Necrowretch feature for Iron Fist

The wretched forms of death metal have been yanked from the ground over the last five years by youngsters desperate for the taste of blood and whilst many drag its name through the mud, others keep the primitive roots alive. French duo Necrowretch are one example of this, with frontman/guitarist Vlad picking up a guitar purely because of hearing Death’s ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ and six months later Necrowretch’s first demo was born.

“It was an amazing part of my life when I discovered so many death metal bands and in a certain way ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ was the highlight of this period and today it remains my major death metal influence”, Vlad reminisces. “The unholy alliance between Schuldiner and Reifert is just perfect and it delivers the true essence of death metal: raw, primitive, evil!”


This year’s debut ‘Putrid Death Sorcery’ saw the band beginning to find their own path with a record pummelling you from start to finish through a rabid tempo and savage aggression akin to eighties thrash and death coming to a head with one another. Slowly growing their following after appearances at Copenhagen’s Kill Town Fest in 2010, it was during an album launch for Asphyx that their viscious show caught the attention of Century Media. The record label took the band under their wings like label mates Sonne Adam, another band with a passion for traditional extremity but how does one tell between those who are true and those following the latest trend?


“I don’t really know, as I’m young and wasn’t part of the previous decade of death metal. I started playing music to make something similar to ‘Scream Bloody Gore’, and then the music became more personal and Necrowretch became its own”, explains Vlad. “Unlike our first recordings, I feel that we don’t sound like Autopsy or Nihilist anymore but actually came up with an evil and sick sound of our own that is hard to pigeonhole. I’m sure it’s the same way for a lot of metalheads playing in this “real” death metal vein. Of course there are also a lot of posers only using a HM 2 pedal to have a flat sound and to play the same riffs of Dismember, and I don’t like this kind of “copy paste” death metal.”


One man that refuses to listen to anything other than real metal is of course, Fenriz of Darkthrone. Linked heavily to Live Evil Festival, which will see its third festival causing havoc in London later on in the year, his Band of the Week choices are a strong focus for the line-up, a list Necrowretch were lucky enough to be a part of. The band’s first attack on our shores will be surrounded by the likes of Satan and Midnight to name a few but Vlad, Amphycion (bass) and new drummer Executor plan to step up to the mark.


“Be prepared for something very evil! We’ll play with all our guts and add some bestial touches for this show. The set will include many songs off the album that we never played live before. Be ready for your funeral! It was fucking amazing to be picked as a band of week by Fenriz. It’s a real honour for us to be heard by a metal veteran and to play with the other killer bands.”


Despite growing up in an area desolate to the metal realms, the joys of tape trading for the band and close friends helped Necrowretch witness the underground scene within their homeland. He believes there are plenty of killer bands “but sadly there is not enough support as people here are more into shitty core bands.” When asked who he would choose if he had the opportunity to step into Fenriz’s boots only French acts are listed, including Ritulalization, Affliction Gate and Cadaveric Fumes.


Sticking with the stereotypes of the underground, Necrowretch’s demos and EPs were only available on tape and quickly sold out, however a compilation is soon to be available on CD. In previous interviews, Vlad shared that he felt the past recordings should be left in the shadows of Necrowretch due to their sound evolving so rapidly, however the change of heart means “that for the first time all the recordings between 2009 and 2012 will feature on one disc, which is a great opportunity for people that have discovered us through the album and want to know more about the band and its filthy roots.”


Since ‘Putrid Death Sorcery’ was unleashed at the beginning of this year, Vlad claims the band are more ambitious than ever and that despite it being a huge step, the goal is still the same – “to play our passion for extreme metal.” A year has passed since recording the album for which Vlad, Amphycion and session drummer Mörkk quit their day jobs to concentrate on and Vlad believes they achieved the evil envisaged. “I think some parts could’ve been done better but the goal when we entered the studio was to unleash hell through our music and this was reached as the devil appears in the first seconds of the album.” Despite a clean production, Necrowretch keep the raw formula throughout all their recordings and this could be due to a ridiculously quick turnaround time. The recording process for the EPs took a mere day each whilst the debut was completed in ten days, so how on hell does a band work under such time frames?


“Ten days to record the album was a very long time for us and we even finished the instruments two days before the schedule. When entering the studio we are as possessed as when we are playing live. I can feel a certain darkness embracing me as we’re creating an ugly child. I feel comfortable playing eight hours of guitar non-stop. It’s just a very long trip into the dark. Also the studio was in a basement, so we were totally cut from the world; playing, eating, sleeping and living in this rancid lair for almost two weeks. It added a creepy ambiance to the album that you can feel if you listening carefully with headphones.”


Quite frankly, residing in a tomb has added the exact ambience Vlad speaks off and we can only hope that their second effort, which he promises will be “more bestial than the beast himself”, alongside the compilation ‘Bestial Rites’ resurrecting  proof of the primitive , will be even more of a terror for the masses. With a tour crushing over Europe planned alongside Swe-death slaughterers Morbus Chron and a hint that the band will rear their ugly heads at next year’s Party.San Festival, we can be left foaming at the mouth in anticipation for their possessed arrival. “London will burn… and you’ll die!”

Lily Randall


Published in Iron Fist


Pre-Retinal Circus Devin Townsend Interview



Roll up, Roll up! The Circus is coming to town tomorrow! After managing to twist all the rules of metal and music in the past Devin Townsend plans to take it even further with a three hour show of theatrical epicness. A giddy Lily Randall caught up with an equally giddy Devin to discuss the plans and other recent success in Devin’s hectic life…


It seems like every time we meet with you, you have just completed something massive and another insane project is on the horizon! So how do you do it?! What is your secret to not going insane?!


Man, I wish I could make it as romantic as people may believe it is but honestly I just don’t sleep enough. There’s probably a certain amount of self-loathing that goes into it as well. I think a lot of times you can put yourself across as being a lot more together than you actually are and I think that for me I like to play music, and I like to work and I like to make shows and all that shit but you know, I’m spread pretty thin. But I’m still here and I’m conscious so we’re 50% of the way there right? Haha!


So ‘Epicloud’ came out recently and you’ve been getting a lot of response from it. You warned a lot of people that they may not like it because it’s so different but have you been happy with the responses you’ve had so far?


Yeah, I mean at the end of the day I really like it and I think it’s a really cool thing and it says something that I’ve been wanting to say for a long time that perhaps I’ve been hesitant to because it’s not hip or whatever but now that the dust has settled, and the people who had the initial need to tell people how shit it was have got that out of their system and have moved onto another band, the reaction seems pretty good. People seem to really like it and the thing I keep saying to folks is it’s no different to any other records I’ve done in the past in that it’s just an idea or an experiment that I did. The next thing I’m doing is nothing like it so it’s interesting how tentative your association with certain genres are. It’s like, okay, if you’re doing heavy music you shouldn’t do anything different. Or as soon as you do 15 minute long progressive songs you’re not a part of that right? But ultimately I’m happy to do what I do and I don’t really feel like my identity rests on being involved with any of that.


A lot of people have explained how it can take a few listens for the album to really grow on you, compared to something like ‘Deconstruction’ that hits you in the face on the first listen. Were you expecting to play on people’s minds a little bit more?


I mean again, I wish I was clever enough to have that sort of mediation with it, I just write a bunh of stuff and if I’m compelled to do it because of some emotional stuff or connection to it I do it. But I very rarely think about it and I almost never think about how people are going to react to it. I mean I worry about it because I want to make something. You know, I want it to sound like this and this new record I’m making I was so divisive about but while I’m making it I know it’s gonna sound like that and then I’ll worry about it later. Then I finish it and listen to it and I’m like “Oh shit now people are going to think this about it”. My fear of being embarrassed by it is quickly trumped by a compulsion to do it so I just do whatever I feel like and move on.


