2008. december 31., szerda

grindcore history - scott carlsson of Repulsion

I think so, I haven't to write an introduction, because Scott Carlsson tells everything. Here is the beginning of the grindcore scene...

The band formed in 1985 as Genocide, did the line up consist of you, Scott Carlsson, Dave Grave Hollingshead and Aaron Freeman right from the start or did you go through some line up changes?
Matt and I started Genocide in late '84. We originally had Sean MacDonald on bass and Phil Hines on drums. That lineup didn't last long and when we resumed the band in '85 we decided to be a three piece and I assumed bas duties as well as vocals. It was at this time that we brought Dave into the fold.
Was it hard to find the suitable memers for an extreme metal band back in the day?
It was extremely hard. First of all, we had even more extreme ideas than most people at that time. But, it was hard to even find a drummer who had heard of Slayer let alone one who actually played like that.
Because Scott did both vocals and the bass duties, didn't you think about to admit either a bassplayer or a singer? Was it hard for Scott to concentrate both on bass and on vocals?
It's not hard to concentrate on bass and vocals when you're playing such simple material. For as over the top Repulsion's delivery is the riffs are pretty simple and most of the time the bass is riding the root note and adding some accents here and there.
By the way, was Genocide your very first act or.? What about your musical background as a whole?
Matt and I had a band called Tempter in early '84 that was playing covers of GBH, Metallica, Slayer, etc. We both took guitar lessons from a guy named Bruce Winch. He was a Flint area musician who had had made a name for himself with local bands and was great teacher. He turned me onto the The Clash, The Angels (Angel City) and Cheap Trick way before they were popular.
What were your influences to become musicians? Were you rather into brutal stuffs or...?
We grew up on Kiss, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, UFO, Ted Nugent. Basically, all the great hard rock bands of the 70s and then we were of course inspired by the punk and NWOBHM movements when they came along. The real inspiration for Genocide/Repulsion came from Discharge, Hellhammer, Slaughter, The Accused, Slayer, etc. But, we always knew that the music could be even more - this word gets tiring - "extreme".
What about the Flint scene at this point? What were the acts, that started at the same time as you? What kind of friendship, relationship did you have with them?
There were no other metal bands except for Real Steel and they were more along the lines of a thrashy Priest or Maiden kinda thing. We played with and hung out with hardcore bands like Dissonance, Gore, Public Noise and 13th Key.
You recorded your first demo called "Toxic metal" in 1984 featuring "Armies of the dead", "Satan's whores" and "Crack of doom", do you still remember how was it recorded? Can you tell us details regarding on this tape?
That tape was never called "Toxic Metal". It was recorded on a portable stereo cassette with the Sean/Phil lineup in Phil's basement. Phil was the drummer for Dissonance and him and their bassist, Tanya lived in the house where they rehearsed. So, we rehearsed ther as well.
The instruments totally blend together, one can't hear the vocals, the bass and drums are just loud thuds, and the guitars are just a giant shriek, what do you think about it?
I think it's great. Bring the noise.
But one thing is there, one can clearly see how after becoming a bit more skilled and having better production, the same thing on this demo help shaped what was to become "Horrified", correct?
Of course. We were constantly striving to make our music faster, noisier and more insane. Even some of the people that were in the band didn't always understand why we were going in that direction.
Is it correct, that the demo was recorded for the Sledgehammer Press fanzine, based in Michigan?
Yeah, we pretty much recorded that rehearsal just so we could send something to Bob at Sledgehammer Press. He was doing the only cool metal fanzine in Michigan and we wanted to be associated with that.
Did you spread the demo around to make a name for the band? What kind of promotion did you do for the demo at all?
I don't think we sent that to anyone besides Sledgehammer Press. It circulated mainly through tape trading and there was no promotion done whatsoever.
Your second effort was the "Violent death" demo, do you think, that it was a better production than the prevous? Did it success in getting more fans for the band?
I think the "production" as you call it, is even worse on this recording. However, this is the first recording where the Repulsion sound is starting to come through.
Would you say, that at this point was the birth of the extreme metal scene with acts, such as Possessed, Slaughter, Death Strike/Master, Mantas/Death etc.? Were you familiar with the underground scene back than?
Well, Matt and I were in Death for a little while so yeah - we were aware of all those bands and many, many more.
What were your views on the European scene, with acts such as Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Napalm Death, Sodom, Destruction, Bathory etc.?
We hadn't quite heard of Napalm yet but we were way into the all the others you mentioned when they were still just making demos. And of course they all released brilliant debut records.
The last demo under the name of Genocide was "The stench of burning death" in 1986 and this is the closest demo to what was to become "Horrified", do you agree with it?
There is a ton of improvement here; the vocals, for one are much improved, they are no long just background screaming and grunts, now it is clearly up front and more present than ever before, the drums are another bright spot, they are just thuds, one can hear so much more now and the same with the bass, it isn't just some inaudible fuzz, it is more clearly there, how do you view it?
Well, the other recordings were one mic live recordings that leave a lot to be desired in the sound quality department. This one was still recorded live but we were able to work with an experienced engineer who could mic all the instruments properly. Musically, we had come along way towards what Matt and I wanted the band to sound like. Faster, heavier, noisier.
Was it a kind of developement/progression or did you heavily work onto it?
A bit of both. We worked very hard on our material and getting Dave into the groove as he was not really into metal when we met him. I think he just liked our material because it was so deranged. When you work that hard on something you usually get results.
Did the demo help gain you a static following of fans of intense music with horror-inspired lyrics, a sub-genre of underground music still in its infancy?
We gained some fans and inspired quite a few bands but no record labels. The cult status of the band wasn't really cemented until the next wave of bands like Carcass, Napalm Death and Entombed began to praise our recordings.
Was it this foundation that ultimately became the basis of what is reknowned today as grindcore and in every respect, Genocide were among the first wave of true pioneers of this style of music, if not the innovators?
That is for you to ponder. In my personal opinion 'Horrified' is the best album of it's kind. To us, it didn't seem innovative or genre defining. It's just the music we wanted to hear at that time. After we made it I don't think Matt or myself listened to much death metal. We did what we wanted to do with it and moved on. Maybe, if we had been signed in '86 we would have made more records. Maybe not. We're quite happy with the way people view Repulsion today.
After the demos were recorded with the name Genocide, the members realized that several other Genocides existed (the Japanese Genocide was one), and you changed the band name to Repulsion, right?
When we were young and naive, Genocide seemed like an okay band name but I always thought it was sort of generic. It was the name of a great Judas Priest song. That's where I got it from. I'm glad we changed it to Repulsion.
In 1986 "Evil" Chuck Schuldiner of Florida Death Metal pioneers Death (who himself had just returned from a very brief and disatrous association with Canada's Slaughter) asked Scott and you to move to Florida to become members of Death, how did it happen exactly? Is it correct, that you replaced guitarist Rick Rozz?
You've got that backwards. We played with Death in the summer of '85. Chuck was playing with Slaughter in the winter of '86. Chuck and I were pen pals back then and we had mutual respect for each other's music. When our band and his band were short on members it just seemed like a good idea to put both bands together. At the time we hade similar ideas about music. We sent the summer unsuccessfully searching for a drummer to replace Kam Lee, who had decided he didn't want to play drums anymore. Matt and I went back to Michigan to concentrate on Genocide and Chuck did what he had to do to keep his career heading in the right direction. From that point, it's history.
How did Kam Lee end up becoming the singer? Why was he fed up of playing drums?
Kam was never exclusively singing in Death. He played drums and split vocal duties with Chuck. He left because didn't want to play drums anymore. You'd have to ask him but I would say the situation with Massacre where he was strictly fronting the band is the way he wanted things to be.
Were you close to Death's material at that time? To which extent were you familiar with Death?
Matt and I were very familiar with Death's material. Chuck had sent me all the demos and we were big fans of their music. We went into the garage with Chuck and Kam and played near perfect versions of several Death songs within houirs of us arriving in Florida.
You agreed and Repulsion was put on hold for a short time, but what about Aaron and Dave at this point? What did they do during your Death period?
Dave and Aaron were yet not a part of Genocide when Matt and I joined up with Death. That would happen several months down the road.
What was Death's line up exactly at this point? How was to work with Chuck and Kam as a whole and what about their individuals or egos?
The lineup was Chuck, Kam, Matt and myself. Chuck and Kam were great to work with. As has been stated many times, Kam's decision to leave, although untimely, was an event that ultimately led to three highly influential bands emerging from one. Egos were present -you had three front men and two amazing lead guitar players in a four piece band - but it wasn't out of control. Everyone respected each other's ideas. You have to remember we were all very young at this time.
Kam told in an interview, that he is the founder of the vomit growling, what do you think about it?
I think just about everyone would agree with him on that. He influenced a lot of death metal vocalists.
Have you ever recorded some material with Chuck? Have you ever gigged with them?
The only recordings that exist of this Death lineup are a couple rehearsals. Sadly, Death and Repulsion never had the opportunity to share the stage. It would have been a lot of fun for us.
This arrangement did not work out and in 1986 Matt and you Scott returned to Michigan (while Evil Chuck went to San Francisco California) and Repulsion was reborn after a brief hiatus, what went wrong with him? Did you remain in touch with Chuck after you quit the band?
Actually, it was 1985. Chuck, Matt and I had spent the entire summer looking for a drummer and had no success. It just made sense for Matt and I to return home and resume work on Genocide. There were some differences between Chuck's ideas and ours, as well. All you have to do is compare the 'Mutilation' demo to the 'Slaughter Of The Innocent' demo.
