Devian - 20/12/2008

After the much-lauded debut album “Ninewinged Serpent” in 2007 and a triumphant 7 week long European tour with Polish death metal overlords Vader, Sweden’s blackened death/thrash commando DEVIAN mercilessly return with a second attack: The furious new album “God To The Illfated”. Featuring former Marduk members Legion (vocals) and Emil Dragutinovic (drums), DEVIAN anno 2008 offer an increasingly dynamic, vicious and aggressive sound that captivates the listener with massive, thrashing riffs and a heartfelt old school spirit.

Recorded once again at Art Decay Studio with Rickard Kottelin throughout the Summer of this year, DEVIAN decided to subsequently hook up with Hypocrisy / Pain mastermind Peter Tägtgren for further production duties and the intense mixdown of the album at The Abyss Studio (Immortal, Marduk, Dimmu Borgir, etc.) while mastering duties were once again taken care of by Peter In De Betou / Tailor Maid Production (Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquillity, etc.). This illustrious sonic set-up didn’t fail and consequently “God To The Illfated” sounds as honest, natural and powerful as it gets, enhancing DEVIAN’s newest material to document a giant and very impressing step forwards for the band.

Rounded off by masterly macabre artwork by renowned Greek artist Seth (Paradise Lost, Exodus, Soilwork, etc.) “God To The Illfated” is a sensational sophomore effort that is destined to spread DEVIAN’s qualities and message all over the place.

Don’t miss DEVIAN as part of the “Winterfest” 2009 tour in January with Deicide, Samael and Vader or catch them on further touring with Unleashed across Scandinavia.


After having had a chat during DEVIAN’s 7 week tour through Europe last May, we tracked down LEGION once again to ask him all about Devian’s latest release, here you can read what he had to say about ‘God To The Illfated’


First of all, how are you? Congratulations on the release of your new album 'God To The Illfated', of course we'd like to ask you a couple of questions about it. 


Thanks!! All good there, getting ready to be busy travelling. Yeah man cool, shoot!

Devian formed a couple of years ago, your first album 'Ninewinged Serpent' was released on October 22, 2007 and now you’ve released another album entitled 'God To The Illfated', so a lot has happened since the band came into being. Could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the band and the origin of its name for our readers? 


Yes, we were very fortunate to from the get go get the interest and trust from such an established powerhouse in the Metal biz as Century Media. We told them all we wanted was a shot at it and they pushed the button so we have been keeping ourselves busy since then.

The name Devain referrs to the English word Devious since our thematic body deals with alternative outlooks on life and the beyond. Just because it´s written doesn´t make it so. There are things known and there are things unknown and inbetween there is Devian.


It's been less than 1-1/2 years since ''Ninewinged Serpent' came out, so it seems you had a lot of inspiration for this new record. How did you launch into writing material for 'God To The Illfated', and did you guys spend a fair amount of time working on the album before heading over to record it?


Yes, this album was worked through in a totally different way since the machine is built now so we just had to hone and keep feeding it, where as on ‘Ninewinged Serpent’ we had to build it from scratch. This time the rehearsal room was the place of creativity and the studio was merely a place of execution, the last time we re-wrote and re-arranged a lot of stuff in the studio instead. Riffs and ideas just keep coming in this band and we´re working more on what to put where and what is the proper thing to do rather than being in a riff-desert, mainly thanks to Emil who is a mad riff creator, he spills things into the open constantly while my role is more changing to be the outside observer, to produce the gutfeeling and overall emotion of the tracks...I remember coming down to the lounge of the tourbus one morning and Emil had hummed 25 new riffs into his dictaphone and was trying to arrange them into songs on the cellphone hahaha, pure fucking brilliance.



Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing? 


We let it come as it comes usually, since we’d rather have a sincere attack than a well thought out formula that sounds plastic. Lately, a lot of things about the over-all seem to come together and we´re starting to get a glimpse of the mythology of Devian so things will probably be more homogenic in the future, just like ‘...Illfated’ has a clearer soaring nerve than ‘Ninewinged’ did. Then a lot of things mutate due to our different musical agendas and backgrounds. We can have a draft for a song that is this and that and then Tomas comes with his virtuous and classical based ideas that are a far cry from Joinus metal thrashing mad old school stuff and after a few rehearsals we have something that is set apart from other stuff, it´s a good going.


What comes first, lyrics or melodies?  


