Summon: How did the band get started?
Mark: The band was formed by myself and our first drummer Sasha Horn (who is now in Forbidden). The original plan was to be a recording-only project and not play live, but that idea changed quickly. We added members and gradually evolved, until we ended up with the lineup we have now.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Mark: We’ve been described as ‘progressive-ish thrash,’ which I kind of agree with. We’re strongly influenced by thrash and early death metal, as well as some black metal and prog, but we aren’t retro and we certainly have our own style.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Mark: The fans have responded really positively to the album, although I must say that the newer material has been going over even better when we play it live. We have gotten a lot of support from people all over the world, especially in Europe and the UK, it’s been pretty incredible.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Mark: Our original drummer came up with a few names that had the word “trials” in them, and I suggested just using the one word. I think he was going through some hard times back then.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Mark: We are: Mark Sugar-vocals/guitar, Usha Rajbhandari – bass, Adam Kopecky – drums, and our newest addition Ryan Bruchert on guitar.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Mark: We all kind of work on the music together. I write the lyrics.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Mark: It kind of changes. On the first album, a lot of the lyrics were more personal in nature. I used that music to sort out a lot of my own shit. For the newer songs, there’s more of a world view involved, particularly when it comes to religion and the role it plays in world events. I’ve also lost a few people close to me in the last couple years, so death has become a theme in the lyrics as well.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Mark: I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but I’m fairly confident that the Bible is a work of fiction, written by man. That would mean that “satan” is a fictional character (and “god” as well, obviously). Having an entire belief system based on fiction doesn’t seem so smart to me. Having said that, the Satanists have historically had better music and cooler clothes.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Mark: Our debut album “Witness To The Downfall” was released last August. We’re currently recording the follow-up.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Mark: That’s kind of a difficult question, a lot of the lyrics are deliberately vague. “Declaration” is one of my favorites lyrically– it’s based on a conversation I had with someone who had confused atheism with having no beliefs at all. The other songs deal broadly with illness, poverty, addictive behaivor and paranoia (in no particular order).
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Mark: A few of us have other things going on. Ryan plays in a band called Centaurus. Adam is constantly recording music on his own, playing all the instruments himself. I recently did a project with a friend of mine that may see the light of day soon.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Mark: I’d say the band is most influenced by old thrash metal, Death, Carcass, and Strapping Young Lad. A lot of other stuff subtly works its way in there as well, such as Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Failure (a weird ’90s rock band), classical music, Frank Zappa, Danzig, and so on.
Summon: Which current bands?
Mark: I’m enjoying recent releases from Gojira, Woods of Ypres, Immolation, Night Flight Orchestra, and Ihsahn.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Mark: Well, they don’t let us use our pyro indoors anymore… No but seriously, the live shows are real raw. No fancy lights, no stage clothes, no bullshit. Just fast, aggressive, high-energy metal music.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Mark: We haven’t made it there yet, unfortunately. The logistics of doing that as an unsigned band are pretty difficult.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Mark: It depends on the venue and the show in question. Most of our shows are at small clubs, because this is still underground music, and the crowd size is in proportion to that. We have a small but enthusiastic following.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Mark: There are not many bands aroud here that sound like us, so the reaction at home is usually one of surprise. Followed by furious headbanging, of course.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Mark: To put it bluntly, I don’t give a shit about US black metal. Very few of those bands have anything new to say, either musically or lyrically. There’s a few black metal bands here that we’re friends with, and they’re nice enough guys, but honestly, why would I want to hears someone diligently copying “Blaze In The Northern Sky” or “In The Nightside Eclipse” when I can hear the originals any time I want? The death metal scene seems pretty healthy here though. There’s a lot of newer bands that are really good, and many of the old-schoolers are still kicking ass as well.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Mark: Metal fans in other countries seem far more enthusiastic about the music, probably because they’re not as oversaturated with it as we are in the US. There’s so much great music and amazing festival shows in Europe that could never happen here. And if that wasn’t enough, now they’ve got these metal cruise ships, where you can watch awesome bands all day, and then see Frank from Suffocation get shitfaced and sing karaoke at night! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly jealous.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Mark: The other day I read an article about black metal bands forming in countries under Islamic rule, like Iran. These bands face imprisonment or death just for expressing their views and playing that style of music at all. At the moment, these are my favorite new black metal bands, because what they’re doing means something, and it takes guts to do it, which is something that probably hasn’t happened in black metal since the early ’90s.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Mark: Already did. We wrote 10 new songs and started recording them back in March. The new tunes are darker and more progressive musically than the first album, and we’re really excited to get this thing finished.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Mark: We’ll get this new album out and see what happens. Our original plan didn’t include us even getting this far, so I’m not going to start predicting the future now.
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