So as you’ve said you’re working on the next record and by the sounds of it you already had some of these songs ready even when ‘Epicloud’ wasn’t released. Were these songs that were left over from ‘Epicloud’ or is it because they are completely different?


Typically how I’ve written is one thing in reaction to another to whatever it is I’m spending my waking hours on. So when I was making ‘Alien’ I was working on ‘Synchestra’ in the background because it was like a hobby. When I was working on ‘Decon’ I was working on ‘ghost’, or ‘Accelerated Evolution’ and ‘SYL’, or ‘City’ and ‘Ocean Machine’. It’s always been that way – my main focus and then something in the background that gives me a passion and almost always is like the polar opposite to it. ’Epicloud’ was a total bitch to make with the choirs and mixing was a slut so the whole process was so consuming that when I turned off the computer and went home, I’d play this country sort of stuff to wind down and wrote a bunch of that which I found to be very relaxing to listen to and I always wanted to hear it after ‘Epicloud’. As crass as ‘Epicloud’ is and it’s really over the top type of shit, ‘Casualites’ is really dark and really quiet and Johnny Cash in outer space type stuff and I thought that was something I really enjoyed listening to. That’s always a good sign to me that someone else might like it too.


So maybe that polar opposite you have is what keeps you sane then?


Maybe, I can see that actually because I know that working on ‘Epicloud’ without anything else would’ve just made me angry more than anything else because it’s so specific to make it move in a way and I hadn’t thought about how to do that. So like the production style, I wanted to be able to turn it up but all the ways to do that and the phasing and all that shit that I technically can’t do, I had to learn it. It was a fucking nightmare. I couldn’t get it so I’d go home and write and pick up a guitar. Because that was so technically difficult, the reaction was ‘Casualities’ which is this old, 50’s style amp and old guitar and no effects. It was a reaction to the hurdles of ‘Epicloud’ and it’s really raw.


So one week until Retinal Circus, we’re very excited!


Yeah me too!


How did the idea come about? Was it a case that you wanted to up your game after the epic four shows in London?


Well I mean a lot of these again aren’t really my ideas, a lot of it is management. They know I want to do theatrical stuff and they know I have this goal to make these grandiose things. We don’t have a huge budget but it sold well enough that we could do it at this cool venue and we’ve got a whole bunch of things lined up. It’s gonna be fucking awesome in one of two ways but either way it’s gonna be awesome! If it totally falls apart is going to be the most awesome fuck up I’ve ever done and if it succeeds it’s going to be great, so it’s a win-win! It’s a big deal for me and all the bullshit about the press and career and shit but I can’t think about that it’s like, if I stress about it we’re still going to have to do it so it’s awesome.


I remember the first time we met, you said how awesome it would be to one day work with an orchestra live and such, so in that case you’ve got the dream coming true…


Yeah, I mean it’s going to be interesting what’s going to happen. I mean okay there’s going to be people there that want to have a good time and I think that even if it doesn’t meet their expectations, they’ll see how much effort went into it and hopefully see the potential of what could have been! Haha! Look guys check out what could have been! Nah, I think it’s gonna be more than cool but it’s just something we’ve never done so your guess is as good as mine.


So at Tuska you did the Ziltoid set and you said how you did all the production, graphics and so forth. How much of a say did you have in the production of the circus. I mean how much could you physically do yourself?


As much as I could. There is a certain amount of focus between the band and the rehearsals and all that stuff, there’s no time, so we’ve got people but the staff is small and…well you’ll see, you’ll see. On paper it’s very interesting.


Let’s just say, so not to give any secrets away, will we get to see a lot more of your creative side?


Yep! Haha! Maybe, my lack of dancing ability might be able to surface.


Were you ever a fan of the theatre or was it from growing up and seeing the whole idea behind a great heavy rock show that inspired this?


Both of those things were an influence. I mean, I’m more music than anything else. The theatre elements I could take or leave, it’s not my forte but I like wasting money. I think it’s great because everybody’s always getting their shit in a knot about money and we do well but we’re certainly not flash. The idea of eventually getting stupid, absurd amounts of money and blowing it on a spectacle so absurd, it’s like ‘Why would you do that?’ and fuck it, why wouldn’t you want to go see that, it’s the stupidest thing ever! So with whatever money we got this time, we’re doing things with it that are out of our reach, which is what could go one way or the other. Ultimately I like absurd things; I like things where people question why you do that. I like the whole idea of ‘Why not?’ We didn’t have anything better to do so we’ll get Katy Perry’s type of production budget and then do fucked up shit! It doesn’t necessarily have to make sense, even if you hate the music you can still be like ‘Dude, did you see that?’


This is the first part of an experiment for me and ultimately I just hope people really like it and regardless of whether people really like it or its out of curiosity, it’s for the sake of entertainment and I take my music really seriously but I can’t take myself really seriously. A lot of times I get criticised for not taking myself seriously enough but everything I want to say the music says, the rest of it I don’t give a fuck about. I don’t want to sell myself; I know what I am, so if I sell the music that’s what it is. The music in my opinion says what I need to say and ultimately with performance I want people to leave with three hours of their week that didn’t totally suck. If that’s not a noble reason I don’t know what is. The story that I have written for it and I didn’t get to revise it, it’s cool enough, I think it’s got a decent enough moral but it’s not about that, the story needs music and I want to be able to put on big crazy spectacles that people want to go to. Who knows when you’re going to get hit by a bus? If you’re saving all your money for a rainy day and that never comes then you’ve spent all your waking hours trying to collect a virtual empire and if you ever make a ton of money to have something that blows people heads of it would be amazing,.


So what would you say is the best show you’ve ever been to?


Oh god, I don’t go to shows. Trying to think of one I liked. I remember I saw Billy Joel when I was like eight and that was cool. Mmmm, I don’t go to shows because I find them really boring.


So you’re doing three hours in one go and many will not understand how you could do that, but with such a big discography I guess you have to?


Yeah, the ticket is expensive too. The whole Retinal thing has been built up and built up that if you don’t try and do something cool people are going to be pissed. We can show up and play 45 minutes with a trumpet player! We’re trying to give people bang for their buck. I mean there’s going to be an intermission because everyone’s got to pee and I gotta pee! We don’t want to blow the opportunity and we didn’t have a ton of time to put it together. I know it’s been a year but we’ve been working on ‘Epicloud’ and ‘By A Thread’ boxset and touring, so we’re squeezing everything in. and this opportunity if we hopefully give it what we can at this point, will generate enough interest so that it can happen again in the future. I don’t think it’s going to be as budget as I’m making it out to be. Everyone’s putting in more than they need to let’s put it that way.


Does three hours make the set list a lot easier to choose?


NO! When you have 25 records that’s 300 songs, so we get to choose thirty if that, as some of them are really fucking long! Plus I had to keep in mind that I wanted to play stuff that people may not have heard live before but you don’t want to put all that in a set if you’re not that good at it! So it’s a mixture of songs we’re good at and songs we’ve never played so we’ll see. And hopefully, if we do fuck up the songs we never play, they’ll be enough other shit going on to distract everyone! Haha!


So you’ve got a lot of special guests planned but how easy was it to get people together?


A lot of people I wanted to get involved, I couldn’t. Either because of money or them touring. So, the show is different than I think people may be thinking. It’s not going to be like me coming out on stage and being like ‘And from this era of my career here’s so-and-so!’ There’s an element of that but …you’ll see!


So you’ve done so many collaborations both live and on record, so dead or alive, who else would you love to collaborate with?


