Straight Shooting: Extreme Metal Artists are Good People

Throughout my years of going to shows and meeting extreme metal bands to just say “hello” and “thanks” or to conduct an interview or hang out as colleagues, I have always found these artists to be very humble, down to earth, and hardworking people. Playing extreme metal is often a thankless and perilous endeavor that regularly tests just how much these artist are dedicated to their art.

Specifically, the legendary bands tend to be the most approachable and appreciative. They are more than happy to shake your hand, pose for photos, autograph all your merchandise, thank you for your support, and speak with you for a little bit. They may not have the most time in the world or be in the mood to do so, but they often try their best. Even strong and intimidating personalities such as David Vincent, Trey Azagthoth, Glen Benton, and Chris Barnes are all nice dudes. On the other hand, there are also exceptions to this but they shall remain nameless.

The brothers in KRISIUN are some of the coolest guys you can meet. They are so grateful when you compliment them on their performance or music. And if you’ve been a diehard for a long time, that makes their day. They never brag about their musicianship even though it’s totally insane, especially given the fact that they perform flawlessly every night. Whole notes don’t really exist in their songs. Hell, if you have the opportunity to party with them, they’ll share their whiskey or herb with you without hesitation.

Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna from IMMOLATION are awesome guys. I’ve seen them in various cities across the U.S. and they are always the same. Zero egos. Zero gimmicks. They’ve always been underdogs in terms of popularity despite the fact that they are legends but they never complain about anything ever. They just work hard and try their best.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Andreas Kisser twice throughout the years and he is just as, if not cooler, than what you see in SEPULTURA home videos or elsewhere. He’s just a really cool and friendly person ready to laugh and is always positive. No shit talking from him. Andreas is probably one of the most open-minded people you can meet as well.

If you’ve ever seen SUFFOCATION live, then you’ve seen just how down to earth Frank Mullen is with the crowd. He never tries to act like the toughest guy on earth. He just speaks to the crowd like he would with people that he knows in his personal life. Offstage, the man is the same. Just a cool, honest, and passionate person. Frank appreciates any fans whether they be long time or brand new ones.

At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of extreme metal bands that tour all over the world don’t really make much money. And yes, many of them have families and day jobs to take care of back home. It can be a meager existence. Thus, you can’t blame them for having tours with VIP packages.

Without their dedication and immense talents, there wouldn’t be much of a scene. So next time you’re at a show and you see a band member walking around or just hanging out, it will never hurt to just say “hello” and show appreciation for their hard work. Trust me, they will appreciate it.

DEICIDE Signs with Century Media; to Embark on European Tour

Century Media Records has announced the signing of one of death metal’s founding fathers, DEICIDE. Led by original members Glen Benton (vocals, bass) and Steve Asheim (drums), DEICIDE have been busy at Audiohammer Studios with Mark Lewis (BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, CHIMAIRA) and are looking at a summer ’09 release. The group have reunited with legendary guitarists Jack Owen (ex-CANNIBAL CORPSE) and Ralph Santolla (OBITUARY, ex-ICED EARTH, DEATH) and will embark on a two-week European tour this week. Visit http://www.myspace.com/theofficialdeicidemyspacepage to view their complete itinerary.

Benton states: “I want to say it is an honor to be an official CM artist. I look forward to working with the fine folks at CM and providing them with our style of metal. I can ensure you that what surfaces will definitely be nothing less than a total bash-your-face-in-from-start-to-finish, bastard. HAIL SATAN!!!!”

Asheim further comments: “I’m happy to be a part of the CM family and look forward to working with them. The new DEICIDE material in the works should be a good way to kick off the new deal. It’s a totally sick new record with a totally sick new label, but the same ol’ sick DEICIDE. See you all in 2009 and hold onto your balls!”

Owen adds: “It is an honor and a pleasure to sign with one of the most established metal labels on the planet. Century Media‘s track record speaks for itself, and we can’t wait to unleash this beast of a new DEICIDE album through the mighty CM! Many thanks to Kevin Astl and Steve Joh for their long hours bringing this deal to full fruition!”

DEICIDE: Limited Copies of New Album to Include Free Patch

DEICIDE‘s forthcoming new album, ‘Till Death Do Us Part, will include a limited edition release packaged with a free “Glen for President” woven patch. Pre-orders are available through the Earache Records website at http://www.earachestore.com/store/preorderdeicidetilldeathdouspart.html.  The album will also be available as a standard CD, limited edition 12″ picture disc LP, and a limited edition 12″ color vinyl LP.

