Sunday, 29 April 2012
Here's a band that I've played with a few times now, VINDICATOR (from UK, not the US band!) These guys play a unique blend of blackened thrash/death metal, and you can download all their stuff for free! Good lads. They took time out of their busy schedule of harvesting souls to give us an interview! Read on...
Yo dudes, you released an EP a few years ago but were pretty dormant. Now over this past year you’ve been doing shows which is fuckin great, how does that feel?
VERMINTIDE: Pretty refreshing. I mean for a long time the band was a sort of solo-project with people attached, everyone was willing to go out and play but somehow it just never got organised. Now that we're out there getting the music heard it's like being re-born. All shall hail the new incarnation of Vindicator, louder, faster, and heavier than ever!
DAVE: These have been the first shows I've played in quite a long time, so I've been loving it. Supporting Warlord UK and Virus, playing shows with bands like Deceptor, Shrapnel, Thrashist Regime, Rezet, Desolator and Risen Prophecy? Who the fuck wouldn't enjoy that? If people don't, then they're never going to be satisfied with live performances. Ever.
CHRIS: It feels great, I've been in bands before Vindicator but they've all been pretty crap if I'm honest, none of us could work together to even write a song we all agreed on. As for gigging, it was never really going to be an eventuality, this is the first band I've felt right in and the fact that we've been writing so much new stuff and gigging just makes it all worth while.
Vindicator do not sound like they are from the UK at all. I hear Sodom, Kreator, and a bit of Celtic Frost. Who are your main influences?
VERMINTIDE: Sodom, Kreator, and a bit of Celtic Frost. Well, obviously there's more to it than that. The big three Teutonic bands are a massive influence on us, but so are the likes of Sabbat and Onslaught; although it's arguable Sabbat were more like a German band themselves! As well as that we have a lot of love for the classic NWOBHM side of things, especially bands like Cloven Hoof and Angelwitch. Carcass and Bolt Thrower style BDM influences most of the heavier side of our songwriting, likewise there's a few black metal elements drawn from Bathory, Tormentor, Sarcófago and so on. So... A bit of everything really.
DAVE: We like almost anything - our influences range from death metal, to thrash, to blues rock to fuck knows what else. Seriously, it'd be quicker and easier to list what we're not influenced by.
CHRIS: A lot of my influences are different from the other guys, my music tastes can vary from blues to hard rock to black metal or thrash all the way to brutal death and technical death which can show in the music I write. But there's bands like Dark Funeral, Dissection, Darkthrone, Venom, Mayhem, a lot of Sabbat and Sodom, Flagellator, Onslaught, Demolition Hammer and a bit of Benediction and Bolt Thrower for the Death side of things... I'm not even going to mention the techy side of things because I think Dave would kill me!
I’ve noticed a current theme throughout a lot of your tracks. The UNDEAD! What’s your view on the stereotypical thrash topics – beer, thrash, party, nuclear war, zombies, films etc?
VERMINTIDE: Generally I'm a big fan of all those things. I remember long, long ago the Sodom cover on our EP was actually planned to be Zombie Attack by Tankard, even. That said, I do think we could do with a few less bands singing exclusively about 80's action movies. There's nothing wrong with the subject matter, it just seems that it's been run into the ground (perhaps by American “new wave” thrash bands; I think it's just that our friends across the pond don't quite grasp the sense of subtle, tongue in cheek humour that you need to pull the whole PARTY THRAAAASH style off). I like it done well, but played straight it can just seem very cliché. Then again, I don't think I've ever written a song that doesn't mention Satan at least once, so I can't say much haha.
DAVE: I'm not answering that question in too much detail - I'm too brutally honest for my own good and my answer will have angry thrash die-hards raising their torches and pitchforks in fury. But in short, it's only good if it's done well and in the correct ratio... sadly, nowadays I personally feel that it's done more to stereotype and stifle thrash as opposed to helping it. But hey, that's just me. If a band wants to do that, go apeshit - who am I to berate them for it if it's working for them?
CHRIS: I think beer and partying we'll leave to Tankard. Nuclear War and Zombies are pretty stereotypical, but never really get old as long as you can do them right. I'm not much of a lyricist so words aren't always my strong point, but I think as long as you get the right angle you can turn almost any theme into a good song, and with the black thrash side of things you just have to add a certain morbid sort of approach to it.
