'Metal, Metal, Metal, Metal and More Motherfucking Teutonic Thrash Metal!!!
No one does thrash metal like Germans do thrash metal. And if you know thrash metal, then you know German thrash metal. It is that simple. Nuremberg's Hellish Crossfire have been carrying the mighty torch since 2002, predating most new wave thrashers, and taking their time while at it, this quartet has just released their powerful sophomore record titled Bloodrust Scythe. You better sit down and get comfortable. This is a long interview. Guitarist Iron Incubus was at the other end. Read on and spread the word…
- You guys are from Germany, a land well-known for its metal and for its love of the genre. And especially because of the influential legacy of bands like Destruction, Sodom and Kreator. Do you feel any pressure as a band to write material that is as good and/or stronger than the material released by those three bands?
Iron Incubus: No, absolutely not! We create this kind of music just for our own satisfaction, and not because we want to offer something that may compete with the quality of any other band! I mean, back when Hellish Crossfire was founded, we simply wanted to create music that was paying homage to the ancient legends, and, most important, that was appealing to all of us involved in this band. In the beginning we experimented a bit ‘til we found an own sound. We started playing cover versions of bands such as i.e. Kreator, Sodom or Mayhem, ‘til we wrote own songs reminding of such different acts such as i.e. Dark Angel, Nuclear Assault, Onslaught or Unleashed. After a while we found our own sound somehow, the tracks `…Of Slaying Grounds` and `Desecrate / Glorify The Sin` were the first songs that presented our unique sound for the very first time. Of course, we`re inspired by our rich history of Teutonic Speed / Thrash bands, and of course we`re totally into the early achievings of the “unholy trinity” Sodom, Destruction and Kreator. Furthermore, we deeply hail all the bands from the “second row” such as i.e. Deathrow / Samhain, Violent Force, Living Death, Necronomicon, Assassin, Darkness, Protector, Poison etc. We definitely feel a deep pride for this once so glorious scene over here in Germany. But on the other hand we don`t try to sound typical “Teutonic” or stuff like this. Hellish Crossfire merges many different styles into its music, we do what we want, whether it`s “accepted” in a certain scene or not!
-Talking about your speed and thrash metal influences, who would you cite as major in the development of the Hellish Crossfire sound? Which bands from outside your country would you cite as influential? Do you believe there might be any non-metal influences in your sound?
Iron Incubus: Of course, everything I listen to influences my guitar playing somehow. Despite the fact that I like to listen to many other genres besides metal, such as i.e. classical music, Blues / Blues Rock, Jazz / Fusion, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic, Folk, old Punk / Hardcore, Rock N´ Roll etc., I think that raw, bestial and utterly dark music is the main inspiration concerning Hellish Crossfire. I mean, I come up with some ideas on the guitar, and together in the rehearsal room we work them out till we get songs we`re personally to 100 % satisfied with. We take much care for the songs, we work very hard on new tracks, which leads to the result that we still enjoy playing all the songs we ever recorded in studio. We like to take care for the fact that on Hellish Crossfire records there are no fillers, just killers, hehe! Anyway, back to your questions: Of course, I like some non-metal stuff as well despite the fact that I listen to metal / hard rock for about 95 % of my time or so. And surely I like many bands that don`t come from Germany as well: Borders don´t matter, metal / music in general is a world-wide phenomenon you shouldn`t limit on