Interview with Ravencult guitarist Stefanos Fakatselis | By Christopher J. Harrington
The sheer force of Greece’s darkened speed thrashers, Ravencult, is exceedingly monumental. A veteran band from the deepened abyss that cuts air with spikes and fire, they are a crew cut in the vein of a sort of black metal punk: quick jaunts of fist-pumping rage mixed with Satanic overtones that stretch and glide. The group’s latest slab of infectious mayhem, Force of Profanation—out Nov. 11 on Metal Blade—sucks you in with its joyful depths. This is the kind of record you slam 20 times over in one kitchen shift, and when the night’s over, you’re lighted with the sacredness of pure metal.
“Our music is existential,” guitarist and founder Stefanos Fakatselis notes. “We do this as a natural urge to express our devotion to aural primitivism, while the driving force behind our creations has always been pure fanaticism for it. Purists as we are, the aim we have is producing something that makes the listener connect to the aggression, nihilism, and utter darkness of the genre.”
Ravencult achieve this level of raw insanity tenfold. The music is so quick and punishing that you barely have a moment to breathe. It’s suffocating, in a good way, like hardcore punk. Though Fakatselis doesn’t liken their sound to punk in a general way, he does share in the form’s spirit and magic.
“I can relate to the ‘punk’ aspect mostly as a philosophy—that is, the uncompromising attitude and an ‘against all’ mentality to be present in the music,” he says. “Not as musical direction though, as we’re very far from it—unless you consider the Celtic Frost rawness as a connection to something generally called punk within the metal domain. Sure, I would agree we have a more open approach to our material than the average traditional black metal band, but this is also the character of Ravencult: uniting the fast pace and morbidity of thrash with the darkness of first and second generation black metal.”
The band have a density that breaks through any sort of walls; in other words, it won’t be stopped. The music is vertical and uncompromising, offering an expression of a mood. A sort of pure form is achieved through aggression and stamina. There is beauty in this darkness. Though it’s clouded in gravel pits from hell, it’s still an appreciative and honored beauty, a sort of call to the gods of inner black metal thrash. Ravencult are individualistic rage, carrying on the traditions of their forefathers.
“Any combination that produces music that twists your guts and reeks of negativity I consider a successful union,” Fakatselis explains. “There are many levels of connection between thrash, death, [and] black metal, mainly because of the rawness and the macabre spirit that shines through them. We are equally inspired by proto black metal, old thrash in its Hell Awaits [by Slayer] perspective, and also second-generation black metal as manifested in the ‘90s. What matters most [at] the end of the day is the intention to create a rich sound that incorporates some of the finest moments of different, but relevant, styles. The absolute union of the aforementioned is for example ‘The Golden Walls of Heaven’ track from Bathory’s Blood Fire Death album.”
Fourteen years into their epic career, Ravencult remain unhinged from their mission, carving a long and deep river in the canon of underground metal. “It has been a great ride and still is,” Fakatselis opines. “Being creative, recording and presenting live our material is the fuel that keeps us active and strong. No matter the difficulties over the years, we have a mission to accomplish by staying dedicated to our cause and having an iron will. We have always been and will remain focused to our work with growing determination for serving the underground.”