Thursday, March 21, 2019

interview: Witchrite

Witchrite is DIY thrash from Poland. In this interview they answer in depth a whole series of questions about the band’s music and also their lyrics, which cover a broad range of topics on life in Poland. The band has been very gracious in answering the questions, and as a result, you will get a very good idea about Witchrite.
Hello, friends in Witchrite. How is life in Poland for your band in 2019? Where in Poland do you live? Is it a time of political tension or violence there)?
Mlody: Hello, I guess life for our band is completely ok – lazy and with his own natural tempo as always. Nothing changed in this matter. Right now I live in Gorzow Wlkp in western Poland, near the German border. It is my hometown and also place when we formed a band and still have rehearsal space. The town is not the most neat place I ever been for sure but region is truly beautiful! Full of forests, lakes and wild nature.
On my everyday life I didn't see and didn't experience so much violence. But I guess I know what you mean and there are some acts of politically background violence that you can get to know via media and of course it is depressing. But it's not only a Polish thing. I guess it is a climate of whole this sick planet in 2019. Just take a look at Brazil and whole the horrible ideas of new, completely insane president. I'm just worried where it all can lead. Human is not the best learner of creature.
Pewex: Hi. Even though political changes are still visible in our country, I think that it does not affect us much. Nobody boycotts our concerts, it does not affect DIY publishing, etc.
I also live in our hometown - Gorzow Wlkp.,(western Poland). There was a period where I seriously thought to live in a larger city (ours has about 120,000 inhabitants), I even moved to UK for few weeks, but too many things pulled me back and right now I do not think about moving.
In everyday life I do not see any aggression on the streets or some extreme situations. Hate is seen mainly in the media and on internet. I am more afraid that the politics in our country are even more hatred, they are focused on differences and not on what can possibly connect us despite different beliefs or faith.
Overall, how do you feel about your life in Poland in 2019? Where do you see your life and the life of your friends going in the future? Is there hope for good jobs or do you see lots corruption, the capitalists getting richer and the working class not really having a better life?
Mlody: I have a quiet, unhurried life and I feel good about it. I have non-stressful job and I earn money that is covering my needs, so basically politics that drives me mad in general did not affect my existence that much as you can expect. Of course, this whole 8-hour work, monetary system based on the alarm clock is unnatural madness and I think that people responsible for that “they owe us a living” (of course they fucking do...). It is a part of much wider and more complicated problem and answering to that need to spread our reality out into prime factors. You know, people are writing books for trying to find the point. But just as you said in the question – rich are getting richer, poor are getting poorer and the end cannot be seen. People’s mentality is also the problem, but not the only one. In my future life I see myself on the countryside with girlfriend, animals and records in my surroundings. And less senseless actions for someone's income. Did you read “Tortilla Flat” or watch “Trailer Park Boys”? That's where I see myself. Sitting with a bottle near shop with toothless friends and playing mixture of crust and country on one-string guitar.
Pewex: Well, I'm a little disappointed. 15-20 years ago I thought that in 2019 Poland will be in a better shape. I grew up in the years of transformation, mainly after the communist regime which ruined the country, but entry of capitalism showed us that greed, intolerance and not counting with an average people can be a feature of any system.
What may disturb is the growing difference between the rich and the working class. The medium class seems to slowly disappear.
As you can see, it's hard to determine what will happen next. In what direction it will go. I just hope that I will not have to leave Poland one day, because I will not see the sense of living there anymore.
Did your band really begin in 2007? That is more than ten years ago! Do you remember what motivated/inspired you to form a political thrash band? Did you have lyrics about politics back then, too? Or, did you have lyrics about alcohol and zombies (always a popular theme in thrash metal)?
Mlody: Yes, we did start the band in 2007. Rest of the guys play together in different band and when it split-up they invited me to join to form a new band, so I did. We did not have an idea to form political thrash band and I'm not describing our band in this way. I had and have an idea to describe reality and there are my thoughts about it. Many of them concerns about politics, ‘cause it's the big part of reality, so the lyrics also. I totally run away from Messiahnism and telling truths, it's just my views. They are little bit aggressive, but in my life I try to be peaceful and non-violent. When I'm talking with people about the same thoughts I use completely different, balanced words. I'm pretty sure about that character of these lyrics and music are much helpful with that. I can express myself and spit out my anger in this way. I guess it was like that from beginning of the band, but when band started I was 17 so lyrics probably were a little bit more stupid because I was dumber back then. And I never sing about zombies and alcohol. But I will not have a problem with drinking alcohol with a zombie.
Basically, the idea of founding another boring, the same band as thousand others is not an idea at all. And musically we also have never decided to keep on strictly to one genre. Thrash metal is basis, the spine of it all, but in my opinion you can hear some influences in there also from death metal, doom metal, 80's ushc, crust punk. I heard many different opinions what someone's heard in our stuff. Once I read even that some guy heard grindcore in this! I don't hear that, but that's cool if someone's do because we love Napalm Death, Terrorizer or Mass Grave. And by the way, socio-political lyrics are nothing new in thrash metal. Everyone who ever listens to for example Nuclear Assault or Kreator knows that.
Pewex: Yes, Witchrite was created in 2007, but it was a consequence of suspension of activities of the previous band that I founded with the current guitarist around year 2000. There was no intension to play political thrash at the beginning. We wanted to play like Slayer and Sepultura and that's it. Although there were never any lyrics about alcohol and zombies. The previous vocalist’s lyrics were about war, apocalypse, and Antichrist.
Do you have the same members nowadays in 2019 as in 2007? Are any of you married nowadays? Do any of you have children? Who is answering this interview?
Mlody: Yes, we play with the same line-up today that we were playing on first rehearsal. I'm not married and I don't have kids. But I live with my girlfriend and we have a dog, so I guess it is some kind of family life. My name is Rafal and I do vocals.
Pewex: The line-up has not changed and I'm very happy about it. You can see that music evolves in us and is not the result of new members. None of us have ever married or have children. Although none of us is living alone. What you can observe these days that is not so important to get married so quickly. People called me Pewex and I play drums.
Your most recent recording is the self-titled album from 2018. How many recordings have you published in total?
Mlody: We are lazy as fuck when it comes to the recordings. Our first release is just CD-r with concert from Gdansk recorded on it – we put out 80 pieces and all gave to friends, it was in 2012. We put out a s/t demo cd with 5 tracks in 2013, it was recorded in studio and have nice audio quality. We have live split tape with grindcore Necrosodomistical Slaughter – it was recorded at our joint concert in Poznan and it was released in 2016. And yes, in 2018 we put out s/t full length album. It came out on vinyl with two versions – regular on black vinyl and limited on white vinyl and additional cover art. It is also available on CD and there are two editions of tape. And we are really grateful to all of the co-editors! You can listen to all of these stuff at Bandcamp.
Your 2018 self-titled album is very much a thrash music album, and with political lyrics. The first song is “to wina rządu (“it's the governments fault”). What are your criticisms of the government in your country?
Mlody: We choose this as a first song because of the music things – it's just good opener, straight into the face. The lyrics were written during the previous government was in power. The party with most seats in parliament back then was pro-capitalistic, taking care only about business and they had a tone of contempt to lower classes and poor people. And that's the main reason in my opinion why they lose in another elections – cause propaganda of current ruling party was directed to those which the previous one despised. And the differences between them looks like this – previous party were robbers. Current are robbers and psychopaths. The robber robs you, but psychopath robs you, violates your mind and told you that's your fault. I used to hate previous government, but current I hate even more.
The second song is called “odraza” (disgust). You say that you do not like the “national conservative party.” Why is this part in particular one that you do not support?
Mlody: I do not support any political party. Everything of it is what is the political party, so there's no magic and flowers in this. Currently ruling party besides keeping receipts, cheating and robbing is try to teach the society using abstracts like “god”, “nation” and other bullshit. It is using to divide society and wake the anger and hatred in society directed to political opponents and to those who doesn't match to stereotypical Polish Catholic image. This all besides that it distracts attention of government frauds and scams, it is waking in people very bad, hateful, ignorant instincts. And that's very much backward trend.
The third song continues the social criticism by your band. The song is called “Atak na kościół katolicki (“Attack on the Catholic Church”). Is it true that the majority of Polish people are Catholic? What in particular is it that you do not like about the Catholic Church and why? What do the Catholic Church authorities do in your country that you do not like? Is it their involvement in politics?
Mlody: At least officially it is true that majority of Polish people are Catholics. No one is asking permission or opinion the newborns, they aren't able even to speak when they are baptizing. And then they become official Catholics, and they stay in register until they'll be apostate themselves.
