Reveling in the Old School

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Regular readers of the site more than likely know that I’ve got a HM2 pedal sized boner for old school Swedish death metal. It’s my first love of the vast metal genre going back to Entombed’s Left Hand Path. So the genre’s massive recent revival has me pretty giddy. Especially when bands from all over the world are delivering very impressive take’s on the classic sound. and even more vital to the genre seeing as the genre’s fore bearer’s are now defunct (Dismember), wheezing into the end of their career (Entombed, Grave) or simply overlooked nowadays ( Unleashed). Luckily the mantle has some worthy carriers. Whether it’s the Fin’s like Winterwolf and Cryptborn, Eastern Europeans like Morbider and Brutally Deceased, Americans Fatalist and Horrendous or home grown talent like Entrails, the genre is in safe hands. And there are no more impressive hands than Germany’s Revel In Flesh, who with their debut album Deathevokation have arguably jumped up to the top of the heap with Entrails. A mysterious duo comprised of Maggesson (drums/guitars) and Haubersson (guitar/bass/vocals), Revel in Flesh makes no bones about their chosen influences, so I visited with Haubersson to revel in the old school even more….

So, let’s state the obvious- the band name is an Entombed Song and the album is the Carnage/Dismember song of the same name right?

First of all a cheerz to all TEETH OF THE DIVINE readers! Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. In the choice of the band monicker we wanted a name that refers to real Death Metal like a fist in the face. In the end what fits better to a ’90s styled Death Metal outfit than a name taken from the classical NIHILIST/ENTOMBED demo era. By the way, believe me, it’s hard nowadays to find a name that has not been used and abused already, Ha!

Deathevokation”, the title of our debut album, is of course another reference to the glory days of Death Metal. We’ve chosen the spelling with a “K” since we are a German band and the idea refers to my buddy Götz, the vocalist/guitarist of the US band DEATHEVOKATION (R.I.P.). Thanks mate!

I’m guessing you would have got Dan Seagrave to do the cover art if you could?

I guess everyone into ’90s Death Metal style love the classical Seagrave artwork stuff. I have three poster reprints of his works hanging on my wall, but I must admit that I’m not so much into his recent works. His latest works got much more futuristic and abstract. I rather like dark stuff from classical releases. But what the fuck, our artwork for Deathevokation has been done by a Spanish underground artist Juanjo Castellano (known for his works with SATHANAS, BLASPHERIAN or VOMITORY) and he did a killer job to transmit our inspirations and concept for Deathevokation. This artwork has a classical Death Metal vibe to me. I love it! Juanjo Castellano is a really rising artist, just take a look at his latest work for PUTREVORE.  Awesome! He’s definitely our man [laughs].

This Swedish death metal revival seems to be really taking off. You’ve got bands like you guys, Entrails, Blood Mortized, Funeral Whore, Morbider, Brutally Deceased, Massive Assault  to name a few of the better ones, and even American acts like Horrendous and Fatalist and so many others. It’s coming out of the woodwork. What makes that Stockholm sound so appealing?

I know that this HM2 pedal driven kind of Death Metal style is really booming, but speaking honestly REVEL IN FLESH was never created with the goal to be part of a movement or whatever. It was simply the realization of some musical ideas that I couldn’t do in this way with my old band IMMORTAL RITES. I like and I am in contact with all bands you’ve mentioned in your listing. Well, I and Maggesson (drums/guitars) belong in the older generation of Death Metal fans with an age of 30 something, so I really remember buying Like an everflowing stream, Clandestine, etc. I remember having all that stuff on my Walkman when I went to school in the ’90s. I loved that sound back then and still love it today. It’s timeless to me! I think this  particular kind of sound is something for the real fans. It’s no sound for the masses in Death Metal. You need a kind of an addicted dedication to like it, since it’s so far away modern perfection, you know.

And the thing is, it’s all really well done. How is it so many bands are able to do this style so well 20 years after the fact?

Well, everything in metal comes, goes and comes again. Just take a look at the recent thrash revival thing. I think there will always be fans of albums like Left Hand PathInto the Grave, ...a Winterlong, etc.  It’s a timeless part of the extreme metal scenery. I really like the ‘back to the roots’ thing since I want my Death Metal to be easy, raw and with a feeling that makes my head wanna bang! Death Metal should be an earfuck and not a lesson in maths.

If memory serves me correct, there were no German bands playing this style in its original era in the early ’90s or would you care to correct me?

Well, if you refer to the classical Swedish inspired sound then you should always have in mind that FLESHCRAWL is a German band. They started in 89-90, too. They still stick to the HM2 chainsaw sound and some of their albums like Impurity, Bloodsoul, …as blood rains form the sky–my favorite!–etc, sound more Swedish and deadlier than some stuff later delivered by the Swedish originals! REVEL IN FLESH connects musical inspiration and friendship to FLESHCRAWL. Cheers!

But there have been other cool bands in Germany in the ’90s as well. Just take a listen to old MORGOTH, old ATROCITY, BLOOD, TORCHURE etc. Those were good as well.

Oh yeah, I completely forgot about Fleshcrawl, but they seem pretty inactive now.  Are you the only German band doing it now?