I’m collaborating with a couple of people right now and they’re all alive, which is cool! Haha! Working with this drummer right now who is so easy to jam with. He was with Zappa for a while and he’s amazing and it’s just easy online. I’m doing something with Doug Pinnick (King’s X)and I’ve loved that band for so many years, so have that kind of involvement with him is flattering. But I don’t know. Also I play a lot of instruments so anything could happen!


So in the mini mag of Metal Hammer, you gave an idea of what the set list could be, including some SYL, which you shouldn’t have done, we wanted a surprise!


Did I? I think if there’s one thing that defines me it’s my fucking mouth. I’ve got to big mouth and I can’t shut up. But that was wrong of me I’m sorry.


So if you were to play Strapping…


Which I’m not. *smirks*


When you’ve played a couple of the songs acoustically is it strange to go back to playing them?


I don’t know, it’ll be interesting to see. Ah, its songs! The misconception of SYL is that it was a different person. People are thinking you’re not doing it again because you’ve changed. Well, I have changed but it’s still me! It was you being high on mushrooms but it’s still me, it’s all me. I think SYL gets looked at through such rose-tinted glasses in this sense that I’m crazy Devin. I’m just not there now. So when I start playing and rehearsing stuff it’s just there. One thing I have noticed about SYL now is there’s a lot of stuff I don’t like. I still think a lot of the stuff was killer but there was a lot of filler. It was less popular than I’m doing now but in hindsight people think it’s the best thing and I’m like, ‘Well why didn’t you come to the shows?’ A lot of times people want the metal cred that whatever they did in the past is better. But when I listen to the music, there was a lot of SYL that was a lot to do with the vibe, it doesn’t matter about the songs but it was the industrial phase that we were going through at the time to a certain extent. But when you take a part the records, there are a couple of songs, which I still love but the rest I wouldn’t listen to anymore.


So I think that rose-tinted glasses thing is interesting, specifically when you get a younger audience where it’s cool to like something people will have an issue with. It’s like being mad at your parents but I guess it’s fair to say I don’t have an issue with Strapping, I just don’t wanna do it. It’s not because I’m afraid of it or because I think it’s bad, it’s just I’m not into right now. There are certain songs that I’m into but towards the end of SYL I was bored out of my fucking mind because we were playing a bunch of songs that for me blurred into this thing where we play pulverising metal for an hour and it’s just one part of my personality. There’s a bunch of ‘Terria’ and ‘Physicist’ I don’t even like! I think it’s fair to be honest too with what you do and don’t like. At the time you think this is exactly what I need to say but how does that age? Some ages well but other parts aren’t awesome for ever due to production or lyrics or whatever. So with the stuff I’m doing now I’m trying to be a lot more aware of what is good versus what I think is good because I spent a lot of time on it. In a way, I’m jealous of bands that can do the same kind of sound on every album and have the same logo all the time but for me after a couple of years doing the same thing, I just get bored!


So you’re going to be streaming the gigs live worldwide on the night. How did that come about?


Oh god, everybody thought that we were gonna lose our ass doing this thing so we have to find another source of income. But what if I want to patch up a bunch of it after to hide us fucking it up? Everyone’s going to know we fucked it up! I’m okay with falling off stage but I mean musically, what if the mix is tonnes of dry vocals? Then they get the DVD and it’s all glossy, I want it to sound killer! If playing Strapping helps me get over some fear people think I have? Great. So if streaming Retinal Circus gets me over a so-called fear of being rough around the edges, then great. There’s nowhere to go than up from there! When I put up the Lucky Animals teaser with me dancing like an idiot, it’s had a ton of hits, so I was like well, I’ll always be conceived as more awkward now, so there’s your lowest denominator of me now. And in a way it feels liberating so hopefully the pay-per-view will be the same.


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Demonic Resurrection feature

It’s taken several attempts but Indian death metallers Demonic Resurrection have finally landed on our shores and what better debut appearance to have than at Bloodstock Festival. After the success of 2010’s ‘The Return to Darkness’ and a Metal Hammer gong under their belts, Lily Randall spoke to frontman Sahil ‘Demonstealer’ Makhija about Mumbai, metal and meat.

It may have taken over ten years for Demonic Resurrection to get to where they are but it seemed as though everything happened so suddenly. After their release of their third full-length ‘The Return to Darkness’, the band were a part of the prestigious Candlelight records and able to finally tour outside of India. After successful sets at Brutal Assault and Inferno Festival in 2010, Sahil was later informed his death metal five piece had won Best Global Act at the Golden Gods awards, something Demonic Resurrection were not expecting.

“We were actually called by a friend of ours who said ‘come and meet us here’. He’s actually one of the most influential promoters in India, he does a lot of conventions and stuff like that and he had been working with Metal Hammer for something”, Sahil recalls. “He said ‘look guys you’re going to win this award, you can’t tell anyone, go book your flights to England you’re going in ten days’. So the British council was very helpful, they helped us get our Visas and we were just like you’ve gotta be shitting me, this is not real! It was crazy seeing people like Machine Head and Vinnie Paul and Abbath! You dream of this.”

After having to pull out of 2011’s Sonisphere due to Visa issues, the DR are finally here at Bloodstock and playing the SOPHIE tent later on in the day. Demonstealer explains how happy they are to be here and that he “cannot contain his excitement”, as later on they will play to a rammed tent and showcasing their death metal with symphonic tinges. “You’ll see five blokes from India, nothing too fancy, but you’re going to see us play our heart out,” beams Sahil.

It’s not often you hear about bands from the East managing to break out to the masses but this in no way means the scene in India is non-existent. With the likes of Metallica, Machine Head, Opeth and Lamb of God touring over there lately, the metal community is growing. Religion and culture doesn’t seem to cause a collision either and Demonstealer believes it’s because the community is small enough to not get noticed. “I think in India, the metal scene is small compared to the other shit that goes on in our country so nobody really cares, so actually it doesn’t get much shit. It’s only when something could become a multimillion dollar industry that the government and officials would really start to care.” He explains that festivals can cause problems as well, “I mean, we’ve had a few problems but that’s mostly because everything is still very focused on the cities in India. We don’t have a concept of camping and things like that so festivals are still held in the main cities. We have sound curfews because of it but hey, so does London, so I guess we just have to move it outside.”

Makhija explains that although there aren’t that many bands in India compared to elsewhere in the world, the competition is still strong due to a lack of venues and so forth. Also due to the class barriers, the working class have no access to English-spoken music and therefore are loyal to tradition. “I think the bands that are at the top of the Indian scene will realise they need to branch out of India because we’ve maxed out here. There are only so many times you can play the same venue or festival. Once that starts happening I think bands will invest in travelling and then you’re more likely to get noticed and then obviously somebody will pick up on that and everything will become more structured.” Three bands Sahil has told us to keep an eye out for are heavy thrash metallers Kryptos, Mumbai’s metalcore Bhayanak Maut and groovesters Zygnema.

Despite being one of the only bands to break out of India, Demonic resurrection are humble and still feel pressure to do their country proud. Sahil explains how there is a lot of pressure for the band to prove themselves, “Of course you want people to see us and think, if that’s what Indian metal scene is like, then I’m looking forward to it.”

After changing their sound from a more symphonic influenced metal the band continue to slaughter with the blackened death we’re likely to see today. A new record is on the horizon and we hope this calls for a return to the UK. Sahil is sure of it; “As soon as we go back we start the re- production on the new record and hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be done with it. And then plan to release it early next year. We’re hoping to come back to the UK in 2013 and that it will be the year for Demonic Resurrection”.

