Interview With Gorefest

Welcome to the first of (hopefully) many band spotlights here at Teeth of the Divine .com. Think of this as our version of VH1’s Behind the Music. The aim with these features is to take you a little deeper into some of the more influential, important and respected band in metal. Band’s that through their albums, shaped genres, defined sounds and for many, changed lives. Some bands are still charging on, continuing to adding to their legacy, while other have since call it quits, allowing their recordings to continue their impact and legacy…

by Erik T

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If Ed Warby isn’t fond of his drum sound on False, I have to wonder what he thinks of the production for the band all important third album, 1994s Erase? Switching not only logos but producers from the legendary Colin Richardson to relative unknown Pete Coleman, Erase, while still an underrated album from the 90s, saw the band embrace more commercial riffs, more grooves and less growls. All of it delivered with a sterile polished sound and a distinct lack of death metal brawn. That being said, while the likes of “Low”, “Erase” and “I’ll Walk my Way” seemed to turn off many fans that were dealing with metal saturation, backlash and growth of Nu metal and Grunge, the fact is tracks like “Fear” (still personally one of my favorite Gorefest tunes), “Piece of Paper” and “To Hell and Back” showed the band still could pen catchy, aggressive. While a polarizing album with fans, there’s no doubt about what Frank thinks about Erase: “I hate Erase” Frank tells me emphatically. “I like certain parts, some songs such as “Low” (love B’s lead here), “Seeds Of Hate” or “To Hell & Back” are ok, but mostly I hate it. I hate the sound, I hate the cover, I hate the logo, I hate the way JC sounds, and I really hate that fucking photo in the booklet. We wrote the whole thing way too fast, and even worse, didn’t wait until Colin could fit us in his schedule. I don’t think any one of us particularly likes Erase, yet it’s our best-selling CD. Oh well…” If Erase polarized fans then 1996s Soul Survivor would flat out alienate them. With legends Entombed turning into a ‘death n roll’ sound and death metal related to the underground once more, the suddenly unstable Gorefest would take it one notch further and fully embrace the sounds of the 70s. Personally, I still think it’s a great album and understand all the negative press it received- I just think it was too progressive and different for 1996. Band engineer Oscar Holleman took over recording duties and the albums, big robust tones and Hammond drenched textures seemed to meld into one perfect psychedelic groove fest. Tracks like “Freedom”, “Soul Survivor”, “Forty Shades” and “River” seemed to flow with a looseness and mood that was the reverse of the tight and compassed Erase. Frank seems to agree: “When Soul Survivor came out, EVERYBODY hated it. We got some good reviews, but we alienated about 95% of the people who dug us up until then. Never understood why they still kept turning up at shows though. Probably had nothing better to do” Soul Survivor was mainly written to figure out how all those early Hard Rock bands did their stuff. Lots of Lizzy, Sabbath, Purple, Zeppelin in there. I thought it was a really interesting experiment, and certainly one of it’s kind at the time. Entombed was rocking out, but hardly as overtly flirting with the 70’s as we were. I still think songs like “River”, “Freedom” or “Dragon Man” are pretty good. The whole thing sounds kind of cool, and JC’s voice really puts it in a world of it’s own, love it or hate it”. But with death metal being in slump and sales down, the album flopped and the band left Nuclear Blast Records leaving the band to reflect on their past- and their future as Frank bluntly states: “We almost split up after we toured Soul Survivor, because personally we just weren’t getting along anymore, but somehow we managed to keep it together for a little while longer.”

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  1. Commented by: Igor

    intresting article! thank you for reminding me of these guys: back in ’97 False and Soul Survivor were first death metal albums I heard, friend of mine gave me bootleg tape with False on the one side and SS on the other, I liked it so much – listened to it for days, untill tape in the cassette wore out) Don’t even know why I ignored both their come back albums, it’s time to give them a try)

  2. Commented by: Dr_Neo_Cortex

    I like this idea, i think its interesting to get some behind the scenes info and insights from bands. I’m not really a huge gorefest fan but this was well written and interesting nonetheless.

  3. Commented by: Evan H

    Nicely done!

    Gorefest were always one of my faves, with False being a call to arms for my much of the late 90s. As I’ve aged (finely haha) I’ve gained more of an appreciation for the Soul and Chapter, but I did agree with you at first in regard to C13. Hearing Frank’s perspective on it really help(ed/s), and overall it’s really cool that you put this together. Definitely a cult band that after their hiatus were uncommonly stronger than over.

    Cool to see, thanks for the hard work to get this up!

  4. Commented by: Red

    Great feature!!!! Can we get one on BELIEVER? That would be sssoooo cool!!!

  5. Commented by: Chris S.

    Really good article. I picked up the Fear EP in ’94 and never gave these guys a 2nd thought. When they came back with “La Muerte” in ’05 I was buying for the metal section at Tower records and a good thing as I was able to pick up Pt. 1 & 2 od the reissues NB put out. False, Mindloss and Erase are kickass death metal and should be owned by every fan of extreme music.

    Has anyone checked out the Asphyx reissues yet? “Embrace The Death” so good….

  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    I’m the fifth person that liked Chapter 13. I understand what they were trying to do; culling from disparate influences to come up with an original sound. For all intents and purposes, an experiment that functioned within and far beyond the metal spectrum at the same time. Great record.

    Thing is, I love this band. They’ll never be a footnote to me. Frank, Boudewijn, Jan-Chris and Ed, you’ll always be death metal royalty to me. Gorefest will always have a special place in my record collection, in my mind and in my heart.

  7. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Oh and I forgot to thank Erik for this wonderful retrospective. Thank you, man. I enjoyed this immensely.

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