Injekting Khaos: The Final Deathrattle
Injekting Khaos are, or more appropriately, were, one of those rare species of extreme bands that seldom rear their ugly heads in the underground. From their birthplace in Athens, Injekting Khaos performed explosive, caustic, seething Black Metal that is as relentless as it is cerebral—and as unique as it is timeless.
There is no meaningless nostalgia to be found here, Injekting Khaos were a band that stood stubbornly against a stream of trends and fashions; protruding like a broken bone through tender flesh. Shunning publicity and recognition, approaching their art with the humility and respect it deserved, Injekting Khaos were the class of band that will always remain underappreciated by the herd masses; but whose releases stand as monuments of extreme Metal craftsmanship truly worthy of the worn-out ‘cult’ designation.
On the eve of the posthumous release of their latest self-titled mini album, Temple of Flesh caught up with Injekting Khaos’ chief songwriter and axe-wielder MyLastBreatH to exhume and examine the remains.
All things have a beginning and ultimately, an end. Let us first begin at the end. Injekting Khaos is no more; why has the beast been laid to rest after almost a decade of underground activism? Has Injekting Khaos served its purpose and completed its objectives, thus fulfilled its reason(s) to exist? Do you have any regrets?
The main reason is that our passion for the band started getting thinner, so we decided to stop before we lose the plot. It was always a need to create those songs that drove us and without it Injekting Khaos would not be the band it was.
In hindsight, and if we assume that a band’s ethos is the collective spirit of its members, Injekting Khaos definitely served its purpose. No plans, no direction, just instinctual movements. Now that Injekting Khaos is no more, it looks to me like a complete entity: poor discography, few live shows, but all of them manifestations we stand by 100%. It was an honest expression of our mental states and our lifestyle; we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Let us continue with the question of origins for a moment. What was the motivation, inspiration or catalyst that lead certain individuals to conspire towards creating this horrendous racket under the name Injekting Khaos? Who was involved in the band up until its conclusion?
From the very beginning, the members were the same three: SyrinX on drums and vocals, Xaos on bass and myself on guitar. Various combinations between us had appeared in other bands before, ranging from traditional Black Metal to Florida-style Death Metal. Then, late 2002, following Xaos and SyrinX’s initiative, we formed Injekting Khaos with the sole purpose to play Black Metal that departs from the Black Metal rules. Essentially, we threw all our influences and our ideas together under a banner of darkness and anger. Our name is a tribute to Antaeus, a very special and original band; that is telling of where we came from.
A.V. of Dead Congregation and Nerteroz of Eschaton have appeared with us on stage, but they were session musicians. Two or three others occasionally appeared in the studio to practice with us, but none was officially admitted into the camp.
Injekting Khaos’ CV is relatively brief; thinly spread over a demo and two mini albums. Many bands have single albums longer than your entire discography but fail quite miserably in matching Injekting Khaos’ sheer incendiary conviction. Before we discuss the present, spare some thoughtful insight on your past works.
They were two consecutive steps towards establishing our identity. Although some riffs are nods to bands that the listener can name, I see the songs as standing on their own and expressing something I feel is unique. They both contain music that still sends shivers down my spine, so I’m proud for them both. For their ‘historical’ value, they were quite different from what was going on at the Greek scene—perhaps even the scene worldwide—at the time.
Our main source of bitterness is the church as an institution, however—these deranged hypocrites who practice not what they preach, and preach way more than they should.
The Injekting Khaos modus operandi has always seemed to be one of efficiency; concise audial poisoning by way of small but highly concentrated doses. None of your songs pass the four-minute mark, so to use words as efficient as your music: short but sweet. What is the reasoning (if any) behind this approach?
We simply took the songs where they needed to be taken. The new release will prove you wrong though—we went near the five-minute mark on two songs!
In the past, Injekting Khaos has taken to the stage on several occasions, performing alongside renowned acts such as Antaeus, Dead Congregation, Watain, Acrimonious, Ravencult, and many others. How were these experiences and how were you received by your audience? For those of us who have not had the privilege of ever witnessing the band live, what constituted an Injekting Khaos concert?
