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Interview /Review: Obsidian Frontline by Seraphim System.

Targets acquired

Seraphim System explodes back on to the dance floor with one hell of a noise heavy STOMP album that is full of dark twisted energy fit for a revolution.

Seraphim System is the solo work of John Stancil, a supremely talented musical machine who has put out multiple albums of various styles and sounds within the world of industrial; as Digital World Audio put it.. "From the dance floor friendly 'Deadly Force' through the hip-hop heavy 'Automaton Assisted Annihilation' to the industrial-metal of 'Luciferium' and 'Pandaemonium.." John's work has been an impressive amalgamation of genre melding that you can never quite put your finger on, and you're never quite sure which sound tangent each new album will take. Which is why the term Swaggrotech has become the self described term for his style which now also has Ruinizer and Sirus in on the 'style' that is swaggrotech; fully solidifying what was just a fun phrase in to a new and very much valid path of industrial.


Q. The album is clearly a concept piece, from the track names, to the promotional teaser vids saying about taking down the rich, and the political aspect of it being released on the 4th of July, so tell me about the story of this album?

I wanted the album to be the soundtrack to an armed revolution with parallels drawn between robo-warfare and real life human insurrection. The rich should fear the common people, and the common people at some point should just hunt them and execute them. Your voice, your vote, your livelihood; none of this matters to the wealthy elite. Action alone moves the world. Some people love to share memes about eating the rich but have no idea what kind of sacrifice an armed revolution would cost.

The promotional teaser sets the album's atmosphere up nicely with samples from Bill Williamson.

Q. The tracks on it need to be played loud in order to be properly appreciated. Was this another ‘Homemade’ album and if so, is it difficult trying to make such a noise heavy album in that environment?

Yeah, the entire album was written over the course of a month. I write all my music on my laptop with a pair of cheap but extremely efficient headphones I got at a discount store for less than ten dollars. There’s always a difficulty with sound design and trying to make something that knocks with my current setup. That’s the beauty of mastering and pre-production. The louder the better is the end goal. It’s meant to be felt in your chest with club speakers.

Q. What were you up to when you had the inspiration to do this album and what did you want to create with it?

I was working at a new tattoo shop and the shop didn’t get much business. Most of my work days were me coming into the shop, sitting at a desk, and producing until it was time to close. I had all the time in the world to write the album and like most other albums of mine, it just all hit in a singular creative burst. I work fast when I know what I want and there’s little trouble translating what I have in my head into something I can hear. I’ve been using this program since I was about 15 so if I can think it, I can make it happen.

Q. This album was almost lost when Cleopatra took interest in Xibalba is that right, And are you now back with DWA fully with your next releases of 'Force Fed Annihilation' and 'Now that’s what I call Swaggrotech?'

I’ll always have a home at DWA. They were my first baby steps into the scene and our relationship is and always has been good. Obsidian Frontline was set to be released before Xibalba but DWA let Cleopatra put out Xibalba first. It gathered some good attention and then kinda fell off, so DWA released Obsidian Frontline after the initial bubble for Xibalba had burst. Pretty much any and every bit of electro-industrial I write in the future will likely go through DWA. It’s got a home there.

Q. Speaking of those other two releases lined up, tell us about how you got working with Ruinizer and ended making Swaggrotech a multiple band powerhouse, not just Seraphim System, and what are going to be the differences between those two ‘compilation’ albums you have out next?

Jay Ruin is a great friend of mine who has a similar history in music production... eerily similar. We have a similar taste in influences and a broad spectrum of electronic styles we are capable of making. My guy Josh Rombout is also into the whole market with his band Sirus and they’ve made some Swaggrotech style stuff as well. It’s just something different and fun that people either hate, don’t get, or just don’t care about, so it’s all just for creativity and laughs. As far as the compilation albums, that’s all controlled through the label. I really don’t have much say or direction as far as making the music and just giving it to them. I cook the food and put it on the table. The labels cut it up and serve it, so to speak.

Q. Have you got any live shows lined up in the U.S this year?

Negative. Maybe in the fall I will tour or get on the road with someone last minute, but I rarely ever seek out shows to play. They can be costly to the venue if people don’t show up and it’s not promoted. Also most places won’t even let you book a show unless you’ve got a metric shit ton of social media followers or at least one act that does. I half-ass my social media and don’t even use instagram and twitter... which I need to be better about.

Q. For those who snag one of the 100 physical copies, they also get the unreleased Kelevra album, what kind of tracks and direction does that take and what's the story behind that part of this release.

Kelevra was initially going to be a Drum n Bass / Hardcore album but I ended up drastically changing every one of the songs to make them powernoise. It was the label’s idea to drop Kelevra onto Obsidian Frontline since, like you said, there was never a “real” release for Kelevra.

(If you want to listen to Kelevra and aren't lucky enough to be one of the 100 physical copy owners, then it can be found on You Tube on Seraphim Systems channel)

Many thanks John! ...

A previous interview with John about his last album Xibalba, his show at the last Resistanz festival UK, and where exactly Swaggrotech comes from can be found here; also a review of Xibalba can be found here.


It is hard to review a concept album such as this as the entire album sounds like a science fiction battlefield with the samples that make up the percussion and general tune of each track sound like explosions, volleys of laser fire, cacophonies of machine-gun fire, and the overwhelming miasma of war throughout with the context of each being fairly simple within the titles but none the less effective in their explanation of what the tracks bring to the overall story you are listening to; especially when there is no singing and the only vocals are that of the weaponized machine calling out its target identifications and resolutions.

However Seraphim System have returned in top form, this entire album is full of tracks that would fill the floor of any industrial DJ set bringing out all manners of dance with the energy and irresistible need to move to it, once again making the term Electronic Body Movement so spot on. Somewhere between the harsh noise of E.S.A (Electronic Substance Abuse) and the rave bliss of Memmaker this album is a glorious return to the underlying swaggrotech sounds we fell in love with on 'Deadly Force,' 'Automaton Assisted Annihilation,' and 'Friendly Fire' which may also add to the reason the AK47 Dog logo is once again on the cover; it's heavy on the 'aggro' and the 'tech,' once again prevalent throughout.

Needles to say, I am thoroughly enjoying this beast of an album.

Track list:

Systems Reengaged

Continuing Patrol

Targets Acquired


Enemy Contact

Termination Imminent

Threat Level Nominal

Cannons Primed


Hostile Destroyed (As you can see these leave some room for your own interpretations as you listen)

Top tracks on the album: For me the top tracks are..

1. Cannons Primed

2. Hostile Destroyed 3. Targets acquired 4. Exterminated.

As I said previously it is difficult to review each track though. Each track flows so well into another that you're unaware the track has changed; the mastering and mixing blend the whole album perfectly and seamlessly. That's not to say each track sounds the same, far from it as each one touches on a slightly different approach to the style of stomp heavy audio they represent and therefore at least one track will appeal to even the fussiest of Electroheads.

This album is solid work and really worth a listen if you want some music to power through your day at work, the gym, or even tidying up. It will have you moving and swaggrotech groovin.'

The physical album is also a beauty to behold with its imprinted and flash design. Get yourself a copy here:

Seraphim System's next two releases are in combination with Ruinizer as they release the 'Summer of swaggrotech' versus singles and their triple CD's 'Force Fed Annihilation and 'From Exhumation To Decimation' respectively featuring their finest works and some new content not found anywhere else. Check them out on band camp, links below:

The singles can be found in these links:

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