Logo Gods Of Emptiness

Against superficiality and scalded brains

Honestly, who would've thought it possible that the Death Grinders GODS OF EMPTINESS from Passau, Germany would reemerge ten years after their debut album "Disobedience"? But the two founding members Heimo (vocals) and Mike (guitars) gather a new line-up around them and give it another try with "Consumption Is Freedom?" .

Everything looks more than promising upon the release of "Disobedience". The CD sells surprisingly well and GODS OF EMPTINESS are on the verge of an international breakthrough when their disbanding hit the news. The following long period of ten years leads to the assumption that their career ends rather unfriendly and results in the necessity of a slowly progressing new approach but Heimo wards this off. "There were no negative feelings accompanying the disbanding. Our drummer felt like he needed a change which affected his commitment. We continued with another drummer for a few months but somehow the fizz has gone. Furthermore we had some problems with the accountings of the CD. We were quite exhausted and cut it out. It simply happened, right before things started to really get going for us." Still Heimo and Mike stay in touch and finally, at the end of 2007, they make the decision to work together again. "We still had a lot of material and decided to record it professionally at the Hellion Studios. The result was so convincing that we spontaneously agreed on a reunion of the GODS OF EMPTINESS. Thanks to a friend of ours we got to know our drummer Lukas who turned out to be a stroke of luck regarding his ambitious and professional working methods. Our second guitarist Hanson and bass player David were found in similar ways. Musically and from the commitment I would say that this is THE line-up although this sounds like a stereotype. We will be playing our first gigs soon and also book some studio time in the near future." GODS OF EMPTINESS aren't merely back. With "Consumption Is Freedom!" they add a blasting exclamation mark to this fact which is remarkably diversified for the Grind genre. Following the motto 'anything goes' you will also find Rock and Punk influences as well as the application of Death with a leaden groove. "Especially our guitarist also likes a lot of Rock releases, and we rather fancy an old Black Sabbath album than listening to modern satanic or gore stuff. And this can be heard in our songs. They are very live orientated to fight monotony and ensure a healthy mosh pit - for two minutes of high speed blasting are not a guarantor for brutality. It can be just as brutal to act slowlier and the groove which has always been one of our trademarks is very important on stage. We see to it during the songwriting process that we don't get too complex. Certainly our guitarists would be able to go from endless fiddling to 300 riffs but I am sure other bands will do this better and more convincing. We want to reach as much as possible with little means, and we want people to understand our music as a valve and aggression set to tunes. There is enough time to take a breather, though, and rock influences will also be found in our music in the future. It may just get still a bit more brutal. When you insert the CD it should be clear this is GODS OF EMPTINESS who can't be categorized or directly compared to another band." And this they achieve more than ever before. Compared to the debut album "Disobedience" their second longplayer comes with an impressive sound and audible musical improvement. It could be that this compulsary break of ten years serves them regarding their creativity, or do they think they could've released "Consumption Is Freedom?" also in 1998? "Disobedience" wasn't necessarily our debut as we had released a mini CD two years earlier. But it was sold out pretty fast as it was limited to 500 copies. No, I don't see this aspect in the break we faced. We never limited ourselves and always did what we wanted. Already on "Disobedience" you could find little gimmicks as we did with track 8 on "Consumption Is Freedom?" again. We have ever been aware of it that our music addresses only a small crowd so we can simply do what we want. Naturally we all started with Metal but well, now the average age is 32. Still respectively more than ever I am listening to Grind and Hardcore as these genres are timeless and not connected to any dogmata like long hair or glossed guitars. It doesn't matter whether I wear a Woody Woodpecker shirt or one with a skull on it. There are so many outstanding Grind bands nowadays, and I hardly listen to Death Metal anymore. We have always been fans, too, so the development came as natural. "Disobedience" was another time, with bands like Agathocles what also affected us, of course. With "Consumption Is Freedom?" we had much better equipment, and we didn't have a drummer any longer who tended towards Black Metal. We were free to do what we wanted, all sinkers were gone."

