“The Sentinel” KILLgast from the horror-oozing metallers DOMINATION BLACK
Interview and live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
Domination Black, this horror-oozing thrashy Heavy Metal band, which comes from a small town named Karhula, located in 60:30:05N (60.5014) Lon: 26:56:58E (26.9495), was one of the most promising and interesting newcomers in the world of metal last year. They managed to impress me hugely both with their 4 song “Fear ReloaDEAD” demo and especially with the band´s debut album titled “Fearbringer”. Domination Black´s most distinctive trademark is undoubtedly Mr. “The Sentinel” KILLgast who fronts Domination Black against his will (well, sort of), and who has already been compared to such greats in Heavy Metal as Rob Halford, Tim “The Ripper” Owens and even King Diamond. Luckily all of his other band mates also seem to match together so well that they all create a killer musical incarnation. “Fearbringer” speaks for all the great things that may be ahead for them, but let´s not predict the future any further for Domination Black as it´s a bit unneccessary at this point in the beginning of their road.
Metal-Rules.com inquired from the band´s vocalist “The Sentinel” KILLgast how the band got started, their plans for the future amongst a host of other things – and “The Sentinel” KILLgast took the opportunity to open some sealed and secret doors into Domination Black´s realms of madness and chaos…
I read from your website that your 2nd guitarist Wiren was attacked by some animal some time ago already. What actually happened? Do those injuries affect his playing for a while?
No, they won’t – bitemarks are actually on his leg… This furious encounter took place at Mr. Wirens Ranch where an unleashed beast thought Mr. Wiren and his pedigree friend would make a great meal for that day. In other words, a dog bit him when he was taking his dog out. It was nothing that a few stitches couldn’t fix – Mr. Wiren is recovering with the healing powers of crisps and beer.
FEARBRINGER: THE WORLD OF GHOSTS AND NIGHTMARES
Your debut album FEARBRINGER has been out for a couple of months, and you have started to receive some responses, would you say that you have been positively impressed thus far it´s been received so well amongst metalheads?
So far so good. It’s been great to notice that so many people still value this kind of music where the emphasis is not so much on the technical superiority than in the sheer primitive energy. Nowadays we have these cock-headed virtuosos who don’t even remember why they started to make music in the first place, they’re just thinking how cool they look when they astonish crowds with their – for example – speed. They lack entertainment, so to say.
To me FEARBRINGER represents one of those rare metal records that I personally consider very well-crafted, thought-out and basically very well arranged and has all those vital elements that a metal record should have (heaviness, melody, catchiness, high-profile riff,- rhythm – and lead work, excellent vocal parts, etc.). It simply catches the ears of its listeners easily and effortlessly, leaving no doors open for escape right after you have entered. In my opinion, quite frankly, it´s pretty much like a perfect metal album that every metal musician would like to do and record some day. However, how would you see the very album in question nowadays, now when it´s been out for quite some time already and you obviously have got more distance to it than a couple of months ago? Do you still find that factor of satisfaction from there that makes you proud of the songs you got recorded for it, or is there something on the record that you would like to consider doing otherwise if you got a chance for it?
We spent only five days recording so it’s obvious that there are a few spots that could’ve used a little touch up. Then again we could still be there mummified in the studio and reconsidering the melodies and all. Even spiders would be bored with us whining there.
Our attitude towards FEARBRINGER is that what’s done is done and this is our opening for this twisted game, so let’s move forward then. Of course time changes everything and even now some songs have altered to heavier direction –particularly in singing. This is what keeps things interesting.
Can I ask why one of your songs, titled “Crystal Lake”, the 2nd song out of your highly praised 4-song FEAR ReLoaDEAD demo, was not recorded and included for FEARBRINGER? Why did you decide to skip it for your debut album?
Actually “Crystal Lake” still exists, it just has a new name to it. For some mind-scattering reason it had to wait for better times in spite of the popularity it enjoyed. Maybe some day you’ll hear it again, you never know…
LORDI + DOMINATION BLACK = MAXIMIZING HORROR
The cover art has been done by Lordi; from this Finnish ´Monster Metal´ band called Lordi. How did you get an idea to ask him to do the front cover for FEARBRINGER? Do you know him personally?
