Servants of the Deathkult
One of the better and most consistent band currently atop the Swedish death metal revival is Germany’s Revel In Flesh. As prolific as they are awesome, the band is now four albums in, in just 6 years, each as good as the last. The latest release, Emissary of All Plagues, was released late last year on Cyclone Empire and sees the band
I was able to catch up with drummer Vogtsson and founder Ralf Haubersson, overcome some language barriers and for the thrid time delve deeper into the Deathkult known as Revel in Flesh.
I know you guys have spoke with Frank Rini since, and this is your third interview here at teeth (some sort of record?) but I last spoke to you guys, it was after 2012s Deathevocation debut. What has changed in the Revel in Flesh since then?
Vogtsson: I think there has nothing changed. We are still five retarded bastards, who celebrate the classical way of Death Metal and of course we are still hungry for more!
But I hope you have noticed that we were very busy over the last 5 years. So we did not less than 8 Split Eps (with: Revolting(SWE), Putreaeon(SWE), Wombbath(SWE), Grave Wax (USA), Feral (SWE), Humiliation(MYS), Zombiefication(MEX), The Dead Goats(POL) ), did our 2nd full length “Manifested Darkness“(2013), our 3rd full length “Death Kult Legions (2014) and just released our 4th record “Emissary of all plagues” (Dec. 2016) on Cyclone Empire
One change is the switch from FDA Records to Cyclone Empire. Any reason for the label change even though both are German labels?
Vogtsson: Yes, you are right! That´s one change over the last years I forgot.It is not that big story behind. Our contract with F.D.A. was fulfilled after two albums and we thought it´s time for something new. The choice to get in touch with Cyclone Empire was quite simple, because Martin (the owner of Cyclone Empire) is for us a well known person for years and the label headquarter is not that far away from our singer Hauberson’s hometown. So we had the chance to start on a real personal foundation. And what can I say….Cyclone Empire did their best for us so far.
Is being on a German label important- if did the cards just fall that way?
Vogtsson: I think it is not really so important being on a German label. The main reason for our choice I explained to you before. Maybe you can say it´s for some kind of reason a little bit “easier” for us. Just for example, it’s maybe more easy to do some “business-stuff” in our mother language with the label. But primarily important should be, how´s the whole conversation between label & band and of course how is the personal gut feeling. If these two points are perfect in any way, I think it is not necessary or important being on a German label, as I said before.
After releasing albums in 2012, 2013 and 2014, there was a bit of a wait for the new album (though there were 3 splits in there), released in 2016. Any reason for the gap or or is this a more realistic timetable for album releases?
Vogtsson: Well, we have still the luck that our guitarist Maggesson is a damn fucking riff-machine with own home-studio. In the beginning when Haubersson started the band, he came with a couple of songs and Maggesson helped him to finish his vision of Death Metal in the classical way. Revel In Flesh was born and after the debut Deathevokation, Maggesson was really on a roll to create songs and riffs. It took only one year and the second strike “Manifested Darkness” was done. After that, Maggesson started directly with new songs and so the wheel keeps on turning until “Death Kult Legions”. The gap between our 3rd album and the new one “Emissary of all plagues” has not a special reason. It took that time we needed for the new album and personally I think that two or three years until the next album should be a good timetable for us. But don´t forget that between 2014 and 2016 we also released three Split Ep´s. So, we were not too lazy, haha.
Haubersson: You also have to see the fact that our live activities increased after the release of “Death Kult Legions”. We’ve did single shows and week short tours throughout whole Germany, incl. Some crazy roadtrips with PUTERAEON (Sweden) and our Spanish friends from GRAVEYARD and DECAPITATED CHRIST. It’s time consuming organisation work and beside this everyone of us has a REAL life with REAL life bullshit, too. In the end it’s as well a good thing to give a creative process some time to dwell and breath; doing stuff on the run is not often the best way!
What I’ve appreciated over the 4 albums is the consistent sound you had Maggeson (Markus Köchl) produce 3 and Dan Swano mix/master, all 4, rather than tweak or mess with the sound. Do you see any point on the future where you don’t use that combination?
Vogtsson: What can I say….Maggesson and of course Dan Swanö did more than great jobs for us. And so it´s a good and justified question, what will happen in the future? But for now I must say: why should we change? It sounds perfect! But on the other side…we will see what the future brings and how the new songs will sound like. Never say never but for now, as I said before: never change a winning team!
Haubersson: You also have to keep in mind that it’s good for a co – operation to grow on a long term process; I think production wise, all our albums got step by step into a more vivid form of sound. The input of Dan Swanö on that process has been very healthy to our sound and most of all he understands the visions and add his magical “know how” during the mix and mastering job!
When the debut came out, the Swedish sound was in full revival mode. I thought it might die out but it’s showing no signs of letting up. Along with you guys bands like Epitaph, Fatalist, fellow Germans Demonbreed,Nocturnal Hollow, Ashcloud, Interment, Sentient Horror and many other released killer albums. Do you think the genre is in danger of being saturated?
Vogtsson: The Death-Metal boom is definitely over! But the flame is still alive and as you said, there are still many good bands in the underground. Damn, as long as bands like Interment come out which such great releases, I give a fuck if the scene or genre could be saturated. There will be ever some Death-Metal-to-the-bone-freaks, who create some awesome music and last but not least the time will separate the wheat from the chaff as always.
On the same theme, there seems to be a lot of reissues of really obscure stuff and demo from bands even I have never heard of (i.e i just got a promo for a band called Lubricant who released one mini cd in 1993). Is this good or bad for the genre?
