Imperial Slave - Freedom Dies
‘’We are all imperial slaves. Anyone that has to work for someone else. Having to turn up at a certain time, do what they are told and take a wage that is a tiny percent of the actual profits being made. It is wage slavery, but you have to get your own food and accommodation unlike chattel slavery where these were included. I'm not saying chattel slavery was better.
Sam Sheppard is the creative force behind Imperial Slave and a kiwi drumming legend. From 8 Foot Sativa and Sinate, Imperial Slave is his latest project that is as uncompromising as it is brutally heavy
‘’The band came to be because my previous band Sinate had to take a break. So, I made a demo and put it online asking for members who wanted to play this kind of shit. The album line up - Anthony Hati, Isaac Lundy and Achilles Manly came together within 6 weeks of the demo being released and we got working on the album demos immediately. The we got Matt Wright on drums before the album was released to start touring.
The major difference from your other projects apart from vocal duties to drumming. Is vocals over drumming easier or harder?
‘’The song writing process was the main difference. Usually, we would write together by jamming but because most of the writing was done before I had any band members I had to write and record the demos on my own. It was hard and I'm never doing that again! The next album will be written by all of us so it should be a lot easier, although it's never easy making an album.
‘’Doing vocals is SO much easier than drumming. I'm just yelling at people. I barely even break a sweat. After drumming I would be completely drenched and exhausted. I love doing vocals way more than I thought I would, but nothing compares to the thrill of drumming. I'll always be a drummer. Vocals is just something I do now. Drumming was harder but I preferred it.
The Debut Album
I started work on it late 2019 when I knew Sinate wasn't able to do another album. I already had a few riffs but no completed songs, so I just got to work writing. The other guys added a lot in the studio though. Most of the harmonies were by Isaac and Ant and Achilles wrote their own parts. They made everything better and it would have been a pretty average without them.
‘’The overall theme is empires fucking people over.
Beer fuelled metal.
‘’I'm not familiar with the term Beer fuelled Metal, but I like it! Is that from us? Maybe one of the other guys said that. Cool. I don't have to drum anymore so I can drink more before gigs. The technical side is up to the band cos they have to play it ha-ha.
The Power of 80’s metal?
‘’I am heavily influenced by 80's Thrash Metal. Not just the Big 4 but bands like Nuclear Assault, Pestilence, Exodus, Overkill, Testament but the Megadeth and Slayer influence on the first album is probably the most obvious.
80's Thrash and 90's Death Metal are my main influences. The extreme stuff would be Malevolent Creation, Suffocation, Deicide, to name a few and Black Metal bands like Immortal, Marduk etc.
Was it easier or harder having more control over the music?
‘’Both. It was harder in the way that I had no one to jam it with while writing and bounce ideas off. It was easier because I didn't have to compromise a single thing. I could do whatever the fuck I wanted and answer to no one. But if I had to choose, I would always rather write with someone else. The result is usually better with a team effort and that's how we'll do it from now on. These guys can play like absolute mother fuckers so it should come together pretty quickly once the work is being put in.
What is Metal?
‘’Metal means everything to me. I dedicated my whole life to it nearly 30 years ago. As far as what is real Metal. It's different for everyone. Some would say that Manowar is really Metal, and I think it's a bunch of over cheesed horse shit. But I know that loads of people despise Metallica when I think they are fucking rule. Except for Load and Reload. They can fuck off with Manowar. But whatever real Metal is to anyone, I know they are fucking in love with it, if they're talking about it that way, so good on them. I get it. I have mates whose music I hate, and they hate shit I like. Who cares? We can all still have a beer together.
‘’’Doing whatever you are fucking want.
Who are the liars and traitors?
Your recent NZ tour after such a break and international plans?
‘’We are having a break from touring now to write the next album. We will do a short tour at the end of this year to play the new material live before we head into the studio in December. Go to our Facebook page for dates and updates. Nothing international is booked yet. There are talks with promoters and other bands internationally but there's nothing to say until things get confirmed.
‘’We're only looking at the next album right now. There's no point looking too far ahead. One album and one tour at a time. Same as always.
Top 6 albums of all time?
Rust In Peace - Megadeth
Individual Thought Patterns - Death
Reign In Blood - Slayer
Master Of Puppets - Metallica
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - Iron Maiden
Pierced From Within - Suffocation
‘’I've got to add the first Led Zeppelin album to the list because that was the first album I bought and loved it to death as a kid and still do. 6 isn't enough. I could go to 20.
Legion - Deicide
Far Beyond Driven - Pantera
The Fine Art of Murder - Malevolent Creation
Aggressive Measures - Sinister
Covenant - Morbid Angel
Butchered At Birth - Cannibal Corpse
Undead - Six Feet Under
Among The Living - Anthrax
Beneath The Remains - Sepultura
Damned In Black - Immortal
The Ultimate Incantation - Vader
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow - Suicidal Tendencies
Horrorscope - Overkill