The Catholic Church is having very strong position in Poland and their involvement in politics – it was always like this, right now is even stronger due to current political climate. On countryside still there is no more important citizen than the priest. Even in cases of pedophilia there's no surprise when whole village is standing for the accused priest. Even in my closest family was a case of harassment done by the priest and when the molested person said it to his mother she was shouting at him how he can say rubbish like this about the priest. About the holy priest. You know, we had this Polish Pope back then and to this day he's most holy figure ever – more even than Jesus. He wasn't that saint that people believe – he was an actor pretending to be a saint. And the same time this scumbag personally covered up cases of pedophilia in the Catholic Church or sacrificed the births by raped women in South America.
The Catholic Church is what it always has been and what every organised religion always been. People made it for power, authority and money. They take advantage from people lowest instincts – naivety. Their mode of actions is being a legal mafia which crimes are covered up, because they have canonic law which is hundred levels more important in their circles than civil law. Everything is staying in church and in many cases of pedophilia and other crimes accused priest are transferred to other parishes and that's their “punishment”. There's really nothing to like there.
Pewex: I grew up in a Catholic home where no one asked me if I wanted to be a Catholic. And up to certain age I was religious. With age I separated the concept of god and Catholicism. Catholicism is made up of people, not God. And it really doesn’t matter if he exists, the question is what people do "on his behalf". And that where I do not like a lot of things. From hypocrisy, hatred to other nationalities to political influence that should serve everyone, not only Catholics.
Do you consider yourselves a band of atheists? In your opinion, what is an atheist? Do you feel like you know for sure that there is no God? Are you against all religion in Poland?
Mlody: I'm not consider our band as an atheist band. In band there are four different people and I can only speak for myself. Years ago I think about myself that I'm agnostic. Right now I can declare myself as an atheist. I do not believe in God on the same level that I don't believe in Pikachu or flat Earth and I do believe in science. I remember talking with my dad in my childhood – he always commented all of the science which excludes the existence of God than it didn't. He was trying to found argumentation that it even confirms and all of this sounds totally senseless. I realize back then that this way of thinking is not modeling views based on reality, but opposite – that he's modeling reality based on predetermined views. I remember it totally rejected me. I believe and experience some kind of spirituality, but gods are made up by human. Why? You can go back to my answer on previous question. That's the same reasons why their invented religion. And yes, I'm against all religion in general and not only in Poland. I mean – organised religion.
Pewex: Between us we do not discuss who believes in God and who doesn’t. Friendship and music -that’s what unites us right now, not the belief. At the moment none of us practice any religion so you could say that we are atheists.
If most people in Poland believe in God or are Catholic, do you feel like you are in a minority? Have you met some people who believe in God but who are not arrogant and that do not act like they know everything? Have you ever met Christians who are nice, sympathetic, loving and generous people?
Mlody: Of course, I do, man! In my family, work etc. And of course, I have friends that declare themselves as Catholics. Why would I dislike them? Acceptance is also very big part of my beliefs. Until they are not racist or violent people that harasses different people. I have a funny situation when my friend who is Catholic and have definitely much much more conservative views than me told me after listening to our album - “you offended me on it at least twenty times but I still love you and I think that album crushes”. How sweet, isn't it?
Pewex: I do not judge people based on place of birth, skin color and whether they listen to metal or disco. That's why I do not see the point of judging someone's faith. For me faith in general can be dangerous. In wrong hands can lead to terrible things and worst of all it can justify it. These people can explain themselves that according to their faith they doing good things there is nothing wrong with their attitude.
Have you met some atheists who act like they have the truth, and who are really arrogant?
Mlody: Knowing one and final version of truth and being enlightened is one of the worst things that can happen to men. Regardless of options, views or doctrines. I always escape from that and don't want to have anything to do with that. Most of all terrorism starts from enlightenment, being sure about knowing everything, talking about highest form of consciousness and other bullshit like that. No gods, no masters!
Pewex: I do not approve that kind of approach. Generally, people they do like to believe in the existence of a higher being. They feel safer. It gives meaning to their lives and if they are better because of it, why negate it? As I said to me the most important is what people do, not conviction.
Are we here with no purpose and we die and it’s the end? Is it possible God does exist and gave you understanding of what is good and evil, compassion and hatred?
Mlody: Like I said before – I do believe in some kind of spirituality. I'm not saying that on world exists only material things. Pagan beliefs and their spirituality were created as a results of nature observation. They made romantic mythology and formed gods that were just a symbols of nature forces. It was honest and real. In line with their instincts, emotions, needs and free will. And then religion, like for example Christianity stole it, kill it and made depraved version for despicable benefits and told that human needs are sin burdened with nightmarish consequences. To take control on people. That's all they can do.
Pewex: All my life I think about it. And it seems to me more and more often that after death there is only a black spot, just like before birth.
How do Polish metal people react to your music when they hear it live? Do Polish metal fans like thrash a lot?
Mlody: We are playing concerts for a very diverse type of public. We do gigs on squats and on DIY punk events, but of course on metal gigs, too. And reaction I guess always are good. I do not remember bad reactions. I really don't know and probably don't care what is musical taste of typical polish metal fan. I guess there is no person like this, cause saying about someone that he is like that is generalization.
Pewex: Last few years mainly we did play on the punk scene. Fortunately, it is open to different types of music. On one stage you can hear punk, crust, metal or black metal bands. For me it's ok, because I listen to different genres. No one ever threw a bottle on stage during our show, so it's good. People are receiving us positively. Maybe sometimes the younger generation wonder why we do not dress like the typical thrash metalheads from the 80s, but for me the answer is simple: because we are not typical 80s metal heads!
Do you play live a lot? Do you play in Poland and the neighboring countries?
Mlody: We do something like 15, maximum 20 gigs a year so we definitely aren't record holders. We try to go to at least two or three short tours and rest of it are single gigs. We have never been in Russia, Ukraine and Serbia and also never did play in Scandinavia. But for sure that would be total cool! Outside Poland we play few times in Germany, Czech and Netherlands. And every time was lovely. We definitely want and plan to visit countries that we weren't before, but it's little bit difficult for us to organize more than 4 gigs in a row due to life and time questions. Every one of us has a shitload of things to do instead of band and we're not living in the same towns. But for example in May we are going to visit Switzerland for the first time.
In your music you also talk about racist groups in Poland. Are there immigrants from other countries arriving in Poland seeking a better life?
Mlody: There are in Poland immigrants from other countries – in our sides are many people from Ukraine. We do even have rehearsal space in building that is hotel for Ukrainian workers. And I have two Ukrainian guys in my work. One of them bring me from his family house 4 кино LP's. I guess there is more people from Africa and Asia in biggest towns than in my area. There's of course nothing bad in it. Every man should have inviolable law to look for happiness wherever he want to. I do not believe in borders – borders are made by politicians. Of course I'm not that ignorant to not know that surroundings and culture is having one of the hugest impact in growing up, but I'm completely far away from patriotism and I'm disgusted with nationalism. I didn't choose the place where my mother was 9 months after having sex with my father, so for me being proud from the things which are not dependent from me is total absurd. Racism is stupid and for stupid people that have no real reasons for being proud of something. I used to talk with guy from Africa whose living in Poznan and he said to me that verbal attacks and violence aimed at him and his family are frequent. And in huge part that's the reason of current political climate and some of right-wing politicians have blood on their hands. Even the most important figure in polish politics said that refugees are bringing to Europe exotic unknown diseases. The biggest disease is stupidity and ignorance. And the duty of decent people is to help other people in need so that's my answer for the last part of question.
Pewex: As I mentioned earlier, I don’t like to generalize. Tell me how anyone can have the right to decide whether this or that nation can find shelter or not? Any refugees should be helped. I think the biggest problem is how to organize it right.
In history, the Polish people also have been immigrants and refugees.
Mlody: Yes, you can meet in past and also in present Polish people everywhere in the world. My opinion is exactly the same like on immigrants from any different countries. I also have few episodes of working or live some time abroad.
Have you ever played in or visited the United States?
Mlody: Nope, never. I love travelling, but I have never been outside Europe.
You are an independent, do-it-yourself thrash band. Can you tell us how the die-hard thrash fans can support your band?
Mlody: Listen to music, buying records, going to gigs and doing booking. But I don't promise that I'll still write political lyrics. We have some new tracks and lyrics in there concerns more on personal, closer stuff. But if someone call it political, for sure I'm not going to arguing.
Pewex: Don’t wait until Metallica will record another good thrash album. Check out the internet, you can find a lot of good bands out there. And keep checking your local venues, maybe we'll see each other one day!
Good luck in the future. Stay in contact!
Mlody: Thanks for everything!
Pewex: Thanks!!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

