“This might be our catchiest, heaviest, most brutal work” – Paul Mazurkiewitz (Cannibal Corpse)

Interview with drummer Paul Mazurkiewitz from Cannibal Corpse

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 19th of October 2017

Hi Paul, thanks a lot for being down for the interview! Could you tell me a bit about your 3 most favorite albums?

220px-Reign_in_blood.jpg

Slayer – Reign in Blood (1986)

That’s a tough one, a one-day answer. There are a lot of influential albums of course. But if we’re gonna stick with the heavier stuff, the bands that really got me wanting to play this kind of music, I’d say my Nr. 1 would be Slayer – Reign in Blood. Probably most people say that (laughs). But it was such a big influence for us, unbelievable. Especially that album in particular. Hearing Dave Lombardo’s drumming, that’s what made me wanna play like that. We were already fans of Slayer with their previous works, but hearing Reign in Blood just took it to a whole another level and it made me wanna try to emulate that. So that is probably the most important album in my career. Nr. 2 would probably be Metallica – Ride the Lightning. That was such a very influential album as well. It came a little earlier that Reign in Blood but when we were getting into music and Metallica was a new band and we were hearing this as teenagers for the first time, it took us to another dimension. “Whoah, what is this?!” So of course we were fans of Kill ‘Em All but then again, Ride the Lightning took it to another level. I remember hearing the song Creeping Death for the first time, it was playing on the radio and we didn’t know what this was, we got to know they were Metallica, the new album comes out, “wow we gotta see them”. Just very influential. And Nr 3 would be Sacrifice – Forward to Termination. It was such a great thrash album every time I hear it to this day, it gets me going.

Red Before Black is your 14th full-length album. What was your main goal you wanted to achieve? What do you think distinguishes this record from the other 13?

The main goal is always just releasing the music, really. We were just excited to create new stuff and get it out to the people. It’s the way we’ve done things and the way out mentality goes: We’re just writing the next batch of songs. There’s no big skin behind it other than we wanna do good and a little better than the last time. That’s what we’re always striving for and trying to do. So that was our goal, to write the next better song. To keep going forward in our songwriting, in our musicianship and all that. And I feel we have.

CCRedBeforeBlack.jpg

Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black (2017)

I know I worked extra hard on this record, more than on any other so far and I work hard on all! For some reason this time around my mentality was “no rest whatsoever, go go go, double time, triple time” – I just wanted to do better than I ever have personally. The other guys are writing most of the riffs and the songs and when we’ve got three great songwriters spreading it all around… I mean we’ve got some diverse stuff and those guys write some amazing material. But I think on this record, to me it’s just a combination of what we’ve been doing our whole career. I listen to the songs and the whole definitely has more of an old school vibe to it, a little more of a thrashier vibe than our previous releases. So I look at it as a full circle. I tend to look at it as the best of all Cannibal. From the beginning to the 13th album, put it together, work hard, write some great songs and then you’ve got Red Before Black. I think it just stands out because the songs are so tight and precise, great brutal riffs. So I think this might be our best work – our catchiest, heaviest, most brutal work with a great guitar sound.

You even stated in the promo material that this album has got the rawest sound you’ve ever had. And I agree, it does totally sound old school!
Could you tell me about your most beloved song on the album? I’d love to hear your vision of the song, of the lyrics, some instrumental passages or a story in connection with its creation.

I guess the one that stands out to me in particular is Destroyed Without a Trace. That was the song that I had the most hand in. If you know much about the band you might have noticed the last few releases I ended up having myself more of a song that I wrote; if you see the credit it’s usually me and Rob or me by myself. So Destroyed was the one that I came up with. And the way I wrote that song was very interesting: I collaborated with Rob but this is the first time I ever wrote a song (or any of us for that matter) just by playing the drums. I had everything in my head, I wrote the arrangement, the riffs basically in my head, and I was able to play the whole song with nobody (laughs). Cause I wrote it by myself just on the drums. I worked on it for a couple of weeks by myself and then I just said “hey Rob, I wrote a song, I just need you to fill in the blanks here”. We went piece by piece and I showed them how I meant it and in couple of days we had the song done. Very interesting. But I’m so glad the way it turned out: Starting from the skeleton, just me playing a drum beat, to building the guitars and solos and putting the lyrics over the top. It turned out really good, I’m really proud of this song. But I love all these songs, all of them were fun to play and I just worked hard on all of them. Shedding My Human Skin is another one of my favorites, it’s such a great groove. The first one, Only One Will Die is another one that was so much fun to play.

It’s no surprise that the imagery of this album consists again of brutality, aggressivity, death, blood, gore, torture etc. Do you have any limit or border when it comes to lyrical themes or imagery?

main-slide01.jpg

Cannibal Corpse (2017)

I don’t know, we just do what we do I guess. We really don’t touch on religion of course I mean we dabbled very little on one or two songs a few years back but that’s so minor. We don’t talk politics either. To me it’s all open if it needs to happen though. Personally, I am a father, I don’t wanna talk about murdering children, but at the same time it’s all fiction and it’s Cannibal Corpse. If I look at a song like Remaimed from the new album that Pat wrote and then I sat down and wrote the lyrics (I actually wrote the lyrics for six of the songs), I end up writing a pretty brutal story here. That’s talking about things exactly that I’m not very thrilled about personally. But like I said, it’s fictional gore, fictional horror, it’s not made to be serious so I think it’s okay. But yeah, it’s tough. In-your-face, completely brunt brutal lyrics, there’s nothing to mask and nothing to hide – we still have those but I think we like to be a little bit more of a horrific and read-between-the-lines kind of thing. But I would think pretty much nothing is out of context. It’s Cannibal Corpse, we just write what we write. I’ll just move onto the next question.

Some bands really take in into consideration what kind of a message they convey not only through their music but also through their press statements. Do you guys have a “press-plan”, do you negotiate between yourselves before the release of a new album or in a doubtful situation about what you will tell us about it?

