Violence Is Golden

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To those in the know, the name Lord Worm is synonymous with death metal. Having been the pivotal mouthpiece for the first two seminal Cryptopsy albums, Blasphemy Made Flesh and None So Vile and then returning for the band’s 2005 effort, Once Was Not. For many he is the only Cryptopsy vocalist that mattered, especially in lieu of a revolving door of controversial and divisive vocalists that followed him.

But nowadays, Lord Worm has moved on, and moved on in a big way, but not in the avenue that most expected. In 2012 he surfaced on a multinational Black metal project from virtually out of nowhere called Rage Nucléaire. And the the debut, Unrelenting Fucking Hatred, was a blistering post apocalyptic, black metal vortex of hate that was largely well received, partly to Lord Worm’s completely unhinged vocal performance which signaled the dormant Canuck front man was finally back. And now, 2 years later, as a fully fledged member of the project, the band’s second effort, Black Storm of Violence has dropped with equally effective, devastating black metal precision. So I caught up with ‘the Worm and got a little deeper into  Rage Nucléaire as well as some Cryptopsy related questions…

If it’s OK, let’s get some obvious Cryptopsy-related stuff out of the way first… It was an almost 8-year gap between your last Cryptopsy appearance on Once Was Not and the first Rage Nucléaire album. What did you do in that downtime? Did you step away from music completely?

Actually, for bigger shows, like Heavy MTL (2011) for instance, Flo (Mounier) called me in as a “special guest” for a couple of songs – promoters are rather insistent on this, apparently. This happened a couple of times, so it seems sort of like I’m only 99.5% out of Cryptopsy, or something. Other than that, and other than teaching ESL (English as a Second Language), mostly, I drink – it’s a lifestyle thing. Also, I earned my second degree, this time as a translator (French to English).

Were you approached to be in other projects as a full-time member or as a session or guest vocalist?

That’s precisely what happened with Rage Nucléaire: The guys called me in to do their demo, and by the time I was ready to do that, the demo had grown into a full album. I liked what I heard (a lot), so I did “Unrelenting” and wound up staying with the band for the duration. If I weren’t in the band, I’d still be a fan of RN.

Have you kept tabs on Cryptopsy since you left and what are your thoughts on them and their subsequent albums?

Flo and I check in with each other periodically, and I’ve gone drinking with Alex Auburn. I’ll never dis the band, certainly, although I much prefer that last eponymous album to the one that came before it. I’m not alone on that one, I suspect.

You were replaced by Mike DiSalvo, probably the most controversial of the Cryptopsy vocalist choices. Thoughts on him and other subsequent Cryptopsy vocalists?

I like Mike, both as a person and a vocalist/songwriter. He’s got his own style going; he’s aggressive almost to the point of being abrasive, so what’s not to like? I like Martin(Llacroix- session Cryptopsy vocalist and current Serocs vocalist), as well – he’s a fine performer, and an excellent man to party with. As for Matt (McGachy-current Cryptopsy vocalist) , well, he’s just awesome, both onstage and off. His liver works as well as his vocal cords, and I have great respect for him.

How did Rage Nucléaire come about? You and the project seemed to come out of nowhere in 2012 for the debut, “Unrelenting Fucking Hatred”.

Alvater called me in to do the demo, and it just grew from there. He and Dark Rage and I already knew each other from our time in Montreal’s black circle (The Council – Le Conseil), so I guess I was sort of their first choice, or something. Anyway, we all have trust issues (we hate everyone), so it was only natural that we would wind up working together. Some of the material on “Unrelenting” had been written years before I joined…

Most folks are probably familiar with Fred Widigs, your drummer from the likes of Marduk and Demonical, but how did you hook up with Alvater (bass, keyboards and drum machine programming) and Dark Rage (guitars)? They seem like relative unknowns.

Although Dark Rage kept himself to himself over the years, Alvater was the main songwriter for Frozen Shadows; their albums are quite well known, here in Quebec.

