Shaitan Mazar
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Shaitan Mazar

Band Rock Metal


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Evilution Interview (UK)"

# The following excerpt was taken from the official band biography: "[T]o create a new uninhibited genre, ranging from the most extreme metal to the most ambient, melodic passages. Basically, no limits."
In more explicit terms how would you describe the stylistic groundwork and musical objective of Shaitan Mazar?

Robert: Our music is combined effort of five musicians with widely different musical tastes... that's not to say we don't have any common ground, but I'm sure it would be a short list. When we begin working out a new song, we don't think about stuff like "are people going to like this?" we just make the kind of music we all want to hear. When we see smiles all around the band room we know that we are on to something. We strive to develop a sound that is recognizable even if you only hear a small clip: that is definitely one of our musical objectives. We want people to say "Hell yeah! I have to have a copy of this!" or " I've got to see this band live!" when they hear one of our songs.

# To my ears your music contains references to modern hardcore, doom, noisecore and at some points even grunge rock (!) Could you comment on my stylistic breakdown and perhaps specify what the principal intention is with this highly eclectic musical approach?

Robert: I can feel those influences in our music. We also draw on music that was made before we were even born. We all listen to so many different kinds of music. I am a complete audiophile, I buy at the very least eight CD's a month. To me ... if you limit yourself to one style of music it's like only learning a small part of the language you speak. What you listen to invariably comes out in the music you make. The more you expose yourself to, the larger your musical vocabulary becomes. Why paint in black and white when the world is full of color? Why pigeonhole yourself? You can't keep putting out the same album and expect your fans to keep buying them.

# What was the motivation and idea behind making the demo available for free download through your website – and what has this meant for the exposure and reception of the band?

Chief: The idea was simple. Let people know we exist, and make our music easily accessible. We are a new band, and as a new band, it's very hard to even get people to listen to your music. We figured at least make the first demo free for download so people have access to our music. The exposure has been tremendous. We are constantly doing interviews, and networking with friends and fans all over the world.

# By now, you are well under way with composing material for your first full-length effort and a new six-track demo effort is on the cards. How and to what extent does the new (topical) material differ from the initial four demo tracks?

Jason: The new material is more of an evolution in the respect that the lyrical content is more about self empowerment and finding a release or an escape to some of the biggest problems in life. A re-awakening of sorts.

# Furthermore, Shaitan Mazar are working on an extensive DVD, which will contain an entire live show recorded at The Masquerade in Atlanta and various backstage footage. Could you provide us with some further details on the ‘stuffing’ as well as the format of the DVD and perhaps explain the motivation for such an in-depth release?

Chief: Yes, we are working on the DVD, and shooting for a spring release. We have a lot of friends in the video business, and thanks to them this will be possible. It will include various backstage interviews, some practice room footage, a video for the song Baptizme, and the live show recorded at The Masquerade in Atlanta on January 9, 2004. At this time we haven't done international touring, and want to give the fans who haven't seen us live the chance to do so. We feel that our live performance tells more about the band than just a cd recorded in some nice studio. You will witness the intensity first hand from the DVD. Still working out the details as to what format.

# How has the Nile ‘clientele’ reacted to your material and to what extent has your own and John Ehler’s past involvement in this band affected the reception of Shaitan Mazar on the underground metal scene?

Chief: Honestly, I don't really know. Of course I'm sure that most of the Nile fans were shocked. Shaitan Mazar is a band that I would have formed even if I were still in Nile. I've always wanted to do a project like this. My musical background comes from way more than just death metal. I like many styles of music, and I'm not afraid for people to know. Yes METAL does indeed RULE, but there's more out there for me. We're not really writing or playing the Shaitan Mazar songs for anyone else but ourselves. Either you like it or you don't, it's that simple, and from the response we've had from our first demo people do like it a lot.

# Could you perhaps elaborate on the relation of the band name Shaitan Mazar (translating into: ‘grave of the devil’) to the overall concept of the band and the objective limitless musical possibilities?

Robert: Everybody in the band is definitely drawn to the darker side of music. I guess on some subconscious level this is the resting place of all the music we love. The name conjures up all kinds of images and thoughts, we want to transcribe those things into something that touches you on a deep level when you here it.