That’s done through the record label and a third party, a guy that does an interview and then he pieces together what you read in the PR release for a new album. Of course we have the say what’s gonna go out to the public, if we’re unhappy with something we say it of course. And yeah, maybe some things we’re not gonna touch on. Some things don’t need to be mentioned I guess. We get the basics out what we feel the people need to know and if they don’t need to know, we won’t tell them.

After your first Demo “Cannibal Corpse” you have always been at Metal Blade. Did you ever receive requests from other labels and if yes, what makes you stay at Metal Blade?

cannibalcorpse1989promophoto1.jpg

Cannibal Corpse (1989)

Metal Blade was the only label that showed interest in us. When we were formed and made our demo tape, we had a guy helping us out back in the early days in Buffalo, New York. He wasn’t our manager or anything but he was running a record store and knew some people. And who did he know? He knew people at Metal Blade because the president at Metal Blade is from Buffalo as well! So he had a connection, we had our guy that knew a guy at Metal Blade through the whole city. I think we sent our tape to ten labels or something, mainly smaller independent ones plus Relapse and maybe Roadrunner. But I know this for a fact, the response we got back was from Metal Blade wanting to sign us. So what do you do? As a young band that’s hungry and ready to make music, you get an offer and you take it. You take it because this could be the only opportunity to get your foot in the door. Luckily Brian Slagel at Metal Blade liked the demo and we got through some red tape there that was all we needed. As time went on: “Hm, we’re a small death metal band. We’re starting to do well. Metal Blade behind us, okay.” They’ve given us complete creative control, they were not interfering with anything we do musically and that’s what we needed. So if it isn’t broke, why fix it? That’s what we’ve been dealing with out whole career. It turned out to be more of a friendship than a business relation I guess. So I think it worked out well.

You are in the band since the very beginnings. Can you please tell me about your personal favorite and most unfavorable moments in the band throughout your whole career?

Almost everything has been a positive for us, beyond-our-wildest-dreams kind of a thing, so just the fact that we are still here after 30 years being arguably the biggest death metal band in the world, that’s enough right there. That’s amazing. We never even thought of any of that. So everything that has happened from day one to now is just remarkable, unbelievable and incredible (laughs).

54037_artist.jpg

Paul Mazurkiewicz

Not many negatives, luckily. There were only some personal negatives and I guess the biggest one for me is being on tour about 20 years ago and getting stabbed with a key after the show in my abdomen. That wasn’t very fun. That’s probably one of the craziest things that have ever happened to me. It was back in ‘94 I guess, we just started a tour with 3 other bands, we were second show in, we just finished the show in Holland. It was a little town, 2 in the morning, everything’s completely dead, everyone left. And all of a sudden there’s a fight outside our bus. It happens to be a couple of guys from our band and our crew fighting some people. We’re like “what the hell is going on here?”. It ended up being five or six drunk guys looking for trouble basically. And they started with the wrong people, it was 25 of us. I’m not a fighter, I didn’t need to be involved in this, I was a bystander watching what’s going on. There was a bunch of yelling, a couple of crew guys involved… The next thing I remember, those guys are coming at me and all of a sudden I see blood and my side hurts. “I just got stabbed, I’m gonna die”. Five seconds go by and I realize it hurts and bleeds but I’m gonna live. Ambulance comes, gotta go to the hospital. This was the second show of the tour and we had like 30 more to go. But luckily everything turned out well, the tour went on and I was able to play. But yeah, that was probably the worst thing that happened to me. Not fun.

Which other band in the genre do you look up to? Is there also a band you have any stress or tension with?

Well I love Slayer, I mean that’s my influence, so how can I not look up to Slayer at all times? But any other bands, bands that came out around us, we know them and they’re friends. You can have that friendship and camaraderie and all that bands like Suffocation, Obituary or Morbid Angel; bands that have been around for 30 years that gives us some positive thoughts. I don’t even listen to any new bands at all though. It’s cool there are bands that were influenced by us I’m glad, I feel happy but I just don’t listen to a lot of that. So the bands that I still look up to are my “hero bands” that I grew up with. If we’re gonna play at a festival or share a stage with a band like Iron Maiden, man it’s Iron Maiden! I don’t look at them as peers, they’re above me. That’s the way I think. But yeah, it’s really cool that we’ve still got bands going after 30 years, keeping the old school alive, keeping the death metal going.

You are touring very actively promoting Red Before Black, from November in the USA and from February in Europe. What are the most satisfying moments while on tour?

Playing the show. It’s always cool going to places and different cities and everything but we’re there to perform and play for the people. That’s the most important thing. Once you’re up on stage and you’re seeing the fans and their reactions: that’s why you’re there. A lot of them are going to be new fans. Seeing the excitement on the face of new fans that never saw you before, that’s always gonna make you feel good. Just making people happy. If we can make anybody happy in a positive way, how can that not make you feel like you’ve accomplished something in life? So that’s what it’s all about.

What about your further future plans?

20160515_Gelsenkirchen_RockHard_Festival_Cannibal_Corpse_0037.jpg

Paul Mazurkiewicz

We will be touring pretty much all of 2018. If you look at how our cycles have gone, we tour for almost two years after an album. I can see that happening, that’s out immediate future. And that’s all you can really do at this point. I mean, I think we take it day by day now. We’re 30 years in, we’re not a new band looking ahead to the future, the future’s here. Now it’s like “how long have we got?”. Who knows? We’re all feeling healthy and we’re still all mentally on the same page so why can’t we just keep going and doing it for another 20 or 30 years who knows, right? We’ll see. But right, at this point in our career we gotta just take it day by day now. We’ll do these tours and more than likely the plan will be doing the tour, starting the record and doing it again. Just like we’ve been doing our whole career.

Paul, thank you very much for the interview and for your time. I wish you all the best reactions to Red Before Black!

Thank you and have a good night! I’m sure we’ll talk again soon.

Advertisements

“As long as you’re challenging yourself, you’re going to get better results” – Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill)

Interview with Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth from Overkill

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 11th of August 2014

Hi Bobby, thank you very much for doing this interview for Metalegion Magazine! Firstly I would like to ask, are you satisfied with what you have done throughout the years? What do you think could have gone better?

