him.
What made you guys decide to embark on this path towards suffocating death metal after your previous bands?
After 20 years of Black metal, we reached a point where we felt that we were in danger of starting to repeat ourselves. In Blodfest we were pretty much following this theme, to write lyrics about the ancient Danish kings that ruled Denmark from the town Lejre where we actually live and where our studio is located. Their battles, rituals and pagan beliefs. But after writing lyrics about this for 9 releases, you reach a point where you feel that what you had to tell, had been told. It was more or less the same we felt with the music itself, so we decided to end this chapter with our final album “Gastabloss” which in fact hasn’t been released yet, though it was recorded in 2012. The production is very raw, and the song probably the most extreme we have ever made, but one thing I think makes the labels hesitate, is that we are using growling vocals on this, instead of the more traditional Black metal way of doing vocals. Maybe they find it hard to categorize us on this one. But then after ending Blodfest, my brother MFJørg wanted to focus 100% on making experimental electronic music and painting. Henrik and I wanted to continue playing metal, and like went back to our roots in Death metal, trying to create our new interpretation of old-school Death metal. That was in 2013, one year later we recruited our old friend Daniel for the Bass guitar, and the line-up was complete. Another reason for us to turn our backs on Black metal, is how it has developed. I’m sure a lot of readers will get pissed by me saying so, but I feel that this style has totally stagnated. I haven’t heard any band contributing with anything new for years, all repetitions of the ideas from the old classics. And many of the bands represent themselves in a way we can’t relate to, or will be associated with.
What’s next for Deiquisitor following the pandemic?
Hopefully a lot of gigs, we really enjoy playing live gigs. It’s really difficult for us to go on longer tours, like for months or so, but shorter tours for weekends or perhaps a week, are just perfect for us. So this is what we hope for, the opportunity to do this.
Will you guys ever make it over to the United States for some shows?
We sure hope so, that would be a great experience. But like I said, for a week is the longest we can be away from Denmark, and it is my impression that when a Danish band has to travel all the way to the States, it has to be for a longer time to balance the travelling costs. But maybe we are given this opportunity one day, that would be cool.
Do you have anything else to talk about or promote?
I definitely have something to promote, all the excellent Danish Death metal bands that’s around these days. Bands like: Undergang, Phrenelith, Taphos, Chaotian, Strychnos, Ascendency, Septage, Had, Sulphurous, Hyperdontia. I’ve probably forgotten to mention some, sorry for that. And when all these damned corona restrictions are over, come to the shows, that’s where you’ll hear what the band really are made of.
Humanoid released on February 5th, 2021 via Night Shroud Records and Extremely Rotten Productions.