Panychida and The Adventures of Gabreta Aeterna
Panychida and The Adventures of Gabreta Aeterna
Panychida is a black/pagan metal band from the Czech Republic who have been presenting their sonic art to the world since 2004. Their latest magnum opus is entitled Gabreta Aeterna, and it’s an auditory adventure well worth seeking out. The band has toured around Europe several times and also played a successful tour over the ocean in Mexico. Highwire Daze recently interviewed guitarist Sinneral to find out a more about the epic world of Gabreta Aeterna as well as releasing a new album right in the middle of a pandemic. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Panychida, and how long the band has been together.
Hi Ken, I am Sinneral, a guitarist from the Panychida band. I have been in the band since the very beginning in 2004. The official start happened a year later, in December 2005 we played our first gig. So yes – we just had the 15th anniversary recently. By the way, I’m Czech, English is my second language, so thanks for „understanding“ (literally, haha).
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re based in the Pilsen city, Czech Republic, central Europe. Yes, this is the place, the first Pilsener beer type was brewed!
Talking only about the UG metal scene, Pilsen has a strong tradition since the late 80s, early 90s. The local bands are well known across the whole Czech Republic, even beyond. W0065 have Lord Morbivod’s TROLLECH, STINY PLAMENU, QUERCUS, UMBRTKA. There is also a very old band SORATH. We have also some golden 90s dead legends like MYTHOPOEIA or GOLD OF ATHANOR. To name some big names from the Czech Republic generally, I can’t ignore e.g. MASTER’S HAMMER, ROOT, KRABATHOR.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Gabreta Aeterna?
There is just one common topic of the album – the Šumava mountains region (south-west of the Czech Republic), but each song tells a different story. There is no story line throughout the album.
Select two songs from Gabreta Aeterna and what inspired the lyrics.
The song “Odkouzlení hvozdu Hercynského” shows the mystical face of old Šumava mountains. The legends say the forests were full of good and evil beings, tangible and intangible, living together with people in better or worse symbiosis. There was magic in the woods. With coming of the modern age, people quit believing in the existence of the old magic and the ancient beings cease to exist due to that.
The song “Totenbretter” explains how harsh lives the people had in the old mountain region. It was lethal to get sick with a (from today’s point of view) mild illness. It took days of wandering through the wilderness to call a doctor to come. The song tells a story of a mother, dying during giving the birth. Explains the myths and traditions around someone’s death. E.g. putting a dead body in a morgue onto a shaped wooden plank, a board, before the ground unfreezes and it is possible to dig a grave. These planks were then put close to roads as memorials, as direction indicators, etc. TOTENBRETTER is the German word for this „board of the dead“.
Who produced Gabreta Aeterna and what was it like working with them?
Actually, we did the production :-), including the sound, mixing, mastering, graphic works, etc. All our albums were produced by us. We are too small band to think about having a producer. But we are absolutely fine with that – we have total freedom of creativity, we do things how do we want to. I even can’t imagine doing it other way.
What has it been like to record and release new music in the middle of a pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
Good question, haha, I am currently quarantined at home, covid positive. But I am fine!
We started to work on the album couple of years before the pandemic break-out. When this crazy situation started to evolve, 95% of the album was done. Just few details were missing to record. The problem appeared to be finding a new label to cooperate with. We were just a step far from signing the contract with a (from our POV) pretty good label from western Europe. Unfortunately the label cancelled all the signings, explaining he’s afraid to invest money at the beginning of a world economy crisis. That is why the album was released even later than it was expected. Finally we found a solution with our friends from Folter Records (Germany) and other local Czech labels and the album is now out on all possible media carriers and digital platforms. This pandemic circus also complicated our recording with the children’s choir. As there are more than 60 kids in the choir, the government anti-covid restrictions of public life forbid us to even gather with the kids. Luckily in summer, most of the restrictions were relieved and we were legally allowed to make the recording happen. You can hear the choir in the song „Bludné ohně na stráních Hirschensteinských“!
What could one expect from a live Panychida show and do you currently have any on the schedule?
We’re not fans of any fancy pagan or black metal cliches. No furs, armours or face paints. All what can you expect from us at a live show is just straightforward and fair metal! We’re wearing patched leather jackets, t-shirts of bands we love, loose hair, headbanging, enjoying the show, squirting the energy towards the crowd \m/! Unfortunately there is no chance to play live now. The last show we played was in July 2020 during the short restrictions relieve. And we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. Let us hope we can hit the road and stage soon again!
Did you do the show with Sargeist back in March? And if so, how did the show go and did you get to meet any of the Sargeist members?
This festival was a big thing in Pilsen, everybody was looking forward to it! Unfortunately, due to the pandemic break-out in spring 2020 the Czech government banned any public events just couple of days before this festival. We were crushed! The organizers of the festival, our good friends, lost a shit load of money. All the flight tickets, for Sargeist, accommodations for all the bands, the sound and light hear, etc. were already paid with no chance for refund. I personally admire Sargeist a lot and I was really happy Panychida and Sargeist will share the stage in our hometown. Shit happens…
If Panychida could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Are you currently involved with any other bands or projects outside of Panychida?
Yep, we are or we were involved in many musical projects. You can check some of them:
Honza’s other band OBLOMOV (currently inactive):
My other band MALLEPHYR (active):
What do you hope 2021 brings for Panychida?
We have just released our masterpiece and we can’t even support it with live playing, to bring it closer to people. So from the band’s point of view, I can wish only getting rid of this damn pandemic circus, to get our freedom back, to start living our lives again, to get our asses in our band van and to stand & rage on the stage! If you want to support the band in the times we can’t play, we have a decent e-shop at https://panychida.bandcamp.com! Get your album copy, a limited wooden box edition or some clothes! 🙂
Any final words of wisdom?
People, don’t be too scared. Protect your weaker beloved ones, but stand your ground and do not let the “Masters of Puppets” to steal your freedom! Do not keep calm and listen to Panychida! \m/
Thank you Ken for a nice interview, for the interest in our band. All the best of health and luck in the New year 2021 to you and all the Highwire Daze mag crew and readers!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
Panychida on Facebook