Unfortunately on the 13th of December 2001 Chuck passed away...
Yes. This was truly a sad time. At least, we know that Chuck lived and played without compromise and left behind a great musical legacy. I'm glad to have known him and to have had the chance to play with him for a short time. A true original.
Did Dave and Aaron immediately rejoin the band after you returned Flint?
As I say, they were never in the band until this period was over. When Matt and I returned to Michigan, we looked around for a drummer and came up with Dave in September of '85. We played our first show with him in October. Aaron joined in January '86 shortly before we recorded the WFBE demo that some refer to as 'The Stench Of Burning Death.
When did you start writing the material for your debut record and what about the songwriting as a whole?
We started writing songs while we were still in Florida. The songwiting prosess mainly consisted of Matt and I holoing up in the garage or basement with Coca-Cola, frozen pizzas and microwave burritos and throwing riffs at each other. Sometimes we would come with complete songs and help each other with the final arrangement. I wrote all the lyrics and sometimes I would take ideas or suggestions from friends. It usually started with a ridiculous song title and then I would rise to the challeng of completing equally ridiculous lyrics.
Your debut album, originally to be titled "Slaughter Of The Innocent", was recorded in 1986 with the help of Doug Earp, what about the recording sessions?
The recording was done in a hurried manner working with an engineer who had no idea what we (or he for that matter) were doing. At the time we were quite disappointed with the production. But, listening to it now it all kind of makes sense.
Was it Doug's first experience as producer? Were you satisfied with his work? Did he help a lot for you?
Actually, Doug was the executive producer. He financed the whle thing and made it possible for us to go into the studio. We were always impressed by his dedication and friendship. No one has ever helped Repulsion as much as Doug Earp.
Do you still remember how long did the recording sessions take and did you have a decent budget to record the material?
We only spent about $300 on the recording. It seemed like a fortune to us at the time. The whole process took about 3-4 days.
„Horrified” is the album that created the very first grindcore movement, the album that created the proto gore grind and the album that influenced the future generation of death metal bands, is that correct?
That is for people like you to decide. I can look back at it and tell you that although we were tapping into several infuences, we were not copying anyone. Too many bands today simply copy their favorite records and really add nothing to the musical landscape. You don't have to be 100% original but what's the point of cloning your favorite artist? There's nothing unique about it at all.
Do you think, that back in 1986 you guys were probably the most extreme thing on the Earth and your previous demos were a complete innovation for malevolence, putridity and speed?
Well, the evidence speaks for itself. It doesn't take a lot of effort to compare what was happening at that time. Sure, we were faster than pretty much everyone. But, Venom in '81, Metallica in '82, Slayer in '83, Hellhammer '84 - these bands were pushing the envelope before us.
Nobody played like you in that period, Carcass and Napalm Death were still punkish in their style, probably Terrorizer were close to you, right?
I don't know. At the time I hadn't heard of any of those bands.
Talking about the music here, in a more detailed description, we can find half an hour of totally madness grind, the blast beats are really ahead for the period but they are one of the most important thing in your sound, aren't they?
The blast beats seem to be one of the main aspects that people refer to when talking about the influence of repulsion. It wasn't a conscious thing on our part. We were trying to make every aspect of our sound as extreme as possible.
This entire album is in fact the soundtrack to the impending death of mankind, Repulsion turned all the knobs up to 11 and recorded an album of some of the fastest, most aggressive, blistering, face-melting music of all time, how do you explain this?
We are musical geniuses who should be millionaires many times over! (hehe)
Do you think, that your overall sound is chillingly great, as the drums blast away into one's brain the guitar riffs move blazingly fast?
I like the record. If I want to hear grindcore (which I normally don't) I would put on „Horrified”.
Another great thing about „Horrified” is the riffing: it's really old-school and simple, the riffs are huge and intensely, no technical guitar work here, Repulsion pump out grinding evil powerchords like the best of them amidst the flurries of hats, bass drums and snares, how do you view this?
I don't want to sit here and write a review of my own music. But, I'm glad you like it that much. It means a lot to us!
The fanciest thing coming out of Repulsion is the guitar solos that occasionally wail thrashy dissonance across Repulsion's sound spectrum, and the bass gives a really nice low-end rumble to the music, do you agree with it?
We always wanted the guitar solos to be short, violent stabs. Just like the songs themselves. If you have a 90 second song it's a bit difficult to throw in a 2 minute solo. Our songs are shorter than Metallica's guitar solos! The bass sound is simply inspired by Discharge, Venom and the first Voivod record.
Is „Horrified” a landmark in extreme music and will forever be cited as a pioneering masterpiece that influenced countless bands?
I'm not the one to ask. Will it forever be cited as a pioneering masterpiece? I don't lnow. I can't see into the future. If I could we never would have made the record in the first place! (laughs)
The album was recorded in 1986, when Slayer or Dark Angel were about the most extreme thing around then, thrash metal was on its peak, did you create such an aggressive, very brutal stuff, because you hadn't anything to do with thrash or was your goal simply to be the most brutal band on the planet?
We thought Slayer and Dark Angel sounded like wimps! I kid, I kid. Those bands were very inspiring from a speed perspective and Slayer are obviously metal gods. We just had a different approach and it happened that it was much faster, noisier and offensive than most things that were coming out at that time on this planet. Who knows what was coming out of Uranus in 1986. Could be the stinkiest, most brutal shit in the universe!
Is "Horrified" darker, faster, heavier, more agressive, more chaotic and more lyrically extreme and even more brutally to-the-point, than "Reign in blood" or "Darkness descends"?
That's up to the listener to decide. I can't really answer that.
Are the vocals, which are a distant shriek, much in the vein of all early death metal, the insanely fast guitar work and even more preposterous drumming, the violent tempo changes, the raw production, the fuzzy bass, the chaotic solos and the gore/horror themed lyrics, all lay down the groundwork for what makes Repulsion the band that it was?
Of course, the sounds you hear on the record are the very makeup of the Repulsion sound.
Do you agree with, that this is the original grindcore album, before Napalm Death, before Carcass, Brutal Truth or any other band touted by Earache's grind period?
Again, you're asking me to tell you things that are not for me to decide. What do you think? Did Repulsion effectively set the ground for all death metal to follow?

Well, there are lots of bands out there that have never heard of Repulsion. So, no, I don't think Repulsion influenced every death metal band that followed. I'm sure there are bands, especially the technically oriented ones that think we are shite.
What are your views on, that one need only look at the song titles to understand just how influential Repulsion were - "Splattered Cadaver", "Acid Bath", "Six Feet Under" - all band monikers lifted from this one Repulsion album?
I'm not sure all those bands lifted their names from 'Horrified' but if they did I'm flattered.
Is "Horrified" more than just influence, it is an all out awesome record, isn't it?
I think it's a very good record for what it is. It's certainly unique.
Drawing on a range of influences like Hellhammer, Slaughter, and Discharge, Repulsion infused elements of all these acts, threw in a lot of feedback and distortion and a lyrical bloodbath to create a legendary wall of noise that is still relevant today, what do you think about it?
I'm very happy that people still cite Repulsion as an influence and I'm proud of the impact it has had on the metal scene.
Is that correct, that "Horrified" earned a status among tape traders almost equal to that of Hellhammer and Metallica in their heyday?
No, it was not as big as Hellhammer or Metallica. Not even close.
"Horrified" is somewhat primitive by modern death metal standards, but undeniably influential on a very young scene, sounding at times a bit like what Slaughter was doing, or perhaps early Death...
That's what was going on at the time. We definitely borrowed a couple things from Slaughter.
By the way, "Horrified" was meant to be a next Repulsion demo or did you start it as your first fell length record?
It was always intended to be our debut full length. Since no one wanted to sign us we decided to go out and record an album and then shop it to labels. We still got no offers.
Besides that 18 tracks, did you still have some songs, that you didn't put on the record?
No, that was our entire repertoire at the time.
How do you view, that this was death metal before death metal, because at the time, death metal was nothing more than an offshoot of thrash, still in an embryonic state?
We were always listening to music that was on the cutting edge so it's no surprise that the music we made was the same.
This period was the birth of extreme metal, with acts, such as Mantas/Death, Massacre, Morbid Angel, Slaughter, Possessed, Death Strike/Master etc., were you deeply in the underground at this point? Were you familiar with these acts (or with others)?
Of course, we were familiar with all those bands with the exception of Massacre and Morbid Angel who we did come to know about shortly after.
The LP was originally intended to be released on Earp's own label, Wyatt Earp Records, but this never occured and the album was nearly fated to never see a vynil release, what did happen exactly?
The band split up before we even finished mixing the record. There was no use releasing an album by a defunct band. At least, not at that point. The label never really existed at the time. It was something that Doug wanted to do but I think Repulsion was his main interest and when we split he put the label on hold. It didn't actually get started until after his death. His partner, Al Steele has finally made Doug's wish a reality and released a few records under the Wyatt Earp banner.
Weren't bigger labels interests in the band?
Not even one.
The band continued to spread mayhem and extreme thrash on a small scale during 1987 until you joined the armed forces, what made you to join the army? Why did you stop playing fast, furious, extreme stuff at this point?
Matt joined the military because there are not a lot of options for young people in Flint, Michigan. We stopped playing death metal at this point because we were bored with it. We went all out on 'Horrified' and felt we had sort of exhausted the subject.
REPULSION played their final show in January 1988, what do you recall of that particular gig?
Not much! We were all completely wasted and just having a good time. It was a hometown show in front of our close friends and we really didn't put much thought into it.
It didn't see a release of the record until it was picked up by the Necrosis label (run by Carcass members Bill Steer and Jeff Walker) and released as "Horrified" in 1989, by which time the band had actually broken up due to Matt Olivo joining the armed forces, why was the title changed to "Horrified"?
I changed the title to 'Horrified' because I was just sick of 'Slaughter Of The Innocent'. That title had been kicking around for three years and I just tired of it.
Would you say, that the goal of the Carcass guys was to give a chance for Repulsion, they didn't want to be the band forgotten, they wanted to draw more fans attention to the band or did they simply worship the material?
I think they were just fans of the material. I doubt they expected to get rich from it!
How much did the release of the record help you? I mean, did more and more fans start to discover Repulsion?
Of course! If it were still just an obscure cassette tape we wouldn't be talking right now. Having your material available in stores worldwide definitely helps. Most people today discovered 'Horrified' either by the Necrosis or Relapse versions. We are grateful that our hard work was recognized with a proper release after the initial disappointment we felt when no one wanted to listen!
Repulsion finally reunited as a three-piece band (Matt was still in the Army) and in January of 1991, recorded their demo intitled „Rebirth”, did the title refer to that you came back in the business or…?
I don't recall us giving a name to the demo but the song title was partly inspired by the fact that we had reformed, I guess.
What was the line up of the band at this point? Why wasn’t Matt replaced by the way?
The lineup was Aaron, Dave and myself. Matt wasn't replaced because quite simply, he cannot be replaced in Repulsion.
Some months later, Relapse Records released two of the demo tracks as a 7” entitled „Excruciation”, how did it happen exactly? Did you sign a deal with them or…?
No deal was signed. It was a gentleman's agreement between the band and label. Matt Jacobson called me up and asked if we were interested in releasing a single on his upstart record label and we took him up on it.
„Excruciation” is the longest track Repulsion has recorded, and one of only five lasting more than 3 minutes, isn’t it?
I'm surprised you were able to find five songs that are over three minutes! Obviously, they are some of the later ones.
Did this well-received release of the band lead to a renew in interest in Repulsion?
I don't think the single had a whole lot to do with the renewed interest in the band. I think the single was a result of that. The renewed interest was kindled by the release of Horrified which occurred near the beginning of the original grindcore explosion.
Relapse soon obtained the rights to license and re-issue „Horrified” in 1992, with a track from the Genocide demo („Black Nightmare”) as a bonus track, can you tell us more about it?
Well, earache had allowed the record to go out of print and there was new demand for it. We decided to add an extra track and change the artwork just to differentiate from the Earache release.
The band continued to play occasional shows around the States and in that same year Matt returned from the army and re-joined the band for a while, is that correct?
That is correct. We didn't do a lot of shows but we did a few here and there.
In 1991 was released another demo called „Final” demo, which was recorded in Matt's bedroom on a portable 4 track, wasn’t it?
That is correct. The tracks that had vocals on them were released on the Relapse deluxe edition of Horrified.
What about these 3 demos as a whole? Did you remain a pure grindcore band or did you move to death metal direction like Napalm Death or Carcass did back then?
I think that we were letting the current trends in death metal influence us a bit too much. If I had it to do over again I would have written more songs like the ones on „Horrified”.
How would you describe the demos compared to „Horrified”?
In a nutshell, not as good.
In 1993 the band finally called it a day, what kind of reasons did lead to the band's break at the end?
It was logistics and lack of real passion. I was living in Chicago and commuting back to Michigan to work on the demos and I never really felt that they were as good as the older material. After awhile I just decided that I'd had enough and it was time to move on.
What have you done after Repulsion disbanded? Did you play in several projects, did you form another bands or.? Can you tell us everything?
I've played with Cathedral and played in some local bands in Chicago and Los Angeles. I released a couple singles with a Chicago band called Hushdrops which was a pure pop band and I also did a single and a full length CD with a Los Angeles hard rock band called The Superbees.
Did you keep an eye on what's going on in the underground? I mean, did you follow with attention the developing of the underground scene?
Not too much. There were a few bands I liked but I didn't get too involved in the scene.
Would you say, that the whole death/grindcore scene reached its peak around '89/90, but in two years it went out of fashion?
If it did it sure has made a comeback. It feels like death metal is bigger now than ever. It's influence can be seen and heard in lots of mainstream places.
Do you think, that as it is with band of such legendary statue, will Repulsion live forever as the true Godfathers of Grinding Death Thrash,with several imitators and no equal?
I can't answer that. We made one record and a few people seem to like it very much. I'm grateful for that.
In 2004 you released a DVD called "Necrothology" and although this isn't distributed by any record label or anything, it is on the official Repulsion website and the band are producing this DVD which showcases various live performances spanning the band's career, whose idea was this material? Would you give us details on this stuff?
The DVD has not come out yet but we still plan on getting it together one of these days. It will span the entire existence of Repulsion. The details are still up in the air.
At which point did Repulsion reform? Was the first step of the reformation the release of the DVD or…?
We were asked by Relapse if we would be interested in doing Milwaukee Metal Fest to commemorate the re-release of Horrified and we said"yes". After that, people kept calling to book the band and that's how it stands today. If someone wants to book Repulsion we will weigh the offer and proceed from there.
Did you only play some live performances or do you plan to record a brandnew full length record as well?
There are no plans to record anything. Too much time has passed. We enjoy getting together to play once in a while but that's it.
The present line up consists of Scott Carlsson, Matt Olivio, Matt Harvey and Col Jones, how did they get in the pictureexactly? What about Dave, Fish and Aaron these days?
Dave and Aaron are still living in Michigan. That's the reason we had to bring Matt and Col into the band. It was not possible to prepare a quality live performance with the band divided by thousands of miles. Matt and Col know Repulsion as well as we do and are the perfect fit for us.
What about Death Breath considering your appearance in that band?
Well, that's Nicke and Robert's band. I add vocals to a few tracks on each release and provide bass and vocals to their live shows. The live side of Death Breath is more band oriented rather than Robert and Nicke doing everything themselves. It's a lot of fun and hopefully it will continue.
As I as know, Dejecta reformed as well, does it mean, that you Matt, concentrates both on Repulsion and on Dejecta?
Dejecta has not reformed. They releasd a split single in Japan recently but the band does not exist anymore and I don't believe they ever reformed.
What about your future plans as a whole?
No plans for Repulsion. As I've said, we don't go out looking for gigs. If they come to us we are interested but we don't seek it out.
In your opinion did it succeed for Repulsion reaching a cult status in the underground? Is the band's name still big and it's in still people's minds?
We feel like Repulsion has been modestly successful. Our name is mentioned in metal history books and has been remembered while so many others have fallen through the cracks. It still seems to be in people's minds and we are very happy for that!
Scott, thanks a lot for the feature, anything to add what I forgot to mention?
After this four part interview I don't think you forgot to mention one thing! Thanks for keeping the spirit of the underground alive!

2008. december 29., hétfő

vermin - john cochran

As I mentioned in the introduction of the Sceptre interview, Los Angeles was one of the best places for US thrash metal. Vermin were also in the first movement of the US thrash movement, but unfortunately -like Sceptre- they can't step further and splitted up. The story of the band was told by John Cochran...

So John, do you still recall, how did you get in touch with metal music and what was so amazing in this music for you?
When I was 12 years old a friend of mine had a few tapes his older brother had given him, one was the first Black Sabbath album. We listened to that tape over and over, we’d never heard anything else like it before. That was in 1973. After that, I really got into Deep Purple after seeing them on TV for the California Jam concert, which was in 1974. When I saw Ritchie Blackmore with that Strat, I knew that was what I wanted to do! After that I got into UFO, Thin Lizzy and the old Scorpions stuff with Uli Roth.
Would you call yourself a metal freak or rather a hard rock one?
I would say that first and foremost I am a hard rock guy; I didn’t discover real metal until I went to see Judas Priest in 1979. Shortly after that I saw Iron Maiden open for UFO, and I was hooked on metal. My favorite bands of all time are Deep Purple and UFO.
At which point did you start playing guitar and how did your choice fall on this instrument? Do you perhaps play other instruments as well?
I wanted to play guitar after seeing Blackmore on TV in 1974. I got my first guitar the next year in 1975, it was a cheap $30 Japanese guitar my mom bought me at a swap meet. I play bass and a bit of keyboards now, as well.
What were your influences to become musician?
My mom played guitar, she was a folk singer in the 1960’s, she played at little coffee houses and small clubs in Los Angeles when I was a kid. She also played bass in a country band, so there were guitars around the house all the time when I was little. My biggest influence was seeing Blackmore on TV.
Were self taught or did you take lessons as well?
My dad bought me a small Fender amp when I was 14. The condition was that I had to learn properly and take some lessons, which he paid for. I took lessons once a week for about 1 year. My teacher taught me to play Led Zeppelin and UFO songs, no real music theory to speak of.
Before you being involved with Vermin, what were the acts that you’ve played with or was Vermin your very first group?
I had a little band in High School, we didn’t have a name, just me and my friends Ralph Oshiro on drums, and Chuck Greene on bass. We played at a lot of parties, things like that. If someone’s parents were going to be out of town and they had the house to themselves, we’d have a jam party. We played lots of UFO, Van Halen, Rush, stuff like that. The year before I formed Vermin, I played with a band called Hanz Krypt, who later turned into a doom rock band more like Black Sabbath or St. Vitus. We never did any gigs when I was playing with them.