3529_artist.jpg

Bobby Blitz – then and now

I suppose now Overkill is getting a lot of attention, chart positions have shown that we have a popularity of the scene in thrash, not just for us but for many of the other bands. It’s something that is very special in the current day. So I think that there’s obviously a little bit of a difference; in the early days we were getting attention based on the genre’s newnessand creation at that time as the scene was developing, but now I think we are probably getting as much if not more attention based on its longevity, and let’s say value in the current day.

This is a thing I’ve done as an adult – my whole adult life. It’s over a 30-year period now that I’ve been playing in Overkill. I never really think about what could we have done better, I think the key here is that if we felt that there was a mistake, we would comb upon that mistake the next time. This wasn’t a band that sticks terribly to that one way describedas unpopular, this was something that you didn’t want to do, and we always found ways to make that happen. The drive was the popularity of the scene, so I think that the choice was made, the dice was cast, it was really simple for us: this is what we wanna do, so I don’t really look at it as what we could have done better, I just kinda look at it as we’ve always tried to count what we can improve on what we would like to do, and I think that someone there might say that is the key of our personal success.

You guys are extremely hard-working – the band puts out the new albums every 2 or 3 years, tours like mad, you also run a chocolate shop with your wife – and despite all these you never stopped thrashing. What do you feel was the worst period to exist as a thrash metal band?

You know, just the fact that you’re here this is a great thing. I think there was a period in the nineties when it was harder to retain a record field and harder to keep it growing. Not ’94, ’95, ’96, because there was still a great underground popularity of the scene, but then grunge came in and put a big dirty footprint on the metal scene – it became unpopular and went back to the underground, so it was a little bit harder than when its creation happened and what now happens.

168_photo.jpgBut when I think back of those times, just because it was harder it doesn’t mean it was unsatisfying. To some degree, it was more satisfying because of the new methods we looked to put into it; still there were record deals, still there were tours – we never stopped touring, we never stopped recording records and we never were without a record deal. And this was due to our own work, we were writers in the band and we also self-managed during this period of time. So we made good moves, they were hard moves at the time but when I think back on them, I think of them as the most satisfying days based on the fact that a lot of people couldn’t do this, but obviously we could.

Some vocalists who I interviewed so far said that they don’t really consider themselves or feel like musicians. Do you?

Obviously there’s music here because I write the melodies to the popular music, so each vocal has a melody. Now what’s telling the correctness what to sing, it’s more how I interpret that, so sure, that becomes my musical input to it, therefore of course I’m one of the musicians in the band to complete the formula.

Besides singing, you also play the bass. Did you ever consider really playing in a band as a bassist?

I did for a while. I was in university or high school at the time, watched the others bass and I loved the bass gear, and played in cover bands. When I was in university, it was because we were trying to meet girls. It’s really simple, it’s something to do on the weekends. When I was in high school, it was because it was cool, it wasn’t anything, it was just fun. But I wasn’t just playing the bass, I was singing tunes like a ZZ-Top song, we were playing music that was popular at the time. So yeah, I had played as a bassist in those bands.

Overkill_-_White_Devil_Armory.jpg

Overkill – White Devil Armory (2014)

Your new album, White Devil Armory is close to being as energetic and dynamic as you were back in the eighties, similarly to the past few albums of yours such as The Electric Age or Ironbound. In one of your earlier interviews you said that The Electric Age is something like two-dimensional – it has the speed and it has the aggressiveness, but it doesn’t have the groove. Did you plan White Devil Armory to be similar in this aspect?

I think that when I gave that answer, that was for sure my commitment to add a certain groove to what I am to it, not the groove, the vocals in between that the other guys were doing. So for sure I did, and I think Overkill is made up with different elements, and even though I’ve highlighted The Electric Age as a two-dimensional record, I do feel it’s a great thrash record, I really think that it was really something special for 2012. So sure, I instilled groove in that.

There’s not a lot of talking when it comes to Overkill’s planning for a new record: I think as long as you’re challenging yourself, you’re going to get better results. And I even think that White Devil Armory contains more of that groove coming with the thrash than The Electric Age did.

What was the newest thing you guys added to the recording of White Devil Armory?

67-og.jpgWe have a formula, and I do think that when the formula works that’s something that we stick to, let’s say maybe trying to improve upon it – I find that when I record demos along with touring, on the tour bus, then I get really good results. That’s something I’ve been doing for a few records now, I just like to have something I can record with. There’s an energy you can’t fake when you come on stage. I’m coming on stage in San Antonio, on the Overkill/Kreator tour, and two hours later I’m in the back of the bus and I’m recording down some demo vocals to the song ‘Pig’. It’s going to come out with a live energy, because that’s the last thing I did on Overkill’s live show. So I think that’s probably the newest thing that I personally add to this: that I like to record several demos when I’m doing live shows.

You have two new clips recorded for the songs ‘Armorist’ and ‘Bitter Pill.’ Could you tell me a few words about the making of them?

We recorded them in New Jersey with Kevin J. Custler (Hatebreed, Testament, Suffocation. He previously worked with Overkill on the “Electric Rattlesnake” and “Bring Me The Night” clips – ed). We shot ‘Armorist’ in a really old factory with big windows and with a lot of natural light. On the same day we did ‘Bitter Pill’ in the bowels of a separate section of the complex, in which the walls were actually carved out of the bedrock.

Is there anything that you do not like to do when it comes to making a new album?

I can’t say it specifically. As time goes on, it becomes easier, but then at other times, it becomes harder and I think the hardest part is non-repetition. Writing a song or my part of the song like ‘Freedom Rings’, let’s say “oh, it shouldn’t be minutes,” because that’s what I would have done in 1990. I don’t like thinking in it, I’m just trying to push myself out of the box. And that becomes a little bit harder, and sometimes it becomes something I don’t want to do in that particular time because it would be easy to put 1990 into ‘Freedom Rings.’So I think the idea is that the satisfaction comes when you still push yourself. And when you pull it through, it seems like this is a harder test than doing it the natural way as in 1990.