some few countries only! To give you an idea of what groups in the metal / hard rock genre I like, I`ll add a “small” list featuring some bands I really enjoy listening to: Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Coven, Writing On The Wall, Icecross, Lucifer`s Friend, Black Widow, Possessed, Pentagram (USA), Mercyful Fate / King Diamond, Candlemass, Infernäl Mäjesty, Onslaught, Venom, Hellhammer / Celtic Frost, Bathory, Slaughter (Kanada), old Slayer, old Metallica, old Samael, Death / Mantas, Sacrifice (Kanada), Oz, Heavy Load, Morbid Saint, Exciter, Necrovore, Zemial, Hirax, Merciless, Incantation, Blood Feast, Immolation, Morbid Angel, Rigor Mortis, old Judas Priest, Desolation Angels, Pokolgep, Korrozia Metalla, Treblinka, Ossian (Ungarn), Aria, old Manowar, Saxon, Cirith Ungol, Intruder, Revenant, Atomic Rooster, AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Morgoth, Violent Force, Darkness, Assassin, Liege Lord, Count Raven, Sparta, Militia, Minotaur, Formel 1, Iron Angel, old Nuclear Assault, Deceased, Autopsy, Tinieblas, Entombed, Rush, Stress, Old Funeral, Blasphemy, Morbid, Agressor, Carrion, Necronomicon, Cynic, Kat, Saint Vitus, Trouble, Exumer, Exodus, Dismember / Carnage, Détente, Toxik, Acid, Tudor, Root, Pentacle, Turbo, Agent Steel, Blitzkrieg, Luciferion, Mystifier, Nifelheim, Virgin Steele, Exorcist (Polen und USA), Tormentor / Kreator, Taurus, Poison (Deutschland), Sathanas / Bathym, Sodom, Darkness, Holocausto, Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer, Sadus, Massacre (Chile und USA), Tormentor (Deutschland und Ungarn), Sarcófago, Törr, Slaughter Lord, Massacra, Pagan Altar, Unanimated, Bestial Warlust, Beherit, Dissection, Trespassed, Rainbow, Virtue, Cryer, A-II-Z, Warpath (Chile), Inquisicao, S.A. Slayer, Warfare, Samson, old Overkill, old Sepultura, White Spirit, old Tygers Of Pan Tang, Dio, Mutilator, Slauter Xstroyes, Samhain / Deathrow, Expulser, Black Knight, Order From Chaos, Sadistic Intent, Dark Angel, Num Skull, Omen, Manilla Road, Grotesque, Bulldozer, Vulcano, Death SS, Necrodeath, Shub-Niggurath / Tormentor (Mexiko), Violent Force, The Black (Italy), Grave, Inquisitor, Sextrash, Destruction, Witchfynde, Witchfinder General, old Mayhem, old Darkthrone, Living Death, The Obsessed, Angel Witch, Cyclone, E-X-E, Headhunter D.C., old Debustrol, Master (Russland und USA), Satanic Rites, RetroSatan, Hell, Hydra Vein, Onslaught, Mortem (Peru), Messiah, Sabbat (England und Japan), Incubus (Florida und Louisiana), Asphyx, old Pestilence, Infernäl Mäjesty, Protector, old Vader, Mercy, Warhammer (UK), Morbid Saint, Dorsal Atlantica, Terrorizer, Hobb`s Angel Of Death, old Mortal Sin, Gun, Dust, MC5, Deaf Dealer, Anvil Chorus, Stos, Thrasher Death, V8, Sadism, Metalmorfosis, Chakal, Fantom, Arakain, Heavy Metal Army, Voivod, Crux, Iron Angel, Tudor, Diabolic, The Chasm, Grim Reaper, Blasfemia, Astaroth, Insulter, Paralex, Cloven Hoof, Damnation (Schweden), Ostrogoth, Ancient Gods, Infinitum Obscure, old Usurper, Reverend Bizarre, Attomica, Martire, Vomitor, Transmetal, Necroschizma, Necromass, Black Hole, The Rods, Warlord, Brocas Helm, Destructor, Medieval Steel, Tysondog, Golgotha, Tyrant (UK, Deutschland und USA), Leprosy (Schweden), Pentagram (Chile), Resistencia, Satan, Jaguar, Razor, Voor, Silent Death, Bloodlust, old Destroyer 666, Sir Lord Baltimore, Warrant (Germany), Unleashed / Nihlist, Crucifixion (UK), Demon, Tank, Holocaust, Atomic Aggressor, Death Yell, Diamond Head, UFO, old Scorpions, Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy, Accept, Deathstrike, Centurian, Abhorer, Sexfago, Atheist / R.A.V.A.G.E., Dead Head, Sorcery, Savage Death, Savage Grace, Led Zeppelin, Tokyo Blade, Girlschool, Tröjan, Overdrive, Wolf (UK und Schweden), Terror(Sweden), Hammerhead, H-Bomb, MC5, Budgie, Samurai, Praying Mantis, Arc, Warpig, Gospel Of The Horns, Legend, Sarcofagus etcetc.
