2015. február 6., péntek



So Tony, how did FATAL get together back in 1985? Did the line consist of you (guitars), Mark Nowakowski (vocals/bass) and Al Czarnecki (drums) or did you perhaps go thru some line up changes before this line up was settled? Yes, that was our lineup until 1989. I knew Mark from grade school and Al was his next door neighbor. Was it the first band experience for all of you? What about your musical background as a whole? No, Mark and I played together for a while before putting together Fatal, without a drummer. Al was in cover bands, he was a bit older than Mark and I. I had been playing guitar for about 3 or 4 years at that point. What band did heavily influence you? What kind of bands, stuffs were you into at this point? At that tiime we were into basic heavy metal; Ozzy, Priest, Maiden, WASP, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Metallica, etc.. Could you tell detailed about the Detroit scene? Were you familiar with acts, such as HALLOWEEN, SEDUCE, SYRANT etc.? Were you deeply involved in the underground scene? Yes, we were familiar with those bands, but were more interested in the heavier bands from Europe. As for the moniker of the band, were you aware of the existence of another band called FATAL, that was forming in Florida at this time? We were not aware of that other band. Did you start writing originals right from the start or were you jamming on covers? We played covers and originals. By the time we played our first show in 1986, we were doing all originals. How did your own songs write? I mean, who was responsible for music and lyrics? What about your early rehearsals as a whole? Mark and I both wrote the music and lyrics at first, after a while Mark took over most of the lyrical duties. If I’m correct, in 1986 you recorded „Demo 1”, but it wasn’t officially released, does it mean, that you were dissatisfied with the material and didn’t present the goal, that you wanted to achieve with the band? The first demo we did in ’86 was not officially released because we changed our sound and direction soon after recording. That first demo was more like ’power-metal”. We just looked at it as a learning experience for the future. In January 1988 you released the „Guts for dinner” demo and in June the „Molested slaughter” demo, how were these stuffs recorded? Did you record them in a studio or at your rehearsal place? We recorded all of our material in a proper recording studio. GFD was recorded live in the studio directly to 2 track. Tape. MS was recorded on 16 track analog tape. How do you view, that both demos introduced kind of an primitive and raw sounding American trio to the public, putting however FATAL somewhat firmly on the map of a harsh sounding underground Death/Thrash Metal? At the time, we were just trying to have fun and improve on our sound. After Guts for Dinner, we started to notice people were paying attention. Were the demos shopped around? Did it succeed in drawing the fans attention to the band? Did it satisfy the demand of the death/thrash metal fans? We never shopped our demos to labels...but we did do a shit load of tape trading back then. At which point and why did Al leave the band? Or was he perhaps fired because of some several issues or…? He was let go in late 1988 for failure to live up to his duties as a musican. Mark and I knew we’d find a better drummer at some point, so it realy was no bog deal and a long time in the making. He was replaced by Bill King, how did he get in the picture exactly? Was he the first choice or were there other drummers auditioned as well? Bill and I had a mutual friend who introduced us. He was the only person we auditioned. In 1989 you released your third demo titled „Soul burns”, that was recorded and mixed June 17 - 18, 1989 at the Tempermill, how did the recording sessions go with this demo? This was a hard demo to make because the music was getting more technical and we had limited funds to get it done. Do you agree with, that on „Soul burns” the band hits high gear as you welcome new drummer Bill King who pushes you to a new technical level of musicianship? Yes, for sure. Would you say, that yo had taken a tad more technical and brutal approach in the three new songs you had penned down for this demo? Was „Soul burns” a better representation of the band? SB was certainly more technical and yes, we were able to do more of the style we wanted with Bill. Leaving behind the more primitive and thrashing style of the early 1988 demo’s „Molested Slaughter” and „Guts For Dinner” the band forges ahead into pretty creative and uncharted territory, does it mean, that your musical horizont and taste was widening out? What were some newer outfits, that you discovered at this point? Yes, after the MS demo, were started getting into more technical music and incorporated this into our sound. Bands like Coroner, Fates Warning, Dream Theatre, etc.. while still incorporating death thrash into our sound. The guitar playing is elevated, the compositions more thought out and unique, do you agree with it? Yes, i do. Do you think, that the philosophy of the band seems to become darker and more concerned with esoteric ritual and existential pain than with general horror and gore? Yes, thanks for picking up on this! Did this demo open for you more doors and helped getting more fans, increasing a newer fanbase? Yes, certainly. We statrted getting more mail orders after SB was released. We also promoted it much more than previous works. Your last effort was „A somber evocation of nihilism” 7”, were you continously writing on newer material after the third demo? Not really. It seemed like we’d write a few new songs a year and then go and record them. We were more intrerested in partying, performing live, and having fun! It was recorded and mixed in June 5 - 18th again at Tempermill, Ferndale, were you prepared to record the material? Yes and no. Bill and I had the song structures down, but the vocals needed to be worked out more in the studio because the songs were so new. Did the 7” basically introduce an even more technical yet progressive FATAL, kind of the Swiss progressive metal masters CORONER, only keeping a bit more distance to some of those overly progressive elements that CORONER had in their sound? Yes, we kept getting more and more intricate. Coroner was one of our favorite bands at the time and we took a lot from them. How did Thrash Records get in touch with, that released the 7”? Did they offer you some contract? Honestly, I don't remember how that came about. Im guessing that they heard SB, wrote us a letter, and wanted to release our next effort. Were you familiar with the releases of this French label? I don't recall. How much did the label support and promote you? Weren’t bigger labels interests in the band? No bigger label ever contacted us. We were disbanded about a year after the 7” came out. Do you have any information about, how many copies were sold from the 7”? Was it a limited release? Which was the best sold FATAL material by the way? It was a very limited release, under 1000. I still have copies for sale on eBay! How often did you give shows? Did you have the chance being a headliner act or were you opener one for bigger names? We played about 2-3 times a month, opening for national acts as well as headlining local shows. The band split up in early 1991, but you had added a fourth member shortly before, who was he? How long was he in the band? What about his musical background? Yeah, his name was Mike. It was a very short-lived situation. We wrote about 2-3 songs with him but only recorded the music at rehearsals on a jam box. I didnt really know much about him. What kind of reasons did lead to the demise of the group? We were all moving on to differnt points in our lives, we had been a group for about 5 years and when you’re that young, its a long time! I wanted to explore different styles of music that wasnt Metal – like gothic, industrial, darkwave, etc.. Do you agree with, that FATAL had a huge amount of potential and as time (quickly) went on, you got better at playing your instruments and you got much stronger in the structuring of songs? Oh for sure! The stuff we were writing at the end was totally insane from a technical perspective. I dont even know if we could have pulled it off live. It’s a real shame that FATAL’s name has never caught on in the same way as PESTILENCE or CORONER, what do you think about it and what were the reasons of it? Thats the million dollar question. Just wasn’t in the cards fo us. In your opinion, was FATAL one of those relatively underrated bands in the late ’80s death metal scene that never got a chance to make themselves more widely known in the worldwide underground metal scene? Well, It’s not my opinion, it’s a historical fact. I’m surprised people still remember the tiny amount of work that we did manage to do! On the 1st of March 2005 Necroharmonic Records released the „Retrospective from hell” compilation, how did that happen? Whose idea was the releasing of the cd? Necroharmonic got ahold of me and asked if they could release our whole back catalogue. So i went and remastered all of our demos and complied them for this release. This is a 17 song CD of the entire FATAL catalogue, remastered from the original tapes by you and I find it a great album, because I got familiar with the band with the help of this stuff, but what I would mention as fault, it’s the structure of the record, I mean, it must have been chronologically released. Thank you. I’m fine with the way it was released. Did you have some songs written back in the day, that never got up on any FATAL release? I mean, do you have some unreleased or live stuffs? No, not really. There are only a few songs we wrote that never got recorded. Are you still in touch these days with the other guys, I mean with Al, Bill and Mark? What are they doing nowadays? Yes, I’ve been in contact with all my old band mates. They are all moved away and doing varous things, working raising a family etc. Im the only one still involed in making music. Do you still keep an eye on what’s going on in the metal scene? Are there any bands these days, that you enjoy(ed) a lot or do you prefer rather the old classics? Not really, here and there. I still enjoy all the old classics! My favorite new metal band is Bloodbath...and many of the early ’90’s Black Metal bands. Tony, thanks a lot for your answers, anything to add that I forgot to mention or to cover? No, but thank you very much for keeping Fatal and our music alive!!


So Mario, do you still recall how did you discover metal music? What were the records, that helped you discovering metal? I discoverd metal when I was a little kid in 1980 or so. My first metal album I ever bought was AC/DC's Let There Be Rock. At age 12 I loved Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Kiss, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Anvil, Triumph....ETC. My favourite albums back then were We Sold Our Souls For Rock n Roll, All AC/DC albums, Blizzard of Oz, Scream Dream, When did you decide becoming a musician? Do you play on any instrument(s)? I do not play any instruments. I am a metal/hardcore/punk singer. I started out with MarkWatts and other friends in 1984 just for fun and created Massacre. After that I've been the lead singer in several bands like New World Distortion and Los Goblynz, which I am presently recording an album. How do you view or what do you think about, that bands, such as RUSH, HELIX ANVIL, RAPID TEARS, KILLER DWARFS, VOIVOD, EXCITER (known earlier as HELL RAZOR), BREAKER, IRON HEAD, RECKLESS etc. were the earliest Canadian bands and the put the country on the map of metal? I love Canadian bands. Anvil, Slaughter, Triumph, Rush...and many punk bands too. BFG, Direct Action, Chronic Submission, Nunfuckers, Dayglo Abortions, DOA, and many more. At which point and how did the Canadian metal scenes, such as Quebec, Toronto, Ottawa etc. come into being? Were there any competition among the bands or everybody has down his own thing or did you