As far as I’m concerned, your early covers (especially the ones done under the name Virgin Killer) were mostly punk songs, including selections by the Ramones and The Dead Boys. Did punk music stay with you in any way?

i0806_1.jpg

Early days of Overkill

It’s funny because with the whole Virgin Killer thing, I think there was one gig that we ever did under that name. I think Virgin Killer lasted as a name for this band for about 36 hours. (laughs)
I do think that the punk stays with it, I think that this band back in that era when even the name Virgin Killer was around was a fan of NWOBHM, and some punk rock stuff. And we were kind of the child of those two genres, we were into the Tygers of Pan Tang, or Europe, also Tank and we were also into the Sex Pistols or The Damned. The result is Overkill between those two kind of genres, and I think we surely carried with it. So when I hear songs like ‘Pig’ off the new record I hear that punk word, so I hear “it’s all yours,” I hear kind of an odd groove that is still there. So for sure I think that punk would stay with us for the duration of our career.

Not long ago you said that you like this modern vibe to your newer albums, and I also read you are usually a fan of new school thrash metal bands and this whole new scene going on nowadays. Is there anything you miss from the old times? Can the feeling be the same for you nowadays?

Good question. I do like most of the new stuff that comes out, I like it obviously because it’s reflective of us and reflective of the a scene that was from the past, and something that I was a part of, so it’s obviously easy for me to like it – it’s not something that I had to search for, it showed up and I was like “wow I know that!,” and that’s where my attraction leads to. What’s different is that it was created in another time, if it was from 1985 or 1987, whether it be Overkill or Megadeth or Death Angel, it was being created then. I think that becomes the main difference, the thing that it’s probably missed. It’s more of a reflection to me, which is cool to me, but what was being created, there was a certain danger, risk, excitement that went along with it, that was unexplainable.

220px-Overkillelectric.jpeg

Overkill – The Electric Age (2012)

Would you ever consider taking a fresh face, a young guy in the band?

Right now the youngest guy is like 46 (laughs), and it’s funny, I would call him the ‘kid.’ But what we are sure about is that this line-up jams pretty well and I think the evidence is there in White Devil Armory, The Electric Age and Ironbound. This line-up is probably the strongest Overkill line-up, today. When The Electric Age was created, we figured out how to keep it loaded. And at some degree that’s more important even than its creation, at this particular point in our career. In a way it was necessary, I don’t see why not, I don’t think it’s a wrong thing to have the right guys, specifically in the right place.

After overcoming cancer, a stroke and 34 years, is there anything you can think of that could stop you from thrashing and going on with Overkill?

Well, I haven’t had a heart attack yet. (laughs hard)
You know, I had a really unique time, a dirty cancer period I went through, and now I’m over 15 years cancer-free. I was a sober individual at the time, I hadn’t drunk in many years or taken any drugs. It was a cool time for me because my head was clear during this episode. I didn’t tell I had cancer, I was just sitting in the bar and enjoying my time, I was a person that was hanging out with guys from motorcycle clubs who were also sober guys. I remember sitting with this guy, we were sitting in a bar with our bikes behind, both having cigarettes and he said to me, first, “You shouldn’t be smoking if you have cancer,” and, second, “It’s not the problem, it’s getting through the problem.” And it was like I was hit with a word of light: right, it has nothing to do with the problem, it’s getting around the fucking problem, going through it, going over it. It gives another side, I mean I’d like to be put on the other side of the problem, but I have to be able to get through it.

bobbyblitz3.jpgAnd it gave me a real good perspective on where I am with regard to lives and I think it was a great lesson for me to learn because I knew from that moment that it had nothing to do with the problem, it had to with me getting through to the problem. I don’t think that there is anything that could stop me with regard to if I can physically do it, I will do it. I love Overkill, this is my drug, this gets me high. So if I can get through my problems, then I won’t be stopped by something.

Is there anything that you would still like to say about White Devil Armory?

Somebody asked me “Could you tell us why people should listen to White Devil Armory?” and the only thing I could come up with was “Because I said so.” (laughs)

Thank you very much for this honour and for your time Bobby. I wish all the best to Overkill, keep thrashing!

Thanks for the support!

“The different types of music I’ve played have had satisfied different aspects of why I like playing extreme metal” – Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault, ex-Anthrax, ex-S.O.D, ex-Brutal Truth)

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!

A little piece of the interview made with Donald Tardy

Here’s an audible answer of my Obituary interview made with Donald in January 2015 [read the full interview here].
The reason why I wanted you guys to hear how he speaks is that I guess he is one of the best interviewees any journalist could get: I didn’t have to stop for a minute thinking about any section of the interview or word he mentioned as he speaks in such an understandable and composed way. Listening to the recording and just writing continuously, it’s like the dream of an interviewer, I was done within 2 hours. So enjoy!

My top 10 of 2014 albums

Making lists has never been my cup of tea but let’s try. (Including EPs)

1. Morbus Chron – Sweven
At first the Swedish Morbus Chron’s second album didn’t convince me but I can’t describe how much the record grew on me a few months after the first listening – I got to the point where I consider it to be no doubt one of the most unique death metal stuff existing out there. Completely dissimilar to their first one yet just as excellent in a different way.
Morbus Chron – Towards a Dark Sky
.

bölz-s2. Bölzer – Soma
The black/death Bölzer set the standards high with their first EP ‘Aura’ [read my review of the record here] and even though ‘Soma’ needed more listenings to reach up to its level, the two-piece Swiss band did not disappoint. Very much looking forward to the album!
Bölzer – Labyrinthian Graves
.

midnn3. Midnight – No Mercy for Mayhem
Similarly to Bölzer, if Midnight’s Athenar wants to reach up to the level of his early works and first album Satanic Royalty, he probably has to put plenty of effort in it. ‘No Mercy for Mayhem’ is a little bit slower as a whole than any of his earlier works but is still really intense and among the very best of 2014.
Midnight – Woman of Flame
.