- About the new crop of bands playing this old style of speed thrash metal and about the old bands still working it, I read about your disdain for this wave of ‘revivalism’. In an interview with Lords of Metal you said ‘For us ancient eighties metal was never out-fashioned, not in the trendy Grunge-era of the nineties and not in the pseudo-“old school” thrash re-awakening time these days. Just have a look at what former legends such as Exodus or Destruction do nowadays: we don’t want to be part of this moneymaking, modern kind of “thrash”, our hearts have remained pure and honest!’. What is your opinion of latest releases by bands like Exodus or Destruction? Have they lost any relevance? Are there any newer bands of the style you consider worth checking out, artists whose work your respect?
Iron Incubus: I don`t wanna write any negative words about other bands, but when you`re asking me concerning the latest releases of certain groups, I`ll mention my personal opinion about it. Well, Exodus is quite a difficult chapter: Their debut album Bonded By Blood is definitely one of the most perfect Thrash releases of all time and a huge favourite of mine! But somehow all the rest of the Exodus back catalogue doesn`t appeal to me at all. Their last longplayer Exhibit B: The Human Condition is a bit better than the stuff they released before, but it`s still no real classic and cannot compete with Bonded By Blood at all! And what blasphemy Exodus did when they re-recorded their debut album a few months ago! Don´t get me wrong: The guys in the band are still very good musicians, but I hate those modern-day grooves and this damn hardcore-shouting in their songs – that´s, at least to me, not thrash metal anymore! The last Destruction album was similarly weak, I think: The old feeling is totally gone meanwhile, everything sounds like a modern-day parody of the ancient cult days! So I definitely think that once so great old heroes lost their relevance to offer something special, something done with deep passion and dedication. To me most of the old bands offering new recordings nowadays are either just in it again for the money or because they want to prove themselves that they can still pull it off. There are some laudable exceptions such as i.e. Candlemass, Hirax, Necrodeath, Exciter, Paradox and the likes that proved that reunions might bring new, appealing songs that still live up to the great deeds of the past. But this is just a small number of bands in this huge “comeback area” so to say…
However, I prefer to listen to young, hungry bands instead that are worth to support. In the Metal / Hard Rock field I´d mention names such as i.e. Force Of Darkness, Abysmal Grief, Ejecutor, Diabolic Force, Horisont, Riotor, Cruel Force, Witching Hour, Chörny Woron (R.I.P.), Excoriate, Dead Congregation, Hatespawn, Résistance, Highway Child, Horn Of The Rhino, Petrified, Antichrist (Sweden), Omega, Denouncement Pyre, Putrid, Tribulation, Kathgor, Vault, Lord Vicar, The Lamp Of Thoth, Armour, Vanderbuyst, Cough, Antacid, Deiphago, Wheelrunner, Evil Army, Children Of Technology, Christian Mistress, Sancta Sanctorum etc.: Still nowadays there are so many great new bands to discover that have the guts to play good music and, most important, that got a definite feeling for a special sound and do whatever they like to do – despite all current trends! Whatever hype is coming around, really dedicated bands still survive in the deepest depths of the underground and care not anything about what others may think of them. It`s good to see some few warriors left that still care for other things than success and plain ego issues…
- A lot of people talk about German thrash metal as if it was a genre unto itself. Do you believe it is? I know you guys are fairly young but to what would you attribute the development of this sound? A scene at the time maybe? Too much beer maybe? Do you believe that there is a German thrash metal style?
