The interview begins with some general metal questions posed to both
BlackGoat and Cheryl.
Since there will be some of our readers who have no clue about
either of you let's start back at the beginning when you first heard
heavy metal and what attracted you to the sounds of steel.
[BG] Thatīs really a long story... For me everything started in
Autumn 1979 when I was over at a friends place to play video games. He
had an older relative who was into Metal and had just gotten hooked
himself and he kept playing AC/DC and MOTÖRHEAD that afternoon. It was
a weird experience to kill aliens to the sounds of "Overkill"
and "If You Want Blood" and it hooked me. I asked him to tape
me some stuff and he did. I didnīt even have my own tape player at that
time, I had to use my Dadīs who quickly got me my own to get me and my
newly found "noise" out of his living room, hehehe. I canīt
really say what attracts me to Metal, it just feels right. Iīve tried a
lot of other stuff over the years to widen my horizon but with very few
exceptions all bands that ever move me are clearly Metal.
[Cheryl] My Metal journey started back in 1984 and as usual back then
I "suffered" from insomnia. Sleepless nights happened so often
I developed a habit of listening to the radio when I couldnīt sleep,
constantly searching around the stations to find something interesting.
Up to that point I listened mainly to Top 40 and thanks to my Dad a lot
of Classic Rock. He had a HUGE LP collection and I remember many times
sitting in his room staring at the covers (especially the ones for KISS
and QUEEN albums). Anyway, this particular night while turning the dial
I ran across a song that completely blew me away. It was intense, heavy
and unlike anything I had heard before. I was shocked that music could
be this powerful and evoke such strong emotions ! Top 40 hadnīt done
it. Classic Rock hadnīt done it. Metal did. When the song was finished
the DJ announced it was a new song by a band called METALLICA entitled:
"Ride The Lightning". From that moment on I knew there was
something special about this music called Metal and that I was forever
going to be hooked to it (much to the dismay of my catholic parents
hehe). For years after that I tuned into that same radio show to hear
all kinds of Metal bands.
Do you find that the metal bands that you "grew up with"
are still special to you, or do you find yourself continually moving on
to new things?
[BG] Yes, I still feel attached. The time between 1979 and 1985 is
what Iīd call my "awakening" or my formative years. Each and
every band I came across was new and wild and special and of course that
made a huge impact on me. I do check out new things constantly but I
couldnīt say anything caught on. Iīm stuck in the Metal sound of the
early and mid 80s, for good or ill. :-)
[Cheryl] It depends on which band and their progression throughout
the years. There are some bands I grew up with that have changed for the
worse and no longer have a special place in my heart. METALLICA for
example. (Bet you knew that was coming
)They got me into Metal as I
previously mentioned but about the only "special" place I can
file them in is the "used to be good but turned to shit"
drawer. It actually pains me to hear their old albums so I rarely listen
to them anymore. There definitely are still bands (like OMEN, NUCLEAR
ASSAULT, OVERKILL, HEATHEN, TESTAMENT... etc.) that whenever I hear them
I am transported back to earlier times and it is a great feeling. They
still have a very special place and always will. However, I also have no
problem discovering and moving on to new bands either. My top ten bands
of all time has changed several times over the years. Well, ok, except
for SKYCLAD and OVERKILL. Those two have been my top faves since the
Do you only listen to metal, or at least hard rock music? If so,
why? If not, what types of non-metal stuff do you like and why?
[BG] I would say I listen to Metal and Hard Rock most of my time. I
occasionally listen to Classical Music, old school Goth Rock and Tekkno.
I wouldnīt call myself an expert on either of these last 3 as I donīt
have enough time to get deeper into these genres ("Metal Rules
Supreme") but there is stuff in each of these that I like.
[Cheryl] No, I donīt like to limit myself to only Metal although it
will always be above and beyond every other form of music for me. Itīs
my "first love"... errrr... I mean "second love"
since Hartmuth comes first. ;) I listen to all styles of music though.
My collection consists of Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Classical, Techno /
Dance, Pop, Alternative and even Country and Oldies. Some music forms
(Jazz, for example) I do not actively collect myself but enjoy if they
are on when I am at someoneīs house or something like that. About the
only types of music I despise with unholy passion are Rap, R&B and
Hip Hop of which I think all three are complete crap. I also have no
tolerance for anything that combines any of those aforementioned styles
along with it (like a lot of the stuff that they mistakingly call Metal
today). Itīs horrible. I think listening to other stuff besides Metal
is important for me because it allows for further appreciation of the
greatness of Metal.
Do you like the way metal music has progressed over the past few
[Cheryl] Now thatīs a tough question and for me is like a double
edged sword. There are some things I like about the progression of Metal
and others I donīt like. So I guess I take the good with the bad. I
like the new ideas that have come forth like combining folk or medieval
influences and at the same time I despise the abomination of adding rap
into Metal. I didnīt like it when ANTHRAX did it and I still donīt
Do you mind when metal bands bring in non-metal sounds /
influences / instruments etc into the mix? What bands do you think have
successfully combined things into the metal style that were not
previously a part of the genre?
[BG] Just as you cannot improve gold by mixing it with lesser metals
you cannot improve Metal by mixing it with lesser music forms. Once
defiled it stops being Metal and becomes something else.
[Cheryl] Again this is a case where it depends... I can pretty much
deal with bands adding new stuff into the mix as long as itīs not Rap,
Hip Hop or R&B related. I just canīt get into that stuff. Iīm a
huge fan of Folk / Medieval inspired Metal. SKYCLAD is my favourite band
in that genre. They are, afterall, the originators of it ! Other bands
that have successfully taken non-Metal elements into their music are:
FINNTROLL, IN EXTREMO, SUBWAY TO SALLY, TUATHA DE DANANN (these guys are
fast becoming one of my faves as I have been listening to them a lot
What is the best thing about the metal scene (bands/styles/fans)
and what is the worst?
