Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Interview with Suffocation

To the outside observer, the 2012 departure of long-time Suffocation drummer Mike Smith came as a surprise. It was Smith’s drumming, of course, that was usually the catalyst for the band’s legendary brutal death metal attack, one that spawned such gems like 1991 Effigy of the Forgotten and 1993’s Breeding the Spawn. Without Smith, some figured, Suffocation couldn’t survive. Needless to say, they were wrong, as evidenced by their new, domineering Pinnacle of Bedlam.

Interview with Helloween

Not quite at Steve Harris level when it comes to notable European bass players, but just as valuable, Helloween’s Markus Grosskopf has been the band’s perennial bedrock since their 1984 formation. Thrust into what was seemingly a never-ending tug-and-war between huge egos (see: Kai Hansen, Michael Weikath, Michael Kiske, and later, Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch), Grosskopf emerged as the band’s de-facto mediator, the sole level head in a band that always teetered on self-destruction. Even after the near-crippling departure of Hansen in 1989, the acrimonious split with Kiske in 1993, and ugly divorce with Grapow and Kusch in 2002, Helloween is still standing, thanks in large part to Grosskopf, and singer Andi Deris, who is far and away the longest-tenured vocalist in the band’s history.

Interview with Hanging Garden

Considering winter has decided to rear its ugly head for most of the Midwest and Northeast (lucky you, those not afflicted), the need for bands of similar dreariness is predicated. Aside from the usual suspects whom shall not be named, there is a growing tide of bands emerging from the likeliest of all places: Finland. As we’ve come to learn through our Finnish friends, their winters make our winters look like a walk through a daisy-filled park. Darkness of the never-ending variety is the norm, while temperatures make little effort to get out of the sub-zero department. Definitely the right environment to make metal that is dark and dreary, don’t you think?

The first band out of the gate for 2013 is Hanging Garden, who have toiled in relative obscurity since their 2004 formation. This should change thanks to their brand-spanking new At Every Door (Lifeforce), an album that channels song-oriented death/doom, with the chilling and cold spirit of countrymen Swallow the Sun and better yet, Sentenced. There’s plenty of onus on melody on cuts like “Ten Thousand Cranes” and “The Cure,” while numbers such as “Wormwood” and “To End All Ages” smolder with an unforgiving atmosphere; a perfect offset to the bounty of melody on display.

We snagged guitarist Jussi Hämäläinen and vocalist Toni Toivonen for a round of queries regarding the new album, their slow-build, and most obvious of all: how they cope with Finnish winters…

Interview with The Very End

You can spot Bjorn Gooßes’s voice from a mile away, a visceral, pointed roar that exudes instant charm…in a pure death metal way, of course. After spending the better part of 2011 and 2012 promoting his now former band Night in Gales’ most awesome Five Scars album, the German-based singer has turned his focus to The Very End, his long-running side band which is obviously, a side band no more. Positioned in the same thrash/death hybrid as the likes of Hatesphere and Dew-Scented, The Very End has alongside Gooßes’s vocals, a song-oriented, melody-driven sound that should keep them out of the dreaded retro thrash discussion for the time being. Their latest (greatest) is Turn off the World, an album that with the help of SPV, will provide a broader stage for the band’s fresh and vibrant Euro thrash sound. Plus, to reiterate what we noted above: few can peel paint like Gooßes. Batten down the hatches and read on…

Interview with Vex

Today, Teeth of the Divine will be represented by a noob who goes by the name of Averatu. That would be me. Although I’m new here, I’ve done my share of reviews and interviews for another site no one’s ever heard about, Global Domination. But enough about me, let me proceed to do what I enjoy most, which is chewing cud with metal musos.

Vex are from Texas, and if you say that to fast you could get Vex Mex. When I first received my copy of their new album Memorious, I thought “Oh-no, not another Amon Amarth clone band”. But I kept listening, and I discovered an album with a lot of depth and textures, from blasting battle anthems to fireside ballads. I predict this album will without a doubt be on my end of year top 10 list for 2013.