You recently re-released an Undead In Leather, this has a very classic metal sound to it (with grim, occult overtones obviously). What can we expect from the upcoming album, BLACK SACRAMENT?
VERMINTIDE: It's hard to really say, it's shaping up to be a pretty diverse album. Overall it's safe to say you can expect more of the same, all the ingredients that make a good Vindicator song are obviously going to be there. There'll be plenty of duelling solos, harmonies, and high pitched shrieks over blasting drums and furious trem-picking. This time around though it'll be much less overtly old-school sounding; we're just writing the music we want to listen to, and we're hoping it'll sound pretty unique as a result.
DAVE: An album that sounds like Vindicator, yet unlike anything else coming out of the British metal scene right now. And that's exactly how we like it - it might not be the most original album ever made, but I think this is really going to be the 'make or break' one for us. I can't believe how fucking good the songs are, Verm and Chris deserve a goddamn knighthood for these tracks. Ryan too, he's working so bloody hard to make these the best songs he can and he's done an absolutely mindblowing job, he's the fuckin' man. The only problem is what the hell we're going to release after it, it'll be insanely difficult for us to follow up effectively.
CHRIS: It's pretty much going to be awesome, not to be too cocky... In terms of music there's going to be a lot more variation instead of 3-4 riffs per song, hopefully a lot of harmonies and solos, Verm's signature Wah and a lot of shredding from yours truly.
When will the new album be out, roughly, and will there be a release show of some sort? And please tell me this will be a physical release!
VERMINTIDE: We're looking at a roughly summer/autumn release, but really, it just depends when it's done. I'm a massive perfectionist myself, as Dave will happily complain to you about, so nothing's coming out until it's ready, and I can't say how long that'll be. Of course we'll be playing shows to support it, generally we find shows pretty far and wide anyway so we'll be spreading the word. We've only just recently managed to play our first hometown gig in fact, after nearly a year of gigging! As for the release, naturally it will be out on CD, we're still toying with ideas about iTunes and the like and perhaps a bonus DVD if the footage we get at Full Thrash Assault this year is any good.
DAVE: I think that we originally wanted to have recording finished before Full Thrash Assault festival, but after a few hiccups in our schedule we just decided that it'll be released whenever we feel that it's ready. Verm is such a monstrous perfectionist when it comes to writing that I spend less time learning songs and more time calling him a bastard, but as infuriating as constant tweaks may be, the end result is always spectacular. As for the physical format, fear not - there'll most definitely be one. No idea if we'll just print a few and leave it at that or if we'll keep it in circulation until demand runs out, but we'll see. I know that we've got some treats in mind for the physical release, but I'm not going to spill the beans on that.
CHRIS: We're not entirely sure when the album will be out, though we don't expect to be keeping fans waiting until next year - we're hoping before Christmas, a great present for anyone! As for shows, I'm sure by now most UK Thrash fans know Dave and I organised Full Thrash Assault this year and we played some of our new stuff during our set. But we don't have a clue about physical releases yet though other than the album at some point and our usual merchandise.
You openly give your music out for free. What are your views on free downloading, whether the band consents to it or not? Is it killing the scene or promoting it?
VERMINTIDE: This is a complex and many sided issue. I think the best answer is simply “Depends”. For example, if a record is out of print, from an obscure Australian death metal band that was only active for 6 months in 1988, what does it actually matter if you download it? You had no other way to hear it. Conversely if a struggling band releases it's new album and needs it to sell enough to repay their advance, pirating instead of buying would probably be a bit of a dick move. Overall I think file sharing is more helpful to musicians than we tend to give it credit for- If nobody has heard of your band (which is the situation we find ourselves in a lot of the time) then they are far more likely to check you out if they don't have to pay for the privilege. Down the line that might lead to an extra T-Shirt and CD bought at a gig, instead of just another album copy sold that you never see any money from in the first place. It's a complete moral grey area, but personally, I'd rather my music be available to everyone. We'll almost certainly be selling the album, simply because we've had to invest more into it than our previous releases and can't afford to just give that away; but I doubt you'll ever see me bitching about pirates “stealing” our music.
