written by Nicole Roberts
Birdflesh rocked Cave-in-Rock, Illinois when they played the Disintegrator Stage on Saturday, September 7 at Full Terror Assault. In this Q+A, drummer/vocalist Smattro Ansjovis talked to FTA about the Swedish grind band’s unique grind sound and their split release with Organ Dealer, another grindcore band on FTA’s 2018 lineup.
Birdflesh was one of many grindcore bands performing at Full Terror Assault this year. What sets you apart from other grind bands on the lineup, such as Organ Dealer, Handsome Prick & Goremonger?
SA: Well, we are from Sweden. We mix our grind with death, thrash, black and crust. Also a lot of humour. We also dress a bit strange.
Since Organ Dealer also played FTA, let’s talk a bit about your split with them. Why did you choose to do a split release with this group? What about their sound compliments your own?
SA: We became friends with Organ Dealer when we played together at Montreal Earslaughter. Then we met again at Maryland Death Fest. We decided to do a split because we are friends and that’s what a split should be about. Even the labels are good friends of ours.
Their sound is more modern and more powerful than our sound. We used an old thrash sound for the guitar. I think it’s a sample of the guitar sound from [Metallica’s] Kill ’Em All, actually. Soundwise, Organ Dealer killed us on this split. But our riffs are immortal.
How was your latest re-release, Night of the Ultimate Mosh, different from its original release?
SA: The Night album is just a re-release of our second album we did in 2002. It’s been sold out for a long time so we thought it was time to feed the world again with this opus.
How are American metal fests different from European festivals? Which do you prefer?
SA: We have only played Maryland Death Fest before so I can’t really say how American fests are different or which I prefer. All I can say is that we are looking forward to FTA!
What are you most excited for at FTA?
SA: To play for crazy people and hang out with fans! If we have any of course!
I think it’s safe to say that, after their wild FTA debut, Birdflesh has more than a few US fans. Which grind bands do you want to see take the stage at FTA V? Give us your feedback here!
written by Nicole Roberts
In less than three weeks, California thrash metal band Warbringer will be taking the stage at Full Terror Assault open air. Before you see Warbringer slay the stage as the headlining act at our pre-party show, check out vocalist John Kevill’s best tips for festival camping, as well as learn more about his ideal metal camping fest and his progress as a collegiate history student!
Your latest record, Woe to the Vanquished, was important for many reasons. In addition to featuring a reconstructed lineup, this album also demonstrates how your sound has evolved; many fans regarded this past release as Warbringer’s best thus far.
John Kevill: So do we! I feel like Vanquished is a real step up for Warbringer, beyond anything we’ve done beforehand.
How do you translate this “evolved” lineup and sound to your live shows?
JK: It translates quite well, we can play the record live note-for-note. The band has a high expectation for its musicians, and the end result of all the shuffling is that we are able to get the entire band to a point where each member just nails it individually and as a group.
The newer songs go over excellent;, there’s a lot of songwriting and musical dynamics on there that people can really grab onto easily in the live environment. Stuff like the end part in the title track, the “Incoming!” break in “Shellfire,” and even the 11-minute “When the Guns Fell Silent” carries over well live.
Woe to the Vanquished was your first album recorded with Napalm Records. What was it like to work with a new label on such an important release?
JK: Honestly, not too different from before. We had no issues with Napalm, they were professional and supported the recording of the album fully. Since then they have been solid and I really cannot complain.
Before Full Terror Assault, Warbringer is touring Europe. How do you, and perhaps the rest of the band, prepare for long tours? What are the highlights/low moments you usually experience?
JK: There’s only so much you can do, it will basically wreck you and you just have to handle it. We rehearse before, of course, and I began some physical conditioning recently to try and handle it better. A thrash show every day followed by several hours of travel is rough on the body, so being healthy in physical shape, activity level and paying close attention to food is key to keep up the standard of performance.
The highs are usually on stage, the lows are in transit.
How are European festivals different from the American festivals you’ve played?
Not much, the real difference is regularity. Europe has been consistently having a continent-wide circuit of heavy metal festivals for decades, where in America there are just a couple. This changes a lot; in Europe, there’s a number of people who spend much of their summers camping at metal festivals because there are regularly enough festivals to do that.
Let’s switch gears to Full Terror Assault. FTA is just over a month away. Will you be camping? If so, what are your top three camping essentials?
JK: No, we are flying in. I used to do backpacking when I was young, which is really different. Important things there include bear-proof canisters to keep food in and lightweight camping stoves and food, etc. For festival camping, ideal stuff includes a grill, a cooler, and plenty of beers in said cooler.
As a fan, who are you most excited to see at FTA?
JK: Demolition Hammer! Big influence on our music, and not a band I’ve seen since they began playing again.
Many metal fans might argue that nothing beats a BYOB camping extreme metal fest. What would your ideal metal festival look like?
JK: Metaldays in Slovenia for venue, up in the wooded mountains by the Soca river. I got married in the region the day after we played in 2017 and apart from the amazing natural setting there, I have a lot of sentimental attachment to that place. Abbath was a jerk to me that day though, which was a bummer because I like Immortal. Hate when that kind of stuff happens.
One final question! Personally, I love to read interviews you’ve done where you discuss your passion for history. How’s the history degree going?
JK: I’m just over halfway done with my bachelors degree and I will be enrolled in classes during FTA. I seem to do very well at historical writing, and I think I have a strong future here. A lot of the history I aim to teach has to do with the lyrics in various Warbringer songs.
Thanks man! Looking forward to your set at FTA!
JK: Looking forward to playing! As always, we aim to be the most vicious live band anyone has ever seen, and on raising the bar for thrash metal in the 21st century.
written by Nicole Roberts
American thrash metal band At War has been redefining the meaning of extreme metal since their founding in 1983. Over the course of the last 35 years, the three-piece thrash band has produced an impressive body of work including three studio albums, a few solid EP releases and a new LP in the works.
With the fourth run of Full Terror Assault less than a month away, vocalist Paul Arnold spoke with FTA about the band’s contribution to the evolution of metal, At War’s setlist for FTA 2018 and Arnold’s camping essentials for a successful metal festival.
This is At War’s first Full Terror Assault appearance. Have you or any of your band members attended FTA before?
Paul Arnold: This will be all of At War’s first appearance at FTA.
FTA is an extreme metal festival. In a 1988 interview with Demolish, you said that “a three-piece metal band is the heaviest form of a band that you can get.” What makes you one of the heaviest, most extreme acts on this year’s lineup?
PA: The definition of what “extreme metal” is is different today than it was in 1988. Metal has evolved into so many different genres now. Since 1988,so many bands took what was the most extreme and there has been a race to see who can out-extreme the last band.
At that time, we were and continue to be a band that is in your face with music that transcends definition with speed and heaviness that is still relevant. We are indeed not the most extreme band out there; that was never our goal. I feel if that is your goal, you are misguided. It should be about what you enjoy most to do, and if the public likes it, so be it. It’s about being true to yourself and the music. Anything else is just posing; something At War has never done. At War was on the vanguard of extreme metal in the early days and this is what sets us apart from most.
Will you be camping at FTA? What are your essentials for a successful metal camping trip?
With 3 albums and a few EP releases under your belt, there’s a lot of material to play at FTA. Any hints about what your setlist will look like?
PA: We will be playing so many of the essentials and may even surprise the fans with a new song.
At War’s last full-length release was in 2009. Are there plans for a new album any time soon?
PA: In fact, there is. We are working on new material right now.
What will At War be up to in between now and playing FTA?
PA: We are steady rehearsing and writing. See you there!
written by Nicole Roberts
When you’ve released as much music as one-man cybergrind artist Goremonger has, you typically wind up doing one of two things: you either change up your sound completely and attract a new fan base, or you keep creating the same ol’ sound, boring your old fans and never surprising any new ones. However, Goremonger’s latest record, The Sickening Paradox of Reality, does neither of these two things.
After releasing six full-length records and a large assortment of singles and short releases, the self-described “depraved underground cybergrind” artist has created a record filled with crunching death metal-inspired guitar riffs and slamming guttural vocals that mesh together with an electro twist. The Sickening Paradox of Reality is more bizarre than anything Goremonger has created before–and for someone who’s put out albums with controversial names like Snuff Films and Whorticulture, that’s saying something.
The 16-track record mixes electronic samples from an odd collection of movies and songs with ear crushing grindcore slams. At first, the listener is presented with a wall of seemingly indecipherable noise. Under closer observation, however, one begins to notice the careful choices Goremonger makes when choosing where he pulls his sample material from, as well as how he incorporates it into his songs.
In a genre where vocals often become muddy and incomprehensible, Goremonger’s use of sampling allows him to convey the message of his songs quite clearly. Take a track like “Spewing Religious Fodder,” where sampling is used in a satirical manner. The song begins with clips of a preacher’s sermon that have been spliced and distorted. In addition to the obvious use of distortion, the piecing together of the sermon’s audio allows Goremonger to create a reconstructed track that emphasizes themes such as greed and corruption within organized religion. If you didn’t understand his clear-cut satire by the end of the song, he makes his point even clearer by ending the track with a sample of the famous change-clinking cash register intro to Pink Floyd’s “Money.”
While some of the 16 ridiculously named songs tackle serious subject matters, the album also features comical nonsense tracks such as “Fart Bubble Embolism” and “Hanging out at Fuck the Ass,” a tribute to Goremonger’s time spent chillin’ at the recording studio. These songs are short, heavy and in your face. Before you can begin to process what’s going on, the song is already over. It takes a few listens to understand, and to fully appreciate, Goremonger’s seventh full-length release.
Both listeners who are familiar with the genre and grindcore newbies should prepared to be bewildered. If you don’t “get it,” take Goremonger’s advice written in the liner notes of The Sickening Paradox of Reality, “I hope you enjoy this album. drugs help.”