Summon: How did the band get started?
Michael: Paul Ray(guitars/vox), Chris Lyndon(bass) and Tim Haisman(drums) already had a band that was doing a few local shows called Abattoir. I was taking guitar lessons from the same guy that Paul was, and heard that Paul was thinking about another guitar player. He suggested to Paul that I try out. I went and checked them out at a live show and was impressed. I met Paul and we talked about our musical tastes and influences, and he invited me down to jam. The rest of the guys and I hit it off and the rest is history.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Michael: That’s kind of a tricky question, depending on who you ask. Most people classify us as Death Metal, but we have a lot of different influences going on in the music. Bits of thrash, old-school straight up metal, even a little bit of hardcore mentality. But to make things simple, I’ll stick with Death Metal.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Michael: Well. Considering we’re a re-activated band after about 25 years, the responses to us reforming have been pretty amazing. It seems that with the internet, we never really went away. Our fans have been posting stuff on YouTube for awhile, and it really amazed us at how many people were eager to hear that we’re back to playing again. We always had a small underground following back in the day, but that was mainly local and overseas. It seems like now, once again because of the internet, we’re getting a more varied audience. Hopefully once we begin doing shows later this year, we’ll be able to meet the people who have supported us.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Michael: It was something that Paul had. I’m not really too sure about where it came from, probably the Bible I would imagine. He was always reading books about religions, horror novels, anything that had to deal with the darker things in life.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Michael: The original band consisted of Paul Ray on guitar and vocals, Chris Lyndon on bass, Tim Haisman on drums, and myself on guitar. The current line-up is Paul and myself, along with Raymond Martin on drums, who played with us for awhile back in the good days, and our newest member, Mike Foster, on bass guitar.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Michael: The music is written collectively by the band. One of us usually might have a riff idea or a drum pattern, and when we get together to rehearse, we’ll go through the ideas out and jam on them for a little while. As for lyrics, Paul is pretty much the main man. We usually let him do his thing, ‘cause he’s really awesome at it, and we’ll work the song out around his ideas.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Michael: He’s an avid reader, so he’s always got something brewing in his mind. That’s about all I can give you on that question. Like I said, we let him do his thing.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Michael: It is what it is. All people believe in something, even if you say you don’t believe in anything. I don’t believe in the extremes that some people go into to try and “prove” that they are Satanists. If you read LaVey and Crowley, they really don’t preach the destruction of objects and people. It’s more of a life mantra. And you can find Occultism is just about everything, from the Freemasons to the Wiccans. It’s all personal beliefs.
Summon: How many albums/CD have you released?
Michael: Officially, I would say 1. We have recorded three demos, “Sign of the Cross”, “The Second Death” (which is really would have been our first full-length album), and a 7” under the moniker Infernal Hierarchy. While the “Sign of the Cross” release was an actual starter demo, we approached “The Second Death” more like a full length release. It’s the one that got the most attention worldwide. We made sure the packaging and recording was about as good as we could afford back in ’91. The 7” came about by having the songs recorded, and Ed Farshtey from Rage Records wanted to release it. I think it pushed around 1,000 copies. I would consider this re-release of “The Second Death” on Heaven and Hell Records our first official release. The release includes all three releases mentioned, all re-mastered. It will also be out on vinyl through Blood Harvest Records and that release will include a couple of live bonus tracks of two songs we never got to record in the studio.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Michael: All of the songs on the current CD were written and recorded over 20 years ago. The lengths of each song vary, and you can really tell the progression of the band if you listen to them in chronological order, starting with “Sign of the Cross”, then “Second Death” and the Infernal stuff. We basically don’t have a formula for writing. We base the music on the lyrics, so with each song it’s different. We don’t force the song either; we just kinda let them play themselves out until we think they’re done. Lyrics for songs like “The Second Death” were based on the book of Revelations in the Bible, while other songs were just based on ideas or stories. The music just comes from us jamming in the rehearsal space, or from maybe a lyric pattern that Paul has come with, that’s why all of the songs are different.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Michael: Paul has a recording project with some great musicians, and our bass player Mike has two other bands that he plays with. Raymond and myself just do False Prophet for now.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Michael: Wow. For me personally, there are too many. I love music, any and all forms. If you want to talk metal, for heavy influences, back in the early day I would say bands like Obituary, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Sepultura and Forbidden. In the latter years, I would say Pantera, Machine Head, Down, Entombed, and bands like that. And of course Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax help me mold my heavy style of playing.
Summon: Which current bands?
Michael: Out of the current crop of bands, I can’t really say I’m influenced by too many. Exodus, even though they are older, are still killing it. As is Overkill, too. The most recent band that I can think of off hand is Hatebreed. They just brought something to the table that I really hadn’t heard before.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Michael: High energy. We give everything we’ve got, whether it’s for 1 or 1,000. We pride ourselves on being professional, so that means being prepared in every way possible. We haven’t played a live show together in 20+ years, so it’s will be interesting to see just what we can do now that we’re older and more seasoned to the stage.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Michael: No, we haven’t. But I think that we would welcome the offer if the right one came up. I’ve always wanted too. I think that’s where the majority of people would understand what we do the most.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Michael: Well, like I said above, we haven’t played live in 20+ years, so that has yet to be seen. Back in the day, we could pack whatever club we were playing, but saying that, most of the clubs we played would have maybe a 150 person capacity. There weren’t too many big venues in our area like there are now.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Michael: Pretty insane, once they realize what we’re about. We actually had a crowd rip the ceiling out of club. They were pitting with people on their backs, and they just started reaching up and pulling down all of the ceiling tiles. Needless to say, the club owner wasn’t too happy.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Michael: In all honesty, I haven’t really payed attention to it in a few years. I kinda got tire of all of the bands sounding the same, so I just turned it off. I think I actually went about a year without listening to metal at all. It’s just like every other genre of music, once someone comes out sounding different and it catches on, people jump on board trying to be them. I think that’s why we stand out from the pack. We’ve always done our own thing. You can definitely recognize our influences, but we do not directly sound like them.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Michael: From what I can tell, it looks to be going strong. I think I’m more partial to the Black/Death metal bands from across because of their melodies, song structures and symphonic sound.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Michael: I can’t really say I have a favorite. I like the stuff Cradle of Filth does, and Dimmu Borgir. Behemoth is good at what they do.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Michael: Hopefully soon. With the new bass player in the band, we’re ready to get on it. I would think after we relearn all of our previous material to our liking, we’ll try to hit on something fresh. I would say no later than the middle of 2014.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Michael: Ending on a good question. If you would have told me 5-10 years ago we would be reuniting, I probably would have laughed. But things change, and here we are. A new album, a new bass player, and a new energy to bring these songs to a whole new generation. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings, and we are just taking one band practice at a time. Everyone can stay in touch with via Facebook and ReverbNation. Send us questions, comments, or just say “What’s Up”. We’ll definitely reply back. We always post what is going on with the band. Shows and merchandise information coming soon. Check out our CD “The Second Death” on Heaven and Hell Records, and soon to be vinyl through Dark Harvest Records. Thank you so much for taking the time to want to interview us. We really appreciate the support. Hopefully in the not too distant future, we’ll be doing another one talking about our new recording. Take care and thanks again.
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