interview: Marius Danielsen

What a surprise is the power metal opera Marius Danielsen’s Legend of the Valley of Doom, Part 2. Basically, it is a must-hear album for power metal fans. This work has lots of collaborators! For instance, some singers that you already know are Ripper Owens, Blaze Bayley and Michael Kiske. The album even has Vinny Appice and Bruce Kulick contributing parts. Let’s find out more now.
How did the story of this opera begin? Did it begin in 2005 like Metal Archives says?
Yes, it all began in 2005 when I wrote the title track called “The Legend of Valley Doom”. I was very much into Lord of the Rings and wanted to create my own fantasy universe. So I imagined the place called Valley Doom and wrote a song about it. Most of the riffs and melodies from that demo was also used for the song you can find on part 1.
How is it possible to have so many good musicians?
The most important thing is to sell your product the best way possible. You need to make the guests want to be in it. The way I do that is to deliver very complete demos with my vocals as guide vocals. They can then hear for themselves the quality of the music. And decide if it is something that is interesting for them to do.
Marius, are you a full-time musician in other bands in Norway?
My full-time job is being a teacher at elementary school here in Norway. There I teach English, Music and Art. I have been playing in bands since 2004. I started playing guitar in 2003. My longest running band is Darkest Sins, which I formed with my fiancée Anniken Rasmussen in 2009.
Peter Danielsen is your reliable partner in crime. Are you blood brothers or is it a coincidence that you have the same last name? What are Peter’s responsibilities?
It is not a coincidence that we have the same last name. He is my little brother. I am 7 years older than him. We started writing songs together in 2009 when he was 14 years old. I always knew he was going to be very talented, and I have always brought him along with me in every project I have worked on since. We wrote the song “Mirror of Truth” together in 2010. That was the start of collaborating on the Legend of Valley Doom project. He often contributes with interesting chord progressions for the guitar solos and melodies. And he also comes up with some great choruses every now and then. And he is of course in charge of all the orchestrations on the albums.
The album was released on Crime Records. What has happened with the international distribution?
The album is distributed all over Europe, and also in Brazil via Hellion Records. Still I would of course wish that we got to reach even more people. Because I think the project deserves it. A dream would be to play at Wacken one day! I’ve been there once. Front row at Avantasia in 2014.
Does it look like the reviewers have really listened to the album? This is not a normal power metal album!
There have been many, many reviews. The majority of the reviewers are very positive. That makes me glad. It is not a normal Power Metal album at all. The lyrics are written just like you would read a book (with rhyming). Totally chronological and with many different characters that help drive the story forward. It is a big universe I have created, and it got even bigger when my brother started the band Eunomia. The allies of Valley Doom. So his band sings stories from the same universe.
Is there any hope that your operas can ever be performed live?
I have booked one show in Norway September 20th. You’ll find the event on my Legend of Valley Doom Facebook page. It will be glorious!
The album has lots of great guitar solos. Did you provide any guidance for the guitarists?
Most guitar solos are done in their own studios, so I have had very little to say about how their solos should sound. I only give them the backing track with my rhythm guitars on and tell them where to put the solo. Lots of amazing players. When I choose them I try to think about what would fit them. For example, Jennifer Batten got “Under the Silver Moon”, a ballad, because I wanted her fantastic feel. Jimmy Hedlund is an absolute beast shredder, so he often gets the faster songs. This time he got “Angel of Light” and “By the Dragon’s Breath”. On the first one he got “Prophecy of the Warrior King” and “Chamber of Wisdom”. He has such an ear for melodies, so I know I will get perfect stuff from him. So, all in all I try to give them solos that they would be comfortable with doing.
Making an opera, I would imagine, takes lots of money. For those fans that understand what a massive undertaking it is, how can they support your work?
It cost insanely much. And I do pay everything from my own pockets, except for the printing and distribution which Crime Records handles. If they want the CD’s or LP’s signed, then then can visit the web store.
Is there merchandise for the album, too?
No merchandise yet. But I am looking into doing t-shirts sometime.
After making two of these operas, will you try to make a third one?
All great stories are told in trilogies. Mine is no different ;)

