Tuesday, 30 July 2013


I got a message in my inbox on Facebook recently and I thought I recognised the sender Erik’s surname, the drummer in Swedish/Iceland based raw old school death metallers Under The Church, when I first glanced at who it had been mailed from. Soon enough I realised it was Erik Qvick the ex-drummer in legendary Swedish death metal pioneers Nirvana 2002 getting in touch with a link to music by his new band, which he’s formed together with ex-Nirvana 2002 bandmate Lars Henriksson. Musically and aesthetically the band are staying true to their old school death metal roots and they have recorded a few very fierce sounding songs, which should appeal to anyone who likes their death metal raw and stripped down to the bone and sounds like it could have been recorded in 1989/1990. They have a great mix of tempos from crawling doomed Autopsy sounding passages to all out ripping death. The band are generating quite a b
it of a buzz already it seems, not surprising given the members previous involvement in such a legendary band, so I thought it was the perfect time to grab ahold of Erik and ask him about his new project . This interview originally appeared on the Terrorizer magazine website in an edited form back in May and since that feature went online good old Fenriz made them a "band of the week" ( I had a feeling that might happen once he had heard their raw death metal onslaught!).

Hi Erik! When did the idea of forming a new band happen?

-Hi Kat, thank you for doing this interview! Well, the idea came after the final Nirvana2002 gigs in 2012,me and Lars started talking about playing together again, it was such a good vibe after playing together as Nirvana2002 that we wanted to do some more playing but as a new band and starting completely from scratch.

Did you have a clear idea of what style you wanted the new band to be in...what was the inspiration to form Under The Church with your old Nirvana 2002 band mate Lars?

- Not really, we didn´t have a set idea when we started but it didn´t take long until it sounded like Death Metal since it´s pretty much the only music that I can write, haha! We did however not want it to sound like Nirvana2002, that was maybe the only rule or limit that we decided on, we didn´t wanna do a "part 2 of Nirvana2002",  As far as inspiration it only took a case of beer and us playing some riffs back and forth to get the ball rolling. We just wanted to play raw Death Metal.

You recently recorded and uploaded a Demo which is available via bandcamp, how and where was this demo recorded since you moved to Iceland a little while ago, I guess that makes it kinda difficult for you and Lars to get together personally to rehearse and work on songs but in this modern internet age it is very easy to send music files etc back and forth across the world in a matter of seconds..Typically how is a UTC song born and then created?

- I just started coming up with alot of riffs on guitar and writing stuff in August last year, somehow it just clicked and soon I had pretty much written 10-12 complete tunes and then me and Lars started sending ideas between Iceland and Sweden. It didn´t take long to work out how we wanted the tunes to sound,thanks to the internet it´s not a problem working that way and by october we had 7 tracks that we felt were good enough to record. For the recording I was extremely picky about getting the right sound, I ended up tracking the drums at a studio here in Reykjavik that only records Dub and Reggae, which was perfect because the engineer had absolutely no clue about recording drums for metal, haha! The last thing I wanted was the superclean and protools gridded sound because that´s not the way I sound when I play, we then recorded guitars and bass in Sweden around christmas. We added vocals in april this year and then we made a little bandcamp page to send around.

Please tell the readers what to expect from this demo and the music in your own words

- It´s Death Metal, no more or less ,it´s as simple as that

What is your intention with this demo, any plans to have it released in a physical form...do you hope it will lead to an album deal of somekind? The response I have seen from people online so far seems to be VERY positive and welcoming!

-Yeah, the response so far has been very good...at first I just put up the bandcamp page to have something to send to friends, but that backfired when so many of them started sending the links to people and friends of friends ,so after a while we had make it a "official" page. We will probably have some tapes for sale late may, we´re getting patches and tshirts made as well because we want people to look good for summer y´know? My guess is that by autumn we should be able release some more music,don´t know yet if it´ll be vinyl or what not.

Do you have much new material in the pipeline? Any plans to do any new recordings in the not too distant future?

- Yeah, we have 7 tracks already recorded and we working on finishing another 4-5 tracks, maybe we´ll be able to record them sometime this summer.

Why the band name Under The Church?

Actually the name comes from Jörgen "Sigge" Sigfridsson, I nicked it from him in 1988! . Jörgen was to say the least a very influential character in the early swedish thrashscene, he had a zine in the late 80´s and also later the label that released the Nirvana2002 7" split...he was the main reason why I started my own fanzine Hang´em high, I figured "...if he can do it,how hard can it be?" hehe! I remember one time talking to him on the phone discussing bandnames and he said "Under The Church, that´s a cool name for a band!", the name stuck with me through the years and it´s a little tip of the hat from me to him....he really opened up the whole scene with tapetrading,fanzines and demos for me by sending alot of stuff for me check out. 

Your music sounds classically old school, what bands shape and influence the sound of UTC? I love the mix of tempos too from slow crawling Autopsy style doomed passages to uptempo ripping Swedeath parts.

- The inspiration is the usual suspects: Venom,Motörhead,Bathory,early Slayer,early Death,Autopsy,Sadus,Repulsion,Master..that kind of stuff...last summer I also had a huge Accept period listening to all the records up to Russian Roulette, that had a impact on my guitar playing as well, not writing wise per se but just by playing Wolf Hoffmann riffs I discovered alot about the guitar.

The artwork for your demo looks typically old school and quite rough looking..is it very important to you to have that old school vibe asthetically aswell as musically?

- I don´t wanna call it old school since I don´t want it to come across like just a like a retro thing but you´re spot on that the aesthetics of old Death Metal is something that´s close to my heart, haha! I specifically wanted that ugly,nasty look and Fannar who did the artwork did a perfect job. I did the logo and yes, it´s your typical Nihilist style logo but it works.  

What do you think of the resurgence and renewed interest in old school style death metal again in recent years? Any newer old school style bands that have caught your attention? Why do you think this style of music has become so popular again when old school style death metal bands couldn't get arrested back in the late 90s/turn of the 2000's!!!?!

-Hard to say really. I can only speculate, it could be that since every genre forms it´s essence in the beginning so to speak, maybe people got tired of bands taking the music too far away from what the original idea was all about? Of course styles evolve and progress but there´s also the possibility of the music then getting watered out. The main thing I noticed personally is that many are getting tired of the superclean and overpolished sound of contemporary metal, it´s strange because all those great tools that should help musicians and enhance modern recordings actually weakens the overall sound and becomes a crutch for bands and musicians. Triggering,Amp modeling,Autotune,Beatdetective, all those tools that should make a recording sound really tight and crushing far too often works in the opposite way. Voivods "War and Pain" has still today one of the heaviest drumsounds i've heard! I´ve been out of the loop as far as keeping up with new bands for a long time, but "current" bands that I dig are Tormented,Bombs Of Hades,Bastard Priest and Bölzer. I also really liked the Death Breath records, Nicke is a musical genius.

Lyrically where do you draw the inspiration from for the lyrics?

Horrormovies,HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe....again, the usual stuff.

Describe the band in 5 words only!

Death from Under The Church!

Is there any bands to play live at some point with this band or will it remain a studio/recording orientated band? I think this stuff would be killer in a live environment!

