Issue #6



In this issue:

• Interview with Janne Wirman of Children of Bodom

• Interview with Robin and Andrew Mandell of Ballydowse

• Interview with Nathan, Boy Sets Fire vocalist

• The Conquering

• "5 Minutes Before"

• Interview with Victoria S. of Damad

• Interview with SCSI

• Interview with Mike Hruboucak of Devine Rapture

• Interview with Peter and Michael of Opeth

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Interview with Mike Hruboucak of Devine Rapture
Divine RaptureDevine Rapture are a band that deserves more recognition than what they get, or have, for that matter. The new release is something all must get a hold of if one is into extreme death metal with diversity and a breath of fresh air (written in 2000; the below was written in 2006). Interview and photographs by Mike Coles and conducted with Mike Hruboucak sometime in 2000/2001.

Although I just recently bought "The Burning Passion" at this year's Central Illinois Metal Festival, this was released on Listenable Records in 2003. Having said that, if this release is 3 years old and they are yet working on their follow up as I am writing this, I really believe this next release is going to be a release that everyone should get at all costs. If I've said it once, I've said it a 1000 times, Trey/Morbid Angel and crew would be proud!! Why? The guitar work (mainly in the solo department) is definitely Trey influenced, and any listener into Morbid Angel would definitely be able to hear the influence for themselves. If you are looking for some excellent brutal music, with some original and great musicianship, get this disc ASAP!!!

The Outcast: Please give a history lesson for the kids!

Divine RaptureMike: Divine Rapture was formed like 2 or 3 years ago by me and my brother ( J.J., the guitarist/brainchild). It has been mainly a project between him and I due to the fact that it's so damn hard to find people who can play this kind of insane fury and who click. But we made it, and didn't let that stop us. We are both convicted and dedicated to making Divine Rapture the best we can while purging our pain. So we put out a demo CD - 12 songs with music and a video. I personally think it's a great first effort, and people have been responding great to it.

The Outcast: I understand D.R. is currently looking for other members? What musicians' do you need and have you had any luck finding them?

Mike: We basically need people who are totally dedicated and not just in it for a free ride and who are technically able. People who burn with the same conviction for pushing this thing to it's limit's. Which means the band is more important than partying and such. Our main problem is the search for a drummer and bass player. We are currently joined with the help of the local Polterchrist dudes, which is working out great. I'm not sure how permanent that is yet, so we're still welcoming any and all inquiries about a permanent drummer and a bass player, and/or guitarist from the east coast.

The Outcast: I've read in reviews of your CD that your sound can be compared to Morbid Angel. I can agree with this statement as well in certain aspects. Do you agree with these comparisons? Are they an influence?

Mike: Yes, there is a Morbid Angel influence here, but that's mainly because of the rhythmic hummable riffs. More of a "Covenant" age influence, but tons of bands have that influence. We have an original sound, different conviction, and we bring a breath of fresh air to the underground with the recent wave of power-chord grind and we're only getting better, heavier, and angrier!

Divine RaptureThe Outcast: What are some of the influences for both of you?

Mike: Every body's influences are different. My brother who writes most of the stuff listens to classical, jazz, polka and crap, but then belts out brutality like this! He's a freak. I'm totally underground! Extreme black/death/doom. As long as it churns out pain from the heart, I love it!

The Outcast: Tell me about the video that comes on the CD.

Mike: Dude, the video kicks total ass! Have you seen it yet? (Nope, my computer won't play it for some reason-Mike) Everyone is always like; "How the hell did you do that?!" I did most of the filming and my brother is a computer wiz, so I can't really explain that part, but there's some cool stuff in there! Flipping out in the cemetery and stuff! It was fun!

The Outcast: Tell me about the lyrical concepts for D.R. Who writes the lyrics? What are your topics and why did you choose to write about these topics?