interview: Crypteria

Check out this interview the U.S. death metal squad Crypteria. The drums are big, heavy-hitting type of drumming; the guitars are heavy, sometimes chugging bit time; and the vocals are low, gruff growling. They have the self-titled debut album out now, and they were gracious with this publication in responding to the questions. Remember to jump into the death metal action by hearing for yourself the album at the link at the end of this interview.
Is Crypteria based in Jacksonville, Florida? Is it correct that the album is the debut, but the band started way back in 2006, right? Did you do some demos before?
Yes, we are based in Jacksonville, but our drummer lives in Orlando and our vocalist is in Palatka. Since we are spread out a bit, individual practicing becomes extra important, since we can’t jam together as a band as frequently as we’d like. We are becoming more technologically adept also.
We did form in 2006 but had some issues and personnel changes that resulted in a series of hiatuses. It hasn’t been easy but we are now stronger than ever. The constant factor through the ups and downs is that the drummer and guitar player have been jamming together this whole time.
We recorded a demo with Sam Rivers (of Limp Bizkit) and another with Stan Martell. Now that Kevin is in the band, we record at his studio. The album was a mix of updated older songs and our newer material; we tracked it at Kevin’s studio and then shipped it to Denmark for Jacob Hansen to mix and master.
Who are the members of the band in 2019?
The current line-up is the same one on the album: Bobby Warner on vocals; Rex Kirkland on drums; Kevin McCombs on bass, and Austin Burleigh on guitar.
The album is about 32 minutes and you keep the 12 songs compact and direct. It’s like you know that many of us don’t have long attention spans!
You are right! We don’t care much for repetition and we love the variety and recognize that listeners don’t always have long attention spans. I think Slayer’s Reign in Blood was a serious influence when it comes to short, intense songs. Too much repetition can dilute the intensity of the music and lose the interest of the listener. As an aside, some of our new, yet-to-be-recorded material includes some longer songs.
Do you see Crypteria exclusively as brutal death metal? It seems that, if you wanted to, you could add more melody, but you specifically don’t want that. Is this true? “Immersed in Emptiness” and “Samsara” are two songs in which you show that you are able to do melody. I keep thinking with “Samsara” you guys said: Let’s tease the people with a few seconds of melody, and then BOOM! back to the heaviness!
I really appreciate your comments on “Samsara” you figured it out! That’s the effect we were going for. We wanted a more experimental, somewhat melodic chorus that would contrast with the driving verses and more aggressive parts of the song. Plus, I felt that the melodic open chords (which are highly unusual in our genre) were more aligned with the sense of the lyrics. I think you intuitively picked up on how when I write the riffs and “hear” the vocals over them, I actually hear vocal melodies, but since our genre doesn’t include melodic vocals, the guitar and bass must compensate. When I refined the guitar parts on “Immersed in Emptiness” I tried to provide a guitar-driven melody that would drive the more textural vocals, if that makes sense. In general, we like melodic vocals (rock and blues, for instance) but don’t feel that they really fit our genre, despite our trying to approximate melodies at the time, though the vocal style doesn’t fully allow for it. On our next batch of recordings, we will have more layers of harmonized guitars (on certain sections) that should add depth.
What do you call your music? You do some of the really heavy chugging and breakdown bits that people associate with deathcore. Do you personally like both the old death metal from your home state and the newer styles?
We think of our music as “metal” but generally describe it as “Florida death metal” since Death, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel are major influences. Our lyrical content is so different from most death metal bands that we’re not sure that “death” applies to us as much, but the musical influence is there and we figure that listeners will best decide how to describe us. Bobby has the most interest in deathcore, but everyone appreciates a good breakdown. By the way, this is just my opinion, but somewhat ironically the heaviest break downs I have heard were written by Cannibal Corpse’s Alex Webster, not a hardcore band.
How did you get the bass guitar to be so very audible? Did you bassist have to do some slap bass in order to make himself heard ha ha?!
Kevin plays bass with a pick for clarity and consistency on recordings, but he certainly admires slap bass players. Alex Webster and Steve DiGiorgio are among his main influences. As for the cutting bass tone on the album, that is due to the mixing skills of Jacob Hansen and the fact that Kevin tracked his parts cleanly.
Your lyrics often have a philosophical take on what you see as the meaninglessness of life, right? Your lyrics on “Corrupted Text” do not view spirituality in a good way. Why? How much of your views come from reading Buddhism or Hinduism (“Samsara”)?
Our lyrics are indeed pessimistic or critical for the most part. As for existentialist questions, I don’t think we’d say that “life is meaningless” so much as “life is what you make of it” and “many people’s lives are insignificant.” We need to give our lives meaning if we want to live well. That is one of the lyrical themes of “Dionysian” which was intended as a more optimistic counterbalance to our general pessimism.
One of the great things about being in a band is that it adds purpose and meaning to life; it gives us a shared interest, and goals that we collaborate on. Austin, who has a serious interest in philosophy, writes most of the lyrics, and his favorite philosophers are Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Hume, and Hobbes (among others).
You are right about the lyrical basis of “Samsara.” I’d also add the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita as influences as well. “Corrupted Text” isn’t an attack on spirituality, but a criticism of ignorant and irrational “true believers” who accept absurdities as truth.
The song “Mechanized Insurgency” takes up war, terrorism and politics. Do you personally have an opinion about either of the two corporate parties in the U.S.? Do you have any opinions about the current president? We know that some bands love to tell the world that they hate him, but where do you stand? Do you care either way?
“Mechanized Insurgency” is one of our earlier songs; the lyrics were written by Dendy, our original bassist. At the time we had friends serving in the desert wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and the brother of one of Austin’s best friends was murdered in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, so we had heavy thoughts about the Middle East on our minds.
We aren’t a political band and don’t support either party but we do have opinions, of course. I’d say we’re moderate, politically. Yes, the two parties are the same in that they both desire power and wealth, but how each goes about that goal differs.
Most of the guys in the band learn toward the right on fiscal issues, though we are inclusive, pro-immigrant, gay-friendly, and very much care about nature and the environment. We don’t want open borders and enjoy owning firearms. We can’t say that we have much appreciation for the Chinese government and their theft of Western technologies. We love Latin America and hope to play concerts there, so don’t approve of vitriol directions toward our friends south of the border. Trump is a deeply flawed man (like most people), but we don’t hate him; he seems to care about this country, but what do I know. I’m not certain that he expected to win the presidency. But in general, we’re for anything that benefits the American worker and American manufacturing.
Do you have any other news?
We are shooting our first music video (for “Immersed in Emptiness”) in late March and are currently refining a set of new songs that we hope to play out soon. We should have one or two ready to perform by April.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you for the opportunity to be included in the Metal Bulletin Zine, and for your thoughtful questions!
Austin and Crypteria

Friday, March 15, 2019

interview: Trauma

The U.S. band Trauma originally came out of California in the early 1980s. The debut was issued in 1984 and it was called Scratch and Scream, thereby putting the band’s name in the book of heavy metal way back when. There was silence for a long time, and it looks like it was some 30 years of absence, but in 2015 they hit back with Rapture and Wrath. Now they returned with another album called As the World Dies, proving Trauma had unfinished business to settle. The band’s drummer Kris Gustofson took time to answer questions about the current state of Trauma.
How are things in the Trauma camp nowadays? Who is in the band in 2019?
The current Trauma line up is Joe Fraulob guitar, Greg Christian bass, Steve Robello guitar, Don Hillier vocals, Kris Gustofson drums. Things are starting to take shape a bit for 2019. Honestly this has been a struggle for us to get this off the ground. Not an easy task for being off the grid for a long time. In this day and age we have to lower our expectations because the infrastructure of the music business is not there anymore. Yes, we all get along great especially when we are on the road together. That’s when it’s really fun. Everyone is fucking nuts; not in a bad way but quite fun.
The album is on Pure Steel Records. How did you hook up with then? Those guys seem be hoarding all the U.S. bands from the 1980s. Are you selling more albums in Europe, especially in Germany, than in the U.S.?
We submitted the Rapture and Wrath album to them and they came back at us with a worldwide contract. This was in 2015, the audience for metal is not here in the US as it once was. Don't get me wrong, there are pockets here and there, however not as many as there once was. Europe however is where all the massive festivals take place. nothing to compare to here in the U.S. If you’re a HUGE band that can put asses in seats then you’re doing quite well here in the states. It’s hit and miss.
Another thing that I have noticed is that the German fans love to hear resurrected U.S. bands. Have you had any invitations to play in Germany yet?
I’m not gonna lie here. Trauma, unfortunately has had a very difficult time with this. We have played Head Bangers Open Air in Germany and 70,000 tons of metal cruise. But, we haven't been really invited to play any other festivals yet. We hope this will change with the new album. We want to go tour ASAP.
Trauma 2019 is rather heavy, and features a big dose of groove. The music sounds very modern. What explains the band’s embracing of more modern sounds?!
Most of the ideas for the songs came from Joe, Steve and Greg. Lyrics were written by Don. As far as the actual structures as you will, there was a lot of pre-production going on. I would get guitar riffs sent to me and then I would add drums to the tracks and this would go back and fourth quite a few times then we would get together and try it live. It was a long process until we thought we had something. I think there were another 6 or so songs that didn't make it on the record. We have a lot of new material to still release. As far as sound, we wanted it to be between old and new. So I think we had a pretty good balance of both.
What has it been like having two veteran guitarists, Steve and Joe, and agreeing on the style? I bet there is no shortage of riffs!
Both Steve And Joe are great guitarists that share respect for on another. There is no trying to out do the other going on. Thank god!! it is working together as unit that is the important thing, and they both do solos within the material. They trade off. As far as it being interesting we have 2 veteran guitarists in the band, who else would we have? We are all veterans in a unit doing this.
As the World Dies paints a pessimistic view of the world. Is there anything in particular motivating this view? When you think back to 1984 and the album Scratch and Scream, how are the lyrics differently now as compared to back in the day?
Don Hillier wrote all the lyrics. We aren't trying to paint a picture of gloom and doom. We are not anyone that wants to dictate anything to anyone. It’s all based on a perspective. Everyone has their own. This is 2019, not 1984. A lot of readers perhaps reading this weren't even born yet. The 80's was a completely different animal. The music scene was thriving and off the hook... Scratch and Scream came from that era. The recording session for that record was completely fucking nuts as well. There are many positive things going on in the world today. It's just a perspective thing and everyone has their own opinion on the world as it is today. Lord know what we will call the next record.
Does Trauma take sides on the current political climate?
No, we don't talk politics among ourselves. Personally, I don't pay attention to that BS. It goes back to the perspective thing. We are not trying to preach anything to anyone. No hidden messages etc., as the world dies is just a point of view.
What drummers did Kris like when he was a teenager? We all know that Zeppelin had a legendary drummer, but did he like Bonzo in particular?
My father was a big Band drummer. Jazz music played nonstop in my house. My influences as far as other drummers are. Gus Gustofson, Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, Gene Krupa, Louis Bellson, Max Roach.. I was 12-13 years old and went to see Zeppelin's Song Remains the same seeing this, blew my mind. Of course, Bonham and tons of others. There are many great players in this day and age. I am always searching for New approaches for drumming. No one will ever know everything. In my opinion Buddy Rich was the closest I have ever witnessed in doing this. Fucking Jaw dropping live...I was lucky enough to meet him and see him play several times...
Do you have information about the availability of the album and other details?
We have made 2 videos.
The new album can be bought here:
Do you have any other news of things going on in the Trauma camp?
Trying to secure some live dates. Thank you for all the questions and interest in the band!! Very much appreciated!!! A big THANK YOU!!!!!!! from TRAUMA.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

