Shadowheart with Heruvim
Art: Server Terlekchi

We’re Heruvim, old school death metal band from Odesa, Ukraine. The band was formed in 2019 by rhythm guitarist and vocalist Nefarious. Then, Nefarious meeting lead guitarist Kick Flis, bassist Viacheslav Babiienko and Nick (ex-drummer) on drums; a two-song single was recorded in 2020 and released in April 2021. In the same summer of 2021, the band played their first show at Phantasm Fest in Odesa. In July, we started recording a full-fledged Shadowheart EP. Recorded from July 2021 to December 2021. Our slogan and worldview as a band are: ‘Apathy is death. Worse than death because at least a rotting corpse feeds the beasts and insects.’ The theme of the band songs is dedicated to the universe of Robert Irwin Howard, the creator of the Conan universe. Now it is the lyrics and themes of the war in our country, Ukraine. Also, in each of the songs, there is a hidden social subtext.

Empire Falls is dedicated to the fall of the Acheron empire from the same universe. Still, it also contains a message against the imperialistic fascist regime of Russia and against all totalitarian, inhuman systems built on right-wing and imperial ambitions. Song Oppression about inhuman colonisation and wars of aggression, class inequality and capitalism, that any sales system, one way or another, leads to war. Shadowheart is about love, about strong true feelings. The new EP ‘Battle for Cimmeria’, which is about to be released, is entirely dedicated to the war in Ukraine and its consequences.

Our music is my life. This is part of my soul. I live by our group 24/7. This is the only thing that the war did not take from me. Heruvim is a part of my soul. To describe it more precisely, it is a Horcrux in a sense. My soul can be found in our music and band if I die. Everywhere and in everything connected with it.

Our new EP, which will be called ‘Battle for Cimmeria’, is entirely dedicated to the war in Ukraine. It is about the infinite courage of our best soldiers in the world – the Ukrainian soldiers. Who fight for freedom, independence and humanism. They are fighting for the free world, these for us are real superheroes for me, and I can say for sure that superheroes exist, and they are now fighting with the Russian fascist nazis for the freedom of the whole world. There will also be a track dedicated to one personal topic, the betrayal of two people close to me. The closest ones betrayed me, whose words and promises were empty and false. All this happened during the war.

A song will also be dedicated to the upcoming battle for Crimea. Therefore, our EP is called ‘Battle for Cimmeria’. In the world of Robert E. Howard, the man who created Conan and the universe of the Hyborian Era, Cimmeria is Crimea and was located just on the territory of Crimea. Conan is a Crimean, so he calls him ‘Conan the Cimmerian’. Also, in some books, he was the Hetman of the Cossacks near the Zaporoska River. These are all elements of the history of Ukraine. Also, at the beginning of the track, the phrase ‘Glory to Ukraine’, which was said by the fallen Ukrainian soldier and hero of Ukraine – Oleksandr Matsiievskyi, will sound. Russian fascists shot him for refusing to surrender, and his last words were ‘Glory to Ukraine’, after which he was shot. This video has gone around the world; you may have seen it. His words ‘Glory to Ukraine’ sound right at the beginning of the song. I will also say that, in general, the sound itself, the songs, and the arrangements will be in a completely different spirit, unlike the previous two releases. They will be darker and heavier and fully convey everything we have been experiencing for more than a year of living in the largest country in Europe that is at war with the resurgent Hitler in the face of the old bastard from the Kremlin. These songs are anger, pain, suffering, strength and retribution of the Ukrainian people. Our EP is the history that we create during the war. It is about the fact that the Russian fascist occupiers will be destroyed.

The lyrics are dedicated to the war in Ukraine and the personal mental trauma I received. In general, our lyrics are always dedicated to the universe of Robert E. Howard the Universe of Conan. But as in the previous release, we add prosocial themes and the social subtext. Wrapping it all in a fantasy theme. True, to be honest, in the new release, there will be nothing fantasy except for names from the universe of Robert Howard, almost none. Everything is very frankly straightforward and realistic. The texts of the new EP reflect our reality. As I said, they are all devoted to the war between Ukraine and fascist Russia.