After playing a fanastic set at Bloodstock and another smaller show in Camden the day after, Demonstealer’s passion for music goes further than on the stage, as he takes it into the kitchen as well. You may have heard of Epic Meal Time and the Vegan Black Metal Chef but you’re missing out if you haven’t checked out Headbanger’s Kitchen. “Well I started out with a production company, the same guy who produced the DR video. I had some free time and I started a food blog on FB and people seemed to like it, so I thought maybe I should do a video of this. At the time Epic Meal Time had just got big and I loved it, so I asked this guy if he’d help me do something similar.” The guitarist is also a passionate chef and takes homemade burger orders from his home in Mumbai, however he managed to find a way to merge his brutal contacts into the mixing bowl.

“Nervecell came to India, so I took advantage and filmed a show. After that it took a while but we got it out in 2011 and then started doing it regularly. We made it a proper show with an interview and a band tasting the food. Then the production company told us we weren’t making any money from YouTube so I thought fuck that I’ll do it myself. I taught myself how to film, bought some lights and did one with a local band called Albatross and more recently Lamb of God. It’s not as frequent as before but I’ve been busy with DR but I’ll keep doing it. It’s my love for food and heavy metal.”

After checking out Headbanger’s Kitchen and watching an awesome set by the Indian guys, we at Soundshock are starving and off to get a pork baguette, deep down wishing it was in fact a bacon bomb.

Feature by Lily Randall. Published on

Sepultura feature @ BOA 2012

For nearly three decades, Sepultura has been a key name in the metalsphere and today they continue to prove their worth as they step onto the main stage of Bloodstock Festival. The band’s history has been looked upon as a metal equivalent to a major celebrity couple break up, yet the band still continue to create extreme music regardless of the press and last year’s stormer ‘Kairos’ was proof of that. Lily Randall talks to frontman Derrick Green about the future of Sepultura.

It’s the first day of Bloodstock and from the word go the line-up is beaming like the weather upon it. Before the darkness tonight from Behemoth and Watain, thrash legends Sepultura are here to soak up the summer atmosphere and later on today they prove themselves as powerful as ever, with a set list to die for and a beastly presence. Before the set, Derrick Green is calm backstage and despite his terrifying physique, his mannerisms confirm him as a big softie.

Stepping in as the frontman after the Cavalera dramas of Sepultura was always bound to be a hard task, however the Ohio born vocalist has proved himself when it comes to writing brutal new songs, as well as embracing the classics live. With such a large discography varying in styles, one would think the task of choosing a 45 minute set list would be excruciating but it sounds pretty straightforward according to Derrick. “I think we go through the reaction of people at the very beginning of the tour, when we’re trying out things so we can pick and choose, which is really nice when you have a huge catalogue. Certain songs sit very well live and you wanna keep the energy level very high and now at the end of the cycle we really know what’s working.

The change in members also saw a turn in sound for the Brazilians as their old school thrash was evolved into a more nu-metal groove. 2011’s ‘Kairos’ may have been a concept album but it doesn’t mean that the old fans have been completely lost. Derrick feels that the newer songs have fallen in a lot easier than a lot of songs from the past. “We can go back to back with these songs and people really know them, we can see them singing it and getting energetic just from announcing the songs”, he explains. “There are a lot of younger fans coming to the shows and they don’t really know about the very early days of Sepultura.”

The atmosphere is buzzing in the VIP area as Derrick explains his favourite thing about festivals is catching up with old friends and checking out some new bands live. Unfortunately, the band is back on the road today with some shows in Ireland to slaughter, however Green is hoping to check out the comeback of the mighty Behemoth. “I’ve heard of Behemoth, I’ve seen their scary videos and I wanna see if they’re that scary live”, he jokes. We try and find out about the tour bus antics but Derrick laughs off any amusing tales, “Haha, woo! That’s what the readers want to hear but nah we’re actually pretty boring now.”

The band will continue to tour with Germany’s Summer Breeze festival, followed by some dates in their home country and the rest of South America, and then on to Indonesia and Asia. “We’re saving the best one til last though, we’re on the Barge to Hell and I can’t wait to be on that cruise!” Derrick beams after confirming a new Sepultura record will be in the mix and writing will start in the new year.

With the craziness of the Olympics finally coming to a close in Great Britain, it seemed only fair we talked sport to the next hosts of the Games. It’s well known that Sepultura are big football fans so with both the Olympics and the World Cup joining them in Brazil in the coming years, is there any chance of some thrash in the opening ceremony?

“I would love that!” Derrick confirms, “It would be totally awesome but I don’t think it’s possible. Maybe not the opening ceremony but sometime during the event, then we have to have a position there without a doubt!” “We’re already working on it. I’m already a chairman of a non-violence organization that’s been connected with football and I really wanna do something with it when the World Cup comes and everything. We have a lot of possibilities and we’re talking to a lot of people to do something very original and different.”

And with that, we’ll leave you with the vision of ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ being played, surrounded by acrobats and fireworks, as the athletes do their laps.

By Lily Randall

Katatonia feature

Katatonia may not be a huge name in the metal realms, however thanks to continual praise from the likes of Opeth’s Mikael Äkerfeldt and a discography that stretches back into the early nineties, the Swedes are finally getting the recognition they deserve. We caught up with drummer Daniel Liljekvist as they unleash their latest menagerie of melancholy with full-length ‘Dead End Kings’

In the same way Norwegian black metal and its icons are often linked and intertwined , the Swedish death metal scene finds itself sharing sounds and band members to create a selection of death metal ranging from the melody of Gothenburg to the more raw style in Stockholm. Despite reigning from the latter, the quintet definitely fit more into the calmer end of the spectrum, and after their first two albums, switched to clean vocals throughout.

It would appear that move split the fans with some claiming to only like the first albums; however this doesn’t bother the band, especially after seeing the success of seven further albums. Drummer Daniel, who has been with the band since their fourth album [‘Tonight’s Decision’] explains; “People say that they only like the two first records and the demos and that’s fine! I respect that. But when they call us sell-outs, come on! We don’t have a gold record; we don’t have millions of dollars. Fuck, we don’t even have thousands of dollars! I feel absolutely nothing about the fan splitting thing. If you like the old sound that’s fine, just don’t complain about the “new stuff”.”

Katatonia are a hard act to pigeon hole, as their death metal origins have been hidden further under layers of slowed down riffs, chugging gloom and frontman Jonas’ very emotional vocals. Many have coined the term “shoe gaze metal” for the band, due to their consistent themes of melancholy, depression and suicide but how does a band get into such a depressed mind frame?

“We’re in that state of mind 24/7”, Daniel jokes. “No, but seriously. That’s just how we want our songs to sound. It’s not like we sit in a dark room with lit candles and pictures of crying children on the walls when we create. I don’t write songs but I know how the other guys ‘[Jonas Renske, vocals/guitar, Anders Nyström guitar/vocals] work and they sit at their computers and just riff out ideas.”

2009 saw the release of Katatonia’s previous release ‘Night Is The New Day’, which was received with plenty of positivity, despite its negative concepts. The album saw the band reaching into more epic depths with symphonic sections from strings and keyboards, without losing its bite and it sounds as though ‘Dead End Kings’ is following the same idea. “There are a lot of strings, drum loops and keyboard on ‘NITND’ and on this one we added some more I guess. Also, the whole production and sound of the album is so much fatter than the last album. Maybe it’s a bit more mellow too, song ways.”

After listening to ‘Dead End Kings’, all of this is apparent after a couple of listens. The tunes are definitely a lot more layered, the orchestral moments make for an epic atmosphere and as always Renske’s vocals hypnotize. The album flows easily from start to finish however the road along the way is uncomfortable in terms of vocal themes that cause a juxtaposition on how you can enjoy this when the lyrics are so solemn.

