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Bliss of Flesh aren´t one of the best known French bands but “Empyrean”, their 3rd and latest album, which will be released on the 7th of July via Listenable Records, will definitely put them on the spotlight. Necurat e Sikkardinal had a conversation with Metal Imperium.

M.I. - The band first got formed in 1999 under the name Labdacides but in 2000 you changed it to Bliss of Flesh. What caused this change?  

Sikkardinal -  The name Labdacides was a mythological reference to the human curse, but we soon realized this name was lame and we were not there to make allusions to Ancient Greece nor to be intellectual wankers. Bliss Of Flesh sounds to us like a suitable name for our beliefs. This oxymoron emphasizes the paradox between our spiritual needs and our attachment to the Flesh, and it suits our motto perfectly.

M.I. - 10 years after you formed the band you released the 1st full-length “Emaciated Deity”. Why this long wait?

Sikkardinal - Before “Emaciated Deity”, we released a demo, a pro-tape and three Ep’s. We had to pay our tribute to the underground. Besides, we wanted to take our time for the album because we thought a full length was something we had to deserve, and these ten years were necessary for us to be worth it. I know this point of view can appear obsolote nowadays when everybody want to move ahead quickly, but that’s it.

M.I. - 4 years later, in 2013, you released the 2nd album “Beati Pauperes Spiritu” and 4 years later again, in 2017, you’re releasing “Empyrean”.  Is this a pattern for future releases? Every 4 years?

Necurat - It seems that it is the time we need to create an interesting new material from our point of view. On the one hand, we try to play a lot, to make our work live on stage, and on the other hand we are really demanding with ourselves, that’s why 4 years seems to be our magic number. I know it can appear a bit slow, particularly nowadays when everything needs to be fast. You know, we all have a full time job to make a living, we don’t need to play or to create  shit to earn money. We do what we do only because we have something to say and because we’re proud of our work. That is also the reason why we never obey anyone... even if it can be a problem for others.

M.I. - Your 1st album was released by Twilight Vertrieb, the 2nd one by Non Serviam Records and this one will be released by Listenable Records. Why the constant change of labels?

Necurat - Because each day, we become bigger, like a tumor and we are free to go where we want to. We need to have a good feeling with the people we work with, and that’s not always easy to deal with us because we are fucking stubborn. Like I explained before, Twilight Vertrieb closed. Then Ricardo and Non serviam Records was the best choice for us at this time for promoting Beati Pauperes Spiritu, what he did very well and we are grateful for that. For “Empyrean”, we chose Listenable, a bigger structure, because we think this album deserves a better exposition. As we told you, time is made to progress, we go forward, even if we don’t forget where we come from.

M.I. - Your 3 albums are inspired by Dante’s trilogy “Divine Comedy”. Why this author and work in particular?

Sikkardinal - Dante’s Divine Comedy is particularly interesting to underline the path made by thoughts to accomplish yourself, and that fits our motto. We think you have to face the worst contained in yourself to become who you really are, and this quest of Truth through human paradoxes is perfectly underlined in this work.

M.I. - “Empyrean” concludes this trilogy and what does it deal with?

Sikkardinal - It deals with the Revelation and the final choice you have to make between embracing your darkness and renouncing to the Divine, or surrounding to the Light to reach peace. This choice is yours, but as far as we are concerned, our last track is called Renunciation, and not Acceptation.

M.I. - Are you a fan of literature? Who’s your favourite author/book?

Sikkardinal - Yes I am, and that’s a good thing because it’s my job. But I apologize, I always refuse to quote an author as my favourite. First of all because we are not here to pretend being more intellectual than we are, and next because choosing an author is always linked to your state of mind. The most important thing is just to try and become less of an asshole than what you were the day before.

M.I. - Do you think you’ll base Bliss of Flesh’s future releases in literary works?

Sikkardinal - There will certainly always be a link with literature or with Art in general, but we more often create with our Hatred and feelings than with our Reason.

M.I. - Considering that the album was based on Dante’s work, who transformed the text into songs? 

