Aleksandar: ¡Hola amigos! My name is Aleksandar, I am one of the founders of Anguish Sublime, a guitar player, songwriter and a producer of Anguish Sublime’s releases. Besides that, I am responsible for all non-music related things, such as band website, online presence, social networks, etc.
Tell me about the band history. When was started and how were the early years like?
Aleksandar: The band was founded in October 1998 by me (Aleksandar Crnobrnja) and Arpad Takacs (responsible for vocals and lyrics) in the small town called Temerin, in the northern region of Serbia.
It took us a long time, 5 whole years, to find the right people to actually form a working band and to start rehearsing. During these 5 years, Arpad and I were active in making songs, so by the time we gathered the full band, we already had a good number of songs to start with.
So in 2003 the first full line-up was assembled and we started practicing. In May 2004 we had a first gig that was also a promotional gig for our demo album titled “Among the Raven Skies”. It took place in an underground club named “NS Riders”, in the city of Novi Sad, in front of approximately 180 people – it was a great experience!
We played on many gigs and festivals during the period from 2004 to 2007. In 2008, several members left, and we tried to regroup, but with not much success. In 2009, Andras Ispan joined the band as a bass guitar player. Till 2011, we struggled to find the remaining members, but with no success, so we decided to go back to the state of the project.
In 2013, the decision was made to push harder and try to at least do some serious studio work, and to try to release the material that was created throughout the years. And so we did and we still do. ;)
About the name. What do you mean with "Anguish Sublime"?
Aleksandar: When the band/project was started, Arpad and I intended for it to be a doom metal project. Most of the tunes and themes, which were created back then, had a sorrowful and sad atmosphere, but it still carried some sublime, exalted feeling – well at least it did to us J - and because of that Arpad proposed the name "Anguish Sublime" – I thought that the name suited well on the music, it sounded a bit uncommon and original to me, so we agreed that “Anguish Sublime” should be the name of our project. Soon after, Arpad created 2 logo versions for the band, and we decided to use the one we do now.
As I became more experienced in guitar playing, I started to introduce faster and more complex elements to the songs I was writing, and it all led us to the musical form Anguish Sublime has today, that is not doom metal, but a mixture of diverse styles. Although the latest EP is more a melodic death metal than anything else, if you take a listen to the demo album, you’ll see that AS music has many slow or more epic-type themes, keyboards and orchestral elements, clean and acoustic parts, with diverse vocals, which all, kind of, kicks us out of melodic death genre. So, when asked what style we play, we like classifying it as atmospheric death metal, or simply – metal.
Your last work was released ten years ago. What happened on that decade? Why ten years of silence?
Aleksandar: As I said in the second answer, we’ve been through many band lineup changes, then there was the period when we tried to play as much as we could, efforts to make the band whole again, etc. These are some of the reasons that slowed down the studio work, but I would say that the biggest one was our personal and professional life. In the country we’re living in, it is very hard to live out of music, especially underground music, like we are playing.
But, as I mentioned, at the certain point we decided to put more work into the Anguish Sublime, and become more active, at least by releasing more often.
The only thing that was not suffering that much from the above mentioned is the creative work. During all these years, we’ve been writing and creating AS music, so today we have more than 40 tunes that wait to be released.
Can we expect more activity after the release of this EP?
Aleksandar: You surely can! We are currently working on our next EP release. It will be a 4 track release, with one song that was composed before Anguish Sublime was actually founded – back in 1997, and another that Arpad and I actually created for a side project we were involved in, but due to the short life of it, we decide to include that song into the AS repertoire.
Our expectations are to finish the work on it in the first half of this year. After that we will be focusing on a full length album, and we hope to get it done by the end of this year, or in the beginning of 2016. So you will be hearing from us much more often than usual! ;)
Who participate on this EP? This is not the same line up that recorded the first demo, is it?
Aleksandar: No it is not, not entirely. For both the demo album and the EP, most of the work was done by me and Arpad. On “Among the Raven Skies” demo album, one guitar solo and part of the drum arrangement were done by members of the first crew, and on the “Unveiling the Origin” EP, besides Arpad and me, Andras was responsible for playing and adapting bass guitar parts.