Due to the buzz of ‘Dead End Kings’, Katatonia, have recently confirmed a European tour including UK dates in December, which has got everyone very excited to witness the new songs live. The Swedes will play venues including the Islington Academy in London, however despite upgrading in size; do not expect any theatrics to take away from the musical atmosphere.  Daniel explains they may have a new stage plot and their first ever lighting director but this tour will be all about showcasing the new tracks and it is those that will cause tough choices for the band. “There are so many songs we’d like to play every night and we sometimes end up fighting over the set list. It’s hard to know what people want to hear in different countries. It would be easier if we had like four big hits to build the set list around.”

Despite a line up which has changed since the start and a separate live line up completed by Niklas Sandin on bass and Per “Sodomizer” Eriksson on guitar (who is also in Bloodbath with Jonas and Anders), Daniel believes he has no regrets during his time in Katatonia “unless he repressed it”. The link to Bloodbath may be there, but the music is kept separate from one another and is used “so that Jonas and Anders can still live out their death metal dreams”.

‘Dead End Kings’ is proof that they will continue to do what they do best and although it’s often hard to label them as metal any more, their melancholic rock will always be respected, in a similar manner to UK deathsters turn rockers Anathema.  Katatonia are a band who literally live up to their name, with the Greek word meaning low tone, under tone or commonly down-tempo and despite their music coming across saddened, the band have been consistent when it comes to hard-hitting atmospheric anthems. Kings of the Swedish metal scene they are but at a dead end they most certainly are not.

Feature by Lily Randall

To be published in the September issue of Devolution Magazine

Interview with Devin Townsend 2011*Transcript*

There are very few artists in metal who command such acclaim and respect like Devin Townsend. He’s a musical genius to some and an acquired taste to others but considered a talented artist regardless of what side of the fence you’re on. With a prolific back catalogue of works spanning 18 years he’s certainly distinguishable and diverse. In most metal circles he is best known for his brutally tectonic outfit Strapping Young Lad, but has gradually garnered a loyal and avid fanbase circling his solo output. His latest four-album masterpiece, under the guise of The Devin Townsend Project, showcased what a creatively reinvigorated Townsend is capable of, a work-a-holic and showman in equal measures, he has created four albums that embody the very essence of his sonic psyche. Next Monday sees Townsend closing the Project with the sensory assault ‘Deconstruction’ and ambient juxtaposition ‘Ghost’ being released. Earlier in the year, we bought you a short feature from Lily Randall and as a treat we thought we would give you, our readers the whole transcript of the interview. Enjoy!

Do you see Ki and Ghost, being the two ambient albums, as book ends for the other two albums in between and did you purposely do it in that order?

I think so because it’s like a beginning and an end and I think that if it had ended with Decon, the impression it would’ve left with folks would’ve been pretty nerve-wracking. But the end of Ghost like loops right into Ki so if you have all four together it becomes kind of like one thing. I think the thing with Ghost though, there’s nothing about it that is made to make you feel any other way other than good and with Ki I definitely sabotaged that on several occasions where it would get really heavy or a moment where all of a sudden it was too loud. I remember when I was working on Ki, I always test things in my living room and in my car to make sure it all works and I had some people over and there we kids there and Ki’s playing and its totally fine and then all of a sudden it just gets louder and louder and people start to look around and we had to like turn it down. And then with Ghost, I remember playing it and no one knew it was on and I think that was kind of the whole intention because after Decon was finished I was hoping that it would be a record that people could think about things to whether or not that’s Decon or the records or something else entirely. It doesn’t really impose itself but I think if you want to pay attention to it its pretty complicated in its own way, in terms of layers and the mix and all that.

I’ve always wanted to write a record like that since I was like 10 or 12, making a new age type record is important to me and I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it had I not done Decon because once I did that, you know the cat’s out of the bag like there’s no need to make Ghost like I did with Ki and add threatening parts or whatever it’s just like there it’s done. So technically in a way the project in some sense ends with Decon and Ghost is like a new lease on life in a way. Out of the four records it’s definitely my favourite.

Which of your four are you proudest of?

I’m equally proud of all of them, in a lot of ways but I think the thing I like about ghost is that it was done without drama, like Ki there’s a lot of drama, Addicted! there’s a certain amount of drama and Decon was like stupid, so to be able to do a record where it was fun when we were recording it there was a good vibe and I was excited to go to the studio, and there was a lot of improvising and Kat who plays the flute on it, her music has influenced me a lot over the years so to have her involved was also, it was just nice. It’s been so long, if ever where I’ve been able to make a record and at the end of it I was like Ah it was really cool.

Would you say then that you’re a real perfectionist about your music? Do you always tend to look back and think that you wish you’d done it differently?

Well I guess I am with everything in a certain extent, and not wish that I’d done it differently but at least just go *face palm* “Oh god” and that goes for life as well as music. I think I’m a perfectionist but also I’m not perfect so it‘s really frustrating. It’s never right so knowing that, I’m pretty good at letting it go, like there’s a certain part of me that says, “it’s not going to get any better than this” or “this is the most I’ve got patience for at the moment” or whatever. So I think I’m a perfectionist in my head but in reality I think I’m pretty good with compromise *laughs*

In the past you’ve mentioned that you go through different life routines (diet/meds etc). With these two did you change anything or was it just you had so many ideas in your head and you just worked with them? Do you think you more comfortable with yourself?

These albums were both written several years back so it’s like I was more just actualising them at this point. But yeah, I definitely felt like I was able to confront a fear that I had of myself, ultimately that I had a fear of making heavier music or whatever. With these two , because I knew the amount of work that it was going to take and the amount of effort it was going to take and I was really hell-bent on letting it get the best of me so keeping control was a big thing. My routine was very funny because in the past I’ll think I have to do this and stuff; this time I was like I’ll take the weekends off, I’ll go for dinner at 5, and if it gets overwhelming, I’ll watch Antiques Roadshow like really. And then by not allowing it to take control I think it was easier for me to be like really creative with it because I wasn’t as self absorbed with the ideas, I wasn’t as fascinated by them as I used to be. And letting them flow, I think a lot more came out rather than be super attached to any of the ideas and then get hung up on it, so it was a lot of work but it wasn’t like some sort of mental chaos it was just tedious. It was a lot of recording, a lot of editing, and a lot of work so I just watched a lot of movies and got it done ha-ha.

So you said you thought you had a fear of playing heavier stuff, with ‘Deconstruction’ you can kind of hear how that is trying to escape but you’re kind of containing it. Would you say it’s kind of a swansong for SYL?

Well I think I’ll definitely be making more heavier music, I mean I always will but I think what I was trying to prove to myself was that Strapping didn’t control me. In fact, since I broke the band up there’s been a lot of people who say, ‘We miss Strapping’, and I’m like yeah but I am Strapping in a lot of ways. Anyway, when I realised it doesn’t control me, I thought I’d let that part of me have its say, I’ll let that part of me have free reign to say whatever horrible thing it needed to say. But what I found is that from the shadows of my mind when I was clouded with drinking or whatever, the things that that part of my personality wanted to say was a lot more difficult for me because it didn’t have to be accountable. It was like a mask. I was like you can say whatever you want to say but just make sure you’re saying it, be yourself. If you really feel the need to be fucked up then go for it but if you do, that going to be you and I found that by putting that part of me in the light, well not the light but for it being accountable for itself it was totally like a pussy ha-ha. So I think the point of the record is just like ok, not that you’ve cleared this, now that we see that you’re not capable of standing up with those sentiments, I control this and if I choose to do this type of music it’s because I choose to do it and that self destructive part of me is not allowed to limit my desire to do any type of music. And I think that’s almost where Ghost came from because once I made that assessment of the thing in me that I was always afraid and I thought that I couldn’t control it; once I realised that I could control it, it was like okay let’s do something that I really wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to make a record like Ghost I always wanted to make something that was going to make people feel nice and I always wanted to make something that wasn’t like a big drama. A lot of my things in the past have just been like drama drama drama. Alien or Infinity or any of that shit is so like self absorbed with self importance but Ghost was just a bunch of songs, with a bunch of words that make me feel a certain way, and I like it that way.