- We´re definitely gonna play live, that´s actually the main reason why we started the band...we don´t have a fully fledged lineup yet though, so far it´s just me and Lars but our friend Mik Annetts have been kind enough to help us out with vocals on the first demo we did, Mik is from Australia and was a part of the early Aussie deathmetal scene, he´s a great guy and he understand this style as well so it´s a match made in hell! As for now we´re just concentrating on finishing the recorded material but hopefully we´ll be ready to do some gigs later this year with a full lineup of the band.

If you compare the death metal scene now to that of late 80s/early 90s what are the fundemental differences that you notice? Anything you prefer and really miss about the old days?

- The main difference is that today there´s like 10 million bands! There´s just a insane amount of bands now and the mainstream Metalscene is huge. The paradox with all that is that I don´t hear enough diversity,but that however goes for all styles and genres of music today. Now I might sound like a grumpy old guy but that´s the cold hard truth. In the 90s the scene was small and one might think that made it very polarized but listening to that stuff today it comes across as very vital and diverse.

I think that people who are now discovering the old scene might be baffled at first...it´s almost like ...Ok, lets say that you're really into Blues...but image if you have only listened to John Mayer trio and then one day you discover Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers, you would probably at first go "wtf is this!?, sloppy playing,strange solos?" but then you would start to hear the energy and the genuine vibe from Hounddog and be knocked out by it because up until then you've never heard anything like it! You can transfer that kind of analogy into todays metal and use, say...Nile as John Mayer trio and Repulsion as The houserockers and get a similar result.

I´m definitely not saying that it was all better back then and all new bands like Nile are crap, there's a risk with the whole nostalgia thing of getting too romantic about how things really were in the early deathmetal scene. Gustav Mahler said "Don't pray to the ashes,pass on the fire" and to me that's the essence if anything about the old scene, I´m not stuck in the year 1991 y´know but there was a passion and fire then that we want to tap into as a band.

What are your thoughts on the ability to seemingly promote bands much easier via the modern internet/social networking ways?

- Good question,its great to easy be able to get in contact with people, I however don´t participate in any forums or that kind of thing,I just don´t have the time.

Inevitable question here...Is Nirvana 2002 now officially dead and buried and will never be resurrected or....? What are your thoughts on the response to the Relapse compilation/remaster CD of the old demos etc...also how was it to play MDF in USA? The reunion activity didn't seem to last so long..was that the intention anyway?

- We´ve nailed that coffin shut and it looks like it´s for good. But it was great to be able to do those reunion gigs since we never played live when the band was active back in the days, the Relapse compilation went really well, I think it actually sould out. Maryland Deathfest was fun but very chaotic but that´s usually the deal playing festivals, short set,lots of technical problems but we pushed through and I think it went ok,I still haven´t seen the movie though, MDF Part 2? I got to finally meet Chris Reifert though so I´m happy.

What were you doing mostly in the days after the band split up? And how does it feel to be creating new music again all these years later? Do you feel a renewed sense of energry and inspiration to create some new old school vibes again?!!

- Well, when Nirvana2002 called it quits in 1991 I went to music conservatory for an awful long time studying drums and percussion and then I just started playing in a shitload of different projects and bands around Scandinavia and Europe.Those years at musicschool are in hindsight very weird and I got confused musically for many years. My main problem is that I like to play so many styles and genres of music, it can be quite schizophrenic sometimes but the past 20 something years i´ve been a "professional musician" making my living playing and touring all kinds of music,the time at Conservatory wasn´t all bad though, I learned alot and had a great time. Funny enough, Vvornth from Bathory was also studying at the same school for the four years I was there! It was mindblowing hearing him tell stories about Bathory and Quorthon.It´s good to be in a band again, I don´t think we are doing anything "new" in that sense with Under The Church, it´s just Death Metal.

 Thanks for answering this small interview Erik, please feel free to add anything/post links to where people can listen to your music etc...

Thanks alot for the interest, feel free to check out some tunes over at http://underthechurch.bandcamp.com or www.facebook.com/UnderTheChurch.

Thursday, 11 July 2013


FOR FANS OF: Bathory, 13, Amebix, Axegrinder, Gallhammer
LATEST RELEASE: Demo 2012 (self released)
I first heard all female band SaturninE late last year after a friend got hold of their demo for me. It blew me away and never left my stereo for quite a few weeks, these ladies play very heavy blackened crusty sludge doom and have been creating a bit of a buzz on the scene in recent months, which attracted the interest of long running American label Razorback Records who signed the band to their roster for the release of their debut album. I sent some questions to the band and bassist Jex kindly answered them

Hails! Please give me a quick band history and also tell me who
currently does what in the band?

Jex, Laura and Angelica were friends and decided to start a band. They were seeking for 2 guitarist, and finally Silvia and Giulia joined the band. SaturninE started to reharse at the end of 2010. At the end of 2011 a self-titled demo has been released. During november 2012, Silvia left the band and has been replaced by Elvira. The collaboration with Elvira didn't last long: Samantha joined the band in march 2013. So the current line up is:
Jex: bass; Laura: vocals; Giulia and Samantha: guitars; Angelica: drums.

I recently got hold of a copy of your Demo 2012 which really impressed me, the songs are very well structured and I just love your style of crusty blackened doom/sludge - please tell the readers abit about this demo in your own words and how they can get ahold of it.

The recording sessions of the demo started in late 2011, and the whole work has been concluded in february 2012. Everything has been recorded and mixed by our friend Adam, who did a great work: he knew how we wanted to sound and the result he achieved has fully satisfied us. 
It's a 7 tracks demo which includes also a Bathory cover. It's possible to listen  the demo in streaming from Bandcamp                                                                        ( http://saturninewitches.bandcamp.com ). It has been released as CD and Tape, you can order a copy by writing to saturnine666@ymail.com .

What has the overall response been like to the demo so far? Have you had much feedback from zines/mags or websites as far as reviews go? Are you satisfied overall with how the recording turned out? The production is great...where did you record it at?

The overall feedback was very good. As we previously said, all the credits for the production should be given to Adam. He mixed the demo at his own studio ( SFR ) and the result was a blast to us: we love it!
The band logo and artwork are also quite striking - who designed those?
Angelica has been inspired by the movie ''Haxan'' and told the band about it. Then we all agreed to use that picture for the demo. The logo has been created by Angelica and Jex.

Did you form an all female band on purpose or did it just turn out
that way, you know a bunch of girlfriends into the same kind of music wanting to play and jam music together? Did you all know each other before the band was formed?

3 of us (Jex, Laura and Angelica) were friends before starting the band. The other girls were initially acquaintances, met during gigs and generally in the diy scene, and of course now we are all friends. We didn't want men in our witch sabbath... ahahahah! 

Please tell us about the band name and it's meaning?

 “ Saturnine “ comes from a song of the album ‘’ Witchcult Today’’ by Electric Wizard - but it also recalls the darkest aspect connected to Saturn planet…the dark side of everything around us which has a certain affinity with our sound, gloomy and melancholic

I read that the demo attracted some interest from respected American label Razorback Records, how did they get to hear the band music and become interested in signing you?

They heard one of our tracks from the  compilation “ The women of Doom “, which also contains a track from Wooden Stake, the band of Vanessa and Billy Nocera. A couple of weeks after the release of the demo, they offered us the possibility to produce our upcoming full length. 

When can we expect the debut album from SaturninE? Do you have much new material written for it?