It used to be fantasy, the Conan universe, and many other things from a peaceful life where there was no war. Now it is war, the courage and fearlessness of our soldiers and our people, and the injustice and terrorism that Russia is doing. It is very important for us that this state called Russia, this fascist state, be destroyed by any means.

I love philosophy and read a lot of it. The period of existentialism is close to me, but the German School of Philosophy is even closer. Novalis, Kant, Jaspers, Hegel, Wittgenstein and many other philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Zizek, Descartes, and Sartre. We also try to raise acute social topics, for example, the topic of colonisation (song: Oppression) and imperialism (song: Empire Falls); we dedicated this song at all concerts to the fascist regime of Russia even before the start of their full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as well as to all others totalitarian anti-human regimes. We also have a song about love, with rather deep lyrics about insanely strong love; this song is Shadowheart.

If you are asking about our philosophy of life, then we are all convinced of anti-fascists, anti-racists and anti-nazis. We come from the punk rock – hardcore scene, so for us, the fight against fascism, social inequality, and any manifestations of xenophobia, as well as issues of justice and the search for truth, is an integral part of art. Social content and ideas are indispensable components of music and any art. If art does not raise sensitive social topics, it plays a sedative or distracting role. In our vision, art should develop a person’s ability to think and feel. Develop human empathy. So that he could feel, love, sympathise, and empirically know the world. That is, our main goal is humanism. Art is the only thing that teaches a person humanism and can teach him to feel something inside his soul. As for religion in the group, everyone has their views on this. I am a deeply religious person Christian. This is what influenced the name of the band.

I’m a punk rock kid. And initially, I only listened to punk rock. Then I met a friend who lived with me in the same house next front door; he was 15 years older than me and a metalhead. We were introduced by our friends from our yard. They said hey, you listen to this music where people do like this ‘AAAAAAAAAA’ There is a dude Zhenya Kraska, who also listens to this; we need to introduce you. That’s how we met and became friends. He was the one who gave me the to listen to the first death metal bands on tapes. These were the band Death and Children Of Bodom. That’s how it all started. I listened and just freaked out. Before that, I only heard Metallica and some popular metal bands. And then I heard something that I had never heard before. Thus began my story as a metalhead and a love story for metal. And fuck it; it completely changed my life once and for all. Speaking of bands, my favourite bands are Death and Bolt Thrower. Also, Morbid Angel, Obituary and Gorguts. Fuck, I love all old-school death metal. This style is awesome, like all bands who played OSDM.

Music is the only thing that can awaken feelings in a person. To awaken in him his divine essence, his power, to teach him to feel something. Music is how an artist carves a face out of a faceless stone. It shapes the soul and teaches the unformed consciousness to look at the world and see this world, not through the prism of the lies that those in power and society try to impose on us. Music helps shape that consciousness as well as personality. It instils principles and beliefs and teaches one to think. Music is a beacon that helps an innocent soul to come into the light in the darkness. Something that teaches us to realise that we have an animal nature in us and teaches us how to fight it, how to defeat the beast in ourselves. Music makes us human, or what teaches us to develop what makes us human. It teaches us how to feel. Music is the road to God. It’s like if you call him on his cell phone and he advises you. Only here do you learn everything yourself; a person gets a unique experience that only he knows. Brings a unique range of emotions and an associative range. And it also helps him expand his emotional range so that he’s not like a toothpick, as Hermione Granger said. It’s also a weapon, both a sword and a shield, simultaneously. It’s what we fight for people’s minds and souls with. Even states see art as a weapon in the struggle for consciousness. There is even such a thing as ‘soft power. As the great director Jean-Luc Godard said, ‘I think art is a special gun. Ideas are guns’.

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