Interview with Charley Shackelford
Conducted by Robert Williams
Raleigh, North Carolina’s Hellrazor formed in 2005 is a thrashing "Break Neck Heavy Metal" band who feature within their ranks one Charley Shackelford who also plays guitar for Candlelight Records recording artists Daylight Dies. Charley is complemented by the very talented vocalist Alan Rueda, bassist Dave Sanchez and drummer Chuck Giardino. Since signing with Heaven and Hell Records and releasing the debut album "In The Wild" the band has mounted an impressive DIY campaign having their music featured on one of the last Metal Maniacs magazine sampler cd’s, performing at the Warriors of Metal festival in Ohio alongside Twisted Tower Dire and Aska and producing a music video for the song "The Pawn."
How are you doing today Charley?
Doing alright man, I feel good about Hellrazor and just glad to be out gigging and making music.
"In The Wild" the new album by your band Hellrazor just came out this past September on North Carolina’s Heaven and Hell Records. I know you guys did a lot to promote the disc including filming a video for the track "The Pawn" and appearing on one of the last Metal Maniacs magazine sampler cds. How has the reaction to the new album been thus far?
I’d say its been about 90% positive. There has been a lot of reviews and most have been really good. One dude totally slagged us which sucked but other than that people seem to like it.
Are you guys working on a follow up album for "In the Wild" right now? When should we expect the next cd to come out and can you describe where the new material might be headed musically and lyrically?
We are working on songs for the new album and have demo’d a few so we can step back and check them out but we haven’t started recording the album yet. We plan on starting in January and playing as many gigs as we can get until then but it all depends on what kind of hand life deals us. We definitely don’t want to lose any momentum we might have by taking too long to come out with another album. Musically you can expect it to be a little faster and more technical at times but also smoother and more streamlined. I think we have grown and learned a lot between starting "In The Wild" and now and it should show on the next one. As far as lyrics there is no telling what kind of trouble the Hellrazor character will get into this time but you can rest assured that he hasn’t chilled out a bit.
Hellrazor performed recently alongside the Dallas, Texas power metal group Aska and longtime defenders of traditional American heavy metal Twisted Tower Dire at the 2009 Warriors of Metal Fest in Ohio. How did your appearance at the festival go?
I guess we played pretty good and managed to sell some swag but there wasn’t really anybody there besides the bands and people working. We don’t have much of a draw 500 miles from home. Hopefully that will change. Everyone I talked to at the fest was cool and positive and just trying to have a good time.
Back in 2006; Hellrazor self-released the three song "Coming Straight For You" demo. How long had the band been together at that point?
Maybe 6 months.
How tough was it to find all of the band members that make up Hellrazor?
Getting the line up together was no big deal. We have all known each other for a long time and i guess it was just a timing of who in town has got what going on and these dudes were all down so it came together pretty quick.
Can you describe the current metal scene in North Carolina? Are you happy with Hellrazor currently being based out of North Carolina or do you think the band would go further if you relocated?
The NC metal scene in the Raleigh area is actually pretty good man. There are a ton of bands that play real metal but this is not always positive for us playing out locally since there seems to be a local metal show like every weekend which makes for more competition for people coming out to see us play. Not to mention there is a venue in town that is getting all the national tours. In the last 3 months I have seen a ton of awesome shows. I don’t think we would benefit that much from moving.
You cite your influences as being everything from Judas Priest and Iron Maiden to Exodus, Anthrax and Testament with some Euro-power metal overtones with an end result you describe as "Power-Thrash" considering all of your primary influences were formed in the 1970’s and 80’s; are there any more current bands that you draw influence or enjoy listening to?
O.K. time to blow it with all the "true metal" people. I like Nevermore, The Haunted, new Exodus stuff, Darkane, The Foreshadowing, Sentenced rules(R.I.P. Mikka), You know man I might go a whole week listening to like Watain and other shit like that and then next week only want to hear Van Halen.
Hellrazor stays pretty active performing concerts in the States, could you see yourselves playing abroad in Europe anytime in the immediate future? What would it take to make that happen?
We haven’t really looked to see how that works. I want to say we will go when everything isn’t going to come out of pocket but if that never happens I guess we will bite the bullet and go over there and see what’s up.
You also keep yourself busy playing in the melodic death/doom metal band Daylight Dies. You guys recently got to do some touring last year with doom metal legends Candlemass. What was that experience like?
It ruled. Candlemass rules. I will have to admit some of the shows were not well attended but Candlemass and Daylight Dies for that matter is unfortunately not exactly for the kids. I’d do it again in a hot minute.
Daylight Dies started out on Relapse Records and have now been with Candlelight Records since 2006. How do you feel Candlelight Records has been in terms of helping Daylight Dies reach a larger target audience? Are you happy with this label?
I like being on Candlelight. That’s who got us on those tours and they are probably responsible for you having heard of us so i can’t complain.
You have another project you play guitar for called Iskariot that Hellrazor bassist Dave Sanchez also plays for. When you are writing material how do you and Dave decide which songs wil be used for Hellrazor and which songs have Iskariot written all over them. What qualities would you say set the two bands apart?
That was me and Dave’s previous band. We are really not active anymore.
What can we expect next from Hellrazor?
Next you can expect a well produced 3 song demo available to everyone and a lot of shows here on the east side.
I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk metal Charley. Before we wrap this up do you have any last words for your fans reading at home?
“San Dimas High School football rules!”