Death Metal is chiefly characterized by the monstrous and demonic vocals. Smug faggots call it “cookie monster” vocals, but usually such faggots would not be able to win a fight against cookie monster, let alone the average death metal vocalist. The music can be simplistic or intricate, in common time or with bizarre time signatures. Orchestral instruments, or even operatic vocals have been incorporated at times.
This brutal album features chugging riffs that I love because they give a feeling of hellish progress, the perfect music for marching into battle. There are other styles here too, but I cite this because IMMORTAL SUFFERING are masters of this style.
“Asylum” bears a production value that is true to the style of death metal. It’s especially favorable after there us a rest in percussion and a drum hit cracks in like a sudden bolt of lightning. It’s absolutely sinister.
This album should be an important part of your death metal diet. The band has been around since the early days, carving their place. Give this album a try if you have not discovered the band yet.
Interview with George Fisher conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #25
It’s a pleasure to see you, George.
Which shampoo do you use?
Which shampoo… shit! I don’t the exact make of it because my wife bought it. It’s some fuckin’ salon kind of bullshit. She does fuckin’ nails and facials and all that stuff, and she works in a salon where they do hair and shit. But it ain’t that Biolage. It’s pretty good. It smells good.
A lot of people want to emulate you, and I think a good start is a hair product.
I used to use some stuff that Alex uses, but I don’t remember what it was called. I used to use Biolage. How’s that? Use Biolage, and be brutal.
Do you blow-dry, or do you let it dry naturally?
Just let it dry.
Is that important?
No, because I ain’t sitting under a fuckin’ hair dryer for 20 minutes. I just rather blow-dry my ass hairs.
Have you ever cheated on your wife?
No. Honestly, no.
Are you sure?
You are the stud muffin of death metal.
I am? But I don’t get any.
Has your wife ever cheated on you?
Not to my knowledge? She better not, or I’ll fuck her with a knife! (this was spoken jokingly).
What would be better, if the guy she cheated on you was a friend, or a stranger?
Maybe a friend, because then I’d know at least probably what he has or what he doesn’t have.
Would that make you violent?
It depends. I don’t know what it depends on, but it would depend. I don’t know what to tell ya. If come home and see her shlorking down some big black dick, you know what I mean, I’m going to be pretty pissed off. But I don’t have any guns, so I’ll just have to hack someone with a big sword.
Do you have a sword?
Six of them.
Yes, I am true evil.
Does that compensate for something else?
No. (laughs) Actually I have seven swords. If you wanna know then. A short sword and six long swords. (pause) Average male American giant nine-incher.
Do women force themselves on you even though they know that you are married?
I wish! No, no they don’t force themselves on me. Come one! Look at me! I’m buff!
That must be why they call you “Buff George”.
Unless it was some fuckin’ big Bertha going (in a deep voice), “Come on! I want some now, Grinder!” I would be in trouble if that was the case.
Are you embarrassed to be on tour with such soft bands as The Haunted and Dimmu Borgir?
They’re not soft. That’s fuckin’ mean.
You’re so diplomatic! Come on!
No! I’m not!
You like the swirling keyboards, then?
Yeah, I listen to Emperor a lot. They got keyboards. There’s nothing wrong with that.
You knew I was coming!
No! You don’t like The Haunted? In all honesty, I just heard the new Dimmu Borgir last night. Jack bought it.
Was it in a gay bar?
Look, let me just give you one word of advice. Don’t fuck with the oyster. That would be fucking with the oyster if you would even insinuate that the oyster visited a gay bar. That could be grounds for instant death. If Jack, indeed, is the Oyster, or the Oyster is jack, he has powers beyond Satan, beyond god, beyond fuckin’ Bill Zebub too.
Speaking of god, have you ever heard that Jesus was black?
I’m sure I have. But who cares?
Was that why you were mad, thinking that a black man could be humping your wife when you’re on tour?
No, I was just saying that. It has nothing to do with fuckin’ black, white… if she’s shlorking down a dick, I’m pissed off, unless it’s mine, of course.
Have you noticed that black people usually distort a language? They just totally bastardize it, no matter what language it is, like French and Creole.
Oh, like death metal ebonics?
Ebonics in English, yes, that’s an example. Without sounding negative about it, let’s call it Black English. Can we agree on that?
Um. I don’t know. What was the question?
Where I’m going with this is, I think I can prove that Jesus was black, based on black behavior toward language.
Jesus was asked how to pray. Do you remember what he said? He said, get down with me brother… he said, “Our father who are in heaven.” That’s very improper English, and only a black person would talk like that.
Wasn’t it art?
Well, art is Olde English for” are”.
I don’t know Olde English. I barely know English English.
But wouldn’t you say that’s good evidence for Jesus being black?
I guess, that’s ok, if you’re doing an investigation. If I was a juror, I would take that into consideration.
Now that you are relaxed, do you think that it’s possible for you to sing “Mary had A Little Lamb”?
No. Why did I know that this was gonna come up? This is going to become this continuing saga. You’re always like, please! And I’m just not gonna do it.
I’m not going to argue with you about it. I’m just going to ask.
The reason I ask is, you’re like that cartoon frog… he only sings to his owner.
(singing) Hello my baby, hello my darlin’.
The first time you sang, my tape ran out. The second time, my battery died, and you sang it afterwards all night. But you’re determined not to do it on tape.
You just have to give me the top hat and throw me on the street.
I know that as soon as I leave the bus, you’re going to be singing.
I just saw the cartoon before we went on tour. I was like, I’d fucking kill this fuckin’ frog! Just kill it! You ain’t gonna make no fuckin’ money off of it! It’s a little punk!
Do you ever get asked to play requests when you perform?
People yell out songs.
Do people ever yell out, “Mary Had A Little Lamb?”
No, not yet. But I’ve talked to a few people around this area. They asked me about it. What’s with this Mary Had A Little Lamb?
Will you sing it tonight, when you perform?
No, most definitely not. The other guys don’t know it.
Well, just say it’s time for a vocal solo. Have you ever met up with Warrel Dane after he read all the bad stuff you said about him?
I didn’t say that much… I didn’t say… what did I say bad about him?
That you don’t want to sing like him.
Well that’s not bad. I can’t sing like him.
Alright, you’re backing down now.
No I’m not! No! You tell me exactly what I said.