Divine RaptureMike: I handle all the lyrics and the basic imagery for the band. The lyrics are all very obscure and personal to me. It represents me personally, not the rest of the band members. They tend to deal with spiritual matters and struggles, which most people don't understand at first, so they get confused and label us as a Christian band, which we are not. My lyrics deal with internal pain, restlessness, hatred for existence and an overall emptying of oneself. Reaching out for a personal deity to reveal all and end all. My new lyrics are a lot more straight forward and should be more understandable for the public, and not to mention, the new songs are gonna crush!!!!!!

The Outcast: What exactly does the band name represent?

Mike: The band name was invented by my self. With this definition in mind: Divine Rapture - "The contemptuous pain driven quest for complete truth and the answer to the eternal question of why?!" Through death, only shall unfold this RAPTURE we seek and the answers we hold DIVINE.

The Outcast: What do you think would be the worst way to die and why? Best?

Mike: The worst way? That's a hard one. How bout having a huge smelly fat man shit in your mouth till you puke and suffocate while stabbing you from the ribs down to your pelvic bone. That would be pretty bad. Best? Die in my sleep of carbon monoxide poisoning - painless, eternal sleep. Ahhhhhhh

The Outcast: What do you want written on your epitaph?

Mike: "Lived the burning quest for truth and embraced death with open arms"

Divine RaptureThe Outcast: What is your opinion on religion?

Mike: Well, religion is a very different thing for different people. I personally feel that organized religion is a very harmful and dangerous thing, filled with empty thoughts, blind following, and superficial rituals. Yet true religion can change your life. Either by making you extremely happy or bring you more suffering than you'd have without it. But it is real and it can have positive results.

The Outcast: If you could change only one part in history, either in your life, someone else's, or an event, what would you change?

Mike: The creation of existence, I would un-create.

The Outcast: What are your beliefs on Satan and God? Do you think they are actual beings? Why or why not?

Mike: I believe in God and such, but more as entities, or forces, not as actual beings. I don't think there would be anything physical about the afterlife, in hell or heaven. Because they are a spiritual matter, which is of the soul, which is not a being, it is an embodiment of consciousness and truth.

The Outcast: What is evil to you?

Divine RaptureMike: Evil to me is total rebellion. Why? Because of the pain one feels, they turn that pain into a pleasure to console their hearts in a way so that giving pain, destruction, malice, and such, gives them the quested "peace" that they can't find elsewhere. It's the totally lashing out at the absence of truth. It's a trap that's very hard to avoid.

The Outcast: What is your number one philosophy in life?

Mike: "Detest the world, Embrace the spirit", which is to detest the mindless majority of non-thinkers. Just accepting what is given (ignorance is bliss) and all the evil ways and chaos that comes with it. And to embrace the spiritual quest for the force of truth that is the only thing that might free your mind and soul. Because the answers are definitely not gonna be found here. So yeah, "Detest the world, Embrace the spirit." Either that or "lieben heisst lieben." Which is; "life is life", which is what I say when something bad happens. Whatever, who cares, life sucks! Life is life.

The Outcast: What are your opinions on morals?

Mike: Morals are very important. If no one had morals, everybody would be hurting other people and pissing them off. In turn, then more people would do it back in return and there would be chaos and even more hatred in the world. But morals should come naturally. It's like the do unto others as you would like done unto you type thing. Which I believe in.

The Outcast: You're walking down the street and a Christian walks up to you and hands you a flyer that reads; "Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life?" and begins talking to you about his beliefs. Do you; A) Calmly tell him sorry but you have different beliefs and begin to talk about each others beliefs? B) Walk away and say nothing. C) Tell him to Fuck off and die!

Mike: This happens all the time, and usually I just walk right by. Sometimes I might grab it and read it cause it's funny, or to reinstate my own convictions. But that's because I have a life and don't have time to stand there and challenge their beliefs. Although if I had time, I might do it, but most of those people are usually crazy's who can't hold a normal conversation anyway. But if they sound intelligent, I might chat with em, but I haven't came across one like that yet.

The Outcast: What do you hope to find after death?

Mike: Either complete nothingness, or a merciful, loving deity who will expose all truth and knowledge of everything in utter rapture. But I think I'd rather favor nothingness, which would also be rapture. Truth is the main thing, whatever that may be. Even if it turns out that God's an angry vengeful asshole who sends me to hell for questioning his plan and hating his creation of life as we know it. Even though my soul longs for true love, integrity, and the overall spirit of "peace," rapture, and goodness, well then, so be it! Worship a God like that? Never!

Divine RaptureThe Outcast: Were you ever "forced" to attend church growing up?

Mike: Yeah, of course. My parents are Catholics, or so they say. I didn't really have that big of a problem with it though, cause I liked to listen to the sermon and challenge my thoughts.

The Outcast: What have your experiences been like with Christianity, if any?

Mike: I could go on forever with this question, but I'll keep it short and simple. My teen years where spent in turmoil, self mutilation, practicing ignorant spells and stuff like that. I hated life (I still do). Then one night, I was writhing on my floor in suicidal pain with a razor to my wrists, and in my last outreach I turned toward the God which I had blasphemed. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a heart warming peace that dried up my tears instantly and reinstated a sense of hope. Ever since then I've been searching beyond for answers to all my pain. There was a period shortly after that experience where yes, I considered myself a "Christian", but with more evaluation and probing later on found this to be untrue. Although a lot of my beliefs and convictions are still the same, I'm constantly balancing the scales on whether I'm for God or against him. It's a thin line between love and hate. But the main thing is that I still yearn, quest, desire, and scream for answers from a higher beyond, and that's the important thing; I care.

The Outcast: Do you think that by listening to lyrics about death, destruction, gore, Satan, etc... can influence someone's state of mind? Maybe even making their lives - moods, or state of mind a bit negative because they are exposed to it everyday?

Mike: I guess it could, but those feelings have to be there in the first place. It freaking pisses me off so bad when people are like; "That music's gonna mess your head up!" I'm like; "Dude, people make music, music doesn't make people!" It's because we feel this pain and relate that with the love for music so much. This type of music is for the freaks who know how things really are, and when we vent our feelings in the form of music, it's just an outlet that makes us feel better. If you ignore the negative and just feed yourself with the positive, your lying to yourself, cause the majority of positive thought is created to try to make you feel better and forget the truth in the negative. You can tell through this interview already that I'm all about truth.

(The questions below were asked months later from the previous - Mike - 2006)

The Outcast: How was the turnout and the experience playing the Jersey Fest? I have heard a lot more negative experiences about that place than Milwaukee. Is it or was it that bad?

Divine RaptureMike: The turnout was phenomenal. It was probably our biggest crowd, even better than last years. The place was packed even with the shitty time slot we played. That was a really good show, and yeah, everybody always complains about these fests. I mean, yeah, this years wasn't as good as the first year, but it's not that bad, it's two days of metal, damn it! It's cool. Yeah, it sucks when a band is canceled at the last minute, but whatever.

The Outcast: Did D.R. play the Massachusetts Metal Festival as well? How was that experience and turnout?

Mike: Nah, we didn't sign up in time, but I'm definitely gonna do it for next year cause that place is a "real" fest! I went up there and was shocked man. Never seen so many people packed in one room and so energetic for two days straight. Even early in the morning it was packed for the starting bands. Yeah, if you've been to Milwaukee and stuff, I definitely recommend going up, full time pits and all!

The Outcast: Tell me about the new release. Is it available to the public? How many songs are on it, the title, and are the lyrics fitting the same theme as on the previous. After listening to the promo you sent me, I personally think that the songs are catchier and the vocal approach is highly impressive with the mixing of styles.