[BG] The best thing is the Underground. The fact that there are still
new bands forming every day who are real Metal. The worst thing is the
progressive commercialization of that Underground. When I see what
became out of Century Media (who started as a Punk label to release the
first DESPAIR LP because they didnīt trust any of the existing
labels...) or of Metal Blade I feel sick....
[Cheryl] The best thing for me concerning the "Metal scene"
is the constant discovery of new bands, Metal fans to converse with and
going to concerts. Another thing I really like about this particular
scene (the thing that sets it apart from many of the other music scenes
which I have taken part in) is how easily "accessible" the
musicians are. Most of them are more than happy to stand around, have a
few beers, make autographs and talk about their music after a
performance. This is something that doesnīt happen in the other scenes
although I will admit I have never experienced any of them as in depth
as I have the Metal scene. Perhaps the "underground" of other
music styles is the same. Even in mainstream Metal you can have the
possibility to meet up and hang out with the artists. To meet someone in
the mainstream of other music forms like country singer Garth Brooks or
pop musicians Backstreet Boys is nearly impossible unless you win a
contest or bribe the security people. Thereīs so many things wrong with
this scene today that I would be taking up a lot of space so Iīll just
leave that one alone. :-)
Do you find online metal fans to be more ignorant or arrogant then
those in the real world?
[BG] No. The only difference is that people on the net in general are
much more rude because they know they can get away with it. Hidden
behind a screenname itīs easy to be an ass...
[Cheryl] Interesting question. My first impulse is to resonate a huge
"Hell Yeah !" in response but the reality is the ignorance
factor among people is pretty much equal in the online world AND the
real world. It only seems like there is an increased number online.
People are more likely to spout a bunch of crap because they can get
away with it. The internet provides a great place for insecure kids to
be something "big" and feel important and say what they
wouldnīt dare say in real life for fear of getting kicked in the teeth.
Thatīs just part of the anonimity of the Net. After you have been
around a place for awhile and talked to people you begin to see who is
the "real deal" and whoīs not.
Do you prefer bands that are underground and if so why?
[BG] Yes, for the simple reason that those bands usually play music
for their vision of art, not to achieve commercial success. I enjoy art
for artīs sake. Once you only do it to eat regularly art becomes craft
which can be enjoyable as well at times but lacks purity of vision.
[Cheryl] I have no personal preference. If I can feel through a
bandīs music that they are into doing it for the sake of making the
music and nothing more then Iīm satisfied. Interestingly enough there
are a greater majority of underground bands that I enjoy and feel have
that Metal spirit flowing through their music than mainstream bands. So
many of the larger bands, sure they make great music, but it often loses
itīs feeling and emotion after having been filtered through a computer
to get that "perfect" sound to suit the palat of the more
mainstream Metal fans.
What does the term "underground" mean to you anyway?
[BG] Underground is where art triumphs over craft.
[Cheryl] Integrity and perseverance... underground bands usually have
a job on the side, arenīt featured in every glossy Metal mag in the
world and donīt give a shit if they are ever. They make the music
because itīs in their heart and not a necessity (in regards to their
Many metal bands begin as an underground phenomenon and later
achieve more mainstream success. Many fans turn their backs on bands
once they are well known
some for good reason because the band's
style/sound has also changed in a bid for commercial success
it's not always the case. Sometimes people just don't like to share
"their" band(s) with the "sheep" How do you view
[BG] I think many bands develop along a certain line. They come out,
play music undefiled by commercial ideas and are successful. They tour,
are worshipped and get used to it. Of course itīs only human that they
try to keep this status. But most forget that they were successful
BECAUSE they just followed their heart and in most cases the 2nd (or
3rd, depending on how many songs they wrote as a demo band) album is a
terrible disaster. In order to maintain their status they water down the
essence and become accessible to the mainstream people while at the same
time they loose their roots. Once the mainstream people wander away as
they inevitably will the band is doomed. The process is usually passed
off as "musical development" and "growing as an
artist" and comparable bollox like that. People whoīve been in
Metal for a while know to approach a new album with caution once a band
starts throwing around these key phrases in interviews.
[Cheryl] I donīt have any problem with bands that once started in
the underground breaking above and achieving more mainstream success. If
they can do that and keep their integrity in tact then all the more
power to them. Itīs unfortunate though because a lot of bands canīt
seem to handle the mainstream popularity and it isnīt long before they
bend to what the flavour of the month is in order to keep that
popularity going. THAT is when I turn my back and rather spend my energy
supporting bands who arenīt so easily led by temptation of
"hitting it big". As far as sharing bands with
"sheep"... theyīll soon move onto something else so they
donīt bother me. Theyīll be gone with the next trend wave.
On a much lighter note, and to conclude this first part of the
interview, how do you feel about the Wacken folks charging .5 Euro for
the toilets backstage? If you could put off your own mini-Wacken would
you charge people who already paid to be there to take a shit or what?
