Minacious Webzine (Rootsi)


Bestia is an Estonian Black Metal band and they have recently released their second album “Ronkade Parved”. A very diverse album, yet with a quite coherent end result. Musically they are mainly playing harsh Black Metal, but there is also a decent amount of Death Metal and some Thrash Metal in the music. And a Folk music layer that adds pagan touches to the music, with a quite experimental vein, using flutes, viola and saxophone. A really interesting album that sparked my interest in the band which lead to this interview.

Please introduce Bestia to the readers, when did you start the band? Why was Bestia started? What have you released? Line-up and such?


Andres: Idea of creating my own band came some time in the end of 90-ies. I was a member of few other bands back then, but I wanted to create and play my own songs in Death/Black metal style. Seeking for other musicians was very hard, but first stabile line-up appeared finally in the beginning of 2000, so we consider this time as start point of band. For now we have gone through a lot of line-up changes and style has developed to pagan/black metal direction.

We have recorded bunch of demos and two full length albums. Here we go:

Demo 2001
Promo 2002
Suremise teine tee (promo 2003)
Hallutsinatsioon (2004 - Hexenreich, 2005 – Perverted Taste)
Õiglaste tulek (2006 - Hexenreich)
Tagasi Tumedaima saarele (split with Urt, 2007 - Hexenreich)
Ronkade parved (2009 – Hexenreich, Evil Distribution)

Current line-up:

Andres - guitar
Kaval Ants - guitar
Reivo - bass
Rain - drums
Vincent Arckharum - vocal

Why did you choose the name Bestia? I'm guessing it means something like "The Beast" am I correct?

Andres: This name was actually suggested by friend of mine just before our first gig and we found it suitable. Yes, it means “the beast” in several languages. At this time we considered that our music is “bestial” and I think it is kind of good description to our music even now.

Would you say that is ideology or message behind Bestia? If so, what message/ideology? Or do you create music just to create?

Andres: I and Vincent are more concerned about ideological side, than other members. I think the main message is: “The beast is hidden in everyone of us”. There also can be found anti-church/ anti-modern life message in some songs.

Vincent: Bestia’s message to the listeners is plain simple. It is to release the beast within and let nothing stand in your way. There isn’t much ideology to it, because most of our crew’s beliefs differ in some aspects. The ideology we share commonly is the Bestial power that urges within – that is what Bestia stands for, what We stand for.

Bestia have had some line-up changes over the years? Why is that so? Has that affected the music in any way? Positive or negative?

Andres: Yeah we have had quite many line-up changes in nine years of activity. Reasons were different, they varied from laziness to musical disagreements. Of course every ex-member affected our music in some kind of way. On the other hand, most of riffs are written by me and notable changes in sound and themes are just caused by natural progress. Only I and Reivo (bass) have remained in band from former line-up.

Have to say that drummer changes were always very painful for us and band had two longer pauses in activity, because of lack of good available drummers in town. Last big change in line-up happened before recording of “Ronkade parved” album and I think now that it was very good move for band. I had enough time for polishing of new songs and then we did it with fresh forces. Actually there was used session drummer (Thonolan from Urt, Sõjaruun and Realm of Carnivora) and he is kind of the best extreme Metal drummer in local underground.

Are all your lyrics in Estonian? Why do you write lyrics in the Estonian language? What are the lyrics about? Who writes them?

Andres: Yes, all our lyrics are in Estonian. Singing in native tongue is very special thing for us. Lyrics deal mostly about ancient times and battles, nature and there is also some inspiration taken from Nordic and Estonian mythology. Most of new lyrics are written by my good friend, I think they fit with our music perfectly.

Vincent: Our lyrics are all written in Estonian cause it sounds right that way, we feel that it has “Magic” within it that way. Most of the lyrics tell stories of the times in the past – the hardships of men and women, warriors and witches in those grim days.

How has Bestia evolved over the years? How would you describe your music?

Andres: Well, our music has became more technical and atmospheric, we are taking it to new levels. Finally we’ve got stabile line-up and vision how to record our stuff and move on with new themes. Band has become definitely more serious than it was in the beginning and recently we started to use “warpaint” on stage and wear special clothes. So there’s total change in what you see on stage and hear on CD.

From promotional flyer: Bestia's music in 2009 is raw but epic pagan Black Metal with some elements of Folk, Thrash and Death Metal. Aggressive and melancholic parts are mixed together with tempo varying from slow to chainsaw-speed blasts. Lyrics can be described as dark poetry, inspired by ancient times, folklore, mythology and Nordic nature. You can notice some additional instruments used in background: saxophone, viola and flute! All songs are written and performed in Estonian language.

What do you think about "Ronkade Parved"? Are you satisfied with it? How would you describe the album? How would you compare it with your previous material?

Andres: “Ronkade parved” in our best release so far, no doubt. I’m quite satisfied with the result, it has powerful non-commercial sound and song-writing/musicianship is much stronger than it was on previous releases. Using of saxophone, viola and flute is new thing for us and I’d like to continue trying interesting instruments in future. Big change to Bestia’s sound brings also our new singer, but I think that musically it is still possible to recognize Bestia, even if you have heard only our first demo.

Our first album “Hallutsinatsioon” is kind of compilation, we just recorded most of songs what we had ready for this time and it may sound a little unbalanced. Comparing with “Hallutsinatsioon”, “Ronkade parved” is one solid piece in my opinion, few older songs on it got fresh approach. I absolutely hate albums what sound like one long and boooring track, so that’s the reason why our songs are different, we also like Death and Thrash Metal, different rhythms etc.

Explain the title "Ronkade Parved", what does it mean? Is there any concept or themes on the album?

Andres: “Ronkade parved” means “Raven Flocks”, it’s not really conceptual album. It was pretty hard to pick title, finally we decided to put this track on first place and give that name to album. On the cover artwork you can notice hungry ravens floating in the air and hard battle between pagan warriors and christian invaders (what is topic of few other songs).

Comment from author of most of lyrics: “the lyrics speak about introspective and philosophical themes, mixed with sadness, grief and nostalgia, cloaked with fog which comes from pagan views on life”.

How has the response to "Ronkade Parved"? Both press and the public?

Andres: Well, summer isn’t best time for sending promos, but now I’m getting first reviews. Feedback is positive or very positive so far, both from press and public. Really great response for such underground band like Bestia.

There is very big load of extreme music produced in these days and I think it’s pretty hard or nearly impossible to impress metal press with something.

Why did you choose to use a saxophone and other rather unorthodox (in Metal) instruments? How have people reacted to this use of "non-metal" instruments?

Andres: In the beginning, when we started recording, we had no such plans at all. But later, when our stuff was almost ready, I came to idea that one song has such Folkish riffs in the beginning, that flute would be nice addition in there. Soon Ants called that he knows friendly sax and viola players, who are interested in our music. At first this idea was funny, but there was nothing to loose, so I listened our songs again and again and found few moments, where those instruments possibly could be used. The rest is history, it’s such a pleasure to work with professionals, they figured out pretty quickly what to do and arranged their parts without problems.

I’d like to calm down diehard Bestia fans here, we are not going to play progressive/experimental metal. I don’t like this kind of music, but I like to add some spice to our stuff with such things here and there and “non-Metal” instruments will remain in background anyway.

People are always sceptical when I tell them about saxophone, but scepticism usually fades away when they check out our new songs.

And a small follow-up question. Why did you use a viola and not a violin, an instrument that is much more "popular"?

Andres: It’s simple, we just had professional viola player available and decided to try it. Now when I think backwards, it was good choice, as viola sounds lower and juicier, what fits great to our music.

"Ronkade Parved" was first released by your own label? Why? Why did you start the label and how is it going? What have you released?

Andres: Yeah I released it on my own label (Hexenreich Records) at first, because I hate waiting, hehe. We spend always a lot of time on recording, so it’s great way to speed up the process in this way. First edition of “Ronkade parved” comes as nice A5 digipak, limited to 99 copies. It’s also positive thing that I can keep eye on distribution a little bit in this way. Dealing with labels takes usually a lot of time and sometimes you have to wait for months or even years until album comes out finally. I started my non-profit label back in 2004 with Estonian UG metal compilation, just wanted to help guys with little promotion. Previously I traded our first demo with several labels, so I had bunch of stuff for starting distro section as well. This thing started to grow and grow, soon my mailbox was full of various requests and offers. Anyway, this is still my hobby, I don’t want to turn it to big business, where I’m forced to sell a lot of crap to people. It’s all about old school “tape trading”, supporting and discovering of new great bands.

Right now I don’t have much connections with local underground anymore, there are certain people and bands (Realm of Carnivora, Urt) who still are in contact with me, but mostly I deal with bands and labels around the world.

There are 24 releases out on Hexenreich, next one will be Tenebrous Shadow – “Follow the Signs”. It’s great raw Black Metal from Iran. Dealing with “exotic” bands is not new to me, previously I’ve released 3 albums of Sorg Innkallelse, also from Iran.

Why did you choose Evil Distribution to re-release "Ronkade Parved"? What do you think about the label? How have they been treating you?

Andres: I know Janis from Evil Distribution for some years already, he showed interest in our band at one festival, where we played at this time. So it’s logical that he was the first person whom I contacted, when we started recording of new album. He offered deal for 300 hand numbered digi-pak CD-s, it’s great for beginning. Janis is doing good job with Evil Distribution, all possible what small underground label can do for bands.

There is a Folk music influence in Bestia's music. What type of Folk music do you listen to? What has inspired Bestia. Only Estonian folk music? Or Folk music from the surrounding countries maybe?

Andres: Folk is not very often in my play-list, but I like probably most of well done folk music from Baltic states and countries around. Nevertheless, I feel great respect for this kind of music, as it has direct connection to our roots.

Same thing about folk metal bands, I listen to few what do not sound very soft. For example Cruachan’s – “Tuatha Na Gael” album is one of my all time favourites, Skyforger is also great.

What are the future plans of Bestia?

Andres: We rested all summer, guess it’s time now to move our hairy asses back to rehearsal room. Meanwhile I made a couple of new songs and probably we will record them in next year, to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.

So you can expect some more gigs and CD-s from us soon!

Thanks for the interview, end in any way you like.

Andres: Thank you for opportunity to appear in your zine!


September 2009

http://www.minacious.org/int-bestia.html