vampp4. Vampire – Vampire
The evergreen Swedish death metal scene shows once again what the Swedes are capable of. One of nowadays’ best old school-styled death metal album for sure!
Vampire – The Fen
.
.

rangg5. Ranger – Shock Skull
Finnish old school speed metallers with crushing live performances. If you don’t understand the hype around them, listen to Shock Skull and afterwards you most likely will.
Ranger – Shock Skull
 .
.

acc6. Accept – Blind Rage
Nice to see the German heavy metal veterans being still as strong and enthusiastic as ever. It really is a delight listening to Blind Rage!
Accept – Final Journey
.
.
.

nocwi7. Nocturnal Witch – Summoning Hell
Bestial German black/thrashers rising with their first album. I’d say it is worth buying.
Nocturnal Witch – Black Star
.
.
.

riot-unl8. Riot – Unleash the Fire
Awesome to hear the old guys still in such a good condition. Aand… Johnny the seal is back in one of his funniest forms ever.
Riot – Metal Warrior
.
.
.

port-cross9. Portrait – Crossroads
With their third album in 2014, the Swedish heavy group well-known among quite a few Mercyful Fate-follower bands in the country came up with a record fulfilling every expectation and beating out many other competitors.
Portrait – In Time
.
.

noct-storm10. Nocturnal – Storming Evil
Even though I personally liked both of Nocturnal’s earlier albums better, ‘Storming Evil’ was still a great album worth mentioning amongst the top ones from 2014. One of my favorite female vocalists, all hail Hell Tyrannizer!
Nocturnal – Rising Demons

“We kept it very true to what we used to do back in the day” – Donald Tardy (Obituary, Tardy Brothers)

Interview with Donald Tardy (Obituary, Tardy Brothers) on Obituary’s new album ‘Inked in Blood’

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 21st of January 2015 

obi1Hello Donald, thank you so much for doing the interview for the magazine!
Could you select 3 albums that you either consider your all-time favourites or that had an impact on you for some reason?

Sure. Holy Diver would be the first one because it’s the best album in the world. It is the best drumming record I have ever experienced, it is still my favorite drum album. Another one would be Led Zeppelin II because of John Bonham – as I was a child John Bonham really showed me how rock ‘n’ roll music or heavy metal doesn’t need to be the most technical as long as the drummer plays very solid – and John Bonham was just one of the best drummers in the world.
And then, I guess Psycroptic’s latest album (The Inherited Repression, 2012 – ed.). I think they are an incredible band that is so technical and the drummer does things that I could only dream of doing because he’s so fast. (laughs)

If you could start your whole career in Obituary again, would you do anything differently?

No. (emphatically)

Obituary – Inked in Blood (2014)

Your new album, Inked in Blood was released in October 2014. What was the main goal you wanted to achieve with releasing it?

The main thing we wanted to do is make sure that it sounded like Obituary and that the songs were written in the Obituary style – and that’s an obvious answer, but that was the main goal, to make sure that it was a true Obituary album. And then along with that came making sure that when we recorded the album we stayed true to what recording albums used to be and kept it very old school. We did not use too much modern technology with the recording, we only used microphones and instruments so we did not do any sound replacing or triggering of bass drums or anything, we kept it very very true to what we used to do back in the day – so those were the two main goals.

You recorded the album in your own studio called RedNeck. How was the recording or writing session different from any of your previous albums’?

The main thing was that it was relaxing and it was enjoyable. In my career I’ve always experienced that sometimes the studio can be a bit intimidating and a bit nerve-racking for band members. And because we practiced at the studio, we would live at the studio, we were always there – it made things very easy-going and it made it actually fun. It’s not often you can use the word ‘fun’ while recording songs because sometimes it really is nerve-racking, but the own studio made it very enjoyable for the band members.

Some people still seem to be quite suspicious in connection with your Kickstarter campaign and the fact that you were planning to put the album out completely yourselves and when it came to distributing it, you made a partnership with Relapse. What would you say to these people?

Well, if people are confused they can simply see how much money was raised and the amount of awards that Obituary had, because everybody that contributed got what they wanted which was the t-shirts, the hats and the albums and everything we gave. So it is very obvious how much money was spent on all the material, to buy all the hats and the t-shirts; along with the amount of money that we needed to actually record, mix, produce, master the record – we got the album cover paid for at the same time, so that was just a portion of the amount of money that is needed to actually release an album on your own. Hundreds of thousands of dollars go into marketing campaigns and to literally print the vinyl and print the CDs and distribute them around the world. It’s hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars; with the amount of money we raised we were able to record the entire album AND pay for the material needed for the Kickstarter campaign. But if anyone does research they can look at how expensive it is to truly do an album on your own. To get a distribution deal with the company and the thing that you are going to put it in every record store in the world takes much much more money than what Obituary raised. We tried to do it, we looked into it but it simply was too expensive to actually pull it off. That’s why we partnered with a record label – we simply used the record label to distribute and to print the actual physical CDs and that’s what Relapse did for us.

Donald Tardy – Photo: ricky-adrien.com

Donald Tardy – Photo: ricky-adrien.com

Could you choose one or two songs from Inked in Blood and explain what they mean to you, how they were made or what they are about?

I’m super proud of every song so I could talk about any of the songs on the album but a couple little stories are: The first song on Inked in Blood was one of the last ones we wrote for the album and when I recorded it drum-wise, I’m proud to say I did it in one try. One take, we call it. You know usually you can get almost through a song and you mess up, you have to back up a little bit and the engineer can fix the end of the song with you – and on the first song on the album I did it in my first try. (raises his hands, looks around proudly then laughs) I’m very proud of that.

Also, Inked in Blood is the title track, it’s one of those songs where when we first wrote it, I didn’t know if the song was complete, I didn’t know how good of a song it was until it was recorded and now that we’re playing it live it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. So it went from my least favorite to almost my favorite song. 

‘Visions in My Head’ was the first track to be released from the new album in August. Do you think it was the catchiest one?