The plan was to release the album before the summer, but this hasn't been possible due to the problems we had with the previous guitarists (Silvia and Elvira). We have a new guitarist, Samantha, since march 2013 and we are completing the  tracks for the full length and playing some shows in the meanwhile. If things will continue to go this good, by the end of the summer the album will be ready. 

What is the songwriting process like for you girls? Is there always a
certain way a song is born and is a certain member always the one who first brings a song into life and then you all work on it collectively?!

Every song is the result of a different songwriting process. There is no a standard way that we follow. Usually one of us comes up with an idea and we all together participate in developing it. The important thing is that we all should agree in the final version of the song, so we must find a balance between our tastes – which is not always so easy, because each of us comes from a different musical background. But in the end we always find the balance and when this happen, a song can be considered “done”.

How active is SaturninE as a live band? Do you play locally and around your home country a lot? Have you done much touring or playing outside of Italy yet? I know you recently did a short mini tour of England - how was that experience for you? Please tell us your thoughts about those 3 shows here. What can people expect from a SaturninE live show?

We play in gigs since summer 2011 and we often play in north and center of Italy. For what concerns playing abroad we did a mini tour in England with three gigs (London, in Bradford and Bristol). It was an amazing experience ‘cause people were really into our music and they showed a lot of support to us. Last week we also did a mini tour: Udine (Italy), Vienna (Austria) and Treviso (Italy). It was our first mini tour with the new line up and we had a lot of fun together. We never played in those places before and it was amazing, especially in Vienna: playing abroad is always so exciting... different from playing in your own country. We love both, though.
What can people expect from Saturnine? Come to a gig and you’ll see! 

Lyrically what are your influences? What makes you want to put pen to paper?

Laura has many influences, for instance the horrors of war and the mental disease that it provoke or the illusion of religion and its stupid moral. But you can read also about nightmares or feelings of oppression.
Musically what shapes and fuels the sound of SaturninE?

As I said previously, all of us have a different musical background: each of us listen to different genres. Would be impossible to make a complete list of all the bands we love, but for sure we can name some: Amebix, Axegrinder, Saint Vitus, Electric Wizard, Celtic frost, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Death, Slayer, Black Sabbath.

You did a GREAT Bathory cover on the demo why did you choose this song and have you done or will you do anymore covers? What does Bathory's music mean to you -why is it so special?

Bathory is one of the few bands which all the 5 of us love, so that's the reason why we choose it. In the upcoming album there will be also a new cover, not from Bathory though.

Describe SaturninE in 5 words only!

Jex – Julia – Laura – Angelica – Samantha. Ahahahah :)

What is your local scene like both venuewise and bandwise? Any cool
local bands you care to mention?

The area of Bologna is full of amazing bands and with some of those we are also friends, for example Horror Vacui, Kontatto, Cancer Spreading, Black Temple Below, Bland Vargar, Undead Creep, Children of Technology – but the problem of the local scene is the lack of places to play in... 

There seems to be quite a few female fronted bands/all female fronted bands in the extreme music scene now which can only be a good thing - are there any other bands with female members that you feel an affinity or bond with both musically and attitude wise?

In Italy the issue about female musicians is kind of controversial: from one hand, there are people who complain about the fact that often girls don't know how to play an instrument; but on the other hand when people see girls playing, they complain because they say you are having “ success “ just because you are a girl. Luckily not all the people think this way, but unfortunately we often met this kind of stupid and contradictory people. 
We know a couple of bands with female musicians that share the same attitude of us: Agatha and Horrow Vacui for example. We are friends and attend the same kind of events in here.

What is your opinion on

A/ the current doom/sludge scene
B/ the current crust punk scene
C/ the current Italian extreme music scene

A) The doom/sludge scene is growing, there are a lot of listeners, but still it's a niche scene because is not that “easy” to listen. Even if it's small, the level of italian doom/sludge scene is very high: we can mention amazing bands like Black Oath, Doomraiser, Grime , Tons, Funeral Marmoori, Gum, Black Temple Below, Naga, Fangtooth..
B) The crust punk scene is not in a good moment unfortunately... but we can't complain too much because at least here in Bologna gigs are organized often, but the main problem is the lack of places to play in... there are few squat and a lot of clubs and pubs, but this situation is all over Italy, not only in Bologna.... and another problem is that many people attend only the big venues instead of supporting local bands.
C) We are in love with extreme music, is part of our life and we can't live without. We are playing our own interpretation of the extreme.

Thanks for answering this short interview! Please tell us about
websites, merch etc..the last words are yours!

So, if you want to be updated about SaturninE you have just to like our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SaturninE/122895697798357?fref=ts you can even order our merch from there.
Thank you so much for this interview: questions are very interesting and it was nice for us to answer. We made you wait a lot for this interview... sorry for that, we really want to apologize. We've been DOOM even in answering... ahahaha!
Thanks again!

Friday, 10 May 2013


FOR FANS OF: Death Strike, Master, Usurper, Funeral Nation
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Bones’ via Planet Metal

If you were wondering what had happened to some ex-members of Chicago based Celtic Frost worshippers Usurper then wonder no more as Bones features no less than three ex-members of that band! But Bones are not just a continuation of Usurper, they have a sound and identity all of their own but one which is clearly steeped in the influence of the Chicago metal scene of the past. I got the debut Bones album sent to me last year out of the blue and their raw energetic punked up metal of death instantly caught my attention as soon as the opening barrage of ‘March Of The Dead’ came out of my stereo speakers. Bones uphold the fine tradition of past Chicago bands such as Death Strike, Master, Funeral Nation, Devastation as well as throwing in some Celtic Frost influence for good measure. The band are due to record their 2nd album very soon (in June) once again with renowned producer Sanford Parker at the helm. I sent some questions to vocalist/bassist Jon Necromancer…

Hey Jon! Hows everything with yourself over there in Chicago? First of all a rather obvious question but I will get it out of the way with at the start - what exactly happened to Usurper and why did you break up when things had started to get much more high profile for you guys back then (being on Earache etc..).

Hi Kat!  Thanks a million for this interview. 
The break up of Usurper is a rather confusing thing, so I’ll try to leave out all the gory details to keep it interesting.  There were a few major problems happening in the Usurper camp that led to our inevitable demise.  The main one was probably the fact that we were an underground band trying to tread water on a “bigger” label like Earache.  With Earache we were a roster band, and not a huge priority.  When we signed with them their main acts were Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal and some other big ones.  They also signed Deicide right after us, so that was who we were competing for attention with.  To be fair, they pumped a bunch of money into our first album for them: Twilight Dominion.  They made multi-page full color One Sheets, promoted the shit out of it, bought us on to tours with Manowar and Enslaved.  All the stars should have been aligned but, to be honest in hindsight, I think we delivered an album that didn’t measure up to the push.  We wrote an underground album, and paid a grammy winning producer to give us a slick and polished sound.  Personally, I don’t think it worked even though at the time we thought it was a pretty kick ass idea.  It didn’t sell for shit.  That pretty much sealed our fate with Earache.  Our next album, Cryptobeast, actually sounded much truer to the Usurper sound even though we used the same producer again, but the damage was done.  We didn’t get the same push.  We were even asked to headline the main stage of Inferno Fest in ‘06 by the festival organizers, but we couldn’t get the label to parlay the opportunity into more tours and fests.  The label support was gone.  We had our chance with our first Earache album and we blew it.  We had almost written an entire 3rd album for Earache and were ready to start working out the particulars with them about booking studio time/producers/etc and they let us know that we were dropped.  I’ve read that we were stuck in their contract in limbo for awhile, but that’s not true.  They were happy to let us go and cost someone else money in their opinion.  Some of those songs went on to be on the first Scythe album.  Rick Scythe was the mastermind and songwriter behind Usurper so it made sense he took the songs.  They’re good tunes.