Eoghan ‘Owen’ McClosky is the drummer with the impressive beat separation that could make any rhythm section sound like a jackhammer, and I got to pick his brains.

Interview with Finsterforst

Germany’s Finsterforst have lurked in the Black Forest for a few years now. After 2007’s under the radar debut Weltenkraft the band unleashed …Zum Tode Hin to the world. And after sticking to a pretty rigid, bouncy Finnish folk formula, Finsterforst changed up their sound morphing into a sprawling, Bathory inspired sound with lengthy, rangy anthemic songs build around their black metal base. Armed with a new deal with Folk/Viking powerhouse Napalm Records, the band is ready to reveal their epic sound to a wider audience with Rastloss, a vast, epic album that cull Hammerheart and classic Moonsorrow. Guitarist Simon Schillinger was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band’s imminent explosion onto the Viking/folk metal scene.

Interview with Eïs

Back in 2009 I was introduced to Germany’s black metal horde, Geist, and their stellar maritime themed album, Galeere. It was a virtually perfect black metal album mixing frosty riffs, atmosphere with confident levels of old school mastery and a modern polish and delivery. However, that album was followed by three years of silence due to some legal issues and some internal band issues resulting in 3 on Geist members leaving the band. However bassist Alboin and drummer Marlek have forged ahead, undergoing a name change and returning with an album that’s every bit as good as Galeere. Alboin was kind enough to visit with me and further explain the turmoil of the the last few years and the superb new vision that is Eïs.

Interview with Jeremy Golden of Heaven and Hell Records

Heaven and Hell Records is a rising force in the metal underground, bringing life back to long-dead bands and records and unearthing new talent by means of reformation and reissues. Like a lot of small underground labels, the day-to-day operations are handled by one man, Jeremy Golden, whose responsibilities are seemingly endless. Golden has learned along the way as the label has grown and evolved from a small hobby-type business to a reputable name in the metal underground that releases quality titles on the reg.
Golden spoke with Teeth a while back about all things Heaven and Hell, the good and the bad, and the following is the result of that chat.

Interview with Kreator

Many an interview I’ve done over the years and a handful will always stand out, often based on the intelligence and affability of the musician to whom the questions were posed. I can now add Kreator’s Mille Petrozza to that list of highlights, based on my recent discussion with him on a tour bus parked in front of The Beaumont, the venue at which the German legends melted faces and lacerated eardrums at the Kansas City stop of the North American Teutonic Terror Attack tour with Accept. Though I did interview Mille sometime around the release of Violent Revolution several years back, aside from recalling him to be quite congenial and informed then too, it was conducted by phone and my memory of it is fuzzy at best. Mille is not only a staunch advocate of metal and someone who cares deeply about Kreator’s rabid worldwide fan base; he is a genuinely nice guy and a progressive-minded citizen of Planet Earth. He also happens to be writing some of the best thrash metal of his career, as evidenced by the recent release of the musically refreshing, surprisingly catchy, and (of course) aggressively thrashing Phantom Antichrist on Nuclear Blast. Let us prey.

Interview with Rex Shachath

Sometimes you just need to stop all the obsessing over wheel reinvention and just play the music that you love, regardless of originality. That’s exactly what Belfast’s Rex Shachath did on debut EP Sepulchral Torment. Said EP is nothing more than well played and memorable death metal of the traditional sort inspired by the original masters. When a band references the likes of Morbid Angel, Vader, Immolation, and Cannibal Corpse in discussing its music (as Rex Shachath guitarist Andrew Pennington does in the discussion that follows), rare is the death metal fan that wouldn’t be paying attention. Mr. Pennington gives us the down ‘n dirty of the nitty and the gritty of Rex Shachath.