Yeah, it was. It was an obvious choice. At the minute we wrote it, it only took me and Trevor maybe five or ten minutes and we knew that the song was going to be the first one released. There was a strange feeling we had, we knew it was very catchy and very simple. When we recorded it, all the record label people, all my friends, everyone that came in contact with ‘Visions’ – we knew that was the one that stuck out. And so we knew to grab the world’s attention we wanted to grab a catchy song that isn’t the heaviest song on the album, but it definitely grabs your attention and it has all the pieces to a good song. It has a middle part, it has a great solo and it has a terrific ending.

Obituary (Slowly We Rot era)

Obituary (Slowly We Rot era)

I’ve read in some of your recent interviews that you guys were listening to Obituary’s old albums in order to get the same kind of sound and vibe for Inked in Blood as for the earlier ones. Is it because you didn’t really want to risk much and didn’t want to distance yourselves from something that seems to work?

Actually we didn’t listen to the old albums to try and get the sound, we were in the process of writing the new album for many years. We took three or four years writing the new songs and at the same time we were invited to play a classic setlist. So when we were recording, we took a break from recording the new songs and we had to listen to the old songs to re-learn them because we had an offer to come and play at a festival, but they wanted songs only off of the first three. So I had to go back and listen to the old ones to re-learn the songs, not the production but I had to go and really re-learn because they were twenty years old. (laughs) So I think what happened was, we went and played at the festival and played all the old songs and when we came home we kept writing new material – and I think whether we knew it or not, re-learning the old songs gave us some really cool ideas that brought back that old Obituary sound. And we didn’t deliberately do that but there was definitely some influence from the old stuff by having to re-learn some of the old ones while writing new songs.

Do you bother reading critics on the new album or Obituary in general? 

I don’t mind reading, I know you’ll never make everybody happy. I think Obituary fans love the new album and that’s all I care about. If you read everything you’re going to find people that cry and complain and bitch about things – and they’re allowed to, it’s freedom of speech.

Obituary (2014)

If we can talk about a next album, do you plan to record and distribute it in the same way as Inked in Blood?

I think the partnership that we have right now with Relapse makes a lot of sense because the band is able now with their fan support to record albums completely on our own – and nobody does that. In the history of rock ‘n’ roll bands write records and they tell the record label “we’re finished writing the album, we need to borrow money to go into the studio and record”, and the record label says “okay, here’s X amount of money, we will pay ourselves back when the album comes out before the band sees any money”. This time with Obituary we actually did it on our own with the support of our fans so it is a really good chemistry and solution that we found here because the band pays for the album, the record label pays for the printing of the CDs and the distribution around the world and the marketing campaign. So we both put the same amount of effort and time into the recording and then we’re a partnership so we split the profit – so it’s working out very well for Obituary right now. We’re very happy.

What was your greatest fear in connection with Obituary throughout all the years?

God, there was never fear. You’re always going to get fans that will listen to your music and compare you, whether they think it’s great or they are okay with it or they think it should be something different or that’s just not what they want. But I never let that bring fear into me because I have a very good ability of playing drums, I know what I do well and I know that I’m doing the right thing for Obituary’s style of music. So I don’t bring fear into it, because again I think there are many, many, many metalheads that love Obituary and love my drumming; and that’s enough for me, I don’t need to win everyone’s heart. (laughs)

obi5In which aspect do you think that Obituary will change the most in five or ten years’ time? 

Or bodies, because we’re getting old so the only thing that’s going to change is maybe the tempo of songs in the future because I can no longer play fast. But seriously, Obituary is so solid right now and I’m very proud to say that with the addition of Kenny Andrews and Terry Butler in the band we are a very tight band right now. We’re very close friends, there’s a hundred percent respect with and for each other and we are having so much fun. That’s what is amazing about it, I know there are bands that are successful and can do it for a living but not all the band members get along – but they make it work because it’s a business and they can go and make money. Obituary right now is very lucky because we’re making a living doing it but we love each other, we are having so much damn fun on stage every night. It’s a wonderful feeling. So that’s the main thing that I’m very proud to see in the future. I know for a fact, this is a very tight band right now and we’re best of friends. 

You’re like a family, literally.

We are, yeah. (laughs) I’ve known Trevor since I was eleven years old so he’s like a brother to me as well. We’re just very excited about the future and it’s very exciting for Obituary fans too because more music is being created and the future is looking really bright now for all of us. 

That’s great to hear. Okay Donald, thank you so much for the interview, I’m also really excited about the show tonight!

It will be a treat tonight! We also learned songs tonight, a couple for this tour especially that we had to go back and re-learn. We also brought some now in from the “Don’t Care” album because we want to play other stuff. It sounds really good. So yeah, I’m very excited about it too.

“I don’t think you can go out and say ‘I want to be different’, because if you try to set that goal, you are never going to get anything done” – John Tardy (Obituary, Tardy Brothers)

Interview with John Tardy (Obituary, Tardy Brothers)

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on Brutal Assault XIX, on the 7th of August 2014

Hello John, first of all thank you very much for doing this interview for Metalegion Magazine! What do you think is the main reason of Obituary’s success?

I guess we just like what we are doing. It’s pretty much it. It’s important just to have fun in what you are doing – if it becomes a job, it becomes work and it sucks, then don’t do it. Just go out, have a good time and do what you do.

Could you tell me about some of the highlights of your career in metal that you are the most proud of or mostly like to think back of?

Out of all the albums that we’ve done I can remember where I was when I got the first copy of Slowly We Rot, and was very proud of it. We also got to see a lot of the world, we’ve been to lots of different countries, got to meet a lot of cool people – to me it’s the best part of it, to get to see all the different cultures around the world.

How did it affect your relationship with your brother, Donald throughout the years that you had to work together in Obituary? Did you have any massive misunderstanding in connection with music?

Not really, we get along pretty good actually. We have a studio at my house and he’s pretty much there seven days a week – not that we never argue, but nothing serious, we get along really great. I think the good thing that works so well is that we just talk things out. We talk it out, we argue it out, and then we make a decision.