Nothing is given, all of a sudden something just comes up in some member’s head and then as long as it grows with the work input and time, it might turn into a finished song. Stuff that doesn´t come together even though we twist and turn it we always discard, it would be beneath us to aim for a filler that doesn´t truly belong on the album, that´s when we would need a break and reconsider things.

But usually we have a song and then the vocal lines and lyrical content grows out from the emotions that the riffs spark, even if it´s a lyrical idea that would already be around.


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record 'God To The Illfated', any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?


We always talk a lot of vision and development and we had a pretty clear idea after ‘Ninewinged’ where we could do better and what to hold on to. The only thing we thought about was really a new Devian album that would be as good as we could make it to bring the band forward and treat the fans with some new quality songs that also would work well in a livesetting since that´s where we feel most at home.



Was it a conscious decision to do it this way? 


We always make conscious decisions and then things grow naturally and sometimes unexpectedly out of that. But to just have the band as a ship lost at sea that might end up here or there would not be a good thing. If you have no clue where you are going you probably don´t put too much muscle into getting there, either.


What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you? 


Emotion. No matter what feeling it transcends, it should be memorable and move something within. Songs that don´t are just pointless "music". We use technique as a means to make the song sound the way we want it to sound, not as a substitute for songwriter quality. Our guitarists both have the skills to shred like idiots but I think it´s the fact that they rather bust out into aerial heartfelt solos that puts them apart from others. Aggression is nothing without beauty, as speed is nothing without groove and crunch for us since it would make everything faceless.


Could you please describe the implications of the title 'God To The Illfated', what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it? 


It stands for the fact that there is always another way to see things, there is always another angle to play. If you´re born with a splinter in your head that sets you apart from the comfortably bleak masses you´ll still have a lot to pursue that´s for you. If you´re on the outside it doesn´t neccesarily mean that you’ll even want to look in. It´s about outsidership. Just like the Metal scene has always been my home, and the clandestine subcultures that made the world loathe, fear and fascinate over it. Would I want things any other way? No. Is it a good home? Hell yeah!!


Who was responsible for the lyrics on this album? Where do you get your inspiration from? What would you say are the main themes in your lyrics? 


I am. I get inspiration from life and the way I live and see it. My lyrics are always about actions I think are real or things that just need to come out, be it a trauma or something so great that I can´t hold it in. It´s always intoxicating to write, I tend to get engulfed by the pen and the paper and hours seem like minutes while scrawling away. Sometimes it´s a bigger understanding of things and sometimes I think I´m almost there, stumble and snap out of it with some goofy crap writings that suck. It comes and goes, usually discharged by depression and aggression, after a real down, ideas and lyrical content are usually just flying. When I was younger and started to realise how fucked up I could be compared to a lot of friends I didn´t want to get professional help, I was too certain I´d lose my artistic nerve if I wouldn´t so I kept all the letters till today.



Some of the songs on the new album have a very thrashy, vicious and aggressive sound, for instance the title song. Is this an influence you wish to develop more in the future, or can we expect something else? 


We all love thrashmetal and it´s a cool outlet for live aggression so that´s a founding part of what this band is. Slayer has always been my favourite band since I first bought ‘Reign in Blood’. But yeah, expect a natural continuing development of things for us musically, to stand still resting on your laurels is to be engulfed.


How did the recording process proceed this time, did you work differently than on the previous album? How much time did you spend in the studio?


Yes it was more pre-meditated and therefore less chaotic. Last time we had some frustrated outbursts haha...This time we knew how we wanted everything to be beforehand which helped a lot. We ended up recording for about 2 months.


Your sound on 'God To The Illfated' is excellent, the album was mixed by Peter Tägtgren as I'm right, what made him the perfect man for Devian and can you tell me something about him?  


Peter is the man!! We go way, like way back and he´s been an immense help and support for me in general. We´ve had many a good times on the road and on a personal level and he has always delivered since he´s pretty relentless in his work fashion so we knew it was going to be good. We started out at the Art Decay which is co-owned by Emil but with Peter coming down and configuring the studio and making clear what he wanted done. Then we continued the recording in the Abyss and finished off there with mixing. With enhancing production notes and vision for the overall picture, Peter is the best I´ve worked with. We wanted the guitars dry but powerful so you get all the action instead of a carpet of distortion and he shouted "I just realized what´s what!! I´ve got the vision!!!" and he kept working from there, the bassguitar that sounds like a piano from hell in a cathedral was his doing, he spent days working on the sound of it. Even though it was not easy for him to get there, he knew what he wanted so bad he just didn´t give up. When he shut down the studio at night he took his Mac with protools to his bedroom and kept going haha, what a class act!