rather support each other? We all support one another. If there was ever a problem within bands it was personal shit. VOIVOD was a great Montreal band by the way. Let we stay by Toronto because you are from the city of the Maple Leafs, what do you recall of the late ’70s/early ’80s Toronto scene? Did bands such as ANVIL, INFERNAL MAJESTY, SACRIFICE etc. open the doors for younger outfits and had a great effect on them? I liked Anvil, Rapid Tears, Sacrifice, Slaughter, Haggath, and Razor of course...close enough to Toronto. lol To which extent were you familiar with the underground scene? How deeply were you involved in the underground scene? I was a demo collector. It was like my religion back then. I loved it all. It was my life. What about the clubs and venues, that they existed at this time? Which clubs/venues were into metal? Was it easy getting shows for new, young outfits? Larry's Hideaway, The Bridge, Lee's Palace, Concert Hall, the Horseshoe Tavern, Sneaky Dee's, and many more. Yes it wasn't too hard to get shows for new bands....we just opened up for each other. We helped our own. Lol. What about the fanzine/tapetrading network? Were there much fanzines in Toronto? There was tons of tape trading going own and the same goes for fanzines. Me and a friend interviewed Celtic Frost, Possessed, Overkill, Destruction, and Nasty Savage for a friend's fanzine once. How did the whole MASSACRE story start exactly? How did you get together? It was all just for fun. I never sang before and no one really knew how to play anything, but we all made some noise and then we had a band. Ha! Was it the very first act that you were involved in, was it your first experience as musicians or did you play in something else? Massacre was the first band for all of us. What was the line up of the band exactly? From what I know, that guitarists Mark Faria and Mark Watts were in the band… Yes it was Mark Faria, Mark Watts, me and Paul Pizzo. I don't know what happened to him. Mark Faria joined the band, after he left DEATH MILITIA? Mark Watts is the brother of SACRIFICE’s bassist Scott Watts, isn’t he? No Mark Faria joined Death Militia after Massacre, and yes Mark is Scott Watts' brother. Who came up with the band name? I came up with the name. Were you aware of the existence of other outfits with the name of MASSACRE, that were coming from the States, Germany and Brazil? No I did not at the time. We were just kids in 1984. The logo of the band was drawn by Rob Urbinati of SACRIFICE fame, how did that happen? Were familiar, good friends with this band? Sacrifice jammed in Scott's place so we saw them all the time. Mark lived there of course. Yes we were all friends. Did you start writing originals or were you jamming on covers? What bands would you mention as your most important influences? We did all originals and our influences was Metallica, Venom, Hellhammer, Slayer and then a ton more of metal and hardcore bands. In 1985 you recorded a demo, but I haven’t any information. I have no idea what happened to any recordings, but will look for it. At this time a lot of thrash bands were popping up in Toronto, such as BEYOND, DARK LEGION, DEATH MILITIA etc. would you say, that in Toronto was a strong, but healthy underground scene at this point? Were you familiar with these outfits? I knew everybody back then. We were all friends. It was a small scene in those days long ago. LOL Your second effort was the rehearsal demo „Creepy crawler” in 1987, but what happened with you between the releasing of the two demos? Did you go thru some line up changes or…? Yes we did go through some changes and then broke up. How would you describe the demo compared to the first one? How did the recording sessions go with this second material? The second was the better one cause the members got a little more experience. How did the demo sound like? NOISE Was the demo shopped around back in the day? Was it distributed thru the fanzine/tapetrading network? Did it succeed in drawing more fans attention in the band? It was free to some people and that was it. Were you known locally or also in other parts of Canada or perhaps outside of Canada? Not really, just in Toronto ....I moved on to new projects after that. Have you ever gigged with MASSACRE? Did you have the opportunity becoming an opener acts before bigger bands, such as SACRIFICE, INFERNAL MAJESTY etc.? We were gonna play with Slaughter once, but it never happened. We never played ever...haha Did you consider yourselves talented, experienced musicians? No at that time. We sucked, but were funny and noisy. In 2006 Evil Legend Records released „You can’t kill what’s already dead: Anthology 1985 – 1988” of DEATH MILITIA, did you never think about to re-release the „Creepy Crawler” demo with live recordings and unreleased materials? Have you ever got an offer considering the re-releasing of your materials? No we were all doing other projects. Massacre was forgotten. At which point and why did the band’s story come to an end? Did you take part on a friendly term at the end? It was just that we went on our different paths. We all stayed friends. Are you still in touch with each other? What about Mark Watts and Mark Faria these days? I am recording an album with Mark Watts - Los Goblynz. I have no idea what happened to Mark Faria. Do you still follow what’s going on in the underground scene or did you get out of the music business/industry? How do you view the comeback album of SACRIFICE titled „The once I condemn” and the RUSH cover „Anthem”, that was released as a single and came out in 2009? The single was released as a split Ep with PROPAGANDHI also in 2010. How would you sum up MASSACRE’s career? Are you proud of being the member of the band? How would you see MASSACRE to be remembered? Yes I am active in the music scene. I love Sacrifice. They rock! Mario, thanks a lot for the answers, anything to add what wasn’t covered? I will send you the Los Goblynz album when it is finished and let me know what you think....it was a pleasure. Cheers!!!

