ALEXEY DURAEV (SAPHATH): “There Was A Lot Of Work And Each Band Member Helped A Lot Besides Just Doing Their Parts Of It”


Upcoming Russian Death Metal outfit Saphath are set to release their debut album Ascension of the Dark Prophet on April 8th. Saphath’s frontman Alexey Duraev took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s first full length album, the band’s influences, the concept behind the band’s music, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: The band’s debut album Ascension of the Dark Prophet is set to be released on April 8th, what can you tell fans about the upcoming album?

Alexey Duraev: The album is quite a piece of work, not only music wise, but lyrically as well. I have been putting together the ideas for it since 2013, I’d say, about 30% of music was composed back then. What took most of the time is finding the right people who would think and feel the same way. Eventually, the production started in 2019, when me and my friend Dmitriy (guitars, back vocals) sat together and decided we are ready to do something magnificent. The album is following a concept, all the songs together form a story of the Dark Prophet and focused on his personality. The Dark Prophet is a character of harsh fate, an outsider in his world, rejected by society, but possessing indomitable willpower and independence. Since his youth, he hears a voice of Darkness in his head and the Darkness is personalized, she is not just a universal power, she is a lady of forbidden knowledge and defiance. You may look at him as Antichrist or Cain and perceive her as Lilith or Mara (Slavic goddess of death), but it is more to them than the known mythological characters. The Prophet aims for reaching the city he sees in his dreams, and this would be the story of his ascension. On his lonely path, he travels around the world seeking knowledge of half-mad wizards, he falls in love and loses his beloved, he gets sentenced and kills, he becomes a ruler and a demigod god and finally reaches his goal, falling into the arms of Darkness in the land of his dreams. The music and lyrics are filled with a poetic combination of loneliness, despair, pain, anxiety, compassion, rage, judgment and questioning of what is believed to be truth.

MER: How the writing and recording process having this being the bands debut?

Alexey Duraev: Writing process is something I genuinely enjoyed. Besides some musical pieces I have composed myself, we’ve had our writing nights with Dmitriy and Nikita (lead guitarist). It would literally look like me rushing into Dmitriy’s place and throwing my ideas at him, and a few moments after a little discussion with a glass of red wine we would already sit by his computer, guitar in his hands and solid riffs coming together one by one. There was a lot of experiments involved as well, looking for sounds to spice up the arrangements and trying different approaches. Really proud of ‘Children of the Night’, where I gave him a start with mandolin and he packed a series of thick riffs on top. As for Nikita, writing with him is different. He is a serious empath and when we were having our personal conversations, he would perceive my emotions as his own, grab a guitar at some point and embody them in music. ‘Asphodel Meadows’ is a great example of it, the most personal and emotional song on the album. Since I mentioned this song, orchestral and piano arrangements for it were quite a tough piece and I asked a pretty well-know arrangement genius, you may know her from YouTube as Misstiq, to help us. It was a lot of joy, she’s truly a genius and a super nice person to work with. As for production part, our friends from a band called StereoDays own a studio and we recorded all the vocal parts, acoustic instruments and choirs (yes, we have actually recorded live choirs) in there. A grand job by our band mate Alexandra. As a professional choir director and extraordinary good singer, she has made brilliant choir arrangements, overseen all the choir recording process and sung in the choir herself. The Faceless One, our drummer, would record the drums in his own little secluded studio, serving only the purpose of drum recording, and, even though I know him for half of my life, he managed to surprise me again with the variety of his parts. There was a lot of work and each band member helped a lot besides just doing their parts of it. As for sound design, mixing and mastering – we left it to a professional, it was done by Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy guitarist) in Canada. We all were astonished by the quality of his work and moreover, he would always stay in touch, we would discuss and try things and made good friends over these two months of sound work. Overall, a lot of hard yet utterly satisfying job.

MER: The band recently releases a video for the song ‘The Raven’, what kind of feed have you received?