Mike: We recorded three of our new songs with Erik Rutan at his studio down in Tampa. We're basically just burning them as promo's our selves and sending them out to labels and stuff. They are on sale to the public for only $3.00. The song titles are; "Affliction", "Funeral Mist", and "My Demon, Your Dove." (All of these songs are on the Burning Passion release. - Mike - 2006) The music is much, much different, way more brutal. The lyrics have changed somewhat from the previous. The new ones are more up front and in your face and a little angrier I think. They just reflect what I was like at the time I wrote them, as do the previous ones. Our sound has made a big change from our first CD mainly because it was just me and my brother, but now we basically have a full lineup with more input and spontaneous song writing. My vocals have gotten deeper and more brutal just from growling all these years I guess. I was going for the same in the past as well, but with actual good production this time. It finally came out the way I wanted it to sound. There was no real deciding factors for our change, it just progressed and happened naturally. With everybody's different inputs to songs, more breakdowns, faster blast beats, the works!

The Outcast: I asked you a question regarding changing something in history and you stated you would un-create existence. Why is that? Do you feel that life is a joke? Are you just that miserable in your life? Would you rather not exist and do nothing? Do you not enjoy your life and the things that you do?

Mike: Um, first off, for those reading, the first half of this interview was done a while back. Almost two years (It hasn't been that long, has it? - Mike) ago back when we released our first CD, so I'm sure I said a lot of dumb things (Not dumb at all!! - Mike) and that period of my life was very fucked up and you caught me at my angriest time and stuff. Well, things change, but I guess my answer to that question is still the same. I mean there are plenty of beautiful things about life, tons of things that I enjoy, but then at the same time the opposite. I'm a total Libra. I'm always balancing the scales and to me the most peaceful thing would be nothingness. If you think about it, anyone who's ever meditated or anything can feel that. Even these Buddhist people (or whoever) who base their religion on meditating their way to heaven, which is total nothingness. Like eternal sleep without dreams. Sleep rules! But then again, another alternative answer to the question; 'What would I change about history?" Nothing, whatever it is that made me to this point of who I am and my surroundings is good. Yeah, really bad things happened all threw out history, but if they didn't happen, we wouldn't have the appreciation of things that they allowed our minds to ponder on, just like I can apply that to my personal life. I've always been sincere and good hearted in my struggles, so I regret nothing and would change nothing, cause it made me stronger, wiser, and more independent.

Divine RaptureThe Outcast: I asked you a question about your experiences with Christianity and you mention in the response that at one point in time you were on the floor writhing in suicidal pain with a razor to your wrists and that in your last outreach you turned towards God and that suddenly your heart was overwhelmed with peace and that your tears dried up. A few sentences down you stated you didn't know whether or not you were against Him, or for Him. If He did these things for you, do you still question His existence, or what exactly is your "beef?" I still have my problems or whatever about certain things in life and still have my problems with the "Why this, why that," sort of thing, but the peace He has given me inside is one that I cannot deny. I've found that the questions that just will never be answered on this earth are not worth worrying over any more, you know? I have accepted that no matter what this earth unleashes (war, hunger, death, etc.), I know that there are reasons behind them and that in the end, God is just.

Mike: I do not deny the experiences that I have had in my life, and whether it was all in my head or an act of God, who knows? Same thing with all the astral projection crap I practiced back in the day, but I do give it validation on adding to mold me to who I am today. I mean yes, it was an experience that gave me peace, but at the same time I've been given or had experiences that gave me hell, and of course yes, I still question everything cause we'd be stupid not to. It's funny that you bring up these questions to me, which is cool, cause to tell you the truth, I haven't really pondered about this stuff for quite some time; it's refreshing. I had a falling down which totally messed me up a little time back, between the first interview and this half, and I've changed a lot. It's weird how bad things turned good and what you think is best for you really isn't until you realize what is. I found that when I was most fucked up, I was looking upward toward something that I couldn't fully understand and I writhe in frustration and pondering. I'd lock myself in my room for days and just reflect on all the stuff about God and all, and it was really taking a toll on me. You say; "I found that the questions that will never be answered on this earth are not worth worrying over anymore, you know?" And that is very true. Now with all the shit that has happened to me, I've kind of been put off by all that shit that fucked me up so much, and I'm more content because I know that I'm good hearted, sincere, and caring, and that is all the "divine intervention" I need. I believe in an essence of God, so to say, but I am not a Christian, nor am I religious. To me God is in the self, in the heart; love. I still have that rooted frustration and anger towards "existence" and the force behind it, and that comes out in my lyrics and with my band. It's not really a "beef" with any God; it's a "beef" with all the hell I've been through and all the hell that lingers underneath your everyday life that will NEVER go away until we die into nothingness. All the lyrics were written at times when I would flip out and get pissed off and when my soul pines and churns. I have to express that into my music, which is a death metal band, an outlet for releasing your pain, anger, and despair. Revel in the darkness that makes you feel more in tune with truth, but I'm not like that all the time. Expressing my happier self is done through jumping around with friends, being goofy and dumb, and enjoying the good things. Everything has an offset on the scale, everything is ever changing and nothing is a constant.

