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

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In the Spotlight with Cattle Decapitation

Bands will forever tell you that the latest album is their best but it’s rare the metal world will agree. Luckily for Cattle Decapitation, ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ is a monument of death metal mayhem and a far cry from 2009’s ‘The Harvest Floor’. When they’re not terrorising the internet with disgusting videos, they’re on tour doing it in the flesh and despite travelling dramas Lily Randall managed to grab Travis Ryan for a catch up.

1. Your latest album ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ has been claimed to be your best yet. How have you dealt with your new found limelight?

Travis: Drugs, alcohol, impregnation of fans, cutting, the occasional overdose… No, seriously, it’s been humbling. Fans in the front rows actually know the lyrics to the songs and “sing along”, which to me is a bizarre concept for a band like us. We’re also pretty stoked that the shit stuck and we weren’t left with an album everyone hated. It was kind of a stretch to get out that far on a limb – we generally make music we want to hear with little consideration for what others might think, so we kind of lucked out that most people liked the new stuff. It could have gone either way, we didn’t know which, so I’m glad the cards fell in our favour.


2. You said previously that the writing process was more rushed than you had hoped. Looking back now, would you have still done it differently despite its success?

Travis: Funny thing is, we had more time to write this one than usual. We took a year off to do it and thought we were gonna have this album finished in six months with another six to hone it down but no. We worked straight that whole time on it. Conflicting work schedules was what made it such a pain in the ass but we made it work.


3. Cattle Decapitation have always been known for their opinions regarding politics, especially animal rights. Have your opinions ever affected how you are treated as a band?

Travis: Well, maybe. I’m sure it turns a lot of fans off. If they only knew us, haha! They’d find we have much more in common with them than they think. The vegetarian/vegan angle probably turns a lot of people off because their judgements are based on how they’ve seen other vegans and vegetarians act in the past regarding their life choice and we just aren’t like that and never have been. I’m vegan, Josh is vegetarian and the other two dudes do what they want. I write the lyrics so I know where I’m coming from. It turned out to be impossible to maintain an all vegetarian band and still get the musicianship we wanted. It was never a criteria. So to answer your question, not really. People make their jokes once in a while and it’s all very old hat now, but I mostly hear people giving us props for having the standpoint the lyrics do and for having the balls to present that in the death metal arena. It all makes perfect sense when you look into it.
4. What are your current pet peeves regarding the world right now? Go on, rant to us!

Travis: Ugh, I’m sick of ranting. Plastic. Plastic really pisses me off. But that’s boring I’m sure. I don’t know, I’ve been ranting all day on stupid ass Facebook so I’m kind of ranted out right now. Meme-based societies are pissing me off, how’s that?
5. What’s life on the road like with Cattle Decapitation?

Travis: Same as any other band. Mild drama, wondering where to eat CONSTANTLY, LOTS of farts, lots of jokes and lots of fart jokes. Same old shit.

6. Where does your lyric inspiration tend to come from?

Travis: Every day bullshit. People. People sucking. Depression. Anxiety. ADHD with mild bipolar disorder perhaps? The news. That kinda thing.


7. Are you like many death metal bands that live for gory horror films?

Travis: Nah. Traces of Death and the internet killed all that for me, the former being when I was young. I’ve always been more into realism, reality based stuff, documentaries etc. Never was much into many cartoons when I was a kid, so I’m not too fond of animation. I like the old horror movies if anything but just for a chuckle. Hellraiser 2 was the shit.
8. When you Google the ‘Forced Gender’ video, the top searches include “bloody disgusting”, “NSFW” and “banned”. I’m guessing this is the response you were after?

