SUICIDAL ANGELS – Basist Sotiris

May 18th, 2007
by Metal Rules

Greek World Thrash Domination

 

Interview by Luxi Lahtinen
 
 
Greece has seriously started to become a so-called ´hot bed´ in today´s metal scene – and not only for their breath-taking and enviable culture, wonderful weather and darn hot-looking women, but also for some blood-curdlingly killer Thrash Metal that also this band named Suicidal Angels from Athens, strongly represents for. 
 
Suicidal Angels have already made themselves known on the European continent for some years by playing around together with a bunch of international metal acts like Onslaught, Napalm Death, Tankard, Rotting Christ, etc. – and now they are preparing to play more shows with Master (US), Celtic Frist, Kreator and the infamous Polish bible bashers Behemoth. Also, Suicidal Angels signed to the Californian-based Old School Metal Records for not that long time ago – and the band´s debut full-lenght album, titled ETERNAL DOMINATION, should be out in June 2007. So prepare yourself for an aggressive old school Thrash Metal attack from these new kings of Thrash Metal that do what they can do best: Thrash like true maniacs like there´s no tomorrow. The band´s basist Sotiris reveals us kindly more about Suicidal Angel´s world domination…
 

ABOUT GIRLS DRESSING UP WITH TINY SUMMER CLOTHES

 

What’s up in Greece these days? You told me just recently that the band has been kept busy due to all these gig arrangements for the band. On May 18th you’ll be supporting the US Thrash/Death Metal veterans Master in Athens – and two days later from that, Suicidal Angels will be supporting both Kreator and Celtic Frost in the capital of Greece as well. What kinds of expectations do you already have from those two shows?

Hello Luxi! Everything’s fine down here. The temperature’s rising, summer’s coming faster than expected and therefore, the girls have already started dressing with all these tiny summer clothes, which barely cover the necessary! ;o) As for the band, well, first of all we expect to gain as much experience as possible by watching these 3 legendary bands performing. Surely we want to enjoy both concerts and may I say it’s an honor for us to share the stage with such bands. Ofcourse, we’ll give it all to make the audience mosh and have a good time, that’s a priority!

On May 30th you’ll be traveling to Sofia, Bulgaria to play together with the Polish extreme metallers Behemoth there. How did you get this slot booked for you? Are you close friends with the guys from Behemoth?

Well, no. We’ve never met Behemoth before. When we returned from the “Theogonia Balkan Tour”, we contacted the agency that booked the Rotting Christ concert in Sofia (Most Of Evil Music) and they invited us to visit Bulgaria again, this time supporting Behemoth.

You played in Sofia almost just recently (on April 12th 2007) when you toured together with Rotting Christ and Mass Infection. How was it to play in Bulgaria – and what could you overall tell about this “Theogonia Balkan Tour 2007” that you did with those 2 other Greek bands? Obviously it was a great success to all 3 bands involved in this same bill…

The show in Sofia was absolutely awesome! The fans were great, they enjoyed the concert and they showed their satisfaction by moshing all around. We had a terrific time in Bulgaria, as we had in most of the countries we toured. The tour was a very nice experience for us, it introduced us to new audiences and hopefully we now have a lot of new fans! Overall, it was a huge success and at this point we would like to thank Sakis from Rotting Christ for trusting us and giving us the opportunity to be a part of the tour.

Now jumping back a couple of years in time, Suicidal Angels was formed by your guitarist/vocalist Nick in early 2001 – and ever since then the band’s musical vision was very clear: A vicious and aggressive old school Thrash Metal was meant to be the name of Suicidal Angels’ game. How has your vision been shaped up since those days what Suicidal Angels should been all about musically?

Well. It’s fairly simple. Nick loves old school Thrash Metal so there was no way he would form a band that would play something else. The vision was clear: PURE FUCKING THRASH!

Many have already compared Suicidal Angels musically to such influential Thrash -names as early Slayer and early Kreator, so undoubtedly you can also subscribe the early works of those legendary Thrash Metal acts as the main source of musical inspirations, too – correct?

Exactly. Slayer and Kreator are 2 of our main influences but the list with the bands that have inspired us, both from the American and the German scene, is endless, so it would take me a lot of time to mention all of them!

In April 2006, your previous bass player Christine felt that the band wasn’t her top priority in her life any more, so she got replaced by you (Sotiris) pretty soon after she stepped aside from the band. How did her playing style differ from your playing style, and what new you brought into the band that Christine couldn’t be capable of contributing for Suicidal Angels?

