Tormenting grip on the bass´ neck:
Bilibaldus from Malicious Death says his piece
Interview by Luxi Lahtinen
Live pictures by Toni "ElDiablo" Salminen (Metalscope.net)
Malicious Death from the capital of Finland, Helsinki, plays old school Thrash Metal that has much to do with the traditions and deepest values as far as a vintage sounding Speed - and Thrash Metal is concerned. The band has already recorded a couple of albums (DEVILIZATION on their own label, Rebellion Records in 2003; available as vinyl only - and WAR & POWER on Verikauha Records in 2005) - and is currently working on new songs for their next album that we can hopefully expect by the end of 2007.
Bilibaldus from Malicious Death was kind enough to tell us more about what the band has been up to lately, plus his own thoughts about the current state of the metal scene - what´s wrong with it and what are some of things in it in his opinion that spreads a´from-ear-to-another´ wide smile on his face.
However, be warned that some of you may find Bilibaldus´ comments and opinions insulting, and probably even somewhat disturbing - and Metal-Rules.com takes no responsibility for his any of his sayings, whatsoever.
Good old school thrash-smelling day, Mr. Bilibaldus. It´s been a while since Malicious Death have unleashed new beasts from their dark and sweaty catacombs, so would you provide us some sort of update on what´s been going on in your infamous camp?
Hell to all of you, too. We have done enough songs but I really can’t say how many exactly. Maybe about 20 or something... We taped all of them and start working with them in this summer. Studio time is still an open case for our next recording. I think we need to work this summer with the new vocalist and just then we are ready to head into studio. Musically these 2 last years have been hard and I’ve been suffering from frustration. I just have to be happy that Oba and Jerker are still standing with me in this band. I´m not sure how much cleaning our sweaty catacombs still needs, but I feel a whole lot better now.
As for your new vocalist hunt that you have going on right now, what kind of vocalist are you actually looking for Malicious Death as far as the whole package - from his voice to attitude to motivation to free beers, etc, are all concerned?
Some sort of German´ish voice tormentor would be nice. Of course he should be capable of drinking tons of beer and have a great personality. Motivation is a big thing, too. Definitely motivation and what could be even better he could have skills to help us with writing new Malicious Death songs and so on. Well, actually we have already found such a furious hell screamer in the band already who lives by the beer and preaches infernal flames from his mouth. I hope we will see a glorious and thrashing insane future ahead of us together.
WAR AND POWER
Your last album, WAR & POWER, was released through a small indie Finnish label Verikauha Records in 2005. How has the feedback been for that album all in all?
Haven’t heard that much about feedback. What I did hear about is that the drums should be more on the top? Well, honestly I just don’t get it!! I hate these modern drum sounds and how they ruin metal these days. Of corpse there’s also some good feedback about WAR & POWER, but that feedback has mainly come from about some certain songs on the album (“uh, isn´t that the same thing then?”, Luxi wonders). After all, maybe people know that we breathe old school thrash and not this modern metal as many do nowadays.
Are you personally happy with the songs on that album now when you have got some distance to it and possibly can think of it from a whole different perspective?
I think I never get enough distance for our songs. So many times I´m excited like a little boy for a new song and later can’t find anything wrong with it. Well, I might still do a little bit longer version from one of our songs titled “Enemy Unknown”, even if I´m still pretty pleased with the version we did for WAR & POWER. I well might do it, but add more different parts and more melody to it. But after all, I’m blind when it comes to my own songs. Lyrics are the thing that I probably start to think more carefully some day, but it will come when it´s about to come. Now it’s time to hit fast and hard under the belt.
By the way, did your deal with Verikauha cover this one album only, or was the deal signed for more albums than just one? Do you have any numbers how many copies of WAR & POWER has been sold thus far?
Our deal was only for this album... I don’t know any selling numbers, but I believe not that much as they believed it would sell. We are not that popular yet, and I´m not so sure we ever get that popular with our old fashioned metal, ha-ha!! I don’t know what they say at Verikauha after we send them a demo from some of our new songs. Probably they will be shocked for how much backwards we can walk in time, ha-ha-hah-hah!! But you just never know, maybe they still even love us and want to release the next album with us – who knows? Anyhow, we have a good relationship with them. They are great guys and I have nothing bad to say about them so far, so...