With the lyrical content, even though the four albums are a concept, are the albums lyrically linked?

Oh yeah I mean it’s not only between these four records, it goes back to Ziltoid and Strapping and Ocean Machine, it goes back to all of it. They’re not all linked necessarily like on purpose, where from the first note I had this grand design, more so that it was like I feel like everything I do is a working progress so Ill have an idea systematically that I’ll introduce on a record and then as I change I’ll think about how I re asses that sentiment and then I might use a lyrics or a certain passage that on a later record that almost reiterates it in a way to show how this relates to now or a current situation or this is how in a sense how that lyric then doesn’t mean as a much now or conversing over something that I thought was really subtle back then but is really important now. So all the records I think are connected in that sense and I think in terms of the four records there’s a chronology that goes between all four, essentially the story is trying to conquer that sort of fear of that creative obstacle and once it is addressed then I feel like even with Ghost and into the future that I’m free to do whatever I want. I wanted to make Decon not just for other people I needed to make it for myself too I like that type of music too but in the past because I’d done so much of it, it was difficult for some people in some sense to see past that, and the fact that I do a ton of other things. So these four records is like, well here’s four things that are all of equal importance in terms of the project and hopefully it will say that I’ll do whatever I want to do. If I want to do metal I’ll do metal, if I want to do new age stuff ill do that if I do pop ill do pop. And the reason I want to do it is because I really like it not because I’m trying to prove anything.

I mean you’ve always been willing to talk to your fans…

I think it’s because in a lot of ways its always been misinterpreted and it’s like if not misinterpreted then I’m never going to be able to control how people like interpret it but I think it’s important for me to at least say what it means to me. Whether you think I’m lying to you or not, this is why and then at least from my point I’ve said what I needed to say.

A lot of people have made the transition from SYL to DTP. Recently you’ve had a lot more recognition, do you think there’s a certain album that acts as an entrance into DTP. Obviously they are so different. I mean one person will say I like Ziltoid but I don’t like the rest…

Oh there will be a lot of them ha-ha! I mean some of the bands I really like in heavy music take Opeth for example they’ve been Opeth since day one, so everything they do, if you like Opeth, you’ll like new Opeth. I mean there’s variations of it but it’s of such high quality that it’s cool but I think if somebody likes, say, Addicted!, they may hear something like Ziltoid and think that’s really stupid. Then there’s somebody else who might be attached to Love? from Strapping and then hear Ki and just think that it sabotages it. I think the thing that makes people like what I’m doing musically is ultimately that it’s following a kind of story line because every year’s evolving from the last one and it’s almost biographical. So I think, there’s been some times when I’ll be sitting with people or some people will be talking about the best Meshuggah song or the best Gojira song or the best Opeth song or the best Morbid Angel song and someone will be like “Oh I’ve got to show you this Devin song!” and they’ll put on something from Synchestra which just like this weird sounding, oddly produced bizarre thing and everyone’s just like “well no wonder we don’t like Devin” but in context it was absolutely supposed to be that way production wise, learning through that so I think that what I do has always just been an accumulative thing. I think now with these four records which one would I say people start with? I would probably say Addicted to be perfectly honest because it’s like pretty simple. The production is maybe a little off the wall and it’s pretty dancey but I mean melodically it’s pretty easy to get into. And then from there I think everything from Ziltoid to now I’m probably most happy with because production wise, it actually doesn’t sound too bad, whereas some of my past stuff, like elements of Physicist that sounds horrible! I put on Accelerated Evolution the other day and I couldn’t even listen to it, it sounds so bad! But you know I think the thing is all those things were me learning how to produce too.

I’m still in this process with these four records where you know Decon is a pretty intense record and I think the people who like it are going to be really into it. So I think that it’s going to be at least another year or so of me explaining Deconstruction and how it relates to Strapping and I think it’s going to be a while until the Ghost and acoustic elements of my music are going to be popular enough that people will say “we want that and not that”. I mean I’m looking forward to it and I’m really hoping that it comes together because I think that stuff is really healthy for me. It’s not like I couldn’t make Decon at this point, it’s not like I didn’t want to its not like I couldn’t make Ghost without Decon so it’s just kind of like …

Making sure you both love them equally?

Yeah, but if not like babies but like two friends but when the chips are down, who do you choose to hang out with? It’s not like you don’t like one of them but like really. I think that going into it I knew I’d always go with the Ghost direction but I needed to say to that part of me that likes heavy music and the people that were from the Strapping era, “look, it’s not like it goes away, it’s just different now”.

You always seem very busy! So what projects are next?

*laughs* Every time I make a new record I make a prediction of the future and it always ends up being wrong. I’m trying to be good with holidays and stuff but we’ll see. My future projects, okay well I’ve got four things I guess that could happen next. One of them is a big convoluted musical that is really OTT and like a lot of orchestral Ziltoid-esque ups and downs and a lot of dynamics to it. But that’s a real big undertaking. My gut on that is that I don’t know if I got that in me right now. The other idea is for this really odd project that’s like Godflesh-y in a way but with like a lot of bass and a real big gothic Icelandic choir and then a church organ. Really like Halloween-y, spooky heavy music. And the other one is a pop record, like seriously a pop record like electronic dancey shit. But the one that is making most sense right now is I’m going to right more songs that sound like the more commercial sounding that I’ve done in the past but with a hard edge. Like certain things on Addicted, Life, Christeen. That’s something that I’ve always written and so that could be it too but I think the way that it’s going to be decided is that I’m going to take some time off and then when I pick up the guitar I’ll see what wants to come out. But it’s probably going to be something like one of those four.

With the visual idea of the musical, you’ve just done the tour. Do you think that now you’re finding yourself again through these records your live performances are going to change?

I get this idea that Ziltoid is going to take on a different role, I think he’s going to become like an MC but I think I’m able to get up on stage and perform this show more rather than writing a whole thing but with a choir or guests and then Ziltoid ends up like running the show because I really like that character, I like being him but it’s like musically its easier just for me to riff with him than to write music for him. The further I get into the character he’s not really a musician he’s just like a newscaster or something. So I think the show is going to evolve in ways that he’ll have a bigger role, I think the visuals are going to end up being a bigger part of what we’re trying to guide people through and they’ll probably be more people on stage.

But then there’s the stripped down shows in November, is that something you’ve always wanted to do?

Yeah, in fact I think that just being able to play with an acoustic guitar for a few people is truly playing for them. I think the whole hyperbole that goes along with doing Ziltoid and choirs and tapes and all that shit is its fun but it’s a show more so than playing for people. So I think it’ll probably evolve in both ways and I think the goal for the show is to be more and more fun, I like the idea of it being fun. And then for the acoustic stuff just more and more direct.

You know you’re going to be a tear jerker for a lot of people!