Necurat - I transformed a text into lyrics because it’s impossible for me to sing lyrics written by other people than me. That was an intensive and a introspective work, because I wanted  to create a personal universe inspired by Dante’s work with shades and linked to our own inspirations. I think it’s done.

M.I. - Who did the cover for “Empyrean”? Why are there so many angels in it and what seems to be a fallen angel with “broken” wings? What’s the meaning behind all this?

Sikkardinal - Thank you for this question because most of the time, the artist who works with us stays away from the spotlight. All the artwork was made by Balázs Jacsó, an incredible Hungarian artist. This oil on canvas depicts a rotten angel at the moment of the Renunciation. In the Divine Comedy, Dante has to deny his humanity to access the Empyrean and reach the Light of God. On our cover, we wanted to symbolize the renouncement to the Divine in a vision of Paradise.

M.I. - All the tracks are quite heavy but for a moment there I thought “Renunciation” would be the exception because the first 2 minutes and 53 seconds or so were quite calm but then intensity punches in... how complicated is it creating catching tunes?

Sikkardinal - It’s a question of inspiration, of feelings I guess. Most of the time, as I told you, we don’t create with our Reason, just with our Hatred. About Renunciation, we had the feeling that the 2 minutes 53 were necessary to put the auditor in the best mood to appreciate the whole track. By the way, all the album has been seen as one piece.

M.I. - Which one of you writes the riffs and all that? Do the band members have musical training or are you self-taught?

Necurat - All riffs are written by Sikkardinal and Pandemic. After that Fleshstigma composes all drums riffs. We are all self-taught, but we have been playing for a very long time. And as I told you, we think time is the best thing to learn. 

M.I. - I believe  “Humiliation suffering climax” is your motto cause I’ve seen quite a few times while doing research for this interview... why? What does it mean?

Sikkardinal - You’re right. For us, these three words describes the steps leading to the Light, like the three Divine Comedy’s volumes. First of all, you face your weakness, then you have to accept it and finaly you embrace and transcend it.

M.I. - What’s the best thing about being a musician? And the worst?

Necurat - I think the best thing when you are musicians is playing live and touring experience. Going on stage to preach this gangrene is just the best thing for me!
And the worst would be to understand all you have to go through to make your band live. You have to create relationships to exist, but we really are shitty with that. Never mind.

M.I. - I guess Bliss of Flesh has already played many shows and festivals... is there one in particular that you remember? Why?

Sikkardinal - The Motocultor was a really good memory, because it was the first time we played in front of so much people. 

M.I. - The promo sheet says that the band has been building up a reputation for your incendiary live shows. What’s so special about your live shows?

Sikkardinal - Nothing, as you said, it’s a promo sheet. To be honest, I don’t know if our shows are special but I can tell you they are true. We really are transcended by our music and lyrics and we don’t fake what we feel. The “incendiary” is because Necurat uses to spit fire on stage, when we are allowed to do it. All the atmospheres we create on stage are our truth.

M.I. - The band will probably play live in order to promote the album… when can one see you live in Portugal?

Necurat - Actually we have no idea but we hope we will very soon. Then you could see by yourself if our shows are specials or not.

M.I. - France’s underground seems to be quite alive and well considering the amount of fine bands in it. What’s your opinion about it?

Sikkardinal - There are so much good bands, you’re right. The most difficult thing is to try not to become an ersatz of someting existing. 

M.I. - What do you hate the most about today’s society?

Sikkardinal - These two questions are linked. A deep thought dwells from experience and matures with time. Today’s society erects time as an enemy and not as an ally. The true freedom comes from knowledge, but patience doesn’t seem to be a virtue anymore. So only opinions prevail today.

M.I. - Thanks for your time and all the best for you and the new album. Share a message with Metal Imperium’s readers please.

Sikkardinal - Thanks to you for your support and for paying attention to us. 
Necurat - We really are impatient to spit our rage on stage in Portugal!

Humiliation Suffering Climax

Questions by Sónia Fonseca