Our own Matt Hensch has a chance to put God Dethroned sticksman Arien in the hotseat during some offdates. Find out what the Dutch Drummer extraordinaire had to say about religion, personal favorites, and the new God Dethroned sound!
Matt Hensch: Are you satisfied with the way "The Toxic Touch" turned out?
Ariën: Yeah, I am satisfied with the outcome of the album very much!! I'm proud of what we accomplished and of the songs we wrote. It's another step forward in our development, and we have never sounded this good on record as we sound now.
MH: I'm very familiar with the earlier God Dethroned albums and I was really surprised with the musical direction on "The Toxic Touch." What was the main motivation behind the album and its sound?
Ariën: It was more or less a coincidence that we wrote these kinds of songs. We just go for what feels good at the time we're writing songs. It's limiting if you point out a certain direction for the music. We start with nothing, no leftovers from the previous sessions, but with a clean slate. And we just see what comes out, and we jam a lot with the ideas we have, and from there we put the songs together. During those rehearsals and the tapes we made from those sessions, we shaped our sound. I was already minding my drum sound, and especially the snare drum had to be with a big punch and lots of 'rim-shots' for extra crisp in the sound.
MH: Blastbeats were a common part of earlier God Dethroned albums and "The Toxic Touch" has hardly any. How was it not doing any blastbeats on "The Toxic Touch?"
Ariën: To decrease the amount of blastbeats was a great thing to do! It left a lot of space to try out different things. It would be a bit boring to make a second 'Lair of the White Worm'. We chose to work differently. And I have to say, the result is much more dynamic, and when a blastbeat comes across now, it's much more powerful and has much more impact than blasting for 3 minutes or so.
MH: How was the writing process on "The Toxic Touch?" Was it easier to write a record that sounded different from God Dethroned's earlier material?
Ariën: When I look back at the recordings, everything went smooth, but that's not because of the music itself. There were much more difficult and demanding moments where we had to go to the maximum of our abilities. But we prepared ourselves very well, and the studio facilities were great. And we got to work with Jorg Uken: a very talented producer who took care of the recordings very efficiently. So there was a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Everybody was feeling good, and that's what you can hear on the album.
MH: The lyrical topics on "The Toxic Touch" seem to focus around personal issues and feelings. What was the main motivation behind new lyrical topics?
Ariën: We wanted to write about negative aspects of living and what's going on in the world, past or present, and even future. The world nowadays has got quite some effect to humanity, whether it's from the outside, or the inside of people. There's so much trouble: mental delusions, wars, manic depressions, diseases... The trouble isn't the religious abuse anymore, you know. We wrote a lot about that, or to be more specific: we wrote the religious lyrics to stand against the so called 'moral people': backstabbers and oppressors, who act in the name of their belief, but shove their ideals in someone's throat. There's still nothing wrong with religion, it is in fact a good thing which gives strength in life and something to rely on. And everyone has got his or her own religion. But anyway, we just wanted to write about the 'toxic touch', that effects people.
MH: How has touring been going?
Ariën: Very well!! We had a lot of fun and energy on stage. And we could get along just fine with the other bands we've played with: Natron, Bolt Thrower, Severe Torture, and Vader. It's been very good for God Dethroned. A lot of times people came up to us saying that they really liked the show. We increased our fan base; at least it looks like that. And that's great of course!
MH: Are there any plans to record a live performance of God Dethroned?
Ariën: Not yet. We do have a bonus DVD with a live-gig from the Summer Breeze festival in Germany from 2005, but no real live-recording.
MH: Who are your favorite bands of the current metal scene?
Ariën: Slayer and Morbid Angel.
MH: Are you involved with any side projects?
Ariën: I'm going to appear on the next EPICA-album. And maybe, when everybody has got more time, Isaac and I will be playing together with Coen and Yves from EPICA, Tijs from OCEANS OF SADNESS, and Sven from UNLEASH THE FURY. The project is called 'SIC'. We played one gig together, and that was really cool! We're making plans for a recording, and maybe some gigs too.
MH: What can we expect in the future from God Dethroned?
Ariën: Everything but pop-music, haha. We'll go on with what we do, and hopefully even better every step of the way.
MH: Thanks for your time, Arien. The best of luck to you and your bandmates in the future!
Ariën: Thanks a lot! All the best.