Alexey Duraev: In all fairness, I can’t really say there have been a lot of views on it, but people leave the comments, message us and say it got them excited. Last Saturday I happened to be around our local rock bar and people I barely know would approach me and say “Hey, I’ve seen your video on YouTube, it looks awesome, anything else coming soon?” I guess I take it as very positive overall. The second single, ‘Outcast of Eden’, comes to light on March, 24 and there is be a video for it, too. A pretty serious work there, too, don’t miss it!

MER: Do you feel like ‘The Raven’ gives the fans an idea on what to expect from the full album?

Alexey Duraev: Somewhat yes, of course, but the full album is very much more than that. First, it is very diverse, you cannot really find two songs that have the same structure and sound the same. Second, ‘The Raven’ is just one song and when you listen to the whole thing at once, the previous song is throwing its shadow on another. Might sound old school, but still, that’s the way we like it. In two words: the album as a whole thing is way more massive and beautiful.

MER: How has it been being a metal band coming from Russia?

Alwxey Duraev: How does it feel to be a metal band anywhere else? It’s always difficult to start. In our case, it’s not just being in Russia, it’s living on Far East – the most remote part of it. It’ll take an 9 hour flight if we are to play in Moscow, and with the style of music we got we need a decent stage to play to allow all the background orchestra sound unfold in full. There are no such stages in the city we live in (to be exact, there are no stages that would let a metal band in) and, to be fair, the country’s infrastructure does not really cooperate when it comes to metal shows, unless we bring up huge bands like Slaughter to Prevail. With the times of unrest we are experiencing right now, touring abroad is out of question and since it’s impossible to make bank transactions outside of country, we cannot properly cooperate with our partners abroad (let alone the currency exchange rates), but it all is just difficulties. Live is about overcoming them, right?

MER: Who have been some of the bands main influences to play music?

Alexey Duraev: That’s quite a question. We have all been wanting to play music since being teenagers influenced by different bands, but that’s for motivation. As for what our music is influenced by – I personally had no clear idea what I would like to play until I heard Cradle of Filth and Moonspell. From that moment, things started shaping up and if you ask me and my band mates now, I’d say there are influences of Septicflesh, Behemoth, Moonspell, Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir in our common picture. As for non-metal music, there are little drops of blues, folk and classical music in this pond. The lyrical part and the entire aesthetics come from classical, occult and horror literature. You can see clearly that “The Raven” goes after Edgar Poe (I sort of elaborated the original poem), there are a lot of influences from lord Byron, H. P. Lovecraft, A. Crowley, O. Wilde and C. Baudelaire.

MER: Is there anyone that you hope to tour with and why?

Alexey Duraev: I would really enjoy touring with Cradle of Filth and Moonspell as I feel we have a lot to talk about with these musicians and make great shows together. Definitely Slaughter to Prevail – great guys and touring together could be organized conveniently. Jinjer – much respect for them, astounding musicians you can only learn from. Rotting Christ – there is just a feeling, every time I see them live or watch interviews, there is a sort of emotional link telling me it would be a great experience traveling and playing with them.

MER: Since forming in 2019, what have been some of your favorite memories with the band?

Alexey Duraev: It’s all been fascinating, literally every day of doing something with the band was great. I would highlight making of music video for ‘Outcast of Eden’. We brought the filming crew from Saint Petersburg, they made a 20 hour trip from one end of the country to another, all ready and set up. Before their arrival, we made a lot of planning, negotiating about locations, building props with our own hands and when the plane landed, me and Alexander (bass) were there in airport to pick them up and get them settled. Alexander’s car ran out of fuel on the highway from airport and we hand pushed it to gas station for about a mile – so much for the first impression of our island for our guests! Then we started 3 tough days of filming, about 9 hours every day, hand carrying stuff, driving there and back like crazy. We were flat out tired every day and still enjoyed every moment of solid teamwork, had fun and partied every night. In the end, we made good friends and received unforgettable experience.

MER: Where can fans learn more about the band?

Alexey Duraev: Right now we are maintaining our social media pages, Alexander keeps doing a great job of maintaining content. We try to keep them posted almost every day and if someone wants to message us or leave comments – they are always welcome!



  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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