Review 1847 : Karpathian Relict – Never Be After – English

Karpathian Relict bounces back.

After a first existence between 2006 and 2017 under the name Orthodox, where they released one album, the Ukrainian band (relocated to Poland) signed with Musiko Eye and unveiled two albums. In 2023, after five years of silence, Bogdan Lewicki (guitar), Andrzej Czujko (bass), Adrian Miesowicz (vocals), Bartek Oleniacz (guitar) and Mateusz Baczek (bass, Into Dark) announce the release of Never Be After.

The album kicks off in quietness with The Moth, which starts out eerie with its violin, before moving on to thicker, catchier riffs. Worked parts easily blend with the power of screams, as do softer but equally complex breaks, while the band returns to raw violence on Bury in the Past and its aggressive riffs. The overall mood remains heavy and effective, with a melodic touch in the middle of the track, which is also reflected in the rhythm section, before Closed Book allows the rhythm section to set frantic tones while keeping a jerky, dissonant approach. A Folk-influenced vocal break allows the band to temporize its rage, which quickly resurfaces before Silent Waters Pt. I brings it to life with darker, ethereal elements between two sharp, virulent waves, which perfectly mesh with the heady melodies of Silent Waters Pt. II, completed by eruptions of complex fury. Melodies take center stage, as they do on Jéach and its hellish heaviness, which the musicians couple with heady guitars and massive howls. The band returns with My Anthem to their more aggressive polished sounds, letting them run wild while maintaining an extremely virulent rhythm while integrating relatively modern catchy elements. The track is quite long, but it gives us a short time to breathe before The Masochist, the final track, reveals melancholic melodies followed by real storms of violence, but also some more measured parts that easily testify to the band’s darker, more calculated influences.

After a long silence, Karpathian Relict pull out all the stops on Never Be After, offering us a rich and extremely catchy album that blends massive riffs, complex influences and heady melodies.


Version Française ?

Few questions to the Ukrainian-born and now Poland-based Technical Death Metal band Karpathian Relict.

Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Karpathian Relict without using the usual Metal labels such as “Death Metal”?
Adrian (vocals): I guess the most simple answer is that we are 5 people with different music tastes which makes music that we all would like to listen to. That is probably the priority of the band. Driven by passion and adrenaline. Karpathian Relict is a mix of subjects like nature, carpathia mountain vibes , strenght, melody, agression, sociological and psychological aspects.
Mateusz (bass): In addition to the musical aspect, it should also be noted that it is primarily a « group of friends », which constantly faces new challenges and, like everyone, achieving successes and failures. There is no unnecessary haste in all this, which also does not mean laziness. Getting ahead of the pack is the norm here, which sometimes causes funny situations, but that’s what it’s all about. Being yourself is, to some extent, such an « individuality », but also « unity » at the same time.

How do you link the name Karpathian Relict to the band’s music identity? What about your previous name, Orthodox?
Bogdan (guitar): Our previous name was mostly associated with orthodox church. Also, when searching in Google the first thing that appeared was actually this religious confession. It was frustrating and became one of the main reason to change the name. Our recent name represents us quite accurately. At first it’s the nearby area we all come from. We also try to write lyrics with elements of Slavic mythology and nature. We just feel comfortable with this label.

Your fourth full-length Never Be After is nearly out, how do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Adrian: Its a third one actually (1 album released with the name Orthodox, ed.). We are fully satisfied with the final effect which is most important for an underground band like us. It was a long process but we are sure that all our ideas were captured and it sounds really as we wanted from the beginning. We do have some feedback which is really good and we are excited to share it with people.
Mateusz: Before joining the band, Karpathian Relict appeared from time to time among friends as such a curiosity – the band from our neighborhood. The first 2 albums were already very good in themselves. The information that a new album is about to appear and the song released in the form of a music video – Bury In The Past was warmly received, and it’s only one track. So it may seem that the whole album will be equally warm if not more received by the listeners.

How would you sum Never Be After’s identity up in only three words?
Adrian: Aggression , melody, depth.
Bogdan: Groove, melody, drive.

How did the composition process happen for Never Be After? Did you notice some differences with the previous releases?
Bogdan: The whole process flew calmly and naturally. We had enough time to listen to the material, rethink some moments, add new tasty solutions. As we said before, this time we tried to work together as a team, where everyone plays his part. We created riffs, making them satisfying for each member, but without compromising on quality. We even excluded 1 song from the final release.

What about the artwork, what were the guidelines and how do they fit with the music you created?
Adrian: The artwork fits perfectly and it is actually quite amazing that we didn’t have ANY amendments to the graphic artists. Artwork was done by Micha? Xaay Lorenc (God Dethroned, Kamelot, Nile) and we sent only a few suggestions for the artwork and the album stream. First draft he sent and we were already blown away. It perfectly fits the music and I can’t imagine a different artwork.

Where do you find inspiration to create your music?
Bogdan: I don’t think I have some special source of inspiration. If you want to play a guitar, do it with passion, if you don’t – throw it away and take a rest. When time comes up to make something new, I just concentrate on this task. I create new riffs and listen to them many times and try to combine them in the best way. Sometimes you need a new bridge or interlude, like something missing. You must like the song and be on the same wave with it. It’s the most important criteria.

Even if the band’s music is deeply rooted in Technical Death Metal, I heard some maybe “Folk”-influenced parts, like on Closed Book and heady ethereal elements on Silent Waters Pt. I, how do you find the right balance between all those influences?
Adrian: We are open to any experiments that come to our head. It comes naturally. We try it and if we like what we hear it stays. We have some open fields to explore more in the future, perhaps with classical instruments as well.
Mateusz: Even now everything is still open, there are a lot of possibilities and ideas on how to spice up a given track to make it even more interesting, but not over complicated. Even though the material has already been recorded, there is still a lot of room for new ideas.