interview: Steel Raiser

The Italian band Steel Raiser began in 2006 and their fourth album Acciaio (Steel) is out now. It came out in February of 2019. A true metal fan’s band, the new album features songs with titles like “Heavy Metal Hero,” “Up the Fist,” and “King of the Night,” and other traditional titles of the language of heavy metal. Very loyal to the music, the band works with the tested ways to make sure that you get your money’s worth. There are 11 songs and the results should please the fans that love bands that live for the ways of classic-style heavy metal.
Acciaio is a fist-raising heavy metal album! The previous album is from 2015. How was life for Steel Raiser after 2015? Do you get some recognition in Sicily?
Hello everyone, I'm Salvo, bass player of Steel Raiser and it's a pleasure for me to answer your questions. Acciaio is the successor to Unstoppable, released in 2015, and represents the continuation of our musical journey started with Race of Steel. It is an album of pure heavy metal that will not leave disappointed our fans and lovers of the genre. Since 2015 many things have changed, both from the musical point of view with the entry of Carlos in the band, both from the personal point of view for each of us. Our lives have become a little more frenetic and our free time has decreased compared to the past, but we have managed to keep an open space for our musical projects. Obviously, especially in terms of content, all these changes and experiences (positive and negative) in recent years have contributed to the writing of Steel.
Sicily is a wonderful place for a holiday, a little less to live there and certainly unsuitable for making music, our music. There is a visceral lack of interest in heavy metal music and the few valid bands are not taken into consideration at all. However, this has never questioned the life of the band, also given by our propensity to always aim beyond our geographical borders.
After writing riffs and lyrics, writing songs and recording, the album is complete in 2019, how do you feel and are you excited to play some shows?
It feels free. In my personal experience, the last three years of life have not been the best, many negative circumstances have followed one another and left an indelible mark where they struck. Managing all this and in the meantime also devoting to writing an album is not easy, however, as always, the music saves. All that desire to shout to the world your anger, your desire for revenge is transformed into powerful notes and riffs that in the end make you almost free from all the shit that surrounds you. I always think that our fans understand all the feelings that we throw into our songs, maybe they are reflected in them and for this I am sure they will appreciate our album. And we cannot wait to be able to offer it live in front of as many people as possible.
Where can people hear or watch the new songs or videos?
It is possible to listen to the album in streaming on all digital platforms. In addition, anyone wishing to purchase a physical copy can do so through our Facebook page and in all online stores. "Heavy Metal Hero" video has already anticipated the release of the album about a month ago. In the coming weeks we are planning the realization and subsequent publication of a lyric video and at least one other official videoclip.
Steel Raiser has been active for a long time. In all those years how much touring has the band done?
Until today our live activity has been rather penalized by our geographical position. In Italy we visited several cities that welcomed us with great interest and enthusiasm, such as the last magnificent experience at the Rock Metal Fest in Pulsano. Different discourse for foreign countries, which has not yet seen us present and on which, beyond the economic issues that do not represent a problem, we are trying to work for some time.
Steel Raiser is Italian, but your record labels have been German during your career. Why is that?
We have always had an excellent relationship with the German record labels, initially with Pure Steel Records and now with Iron Shield Records. Our choice to collaborate with them rather than with Italian ones, for example, has always been dictated by the enthusiasm and the great support they have always provided us, as well as by the openness to collaboration that emerged from the beginning. Iron Shield devotes itself in a manner to the promotion of our albums, and it does so with a lot of passion and competence. Not surprisingly, after the recordings of "Acciaio" we immediately sent the material to Thomas (Iron Shield Records).
Did you use all the songs for the album? Did you record some extra songs?
As always we have developed and carried forward the ideas that we considered most interesting and functional for the album, "discarding", so to speak, those that we still do not consider mature enough to be part of a Steel Raiser album. However, what does not end on the album is recovered later to be reworked and improved. For "Acciaio" we had about 14 pieces that eventually fell to 11 that compose it. Perhaps we will hear them in the next CD to which we will start working shortly.
How is the line-up of the band in 2019?
Alfonso and Gianluca represent the backbone of Steel Raiser. They started this project and continue to carry on the mission. Over the years, just after the release of "Race of Steel", the line-up was completed with Giuseppe Seminara on guitar, Salvo Pizzimento (me) on bass and Antonio Portale on drums. From this line up a stable formation was formed that over time saw the entry of Carlos Cantatore to replace Antonio at the drums.
Steel Raiser has lots of fist-raising, headbanging heavy metal songs. That is your specialty. However, on the new album you also have a nice ballad called Wherever. Is the song dedicated to a person in particular?
The idea of the ballad comes from a riff of Giuseppe to which Alfonso then wrote the text. As any of our songs is not decided anything at the table, we simply considered "Wherever" valid and mature enough to be published. It is certainly a song of love, of a love understood beyond time and space, which lasts despite the difficulties of daily life, fueled by a fire that can never be extinguished. I do not give you the background of the song because they belong to Alfonso, but I can tell you that it took heart to write it and to sing it.
What would you like the U.S. fans of traditional heavy metal to know about Steel Raiser?
I would be really proud that our music would please the American listeners, who can give us their necessary support to continue to make our music, with the hope that one day we might come and play in your part. It would be for us a dream that comes true.
Do you have any other news?
As I said before, in the coming months we will try to promote our album at best and shortly before the summer we will start working on new stuff that will make up the successor of "Acciaio". Thank you for the space you gave us and for your support. Stay Steel.