The members onstage without any corpsepaint, banners or special clothes. A wave of fervor and silly mistakes that any professional band would easily avoid. Despite our very unprofessional appearances, we got a very good reaction from the crowds all times. It was an honor for us to appear with these bands, and it was pleasing to see that very few of them were imbeciles.
Despite a handful of live appearances, Injekting Khaos have always struck me as an entity lurking in the shadows. The clear lack of available information, band photographs, live footage, interviews and available lyrics leaves much to speculation. It is almost like the band possess a distinct aversion to being in the limelight.
We never felt like chasing the spotlight. People can listen to our songs. Why would they want anything else from a band, right? Right. That is why we could never be one of these bands that have their faces and opinions all over the press.
Moving on to the present. Injekting Khaos are slated to release a new self-titled mini LP. Give us your thoughts regarding this release.
Many hours of contemplation, practice, and silence went into the songs. All three of us were in weird states of mind, individually and collectively, in that period. The negativity within us and between us was greater than ever, and that is suitably reflected there.
The oldest riff in there is from 2005, and the most recent from 2009. The recordings were more focused and, at the same time, more chaotic than ever before. It may be worth noting that recording ended in summer 2009 but a number of drawbacks have kept it so long from being released. For these and many other reasons, it really feels like a cursed piece of work to us.
Self-titled albums usually mark a defining moment in the career of an artist. Is this especially true for Injekting Khaos, considering it is the band’s final release?
It is scheduled to be the final release from Injekting Khaos, but that was not premeditated. The title occurred after our inability to decide on a better one, so please don’t take it as part of a plan, either! It does serve as a great tombstone though, and we all agree on that.
Injekting Khaos releases are distinctly characterised by a barrage of machinegun drumming and searing riffs awash in a thick layer of acidic distortion—but your latest mini LP seems to demonstrate a slight shift in approach to one I can only describe as more abstruse. Songs on Injekting Khaos are now more drawn out, seemingly sculpted as opposed to hammered out as before. Discordance, syncopation and moments of sparseness also counterplay against the paroxysmal khaos—as if the violence was no longer human, but elevated to something else… How would you say Injekting Khaos compares to your previous efforts aesthetically, conceptually and musically?
You said it perfect. Musically, it somehow trades the raw, straight-ahead attack of the previous recordings for something multidimensional, sinister and warm. We did work a lot more on the fine details but that doesn’t compromise the ferocity—quite the contrary, actually. We use this elaborate musical weaving to conceptually and aesthetically expand on our previous offerings, not to present something new altogether.
A band’s visual identity is often a gateway to their music. Injekting Khaos’ first logotype is perhaps a contemporary piece of art by itself; comprised of blocky, condensed typography mashed under an M60 machinegun loaded with syringes. For your latest self-titled mini LP, a brand-new logo was revealed. Anorexic, hand-drawn blackletter flows into an organic, spiderlike sigil that virtually drips off the page to shape the band’s monicker; a form in stark contrast to its predecessor but just as visually stunning. Is this immediate stylistic change in identity a reflection of a greater evolution of Injekting Khaos as an entity?
Unconsciously, I guess it is. We view the visual identity as an organic part of the whole so it should be no surprise that we used different things this time around. We still love the logo by Metastazis, a great artist. It wouldn’t fit with the new album cover and overall aesthetics though.
Is this evolution a result of intuitive progression or a deliberately calculated recalibration of the madness behind the method?
Intuitive, as was everything about this band. However, given that at the time of composing there was an idea of what Injekting Khaos sounds like, there was a tingly feeling of working on something that already exists and is going somewhere, instead of the manic feeling of giving birth to something. Still, we made sure that first and foremost it is us that is expressed in the songs; ‘us’, the 23 year-olds who recorded the album, not our 20 year-old past selves.
You say your approach to everything within the sphere of Injekting Khaos is entirely intuitive, I find this suprising due to what I perceive in your music as an air of distinct discipline. By that I mean your compositions feel like well-crafted constructions—all the fat has been trimmed and no superfluous meandering is to be found. Your performances on tape are executed like military manoeuvres, that is to say, tidy and tyrannical but with the brooding sense of something ready to fall apart still lingering. How do you reconcile these two contrasts in conceptualisation and execution? Is the intuition and instinct focussed or is it like a wild beast running amok?
Imagine a well-trained beast and you’ve got it.