Vogtsson: I don´t know if it´s necessary to re – release some old stuff from the early 90s or old stuff, which was back in the days already third or fourth league music. Most of that re-releases are ridiculous and I think someone just tries to get “a slice of the Death-Metal cake”.
Haubersson: The release market is generally overloaded and those reissue stuff is a big part of the release overkill! I think labels should rather use their capacity to push new bands instead of doing some easy cash in with something that is already dead and gone!
You have done splits with the likes of Zombiefication from Mexico. How cool is it that bands from all over the world are playing this style so well now?
Vogtsson: Absolutely cool! There are so many freaks and die-hard maniacs, who celebrate and keep the Death-Metal flame alive all over the world. As I told you in the beginning, we had so many Split Ep´s with damn great Bands from really different countries, like Humiliation from Malaysia or even Zombiefication from Mexico. A piece of the whole Death-Metal world gathered on some vinyl stuff, haha!
Are there any of these style bands you are particularity impressed with? Ive always thought you guys and Entrails were sort of similar and rivaling each other..
Vogtsson: When it comes to old school Death Metal….there will be always two names for me personal: ENTOMBED & DISMEMBER! But I think (and I think I speak for my whole band in that case!) we´re all impressed or even inspired from the whole Death Metal scene from the late 80s to the mid 90s. It will be beyond the scope to count bands. I think everyone knows, what I´m talking about.
So, I never thought that Entrails and Revel In Flesh are rivaling each other. Jimmy from Entrails is a well known friend for us and maybe you noticed that he did a guest guitar solo for the song “the dead lives on” on our latest album “Emissary of all plagues”. Personally I really like the early Entrails records and I also think they did with the song “Voices” from the first album an absolute “Death-Metal-hymn”!
The First two albums had Benediction and Autopsy covers. last two album had Manilla Road and UFO covers- what going on there? Plans for future covers?
Vogtsson: Well, we always tried to bring the typical “HM2 swedish styled chainsaw guitar sound” to classical songs, which sounded different. I mean it makes no sense for us to copy or cover songs from the early Swedish Death Metal scene, like Dismember, Entombed or Grave. It would never sounds better! So, that´s the main reason for our choice to make a tribute in typical Revel In Flesh style with songs in that case from Autopsy and Benediction on the first albums. The choice for doing a Manilla Road and UFO tribute was quite simple….when we have a party or we are on the road to a concert, there is always some classical-stuff on the “party-mix”! So we thought over the time, that maybe it could good doing such a classical song in our “Revel-style”. And in case of Manilla Road, we got our personal “accolate” from the band directly on their Facebook-page. What can I say: It worked out really well with both classical-songs. We have some ideas for the future records, but it´s not definitely yet. So, be surprised what will happen on our next album!
How do you manage to keep excited and fresh writing this style of death metal 4 albums in?
Vogtsson: It´s sometimes not that easy, as it looks. But I did also told you earlier: We have the luck that our guitarist Maggesson is a damn riff-machine. And so he always keeps the wheel on turning with new song ideas or sometimes just some riff-parts. When it comes to a new album or even doing new songs, we reject all ideas and start to create the best we can from the remaining song ideas. Haubersson starts a lyrical concept then and tried to get a common theme for the songs, as you can hear on our latest album. For the last four albums it worked out really good, so we´ll try our best to keep the flame and spirit alive to do another bunch of heavy Death-Metal albums in the future, hopefully.
The new album seems to have a focus on melody and slower, groovier songs
Vogtsson: You are right. Our guitarist Maggesson had over the last year a what we called: “special-melody-phase”, hahaha! But I think it´s also the next logical step to advance our typical “Revel-sound”.
Every release in the style will be compared to Grave, Entombed or Dismember- When you are getting that production down- are you going for a certain sound?
Vogtsson: , Entombed, Grave and Dismember were the first bands, especially Entombed, which came up with that typical guitar-sound. So it´s inevitable to get compared with them. For me personal it´s not the worst thing being named in the same breath with those great bands.
But also I think after four albums we find our own and maybe typical Revel In Flesh sound, which makes us a little bit independent.
Has there ever been a discussion about going to the root of the sound and having Sunlight/Tomas Skogsberg produce?
Vogtsson: Not really,´cause we´re really satisfied with the work of Dan Swanö. And when you have a look into the past, the Unisound Studio did also a cupple of absolut classic releases like Katatonia, Dark Funeral, Marduk, Dissection and last but not least Edge of Sanity in the 90s.
Have you ever had any thoughts about guest musicians on Revel In Flesh releases? I hear Rogga Johanssen dabbles…..
Vogtsson: Maybe you remember that we did our first Split Ep with one of Roggas Bands: Revolting.
And yes, we had thoughts about guest musicians over the years. On our 3rd album “Death Kult Legions” Dan Swanö himself gave us a brilliant guitar-solo on the track “Graveyard procession”. “Emissary of all plagues” includes 2 guest-solos from Jonas (Puteraeon) and Jimmy (Entrails). So we pop one’s cherry in case of guest musicians “swedish-styled”, hahaha!
Whats next for Revel in Flesh- do you guys tour a lot?
Vogtsson: We try our best to hit the road and bring our latest album “Emissary of all plagues” on stage. We have a lot of shows this year and a couple of summer-festivals as well.
After that it should be maybe the time to create and work on some new material to keep the flame alive and gather all the “servants of the deathkult” once again!
Haubersson: Thanx for that nice chat! For infos on REVEL IN FLESH shows, merchandise etc. make sure to check our facebook webtomb at: