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With a new album imminent, after a nine-year gap, Comrade Aleks went in search of the venerable Cemetery Of Scream to find out more. Band co-founder and guitarist Marcin Piwowarczyk was kind enough to answer his questions.

Interview with Cemetery Of Scream.
"I first learned about Cemetery Of Scream (Krakow, Poland) from the 'Beauty In Darkness' video compilation in the late '90s. That's a great collection of videos, with early Tiamat, Celestial Season and Substance For God speaking for the Death Doom scene. Cemetery Of Scream's 'Melancholy' wasn't an orthodox Death Doom record: they had atmospheric samples in some songs, the compositions were multifaceted and not just focused on a Peaceville Three legacy. Vocalist Marcin Kotaś sang not only in growls, but also with distinctive clean vocals which became one of trademarks of the band's second album, 'Deeppression'. Actually, this sophomore album transported the band somewhere into Gothic Doom territories, and they went even further with the third full-length, 'Prelude To A Sentimental Journey'. The band went through new metamorphoses on the following albums, and though the most up to date work, 'Frozen Images', was released eight years ago, Cemetery Of Scream still exists. Why not find out more about their past years and their current state straight from the band's original guitar player Marcin Piwowarczyk?"

Talking to Aleks, band co-founder Marcin Piwowarczyk.

Hi Marcin! Thanks for your time and the opportunity to learn more about Cemetery Of Scream! First of all, what's the band's current status? There isn't much news from your camp, and the last album, 'Frozen Image', was released almost nine years ago!

Hell-o! The band is alive and kicking, the new material was recorded 3 years ago, but matters connected with the release of this new album got complicated, so we are active now playing gigs and performing at festivals. In the meantime, our different compilations were out on different labels. In general, we do not record our albums frequently, but once in a blue moon.

What are your plans concerning Cemetery Of Scream for 2018? Do we have a chance to get some new tunes?

Yes, that is exactly our first priority to finally release our newest album titled "Oceans".

And how does Cemetery Of Scream sound after nine years of silence?

The sounds and the world keep changing along with us. Don't expect a revolution, be ready for something totally different as a result of our evolution. "Oceans" will have a very deep and spacious aura like endless waters, like the most profound depths where there is also a chance of reaching a new land, a new hope…

Cemetery Of Scream current line-up: Katarzyna Rachwalik-Rutkowska (Keyboards), Paweł Góralczyk (Guitar), Olaf Różański (Vocals), Tomasz Rutkowski (Drums), Jacek Królik (Bass), Marcin Piwowarczyk (Guitar).

Let's take a look into the band's past. Cemetery Of Scream was formed in 1993: what did you want to express through the band back then? What was your vision? And, also, how did you come up with the band's name?

The name of course was meant to convey the band's music styles concentrated around the volatility of human existence and absolute darkness that is close to death. The silence of a Cemetery is actually like the loudest Scream.

The band's first record was demo album 'Sameone', it saw the light of day in the same year the band was born. How did you manage to record it so swiftly?

Actually, the band was formed one year before "Sameone", and then we immediately decided to record our first tracks as a demo version! It was only four songs as a trial (a very successful one)! :)

The full-length record 'Melancholy' was released in 1995, and the album leaves the impression of a thoughtful concept work. How long did you spend composing it? Did you improvise in the studio, or did you have everything in your heads when you began?

Most of the selections were already in our heads as a whole lyrical, musical and graphical concept, but we always do leave some margin for changes and impromptu ideas.

How did you come up with the whole 'Melancholy' concept? The album leaves the impression of a conceptual one because of some narrative parts, and because the intro and outro are based on the poem by Leopold Staff, but at the same time I would say that the lyrics of the different songs don't connect one with another…

Because these lyrics are supposed to exist as a whole, constituting the specific atmosphere of "Melancholy", as well as separate tracks addressed to every single individual, to every different soul.

Marcin, you, Jacek Królik and Katarzyna Rutkowska are the only original members left of the first Cemetery Of Scream lineup. What made you continue the band?

