TOTAL DEVASTATION

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with the vocalist Jaakko Heinonen of the Finnish death metal band Dark Funeral was done by Sam Chronic through e-mail in July 2003.

The debut album for Total Devastation entitled "Roadmap of Pain" is set to hit the stores on June the 16th. Tell us a little about the album.
The album is being labelled as modern death metal, so that gives you some idea of what to expect. There are 10 brutal death metal songs with industrial influences. In June it was released in Finland and a month later in the rest of the world.

I understand that you did not write the lyrics but obviously with the album name being "Roadmap of Pain" the song writing must deal with a lot of personal issues.
Well, that one you should be asking from the man himself (Ville Heiskanen), but I think there are some personal issues in the lyrics. Still as I recall him saying most of them come from everyday life frustration and anger.

With songs like "I am God" and "Left Hand of the Devil" is it safe to say that there is a religious side to Total Devastation?
There definitely isn't any religious side in the band. The songs you are referring to are just stories about sick and twisted people. We have absolutely no interest in religion.

This is your first full studio album but not your first release, if fact the band has released 5 demos with the first also being titled "Roadmap of Pain". Is there some sort of story behind the name?
The title came originally from a movie called "The Frighteners", there is a brilliant scene where this psycho character played by Jeffrey Combs reveals his scarred body and refers to it as The Roadmap Of Pain. He mumbles "My body is the roadmap of pain, but pain has its reward...". That quote is also on the first track of the album I am God, and it's performed by Tapio Wilska of Finntroll. It is such a great movie that we decided to use the name again.

Will those Demos's ever be re-released in the future?
There definitely will not be any re-releases coming. The first three demos are so awful, that there is no point in re-releasing them. And also we've used the best songs from the last two demos in the Roadmap of pain album.

With so many different elements in your sound can you break down for us how the writing process usually works?
Mostly someone comes up with a good idea or a demo tape and then we just start to build the song from different elements. The songs often change quite a lot after we add the computer sounds and parts and after the final production. Normally there are many phases when we write new material.

Total Devastation is certainly a modern form of death metal. How long did it take for the band to "find" their sound?
After we got the current line-up together it was obvious how the sound and style would develop. The first three demos were quite shitty experimental industrial stuff, but on the fourth demo "divine ecstasy" we realized that we were on the right path. And after that the progress has been very natural.

How do you feel about other modern death metal bands like The Berzerker?
Well, actually I don't know too many so-called "modern" death metal acts and the one you mentioned isn't exactly my favourite. Still it's very hard to say what is "modern" and what isn't. I do like it when some band comes up with something new and different. And often those bands get labelled as a modern metal.

Do you feel that the music scene in Finland right now is fairly strong?
Yes I do. There are lots of different kind of metal bands around these days. And also people come and see the shows more than they used to. There are also lots of active people who arrange gigs and stuff like that and we owe a big thank you to many of those lads.

I am a huge fan of a lot of Finnish bands like Trollheim’s Grott, Funeris Nocturnum and Swallow the Sun. What are some suggestions that you have for good bands in the region?
Well, my personal Finnish favourites are Rotten Sound, Rite, Omnium Gatherum, Mannhai, Mokoma and many others, there are too many to mention all of them.

Total Devastation consists of the three Pikka brothers, the two Hakuli brothers and....you. Is it hard to be amongst such brotherly love? Are there a lot of fights?
There's not too many fights, just some little arguments that you got in every band I think. And I don't see any difficulties in being the so called "lone wolf" 'cause I've known the Pikka bros for all my life and the Hakulis for years so I feel very home with these lads.

Just curious...if all of you did decide to throw down, who would win?
I think it would be a furious battle and after a long bloodshed I think Saku would be the last man standing, 'cause he has lots of tattoos and everything so he looks like an ex-con...

What else is everybody involved in when not working on the band?
Everybody has some other musical projects like Omnium Gatherum and Kaihoro and stuff like that. And some of us with me included are in school and some are working or being unemployed. And rest of my time goes in consuming alcohol and watching football.

I understand that writing for the second album has already begun. What else is up next for Total Devastation?
Yeah, we've started to work on the next album and we have some new songs already written. And of course we have many gigs in Finland and also there have some plans for a European tour in the near future.

To wrap things up would you like to say anything to all the readers out there?
Drink alcoholic beverages and support your local football team. And also visit our site at http://www.totaldevastation.org/ and buy our album.

Thanks a lot for your time. I certainly look forward to hearing more from you guys and good luck in the future!
Cheers for the interview, mate!

Special thanks to Jaakko Heinonen for taking time out of his schedule to participate in this interview. Be sure to check out the new album “Roadmap of Pain” and go to the official Total Devastation site for any news updates and touring info.


Links of interest:

Total Devastation
Firebox Records