2015. február 5., csütörtök



CANDLEMASS – Tales Of Creation Music For Nations 1989 Sikertörténetről, népszerűségről a doom bandák esetében nem beszélhetünk, kizárólag kultikus státuszról. A metal műfaj egészét figyelembe véve, a legmostohább sorsú stílusról beszélünk, ellenben eme műfaj rajongói a legőszintébbek, leglojálisabbak. Igazságtalanság és szégyen, hogy az olyan csapatok, mint a St. Vitus, a Trouble, a Pentagram, a Solitude Aeturnus, a Revelation vagy a Count Raven sosem kapták meg az őket megillető elismerést. A svéd Candlemass révén hellyel-közzel érvényt nyer a sikertörténet fogalma, de az biztos, hogy meghatározó szerepet töltöttek be a ’80-as évek metal undergroundjában, a zenei szaklapok, magazinok, fanzine-ek, előszeretettel foglalkoztak velük, népszerűsítették őket, amit minőségi kiadványaik révén teljes joggal meg is érdemeltek. Őket tekinthetjük az epikus doom előfutárainak, keresztapjainak. A zenekar elődje az 1982-ben, Leif Edling basszusgitáros által alapított Nemesis, amely 1984-ben egy demót (Tales Of Creation) és egy Ep-t (The Day Of Retribution – Fingerprint Records) jelentetett meg, majd feloszlásuk után Leif Candlemass néven egy új bandát hozott össze. Leif ekkoriban a bőgőzés mellett az énekesi teendőket is ellátta. Sokat nem vacakoltak, 1984-ben immár Candlemass néven két demót készítettek (az első a Witchcraft volt -Leif Edling basszusgitár/ének, Johnny Reinholm gitár/dob-, a második a Second 1984 demo Christian Weberyd gitárossal (ő a Nemesisben is játszott) kiegészülve), ezeket követte az 1985-ben kiadott Tales Of Creation demo, majd 1986-ban az Epicus Doomicus Metallicus lemezzel debütáltak. A Black Dragon Records égisze alatt megjelent albumon Leif társai Mats Ekström dobos, Mats „Mappe” Björkman és Klas Bergwall gitárosok illetve Johan Längquist énekes voltak (az A Sorcerer’s Pledge-ben Cille Svenson hangja is hallható). Szinte üstökösként, komoly sikert aratva robbant be a lemez az undergroundba, egy csapásra a bandára irányítva az underground metalosok figyelmét, úgy, hogy a thrash metal ekkor volt a csúcson, ergo egy Candlemassnek esélye sem lett volna az áttörésre. Hiába kapott világszerte kedvező kritikákat és részesült pozitív fogadtatásban az anyag, Leif körül kicserélődött a tagság háromnegyede a lemez megjelenését követően, ugyanis az őrült csuhás, az excentrikus Messiah Marcolin személyében új énekese lett a bandának, Klas Bergwallt Mike Wead váltotta (ő játszott a Messiah-val készített, kétszámos, 1987-es demón), Mats Ekström pedig Jan Lindh-nek adta át a dobszéket. (Híres, hírhedt történet Messiah a zenekarhoz történt csatlakozása, miszerint késő éjszaka hívta fel Leif Edlinget és a telefonban énekelte a Solitude-ot, amíg édesanyja a készüléket tartotta. Miután beleegyezett, hogy Stockholmba kell költöznie, megkapta az állást. Nem volt ismeretlen figura a svéd színtéren, mert a sölvesborgi Mercy énekese, később énekes/dobosa volt korábban). Azonban nemcsak új zenészek léptek a bandába, új lett a kiadó is, mert a második, Nightfall albumot (1987) már a brit, elsősorban thrash, power metalra specializálódott Active Records gondozta. (Nevükkel ellentétben azonban passzívak voltak, többek között ők szívatták meg az Atheistet is, akik szintén velük álltak szerződésben). A Nightfall, melyen már Lars „Lasse” Johansson pengetett (Mike Wead csak közreműködött gitáron és billentyűs hangszereken a Black Candles-ben) még tovább emelte, fokozta a csapat ázsióját, ismertségét, hírnevét, amelyhez olyan tételekkel járultak hozzá, mint a megklippesített Bewitched, a The Well Of Souls, az At The Gallows End vagy a Dark Are The Veils Of Death, tehát a Messiah korszak legelső klasszikusai születtek meg. Sőt, a Samarithan és az At The Gallows End single-ként is megjelentek. Ez az a pont, amikor a Candlemass pályafutásában új fejezet kezdődött, ekkor alakult ki a klasszikus felállás és indult be a szekér. Egyenletes, kitűnő teljesítményről beszélhetünk esetükben, hiszen a következő Ancient Dreams (1988) elődjéhez hasonlóan klasszikus lett, a Tales Of Creationnel pedig feltették a koronát addigi munkájukra. A Teremtés történetét 11 tételben elmesélő opuszt már a Music For Nations adta ki, ezáltal még több fanatikushoz jutott el a Candlemass neve és muzsikája. Ha úgy vesszük, a Gustav Doré csodálatos festményével illusztrált borítóval megjelent korongon hallható nótáknak csak fele volt új, mert a Dark Reflection, az Under The Oak, az Into The Unfathomed Tower, a Somewhere In Nowhere és az A Tale Of Creation már ’85-ben rögzítésre kerültek, az akkori demo anyagát képezték, míg az Under The Oak az Epicus Doomicus Metallicuson hallható verzió remake-je. (Amúgy Doré A fény teremtése festménye helyett Leif Edling eredetileg egy Thomas Cole képet szeretett volna a borítóhoz felhasználni, de elképzelését, tervét társai meghiúsították, leszavazták, így került a Doré festmény a borítóra). A Prophecy gyönyörű intrója után (Jim Bachman és Jay Larssen narrációja hallható benne) a középtempós Dark Reflections-zel nyit a lemez, felvonultatva a zenekar összes védjegyét, jellemzőit: Messiah teátrális, operás hangját, tömény riffeket, pazar szólókat, feszes ritmusokat, alapokat. Nagyon telten, súlyosan szólnak a gitárok, a Lars Johansson/Mats Björkman duó talán a legnagyobb a doom szakmában, játékukon hallatszik a Black Sabbath hatása, nem véletlenül voltak inspirálóan a John Peres/Edgar Rivera (Solitude Aeturnus) páros, meg úgy a komplett Solitude Aeturnusra. (A zenekar amúgy a Candlemass Solitude nótája után vette fel nevét, ez is önmagáért beszél). Klasszikus, hibátlan album révén üresjáratok nincsenek kizárólag csúcspontok, az embert a hideg