Is it difficult with a key member located on a different continent, let alone country? How does the writing/recording process differ as far as Fred’s contributions?

We’ve never actually met the man; all our correspondence has been online. We’d like to meet him, of course, if only just once, and party with the guy, but as to writing/recording, it sort of simplifies things (at least, on our end here in Montreal). We do all the writing, arranging and the pre-mix, then we send that online to Fredrik, who records his drum tracks and sends that back to us. We do a final mix-down, then send that back to Sweden for mastering, and that gets sent back to us as a finished product. Sure, it’s a lot of sending back and forth, but it’s online, and thus quicker and cheaper than snail mail.

So why black metal after so many years of brutal and technical death metal? What was the appeal of such a drastic shift from a style you are more synonymous with?

I was already heavily into BM before my work with Cryptopsy, hence my peculiar vocal style. I even tried to get Cryptopsy to veer toward BM a bit, as is evidenced by “Endless Cemetery” on Once Was Not. They didn’t really want to go there, which is where we amicably parted company. When RN called me in, well, let’s just say I was ready for it. If possible, then, let me henceforward be known for extreme vocals of all kinds, and not just DM.

What are your primary influences when writing for Rage Nucléaire? I’m hearing Anaal Nathrakh as a major musical influence.

That was true, in the beginning, and the same goes for Mysticum. In the past couple of years, though, the onus has shifted to ourselves; we’re all major fans of our own work, and so “Black Storm” was written with “Unrelenting” as the major influence. We still listen to our own material a lot, simply because we like it.

You seemed to have honed in on a pretty post-apocalyptic visage and sound with the band’s artwork and themes. Is that going to be a Rage Nucléaire thing or do you see you and the band branching out and experimenting?

That is definitely an RN thing – it’s what we’re all about. Kill-hate-war-violence is not simply our mantra, it’s a way of life. There will be no branching out or experimentation: once we’ve said all we have to say as RN, we’ll stop and do something else. Something truly horrid…

With 2 years between your debut and the current album, “Black Storm of Violence”, how do you feel you and the band have progressed?

There was a progression, certainly, if only because the composition was done differently. Whereas “Unrelenting” took years to write, and that without the benefit of vocals, “Black Storm” took only a year to write, with “all” of us present and giving feedback. The result is more rounded, we feel. We tried to compose and arrange more cohesively, and with longer songs, to let the mood bleed through.

Please tell me about the track “A Sino-American Chainsaw War”. That has to be one of the best song titles in some time!

Thank you much. This was one of those times when the title came first, then the lyrics came after. “Black Storm of Violence” is like that too, as were “Violence is Golden” and “Endziel”. Besides which, we had wanted to experiment with the concept of “lead chainsaw” for some time, so this was a great opportunity. It’s sort of a what-if scenario, with all of the attendant gore splashing through. After all, if there’s no gore, then what’s the point? Actually, while we were writing it, we decided to shelve it for a little while – Dark Rage started composing something different, something so unique that we had to get that out of the way first: “Goddess of Filth”.

I’m guessing you guys don’t tour with the international line up and all. Would you use a session drummer to tour if you did, or use Fred?

There will be no touring. Even so, I can’t see Fredrik taking a hiatus from Marduk to tour with RN. Flo agreed to do it, if it ever came to that, but it won’t — touring is an unfortunate impossibility.

You’ve been around both death and black metal — what are the major changes and differences you’ve seen on your over 20-year involvement in extreme music?

Let’s face it, extreme music is like violent/horror cinema: as time goes on, it just gets more and more extreme. This is, of course, a good thing. I didn’t feel that my contribution to the DM scene was going where I wanted it to, so hate-filled BM was the way to go. Alvater and I are thinking of trying something in a black/grind vein next, and if Dark Rage wants in, so much the better. Nothing is ever too extreme, but trying to get there is half the fun in life (drinking is the other half). People who want to keep it safe, and have a nice little musical “career”, just don’t get it; it’s all about the violence!



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