THOSE STRANGE BRAZILIANS AND DEVILIZATION
One cannot help notice when visiting your website that there´s some photos in your website in which Andreas Kisser and Paulo Xisto Pinto Jr. from Sepultura are holding your debut 12” vinyl titled DEVILIZATION in their curious hands. So, when did you exactly meet the guys and have you gotten any feedback from either of them since you bribed them with a couple of Malicious Death´s DEVILIZATION vinyl records?
I’m disappointed that our great friends Kisser and Pinto didn’t want to get any contact after that. But, oh well... they are stars and probably simply forgot a small band like us in their smoked minds. It was a sort of secret meeting in Germany where we worshipped those unholy demons in our sanguinary ceremony and we got to meet these crazy Brazilians there in the middle of full of joint trip. This was definitely a ´top secret´ thing.
As far as I know, Malicious Death should have enough new songs ready for your next album. I remember you telling me once that your new songs are actually pretty lengthy and sort of ´epic´ types of songs, so would you kindly kill our curiosity regarding Malicious Death´s new stuff? Oh, and thank you...!
´Epic´ type... You must be talking with Oba because he uses that word - not me. Unless the word ´epic´ in this case means 20 different riffs in 3 minutes, ha-ha!! We actually have done a couple of long, long songs; one was over 8-minutes long and the basic feel in that song is like 70’s Judas Priest meets 80’s thrash metal. I’ve always wanted to take thrash metal backwards like into 70’s - or even more back in time. So that song is definitely one of my favorites but right now we are thinking it probably won’t be released on our next album after all. It just depends on our new singer and how we want our album to sound like. This is completely not the end of our old style; it’s a new beginning and we are sort of opening new gates to hell on our next release. I would say our new songs are mostly between early Sodom and early Metallica musically and I mean both of these two bands´ 1st two albums. But we’ll see how we can use these songs. Maybe we forget those massive sounding, lengthy songs and record faster ones. But who knows, time will tell what type of songs will end up on our next album.
What do you think are the primary reasons for that why Malicious Death have developed from your early 3-4 minute thrashing outburst toward more epic and lengthy type of songs? It would be easy to say it’s ´natural development´ from the band, but I think there’s actually a bit more behind that statement than just this ´we-have-become-better-players´ over the time isn’t there?
Well, that is true... At least I have been learning so much with the band within all these past years and we play together much better now. But one of the reasons certainly is because we have been practicing as a trio a couple of years now (well, RJ has only been in some rehearsals, but...). So when we didn’t need to think about the vocals too much; we just let our minds flow and overall enjoy to play thrash metal. Some of those songs did grow too much but it’s nothing to worry about as all of those songs are still pure old school as I told earlier - probably even more old school than one can think of at first... ha-ha!! Also, this time we have written our shortest songs in our whole history. I mean, those under 3-minutes long, early Sodom -style, maniac sounding furious thrash metal songs - and I believe our next album will be more of those songs and just probably have 1-3 longer songs only. But as said, the future will show how we decide to thrash on our 3rd album through. After all it’s a new situation for us now that we have so many songs to go through and to choose for the album. One thing that I’m already sure is that the album it’s not going to be too long.
What has been the most challenging and time-consuming for Malicious Death to get these new songs put together?
It’s going to take some time to drive new vocalist in. Challenging is the thing that some songs have too much speed and different parts in them, so to keep those tough and somehow to try to even remember those songs. My memory has gone too bad, but on the other hand that still brings me lots of new ideas, too. I have enough songs planned for like 5 full albums in my head and now that we have a new vocalist in the band, I have to find a new way for my visions how he can sing our new stuff properly. I also see this situation as a new start for us. Mentally it’s been kinda hard to start to think over again what musical direction Malicious Death takes eventually. After I’ve got over this first shock, I hopefully am able to see even better how I want this band to be in the coming months.