rázza ki (pozitív értelemben) a gyönyörű, de egyben gyászos hangulattal felruházott muzsika. A Voices In The Wind egy rövid átkötő, melyből az akusztikus betéteket is felvonultató Under The Oak bontakozik ki. Mind a zenekar, mind az egyetemes doom színtér egyik legkiválóbb felvétele, Messiah hangjával, köröket ver az eredetire. Tradicionális doom téma a Tears, amit egy hét részes, a germán heavy/speed bandákra és neoklasszikus gitárhősökre hajazó mini eposz, az Into The Unfathomed Tower követ. A Dance Of The Fog és az Outside The Gates Of Heaven közé hat részt ágyaztak, maga a tétel pedig egy háromperces, instrumentális speed szerzemény, amelyből szerintem hazai zsenialitásunk, a Classica (Fejes Zoltán gitáros) meríthetett annak idején. Akár a korong és értelemszerűen a Candlemass egyik „slágereként” aposztrofálható a megjegyezhető refrénnel, remek dallamokkal, hagyományos doom témákkal megspékelt The Edge Of Heaven. Ezen a ponton még csak véletlenül sem ül le a korong, a színvonal nem hanyatlik, nem feneklik meg, a záró súlyos, nyomasztó doom Somewhere In Nomwhere, a középtempós Through The Infinitive Halls Of Death, a Dawn (narráció) és a A Tale Of Creation doom eszenciák a javából, ez utóbbi eme szenzációs alkotás záróakkordja. A lemez megjelenését követően egy, a „csapattárs” Atheisttel közös turnéra indultak, azonban az egység megbomlott, a nem százas, kezelhetetlen magatartásáról ismert énekestől megváltak. Ez a húzás azt vonta maga után, hogy a csapat elkezdett vergődni és a Chapter VI után feloszlottak, egyrészt nevezett album sikertelensége miatt, másrészt pedig a főnök, a banda motorja Leif Edling új projectjére, az Abstrakt Algebra-ra kezdett el koncentrálni. Nagy meglepetés volt Messiah Marcolin 2002-ben történt visszatérése, de az együttműködés tiszavirág életűnek bizonyult. 2004-ben újra visszatértek, az őrült csuhással kiadták a briliáns Candlemass című lemezt, sokáig azonban ezúttal sem húzták vele, hiszen újra kiadták az útját, de ekkor már véglegesen. Helyét a Solitude Aeturnus frontembere Robert Lowe –a lehető legtökéletesebb megoldás- vette át, akivel további három parádés korongot tett le a csapat az asztalra. Jelenleg sajnos ott tartunk, hogy a Candlemass feloszlott, nem létezik, de Leif Edling korábban megszellőztette, hogy új anyagon dolgozik. Egy biztos, egy zseniális és páratlan életművet, betöltetlen űrt hagyott maga után a zenekar, amelynek egyik legfényesebben csillogó ékköve a Tales Of Creation.


So Mike, do you still recall how did you discover metal music? What were the records, that helped you discovering metal? I was into punk before I got into metal. I first started listening to metal when the punk/metal crossover scene started. The first metal bands that I listened to were Slayer and Sacrifice, as well as some punk bands that had metal elements, like Direct Action, D.R.I., and Corrosion of Conformity. When did you decide becoming a musician? Did you pick up the drums right from the start or…? I started playing music when I was 12 years old. I played guitar first, but started playing drums early on. I joined my first band as a drummer when I was 13 years old (a Toronto punk band called Random Killing). Which drummers did have the biggest effect on you? Were you self-taught by the way? Other than drummers in local punk bands, the first drummer that had a big effect on me was Stewart Copeland. I still love his playing to this day. I took a few lessons in the very beginning but then learned on my own and through playing in punk bands. I took some other drum lessons later on, but I'm mostly self-taught. How do you view or what do you think about, that bands, such as RUSH, ANVIL, RAPID TEARS, KILLER DWARFS etc. were the earliest Canadian bands and the put the country on the map of metal? I really wasn't into those bands. At that time, I wasn't into metal, so they didn't have an effect on me. At which point and how did the Canadian metal scenes, such as Quebec, Toronto, Ottawa etc. come into being? I was initially into the punk scene in Toronto which was amazing at that time, with bands like Direct Action, Sudden Impact and Chronic Submission. By the time I got into metal, the scene was already strong, so I don't know much about how it started. Let we stay by Toronto because you are from the city of the Maple Leafs, what do you recall of the late ’70s/early ’80s Toronto scene? Did the aforementioned bands open the doors for younger outfits, such as SACRIFICE, INFERNAL MAJESTY, LETHAL PRESENCE, MASSACRE, DEATH MILITIA, BEYOND etc.? I first started going to shows and playing in bands in the early-to-mid 80s. But yes, I would think that those other bands definitely had an influence on Sacrifice and the other bands that you mentioned. To which extent were you familiar with these bands? How deeply were you involved in the underground scene? I was very familiar with all of these bands and used to go see them a lot. I was very involved in the underground scene at that time and saw a lot of amazing shows at venues like Larry's Hideaway in Toronto. How did the whole DARK LEGION story start exactly? How did you get together? Did you already know each other earlier or…? Sean Tracy and I were in a punk band together called Lab Animals in the early-to-mid 80s. When that band broke up, we were both starting to get into metal and so we decided to start Dark Legion. Did the band’s line up consist of Sean Tracey on vocals, Mark Watts on guitar, Mark Faria on bass and you on drums right from the start or did you go thru some line up changes? Yes, that was the initial lineup of Dark Legion. We didn't go through any line up changes before that. Mark Faria joined the band, after he left DEATH MILITIA, but he was also involved in MASSACRE, correct? How did come, that while in his previous acts he was playing on guitar in DARK LEGION he became the bassplayer? Hmm, I can't remember if Mark Faria was in Massacre. Maybe he was. And maybe he was the guitar player. I'm really not sure. Sorry! But he was only the bass player in Dark Legion from the start (he never played guitar in that band). Mark Watts is the brother of SACRIFICE’s bassist Scott Watts, isn’t he? He sure is! At which point did bassists Craig Young (ex-ASSOCIATION AREA), Colin Gerrad and guitarists Ken Wakefield (ex-OVERTHROW) and Kevin Smith (ex-HOLOCAUST) play in the ranks of the band? At some point, Sean Tracy and Mark Faria left Dark Legion and we moved in a bit of a new direction. Colin Gerrard and Ken Wakefield were in the second incarnation of the band, and Kevin Smith and Craig Young were in the final line up. Who did do/draw the cool logo? I'm pretty sure that it was Harry Tong, who also did a lot of the early artwork for many bands in Toronto. Did you start writing originals or were you jamming on covers? What bands would you mention as your most important influences? We were always focused on originals only. Some of our influences were Discharge, Direct Action, Sacrifice, Slayer, Celtic Frost and Venom. In March 1986 you recorded a demo titled „Psychosis” and it was engineered by Steve X, produced by also him and the band, was it studio or a home-made recording? I mean, did you record it in a studio or at your rehearsal place? It's a long time ago so it's hard to remember all of the details! I'm pretty sure that the recording was done in our rehearsal space and not in a studio. Steve X had some recording equipment - I think it was done on a 4-track recorder. Do you still remember how was the demo recorded and how long did the recording sessions take? I can't remember! (see above) How would you describe the demo and what do you think about it after 29 years of its releasing? I would describe the demo as sounding just like we did at that time, which was very raw. We were just getting into metal and writing songs in that genre for the first time. Do you agree with, that the music was raw, fast and aggressive and contained a lot of punk/hc elements? It was definitely raw and aggressive, and had a lot of punk/hardcore elements for sure. Since me and Sean came from a punk background, that was a big part of what we were into and what we had already been playing. How did the demo sound like? It sounds like inexperienced raw extreme metal! Was the demo shopped around back in the day? Was it distributed thru the fanzine/tapetrading network? We never shopped the demo to labels, but it was definitely sent around the world a lot through tapetrading and fanzines. We used to get orders from all over the place. Were you known locally or also in other parts of Canada or perhaps outside of Canada? Dark Legion never played outside of Toronto, but we were known in a lot of places through tapetrading and fanzine articles. I have a DARK LEGION foutracks rehearsal (but without any date), featuring „P. O. W.”, „Dark Legion”, „Scream” and „Impaler”, was „P. O. W.” a brandnew track? Did you have perhaps some songs written, that never saw the light? There were tons of other songs that were never released. We used to record a lot of them on tape players to see how they sounded and just to have them recorded for ourselves. Was there perhaps recording a second demo in mind? With the second and third line-ups, we recorded quite a bit and there were definitely plans for other demo releases and maybe even record releases. It never made it to that point though. Have you ever gigged with DARK LEGION? Did you have the opportunity becoming an opener acts before bigger bands, such as SACRIFICE, INFERNAL MAJESTY etc.? Dark Legion played a lot of local shows with other local bands, and yes, we were lucky to get to open for some amazing bigger bands, like Sacrifice and Blind Illusion. Did you consider yourselves talented, experienced musicians? Not really! We were inexperienced and were just figuring it all out back then. We were proud of what we were doing for sure though. In 2006 Evil Legend Records released „You can’t kill what’s already dead: Anthology 1985 – 1988” of DEATH MILITIA, did you never think about to re-release the „Psychosis” demo with live recordings and unreleased materials? Have you ever got an offer considering the re-releasing of your materials? I've had people mention this idea to me over the years, but no, it's not something that I've ever considered doing. I moved on after that, and I've always been focused on the music that I'm involved with at the time as opposed to focusing on releasing things from the past. At which point and why did the band’s story come to an end? Did you take part on a friendly term at the end? Yes, it ended on good terms more-or-less. I don't remember exactly when or why we broke up, but I think we may have stopped the band when I joined Sacrifice. Are you still in touch with each other? What about the former DARK LEGION members these days? I'm really not in touch with any of them much these days, so I'm not sure what they're up to now. I'm sure you can find them though! How would you sum up DARK LEGION’s career? Are you proud of being the member of the band? I would say that we were playing exactly the kind of music that we wanted to play, and we were really fortunate to get quite a bit of attention for a new band. We were lucky to get to play a lot of really great shows and we learned a lot! Thanks for the interview!


KREATOR - 1989


Noha a ’80-as évek legvégén a thrash metal a megfáradás, kiégés jeleit mutatta, a műfaj nagyágyúi (pl. Slayer, Testament, Dark Angel) bebizonyították, hogy lehet rájuk számítani, van még bennük bőven muníció. Ha csak szigorúan ’89-re fókuszálunk, akkor az olyan lemezek, mint a Practice What You Preach, a Leave Scars, a The Years Of Decay, a Beneath The Remains, az Alice In Hell, az Annihilation Of Civilization – a teljesség igénye nélkül – világosan igazolták, hogy – a fentebb említett sorokat megcáfolva - a thrash színteret korai még temetni. Ami Európát illeti, az öreg kontinens is kitermelt pár klasszikust 1989-ben, a No More Color, az Agent Orange, a The New Machine Of Lichtenstein, a Shattered Existence az európai thrash színtér hírnevét öregbítette. És természetesen az Extreme Aggression is. Nagyon jót tett a bandának, hogy a Terrible Certainty-t Jörg „Tritze” Trzebiatowski gitáros csatlakozásával már négyesben vették fel, sokkal energikusabb, brutálisabb lett a Teremtő, mint korábban volt. Ez azonban önmagában kevés lenne, mert zeneileg is sokat fejlődtek, amelyet az Extrém Agresszió fényesen igazol. Minthogy az Endless Pain-től kezdve minden évben jelent meg Kreator kiadvány, az Extreme Aggression-t megelőzően, mintegy bemelegítésként megjelent a Sound Waves 1 válogatás (rajta a Motörhead-del, a Kreator-rel (After The Attack), a Stupids-zal és a Celtic Frost-tal) és az Out Of The Dark…Into The Light Ep, szintén egy vadonatúj felvétellel, az Impossible To Cure-ral. Mindenekelőtt a hangzásuk lett töményebb, ami nem is csoda, mert az 1989 január-februárjában, a hollywoodi Music Grinder stúdióban rögzített korong felvételeit Randy Burns thrash producer guru irányította. Az album abból a szempontból is jelentős volt a csapat karrierjében, hogy az 1987-ben, a D. R. I.-val lezavart amerikai turnét követően jelentős tengerentúli fanatikusra tett szert a zenekar, eme albummal pedig gyakorlatilag megvalósították az amerikai áttörést. Az áttörés letéteményese pedig a megklippesített, az Akropolisznál forgatott Betrayer volt, amely rendszeres rotációban forgott akkoriban az MTV Headbanger’s Ball műsorában. Jó szokásukhoz híven, kőkeményen, brutálisan nyitnak a címadó szerzeménnyel, ami – címéhez méltóan – extrém és agresszív, lendületes és gyors. Már e tétel bizonyítja a fejlődést, az előrelépést, mert egyrészt megjelentek a csapat muzsikájában a dallamok, másrészt nemcsak a brutális gyorsaságra törekedtek, hanem váltásokkal is tűzdelik a szerzeményt. A No Reason To Exist egyes részletei, dallamai a Coma Of Souls-on szereplő People Of The Lie alapjait jelentették, letaglózó erővel sújt le az itt-ott késői, Release From Agony korszakos Destruction-t idéző Love Us Or Hate Us illetve Stream Of Consciousness, doomos, lassan, kimérten menetelő súlyos, fenyegető tétel a Some Pain Will Last, gyilkos a Bringer Of Torture, megadja a kegyelemdöfést a Fatal Energy, tehát a Kreator minden szempontból feljebb lépett. Mille és Tritze riff tornádója, szólói, Ventor változatos, agresszív dobolása egy ereje teljében lévő, parádés formát mutató Kreator-t fest(ett) le ezen a korongon. Rob Fioretti basszugitáros mindig is a szürke eminenciás szerepét töltötte be a zenekarban, a háttérbe visszahúzódva, magabiztosan pengette futamait, Mille acsarkodó, nyers éneke pedig a thrash színtér és a Kreator védjegye lett és ez volt az a pillanat illetve ez az a korong, amikor/amelyen kvázi vokalista lett, tehát Ventor nem vett részt a szerzemények feléneklésében. Aki úgy gondolta, hogy innen már nincs feljebb tévedett, mert volt, hiszen az egy évvel későbbi Coma Of Souls-zal végleg a thrash elit ligájába masíroztak és pályafutásuk addigi szakaszára feltették a koronát. Aztán jöttek a ’90-es, majd a ’00-es évek változó minőségű lemezekkel, de elkötelezettségüket, kitartásukat mi sem illusztrálja jobban, minthogy ma is aktívak, napjaink színterének résztvevői, az utóbbi 3-4 évben pedig újra bomba formában vannak.




Kétségtelen, hogy az Accept 1982-ben a Restless And Wild lemezzel, azon belül is a Fast As A Shark nótával egy új, addig nem ismert stílust honosított meg és engedett útjára a heavy metalon belül, a speed metalt. Stefan Kaufmann őrületes két lábgépes témái mindenkit váratlanul és felkészületlenül értek, viszont zenekarok ezreire lett, volt hatással. Ezzel egy időben indult el, bontakozott ki a német heavy/speed, majd később a thrash metal színtér. Gyakorlatilag Németországban ugyanaz volt a helyzet, mint a Nagy Britanniában a New Wave Of British Heavy Metal mozgalom létrejöttével. A menekülő vad története 1976-ban kezdődött, amikor Hamburgban Rolf „Rock ’n’ Rolf” Kasparek énekes/gitáros, Uwe Bendig gitáros, Matthias Kaufmann basszusgitáros és Wolfgang „Hasche” Hagemann dobos életre hívták a Granite Hearts névre keresztelt hard rock formációt, a Running Wildot pedig egy Judas Priest nóta alapján 1979-ben vették fel és ezzel egy időben a zene fokról fokra kezdett el keményedni. A Hansa város egyébként komoly szerepet játszott a német underground színtéren, többek között a Grave Digger, a Holy Moses, az Iron Angel, a Mania illetve később az Assorted Heap is innen indult el. 1981-ben a Rock From Hell demóval debütáltak, majd 1982-ben egy rövid időre