[BG] I wasnīt really overly affected by it since I can just piss
everywhere. I still think itīs disgusting. They also charged us 10 $
for backstage parking that turned into a mud bog after 4 hours. Iīm
glad I got my car out of there in time and parked on safe ground the
other 2 days. Well, fuck them. I donīt think I will bother to go next
Yeah, I thought that was unusual although to be
honest I did not have to pay to be back there in the first place so I
suppose I have no right to complain. I do know that I would not have
been able to buy much Metal merchandise after having to piss out Beer
after Beer for three days ! I think it would have been better if they
had charged one flat rate of 10 Euro for the entire weekend, that would
have still covered the employee that was cleaning the toilets all day
and been a reasonable amount to pay. It would seem too that when people
have to pay for something they put a bit more care into itīs use so
itīd probably benefit the Wacken people to implement a flat payment
rate for not only the backstage area but also for the main festival
You've been involved in the label business for a long time !
Please tell us a bit of the previous history that lead you to BARBARIAN
To understand where BARBARIAN WRATH comes from one must know that
BARBARIAN WRATH is not my first label. Iīve been doing NAZGULīS EYRIE
PRODUCTIONS from 1994 to 1999 and BARBARIAN WRATH is very much
influenced by my experience back then. With NEP I released 16 CDs and
ultimately fell on my face really hard due to some crucial business
mistakes out of inexperience. But thatīs the past. Who wishes to know
more about those old days can read a quite detailed story on my website HERE.
Seen from an artistic level BARBARIAN WRATH really is NEP 2.0. I still
follow the same path while I learned a lot about the business side of
things and I shall not fall on my face again.
You've been doing the label thing before the Internet became a
major vehicle for doing business and reaching like minds. Tell me how
the net has affected how you do things and reach new bands or listeners.
[BG] It made things a lot easier, faster and cheaper. Frankly,
without the Internet I would not have started over again after NEP went
down. Through the internet Iīm finally independent of distributors.
Iīve had a long history of bad and worse experience with all kinds of
distributors and the internet allows me to bypass all this and reach
people (= potential buyers) directly. I still work with distros of
course, in many ways thatīs more convenient as long as you do not
depend on them. By marketing directly Iīm also in a position to offer
CDs rather cheap to the customer and still make enough to keep the
business going :-)
Do you ever miss the old days when it was much harder to track
down the bands or albums, when you really had to be a determined die
hard metal bastard to hunt down these bands that were never mentioned in
the mainstream press but now are a mere mouse click away?
[BG] Do you miss the times when 5 people had to hold you down at the
dentist and the only sedative was brandy? Do you miss the time when traveling
to the next town took you two days by horse instead of 15 minutes on the
motorway? Itīs true, the net makes a lot of underground stuff easily
accessible to people who otherwise would never hear of such bands. Some
underground gurus lament that fact especially in the NSBM scene, but I
see it as a good thing. If I wanted my releases to be unavailable to the
general public I would make 15 CDRs instead of a CD print. On the
contrary, I think the bands on BARBARIAN WRATH deserve to be heard and
enjoyed by a wide public. I mean (referring to NSBM people now), thatīs
like if Hitler wouldīve written "Mein Kampf" and then
released it as 15 handwritten copies...
Why did you start BARBARIAN WRATH and where did the name come
[BG] I started BARBARIAN WRATH in early 2000. It just felt right to
get active again I guess. I had to clean up quite a mess left over from
NEP and in 2000 the dust started to clear. First thing I released was
the "Death To Norsecore And Fag Gothic" shirt. The guys of
COUNTESS always referred to me as the "Bavarian Barbarian".
"Wrath" came from a business associate whoīs name I shall not
utter for personal reasons. What I always wanted to avoid was the
popular "Records" or "Productions" addition. Itīs
just BARBARIAN WRATH, nothing else.
What are your goals for the label? Would you like to see things
get bigger? Would you like to be able to earn a living from doing this?
My goals have always been the same really, I am releasing the CDs Iīd
like to be able to buy myself. But since nobody bothers to release them
for me I have to go the hard way and do it myself. Iīm quite content
with the way things are right now. If things went any bigger I donīt
think I could handle it anymore and allowing others to take part in your
vision always obscures it. It wouldnīt be 666 % me anymore and I think
Iīd like to avoid that.
I probably could make a living off BARBARIAN WRATH right now but
thatīd be the wrong way. I have a fairly well paid "civil"
job that allows me a lot of freedom (like answering this during work
time :P) and Iīd be an idiot to give that up. Trying to live off
BARBARIAN WRATH would mean that Iīd have to release CDs I think I can
sell instead of those I think are brilliant. And once people turn away
from Metal again (mark my words, itīll happen) Iīd be forced to sign
RapīnīRoll? No thanks... Iīd rather maintain my integrity and go
working to fill my fridge.
I get the impression that BARBARIAN WRATH is not just a
"label" looking to sell CD's, but represents your philosophy
on metal (perhaps life, because metal is life right? hehe) in general.
Is there a way you can explain this philosophy in layman terms?
[BG] Your impression is true I guess. Thanks to my financial
independence CD sales are not really a relevant factor to me. I
appreciate success of course but I will not compromise for it. Having
backbone and showing it is important for me and the bands I sign see
things the same way. We interpret Metal as an artform and a way of life.
Do you continually look for new bands to sign or do they look for
you because of your reputation in the underground? How should bands
reading this contact you if they think they play what you'd be
interested in signing to BARBARIAN WRATH?
[BG] I look. My usual way is to follow a band silently for a while so
see how they really are. Once I have some certainty about their musical
integrity I might approach them. Since I pick bands very carefully I
have a good name and I rarely get turned down. Sometimes I cannot
fulfill a bands expectations and we part ways. Usually before word ever
leaks out. Iīm not willing to gamble the financal future of BARBARIAN
WRATH on a particular act so I had to tell bands who wanted to be on
BARBARIAN WRATH to seek their fortune elsewhere. I wonīt tell any names
of course... I also receive a great deal of promos and most of them are
junk. Sending me promos is not really a good way to grab my attention.