DAVE: Anyone who says that free music is what's killing the industry should come to my house so that I can kick the shit out of them personally. What a fucking absurd claim! The only musicians who'll complain about free downloading are those who are either too lazy to tour extensively or, bizarrely, those who have enough cash in their bank account to never have to give a shit about money ever again. In our case, free distribution ensures that we get music out to more people - not everyone wants to pay up for a band they've seen once - and thusly, they'll (hopefully) spread it to even more people. Besides, 90% of music fans will buy anything they like anyway - even we've had requests from countless people for a place to purchase CD copies of the free-to-download Outbreak EP, and despite having to decline (we have none left) we're fucking ecstatic to have people asking for such things. As for bands who've just released a label debut, I'd like to think that most people aren't as dickheaded as to do such things, yet the aforementioned "Try before you buy' thing stands there too. Again, nobody wants to put down cash for a band they know little about. The media seems to be under the grand assumption that everyone who downloads music is a pirate and never buys anything, which ultimately, is a crock of shit. They should spend more time doing proper research and less time eating dicks.
CHRIS: Personally I think downloading is great promotion, I have to admit I do download a lot of music, but if I like an album I've downloaded I'll buy it as an homage to the band. CDs may seem 'old' in the day and age where mp3 players and iPods are more common than the common cold, but they're a physical tribute to a band you love, as for bands who think it's killing the industry, they're probably the ones who aren't good enough for people to buy their stuff so maybe they should take that as a hint. Our Outbreak EP and Undead in Leather single are available for free for the masses because we want to share our music with the portion of the world who want to listen.
Finally, some quick questions for shits and giggles:
Guitars – looks or playability?
VERMINTIDE: Looks for sure. If I had my way, all guitars would be pointy and impossible to play sat down.
DAVE: Playability and sound always comes first, but it doesn't hurt for your instrument to look good too. That said, I'd love to see Kerry King playing a Hello Kitty stratocaster...
CHRIS: Obviously both would be a bonus, but for me it has to be more playable than showy, I've only got 2 guitars that are really 'showy' but one's a nuisance to find a case for and the other's a floyd and frankly I can't be bothered setting it up to our standard C# tuning (it's in D). The other problem is that one of our songs requires all 27 frets on my LTD mh-327, so if there's any chance of us playing that song live then it's the only guitar I can use, but that's not as much of a problem as it may sound because frankly it's the most worthwhile guitar I've ever bought.
Best country for thrash?
VERMINTIDE: Right now? Easily the UK. That's probably only because the Germans are too busy with power metal nowadays, though.
DAVE: If you mean in the current state of the world or anything about newer bands, then the UK by a long way. No patriotism there at all, I just haven't heard that many good new bands from anywhere else. But if you're talking about reputation for excellent bands in the past, then Germany and Canada definitely deserve a mention. Those Germans are fucking insane!
CHRIS: At the moment I think the UK thrash scene is by far the best. Just thinking of a few bands we've got at the moment, Mutant, Seregon, Shrapnel, Desolator, Vortex, Deceptor, Visceral Attack, all amazing bands, and we've done shows with all of them apart from Mutant and VA so we've seen first hand how good they are. Thrash is definitely thriving in he UK.
Witchcraft or Satanism?
VERMINTIDE: Trick question. Same thing.
CHRIS: Gotta go with Satanism on this one, sacrifice is a pretty brutal subject in my opinion. I actually suggested using a nude woman being sacrificed satanic ritual style as the album cover for Black Sacrament, but it wasn't taken too seriously!
Metal – fast or slow?
VERMINTIDE: FAST! What kind of question IS that anyway?!
DAVE: Ehhhh, I think that you need one to appreciate the other - if everything is fast (or slow) all the time, then it gets boring much quicker. Varying tempos are absolutely crucial within music of any genre I think, I used to think 'if it's fast then it's automatically good' and yet I was proven wrong extremely quickly. Anybody who can be content with all of their music being fast (or slow, again), I fucking envy them. I wish I could be that enthusiastic these days.
CHRIS: I can't really give a simple answer to that... it's hard to have a slow thrash song, but a fast doom metal song would be a little out of place. I like a mid-tempo song because you can treat it both ways, you can have some slower parts that seem of average speed, then some double-time parts that blow people away because it sounds so fast, it just depends what angle you look at it from.
You can get all of their shit here!