Iron Incubus: First of all, there is a style called thrash metal and in general I`d differ the US Bay Area from the German way to play this kind of music. These are the plain, rough basics I`d mention to start with. The typical Bay Area style was done by Exodus, Forbidden, Testament, Metallica etc., the typical Teutonic style was offered by Sodom, Destruction, Darkness, Kreator, Violent Foce and the likes. In between there are many other groups that can be labelled as thrash acts but they don`t fit any of the above mentioned categories. Maybe they`re a mixture of both different ways to play Thrash, maybe they`re adding some other influences ranging from death over black to speed or heavy metal. When I mention this I think of groups such as i.e. Whiplash, Razor, Poison, Slaughter, Törr, Slayer, Arakain, Overkill, Rigor Mortis, Mutilator, Sacrifice or Voivod. The typical Bay Area style is much more technical and with clean, higher vocals than the German way to play thrash: Somehow the music of Teutonic groups in the 80s sounded much rawer and more aggressive than the music of their colleagues from above the Great Ocean. Furthermore, the vocalists sounded much more extreme, the atmosphere was much darker. I don`t know what are reasons for this: Maybe German beer played a certain role as well, haha, maybe it made people more aggressive than US Budweiser! No, sincerely: There`s definitely a typical kind of German thrash metal existing. There are certain riffs and elements that, if you hear them, makes you think of the old 80s scene in Teutonic lands! Just listen to the early Destruction releases for example - it cannot get more German, hehe! But on the other side, there are many differences between groups such as i.e. Living Death and early Necronomicon. So you cannot tell exactly what the typical German style is really about, but once you hear it, you know automatically that it`s typical Teutonic! It`s very hard to describe, but anyway, that`s the truth, hehe!
- Do you believe there were certain specific circumstances that helped bring about this band?
Iron Incubus: German thrash metal was born in backyards of big industrial cities in the 80s: Most people came from the working class, most of them were sons of coal miners, and the normal way of life in this society was to end up in coal mines or in normal day jobs for the rest of their lives having a family to earn money for at home, just as their fathers did...to escape from this harsh reality, they listened and partied to the music of bands such as i.e. Slayer, Venom or Metallica - music that could authentically express these guys` anger and channel their aggressions. But it took not long that people over here in Germany started to form their own bands, fanzines followed, and then a real new scene was born... Many of those early groups tried to sound like the US bands, but obviously they didn`t yet have the skills to play as good as for example Slayer: Whereas US combos concentrated on playing well much more, German musicians took more care for the immensely aggressive feeling. All in all, I think that those special life circumstances back then in Germany may have contributed to the foundation of this great scene...but, of course, also the fact that there was a die-hard scene for this kind of music was very important as well! There were metal clubs, fanzines and locations around that gave those small underground acts the opportunity to play, etc. To me, it seems as if there was more like some kind of "team spirit" back in the thrash metal scene of the 80s: Due to the fact that the scene was relatively small, people helped each other out so that a healthy and sincere underground scene could develop. After a while more and more big labels got aware of this new movement and signed some bands, and after a while everything got more and more commercialised...
Anyway, Just to inform you: Maybe three of us didn`t experience the 80s as metal heads, but at least our bassist Sick was a youngster during this glorious decade. His very first bigger show he ever saw live was Metallica supporting Venom on their Seven Dates Of Hell tour in 1984 over here in Nürnberg! So I guess, he could tell you more about the reality of German Thrash Metal back in the 80‘s, hehe...
- Please name a few German bands (other than the ones mentioned) that you believe have gone underappreciated.