Can you tell us next what could be the realistic time for you to enter a studio again and start recording Malicious Death´s next output? Naturally all this depends on quite a bit how successful your vocalist hunt will turn out to be…
As it has become evident by now, a hunt for our next ´hellscreamer´ has ended, and I hope that this situation stays. Harald will be screaming his lungs out on our next album and we will head into studio after the summer. I wish we could have a new album in our hands in early January 2008, ´only´ 2 years too late, ha! But it´s been stated earlier, all good is worth waiting... ;o)
I assume for Malicious Death it´s always very vital and essential to find that ´old school´ vibe in your songs simply because the old school Heavy Metal, or Speed Metal - or Thrash Metal are those styles in metal all of you adore and love from the very bottom of your sinful and hearts souls - yet they are the genres you have always been sucking some influences from, since this sweet and lil´ bastard child named Malicious Death was brought to the world. Am I right, aren´t I? ;o)
Yes you’re damn right. I don’t listen to any new metal whatever it’s called these days. But I always am breathing old school from my metalized lungs and live from power of playing it. There’s no reason to start aping with a modern stuff because I don’t understand any of it. The feeling and the power for our music comes from the old heroes of the past. Those ancestors of metal live in our hearts as you can somewhat easily hear from one of our songs, “Thrash till Death”.
OLD SCHOOL THRASH... AND SOME THOUGHTS OF IT
This so-called ´old school´ Thrash Metal is coming back with tons of potentially talented bands - some of these worth mentioning new bands being absolutely Merciless Death, HeXeN, Warbringer, Violator, Avenger of Blood, etc. - just to name a few. How much have you personally followed what´s going on in the current metal scene, and do you find this ´warming-up-the-sounds-of-the-ancient-gods´ -thing as fascinating and interesting just like many of us seem to do?
Of corpse I love these bands and their ways to kick ass. I’m totally in love with this Brazilian Thrash Metal scene. They have definitely best Thrash Metal bands at the moment. If I had enough money, I would fly over there to record our next album. Or, if just I had the money to wipe my ass on it, I would move to Brazil and get myself to play with those Brazilian maniacs. Well, of corpse there’s other places where thrash still lives and that’s good. Like here in Finland we have a great underground Thrash Metal scene with many good bands. It´s just this ‘pop metal´ genre sucks that we have here in Finland, but I try to ignore it the best I can. They do their own job as they want to - and I hope all the best for them though.
As we have already shared similar opinions many times before about metal music in general, under many different types of circumstances (who said sharing an opinion with someone in drunk is impossible, ha!), there´s no single doubt that the best Speed/Thrash Metal albums were recorded back in the day – and the ´80s period is considered as that most golden era for that. So, Mr. Bilibaldus, “The Sonic Violator of Ripping Chords”, could your tell from your own point of view what exactly makes some of these Speed/Thrash Metal bands from the ´80s so superior compared to the bands from some other decades? Now feel free to use your (wild) imagination the best way you can… ;o)
Well, I can hear from these old school metal bands´ music how excited they were about their own stuff and they sound 10 million times better than metal bands from today’s metal scene. I could hear the fury and rage in their hearts and I don’t feel an urgent need to listen to any of this boring and fake heaviness around the pop songs. I still believe there are some good Thrash Metal albums to come. Maybe not that classic way as we used to hear on the albums from the 80’s, but luckily there’s still a handful of bands out there that definitely give a good ride toward that ´80s direction musically. When I was young, I even was pretty damn fanatical about metal back in the day. Nowadays I don’t care if I like some certain song; it doesn’t matter to me what genre some certain song comes from. The only thing that matters to me really is that I can make a difference myself between a good - and bad song. Now having said that, I just don’t understand modern metal at all, so I don’t hear that many great new songs anymore, ha-ha!!
What are some of the most underrated - either still existing or already split-up Speed/Thrash Metal bands from the ´80s period of metal that should have deserved more attention and respect in your opinion?