Itīs smarter to just meet me on the net and convince me that you are a
person of musical integrity. Then I might actually ask for a promo and
then Iīll listen to it as well. You have no idea how many promos I
receive and I never get to listen to them. Iīm aware there might be a
gem hidden in that pile but I simply have not enough time. Luckily
Cheryl has more time and by now she has a very good feeling how a
potential BARBARIAN WRATH band sounds so sheīs doing a lot of
preselecting for me. :-)
What are the criteria you look at before signing a band?
[BG] Musical integrity and of course they must play killer Metal. If
it doesnīt make me headbang and go 20 over the speed limit itīs not
BARBARIAN WRATH, hehehe.
To date, where have you found most of the bands for BARBARIAN
[BG] I couldnīt really say. Some bands I meet on the net, others I
read about or someone sends me an mp3 saying "Hey, I think youīd
like that". Thereīs a story behind every band and telling them all
would make a nice book I guess. One of my bands I actually found on
"Disgruntled Metalheads"... I was bored out of my skull at
work so I was browsing old messages. On page 29 I found a message from
"Arioch" asking if anyone here knew of ARMOURED ANGEL. Well,
AA have been one of my favourite Aussie bands since the early 90s so I
replied... Arioch turned out to be Yuri Ward, one of the long lost band
members and now we have a re-release of their first album upcoming and a
reunion of the band as well. Satan works mysterious ways sometimes. :-)
What are you current top selling bands and if you don't mind me
asking - what kinds of numbers do they sell ?
[BG] Well... since all the World knows that my releases are limited
to 666 hand numbered CDs you can imagine that my sales are not that
monumental. Some titles have been reprinted in a slightly changed
unlimited version already so those would be my top sellers. MORRIGAN
"Enter The Sea Of Flames" sold the limited version out in one
week so thatīs my biggest success so far.
Again, if you don't mind me asking
Do you break even or even
make a profit with this label ?
[BG] I make profit. Not immensely much but enough to slowly expand
and sign more bands. Since I started releasing CDs again in August 2000
I put out 17 titles, thatīs an average of a new release every 6 weeks.
This last weekend I assigned catalogue numbers again and my release plan
goes up to WRATH666-o33 now. The fact that all money thatīs made
through BARBARIAN WRATH goes right back in helps a lot of course.
What do you offer to bands you sign? Does the label pay for
professional CD production, touring, and studio time - or are you more
of a promoter and a distributor of their music?
[BG] I offer whatīs necessary. I pay the print of course and take
care of all distribution. Most of my bands record on their own equipment
so my contribution is usually helping out with purchasing additional
recording equipment, organising layout etc. I pay studio time when
necessary but most of the time it isnīt. Which is good. I think
recording studios are a waste of 50 US$ an hour...
Are you ever able to show up in the studio and act as producer for
any of the bands?
[BG] Since hardly any BARBARIAN WRATH bands use a studio, nope. I was
in studio twice with COUNTESS in the NEP days and I donīt really care
to repeat the experience. Having to listen to song parts for 666 times
over and over again grated on my nerves immensely. I think my intense
dislike for recording studios originates back then and from my fights
with bored and incompetent sound engineers. My advice to every band is,
record at home. It might take a bit longer at first to acquire the right
equipment but itīs much more satisfying in the long run as you can
experiment until youīre happy with the result, not until the money runs
out. Makes a big difference...
What other labels or distros carry your titles AND why do you
carry CDs from other labels?
[BG] We opened an office for North America (www.BarbarianWrath-Vinland.org)
in early Summer 2002 so thatīd be the most important address. There are
alot of other labels around the World who carry my stuff. Iīm trying to
keep my link section updated in that aspect. Still if someone needs a
contact for a local distro carrying my releases, mail me. Iīm
distributing releases of others because offering a bigger selection of
stuff in The Basar (www.TheBasar.org)
makes people more likely to order from me. I only carry Cds of bands I
respect and support so donīt expect to find mainstream stuff. Another
reason is that in order to get my releases out there you need to be able
to trade with other labels. You just need to be careful what youīre
getting back in, hehe.
Are the bands you sign to BW exclusively signed to your label?
[BG] Most of them are. We did one offīs with GRAND BELIALīS KEY and
NUNSLAUGHTER who are technically signed to other labels. With
NUNSLAUGHTER we will repeat that by releasing a second part of
Why do you manufacture only 666 copies of each CD on BW and can
you extend the run if the band sells extremely well?
[BG] In the beginning I thought to limit CDs to an overseeable
number. 666 copies are just too nice a number for a Black Metal label to
not do it. But as time went by some bands went beyond that and necessity
made me adjust. Now every new release will still be limited to 666 hand
numbered CDs but when sales demand it and the band is fine with the idea
we will change the layout slightly and make another run. It just
wouldnīt be fair to a band to let a CD go out of print when they donīt
want that. Iīm working with my musicians not against them.
Have you ever been offered a "job" at a less underground
metal label or would you even consider it?
[BG] I havenīt so far and I doubt I ever will as Iīm very forward
with my very low opinion on everything thatīs "Music
Business". I wouldnīt trade my current financial security for the
countless changes the music industry undergoes every year. So, unless
you can surgically remove my spine and my brain the answer would always
be "no. No. NO!!!!"
Do you ever pay for advertising for your label or bands in the
[BG] No. Never did, never will.
Did you coin the terms "Norsecore" and
"Fag-Gothic"? What do they mean, what bands fall into these
categories and why do you hate them so much?