No, not really! There are a few other bands from Germany working as well with the Swedish inspired old school sound like LIFELESS, ERODED, MANDATORY and CHAOSREIGN, but according to the masses of bands, this sound is still a minority within the bands over here. But in general you have some really good newcomers here in Germany if you like real, rotten Death Metal. Just add OBSCURE INFINITY, CHAPEL OF DISEASE, DECEMBER FLOWER and a few others to your list!

How angry are you that  there is a defunct Finnish band also called Revel In Flesh, that you guys seem to get confused with a lot, myself included initially until you corrected me?

I have no hard feelings with that Finnish band. It’s more or less the thing that a lot of writers use the Metal Archives page for their preparations of stories and reviews and the editors there did a wrong listing with our debut album by adding it to the Finnish band. This caused a lot of confusion, but now it’s corrected and you will find the German REVEL IN FLESH band there as well in the correct form.

FDA Rekotz seems to really be putting out some of the best old school stuff right now. How happy are you with the label, the bands on it and the fact a German label is spearheading this resurgence?

It’s been a healthy a respectful co-operation between us and FDA REKOTZ so far. Rico, the label’s boss, does his best for his bands. He’s ‘fan thinking’ in mind. But you also have to face the fact that this is a hard business. FDA is an underground label and this is underground music, so it’s for the real dedicated fans. FDA is growing with new distributors etc furthermore and most of all Rico believes in his bands. Otherwise he wouldn’t do a vinyl version for a band like REVEL IN FLESH. The release date for the vinyl of Deathevokation is set for the 1st of June. Just check the label’s page and support artists like BLOOD MORTIZED, MASSIVE ASSAULT, CHAPEL OF DISEASE and others!

Dan Swanö mastered Deathevokation. How was it having not only a revered musician and producer master you album, but a man responsible for one of the genre’s best albums in Bloodbath’s Resurrection Through Carnage lend a hand to your album? Was he asked? Did he seek you guys out?

Dan Swanö was our first choice! I was blown away for the work he did for the latest releases of Sweden’s ENTRAILS and of course to me as a  fan of Swedish Death Metal, it’s well known that this man has been involved in some of the coolest recordings from back in the days, like UNANIMATED, MERCILESS, MARDUK, NECRONY etc. I’ve already had the contact to Mr. Swanö back from my old band and on some interview matters I’ve had with him for my fanzine MYSTICAL MUSIC, so the contact was actually there before REVEL IN FLESH came to live. But nevertheless he gave us some essential tips & tricks for the mix and the mastering job is bloody well done, too. I can’t wait to work with him again on our upcoming new material!

Along with all the other obvious influences I hear Bloodbath and Hail of Bullets in your sound, fair assessment?

Of course I like both bands and have nearly all of their stuff in my collection, but regarding influences I think that we draw the line much more from their forerunner bands, meaning EDGE OF SANITY, ASPHYX etc. But, of course there are common things in one way or another. We have three tracks on Deathevokation that deal lyrically, also heavily, with WW2 issues, but this inspiration didn’t come from listening to HAIL OF BULLETS! [laughs] But I like, for example the way Martin Van Drunen handles those concepts in his lyrics, by the way.

Instead of the obvious Entombed/Dismember/Grave cover song you went with one of out of left field in Benediction’s “Subconscious Terror” – why?

Well, as you might know “Subconscious Terror” is from 1989/90 and the production of the original album has not been the best. It’s a killer track and totally underrated, as BENEDICTION generally are nowadays, so the idea was to transfer this track into a HM2 Swedish styled sound to add some more heaviness into it. I think that our version is also slightly faster then the original one, so you know it’s a tribute song, so to say, but I think we’ve added our own markt to it too. I think this might have been impossible with tracks of early ENTOMBED/DISMEMBER or GRAVE because you can’t match their original production since they have been the ‘godfathers’ of the HM2 pedal sound. By the way, the vinyl version of Deathevokation will feature another tribute track, while “Subconscious Error” is only featured on the CD. I’m really looking forward to who will discover the original of the vinyl tribute song first?! It’s again a late ’80s tune and not of Swedish origin [laughs]

I read lots of reviews that failed to mention that as a cover song and treated it like one of your songs. Flattered or perturbed that a reviewer would not know such a classic song? For the record I picked it out right away as I love that album!

REVEL IN FLESH makes a clear defined sound for a clear defined target audience and I think that some reviewers didn’t listen to the album totally until the end. Sad but true! There’s a big difference in quality of writing style when you compare a lot of publications out there, be it web, print etc. The next thing is that it’s a really old track and the parts of the younger generation of DM fans don’t even know the original version. BENEDICTION are a classical band, but their reputation nowadays isn’t comparable to other big old names, don’t know why but on the other hand it doesn’t matter! I love it and it’s another band with which I grew up with while discovering Death Metal!

So, here the 64,000 question: You are stranded on a desert island and you are allowed ONE single album to have with you. Which is it? Left Hand Path, Like an Ever flowing Stream or something less predictable?

Oha! I think this question’s answer depends on the daily musical mood, but let me say it like this. Stranding on a desert island with Like an Everflowing Stream on the player and an own beer brewery in the back can’t be the worst option [laughs]

At last I wanna say thanks for your support for REVEL IN FLESH. All those who wanna find out more about our music, merchandise etc feel free to check the out our website or Facebook.

Cheerz from Germany!!!

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