# How was the crowd response at your first official live performance at Ground Zero in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at October 31st and could you perhaps comment on the importance of extensive live performances in the general promotion of the (or any) band?

Robert: The response to our first show was truly amazing. We didn't know how people would take us. Our music sounds nothing like anything we have been involved with in the past, which is the main factor when people make their first impression before they hear our music. We have only played a few shows but people are already singing along while we play... that is the best feeling in the world. We try to give every bit of energy away when we are on stage, and to have the crowd give it right back to us is almost carnal in it's nature. The most common thing I hear after a show is how much more intense our songs are in a live setting. And we won't record anything if we can't pull it of live. Baptizme is one of the crowd favorites. One of the biggest, burliest, intimidating guys I have ever met told me that Baptizme brought tears to his eyes when he saw us perform it. So yeah, we are very happy with the fan base we are building. Playing live is what it's all about. We all love the studio/band room but that is all in preparation for playing out. When someone goes to a show and are blown away by what they saw and heard they tell friends about it. If you're doing it right your crowd grows exponentially.

# As a band Shaitan Mazar consists of the ‘rudimentary’ rock/heavy metal line-up i.e. guitars, bass and drums. Have you considered bringing in additional musicians or alternative instruments to expand the experimental range?

Chief: Well actually, if you listen very hard to the end of "Baptizme", you will hear a saxophone. This was just an idea we considered, and after we heard it recorded we liked it. It's very possible that you could hear other different instuments in the future.

# Lastly, please try to describe the highest ambition of Shaitan Mazar along with the band’s objectives for the year 2004.

Chief: We want to find a label that supports and believes in the music we're writing, and will help us spread our music to the masses. Our objectives for '04 are to keep working our asses off to promote the band, touring, writing. We would also like to see a full-length cd out this year as well. Thanks for the interview, and the support! Make sure to go to for all details on upcoming tours and shows. Good luck with the zine! Horns!
- by Oliver Holm

"Masterful Magazine (Europe)"

Do you know this new band formed by ex-members of Nile? Some time ago, Chief Spires and John Ehlers with their friends started new music journey, under the very intriguing and interesting name Shaitan Mazar. No doubt you'll be disappointed, if you expect of Shaitan Mazar music similar to Nile.... It's impossible to describe Shaitan Mazar's music in one sentence. In my opinion, it's very ambitious, various and interesting extreme/progressive metal. If you are open-minded and want to discover any new way in metal music, you should visit Shaitan Mazar's website and download their first demo. Chief Spires - bassist/vocalist of the band told me all important details about Shaitan Mazar.

You have been associated with the death metal scene so far and in Shaitan Mazar you play different music. Were you tired of death metal? How did it happen that you decided to form Shaitan Mazar?

"John Ehlers and I had discussed a few years after he left Nile about one day playing together, and sharing the stage again. I knew that even if I stayed with Nile for the duration of the band, I would one day want to create a band like Shaitan Mazar. But, after leaving Nile this was the perfect opportunity to begin the long stages of forming a new band from the ground up. I truly loved what I did in Nile. I was never tired of death metal. I still have great respect for the music, all the friends and fans I gained while playing with Nile. At the same time, I am a musician who loves to write, play, and sing many different styles of music. I enjoyed working with John when he was in Nile, so it was only natural to create this band with John. John had been co-writing with a longtime friend Robert Dirr even when he was a member of Nile. When I found out these guys were still playing together it was a perfect situation for forming Shaitan Mazar. I then made a call to a friend I had known for years in the metal circut Jason Hohenstein. Jason is by far the most intense, and one of the most talented vocalist I've ever worked with. I knew that he would be dedicated and have what it takes to build a fan base. He has a great clean voice, and one of the strongest death voices I've ever heard. The toughest thing was finding a drummer. After a very long search, Jason was introduced to Brett Goode one evening at a local metal pub. Brett listened to the songs and decided to come give it a shot."

Are you still interesting in death metal? I mean the most brutal forms of this genre...

"Yes. I still enjoy death metal. I still go to shows to see my favorite bands, and support the scene as much as possible. I never stopped liking death metal. I have much respect for my metal brothers still playing the most brutal forms of music."

Shaitan Mazar is advertised as a Nile ex-member's band. It seems that thanks to your past and your surname Shaitan Mazar has a chance to be more popular that other bands which released only one demo so far. Did you think about it?

