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Shifting from Doom to Death and back over the course of their long career, '80s Chicago veterans Cianide have been quiet for a while. Comrade Aleks talks to co-founder Mike Perun about the band's history, and future plans.

Interview with Cianide.
"Born in 1988, and inspired by Celtic Frost this merciless Chicago-based machine took a long trip from Death/Doom to pure Death Metal and back. 'The Dying Truth' (1992) and 'A Descent Into Hell' (1994) are extreme, ugly, blood-soaked but still doomy albums. Cianide developed further, and the influence of new members led the band to a more extreme part of the scene - but after many years spreading the Gospel of Death they returned to slower realms with 2005 album 'Hell's Rebirth' and their final manifestation, 'Gods Of Death', in 2011. Nothing besides a split with Nekrofilth and live album 'Reggie's Chicago' has appeared since then. So, it's time to recall Cianide's achievements, and to find out if any fresh riffs are on the way, with one of the band's founders Mike Perun (vocals, bass)."

Early 1990s Cianide line-up: Jeff Kabella (Drums), Mike Perun (Bass, Vocals), Scott Carroll (Guitars).

Hello Mike! First of all thanks for your time, and accept my congratulations. It seems that Cianide is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018. What do you feel about such a big date?

30 years? Shit I feel old! Actually, we never thought we'd get as far as we did. Figured maybe a couple of demos and if we were lucky a debut album and we would get on with our lives. Yet here we are. Looking back now I'm kinda amazed at all we've accomplished with this thus far.

Cianide recorded the first demos 'Funeral' and 'Second Life' in 1990 and 1991 respectively: how did you work out your style back then? What guided you besides Celtic Frost in these early years?

We were into all of the usual suspects back then. Hellhammer/Celtic Frost was a big influence and we really wanted to sound like that. Venom as well. Since we were new to our instruments, we found it was much easier to play slower and since we loved Trouble, St. Vitus and Candlemass, why not just doom up the death?

Debut album 'The Dying Truth' sounds like a thoughtful, solid work. Did you already have a certain plan when you entered the studio to record it? Do you remember your first recording session?

It was our first time in a real, official recording studio as our demos were done by ourselves on a Tascam 4 track recorder. We didn't really have a plan per se. Those were pretty much all the songs we had written up until that point. All practiced and ready to go. We were just stoked to be recording an official full length album…

It seems that you paid plenty of attention to the lyrics you wrote for the album. What influenced you as the lyrics' author? How serious were you about it?

I was more into reading horror novels back then as I was fresh out of high school. Stuff like HP Lovecraft, Stephen King. Don't get to read so much anymore. No time. Plenty of bullshit to fuel more lyrics though…

Cianide - 'Funeral' (1992):

The next album, 'A Descent Into Hell', continued the direction of the first, and actually it contains a good portion of doom, and it's balanced. How did you compose this material?

That is our heaviest record. Our writing process is pretty much the same. Scott or myself comes up with a riff or two. We bounce them off each other when we rehearse and try to get some sort of drumbeat down and build the song from there. Lots of drinks and arguing in between until we get the final product. Our big songwriting secret.

Mike, by the way, do you feel Doom is just slow Metal, or is it really about slow Death Metal for you? How did you figure out your formula?

I dunno. As long as it's heavy and kicks my ass I don't really care what it's called.

Cianide's next two albums - 'Death, Doom And Destruction' and 'Divide And Conquer' - were recorded with two guitars. They were performed by you and Jim Bresnahan, who was with the band for five years. The albums are more straightforward and aggressive than their predecessors: what initiated these changes in the sound?

Jim and Andy have a lifetime of jamming together with Contagion/Funereal and a bunch of other bands when they were kids. It was only natural to get Jim on board after Andy joined. We all hung around and drank all the time anyway. We upped our game as a 4 piece. More thrashy traditional Death Metal which is what we always thought we were…

The mid-'90s quartet: Andy Kuizin (Drums), Scott Carroll, Mike Perun, Jim Bresnahan (Guitars).

What kind of bands did you usually play with in this period? Did you feel yourself a part of the Death Metal scene, or was it more about Doom?

The mid-90's were kind of a lull for DM so we didn't really play a lot of shows. Didn't really care to either, still don't…

There was a five year break between 'Divide And Conquer' and 'Hell's Rebirth' - what slowed down the recording of the fifth album?

We had to re-collect ourselves after Jim left so we felt like we had something to prove, if only to ourselves. We methodically wrote those songs to fit like cohesive album. If that makes any sense. It's our most aggressive one for sure and the tunes speak for themselves…

You recorded 'Hell's Rebirth' as a trio, why didn't you return to the twin-guitar formula?

We'll never be a 4 piece again - except with Jim. Can't really work well with an "outsider". I'm sure we could if we wanted to, but at this point why bother? Being a "professional" band is not what we're about. In this totally for ourselves.

Mike, do you feel the modern world as the right place to play as Cianide? Or, rather, do you feel that Cianide is still the right soundtrack for the modern world and society in general?

It's as good a place as any. It's not like we have a choice right? Everything is fucked as it has been and always will be. We'll still be here, doing what we do, until we can't….

Cianide - 'Forsaken Doom' (2011):

Do you still feel excitement playing live gigs with Cianide? Do you feel the same as in the '90s? And – why not – do you feel Cianide is an influential band?

Oh we're not live "pros" by any means so we're always nervous as fuck when we're up there. I suppose that translates well into a more vicious performance? When we're comfortable up there is when it's a job. That will never happen. Influential? That's for others to decide really. Like I said, we do this shit for ourselves. If other people dig it too that is just icing on the taco. All inclusive, everyone is welcome aboard…

Latterday Cianide: Scott Carroll, Mike Perun, Andy Kuizin.

'Gods Of Death' has a few songs which point to the band's Doom roots and overall the songs have a potent, charged sound. So, firstly, how did you reach that sound in the studio?

No real tricks involved. That is how we sound. Throw some mics on it and go! I was involved in every aspect of recording and production so I'm biased. Proud of that one.

…And, secondly – you haven't recorded a full-length since then: is 'Gods Of Death' Cianide's ultimate manifestation? Do you have any plans to return with a new record in the future?

Well we got 5 new songs almost ready to track for a new EP. Wanted to record this year but it's not looking like it. Life keeps getting in the way. Should be out next year. Hopefully….

Mike, how would you sum up the message you spread through Cianide? How do you see its mission?

Just keep on with our DEATH, DOOM AND DESTRUCTION!


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Visit the Cianide bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-09-17 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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