Travis: I just wanted to bum some motherfuckers out. It definitely worked. I wanted people to see it and say to themselves, “well, that’s not OK at all”. I wanted people to have to step back and re-evaluate where they are in life, what they have and what matters most in this world to them. “NSFW” was the tag that Bloody-disgusting.com put on it which means “not safe for work”. It definitely is something that violates all public video sites’ agreements and even the agreements with the hosting company that hosts our website or else we’d just take it. Quite honestly, it’s funny people were so freaked out about the video – all the video is are the lyrics put into play on the screen and acted out. That’s all. And it’s not much different than any of our other songs! It takes doing all that to get people to understand what we’re saying? Sad.


9. The ideas didn’t come from personal fetishes did they?!

Travis: No, I personally think all that stuff is for show. At least people that go around promoting the fact that they love fetishes and all that. Fetishes to me are a very personal thing and people that exploit that all openly are fucking posers.


10. If you were to do any cover at a live show, what would it be?

Travis: I’ve always wanted to do Rigor Mortis’ “Foaming at the Mouth” but also think it’d be hilarious to do Tourniquet’s “Ark of Suffering”. Hilarious, because it’s a Christian band and I have a knack for being able to separate a bands ideology from the actual music and enjoy the music, plus it’s a bad ass song with a great message. I can’t believe I’m saying that about a Christian band but it’s a song against vivisection and using animals to test cosmetics.
11. What’s next for Cattle Decapitation?

Travis: A one-off HUGE festival in Guadalajara, Mexico and then Australia in June as well as the massive Summer Slaughter Tour in the States in July/August.
12. With festival season upon on us, who would be your chosen 3 headliners, dead or alive?

Travis: Carcass, Coroner and Bethlehem.

Interview by Lily Randall

Published by soundshock.com

Interview with Tommy Dahlstrom, Aeon

After releasing the highly-received ‘Aeon’s Black’ last year, there is no rest for the wicked that is Swedish death metallers Aeon. With over a decade of brutality and experience under their belts, the tour Aeon is about to embark on should be easy, however we thought we’d grab vocalist Tommy Dahlström on the first date of the UK leg just in case…

Welcome back to the UK! Tonight is the first night of the tour, so what can we expect form Aeon’s visit this time round?

Well, we’re very glad to be back touring again! We are hoping that the tour will be louder and heavier than before and I think in this venue it will be very loud!

Will we be hearing a lot of latest release ‘Aeon’s Black’?

We are hoping to play quite a few songs from the album but it’s hard as we only have 45 minutes to play tonight. We want to make sure we still have time to play the older songs too but yeah, it is tough with not much time.

The album received a lot of praise as one of the key DM releases of the year. In your opinion what has been your favourite Aeon album?

For me, I cannot choose just one Aeon album. Sometimes I like it to sound very fast and other times I want it to be as heavy as it can be. We are very happy that people liked ‘Aeon’s Black’.

You brought back former drummer Arttu in 2010, and it sounds as though there were never any hard feelings between old and new members. How is the Aeon camp currently?

Everything for us is going very well but Arttu is not with us on this tour. He is expecting his new child so we have Emil Wiksten (Blood Red Throne) with us for this tour. For the album though, having Arttu again was very natural. We are all very close and live near each other so writing is quite easy.

Many have commented on the slower more doomy elements of Aeon’s Black compared to previous releases. Do you think this is something you’ll continue to develop in future work?

Maybe, I don’t know. Zeb (guitar) felt we lacked heasvier songs on the album before ‘Aeon’s Black’ but I feel we did this and people like it. I think we will still play fast because that is what death metal is all about!

You’ve been in the music industry for almost 15 years now. Is touring still as fun and full of partying as it used to be?

Of course it is still fun! We love playing our music to the fans and playing shows is my favourite part of being in a band. As for partying, I know I still try to party like before but we also need our sleep! Some of us are parents now so maybe not the same as before in the band but we still enjoy some beers and have a great time with the other bands.

Sweden has always been hailed as one of the homes of Death Metal. Would you say the scene out there is as strong as ever?