VITAL REMAINS – Icons of Evil

Since VITAL REMAINS apparently can’t resist any opportunity to create a death metal album filled with as much anti-Christian fervor as possible (simply look at the cover art for this release), it should come as no surprise that Glen Benton of DEICIDE fame returned to reprise his role performing vocal duties on the new VITAL REMAINS album titled Icons of Evil. The approach this time around is much more straightforward (think Into Cold Darkness), rather than the over-the-top, somewhat pretentious angle taken with the prior release of Dechristianize. The majority of songs on Icons of Evil are more reminiscent of the newest DEICIDE album, except with longer, more versatile sections. However, those who thoroughly enjoyed the constant melodic solos, guitar harmonies, and technical expertise of Dechristianize should have no fear. About half the album still uses a similar songwriting formula to that found on the previous release, and songs such as the title track, “Scorned,” “Hammer Down the Nails,” and “In Infamy” display this gloriously. Also, apparently the band took some prior criticism to heart concerning the drum production, thus gone is the background drum “clicking” now replaced by only thundering bass as expected from such high quality production. It is still refreshing to hear how tracks like “Born to Rape the World” and “Shrapnel Embedded Flesh” simply steamroll the listener without as much care for guitar dramatics, and Icons of Evil does an excellent job of melding the old with the new. Many songs are still over seven minutes in length, so the epic feel of the songwriting also still survives. The cover of Yngwie Malmsteen‘s “Disciples of Hell” is also very satisfying. With the unholy blessing of DEICIDE‘s frontman, VITAL REMAINS is poised to take the lead in the top metal albums of 2007 with Icons of Evil. (Century Media Records)

DEICIDE’s Glen Benton Confirmed to Sing on New VITAL REMAINS Album

VITAL REMAINS, who are set to head out on tour with DISMEMBER, GRAVE, DEMIRICOUS, and WITHERED offered a quick note on the tour as well as details on their forthcoming new album:

“Just checking in with everyone right before VITAL hits the road again.  Going out with DISMEMBER and GRAVE is going to be killer! These are two great old school death metal bands that really helped define the Swedish Death Metal sound. A brutal assault; Death Metal the way it was meant to be, fast and heavy!!

“I know people have been wondering about the new record…well, it’s just about 100% written. More importantly, it looks like Mr. [Glen] Benton [DEICIDE] is going to be doing vocals for us once again! We were able to work around DEICIDE‘s crazy touring schedule, and we’ll be hitting the studio by the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted on all the info and if you haven’t already, go pick up DEICIDE‘s Stench of Redemption…it’s an amazing record. Hope to see everyone in the underground come out and as always, thanks for the support!”

DEICIDE – The Stench of Redemption

Everyone knows that Glen Benton and his merry band of hell raising mischief-makers have been writing songs about hating Jesus and killing Christians for a long time, but after a series of mediocre and otherwise seemingly forgettable releases on Roadrunner Records there is one question that seemed to haunt this band – does anyone care? With the reinvigorated songwriting and supercharged rhythms on The Stench of Redemption, DEICIDE is going to make you care.

Although their 2004 release Scars of the Crucifix marked a return to form of sorts on Earache Records, it took a line up change and rebuilding of this band’s sound from the ground up to create the aural assault in The Stench of Redemption. Gone are the production hiccups that appeared on Scars…, and Brothers Brian and Eric Hoffman bowed out to be replaced by ex-CANNIBAL CORPSE guitarist Jack Owen and guitarist Ralph Santolla of ICED EARTH. The result is excellent production with a plethora of roars, riffs and blasts that explode with thrash-infused death metal goodness. The band freely admits that this is the fastest material they have written, and their determination to write what is potentially the best DEICIDE release to date shines through. Tracks such as “The Lord’s Sedition” demonstrate that Glen picked up a few pointers on atmosphere and mood during his time working with VITAL REMAINS, though nothing on this album is as pretentious as the songwriting that appeared in Dechristianize.” Ralph and Jack most notably showcase their talents with solos on “Desecration,” “Crucified for the Innocence,” and “Death to Jesus.” Select versions of the album also include an interesting cover of DEEP PURPLE‘s “Black Night,” which has more blasting drums than Deep Purple could ever have imagined.

Some may say this album only serves up the best parts of those songs in DEICIDE‘s early career, but anyone with an ear for reinvention will recognize this release as representing the expression only hinted at in 1992. Let the earth quake, skies fall, and gods tremble with The Stench of Redemption. (Earache Records)