Both with their demo and their first album, the greek band Serpent Lord had impressed me positively: We couldn’t do it in the past but, now that the opportunity has presented again, we joined the band for an interview from the beginning to the present day, looking towards the future! While not having a new release to promote, the Serpent Lords’ guys didn’t back down, and here’s what we said to each other!
Hi Guys!! It is an honor to host you on our pages!! First of all, I would like to ask you how are you and, please, introduce yourself to our readers: we would like to know you a little better and not only like Serpent Lord’s members!
Hey! Thanks for inviting us to your webzine!
We are safe and healthy, staying home, waiting for the quarantine to pass, to start rehearsing and preparing for the recordings of our second album.
Well, if you want to get to know us better, log in to any music streaming service, put on your headphones, relax and keep reading this interview! Hahaha, we mean, the best way to get to know us is through our music. In a nutshell, we are 4 (at the moment) young people, thirsty for music, tours, and recordings.
The band has released one demo, a full-length album called “Towards the Damned” (via Alcyone records in September 2018) and a single called “Horned God” (released in November 2019), including a cover of Death’s “Sacred Serenity” with clean vocals. We are an occult (lyrically) heavy metal band, but we also like to take risks and sometimes try to have a more progressive approach to our songs.
By now, we have accomplished two tours, a European tour with the German thrashers Necronomicon and a Greek tour with the great Blaze Bayley (ex- Iron Maiden).
The band was founded in 2016. Do you want to tell us about the reasons why you started the band? I can guess, but why you chose Serpent Lord like the band’s name?
Well, it’s simple. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll are DEFINITELY not the reasons why. Thessaloniki nowadays is not the place to seek that. We just love music and we believe that this is a way to express our feelings and concerns. It’s like therapy but in a more fun way!
As for the name, our bassist Konstantinos and our former singer, George (Savvage), were trying to find a name that it depicts to the music they wanted and imagined that they would play. The Serpent is the personification of the evil in the Bible and since a lot of our interests and lyrics are inspired by books like the one mentioned, it was the perfect name for an occult band.
The first demo with two songs was released in 2017. What memories do you keep of demo’s working and what expectations do you have at the time of his release?
Oh, we were so new to all these, we did so many mistakes but we believe that all these mistakes made us who we are. The memories are great. It was the “early” days, we were just three guys and a session drummer. We wanted to record some music. And we did it. Of course, we had to deal with a lot of difficulties and unpleasant things but all these events were a very good lesson for the next steps.
Actually, when we entered the studio, we had no expectations. But when we started to record the first parts of the songs, we decided to do it correctly. Fortunately, we had George Stournaras (Mass Infection) as a producer and he pointed us in the right direction!
What was the feedback from fans and critics on the demo?
As for the feedback, we thought that it is a good idea to release the demo on a show that we were opening for the legendary band Omen. We were like “no one is gonna buy it”, so we cut only 50 physical copies. And everything was sold out, so we cut another 100 copies and they were sold out, too. There are still a few people who ask for it but we have no other copies, maybe we should re-release it one day!
The press was very welcoming, too. We had a lot of great reviews and you guys were one of the first webzines that supported us and you still do it every time, so thank you so much for this!
I remember that the demo had impressed me positively: I had found, in your sound, the influences of bands like Angel Witch and Mercyful Fate, the epic darkness of Candlemass and Doomsword. Do you find yourself there? Which are the bands that most influenced you as musicians?
Of course, you are right. Especially the first three bands you mentioned are completely correct! Furthermore, we are very influenced by Iced Earth, Death, Behemoth, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Ghost, and of course In Solitude.
But we have to admit that we listen to a great variety of music, not only in metal music. We listen to pop, hip hop, jazz, classical music. Also, our guitarist George is really into some weird avant-garde and some more instrumental things with weird instruments!
In the same year, George Savvage leaves the band. Can I ask you why he left Serpent Lord?
Mostly because he is not as good-looking as the rest of us. Hahaha no, of course, this is not the reason. Konstantinos and George Terzitanos felt the need to take a more professional direction while Savvage was on a different page. We totally respect it and he totally respects our decision, that’s why we didn’t have any drama. Actually, we are even better friends after this event and he is still a member of the Serpent family, even if he is not in the band anymore.
Finding a new vocalist was a nerve-racking situation. At first, George (Terzitanos) and Konstantinos didn’t want to hire someone they don’t know. And we didn’t know any vocalists, so we decided to do it on our own. Fortunately, a friend told us that he knew a guy, a singer that is in search of a band. We thought that we could give it a try and pretty much that’s the story with Marios.
As for the other two guys, Konstantinos knew Vaggelis and Achilleas for a few years and asked them to join the band. Achilleas was hired only for the live shows, since he had to focus on his personal band, too.
The next year you landed on Alcyone Records and with this label, you release your “Towards The Damned”. Where and how you did the recording sessions of “Towards The Damned”?
Well, the recording sessions were different but still we did a lot of mistakes! But it was normal, it was our first album, our first “big” thing. We didn’t know how to do the pre-production and we didn’t do it! So, a few things made our job more difficult, on the other hand, we had George Stournaras once again, so we were in good hands.
Compared to the demo, your style of songwriting changed in some way?
The songwriting changed, yes. We were more mature, more experienced, and more skilled regarding the music. Still, there are things that we would do differently, but things were done the way they should be done at the time and we are proud of this work.
What comments do have you received after the album release?
