The modern thrash metal rebellion rages on throughout the world, and one such act carrying the banner is the mighty Artas from Austria. The band has just unleashed their second epic entitled Riotology via Napalm Records, and it’s an adventure in both sonic sound and dynamic lyrical content. We spoke with two of the Artas membership to find out more about their dynamic new album, the concept of the term Riotology, the history of their band and other topics of interest. Fans of heavy acts such as Heaven Shall Burn and Caliban need to start paying attention now…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Artas, and how long the band has been together.
Hey man, Sahid and Hannes here! Artas exists since 2004.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We live in Vienna, Austria. One of the most badass countries in the world 😉
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Riotology?
Yeah it’s a story about a guy who didn’t enjoy living in this kind of society anymore. So he decided to travel through the world to find some sort of “perfect freedom”. Through his travels he realizes how much injustice happens on this world. But everywhere he looks he can see people who stand up and fight together for their rights.
For some songs we took situations from history like the prison-riot of Attica, the terror of the Franco-regime in Spain, apartheid or people who want to change something and pay for it with their lives.
Other songs are about the character´s own thoughts, fears and hopes.
The artwork goes hand in hand with the concept. On the cover you can see our protagonist starting his journey in Vienna. In the booklet you can find a unique picture for every song representing its meaning.
Please select two songs from the new CD and tell me what the lyrics are about/inspired by?
The song “Fortress Of No Hope” is inspired by the prison-riot in Attica. In September 1971 an uprising by prison inmates of the Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison located in western New York, ended in the bloodiest prison confrontation in American history. A few days earlier, thirteen hundred prisoners had rebelled, taken over the prison, and held forty guards hostage. Issuing a list of demands—including calls for improvements in living conditions as well as educational and training opportunities—they entered into negotiations with state officials. The negotiations failed and state police and national guard troops seized the prison; in the course of taking it over they killed forty-three individuals, including ten hostages.
“The Suffering Of John Doe” tells about people who risk their lives to fight against injustice and oppression.
What is a live Artas show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?
We love to play our songs live, and we always put all our energy into our shows. We all feel that the stage is the place where we belong. The result is a sweaty, bangin’ orgy 🙂
Have you ever played in the States or plan to do so in the future?
No, and right now there are no plans for the future but we all want to do a tour in the states soon. it would be fucking awesome!
What did Jacob Hansen contribute to the overall recording and mixing process and did he give you any advice or ideas regarding your music?
It was pretty impressive for us to work with Jacob, because we felt this guy really “understood” our music. We`d got the sound we wanted almost instantly, and he also brought great ideas for some effects, samples and stuff…
Furthermore the communication was totally “smooth” and easy although we had to do it all online. Jacob rocks!
Overall how does the new album compared to what is heard on The Healing?
Better songwriting. Better skills on our instruments…many things…you always improve. On the first record our goal was to play as loud and fast as we can which was great and important but it also ended in a lack of dynamics in the songs.
Riotology is more mature and relaxed in some ways.
Do you still play Gangsta’s Paradise live and do you know if Coolio has heard your version of the song?
Yeah its in our regular set. We love to play it live.
No, not that we know about.
Who did the haunting cover art and how much input did you have on it?
Jan Örkki Yrlund from Darkgrove Design. Yeah he did an amazing job but it was also a lot of work because in the booklet we have a unique picture to every song. so it took us months to get the final version. We had a defined image in our minds of what the cover should look like and Jan tried his best to realize our vision. It looks a bit different in our minds but we fucking love it.
What are your plans for the New Year? Any touring coming up?
We´re going to shoot a video and play as often live as we can. We have some festival gigs and club concerts coming up but til now there is no confirmed tour yet.
Any final words of wisdom?
Thanks to you and every free-minded human-being!
This record I dedicate to you my friends!
The Artas rebellion consists of Obimahan Ismahil on vocals, Hannes Koller on vocals & guitar, Sahid Al Atmaah on guitar, Radek Karpienko on bass, and Christoph Grabner on drums.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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