Gods Of Emptiness Band
Picture provided by Heimo Lenzbauer

Still, GODS OF EMPTINESS are not able to cast off their forefinger mindset, and with less complex songs their messages can be transported in a better way. A lot of rage accumulates over the intervening years so "Consumption Is Freedom?" draws the listener's attention to topics such as religion, governmental manipulation, common superficiality as well as nowadays lack of perspectives. And they let you know of what they clearly disapprove. The album title as well as the cover artwork speak for themselves if you are a part of today's consumer society. It seems to be a widely spread phenomenon that people cherish the illusion that a form of freedom can be bought by consumption, often leading to hopeless indebtedness. "I think that our governments aim for exactly that. If you take a look at the youth of today you will see that they partly don't have any perspectives, hardly any or no friends at all. They indulge in electronic illusions and forgot what strong company, friendship or real experiences mean or how to solve problems. It's more important to achieve level 15 in game XY than to read a book or think about which party to elect. Face it, people are thoughtless, almost every German citizen has a payback card but they are unaware of being monitored with it. The same goes for most phone booths close to public buildings. We do have American circumstances and no one answers back. We wanted to set an example, to make people think and walk around with open eyes. Not only in their own little worlds but beyond. Otherwise I predict the future to be very dark. For instance, it's a big issue for me that shareholders, the industry and the marionettes we call politicians mess around with us, and we will not stop to touch on that sore point. Besides the lyrics we have also tried to convey this in our artwork so that even some people who do not listen to this kind of music may get interested to have a closer look. People are getting more and more superficial and think about a leasing contract for a car or the next vacation on Mallorca before asking themselves where they are in life and where they would like to go. I say that we have to go against this!" People often hunt for consumption and get blind for essential things gone wrong or shut out uncomfortable truths. "Yes, as I've said before, I'm absolutely sure about this. Ask a 20 year old about his favorate author, he won't have one. As for a favorate band, the answer will be silence. Instead they go for any retort products, 'Princess for a day'-workshops on TV et cetera. It has been proven that more than three hours TV per week stultify, to put it in a bad way. Be honest, which young girl is still able to cook, who does still know which political party to elect? Superficiality wherever you look, maybe not that distinctive in our scene, but wherever young people gather, they don't have a message anymore. If this is the generation which will have to support us one day, then something really has to happen. But I do believe that our government aims for exactly that. People buy things they can't afford, people complain but their cars get bigger than ever before. Everything can be paid by installments now, be it the yearly vacation or the playstation for 300 EUR. You can lease literally everything in 38 installments, and the state, the banks and the insurance systems drive us deeper and deeper into the financial quandary. So people can choose between a higher credit line or social decline. And the divide gets bigger all the time as there are people who earn 1000 EUR and rather buy a Dolce & Gabbana shirt for 200 EUR than getting something decent to eat. I think people should be shaken out of their apathy, and we would like to do this with our cover artwork. Maybe there are some 17 year old kids who say, oh, I might be one of them. Maybe we can have an influence on some people." The track 'Fuck Your -Isms' seems to be a clear statement against fanatism of any kind. "Yes, absolutely. When we started the band back in 1994/95 we were still somewhat rooted in the Punk scene and more left orientated. At the moment I have to say that I don't give a damn about right, left, religious fanatism, whatever. This song is to be seen as an exclamation mark against any kind of extremism as we have zero tolerance. Before people start setting their own houses in order or feeling joy for other people, they really shouldn't join any of these groups only to get the feeling of being a bit more worthy, because they have a craving for recognition originating in the idea that they don't bring out something on their own. Of course, the groupings in question prosper on this. However, I can say that left-wing groupings make me as sick as religious fanatics although I am sure that religious fanatics cause much more harm, also in our country, even though hidden."