Oh my god, there’s a million of those, but I can mention a few and you can continue yourself the list in your mind if you want to. I still think Voïvod was very underrated back in the day, but now it’s different for them. They are a very appreciated band. Also, Blessed Death is definitely world´s greatest Thrash Metal band in my opinion. Just too bad they didn’t get a proper record deal for their last album HOUR OF PAIN that is million of times better than any of Metallica´s albums. I saw Ulysses Siren in Germany last summer and I gotta say that even Slayer would grow pale in comparison to them after that particular show. This list of underrated bands would grow too long as I have a great fistful of some Heavy Metal bands in my mind that are totally underrated, but would have deserved more recognition and fame than they achieved back in the day.
By the way, do you ´bleed for the Godz´?
I don’t bleed. My flesh ain’t weak.
ANCIENT VIKING NAMES?
Where do all of these somewhat funny sounding (eh, sorry...) artist names of yours, Bilibaldus, Obadio, Red Jesus and Jerker, come from originally? Do they somehow reflect how each of you are as persons in a real life (hmmm… ´Jerker´!?)?
Results of evil minds from Obadio and me... Voivod has artist names, so we thought we should have them also. So we sat down at my place and read one Finnish name book that included really old names and probably all those names that have been used in Finland’s history. Then I showed Obadio such names as Bilibaldus and Oba, and said that I should take ´Bilibaldus´ for my artist name. ´Bili´ means a sword and ´baldus´ means brave, so ´Bilibaldus´ means like a brave sword man. I guess it´s an old Viking name or something. I thought that it would be a great joke to use the name, so why not. As for ´Obadio´, I think there was a name called ´Obadia´ in that very same book or something, so we just changed it a little bit in order get it fitted to Oba’s awesome personality a bit better. ´Jerker´ was also found from that book and we didn’t let Jani to decide his artist name at all. Oba and I were too cruel for him to give him the opportunity to choose his artist name, but at least we had a good laugh because of the name for many months. Granted, I know we are childish and stupid. RJ was Marko’s old name in a bloody hell or somewhere near by it. As for our new guy for the vocals, you just never know what his artist name might be… Well, I can see a true challenge ahead of us for sure, ha-ha-hah!!
Ok, let´s continue a bit more seriously again for a while at least. How seriously do you guys take doing gigs anyway? Last year you played like 11 gigs all in all off which 10 were done here in Finland and one at Hard Rock Laager Festival in Estonia. Only 11 gigs during a year isn´t that much, so have you seriously considered to find a booking agent for gigs for yourselves so that you could more concentrate on the band and let someone else to get some gigs booked for you instead?
Booking agency would be a great thing for us. But I can’t sell us; I’m not that bitch. It would be better if we had some friend to sell us for gigs. I cannot deny that fact either I have had small motivation problems for some years now. Not for the music, but just because we don’t have new album out yet. I hope that all that is fixed now with our new vocalist and hopefully we get our next album out sooner than I could believe in the first place. More gigs would of corpse be nice, but we all have our private life, works, etc., too. Finding a free weekend for all of us isn’t that easy task at all.
What kind of experience was that Rock Laager Festival for Malicious Death anyway where you played last year? Now when I took a glance at the bill, there were some pretty known metal bands playing there, like Tiamat, Satyricon, Decapitated and a couple of others. I bet it was overall kinda nice for you to get this opportunity to play there, wasn´t it?
Ha-ha-ha... I can’t tell you all the details from there. But all I can say to all bands: Be prepared because just anything can happen. We had fun; we did get drunk and so on. We started our gig at least 30 minutes late as we had to wait someone to pick us up like 5-6 hours. They had some bus broken or something. But as usual, we don’t usually take any stress out of this type of situations. We drank beer and thrashed. Thank Satan it was a sunny day so we did drink a lot as a matter of speaking - and when I say a lot, I mean LOTS of it!! We went straight to the stage from the car that picked us up and I was already half-dead, but we still managed to play a decent gig after all, I guess. Oh bloody hell… actually I think that gig was amazing from us!! Early morning next day, we got a phone call that we have about 5 minutes to get into the bus. This was a pretty hilarious episode because Mr. JKR had to do his ´morning hails´ to the toilet and also the whole trip back to the harbor was an unforgettable story. These types of things we can still remember from that trip for the rest of our lifes for sure, I guess, ha-ha!! Well, I also have one juicy story about Satyr or Beseech (or what the fuck was the name?!) from the same trip, but what happens in Estonia stays in Estonia. Anyway, we had lotsa fun - and in fact, that´s all that really counts for us.