"I am not ashamed of where I come from, and if it can help me in any way. That's great. As far as a marketing scheme, no it wasn't something I planned. Nor was it something I wanted to hide. I'm very glad it has helped inform the metal community about Shaitan Mazar."

John played in Nile and you too. Did other members of Shaitan Mazar play in other bands before they joined Shaitan Mazar? Can you introduce them to our readers?

"Yes........................ John was a member of Nile when we recorded the first "Ramses Bringer of War" demo that got Nile signed to Relapse. He remained in Nile for about two years. He's had various other band's over the years. Heretech, and Static Division were the most sucessful on a regional level. Jason Hohenstein is also the singer for a extreme death metal band called Lecherous Nocturne. A very good band from South Carolina that you will soon hear more about. Robert Dirr has been in a few regional bands, the most sucessful being Heretech and Trademark Incident. Brett Goode played around the UK and France during the mid-90's until being told he had to leave by immigration. He released a cd with the band Hyde in 1997, and more recently played with a band called Kunkussion. We are a very unlikely mix of bandmates that ended up fitting together perfectly. Strange twists of fate somehow brought us all to this band, and the wide diversity of backgrounds and experiences are one of the things that make Shaitan Mazar so complete."

Do you think about yourself as the backbone of the band? Are you the kind of a man who leads the band and has the decisive vote in all things connected with the band?

"Occasionally I do have to get out the electric shock device to help the guys make up their minds...................nah just kidding. I'm not "that guy" at all. Seriously, I do think that I am one of the forces that will keep this band growing and striving for our goals, but everyone in this band is totally dedicated. Each person is always doing something to further the sucess of this band. Be it, making and posting show flyers, making phone calls, doing interviews, writing new material, sending off promo packs, we are all involved with the band. My main goal when forming Shaitan Mazar was building a unit of guys that were not only very talented, but could withstand the test of time. We try to discuss any desicions as a band."

It's very hard to say what kind of music Shaitan Mazar plays. For sure metal, sometimes this is extreme, melodic, catchy, varied, sometimes unexpected and for sure ambitious. Listeners do not know what they can expect and finally they are nicely surprised, like me for example. You are the composer and I suppose that you have your own opinion about it.

"We describe Shaitan Mazar

"If someone has an idea, we give it a listen and decide what to do with it. That's another cool thing about the guys in this band. We all work together on the song writing. Most of the main structure's have been brought in by John. Once songs hit the practice room anything can happen to them. Idea's really flow well with us, and everyone has a voice. Jason feels more comfortable singing lyrics that he's written, so he has handled all the lyrics to this point."

My favourite song is the long one titled "Baptisme". Can we expect tracks like that on the future releases of Shaitan Mazar?

""Baptisme" is a song that we all are very proud of. We feel this is our first epic masterpiece. When we were writing that song, it was cool to look at each other with somewhat of an evil grin and know that were creating something very special. You can expect more songs like that in the future."

I see that vocal parts are very important in your music. Who is the main vocalist, who is responsible for the clean parts and who for the rest?

"Jason Hohenstein is the main vocalist in the band. He did all the clean vocals on the demo, as well as the heavy vocals. He did a fucking great job on the recording! The songs also involve harmony parts that I sing, and I'm doing some heavy growls as well. The live show is a double vocal attack. Everything thing you hear on the demo is sang live."

Since we we are talking about songs I wonder if you are preparing new stuff now for the debut album?

"We are constantly rehearsing and writing new material. There's 2 new songs we have added to the live set, "Fallen Foresaken", and "Truth Defies Reason". We hope to ink a deal very soon and get busy recording the debut album. If no deal comes along, we will probably release another demo before releasing an entire album. We want to find the right producer to work with us. Up to this point, we have recorded everything at our home studio's. John has a Macintosh set up, and runs Digital Performer. We did all the tracks there except for the vocals. The vocals were done at my home studio. This demo was solely produced by the band."

Has any label showed any interest in releasing your debut album? What is the response of labels to your demo?