Music, of course. Our great love of music! It is our big success because not many bands can afford to have half the lineup maintained for such a long time!

Did you discuss lyrics with Marcin Kotaś during the work on these songs? 'Melancholy' has a haunted and sometimes creepy atmosphere, and it really seems that you worked over each detail?

Yes, that is true, and to tell you more – Marcin Kotaś as the vocalist had the biggest field for lyrical and vocal experiments.

You have the 'Apocalyptic Visions' series on your first records - what did you put into these tracks, and why didn't you continue the concept on further albums?

Those concepts fit the first albums best, but they didn't really fit the next albums so much; however, maybe, there comes another time for Apocalyptic Visions to appear in the near future…

In which studio did you record the album? What do you remember about this recording session? Were you excited to make your first big work? Or didn't you have time for excitement at all – just recording it as fast as possible?

The Gamma Studio in Krakow. It was a great excitement for us to get a chance of recording in a professional studio because we were very young and crazy around that time, yet we were very serious about it, and naturally we drank a lot of booze during that session!

Cemetery Of Scream - 'Anxiety' (Official):

How did the video of song 'Anxiety' appear on the 'Beauty In Darkness' compilation? Did it help the band to gain more recognition from metal fans?

The song was included in the "Beauty in Darkness" video compilation to promote the bands on our then current label "Serenades Records". Definitely, like every single promotional manoeuvre, it helped us become more recognized.

What do you remember about this video shooting?

Actually, we were slightly afraid of acting in front of video cameras 'cos it was the first Polish doom metal video clip, and the film crew had never done anything like that before. So the results, looking at the whole thing from today's angle, are not so very impressive. Nevertheless, it was our first music vid ever, and we were extremely excited. One of the curiosities connected with that clip is that the then very young girl with super long hair down to her ankles nowadays plays for TV soap operas and for theatre. Maybe it was us who had inspired her for the first time to start an acting career, who knows? :)

The mid-'90s was the peak of Death Doom popularity, even though the Peaceville Three themselves were slowly starting to search for new sounds. What are your memories about this time?

As a listener and musician myself, I must admit that those were beautiful times, and the records released in those days totally stole my heart and soul. They also influenced me very much.

How would you describe the changes in the band which led you to 'Deeppression'? This album seemed to be innovative and original, what drove you to these experiments?

Again, we had ready ideas on our minds, but in the natural course of things we developed our skills and musical workshop, so you can treat as a consequent evolution of our former album.

Cemetery Of Scream recorded 'Deeppression' with three guitarists - why did you decide to increase the line-up? Did it really work from your point of view?

During the "Deeppression" session, one of our guitarists had to leave, so he suggested another great guitarist, whom we knew of the band Hellias anyway, and Mr Goolary came to join us and he has been playing with us ever since.

How did this recording session differ from the one you had for 'Melancholy'? Was it more difficult because of all the new things you put in the songs? Because of those effects and the increased role of keyboards?

We started experimenting with samples and electronic backgrounds on a small scale, it simply took us a little bit longer to record the whole album.

How did listeners react to 'Deeppression'? Did the album change the attitude to the band?

The reactions were very positive. Our listeners and fans were very happy about "Deeppression", and we gained a lot of new fans, as well!

The album sounds lighter than 'Melancholy', yet actually it's more depressive. How do you value its general mood? What influenced you during the work on these songs?

We value its general mood as dangerously depressive. Basically, we wanted very much to continue the dark line of the former album because there are so many different shades of melancholy and de(ep)pression…

Cemetery Of Scream - 'Ironic':

The experiments on 'Deeppression' were really effective and interesting, though you went further from your original Death Doom sound. So were you already dissatisfied with the limits of that genre?

We have never been dissatisfied with any of our works because we always worked a lot and very long on each of these works, that's one thing. Another thing is that we never find any genres to be limits for us, just the opposite: they inspire us and let us reach different levels of musical spheres. We make use of many various genres, then leave them, come back to them again and discover some new ones… Fortunately, inspiration does not know any divisions into genres.