As far as I know, Christine had some problems with her family. She wanted to help the band but many personal issues made it difficult, so she decided that leaving Suicidal Angels would be for the best interest of both sides. I replaced her immediately. Unfortunately, I’m not the one to mention the new stuff I introduced to the band. Maybe you should ask Nick, Orfeas or Themis about that!

 

GREEK THRASH METAL DOMINATION

Since the term “Greek Thrash Metal” seems to be kinda strange concept to most of us metalheads (I believe), could you tell how popular Thrash Metal is amongst the Greek metal warriors these days? I mean, is it a sort of ´in´ -thing nowadays to form a Thrash Metal bands amongst the Greek metal musicians, or do Greek metal musicians prefer mostly playing some other styles of metal music like Power Metal or Black Metal or Gothic Metal that seem to be more popular in some other countries in Europe, like in Germany, Holland and Belgium. I shamelessly admit that I only know of – besides Suicidal Angels, Drunkard, Memorain and of course Flames from Greece that play Thrash Metal.

Thrash Metal in Greece has many followers (like other music genres, too) and many Thrash bands exist here, some more and some less popular than others. I don’t know if Black or Gothic Metal is popular in Europe, the only thing I know is that Thrash Metal is back, more aggressive than ever, and there are many bands worldwide to prove this. The Greeks love aggressive music and Thrash appeals to many.

 

Now let’s move on and talk about Suicidal Angels again. What could you tell us about the recording sessions for your upcoming full-length album, ETERNAL DOMINATION? What I already know about it, it will contain 11 songs of neck-breaking old school Thrash Metal that should kick teeth back to listeners´ throat. Now could you kindly go on from this by telling us a bit more about the songs?

In my opinion, ETERNAL DOMINATION includes even faster and more aggressive songs than all of our previous releases. I mean, be prepared for speed and neck breaking thrash riffs, because that’s what you get with Suicidal Angels. As for the recording sessions, things went very well for us, although we had some minor problems with the studio and the recording procedures. We wanted everything to be perfect so we didn’t rush, even if that cost us a lot of money. We recorded everything in Greece but sent the master tapes to the USA for mixing and mastering. The result is completely up to our expectations and we hope that all the fans will feel the same when they listen to it. :o)

Like you already told us, you have also re-recorded all the 4 songs from your previous mini-CD ARMIES OF HELL for your debut album. How much did these 4 songs off that mini-CD changed structurally during the actual recording process when comparing them to the versions you had on ARMIES OF HELL?

The main thing that has changed is speed, I mean they have been recorded at an even faster tempo than in the ARMIES OF HELL EP. Nick’s vocal style has also changed a bit, as Nick decided to sing the songs in a different way than before. About the structural part now, there aren’t any major changes. Only a couple of parts in one or two songs have changed in the latest recording, but nothing special at all.

When Suicidal Angels write a song, what are some of the most important, key elements of a Suicidal Angels song structure that you always want to pay an extra load of attention to? One easy guess from me is that one of those so-called ´key elements´ is to make a song to sound as catchy as possible…

When we listen to a new riff that Nick brings to the studio, the key element is that this riff should make us want to bang our heads right away! Our instinctive reactions, as Thrash Metal fans, show if a riff fits to the musical style of Suicidal Angels.

Was it any hard to decide the final running order of the songs for this album? Did you have to make any compromises regarding that?

We had a slight disagreement in the beginning, but in the end we all agreed to the final song order. Well, compromises are needed by everyone in any situation; fortunately, all of us co-operate very well with each other. We’re real mates, not just four guys playing together.

The cover artwork on ETERNAL DOMINATION is very impressive. Has the same guy done it (George Prasinis from Grinpiece.com) who did the artwork for your previous release, ARMIES OF HELL? At least it looks very similar to that mini-CD’s artwork…

Yes, George is responsible for all our CD covers and artwork since the BLOODTHIRSTY HUMANITY -era. We totally trust his imagination and skills as a graphic designer. This guy is really something!

How did eventually you end up choosing him for doing the artwork for ETERNAL DOMINATION? Did you just give the title of your album to him and basically asked him to use his imagination and the result ended up looking like the cover ETERNAL DOMINATION does? Was it actually that simple?