The cover of your new self-titled mLP, courtesy of the excellent Viral Graphics, depicts a deserted holy city in ruins. Cracked spires claw towards the heavens, temple walls shatter and pillars crumble while a black sun rises over a barren horizon. What is the significance of this strikingly bleak cover, also considering the context of the release as the band’s swansong? What is the lyrical signficance of the album in relation to the cover?
Again, the cover was not done with the thought of a swansong in mind. We met with Viral Graphics, gave them the songs (music and lyrics), told them a few images and colors that come to our minds when we listen to the songs, and gave them freedom to do as they pleased. The result was more than satisfying. If you ask me, it reflects the bleakness of the modern world, especially as experienced in the 2010s, but with a hint of light. Viral Graphics did an excellent job with putting music and lyrics to painting.
The liner notes of your Salvation Through Violence mCD contains some cleverly placed references to the following historical dates: 34 AD – the year of Christ’s crucifixion; 305 AD – the year of Roman Emperor Diocletian’s death; and 336 AD – the year of official declaration of the Anno Domini calendar era. Also, “The Priest Brought the Plague” is a track appearing twice on your first two releases! It appears that Injekting Khaos have a serious axe to grind with Christianity…
Absolutely. Our main source of bitterness is the church as an institution, however—these deranged hypocrites who practice not what they preach, and preach way more than they should. This is what is reflected in the succession of these dates: the passage from ideas to concrete laws and customs. Since I write the lyrics, let the world know that my anger with ‘God’ ended in the lines of “Deus Vult”.
Anti-Christianity is a common sentiment found throughout Black Metal; perhaps the only fairly consistent one throughout the many permutations of the genre. However, this begs the question: Without Christianity, would Black Metal even have a reason to exist? Is Black Metal merely a reactionary art form in the business of putting itself out of business? Are there other viable ideological and/or spiritual ideals within the genre that lie beyond a simplistic antipathy for religious dogma?
Amazing question. I can’t speak for every single musician out there, but here’s my opinion: What is expressed in Black Metal lyrics is unhappiness and a way out of it. It happens to be turned against Christianity, because Christianity is a dominant force of the western world, with ever-permeating presence, gloomy texts and cool symbols.
From the moment one decides to remove him or herself from the Christian dogma, many options become available. Many of them could be viable within a Black Metal context in my opinion, as long as they focus on the right aspects.
“Unhappiness” is a rather vague word but granted, I have never heard of a “happy” Black Metal band! In your own terms, what are the ‘right’ aspects that Black Metal can/should focus on? It has been said that at its very core, Black Metal is similar to Punk, only with the focus on individual liberation than a social one. Is Black Metal inherently pessimistic or is a positive outlook with regards to the individual possible in the context of the genre?
At the heart of it, I think Black Metal is a romantic form of art, meaning that it maps onto ideals and ideas removed from mundane reality. Therefore it provides a push. I see that push as something ugly that pushes forwards. Then again, I don’t listen to depressive/suicidal Black Metal. What anyone makes out of this push and how anyone experiences it is entirely bound to the individual.
Neitzsche once wrote: “The word Christianity is already a misunderstanding—in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross.” Your thoughts on this statement?
I couldn’t agree more. Personally (and I can’t stress that enough!), I respect the figure of Jesus as a man standing for what he believed and dying for it. A man. Someone that resembles the Jesus in Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation: a mortal following his impulses, not the son of God roaming the earth as a pastime.
Now, this man may or may not have existed—in any way, someone came up with the ideas presented in the gospels. The gospels themselves are, at the same time, the great departure from that figure of the mortal I’m describing. With the fairytale elements of walking on water, resurrecting etc. added to the description of that man’s life, the reader is utterly fucked. From then on, it’s an epic downhill, exemplary of how much you can dilute meanings and interfere with people’s lives and mentality. These teachings lose their meaning when they become doctrines.
Also taken from the liner notes of the Salvation Through Violence mCD: “The Angel of Light descends, and His glory shall be the indisputable salvation”. In many religions, spiritual salvation is more or less described as unity with God. I assume it is safe to say that “Angel of Light” in this quote is a reference to Lucifer. What do you view as salvation?