[BG] Norsecore is a musical genre. Itīs basically the missing link
between Grindcore and Black Metal. While the imagery of BM is there the
musical structures are more "Core" than "Metal".
Similar, FagGothic is the offspring of the unclean mating of BM with
The blueprint for Norsecore is DARKTHRONEs "Transylvanian
Hunger" CD. Notice the unaccentuated guitar droning underlaid by
breakless drum chaos. Many "elitist" people like to describe
that sound as "cold, atmospheric, depressive, whatever" and
think everything in that vein is KVLT. People who know their Metal also
know that recordings of that kind are well.... Not Metal. If you like or
dislike the sound is entirely another thing of course. I donīt and the
term was meant derogatory when I invented it but since it has become a
valid description and there are people who happily buy everything I call
Norsecore and like it... To each his own I guess. As long as a Norsecore
band donīt claim to be BM I donīt really care. Itīs the intentional
mislabeling for the sake of $$ that irritates me so much, not the
existence of such genre per se. Much the same can be said about
FagGothic. As a side note, almost all so-called "NSBM" is
Norsecore as well...
Some people have called you an "elitist" when it comes
to metal. Do you think you fit the description ?
Depends on what you mean by "Elitist". When you use it to
describe someone who likes real 666% Metal of all genres and whoīs
aware of the Music Industryīs attempts to mate different kinds of
styles for the sake of $$ and opposes that violently, then yes, Iīm an
elitist and proud of it.
From what I've heard, most of the bands you've represented have
been black metal or very raw thrash metal
why? Can a non-black/thrash
metal band be as "true" and as worthy of your time ?
[BG] Contrary to what most people seem to believe I actually like a
lot of other Metal. Our collection has great diversity and so has my
taste. Traditional Death / Thrash / Black Metal just happens to be my
favourite kind of music I guess. But there are enough labels who release
good Power Metal for instance. There are very few who concentrate on my
corner of music so this is where Iīm needed most.
Speaking of time
.how much time do you pour into this in the run
of an average week?
[BG] Too much and not enough. Without Cheryl Iīd be doomed. Sheīs
taking over a lot of chores that I couldnīt handle anymore for time
reasons. Iīm very glad to have such a helpful and understanding wife.
:-) Without her full cooperation and understanding BARBARIAN WRATH would
not exist anymore or would be reduced to 4 or 5 releases a year at max.
How did you get the nickname Opyros and the more recent BlackGoat?
Which do you prefer?
[BG] I took both myself. "Opyros" is a character out of a
novel by Karl Edward Wagner. Itīs a mad poet seeking to raise Hell by
chanting his works. I like that guy alot and at the time I was starting
to write lyrics for COUNTESS and BARATHRUM and I thought it was very
fitting. Opyrosī masterpiece that finally gains him entrance to Hell
(along with all his listeners) was called "Nightwind".
Fragments of that are quoted in the book and the interested listener
will notice a song with the same title on the last COUNTESS album that I
wrote the lyric for.
BlackGoat is a name I took on IRC. It doesnīt really have any deeper
meaning other than the fact that itīs a BARATHRUM song I like very
much. Of the two I think I prefer "Opyros" more because it has
Are you down with the dude downtown? Seriously though, do you take
the satanic thing as deadly serious, or are you non-religious,
preferring to not bow to any man made creation?
[BG] Orlok says that true evil shows in the small things in life. I
couldnīt agree more. Itīs not the waving of a big black banner saying
SATANIST that makes you one, itīs how you transport the ideology into
every day life. Itīs not something I consciously do, it comes to me
naturally. I was a Satanist years before I encountered the term. Those
who know the least bit about it also know that Satanism is not just
reverse xtianity, itīs something completely different. Mocking the
slaves of light is hardly an important (yet somewhat entertaining) part
of it and itīs easy to spot the many fakes who reduce it to ritualistic
nonsense. All those book Satanists who follow rituals they read about
instead of creating their own are no better than a herd of xtians at
prayer... So yes, Iīm dead serious about it but in a much different way
than you probably meant.
Are all the bands on BW satanic or occult in nature and if so why?
[BG] Yes, they are and itīs not that Iīm consciously searching them
by that parameter. It just happens. Common interest binds us.
Having strong opinions on things has obviously made some people
misunderstand you or where you are coming from. Have any of these types
ever confronted you in the "real" world?
[BG] Hahahaha, neat one. :-) While Iīm easy to spot at shows (big
guy, long hair, accompanied by gorgeous female) Iīve never had any
problems ever. I guess even those who donīt like me or the label still
respect me because I practice what I preach.
To date, what has been the biggest reward or moment where you
really thought, "this is why I do this."
[BG] I have that kind of rush every time I get a new CD in. I think
the biggest reward is positive feedback from the artist.
If you could wipe one "metal" band off the
face of the earth who would it be and why AND if you could have one of
your underground bands "make it" and be known by the masses
who would or COULD it be and why?
[BG] The only thing Iīd like to wipe off the face of the Earth are
idiots. We live in a World of over pampering. Remove all warning
stickers. People SHOULD die for being stupid. Itīs called natural
selection. Every band on BARBARIAN WRATH or WITCHES BREW deserves
success. Not that I see it happen, yet... who can say what the future
Let's start with MetalGospel.com, your first "child" so
to speak! Tell me how it began and what possessed you to step into the
realm of online metal promotion!?!