I don’t remember what you said. I don’t want to get in the middle of your war with Nevermore.
I’m not in a war with Nevermore! I didn’t say anything bad about Warrel Dane!
Then why did you steal his guitar player?
He was already fuckin’ out of Nevermore! He had already done tours with Monstrosity, so there! (pause) We can take whoever we want.
Last time we talked, we were cut off as we discussed your parents escaping the concentration camp.
I’m not German. I’m fuckin’ Filipino. (pause) They were trying to escape, but, you know… it happens.
Do you work out?
(laughs) Can’t you tell? I work out 12-ounce curls every night.
After you got married, you let your body go?
I had already been letting it go anyway. Getting married didn’t change anything. Actually, just before I came on tour, I’ve been kicking in an exercise bike. No lie!
Do you wear spandex when you do that?
No… naked! And I put on King Diamond’sThem and just fuckin’ (makes guitar sounds)
Monstrosity doesn’t seem to be doing too well after you left. Do you pay them any sort of alimony?
No. I just saw them yesterday. They pulled up. Before they even got there, some kids were askin’ me that there was a big rumor that I was singin’ a song with ’em. And Lee was like, “Yeah, we’re gonna ask you to sing a song!” I didn’t even know they were playin’ and I was on the bus, and I come out and they’re playin’ Angel of Death, so I missed ’em. No, I’m not paying them alimony, and last night I missed them, and that sucked.
Have you ever asked Dimmu Borgir or The Haunted for any vocal tips. You try to vary your vocals, and I was wondering if you ever decided to incorporate unmanly high-pitched screaming, maybe they could give you some tips.
(George attempts to sing gay, and succeeds)
Is your latest album your best-selling one?
Is that going to make Metal Blade kick you off?
I hope not. No way! It’s doin’ alright, I guess. It’s just not the best-selling one. Maybe we wimped out or something.
Did someone tap you on the shoulder to tell you that that option maybe isn’t looking so good?
Maybe I need to be doing more (makes a high pitched gay sound). I think The Bleeding sold the most. Obviously the Ace Ventura movie had a lot to do with that.
Black metal bands have admitted to me that black metal is dead in Europe. Was there ever a danger that Cannibal Corpse would incorporate gay black metal elements?
No. We’re a death metal band. You know? I like a lot of black metal bands. I like Marduk, Dark Funeral… stuff like that. But we’re not gonna do anything like that. We’re death metal. Pat listens to a little bit. Maybe jack. But nobody else listens to it really that much. I’m the black metal guy in the band.
Do you remember the first Cannibal Corpse record you sang on? Did you get your hands on the underground tape of songs that Chris Barnes sang on?
I had heard it. There’s a tape that has more songs on it than what’s going around. Some people haven’t heard Defiled By Vermin, and that’s actually on one of the tapes.
Would anybody sue me if I put that out on CD?
I don’t care. You know the reason it came out? You know who let it get out?
Thank you. This isn’t a rip on him. But that’s how it got out. If you put it on CD, I wouldn’t care. I know people in Europe have already seen copies of it pressed on CD.
The reason I asked is because, the guy who used to run the Canadian magazine, The Sepulchral Voice, uh, someone gave him a tape to make into a CD before the album came out, but unfortunately his house burned down, and he never shared that tape with me, and I hate him.
Oh, you want to hear it?
Can I play it on my radio show?
We don’t care. We know there’s copies of it out already.
So why don’t you hook me up with an immaculate copy?
I don’t have one.
I think you know some people in the band who might have one.
You know them too.
Yeah, but they don’t like me the way you do. You’ve got that way of talking people into things. I don’t have that. I don’t have what you have. So just look into that. Let it simmer. You’ve got my address and everything.
Just give me a little on the side. Oh man, Metal Bade is kicking us off tomorrow, or whenever this comes out.
That’s ok. You need to be on a metal label anyway.
Hey! Come on! Metal Blade is total metal.
How gay is that guy, EJ?
Do you talk about his love of Motley Crue?
He loves Motley Crue? My wife loves Motley Crue.
Yeah, but your wife is a woman.
Thank you. (pause) He looks like Buddy Holly. You find that funny? It’s nothing bad.
So he looks the way he talks.
He looks sort of like Buddy Holly. Look, I don’t want to sit here and rip on him.
You can’t shut up about him. I just asked a question.
No! You’re just trying to distort everything.
Don’t be paranoid.
I’m not paranoid! What’s he gonna do? Beat me up?
Why are you so defensive? Are you saying he’s a gay wimp?
Listen, when I said that, I had assumed that you had met him. He’s going to be pissed at me when he reads this.
Who cares? What’s he going to do, have a hissy fit?
I know, I know.
You made him break a nail.
I thought that you had met him before.
No, I don’t hang out in gay bars.
Where does he hang out? Obviously not metal shows because he’d get queerbashed.
I don’t know. I’ve only met him a few times.
So he doesn’t go where rough men hang out?
What is he, a scout leader? Is that how he gets action?
Do you act catty when you’re in the same room with an attractive man?
What do you mean? Gay? No.
I don’t know these kind of words. You’re too technical for me, man. Just tell me piss, shit, and fart.
Do you get jealous and all of a sudden have to flex your arms, as if to say that you are more handsome?
No, because I am.
Yeah. I’m goddamn confident.
Have you ever come close to cheating on your wife?
Never. There have been girls, where I’m like, she’s fuckin’ hot! But nothing like when I was attempting to kiss or holding hands or sticking cock in, or anything like that. Not even close.
Did you ever tell your wife, “I wasn’t kissing her, she was kissing me!”
Did she ever say that to you?
What, that she wasn’t kissing her? I wish! But not him!
What are three things that will never appear on a Cannibal Corpse album.
Bill Zebub, poofy hair, and stick twirls. Of course, you couldn’t tell if that was on there. Picture-wise, poofy hair. Thanks-list-wise, Bill Zebub. That fuckin’ super lame cheap beat. Ever hear that?
What is that called? Thrash?
Just a cheap beat. (bass/snare) At practice, you should see Paul do it. He does it super animated. You won’t ever hear the lame dorky cheap beat.
For legal reasons, you could not advertise at the Limelight because you are playing at the Birch Hill tonight. I heard that after you play the rest of the shows on this tour, you’re coming back to the area to play the Limelight, on a Monday night. Have you ever played there? It used to be a church, and they converted it to a club.
I’m almost certain we had.
That means that you brought death metal back to New York.
What’s the big deal of that?
It used to be shut down. From what I heard, the attitude towards drugs was that they could not be stopped, so in order to prevent it, certain dealers were there who acted like caring bartenders.. like, if you had enough, they wouldn’t sell you any more. And they sold you good stuff, not adulterated stuff that could hurt you. (note- this is what I heard from a former employee. It is not presented here as fact). Supposedly they wore special necklaces that indicated they should not be busted, but other dealers were fair game for the police. There was really open drug use, and for some strange reason, the place was shut down.
Is that true, that they couldn’t advertise?
I was told that the Limelight show couldn’t be advertised because people wouldn’t go to the Birch Hill… they would wait for you to come back to the legendary Limelight.
Really? Well as far as I know, it’s on our web site.
I’m just glad. You’re the first death metal band to go through those doors since the big shutdown. And who better to open the doors of the Limelight? It was shut down by a Nazi, and your parents escaped the Nazi’s. I think it’s just beautiful the way you will overthrow the fourth reich of New York. What are some of your hobbies?
Playing video games, and fishing.
So you know about Metal Dave? He has a fishing column in the Grimoire.
You know who else is a big-time fishing person? Chris Bailey from Infernal Majesty.
Get out of town!
Yeah man! (starts reading the column) “I love my goldfish named “Leaky” It will have a birthday soon. If I sing Happy Birthday to it, will it hear me?” What’s that got to do with fishing?
So you’re a fisherman. You don’t keep fish. You’re not an aquarist.
Hey, I eat them motherfuckers.
So if you keep them in a tank, it’s only until they die in your frying pan.
I do have one of those fuckin’ beta fish. It’s fuckin’ cruel. Look, they have these little… it’s like a vase… and they got all this rocky shit… and then a plant would be in it. The roots grow, and then the fish will eat off the roots. They call them fighting fish. If you put two males together, they’ll go at it. You can get bigger cases for ’em. I got a small one. It was given to my wife. I was thinkin’, this is fuckin’ cruel. I haven’t got him a new tank yet, obviously, because I’m on tour. But that’s a different story besides fishing. When I’m fishing, I catch fish, and I eat them motherfuckers.
Isn’t it a little strange to keep fish in a vase? You can’t see them.
(Exasperated) OK. All right. Hardy har.
I’m trying to teach you to become a little more aware of what you’re communicating when you speak.
Yeah, because I’m talking like an idiot.
I’m trying to clear all the rumors for you, George. This is how rumors get started… saying things like, keeping fish in a vase, with plants. Here’s some roses and a goldfish. Here’s a flower, honey. Oh, I’ll put it in a vase with the fighting fish. We have a couple of questions from a girl who lives in Rhode island. Her name is Tammy. Has a man you never met before suddenly given you flowers? Oh no… that was my question. But go ‘head.
Has a man you never met before suddenly given you flowers?
No, or I’d fuckin’ put him in a stunner.
Have you been hit on by a man?
Um… no, I don’t think so.
Tammy would like to know how long is your thingy?
Um, rolled up or…
I’m just asking the questions. I’m not interpreting them.
About as big as a baseball bat.
How many times a day do you jerk off?
Depends on how far into the tour we are. Two to three, let’s say.
Is a tour bus sort of like prison, as far as jerking off is concerned? Like, when you first go into prison, you don’t know if you should, and then, depending on what your cell mate is doing, his jerk off behavior… like, do you wait for other people in the band to start rolling first? Is this a bus of denial, where you just keep doing it and nobody seems to react to everyone else doing it?
I don’t know. I just bought a Hustler, so…
So what do you do? Do you say, “Hey guys! It’s a nice day! Why don’t you go for a walk?”
I think, pretty much, everybody just keeps that to their bunk. Stay in your bunk and wack, if you want.
What if you’re used to moaning in private. You can’t do that on the tour bus.
You just got to do the old… (clamps hand over mouth)
Is there anything you’d like to clear up from past interviews?
Don’t jerk off in public. Wait! Anything I want to clear up from past interviews?
(I met up with Cannibal Corpse again after I had done the Nevermore interview, and I told Pat about what Warrel said, and he responded thusly)
(Pat) I got kicked out of Nevermore because I wasn’t queer.
interview with Harald conducted by Bill Zebub for Issue #23
I must make clear that my tone in these questions is respectful toward thee, even though it might seem that I am picking apart little details. Letus begin with a look at the vocals. They seem not to be as up front as before, and that might be caused by all the reverb. Or is that not the way that the final mix will sound?
I’ve never thought about the vocals place in the mix as any different from the other albums really, and actually we’ve never really been concerned as far as if the vocal should be up front or whatever. Of course the vocals are normally high up in the mix, but we’re more concerned about what sounds good as a whole. It might be a possibility that as the guitars are more powerful now, and also there’s “more” guitars when it comes to the actual riffing, so I guess that might take some from the vocals. The vocals still sound fuckin’ brutal in my ears and they sound great with the music. Also as you point out, it’s not the final mix you’re listening to, so there will be some changes and everything will come out a bit clearer.
I immediately noticed a more straightforward approach, and then I read about some artistic differences which resulted in the line-up change. Have the artists of the band left, being that there are no more experimental songs like “The Brighter the Light, the darker the Shadow?”
I don’t think you really can call it more straight forward as there’s not much that is more straight forward than “Onwards…” That one had about two different rhythms, ha ha! “Under The Reign of Terror” is much more varied when it comes to structures, tempo changes, and definitely when it comes to the riffs, which are the most complex stuff we’ve done for sure. The old songs were very streamlined, if I can use that word, and the riffs were simple and the arrangements also, with a few exceptions, one of which being “The Brighter…”. This song was a collaborative effort between Krell and Knarr, our old drummer, and I must admit that together they came up with some very weird stuff. There was too much problems with having Knarr in the band, though, and we had to let him go. No hard feelings because he’s a cool guy, but he didn’t have the time to make the commitment that was needed for touring and such, and also he was not interested in playing fast, which was one of the main reasons I think that our old stuff don’t have any really fast parts. He just didn’t have the stamina I guess… As for the other guys I can say that their departure has nothing but gained the band and our music.
The role of the keyboard has greatly diminished. Didst thou not consider that to be a trademark of thy sound?
No, actually not. The keyboards were never an important aspect of the band in our eyes, even if some might think that sounds strange considering they are very much present, especially on “Onwards…”. But in the original mix for that album the keyboards were much more in the background, however Season wanted to remix the album as they thought it sounded too messy, so we said “Ok, you contact studiomega and pay for it and get them to do it and it’s fine with us” because we hadn’t really got the sound we wanted anyway. We had at that time gone back to Norway and couldn’t be present at the remix, and so when the new one arrived the sound wasn’t much clearer at all. All that had changed was more bass and the keys were a lot higher! I guess Season told them to put up the keys as they probably thought it would sell more albums or something… I’m not sure, but all I know is that this wasn’t what we were after as far as the sound goes. Also, that album was as far as the music goes, too much compromising with people in the band who wanted to pull it in a softer direction, people who don’t know shit about extreme metal or metal at all, for that matter. Some of us wasn’t happy with that because we wanted Bloodthorn to go in a harder direction after the “In the Shadows…” and especially after “Onwards…” so they had to go. We also noticed that in a live situation the keys didn’t play such an important role ,and before we went on tour we actually simplified some of it which made it sound heavier.
Alas, the girl is gone. What has caused her departure?
We felt we didn’t need her and we saw the label (Season of Mist) and the press focusing on her and trying to make her like the front person, which was totally stupid as she didn’t write any music or lyrics and sang for about maximum five out of the fifty minutes on the album, so it was another attempt to commercialize the band, which we felt very uncomfortable with. We didn’t want the people to get the wrong impression and buy the album because of a female singer – which would’ve made them very disappointed since she’s barely on the album. Also, she didn’t show up on rehearsals, and live, she couldn’t do her job properly even if she only sang those little pieces, and therefore we didn’t see any reason for her to continue with the band, especially now that we’d got rid of the other elements that had hindered our progression, and the music turned harder.
I enjoyed the odd things in thy past material. But it seems to me that many unique elements have been eliminated. Of course, there will always be the telltale vocals. Yet I wonder, will the changes unmake thee?
I don’t know what you see as odd things, so it’s hard for me to say anything on that, but as far as we see it we’ve made our best album by far in every ways. We still feel that we have kept the things that for us made Bloodthorn in the past and that will make Bloodthorn in the future, and that’s what’s important for us. The band has progressed and we’ve done an album that we stand one hundred percent behind, and we don’t see how that can unmake us. The new album is just so much stronger, so much more interesting. It’s intense, heavy, aggressive, all the things that we wanted it to be, but I can’t predict if it’s gonna make us sell less records or more, ‘cause you will never know until it’s out there in the shops. The album is good, and with Red Stream backing us up I think it’s gonna go well. We got good feelings for this album.
Are any former bandmates bitter?
I don’t know and I don’t care. We talk to Knarr whenever he comes up of his basement and as said he’s totally cool, and Krell sees him quite often, but the rest I don’t care about. We know they talk shit behind our backs, but as long as we don’t have to see them, let them do whatever fuck they want. If people want to be assholes that’s their business and as long as we don’t have to mingle with them, let them be assholes. It only proves what miserable human beings they are.
Is Krell considered a national treasure? He is king of both black metal vocals and death metal vocals. I usually feel irritated by black metal vocals except in bands like Tristitia and Gloomy Grim. But I think that another reason why they are so tasty is that they do not ride atop music that is black metal. Bloodthorn does not adhere to a particular system. It seems that the best elements of many styles are selected in the crafting of thy songs.
He’s more likely a national disaster – and king of the forest – ha ha! No, he’s doing a great job. He’s definitely one of my favourite vocalists as far as black/death metal goes. He’s always equally powerful and not loosing any strength or brutality, and that’s very important. You’re right by not calling our music black metal, and we’re not doing so ourselves either. This was an issue we talked to Mica about, him labelling us black metal in the ads and shit, and for the second album we said ‘don’t write black metal’, but he did anyway – ‘atmospheric black metal’ or some crap like that. I mean, we definitely don’t see ourselves as a black metal band, not to say anything bad about the genre, but we’re just not doing that, and I think anyone with something between their ears will say the same. The first two albums actually had a lot of more doom metal oriented stuff in them as well, as the more aggressive parts, but for this one we’ve more or less forsaken the doomy parts and sped up a bit, but still keeping it heavy as fuck. I think it’s closest to what one would call death metal, and the lyrics and everything are really death metal, and the music is very heavy and aggressive and it got a bit of this and a bit of that so it’s hard to put a label on it. Some people said it reminds them of early death metal, others said it was like early ‘90’s black metal, so we hear at lot of different shit, and I think it’s up to each and everyone to put their own label on it. I guess it could be called something like “blackened death metal” or some shit like that. It’s not really important.
This atmospheric doom album features the powerful vocal delivery comparable to SHAPE OF DESPAIR – which is far more effective for this style than the black metal type of vocals that has snuck into some of the doom offerings. Indeed, it is better to hear a demon than any weaker spirit.
The four songs on this album have a long running time, so you are not buying an e.p. – in fact, two songs are over twenty minutes, and one of those is close to half an hour. This is perfect for the inner journey.
The music is plodding and morose, sweetened at times with nontraditional use of synthesizer, stamping a uniqueness to this style. Yes, the exquisite sorrows and pleasures of doom are contained in this work, but there is something new as well. The album does well to honor what is revered by lovers of doom.
The orchestral layers help the listener descend, but beware, a change in tempo hides in a song – perhaps I should not have revealed it, but it is worthy of mention because there is mastery in lulling the ear and then in frightening it.
If you love doom, you probably have decided to obtain this album within the first sentence of this review. It will be a worthy addition to your collection.
When I heard the first song i thought that the singer from WITHIN TEMPTATION had switched bands. I intentionally never read the press releases or album notes before I listen because I my impression needs to be based on what I hear. Getting back to the vocals, I really did think that there was a guest-vocal appearance which gave Draconian a new flavor. Afterward, i discovered that the band actually has a new vocalist. Despite singing in the same style as her WITHIN TEMPTATION counterpart, she beautifies the songs. If you haven’t heard DRACONIAN before, they combine several ideas, often melancholic, but not adhering to any on style, like doom or goth. It’s a hybrid that works very well. The contrast between angelic female vocals and gruff male vocals is not as stark as in early THEATRE OF TRAGEDY. You can discern every word, which brings the poetry to you for easier ingestion. I have enjoyed every DRACONIAN album and was pleasantly surprised by the change of vocals. The voice is quite beautiful. Each album has moments that stay in the imagination for a long time. If you enjoy being haunted by songs, then take a chance on this band.
INterview with Trey conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #6
Thy attitude, as a band, has come under a lot of scrutiny. Dave Vincent has made some bold comments when asked about how involved he is in thy local scene. He responded with, “What scene? There is no scene. There’s only Morbid Angel!’ Dost thou think that such assertions hinder thee?
Um … Not really.
But how canst thou say that? A lot of bands have taken tremendous offense to that.
Really? Like who?
I am not at liberty to mention. But let us step away from thy peers. Fans have found the arrogant statements to be distasteful. It is not really an attitude that they admire. But then there are those who worship thee and praise thy airs.
Well, let me put it this way – we just feel that what we say is accurate to what’s going on as far as fact. When you blow all the smoke away, we’re talking about what’s standing – a secure thing that’s real. There’s a lot of hype and stuff like that surrounding a lot of bands. We’re just talking about actually what’s the music all about – what’s going into it, you know, without any extra fluff ‘n stuff that people would talk about that really has nothing to do with music. We only just talk about our music and how powerful it is and how we feel that it’s the most powerful music there is. It’s just what we feel. It goes beyond just music. It goes in just about everything. There’s a lot of people who. . . their whole career is just based on hype and fluff talk and all that kind of stuff, and fronts. Our career is based on serious material that we put a lot of time and effort into. So we just believe in ourselves and believe in our stuff.
Didst thou find it to be humiliating to be dropped from Giant Records?
What is the next step?
As far as labels, we don’t know. We’re just gonna see who gives us the best offer. As far as music, I don’t see us changing really, anymore than it’s changed with all the previous records.
Thou art very proud of incorporating certain extreme tempo notes in thy arrangements. I have heard thee say that not many musicians are capable of such feats. Dost thou care to expound?
What is it about the Morbid Angel guitar that cannot be duplicated?
Well, I think really it’s not the playing – it’s the creativity. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s the vision that is behind the riffing. I’m not saying that people can’t figure out our stuff, or be shown and mechanically play it. But what I’m saying is that I don’t see any other band coming up with as many different types of rhythms and song struc tures as we have on our records, and covered as much ground. That’s what I think is the difference. This band has a little bit more creativity, imagination, and we create so much new stuff in this type of music as far as all the different songs. . . when you take them and dissect them for what they are, there’s a lot coming from one band. The two videos that we put on MTV, like, Rapture and God of Emptiness – those two songs are, like, totally different from one another. One is, like, really fast and brutal, and hyper speed. The other is , like, down-tuned and slow and really heavy and all that. They’re totally different. But they’re from the same band. I don’t see any other band that is producing such a broad range of music. I haven’t heard it.
Thou art heavily into the Sumerian gods?
Is that because of what thou hast read of Lovecraft’s fiction, or is it because thou dost possess an actual anthropological interest?
Well, I haven’t really read any H.P. Lovecraft. David has. Fiction… you know, fact… I pretty much study the actual books that are translations from the old. . . uh. . . I can say “scriptures’ and stuff like that, in those areas. It’s like, you know, fiction or . . . myth. Myths are, like, based on what people believed You could say, or I could say, that all religion is fiction because there’s nothing really physically factual about it. It’s just all belief. Belief is the power. You can invent your own kind of religion, and if you believe in it strong enough and anchor in a reality to it, then you give it power, and it is powerful. So it’s kind of a question between, like, something being all fiction, and then something being, like, factual religion. I mean, all religion is basically, you know, people’s ideas and what they would say about a belief about some kind of power or something that’s beyond the physical realm. It’s all intangible. It’s not really something like a car or, like, food, or something that you can see and hold and touch. It’s something that you believe in. It’s something that gets your spiritual powers going. Myself, the stuff that I’ve read, that was, like, very interesting to me. That’s the way I live my life. I choose things that I like myself . . . what do I feel a part of or what can I feel a part of.
Vincent says that his interest is pure belief. Is that the same with thee? Or is it just an area of study?
Um. . . I don’t know. Maybe both.
Dost thou think that it is absurd to adopt a culture that is not thine? How canst thou be seen as authentic in thy belief if it is not only a foreign civilization, but a civilization long dead?
Well, when you say, “to be seen. . .’ to be seen by who? By myself?
By others, of course.
Well, see, I don’t care what other people think. I don’t base anything on what other people say is cool or what other people say is norm because I create my own cool and my own standards. I really don’t base any- thing by other people’s ideas of what’s right and wrong.
But if thou truly did not care what other people thought, thou wouldst not profess thy unusual tastes to the world. Thou wouldst just dismiss prying questions with “no comment” or “this is not appropriate for discussion.’ Thou calls thyself by a pseudonym that is from that culture. So that would lead people to ask thee about it. Dost thou not think that thou art baiting people?
I just think that I’m living my life the way I choose, which is Satanism. See, I don’t think of it like that. I just do whatever I feel is best for myself. When I get the opportunity to say what I got to say, I say it. People listen to it. Great if they don’t. Big Deal! It doesn’t affect me much either way.
When thou did say “Satanism,’ Didst thou refer to the Anton LaVey school of Satanism? Or is it what occultists call “Christian Satanism?’
I’m talking about my interpretation of Satanism.
Wouldst thou care to share a couple of things about that view?
Well, to me, Satanism is believing in yourself and making your own decisions, and pretty much controlling the way you live your life and what you do and what you think… you know, doing it for yourself and doing things because you want to and not because other people expect it out of you or other people are gonna think it’s gonna be cool or whatever. But really, actually, you can do that too if that’s important to you. The bottom line is, doing what’s important to you.
Is there anything evil about Satanism?
Evil? How do you describe evil? Is that just the opposite of holiness?
No. Evil as in hatred, acts that hurt others. . . perhaps it is the common idea of evil than thy own. I know evil is a relative term. But understand that I will always use common conventions, as I am not aware of thy own definitions.
…probably. I’m full of hatred. But I don’t live my life trying to hurt other people.
How about horrific? Is there anything horrifying about thy version of Satanism?
To me, or to other people?
To others, obviously.
I would say that Christians would. Average people, you know, maybe not. It depends on the individual, really, because, see, I’m beyond that. I think of people as Individuals, and maybe sometimes they’re a little more sheep-ish than others because they wanna follow the leader or follow and be part of something as opposed to, you know, letting themselves be by themselves in a decision or idea. I would say that it depends. You take a group of people and you might have out of ten, 3 people are saying one thing and the rest are saying something else. It’s hard to say. I didn’t really spend my time thinking about what other people think that much because that’s their job. I’m more concerned with what I think and what I do. I just do what I feel is best for myself.
Is there rivalry between Glen Benton and Dave Vincent?
Well, I don’t think there’s any really from David. See, what it is, is, I mean, it all boils down to people and the way they are and their values and what they think. See, us. . .we’re always asked questions about that band and other bands and whatever. “Oh. What do you think about their latest record?” See, part of Satanism too, by our definition, is to speak what you feel is the truth for you. What is your reality? Say it boldly. Don’t kiss ass and say, “They’re cool.” and then by yourself you’re thinking , “Oh they really suck. Oh I don’t really like them. But I’m gonna say they”re coot because I wanna be cool” I don’t care about being cool. That doesn’t mean anything to me. So we just say what we think, and people don’t like that. So. . . whatever. But see, I know also that they say what they think, and they say things about our band, and you know, to me, when you look at the music, I don’t really see that it can be compared. I think there’s a big difference between our records and their records as far as accomplishments and as far as creativity and, you know, you throw away all the hype and you get to the music and you just listen to it and what it does it do… I just feel that our music does a lot more.
But philosophically, are they opposed diametrically, Glen and Dave?
I don’t know. I guess you have to ask him. I know, myself, I’m actually very supportive of Deicide these days because I personally think that the drummer and Glen… I think they do a great job, you know, what they do. I think the vocals are really very creative and I think the drummin’s really solid. But you know, for me, I just always kind of felt that the music was lacking something. I just didn’t really get much out of the actual songs from one song to the next. But I really hope Deicide stays around because I think that the scene or whatever needs more bands right now, it seems like it’s just us that is really doing something and selling records and making things happen. But I really hope that Deicide stays around. I don’t have any beef with them at all. I just think that besides maybe talking and making all this hype up or whatever, they should maybe think about their music a little bit more. But whatever. I mean, they’re doin’ what they wanna do.
With regard to the Satanic element, it has been observed that most people who are very loud about proclaiming themselves as Satanic are often of puny stature and that they only pretend that they are Satanists to compensate for their physical weakness. Wouldst thou say that this applies to thee?
As far as proclaiming that I’m a Satanist?
It has been suggested that thou and Tommy from Motley Crue are the same person, making fun of thy skinny arms, and stating that the only reason thou art in the occult is to create some sort of macho image because thy physical presence cannot possibly do so.
Well, I can tell you one thing. I’m not, like, in the Ultimate Fighting Championship or some kind of prize boxer. So I’m certainly not trying to be some kind of massive macho fighter or whatever. I’m a guitar player. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m offering these people. . . is my guitar playing. I put a lot of time and effort into that, and I think that in that I’m very powerful and I’ve accomplished a lot. I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean.
Has anyone ever hugged thee and loved the and called the ‘George Emanuelle?”
Has anyone done what now?
Has anyone hugged thee and loved thee and called the “George?”
Not that I remember.
If thou ever played baseball, wouldst thou be pitcher or catcher?
I don’t know.
If thou wert having gay sex with thy manager, wouldst thou be pitcher or catcher?
Well, I don’t know. That sounds pretty weak to me.
Thy hecklers are may.
That’s the thing. Why aren’t these people who are saying all this stuff. . . how come they’re not, like, writing music that’s gonna just make our band nothing? I don’t get that. It’s easy to say a mouthful of nothing. But it’s a lot more work to create music and product, because that’s what a band is. A band is music. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about making music and creating a statement, and devastating with chord structures and timing sequences and things like that. All this other stuff.. it means nothing.
This is an early interview from Grimoire of Exalted Deeds Issue #4. conducted by Bill Zebub
Do you wish to explain the line-up change?
With Erik, you mean?
Well, yeah… Richard left the band and we had to replace him. We had known Erik from Ripping Corpse as well as we’ve been friends with him for years. We asked him if he’d like to do some touring with us, and he accepted. After that, he worked out well. It was a natural choice.
There is a rumor that when Ripping Corpse was not yet signed…Earache Records was interested in them, and you told Earache that you did not want them on the label.
It was spread.
Well, people have nothing better to do, obviously. Why would I not want them to get signed? That’s, like, asinine.
You were jealous and afraid that they were going to blow you away.
I just like to address rumors.
You’ll find more rumors about our band than any other band because people have nothing better… if these people spent half as much time worrying about writing good music and, like, making something of themselves besides fools, everybody would be better off.
Lyrically, I heard that you are trying to be more open-minded and a nice guy.
What do you mean?
Some ‘zines are saying your lyrics are weaker. What was going on when you were writing words for this album?
I was angry. I was trying to show relationships between what’s truly oppressive and what truly needs to be squashed, on a tangible form, what you could actually put in your hand, as opposed to… you know, pie-in-the-sky relationships which, you know, people, without actually coming out and spelling it out… there’s some times when people are really clueless. “Do I live for Satan, or do I live for myself and draw power from where whatever power-names or power-thoughts need to be used for the specific purpose at hand?” Now the point is, is that anger and violence and brutality is all weapons of the dark side. Whether… if somebody picks that up, then they do. If they don’t, then they’re not very astute.
How do you feel about the whole black metal thing? Do you disdain those people?
Do I disdain who?
A bunch of poser Satanists calling LaVeyans the posers. How do you feel about that?
Well, we had a talk about laVey when I went up there, and I think that they saw what my reasons were for embracing LaVey, and even though that we don’t agree on LaVey, they felt like what I had to say about him was valid.
So out of all the Satanic philosophies, would you say that you agree most with LaVey?
No. I tell you I agree mostly with myself, and I probably could pick and choose, and maybe have some similarities with a whole number of different people.
Are there any forms of the occult that you do not condone or accept?
There’s probably a lot of different forms that I don’t… that I don’t practice myself.
You had bones on your tour bus many years ago, and you were busted for grave-robbing. Is this true?
Well, we weren’t busted for grave-robbing. We were busted for carrying illegal guns. They did confiscate the bones that we had, and they tries to run tests on them because they thought we might have killed these people. We got arrested. But it was right after that silly Geraldo Rivera Satanic special, and we knew that they were looking to make a sacrificial lamb out of somebody. They tried to expand on that. But they had to drop all the charges and everything. They were completely baseless.
So how did you get the bones?
That’s neither here nor there.
But the fact is, you did have them.
Well, we had a human skull.
Isn’t that illegal in the United States?
Um… I don’t know.
You did not get busted for having one? Do you still have it?
No. They kept it for testing.
I heard that you were interviewed live on the air over the phone by a female d.j. who asked you what your favorite cereal was, and you started chanting a spell. Is this true?
I did what?
Supposedly, this girl asked silly questions to see how uptight her guests are. She asked you what your favorite cereal was, and you started cursing her.
No, no, no. (pauses) Who knows?
Could that have possibly happened? Do you blow up on people?
I’ve done many interviews and, quite frankly, if somebody says something stupid, I usually say something more stupid just to illustrate the stupidity.
Lovecraft had a place in your lyrics.
Absolutely. He still does. Well, I mean, he’s the greatest Sci-Fi horror writer that ever lived. Of course, with that type of strength, it’s gonna have some kind of impact on somebody that walls a similar path.
Do you acknowledge, though, that the Necronomicon, as presented by Lovecraft, is a work of fiction?
Well, I’m not going to answer that question because I have to agree with a statement in order to answer it, and I don’t agree with that statement. The whole Sumerian religion – that’s the actual religion of ancient Babylon. There are actual temples built for Pazuzu and et cetera in the area that is now Iraq, and it’s a very real belief. Because Lovecraft based a lot of his shorts on various entities and sub-entities of this religion doesn’t do anything besides give power to it. It doesn’t take power away.
Ripping Corpse was thanked on the album as a stepping stone. Is that an insulting thank you?
What, from Erik?
I think Erik was real happy to… I mean, he’s a very hard worker. He’s a great guitar player. He’s a very strong being. He’s a very strong entity, and yes, Ripping Corpse… it was his first band. He put out a record. He wrote a lot of songs, and he went from that. It was a stepping stone, not like he’s walking on people, but as that was part of his structure – a building block in his development. I think he was very happy with what he was doing at the time.
Your vocals have changed. On “Altars of Madness” they were very throaty. Now they are from the pit.
You know what? It’s weird. I used to smoke. I smoked probably like two and a half packs of cigarettes a day when I did “Altars…”. I quit smoking because touring was just tearing me up. I mean, I was winded. I just didn’t have the power like I felt I needed. So yeah, it’s all about development.
So it wasn’t really an influence of any of the bands you were listening to. It was just a physical reason?
Well, just like, being addicted to anything, short of sex, is completely asinine. I just woke up one day and said, “Why am I smoking” and just quit. Because of that I made a lot of other changes in my life. I tried to ween myself away from things that I saw as potentially very destructive, not only to my professional career, but, you know, it’s my health. When you’re healthy, when you have more strength, when you have more power, in addition to working on technique, you tend to grow.
If your drummer ever screwed up at a show, afterwards, you would beat the crap out of him.
You’re kidding, right?
No. I am serious. You came off the stage once at the China Club in New Jersey, and you were in a hurry. Someone from Revenant said that you were going to slam the drummer because he fucked up.
What he did was he cut himself and he was, like, bleeding all over the place, and he lost so much blood that he passed out.
See how rumors get started?
Let’s talk about, like, the new record… why my band is better than any of those other fuckin’ bands. Let’s talk about what we’re going to be doing in the future and continuing to conquer and dominate this whole scene like nobody else could ever dream of doing. And why? Because we have the fortitude. We have the conviction. We have the strength. And we have the talent. And we continue to kill ourselves, push ourselves, and pressure ourselves into delivering stronger and stronger records, better songs, a brutal show – everything about it. Because we care and because we know our fans care. They’re not gonna accept some sort of second-rate band – somebody putting out the same record over and over and over again and not touring. Let’s talk about that.
You played in Pennsylvania, at the Trocadero. That club refused to book that scene’s sickest death metal band, “Insatanity”. How do you feel about that club putting weak, low-power bands in front of yours when the local death metal bands deserve those slots?
Well, I think, whatever the local promoters do at those shows… I personally don’t book shows, so the only thing that I care about is me personally, going out on stage and delivering the goods. So whoever else plays, that’s up to them to work to get themselves on the bill. I don’t know what the mitigating factors were, one person getting booked over another one. Obviously the promoter had whatever reasons for him to do it. But I’ll tell you, the only thing I know about a how is, when it’s time for me to go up on that stage, and whatever happens before or after that, I don’t really care.
Trey once said in an interview – and I wonder if you will back him up on this – was that the notes he chooses stir the air.
Well, it’s magic. It’s pulling something out of nothing and making it have an impact that goes beyond. It’s just a tone or a note of just a passing thing. The way he writes riffs just moves people and things.
So do you believe that gates are opened in the universe?
Do you think that good comes out of these gates, or are you channeling something dark?
Well, anything is good as long as it’s harnessed and as long as it’s used to its maximum potential, whether you’re a common man who wants to see it as being good or evil… I mean, one man’s good is another man’s evil, et cetera, et cetera. It all depends on the benefits from it. But the point is that, when we set about to do something, we’re gonna use whatever means necessary in order to achieve that goal, short of dishonor.
How do you feel about skinheads… their attitude of “unity is power”, the attack of many against one. Do you find it to be cowardice or power?
Well, not being a skinhead, I can’t really, you know… I mean, they have their thing going for them. And as long as it works for them, that’s great.
Would that philosophy work for you?
What, being a skinhead?
No. the many-on-one odds. Do you see that as cowardice?
Well, I mean, if you’re… ultimately, in any kind of war, it’s who’s got
the bigger army or who has more guns. If someone’s in battle mode, which, from what I see of skinheads are on an ongoing basis, then I think it would stand to reason that the most logical thing to do is to do what they do. Self-preservation, if nothing else.
Would self-preservation be more important than honor?
They’re one and the same. I mean, you have a duty to your honor, to preserve yourself so that you can procreate yourself.
Is it true that you do not answer to any name other than “David” -that you do not like to be called a nickname?
Well, I don’t. Usually… I answer to cuss words. (pauses) What are you talking about? That’s what my name is! David! Yeah!
So a shortened version of your name wouldn’t really be accepted by you?
Like “Dave” I or something like that?
Yes. Did anyone ever say to you, “Davey Davey stick your head in gravy”?
What? (pauses) That’s not even worth answering. That’s just really stupid.
I’m sorry. I was told by Vegi from Revenant that you don’t like to be called anything else.
Well it’s weird because my mother never calls me anything else. So that’s the way I kind of grew up, although now it’s like I don’t really care. But before… if someone calls me, like, on the telephone, and my wife answers and she says, “It’s a friend of yours… says ‘Is Dave there?'” Obviously it’s not a friend of mine, is it? You know what I mean? It’s to illustrate that if someone older is such good friends with Dave from Morbid Angel, they must not be great friends because nobody calls me “Dave”.
So you are not insanely militant?
It’s a meaningless thing. It has nothing to do with music. It’s just a quirk.
You did say years ago that you would be one of the bands that would still be around.
You have to agree that there are a lot of differences between each record. Blessed is a lot different from Altars. Covenant was a lot different from Blessed. Now Dominion is a lot different from Covenant, and the next record will be equally different. We really take the time and spend the time to really go in and try to deliver something that’s not just repeating ourselves – not just rehashing, not just getting into some kind of mode and doing whatever. We really try to deliver honesty and integrity.
You have grown without weakening.
Other bands can choose to do what they wish. But our band… the death is me.
Do you expect to incorporate clean vocals or female operatic vocals?
It’s not Morbid Angel. But I do little departures in vocals, you know. I like that as well. There’s just got to be the purity of emotion. It’s not to do it just to make it sound commercial or like a ballad or whatever. It’s done to invoke a certain type of mood,
Have you made enemies?
But they don’t really mean anything to you?
That’s negative. That’s not fuel for growth. I look at things as how it’s going to take me from one point to the next.
You actually talked to Norwegians about differences?
Well, what it was, was last time we played up there, there was a bunch of interviews that wanted to be done and I didn’t feel like being redundant and answering a whole bunch of questions twice. So I told them that I just wanted to have a press conference where I just stood in front of all of them and there was seven interviewers at once, and they were asking me questions and I would answer them. There was a couple of guys from the Black Metal Mafia that were there, and they were listening to my answers. They wanted to hear what I had to say about things. Afterwards they came up and we had a good chat.
So you didn’t really walk away with any negative feelings about them or visa versa?
No, on the contrary. I think that those people really have something going up there that’s really deep. The people who are truly into it and truly are a part of it – I think it’s wonderful.
You seem to be confident about yourself.
Well, I know what’s going on with me. I don’t have any questions about myself or what I’m doing. So I mean, a lot of your questions that you’re asking me are contingent upon being effective by what little rumors or little skirmishes or little things… various interpretations from a lot of people, most of whom I may or may not know. How can any of that really have anything to do with me? Those are lines and circles that don’t intersect with mine.
How involved are you in your local scene?
There is no scene. There is only Morbid Angel, period.
So if someone gave you a demo…
When someone gives me a tape, I listen to it.
So you are not totally shut off.
In terms of a scene, a scene… what that is, is that’s like a communist thing. That means that the strong and the weak are together because they’re all part of a scene. I don’t agree with that philosophy.
What elements do you think weaken the music?
Trendiness, lack of originality, lack of creativity, lack of talent, people being more concerned with what someone else is doing rather than concentrating and spending rigorous hours that it really takes to really do something yourself, people hanging onto something because it’s all a fashionable thing – all these things destroy it.
Are you in danger of weakening from the pressure of putting out quality material release after release?
No, no. I put more pressure on myself than anyone could put on me. I don’t get pressure from the outside. I get it from the inside. I pressure myself. That’s inherent to my nature, to strive to always be the best, and to stop at nothing.
As you can tell, most of my questions were really rumors that you had the opportunity to dispel.
Yeah, but, I mean, that’s what I’m saying. That kind of stuff happens. But it really doesn’t mean anything. The only thing that means anything at all is what is tangible, what you can hold in your hand, like a record that is just crushing, that people are just loving it everywhere and that is keeping this goddamn scene, if that’s what you want to call it.. the scene alive because other people are just walking away from it as fast as they can… all these bands that used to be death metal – they’re no longer death metal now. You know what I mean? We are death metal warriors and we always will be.
So I can quote you in the future if you will put out anything that is not death metal?
Well c’mon, man! I mean, we got two records on a major label! What’s not death metal about this band? That’s what we’re all about. If we were gonna do something, it would have already happened. But yes, you can quote me on that.
I was turned off by the muddy production at first, but as I listened I realized that i wasn’t going to hear something cliche or easy to define. What had initially been deemed hazy became atmospheric. This made me want to hear more, and so I knew that the lights had to be turned off. It was time for an inner journey.
The guitars created a wall of sound, Rather than sadden with melody, they chilled with icy notes. This wasn’t a flow. This was an ever-present moment of agony. These weren’t riffs, per se, but musical accompaniments to inner horror. Ghastly chords chimed hauntingly as I was pulled deeper. This music created a mental place.
Whenever there was melody, it was never a repeated theme – more like remembrance of dark times, as if I were recalling moments of pain, each summoned memory replacing the one that was re-lived moments before..
Stertorous voices expressed the torture of the words. As I descended into madness, there came a passage in “Ashes in Bloom” that was like the parting of clouds, but the sky behind was more terrifying. Inside this new patch of sound, the voice suddenly changed to that of an intensely emotional bard. I felt as if the song had purposely prepared me to be crushed. This is mastery.
As powerful as the ideas are, the methods are not used for each song. The heartfelt singing does not burst into every song, nor does it bear the same qualities upon every appearance. The only predictable thing about this album is that it will immerse the listener in gloom.
“Sing, oh children of loss, your cracked hands grasping for wonder in emptiness”