Interview With Be’lakor

Melbourne’s Be’lakor have gone from unknown, unsigned band to one of the scene’s most respected and consistent bands. Having just released their third critically acclaimed album in Of Breath and Bone, the band is now entering pastures that find the tiny dependent Australian band playing doomy, melodic death metal mentioned in the same breath as the like of Insomnium, Opeth and other European luminaries. And I’ve watched and listened the whole time, seeing the band grow and become one of metal’s elite acts. All the while I’ve stayed in pretty consistent contact with the band’s founder and keyboardist Steve Merry who was once again, more than willing to answer a few questions about Be’lakor, the new album and what the future holds for Be’lakor…

Interview with Dawnbringer

The ever busy and resolutely dedicated warrior of Heavy Metal Chris Black is a talented songwriter and versatile musician, as one can hear with clarity in his work with bands like Superchrist, Dawnbringer, High Spirits, and Pharaoh. He’s also one hell of a nice guy and a true supporter of Metal on multiple levels, not the least of which includes his past work as journalist Professor Black for the [now defunct] Metal Maniacs and as owner/operator of Planet Metal Records. But the primary topic at hand warranting exploration and selective dissection concerns Dawnbringer and new Profound Lore album Into the Lair of the Sun God, the follow up to the equally spectacular Nucleus. As pigeonholing is for the birds, we’ll just call the Dawnbringer style well written, heartfelt, and dynamic Heavy Metal. This time around Black took on the ambitious task of writing a bona fide concept album into which we shall delve in short order. We’ll also be shedding some light on the new Superchrist album, which is titled Holy Shit and can be obtained for a paltry sum via Hells Headbangers Records. It is a grand example of no frills, catchy Metal, which deserves some virtual ink and your hard earned trinkets. Dawnbringer headlined this year’s Alehorn of Power Fest VI at Reggie’s in Chicago and as I can attest personally, the faces melted were many and the reverberations from the decibels dealt can still be felt. Incidentally, this interview was conducted the week prior to the show, as you’ll soon realize. In any case, allow us to bring it so that you may consider it brought upon completion of this full meal of the written word.

Interview with Carnifex

So back in April I attended a show featuring All Shall Perish, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Carnifex, The Contortionist and Conducting From the Grave. Admittedly, the main attractions were All Shall Perish and Fleshgod Apocalypse, as while I own all of Carnifex’s albums, they aren’t a band I really crave — being a solid if unspectacular deathcore outfit. That being said their last CD, Until I Feel Nothing, as with many of their contemporaries, upped the death metal ante and in the case of Carnifex, a very slight symphonic element was added, giving the band a more dramatic, epic feel. So before the show, I hung out with amicable drummer and founder Shawn Cameron to discuss, Victory Records, fans and the dreaded D word…

Interview with Nexhymn

Normally the thought of female-fronted metal is enough to induce gagging. The disgusting combo of sickly sweet pop melodies over watered-down power metal has been done to death and back in recent years, with each group generally sounding as equally boring as the next. Thank goat for Nexhymn and the evil throat of Holly Wedel. No sweet melodies to be heard on the band’s Black Horizon EP, only sheer, unadulterated brutality and rage (but no monotony). Read on for an interview with the voice of Colorado’s underground DM gems.

Interview with Abominant

Dear fans of traditional U.S. Death Metal, were you aware that Kentucky’s Abominant has released nine full-length albums and just recently self-released the Battlescarred EP? You’re weren’t? I guess I’m not surprised since Abominant has never gotten quite the level of recognition as many of their peers, including some that haven’t released half as many albums. But as you’ll read, fame and fortune were never priorities for the veteran act. And if you start a death metal band because you think it is your best bet to achieve worldwide recognition and sacks of loot, then a head examination would seem to be in order. In any case, what is most important for you to understand is that Abominant are in it not necessarily to win it, but to make the best albums they can make and have a great time doing so. Mission accomplished. If you love USDM, then you really must grab some Abominant albums, perhaps 2010’s Where Demons Dwell or 2008’s Warblast for starters. You could also begin your journey into the abyss with the brand spanking new Battlescarred, which features two new songs (“Pile of Flesh” and the title track) that are pretty damn representative of the Abominant sound, and two covers (Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” and Pestilence’s “Out of the Body”) that are impossible to dislike. How could you go wrong? Bassist Mike May is the man with the answers and without the turntable.