It was the natural consequence of the beautiful friendship of two men… No, frankly, Mr. Wiren and Mr. Lordi have been friends for some time so it was almost inevitable that a monsterman would be asked to create the image of the bringer of fear. Domination Black’s also an eager fan of Lordi, on my opinion their debut album was like a breath of freshly squeezed air to the heavy metal world that time. To our great excitement, they still rule! Mere words can’t describe how pleased we are of their victory last weekend at the eurovision song contest. Choke on that, people who think entertainment equals to Tomi Metsäketo! No offense, blue eyes.
Is there a chance that you might work with him in the future as well when it comes to some artworks and stuff for Domination Black?
I believe that will be the case though I’m not gonna tell you where or when.
Has FEARBRINGER been released in Finland only this far, or somewhere else as well?
Rumour says that a drug-addict stole it from the marketplace in Papua.
What about the distribution for it? How has Poison Arrow Records taken care of that for the rest of the world? As far as I know, Old School Metal Records from the Bay Area, California, has signed a distribution deal with Poison Arrow Records for the rest of the Scandinavia and has also agreed to distribute their releases for the United States, South America and Asia. Looks like the distribution has been taken care of pretty darn well, I think…?
We are very pleased.
Do you have any idea about some selling numbers for it, how well it has been doing around the globe thus far? My wild guess is that the first edition was 2000 copies for it and it´s nearly gone already, so that´s a pretty good start indeed. Do you feel a screamingly urgent need to agree with me?
First edition was 1700 copies so your guess is tamed. So far I’ve heard only guideline-figures on the sales so I’m unable to tell you anything spesific. For this kind of an underground band we just try hard not to grin all the time because at least somebody’s bought the album.
What kind of status do you expect to achieve with FEARBRINGER in the metal community during a long run anyway?
No less than The First Chapter of the book of New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal.
DOMINATION BLACK – WHO ARE THEY?
I also read from Domination Black´s homepage that you have ´added´ Juuso ´Animal´ Elminen to your line-up as a keyboard player, and his job is to take care of some spooky effects for the sound of Domination Black. Does it also mean that his addition to the Domination Black line-up, will bring more sort of sountrack´ish movie elements into your new songs, adding more of that ´horror feeling´ into your new material – not to forget your live sound either?
Juuso has been with us almost from the hazy dawn of Domination Black, doing his magic. Along with the release of the album we welcomed him to participate gigs too, though at this moment he won’t be dancing in the spotlight. There’s too little room for even us on the tiny stages we have to play on (at this point at least, let’s be optimistic, haha). Anyway, his contribution will probably be even greater in the future.
Would you describe each of your band mates by a few words next what kind of personalities you are gifted to share Domination Black with?
Mr. Wiren: A devoted fan of Kiss, Twisted Sister and Mötley Crüe. Extremely impulsive and creative guitarist, yet still a “relax, no fuss” -type of a guy. Reminds most of Homer Simpson.
Mr. Heiskanen: Likes Annihilator, Evergrey, Testament. Plays more with consideration. Characteristics: Ritchie Blackmore-meets-Kummeli.
Mr. Eerola: Kiss, Black Sabbath and Venom are the favourites of this uncrowned king of most insane ideas of all time. His sound is a mixture of these. Closest character: Rhode Island State Trooper named Charlie (Jim Carrey)
Mr. Beck: Also a fan of Kiss, Twisted Sister and Type O Negative. Though he’s usually sleepy he still rocks and plays with power! Closest character to him would be Nick Cave (meets Kummeli).
MORE FEAR TO COME BEHIND THE CORNER
Also, as far as some of the news in your website can be believed, your new stuff is supposedly the most pleasing material you have come up with so far, ´crushing the last ones with the aggressiveness, madness and catchier melodies´ as was stated there. Uh, please tell me more…
Recently we started to gather ideas for the next album and we noted that our new pieces are more diverse and heavier but still in a pervert way very melodic. Chronicly insane? Indeed.