Well, when we asked George to do the cover for ETERNAL DOMINATION, we didn’t have any recorded samples of the songs yet, so the only thing we could do was to give him 3 song titles (“Quench Your Thirst with Christian Souls”, “Evil Attack” and “The Prophecy”) and trust his inspiration. Believe me, his imagination is fuckin’ sick! You can understand this by the visual result, of course.

ETERNAL DOMINATION has been produced, mixed and mastered by the Vile guitarist Colin Davis at Imperial Mastering Studios in California, USA. Was it an obvious choice for you to choose him to handle all this for you, or did you even have some other potentially qualified options in your mind that might have well done the job for this album as well?

Our original plans were to mix and master the album here in Greece, but when Patrick Ramseier from our label, OSM, told us that he knows this guy, Colin Davis and co-operates with him, we decided to send Colin the songs. Undoubtedly, he would be better than any man in Greece in getting the job done, his past work is incredible.

 

SIGNING TO OLD SCHOOL METAL RECORDS

The Californian-based Old School Metal Records will release your debut full-length album ETERNAL DOMINATION on June 2007. What kinds of expectations do you have from the label itself – as well as from your debut album personally?

First of all, I would like to say that Patrick has treated us in a more-than-friendly way and we gratefully acknowledge that. The most important thing that we expect from OSM is to promote the album in the best way possible and help us book many concerts (tours / festivals / gigs). Touring and performing live is the best way to present your music to the people. Time will tell if our album appeals to Thrash Metal fans. As far as we’re concerned, the album is 100% Thrash, we enjoy listening to it a lot!

 

Is your deal with OSM Records for just this album, or does your deal with the label contain an option for further releases, strictly based on how well your debut album may do selling-wise?

It’s only for one release, but of course, if everything goes well, we are open to a new co-operation. As I told you before, things with OSM are going very well.

Like the name of the label already says, Old School Metal is basically looking for those bands for their roster that can rip something out from the both 80’s – and early 90’s Thrash/Death Metal scenes, have enough attitude, plus live, wear, sweat and breath metal. Do you sincerely think Suicidal Angels fulfill all those aforementioned requirements as a band?  Namely because I think they do… and really damn well even! ;o)

Well, thank you very much! I think you just answered the question for me! ;o)  Fuckin’ Thrash, hell yeah!!! I must say, being on stage and playing Thrash Metal is what we’re made for. This is what we love!

What do you think some of your label mates like Jumalation, Chaosfear, Kryptos and Nerlich? Do you believe Suicidal Angels fit in really well with all those other bands on OSM Records?

OSM never makes a mistake when it comes to old school metal. All these bands fuckin’ kick ass and I hope that one day we’ll share the stage with them!!! Thrash ‘till death dudes… ;o)

 

IMPORTANCE OF MAKING GIGS

Talking about playing gigs a bit more again, I gotta believe once ETERNAL DOMINATION has been put out by OSM Records, you have some plans to hit on the road again in order to support the album selling-wise the best you can, am I right?

Yes, of course. As I told you before, we are ready, with Patrick’s help, to perform as many gigs as possible, both to Europe and the US. The album’s release is scheduled for July 16th (we have a small delay) and after that we will surely tour Europe and hopefully, the US. As soon as the dates are confirmed we’ll let all of you know through our website.

How important do you actually find to get a support band slot for Suicidal Angels on some certain tour when a headlining act is known and popular amongst metalheads? Let’s say, you just recently had this tour with Rotting Christ in 7 different countries (9 dates all in all) that undoubtedly introduced Suicidal Angels to some new audiences…

It’s undoubtedly a very big experience to share the stage with a band like Rotting Christ. Firstly, you get important lessons by watching these great bands performing, something that will definitely help you improve your own stage performance. Secondly, you get the chance to play in front of a big number of metalheads that as a newcomer wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s exactly as you said, you introduce yourself to a large audience. If you’re good enough, maybe you will make new fans.

Also, without doubts there’s at least a fistful bands out there that Suicidal Angels would like to tour with some day, so could be this list of those particular bands? Let me take a one wild guess. Hmm… Slayer? ;o)

Touring with Slayer is something every Thrash Metal band desires and would be like a dream come true for us. Well, with the new album out, we are interested in touring with any good, extreme metal band and forming a combination the fans would love to come watch live.