[Cheryl] Well, to start I never really knew a lot of people into
Metal as deeply and fanatical as I was and it was literally bursting
from within. I had such a desire to talk about it, spread the word about
my favourite bands, share whatever knowledge I had and learn more myself
but couldnīt find a suitable way to do so. Most of the Metal mags were
focusing on Grunge bands still so they werenīt such a great resource
anymore and even then I needed a way I could make a contribution to
Metal myself. The Net offered the perfect platform for this. I had been
online sporadically since around 94. I had no computer of my own and
relied mainly on school computers and a friendīs computer for access to
it. It was like that for many years until 98 when I relocated to another
state and got a job at a technology developing company. With that job it
became necessary for me to have my own computer at home to work on
projects and such. At that point I had plenty of time to surf the Net
and it just struck me that I would like to try learning HTML and put up
a little website dedicated to Metal. Thus I started a free website that
same year on Geocities called "Skykladīs Heavy Metal And Other
Oddities". That eventually turned into what you see today.
Some may already know this, but tell me about how you came up with
the name MetalGospel and about some of the lovely mail you've received
from some FREAKS who are not happy about the combination of these two
words (METAL and GOSPEL)!
Yeah. Some of the emails are rather funny I wished I
had saved them now. I think it mainly stems from the fact that people
donīt investigate the page further. They just sort of find their way
there and think itīs going to be a lot of preaching about christianity
and god using Metal as a medium. Thatīs certainly not the case as
anybody with half a brain would be able to tell upon going into a few of
the sections. Of course who am I kidding ? We live in a "fast
food" society and use of oneīs brain has become optional. I have a
simple response to people now who write complaining about my usage of
religious terminology on the website: As Udo Dirkschneider of ACCEPT
fame says: "Metal IS our religion". Some people get
MetalGospel and others donīt
their loss. The name actually
originated from a discussion on the "Inside The Web" days of
my forum when it was called Merciless Metal Screaming. (You remember
those Inside The Web days too, donīt you ?) I honestly donīt even
remember what band we were talking about but I made a reply to someone
about "spreading the Metal Gospel" and it just sort of
sprouted from there. The name I was previously using for the site was
way too long and I was already beginning to remove parts of the
"Other Oddities" section.
What would you say is the most important parts of your site or the
[Cheryl] Personally I think every section of the website is just as
important as the rest but as far as most visited parts are concerned the
Hymnals (MP3s www.metalgospel.com/hymnals.html) and Crusade
Reports (Concert Reports www.metalgospel.com/concert.html) are
usually at the top. Coming in third are the interviews, depending on
what band or person is being interviewed followed by reviews. For the
past few months the individual band sections have had increased
visitation as well.
What sections of your site are you the most proud of ? What
sections do you consider scrapping - if any?
[Cheryl] I would have to say I am rather happy with the whole website.
My favourite part and the most fun to work on are concert reports. I
really enjoy recounting an evening of live Metal! I also like making
the individual band sections because a lot of times I end up learning
more about bands than I knew previous so it helps me and I can provide a
resource for others to learn from as well. I started a new thing about 6
months or more ago where I feature a certain band every few weeks. Sort
of helps put the spotlight on a particular band for awhile. A recent
development Iīm very happy with concerns the reviews and thatīs what
we call "The MetalGospel Inquisiton" (www.metalgospel.com/reviews.htm).
We pick a bunch of important releases every month that get reviewed by
all staff members to give the reader a more varied opinion of them
besides a lot of regular reviews of course. :-) Right now I donīt plan
on scrapping any of the sections as Iīve already gone through that
phase awhile ago. In fact, I may even add a FAQ section like I had
before to cut down on some emails I get that are the same thing over and
Do you find you have to waste a lot of time dealing with kids
posting trash on the site's forum? Or do people respect you and your
site enough to know where to draw the line?
[Cheryl] Not really. I have had periods of time when the forum was in
different formats, of troublemakers arriving and trying to stir things
up but they donīt stay long. The people who post on the forum donīt
"feed the trolls" so nothing ever really grows out of someone
attempting to start shit. The forum style isnīt very popular too so the
number of posters remains small.
What has been the most rewarding thing about running MetalGospel
in the past few years and what has been the most trying?
[Cheryl] There are several things that have been very rewarding in
running the website with the first and foremost being that it allowed
for me to meet my soulmate: Hartmuth. It has also helped me discover and
learn about new bands as well as have contact with some of my favourites.
Nothing beats talking with bands you have admired for years and getting
to know them on a more personal level. As far as the most trying:
finding the time to fit everything in as well as finding dedicated
people who want to help our crusade for the sake of Metal, nothing else.
For a VERY brief period you took down the site and had a message
there stating something about being tired of the BS? (If I remember
correctly ?) What really happened then, and what happened that made you
revive the site so quickly and with a kick ass new design?
[Cheryl] There were a great deal of things going on in my personal life
at the time and I just felt that I couldnīt handle those AND the
website at the same time. The reviving came so quickly because after
taking it down I had received a lot of very supportive and concerned
emails in addition to feeling an empty spot inside. Itīs like giving
away your child so I started again because it is my destiny.
What does the future hold for MetalGospel.com?
[Cheryl] Complete and utter Metal conversion of the entire known
universe ! (Laughs evilly) Seriously I hope to just keep doing what Iīm
doing and provide a place for people to gain Metal knowledge if they
want it while also preventing personal explosion by always having this
platform to pour into.
Most people who know anything about you know you are from the USA
and now have moved to Germany. You therefore have the unique perspective
of being able to compare the scenes from two countries from a greater
depth than most. So in 666 words or less
no I won't make you
write an essay
but perhaps you can enlighten us about what you see are
the major differences (or similarities) between the two scenes!!
