Exclusive interview – Warbringer: ”Some bands of the Big 4 and other older bands are past their prime”

Vi säger vad vi tycker.

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Warbringer har fått kritik för sitt omslag till IV: Empires Collapse, men hyllats för sin musik. Så Bara Metal ville veta lite mer – och sångaren John Kevill var tillmötesgående.

First off – why did you abandon your habit of having the letter W as a first letter in your album titles?

– The full title is ”Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse”, so we kind of still have that tradition! The albums beginning with W was unintentional in the first place, so it was never something we were really attached to.

Some people got really disppointed with, even ridiculed, your album cover – were you surprised, or were you prepared for this?

– Well, we expected not everyone would like it. The main complaint is that it looks like a doom or stoner metal cover and not a thrash one. To this I say- thrash metal isn’t a style of imagery, it’s a style of music, that is what is important. I’m glad we have the cover we have, it shows we aren’t glued to convention and can do something different that challenges people’s expectations.

386775On the other hand – most fans on Facebook supported you and backed you up. How about that?!

– It’s true, we have great fans, and I think our fanbase trusts us to always put out quality music, which is great! We try our best to fulfill this expectation.

Hunter/Seeker was the first thing we got to hear – was that first release of the album an easy decision?

– No, there’s a lot of really strong tunes on the record. I think Horizon, Turning of the Gears, Hunter Seeker, Black Sun Black Moon, Scars Remain, Iron City, and Towers of the Serpent are all real highlights for me, and I could of seen putting any of them out as the first taste.

Hunter Seeker starts out really furious and thrashing, but the middle section is very melodic and somewhat progressive, and brings the song to another level, and the verse, chorus, and hooks are very strong.

…but my favourite right now is Black Sun Black Moon – could you tell us the process and songwriting behind this song?

– Yes, it’s more a heavy/speed metal number. I got an immediate sort of highway feel from hearing the music, and it reminded me of some nights while on tour where I’m driving at like 4:30 am, trying to stay awake and getting so tired that I hallucinate a little.

– The lyrics are based around this kind of imagery and go from there. I think it’s like a more mystical, dark take on some Priest-like highway rollin’ metal, with a really glorious lead section in the middle.

The song One Dimension sounds almost like an anthem, both in lyrics as well as chorus and verse structure (like the intro) – what is your aim with this song? How did it come about?

– John Laux wanted to write a punk song for a while, and this is what became of that. I felt the chorus riff just called for a really catchy chorus, so that was the central focus of the song for me when I was writing the lyrics. The verses are a really direct list of things that basically suck about the modern world that we all live in, where the chorus is a message of “none of this bullshit people use to divide people is real, and in the end we are all pretty much the same.”

The reviews so far that I have read here in Sweden have given you a lot of praise – especially the development for you as musicians. Please describe why Warbringer today is a better band than in 2011.

– We always try to top ourselves. Whatever level of songwriting and performance we have achieved, when we write again, the question is always, ”How do we do better this time”. I think that mentality is really constructive and has led to a lot of growth in the band, it causes us to really push ourselves as a band and as individual musicians.

Do you think we will ever see a young, modern thrash metal band become as big as Metallica or the other Big 4?

– No, probably not. Metallica is really huge and took a middle of the road, mainstream direction for the last many years, which coming off the back of being one of the biggest bands in the legit metal scene, made them ridiculously successful. I think that as their popularity increased to a massive level, the quality of their records took a major decline.

– For us, what we do is far more niche, and we have no expectations of ever being a giant arena band playing fast, vicious, slicing thrash metal in 2013. It’s just for the metal maniacs, basically.

American thrash metal – not the Big 4 – has made very impressing albums this year: I’m thinking of bands like Havok, Revocation, you and Toxic Holocaust. Please explain why it is like this!

– I think that to some extent, some bands of the Big 4 and other older bands are past their prime. The fact is that their best records came from when they were young, hungry, and fucking pissed off. It’s much harder to make this style of music in a way that it speaks from the heart when you are old and rich.

– I think with a lot of successful, established bands in any style of music, that this is true. It’s just with this particular time in thrash, there seems to be a conscious effort by the music press to discredit bands playing thrash metal today, the term ”re-thrash” gets thrown around a lot but I don’t think that has too much validity to it. All the bands you just named sound completely different from each other, despite all being thrash metal bands, to some extent or another.

The ending of Iron City, please tell me that that song is the last song before you leave stage, and that that great metal riff and improvisation will continue for 15 minutes. It is totally hypnotizing!

– That‘s our Thin Lizzy part on the album! I really like it, that is Jeff Pott’s doing. It gives a very triumphant ending to that song. Glad you like it! I feel the same about the epic lead at the end of Towers of the Serpent. I love how this record has more of those fist-raising lead guitar oriented endings to songs, something we had done before on songs like Senseless Life and Treacherous Tongue, but I think that idea is on a new level on this record.

Congratulations on the Iced Earth tour. Sweden is included as well! What are your experience of playing in Sweden before this?! 

– We’ve only gotten to play there once at the Getaway Rock Festival. We flew into Stockholm from LA and were feeling like trash, the night we played we didn’t have a place to stay so we went to the campground and got drunk with a bunch of Swedes. As the sun didn’t really set, we were up til 4-5 AM before we passed out on the ground somewhere. The next day I saw Manowar. It was fucking excellent.

 Finally – Any other modern thrash metal bands that we should know of?

– Vektor, Witchaven, Violator, Antichrist from Sweden (just heard this one!) are all cool. There’s a solid amount of quality thrash metal coming out today.

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