Iron Incubus: I´ll mention some of the old German 80‘s legends I already named above as well, be it Deathrow / Samhain, Violent Force, Living Death, Necronomicon, Assassin, Darkness, Protector or Poison. Furthermore, I`d like to advise you to check out bands like Iron Angel, Exumer, early Tankard, Chainsaw, Vectom, Warrant, Minotaur and Paradox. Besides Accept, Helloween, Blind Guardian or Running Wild we also got some very fine 80‘s heavy / power metal bands over here in Germany, just think of i.e. Stormwitch, Tyrant, Vampyr, Steeler etc. There are so many groups from Teutonic lands to discover apart from the typical acts like Scorpions / Accept / Kreator / Destruction and Sodom! Just listen to Violent Force`s debut album Malevolent Assault Of Tomorrow or Deathrow´s first record Satan`s Gift for instance, which are two of the best thrash metal works ever done in my opinion! Or the first two Living Death albums, the savage and utterly raw Necronomicon debut or the old Iron Angel demos that featured some of the songs from their first full-length Hellish Crossfire in much rawer versions! Furthermore, there are the thrash / speed fanatics of Chainsaw or Paradox (especially their debut) or high-class thrash created by Assassin and Darkness (check out their classic “Death Squad” slaughterization!!!). Vectom were quite underrated back then: On their first record Speed Revolution they sounded like good old Venom, on the second one called “Rules Of Mystery” they had a more melodious edge to their sound that reminded of old Helloween and the likes. Protector and Poison were musically very close to death metal spheres, I don`t consider them as pure thrash, although there are some elements of this kind of music featured in their sound. Both bands “invented” a totally new, dark and morbid sound, very obscure! Up to this day you can find hardly any other groups sounding similar to the noise these maniacs created back then! Protector and Poison offered over the top music and are surely two of my alltime-favourites when it comes to heavy sounds from Germany! Of course, we also got some few black and death metal groups worth to check out, but they emerged on the surface after the 80‘s, I just think of i.e. Ungod, early Desaster or early Morgoth…
- There are a lot of bands playing the speed thrash style that you guys are doing so well. Do you believe there is a chance that the fans may just get sick of such abundance or that the style may become a parody with so many bands worshipping a style and a fashion that was in vogue in the 80’s?
Iron Incubus: Yeah, the more bands “surprisingly” discover their addiction to 80‘s metal, the more unserious it gets, I think! I mean, I grew up in the 80‘s and already back then I hated this colourful, tight clothing. Fashion-wise I`m more rooted in the 70‘s somehow, which I cannot explain. Somehow, I feel like wearing shock trousers in combination with metal / hard rock shirts, spikes and bull-belts and I feel good doing this! I mean, it`s always a matter of individual taste: If people hate wearing bullet-belts and spikes (like for example our bassist Sick does), that`s ok! People like this are not more or not less Metal or “serious” than any other maniac around! Metal is not only about a certain “look” or superficial aspects like these. Metal is a free zone in a narrow-minded world for (more or less) free individuals. But the current state of the scene gives birth to many posers with all their prejudices, narrow-minded and superficial. Hmm, maybe I`m a bit of a dreamer and got too positive expectations concerning other people, but this “freedom aspect” may be some kind of utopia whenever you`re dealing with human beings… Anyway, before I`m getting too philosophical right now, I think that we`ll see who will still be part of this scene once the huge “old school” trend is over: Maybe it`s good to see the scene returning back to where it belongs – into the underground! Otherwise, it`s also not that bad to see that there are many new people getting into this scene, as back in the 90‘s when I got really into the metal scene, this kind of music was said to be “dead”! I always knew it wasn´t sticking to listening to my portion of steel every day, but trends come and go and one day I know real metal will be returning back to the underground once more to pave way for the “next big thing”…
- What do you think is key to Hellish Crossfire’s stance above the heap?
Iron Incubus: To keep it short: If somebody feels the need to worship a style and a fashion that was in vogue in the 80‘s, it`s ok as long as he`s into it truly-hearted! But I dislike fake fans and posers…! I don`t know what may be the key that Hellish Crossfire stands above this heap: Maybe one reason is the fact that we´ve already been there long before this “retro trend” appeared on the surface? – And we`ll still be there once the big commercial hype is over, that`s for sure! We didn`t dedicate ourselves to this kind of music because this was the kind of sound everybody was talking about back in 2002. We founded Hellish Crossfire as an outlet for our own vision of dark, utterly bestial and raw music, and that included genres such as i.e. thrash and speed metal, but also heavy, death, black or even doom metal! Back when we founded Hellish Crossfire, we were longing for doing our own thing, maybe recording songs for one demo and maybe playing a few shows…nothing else was really planned! We never expected it to end like this: Playing concerts all over Europe and releasing well-selling albums was never our intention back in those early days! Furthermore, I think the fans honour the fact that we take the time to write really thrilling songs. We don`t come up with an album every two years or so that is featuring some great, some fine and some bad tunes: Whenever Hellish Crossfire unleashes a new beast, be sure that it is ravaging, slaying and featuring our best efforts we are able to deliver!