[Cheryl] Well, moving to Germany has been a unique experience of which I
am very thankful for. Not only have I gotten to experience two different
Metal "scenes" but also different cultures and perspectives on
world happenings. I can easily say "the grass is not always greener
on the other side of the fence". One of the main differences I have
noticed has been the enthusiasm level of Metal fans. Here it almost
seems at times that people are bored and harder to please because of over saturation. There are shows every night of the week, in fact you
sometimes have 2 or 3 to pick from. Another thing is that in the US I
could always tell who was REALLY a Metalhead and who was just sort of
passing through to try it out for a bit then move on to the next trend.
In Germany you canīt really tell whoīs really into it or not because
itīs so easy to acquire all the outside signs and symbols. You see
people who look theyīve been into Metal for fifteen years but when you
talk to them itīs like talking to a brick wall. They have no clue.
Metal here is like Rap is in the US. There are tons of people who wear
the shirts, buy the albums and go to the shows simply because it is the
"in thing" to do, not because they genuinely give a shit about
it. As a result of this you canīt really talk to "supposed"
Metalheads in Europe because chances are they havenīt got a clue and
are just in because all their buddies are while in the US when you see a
person with ripped jeans, patches all over and hair down to his/her ass
you know theyīre the real deal. You wouldnīt believe how many long
haired people are running around over here who donīt even know how to
First of all let me tell you I love the label name "WITCHES
BREW" !!! How'd you concoct this one?
[Cheryl] Cool. Glad you like it. When the idea of starting the label
first cropped up I was trying to think of a suitable name for it. I had
actually considered just calling it Metal Gospel Records or something
like that and sort of tying it in with the zine but then Hartmuth came
up with the great name of WITCHES BREW after the MANILLA ROAD song.
Being a huge fan of MANILLA ROAD I was in immediate agreement that this
was going to be the name for my new label and thus it was born.
Why did you start WITCHES BREW when you already have a great
webzine and also work with the Goat for BARBARIAN WRATH?
[Cheryl] The main reason I started it was because occasionally Iīd get
really cool stuff in for review at MetalGospel and every time Iīd hear
one of these unsigned bands that kicked major ass I was thinking:
"damn, I would sign these guys if I had my own label." The
fact that I was doing work for BARBARIAN WRATH had allowed me to see
what went into running a label and my interest in doing the same thing
but suited to MY individual taste and not relying on what Hartmuth
signed started to increase. I also simply wanted to do MORE for Metal
than what I was doing already.
What is the idea behind WITCHES BREW? If I understand it
correctly it's mainly Thrash Metal? Is that the case? If so, what
style of Thrash do you look to sign??
[Cheryl] Basically the idea behind WITCHES BREW is to sign any band, no
matter what style, that hits home for me and has that "something
special". The band doesnīt necessarily HAVE to be Thrash as I
would sign anything that blew me away when hearing it. It just happens
that Thrash is one of my favourite Metal genres so that style is usually
a prime candidate. The first band I actually signed was a Death Metal
band from Germany called SCYTHE. I had recieved a CDR for review at
MetalGospel and loved them.
Are you only interested in just Thrash bands or is any good Heavy Metal
band fair game?
[Cheryl] As I mentioned in the previous answer there is no sole interest
in only Thrash. Any good Heavy Metal is fair game to come on board with
WITCHES BREW. As long as a band has something about them that gives me
that feeling I got in 84 where I am completely blown away and impressed
then I am interested.
Isn't SKYCLAD your favorite band? I thought they were, therefore
I was expecting your label to have lots of folk metal on it ?
[Cheryl] (Laughs) Yeah. SKYCLAD are my favourite band and if I would
hear any good bands that had Folk influence in them I would definitely
consider signing them.
How did you discover SKYCLAD and when did they become your
[Cheryl] I had been a fan of SABBAT previous to SKYCLAD so naturally
being a devout follower of Martin Walkyier and his ingenious way with
words I was keen on keeping up with whatever projects, if any, he moved
onto after leaving SABBAT. I still remember the first time I heard
"Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth" and how it gave me that same
exact feeling as I felt when I heard "Ride The Lightning"
years back. It was a wonderful feeling and instantly SKYCLAD flew up to
my number one favourite band spot and has remained there ever since.
Even with Martin out of the band they still manage to have that
"something special" for me.
I am assuming you got involved in the label business after you had
learned some of the ropes from Mr. BlackGoat??
[Cheryl] Oh yes. Hartmuth was, and continues to be, a huge inspiration for
me as far as WITCHES BREW is concerned. He is a fine teacher in the art
of running a label and whenever I have something that I could use a
little help in he is right there to assist me. I owe a lot to him.
Do you both run WITCHES BREW or is this 100% you?
[Cheryl] WITCHES BREW is one hundred percent my responsibility. However,
I do ask Hartmuth for advice when I need it but as far as choosing bands
and stuff thatīs my domain.
What is different about WITCHES BREW from say BARBARIAN WRATH? Basically, I just wonder why these bands couldn't just be signed to
BARBARIAN WRATH and be your responsibility?
[Cheryl] Well, just as BARBARIAN WRATH is an extension of Hartmuthīs
taste in Metal, WITCHES BREW is representative of my taste in Metal. I
wanted to have my own thing, separate from what heīs doing with
BARBARIAN WRATH to let my own personality and ideas flow into it.
WITCHES BREW is my way of stepping from the consumer side of things to
the supplier and of course preventing the ever-present spontaneous human
What are your goals for the label ? Would you like to be able to
earn a living from doing this?
