Interview with John Kevill from Warbringer

Warbringer recently played in Singapore at the Substation, drawing in fans from all over the country (and even from the neigbouring Malaysia!). Clarence and JJ managed to grab John Kevill (vocals) from the band before their set to have a chat, while learning more about the band’s experiences that they have had in Asia so far…


HMT: Hi guys, welcome to Singapore! I assume that this is the first time the band is in Singapore! How has the experience been so far?

Our editors with John Kevill

John Kevill: Yes. Well we’ve been here for 4 hours and all of us like it, everyone in the production crew has been very nice to us and everything’s very organized. The venue is nice, the sound is good and everyone has been very nice. I met a few of the fans just now and they had Warbringer decals on their iPods. It’s really cool and when you see that kind of stuff it gets you really excited. The streets are clean and nice. Singapore’s a really nice place. We’ll get to see this city more tomorrow and we are heading to Malaysia the next day. We literally showed up maybe 4 hours ago in Singapore but we like what we are seeing so far. Tomorrow we’ll get to do some sight-seeing.

For people who are NOT here at the gig, give us an introduction and history of Warbringer.

Well, we’re Warbringer from Los Angeles, California. We started in late 2004 and it was our first band. We’ve just rehearsed loud and been touring ever since. We play aggressive, punch-to-the-face kind of thrash metal.

Waking into Nightmares

How has the reception for the band’s latest album been?

It’s pretty good. People seem to really like the album and it makes us feel really happy.

For this album, the band managed to get Gary Holt of the legendary Exodus to produce the album, and for the debut full length, you got Bill Metoyer to produce the album. How did these collaborations come about? Was having a legendary producer like Bill produce the album difficult? Was creativity within the band limited?

No. Our first tour ever was with Exodus when we put out our first album. We were really rookies then. Exodus were actually much nicer to us than had be, because we were screwing up and fighting each other over stuff that bands do on their first time on the road before they know what they doing, and Exodus were just really nice to us. The tour there was harsh winter weather and sometimes we were showing up so late at the show that we couldn’t even play but they didn’t kick us out of the tour. A lot of bands they kept us on there actually helped us out, so we had a friendly relationship with them from the beginning.

So you learned a lot and had a lot of experience from Exodus?

Yeah, we have already toured with them twice now and all those guys are our friends and really nice dudes and when we were looking for a producer for the second album, the idea came across to see if Gary was interested so we called him up. He gladly accepted the request and everything just fell into place.

Prior to this show in Singapore, you guys played in Thailand and Indonesia. How are the fans in Asia like so far, compared to back at home?

It’s been really good. The Thailand show especially was amazing and before that we played in Japan. The Tokyo show was extremely good where we played with Toxic Holocaust.

Were there any problems faced when in Thailand?

Well, we went in right as it started. It happened right before the day we flew in. Bangkok is huge and it was happening only at one part of the city. Apparently it has gotten worse since we left. It’s really unfortunate because it seemed like a very great city and we had a lot of fun there. The fans were amazing so I really hope that the situation resolves itself and there is not too much violence. On the last day we drove past a part of the town where all the exits were fenced off and the army was there. There was a high rise building that we went past where there was a huge billow of smoke and it was on fire. We’ve never really seen that before. It’s very unusual.

Warbringer has often been mentioned as the band that has brought back good old school thrash metal. How does it feel to be put in such high regards among fans of metal?

It feels great. We are playing this kind of metal because it is where our passion lays. It’s all about playing what you feel and we wanted to play what we probably feel the best style of heavy metal. We more into all kinds of metal, not just thrash. That’s what we set out to do and we are really happy that people are receiving us so well.

The touring schedule for Warbringer in 2010 has been pretty packed.

Since Century Media put out our records, we have done almost 600 shows.

Any experiences that you have encountered on this tour that you might want to share with us?

The only thing that we want to complain of is the heat. It’s not so bad here. In Bangkok it was for real. Oh man. Indonesia was brutal too so we’ve been trying to stay indoors as much as we can. Apart from that, the fans, the people from those places make it all worth it.

What’s do you think is the reason behind new bands playing old school metal all over again?

I think people started looking back in heavy metal history, because of the dissatisfaction with the way that normal metal was going. I kind of felt that way myself and I think that a lot of the modern metal doesn’t have the feelings and the passion in it that the classic styles of heavy metal had. That’s pretty much it. The old stuff’s better so that’s what we are gonna play! There are so many bands that sound the same now but you take 2 of the classic bands, they each had their unique sounds. That’s what drawn us to playing the old school style and we are trying to forge our own identity and form our own sound within thrash metal. We aren’t trying to copy any bands.

How do you differentiate yourselves from so many thrash metal bands around?

[Laughs] We don’t think about it so much, we just play. I think it’s the best way.

Warbringer has shared the same stage with the likes of Megadeth and Vader. Are there any other bands that you would like to perform with that you haven’t as yet?

We’ve pretty much played with a lot of our favourite bands. We’ve played with Kreator, Exodus, Testament, Megadeth, all the thrash metal legends, and also Vader, Napalm Death and Suffocation, so some death metal legends in there as well. We haven’t toured with too many black metal bands.

Now, for some light hearted questions. First off, why bring war when you can bring peace to the world? What are the situations when you think peace should be brought instead?

Well, all the time. If you read any of the lyrics, we never said that it’s good. We just talk about people dying and all the horrible things that are happening but I never ever said that it’s good. It’s one of those things where you just look at it and go “oh obviously this is a very bad thing.”

So Warbringer doesn’t actually advocate war.

[Laughs] No! We just like to put out aggressive music and warfare kind of represents the worst way that people can treat other people and it’s a terrible thing. So we get that out through music and don’t actually do it.

What are the band’s pre-performance rituals prior to bringing war to the stage?

Everyone kind of have their own rituals. Sometimes I’ll just have a beer and yell at the wall. I just yell at things and make sure that everything’s working right, maybe do some push ups or some jumping jacks. It’s to prevent me from feeling tired and wake myself up so I can go up and deliver a good performance.

No particular rituals for luck or stuff like that?

[Laughs] Nope.

Any particular influences for yourself?

Oh yes! At first I started off trying to sing because my favourite vocals were the classic heavy metal ones, like Bruce Dickinson, those kind of guys. But I can’t really sing for shit. So what I’m really doing, I’m going for a really aggressive style, like Tom Araya, Mille Petrozza, Pat Lind from Morbid Saint are some of my influences. It’s a really aggressive rapid fire style. Don Doty from Dark Angel is another influences, the really rapid fire kind of vocals. That was partly what got me into thrash metal. So it’s the style I worked on. The trick is that you have to be really harsh and annunciate the words a lot. If you can spit out the words fast and have yourself understand the songs and the lyrics are aggressive, it sounds like a barrage of violence.

So you grew up listening to thrash, or were there other influences as well?

I started out with classic rock and classic heavy metal and went from there. So I listen to a lot of thrash, a lot of black metal, death metal, speed metal, power metal. Basically, good heavy metal. There are a bunch of stuff that aren’t even metal and they are just cool music, but metal had a special place in me.

What made you decided to form a band?

At the beginning? I think it was just from listening to more music. As I mentioned, we formed the band when we started to listen to heavy metal. We didn’t know each other before. We met each other because we didn’t know anyone else who listened to heavy metal. John Laux and I were both around the same days. He was really into Megadeth and I just got into metal. I just heard Kreator and he just heard Megadeth 6 months ago so we kind of got into a lot of metal together and started writing songs almost right away. We just had passion for music and we just wanted to play. We didn’t really think that we would end up in Singapore. We just wanted to start out as a garage band and we just rehearsed a lot.

Warbringer live in Singapore

How did Century Media get hold of the band?

They went to see another band that we were opening for and it was one of our early shows and they thought we had some potential. We weren’t very good yet at that point in time but we had some attention. So they said that if we decided to do something else, let them know and keep them in the loop with what’s going on in the band. So 6 to 8 months later, we made our EP and we gave them a copy and that’s when they wanted to sign up because they thought that we have improved enough to be signed. They caught us really early as a band and we maybe only had 5 songs written then.

On the EP?

No. It was really really in the band’s history when they first saw us.

Ok, we have come to the end of the interview. Any parting words to all the fans of Warbringer?

Thanks to everyone for your support, and thanks to all who have come to the show tonight, it will be awesome! Hope to see you all next year!

Thank you for taking the time off for this interview! We hope you have a good time in Asia!

Warbringer 2010

Thanks to John Kevill for taking the time to accept the interview despite having just arrived in Singapore 4 hours prior to the session. Special thanks to Zul from Cynical Sounds for arranging this opportunity for us!

Photos courtesy of Ayla Omar from SRH Singapore.

Warbringer on MySpace.
Cynical Sounds on MySpace and Facebook.

Related articles:
Intervew with Yazed from Cynical Sounds

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence and JJ Yeo

Interview with Australian Black Metal Band Nazxul

Australian black metal beast Nazxul released it’s 2nd album, Iconoclast, last year after a 14 year old break. Clarence from Heavy Metal Tribune got to talk to Nazxul members on the history of Nazxul and about their upcoming projects…






Clarence (HMT): On behalf of Heavy Metal Tribune, I would like to thank you and the people at Nazxul for granting me this opportunity to interview Nazxul. First and foremost, give us a brief introduction to the band’s history.

1993 was the first rumblings of the beast that is Nazxul. After crafting music, a self-titled demo was released in 1994 (Vampire Records). Nazxul was busy carving their own Australian brand of evil amongst a time when Black Metal was starting to twist it’s head in other countries around the world.


Nazxul attacked again in 1996 with the malevolent first full-length CD that is ‘Totem’. Branded with an extremely heavy, bombastic, noise terrorism tag, more was yet to come from the cult.


Ignored by most, Nazxul continued crafting their evil upon the world when in 1997 they released the violent EP that is ‘Black Seed’. Containing 4 hymns of extreme destruction,


Nazxul performed their first live performance in 1998 followed by an Australian tour in 1999 with Impaled Nazarene. A performance in 2000 at Australia’s largest metal festival ‘Metal For The Brain’ which left them banned from ever playing the festival again for it’s extreme audial and visual violence.


After 10 years Nazxul rears its heads again with the new full length album ‘Iconoclast’ (Moribund Records / Eisenwald), followed by a tour of carnage through Europe, including shows with bands such as; Akercocke, Anathema, Destruction, Lock-Up and Necrophobic amongst others.

Nazxul at Damnation Fest 2009

Nazxul performed at the Damnation Festival last year. How was the crowd’s reception for the band? Was it your first performance in UK?

This was Nazxul’s first UK show, quenching the thirst for existing fans and gaining new disciples to our unholy cause.

As far as I know, some of the members were previously involved in bands such as Pestilential Shadows, Drowning the Light and Nox Inferi. So besides playing for Nazxul, do any of the band members currently have any side project going on?

The band members do work with the above mentioned projects, but Nazxul is a collective entity on its own.

Having a pretty small and underground metal scene here in Singapore, I am curious about the Australian metal scene, seeing how many well-established bands there are from Australia (Destroyer 666, Bestial Warlust and Gospel of the Horn). So, what is the Australian metal scene like? Is it hard to book a show over there?

The underground metal scene in Australia is small but dedicated. Venue’s are reluctant to book metal bands because of the stigma surrounding metal, especially extreme bands like the one’s mentioned above. There are a small amount of venues that still let metal bands play, but even if these venues were to shut or to restrict metal, the bands would still find ways to play such as old warehouses, factories and churches.

With the internet now being so widely available, what is your take on illegal music downloads from a musician’s perspective?

Nazxul is not concerned with illegal downloading of music, as long as people are introduced to the vision and message of the music.

Nazxul was formed in 1993, and within 2 years of your formation you released the debut album “Totem” and an EP. Your recent release, “Iconoclast” is the first album in 13 years. What took the band so long to release this album?

We had problems with the line up of Nazxul, members that didn’t share the vision and determination of the collective. These problems seemed solved with the recording of ‘Iconoclast’ but this was not to be. Nazxul suffered a tragic loss just after the album was recorded with the death of one of the members. Being a visionary and a musical genius, this was a step back for the band. It took some time to get the band back on its feet but it now is more determined than ever to continue with it’s sonic terrorism!

Speaking of musical influences, as a musician, which bands do you draw influence from, in terms of music and lyrics?

Mostly our musical influences involve classical composers such as Pendereki, Gorecki and other composers as well such as religious and world music. Lyrics are usually conceptual with Occult themes running throughout.

Nazxul is scheduled to perform at Maryland DeathFest along with other big black metal acts such as Watain, Sodom, Entombed and Possessed. Is this Nazxul’s first US appearance? Anything that the band is looking forward to and what can fans from US expect from the performance?

The trip to the US continent will be Nazxul’s first one. We will be looking forward to watching these bands and conversing with the people there. It will be a constructive journey. The US masses can expect a ritual the likeness that they have never witnessed before. The people of the Americas are not ready for the power and grandeur of the beast that is Nazxul.

Any future plans that fans can look forward to, after the band completes the tour for the new album?

Nazxul is working on new spells to infect the populous with. There will be new releases soon and a second international tour being planned for later in the year. People should not expect anything, for the creature that is Nazxul is constantly changing but will always remain defiant and steadfast against goodness, hope and love.

Any parting words for fans and aspiring musicians out there?

The occult isn’t determined by bands and trends which we see daily, these bands will eventually conform to a level of acceptance by the general populous. This music is not for them, it is dangerous, twisted and diabolical, not for scene whores and wimps. This is not about fashion and friends, it is about the Devil. Evolve, construct and deconstruct, find the path to destruction and utter ruin! Revel in absolute de-humanization! Revel in mankind’s lament and suffering!

Thank you once again for taking time off to have this interview with us. On behalf of Heavy Metal Tribune, I wish you all the best in your upcoming tours!

Hail to Heavy Metal Tribune! Nazxul is dead! Long live Nazxul!

Nazxul on MySpace.
Photos taken from Nazxul’s MySpace page.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence


Album Review: Dues Ex Machina – I, Human

Deus Ex Machina [SINGAPORE]
I, Human
Full Length
2009
Death Metal

To be really honest, this wasn’t an easy record to review. In fact it could possibly have been one of the hardest that I have ever reviewed. Not that it was a bad record, but like some good classics out there, it took awhile and a few listens to get into.
I, Human is Deus Ex Machina’s sophomore effort. Unlike the debut, The War Inside, this album features Mithun as the vocalist instead of having a whole host of people on vocals. The album starts off with a spoken introduction, M(n)emo(nic)ries. While most people may be used to spoken introduction, this features a twist in which instead of the typical accented English on most other records, a Singapore-accented English was spotted (which again, took me some getting used to!).

The introduction basically summarises what Deus Ex Machina’s second album focuses on. It sounds like a scene out of a sci-fi thriller/horror, where a person is trying to escape from someone’s grip yet being unable to do so and eventually being performed experiments on (towards the end of the introduction). Thereafter, the mayhem begins.

The music is a fusion of death metal, thrash metal and progressive metal. Mithun’s vocals are versatile as can be heard from this album, where he at times goes from a low growl to a high pitched scream at the next line, while at the same time covering spoken/cleanly sung vocals as well. The songs often shift from one extreme to another, from death metal riffs to a sudden switch to an acoustic and soft interlude, and then suddenly a whole wall of sound crushes the listener again (as could be heard in Replicant).

Fans of music that you can headbang from start to end should be wary though, Deus Ex Machina is definitely not an easy band to headbang to, featuring time signatures that are constantly switching. Their progressive approach to writing music certainly contributed to what made the initial listening to the album difficult, but once the listener gets the hang of it, the music is certainly very enjoyable (especially if played loud!). The album then closes with the untitled instrumental track, displaying the technical skills of each of the other instrumentalists.

Unlike most lyrical contents that a typical death metal band may focus on, Deus Ex Machina has chosen the topic of cloning to write about for this album. Inspired by the novel I, Robot, the album revolves around an unnamed character who gradually awakens realizing he is a clone. The lyrics that invoke one to think of the future of cloning certainly makes I, Human an interesting record to listen to.

A big thank you to Mithun and the whole of DeM for the complimentary copy of the album 🙂

Deus Ex Machina on MySpace.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence and Hong Rui

Album Review: Truth Be Known – Truth Be Known

Truth Be Known [SINGAPORE]
Truth Be Known
2010
EP
Death/Trash Metal

Singapore’s angriest band is back with their self-titled EP. In just 4 tracks clocking at under 10 minutes, Truth Be Known unleashes all their rage and anger upon the listener, making this perhaps the wildest 10 minutes of your life. If you have already heard their debut full length album (Just Another Lamb, 2008) you know what you are in for, except that Truth Be Known now introduces a lot more urgency in their music, an urgency to make sure that the listener is as angry as the band is at the end of the 10 minutes.


While half the band is made up of members of melodic death metal band Bhelliom (drummer Gene and guitarist Damien), do not expect a Bhelliom clone. Truth Be Known is definitely more on the thrashy end of the death metal spectrum.

While Just Another Lamb had a pretty serious tone to it, with lyrics related to religion (remember the spoken vocals on the opening track?), their self-titled EP displays a less serious and more fun side of the band, with funkier bass and guitar lines underlying the angry lyrics that are lashed out by vocalist Subash. From the opening track where the band commands you to “Go Asphyxiate Yourself” to the ending track, it’s a whirlwind ride with furious instrumentation. One notable thing is the prominence of the bass this time, especially on the track “Herbalife” where it introduces the listener to the song with a funky bass line.

STAY AWAY, if you are afraid of multiple f-words because these are sure to scare you pretentious good boys. If you are don’t believe that the band are serious in having fun (and of course, in their music as well), you have to catch them live to know what I’m talking about.

Thanks to Truth Be Known for the complimentary copies of the EP!

Truth Be Known on MySpace.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Interview with Nicola from Handful of Hate

In it’s 17 years of history, Italian black metal horde Handful of Hate has released 5 full length albums. Clarence from Heavy Metal Tribune got the extreme opportunity to talk to Nicola, guitarist and vocalist and sole remaining founding member of the band.




HMT: Hi Nicola, thank you for taking time off to do this interview with us. To start this off, to people unfamiliar with Handful of Hate, give us a brief introduction and history of the band.

Nicola

My pleasure! The band started the activity in 1993 and I did choose the name together with my bass player. We released our first demo “Goetia Summa” in 1995.” First CD “Qliphothic Supremacy” came in 1997 printed by Northern Darkness Records and in 1999 the second one “Hierarchy 1999”. A lot of concerts done between this release and the EP ”Death from Above” limited edition 666 copies printed by the Swedish label Downfall Records in 2001. In 2003 Code666 Records spawns the third full album called “ViceCrown” and Warlord Records Warlord Records releases a limited 500 copies EP called “Scorn And Conquest”, and during the following year (2004), Downfall Records releases the “Blood Calls Blood” MCD. In 2006 HANDFUL OF HATE records the fourth full- length album “Gruesome Splendour”. And nowdays we release the 5th full length album “You Will Bleed” for Cruz Del Sur Music.

As the sole remaining member from the original lineup, perhaps you could share with us some of the most memorable touring experiences in the band’s 17-year history?

Sure! We toured all around Europe and we’re getting ready for U.S. a lot of concerts done together with great bands and very well known ones. You can figure out easily what means to spend many hours flying or driving so a lot of fun, weird things and good experiences. Last time in Spain for example has been great a lot of different places where we met great people or France in March but I prefer to think to the next ones!

Most of the black metal bands focus on lyrics focusing on religious or pagan themes, while Handful of Hate chooses to focus on themes focusing on sexual magic, which is relatively unseen. What was the reason behind choosing such themes?

Simply because I like to talk about what my life is concerned and what I’m interested in… We talk about religion too, about iconography and different themes concerning man’s fears and instincts the wicked side of the nature but I don’t like so much “easy” or just the same boring lyrics about Satan, woods, demons. All just the same you read one you know all the rest!

Handful of Hate live 2010

What is the metal scene in Italy like?

There are few good bands and a lot of useless ones. I think just the same compared to other countries.

Italy is home to some of the most influential bands in extreme metal such as Death SS and Necrodeath. Any interesting experiences from performing with either of them?

I played with the second one once I think 9-10 years ago… Not a so good memory. With the first one I’ve been lucky I never played with them…

Handful of Hate’s fifth album, You Will Bleed was released last year. Compared to 2006’s Gruesome Splendour, the new album has a more raw and thrashy sound to it. Was it intentional? What were the musical influences on this latest output of the band?

My intention was to give an eye back to our roots and first steps. So I think this album maybe is a bit slower but more black metal than the previous ones. I think this is a complete album fast parts, slow ones powerful riffings and good old style thrashing parts!

As a musician, do you have any influences when writing the music for the band?

Sure! I listen to a lot of music so this helps me so much during arrangements, the songwriting phase is a little more complicated because usually I start with a guitar riff and in a second time I work on the whole song’s frame.

Apart from being in Handful of Hate, do you have a daytime job?

Yes we’re workers the only one who’s involved into music is our drummer, he works as drummer.

Despite your busy schedule with Handful of Hate, I realized that you have a side project, Deviant Pulse. Is it still an ongoing project? Perhaps you could give our readers a brief introduction to this project?

The project is actually stopped because I have no time to support and promote this band. I created Deviant Pulse in 2008 with the aim to play pornogrind and get some fun but I was the only one to compose songs, to manage the web site, to organize concerts to promote the band… So I got tired and honesty I have no time in this period to carry on a second band.

You Will Bleed

Handful of Hate has come a long way since 1993 and you will be touring to support the latest album, You Will Bleed. Any bands that you will personally like to tour with? Why?

A lot of bands, I have great memories together with great musicians and war brothers! I can mention Ancient Rites, Setherial, Carpathian Forest, Operation genocide, Fearbringer, Temple of Baal, Dismember and many others…

Any future plans after the tour is done? Can fans look forward to a new release any time soon?

Honesty I started to work on some new riffs but I take care to promote You Will Bleed in Europe and US. In a seconds’ time we’ll start the songwriting.

Any parting words for listeners and other bands out there?

Keep blasting and do not forget the right underground way to play good music, fuck rockstars!

Thank you once again for this interview! We wish you and your band all the best in your upcoming endeavours!

Thanks for the interview and support!

Handful of Hate on MySpace.
(Photos taken from Handful of Hate’s MySpace page)

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence

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