The Outcast: Thank you very much for the time and talks we've had. I wish you the best in life and all the best of luck with the band. Any closing words?

Mike: You rule for asking these probing questions. No other magazine I know does that and it's good making people think. If people are put off by the whole God discussion stuff, then they are just as close minded and ignorant as the religious hypocrites they despise. Everybody goes through different phases in life and such topics are validated sincere through another human's life, which may be different that yours, but just as real, I assure. If it's cool with you Mike, I'd like to close with this paragraph from the forums page on our website that I wrote. If you would like to hear other different angled interpretations of the meaning to "Divine Rapture" from the other band members, visit the site www.divinerapture.net. There is nothing that is new in the thoughts and philosophies of man. Everything has been explored and been investigated. The only common link between us all, is our passion and desire for meaning, wisdom, and our personal consolation/recognition of our struggles. All I can say is to be open. The truth as you see it now may be a piece of who you really are, not the whole. Be careful for you may close mindedly confine your growth and life experiences by rooting yourself too deeply in a tunnel vision detail of a belief that when seen with "the whole" is meaningless. In our personal quest for truth we all go through different learning phases. Every experience that affects makes you stronger in who you are or what you strive to uphold in yourself. Pain is my common link. Of all the things that come and go in your life or may change, like love, innocence, faith, beliefs, environments, pain is one of the only constants; that, and the aura of self,…..convictions…and pride. No matter what you do in life, do so with no regrets, but only if one lives justly and for positive hopes or dreams whether they exist or not, once you regret something, that's a sin against yourself. Independence is the root of life. Uphold it. With all the hell we may be put through, pride and confidence remains and reveals itself through any passion of goodness you may uphold. No Matter what you strive to be, your true inner-spirit will reveal itself and become manifest. That's the natural progression of "finding yourself." For me anyway, this pathetic world churns out nothing but untruth, selfishness, animalistic ways, and pain, a force of which I despise. What I am is a creature of restlessness. Devine Rapture is an outlet for myself to express my true desires, and my tool to vent my complete convictions against the world and its emptiness. Through suicidal despair, yearning, delving into all areas, and opening up my heart completely. I have found my root…..myself……., my personal divine rapture, which is the strength of my rebellion against the nature of my apathy, and the mindless "go with the flow" uncaring of the masses. The fact that I care, that's my nature; my convictions burn with the flame of purity and the rapture of knowing this is what gives my strength its fire. I live everyday as a martyr, willing to suffer and die for my dream, my convictions. To this animalistic world I shall never conform. Purity, integrity, and love shall be my root. REBELLION TO THE FUCKING END!!!!!!!!!!!! Raise high the horns of rebellion! Your passion is the truth. Let nothing stand in the way of your passion. No deity, no society, no close mindedness, no friends, no lovers, or maybe even yourself. Challenge everything. As long as you have heart, your dream, your passion, a feeling of self achievement and a cause to live and fight for, then nothing else matters. Let all of us join together with all our different passions, (and many they may be), in the greatest outlet of expressing who we are and what the hell we stand for, Metal!!!!! Metal Mike