Well. When Rod started the band with his friends, they went looking for a violent sounding band name that had not been taken yet. The initial idea of the guy that would go on to be the singer was to call it - hold on - ‘Infernal Slaughter Messiah Of Hell’. They quickly saw that this was a bit too long to stick so they shortened it to the much punchier Slaughter Messiah. "
Arisen to hail the metal goods since 2008. Slaughter to the Pyre is their latest release of pure hellfire, and is metal in its rawest true form devoid of modern trappings, a brutal sound that Drummer JB describes as ancient metal of death.
"It is how we try to describe what we do to people who do have a need to label things. Ha-ha. But it’s basically all there: Our metal is ancient, it is definitely metal and in praise of death. And it has a nice ring to it! Our record label stuck ‘Black Speed Terror Metal’ to us, after an old song of ours. Suits us as well! If I approach your question more technically, I would say it is a strong base of violent old school thrash metal like at the end of the 80/early 90’s if you want, based on the traditional heavy/thrash movement. Riddled with early Black Metal and peppered with early Death Metal. Not much musical influences after 1994 in our tunes I would say.
"We do get a lot of early Kreator as reference which is something we are grateful for and honoured by, yet it was not the initial purpose. Same for Hellhammer though I personally see that reference less viable, but still an honour. I want to say whatever people hear there is fine as long as it fits somewhere in what I wrote above. First one to compare us to Sabaton gets his own balls served raw on a dish though. So to answer what is our sound? The sound of uncompromising metal forged on the ancient anvils of steel in purgatory!"
JB has a clear direction when it comes music, literature and film being an influence: "Musically, I let myself be influenced by all the kinds of heavy music that kick my ass and the way they handle their beats. And that is a lot I want to say. This goes from traditional hard rock to classic rock, AOR, NWOBHM to the extreme ancient black and death metal bands. I listen to music because I like it when I hear it, not when it’s labelled ‘Metal’ per se. I do try not to be too influenced by the non-metal music I like when writing beats with the guys but I’m sure it has happened or will happen anyway. Literature wise I am an absolute zero, fuck all mate, I only read record sleeves, the newspaper and many many scientific publications. I prefer to watch a movie than read a novel in general. Yet I have not tried it in 15 years so maybe I need to give it a go some day. Which brings me to your third point seamlessly! Also here I tend to be stuck in the 80s… the action movies, the horror movies, all your no brainer classics that help me switch off my mind. After that: Scientific documentaries but I do not see how those influence me musically ha-ha."
There is however a love of beer: “Burp! I suppose beer would affect our smell more than our sound. But we certainly never fear the brew… has it influenced our song writing? Yeah I’m sure we came up with some stuff totally shitfaced. Our previous EP has mainly been recorded when we were completely messed up actually.But then some tracks got lost so that is what beer does to our sound too: Make us redo it". And brew of choice? "Orval! No discussion! But I am a big fan of multi fermented dark beers, porters and stouts in general. As long as they did not throw in too much fruity taste."
Cursed to the Pyre is your first full length which was long time in arriving. "It did take us some time indeed but haste makes waste you know! The story is that after we did our last EP we immediately started writing for the album and that some songs do indeed date back to 2016 or longer, at least in some primitive form. Also we just can’t resist playing live so that is what we did all the time, touring and playing all over the place getting our name out there and now and then throwing in a new song as appetizer for the coming album. Then when we finally went in the studio the first time we determined that the songs were not fine-tuned well enough to record and release. So we took almost another year to review everything, while still playing live… But then the urge to get this off of our chests was so big we halted everything and went recording. We did it in our rehearsal place over several weekends, whenever calendars matched. So you can see it took a bit of time for different reasons."
A pure metal record also requires the artwork f one who is pure metal. Enter legendary musician and underground art figure ROK.
