Saturday, March 3, 2012

TERRORIZER – "Stay away from the Zombie disease"

Terrorizer is without a doubt one of Metal’s most mythical bands. The super-group was formed in the late 80s by legends Pete Sandoval, Jesse Pintado, David Vincent and Oscar Garcia. After a few demos and a split-CD with Nausea (another recently reformed early US Grindcore band), Terrorizer released THE album that would define Grindcore: “World Downfall” in 1989. And then nothing; for 17 long years.
Quite suddenly, in 2006, the band returns with the controversial “Darker Days Ahead”. The line-up featured Jesse Pintado, Pete Sandoval and unknown members “Wolf” (vocals) and Tony Norman (bass) and the musical style is a little different, more Death Metal; less Grindcore. And just as the band seemed to be on track again, tragedy strikes with the passing of founding-member Jesse Pintado. 
But that wasn’t enough to kill the passion, the “Terrorizer Fire” inside Pete Sandoval’s very guts. And again, surprisingly, Terrorizer returns with “Hordes Of Zombies”, a new dominating record and a line-up completed by new guitarist Kat Culture and original bassist Mr David Vincent himself.
To hell all the controversy about grindcore or not grindcore; the new record is powerful, catchy and full of brutal Death Metal hymns.
Enjoy this long and very interesting interview with Anthony “Wolf” Rewhawk, as Terrorizer’s back, stronger than ever. (Pictures by Raven Spirits and Isabel Avila)

Wolf, how does it feel to be promoting a new record, 6 years after Darker Days Ahead?
It feels super awesome! Mostly because we actually wrote the music back at the end of 2008 and it's finally seeing the light of day.

The circumstances were very dramatic I guess in 2006, when did you decide that you had to record a new record?
Pete (Sandoval – Drums) actually called me at the end of 2008, and asked me if I'd be interested in recording a demo for a possible full-length release with Terrorizer. It was at that time that we talked about Jesse's absence. Pete told me that he was still carrying the Terrorizer fire burning passionately.  And he also reminded me that Jesse would've wanted for us to continue.

Can you tell me about the new line-up? I mean of course the return of David Vincent and the new guitarist Katina Culture?
Actually we were already working with someone else for the session bass playing duties.  But the label suggested we get David, since he recorded with Terrorizer for the "World Downfall" album, and since Morbid Angel is on the same label, they thought this would make sense.
To be honest, we thought he would be too busy with Morbid Angel's highly anticipated album "Illud Divinum Insanus".  So, when Pete asked David to join us as a session bass player, we were surprised that he was interested and made time from his busy schedule.  Of course, by the time he came on board all the material was already written.
As for Kat Culture, when Pete and I first talked about putting a demo together for a new Terrorizer release back at the end of 2008, it was then that he asked me about whom we should get to play guitar on the new album.  Since Kat and I have been playing together for more than a decade, and the fact that she was one of the last guitar players to play with Jesse, since he played in Resistant Culture post Napalm Death (Kat and I's other band) it seemed like the right progression for me.  I told Pete that I could ask her to at least play on the demo.  She agreed to participate at that level, and after the demo was recorded Pete asked me, "can we keep her?"  I asked her, and she happily agreed.  Kat's been playing guitar since her childhood, she is classically trained, she also plays cello and is a recording engineer. She is extremely comfortable with her guitar, which in my book more than qualifies her for this sensitive work. 

Pete; how’s your back doing? And how did the recording go??
Pete: Well, I recorded the drums for this album in January 2009, before I had my back surgery, and the recording was fun.  At this time I've had about a 90% recovery so far, and I do feel much much better than I did before the surgery.  I'm well and strong, ready to go out into battle on the road again!!!!   I'm also rehearsing and exercising daily.  I'm so on fire, loving this new Terrorizer album so much, as it will conquer and destroy!

Ok, back to the new record. I see every Terrorizer release as an “event” on it’s own, since it’s a rare phenomenon! Do you feel the fan’s demand for new music?
Wolf: The true fans of this band kept asking us to come up with a new record, so we did. And this time around we'll make sure to come up with another new one as soon as possible.  As a matter of fact, we already have new material that we should be tracking within the next few months.  Our main goal is to keep albums coming on a regular basis.

