Crematory – Welcome to the Darkness

Tuesday, 24th May 2022

Originators of a movement during the 1990’s in fusing gothic music with heavy metal, German act Crematory have been together now for over thirty years. Keeping three-fifths of the group together since the debut self-titled demo in 1992, the evolution of the band’s sound now incorporates elements of industrial grooves as they balance out a long-term love for gothic music and keeping things heavy. Their latest album Inglorious Darkness showcases their multi-level approach – including material from both English and German sung angles.

We reached out to the newest member of the group bassist Patrick Schmid to catch up on the latest activities for Crematory. You’ll learn more about the decisions behind recording English and German tracks for the new record, the candle melting activities that took place for the title track video shoot, thoughts on their fanbase after 30 years together as a group, gaining patience as we come out of this pandemic, and more.

Dead Rhetoric: Inglorious Darkness is the sixteenth and latest studio album for Crematory. Did the band get right back to work on new songs considering the prolonged absence of live show/touring opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic following the release of Unbroken in 2020? How were the songwriting and recording sessions for this set of material – and where do you see this album sitting in the discography of Crematory?

Patrick Schmid: For us this album is something like a new chapter, we had more time to go into more details, so the pandemic had in this context a positive side. It’s more back to the roots, more in your face. We’re really proud of this album.

Dead Rhetoric: Discuss the mixture of German and English sung material this time around – and how you went back to your roots for revisiting the Illusions song “Tears of Time” with the German rendition “Tränen der Zeit”? Where do you see the major differences in developing lyrics and melodies in each language?

Schmid: As native German speakers it’s absolutely more difficult to write good German lyrics. For us it’s a challenge to do this. English is the language of rock’n’roll, but for English speaking people it’s still exotic. Also it’s more complicated to get into a rhyme flow. But it’s really interesting.

Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us regarding the video shoot for the title track? Do you believe you were able to capture a lot of the band vibe when performing in a live setting, and were there any special or funny moments that took place during the filming? And where do you see the importance of the visual medium in these social media platforms versus the days of video channels like MTV, VH1 and Viva ruling the airwaves?

Schmid: A video shooting is always a strange situation, you have to simulate a live situation, which is, with cameras and really serious looking guys filming you, a quite bizarre experience. The most funny thing during the making was the one thousand candles experience… imagine hundreds of them on a small stage. Believe me, after fifteen minutes you‘re melting like those candles. Good looking, but boiling slightly. The big time of videos is definitely over, a video does not have the importance like in the 80’s.

Dead Rhetoric: You have a new bassist in Patrick Schmid that joined the group in 2021. How has Crematory handled the various lineup changes over its career – have you tried your best to remain friends to reach common goals together even with all these shifts?

Schmid: We are something like a family, a member has to fit also personally. Most of our ex-members are still good friends.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you view the evolution of Crematory now that you have been together for over 30 years? Do you look at specific albums, tours, or festival appearances over the years as special moments or points in the career when you knew the band was making a bigger impact with your music?

Schmid: I think the first tours and big festivals had an important impact in the direction of the band, you see the fans love you‘re stuff. You become more professional in writing music and playing live.

Dead Rhetoric: What is your opinion on the gothic metal scene that you have been a prominent part of since the early years of the movement? Are there things you enjoy about the scene, and what changes (if any) do you think are needed for the great good of the musicians, fans, labels, and other parties involved?

Schmid: Crematory is in a unique situation, our homebase is metal and gothic, we are able to pick the best out of both scenes. Both have their own rules and behavior… we are walking between both worlds …and we love this.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve been a part of the Napalm Records roster now for a couple of albums. Where do you see their importance for Crematory in terms of promotion and support these days compared to previous labels that you’ve worked with in the past? Do you believe the work responsibilities at a label have shifted over the years from the start of the band to the current music industry model?

Schmid: Napalm Records is in every way an amazing company, total pros and music freaks, they love what they’re doing. You can feel that. A label is still important in many ways, promotion-wise and you get more connected.

Dead Rhetoric: What are the most important qualities do you think a band like Crematory has maintained to keep a following and remain relevant for such a long period of time? Are there times where you feel like your fanbase may have shifted, and has it been a challenge to balance what you want to make musically as musicians and meet the expectations of your fanbase?

Schmid: One of our most important qualities is, we never gave up and we still make albums on a really high level, being innovative after so many years is sometimes challenging, but our fanbase grew up with us for more than 30 years. They know what to expect…. Always the unexpected.

Dead Rhetoric: What do you consider three of the most important albums that helped shape your outlook on heavy metal – and what’s the best concert that you’ve ever attended, purely as a member of the audience – and what made that show so special in your eyes?

Schmid: For me personally: Iron Maiden- Piece of Mind/ Slayer- Reign in Blood / Psychotic Waltz – absolute everything…Best concert…for sure Queen 1986 – Mannheim that was absolutely mind-blowing in every way. 2.5 hours of pure musical perfection.

Dead Rhetoric: What passions, interests, and hobbies do you like to pursue outside of music when you have the free time and energy to do so?

Schmid: Walking with my dog…

Dead Rhetoric: What advice would you give to younger musicians regarding the music or business side of things when it comes to heavy metal? And what’s the best piece of advice you ever received that you always apply to the activities of Crematory?

Schmid: Practice a lot, never give up and listen not only to metal. With Crematory the best advice is don’t drink with Felix too much… you’re on the floor, he’s still talking and standing up straight.

Dead Rhetoric: What worries you most regarding the world that we live in today? Where do you think the leaders of the world need to put more energy, time, resources, and financial support into for the greater good of everyone?

Schmid: The last years, my misanthropic side becomes more and more significant. The world is once more a dangerous place, but we have to cope with the ongoing situation. Most importantly, be good to your friends, be patient with yourself and drink some wine in the evening.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the next year or so for Crematory as far as touring, festival appearances, promotion, etc. playing out? Are there any other side projects or bands from other members with recordings coming up that we need to look forward to – or special guest appearances?

Schmid: There will be some surprises for sure… be forewarned. Many thanks for your support.

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