Ever Forwards

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Any given time, when requested to list my favorite death metal albums of all time, Benediction’s “The Grand Leveller “always finds its way on the list. With typically scrappy British gusto, it shoulders its way in among the heavyweights like Morbid Angel, Death and Suffocation. The singer on that album and the four subsequent Benediction albums was no other than Dave Ingram.

But since leaving Benediction after Grind Bastard, he has kept busy with multiple projects and now as you will see below, is keeping very busy in many projects. I won’t spoil the details here in this blurb about what he as going on. So without further ado — here is my interview with British death metal legend, Dave Ingram.

So usually I have an interview with a person that’s only in one band, maybe two… and the interview is for that band or the other. I can’t do that here, so this is an interview with the Dave Ingram. So tell what bands are you actively  in right now? What are YOUR bands as opposed to guesting?

How do! Thanks for putting this interview together and for thinking of me as the subject. Okay, so my active bands currently are: URSINNE (debut album “Swim With The Leviathan” out in a few weeks), ECHELON (second album “The Brimstone Aggrandizement” out now), DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN (third album, currently being written), JUST BEFORE DAWN (live shows planned for 2018 and beyond, as well as new material), HELLFROST AND FIRE (Hellhammer and Celtic Frost worship band, presently writing a full length), As yet un-named project doing some Hardcore/Death Metal crossover, and finally a project that is going to be massive…but I can’t talk about it just yet. More info and details will be coming soon! There are a couple of other tentatively planned projects, but I have to wait to see if they will ever come to be, and finally there’s a plethora of guest spots I’m cropping up in.

Before we get further into those active projects, let’s talk about your past projects, notably Benediction. The Grand Leveller remains one of my favorite death metal albums of all time. Where do you put it and other Benediction albums you were on in the pantheons of death metal? What made The Grand Leveller so great?

Those albums were, if I may say so myself, partly responsible for how the scene went on to evolve in the years following – and there were MANY bands that contributed to this evolution, it wasn’t just Benediction. I loved my time in the band, and was sad when it came to an end BUT it was something that I had to do. What made those albums so good? I guess it was the youthful enthusiasm of the guys involved together in the writing of them, and our individual drive that was brought on from influences such as Infernal Majesty, Slaughter, Nocturnus, and pretty much anything that Kam Lee was involved with. He himself was pivotal in the creation of this genre.

Was there any reason for leaving Benediction after Grind Bastard?

Yes. I’d been unhappy for a long time about how the band was managed (not the manager himself, I must add!!) as decisions to do gigs/tours etc were being made without everyone being consulted. It multiplied when I moved to Denmark, and I just couldn’t do that anymore. I needed to know, but wasn’t being told. It was time to go, sadly.

Technically, even though they have not released anything since 2008’s Killing Music, Benediction are still active. Even Dave Hunt is still around (who seems to be more focused on Anaal Nathrakh.) Any chance of a reunion?

I’ll say that in 2018 the “Transcend The Rubicon” album is having it’s 25th anniversary. I’m willing to go out and play that album live if the band wanted to do some shows. I doubt it would happen, and I am quite busy myself, but who knows?

The ’90s were inarguably the best decade for death metal, especially in the UK. What do you think of the English scene nowadays, having been there when bands like Benediction, Cancer, Napalm Death, Warlord, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride were around?

Having not lived in the UK for almost 20 years I can’t really comment on the scene there now. I know it has changed, but I am not quite sure how. If you ask me about the scene in Scandinavia I can tell you it’s still as strong as ever. I guess me, Jonny Petterson and Rogga Johansson are helping in that sense.

Have you heard the Memoriam project with some of your former Benediction pals? Thoughts? Any reason you were not invited to participate considering your involvement with both projects?

Absolutely I have heard it, and I bloody love it! In fact, when they played at the Eindhoven festival in December last year I joined them onstage for a version of Bolt Thrower’s “Inside The Wire.” It’s up on YouTube if anyone wants to see it. They’re here in Copenhagen next month at the CopenHell festival, so maybe the same will happen again?

What did you do after doing vocals on Honour Valour Pride? Why were you away from fronting metal bands for that period in the early ’00s?

After I had to leave Bolt Thrower in 2003 for medical reasons, I took a year off (just one!) Then I began the band Downlord for several years, until 2008 when I thought we had achieved our goals, so we disbanded. I started my online radio show and built up a listener base over the next 18 months, while evolving the show into it’s own unique and quirky style. It’s not like other radio shows for Metal. Some like it, some don’t, but I don’t care…I just enjoy making it. It’s totally for entertainment purposes.  I also made a Big Band Jazz show called Lambert’s Basement for over 5 years as well. During this time, at around 2013, I was contacted by Rogga Johansson to guest on one of his projects. I asked to make a full band with him, and DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN were born. Soon after came ECHELON and then URSINNE, but this was with Jonny Petterson. I got the HAIL OF BULLETS gig though that sadly only lasted around 12 months. Now I’m doing the forthcoming live shows for JUST BEFORE DAWN.

But here you are in multiple bands, multiple guest performances… what jump started everything? was it the Hail of Bullets? Downlord?

Hard work, lesser magic, creativity, self-determination…all these are the things that jump-started it. I guess Rogga’s contact with me gave me that initial burst of creativity to get back to writing music – though during the period from the end of Downlord to when he contacted me (2008 to 2013) I had been writing and recording a few tracks with my Metal Breakfast Radio co-host Donovan, and putting them out for free download.