In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas? 


The vocal production details for instance, the canon style singing in "The Unspoken" was one of his ideas as well, as was coaching me in my pitched melodic screaming.


Do you have any favorites on the album? Which element of the album are you most proud of? 


I´m proud as hell of the album in general because I feel that we´ve stepped up a notch which was what we set out to do. The vocal variation was something I felt I needed to get started with since the music called for it and now with that gate opened it´s gonna spill over on the next album. I love “Vultures” the most probably. I called for shorter songs on this one, it was my main pet peeve with ‘Ninewinged’ that we couldn´t seem to finish a straight forward song in less than 5 minutes apart from the very last ones we wrote. So we all got to it fixing 3-4 minute songs when Joinus came with Vultures and I was just like Noooooooooo!!! 7:30 are you nuts?! After he played me the draft I felt like an idiot, his stuff was absolutely brilliant and the longevity added even more epic feel to it so very appropriately it became the elegy of Death that I probably needed to vent the killing of one of my closest friends.


Have you received any feedback on the album yet?


Yes, both from metalheads in it for the music and from press and the business. It´s been really positive.


Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?  


Yeah, it´s extremely important. We feel we would be arrogant idiots not to listen or care when the only thing that keeps us justified in the scene is the attention and appreciation from other people in it. We brought a portable studio on the road with us and depending on how the audience reacted to the different songs of ‘Ninewinged’ we altered parts here and there on ‘...Illfated’. So in a very real way, this is an album influenced by the fans.


Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective? 


No, I like our work for being a testimony of who we were right then and there, we have so much more music left to write and perform and we feel like our best work lies ahead of us so it´s all good.


Which song is your favorite one to play live? Which song do you find is the most challenging one to play live? 


I thought “Assailant” would be a challenge because of the clean singing but once we did it it was no problem. So I can’t think of other problems really since we don´t go all out on a tech level. But “Assailant”, “The Unspoken”, “I´m the Pariah” and “Vultures” have been insane live because of the way people have gotten into them, and since we are an interacting band with the crowd live the venues had a riotlike feel to them.


Who are your greatest influences - both in terms of composition as well as your guitar playing?  


Ozzy, Jim Morrison, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Marty Friedmann would be a few.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? 


I think if you have the itch of an artist soul you have it for better and for worse. I remember roadtripping with Emil and we had this long talk about all the opportunities of a nice life that we´ve passed up so far to grab metal by the horns time and again in our lives. And all the anxiety and weirdness that comes with being a creative mind.  I told him "You reckon how easy life would be if we were not so restless and were content with a dull uncreative regular type of life?". We both stared at the road for a while and then Emil turned to me and said "But if you had the choice, who´d you rather be then, than who you already are?". We laughed. There is no saving us. For better and for worse there is no other life that is not nuts.


With all the touring and two albums in less than 1 ½ years, how far has Devian surpassed your original dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of being in the band? 


I love the brotherhood feel that we have, that we always manage to have so much fun together. As a pack we laugh at the world and don´t feel any urge to say we´re sorry. Devian has far to surpass anything. We´re lucky for what we´ve gotten and achieved so far but this is only the very beginning.


What were the highlights and low points throughout your career? 


Highlights: The scandinavian BM rebellion, Panzer Division Marduk, meeting Emil, founding Devian.

Lowpoints: Some backstabs and betrayals from past glories. Nothing that I´m bitter about though. Lessons lived are lessons learned.


What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? What do you think about the overload of bands at the moment? 


It´s got an insane amount of talent. And an insane amount of crap that keeps pumping out by the second. Who´s gonna be able to afford to buy and support everything to make it last? Everyone is trying to re-coup lost CD sales by going on the road, with a growing festival season and a shortened touring season it´s a hard knock life. I think we´re gonna see an implosion around the corner, fight for survival starts now!


Where do you see the band going within the next 5 years, and where do you see the band's musical direction going for the next album?


We´ve been working more on the rythmic side of things, a sharper red line will burn through the album and the concept and the mytos behind it will emerge clearer.


Any last statement?

See you at the Winterfest!!
Bloody X-mess!!!



Current line-up:  
Legion - Vocals
Joinus - Guitar
Tomas Nilsson - Guitar
Carl Stjärnlöv - Bass
Emil Dragutinovic - Drums 

Former/past members:
Marcus Lundberg - Guitar
Roberth Karlsson - Bass


Ninewinged Serpent  (2007)
God To The Illfated (2008)