From there we tried to get some interest happening with smaller underground labels.  That wasn’t happening either.  We were asking for 5 figure budgets from 2 figure budget operations!  I think one of the final straws was we approached Blake Judd who was still operating his Battle Kommand label.  Blake was kind of a Usurper fanboy at the time.  We thought he was young and impressionable.  We thought, here’s a perfect opportunity to push around a fanboy kid who has too much money on his hands and wanted to prove to the world that he was the “real deal”.  He was totally into signing Usurper, but he couldn’t afford to pay us what our drug adled minds thought was the going rate.  We were asking for around $10,000 and he was thinking more of $4,000 for one album.  No dice.

We also had some lineup issues.  Our original singer had quit in ‘03.  It was the right thing for him to do, because he wasn’t into it anymore, but it’s hard for a band to recover from that.  Especially when you consider that we had this whole “Celtic Frost Worship” thing happening, and a lot of that was because his vokills sounded a lot like Tom Warrior’s.  We replaced him with a guy who was a “better” singer, technically, and had a broader range and everything, but personalities clashed and things didn’t work out after a few years.  In the end it was Rick Scythe and myself splitting the vokill duties, which actually helped us out more to prepare for the Bones and Scythe bands later on than it did for Usurper.

The icing on the cake was that we were all totally fucked up all the time.  I mean TOTALLY fucked up, ALL of the time.  With the exception of Chris, the cocaine was a real big part of what we were about.  I remember coming to practice once and no one had any blow.  None of us wanted to practice.  We just went home and called our dealers.  For us, that’s disgusting.  We practiced 3 days a week religiously, no excuses, from ‘93 to ‘07.  Plus we drank, smoked, tripped, ‘shroomed, ate speed, whatever.  We were fried and not using any judgement.  The final straw was we were all strung out at practice one night in the spring of ‘07.  We were discussing some issues with a European tour we were going to do with Nocturnal Breed a few months in the future.  Joe the drummer and Rick the guitar player started arguing.  Rick just turned his amp off, grabbed his guitar and left.  That was kind of weird because we had all been friends for so long, and we fought like brothers all the time.  It wasn’t unusual for someone to fight with someone and then let it go the next day.  I didn’t talk to the guys for a few months after that, and I read online that Rick had broken up the band.  It was weird to find out on Blabbermouth, but it was no big deal really.  It felt over.

How soon did Bones come into existence after Usurper had split up?

About 2 years after.  We all went our separate ways, and to be honest I didn’t talk to the other guys that much.  Joe and I tried jamming immediately after Usurper split, but it sounded half assed.  He went on to jam in a progressive metal band.  You know, all “talented” and shit.  Joe’s a phenomenal drummer, and it made sense for him.  Carcass Chris kind of laid low for awhile.  He got offers to play in several bands around here, but none of them fit what he wanted to do for one reason or another.  Rick had a band called Nightshade.  A horror-rock thing.  They were really good and original.  I joined a local black metal band called Kommandant.  I had played on their demo in ‘05 and I just slid back into their lineup in the fall of ‘07.  Right around then I also started playing in Nachtmystium.  They needed someone to play bass on their touring cycle for the Assassins album, and Blake gave me the call.  It was a good time for awhile.  But I was getting bored.  Usurper was a machine when it came to everyone’s responsibilities in the band.  The other bands weren’t, so I would start being critical to these guys about what I thought should or shouldn’t be done.  I was told, by both bands, that they weren’t really interested in my opinion.  That if I wanted to do things my way that I should start my own band.  They weren’t uncool about it, but they made it clear what they expected my role to be in their band.  So, I called Joe and we started jamming.  I had 4 songs that I had pretty much written with Joe in mind to play drums on.  That was the foundation.  Then Carcass Chris joined a few months later and we haven’t looked back since the end of ‘09.  Somewhere in there I quit Kommandant and was fired from Nachtmystium.

Please tell us about the current line up of Bones and who does what - also the band is made up of all EX USURPER members...was that intentional or did it just work out that way?! Are you still in touch with the other ex members?

Bones is:
Joe Warlord-Drums
Carcass Chris-Guitar/Vox
Jon Necromancer-Bass/Vox

Yes, we are all ex-Usurper guys, but that wasn’t the intention in the beginning.  At first I mainly wanted to jam with Joe and I was going to play guitar.  I used to play guitar before I joined Usurper in ‘95, so I thought it would be fun to go back to swinging the axe and let someone else play bass and sing.  Joe and I totally vibe musically, and personally.  We’re like demented brothers.  It’s weird.  So at first that was the thing, and we were looking for a bass player.  I just remembered this: the original bass player was going to be Blake Judd.  I was still in Nachtmystium back then and I brought it up to Joe.  Blake was cool with it because he wanted to be in someone else’s band and not have to make any decisions like he does in Nachtmystium.  What’ the best way to audition someone?  Get a pile of blow, a cheap case of beer and an even cheaper bottle of bourbon.  I think after that night we all knew that Blake being in Bones was not going to happen.  Just a different vibe.  At some point Carcass came to hang out with me and Joe when we were jamming one night.  We hadn’t really hung out since the old Usurper days, and it was really refreshing to hang out with him.  Chris is fucking nuts, but he’s a totally solid dude.  One of the best friends anyone could ask for, really.  At first I didn’t want to play with him because: A) we wanted Bones to be a 3 piece and I wanted to play guitar, and 2) I thought it would be cheesy to have all ex Usurper members in the same band.  We wanted some distance.  I’m proud of the 13 years we invested in Usurper, but I didn’t want the new project to be constantly compared to Usurper.  In my mind, if only 2 of us were from Usurper it would be different somehow, which is really retarded thinking now that I think of it.  But at the end of the day it made sense to jam with Carc.  Carcass Chris is hands down the best guitar player in Chicago, and there are a lot of them here.  He’s a solid guy, to the fucking core.  Great songwriter too.  We’ve all known each other since the 80s, so that counts for a lot.  “Outsiders” jamming with us isn’t really appealing.  The 3 of us have known each other for so long that we all know what we’re in for with each other, even if we do constantly fuck with each other and argue like family.