Vermin was founded in 1982 by original members you guitar, Dean Coffey on bass, Craig Hall on drums, Greg Cekalovich on guitar, and Vince Sollami on vocals, how did you hook up together and what about the musical background of the other guys? Did you know them earlier or…?
I met Craig Hall and Dean Coffey when I replied to an ad in a local paper called The Recycler. That paper had a large section for musicians seeking bands, etc. Craig had run an ad looking for a guitar player who was into ’NWOBHM’, or New Wave of British Heavy Metal. I knew what that meant, since I was already into Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. I gave him a call and we had a jam. We played Maiden and Priest stuff the first time. We all got along very well and decided to get to work writing some original music. Dean and Craig had been jamming together for a couple of years already, they both lived on the same street and went to school together. The last guitar player to jam with them before me was Gilby Clarke, who later went on to play with Guns n’ Roses. He wasn’t metal enough for them!
What about the L. A. scene at this point? How about the first generation of the US thrash, such as Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Shellshock, Abattoir etc.?
The scene at that time was dominated by bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, stuff like that. Thrash was just starting, Metallica was still playing weeknights at small clubs. Mustaine was still with them, so Megadeth did not exist yet. Slayer was basically a Judas Priest cover band at that point. Abbatoir was around then, I think. The scene really took off when Brian Slagel, president of Metal Blade Records, started pushing the clubs to have more real metal bands.
Were you famliar with those acts? Did you build up a strong friendship with them?
There were very few true thrash metal bands around at that time, so we all knew each other. Our first vocalist, Vince Sollami, was good friends with Lars Ulrich. We met Slayer when we played with them at the Troubadour in Hollywood, so we used to hang out and party together a lot with Tom and Jeff. We were friends with Overkill. When we didn’t have gig to play, we would go to all the shows in LA to see what was happening.
As far as the LA scene, in my opinion, it existed two different ones: there were the speed/thrash acts and the glam/hair ones, such as W.A.S.P., DOKKEN, MÖTLEY CRÜE, RATT, do you agree with me? Were these commercial acts more popular and known than the speed/thrash ones?
You are correct, there were two very different scenes. On one side, you had Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken, W.A.S.P., and Quet Riot, and about 100 other bands who all looked and sounded like those bands. Then you had bands like Vermin, Metallica, Slayer, Savage Grace, Abbatoir, Overkill, Bloodlust, etc. The commercial acts were much more popular with the clubs because they would draw a much more diverse audience than the thrash bands. The thrash metal audience was mostly young guys; the glam/hair bands audience was mostly girls. Guys like to hook up with girls, so lots of guys (us included) would go to the glam/hair band’s shows to pick up girls. Guys buy girls drinks, so the clubs made a lot more money selling liquor when they had the glam/hair bands play. Thrash fans were young, too young to drink, so the clubs didn’t make as much profit when thrash bands played. Plus, thrash was a real crossover for hardcore punk rockers, so we attracted those people as well. The big clubs were afraid of punks.
Which clubs did start opening their doors at this point?
The first clubs to start having thrash bands were in Orange County. Radio City and The Woodstock were the first clubs to have thrash bands. Then the Troubadour in Hollywood started a thing called ’Metal Mondays’. The very first one was Witch, Vermin and Slayer. When the thrash bands started packing the clubs, we all began doing headline gigs on the weekends.
Would you say, that in L.A. was a great underground buzz and a healthy club scene?
The buzz was above-ground, not underground at that time. There was a magazine called BAM (Bay Area Music), which was published in San Francisco and Los Angeles. That is where all the bands ran ads for their shows. That was the place to learn about who was doing what. I remember the first big ad Metallica ran, it was in the center fold of the magazine, two pages wide, very impressive. It said they were the loudest, fastest, heaviest band in America. Seeing that ad is what made me curious about them, and I went to their next show at the Troubadour. We had a lot of great clubs, with live music 7 nights a week, so, yes, it was very healthy indeed.
Though heavy metal did of course exist in the seventies, it really came of age in the eighties, both as a popular form of music in the mainstream as well as a booming underground movement, what’s your opinion about it?
I think that MTV had a lot to do with the metal popularity in the ’80’s. Kids who lived in places without good record stores (the ones with great import sections) were not exposed to this type of music until they saw these bands on MTV, like on Headbanger’s Ball. We were lucky in big cities where we had great indpendent record stores, with very good import sections, so we were exposed to all the new metal that was coming out of the UK and Europe at that time. Plus, Kerrang magazine. When metal became less popular in the late ’80’s, it was forced underground. I’d say that 1982 to 1989 were the best years for metal.
Do you think, that some of metal’s genres didn’t really come into being until the mid-late eighties or later, but a basic style of metal (sometimes referred to in the press as Priest/Maiden, named obviously for two of 80's metal's biggest influences) began to take hold during this period?
Again, I think it goes back to exposure. With the advent of MTV, metal was exposed to many more people. Not to mention the concerts. I can remember seeing Priest and Maiden 2 or 3 times in a row, because they would play several nights at a time in LA. The big Preist and Maiden tours of the ’80’s surely contributed to the popularity of the music. They were great shows. During that time, bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax were touring as opening acts for Ozzy, stuff like that. So, the exposure that the big 4 thrash bands got as opening acts on big tours helped them gain popularity. Some kid in Kansas who buys a ticket to see Ozzy suddenly gets exposed to Anthrax, and now he’s an Anthrax fan. Thrash was not getting played on the radio, that is for sure. It was MTV and the tours that did it.
Did you take the band seriously right from the start?
Yes, very seriously. We were determined to play gigs and do all original music.
What about your rehearsals? How often did you rehearse?
We would rehearse 2 or 3 times a week. We rented professional rehearsal studios.
Did you start writing originals or were you jamming on covers?
At first we jammed on covers, then started writing originals. We’d always jam on covers even when we had a good set list. Playing metal is like lifting weights, you have to keep in shape! The more you jam, the better you get. We never played any covers live, only originals.
How about the songcomposing? Did everybody have a great hand into it or was a main songwriter?
I was the main music writer at first, then when Greg Cekalovich came on he started writing both music and lyrics. Whoever was the vocalist at the time wrote most of the lyrics. When Cyriis was in the band, we’d all try to write together when we were in the studio rehearsing.
This lineup played at Southern California’s most legendary clubs, including The Troubadour, Madame Wongs, The Waters, Cathay de Grand, and Radio City, what do you recall from these gigs?
All the clubs were very different. The Troubadour is a very classy place, I mean, everyone from Elton John to Miles Davis has played there. They were not very tolerant of wild behaviour. We were eventually banned from playing there because our crowd was considered to rowdy. Radio City pulled the plug on us once for playing too loud; I told the crowd to show the club how they felt and they tore the shit out of the place. We were banned from Radio City after that. Madame Wongs and Cathay de Grande were both hardcore punk clubs, so they welcomed thrash bands with open arms. The Waters Club used to be a latin music place, like salsa music with dancing, so they were experimenting with rock music. It was a huge club. We had a lot of fun gigs at The Waters Club.
You also played the inaugural Metal Monday at the Troubadour with another bunch of aspiring young upstarts called Slayer and that gig was like a nuclear explosion - the Thrash scene in SoCal was running full throttle, any memories from that particular show?
Yes, it was very exciting. It was our first club gig; prior to that, we had only played a couple of shows at local parks. We didn’t know Slayer at that time; Greg Cekalovich had seen them before when they were playing Priest covers. Nobody knew who Witch was. The club was packed, Brian Slagel from Metal Blade Records was there taping everything. Witch opened the show, then Vermin, and then Slayer. I remember watching Slayer and being completely blown away. After the show I was talking to Brian Slagel, and I described them as being like standing behind the engie of a jumbo jet when it was taking off – they were the heaviest, most kick ass thrash band in LA that I had ever seen. He told me that he was trying to get them recorded, he really liked them. Evidently, they really liked us, too. That’s why they thanked us on the liner notes of Haunting the Chapel. Good lads, those Slayer boys.
A new genre came into being which rooted in the NWOBHM, how do you view it?
I assume you are talking about stuff like Def Leppard? Not hair metal, but not thrash? My view of it is that it sucked.
Thrash metal is generally characterized by a fast pace, a staccato, chunky guitar riffing style, and aggressive vocals, is that correct?
Yes, thrash is based on that fast picked, chugging/machine gun type rhythm, with a double-time beat, and lots of double-bass drumming. It is a cross between hardcore punk rock and hard rock/metal. It has the brutal energy of hardcore punk, and the musicianship of hard rock/metal. Lots of anger and agression.
How do you view, that Metallica’s „Kill 'Em All”, released in 1983, is arguably the first true thrash album, with healthy thrash scenes sprouting in the USA (particularly the San Francisco area), Germany, and elsewhere by the late eighties?
I may be going out on a limb here, but I think that Metallica may have invented thrash metal. They were certainly the first band I had ever seen who played music like that. Seeing them inspired me (and scores of other people) to start writing fast paced, heavy riffs. The did play a lot of covers at first; the first time I saw them, about half of their set was covers. The scene in San Franciso was much more pure in terms of being all thrash and no big hair crap. They were the best crowds to play to. The first German thrash band I had heard was a band called Destruction. I would say that Metallica started it all, and everyone else was inspired by them. However, at that time Anthrax was in New York doing their thing, which sounded nothing like Metallica.
Talking about the L.A. scene, there was a lot of „musician crossed their paths”, I mean Kerry King was playing in Megadeth, Dave Mustaine was the member of Metallica, I mean, a lot of musicians were auditioning for several bands, can you tell us more about it? How did it happen exactly?
Everyone met through The Recycler, or at gigs. Or, a lot of people shared rehearsal studios and met that way. The thrash scene was pretty small back then, and everyone knew each other, or knew someone who knew someone, etc. When you would go to see a show at the Troubadour, everyone who didn’t have a gig that night would be there. You’d see Mustaine, the guys from W.A.S.P. (Chris Holmes used to come to our shows), the guys from Ratt, Jeff and Tom from Slayer, Felice and Ron from Overkill, it goes on and on. Then, a lot of times, we would all party after the shows with the bands that had just played. It was a tight community of musicians. We’d loan each other gear if someone needed an amp or something. We were all cool with each other.
At which point did Craig Hall leave the band and how did Mike Chacon, one of the local scene’s most explosive double-bass drummers enter the picture exactly? What about his musical past?
Craig left the band after about 9 months or so. We auditioned a few drummers, but none of them could play double-bass. Greg Cekalovich had played with Mike Chacon at some point and remembered that he always played way too fast. I said, ’get this guy over here, now!’. Mike was a perfect fit. I don’t think that Mike had played in any gigging bands before that, just party bands in high school. A funny story is that after Jeff and Tom from Slayer heard us play with Mike the first time, they told Dave Lombardo that he needed to learn to play double-bass drums like Mike Chacon, or he was going to be fired... or so the story goes! Mike is Costa Rican, so that Latin rhythm thing is in his blood.
Was he the first choice of the band or…?
Yes, Mike was the only drummer we auditioned who was up to the task.
Vince Sollami was released from vocal duties, to be replaced by none other than John Cyriis, formerly of Abbattoir, and later to lead the progressive speed metal outfit Agent Steel, what went wrong with Vince?
We were advised by our most trusted advisers, Brain Slagel of Metal Blade Records, and Ron Cordy of Overkill, that if we wanted a record deal, we needed a different singer. Vince was raised on Black Sabbath, and he idolized Ozzy, so his style was more like that. He was no Halford or Dickinson, not much range. So, we took the advice and fired Vince after a gig at The Waters club. So, we proceeded to run an ad in The Recycler for a new lead vocalist. Cyriis was the first one to respond. He had just been fired from Abbatoir.
I have to tell you, that John Cyriis is my favourite singers and I read a lot of about him, that he is a difficult person, how was he back then? How would you charakterize him personally?
To be honest, John Cyriis is one of my favorite singers of all time, too. I have a lot of respect for his talent, he is a very special person with regard to his vocal abilities and songwriting. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but yes, he is very hard to get along with, let alone be in a band with. He caused a lot of unnecessary tension within the band.
Was it hard to work with him?
Very easy at first, then more and more difficult as time went on. That amazing voice of his forced you to put up with his diffucult personality. He is a great talent. Like a girlfriend who is a great piece of ass but a real bitch – the ass wins you over for a while..... until you can’t take the bitch part any more.
Do you think, that he has/had a unique vocal style, which can’t be compared to anybody?
I think that he can be put into the same category as the great metal vocalists, such as Geoff Tate, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, and Ronnie James Dio. He had incredible range and control of his voice. His tonality was very musical, too. When you hear John Cyriis sing, you immediately know that it’s him, and not one of the other four guys I mentioned. They all have their own signature tone. He was unique.
With this line up you recorded a one track demo „Demo ’84”, what can you tell us about this tape? Was it your first recording experience by the way?
We went into the studio to record four songs. That’s what is know as the ’84 Demo. Our goal was to put one track on the next Metal Massacre album, then put out all four tracks on an EP on Metal Blade. If the EP did well, then we’d do a full LP. Yes, it was my first time in the studio. We recorded at a local college recording studio on the weekends when the students were not there.
How did happen, that you recorded only one tune?
We recorded four songs, but Cyriis only did the vocals on one song, Satan’s Reign. He left the band before he could finish singing on the other three tracks. Since that’s the only song with vocals on it, a lot of tape traders have a copy of it.
Did you heavily promote the demo in the underground scene? Did it start developing a great buzz surrounding the band or…?
Like I said before, the scene was not underground at that time. Cyriis sent a copy of the tape to a radio guy in New York, who played it on his show. He also sent it (without our permission) to Roadrunner and Combat records. We already had plenty of buzz in LA and San Francisco.
This powerhouse lineup with Mike Chacon on drums and John Cyriis on vocals continued to headline gigs in both SoCal and San Francisco, how did these shows go? Did the shows help the band getting new fans?
The shows went very well. We had a cool stage setup, with a huge drum riser and black screens in front of the amps, it looked very clean. Exodus came to see us in San Francisco, they were very cool guys. I’m sure the exposure by playing more gigs helped us expand our fanbase.
A four track demo was recorded in 1984, with interest from Metal Blade and Roadrunner records, what about this tape compared to the first one? How was it recorded at all?
This is the same tape as the first one; there was only one tape.
Was it a better representation of the band?
We scrapped it after Cyriis left. The live bootlegs are the best representation of the band at that time.
Do you still remember at which point did the aformentioned label start showing interest in the band? Did they also offer you a deal or…?
Metal Blade was interested from the first time that Brian Slagel saw us play. All we had to do was supply him with a tape, and he was ready to put us on vinyl.
I don’t understand, while almost all of the underground L.A. bands, such as Omen, Armored Saint, Abattoir, Savage Grace, Metallica, Slayer etc. were performed on the legendary „Metal Massacre” compilations, Vermin never was on it, how did it happen?
We didn’t want to submit a song to Metal Blade with Cyriis on it as he had quit the band. After the band changed to L.S.N., they submitted a Vermin song, ’Deadly Kiss’, which was on Metal Massacre 8. They re-recorded the song; I did not play on that version, although I wrote the music.
What do you think about, if you would have had the opportunity to be featured on one of the „Metal Massacre” compilations…?
It would have been cool, as all of the other bands in LA that we knew were on those compilations. We all really like Brian Slagel. He’s the Godfather of Metal, that guy. No one else has done more for metal than Brian.
Unfortunately, with personality conflicts causing tension within the band, John Cyriis left, followed by you, what were the reasons of these conflicts and did you part ways with each other on a friendly term at the end?
Yes, it was friendly. It was over money, unfortunately, that he owed us. He kept in touch with me for about a year after that, telling me about his Agent Steel project.
In 1984 Dean Coffey left the band as well, is that correct?
No, Dean stayed on for a while and played a few more shows with a new vocalist named Mike Torres. After Dean quit, Greg and Mike changed the name of the band to L.S.N.
Vermin also had the honor of being thanked in the liner notes of Slayer's „Haunting the Chapel” EP, as both bands often gigged and partied relentlessly together, does it mean that you were very close to the Slayer guys and you were great friends?
We were pretty good party buddies. We would go to all of their gigs, and they (Jeff and Tom) would come to all of ours. We’d all hang out together back stage. They used to come over to our house and party with us, get drunk and sing Priest songs, etc. Good times. Great guys. We did a few more shows with them before they headed off into the big time.
How did you feel being on the thanks list of the EP?
We were the only band that they thanked, so it was pretty cool. They considered us the only other true thrashers in LA, not just because of the way we played music, but because of our attitudes and how we lived our lives – hard! We were hard drinking, womanizing, crazy fuckers. So, we had a lot in common with Slayer.
How happened, that Vermin never had the opportunity to record its first full length? Would it have been a thrash classic in your opinion?
We went into the studio to record an EP, 4 songs, that Metal Blade records was going to put out. This was right after our friends Slayer had released their first LP. However, we parted ways with John Cyriis prior to completing the tracks. I left the band shortly after that. Yes, I do believe it would have been a classic thrash album, due to our popularity in California at the time, and our close relationship witih Slayer. Our plan is to record all of our classic songs this summer and have a CD available before the end of the year.
A new vocalist, Mike Torres joined, and the band soldiered on for a few more months fulfilling prior gig commitments in both SoCal and San Francisco respectively they released a 4 track demo in 1985, did you remain in touch with the members of Vermin after your departure? Have you ever heard that demo?
Yes, I heard that demo. They used the same four songs we had recorded when Cyriis was in the band, and had Mike Torres sing over them. I thought he sounded awful. From what I understand, he was very good live, but in the studio he could not stay in tune. Some people call it ’red light syndrome’. That’s when the recording starts, they get nervous and it affects their performance. I did not keep in touch with the band after I left.
What have you done after you left the band? Can you tell us more about it?
I quit the band, sold all of my gear, cut my hair, got a good job, and got married and had two sons. I was burned out on the scene.
Do you agree with that at the mid ’80s the L.A. scene (and thrash metal as well) reached its peak, new bands were popping up, such as Viking, Recipients Of Death, Bloodlust, Bloodcum, Sadistic Intent, Majesty (later Nausea, then Terrorizer), what were your vies on this scene?
All those bands came about after I had gotten out of the scene, so I don’t know much about them. We did a show with Bloodlust at The Waters club in 1984. I just ran into their singer, Steve Gaines, who now fronts Anger As Art, at the Seattle Metal Fest last month. Small world!
Wanting to take the musical vision in a new, more hardcore direction, Greg Cekalovich, along with Mike Chacon, created L.S.N., which stands for Loud Senseless Noise; George Robb (ex-Agent Steel) was recruited for bass duties, along with Tony Vargas on vocals, the later, Angelo Espino joined as a second bass player, what’s your opinion about L.S.N. compared to Vermin?
A lot of the L.S.N. catalog were Vermin songs which I wrote. When I left Vermin I told Greg that he could keep playing the songs that I wrote, I didn’t have a problem with it. The stuff that Greg wrote after that was much more hardcore. He was really into GBH and Discharge at the time, so that influenced his writing style. The songs were fast, short, and agressive in L.S.N. His guitar sound was much more distorted. Vermin had more of a punchy sound, like Motorhead, L.S.N. had more grind to it.
By the early nineties the genre was a bit oversaturated, and in later years fewer bands played the style, but it’s still a viable style today, with veteran bands such as Overkill, Testament, and Destruction, among others, still producing quality thrash albums, while bands such as The Haunted have spurned a new generation of thrash in the new millennium, how do you explain this?
Everything comes around in cycles, like 20 year cycles. Every genre of rock or metal has done this. Look at all the ’stoner rock’ type bands that are around. St. Vitus and Witchfinder General were doing that stuff 25 years ago, now it is fashionable again. It’s great that the new, younger bands are inspired by the stuff guys from the original thrash wave did, are making that style their own, and riffing like motherfuckers and having a great time making classic sounding music. There is a Mexican thrash band called Strikemaster, they are big Vermin/L.S.N. fans. They sent us an email and told us that one song on Metal Massacre 8 influenced them.
Did you have an eye what’s going on in the underground at all or did you turn a back on thrash and metal in general?
All I knew after 1985 is what I saw on MTV, just like everyone else. I was aware of bands like Biohazard, Prong, stuff like that. I continued to go to concerts. Then Grunge happened and everything changed. But, I loved Soundgarden and Alice in Chains – both great bands.
A few years have passed by since the glory days of West Coast Thrash.... and now the core players from both Vermin and L.S.N. have re-connected and are ready to create music again, how did it come in the picture exactly? What about the line up?
This is a long story. Here we go:
Every once in a while, I would do an internet seach for Vermin, L.S.N., etc. One day, about 2 years ago, I did a search and some guy’s page came up who had a bunch of bootleg tapes. One of them was Vermin live at the Troubadour. He was in Budapest. I sent him an email and asked if he’d let me have a copy of the tape (I didn’t even know that it existed, and had never even heard it). He told me that he’d trade me for a CD that he could not get, Metal Massacre 4. He was a huge Cyriis fan. So, I sent him the CD, and he uploaded the bootleg of us at the Troubdour.
I also noticed when I did the search that we were listed on the Encyclopedia Metallum, but none of us had put the info on there. So, I wondered, who knows about us? I emailed the webmaster and told him who I was. It was a guy in Germany, again, who had a bunch of our bootlegs and was really into us. He sent me more songs, including the original demo with Cryiis on it. It was through him that I came into contact with Laurent from Snakepit Magazine in France, another Vermin/L.S.N. fan. All these people in Europe who had bootlegs and liked our music got me thinking about a reunion.
Next I contacted Angelo Espino, who played bass in L.S.N. Angelo was interested in getting together, so he contaced Greg Cekalovich and Mike Chacon. I had not seen any of these guys since about 1987 or so. We planned a jam. I flew down to LA in December of 2006 and we got together and jammed on the old songs. Greg, Angelo and I did the vocals since we could not find Cyriis or Tony Vargas. After we made our Myspace page, Tony Vargas found it during an interet search and he contacted us. The next time we got together Tony came and sang. We had a complete unit again, all original members of either Vermin, L.S.N., or both. Just recently Angelo was offered a full time slot as bassist for a band called Anger As Art, which he accepted. Original L.S.N. bassist George Robb is now on board with us.
Do you want to re-record all of your early materials or did you pen some new tunes as well?
We are only interested in re-recording all the old songs. We have not written anything new since we reunited. However, anything is possible.
How does Vermin/L.S.N. sound like these days?
People who have come by the studio to listen to us have told us that we sound better, tighter, and punchier than we did back in the ’80’s. Part of this is because we are all much older and have been playing for a long time, and are just better musicians now than we were back then.
Did you already start the recording sessions or…?
No, the plan is to start recording the drum and bass tracks as soon as possible. I am going to LA on June 20th 2008 for some practice and a band meeting.
Do you consider this record a kind of gift for the old thrashers and headbangers?
Yes, that is what it is. This is for all the people who have our bootlegs and demos from the ’80’s who like our music. They deserve to listen to something of better quality. Plus, we want to get the songs recorded for our own history. We all have kids and would like our kids to have a copy of what we did. We get email all the time from young kids who like the stuff they hear on our Myspace page, so who knows, mabye a few of the new, young thrash fans will like what we record. Then, maybe a tour with some of our old friends.......
John, thanks a lot for this interview, anything to add what I forgot to mention?
Feel free to list our page at www.myspace.com/verminlsn
Also, send me any more questions you might have after you read this. I’m happy to answer anything you would like to know. I’ll email you some MP3’s.

the story continues with Sardo - Phil Sardo

The next formation of this new and blistering form of Metal came through the inception of SARDO, which was a continuation of the original SCEPTRE but which had seen co-founder Phil Sardo, as drummer, move to being guitarist, how did it happen?
I started on drums at the age of 6; and I started on guitar at around age 12... I had been playing and writing songs well before this transition when we formed SARDO. All of the elenments were in place; and I felt that this was a transition that was nesessary.
In Phil’s own words, „it was a better way to express myself as a songwriter”, why?
In my situation, it was a better way to express myself as a songwriter because I was writing a lot of the lead parts as well... this was something that not all guitarists were open to. For example, in „Steel Heat”, the bridge lead, (guitar and bass together), after the solo, was written as a finished section and is basically a lead break... another example is in „The Omen”; I constructed this solo also as a finished section. At times, it was hard to present a finished solo to a guitarist. It is logical that most guitarists would want to construct their own solos. It was then that I decided to switch to guitar full time.
The line up became complete with the addition of singer David Ash and drummer Dave Dickerson, how did you find them and did you perhaps try out other musicians as well?
We did audition some drummers before finding Dave Dickerson... again it was mostly through the Recycler publication in finding musicians. David Ash is a cousin to Tony and I; and we just stumbled upon his ability to belt out some harsh screams. He had a strong stage pressence and his vocal style was harsh and raspy. He was a perfect fit for the line-up, as was Dave Dickerson on drums.
What about their musical past?
Dave Dickerson was previously playing more mainstream metal but quickly adapted to our style. David Ash was formerly a boxer and only realized his vocal ability when Tony and I discovered it when he came to a rrehearsal on night.
You released the first demo in 1986, how did the recording sessions go for this demo?
Well, actually we did not release this demo. It’s purpose was only to get us a deal. I don’t really know how it got into circulation... it is a bit of a mystery. Anyway, the sessions went well for this demo.
Can you perhaps tell us details regarding this demo?
We recorded it in Van Nuys, CA and was finished in 2, ten hour blocks. Both sessions were done over the „graveyard” shift. The studio was the best we had been in at the time, but the end product was not exactly to our expectations.
You expressed yourself, you did well, by penning the next wave of speed, brutality, and technicality with songs like „Steel Heat”, „The Omen” and „Nausea”, to name a few, how did these songs sounded like compared to the SCEPTRE material?
The new songs were composed with the same ideals as the SCEPTRE material, (to remain heavy as possible and be techinal in nature), but were written with a newer form of aggressivness and speed.
Did you write more brutal and faster stuff than with SCEPTRE?
Yes, this is the aggressivness and speed that was introuduced with the SARDO material.
Would you name it as a natural progression or a logical continuation of SCEPTRE?
Well, actually it is both. It was a natural progression because we felt that in order to proceed with those same ideals we had in SCEPTRE, we had to write songs that were continually pushing the envelope. It was also a logical continuation because in SCEPTRE, we were noted as a contributing force in the creation of Thrash, and also in being techincal musicians who took quality very seriously. SARDO was a continuation of SCEPTRE because it shared all of the same charictaristics, but with a newer sense of aggressivness.
With an appearance on „The Rock with Daryl Fields Show”, (an L.A. based music commentary), and the reputation as being the loudest Metal band to ever play the Hollywood club circuit, SCEPTRE/SARDO were well on their way in playing a leading role in the creation of a newer, more brutal sounding form of Metal, how do you explain this?
It was in those days that Metal was heading in a new direction. We had seen the formation of Speed and Thrash Metal, Black Metal, and some whimpy forms of „so called” Metal as well. We wanted with SARDO, as in SCEPTRE, to always create something new. Our sound was definitely more brutal that many of the other Metal bands at the time and was newer because we were using different, and odd, techniques in our playing styles. For example, We started using „blast” beats in some of our material; I was also experimenting with guitar tones and volume levels that were just insane.
1987 was released your second demo, what about this material as a whole?
This demo contained: „Steel Heat” and „Temporary Confusion/Psalm 18”. That demo, much like the first SCEPTRE demo, was actually never officially released. It was meant to land us a deal with a lable and that was it. The material is great and we feel as strong today about it, as we did back then! This is why we eventually would create THRUSTOR... to present the material in its purist form.
Was it a better representation of the band? Did it sound closer to what you wanted to achieve with SARDO?
Yes, it was a great representation of what we were trying to achieve. It was recorded in Hollywood, CA in 1 session for both recording and mixing. We were very happy with the final product!
How much did you promote the demos at all? What about the sellings of the demos?
We didn’t promote or sell the demos at all. We were recording for the sole purpose of landing a deal.
What about the L.A. scene at this point? How did you view those bands –so called the second wave of thrash- that were popping up, such as BLOODLUST, BLOODCUM, VIKING, RECIPIENTS OF DEATH, SILENT SCREAM etc.?
We actually played a show with Viking at The Waters Club in San Pedro. All cool bands, but not too familiar with any of them.
It was not too long after this time, though, that internal strife was beginning to infect the current line up of SARDO and it was soon realized that in order to proceed with the same principles that the original SCEPTRE/SARDO were created, it was necessary for founders Phil and Tony Sardo to take an extended break from performing and collaborating with other musicians, what happened exactly?
In that year, 1987, we signed with new management 2 times and were not happy with either of them. Ash was flaking off, and it seemed the band was just falling apart. It was definetly time for a break to clear our heads from all the internal strife.
Did you remain in touch with those musicians (John Cyriis, David Ash, Dave Dickerson and Butch Say) with whom you played with earlier?
No, not at all. There was one occasion that I met with Butch Say in an effort to start something up again... but it was to no avail.
Considering the breaking of SCEPTRE and SARDO, did you part ways with the other musicians on a friendly term at the end?
Well, I cannot really say that it was friendly, but we all understood very clearly, that it was time to part ways.
You, soon thereafter, decided to record, mix and produce an album relying only on you, so as to capture the true essence of what SCEPTRE and SARDO actually were, can you tell us more about it? Does it mean that you started recording a full length SARDO record or…?
After taking a long break, Tony and I decided to take our material from the SCEPTRE and SARDO days, and record it in a way that we felt it should be done. We started rehearsing for what would eventually become THRUSTOR-„Night of Fire”, EmanesMetal Records. We did not want to collaborate with other musicians on this because we felt that the only way to present this material the right way, (the way we had originally intended), was for Tony and I to do it... just us! It would not have made sense to have outside musicians; the material needed just us, to present it properly! We did so, and we created the new project titled THRUSTOR.

US thrash history with Phil Sardo - Sceptre

What a great scene existed in L.A at the early/mid '80s! Yes, two scenes existed next to each other, the glam/hair one and the thrash/speed/power one. As for the thrash/speed scene, a lot of bands started at the early '80s such as Slayer, Shellshock (later became Dark Angel), Metallica, Abattoir etc. and it succeeded in doing a name for themselves, why their "brothers", such as Vermin or Sceptre remained on an underground level and were liked and supported only by a couple of fans. I have to notice, that my all time favourite singer John Cyriis started its career in this band. Phil Sardo told me everything...

Rooted in the Speed/Thrash Metal wave of the early/mid ‘80’s, visionaries Phil and Tony Sardo set out to create a new and blistering form of metal which would combine the power elements of Thrash, the fury of Speed, and an uncompromising dedication to technicality in musicianship and with these principles in place, SCEPTRE was created, at which point did you decide to form a band? Was it your first outfit by the way?
We were jamming with some school mates and decided to get with some better musicians. We placed ads in the local L.A. musicians classifieds, „The Recycler” and found some very good talent. We put together SCEPTRE as our first outfit, however it was with another guitarist and vocalist. We played a few shows and began to create a small buzz around.
Do you still remember how and when did you start showing interest in music and especially in metal?
Tony and I were exposed to music at a very young age... I remember us listening to The Beatles, practicallly from birth; still one of our favorite bands! What drove us to Metal was the technicality of it. We were listening to Black Sabbath and hearing Geezer’s riffs... it was something amazing for us. We also could not get enough of Uli Jon Roth, ex-Scorpions guitarist; absolutely incredible!
Were you the fans of the British NWOBHM movement or were you rather into bands, such as KISS, VAN HALEN etc.?
We were fans of everything that was interesting, technical, and heavy! Kiss and Van Halen were both bands that we loved, but equally so, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Scorpions were always on our play lists.
You became the rhythm section of SCEPTRE, how did your choice fall on bass and drums? Were these the first instruments that you started playing with?
We started playing our instruments at a very young age as well. I started playing drums at age 6, and Tony on bass at around 10... I think. They were our first instruments. I also started playing guitar at around age 12. We put together SCEPTRE at around the ages of 14, and Tony was 15.
Were you self taught or did you take some lessons?
We were self taught and learned from listening to music. We would be in there practicing for hours at a time. We would figure out a part by listening, and then go play it over and over again.
What were your influences to become musicians?
Our infulences touch almost every span of music; The Beatles were hughe for us, Uli Jon Roth, Edward Van Halen, Keith Moon, Geezer Butler, Allan Holdsworth, Neil Pert, Gene Simmons, Al DiMeola, Jimi Hendrix... to name a few.
You soon met up with guitarist John Camps, (Cyriis), and vocalist Butch Say, how do you recall the first meeting with them? Was it hard to find the musicians that were sharing the same musical taste and interest as you?
L.A., at that time, was a hot bed full of Metal musicians; but mostly glam and pretty type Metal musicians. The trouble we had was finding musicians who wanted to explore the heavy and inovative side of Metal. Getting together with John was great... we shared the same passion for both, very heavy music and quality in musicianship. It was a perfect match for creating something new and ultra heavy. Butch was a different story... he joined as our vocalist but eventually turned to more mainstream music.
What about the musical background of them? Were they the first choices for the band or…?
Working with John was great in the begining because we did have very similar musical backgrounds and tastes. He also was an exceptional guitarist... the three of us really strived to push the envelope and be as good as we could possibly be, as musicians.
How can you charakterize John Cyriis personally?
John was a dedicated band mate and he was committed to the band 100%. We got along well in the beginning. We all had the same goals, and carried them out. He had his personal beliefs, but they never interfered with the band or our music. Like all bands, we had some great times and some bad times. In the end, there were some very bad times!!!
Is it true that John was/is called originally Joan Campos and he is a Brazil borned dude?
I have no knowledge of that. We were all guys from the valley.
When did he move to L.A.?
I don’t know.
Did he also have that unique vocals that he performed on the AGENT STEEL albums? Would you say, that he is one of the most unique vocalists of all time?
He did not have any interest in singing until near the very end. We always knew him as an exellent guitarist, so we were not to open to the idea of him switching to vocalist. He was very into Halford at the time. I think a lot of his vocal ability came from that Halford style.
Was he already an UFO/alien „gay” back in the day?
Yes, he told us about it, but SCEPTRE, different than Agent Steel, did not have a theme like that. Those were his personal beliefs and they did not interfere with the band.
What about the L. A. scene at this point? How about the first generation of the US thrash, such as SLAYER, METALLICA, MEGADETH, ABATTOIR, SAVAGE GRACE, ARMORED SAINT, OMEN, BITCH etc.?
Those were all bands that were on the Metal Massacre albums. During that time, it absolutely was the inception of a newer and heavier form of Metal. Heavier riffing guitars, Drumming played with fury. It was the creation of Speed/Thrash.
Were you famliar with those acts? Did you build up a strong friendship with them?
We were well familiar with those bands, especially Metallica. In those days, we did not socialize too much with the other bands. We were aware of them and stayed focused on our cause.
As far as the LA scene, in my opinion, it existed two different ones: there were the speed/thrash acts and the glam/hair ones, such as W.A.S.P., DOKKEN, MÖTLEY CRÜE, RATT, do you agree with me? Were these commercial acts more popular and known than the speed/thrash ones?
I do agree with you. The glam/hair bands were, of course, more popular and their sound appealed to a larger crowd. We were not trying to be the most popular band out there... we were dedicated to the heavier side of things with a major focus on songwriting and quality musicianship played in a unique style.
Which clubs did start opening their doors at this point?
All the clubs in L.A. were hungry for Metal; it was gaining ground and the scene was great.
Would you say, that in L.A. was a great underground buzz and a healthy club scene?
Absolutely yes! If you were a decent musician, writing decent songs, in a decent band... you had a real chance of making a splash! L.A., at the time, was the pure hot-bed of Metal musicians, and Metal bands!!! It was great!!!
Though heavy metal did of course exist in the seventies, it really came of age in the eighties, both as a popular form of music in the mainstream as well as a booming underground movement, what’s your opinion about it?
In my opinion, the eighties were the time that really defined Metal... and Metal’s sub-genre’s. Black Metal was born, Speed/Thrash Metal was born, Technical Metal, Hair Metal, etc. It was a burgoening scene for Metal and it was healthy. A great contributor to the scene was Brian Slagel and his new label, Metal Blade Records. Brian continues to be a major force in Metal and we own a debt of gratitude to him!
Do you think, that some of metal’s genres didn’t really come into being until the mid-late eighties or later, but a basic style of metal (sometimes referred to in the press as Priest/Maiden, named obviously for two of 80's metal's biggest influences) began to take hold during this period?
Well, the early ’80’s did bring the Priest/Maiden sound; and back then we did not consider that „basic”... it was all new, fresh, and heavy! It is true though, that the sub-genres of Metal did form in the mid-late ’80’s.
A new genre –thrash metal- came into being which rooted in the NWOBHM, how do you view it?
Thrash was formed not by a spcific formula, but by a new attitude in Metal. You are correct in saying that Thrash was rooted in the NWOBHM, but most of Metal’s sub-genre’s were rooted there too. The thing that set Thrash apart from the other genres was it’s absolute aggressivness and it’s harsh attitude.
Thrash metal is generally characterized by a fast pace, a staccato, chunky guitar riffing style, and aggressive vocals, is that correct?
Yes, that is correct; but Thrash has another element... technicality. All of these elements go hand in hand; but Thrash has an attitude that comes from the gut. Without that attitude, it cannot exist.
How do you view, that Metallica’s „Kill 'Em All”, released in 1983, is arguably the first true thrash album, with healthy thrash scenes sprouting in the USA (particularly the San Francisco area), Germany, and elsewhere by the late eighties?
„Kill ’em All” was a ground-breaking album for Thrash. Metallica was a ground-breaking band. We, (as were all Thrash bands), were paying close attention to them. „Ride the Lightning” was another completely awesome album that contributed to Thrash Metal.
Were you aware of that great thrash metal boom, what happened in the other parts of the States, such as Bay Area, New York or Texas for example? Were you aware of the existence of bands, such as OVER KILL, ANTHRAX, DEATH ANGEL, EXODUS, CONTROL, SINISTER SAVAGE, POSSESSED, WATCHTOWER etc.?
Yes, we were... if fact we played the „Blood Drive” with OverKill at the Troubadour. Exodus and Anthrax, of course, were great bands and really part of the Thrash Metal movement.
Who came up with the name of the band and who designed the logo?
I came up with the name SCEPTRE and we were using it from early on, in our career. The logo was designed by a friend who did graphics for surfboards in the valley. We gave him the concept and he took it from there.
Did you take the band seriously right from the start?
Yes, very seriously! We learned very early to take every aspect of music seriously. Our musicianship, songwriting, collaborating with other musicians, rehearsals, shows and promotion... all were taken very seriously and we did „eat, sleep, and drink” our career in music; we still do!
What about your rehearsals? How often did you rehearse?
5 or 6 nights a week! 3 hours each. We were pushing ourselves as much as we could.
Did you start writing originals or were you jamming on covers?
Always our own songs. Very early on, before SCEPTRE, we jammed on covers... Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, etc. But we started very early to write and conceive our own style and our own material.
Sceptre was a band that recorded a three-track demo tape in 1983, of which one song was later featured on Metal Massacre IV, would you say, that this compilation opened some doors for you and draw more fans attention to the band?
Absolutely yes! Even to this day, that first demo is a very important part of our career and in a way, we feel that there is a bit of magic in those three songs!
The one name that connects Sceptre with Agent Steel was the alleged John Campos guitarist in Sceptre, who wrote tracks like „Taken by Force” and „144,000 Gone”, two tracks that later re-appeared on the Agent Steel debut „Skeptics Apocalypse”, what do you think about it?
I actually would not like to comment of this... but I will quote an article I read... in saying that „the later versions are pale in comparison”. Can I ask you, (and the readers),... What do you think about it?
Do you still remember how was the demo recorded which was probably your first experience as musicians?
Yes, I do... It was recorded in a city just outside of L.A. called „Walnut”. It was a long way to go but it was a good studio for the time. We recorded through the midhight hours... the graveyard shift. The whole process took only a few nights to complete. Things went very smoothly and we were happy with the final product.
What about the songcomposing as a whole? I mean, how were the songs penned? Was a main songwriter or did you work in a team-work?
John and I were the main songwriters and mostly wrote separately. We did colaborate as a band on a few of the songs, but for the most part... we, (Jonh and I) brought in finished songs and then let the band put the finishing touches on them.
The demo tape opens with „Taken by Force” and people who know this track from the Agent Steel debut will be surprised to find that this earlier version is even better, do you agree with it?
Yes, I do.
The crunchy guitar sound is audible despite the (lack of) production, the notes played seem somewhat higher than the version as featured on the „Skeptics Apocalypse”, how do you view this?
As I remember it, John tunned a half step down. It could be possible that the guitars on the later versions were tunned down further.
The titletrack of the tape is a power-laden combination between early Thrash metal and NWOBHM-style music, an up-tempo track with some frenzied guitarlicks and shredding, right?
Yes, Sceptre is a song that written before John entered the picture. We finished it as a guitar-shredding pure Thrash song with a vocal line that touches on NWOBHM. It was also set for inclusion on Metal Massacre 4 and would have been the first for a single band to have two songs on the Metal Massacre compilations. In the end it was left off, and „Taken by Force” was chosen; I believe due to the length of the song, in comparison to „Taken”.
„144,000 Gone” is of course well known among Agent Steel fans everywhere, this version being much more eerie however, with an additional intro, whispered vocals at the beginning and the overall tempo higher than the later versions and a drive that is -again- better than later versions, how do you explain this?
It is the absence of the rhythm section, (Tony and I), on the later versions, that truly set our versions apart. There was an overall drive and attack that we all had on the SCEPTRE demo, including the guitars and vocals, that is absent on the Agent Steel versions.
The biggest mystery about this tape however is the identity of the vocalist, whose very high pitched vocals are just brilliant and it’s easy to link these vocals to assuming it was Cyriis himself who did them, but, as it was said elsewhere, Cyriis definetely sounds different later on, what’s the truth considering the vocals?
The vocals were done by Butch Say, our voclalist in SCEPTRE. You can read on Metal Massacre 4 the four of us there... „Taken by Force” came from that same demo in which Butch was on vocals, John on guitar, Tony on bass and me on drums. I have read some comments questioning this but it really is not too hard to understand that the vocals are not John, but it is Butch.
The sound on the demo is not good but nor is it bad for the 80’s underground standards, the guitars are prettymuch audible, perhaps the sound has to many bass, same goes for the drums and surprisingly the bass itself, the vocals are, of course, the most audible, were you satisfied with the result back then?
We actually wanted to produce it ourselves... our manager at the time gave us a shot at mixing the songs and later decided to mix it with the studio manager as engineer. In the end, we were very satisfied with the sound. You have to remember that the location of the master tapes are unknown. The demo that everyone has heard has come from bootlegs or 2nd generation tapes that have been played over and over. Until the master tapes are located, we will have to deal with this quality.
Capturing the interest of Metal Blade Records founder, Brian Slagel, you landed a featured spot on „Metal Massacre 4” with „Taken by Force”, how did it happen exactly? How did you feel being featured on the record?
It was absolutely great! Brian loved our material, we were receiving fan mail from all over the world, and our shows were bone crushing as we were, at the time, known as the loudest band to play the Hollywood club circuit. The future was looking bright!
You received tremendous, critical acclaim throughout the Metal world, does it mean, that you heavily promoted the demo and you tried to make a name for SCEPTRE?
Yes... that is why we have no copies of the demo left. I only heard the demo just last year, for the first time in over 24 years! We tried to promote it as heavily as possible!
Would you say, that the demo has gone down in Metal history as being one of the best Metal demos ever made and also, as being a major contributing factor to „The Roots of Speed”?
Through the Metal underground, that is what I know to be true. It has been said more than once, and we feel very proud to have made this small contribution to Thrash and Speed!
Do you think, that the guitars are actualy just an easier version compared to the „Skeptic Apocalypse” recordings and it is really great to compare guitars from this demo to guitars on the Agent Steel's debut?
If I understand correctly, the guitars on our demo are the more intense and played better... I do agree with this and feel that John was a very gifted guitarist. We, as musicians, clicked very well with him!
The bass is very hard to hear, but the whole bass track on the demo is played very diverse, which is a great pleasure to listen to, is that correct?
Yes... Tony has always been a bassist to push the limits in his playing. In the circuit, he was always known as a top notch bassist and we stayed a four piece largely due to his awesome riffing which filled in for the part of a 2nd guitarist. We also never wanted or needed a 2nd guitarist because we felt that it would take away from the reputation that we had, as a musically gifted band. Tony’s playing was/is perfect because of his technique and style.
How do you view, that the drums are played better than on most of the demos that John Cyriis was being part of?
Since I was the drummer at the time, it may be better for Tony to comment on this; however, I do feel that we all were, (and are), musicians who take quality in musicianship, very seriously!
„Sceptre” is the best song on the demo, a great power/speed song, with a nice „sing-along” chorus, right?
Sceptre is a great song and we continue to play it to this day. It is definitely part of our roots and it will go with us to the grave!
How did happen that the aforementioned tracks appeared on Agent Steel’s debut? Why didn’t they put „Sceptre” on the record?
As mention before, Sceptre was written before John joined the band. I wrote Sceptre and presented to the band as a finished comosition. John did not have anything to do with the writing of the song, (except, of course, for the awesome shredding).
Have you ever gigged with SCEPTRE?
Yes, we played only a few shows, but those shows really were successful and helped to lock in our small place in Thrash history!
Do you recall the famous „Metal Mondays” that took place at the Troubadour?
I believe so, although we played there usually on other nights. The Metal scene was as hot as can be back then! I think it is coming back in full circle!
How and when did the SCEPTRE story come to an end?
Musically, and as a band, we were all in accord and moving forward in a very positive way... it seemed that the future was ours with little difficulty. The end is long and difficult to explain. It also dives deep into other territory in which I do not wish to elaborate on. I will say that the break-up of SCEPTRE did not come from the band internally, but that it was external forces that destroyed SCEPTRE; and in a very bad, negative, and brutal way! The break-up happened around the release of Metal Massacre 4. John had joined Abbatoir, and Butch had just dissapeared into the mainstream. Tony and I continued on to try to keep SCEPTRE going with other musicians. We soon realized that it was time for something new and more brutal... that is when we started SARDO... as an epitaph to SCEPTRE. SARDO was a continuation of SCEPTRE, with the same princples and ideals, but with a newer sound and a more brutal attack! THRUSTOR was formed later but all three names are related... always will be!!!
Check us out at: www.myspace.com/sceptresardothrustor and contact us at: ptsmetal@yahoo.com . For purchase information of THRUSTOR, „Night of Fire”, visit EmanesMetal Records at: www.myspace.com/emanesmetalrecords .