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If you're looking for some heavy, trippy, Stoner Doom, Comrade Aleks talks to a Russian band from one of the most eco-unfriendly cities in the world about how they marry up those very different worldviews.

Interview with Megalith Levitation.
"Chelyabinsk is a kind of legendary heavily industrialized city in the Russian Urals. No kidding, its ecological status is very low, and you'd have to be very motivated or desperate to live there. Its poisonous atmosphere gave a birth to ugly psychedelic Stoner/Doom project Megalith Levitation. SAA (vocals, guitars), KKV (bass) and PAN (drums) played in a bunch of local bands of varying extremity, but in 2016 they changed their minds and redirected their dark creative energy towards lower plains. Thus, the band was born. Three years of practice led them to the 'Acid Doom Rites' full-length released by Hymns Of Apocalypse on September 22nd, Moscow's no name label supported it with a digital release. This conversation with SAA reveals a few facts and essences behind Megalith Levitation".

Megalith Levitation: PAN, KKV and SAA.

Hi SAA! So… Megalith Levitation has its debut full-length in hand – accept my congratulations! There's no information about the band on the internet besides the fact that you're located in Chelyabinsk. What else should doomheads know about the band?

Hi and thank you. Actually, there is not much to say at the moment aside from that we started back in April 2016 and so far the band members have not changed: SAA-Sermons & Fuzzmagic, KKV-Thunderbass, PAN-Skullhammers. Band history is being made at this very moment.

I've heard that all of you play in local Black Metal bands, so is Megalith Levitation a side-project for you or is it a real band that you're going to continue move further as long as it's possible?

That is not entirely correct. Each one of us used to play different kinds of metal and previously we have never played together. Megalith Levitation is not just a project it is a wholesome band and none of us is currently participating in other bands or project. Yes, we will keep moving on as long as we have the inspiration. Currently we already have tracks recorded for our next release, it will be a split album and that's pretty much all I can say for now. Also most of the new tracks that are going to be on the second album are being rehearsed and practiced at the moment.

Got you - however, speaking about inspiration: as I understand it, you didn't play Doom before, and it's an unpopular genre in Russia. What kind of bands did you have in mind when composing your first songs?

I wouldn't say that we were inspired only by doom or sludge bands. When we were working on the album we listened to a broad spectrum of artists as: Atomikylä, Hellhammer, Clutch, Monster Magnet, Primus, Melvins, Om, Monolord and even David Parsons.

'Acid Doom Rites' album is a raw psychedelic piece of low-tuned Doom, is it exactly what you wanted to get during recording? What was your initial vision of the band?

We're content with how the album sounds, all instruments except for drum kit were recorded at our own studio – Nameless Temple, so we had all the time to experiment and had no time constrains. Mixing and mastering was done by our good friend Memphis from Dekonstruktor and he made sure that everything is in check and we were happy to work with him. We tried our best to make both musical and artistic content of the album to be in order with what we planned initially.

Megalith Levitation - 'Acid Doom Rites' (Album promo, 2019):

How long did you spend recording the album? How was the entire recording session organized?

Recordings have taken place over a few months as we were waiting to be in the right mood and state to convey the emotional content of our music. But generally all instruments and vocals were recorded in one session each, from 4 to 14 hours long. Drums for this album were recorded at Wildboar studio in Ekaterinburg. Alexander – head of Wildboar is our old friend and he made sure that everything worked well during the record session

Right mood? What kind of mood do you tend to channel through Megalith Levitation?

We try to convey the emotions we have when making music and immerse listener into the worlds and dimensions where we reside, when we play our music. It's hard to describe with words, just listen and maybe you'll also join this trance.

The album has a distinctive ritual vibe: what inspired you to recreate this atmosphere? Were you inspired by some spiritual music or by Doom bands like Om, Pombagira or whoever?

Ritual vibe is a very good definition. We were able to get in that kind of vibe on the first band practice, the band alchemy just worked, so to say. When we met up for the first time, we didn't actually have any genre ideas or agreements on what we're going to play, we just kept jamming until we fell into trance. All songs on the album were created this way. Not a single note was written by intent. It can be said that we conduct some kind of energy, which comes to this world through our songs.

It's nearly impossible to decipher the lyrics on 'Acid Doom Rites', so what are your songs about? Do you put a kind of message in your texts or do you just need vocal parts to support the main theme?

Lyrics have some message in it – of course. Lyrics are available at our Bandcamp and I think, those who would like to read and understand that message will do so. Mainly it's dark and phantasmagoric trips to the unknown drenched in occult themes. Lyrics just as the music came to us from beyond, line after line coming to mind in a half-dreaming or trance state.

Chelyabinsk is known as one of the most ecologically dysfunctional cities in Russia. How much of Chelyabinsk is in your songs? I wonder if you really need acid to write such music when you live in a place like this.

We have left our inner Chelyabinsk long ago and it's a crucial thing to do, it allows you to avoid being grey and poisonous like the atmosphere around you. As for acid, I think that every person must try substances, which broaden vision and self-consciousness of one's place in the universe. But a person must be prepared for that. To quote Mr. Leary: "Thou shalt not prevent thy fellow man from changing his or her own consciousness".

Do you think such experiences can really help any person to realize the existence of other planes or something? It seems people tend to consume different sorts of substances, including alcohol, mostly for their own entertainment rather than in a conscious search of experience.

I think that everybody can find something for one's self in the music, people who look for highs can find it here, or maybe develop new phobias or on the contrary resolve old phobias. One who approaches such experience consciously may find new ways of understanding one's self and surrounding reality or realize that the reality is illusionary.

Do you have an opportunity to play live in your city? Do you aim to play live in other places as well?

We played a few live shows in our city, but the majority of shows we played in different major cities of Ural region and partly Siberia. Chelyabinsk is well known for its dying ecology and shitty venues. In less than a week we will be performing our rituals in Saint Petersburg and Moscow: these are going to be shows with bands that we have utmost respect for: Bong (UK) together with Dekonstruktor in Moscow and Il and Electricjezus.

Oh, it seems there's a chance to watch your gig live, okay then. Are you going to play new stuff too?

Yes, we are going to play new stuff as well. We will be performing tracks that nobody heard live yet. We also made different set lists for both Moscow and Saint Petersburg. We want to incorporate new things in live gigs and not just play tracks from debut album - this would have been simply too boring.

And a question concerning promotion – gigging in Saint Petersburg and Moscow in support of Bong is a big deal in itself, but will you search for a way out to the international scene?

Time will tell, if album will be successful enough, we would love to play somewhere outside of Russia.

'Acid Doom Rites' is released on no name label. Do you feel it necessary to support it with gigs or in any other possible way? Do you have ambitions for Megalith Levitation?

To be more correct: physical embodiment of the album (6 panel digipack CD) will be released by Hymns of Apocalypse label and no name label is responsible for digital release. By a stroke of luck we'll be able to support album release with shows in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, which I mentioned earlier. We have high ambitions for development of the band and we hope to make our second album more psychedelic and heavier than the first one.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Megalith Levitation bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-10-16 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Thermal Mass
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