Interview by Jesse Edwards
This is your first release for Metal Blade Records, a label synonymous with some of the biggest names in the metal genre. Was there a feeling of success or accomplishment amongst the band, having achieved such a milestone so soon after independently releasing your demo?
Sure thing! We were amazed when we got their mail and are very happy with the collaboration.
I’m a big fan of the new album, but there does seem to be a change in direction towards a more *thrash* orientated sound with an emphasis on melody in exchange for speed. Has being on Metal Blade influenced the sound and direction of the new album at all, or was this just a natural progression for the band’s sound?
No, not at all. They don’t talk into our music. At least so far, haha! The changes we did to our sound felt indeed pretty natural. We don’t want to reproduce our records again and again.
‘Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves’ is the name of the new album, does this hold any inside meaning or significance for the band?
Nope. That just was supposed to sound heavy as fuck. And it does, right?
What is the procedure of writing a new album/EP? Do you have a set way of doing things?
First off there’s always some loose writing without a certain direction. After one or two finished songs we start discussing the direction we want to go to. We always talk about what might be missing to a new album or what we maybe have to reduce and so on. We always try and write songs with a view of “the whole thing”.
It seems you guys now have a permanent drummer in *G. Deceiver*, a duty that was previously assigned to you. Has Deceiver always been your touring drummer, and if so, why did it take so long to permanently induct him into the band?
Gereon joined us in early 2018 and became a permanent member right away. He’s a great drummer that added a lot to our sound ever since.
You guys are currently promoting the new album through mainland Europe supporting label mates RAM. What has been your favourite gig to date and why?
You mean for the promoting of the new record? Definitely Berlin in June! The place was packed and though the circumstances were kinda stressful the shows were super intense. Sweat, blood, metal. Loved it!
I often find thrash gigs can be defined by the crowd’s willingness to interact with the band, can you single out a specific time where the atmosphere was particularly lacking despite the best efforts of the band?
You’re so right! We experienced that here and there, definitely. The last one I remember was a small festival in an old castle-thingy.
What’s been your favourite festival to play? Is there a festival you have your hearts set on playing at some point?
Very proud to have been part of Live Evil and we’re looking forward to Keep It True. Rock Hard was quite an intense experience. Huge festival, professionals everywhere. Killer.
It’s blindingly obvious that you guys are all ardent speed/thrash fans, and I assume you’re all well versed in the classics of the genre. What’s your favourite 80’s speed metal album? What’s been playing in the van on the recent tour?
Lately, it’s Slayer all the way for me, haha. Along with the first two Testament records and some demos like Betrayal or Severe Warning.
What bands do you listen to when you’re not looking to *bang-your-head*?
Some German stuff like Ingrid Peters, Klaus Lage Band or Herbert Grönemeyer. Listening to a lot of Doors recently.
Has moving to Metal Blade enabled you guys to give up the day job, or are there still work commitments to negotiate when scheduling your touring activities?
Hahaha, no! That’s still the same old pain in the ass.
*L. Steeler* has an incredible vocal range, possessing high notes reminiscent of ‘Nasty Ronnie’. Where did you guys meet? Did you head-hunt him from a previous band, or did he come looking for you?
We’ve known each other for quite some time already. The contact happened when Andreas and I released the demo of his first band Hellhunt in ’13 I think.
I’d like to wrap things up by returning to the start of the band’s career and what is still one of my *all-time-favourite* releases in the speed/thrash genre since the 80’s: *Victim of the Blade*. How did the initial concept for ‘Vulture’ come about and what were you hoping to achieve with the demo release?
We wanted to play classic speed or thrash metal. No black metal influences, just straight forward. We got inspired by a lot of proto-metal stuff and by the NWOBHM as well. We wanted to sound fresh and original. With the demo, we hoped to find a suitable label and that happened quite fast.
Did the success of ‘Victim’ surprise the band, or were you confident in the quality of the songs and the reception it would receive?
Both. We were very confident with the tracks but the sheer amount of positive feedback we got was overwhelming. Never experienced something like that so far.
Who was responsible for the main songwriting duties on ‘Victim’?
I guess that was me. We discuss stuff all together though.
I know you guys played the ‘Live Evil’ festival in London back in 2016, but there’s sadly been no return to our shores since (that I’m aware of). Are there any plans to return to the UK? What are your plans following the current ‘The Throne Within’ tour?
Yeah, no UK after Live Evil for us so far, you’re right. Hope to come back as soon as possible, but didn’t get any offers so far. After the tour, we’ll work on new stuff right away.
What do you like to do away from music? Any other hobbies?
Andreas and I enjoy football pretty much. It’s Borussia Dortmund for us.
What are your 3 all-time favourite albums?
Woah, can’t really tell, sorry. If I had to choose three it would probably be some Slayer or Priest stuff.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a band today?
Don’t copy bands that are younger than 10 years, hahaha!