"To this point I've only spoken with a few labels. A couple of which have shown huge interest in releasing the debut album. Some of the labels were expecting us to sound more like Nile, which we don't. I have to say to them, "why would I want to do that?". We're sending out press kits to labels, and corresponding in search of the best deal for us. Our main goal at this point is to let the metal fans know we exsist, and let the labels know that we're a very serious band. We have given away over 2000 demo's. Go to and get details on how to get your free cd."

This Halloween you played the first show ever . First gig is a very important event in every band's career. What is your impression after this concert?

"The show went great! We played to a packed house of about 350 people. The response has been tremendous in our region. We played a good show and I only see the live show getting more and more intense as we grow. We love to play live, and are booking shows all over the Southeastern US."

I would like to go back to the questions about Nile. There is one thing which I want to ask you. I heard lots of different versions of the story about your departure from Nile, but I have never read what you said about it. Can you comment on this?

"Well the official press release was someting like 'Spires leaves the band due to creative differences, and career direction'. The truth is there was much more to it than that, but I won't go into this too deep. Speaking in terms of the music, I didn't like the fact that Karl was turning Nile into a band based on 'how fast can we go?'. I felt we started to loose much of the creativity when this came into play, not to mention that this is the main reason we lost Pete Hammoura. Karl and I had a lot of issue's, but to keep it short, I just don't like him."

Are you in touch with Nile now, what kind of relations are between you and them? Do you meet Karl Sanders for example in a pub sometimes?

"Occasionally I speak to Tony Laureno. I have known Jon since the days of Demonic Christ, and Dark Moon and have a lot of respect for him. I think he is a great replacement for me and I he knows I wish him well. Tony is my bro, it was always Tony and I hanging out during the time we shared in Nile. When Tony comes up to Greenville to rehearse with Nile, we try to hook and have some drinks. Tony was actually going to help with the drum tracks of Shaitan Mazar until we found Brett. I wouldn't mind running into Dallas again. I still have tremendous respect for Dallas and his playing ability. As far as Karl goes, no we don't meet in pub's for beers. I don't think that would be a good idea."

Karl and Dallas play in Nile, you play in Shaitan Mazar. Do you have any idea what Pete Hammoura does currently?

"I do speak with Pete on occasion. He is still living here in Greenville, and is playing drums for a local band. I approached Pete about playing in Shaitan Mazar, but he wasn't able to devote the time to us. Pete is still a great friend of mine and I wish him the best."

These were all my questions. Thanks Chief and I hope that we will listen to your debut album very soon. Masterful Maga'zine wishes all the best to your new band!

"Thank you Tomasz and Masterful Mag! I appreciate the support you have shown, and sincerely hope we can share a drink or ten one day after a Shaitan Mazar show in Europe. Good luck with the zine! All the best! Don't forget to visit! Horns!" - Tomasz Osuch

"Excellent Work!"

Excellent work!!!
Intro was sweet. Great pauses and drums kept me listening to hear what he/she was going to do next!

Vocals nicely executed. Loved them actually! Vocals were full of emotion and were aggressive. Enuncitation was terrific letting me hear the lyrics clearly. I especially liked the clean vocals and hard vocals working together. Great job vocals!!!

Song was well arranged. the different parts flowed together perfectly making this song easy to listen to. Hook was very catchy! A good solid hook is the key to a great song! Achieved.

Guitar I liked a lot. It was full and heavy making me actually feel the power behind it. Nothing weak about the guitarist(s). Excellent riffage also!

Drums were outstanding! Drummer was rythmically precise and kept the drive of this song going with heavy and talented beats. I especially liked the short blast beats. It kicked this song up a notch giving it some power!

It was nice actually hearing some bass guitar in a song. That's something many bands feel they don't need to bring up in a mix. It complimented the guitars very well! Definitely keep that bass pumping!!

The production is awesome!! It is some of the best I have heard yet. Everything shines through nicely and doesn't cover anything up. This song sounds excellent. I don;t have much critisism considering you guys did an awesome job with this tune.

Keep up the good work!!
- Metal Star, Flint, Michigan


Good feel. Thinking of Bolt Thrower with Tool vocals.. Great verse hanging cool in there. The pause fills the song well. Im like bobbing my head now, The layer of voices rings very well with eachother. Im thinking some Panthera in there also.. Keep up the good work, great song!

Extra Credit: Male Vocals, Guitars, Melody, Beat.