I guess so, you will still see many old bands like us are playing and writing new albums. We have lots of new bands too but some are melodic death metal or other metal. I think other countries are starting to catch up though, like Germany and places like that.

How do you feel about the constant argument between what is and isn’t “death metal”? Do you feel newer bands give it a bad name?

No I don’t think they do. At the end of the day, we all like the same shit. We want to play angry music and sound heavy. Surely this is what matters?

After this tour, what have you got planned?

We are touring with this album as much as we can, with Obscura in Europe.  We are focusing on this for now but maybe some writing can happen on the tour.

Hell Militia continue to climb the black metal ladder -Interview

FRANCE MAY NOT BE YOUR USUAL PORT OF CALL WHEN IT COMES TO HUNTING DOWN SOME NEW BLACK METAL, BUT PERHAPS A CHANGE OF DIRECTION IS NEEDED IF HELL MILITIA ARE ANYTHING TO GO BY. WITH THEIR THIRD FULL LENGTH JACOB’S LADDER BEING UNLEASHED LAST FALL AND STANDING OUT AS THEIR BEST SO FAR, WE CAUGHT UP WITH GUITARIST T.PERSECUTOR TO DISCUSS THE EVOLUTION OF THEIR EVIL CREATIONS.

 You had said previously that when recording previous album Last Station On the Road to Death you could only record at night and when you were “fucked up”. Did you follow a similar sort of structure when writing Jacob’s Ladder?

 No, for the first time we almost recorded everything by daylight and in a more classical way of studio recording. We of course still got brainfucked but this time we had almost normal hours. One of the main reasons was that the Bayern in winter is freezing cold and we were warming up with wood and alcohol…

 Has the reaction to Jacob’s Ladder been as good as you had hoped?

Reactions have like always been great or flat. We aren’t doing a kind of music that can please everybody and anyway that’s not the purpose either. The main surprise for me was the reaction to the cover. I really thought people would hate it, and that’s what happened when a small preview was first out, but then the reactions were really good about it and I got many demands about why we didn’t use it for the LP or if we would do it as a poster. This proves that Black metal people are not just like usual metal heads that don’t give a shit about other kinds of perverted arts, or that people into Hell Militia have tastes close to ours.

How do you as a band feel your sound has progressed since the Last Station… record?

I really enjoyed recording both. Let’s say that the previous one needed a fucked up recording and this one needed a more focused recording. Of course we can’t record anything just like if we were going to some kind of work, but still this time, we were clear at least half the time of the recording. Also this time, I have followed the mix with the studio far of 9000 km. That was pretty interesting as a change and I think it gave the sound engineer more personal touch, even though we have given it our soul as well.

Jacob’s Ladder is a story from the Bible and it would appear almost mocked on the album artwork. How prominent is religion in the music of Hell Militia?

 Hell Militia is not meant to gather people to any faith. It is more directed to people that are already into the Faith or the great politic disorder. I don’t feel there is mockery on the cover, but I intended to show the twisted part of the prediction – vision of Jacob, and in a more modern way, how people appeal to high moral values in words, but have very different acts.

 Is there a particular reason as to why you have decided to play without a bassist?

 We have only changed our bass player. Now our VJ, S. is playing bass in the band as he is a bass player, and we are already working with our new VJ. In fact, the band is taking a new turn and I really believe the new line-up will be the best thing that ever happened to the band since I first recruited members.

 Many people complain that it is hard to do anything original with black metal nowadays. How do you feel you differ from the rest?

 A famous French writer said in the 17th century that all has been done and said, what is left is how it is done. You know, I’m into many different kinds of art, and nobody likes changes and things that have been done before are always better. Of course I loved the beginning of Black metal, but I am more excited now about many things. I think that there has been a lot of great works in all kind of arts recently. I like my old 1990’s records as I like many today. Most people who complain are people that have lost the flame and are stuck in a fake golden age.

 How do you feel about bands like Watain bringing the occult and black metal into the mainstream?