interview: Diaboł Boruta

Diaboł Boruta is rocking heavy metal folk from Poland. They are not a new band and they already have three albums, and the latest one in 2019 is called Czary. However, the band is new to this publication, and given that they have a new album, why not learn more about what makes them tick, tick? Thankfully, the band responded to the millions of questions that were sent their way, and now U.S. fans will find out more about this Polish mountain city hiking heavy metal association by the name of Diaboł Boruta.
How is the life of Diaboł Boruta in Rzeszów, Poland? Do you live in a small town or a big city? How is the metal scene in your city?
Hello. 😊Thanks for the interest in our band. Poland greets the USA. We live in an average sized city (about 200 000 inhabitants) and, while each of us has a different job and different duties, we meet at rehearsals once a week (such as most bands 😊). Then, we talk mannerly, tease each other, drink milk and try to play music. We usually have rehearsals at late hours so sometimes one of us falls asleep. Such a culprit is then locked in the garage (where we play) and has to stay there for a week, until the next rehearsal. 😊 As a band we barely make any money for playing in Poland. We make music because we like it, as we like orcs, elves and dwarves (we are friends with some of them 😊). Metal scene is still present in our region but there are only a few extreme metal bands. Many bands play pop-rock (or something like that) and pretend to be real rockers.
Did your band start in 2011 like Metal Archives says? Did all the current members record on the new album Czary? Who are the members in 2019 and do you have any original members from the beginning of the band? Who is answering this interview?
Yes, Diaboł was formed in 2011 but the lineup changed many times. Unfortunately, in 2018 our co-founder guitarist, Mirek, left the band. Currently, we have two original members: Paweł Szczupak (guitarist), who didn’t play with us for some time despite being a co-founder, and I, Paweł Leniart, (bass and vocals). Czary had been recorded by all of the current members (listed in Metal Archives) except Konrad, who joined the band after the recording sessions.
Have you made any videos?
We record videos ourselves. We are also the authors of scenarios and costumes. I know that our videos sometimes look unprofessional, but we have much fun of doing this although it is usually a really hard work. We also intend to make a lyric video, but we haven’t choosen the song yet. We plan to make it soon but the waiting time may change – similarly to the information at Polish railway stations when your train has two hours of delay 😉.
Several videos are on other channels though, e.g., on the channel of our label – Pure Steel Records. Our lyrics are in Polish but in each LP there are two songs translated to English. You can listen to them on our channel or buy them through our Bandcamp site.
The album cover is a type of demon. Can you tell us more about the artwork?
The cover was made by our friend Waldemar Van Deurse, a brilliant graphic designer. It depicts a forest monster – Leshy, that has been summoned by the character standing before him, which is in fact some kind of a devil or an angel. In Slavic mythology a Leshy is a guardian of forests and wanderers but also a dangerous beast for those who don’t respect the forest. In our lyrics we are discussing the subjects related to environmental protection because the Earth is exploited on such a large scale that if people don’t realize that, we will all die soon. The song Czary (Spells) tells us that if you summon a demon (look at the video) and if she’s a beautiful demon, she’ll bang you first and then – rip your heart out. This is such a romantic warning that our dreams can take various forms, not always as positive as we wanted. The Leshy from the cover is being summoned by a mythological character – some kind of a dryad. What will they do together? This artwork won’t say that but it leaves such a question. Protect the fucking environment!
Can you help us in the United States with the lyrics of your band? What types of stories do you have in your new songs?
The lyrics are about Slavic ghosts, monsters, drowners, kikimores, rusalkas and so on. They often enter into relationships with people, protect them, look after their belongings, but they also kidnap, show the world or enter "romantic ecstasies" with them. 😉 On the new album these stories went slightly beyond these subjects. They sometimes say about freedom, about a Golem - a monster created by a Jewish rabbi living in Poland. There is also a story referring to tastes of the universe. Songs Niewolnik and Królestwo nie niebieskie have their English versions – Slave and Kingdom of no Heaven. The lyrics from the previous albums refer to medieval stories, which were very often related to mythological Slavic believes (not only Polish). Therefore, we sometimes sing about monsters which are as old as ancient Egypt. 😉
On each of our albums there are two tracks available both in Polish and English version, they are translated and sang once again. “Slave” tells about coming back home. It's a metaphor of restriction of human freedom, also the freedom of our thoughts, breaking the chains and coming back home. When it comes to “Kingdom of No Heaven” - you have to read it yourself. You may take it differently, it is impossible for me to analyse my lyrics entirely, it feels awkward for me :D However, it's pretty good, I mean the track. I think I even enjoy the English version more than Polish 😉
You have three albums so far. Have you had opportunities to tour?
We don’t have a manager and our record label don’t organize concerts, so it is difficult for us to promote the album abroad. Moreover, we live in a city near Slovak and Ukrainian border and everywhere is far away from here (I know in the USA there are larger distances but you have bigger cars 😉). The additional problem is that two of us sometimes work on weekends, one of us sometimes works at nights and the other one, Paweł Szczupak, goes on dates at nights and the rest of the band sleeps 😉 We only played in Poland and Czech Republic so far. We’d like to play in other countries and promote Diaboł in Europe but it is a hard case for us.
The Polish band Behemoth seems to have (or want!) some problems with the Catholic Church or the government. Does your band have songs against the government or against the Catholic Church and things like that?
We have to distinguish making music from making business and looking for controversy in order to exist in the media. We all know Behemoth and we know that it's a really professional band, also their way of life. We are far behind but it would be so great to be on the similar level that Behemoth is. We're not so controversial, though. We do not tend to sing about politicians, we don't tear the Bible apart during our concerts, however we usually get pissed off when it comes to religion – every religion seems to be restrictive, limiting for human freedom and free thinking. In my opinion, every religion should remain an individual matter for everyone – it just can't be equated with law and, in fact, we talk about it but in a more subtle manner. We don't turn the cross upside-down (what's the point?). If so, we should do this with all religious symbols, but we don't fight with religion – as I said, it's an individual matter for everyone. As long as it isn't messing our private life of course. Our band and music, lyrics and image comes truly from ourselves. There's nothing fake, we don't put business before everything, we (almost 😉) never grandstand. Good music always defends itself. When it comes to controversy – people should think and don't let others to manipulate. Also, I usually present really fucking awesome footwear while onstage so I suppose it already exceeds all the limits of decency. 😉
Usually metal bands have negative things to say about life and other people or about the government or against religion and things like. Let’s do something different! Can you tell us about what you like about life in Poland?
We are not negative, we don't want to share negativity, we don't say that life is fucked up, but that one should respect life. If life tends to be difficult, there's no point in pulling people down - it's better to support them. Let us leave politics, parties and goverment aside – politics is always bullshit. As wise man once said – you can find most of the whores in... politics. Also, wages are quite low. Parties that governed over recent years have done lots of pretty bad things. The climate seems quite moderate. However, mountains are much fun (freedom, safety. forests that aren't private). There are places that we like to visit. Of course, we also like to visit other countries, but we have our favourite spots here. What is also worth mentioning is that Poland has really fucked up history at times, and truly I hope it will never happen again. As a band and a group of friends we try to stay away from bad people, corporate bullshit, away from morons.😉 Idiots can be found everywhere, there's also lots of them in Poland but it's good to avoid them. Fortunately, it is very unlikely to get shot in the streets. There were no terrorist attacks – and I hope there will not be a single one. If you want to drink Polish vodka, beer (I recommend craft beer, not our watery lagers), or go for a hike in the woods you probably won't get eaten by anything. Probably 😉 Oh, we also got hot chicks here 😉
How do you all feel now that the album is finished and released? What do you think about the reviews so far?
To tell the truth, I was mostly happy when we finished our first album. It was the hardest album to produce and compose the tracks. We put really lot of effort into it. Widziadła - the second album – I had itchy feet, I couldn't wait for CDs to show up. And when the parcel arrived it turned out that colors of the cover are messed up and I got pissed of again, haha. The last album Czary progressed quite smoothly and quickly. I had quite a lot of work to do recently so we didn't even have time to celebrate it with a little band drink – we have to make up for it! 😉 The only problem with this album was messed up booklet page order but this time we took it calmly – it's beautiful anyway. It feels good to have a new child born and we're just looking forward for a next one 😉 We don't usually care what each review says because we know (so modest...) that the material is pretty good. Not perfect, not ingenious however it's quite decent, so extremely good or bad reviews are not adequate here. We read the reviews with curiosity and it's nice to hear some kind words but I suppose it applies to everyone. Simply if you feed your dog, the dog feels happy and it wags its tail so you also feel happy, right? Unless you give it a dead, rotten frog. As a consequence, the dog will throw it all up on your living room carpet – and so it goes with reviews. 😉We made a really nice piece of meat and no one puked on us, this seems to be the best review for the time being. You can order our albums from us, by our Facebook profile.
Unfortunately, we do not own a really big store, however we can supply you with t-shirts, albums and dog food :D If you are wanting to support us, check out our fanpages and websites, listen to our music, subscribe, buy some mp3's sometimes. Don't destroy nature and just be good for each other.😉
Thank you for your time!
I also thank you for your interest and stimulating questions – it was really fun to answer and translate from Polish to English (Zibra and Dawid – thanks!) 😉 Please send me a link when the interview comes out. I'm eager to read it once again and see what can be made better. 😉
Thanks again and we send ice-cold, delicious beer straight from Poland to USA! Cheers! 😉
We have an official video for the song Czary:
Here is a link to our Youtube channel with videos from other albums and all songs from the two previous LPs:

