February 2000 - REVEREND BIZARRE
REVEREND BIZARRE is an interesting new band from Finland. They play their own version of classic Doom Metal, strongly influenced from bands like Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General etc. Last year they released their first demo 'Slice of Doom' that is an uncompromising statement of heavy Doom. Currently the line-up consists of Albert Magus (v./b.), Peter Vicar (g.), and Earl of Void (dr.) He was so kind to answer some of my questions about this hopeful band.
Please, at first give us an overview about the band's history. Have you played in any other groups before?
REVEREND BIZARRE was formed in a small southern Finland town in 1994, with a mission to revive the music we grew up listening to but which by then had quite completely been suffocated by its own offspring, namely Stoner Rock, Atmospheric/Gothic Doom, etc. We set forth on our quest, with our first drummer Juippi still on board, but things didn't really work the way we had intended. When Peter eventually moved to a bigger city the whole thing came to nothing. Years went by and nothing happened, until Albert too wound up in the same city with Peter. It soon transpired that old love to true Doom had never died. Our drummer, however, had meanwhile taken to doing drugs, having no interest left in anything else anymore. Luckily, it turned out that Earl of Void, an old band mate of Albert's and a sprout of the same small town, had been lodging in the city in question for many years. Quite soon this musician, doomster alike, found himself playing with these two fellows. REVEREND BIZARRE was born again. Things started to really roll along when this new drummer was released from prison, and here we are now. Each of us does have at least some kind of background in various musical activities (eg. bands, 'zines, gig organizing), and we are still active in other bands as well.
You're playing in the good old tradition of bands like Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General, Pentagram etc. What are your other influences? Do you listen to old Finnish heavy rock bands like Charlies?
That's right! REVEREND BIZARRE is influenced only by true Doom Metal bands, like the ones you mentioned. Still, it is necessary to pay tribute to the other masters of this style as well, such as TROUBLE, THE OBSESSED, and PENTAGRAM. Of course there are also a couple of newer bands we like, namely WARNING and MOURN. Unfortunately, most of the promising new bands seem to switch camps to this Stoner bullshit. And we hate them all! We have of course heard CHARLIES , but they aren't really any big thing to us. However, their vocalist did have another band, HAIKARA, which we do find worthy of mentioning. They played something like dark progressive rock. Our greatest inspiration comes, naturally, from BLACK SABBATH, whose 'Last Supper' Tour by the way happened to reach our poor secluded Finland as well. Very all right indeed!
How is the situation for Doom Metal bands in Finland? Or are there only Black Metal bands or Heavy Rock bands?
Unfortunately, there are no publishing channels for real Doom Metal here in Finland. If we played Stoner Rock, we'd probably be much better off, as that shit is currently the rising trend in music business here too. The last one was, actually, the above-mentioned Black Metal, but that trend is seemingly starting to die down by now. And we're not really interested in that kind of culture. There are great Heavy Metal bands here in Finland, tough, such as CHILDREN OF BODOM and UNHOLY. Very popular are also bands like HIM, NIGHTWISH, SONATA ARCTICA, AMORPHIS, and SENTENCED. PAKENI and DISGRACE aren't really popular, at least in a hit chart kind of way, but we think they should be mentioned as well. We, then again, seem to be the only Doom band here. Even UNHOLY, a band usually labeled as Doom Metal, is quit far from our conception of true Doom.
Are there record companies or smaller labels in the underground, who are interested in Doom/Heavy stuff?
As we already mentioned, our field isn't much noted here in Finland. Thus we've focused our promotion mainly to Britain, and would appear that we've aroused at least some sort of interest there.
In other parts of Scandinavia are a lot of 70's influenced heavy rock bands and people, who loves music like this. Do you have any festivals in Finland?
We have only two Heavy Rock festivals here in Finland, Nummirock and Tuska Festival. All the other events seem to be just some occasional club gigs. We aren't really sure about the situation in the rest of Scandinavia, but since Sweden holds very strong scenes in many different styles, there are probably a lot more festivals there than here.
What are your plans for the new year 2000 (tour, records, etc.)?
The year 2000 appears quite good before us. Surprisingly many quarters shown interest in our work, and, actually, we shall even appear on MISKATONIC FOUNDATION'S forthcoming compilation 'At the Mountain of Madness II' (should not something unexpected happen!). We have also planed to working on a new promotional CD ('Crush the Insects!'), which means that we're still seeking for a contract to sign. So far only some modern Metal Labels have contacted us concerning a possible record deal, but those bastards haven't even heard our music yet, they've propably just read a couple of reviews and figured we might sell. We will not be their fucking puppets! We rather work with friends, like MISKATONIC's Rich (our blessings to him!). Of course we'd really like to go touring and stuff like that, but that's really difficult here. People have to hear our music before they can decide whether to come see us or not, and for that we first of all need the deal. We can't afford to release anything by ourselves. If we could, we would. As for the rest of our plans, the crusade goes ever on.
Well, ok. Thanks for your answers and good luck!