We’re still in contact with some of the old Usurper guys.  The original singer, General Diabolical Slaughter came to a practice last summer when our old friend Jon “Metalion” Kristianson was in Chicago for the release of his book that my wife, Tara G. Warrior co-wrote and edited, The Slayer Diaries.  Jon came out to a Bones practice and we asked The General to come out too.  Usurper got it’s start because General did so much fucking mail back in those days that it was sick.  Most of you young kids reading this online have no idea what it’s like to do a garbage bag full of smail mail a month.  The General does.  It takes a lot more time than me typing out this interview, that’s for sure.  Metalion signed Usurper to our first record contract and always supported us thru the years, and it’s all because The General reached out to him.  These guys had written HANDWRITTEN letters to each other for YEARS but never met face to face.  So, General came out when Metalion came to practice and we played an old Usurper song for him with The General on vokills, which is the only time Bones has played a Usurper song, and ever will.  Honestly, it sounded totally amazing.  We still talk from time to time, and hang out but not as often as we should.  I still see our old drummer Dave “Hellstorm” Chiarella from time to time. He was in the band from ‘97 to ‘03.  He was also in Funeral Nation and Funeral Bitch back in the 80s.  Great dude and he still plays drums.  I haven’t seen Rick Scythe much over the years.  Nothing personal, but our paths don’t cross often.  Rick and I were the only 2 members to play on every Usurper album and play every show and every tour together.  We really drove that horse into the ground.  I have no ill will towards him at all, and the new Scythe album is Kick Ass.  I’d like to think the feeling is mutual, but there’s a lot of history there.  When we see each other it’s cordial and respectful, but we’re not the close brothers we once were.  But, life is strange.  Maybe we’ll patch it up one day.

Your debut Bones album is a fine hefty slab of METAL in the fine tradition of Ilinois bands such as Death Strike, Funeral Nation, Devastation, old Master etc...was that the intention to follow more in the style of those bands with Bones? I can still hear some obvious Frost influences but it is the old Chicago metal of death bands that I am reminded of most, Please tell the readers a little about the debut album in your own words.

We really didn’t have any intentions when it came to writing the first album as far as a certain “sound” was concerned.  We were just feeling each other out and vibing on writing together.  Some of the original versions of the songs totally changed when the whole band got our dirty hands on them.  There is a certain intensity that happens when the 3 of us start making “music”.  Its like electricity is in the air and you can almost smell the ozone.  I think the biggest similarity to the older Chicago bands you mentioned is that it is really raw and aggressive sounding.  We didn’t want to over rehearse or over produce ourselves at all.  The idea was to record as live and raw as possible.  I hear where you’re coming from with the comparisons, I suppose, but that wasn’t the idea.  For starters, what those older guys were doing was so much more original than Bones, especially considering the time that they were writing those killer tunes.  But we just did what was natural at the time and we tried to capture the sound by recording the drums, guitars and bass live.  We did record the vocals separately , but we didn’t double any instruments at all.  What you hear is what you get.  I think part of that rough sound a lot of the Chicago bands has, and has had over the years, is a result of the city itself.  Chicago is a working town with working class people.  There’s a strong work ethic here.  If you’re not willing to put your nose to the grindstone and use your back to get things done, whether musically or professionally (because the two never seem to happen at the same time here), you’re going to get swallowed up.  This isn’t a cosmopolitan city like Los Angeles or New York.  There’s no music industry based here.  This isn’t a “guestlist” town.  You pay for your tickets here.  I think that kind of mentality translates to the music that comes from here.

I hear much more raw aggressive punkiness in Bones music..would you agree? Is punk an influence when writing material for this band? I have read your music described as "Death Metal Punk" do you think that is quite accurate?

I have to confess.  I didn’t really start getting into punk until around 2000.  Before that for me everything was about metal, constantly.  I did like some crossover bands back in the 80s like DRI and Excel, and we’re into The Meatmen, but that’s about it.  I would hear punk music and it just didn’t register with me at all.  Carc has been listening to punk/hardcore since his younger years: Misfits, Circle Jerks, The Exploited, etc. I loved the look and the scene energy though.  Totally intense and it seemed like the punk scene didn’t have the “poser” element to it that metal did.  At least, not to an outsider like me back in the 80s.  Then Green Day and all that shit came around in the 90s and all that was out the window.  But right around the turn of the century I started exposing myself to 70s era New York punk and I thought it was completely unbelievable!  It was like an awakening.  The Heartbreaker’s “L.A.M.F.” is one of the most brilliant Rock & Roll records of all time.  Bands like Dead Boys have such a brilliant way of building suspense in a song, and Stiv Bators is like the punk version of Bon Scott.  But I’m a total new school poser.  No punk cred, WHATSOEVER.  I’m getting in to hardcore now too, which I’ve been mostly unfamiliar with until about the last 5-8 years or so.  It’s really killer to dig into and learn new shit at an “older” age!

Metal is where our hearts are at.  It’s not a way of life for us; it IS life.  If there isn’t a guitar or bass in my hands for a couple of days I get really antsy.  A “regular” life with no playing is never going to happen for me, or the other guys in Bones.  Simply never going to happen.  There’s no “retirement”; just forging on until we’re dead.  Part of that “Death Metal Punk” thing is the DIY way we feel about things now.  Usurper was about “big” ideas.  Big budgets when we could, big producers, big sound, big tours when we could, big bragging rights, and all that crap.  With Bones we all agreed from the outset that we have no desire to go down any road like that again.  We like to work with local label Planet Metal, who did our first album and is doing the next, local artists, studios, producers, everything.  We’d prefer to pay for everything with no label advances or anything like that.  Then we own it, and don’t owe anyone a fucking nickel.  Not that we’ve had any “big” offers or anything, but that world is for kids with big dreams.  Let ‘em have it.  In the end they’ll either be gone and forgotten about, or doing what we’re doing: making real music from the heart with people that are into music more than selling “units”.

What has the overall response been like to the album since it's release? And also what has the response been like from die hard Usurper fans? How can people get hold of the album?

The response has been small but pretty killer!  We’re not reinventing the wheel here.  We’re a bunch of old dudes who know what good fucking metal should sound like, and we also have the experience to deliver it.  Not a lot to it, really.  The fuckers that get it are totally into it.  For a lot of the younger generations it will probably go over their heads.  If you’re into this new hipster style of black metal or this lame happy thrash resurgence, and all that crap, you should keep listening to your shitty burned mp3s.  If you’re into raw, no bullshit, loud as fuck, obviously drunk, harsh and real deal heaviness and abrasiveness, then consider getting in touch with us or our label, Planet Metal, online and we’ll get you something worth listening to.

As for what the old die hard Usurper fans are thinking, the few I’ve talked to are pretty into it.  Attitude wise I suppose it’s not a huge departure even if the music is a little more straight forward.

Where did you record the album at? It has a great sound to it...raw and powerful and also crushing in heaviness!

Thanks!  We recorded it at Electric Audio here in Chicago.  We used it because the drum room is 2 stories tall and all concrete block.  The reverb in there is incredible.  Sanford Parker engineered/co-produced it with us.  When I was in Nachtmystium we recorded an ep there with Sanford, and when the Bones songs were coming together I kinda knew that was the place and the guy to use.  Joe used to play triggered drums for years.  For Bones, he wanted to strip that down and play acoustic only.  The last few Usurper albums were triggered, quantized perfectly and played to a click track.  Bones has a much more organic feel and rawness to it than later Usurper did.  Playing it to a click and quantizing triggered drums would ruin the whole vibe.  Electric has that killer live room, and we knew acoustic drums in there would sound way better than anything triggered.  We didn’t really have much money, so we knew we had to record everything pretty quickly.  The luxury of 20 days in the studio was not something that was going to happen for us!  That a lot of where Sanford came in.  We needed a guy who could set up quickly and capture good tones right away so we didn’t waste a whole day setting up mics, and expedite the process.  Sanford was just what the doctor ordered.  We tracked the album in 3 daze, and mixed in a 4th.  We actually had another day booked but we didn’t need it so we didn’t use it.  Nothing is double tracked.  The only effects we used were on Chris’s pedal board and some reverb on the vocals.  Very straightforward. 

Personally, I’m bored to death with all these newer bands that over-rehearse and spend thousands of dollars and a month in the studio.  All that studio time ruins records.  Everything comes out perfect.  TOO PERFECT.  What you’re left with is everything being compressed to hell and every little detailed and minute flaw, stray piece of feedback, or slightly out of tune note is “corrected”.  Heavy metal is suppose to be “extreme”.  There’s nothing “extreme” about paying a studio team to correct all your imperfections.  That’s not “true”.  It’s not real!  The music we love is raw, no matter what genre it’s from.  It’s real and played by real people who maybe didn’t play every take perfectly, or maybe they had a little too much to drink and they left the vibe in.  My facts could be wrong, but I think I heard that Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album was recorded in like 2 or 3 days.  Not the song, the whole ALBUM.  If they added 20 days to the recording time they would have ruined that record.

I absolutely LOVE your logo who designed it? Great design concept! PURE DEATH!!

Yeah, it came out pretty killer.  That was all XNA Casperson.  She’s a good friend of ours from Chicago, and a killer artist.  It took the band forever to come up with a name.  We had the studio booked for the album and we still didn’t have a band name yet.  Coming up with band names SUCKS!  All the good shit is taken, and it’s nearly impossible to be totally original.  I think Venom may be the best band name ever, so everything else is like 2nd place!  But, we wanted a 1 word name.  Its easier to remember and it’s just classic.  Nowadays bands have like a sentence or a paragraph for their band name.  In one regard I get it: its hard to find a one word name that’s still available.  It’s easier to find a sentence that hasn’t been used.  Or maybe all numbers.  We were messing with that idea too, but it didn’t work for us.  So, after many months of terrible (and hilarious) ideas and arguments we settled on Bones.  We knew we wanted XNA to do the logo and she had been waiting for us to get our shit together.  We told her the name, and she asked for some direction to make the logo.  Direction?  We told her, “welllllllll, maybe make it out of bones or something”.  Geniuses, right?!?  The first version she came back with was priceless.  It looked like it said “Boner” and there was a letter that actually looked like it had a ball-sack on it!  What a ball buster!  But the 2nd time around she nailed it.  I think she did an amazing job.  It’s Metal as fuck.

The artwork is also great..totally fucking MORBID! Please tell us who designed that?

That was another local collaboration between Putrid and XNA.  They have that sick, detailed, yet somehow simple style that we were looking for.  We think that kind of art is exactly what fits with our music.  We had them over to our rehearsal room.  I think we were originally going to get them super stoned and then rehearse for them to give them an idea of what the band sounded like to get a vibe.  I don’t know if we were too fucked up that day or something, but we just ended up drinking beers and smoking weed and I think we sent them home with a burned copy of the album before it was mixed to get an idea.  We thought some kind of graveyard scene would be cool, and we wanted it to be desiged “doublewide”, like a vinyl gatefold.  We would use one panel for the cover, and the whole thing would open up on the inside.  Kind of like Autopsy’s “Acts of the Unspeakable” album cover, but black and white.  They just took it from there.  They asked for direction a few times, but we just told them to do their own thing.  We can barely play our instruments.  There’s no way we can help with artwork and stuff.  Our brains don’t operate that way, but fortunately theirs do.  One suggestion we made right at the end was to add a Chicago flag in there.  The whole album has such a Chicago vibe.  Everyone involved is local: label, studio, producer, artists, mastering...everything.  It just seemed appropriate.  But, they did a killer job.  When those two are getting along they make excellent collaborators.  It was an honor to have them do it.

Are Bones an active live band? Have you mostly or just played in your local area so far or have you managed to get some out of state shows under your belts so far? Any chances of coming to Europe for a tour? What can people expect from a Bones live show? What bands have you shared bills with so far?

We’ve only played 5 shows to date and all have been in Chicago.  In general, especially locally, we’re not really interested in playing out every weekend.  First of all, we’re old and our rehearsal room is on the 3rd floor of an abandoned factory.  It’s a drag to move our gear up and down all those stairs  We do have a brilliant group of roadies though.  Old friends, who are some of the weirdest fuckers you’ll ever meet.  It’s a combo of bikers, registered sex offenders, junkies, you name it.  We were going to print up “crew” shirts for them, but it would be a waste of money.  Everyone instictively knows they’re with us.  And second, its boring to watch the same band play constantly.  It’s better to play select shows that are more special with cool bands that are unique.  After the next album comes out we’ll start playing some more regional type shows in the surrounding states and hopefully some fests.  We’d KILL to get overseas, but we’ll see if we ever get any kind of offers.  We’re pretty underground, so we’re not exactly waiting with baited breath.  Live we sound exactly like the album (or maybe its the other way around).  Lots of headbanging, pounding beers, moshing, etc.  Fucking metal to the bone!  Some of the bands we’ve played with are: Autopsy, Nunslaughter, Macabre, Acid Witch, Cianide (x2), Cardiac Arrest (x2), Johnny Vomit, Absconder, Sauron, Wastelander, Kommandant, Reign Inferno (x2) and a few others. 

What is your local scene like both bandwise and venue wise? Any bands from your local scene that you would care to recommend to European metalheads and metalheads in general?

I have to say that the Chicago scene is pretty killer all things considered.  There’s a pretty wide variety of bands from old school bashers,  crusty death metal, grind, technical type stuff, to younger “hipster black metal” bands.  I guess there’s something here for everyone.  I’ve noticed it playing shows in other cities over the years.  Chicago is just a solid metal town.  Lots of bands and even more passionate metal heads. I think a lot of it has to do with that working class attitude I mentioned earlier.  There are too many bands to get into a list here, and there are a good amount of venues to play in.  Venues of all sizes put on shows.  I think another big reason why the scene here is as into it as they are is because we get a lot of really underground shows here that not everyone else gets.  There are these 2 promoters (basically huge metal fans), Victor Torres and Stan Kosen, who bring bands here for small underground shows and maybe they do a mini tour too to try to get enough cash to cover expenses.  Mortem from Peru has played here a bunch of times.  They’ve brought out Sadistic Intent, Nifelheim, Destroyer 666, Sabbat, Inquisition, Nunslaughter,  Infernal Conjuration and a million more.  I think it does local bands a service to watch small, underground shows with bands that are totally the real deal, delivering the goods and you know that no one else is really going to be able to see them.  It’s like a lesson in a weird way.  I think its fair to say that a lot of Chicago bands have been influenced by these shows whether they realize it or not. 

The Midwest area of the US has a lot of great bands, not just Chicago.  Indianapolis has Gates of Slumber, Radiation Sickness is back doing shows, Apostles of Solitude, Coffinworm, etc.  The Detroit and the Lansing area have Nocturnal Feer, Acid Witch, Sauron, Shitfucker, Wastelander, THE MEATMEN and about 10 more that I’m too stoned to remember right now.  Around these parts, metal is definitely alive and well.

What bands inspire, influence and shape the sound of Bones, have your overall influences basically remained the same since the Usurper days? What are the differences between the music of both bands in your opinion?

I think in general we’re still influenced by the same sick bastards that influenced us back in the old days.  Its hard to find new bands that are as influential as bands like: Sodom, Venom, Mercyful Fate, Van Halen, old Slayer, old Scorpions, The Who, etc.  Or maybe its more individual players as opposed to bands that have influenced us the most.  Guys like: Bill Ward, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Eddie Van Halen, Dave Murray, Carlos Cavazo, Cliff Burton, John Entwistle, Lemmy, etc that left  the deepest scars on us individually.  Musically, Bones is different than Usurper mainly in approach.  I think Bones is more of a high energy/intensity type of thing.  With Usurper, Rick Scythe wrote everything, so it had it’s own stamp and sound that was very identifiable.  In Bones we all contribute so there are different tangents and influences on the music.  In the end I think Bones sounds more manic, for the better or the worse.

Do you have much new material written? What will the next release be, another album or...? What can we expect from the new Bones material?

Right now we have 10 songs in various stages of completion.  2 more and we’ll book studio time.  We’ll probably put 10 songs on the next album and have 2 songs left over to use for a 7” or something later on.  The new Bones shit is shaping up to be like an exaggerated version of the first album.  The fast stuff is faster, heavier stuff heavier, rock stuff more hard rockin’, and the punkish influence is right up front too. 

Vocally who inspires you...apart from the obvious Tom G Warrior grunts hehe.... which musicians inspired you to want to pick up an instrument and form bands such as Usurper and Bones?!. Were you a vocalist by default (i.e. becuase no band in the band could or would do vocals!!?) or had you always wanted to do vocals aswell as play an instrument?

Yeah, I think I’m the vocalist by default.  I was hoping someone else was going to come along who could do it, but a lot of “singers” have a “singer” mentality and attitude.  That’s not something any of us really want to deal with in Bones.  A “real singer” would probably do a much better job than me, but it’s scummy death metal: it doesn’t take a lot of talent to scream into a microphone.  If you can breathe, speak a language, and don’t have stage fright you can do it.  And, with practice, anyone can get used to playing an instrument and singing at the same time.  You just have to work at it.  So it’s easier this way staying as a 3 piece.  Less arguing and drama.  And Carcass is picking up some of the slack I leave behind and singing a couple tunes on the new album, so that’s cool.  As for vokill inspirations, I would have to say the other guys in the band.  I don’t want to deliver something sub-par and let my buddies down, so I just try to fit in with the song, same as I do with bass.  Whatever is required is whatever I’ll try to do.  It’s hard to say who inspired us to pick up our instruments.  I think it’s more like we are infected with the same disease.  Something unknown made us sick, and these are our symptoms.  Carc and I weren’t involved in forming Usurper, but Joe Warlord is one of the founding members from back in ‘93.  The rest of us didn’t join until later.  I joined in ‘95, and Chris in ‘00.

Jon Necromancer

Future plans for  2013?

We’ll be finishing writing the new album and hopefully recording by March/April of ‘13.  After that we want to play a show or 2 here in Chicago and also finally play some regional shows in Detroit, Indianapolis, etc.  Who knows, maybe we’ll play Trillion’s in Newcastle? ( I sure hope so! - K. )

Are any of you guys involved in any other bands? Or is it just Bones for all 3 of you right now?

Joe and I are in some projects.  Joe still plays with the technical guys he jammed with after Usurper broke up.  They’re super good, but they only play to make music.  They don’t have a name or play any shows.  Joe also plays in a weird heavy, proggy kind of band called “Tsunami”.  They rehearse in our practice room and I’m pretty sure they’re going to record something soon.  I play in a side project called “Doomsday”.  It’s all ex Nachtmystium members who were either fired or who quit over the years.  We’re all still close and it’s great to still write and play original tunes together.  We have an ep that’s out on Disorder Records.  But for all of us, Bones is our main thing.  That’s what feels natural.

Describe BONES in 5 words ONLY!

Sloppy, Sleazy, Shitty, Loud, Unpolished

What is your opinion on the current state of the US Metal scene? Any fellow American bands that are currently active that you feel an affinity with?

There are a few, but not many.  Mainly because we don’t keep up with the “scene” like we did in the 90s.  But we still have old friends.  Nocturnal Fear from Detroit are old friends of ours who sound better now than they ever have, which is fucking saying something.  They’ve been playing out recently too, which is good for everyone who worships Sodom influenced death metal.  This band deserves to be heard!  Gates of Slumber kicks fucking ass.  So do Midnight.  Acid Witch.  High Spirits.  A bunch more I’m too stoned to remember right now. 

Many thanks for answering this short interview Jon! Now is the time to plug websites, merch etc..you know the drill!! Hails!

Thanks a million, Kat! These were the best questions we’ve gotten in a long time.  Cheers!  Check out our facebook page “www.facebook.com/pages/Bones-Chicago”.  Anyone can feel free to get in touch with us through there for cds, tshirts, etc.  You can also pick up swag from our label: Planet Metal at “www.facebook.com/planetmetal”. Or you can download the album from iTunes.  Search for “Bones March of the Dead”.  Hails!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


FOR FANS OF :- Early Venom, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch.
LATEST RELEASE:- Witchgrave (High Roller Records 2013)

Yet another great band I was introduced to thanks to Fenriz's band of the week blogs - Witchgrave hail from Sweden and play a great dirty 80's style heavy
metal with harsh vocals - Imagine the hardrockin' harshness of early
Venom mixed with some old Maiden and Angel Witch for want of a
description. I sent some questions to the band and Sven (drummer)
provided the answers a short while before their debut album was unleashed:-

Hails! Your new album is soon to be unleashed via High Roller Records - what
can the readers of Terrorizer expect from this latest offering from

Filthy, perverse and depraved heavy metal pretty much sums it up. It's our first full-length but people
who enjoyed our EP will hopefully like this too.
Can you please give us a more in depth insight into the tracklist for the
new album and the lyrical themes that run throughout these songs?

The album will consist of 8 tracks of raw heavy metal and the lyrics have to fit the music as well. We write
lyrics about whatever we want to, and sometimes they can get pretty fucked and dirty but that's the way we like it.
There is not one theme that runs through the record but the satan, sex and the killing of virgins to call forth dark forces
and other acts of evil morbidity are common throughout the record. We also have a song about a mad motorcycle man
who doesn't give a fuck about life or the rules that society sets. Sort of like us.

Where was the new album recorded and why did you choose that particular

We choose to work with Filip (or Philip?) from Helvetets Port since he is a good friend with great knowledge
and taste in this kind of music. He is also probably even more fucked up that us which was a good thing when
we were trying weird stuff and writing the final stuff in the studio. With us in the studio was also David from Portrait
and Hands of Orlac and the drummer of Helvetets Port, Oskar, whose drums I borrowed for this recording.
So we locked our selves up in this small cabin in the middle of nowhere for about a week. Things got a little out of hand
and crazy with the alcohol and stuff from time to time but that just made the record sound even more drunk and honest.

Who's idea was it for the album cover concept? It looks very cool!

It was Kriss Palmgren who did most of the work but Robin Gnista and myself also did some work.
Kriss is a mastermind and a very good friend.

How did you hook up with High Roller - was it a case of them contacting you
and offering a deal or did you shop promos around to labels?