interview: Booze Control

In February of 2019 the traditional heavy metal action tag team Booze Control (Germany) graced the fans with the album Forgotten Lands, another big step for the band. Getting bigger and better with each album and after ten years of laboring, they just keep writing catchy, memorable songs, all the while consolidating their fan base. This is album number four for them, but it looks like they are just getting warmed up. Don’t let this band out of your sight! Below is an exchange between the band and this publication.
Who is answering this interview?
David: This is David, singer and guitarist of Booze Control...
Jendrik: ... and Jendrik, guitarist...
Lord: ...and the Lord, drummer in the band.
Good job on FORGOTTEN LANDS! It is an impressive album!
David: Thanks, glad you like it!
Booze Control has finally returned after the 2016 album The Lizard Rider. Everyone in the band knows their responsibilities, you have more knowledge of recording, and many other practical aspects, but what about the process of writing songs? You have already written many rocking songs! Do you feel pressure to do better than Wanted, Don’t Touch While Running, Heavy Metal and The Lizard Rider?!
David: We sure have learned quite a lot since we started this band almost ten years ago, and on the songwriting side things go pretty smooth by now. We have found our identity as a band, we know what we are going for, and we feel comfortable diverging from that 'formula' to experiment and try new things without risking total chaos. Roughly half the song are, at the core, written by guitarist Jendrik, the other half by myself, and we finished most of the songs together. Our previous releases were the stepping stones to where we are now, so of course we are building on them, but there is no pressure at all. Speaking of the non-musical things like booking, legal, merch, we have also come a long way. As it happens, you mostly learn from your failures, so from the past we know what not to do, and it's always exciting to see what the future will bring. FORGOTTEN LANDS is released on Gates of Hell Records, a Cruz del Sur sublabel, which is very exciting for us since we love many of their releases.
How does it feel for a bunch of young kids from the city of Braunschweig to be making heavy metal for 10 years and four albums? It’s actually longer when you think about the band before Booze Control that was called Sheperd’s Guns! After all these years, are you happy with your standing as a band in Germany? Accept, Scorpions, and Judas Priest did not become successes immediately, either. How much further can Booze Control go, in your opinion?
David: It feels like a century, and it's filled with so many memories and so much experience that I wouldn't want to miss a single second of it. But I don't like to think about it in terms of "what did we achieve in 10 years". We were practically kids when we started, and we didn't know shit back then. We were just having fun, and kinda accidentally learned what it actually means and takes to play in a band along the way. And now, here we are. We're very proud of FORGOTTEN LANDS and couldn't be more happy with the result. It's hard to say where we'll be in a couple of years, and whether the success of any band today can even be compared to the bands you mentioned. There's a lot of bands popping up, and a lot of bands vanishing, some trying to break the cycle. I think here's a central question in the metal scene these days: What will become of the heroes of today in 10 years?
Lord: This is an important point and I'd like to mention friends of ours in this context. The Trveheim festival in Germany and the many, many other Heavy Metal festivals that sprung up all over the place over the last years are an incredibly important cornerstone, not only for us, as a band, but for the scene as a whole. Without shows to actually play bands like ours would be nowhere today.
Is it really true that Booze Control has had the same exact line-up since 2009? What is your secret to keeping the original team together?
David: Yes, the line-up is the same from the beginning. We all built this ship together, we're sailing it, exploring unknown continents, and maybe one day we'll find a nice haven to retire, or we'll be wrecked and drown. Anyway, it's our ship, we built it together. We have roles, for example Jendrik and me take care of the songwriting, but there is no hierarchy. We're a democracy, everybody puts in thoughts and money equally. Of course, there are disagreements, but we've gotten better at solving those, too.
Lord: There were a few years where it all looked kinda dicey because we were scattered all over the country, but we kept the train rolling and slowly but surely we've all gravitated back together, and with everyone acting like they matured a bit (even if we really didn't), we managed to settle in enough to be at a comfortable status quo. I think it also helps that we don't have one huge ego in the band, but are actually all able to step back if it is needed.
There’s a lyric video for “Attack of the Axemen”. Do you have more videos coming?
Jendrik: We did a full-blown video for 'Vile Temptress' from our last album THE LIZARD RIDER, and it was huge fun! We'd love to do more, but unfortunately, it's costly and time-consuming, so for now we have no big plans. We might do some playthrough videos of the new songs though.
What touring plans do you have for 2019? Do you have Seattle on your schedule for touring ha ha?! Have you played in Eastern Europe and Russia yet?
Jendrik: We won't play any real tours this year. We have a couple of nice shows and festivals all throughout Germany lined up though and might play a handful of international shows in central Europe. We'd also love to come to America for some shows, if you find someone to pay for the travel just say the word and we'll be there! I think the most eastern show we played so far was in Zagreb, Croatia.
Are you all professional musicians in 2019?
Jendrik: Oh no, there is not nearly enough money in this to make a living. We all have day jobs, most of us in IT-/Engineering-related fields. Except the Lord, who stars in 70s porn or something like that, we don't actually know how or on what he survives.
Lord: ...and if I told you I'd have to kill you. Joking aside, I believe the whole industry is changing in a way that makes the old school image we have of "rock star" unsustainable, but on the other hand I don't know a single person, in this band or any we've shared the stage with, who's in this for the money. Everyone is just a true as hell metalhead and we're all in for the music.
Where are some places where fans can hear your new and your older music?
Jendrik: You can listen to our music on almost all platforms. You can stream the album on Bandcamp, YouTube and Spotify or buy it digitally wherever you like. You can get music and merchandise directly from the band, which is always the way I would prefer personally. Of course, we'd be most happy to see you at one of our shows and have a beer with us.
Why do you think that it looks like Booze Control is getting better as musicians? How old were you all when Sheperd’s Guns began? The Metal Archives picture looks like you all might have been maybe 14-16 years old.
David: It looks like we are getting better as musicians because we still are! We have a tendency to include things just slightly above our technical level in the songs we write, so there is always something challenging in them. Over the years, this really helps you grow as a musician. I started making music with bassist Steffen in 2003 when I was 12 and he was 15 maybe. I was originally the drummer in the band, until we found the Lord in 2006, and then Jendrik in 2009.
In the songs “Doom of Sargoth” and “Cydonian” Sands Booze Control has never sounded so serious, epic and mature and it’s wonderful. I hope that you keep growing in your creativity and your confidence. One day there will be thousands of metalheads singing along to your songs in concerts!
Jendrik: Thank you for the kind words. Both of these songs have been in the works for a long time and now we felt they have reached a state in which we were happy with them and they fit the album. It’s always interesting to go back to older ideas and see where they lead to after a little bit of rest. And having a crowd sing your own words is probably the most rewarding part of being in a band. Hopefully there is much more of that in the future!
Do you have any other news?
David: Go listen to FORGOTTEN LANDS, you're not gonna regret it! Lord: Get out there, go see a band. Any band, the venues need it and you might even have a good time!
Thank you for your time!
David: Thank you, it was a pleasure!
Jendrik: Cheers!
Lord: Thanks for having us.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