*laughs a lot!* That’s the whole idea I mean if we can really make something that’s cool because I’ve always been a pretty nerdy dude, so to find myself in a position with the opportunity to do these things, I’m also realising that a lot of what makes live performance so fun for me is that so much of the music that we do and the communication that I do is based through the computer that it neuters that real experience. And I mean the music has all been so heavily based on real experience for me that am always nice to share it with people and have the reaction that they relate. Because I get to share certain things. The other day I was sitting in the hotel room just like man, the world’s pushing itself further and further away from each right and its distressing because I’m not a fighter, I’ve got no desire to fight like the man or whatever and conspiracies and people hurting each other and doing nasty shit to each other, my first reaction is always to protect myself or I’ve got to make myself more callous so it doesn’t affect me. But I think by playing shows I recognise that we’re all in the same boat. It makes it a little easier to take in some ways I guess. That’s what I noticed about playing, it makes me less insular, and I mean I’m usually like fine just sitting on the couch watching TV for the most part. Ha-ha so if that’s the case it’s nice to be able to take that as far as we can.

And with the orchestra on Deconstruction is that something you’ve always wanted to do?

*laughs* Totally

Do you think it only worked for that album or do you think you’d have wanted to use it on other albums?

IT was really expensive but it was one of those things where I was like, I can’t afford it but fuck it because if you’re going to do it you might as well do it. A few years back I was saying if we do it we should do it on something that’s a guaranteed seller but I don’t know how to write a guaranteed seller so we might as well put it on the most absurd thing we do. I think it’s cool because there’s no rules to that record at all, we’re just going to make something that’s so OTT and I like that, as a person I think I’m pretty safe I’m not a real risk taking person, I mean sometimes in very slight ways but I’m pretty Canadian but in terms of music I think it’s good to just say fuck it. I’ve got so many friends in Canada that make a ton of money playing shitty pop so it’s nice to be able to be different about it. So that’s where the decision was made, if we were going to invest the money in something, then lets invest it in the Cheeseburger song! Hahaha Well the whole point of it being, were so close to the edges of society at this point that damned the torpedoes.

Interviewed by Lily Randall

Deconstruction’ and ‘Ghost’ are released June 20th on Inside Out/Hevy Devy
Devin also plays two separate special shows @ London Union Chapel on November 10th & 13th. He performs his albums ‘Ki’ and ‘Ghost’ respectively in their entirety.

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Feature can be found here

Dew-Scented feature interview 2011

Dew-Scented – When Death Metal Still Comes Out Smelling Of Roses

When Nile came over to the UK with their ‘Those whom the Gods Detest’ tour earlier this year, there was no better support act column than what was bought over; Dew-Scented being one of them. Unfortunately for us Londoners, the band were unable to make the show and unleash their speed splendour but were more than happy to talk to Soundshock about the tour and their almost two-decade reign.

The Germans have taken influence from their homeland’s Teutonic thrash and fused it with the fury of deathly violence of the Scandinavian cold, to create something that has kept them going strong for over 20 years. With eight albums under their bullet belts vocalist Lief Jensen seems happy with their continuation of collecting followers one by one, in a Pied Piper manner. Despite such a long term relationship with the metal scene, and a large amount of former members, Dew-Scented are still modest and friendly enough to talk about the past, the present and the future with us.

How was the tour with Nile?

D-S: Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the London show where we were supposed to meet for this interview because of a problem with our bus at the ferry in Scotland. It was a bummer to miss that show because we haven’t played in London for about 4 years now and we were truly looking forward to seeing some friends there. Anyhow, all in all the tour was really good! We had a lot of super cool shows and always pretty solid attendance. Most of all, it was good to travel to a lot of cities and even some countries where we had never ever played before. The feedback was especially rewarding in those places…

What’s it like being on tour with bands like Nile & Melechesh?

D-S: It’s actually just a good time, ha-ha! No really, we did like the idea of having a 5 band package where all bands are stylistically a bit different so that there is a pretty individual sound to each of the bands. We were playing middle slot (third position) so we had to make sure to always give 110% because all the other bands are really good live-acts, so there was no chance of taking it “easier” at any of the gigs. Not that we would have wanted to anyhow, ha-ha. We had toured successfully all over Europe (incl. UK and Ireland) with Nile already in 2003 and it was good to finally be able to team up with those guys again, as they treated us in a really good way. Also, it was good to see that both Dew-Scented and Nile are still doing well like 8 years after we first toured together, even despite the fact that both bands have switched line-up’s quite severely and also the scene surrounding us has indeed changed quite a bit as well! Melechesh were really cool too. They definitely have something pretty interesting going on and the positive audience reactions speak for themselves. I thought their latest album is pretty cool!

Dew -Scented are quite a bit more thrash influenced, how were you received on this bill?

D-S: It was fine actually, even though it was clearly a rather Death Metal oriented audience and also not many pure Thrash maniacs around at the shows. Having said that, I think we are almost used to play on “heavier” bills with Death Metal acts, as we haven’t really done “pure Thrash” tours very often for this reason or another. So, no problem with that all…it really only makes you push harder and get the most aggressive performance lined up that you can. I consider Dew-Scented an intense live band most of all, so we really don’t mind playing with Death Metal, Hardcore/Metalcore or even regular heavy Metal bands as long as people give s a fair chance. The reactions on this Nile tour were extremely positive at most of the shows and we had some fun pits and crazy headbanging going on!

Since you started what has been your favourite country or favourite festival to play?

D-S: Oh boy, that’s really not easy to define! I actually think each place has its very own and unique upsides (and downsides) too. Obviously we always had a quite good following in Germany, so we are not going to complain about our own scene. I also really liked the feedback in Eastern Europe on this latest tour. Unfortunately there were no gigs in France or Spain / Portugal on the run with Nile, as those countries have always been fun to play with Dew-Scented too. All in all, I think we have managed to make a good impact and some fair following all over the place, which is better than only having a strong focus on certain places. In the end of the day were dealing with Thrash Metal here and that’s a movement that happens globally and where the people who dig the style will come out to support you everywhere with equal passion, no matter if you play in North America, Japan or…yeah, Malta. We like new challenges and being able to see new places, so let’s see what comes up next…

Your latest instalment ‘Invocation’ came out last year? How do you feel the band has evolved in the almost 20 years of Dew-Scented?

D-S: Well, I definitely think we have found a somewhat trademark sound around the time of the release of the album “Inwards” in 2002. In this last decade, we have been trying to come up with intense quality albums year in and year out, regardless of the heavy touring schedules and the fact that we had a lot of setbacks with changes of members. It has been quite hard at times but our interest has been to keep things entertaining for ourselves as fans of the style as well, so every new recording possibility and most of all, every new tour possibility kept us moving forwards. I think we have become a lot better songwriters than in the early days, knowing what our strong points are, but also what our weaknesses might be. I would like to think that we are also more “aware” musicians, knowing to value the chances we are given as well as the fact that the band continues to break new ground every new year and every new album that we release!

Is there a reason why all your album titles begin with the letter ‘I’, or is that just a coincidence?

D-S: Purely a coincidence! Nah, seriously it’s a thread that we have going on since our second album, really. Originally we only meant to have the second record “connected” via the title to our debut, but then all of a sudden the band continued to move forwards and we had a theme going. I guess people have discovered the “concept” by now and we even managed to get some submissions by fans lined-up as suggestions for future releases some while ago, which shows you that people do care about it. Anyhow, the idea is to continue with this “one word starting with the letter I” thing as long as the titles keep making sense for each release and also its artwork’s concept. We have never made it a mandatory thing and would not really mind to break that up if a new album really demanded it.

In interviews you’ve stated that you were influenced by the Swedish death sound, which definitely comes through in your music. When it comes to thrash would you say your traditional routes come through?