You have also come up with the title of your next album, so can you reveal it already what it is? “Horrorbringer – A New Era of Unspeakable Terror”, heh! ;=)
How didn’t we realize that before? Oh crap. ;=)
I’ve had the name haunting my mind since last autumn but I wont’t reveal it just yet. That much I can tell you that we’ll dive even deeper into the grim world of ghouls, nightmares and unspeakable fantasies. Work has been done under titles like “What Lies Beneath”, “Scavenger of Evil”, “The Cemetery and Phantom Light”. As you can see, Domination Black hasn’t evolved into more serious direction… more like the opposite.
How have your working methods changed with your new stuffsince you put together the songs for your debut record, FEARBRINGER? On your debut record, it was basically you and your guitarist Ville who took care of both music and lyrics for the songs for FEARBRINGER, so has this load been shared a bit more between some other members of the band nowadays as well?
The glorious burden has been shared relatively equally, particularly on the arrangement department.
Will this next album of yours be released through Poison Arrow Records as well? How many albums do you have a deal with them for anyway? Is it like 1 + 1 option?
Indeed it will. The deal was 2+1, if I’m not completely senile.
How is Jukka Kyrö, the owner of Poison Arrow Records, to work with anyway? Is he sort of ´easy-guy-to-come-along-with´ type of person who easily listens to your wishes in the business related matters and such things?
Working with Jukka “Kyrde” Kyrö has been really easy although in the Oulu-direction folks tend to be amazed by the fact that sometimes we do things without reconsidering them so much. Like come hell or high water –mentality. He’s a great guy and the dialect grabs you like a tarantula from the testicles. As a matter of fact, we’ll be seen on the famous Teatria stage in Oulu.
CONAN O´BRIEN SINGS METAL IN YOUR LIVING ROOM… EXCUSE ME?!
When Domination Black was put together, and you made your first recordings, people first paid a lot of attention to your vocal style – basically saying your vocal style has more than a thing or two in common with Rob Halford or Tim “The Ripper” Owens or even King Diamond at times. Did these kinds of comparisons come to you as any kind of surprise? It´s undoubtedly no denying that you do sound quite a lot like those aforementioned 3 gentlemen of Heavy Metal?
As suprising as Conan O’Brien in your living room. Well, I’ve lived with those guys’ music for years and years now so it’s obvious that I’ve been heavily influenced by them and I’ve learned an incredible amount of different techniques by just listening to them. Things could be also worse, I could’ve been a fan of Finnrock or pop! Aaaaargh…!!!
I noticed that one of your very favorite albums is – surprise, surprise, Priest´s PAINKILLER. So my next question is naturally based on this absolutely classic Priest record. While you have been spinning the album in question in your home stereos repeatedly over and over again for many years and getting surely excited about it, have you ever tried to imitate Rob´s singing style in it on purpose? And please, be honest…
… aaand the answer is: HELL YEAH, who wouldn’t have?
If you met Rob Halford face-to-face some day, what would you like to say to him?
Probably first I’d be like I’ve just pissed in my pants but surely it would be the same as when I met Ronnie James Dio. Humoristic small talk with no intelligent contents.
Tell something about your artist or ´nickie´ “The Sentinel” KILLgast to the readers of Metal-Rules.com how you got that particular name for yourself and under what kind of circumstances it happened? When listening to “The Sentinel” off Priest´s DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH record, maybe?
My nickname was invented by members of Omnium Gatherum in the legendary – now already gone with the wind – bar Puikko. Under the divine influence of alcohol, how else.
You have also named Ronnie James Dio, Jorn Lande, Sebastian Bach, Chuck Billy – amongst others, as some of your favorite singers. What kind of role have they played in your life as far as your absolutely ear-catching vocalism is concerned. Obviously imitating some of them has been lots of fun for you, at least on learning purposes…
These masters have developed their fantastic sound at the same way, by imitating their favourite predecessors. In my opinion that’s the best way to train yourself and it’s fun. You can’t learn good vocalisation from a book, it takes a lot of experimenting and combining different styles, it’s “blood, sweat and tears and beer & pussy licking”.
