This interview with the band leader Cosmocrator of MindGrinder was done by Nicki Vassilev in March 2004.

Notodden, Norway. A city known for being home of many skilled audio-extremists. Some mind-blowing examples would be Emperor, Source of Tide... or MindGrinder. Yes, MindGrinder. Their mercilessly smashing full-length debut "MindTech" (recorded by the then-trio at the well-known Akkerhaugen Lydstudio, although the group has recently became a quartet) shall make even the worst skeptics believe it - these Norse guys are definitely more that just the new hammer-strong rulers of old-school yet avantgarde death metal! The ARE death metal!

For more information about the band's history, members and experience, their debut "MindTech" and the connection to Nocturnal Art Productions - the record label owned by Samoth (Zyklon, ex-Emperor) - you'd better visit their website... or go through the confessions of MindGrinder's engine - the one and only Cosmocrator (famous for his work with Source of Tide, Windir and Zyklon) himself...

Hi, how are you? What's the latest news about you and MindGrinder these days?
Well, next up is a small local gig together with Disiplin, just to warm up before we do the Inferno Festival gig. Also, I will have to mention the Valfar (of Windir) Farewell Concert at the Rockefeller Arena in Oslo on the 3rd of September. Apart from us, Finntroll, Enslaved and Windir will perform at this event. Besides, we are working on new material and hoping for more shows to turn up this spring.

Sounds quite hectic... However, let's go back in time for a while and focus on MindGrinder's career so far. Would you please tell us the history of the band in your own words?
MindGrinder exists since 1996, but it took us some time to get going for real. We released two demos ("Demolition" and "Bless the Imbeciles"), which were well welcomed and ended up with a deal with the label Sound Riot Records. We recorded the "MindTech" album, but then, due to Sound Riot's financial problems at that point, we had to postpone the album for a while. The whole thing ended when we decided to buy the album ourselves and terminate our cooperation with Sound Riot. After a short while we got a deal with Nocturnal Art Productions. At the same time we added a new member to the band, namely the extremely talented drummer Dan.

What exactly was the problem with Sound Riot Records?
As mentioned, they had some financial problems and could not live up to the agreed contract and our expectations. The guys at Sound Riot are all good, but they run a small label and seemed to have an ongoing struggle with the financial part for most of the time. So we parted ways with no bad blood involved, but more or less a mutual understanding.

And how did you manage to sign to Nocturnal Art Productions?
Samoth had already heard the unmixed album and we knew he liked it. We told him about our situation and offered him the album, and after quite a short while he decided it would suit Nocturnal Art fine to release "MindTech".

Are you satisfied with Samoth's work for you so far?
Very much! He is professional and experienced and fulfilled his role very well. I have seen his way of working over the years, and I was certain that we would be satisfied with him.

Ok, back to MindGrinder. Could you please introduce the band's current line-up?
Cosmocrator (vocals, bass, programming) - Aggrobasspumpinggrowlerbastard!

Titan (guitar) - Brilliant guitar player with thrash flowing through his veins - this marks all his work in MindGrinder. He's also a great vocalist, mind the "clean vox" on the track "Soul Inferno".

Nitrous (guitar) - Also a brilliant guitar player, with machine approach to the material. His solos are of high quality, and some of them are really genius stuff!

Dan (drums) - Extremely talented drummer with extreme capabilities! Watch out for his extravagant drumming on the next album!

Let's concentrate on your debut "MindTech" now. First of all - congratulations, it's really grandiose! Actually, how would you personally define the style on the record?
Thanx a bunch! Well, it certainly has a lot of different influences, but basically it would be labelled extreme metal. More specifically, we are mainly rooted in death and thrash metal, I guess. Then again, we have added some electronica stuff to it, which suited the album well this time anyway.

Which bands had a strong impact on your music? Personally speaking, what comes to mind first is Morbid Angel...
I do personally appreciate Morbid Angel very much and take your observation as a compliment, but then again, we are influenced by a lot of bands, none specific. I would have to say mostly death and thrash bands, but also some 80's metal and industrial stuff.

What about your previous occupations, I mean Windir, Source of Tide, Zyklon? Did they have any influence on MindGrinder's sound?
I guess not very directly really. I have been involved in MindGrinder and doing what we do just as long as the other projects I have been involved in. Of course, they all have been great experiences that have given me a lot of new input on the way.

And did Thorbjørn Akkerhaugen have a big impact on the sound?
As our engineer and a well-skilled metal musician, of course he had some influence, even though I think we sound quite different from other productions from the Akkerhaugen Lydstudio. Besides, we produced the album more or less by ourselves.

What about the songwriting? For example, what do the lyrics of the cuts treat in general?
Oh, they are of the brand "angry with humanity and its residents" lyrics, he-he! The texts in the songs are not very important to us, but they keep a certain standard that suits us fine.

Actually, would you mind telling us a few words about the lyrical and musical "highlights" of each track on the album:

  • "Repulsive Evolution" - The song has a really killer opening riff! Lyrics are about humans' arrogant behaviour towards ourselves, each other and the universe in general.
  • "Regeneration" - From the "Bless the Imbeciles" demo. Lyrics deal with regenerating yourself after a "downfall". To start over again you might have to destroy yourself completely...
  • "War Solution" - This might sometimes be the only solution, but who will be there and take a stand when it all goes down? Note the furious vocals in the last part of the song.
  • "Deception" - The lyrical concept should be obvious. At the time my fave track on the album. The opening riff fucking blows you away! Brutal!
  • "Starspawned Vision" - From the "Demolition" demo, this track goes way back. A bit different as it has some clean vocals in the middle. More use of "traditional" synths here, with "dreamscape" lyrics by T. Lien.
  • "Human Error" - Really slow and brutal, yet aggressive. Once again the lyrics deal with insufficiency and the lack of standards for the human race.
  • "Fire & Equanimity" - Also from the "Bless the Imbeciles" demo. A video accompanies this song on the album.
  • "Sadistic Images" - From the "Demolition" demo. This track is a really old one, too.
  • "Surviving Gadzooks" - Brutal as hell, angry as well! Lyrics deal with the contempt certain groups have for "the rest of us"...
  • "Soul Inferno" - The oldest bastard on the album, the first MindGrinder song ever! It was cool to get it released on tape, stating the very beginning of MindGrinder. It used to be a killer live cut when it was included in the set. Just a bit too much of the song relies on the orchestrations for us to do it live today.

What about the idea "hidden" behind the video for "Fire & Equanimity"?
It is no certain concept in it, it's more or less all filmed in the Notodden area, except for the live footage, which is from a gig at the 1001 W metal festival in Skien, Norway. Whatever we did in the video, we did for the simplest reasons - it fit and looked cool!

So what comes next for MindGrinder?
As mentioned, we look forward to play at the Inferno Festival, and also working on the new material which will be hopefully recorded this autumn.

If there's anything you'd like to add...
Thanx for the questions and the nice words! We hope to be able do some live MindGrinding for you guys soon!

Links of interest:

Nocturnal Art Productions