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Secretive Polish Epic/Trad band Evangelist like to remain anonymous and let their music speak for them. Comrade Aleks puts that in the context of latest release 'Deus Vult'.

Interview with Evangelist.
"Born in 2008, the pious Evangelist of Cracow, Poland, started their payers to Lord Cthulhu through the debut 'In Partibus Infidelium' (2011) and were praised by many Epic Doom worshippers for their flawless approach to this task. Their true devotion to Doom metal of heroic proportions continued with sophomore 'Doominicanes' (2013). This time the anonymous congregation - noone knows their names - followed the ways paved by true crusaders in their bloody and glorious time! In secrecy, some of the band members joined Epic Doom outfit Monasterium, but kept the flame of their original band alive. Now, after five years - and one Monasterium album, released in 2016 - the holy knights of sacred Doom return. 'Deus Vult' is their new album, which saw the light of day through Nine Records in December 2018."

Evangelist: the band members remain anonymous.

Deus Vult, brothers! How does your crusade go? How successfully have you spread the Word of Evangelist since your third grand work was released?

Hails, brother Aleks! Our march is amazingly smooth, feedback is better than ever, enemies lay down before us like a wheat before the reaper's scythe. In short - the right of our cause is brightly revealed!

It took some time before you finished those new sacred hymns, what distracted you from this task?

Life in general. First five songs on the album were composed in May/June 2015, then almost a year of break due to health issues (CTS), and last two songs were composed in summer 2016. We started recordings in November 2016 and finished in summer 2018. Actual recordings took maybe 7-8 days, but we had long breaks between the sessions. As usual. Mixing is another story, yet third attempt turned out to be successful.

Discography: 'In Partibus Infidelium' (2011), 'Doominicanes' (2013), 'Capilla Ardiente/Evangelist' (Split EP, 2014), 'Deus Vult' (2018).

There are five years between 'Doominicanes' and 'Deus Vult', and both recordings are in the same vein. How do you see the principal differences between the albums?

First of all, our modus operandi has changed between the albums. Doominicanes was written and partially recorded when we both still lived in Cracow. Regular playing, spontaneous riffs and building songs in the noise of rehearsal room. In late summer 2012 I moved out to Kielce and we had to adapt to this new situation or kill Evangelist. After some internal struggle we started to make new songs differently. Michał was preparing raw riff blueprints of the full songs, and after that we were meeting in rehearsals to work out basic arrangements. Usually two songs per rehearsal. So one can say our songwriting became more focused and deliberate.

Doominicanes is definitely more raw and uncontrolled, songwise and soundwise, it was recorded really quick and part of it was improvised, mainly in guitar solos department. Minimal arrangements, no overdubs, no acoustic guitars, no sound effects etc. Except the last song, that is.

Deus Vult was recorded with greater consideration, we wanted wider soundscape, because we felt that new songs require it. Hence acoustic guitars, bells, multivocal choruses etc. And also a bit different mixing.

'Deus Vult' leaves the impression of being Evangelist's strongest work, considering the sound production. Did you work with a producer this time or was it a DIY session?

Why, thank you, we always work alone, we never engage people outside our inner circle of trust. As usual, engineering, mixing and mastering was done by our long suffering court soundmagician, Chevalier Jacques, who also played all bass and acoustic guitars on the album, plus guitar solo on "Eremitus". This time we had much bigger clashes over sound issues than usual, but probably it turned out for good. Chevalier Jacques declared that he will never be mixing us again, thus we hope he will reconsider this bold statement.

Evangelist - 'Prophecy' (2018):

That's the second album where you've used the theme of crusades as a leitmotiv of the Evangelist concept. Jokes aside - how serious are you about this topic?

Well, as far as we are concerned, jokes are always aside. The topic of crusades on Doominicanes was narrowed to the last song, to be honest. 'Militis' was some sort of harbinger of the things to come. Crusades are not a band concept, just a loose album concept.

For me, personally, crusades were kind of desperate expression of western Europe's will to break out from being world's periphery at that time. I don't deny religious motifs of a majority of the individuals involved, willingness to do good and securing dignity of the Holy Sepulchre for the faithful and so on. Geopolitics and will of a mere individual don't exclude themselves. Usually people think that in general "The West" was dominating, the most developed and enlightened civilization since forever. It was not. Between years 0 AD and 1 000 AD population of western Europe remained basically unchanged, so did GDP per capita. For one thousand years there was no development there. Atlantic was the end of the world, all trade routes that mattered were on the land between China, India and East Mediterranean, with vast land spaces between, that were thriving from it. Abbasid Caliphate was more populous than entire Europe and many times wealthier. Kiev was Europe's second biggest city and a huge trade center. Cities like Bukhara in current Uzbekistan were huge and wealthy trade centres. West was an absolute end of the world with Atlantic waves falling into hell somewhere between Iceland and Greenland. Therefore, in my opinion, crusades were not only "Deopolitical", but also a geopolitical attempt to grasp a bridgehead in the world trade route to make western Europe matter in the world game, to uncork it so to speak. Hours of talk, really.

As I understand it, the album isn't a conceptual one, though all tracks are united by a common idea. However, I'd like to ask you are 'Deus Vult''s songs connected with a certain historical period? Or are they free improvisations on crusader themes?

I'd say they are all happening in certain space limited by medieval history, religion and culture, with emphasis on times of crusades. For example 'Memento' has nothing to do with crusades directly, it's inspired by Archconfraternity of the Lord's Passion that exists incessantly to this day in Cracow since 1595 AD, but its history gives us a taste of that times. You can witness it every year on Good Friday in Cracow.

'Deus Vult' artwork (click to expand).

Poland is known as a pretty religious country, does that grant you more active feedback there? Have you met any misunderstandings due to Evangelist's image from common people or from metalheads?

I don't recall anything like that, and my memory serves me well. We don't matter, we are just a small anti-band, come on, who would give a shit about us? But truth to be told, we have strong support from our domestic fans. We feel that some of them strongly identify themselves with us, but I say: find yourself some proper life models, we're an unworthy bunch of sinners!

Despite the policy of anonymity you follow as a band, Evangelist sometimes play live. What are the highlights of your live activity? Do you feel it a necessary aspect of being a band?

We played two live shows so far and we consider both absolute highlights of our live activities. We are really picky about it and always prefer spending time on songwriting, than practicing our live set. Is it necessary? For normal bands it probably is, but we are neither normal, nor a band (we are rather anti-band, like I mentioned before), so...

Do you plan to perform your music live before the good people? How intensive is your gig schedule for 2019?

Third show is to happen this June in Salzburg as a part of Seeds of Doom II festival. If you wish to see and hear us butchering our own songs, we strongly encourage you to participate in this glorious event, as fourth show may be played in, let's say, 2022 AD, or may not happen at all. You never know. It's not that we are hostile towards playing live, it just requires from us much more effort than from normal bands, as we don't practice regularly and have to engage additional musicians. If you wish to invite us to play, we will definitely take it under serious consideration.

I can't avoid a question about Monasterium: how does the work of that congregation go? I see that the new album is on the way, so what can we expect from it?

Well, the songs are more heavy and maybe a little bit more extensive but the doomy atmosphere of death still hovers over the songs. We stick to the matters of religion and philosophy - all immersed in dark medieval brew. There's one epic song which features amazing guest vocals of one of the best known singers in the doom/heavy underground so it definitely will be a huge surprise. I hope you will enjoy it!

Evangelist - 'Militis Fidelis Deus' (2013):

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Visit the Evangelist bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-02-25 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Rotten Copper
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