 Watain is a great band and they haven’t changed since their success. They didn’t sell their ass and deserve it. Who could blame them? No matter how much you sell, as long as you make it for a higher goal.

 The French BM scene seems to be ever growing. Is there a mutual respect between the bands?

 It depends, there are many bands that are linked with strong brotherhood like Hell Militia, Aosoth, temple of Baal, VI, Decline of the I and many others. I don’t think it’s growing especially, it’s mainly more known.

 You have all been known for taking on many musical projects at once. Has Hell Militia now become a priority?

 It has become my priority ever since the second album was out. Jacob’s Ladder is really the first album that has been made as a whole and with all my time. I have worked the artwork and the songs at the same time, taking all necessary time. Then we all rehearsed until we were satisfied and really felt it. This album has opened new ways of working for me, and I already see how my writing has changed since.

 2012 saw a large step for Hell Militia as you signed to Seasons of Mist. What are the plans for 2013?

 We are working with the new line up, and we have quite a bunch of shows and festivals, so time will be needed to take that new album on stage. Then I have started to bring new songs to the others, and I am starting the new artworks as well.

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Published in Ghost Cult Magazine

Pre-Retinal Circus Devin Townsend Interview

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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.

 

 Published on Soundshock.com

 

 

 

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In the Spotlight with Dripback…and producer Russ Russell

Last year saw hardcore Londoners Dripback scramble into the limelight after an impressive set at BOA and to prove they’re still worthy, they’ve returned to an even bigger crowd. In one of the most drunken chats of the festival, Lily Randall spoke to drummer Hellhog and guitarist Gino4, who were hanging with their producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir and Evile).

You guys played earlier and are one of the rarities where BOA allowed you to play the year before as well. How did this year compare?

Hellhog: It was a bit busier in the tent this year and a lot louder. I think Russ turned it up to eleven this year.

Russ: The crowd was amazing. Right to the back everyone was fist pumping

Hellhog: We played some new stuff that we’ve been working on for the new album. Literally, we’ve taken a break from it to play the shows and Russ has pushed it out of us.

How’s it been working with Russ?

Hellhog: He’s so harsh!

Russ: It’s gone really well because they don’t know what they’re doing and I don’t know what I’m doing either! So somewhere in the middle it all works out.

Hellhog: Nah, it’s been great, it’s always an honour to work with Russ and it’s been a fucking pleasure as well. He knows how to get the best out of us and he’s dragged it out of us kicking and screaming.

Gino4: And he makes the killer hot sauce, which I’m sure every band he’s worked with has raved about. We did a bottle and a half in a week. It’s so strong it will make you impotent.

So what you played of the new tracks earlier sounded awesome. How does the new stuff differ to your last record?

Hellhog: The thing with the new record is that literally, there are so many new things going on.

Russ: It’s going to surprise everybody!

Hellhog: There’s a taste of ‘Inhaling the Ashes’ in there but we’ve evolved and there’s hardcore, there’s death metal, there’s all kinds of tastiness in there and it’s taken on a whole new flavour.

Russ: There’s a lot of bullshit and a lot of haters on the Internet talking absolute fucking bollocks and when they hear this album, they have just got to shut the fuck up because it negates everything they said.

Hellhog: Last year was busy but this year it was rammed. I was astounded, honoured and humbled by the crowd that turned up today.

When you were writing this album were you ever thinking of it as a “Fuck you” to the haters?

Hellhog: No not really. We just do our thing, we play what we play

Gino4: If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

Russ: If you don’t like it, go and sharpen your swords!

So apart from playing, what else do you love about Bloodstock?

Gino4: Standing around in shorts and a vest, drinking, smoking weed, doing lines of whatever the fuck’s going about and having a laugh.

Russ: And getting to talk to lovely ladies.

Cheeky!

Interview by Lily Randall. Published on Soundshock.com

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 Soundshock.com