"This was Franck’s job! He already had had contact with Rok for the artwork of an Enthroned album actually. So when we were looking for an artist he proposed to just fucking get in touch with him. None of us had anything against that to say the least as we were all fans of his style and SadEx as a whole entity. We sent him some rough mixes of songs and lyrics. He was totally into it and came up with what it is now. He also took the effort of creating some smaller pieces of art to illustrate the whole layout. Could not have fitted better if you ask me!"
"The current state (of Metal) you say, well let’s forget the momentary exceptional situation. Ingeneral I would say real and good metal is very much alive and is seeing a few good new waves anduprisings. First of all in quantity and consequently also in quality. The line between those issubjective and up to the listener of course. It’s great to see this very wildfire enthusiasm of young bands and not to forget old bands that keep their axes sharp. You could say there’s not much new - as in innovative - material being written, the paths have mainly been carved already by previous generations. But the traditional genres and their crossbreed offspring are doing very well andremain interesting to follow up."
Should all metal stay underground? "I don’t know. I want to say yes in a way since when you look at the ‘metal’ that is commercial: Well it’s not metal at all. At most a decent pop song with distorted guitars and a couple of basic down beats. So most proper metal stays underground automatically! But if the general opinion of music listeners suddenly grows a couple of ears and pure metal can rise above… why not. But, understand well, without watering down the spirit and quality or anything, no compromises ever! I do not see this purely theoretical brainfart coming to life any time. So it is probably not meant to even. Verywell, I for one would miss the filthy bars and stages real soon if I had to play these fancy theatres weekly. To give one example." Those filthy bars are currently empty along with your tour plans I’m guessing? "We actually would have yes! But now all forthcoming gigs ‘till after summer are cancelled as you know. There are a few dates that have been rescheduled already and requests are slowly tickling in for later this year but of course everyone is very careful in setting up gigs and fests and waiting how the current pandemic situation will evolve. As for tours, same story, I do not see a proper one happening still this year but if it turns out to be possible and makes sense fucking hell yeah we will go at it!"
The world is in turmoil at the moment? "That’s a bit of an ample question… You can’t deny humanity is making a bit of a mess for themselvesand mainly lost track of the essence of the time you are given here. What ticks me off mostlynowadays is this is overprotective and sensitive behaviour of people. You can’t say anything withoutsome cunt being offended, dragging you to court or trying to nail you to the social media pillory and whatnot. Whatever happened to stick’n’stones and all? F’n grow a pair!"
But it is not the end right? "It will sort itself out, I think. I can’t be arsed too much honestly. I’m making the best for myself and especially my close friends etc. The current pandemic is a good opportunity for many people to rethink what is important actually, and will see some enlightening sights for sure now that everything they took for granted for so long has been taken. But I think once the situation has been reverted ‘completely’ people will have learned nothing in the end, Cfr for previous pandemics..."
New bands worthy of Slaughter Messiahs attention? "Any new band with the right intentions deserves anyone’s attention! Until they mess up of course and prove to be absolutely useless or below average generic! Some killer stuff I recently discovered though, off the top of my head: KVAEN, Diabolic Night, Hexenbrett, Toronto, Wolftooth, Oath OfCruelty, C.B.A., Sölicitör, Terminus, Aerodyne, Megaton Sword, Galaxy, ..."
True metal is defined by…? "Leather! Bullets! Spikes! Beer! Satan! No man, do you really want to stick a technical definition to something that is all about feeling, in a way? For me it’s about riffs, insane barricades of rolling riffs and thunderous beats. We do gladly and ferociously indulge in all the shenanigans that come with your cliché image of course, ha-ha!"
The top six of all time? "6? That already means some variety depending on my mood but I’ll give it a go. Queen - Sheer Heart Attack Holy Terror - Terror and Submission Black Sabbath - The Headless Cross War Babies - War Babies Blind Guardian - Imaginations from The Other Side Lord Belial - Enter the Moonlight Gate These would sum it up nicely at this moment. But let there never be any discussion about the first two.