Repulsive Echo Records:Torch Holders of the Eternal School of Death Metal
True classic death metal is alive and well and one of the labels we can thank for that is Greece’s Repulsive Echo Records. Starting out as a zine in 1999 dedicated to the underground, it progressed into a small distro and ultimately established itself as a label. Releases from classic bands like Malevolent Creation and Morta Skuld to new stars of the genre like Psalm and Ectoplasma prove this label is keeping the spirit alive. We spoke to owner Kostas Vaxevanos about the current resurgence of the genre and what’s in store for 2019.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to falling in love with death metal.
It was back in 1995 after been entranced by albums such as Beneath the remains, Show no mercy and Persecution mania. The more brutal music was getting in to my stereo the more i was enjoying it. Death metal was a physical evolution to my ears. I was amazed by the heaviness, grooves and the technical skills of the bands such as Death, Benediction, Sinister, Napalm Death. Then with the direction of some older fans i got into more brutal stuff like Suffocation, Monstrosity, Broken hope. Some of them had a strong impact to my point of view through their lyrics. I think i learned more useful things through death metal than school itself.
Repulsive Echo started out as a zine. What was the underground music scene in Greece like back in 1999? We typically do not think of the late 90’s as a great time for heavy metal so there must have been a deep passion to start something like this.
That is very true but the best bands are hidden in the underground. 1999 was actually one of the best years in Death Metal. I didn’t expect big labels to show me the way plus Death Metal wasn’t popular at all. Melodic metal was and black metal. I started to write to bands, exchange opinions, tapes, flyers with the old snail mail which was really nice to get letters from the other side of the world and talk about music. So it started and i discovered great bands that kept Death Metal alive like Internal Bleeding, Skinless, Malignancy, Deeds of flesh, Prophecy… there were hundreds lol… Greece was poor but then came Inveracity, Homo Iratus, Extreme Violence and others.
At what point did you move from being a zine to releasing records? What bands were you releasing at that time?
Repulsive echo was a small distro during the fanzine days.. Most stores would not carry underground gems. We began in 2013 releasing one of my top favorite demos. DIABOLIC’s city of the dead demo 1997 from Florida. It was a dream i had since I was 23 years old and it was resurrected at that time. It was a very creative new part in my life and we started with much passion and potential to bring something different and totally professional.
You became an “official” label as of 2013. You seem to focus more on the bands that are inspired by the classic death metal sound. What is it about that particular era that draws you to it?
For me there is no such thing as old school or new Death Metal. Death Metal is one. Eternal. That is why my friend Paul call us as torch holders of the eternal school of death metal. If you notice closer older and newer bands the characteristics are the same, slow heavy parts, insane riffs and speeds, technical and smart parts that keep the listeners attention. Even the acoustic intros or outros have their meaning. Death metal can travel you in the most unseen from sun caves and to dark streams.
Tell us about the scene over in Greece currently. What bands, clubs, record stores are worth checking out?
We have always had bands that attract interest from abroad, right now Dead Congregation are the leaders. Abnormal inhumane, Ectoplasma and tons of others. There are some clubs like the legendary AN for shows and others at Gkazi area in Athens. We are lucky to have many records stores either for new or used vinyl, cds etc…Greece has a strong rock and metal fan base.
What is your biggest challenge in running a small, independent label?
Our biggest challenge was to manage and create quality releases and win the trust of fans concerning our dignity and services. I think we are in a good way at both terms. Music industry is not easy but the blessing of an independent label is that you can work and act they way you feel 100% We are not diplomats and all our releases are chosen from our personal taste.
What is in store for Repulsive Echo in 2019?
2019 will start very strong with new Malevolent Creation album on tape and the classic The will to kill first time on vinyl in a deluxe edition with bonus printed material. Then an excellent doom death band from Germany Call from Subconscious doing their early stuff from 1990s.
This is your 20th year since the zine started. Congratulations! Any regrets?
Nope, life is what is is. Everything happens for a reason and even the bad ones are for lessons. Its up to us to take it and move on. I try to enjoy the trip, I love what we do as a label and when fans send us back good feedback and are happy we feel happy and complete too! Thank you so much for this opportunity and thank you for spreading music all around!
To learn more about Repulsive Echo Records, please check out the links below.