XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Luka: Greetings XS Rock, this is Luka, the vocalist/lyricist of Khazaddum. We’re gearing in anticipation of our forthcoming release, the full length album Plagues Upon Arda, released on August 19th. The cd release show is at the Metal Grill in Cudahy WI, featuring Cardiac Arrest (Chicago), House of Atreus (Minneapolis), and Dr. Shrinker (Milwaukee). This is our sophomore release following the 2015 EP, In Dwarven Halls. We’re also very excited to head out on the road in September and then again in October in support of the album. September will mark a week long trek to the east coast, and in October we’re heading out south and then towards the west coast for two weeks.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Luka: The band started as an idea by Alex to do a Tolkien themed recording project. We got together and wrote and recorded In Dwarven Halls in early 2015. Later that year we decided to release the EP and start playing as a live band.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Luka: We wanted to celebrate the epic mythology told within the Tolkien lore through crushing death metal. Alex thought up of the name Khazaddum and recruited Pete for drum duties. He asked me to join because of my vocals, love of all things Tolkien, and my resemblance to the Dwarves from the books. After the EP was completed, we thought that the music and the concept was too good to remain a recording project and decided to start performing live. The motivation for us is to write music that lives up to the grandeur and scope of the J.R.R. Tolkien universe while pummeling our audience with brutal death metal. We want to spread our vision to as many as possible through our albums and live performances.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Luka: -I’ll just give you a rundown of the bands that we’re currently in, and have been in, in the past.
Luka Djordjevic: vocals/lyrics (Prezir, ex-Promethean Parallax, ex-Scribes of Odium, ex-Carnal Befoulment, ex-Branded at Birth)
Alex Rausa: guitars (ex-Devolving Messiah, ex-Cyanosis)
Peter Kissane: drums (Burial Ritual)
Tony Cannizzaro: bass on the album (Splattered Cadaver, Ex-Demented Torment)
Noah Mezsick: live guitar (ex-Subjugation, ex-Promethean Parallax, ex-Face of Ruin, ex-Branded at Birth)
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Luka: We create music that captured the epic feel and scope of storytelling comprising the immense Tolkien mythology, while brutally assaulting the listener with devastating death metal.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Luka: Our goals include getting label support, both for Plagues Upon Arda, and for future releases. We plan on doing a ton of touring in the future as well. The goal is to make it to Canada and Mexico.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Luka: We plan on writing as many albums as possible, drawing from the inexhaustible lore that we use as inspiration. Our long term goals include touring Europe and south America as well.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Luka: That’s a hard question to answer. Both are integral to the band’s process. Creating punishing music and putting lyrics to it that represent our vision is essential to Khazaddum. Unleashing that creation onto the live audience is also critical to our process. Both are vital to the fulfillment of our vision.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about?
Luka: Khazad-dûm is the Dwarven name for Moria, an underground city beneath the Misty Mountains, founded by Durin I. We named our band thusly as an homage to the world that Tolkien created. The album Plagues Upon Arda covers a multitude of tales about the denizens of Middle Earth, and the struggles that enveloped their existence. I’ll do a summery of the themes that are covered, track by track.
1.”The Halls Of Khazad-Dum” is a symphonic-ally driven introduction to this opus that sets the tone for the story about to unfold.
2.”The Deathless Crown” is about Durin I, and the tragedies that follow the immortal line of the Dwarven kings.
3.”Lord Of Isengard”, is a telling of Saruman the white wizard’s quest for power.
4.”Legion Of The White Hand” is a song about the Uruk-hai of Isengard, and the legions that laid siege to Helm’s Deep. It also covers the heroic defense led by King Theoden and the reinforcements brought by Gandalf.
5.”The Fell Rider’s Scourge” is about the fallen Kings of Men who had succumb to the promise of power and were enslaved by Sauron and his one ring.
6.”The Black Hand Of Gorthaur” is about Sauron, the right hand of Melkor, and his diabolical struggle to bring order to Middle Earth, shaping it in his image.