D-S: Well yeah, I guess we are influenced by everything that we enjoy to listen to in a way. After so many years of being around and also after releasing already 8 albums I don’t think you really look left and right anymore to check into what other bands are doing, as far as getting influences. I mean, I think that we have been influenced by our own history and a will to make things better “by our own rules”, so to say. I definitely think that whatever we listened to in the early 90’s (which happens to often be the same stuff we still listen to these days….) did have an impact on our learning process as fans, but also as starting musicians. The first wave of Swedish Death Metal with bands like Entombed or Dismember, but also the West Coast sound of bands like At The Gates, Eucharist, etc. did leave a lasting impression on us for sure. Having said that, I think Bay Area Thrash Metal by bands like Testament, Exodus, Slayer, early Metallica, Violence and many more is what probably shaped our taste the most when we started to get involved with the scene for real. So yeah, I would like to think of Dew-Scented as a band that learnt the “how to’s” with the first wave of Thrash and Death Metal, but we have tried to always perform our own music at the heaviest and in the most modern possible shape, plus with an own attitude. I guess that explains the mix of styles we seem to have come up with…

After almost 20 years in the business what do you think of the state of the metal scene?

D-S: Well, I guess the scene keeps changing all the time so it’s hard to make an educated statement with a rather superficial and short-cut answer. I think our early inspirations and also our first supporters are starting to get older with us now too, while there are completely new generations of listeners and musicians emerging all the time. Those can add some new impulse as well as ideas to the traditional set-up’s, but at the same time it seems that each scene and type of sub-genre has its own life and place to subsist. Sometimes it feels like a time warp where nothing changes, but other times I go to certain other shows and I see mainly teens listening to really extreme sounds, which really blows me away. I mean, we play with bands like Heathen in front of a more traditional audience with denim jackets and patches and then in the same year we stand in front of a Suicide Silence audience with really young kids full of tattoos and colourful t-shirts. It’s all good really, because it’s all extreme music really. Even though I mainly listen to bands that I have been into since I originally got into this style of music, I still happen to discover a cool new bands every once in a while that totally blows me away…so yeah, I am not one of those who claim that everything used to be better, hahaha. That said…wow; 20 years…time really flies when you are having fun!

Do you ever check out newer bands? If so who has caught your attention?

D-S: Yeah, I do…I was just speaking about it, hahaha! I get into younger Thrash bands like Warbringer or also recently I was quite impressed by the debut album of Vektor. I also liked Fleshgod Apocalypse from Italy, Gojira are obviously a killer band too, even if not really “new” at all either. I also liked Protest The Hero a lot, or for example The Faceless or Obscura. In terms of more melodic Metal I really got into Enforcer and In Solitude from Sweden – both very promising bands. But yeah, there is a lot of talent coming up in different styles these days, as most young bands have really good instrumental skills and know how to deliver the goods live…

Dew-Scented is an Edgar Allan Poe term if I am correct? Are you quite into literature or do you like to get trashed like every other thrasher?

D-S: I don’t even know if that’s really true, but yeah, that’s what the story says, hahaha. I think the Poe reference might have been caused by us at first, when asked about the weirdness of the band name. I might have replied “It was from a poem, maybe by E.A. Poe, or so?!” It was a miscellaneous piece, so I wouldn’t really know myself anymore…I just happened to like the enigmatic and pretty “original” approach of the term and decided to suggest it to the other guys in the band at practise while we didn’t have a name for the band chosen yet. They surprisingly all liked it and we moved forwards without questioning if it really fits to the style of music that we are about to present to the public, but oh well. I was reading a fair bit when I was a teenager and in school, even though I enjoyed partying and getting trashed as well. That was a good time really, as there weren’t many responsibilities and a loooot of time for music, really. I don’t read much these days anymore…no idea why. I guess I am a mix of too lazy and also too impatient. I don’t seem to find much time to slow down much these last years!

With all the line up changes, which are understandable for such a long career, what would you say has been the biggest hurdle for Dew Scented to getting to where you are today?

D-S: Well yeah, definitely as you say the line-up changes were always a huge obstacle, as not only was the mission to have an enjoyable and smooth atmosphere between the band members, but also we wanted to raise the bar musically all the time. Our aim was to remain having a somewhat trademark sound for Dew-Scented, but also keep progressing as songwriters and performers as well, which isn’t easy if the team around you changes drastically every once in a while. I guess the fact that we can’t financially survive through the music hasn’t made things easier for us throughout the years, because while you are expected to give your all for the music, it simply wouldn’t pay your bills at home. That said, I guess that’s the same problem for all bands out there, so we really haven’t been in a really especially dramatic situation. In fact, I actually think we have been quite fortunate to have received some attention and chances from the very beginning, which allowed the band to keep growing and developing an own identity in the turn of the years. I won’t really complain about anything at this stage really…

You’ve said that you’ve wanted to be original with everything you write? How do you feel about your lyrics in comparison with others of your time?

D-S: Well, the lyrics are a quite interesting thing about Dew-Scented indeed. I have written them since the very beginning and keep on trying to find cool topics and strong language to support the new songs that the band comes up with. It’s not an easy task when you have written about +100 songs and if you know me, you will understand that I am not quite a very aggressive of “heavy” person, so that it’s not always easy to get myself in the right mood to write the stuff that the style demands. That said, I used to write very hidden and hard to decipher stuff in the early days of the band, which didn’t make it easy to “perform” and also get a certain vibe across. Part of the learning process was to drop the “veil” and make sure the message is understood better by simply writing in a more straight forward way. I think starting with the “Impact” album in 2003 I was reaching the point where the lyrics really did their own part well. I have mainly related to personal stuff and points of view in the lyrics, so it’s hard to judge and compare them really, but to me, they are a great opportunity to vent and get rid of a lot of the negativity and frustration from my everyday life, so that’s a great comfort. I like to think that the band helps me staying a pretty normal and relaxed guy…

Despite signing to a label like Nuclear Blast are you still working day jobs to keep you up right?

D-S: Oh yeah, we all have jobs that need to pay for things. We have never managed to live from the music and in all honesty, our style of Metal is pretty extreme and underground, so that it would be foolish to think that it can cover your bills. Having said that, I only want to quickly point out that we are no longer with Nuclear Blast Records these days…Our latest release “Invocation” from 2010 came out via Metal Blade Records in Europe.

If you weren’t in the music industry what would be your ideal job?

D-S: I don’t know. Haven’t really thought about that, to be honest, hahaha! Maybe something that involves journalism? That’s what I originally wanted to study for, but I wasn’t patient enough, hahaha. Or maybe it would be something with flowers or on a farm? I don’t know really…

What are the plans for the rest of the year?

D-S: Not much at all, really! We will be taking a bit of a break from touring now after the 4 weeks with Nile in order to focus on working on new songs for a next album recording. We will play some very few selected festival dates in the Summer after all, but I guess we will really try to make a killer new album next, so that will require attention and time off the road, because we are not the type of band that can easily write when touring!

With the festival season round the corner, what would be your ideal festival line-up?

D-S: Hmm, to be honest, I think Party.San festival (where we are also playing this year…) is looking pretty sweet with Morbid Angel, At The Gates, Morgoth, Triptykon and many more. Also, Hellfest in France has about the best line up’s, year by year. The guy booking the festival really has a solid taste that I could easily approve that one, hahaha! And he even has Coroner doing a reunion there, so that’s extra sweet! If it was fully up to me only, I would book the following bands for my very personal (reunion styled) festival: Acid Bath, Trouble (with Eric Wagner), The Obsessed, Amebix, Nasty Savage, Thought Industry, Confessor, Discharge and well yeah, Thin Lizzy (original line-up, of course!) would be headlining and then Tori Amos would play the after-show party on a piano in the corner of a really small bar. Wow, what a trip that would be! Anyhow, thanks a lot for this interview and for the support you are giving us.

Check out Dew-Scented at Party-San, Germany, 11-13 August.
Interview conducted and written for Soundshock by Lily Randall

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