The feedback was something that we couldn’t expect to be so huge! We gained the attention of so many webzines and magazines around the world. The reviews were great, even from magazines like Powerplay, Ultraje, Metal Hammer, Rock Hard. We were even at Bunker’s cover. The response was absolutely great.
Personally, I think that the songs of “Towards The Damned” are very effective and well improved under every aspect, and I had described the album like a powerful metallic ritual, full of darkness and with a strong evocative feeling. Besides, the band is much more mature and even more aware of their abilities. What do you think about it?
Well, thank you for the kind words! We couldn’t agree more. We were even more mature and knew some of our abilities. Of course, we are trying to improve ourselves every day, but at that moment we started to realize what we were actually doing.
Our goal was to get our music out there and have as many people listen to it as possible and we think we have achieved that. We also did our first European tour to support this album, and it was well-received by most of the listeners. Also, most of the reviews were from around the world and not just from Greece, so, we believe that the first goal was accomplished!
Now, for the second album, the goals will be bigger, they will be different and we will be more strict about them!
Given that I consider “Evvuio Oitovo Iman” a magical song, can I ask you why did you choose to include a song with the text in Phrygian?
The idea behind the lyrics was our guitarist’s George when during research at the library he found a book about the Phrygian language with text from several places of ancient Phrygia. He collected some of the texts and scripts and placed them in a way to make up a fictional journey to the mystical side of this ancient civilization. The song begins with the holder of the sacred object, proceeds to present the gods and their actions and the unleash of terrible curses to everyone who dares to disrupt the peace of the mystic.
We decided to include a song with a concept like this because we believe that it’s something really interesting for the listener (and for us as musicians) and it’s also unique.
Two years after the release of the album, there is anything that you would change or that you would do in another way on “Towards The Damned”?
We would probably change the way the verses of “Evvuio Oitovo Iman” are. On our shows, Konstantinos sings it differently, in a more “alive” way, so it would be interesting to record the song again someday, that way.
In the recent past, Serpent Lord has shared the stage with bands like Omen, Grand Magus, Valor, and Blaze Bayley! What these experiences taught you? There are some anecdotes that you like to tell us?
The whole experience of interacting with such musicians is always great. There are a lot of things that you can learn and earn by just having small talk with them. The days with Blaze Bayley and his band (all of his band members play in Absolva) were the greatest so far. We learned a lot from them and we were pleased to meet them. As for an anecdote, the only thing that crosses my mind is a scene that took part with Blaze. We were hanging out backstage after the show, almost completely naked because we were changing our stage clothes and suddenly Blaze comes in, he looks at Marios and he says. ‘Dude, are you ok? It seems you’re missing a woman.’
We remain in the field of live concerts. I saw that you perform with costumes and props: how important is the visual component during your live shows?
We believe that bands should be able to give their audience a spectacular show each and every time. So this is the reason why we make our shows like that. We have certain costumes and accessories for each member and we are accompanied by our two fellow monks on the stage. They give the aesthetic that there is a ceremony on the run and that is exactly what we aim for. A ceremony that brings us all together. Of course, there is more than just that. Banners candles occult items like daggers mystical books etc. All these things serve a purpose. We know that the visual elements are important to wow your audience and to give them the best performance experience you can. So experiencing a show that will be stuck in your head for days after, is the key to get you into the band. That’s what we have in mind on every show.
We come to the present day: are you working on new music? Would you like to update us on your plans? What should we expect from Serpent Lord?
Unfortunately, Vaggelis Karafotis is not a member of Serpent Lord anymore, since he wanted to focus on his other projects, so we are in the middle of “auditioning” for drummers. But, we work really hard on the pre-production of the new record! We have 22 new songs and we just selected 11 of them, to prepare them for the album.
We are almost at the end but I still have some curiosity. Greece is a land very profuse of heavy metal bands: do you have some ideas on the reasons as to why in Greece there are so many bands of great value?
Thanks for the compliment! Well, the truth is that very, very, very few Greek bands actually made it and managed to make a living from it. Most bands are not willing to risk everything to give it a shot. It is also true that even the bands who only have music as a hobby, are raising the bar. Nowadays it’s easier than ever (and that’s not always a good thing) to make a proper music video, to record in a proper studio, to have the proper equipment, to go on tour. In Greece (and that applies to most countries we think) the competition is really high, and the number of bands who really care about their music, their image, etc. is getting bigger every year. That gives you a push to improve.
Create a festival (or tour) of your dreams: in addition to Serpent Lord, with which bands would you like to share the stage?
Oh, this is hard. We think that Death would be a certain addition. The reason is that they are one of the greatest bands ever and Chuck was an absolute genius. They are one of our major influences as a band and we believe they never made a bad album. So if Chuck was alive yes it would be an honor for us to share the stage with them. Also, Ghost would be a choice for sure. No doubt, the greatest act of 10’s and it’s not even close. We all could agree that In Solitude would probably be another choice since they are one of our favorite bands and one of our main influences. We would probably choose Iced Earth and Behemoth, to close this fantastic line-up.
Ok guys, now we have arrived at the end. As usual, the last words are yours, close this interview as you want! For my part, I thank you from my heart for the Serpent Lord’s music and for your availability to answer my questions!
Thank you for your time. You’ve shown interest in our band since the demo got released so we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Stay tuned, stay unholy, stay Serpent, and get ready to be baptized to the eerie sound of the Serpent. Apocrypha is near. Prepare your souls.
Are you ready to be Damned?