[Cheryl] My goals are to continue releasing music that I like and getīs
my Metal heart pumping faster. To be able to be one hundred percent
behind my bands and feel that Metal spirit when I listen to any of them.
If it somehow came to pass that I earned a living doing the label I
would not complain but I certainly donīt look at that as one of my
goals. I want it to remain something fun and most times when people need
to earn a living from doing something it then becomes just a job. This
is more of a hobby for me and I want it to remain enjoyable.
Are you on the look out for new bands to sign ? How should bands
reading this contact you if they think they play what you'd be
interested in signing to WITCHES BREW?
[Cheryl] Iīm always looking for new stuff thatīs lurking in the Metal
world somewhere. If a band wants to send something they can send to:
PO Box 100 710
Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the criteria you look at before signing a band?
[Cheryl] Integrity. Love for the music. When I hear a bandīs material
it has to move me and have that "special something" that makes
me want to get up and headbang. Letīs put it this way: if a band can
get me to put down my beer and start headbanging then theyīve matched
the criteria I look for. :-)
To date, where have you found most of the bands for WITCHES BREW?
[Cheryl] Most of them I have discovered because I received something for
review. In fact all of them have some ties to MetalGospel in that I
either reviewed a demo / album, reported on a live performance or heard
about them because of the website.
What are your current top selling bands and if you don't mind me
asking - what kinds of numbers do they sell?
[Cheryl] Right now I donīt have any answers for these questions as
WITCHES BREW is still a very young label. I only started about four
months ago and have since released two albums. Not many numbers
accumulate in a short time such as that. Ask me again in a few years...
Again, if you don't mind me asking
Do you break even or make a
profit with this label?
[Cheryl] Again it is too early to tell these sorts of things. Whenever a
person starts something like this it is always a big investment in the
beginning so right now we are in that stage of not seeing much happening
in the profit area. Running a label requires patience.
What do you offer to bands you sign? Does the label pay for
professional CD production, touring, and studio time - or are you more
of a promoter and a distributor of their music?
[Cheryl] This is the part of the label stuff where I follow Hartmuthīs
lead. The main thing is paying for the print of the CD and taking care
of worldwide distribution. Most of my bands also record on their own
equipment so sometimes I contribute to getting new equipment if they
need it. We also take care of the booklet layout.
Are you ever able to show up in the studio and act as producer for
any of the bands?
[Cheryl] No, I donīt because quite honestly I know nothing about
producing and stuff like that. Thatīs the musicians job.. hehe
just a huge Metal freak who wants to see awesome, unsigned bands get an
opportunity for a professionally printed and released CD as well as
What other labels or distros carry your titles AND why do you
carry other labels CDs?
[Cheryl] We have worldwide distribution. Quite recently we opened up a
North American branch of BARBARIAN WRATH that carries all WITCHES BREW
titles. You can visit them at www.barbarianwrath-vinland.org.
In the distro section of your label's site you have releases there
beyond those released by WITCHES BREW
are these all the same as found
in BARBARIAN WRATH or do you plan to distro (or sign ?) bands that
BlackGoat wouldn't touch with a 666ft pole (hehe)?!?!?
All the titles in the distro are the same and will
remain that way in order to keep things simple here at home. Two rooms
full of CDs (counting our private collection) is quite plenty for me to
keep track of, I wouldnīt want to have to expand all these to yet
Are the bands you sign to WITCHES BREW exclusively signed to your
[Cheryl] Yes, their souls are MINE
(evil laughter follows)
How much time do you pour into this as a whole (MetalGospel AND
WITCHES BREW) in the run of an average week?
[Cheryl] Heh. How many hours are in a week? Because however many there
are is how many I pour into both these projects. I pretty much spend
most of my waking hours while Hartmuth is at work doing something for
either WITCHES BREW, MetalGospel or BARBARIAN WRATH. To say the least
this stuff keeps me extremely busy and out of trouble
To date, what has been the biggest reward or moment related to
either WITCHES BREW or MetalGospel where you really thought, "this
is why I do this."
[Cheryl] For WITCHES BREW the biggest reward is when I get a new release
in, open up the box and put the CD in the player for the first time.
Hearing positive feedback from my bands is also very rewarding and
knowing they are satisfied with the work Iīve done makes me feel damn
proud. For MetalGospel the biggest rewards are getting to know bands,
talking to people I respect as musicians / metalheads and the constant
discovery of cool bands. To know that possibly through my website some
other Metallers out there discover new bands that become their
favourites is also a great thing. Itīs rewarding to get emails from
readers who discovered a new band through the site.
You have a small but growing line-up of bands on the label. Prior
to reading about them, the one I've heard and actually have some music
by is THE CHASM from Mexico! Tell me, how'd you sign them and get into
contact with them? I had figured that they would be signed to a larger
label by now?
[Cheryl] Well, I knew of THE CHASM for a long time as I have seen them
in concert a few times. They have always been an amazing but seemingly
under appreciated band and I actually have Hartmuth to thank for hooking
them. Heīs been in contact with Daniel for awhile now and they were
looking for a label to support their crusade for REAL Death Metal.
Unfortunately they never seemed to find a place to call home so we
opened our doors, offered cold beer and a deal.
What's next for WITCHES BREW?
[Cheryl] World Domination ? Hehe
Next on the agenda is to continue
releasing kick ass Metal I love and for others who hunger for something
that will make them headbang. Weīve got several releases coming up in
the next few months as well as some shows in late 2002 and early 2003.
For anyone who wants more info on WITCHES BREW just head to the website
located at www.witches-brew.org. Once there they can sign up for
our newsletter, hear MP3s of all our bands and keep up with the latest