feloszlottak, Rock ’n’ Rolf és Hasche azonban nem adták fel a küzdelmet, Gerald „Preacher” Warnecke gitáros és Stephan Boriss basszusgitáros személyében új tagok érkeztek, így a csapat folytathatta pályafutását. Magasabb sebességfokozatra kapcsoltak és semmit sem bízva a véletlenre, 1983-ban kettő, 1984-ben pedig egy demót készítettek. Eme felvételeknek köszönhetően kerültek az az idő tájt startoló Noise Recordshoz, szerepeltek a kiadó Rock From Hell – German Metal Attack illetve Death Metal válogatás albumain, egyre nagyobb népszerűségre és ismertségre szert téve. 1984 igen termékyen év volt a csapat számára, hiszen a fentebb említett demón és Death Metal kompiláción kívül a Heavy Metal Like a Hammerblow demo válogatást, a Victim Of States Power Ep-t valamint debütáló korongjukat, a Gates To Purgatory-t jelentették meg. Nem sokkal a bemutatkozó anyag megjelenése után Preacher távozott a zenekarból, akitől a stafétát Majk Moti vette át. 1985 nyarán a berlini Casablanca stúdióban került sor a Branded And Exiled felvételeire, a keverés augusztusban a szintén berlini Hansa stúdióban folyt, a kész album pedig ősszel került a boltok polcaira. A Gates To Purgatory sátánista/okkult szöveg és zenei világát követte, folytatta a banda ezen a korongon, egy centivel sem tértek le az általuk kijelölt útról. A Branded And Exiled 36 percben elővezetett 8 szerzeménye egy hibátlan, klasszikus, üresjáratok nélküli dalcsokrot eredményezett, amellyel a Running Wild gyakorlatilag begyújtotta a rakétákat és lettek ezáltal világszerte ismertek. (Olyannyira, hogy még az amerikai Kick Ass Monthy fanzine 26. számában is írt róla Bob Muldowney (R. I. P.)). Mindegyik nóta a főnök nevéhez fűzödik, mindösszesen kettőt jegyez Stephan Boriss, a Realm Of Shdesben közreműködött, míg az Evil Spiritet egy az egyben ő írta. A nyitó címadó tétel – Gods Of Iron – Realm Of Shades trió tulajdonképpen nem térnek el egymástól. Mindegyikük középtempóban megfogalmazott, laza csuklókkal elövezett riffekkel, szólókkal, lendületes ritmusokkal megtámogatott felvételek. Fő erénye az volt a korai Running Wildnak, hogy rendkívül fogós dallamokkal, együtténekelhető refrénekkel operáltak, szinte első hallás után kiverhetetlenül rögzültek a rockerek, metalosok hallójárataiban, melyeket Rock ’n’ Rolf egyedi, sajátos, azonnal felismerhető, senkiével sem összekeverhető hangján adott elő. Ezt követően a Mordor lassít a tempón, egyben ekkoriban a csapat legismertebb, legkedveltebb, legismertebb dalaihoz tartozott, a koncertekről sosem hiányzott. A korong leggyorsabb tétele a Fight The Oppression, ez egy vérbeli speed téma, számomra az album csúcspontja, legjobbja. Az Evil Spirit a Mordorhoz hasonló lassabb, kimértebb szerzemény, az albumot pedig a korai Running Wild himnusza, a demókról ismert Chains And Leather zárja le. Amíg a Saxon farmerről és láncokról dalolt, addig a Running Wild bőrőkről és láncról, de a lényeg ugyanaz, mindkettő a metal történelem legjobb dalai közé tartozik. Hangzásban sincs különbség a Gates To Purgatory és a Branded And Exiled között, mindkettőn a jellegzetes, dinamikus, rifforientált, de tiszta német megszólalás jellemzi, amely annyira jellemző volt a korai heavy/speed csapatokra. Igen komoly promóció, reklámhadjárat követte a lemez megjelenését, amellyel a csapat gyökeret vert a metal színtéren és bebiztosította jövőjét. Felléptek az 1985. szeptember 14.-én, St. Goarshausenben (Freilichtbühne Loreley) megrendezett Metal Hammer fesztiválon, ahol a Heavy Pettin’-nel, a Metallica-val, a Nazareth-tel, a Pretty Maids-szel, a Restless-szel, a Tyran’ Pace-szel, a Warlockkal, a Savage Grace-szel és a Venommal játszottak (eme bulijuk jelent meg később kalózkiadványként Black Demons On Stage címmel), majd a Mötley Crüe Theater Of Pain turnéján voltak nyitózenekar, a Scorpions, az Accept és a Destruction után negyedik német bandaként eljutva az USA-ba. A harmadikként, 1987-ben kiadott Under Jolly Roger szintén klasszikus lett, itt viszont a zenekar már valamelyest szigorodott, a sátánista/okkult image-et pedig átvette egy kalózos tematika, amellyel szintén rengeteg bandát inspiráltak és amely a mai napig megmaradt. Ezután a felállás megváltozott, a ritmusszekció távozott (Hasche megnyitotta Rockfabrikot Ludwigsburgban), de a helyükre érkezett Jens Becker basszusgitárossal illetve Stefan Schwarzmann dobossal készített, 1988-ban megjelentetett Port Royal már nem ütötte meg az első három korong színvonalát. 1989-re még utoljára felszívták magukat, a szintén klasszikus Death Or Glory mindenképpen kielégítette a Running Wild hívők igényét (igaz a lemezen már nem Stefan Schwarzmann, hanem Iain Finlay dobolt), ezzel viszont a banda el is lőtte az összes puskaporát, a kalózhajó léket kapott, azt ezt követően megjelent kiadványaik csak közepesek voltak. Ettől függetlenül pályafutásuk előtt le a kalappal, az egyik legkitartóbb, legelkötelezettebb, rajongóikhoz a leglojálisabb bandáról van szó (gondoljunk csak a metal mentes ’90-es évekre), Rock ’n’ Rolfnak mindenképpen a Heavy Metal Hall Of Fame-jében a helye. Az idén 30 éves Branded And Exiled a metal történelem egyik legnagyobb, zenekarok ezreire a legnagyobb hatást kifejtő alkotás, de hogy a Running Wild életmű legjobbja, az teljesen biztos.