Downlord had 2 releases then stopped. Any reason that project didn’t do more?

What the band wanted to do was get a couple of releases out that brought forth the style of Danish death metal that was influenced by a multitude of bands. I left the music to the other guys. There were drummer problems – Denmark is a small country and there’s not too many of them to go around. These days things are easier, and I have been in touch with a couple of the guys to see if they might be interested in re-recording a bunch of the tracks, since the record label we used back then were a bunch of idiots and totally fucked up the mastering of the album. I think it’s time these songs got a modern re-visit.

You seem heavily involved with Rogga Johanson and Johnny Petterson bands. How did those relationships come about?

I’ve already covered how I got in contact with Rogga in a previous answer, but Jonny and I met online when we were both working with JUST BEFORE DAWN. I mentioned to him about trying for a band with that Swedish-sound, and he agreed. We have had Ursinne in our minds since 2015 (possibly before then) as we’ve both been busy. There’s more to come from all of us…lots more.

All of the projects you are involved with all stay within the  realms of death metal. Have you ever wanted to branch out and do something out of that wheel house, like doom?

Not doom, but I’ve got some as yet un-named band working on some hardcore/death metal crossover being produced. That ought to be fun and I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into that one. There’s also the HELLFROST AND FIRE album (the Celtic Frost/Hellhammer one) that will have covers by Frost and Hellhammer as well as a bunch of original material in the same style. I did a cover of “Dethroned Emperor” with the band GATH recently and it was those guys that I’m working with on this, too. Again, it’s up on YouTube if you want to see it.

The current active releases you have are Ursinne’s upcoming effort and the Just before Dawn Compilation- talk a little about those efforts

The new URSINNE album “Swim With The Leviathan” will be out pretty damn soon on Transcending Obscurity records. Early reviews have been very exciting to read, as the album is being well received. I can’t wait until it drops and I get to see more of what people think.
JUST BEFORE DAWN: I’m currently in the process of recording several new tracks for them. Since I’m going to be the live voice/frontman for the gigs next year (plenty are being lined up) then it was sensible to record some more tracks with me for the album. More details will be coming soon.

The recent Echelon album effort had a very solid Benediction vibe to it. Is that something you try to do of just happens?

Hmmm…I can only hear that comparison on one song – and just for a short moment. One person had said that the track “Lex Talionis” had a strong “Transcend The Rubicon” sound to it – which I agreed with. But it wasn’t our intention to make it like that. It’s just one of those wacky coincidences where people hear what they want to. Anyway, I don’t mind that particular comparison there. The only thing I took umbrage at were the very few (two!) people who complained about the 3 second maximum intros to the songs. Let me say that again…THREE. SECOND. MAXIMUM. I mean, c’mon! It’s not like we’re a grindcore band that have a 2 minute clip from a horror movie followed by a 20 second song! Sheesh, some people like to complain about anything. One guy even went as far to try telling me what to do next time around. Would anyone tell an artist how to create his paintings/sculptures etc? No. So don’t tell me how to create mine, you complete arsewash.

Some people, I tell you.

The Down Among the Dead Men project has three releases – would you consider that your main project all do all of your projects get equal time?
DATDM has had 2 full length albums and a 7”, with a new album on the way later this year. No, it’s not my main project. They all get the same attention from me. I sometimes think I take on too many things but I just like to be busy. It’s so very satisfying to hold a copy of your latest album when it arrives. It’s a proud moment, knowing that this music might have a good impact on someone in the world.

How is it working with Transcending Obscurity, a label based in India, for many of your releases?

In my opinion, they are one of the greatest underground labels out there. The quality of their releases (packaging as well as the bands) is fantastic. Kunal, the mastermind behind the label, is a cool guy and incredibly hardworking for the bands on the TOR roster. I’m proud to be a part of them. They endeavour to make sure that all CDs/Merch etc actually gets to the person who ordered them. They’re very cool like that, so no one should be worried about postage when ordering from them.

What do you have in the pipeline for the rest of the year and leading into 2018? Just as active?

Well there’s the new DATDM that has just been started (I heard a new track just before I began this interview) so I have that writing ahead of me. I’ll be re-recording my vocals onto the JUST BEFORE DAWN tracks so I can rehearse them while I am at work (on my iPod – it seriously helps!) and I’m looking forward to the live shows next year. There’s going to be a new URSINNE album, which will feature our new bass player Sonia Nusselder too…we’ve begun writing that one as well, and it may be a 2 disc release with a full length album of original material, and a bonus disc of cover versions and demo tracks from the first album sessions. There will also be a new ECHELON album next year, though that is definitely a way off yet. As I also mentioned there is the HELLFROST AND FIRE album, along with the Hardcore/Death Metal crossover album too, though that is currently in the writing stage. A Finnish band wanted me to record vocals for their final album which I can do – if they get back in touch with me…but that might not happen. And there’s also the BIG project that I can’t really talk about but when the news drops it’ll be enormous. Add to that a whole bunch of guest spots then the future looks to be incredibly busy for me. Just the way I like it!

Thanks for the interview, I appreciate it greatly! Cheers to everyone out there for support. Me and my bands couldn’t do all this without you.

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Comments

  1. Commented by: Allred

    nice interview, and a pleasant surprise, as Dave is one of my favorite vocalists. I hold Transcend the Rubicon in super high regards. Would love to see the Downlord full-length get a remaster like he mentions, it really would open that album up better.


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