Art: Vladimir Chebakov

Bio: Zarraza started to annoy the metal community of Kazakhstan in 2018 when our debut album, Necroshiva, came out. The music and support from local metalheads helped us get opening slots for Sepultura, Ektomork, Rotting Christ, Katalepsy, and Arkona. The second release, Rotten Remains, caught more attention due to the videos for ‘Failed Apocalypse’ and ‘The Grudge’. The latter was an experiment where we mixed metal with Kazakh ethnic instruments. This also became a formula for our Kreated In Blood EP, where we butchered three classic songs (Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’, Kreator’s ‘People Of The Lie’, and Gojira’s ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’) by adding Kazakh ethnic instruments to the mix. We treated the cover art for the EP with the same approach. Surprisingly Metal Hammer UK featured our version of ‘Raining Blood’ in the ’10 best new metal songs of the week’ along with Megadeth and Ozzy Osbourne.

In our songs, I concentrate on the importance of free-thinking, freedom of speech, and problems caused by organised religion. On the cover EP, I didn’t write any lyrics – but I strongly felt them. The most difficult was Gojira’s ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’. The songs about the personal crisis, intertwined with the emotional performance, meant that recording the voice took a lot of time. Otherwise, Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ was an enjoyable process – to add my screams to the classic. Some reviewers said I put too much pressure into the performance, took the vocal to the extreme, and lost some spirit of the song. I did the vocal the way we performed the song live – and it looks like the audience enjoyed my extreme approach. That’s why I decided to record it this way. Nobody can outdo Tom Araya’s vocal performance, so I didn’t even try.

The main ritual is the hours of practice. Very occasionally, it’s cocktail, and none works if you don’t have emotions and life experiences in the song. Accidental street conflict could cause a great riff—travel, sex, diving into other people’s lives. Your music has to be filled with real emotions!

Heavy metal is the law. Led Zeppelin turned me into rock music with ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Metallica showed me how metal could be angry and emotional with …And Justice For All, and Megadeth, Slayer, and Sepultura turned into my cult. Once you get chills from listening to metal music – you are infected forever! Some may say, “I have outgrown metal music so that you will grow up too someday”. My answer is – no, you didn’t. You just never felt it and spent your time with metalheads for some reason besides the music itself. You just lied to yourself.

As a kid, I admired Alexander The Great as a conqueror. Now I believe people like this were murderers and destroyers first of all. We should learn from Giordano Bruno or Laplace, who was brave enough to say to Napoleon, “I don’t need a God to explain the Universe”. Scientists like this are real heroes to me now.

There is a saying – music is an art to make people sad or happy without cause. For the listener, it’s a way to have a more profound life experience, ease the pain, or strengthen yourself. It’s a way to say what you feel without words. For performers, it’s a way of self-expression, and I found it more important it’s a way to make yourself a better person through the creative process. It’s all about living music created in the rehearsal space – not the plastic products.

I love Canadian thrashers Besieged and their album Victims Beyond All Help. It sounds like a lost Sepultura album from the 80s. You may say I’m obsessed with thrash metal, but why not if it fills you with energy and a love of life?
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