Well, they contacted us about releasing our EP a few years back and now we just asked them if they felt like
releasing this as well. We were never even in contact with anybody else. I guess it was the easy way out but
I'm sure it will work out well.

Do you plan to tour much in support of the new album? How active are you as
a live band in general? Can we expect anymore UK Witchgrave shows in 2013?
You played the Fenriz curated Live Evil fest a couple of years ago how was
that experience for you? How did London treat you?! Also were you guys fans
of Dark Throne before Fenriz gave Witchgrave his thumbs up?
How did that make you feel when you saw he had made you a band of the week?

As much as possible but we are all active in other bands and we live in different cities
which makes it hard to rehearse. But we really enjoy playing live and if someone would
put us on a tour that would be great. Hopefully we can come back to London cause that
a great fucking festival and we had a really good time. Well, the security at that venue
were complete idiots who should be executed as soon as possible.
Yeah, we like Darkthrone for sure and since we know that Fenriz has good taste in
music we are honoured and glad.

What can people expect from a Witchgrave live show in general? Do you use
any stage props at all or is it just you guys and your instruments and amps
turned up LOUD AS HELL?! Would you quite like to say have a similar stage
show to old Venom with lots of pyros etc..?!

We haven't used any stage props yet but of course we would like to. We have used smoked but
want to use fire and bombs and everything. Just like Venom or Motörhead! Of course we always play as loud as possible! 

Are there any notable differences between your "The Devils Night" E.P. and
the new debut album? Or is it a case of "business as usual" and following
more or less in the same headbanging vein as it's predecessor?

Well Witchgrave is Witchgrave but this is a new recording with new songs and of course it sounds 
a little different. The sound is not quite as low-fi as the EP since this time we recorded it in a studio.
But music wise we continue down the same road and I don't think we will ever change very much. I think
the full-length is better than the EP and that whatever changes we go through we will always please our
own desires. But it's best just to listen to it yourself.

Was it intentional for that E.P. to be just over 13 minutes long?! A perfect
length for such a evil slab of heavy metal!

Hehe, well we didn't think about the number 13 when we wrote the songs but that must be a sign I guess...
The EP was first intended as a demo.

How long has the writing process been for the debut album? Did the material
come together quite fast or was it quite a steady process?
After the critical acclaim the E.P. recieved did you feel any pressure or
did it come together quite effortlessly with no stress.

We started to work on it after the EP was released but we never hurry and always take
our time. Sometimes we has periods when we were very inspired and wrote a lot and then
sometimes months would pass without anything happening. And we all have other bands and
stuff as well. But didn't feel any pressure, we just wrote songs we enjoyed playing. I haven't
really noticed the critical acclaim of the EP. Sure, some good reviews but nothing to make
us worry about loosing an audience haha. It came together without any stress but of course
we worked on the songs until we were satisfied. And then we just wrote some final stuff in
the studio.

Are there any tracks on the new album that standout to you and that are your
personal faves to play, if so why? Or do you think each track stands strong
on it's own compared to the next - if it is anything like the E.P. I expect
it will be a case of "all killer and no filler"!

My two favourites from the album is "The last supper" and "Motorcycle killer" I must way. But
of course we like all the songs and there are no fillers to us. Some of the songs are older and we have
been playing them quite a lot and of course those songs are not as interested as the newest stuff to us.
Those two songs have never been played live or anything. Also, they are really good songs with great lyrics
and lots of atmosphere.

In recent years old school heavy metal has started to enjoy a renewed
popularity worldwide with both older people and a whole new generation of
metal maniacs embracing the old 80's metal style. What is your opinion on
the recent surge in peoples interest in REAL heavy metal music both in the
music media, with record labels signing more old school style bands, more
young kids forming bands influenced by the older bands etc...it seems like
there hasn't been a better time to form a good old school heavy metal band
since the heyday of the 80's! Why do you think this is the case?

I have no idea why. There seems to be a whole retro trend going on outside of heavy metal
as well, at least in Sweden, but I don't know if the two have anything to do with each other.
I think it is great that true dedicated metal heads both old and young are casting aside all that
new whimpy stuff and once again return to the great days of heavy metal and hard rock.
It's great that people can feel the atmosphere and the honesty that was lost somewhere on the
way to this day. But I spit on all the people who are embracing heavy metal as a trend or a fashion style.
They are useless posers and fashion rockers who are laughing at the true spirit of heavy metal and
we wish them to die a slow and painful death as soon as possible.

Sweden has especially been at the forefront of this new wave of real heavy
metal with bands such as In Solitude, Portrait, Enforcer, Black Trip and
yourselves for example generating a lot of interest and getting praise from
such pioneers as Fenriz etc - are there any new Swedish metal bands that you
recommend who are also helping to carry the flag for good no bullshit old
fashioned heavy metal?

Yeah there are some good metal bands in Sweden, some heavy metal and some more extreme kinds like
death metal. I'm looking forward to hearing Richards (Portrait) new band Phantom! Other than that Degial may
be the best death metal band in Sweden right now and the Second Assault album from Horisont is the best
heavy metal album since the last In Solitude album I think. Maybe not many would agree that Horisont is heavy metal
but their latest offering is really heavy and very, very good!

What bands and musicians personally made you want to start a band playing
this style of music? What bands in general shape and fuel the sound of
Witchgrave?! It sounds like Early Venom like they could have had just abit
of an influence on your sound although you guys utilise guitar harmonies
that are more akin to Maiden and Angel Witch!.

Different heavy metal, speed metal, black metal and punk bands that we listen to alot I guess.
I can mention some of them... Venom, Motörhead, Mercyful Fate, Bathory, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest,
Misfits, Black Uniforms, Rainbow, Celtic Frost/Hellhammer and so on. Can't keep going on with
the list forever hehe.

Your vocal style is harsher compared to some of your peers - why did you
choose a more harsher style as opposed to say someone using more melodic and
clean sung vocals/ I am reminded of Cronos quite abit when listening to

Yeah well of course we are very inspired by Venom and also by other bands with evil, screaming vocals like
Bathory, Celtic Frost, Warfare, English Dogs a whole lot of other metal bands and punk bands.
It was our intention from the beginning to be more aggressive and filthy than most other heavy metal bands.

If you had only 5 words to describe the music of Witchgrave- what words
would you use?

Filthy fast peverted heavy metal.

What is your local scene like - are any cool bands you can recommend?
Are you guys involved in any or many other bands or is your main musical
focus currently on Witchgrave?

Well, the band is from a small town called Växjö with not so many good bands.
The heavy metal band Bullet come from Växjö and we also play in other bands such as
Antichrist, The Scams and some projects. Now we all live in different cities though.

Who came up with the band name and what inspired you to call the band it? I
must say it perfectly fits the music.

Jocke came up with the name and I also think it fits very well. I don't know where he got it
from or how he came up with it but I think of an old, long forgotten cemetery. But no sacred burial
ground. It is where witches, killers and men of evil are buried. Unholy ground.

How can people get hold of the new album? And also is it possible for people
to hear some music from the new album yet? Please plug any merch and sites
you have available! Thanks for taking the time to answer this short

It's out on High Roller Records in mid February and they have good distribution so you can probably find
it pretty much anywhere. Or just order from them. Check their homepage for samples and stuff as well.
Buy merch from us when you see us live! Thank you for this not so short interview hehe.

Vomit of the priest! Cheers and fuck off!