From Slayer to that period of metal when they became of the most leading and influential Thrash Metal bands on the face of the earth… I mean, the golden and precious ´80s, that is. As the fact goes, the 80´s is still considered the best era for metal by many that has had a bigger impact on everything than one might even think of in the first place. Anyway, could you name at least 5 or 6 bands especially from the ´80s Speed/Thrash scene that have had the biggest influence on Suicidal Angels either musically – or lyrically?

Well, we love the 80’s and we feel nostalgic for that era. In my opinion, every band that was formed then really kicked ass! But, because you asked for 5 or 6 band names, here they are: Slayer, Dark Angel, Sadus, Kreator, Sepultura, and Forbidden. That’s only a small sample of the bands that have influenced us.

´The Big Four´, i.e. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax have all been around since they were formed back in the day, and each of them has sold millions of albums worldwide during their own careers. However, do you think all of these 4 bands have somehow sacrificed their own musical visions on the altar of more commercially accepted and ear-friendly sounds they used to have in the beginning when they started out – just to get more records sold, and to appeal bigger mass of people by doing so?

First of all, in my opinion Slayer didn’t do that. They can compose whatever they want and still be 100% Slayer! Well, about the others, I believe that Metallica have fucked up things after the AND JUSTICE FOR ALL album and I just wanna say that Dave Mustaine and Scott Ian fuckin’ rule, even if I stopped listening to Megadeth after CRYPTIC WRITINGS and to Anthrax after PERSISTENCE OF TIME. You know, many bands change their style for money but some bands change because they want to explore different paths. There comes a time for some musicians when they just don’t want to play in the same style they did for like 5 or 10 years. It doesn’t satisfy them anymore. That should be respectable even if it hurts the fans, as long as it is something honest and sincere. So, we shouldn’t accuse them so easily. It’s not always about money. However, when it is about money after all, there’s only one thing to say: FUCK YOU!

If Suicidal Angels were offered a multi-album deal, worth 20 million bucks by the multinational Capitol Records, would you accept the offer from them if the only condition was you should change musical approach your to the similar style what Metallica did on LOAD (or RELOAD)?

We will follow the example of Hypnosia, the Swedish Thrash Metal Gods. Upon the release of their first album, their record label asked them to change their style to a more “modern” one. Their answer was a big FUCK OFF! We won’t change our style for anything, even for such a huge amount of money. We love old school Thrash Metal and this is proved by our choice to play this kind of music, 15+ years after its commercial “death”. If we wanted to have a greater chance for making money, we would play nu-metal. We don’t see music as a money making business, what we do comes straight out from our love for Thrash Metal. And we won’t get tired of it! There’s no exploring other paths for Suicidal Angels, Thrash Metal is the only metal we love to play.

What do you hope and expect to achieve with Suicidal Angels within the next 2-3 years or so – excluding this becoming famous and getting lots of $$$ – thing, ha!

The first thing we want is to keep the current line-up stable, because the band had many line-up problems in the previous years. We will still be playing Thrash Metal of course – hopefully with even more energy, speed and passion. We want to tour all over the world and spread the name of Suicidal Angels to all four corners of the globe! We want to help spread thrash metal music all around the world again! Oh, I forgot the most important!!! We expect to become famous and filthy rich!! (Just kidding… ;oP ).

To end this interview session, would you give people 3 good reasons why they should buy ETERNAL DOMINATION when it comes out? Now go ahead Sotiris…

Well, anyone who likes old school attitude, Thrash Metal in general and is seeking for energy and aggression through music will definitely not throw his money away by buying our CD. Speed, aggression and lack of compromising: These are the three basic elements of our music.

That was it… your torment has come to its end, ha! Thank you Sotiris for your time spent with all of these q´s and all the best for Suicidal Angels whatever you may do in the future. Oh, and may the last words be yours… ;o)

First of all, thank you for this interview and for all your support to us. Big thanks go also to all our fans and all the people who came to the concerts and gave us such a good time during our tour with Rotting Christ. Anyone who is interested in checking out some more information about the band (mp3s, photos etc) should visit www.suicidalangels.com or www.myspace.com/suicidalangelsgreece. And, last but not least, a little message to the non believers: Thrash is back, motherfuckers, and you’ll suffer the consequences!! CHEERS TO THE OLD SCHOOL!!! THRASH ‘TILL DEATH AND CHRISTIANS TO THE LIONS!!! 

 

Read a review for ARMIES OF HELL mini-CD in Metal-Rules.com
 

 

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