Interview with God Forbid

I’ve seen God Forbid in a variety of venues on several different tours, beginning with their opening spot on a tour in 2001 supporting Determination that featured Nevermore, Opeth, and Angel Dust in front of 30 people in Topeka, KS, and then most recently on the 2012 Overkill tour stop in Kansas City. Musically, the band has come a long way between Determination and new album Equilibrium. It was 2004’s Gone Forever that established God Forbid as a melodic sort of metalcore act on par with the likes of Killswitch Engage, yet never reaching that same level of popularity even with an output since that has been far more ambitious. Concept album IV: Constitution of Treason saw the band expanding musically, but it was Earthsblood on which God Forbid took things to a whole new level, one on which soaring melodies met rich, progressive arrangements. After that the band’s contractual relationship with long-time label Century Media came to an end and the search for a new label began, ultimately ending with God Forbid’s signing to Victory Records. New album Equilibrium sees God Forbid reining in some of the over-the-top dynamics of Earthsblood without abandoning its progressive flair and throwing in some new twists (as they always do), but more than anything else writing several quintessential God Forbid modern melodic thrash metal anthems for a new generation to enjoy.

Interview with Stonehaven

The band is Stonehaven, the location is Kansas City, the style is black metal, the record label is Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, the album is Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes…and it is magnificent in terms of compositional depth, lyrics, and pure fucking sonic terror. Any questions? Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty of Stonehaven. We asked vocalist/lyricist Stephen Holdeman and guitarist Nick Van Walleghem to satisfy our curiosity and quench our thirst for knowledge in that regard.

Interview with Acid Death

ACID DEATH’s reunion is, without a doubt, an event of considerable proportions in the Greek metal scene. Hailing from the depths of the 80s thrash scene, this band has known chaos and havoc throughout the years, fighting their asses off to get heard, and to live for their craft – they reunited in the 2000s with one venomous and vengeful packaging with ‘’Eidolon’’, an essential of a record that meshes elements of the thrash of yore with bullet-spitting and kickass grooves, coupled with progressive death metal of the finest kind. Diversity and dynamics certainly don’t lack, and Savvas Betinis (bassist/vocalist) sure as hell gets very animated when talking of the thought-process throughout the evolution of this disc, and the context of his band’s (and the scene’s) development in the Greek scene from the 1980’s right towards the present day. Not long after giving a strongly apeshit rating to ‘’Eidolon’’, I conducted an email interview with Savvas, who eagerly responded to my elaborate and very interested questions with top-class honesty and humble appreciativeness.

Interview with Bible of the Devil

It was a quintessentially awesome May evening with good weather blowing and good beer flowing when Chicago’s Bible of the Devil hit Kansas City’s Riot Room on their “In Raw We Trust” tour. Though it was arguably their worst stop on the tour for attendance and merch sales, the dudes of BOTD were in fine form and put on their show as if they didn’t notice. I got to shoot the shit with drummer Greg Spalding and bassist Darren Amaya over a few beers before they took the stage and below is the result of that meeting.

Interview with Fleshgod Apocalypse

Last year, Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse unleashed ‘Agony’, their second full-length album. After delivering a debut album (‘Oracles’) and an EP (‘Mafia’) that injected classical instrumentation and symphonics into brutal death metal, ‘Agony’ fully merged the two elements that created a divisive collision of sounds. Some trumpeted it as chaotic, noisy mess while others (me included) hailed it as one of the year’s best death metal albums. When I found out that the band would be touring the US, and hit a relatively close venue along with my favorite deathcore band, All Shall Perish, I had to make the three hour trip and see them live. As a bonus guitarsit/vocalist Christiano Trionfera was kind enough to visit with me a little bit and talk a little further about, Agony’, the current tour and the future of Fleshgod Apocalypse…

Interview with Negura Bunget

As one of the few metal bands out of Romania to have achieved international recognition, Negură Bunget have developed their sound from a traditional, atmospheric black metal into something quite original. Parallels may be drawn between this band and others like Opeth or Enslaved; with each album, this Romanian act have pursued an increasingly progressive and experimental direction. Having done a couple of my favourite black metal albums in ‘Maiastru Stefnic’ and ‘Om’, I was very excited to hear what Negură Bunget would sound like when they played Vancouver. Catching up with drummer and band leader Negru a little while before the show, he gave me the scoop on what this band is all about.
Also on the bill were Toronto black metallers Eclipse Eternal, Romanian neofolk duo Din Brad, and blackened openers Desecrate Scripture.

Interview with Psycroptic

It has been fabled that the Australians are an extremely friendly bunch of people, and that myth was put to rest when this writer interviewed Psycroptic a day before (25th April, 2012) their first live performance in Singapore (26th April, 2012); an island famed for being one of the world’s smallest countries, one of the world’s foremost educational hubs and probably the most well-known Asian metropolitan after Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Having been on Nuclear Blast’s roster for 4 years, it is surprising to see that the band is still as down-to-earth as your average Joe (or perhaps even more than that) and don’t dabble in the sophisticated art of breathing with their noses pointing skyward. Main founding member and drummer David Haley met this writer outside the hotel, exchanged some very normal greetings, and then casually led this writer right into the band’s hotel room to conduct the interview. It was a modest room that only barely had room for two, but Jason Peppiat (vocalist) and Joseph Haley (David’s brother and Psycroptic’s only guitarist) were both in it as well to join in the fun.

Clad in casual T-shirts and shorts, all three members of the band looked as at home as a kitten in a 9gagger’s arms. David looked around for a while, seemingly searching for something, before he pulled a seat out from under the humble coffee table and invited this writer to have a seat. Thus began the friendly interrogation of Psycroptic regarding issues ranging from their thoughts on Singapore, why they don’t consider themselves to be a “technical death metal” band, meat pies, beer and more.

Interview with All Shall Perish

So back in April I took my annual trip to Lawrence, Kansas to witness a pre chosen metal show, drink some beers, watch hippies and eat at the Pita Pit. Differing from the last two trips, where Between the Buried and Me were the headliner, this year’s show was a varied bag featuring The Contortionist, Conducting From the Grave, Fleshgod Apocalpyse, Carnifex and headliners All Shall Perish. The two bands I was most interested in were All Shall Perish who released one of deathcore’s best albums in 2006’s The Price of Existence, my favorite album of that year, and Fleshgod Apocalypse, who released my favorite album of 2011, Agony. Interviews with both were set up, so after a growler of ale in a dingy back alley like a hobo, I finally got to visit with All Shall Perish guitarist Ben Orum and vocalist Eddie Hermida. [image courtesy of Jeffrey Krenzer].

Interview with The 11th Hour

As former drummer for the legendary Gorefest, Ed Warby went through his shares of ups and downs; breakups, reunions, classic album, reviled albums and more breakups. But nothing compares to the emotions that he conveys on his doom side project, The 11th Hour. While playing on Hail of Bullets keeps his death metal steel wet, it’s doom metal that remains Eds deepest love. With his second effort, Lacrimosa Mortis, his emotions and influences are not just worn on his sleeve, they are exposed by a gaping, tearstained hole in his chest showcasing the pulsing heart underneath. I visited with Ed to dig a little further into his more doom laden music and finally lay to rest any Gorefest rumors.

Interview with Fastway

This is one of those special sort of interviews for me since guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke’s contributions to one of my all-time favorite bands, Motörhead, had such a huge impact on me growing up and still does to this day, not to mention his work in Fastway, particularly that brilliant first album. I still recall purchasing Motörhead’s No Remorse cassette at a record store in San Antonio, Texas during a visit one summer, a consumer product decision that changed my life (grabbing a copy of Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion didn’t hurt either). But enough with all that nostalgic blathering and on to the business at hand. It’s taken two decades, but Clarke is back in a big way with a fantastic new Fastway album, one that should blast any remaining memories of the questionable material that followed All Fired Up right out of your head. Clarke is joined by vocalist/bassist Toby Jepson and drummer Matt E on what is without question a great hard rock album called Eat Dog Eat. Welcome back Eddie and welcome back Fastway. Read on.