Maybe you have a favorite song on this album? Or maybe the hardest one to achieve for the album?
Adrian: My Anthem is definitely one of my favourites. I feel like it gets more brutal and intense with every second it goes.
Mateusz: I have 2 tracks:  My Anthem is a one big musical story, there are technical parts, progressive, melodic parts, there are clean vocals, everything connects great one after the other, all topped with outro on the clean guitars. For me one of the hardest tracks on the album, but good for « not to headbang challenge ». The second one is Closed Book because for a lot of options to play my bass parts, for me it is the best track for practice, because every part you can play in different ways.
Bogdan: Right now, I guess my 2 favorite songs are Silent Waters pt1 & 2.. But time will show and I can change my mind. Must admit also The Masochist. The idea to remake this song was spontaneous, but the result overcame our expectations, simply awesome, and we added it to our playlist. There is one song we refused to play, but I won’t name it. Maybe it’s the hardest song, who knows…

Do you think you are still improving yourself as a musician and songwriter?
Adrian: I would like to think so but its hard to judge yourself objectively. Saying for myself I am more happy with the stuff I do now than I was 15, 10 or 5 years ago. I guess it comes with age to enjoy more the things you do.
Mateusz: Someday there may be a moment when you are tired and put your instruments aside – unfortunately it happened to me. You know, band breakups, incompatibilities, complete failures, abandonment of plans – you have enough. Over time, you think a lot about what you did wrong and slowly come back, but richer with new experiences and lessons from the past. You do not lose this enthusiasm, because you know what and who motivates you, you know what gives you pleasure. I also create a lot of my own music with different genres, I meet with friends for some kind of jam-sessions, I’m still learning about mixing, mastering processes, it gives a lot and develops tremendously.
Bogdan: Without a doubt. When I review old songs and compare them to new ones, it’s 2 different poles. I try to evolve, improve on my instrument, techniques, intonation, clarity in all aspects, making new songs more interesting, deep and innovative.

The band will play two shows at Mennecy Metal Fest 2023, how do you guys get prepared for those performances?
Adrian : We play regular rehearsals its all we can do lol. We are more a studio band that doesn’t push much into live playing to be honest. It doesn’t make much sense for us to push ourselves to the limit and play as much shows as possible as we all work full time jobs and have families. It’s just better fits for us to play less but really special shows. We are not tired of ourselves, each show we are excited to play – and it comes especially for Mennecy Metal Fest. We are working with Gerome and Chris since 2017 and we are really happy about this cooperation – Mennecy Metal Fest and the release of Never Be After will be cherry on the top.

Are there any musicians or artists you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, or maybe more.
Adrian: I think a lot. But it concerns more classical and ethnic musicians for future records. Of course if Mastodon or Gojira would agree I wouldn’t refuse it hahahah.
Mateusz: I have a lot of musicians that I’d love to collaborate with like Jordan Rudess, Francesco Ferrini, Clemens Wijers – keyboard stuff, Alex Webster, Jared Smith, Dominic Lapointe – bass, Tosin Abasi, John Petrucci, Ola Englund – guitars, Pawe? Jaroszewicz, Dariusz Brzozowski, Kerim Lechner – drums, Ben Duerr, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Tatiana Shmailyuk – vocals. It is only a short list, because there are a lot of other artists from other countries, genres etc.

The band signed to Musiko Eye from the first album, how does their support help you as a band?
Adrian: Its really good and comfortable situation for us. Gerome and Chris are great to work with and after that time we have full trust with guys. We had some offers from other labels before Never Be After release – after they heard the album, but either they didn’t meet our requirements or didn’t gain enough… trust? I think that is most important factor. As of now its hard to imagine better cooperation. Their support for sure helped to reach a larger audience and we are really thankful. As of now the only people that take care of our promotion are Gerome, Chris and Piotr from Solid Rock PR, and we are more than happy with it.

Maybe you know the French Metal scene? Which bands do you like?
Adrian: Gojira of course is a number one that changed the Metal scene a lot. Saw those guys a couple of times and its absolute blast every time. But let’s also mention Trepalium, Igorr, Alcest, Svart Crown, Dagoba.
Mateusz: For me the best band from France – Alcest. It is a big possibility to shed a tear on Délivrance. Most of the band’s tracks are very emotional and I really love them. Other bands from France – Aosoth, Blut Aus Nord, Svart Crown, Antaeus because of the dark and heavy vibe I really like, Gojira – powerful and very distinctive band that is really hard to mislead with other bands.

If you had to organize a concert for Never Be After’s release show, which bands would you love to play with? I let you create a poster with Karpathian Relict and three other bands!
AdrianGojira, Dark Tranquillity, Kalmah.
Mateusz:  Jinjer – Ukraine, Vader – Poland, Gojira – France.
Bogdan: The Faceless, Decapitated, Periphery.

Funny and last question: which dish would you compare Karpathian Relict’s music with?
Adrian: Pizza or pasta with salmon lol.
Mateusz: Ukrainian borscht served in bread similar to Polish sour rye soup with a lot of pepper but only for a spiciness, some chopped parsley for taste and nice presentation and of course a big glass of cold Vodka poured personally with smile by Andrzej (drums, ed.).
Bogdan: Fried unpeeled potatoes with garlic and pickled cucumbers ?

That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Adrian: Thanks a lot! That was one of the most interesting questions! We can’t wait for the Never Be After release and to see you at the shows on Mennecy Metal Fest!

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