7.”Masters Of The Plains” is the tale of the nomadic peoples from the east and south, that due to desperation and envy, aligned themselves in service to the Dark Lord of the Rings.
8.”Shelob The Great” is about the monstrous Spider that dwells on the pass of Cirith Ungol. She. a hate from old times, devours all who dare to wonder into her domain.
9.”Oathbreaker’s Curse” is the tragic story of the doomed Men of The White Mountains, who due to their betrayal, were cursed by Isildur till the day that they fulfilled their vow.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Luka: Nothing outrageous yet, but stay tuned. Hahaha. But I will say that we played the coolest venue I’ve ever seen, in Birmingham Alabama, for the 2016 NYDM Annual Festival. The place is called the Sloss Furnace, and is a national landmark operated as a pig iron producing blast furnaces from 1882 to 1971. It’s now a museum and concert venue.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Luka: Nothing particularly strange, but a cool thing that recently happened was that a fan and friend of ours named Matt handed me a hat with a hand painted Khazaddum logo on it at one of our shows.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Luka: My parents were always tolerant of my musical choices, and I was never restricted from listening to anything that I enjoyed. That is the extent of their support.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Luka: Personally my favorite tracks to play live off of Plagues Upon Arda are currently , Masters of the Plains and Oathbreakers Curse.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Luka: Many bands have inspired my musical career over the years, but when it comes to Khazaddum in particular, I have to give credit to bands like Nile, Behemoth, Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Belphegor for the inspiration of our death metal elements. Conceptually and symphonically we draw from composers like Basil Poledouris and Howard Shore.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Luka: Going purely with a Tolkien themed tour, an awesome lineup may look something like this… Blind Guardian, Summoning, and Khazaddum.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Luka: The biggest accomplishment in my opinion is the writing and recording of our first full length, Plagues Upon Arda. Our next show is July 1st in Chicago at the Cobra Lounge with our friends from Texas, Whore of Bethlehem.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Luka: I’ve always been fond of drawing and have considered a career as a comic book artist. In fact, all of Khazaddum’s art is done by my brother Kosta Djordjevic, and myself. I’m also very much into history, and contemplated becoming a historian.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Luka: Alex: line 6 Pod Hd pro x as his amp into a Behringer Nuke power amp into a Mesa Engineering cab. He uses a vox wah tube screamer and a Echo pedal mixed with reverb.
Ibanez tube screamer.
Pete: Uses Pearl Session Series drum kit shells, Pearl Icon curved rack, Pearl hardware, Pearl Deomon Drive Pedals. Zildjian cymbals, A Zildjian, Z Custom, K Zildjian, Ddrum Pro kick triggers, Alesis DM5 module, Xcel drumsticks.
Luka: Shure SM58
Noah: uses a marshal head and a Marshall 1960 A cab bc rich graphic v
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Luka: I certainly think that the music scene was a lot better and more inventive during the 90s. In fact, there is a fair amount of the greats from that era that still, to this day, are the some of the best bands making metal. That being said even though the extreme metal scene appears to be watered down and there are many bands playing seemingly for all the wrong reasons, one still finds genuine gems among all of the fools gold out there. There are newer bands that are keeping the traditions set by the forefathers alive while giving their specific genres new life with their own flavor and innovations.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Luka: Most people that don’t know me are usually surprised when they see my drawing.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Luka: Khazaddum plays pulverizing death metal that through it’s dichotomy of melody and brutality portrays the grandeur of the mythology dreamt up by J.R.R. Tolkien. With symphonic accompaniment peppered throughout, we endeavor to deliver the epic scope of this gigantic mythos.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Luka: Khazaddum has many things on the horizon in the near future . From the Aug 19th release of Plagues Upon Arda, to the tours planned in September and October, we’re thrilled to be busy sharing the music that we are so passionate about with the world. Check us out on tour. You can pre-order our full length and download our EP for free from the Bandcamp linked below. Also, check out our social media link, and follow us for regular updates.