I can see on the lyrics that every song has a year. I guess that is from when it was created. Why did you choose those five songs?
Aleksandar: Yes, you are right. On both “Among the Raven Skies” and “Unveiling the Origin” we put the date of the song creation, and I think we will continue to do so. This is mostly because our songs were created in the pretty long date range. I mean, we exist for 17 years already, and I mentioned that there’s a song that was even from 1997 that we plan to release soon.
So, our releases are often mixture of new, old and even older material, and it will take some time and several releases to change that, and for us to actually come to the point where all old songs are “out”.
But to be honest, I actually love the fact that we’re able to do that, that we’re mixing old and new material, because, by doing that, we’re trying to actually make a unique feel and atmosphere of the release. It is also allowing us to choose which song will match which album or EP, and that makes it much more interesting and challenging.
Regarding the songs on the EP, the first and the last songs were kind of created around the other 3, and they serve as intro and outro of the release. The remaining 3 songs, as you can see were created back in 1999 and 2004, but what was more important to us is the fact that we played them live, along with demo album songs. Because of that, we decided to make a release that will be based on these three songs, in the attempt to kind of close one chapter of Anguish Sublime’s voyage.
Are there more songs than the five we can hear on the EP?
Aleksandar: Yes, there is the first demo album fully available on many sources – you can find it on our official website (http://www.anguishsublime.com), facebook page, reverbnation, soundcloud, myspace and who knows where else. To ease you the access to some of these pages, just visit the “Links” page on the official site.
Also, there is another single that we self-released in 2014 – “Under the Runes” - it’s a tribute cover song to Quorthon, Bathory. You can find it on youtube and also on our website or facebook, soundcloud, myspace, etc. So far we have released 13 tracks so far, 7 on the demo album, 5 on the EP and that one single.
Aleksandar: Yeah, you’re right – we haven’t signed any contract yet. I think that soon we’ll try to do something about that. The main reason for that is that it’s very hard to reach a large number of people without all of the connections and tools a good publisher has.
Honestly, we didn’t start all of this because of profit, and it remained like that all this time. Our main intention is to bring our music to a large audience. Don’t get me wrong, we would love to be able to make a living out of this, but with the music industry of today, the country we’re living in, and many other factors, I doubt that that’s even possible.
Some may say “you’re not playing live, not promoting your material” – but we were playing, and back then there wasn’t much difference, so I began to think that it might not change things for the better if we do K. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that we will remain to be a studio project and never step on the stage again ;).
How is the Serbian scene like? We barely hear news from that part of the world (musically speaking). It’s awesome hear something from that place!
Aleksandar: There’s a lot going on over here. We have few great festivals, like EXIT Fest – the biggest in Eastern Europe and one of the 10 best major festivals in Europe, then “Gitarijada”– biggest rock (metal, punk, hc, …) competition festival in the Balkans, “Guča“ - biggest trumpet festival in Europe, and many more. It’s a nice place to visit, not expensive, with good food and drinks, and nice people. So don’t hesitate, come visit us! ;) This year EXIT Fest has a killer “Explosive stage” line-up too, you may love it.
Regarding the underground scene - I would love to see it to be more organized and united. There are many good bands, and gigs are becoming more frequent. I really hope that things will change for the better in the years to come, and that we will manage to survive this flood of mainstream crap we’re diving and swimming in. If you like, check out the Serbian Metal portal (http://www.serbian-metal.org/), you can find many news about the region.
How would you invite the people to listen your music?
Aleksandar: Hah! Well, I would say that if you like melodic and atmospheric metal music, with both brutal vocals and clean singing, with diverse tempo, shredding riffs and sublime melodies, and deep lyrics, come, take a listen! You won’t regret it! \m/
Is there anything you'd like to add to all the readers?
Aleksandar: I would like to send a big CHEERS to all of you on the other side of the world! Stay true, stay metal! Greetings from Anguish Sublime! \m/
And also would like to thank you, the “Heavy Riff” crew for supporting us, and for supporting the underground! We raise our glasses in your honor! Cheers!