And are you planning to keep every Terrorizer record like an “event” that happens every 5-6 years, or is it possible that the bands gets into a more “regular” rhythm?
Oh yeah, Terrorizer will definitely get in a good rhythm and release records on a more regular basis.  Since now we have a solid band, with solid extreme music values.  And the fact that us three, Pete, Kat, and I are able to work together well on the creative process, it will make it easier for us to come up with our killer legacy.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the new record is: Dominating! Is it the feeling you wanted to transmit?
Yeah of course, our main goal was to write a brutal album for the sake of domination, a forceful domination that possesses the strength and power to light up the extreme metal torch with a blackened grind/death fire.

And how do you input that domination feeling? Do you focus on this while composing? I also love the dynamic on the record; it’s almost groovy sometimes!
When Kat and I sat got together to write material for the demo, I had a few musical arrangements in my head.  The first song to come out of this collaboration was "Hordes of Zombies", it was at that point that our fire lit up and we knew that the spirit was with us. The rest of the songs came together painlessly in a good way, and even though we had come together to only write 5 songs, the spirit gifted us with 13 plus a ton of riffs that we would use later when the time was right.
The writing of this album was a very special ceremonial experience for Kat and me.  We opened ourselves to the spirit of the band, to the point where we became vehicles / conduits for it.  The process was so natural that we actually wrote this whole album in one weekend.

There are a lot of discussions about the band’s style among the fans. Grindcore, Death, Brutal Death Metal…Do you pay attention to that?
Of course we pay attention to what fans are saying, but in the end it is the spirit that dictates our direction.
And do the fans reactions influence the way you compose?
We're firm believers of people being their own leaders and of people making their own choices.  If people really want to express constructive criticism, we're always open.  But if someone is just having a bad day, or they just hate their life and want and or need company in their drowning misery, that's where we draw the line.  We actually wrote a song about that kind of person, the song is "Wretched".

Generally speaking, some Metal fans take their favorite bands very seriously, and it’s particularly true for a band like Terrorizer, that is considered an institution. Do you feel that the band has a mission or particular responsibility?
Most definitely! Our mission is to create memorable brutal extreme metal music that marks the time and place of our reality today. Our philosophy is driven by the need to survive in these dark and uncertain times. We believe that a human without dreams and desires is not living life at the fullest.  So a big part of our philosophy deals with the struggle for liberation of the true human spirit.

And how would you describe Hordes Of Zombies, especially compared to your previous album?
"Hordes of Zombies" is the incarnation of our true nature, as musicians and as people.  We don't have to feel like we wished we were playing another style of music at all.  We love traditional extreme music in all it's forms, whether black, death, or grind, we are fans as well as creators.  As far as the previous albums, all I can say is that they each represent their own time and place, and they each have their own magic and or energy.  With that said, we feel that we have created a new monster ready to devastate and to continue the legacy!

I felt the music is indeed different from the “original” Terrorizer album, “World Downfall”, but I feel that the band’s “spirit” is the same… Does it show in the lyrics, or concept of Hordes Of Zombies?
I'd have to agree with you that the spirit is definitely there.
"Hordes of Zombies" is a concept album, it is our view of modern society today.  It depicts humans as a species in a dream state, idealizing illusions and fantasies of a world that doesn't exist. Lyrically it examines the sicknesses, whether mental, physical, and or spiritual, from the lack of either true perspective or just plain apathy, and in some cases ignorance. "Hordes of Zombies" as a song and as a title depicts most humans going through life neglecting their true nature as all their dreams and aspirations were removed when they entered adulthood. It is at that time that the human loses their peripheral vision and can only see what's at eye level.  "Hordes of Zombies" as a title or a album concept is not a sci-fi horror story for the sake of entertainment only, it's actually a real horror story taking place in front of our eyes. Just think about the fact that we're depleting the earth from very important elements for the purpose of energy.  They say that those elements are equal to female reproductive organs, without them the time will come when the earth will give life no more. As of now we've polluted a high percentage of the water, the air, the food, etc.  Today more than ever it's clear that humanity is on the verge of some major changes, these changes will definitely affect us all in one way or another. It'll be at that point that the zombie wont be able to provide for himself anymore and he'll be hungry and thirsty for your food, water, fuel, etc.
Any last word for the Terrorizer fans? Best wishes to everyone reading this interview.  Stay close to the things that keep you healthy and away from the Zombie disease.  Much respect to everyone. Cheers!

Thanks to Rose and to Wolf for the interview!

1 comment: