Throughout the vastness of time, alone

Very much looking forward to seeing them with Vampire & Grave Pleasures in January. Let’s see if I can manage to do an interview!

“In catacombs I dance the dance of Death, I run away from fear
In illo tempore, was that so, where do we go from here?
We are naked in the darkness, we are one
Yet there is solitary in the vast expanse of mind, the threshold to eternity”

Reflections of our yesterdays

Thought I’d share one of my all time favorite lyrics with you. (No feeling can be compared to the one I got while Dreamweaver is spinning on the turntable, I’m leisurely sitting on my bed and browsing over the magical lyric-book of the album.)

Sabbat – The Best of Enemies

Oh instrument of God force –
Fed on ignorance and lies,
So blind and narrow-minded
That you cannot compromise.
Even the most foolish thief
Should know what he is taking –
Lest he find himself within a
Cage of his own making.
The Ways of Wyrd are many and
Our path you must decide,
For the secrets that you seek
Are all around you –
Use your eyes.
The threads cannot be broken
That have brought you here to me –
And bind two foes together
Like the best of enemies.

You gaze upon me –
I can tell what you see,
A simple man
With simple thoughts and
Simple needs.
Superstition –
Preying on a mind filled with fear,
Opposition-
To all your ‘enlightened’ ideas.
Yet I will show you more than
You can comprehend,
Beware delusion is a
Dangerous friend.

Ask loaded questions seeking
Knowledge of a faith that
You wish to pervert –
All our values,
With hidden meanings
You try concealing your
Underlying wish to convert –
‘heathen’ souls,
To a faith that will doubtless
Send our gods to the grave –
Mistake you’re making overlooking
The fact that we might not want
To be ‘saved’.

[THE SORCERERS CREED:]
Fear is an old friend of mine,
We have met many times before.
(Drawn to these spirits like
Moths to a flame –
When there is no risk then
There can be no gain).
Death is a harsh fact of life
You cannot avoid or ignore.

The Life-force is as strong in
You as it is strong in me,
The difference is what you
Hold captive I set free.
You seek to subjugate all
Those who won’t comply,
I’ll take your prejudice and
Pride and show you why –
The values that you hold so dear
(all your laws and rules),
They hold no more sway here
Than the mutterings of fools.
Just look about you and
I’m sure that you will find –
Heaven lies within our hearts
And Hell is but a figment of
Your mind.

These teachings that you deem so
Sacred bcome words devoid of meaning,
When compared unto a faith that
Preaches something worth believing.
What is to become of us when
Truth is turned to lies,
Will none remain to wipe the tears
When Mother Nature cries?

Proceed with caution –
Subservient to all you survey,
Hidden dangers await us on
Each step of our way.
Do not falter –
For if you do you will fall,
Prey unto perils far worse
Than you’ve encountered before.
Compared unto the threats we face
Your devil seems so mild,
A relic from the faerie-tales my
Mother told me as a child.

Why do you carry your God
Like a weapon –
A dagger drawn ready to strike
At the heart of a foe when you
Don’t really know the reason
That you fight? –
To replace our disgrace with
The ‘loving’ embrace of your Lord –
Can’t you see that the plans
Made for me and my people
To us seem absurd?

[THE SORCERERS CREED:]
Death is the only recourse
I require in my hour of need.
(Drawn to the spirits like
Moths to a flame –
When there is no risk then
There can be no gain).
Impassive it shows no remorse
For folly and greed.

Pre-emptive prejudice has
Dogmatised your life,
These blinkered views that once
Held true will no longer suffice.
For in my world there is no point
Where you can draw the line,
‘twixt good and evil,
Saint and sinner,
Damnate and divine.
Shaven-headed servant of
An infantile faith –
By what right do you presume
To come and try to take my place?
If there is one grain of truth
Amidst your hoard of lies, ’tis
“Love your neighbour as yourself”
With this alone I can abide.

These teachings that you deem so
Sacred become words devoid of meaning,
When compared unto a faith that
Preaches something worth believing.
What is to become of us when
Truth is turned to lies,
Will none remain to wipe the tears
When Mother Nature cries?

[THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR]
When living your life
Like an arrow in flight
You must always accept that
The end is in sight,
Be grateful at least for the fact
That you knew: you came to death –
He did not come for you.
You are like targets
Who sit and await –
Patiently suffer
The arrows of fate,
Saying “I am but mortal
And destined to die –
I can change nothing
So why should I try?”

Each morning you wake is an
’ember day’ dawning,
Your penance for living in
Permanent mourning.
By erstwhile ideals your
Hearts are enslaved,
You crawl out of the cradle
Straight into the grave.
What reward is a banquet
Of red wine and bread,
When you hunger for life –
But on death you are fed?

Do not underestimate
The task you undertake,
Overcome your hopes and fears
And meet them face to fate.
These spirits aren’t your enemies
But neither are they friends,
Do not dare insult them lest
All nature you offend.
They who were here before us
Will remain when we have gone,
And though we’re long forgotten
Still their memory will live on.
Perhaps one day mankind will see
The error of its ways,
And in its future glimpse
Reflections of our yesterdays.

Even though at first listen it seemed rather mediocre to me, Iron Maiden’s new album The Book of Souls started to grow on me right away. They changed and got even proggier yet managed not to disappoint this time either – personally, I even enjoy the new one better than The Final Frontier.

Let’s listen to this epic closing-track, the 18-minute-long Empire of the Clouds for example, Iron Maiden’s longest song to date. It’s so well-written that instead of getting bored the listener gets completely lost in the various gradually building melodies, slow and soft yet dynamic sections while not even noticing its length and getting the feeling of something satisfyingly complex and ‘whole’ at the end.

“The different types of music I’ve played have had satisfied different aspects of why I like playing extreme metal”

Interview with Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault, ex-Anthrax, ex-S.O.D, ex-Brutal Truth)

Interview by Estelle at Brutal Assault on the 5th of August 2015 

Hey Dan, first of all thank you so much for doing this interview with me! First I’d like to ask, if you could go back to the very beginning of your metal career, would you do anything differently?

Dan: Maybe making decisions about signing to certain labels, but not artistically. I’m completely satisfied with the paths I have taken even though I could have maybe sold out and made money or something; but I couldn’t really do this, it would go against my heart. So now I can’t think of too much I would do different as far as a musician. Maybe some business decisions, but not as an artist.

Out of all the bands you were involved in, which one was the most fun to work with?

Dan: This is a difficult question because the different bands I’ve played with have satisfied different feelings inside me: thrash metal is fun, you’re drinking beer and smoking weed; if you’re playing black metal it makes your hair stand up (this is such a special feeling), or if you’re palying grindcore, it’s like there’s lightning in the air. So the different types of music I’ve played have had satisfied different aspects of why I like playing extreme metal. As far as having fun, it’s difficult to have fun playing black metal because you must stay in a very serious vibe – and it’s hard to because sometimes something happens and you have to laugh, something falls over or I don’t know. (laughs)

I’ve read that you are still kind of satisfied with how your first record with Nuclear Assault, Game Over sounds – as I’ve noticed that is not something common among musicians. Do you want to recreate the same vibe and sound both on an album and live or can you accept the fact that we don’t live in those times anymore?

Nuclear Assault – Game Over (1986)

Dan: Honestly, I think the guitar sound on Game Over is not distorted enough. But this was the analog days – and now we live in a digital world. We accept the fact that the old process of recording is different now, but we have technological advantages; it’s much easier to fix a mistake immediately instead of having to start from the beginning. The sound of analog recordings had a special real warm sound to them that’s hard to recreate digitally, but there are ways to imitate this.

John Conelly (vocalist of Nuclear Assault who just sat down next to us): How hard is it?

Dan: What’s hard?

John: Well, to recreate the sound of old recordings. How hard is it Dan?

Dan: Are you being perverted? I’m talking to a woman, have some taste for Christ’s sake! (John’s laughing)

[To John who was hoping that I’d do the interview with him instead of Dan:] Aren’t there any conflicts in Nuclear Assault because of Dan being the center figure?

John: Nah, no problems.

Dan: Nobody wants the attention, I just have to take it.

[To Dan:] Seeing the huge success of and interest around Anthrax counting right from Fistful of Metal, don’t you ever feel awkward for being fired from the band in ’84? Didn’t you ever think about going back?

Dan: I was asked to leave Anthrax – I didn’t have the opportunity to continue with them, they told me to go. So it doesn’t matter. I called up John and said “we have to start a band” and that’s how Nuclear Assault came. Anthrax’s music went to a more commercial direction than I think I would have enjoyed playing; but it’s all okay, everything happens for a reason – that’s what they say.

Daniel Lilker

Daniel Lilker

I’ve read in one of your earlier interviews when a guy asked you about your further plans with S.O.D. that you said “the more we do, the less special it becomes”. Is this a general view of yours or does it only apply to S.O.D.?

Dan: Absolutely. S.O.D. was kind of a weird thing where we just didn’t have any idea it was going to get popular, we just said “oh, we’re just gonna play some pop-rock songs and record them” and the more you try to recreate that, it would become less. We had a surprise attack at the time, you can never repeat that. So just forget it, just be happy with that and don’t try to milk the cow too much.

It’s clear that you do not like today’s metal – still, have you found any new bands (let it be thrash or anything else) recently that did surprise you or gave you something you haven’t really heard before?

Dan: I can’t think of anything in the recent past that I’ve heard that was totally original, but it’s understandable because people playing thrash metal in 2015 have a lot of influences. When we started, we did our own thing to get things from hardcore and maybe a couple of Slayer riffs or whatever, or maybe more Venom, Hellhammer or Discharge. The point being, it’s harder to be original 30 years later.

Nuclear Assault (1986)

Nuclear Assault (1986)

[To both of them:] What is the thing that you mostly miss from the old days when it comes to music?

Dan: I’m not sure I miss anything from the old days. Maybe just the fact that back then everybody knew each other. There was a community, and now it clearly is exploited.

John: We got to play with Exodus on a fairly regular basis. We saw the guys in Testament often too, great guys, fun to be around.

[To Dan:] You are not only a bassist but a really diverse talent as you also play the guitars, piano, drums and you’re a vocalist as well. Where does all this come from?

Dan: It’s the same source. I played piano when I was five years old and heavy just came in later. But playing music – whatever you’re doing –, it’s all from the same well. It depends on what instrument you are using at the time and of course I’m not the best guitarist or anything, I’m a bassist. But I write songs on guitar because it’s easier to explain to the other guys.

John: The nice thing is that we both have a qualification in classical music, we speak the same language. So if I tell Dan “do you need something in E-minor and 6/8 time signature?”, he knows what I’m talking about. A lot of people don’t even know what E-minor is – it’s odd because they are really good musicians. For Dan and I it’s like common vocabulary.

Do you want me to ask a particular thing from you?

Dan: “Why are you guys so handsome?” – I don’t know! Or: “Why do you do what you do?” – Because we don’t give a fuck.

Okay guys, thanks for taking the time and doing a quick interview, also thank you for your nice show!

Dan: Thank you!