Talking about the craving for recognition makes you immediately think about the track 'Music For The Masses' which is a backlash against casting shows. Also it is musically tearing down all boundaries you might expect from a Death Grind band (well, we already know they don't give a damn about boundaries, don't we?). Revealing too much would spoil the fun so let's just say it has something of a marriage of seriousness and fun... "Exactly, we wanted to aerate the whole thing a bit. The lyrics to 'Music Of The Masses' were written by me, and we had the desire to point out how much we hate it. Imagine you're watching TV with your wife or your partner and all you can choose is a plastic surgery show or this casting shit. It's unbelievable that the brains of the people are already so scalded that they're actually watching this and even buy the CDs. This is something that really pisses me off, ask any youngster about favorate bands and the answer will be US5 or whatever their names are. Musically 'Music For The Masses' was meant to be different in order to aerate things. Some people say it's a bit too much of a techno track but we wanted to avoid monotony and to be driven in one direction only. We are definitely not one of those bands posing with long, combed hair and dark sun glasses but go on stage, play and that's it. No attitudes here as this is bothering us in our scene and there are more than enough narrow-minded people on the way..." Yet another musical facet becomes obvious in 'Fashionstyle Bastard' with its undeniable Punk'n'Roll influences. Certainly a slightly commercial track it once again stresses that GODS OF EMPTINESS know how to present an album rich in variety. "'Fashionstyle Bastard' is the most commercial song on "Consumption Is Freedom?", indeed, but not too commercial. As I've said before we don't want to be restricted musically. Personally, when I listen to a good Grind album which is fast from the first second until the end I will feel annoyed after the third song. I will think it's well done but... So I won't be able to give it five spins because it will bore me. It's important for us to dissociate ourselves from that. We do like these Punk Rock bonds and these can also be expected from us in the future as well as completely different things for we never want to be compared to another band. If someone is bothered by that (which I don't think) he will be grateful for it while listening to our music the fifth time because it's different. The lyrics to 'Fashionstyle Bastard' deal with a certain person who disappointed me personally. So it's a very personal text." Despite his pronounced dislike for television Heimo does watch old 70s series occasionally and dedicates 'Columbo Is God' to Lieutenant Columbo and 'Tribute To Mundl' to Austrian working class hero Edmund Sackbauer. "We are not really fans of Columbo but it's one of the good old 70s series, reminding me to the good old times when Sunday evenings were connected with this cranky detective. It doesn't really matter whether it's Columbo or The Munsters. You know you don't have to take it serious, there's no need to copy anything. And these series are good old trash tv, they still hold this charme while new glossy crime series turn pale. The ultra angry Death Metal freak may hit his head with a hammer but who cares, it was meant to be like that, we wanted a bit of fun as a part of it." And where ist the link between a band like GODS OF EMPTINESS and the Austrian actor and working class hero Mundl? "He is definitely a hero of the 70s, and me being Austrian myself... I think you can compare this to the Heinz Becker family but it's even a bit more trashy, utterly working class while anything else is sort of ironed smoothly. For us it's a big thing, and each year at Christmas and New Year's Eve there a special series. All I can say is, watch it and you'll love Edmund Sackbauer. It's taken from real life, with a lot of cursing, and even after 30 years it has lost nothing of its brilliance. Everybody knows him, every 10 to 70 year old. Mundl isn't shy of opening up his mouth and to avouch his values, and this is mirroring our society, what's happening to each and every one of us."

After covering some of the topics on "Consumption Is Freedom?" it's time to take a quick look at the future and what we can expect from GODS OF EMPTINESS. Heimo confirms that there will be gigs every now and then but a tour turns out to be a bit problematic."We are all working so it's difficult to reconcile this. Then there is the financial side. We are under discussion with some booking agencies but unfortunately - as Napalm Death set it to music - 'If you want to play, you must pay'. Regrettably, also in the metal scene the businessman is more and more present. For instance, as a small band you can play with known bands and participate in big tours if you sell a hundred tickets for 50 EUR each or if you know the right people. Therefore we rather look for many and carefully chosen single gigs now. It's a bit difficult to start again now that Nu Metal or Metalcore are a big thing. On the other hand we never considered ourselves to be a local band, and even though GODS OF EMPTINESS didn't exist for ten years the "Disobedience" album is still sold. Look for us on ebay and you'll always find a "Disobedience" CD which is sold as new. I don't know how this works as everything had been accounted a long time ago. Our releases are still sold, dealt and reviewed in Russian forums and everywhere. If we get a good offer for a tour, and we already have some propositions, we'll have to see how it'll work out with five working people. One thing's for sure, if the offer is good and fits in our scheduling, we will take hold of it."

For further information check out the GODS OF EMPTINESS website or their myspace page.

Interview done by Endrew. March 2008.

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