Two years later the band released the 'Fin De Siecle' EP: why did you decide to record a mini-album? And as I understand, it was self-released 'til 2003, when Metal Mind Productions re-issued it on CD, right?

Because it was released as a foretaste of the forthcoming new album "Prelude to a Sentimental Journey". True, Metal Mind Productions was interested to re-release our full, entire discography without any exceptions…and so it happened.

I read that this album was the band's reflection on the events of the war in the Balkans, did that really influence you so much? Was that the reason to include the Porcupine Tree cover?

It was a very disturbing time 'cos the Balkan war could have set the world on fire, and that horrible thing occurred in the very centre of "civilized" Europe. The entire EP as well as the cover summarized the then political and wartime situation.

How often did you play gigs in the '90s? What were your most successful live shows?

Despite all appearances, and although the Internet was non-existent at that time, we played more gigs than ever before and after, as people in the music business invited us spontaneously to different clubs and venues. Always through the grapevine, without any mass media involved.

The third Cemetery Of Scream album, 'Prelude To A Sentimental Journey' shows a slightly different approach: it's closer to Gothic Doom music than 'Deeppression'… what influenced its sound? Did your interests totally switch from Death Doom to other things?

It was, I think, the overwhelming influence of our thrash-metal guitarist: Mr Goolary of Hellias.

The lyrics for this album were written by Zdzisław Zabierzewski, and with all its interludes and spoken parts it sounds like a conceptual one. Why were the lyrics written by someone outside of the band?

Zdzisław "The Bat" Zabierzewski (a radio broadcaster, collaborating with many other bands and Poland's bohemians) has always been our close friend and supporter, he knows what we are – we have the same black platform of mutual dark understanding.

What was the album's concept about? What's this "Sentimental Journey"?

It is about the spiritual nature of a human being, about travelling in time and space, getting old and looking for the childhood and youth gone past in the long film of memories and by visiting the most sentimental places. Life is a journey, and at some point the time to look back comes upon you inevitably. Tick-tock, tick-tock…

There was a six year break between 'Prelude To A Sentimental Journey' and 'The Event Horizon'. What slowed the band down? And where did you lose Marcin Kotaś?

Marcin Kotaś had to go abroad to the USA. And the intervals between the albums of COS were a standard long period of waiting, as usual!!!

'The Event Horizon', and the following 'Frozen Images', were released on the famous Metal Mind Productions. How did the appearance on such a big label affect the band's life?

It was a very nice period for all of us, but without any super special moments, just standard stuff, but we recall the Metal Mind time very well.

Cemetery Of Scream - 'Burial Ground':

How do you value 'The Event Horizon''s material nowadays? Were you satisfied with the ideas you fulfilled in these songs?

Well, it was our first material recorded outside of our regular Gamma Studio, so we are very happy about all our selections recorded in that year, but regrettably the sound and production of this album leave the feeling that there is a great deal of things to be corrected.

Both albums were recorded with different vocalists: what didn't work out with Paweł Kluczewski?

After the departure of Marcin Kotaś, we had our new material almost ready, so we invited session vocalist Paweł Kluczewski in order to let the new album see the light of day. Then, we found a great new vocalist Olaf Różański, who became our steady vocalist and band member. He has been us up to now and is still performing with the band.

Which elements of 'Frozen Images' would you point to as its strongest? Do you feel that this album attracted more new listeners than previous one?

This album is denser much more modern, has a strong wall of sounds and is very well produced. What more could one expect. Of course, the time will tell. But we are very satisfied with this album.

Now after 25 (?!!!!) years of the band's existence…which events would you mark as Cemetery Of Scream's highlights?

Every little bit counts, even the smallest thing – because they all constitute the entire history of us. On the other hand, it is not only highlights that matter, but also those hard times of heavy work, moments of sadness and hopelessness. We are not stars, yet we still that feel we are alive and kicking…

Cemetery Of Scream - 'Prince Of The City's Lights' (Promo):

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Interviewed on 2018-02-26 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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