What about those King Diamond´ish falsettos in your signing voice then (and some other typical elements in his voice as well)? Have they come naturally into your voice, or are they, more or less, a result of hard training?
Definitely both. Some of natural talent and lots of hard working.
Do you think that your vocal style going to stay the same in the upcoming Domination Black –stuff, or have you any plans to expand the range of your vocals somehow, just to prove or show to some of those most critical people that there´s just a lot of more in your own voice than those Rob´s or Tim´s or King´s vibes only?
No substantial changes forthcoming, maybe just a little bit more of that old school Thrash singing and head voice and the falsettos haunting in the background. Uuuu… haunting…
Each of you in the band could be, more or less, considered an old school Heavy Metal fan. I mean, each of your favorite metal bands range from Kiss to W.A.S.P. to Judas Priest to Metallica – all the way to King Diamond, etc., so I guess that also has a lot of to do with that fact why Domination Black sounds the way it does. Do you pretty much subscribe this statement as well?
Yes, we are influenced by those devils, and what’s there to whine about it? At that time good and catchy metal products were born and most importantly they were at the right length. You will never hear a Domination Black album with for example seventeen songs. Too much is really too much.
One doesn´t have to be smart enough to realize when reading the lyrics on FEARBRINGER that you are fascinated and inspired by horror stories. Could you name horror stories and movies the main sources where you find inspirations from for your lyrics? Undoubtedly romantic books and such things don´t put your lyrical pencil on fire that much anyway…, or do they?
You never can tell… “Meathook Love”, “Phantom Love”, “Love at the First Stabbing…” Those would make nice titles, eh? Ideas for the lyrics don’t come from a specific movie, mainly I get the spark for writing from a special view whether it’s in a film or in nature. On the other hand they sometimes just emerge themselves from my twisted dreams.
WHEELS ARE ABOUT TO BURN ON THE ROAD
As for touring, you have already played quite a few gigs in your home ground here in Finland, but what about expanding your territories outside of Finland as far as playing shows is concerned? Is something that is in the works already regarding Domination Black´s possible gigs outside of the borders of Finland?
There have been some arrangements concerning gigs outside Finland, yes. These things just have so many sides to it, the financing, promotions etc. When the next album is released, we’re planning to group up a tour. That depends, of course, on getting the album out on time.
Thinking a bit further into the future, when you´ll eventually hit on the road for a tour, what kind of expectations do you have about touring anyway?
Excursioning between heaven and hell, haha.
Would you describe a typical Domination Black show for those people who have not seen your band onstage yet, but would be excited to witness Domination Black in a live situation? What kind of elements can people expect from a Domination Black show? A sexy, horror oozing metal performance or what – ha! ;=)
“What we offer is BALLBREAKING HEAVY METAL SHOW, always”
ESSENTIAL WEAPONS OF BECOMING KNOWN: PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS
You have made your debut promotional video out of a song called “Psycho” which turned out to be quite impressive due to its spooky, horror elements in it. Especially your own role was, let´s say, kinda naturally disturbing and scary in it. That makes me ask from you: Are you… (-eh!) ´mentally stable´ always, sort of a madman or something?
Quote from Norman Bates: “We all go a little mad sometimes…” On my behalf I’m that 24/7. Whether its because of a careless nurse or is there really something suspicious about Karhula’s groundwater, who knows. Next video will be properly made with a proper plot and proper props (that is, unless we drink the financing for them).
Do you have any other plans ready on the table to make another video for one of your songs on FEARBRINGER? The opening track, “Ultra-speed Destructor” would be a somewhat ideal song for another D.B. video – at least if asked from me respectively…
There was discussion about that some time ago, umm… it’s not exactly out of the question but I think the emphasis is on the new stuff we’re making. We shall see what the future drags inside.
THE FINNS KNOW THEIR METAL
What do you overall think of the Finnish metal scene in 2005 Anno Bastardi? Do you believe the Finnish metal has sort of reached its peak with such internationally successful and known bands as Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Amorphis, Sentenced (R.I.P.), Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, etc. etc. – just to name a few, or do you want to believe better times will still be ahead of us?