Obituary is one of the most fan-based and active metal bands out there – you run your own websites as well as the facebook page – you actually interact with the fans. In terms of your upcoming album, Inked in Blood, why did the band decide that you would “make the music for the fans instead of a label”? Did you have any bad experiences so far that made you do this?

We’ve been a band for thirty years, we’ve been at multiple labels, and even years back we’ve just been always wanting to do it ourselves. We finally said “you know what, let’s go ahead and TRY to do this ourselves”. Not that we expect to put CDs in the back of our car and drive around the world to sell them on our own, I mean, you just still need help from somebody because there are distribution companies, there are multiple countries and lots of problems.
We met the Relapse people, and the guys at Relapse are super cool. We got to get the album ourselves, it’s our album, we just got to kind of use their engine to get it out to the fans, and it really worked out good for us. There are all those Roadrunner records of ours, but we don’t own those things, we couldn’t even do anything with them even if we wanted to. So the cool thing about this is that it’s our music, it’s our album, we get to do what we want to do, and we get Relapse to help us to get it out to the people.

What is your opinion about the fact that some people say you “begged” for money to do this album?

Actually, it’s just about as much money as we got to now go ahead and send everybody everything that they ordered – so that rumour was a little bit weird. We have a lot of work to do, there’s just so much stuff now that we owe fans. The amount of money that we’ll see after the fact, it’s not going to be very much.
It was very cool though, to see this fan support and all the people who did what they did, and as soon as we get home we’re going to start going through that and sending all the merchandise out to the fans.

Obituary – Cause of Death (1990)

As far as I know, the artwork of your classic album from 1990, Cause of Death was supposed to be the cover of Sepultura’s record Beneath the Remains from 1989. Why did Roadrunner let Obituary use the Michael Whelan cover first?

It was not our decision. There were actually two albums coming out at the same time, they had two pieces of artwork, and Roadrunner was the one that made that decision, it really didn’t have anything to do with us.

So you didn’t communicate with Sepultura at all on this matter?

No.

Was there any tension between the two bands as a consequence of Obituary using the artwork? As far as I know, you also worked as a guest on Sepultura’s Beneath the Remains (you helped with the vocals in song ‘Stronger Than Hate’).

I don’t know, it’s kind of odd, they once asked me that question so long ago, so I kind of heard that Sepultura wanted to use that artwork – at the time I had no idea, I didn’t even see the other artwork, I just knew that we got stuck with what we got.

Obituary (Cause of Death era)

Obituary (Cause of Death era)

No tension, I mean it was way before. The album was actually recorded in Brazil, Max (Cavalera, Sepultura – ed.) sang, he did the lyrics and he mixed the album at Morrisound (recording studio – ed.) in Tampa. That was the first time I met them. Max didn’t speak good English at the time, he stayed at our house, we hung out, the whole time he was doing that while I sang them some lyrics of the album. That was awesome, we were taken motocross races and monster trucks and all kinds of crazy shit. That was pretty funny.

You mentioned in some of your earlier interviews that you were influenced by Savatage and Nasty Savage, because even though they were not as heavy as Obituary, they were different from the traditional metal styles at the time they made their music. Did you always have the desire to just be different and unmistakable, or do you just do your thing and don’t think about it?

I don’t think you can go out and say “I want to be different”, or “I wanna be fast”, or “I wanna be this, I wanna be that” because I think if you try to set that goal, you are never going to get anything done. We met Nasty Savage and Savatage, they were young, we were even younger, we were still back in high school. Riding our bikes on the street and hearing them jam in their garage, and we kept running back and forth hoping that they would come outside. It’s cool because like you said Nasty Savage and Savatage – nobody sounds like those two bands. Nobody. Most of music that I like, that’s what I like to see, I like a band like the AC/DC, or Lynyrd Skynyrd – they are who they are, there’s nobody else like them. But you can’t practice that, you can’t work at that, it’s just what happens.

John Tardy (Germany, 1991)

For the end: If you could change one thing on any of your previous works with Obituary, what would it be?

Obviously our early albums, we were still in high school when we recorded Slowly We Rot – so if you go back and listen to the productions throughout the years, there are always things you wish you could re-change or re-do. On our earlier albums, we just wrote the songs and then recorded them. With the new album Inked in Blood we really took our time, like three years of writing the songs and then jamming the songs, and giving yourself the chance to hear them, make changes, let your mind really fill the song out – so we really had the luxury with this album, we’ve really taken our time, and let the natural progression of our writing.
There are always things you can change, but at the same time you listen back and there are different points in your life, different times in your life… after all I wouldn’t change anything, even though I’m not happy with any of our albums played. (laughs) I don’t think I would ever be, nor would anybody in the band, there is always going to be stuff that you don’t like, that you wish you could do again or do better.

Okay John, thank you very much for your time, and enjoy the Slayer show!

Thanks for the support, take care!

BOLT THROWER, MORGOTH, INCANTATION. One word: epicness

[I apologize in advance for not all parts of this report being completely objective as it was such a personal treat for me that I’ll most likely never forget. Can be considered as some kind of an experience-report. :)]

Concert review: Overtures of War tour 2014 – Bolt Thrower/Morgoth/Incantation – 25th of September 2014, Wien

Review by Estelle on the 28th of September 2014

At the end of September 2014, Bolt Thrower has started the Overtures of War tour along with Morgoth and three different support bands: Soulburn from the 21th to 23rd, Incantation from the 24th to 28th, and Vallenfyre from the 29th of September to 5th of October. On the show on the 25th that I myself went to we had Incantation as a support.

Incantation

Incantation started punctually at 8 pm. Even though there were a few times less people seeing them than Morgoth’s show one hour later, even though the drum sound was somewhat weird and not all the people were getting their energy at the beginning, they perfectly managed to move and prepare everyone for 2-3 hours of pounding cruelty.
Incantation’s setlist was really fresh, consisting of songs from many different albums – they have played four tracks off their last record from 2014, Dirges of Elysium, two off Diabolical Conquest, one (‘Profanation’) off their classic first one Onward to Golgotha and there was a variety of albums being brought up in case of the others songs as well.