the return of the old black metal: INTERVIEW: GORGON

The old black metal has returned in 2019 after some 17 years of silence. Gorgon, according to Metal Archives, issued its first demo in 1992, putting the black metal at a very early moment in the history of France. Curiosity about Gorgon’s new album The Veil of Darkness on Osmose Productions sparked interest in making contact to find out more about the return of Gorgon after all this time.
The new album sounds like total black metal dedication. Who is Gorgon in 2019?
In the summer of 2017 I saw the drummer of our first three albums at an Absu’s gig. He told me that he wanted play drums again and gave me his email address. At this moment, I started to think about playing music again to see which could lead to such a cooperation. As he could do the job, I wrote him one day later but never received an answer. So, when I decided to rebirth the band alone in early December 2017 and I did not specially try to compose a new line-up. For this album I felt it was easier for me to make all the instruments I could, for a saving of time and efficiency. In fact, except for the drummer of our 4th album, which now makes guitar in a heavy-metal band, no longer any former member of Gorgon makes music. As I could play all guitar and bass parts, I have decided to do all the instrumentation myself with only the help of a session drummer that I have paid. It’s not a machine. I have contacted him by mail, we did not know each other prior to this. He made his parts but is not an official member. Currently I am still the only member, no other official musician has been recruited.
Has it really been almost decades since you last made music?
Yes, it’s true, the band was inactive from 2001 to 2018. In 2001, after our 4th album «The Spectral Voices», we have known line-up problems so even if the band had not splitted up, it was no longer in activities. Meanwhile, during the next years some records are out. I was contacted in 2005 by the French band OTAL to make a split album with them. The split-cd did have some problems, and came out quite some years later, in 2011. For our part, it was rare or unreleased songs from my archives. The same year, a CD compilation of Gorgon is also out, released by the Mexican label Rex Bagude Productions. In 2017, the same label has re-issue our first album in vinyl format, originally for the South-American market. In addition, in October 2017 I was contacted by 2 others French labels to re-issue the 1992 demo on vinyl format limited to 300 copies.
At the end of 2017 I felt the need to do black metal because what I had been seeing for years, mainly in concert, was not great, so I decided to bring my vision of the thing and among labels showed interest, Osmose Productions contacted us, too.
Gorgon is finally on Osmose Productions. Gorgon is black metal from France and Osmose Productions is in France and promotes black metal. What took so long to make this connection?!
Of course, I’d have preferred that Osmose signed us in the 90s but it didn’t happen, although they helped with the distribution of our material (demo, E.P., albums). At this period, they wanted bands who could play on tours and they have found good ones such as Marduk, Immortal, Impaled Nazarene or Rotting Christ. Now we are signed on this label, it’s a kind of a new chapter for the band. In addition to this new effort in different format (CD, vinyl, cassette), they will highlight our 2 first albums in vinyl and CD format at the end of May. In addition, our 1992 demo will also be republished in CD format only.
Will you be playing shows in France and Europe?
Yes, I also thought that gigs are important to promote a band and its last record, but in 2018 no concert has taken place to judge what we are currently worth. Last month I have made a first rehearsal with a drummer and a bass player (both ex-member of a local black metal band) and we have been practicing some songs. They are not official member, however. I’d be pleased to have a second guitar player but have not found one so far. I don’t want a “musician” but someone who understand what authentic black metal is. The scene has been so polluted by modern and mechanic bands, the technical level was increased at once. At the beginning we don’t care about technicality, it was in our blood. I want guys involved in black metal. It has to run through their veins and not be a cool thing until finally in a few weeks they start to play death metal or something else. So it seems it will take time to have a complete set list, but I think in some months we will be ready to play in France or Europe. Of course, old and new material will be included on our shows
The new album is guitar attack, speed black metal, with traditional grim vocals and the classic-style way of black metal. You were making black metal in 1991 and it is now 2019. In your mind, what has changed and not changed?
Our form of Black Metal deserves a crude and simple approach. I think this new album is the most brutal of our career, but this aspect of things came naturally, it’s not a voluntary change. I did not try to copy what is currently being done or any particular band. The composition was made in a few months with regular work to find all the ideas I needed to achieve a satisfactory result. What has changed is the sound of the record and this album enjoys the best sound we have ever had and it strengthens the impact of the songs, highlights some details. The idea was to keep the sound as simple as the band needs. The subjects are mainly based on Satanism, witchcraft, war, death and the dark side in general. Classical themes for this style and for us but just too many bands calling themselves black metal now use other topics in their texts, which is not compatible for me. Without being an obsession, I would like the audience think that the 2019 Gorgon is as good, or more than the one of the 1990s.
When you think back to 1991, what have you learned about recording the music now?
We play a style of black metal that is very raw, and traditional sounding, but here the production sounds very professional thanks to the sound engineer Sebastien Camhi. Gorgon was the first black metal band he heard in 1995 and then he became a fan of this style and especially Norwegian bands. He was really excited to record us in his studio called ArtMusic because generally his customers are more in rock or soft metal bands. He was also really happy to have our “guest”, the Italian singer Cadaveria, in his studio as you can imagine, even if she sings only on 1 song. With experience we learn things over time, but for this recording I still learned a lot because the sound engineer had very good ideas and trying them we kept quite a few. I’ve recorded more guitar tracks than usual and vocal recording sessions were more intense too. It’s been so long since I used to use my voice in a microphone. The sound quality of the drums is very powerful and comes from the fact that the original instrument had a very good sound and was very little modified. Moreover, for the 3 previous albums the sessions were paid by the hour, while there I had a package for a full month including mixing also there was greater comfort for work. We had already known this in the first album yet the amount to be paid was demarcated from the beginning.
What inspired you to play black metal in 1991? What black metal music was there in France in 1989 or 1990 before Gorgon? There was thrash and death like Agressor, Mercyless, Massacra and Loudblast. What black metal?
Gorgon was the first black metal band in France, we were really among the pioneers. Mutiilation and sometimes after Maleficum Orgia followed. After, a French scene of black metal emerged, but I have the impression that the French scene was more inspired by Dark Throne and Immortal in particular. Dark Funeral and Marduk have also been particularly highlighted at one time. When I started the band, I listened to Samaël, Venom, Celtic Frost, Sarcófago, Bathory, and Torture. My inspiration was black metal in all forms (fast or slow parts, melodic or raw riffs…) with occult-satanic lyrics. When we started death metal was king, but it was not my way as I preferred black metal. Moreover, as I have also disliked the trend, it was not for me. We have played with Mercyless in 1993, and 2 times with Agressor in 1995-1996, but never with Loudblast or Massacra that I have of course even seen in concert. Gorgon was from the same town as Agressor and our relations were good, but they were not in the black metal scene at all, thrash metal then death metal only.
The new album The Veil of Darkness begins with the first song “Still Six Six Six.” Do you still feel the same way about lyrics as you did back in 1991?
Yes, Gorgon has no political subjects, no social or medical lyrics, only the traditional and usual themes as this style must have. However, I try to tell stories or bring new ideas to each album while remaining in the same niche. I know too many bands claim to do black metal but take this to the second degree, use soft lyrics. According to me, our topics are still the same as in 1991 as I haven’t changed in what I think of the “desert religions”.
What role do you see religion, Catholicism and Protestantism, having in France in 2019? What about Islam in France?
Christianity is the main religion in France then Islam comes next. I don’t know where Protestantism is, but we don’t hear anything like Buddhism, for example. I stay away from organized religions, that’s my actual point of view. I don’t want to be a part of all those who have no problem to be a slave of that and think to be among the only people who know the way. In France Islam wants to conquer and has the French government, the media and many associations on its side. You can go to France with a shirt "Fuck Jesus", nothing will happen to you. If you go out with a shirt offensive to the Jewish religion or Islam, you will be sued in court for incitement to racial hatred.
What is the devil? What do you think about atheists or agnostics? Can a person be a Christian or a Muslim or believe in God and enjoy the music of Gorgon?
It’s not easy to describe my views on Satanism. There are so many different and sometimes even opposite visions, that I sorted and pioched in what was right for me to make my opinion. I love the medieval image of the devil physically represented as a goat, but I believe more in a spirit of evil than in a material divinity. That doesn’t stop me from talking or using visuals related to the goat, the demon with horns, the classic vision in fact of its representation in popular imagery. I understand those who overturn into atheism or agnosticism because classical religions with their institutions and their various prescriptions are, when we look at their historical bases, human constructions to maintain a certain order of the society of their time. These are two currents that seem few present in France which is a land of Christian tradition for more than 1000 years with its rituals, its calendar with the saints, its official presence on television. According to me, there is only a minority of those who listen to us and appreciate who are satanists, the majority are unpractising Christians or atheists, or pagans. It may have Islamists who like the band without necessarily looking at the lyrics or the concept, but in my opinion very little, based on those who are in France and who only listen to Rap.
What do you believe about the afterlife?
For me, there is something beyond that. There were too many occult manifestations, too many stories about reincarnation, and so on, for everything to stop at once you die. Physically the body is only flesh, water but there is also the spirit.
Recently in France the yellow vest protestors have been very active because they are frustrated with the government and the president of the rich, as they say. What is your opinion?
The movement of yellow vests is originally orchestrated for political purposes. The name "yellow vests" had been deposited to be protected since 2017, 1 year before the start of the demonstrations. It means how programmed it was. As much as it initially seemed spontaneous and came from the people, for weeks now it’s a people’s Saturday appointment that manifests and that never ends. The government has reacted very badly with an ultraviolent police, censored images, the television media hijacking or hiding the truth. Not to be anti-capitalist, but I’m not for it. There is too much abuse in France, too much unnecessary spending by politicians, too much diversion of money, too much unpunished scam. Politicians are corrupt, but if they got into this career, it’s for that, to have money and power and who elected them? Guys protesting on Saturday, so, and to finish off with that question, even if I am rather apolitical, of course I’m for the workers and the farmers who are doing a very difficult job because of what they then sell to the big stores and so on.
Where can people purchase to support Gorgon?
Our new album is available through our label Osmose Productions and shirts too as I have no more copies here. I have only patches with our logo. To judge before to buy I know that some have already put our album on YouTube and other. Osmose put it on Spotify and iTunes among others because the streaming is interesting for them since they sell music without providing any physical support, so it is easy to listen to it to make an opinion. I have faith in the potential of the album and the promotion that will come from your help, so I can only thank you for looking into our case.