According to your website, Malicious Death started playing gigs since the fall of 2002, and undoubtedly they are always very fun to do. Anyway, what are some of the best experiences for you gig-wise that you have done over the past 4-5 years or so, and what actually make them so special for you as a matter of speaking (and please save us all from those ´ugly´ details – thank you in advance!)?
Visiting Karhula for the 1st time was an unforgettable experience for us. We were those guys that your mom told you that should try to avoid us the best you can, ha-ha!! Yeah, Hard Rock Laager. I still get my kicks out from Jalometalli festival. The whole trip, the overall feeling and everything were great there… including even one funny ´tissi & muna´ -episode. Thanks to Evil Grandfather of Hell that all is on tape. Lahti has always been fun to visit to, and Tampere also. About the best gig that we´ve played thus far, it´s hard to decide, but we have some cool memories out from those gigs I just recently mentioned about. Thanks to all of those bands that we have played with. I hope we will meet and get drunk in the future again. New cities to be explored and new life forms to be seeked out, etc. – we are ready for that.
Do you still do cover songs in your gigs – and what´s been on that menu for you lately?
No... Only if we have to, we would do Anvil´s "Metal on Metal" because Anvil is best Heavy Metal band in the world!
For curious parties, could you enlighten what kind of merchandise you have available right now - and what kind of plans do you have to expand your ´merchandise business´ as far as your releases, teeshirts and stuff are concerned?
We have new T-shirts available, but only with ´big man size´ because all small sizes are sold-out. And I thought we could have more man fans. It looks like I was completely wrong about that, ha-ha-ha!!
MR. RADIO DJ BILIBALDUS
You have also been hosting a radio show called “Noises out from the Underground” that is specialized for everything between Punk and metal - excluding pretty much all the mainstream shit. Do you still host it, and do you have any shows coming up that feature some special guest co-hosting your show?
Yes I’m still doing it. Sometimes it is just bloody hard, but I’ve just kept things going. I really don’t know why, but probably I’m too stupid to quit it. Imperator (the drummer of Slugathor) has been co-hosting it with me but he is now in Russia, so I’m only doing it by myself for now. I’m definitely looking forward to getting new bands for interviews. Demos/albums/singles/whatever stuff are also very welcome to my show.
So, in sort of summa summarum, what kind of realistic hopes do you have regarding the end of the year for Malicious Death? What´s certain though, many of us are anxiously waiting for a new album from you guys, so when it´s been recorded and put out, what people can expect it to be like? I guess the two words ´old school´ should get a much stronger meaning in the hands of Malicious Death as far as your next output goes, correct? ;o)
New album and singer are the things, yes - and now we are practicing with Harald and working for the new album. I really can’t promise anything big yet until I´ll get a chance to hear the upcoming vocals recorded. Our new songs are different, having even more of that feeling ´back from the day´ than earlier. We still have long way to walk until our new little thrasher is out and free to kill. We will fly thrashing through the eighties sound with our new stuff, so there´s nothing that big surprises coming from our direction, that´s for sure.
If Malicious Death was a reality TV-show, what kind of show would it be like? Let me make a guess: Lots of half-naked chicks, lots of thrashing, ugly & drunken metal bastards, old school Thrash 24/7, broken arms & legs, etc.?
A Malicious Death reality show would be like any of Tromaville movie: Headless chicks with big tits and blood all around; zombie cannibals having sex with torsos and eating them afterwards. Beerbath, pöytäviina and Sauna... Senseless violence and porn... Perkele, I guess that would not be on primetime.
I guess that´s it and I wanna thank you Mr. Bilibaldus - “Tormenting Grip On The Bass´ Neck”, for sharing some of your time with my stupendously absurd and insane questions. Hopefully you still found this interview worth answering. Thanks again & c-ya…
No problem my sweet metal kid. You know me, I’m not that bad guy - I’m just not sane. Let the tormenting continue and let Strappado live forever. Beer ya!
The official MALICIOUS DEATH thrash pit