- AurynZ, Moss, Eastfold, Norway


2005 "Catalyst of Amalgamation"
2003 Independent Demo


Feeling a bit camera shy


Visit to view the bands new video for the song "Homage."

Catalyst of Amalgamation:
In a time when the trite seems to envelop the talented, it has become increasingly difficult to excavate new sounds from the ever overwhelming banalities of modern music. Turning the soil of the industry, only to find recycled fossilized style and mundane auditory clones, one finds inspiration a lost civilization. Once in an ephemeral while something fresh and invigorating emerges from the dirt. This lost fragment of individualism and unique fashion rings clear throughout the starved minds of the masses. Bringing with it the tides of war, its hardened army trampling the monotonous sounds of the average, this shining ray of energy proves to us music, and more specifically metal, is a mythical phoenix rising from the ashes of the ordinary. This graceful monstrosity is Shaitan Mazar. Your ears are its prey.
To understand what makes Shaitan Mazar the ultimate auditory predator, a synopsis of it's inner workings is necessary. Behind the dark angelic harmonies and resonating growls is a man named Jason Hohenstein. Singing for years with bands such as Dominion and Lecherous Nocturne, Jason has honed his skills to a razor sharp union, bringing a unique factor to Shaitan Mazars' sound. On guitars, John Ehlers formerly of Nile, and Robert Dirr form a dichotomy of tranquil soundscapes and distorted aggressiveness that sets high the standards of metal riffs. Bringing the low end with a fresh sound that steps outside the conventional lines of traditional bass and completeing the vocal harmonies is Chief Spires; former lead vocalist and bassist for Nile. Manning the rhythmic machine gun of percussion is Jake Axelson, hailing from local groups such as Haze and Figure of Speech. Between these members develops a sound that is simultaneously intense and subtle.
The birth of Shaitan Mazar dates to the beginning of 2003 when John, Chief, and Robert came together with a goal in mind; to create music that would not be held tight by typical metal boundaries, but would embrace the diversities of culture and style that are often overlooked in the genre. John and Robert had been writing together for a few years when Chief departed Nile to join the ranks. They experimented with a myriad of sounds and melodies, slowly fashioning a vibe that would later evolve into a mature and well-rounded collection of songs. Jason at the time was still singing for other projects when he was invited to write lyrics and lay vocals to the tracks. Finding a drummer would prove to be a Near-Herculean feat, as countless musicians were auditioned until Jake was pulled from the sand like a diamond in the rough. After many rehearsals and hours of meticulous tweaking, the initial songs were complete. The range of sound achieved proved these musicians were on to something potentially genre altering. With powerful and majestic songs such as Twice Denied and Fallen Forsaken, and the epic passages of subtlety and emotion in Baptizme completed, it was time to find a suitable name. In August of 1991, a UFO sped across the Mangishlak Peninsula in Russia at an altitude of about 7km at roughly 1000km/hr. After failed attempts to bring the object to a local military base, the object disappeared from radar. The UFO was reported to have crashed in a gorge in the Tien-Shan Mountains on the Kyrgyzstan and China border. The name of this gorge was Shaitan Mazar, “The Grave of the Devil”.
An eerie fog creeps up and across the stage, its movements lethargic and capricious, as those of a newly reanimated corpse from an old horror movie. The lighting shifts from royal purple to sanguine red, painting shining instruments with a random chaos. As the orchestrated opening sequence crescendos, shadowed figures take their place behind their sonic weapons of choice. The energy within the venue undulates and builds. The crowd is attentive and anticipating the approach of sheer uninhibited power and merciless barrages of sound. The opening chord is struck and a wall of intensity sends the audience into a bliss-filled frenzy. This is a typical Shaitan Mazar evening. The show proceeds throughout the collection of old and new songs, with the members interacting with their fans. Wanting to bring shocking visuals to their live set, Shaitan Mazar has played at a suspension show with fans hanging in pseudo-crucifixion poses in their midst. As the final song rings its closing note, sweat-clad fans praise these metal messiahs with applause and genuine shouts of admiration. After the show is over the members of Shaitan Mazar spend time with their followers, building friendships and creating an environment that kindles connectivity rather than leaving and fronting the iced persona many musicians cater to today. No one leaves a Shaitan Mazar show feeling empty or overlooked.
After the fog settles and