Incantation’s setlist

  1. Debauchery
  2. Shadows of the Ancient Empire
  3. Vanquish in Vengeance
  4. Oath of Armageddon
  5. Portal Consecration
  6. Profanation
  7. Impalement of Divinity
  8. The Ibex Moon
  9. Carrion Prophecy
  10. Impending Diabolical Conquest


Later as quite many people gathered at the Arena already, the louring intro of ‘Cursed’ started to play, followed by Morgoth powerfully getting on stage with the devastating ‘Body Count’. The crowd was starting to go crazy and the band, playing upon it, didn’t let us take a break until the very end of the last song.

Morgoth

They continued with three huge classics off Cursed (Exit to Temptation, Suffer Life, Sold Baptism), and then came the title track off their recent 7″ LP, ‘God is Evil’, dedicated to myself and the other Hungarians there. (After my interview with Marc [read it here] he asked who I went there with, and I told him we were like 30 Hungarian people there – so during the show before ‘God is Evil’ he randomly said “this song is for Estelle and the whole Hungarian long-way traveller group” – I was blown away!)
‘God is Evil’ is rather a mid-tempo track, so that it was a right decision to put it after such a blast of 4 mortal tracks off the first album. The song sounded great live and created the basic atmosphere for the next two songs from ‘Odium’ as well, ‘Under the Surface’ and the strong opener ‘Resistance’.

After the recall of ‘Odium’ we could hear the other massive track from the recent single, ‘Die as Deceiver’, then here came ‘Burnt Identity’, the opener of the second outstanding EP. After that, expectedly we got to one of the highlights again with ‘Isolated’ – my neck hurt since the third song yet I was headbanging to this tremendous classic like never before, along with all the other people in ecstatic state in the pit and first 10 rows. Then, still no room for settling down, we got the title track off Morgoth’s first demo from 1988, ‘Pits of Utumno’ straight to our face as the last song.

I have heard and read a few critics about Morgoth’s somewhat bad sound on some shows or festivals in the past, but here in the Arena the band sounded flawlessly. Marc’s voice is unexpectedly still nearly as strong as back in the day and its tone is more similar to the old tone than in case of a lot of other vocalists; and on top of all this, the band played this oldschool setlist with so much energy that I felt like a bulldozer went through my body as we reached the end of the almost one hour performance.

Morgoth’s setlist

  1. Cursed (Intro)/Body Count
  2. Exit to Temptation
  3. Suffer Life
  4. Sold Baptism
  5. God is Evil
  6. Under the Surface
  7. Resistance
  8. Die as Deceiver
  9. Burnt Identity
  10. Isolated
  11. Pits of Utumno 


Epic. Just epic. And it wasn’t nearly over!

Bolt Thrower got on stage with the popular War/Remembrence combo from the beginning of …For Victory. Their combination of songs was a bit of everything: they played off every album except In Battle There Is No Law and Honour-Valour-Pride, mostly concentrated on Those Once Loyal, …For Victory and Mercenary, a little bit to my disappointment. After the two openers they continued with the intense Mercenary, and then we got to the top straight away concerning my taste with the two beautiful classics ‘World Eater’ and ‘Cenotaph’, that I personally would always expect to be the last song as for me it reaches up to something like ‘Isolated’ in case of Morgoth (– and I believe I’m not the only one who might agree that that mighty song could be Bolt Thrower’s strongest track).

BT1

Bolt Thrower

If the atmosphere was crazy on Morgoth, it became even more unbelievable during Bolt Thrower. Everyone was out of their minds; the pit was full; there were at least two people (once including me) stagediving during every song they played from about the third-fourth track on… people cheered and hugged Karl on stage; once some guy came to me, grabbed my shoulders and shook me shouting “waaaaaaah”. The band’s sound was excellent, they truly managed to retain the sound and feeling we can get while listening to the albums; and their energy was also overwhelming: they were absolutely cheerful and easy-going on stage, vocalist Karl Willetts definitely seemed to be enjoying the show and the enthusiastic audience as he was smiling from the beginning to the end of the gig. I had the feeling that they could have played the setlist once again as a whole and the crowd would have been able to stand and watch them ’til the first rays of the Sun appear in the morning.
merch1The gig reached its other highlight I could mention probably with ‘No Guts, No Glory’, but since the vibe in the place was almost touchable and the overall mood was really on its top for the whole time, maybe there is no need for emphasizing certain songs from the setlist – it was a mindblowing experience as a whole.

Bolt Thrower came back with an encore two times: once with ‘At First Light’ and ‘When Cannons Fade’ from Those Once Loyal, and secondly with ‘Silent Demise’ off …For Victory, giving a nice frame to the show by starting and ending it with songs from the same album.

Personally, I was expecting Bolt Thrower to favour the first three classic albums by playing a bit more (or in case of ‘In Battle …’, at least playing) songs from them, however, after this amount of devastating power and brutality I think there is still not a single person who would feel any kind of emptiness or regret after coming to see these three death metal lords.


BT2Bolt Thrower’s setlist

1. War/Remembrance
2. Mercenary

3. World Eater/Cenotaph
4. Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)
5. Warmaster
6. Forever Fallen
7. This Time It’s War
8. The IVth Crusade
9. No Guts, No Glory
10. …For Victory
11. The Killchain/Powder Burns
12. + encore: At First Light
13. When Cannons Fade
14. + encore 2: Silent Demise

 

 


Regarding the quality of the sound, tightness, professionalism, enthusiasm and reaction of the audience in case of all the 3 bands, I can certainly say that this show was something one cannot see and hear often, and that one can deservedly regret in case he or she missed. 

[And just a little bragging as I can’t stand not to share: dedicated Morgoth song by Marc + headbanging on stage in front of 700 people during Bolt Thrower 1 meter away from Karl – not a bad way to celebrate my 18th birthday, I guess!]

bt22