Kaoteon – Transcending Hate

Saturday, 17th February 2018

Yet more enduring proof that metal is a universal language, Lebanon’s Kaoteon (who have since moved out of the country to Amsterdam) deliver fiendishly heavy blackened death metal that’s right on par with the best of the European/North American acts. They’ve never had an easy go of it, facing concert raids, persecution, and even being jailed for their music. Perhaps that’s at least a small part of how despite a seven year waiting period since their first album, Veni Vidi Vomui, the band has lost none of its passion nor aggression.

Damnatio Memoriae (pre-order HERE) is a snarling beast of extremity. It’s explosive and visceral, yet some melody still resides within. The band enlisted Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura) and Fredrik Widigs (Marduk) to help them this time around to fill out the recording line-up, and the results stand on their own. Guitarist Anthony Kaoteon and Walid WolfLust were kind enough to take a few minutes to address their new album, Lebanese music scene, and their accomplishments, as you can read below.

Dead Rhetoric: It’s been 7 years since your debut album, Veni Vidi Vomui. What have you been up to in those years?

Anthony Kaoteon: Moving countries and working to be able to afford the recording of more music with the quality of sound we desire.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s your best description of the progression from Veni Vidi Vomui to Damnatio Memoriae?

Anthony Kaoteon: Maturity of sound – lyrics and philosophy as years and experience are one’s best tutor.

Dead Rhetoric: Fury is one of the first words that come to mind when listening to Damnatio Memoriae. What’s the overall mood you are going for when you write an album?

Anthony Kaoteon: When I composed Veni Vidi Vomui, I wanted it to sound like those bombs I could hear in the streets of Beirut and the bullets I could hear growing up during the civil war. With Damnatio Memoriae, I wanted to transcend above all this hatred and eradicate all memories of it as I get lifted by my melodies to be reborn.

Dead Rhetoric: What are some of the lyrical concepts for Damnatio Memoriae?

Walid WolfLust: Topics which revolve around emotional, social and political matters. The things that surround us in life and affect us daily. Our opinion about those topics and our solution for this problem.

Dead Rhetoric: There was a lot of persecution that the band faced in the early years – is this something that has been persistent as the band has continued on?

Walid WolfLust: The persecution was during the days of our lives in Lebanon. We’ve left Lebanon around the end of 2012 so we’ve been away from these matters since. I think the Lebanese metal scene is doing much better now as there haven’t been any arrests since ours and there are a few concert organizers, such as Elia Mssawir, doing an excellent job by getting major bands from abroad to play in Lebanon.

Dead Rhetoric: Did having Linus Klausenitzer and Fredrik Widigs help to bring the album to the next level for Kaoteon?

Anthony Kaoteon: Abso-fucking-lutely. Linus is a bass wizard. Without getting technical, he delivered melodies and accentuated the guitar riffs in an artistic way. Bass for me, like the frame to a painting where the guitar is the painting, it should make it stand out and Linus did it just right. Fredrik, on the other hand, does not stick to speed and blast beats to impress you but he grooves with the tracks. Although we had demos done by Jarle Uruz from Ureghal, Fredrik took them, put them in his genius blender and came out with a whole new experience.

Dead Rhetoric: Could you talk about some of the other challenges in being a metal band from Lebanon?

Anthony Kaoteon: No dedicated musicians, no record shops, attacked by a racist culture, no recording studios, and a lot of people that think they are the best just because they declare they are.

Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about the Lebanese metal scene?

Anthony Kaoteon: Some of the best metalheads I ever met were from that scene. Raw and thirsty for metal. However, bands work in silos and i always felt that even the metal scene is divided into fragments each fragment deeming itself a scene which made the whole weaker and weaker till it almost disappeared at one point. I hope we are over this now as more bands are back in action and international bands are playing Beirut.

Dead Rhetoric: What does heavy metal mean to you?

Anthony Kaoteon: It is a reminder that we have a choice to be who we want to be and that it is better to die on our feet than to live on our knees.

Walid WolfLust: A calling and a meaning! A sound that resonates with your essence and a beat that dances with your inner demons. Metal has also always been a means to revolt against your surroundings, and in addition to its sound, I think that is one of the many reasons that metal music meant so much to me as a kid.

Dead Rhetoric: With the band having been around for about 2 decades now, what are some of your biggest accomplishments with Kaoteon?

Anthony Kaoteon: Breaking out of a super complicated society and being able to keep the dedication after so many years, going from when we couldn’t afford to change guitar strings to leaving a mark in the world that will outlive us.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s planned for Kaoteon this year?

Anthony Kaoteon: To support the release we just got contacted by Complexity Festival in the Netherlands and we will be on Patronaat stage at 15:00 in the afternoon on the 24th of February with bands like Sikth, The Faceless and Dodheimsgard to name a few. Nothing else is confirmed as of yet but we promise you to either play more shows or record more music as soon as possible.

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