- About the new album, In what ways to you believe that Bloodrust Scythe improves over Slaves of the Burning Pentagram?
Iron Incubus: Bloodrust Scythe is much more extreme than the debut, I think, as on this record you can listen to some of the darkest as well as some of the most melodious moments in Hellish Crossfire´s career so far. – This may sound a bit confusing, but playing with different aspects contributes to the extreme character of this full-length! The recording sessions for Slaves Of The Burning Pentagram were split into two different parts, but for Bloodrust Scythe we only had one session, which may have led to a more homogenous outcome. We were more experienced being in a studio in this band constellation, we already knew our producer and friend Patrick W. Engel and his working habits quite well. Furthermore, the line-up hasn`t changed in between the recordings for Slaves Of The Burning Pentagram and Bloodrust Scythe so that our unity was stronger than ever! Of course we also developed playing-wise, I`d say, there are many ideas we`ve added that could not be found on our debut full-length. But despite all these changes, I think that Bloodrust Scythe did not move one millimetre from the musical and spiritual vein of Slaves Of The Burning Pentagram.
- What were your goals as a band with this new record?
Iron Incubus: Our goal when we hit the studio for Bloodrust Scythe was to offer something that quality-wise could live up to the standards that were set by our first record. It wouldn`t make any sense to record worse albums, we`re always looking for equally good or even better efforts! Furthermore, we wanted to achieve a bit dirtier sound, which Patrick W. Engel managed to give to our songs quite well, as we think. In the end we think that we achieved our goals, but after all it`s up to the listener to decide if he or she likes our music or not or if he or she prefers the first to the second or the second to the first album…
- Please talk a little bit about the recording of Bloodrust Scythe.
Iron Incubus: We once again hit the Rape Of Harmonies Studios that are normally more known for metalcore recordings – for example, Heaven Shall Burn and groups like this recorded there already. The guy that is working there, Patrick W. Engel, is a big friend of us for many years already now, and he´s more a total metal head that knows quite well how this kind of music has to sound. He´s a great person as well as a fabulous producer and musician! He played in bands like Impending Doom, Anael, Athanatos, Buried God, Hatespawn etc. before, so he´s very experienced and skilled. Patrick knows what we want, he knows our strengths and weak points, so working with him is excellent! We don`t feel the need to change studios ever as we`ve always been very satisfied with the end result in Rape Of Harmonies!
The recording, mixing and mastering processes of Bloodrust Scythe altogether took eight till ten days or so, I think. I`m not absolutely sure, but it obviously lasted not longer than ten days! The end result is very, very close to our ideas of how this album should sound like! We still stand behind this result to 100%, which goes also out to the predecessor Slaves Of The Burning Pentagram! I think it`s a good sign that still after some time we don`t feel the need to change anything on our two recorded full-length albums: Reasons for this are certainly the fact that we know what we want when we hit the studio, that Patrick W. Engel knows what we want, and that we only record songs that we are totally standing behind! Quality has to outweigh quantity, that`s our “slogan”!!!
- I was surprised by some passages in the new album where the band adopts this classic heavy metal approach. Maybe I didn’t notice if you were already doing that on Slaves of the Burning Pentagram, but how does this classic influence comes into the music of Hellish Crossfire?
Iron Incubus: Yeah, that´s something many fans and critics alike discovered: Bloodrust Scythe got some more parallels to classic heavy metal, although in the end it`s still very harsh thrash. Somehow these traditional steel influences are more present than on Slaves Of The Burning Pentagram, that`s right. I don`t know what happened this time, but somehow, as I already stated above, more melodic elements than ever before found their way on the record. I mean, we all listen to different metal styles such as old heavy, speed, death or black metal, and somehow this may also reflect in our music. Many people also told us that Bloodrust Scytheis much more rooted in ancient death metal than Slaves Of The Burning Pentagram. Also, this is an opinion I can truly understand. I`m not sure if a following album will also feature many influences by old heavy metal, as right now not too many new stuff is written that would enable me to give a satisfying information about that. The songs we got right now already remind of such different acts such as i.e. Acid, Slayer, Autopsy and the likes maybe. We`ll see where our music will develop in future. However, it will still be that typical brand of heavy, dark and utterly aggressive kind of sound that can best be described as traditional Teutonic thrash metal. Whenever you buy a Hellish Crossfire record, you can bet you get this certain kind of fucked-up noise we`re known for, hehe!!!
- Your releases are getting issued on vinyl also, who is handling this? Is it I Hate too? Which label? Where can people get the records?
Iron Incubus: I Hate Records released our albums both on vinyl as well as on CD. Back in those times when our debut album came out, it was released on LP first, the CD edition came later. We wanted it this way for our second album as well, but our label told us that for them it would be better to put out CD first for promotional matters. However, meanwhile the vinyl version of Bloodrust Scythe is available as well.
- What do you like about vinyl? Is this your favorite format? What are the advantages of this format over others?
Iron Incubus: Hmm, what I like about vinyl? Well, together with the tape it is simply the absolutely best fitting format for this kind of music! I mean, heavy metal was created in the late 70‘s / 80‘s, and most of the classic stuff was put out back then, so it was only logical that most of these records were released on vinyl and / or cassette. So even in 2010 if a band wants to be labelled a metal group, it should care for a vinyl release, at least that`s my opinion! Fuck CD‘s, mp3‘s and all this shit! Our first album Slaves Of The Burning Pentagram was also issued on tape by Chilean Proselytism Records label, and maybe the crazy South American guy behind this label will do a special cassette version of Bloodrust Scythe as well, we`ll see…! So, metal music simply has to be listened to on tape or vinyl, that´s all! I mean, the vinyl format got a certain “soul” so to say: You get those big covers you can get lost in staring at. Many artistic masterpieces got a great platform of presentation when they were featured on covers of LPs. Is this also possible with nowadays` CDs or mp3s? – Obviously NOT! Furthermore, there´s a feeling of excitement once the needle scratches the vinyl, furthermore the sound of an LP is much warmer, more organic and more authentic than the sound of any digital product! By the way, our producer did different master tapes for CD and LP versions of both of our albums. Of course, CD‘s and mp3‘s are easier to handle than LP‘s or tapes, but they`re more impersonal and lack that nostalgic feeling that is very important when I`m listening to ancient metal, progressive or 70‘s rock stuff…
- I know that your first record was released on tape by Proselytism from Chile, would there be a similar treatment for Bloodrust Scythe? Same label?
Iron Incubus: As already stated in my answer above, we`ve already been in touch with Proselytism Records concerning maybe putting also Bloodrust Scytheout on tape again. The Chilean guy behind this label seemed to be interested, but negotiations concerning details stopped meanwhile. – I`m gonna get in touch with him again, for sure!
- Do you like the cassette format? I like it but to me soundwise it is inferior to both CD’s and vinyl, why do you think there is a fascination in metal for cassettes? Des this format offers any advantages?
Iron Incubus: Of course, we like the tape format as well, as stated above. Ok, maybe the sound quality may not be as good as on LP or CD, but who the fuck cares?! – I mean, I grew up listening to vinyl and tapes, and it was killer having LP‘s at home whilst taping music for parties or the cassette player in my car, hehe! Still, nowadays when we want to record some rehearsals of new songs, we use an old 80‘s tape player that are hard to find in any of nowadays` commercial warehouses. Our first sign of life as Hellish Crossfire, our debut rehearsal Unholy Tyranny, was put out in 2004 on tape exclusively: No CD-R or shit like this! A demo band has to offer their songs recorded on a real cassette, everything else ain`t metal! – At least that´s my opinion… However, I really worship the tape, meanwhile I got more of my favourite stuff in my private collection on cassette than on CD, which is a good sign, I think… Maybe there´s a general fascination in cassettes once again because for many youngsters this is a very outdated format and new or, let`s better say, uncommon things are more interesting than the usual digital stuff they get everywhere. For us, it is only natural as we all grew up listening to metal on LP‘s and tapes! Of course, I won´t conceal that I also got many CD‘s in my collection, but I personally prefer good old vinyl and cassettes!