As far as I can tell Finnish Heavy Metal is more popular than it’s ever been here and abroad and it’s fucking cool, of course. The fame that “guys right around the block” have earned themselves really encourages especially the young people to grab on an instrument. I believe that we’re going to a more interesting direction and there most likely will be more diversion to everyone. It would – though – be helpful to get rid of these “location-scenes” and monopoly statuses of some labels. They’re blocking the way of some bands to get gigs and publicity or even try to smother the flame that burns the people who make music.
Is there some Finnish metal band – or some Finnish metal bands that you respect more than others, for some reason or the other?
I’m not personally a dedicated fan of Finnish Heavy Metal but those who I like have a class of their own – for example Lordi, Tarot, Omnium Gatherum, Kaihoro, Diablo and Kiuas. And last but not the leech, one more to be mentioned: Martti Servo & Napander.
What´s your personal take on Nightwish´s situation having no Tarja in the line-up these days? At least it got lots of even sickening media publicity in some Finnish tabloid newspapers for a while ago and it seemed the whole story went out of line in many of those cases, making a way too big deal out of it. Now bring us back a jolly good fellow Matti Nykänen and his Jailhouse Rock Funky Club, right? (-heh!)
There have always been replacements in many bands and almost always lots of furious fights. Well, Finland’s not so big of a country and Nightwish being the national treasure somebody was bound to get mad about it. But a new day will dawn and they’ll have a new singer, let it be Matti Nykänen.
How would you see Domination Black on the soil of today´s Finnish metal scene? Do you see Domination Black sort of ´odd ball´ amongst other Finnish metal acts as there´s no other band from Finland that could sound like Domination Black? We surely have seen and heard a bottomless amount of all these C.o.B. –clone bands already, but nothing like Domination Black thus far…
We’re probably the spot of colour (or shit) in today’s metal scene because of our attitude and musical style. We fly the flag of pure Heavy Metal entertainment and that’s the kinda sugar papa likes.
REACHING OUT FOR A STATE OF POUNDING METAL FROM THE FUTURE
What´s the best, most rewarding thing for you personally to have a band like Domination Black around you from your own point of view? Is one of your main goals to do this forever as your main thing as long as you might have a chance to make your living out of being a part of this band?
DB has definitely made possible making of new, interesting acquaintances. Best part is to hear from newly started little heavy-musicians that we – being so underground as we are – have been an influence to their music, that’s the ground beneath your feet. We’ll carry on metalling as long as it’ll be fun. If going gets serious, well, that would be the end of DB.
My personal dream is to make a few smashing albums and retire with dignity like Mercyful Fate and Twisted Sister for example. Then I could do dubbing for animations and run hundreds of band projects and radioshows, haha. Really, some day I’d like to set up a project/band who would combine Godsmack, Rob Zombie and a little more acoustic stuff… once again, we shall see.
What do you hope to achieve with Domination Black within 1-2 years; and no, I´m not referring to this typical ´money & fame´ -thing that much this time around… ;=)
We’re aspiring to build up our own status on Finnish heavy scene and that way to inch our way to the awareness of the outer world (sounds a lot like space-travelling by the way).
Alternate, more likely-to-happen answer:
We get to build a castle, which would be the headquarters for Domination Black’s actions. There we’d live in a community where we grow our own kebab and groom a little orchard where flourishes the great beer-tree. And naturally, we’d welcome all DB fans and friends to have fun kicking the asses of any scene-inspectors.
Thank you very much for your time with this question marathon Mr. “The Sentinel” KILLgast. I hope my questions were worth answering and you spent some fun times when answering to them. Any closing comments/last words/curses/whatsoever for the readers of Metal-Rules.com possibly…?
In Tony Clifton’s immortal words: “If I’ve made just one person happy, then it’s all been worth it”.
Thanks Luxi & Metal-Rules.com, we salute you!
DOMINATION BLACK´S HOUSE OF HORRORS: