Summon: How did the band get started?
Ross: In June of 2008 I contacted Nate (drums) to see if he would be interested in starting a band. We met up at a bar and had a few beers to see if we wanted the same things musically. We decided that we were on the same page musically and got together the next day to jam. We knew right away that we had good chemistry and that we wanted to do this. That was our starting point.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Ross: Our music is a combination of black metal, death metal, thrash, punk, and sludge.
Summon: How has the band response been?
Ross: The response to the band has been good. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from several musicians, reviewers and fans. It is just now though that we are gonna find out more what the response to the band is gonna be like because we have just got our debut album “Storms of Genocide” in our hands. In the coming weeks we will be sending it to reviewers, labels, zines, etc.. so we will find out more what the response to us is gonna be very shortly.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Ross: Our drummer came up with the name. It comes from a video game that he is into. I believe it is an Axe that can pretty much destroy anything.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Ross: Nate Boyd-drums, Ross Mallie-guitar, Bruce Duncan-bass, Blakk-vocals. Bruce will be leaving the band in January to pursue a career as a chiropractor. Replacing him will be Lyndon Ehlers formerly of Ageless.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Ross: A lot of the music i have wrote when I’m at home alone fiddling around on the guitar. A few songs i wrote from start to finish and we didn’t change anything, some songs i wrote the riffs for but the other guys would have better arrangement ideas than i had, and some songs were total group efforts where we basically just started jamming and sharing ideas. Lots of times Nate will just start up a beat or i will spit out a riff and we just build on it. Next thing you know we have a new song. That style of writing is what we are doing more of these days and i prefer that.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Ross: Blakk writes all the lyrics. I will occasionally throw out a lyric idea but really its all Blakk. I’m not all that sure where he gets his ideas, but i think a lot of it comes from his outlook on the world and life in general. He likes to watch World at War and shows like that so i think he probably draws some inspiration from those programs as well. He likes to write about the dark side of life.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Ross: Satanism and the Occult is not something i have ever been involved in, although i do find the topic fascinating. I do not have a vast knowledge about it or anything but i enjoy movies and books that deal with the topic. I don’t believe in any organized religion, so the idea of a devil with a pitch fork and red scales in a fiery pit doesn’t hold much validity too me. There are other forms of satanism that seem more valid to me. To a certain degree i agree with the idea of “do what thou will”. I think it is up to each individual person to decide what is right and wrong in their lives and to live accordingly. People that sacrifice or torture animals or do stupid shit like that in the name of the devil or the occult though disgust me to no end.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Ross: We released a CDR demo with our former vocalist about two years ago. When we have our CD release party for “Storms of Genocide” in January on Friday the 13th it will be our first official release.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Ross: We like to think all the songs on “Storms of Genocide” have their own identity. Lots of people tell us that none of our songs sound the same, and that is a great compliment in my opinion. “Lions to the Lamb” starts the album off with a cold black metal blast beat section and takes the listener on quite a roller coaster ride through thrash punk and doom before ending with a majestic sounding black metal riff. “Warchrist” has been one of our more popular songs in the live setting. The song starts off with a very groove oriented section that gives way to a southern sounding sludge riff. The end of the song has a very distinctive military march feel that always gets the crowd going. “Tearing Through Oblivion” is the latest song we have written. We finished that song shortly before recording the album. It is a good example of the songwriting i mentioned earlier, we wrote that song totally on the spot as a band, completely spontaneous. The slow, depressing, a-tonal section towards the end of the song is a personal favorite part of mine.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Ross: No side projects at the moment. We are all married and have full time jobs so Helmpsplitter takes up most of our available time as it is.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Ross: I have a TON of musical influences. I used to live in New Orleans and when i did i was lucky enough to get to know the Soilent Green guys, Their drummer Tommy is one of my best friends to this day. The way they write songs with a variety of different styles all flowing together had a huge impact of me, and it still does today. Early 90’s black metal like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Marduk, etc…has also been a huge influence on me as well. I love hateful dirt rock like Eyehategod, Rwake, Cavity, Sourvien etc…as well as tons of death and thrash metal like Slayer, Morbid Angel, Sadus, Absu, and about a zillion other bands. Really I love all forms of underground rock and metal: death metal, black metal, thrash, sludge, punk, stoner rock, industrial, i love it all. Oh yeah and some band called BlACK SABBATH had a huge influence on me. Maiden, Motorhead, Priest, the list could go on for pages.
Summon: Which current bands?
Ross: Most of the bands I mentioned above are still currently going but some newer bands I really dig are Hail! Hornet, Cough, Funeral Mist, Craft, Lair of Minotaur, Skeletonwitch, again I could list tons of bands here.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Ross: We are all business when we play live. We aren’t much for theatrics or between song rants but we are about playing heavy fuckin music with a lot of energy and aggression. I know for myself, and its probably safe to say for the others, it is a release to play live. Its cliche but its true, this style of music is a vent for a lot of emotions.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Ross: We have not played in another country yet. It is certainly one of our goals though. We really want to tour Europe in the future. We want to go everywhere we can possibly go.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Ross: Attendance at shows has been very unpredictable to this point. It of course depends on who you are playing with and where. We have played for 5 people and we have played for 200 i would guess. We all try hard to get as many people out to the shows as we can and thats as good as we can do. Whats important to us is that the people who are there are there to watch the music and that those people have a good time. And having fun ourselves is also important. If it isn’t fun why do it? It ain’t for the money i can tell ya that. I’m playing the wrong music if money is a goal.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Ross: We have had good crowd responses when we play live. Some shows are better than others of course but overall the reactions have been very positive.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Ross: I think the American scene is pretty good right now. Of course it varies a lot from region to region, some areas of America are much better than others it seems. A lot of the stuff that gets real popular i don’t care for as much but it seems like the more people get into that stuff the more people get into the stuff i like as well. Even bands I don’t like as much can help get people on the right path. There are a lot of good usbm and dm bands for sure, you’ve got Goatwhore, Leviathan, Absu, Decrepit Birth, and tons more good black and death bands.
Summon: What do you think of the overseas scenes?
Ross: I wish i had more experience with the overseas crowd, i don’t know much except for what i have read and from what i have heard from friend’s bands that have been fortunate enough to tour overseas. It sounds like Europe has a great scene in a lot of areas. Our bassist Bruce has toured over there with Waco Jesus, and of course Soilent Green has been all over the world so I hear a lot of good and bad stories about the over seas scene, and I hope to gain first hand knowledge myself someday.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Ross: Craft, Psycroptic, Goatwhore, Inquisition, well they have all been around awhile i guess. I don’t really keep up with whats new out there enough, I just try to keep up with all my faves and maybe add a new band here and there if someone turns me on to something that catches my attention. Azarath is a band our drummer turned me on to thats amazing. I love 1349, Absu, Gorgoroth, Tsjuder, Marduk, Hate Eternal, Grave, Darkthrone, Unleashed, Dying Fetus, and literally hundreds of other black and death bands.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Ross: We are sort of always writing new material. Lots of time at practice we work on new stuff before we rehearse our existing songs. We want to play live as often as we can in the near future in support of “Storms of Genocide” but we will continue writing material at the same time.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Ross: The future is gonna be busy for us thats for sure. First order of business is to get “Stoms of Genocide” in as many hands as possible. We will be sending it everywhere we can think of to see if we cant generate some label interest as well as having it reviewed by several zines and websites. Playing live will continue to be a priority. And I’m sure its only a matter of time before we start working on our 2nd album. We have played the Midwest quite a bit and we want to expand beyond that very soon. We have made good connections on both coasts and would like to do short tours on them both. We have a lot of goals and we will be working hard to try and meet them.
Contact them at:
Ross Mallie : 563-299-3454
c/o: Ross Mallie
228 9th St.
Silvis, IL 61282