- What's your opinion on illegal downloads? Many people may bitch about it, but metal is pretty healthy nowadays and I would say that is in part to the free flow of information obtained thru the internet?
Iron Incubus: Yeah, let it flow, let it flow, hehe…! Honestly said, I don’t care about stuff such as filesharing, downloading etc. as an underground band like Hellish Crossfire doesn`t earn any money through record sales. And if people get to know about our band through downloading and they like what they hear, they maybe buy our records! – So there`s also a positive aspect about it. The situation of tape-trading can perhaps be compared a bit to this filesharing phenomenon nowadays. I also like the internet as a place of total freedom, but the line between freedom and total anarchy is quite thin, I know… It`s an issue with many different aspects: I mean, full information for anybody is definitely great, but nowadays we experience a total information overkill where you have to search for reliable sources, for real facts in a sea of millions of fakes. The original idea of the internet as a world-wide possibility to spread ideas, information and stuff like this is quite good, I think. But things like this can get manipulated; furthermore every little fucker can leave his marks in this cyber world and spread his useless information: FUCK THIS!!! The more technology-addicted society gets, the more I want to keep away from these stupid behaviours! So in a way I don´t care about filesharing and downloading at all. I use the internet to check my emails, to stay in contact with many dedicated maniacs, fans and zines out there. I use the computer to write interviews like this one here, but that`s all! People should start to think for themselves once again instead of being dictated by TV or the computer…!
- What records are you listening to now?
Iron Incubus: While answering this interview I`ve been listening to the new Abysmal Grief album Misfortune, the Filipino Antichrist full-length of Deiphago whereas later I turned over to some old Rory Gallagher and Rose Tattoo recordings as well as Hard Attack from the 70‘s heavy rock group Dust. Misfortune is definitely one of the best albums in the doom / horror metal subgenre for a very long time! Hard Attack was recommended to me by my comrade Nathaniel of French Metal act Résistance. Dust played for that time being (early 70‘s) quite heavy and utterly dark music. There´s an impressive, somehow harmonic edge to the music as well, but there ain`t no sweet melodies or stuff like this at all! – Highly recommended!!! Deiphago is utterly bestial death / black / thrash metal from the Philippines, very fine! And finally, listening to the dirty blues of Rory Gallagher and the raw rock n` roll of Rose Tattoo is always a huge pleasure to me!
- What are the next plans for the band?
Iron Incubus: At the moment we`re preparing for our upcoming live shows this autumn (see info about it below), furthermore, we`re writing new material. Two songs are nearly finished; another one got at least a basic structure. So that`s our main focus at the moment concerning the musical side. Furthermore, we got some business stuff to take care of – unfortunately, because we hate this aspect... As we got no manager on our side, we personally have to take care of this as well, so… Anyway, I guess we`ll leave this behind quite soon and finally have again time to start caring for musical aspects once again for 100%! Luckily these business issues occurred when we didn`t have any shows confirmed so we could concentrate on it much more. But when the new concert season starts, we`ll be free to drive the machine full force, hehe!!!
- Any last words…
Iron Incubus: All the best. Thank you very much for the opportunity to answer your questions! And thanks to the readers of this zine for paying attention to my words! Hopefully we`ll meet one day at a Hellish Crossfire show (maybe in the States…?!?), would be awesome! Cheers to you and thrash hard! Hellish Hails!!!
Forest Photo by Danny Jakesch
Read the Deaf Sparrow review of Bloodrust Scythe here...