In line with my view of Lucifer described below, I view Salvation as the struggle to make the world your own, the struggle to follow your own path. As such, Salvation is not an end; it is a never-ending process, a constant affirmation of yourself and your will and the joy this brings. It starts with self-realisation and acceptance; and works through sincerity, open-mindedness and conviction.
It would be a grave error to dismiss the subject of Satan/Lucifer as of critical importance within the Black Metal genre. Western mainstream religion and society tends to view Satan as a primeval destructive figure acting in antithesis to the Light, and is oftentimes a scapegoat for all the ills of the world. Conversely, others view Him as a liberating force, the Serpent that gifted Man with self-awareness. There seem to be numerous viewpoints on this subject, but who—or what—is Satan to you?
Satan is a primeval force, an impetus that makes a sentient being strive for his/her ways to define his/her life. In humans, this may translate to the act of going against the norm, the establishment, the routine imposed by others or by the self. The process entails change and illumination, both of which may scare (away) the unprepared person.
Satan, to me, is a force to be cherished and nurtured; I guess that is what devoted Satanists mean when they ‘worship’ their lord, but in my opinion standardized rites and ceremonies have little to do with the cause, other than perhaps setting the mood for something greater. It is a personal thing.
I must stress that I’m only using Satan here as a metaphor, in order to give the Christian-raised people of the world something to relate to it. Also, Satan has never appeared in my lyrics.
To me, Black Metal is a feeling of expansion and turmoil, of power and horror; a bleak void. That is there first, and the music comes later.
Be that as it may, Satan has, to me at least, appeared in His very essence extensively throughout the highly transgressive nature of your music. Your noise is steeped in an emotion of violent but triumphant transcendence and liberation on all fronts; spiritual and mundane. Of course, words like “Satan” can serve a convenient purpose if taken in the right mindset, otherwise they become more restrictive than liberating. Be that as it may, the purpose of words is to define, which is in itself a form of restriction. So, how would you define music? What ‘kind’ of music is Injekting Khaos?
We always thought of Injekting Khaos as a Black Metal band, despite our influences from other genres. Whether we were such a band though, I couldn’t care less.
Black Metal is undoubtedly a transgressive art form. Yet paradoxically, the genre is arguably perpetually tethered to its own past; perhaps lost in a labyrinth of its own fixations with tradition and what is or is not ‘true’. Has Black Metal become as dogmatic as those it purports to despise? Are tradition and progression antithetical to one another or can they be complimentary?
Semantically, tradition and progression are opposites. Art is beyond such boundaries, though. Now, as for the fixations of Black Metal, these are mainly formed by the people who listen to Black Metal as a way of finding an identity. Most of them seem to be there for the wrong reasons and/or to be quite confused regarding what they’re after, music-wise and beyond. Calling somethng ‘true’ or ‘false’ is utterly stupid if you don’t know the motives behind it, but it serves as a way of sign-posting their preferences within the scene so a norm by which you become a Black Metal warrior can be established. What a great waste of time. If everyone listened to whatever he or she likes, none of these would be around.
On the other hand, Black Metal is also a genre characterised by much diversity over the past two decades, perhaps equally so ideologically and conceptually as in terms of actual musical content and dynamics. What is Black Metal to you as an artist?
Ah, the million-dollar question! To me, Black Metal is a feeling of expansion and turmoil, of power and horror; a bleak void. That is there first, and the music comes later. Of course, Black Metal is also a form and, although I get this feeling from Black Sabbath, Coven, The Doors, Goblins, Howling Wolf and Liszt, I wouldn’t seriously label any of them as Black Metal. The seething vocals, the crushing drums and the discordance are essential ingredients, in my opinion. Each of them, however, can take many different directions and I cannot pick between Deathspell Omega and Black Witchery.
With the demise of Injekting Khaos, what does the future hold for its members? Can we hold our breath in the hopes of a resurrection in the future?
Each of us has gone on to do his own things. SyrinX blasted in the Astrogrind camp of Dephosphorus before focusing on his Classical music studies; XaoS plays Crust Punk with Conspiracy of Denial and Powerviolence with Lifewreck; and I play Death Metal in Dysemblem and occasionally work on acoustic drone.
You never know what the future holds, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Before the hammer falls onto the final nail in the small and oddly-shaped coffin Injekting Khaos has built for itself, do you have any last words?
See for yourselves.