Interview by Andy (Leffer)
WARTORN are a whirlwind of thrash punk goodness hailing from Wisconsin. Since 2004, they’ve been hitting the touring and record release circuit with no looking back. Here’s a quick interview I did to assist in the Profane Existence release of their single.
Andy: You know the drill, just give us the basics on who’s who and what’s changed in the past, in regards to any line up changes, etc. Also, give us some insight on where WARTORN is going. We want to know tours, records, riots, protests, arrests….the whole back story on WARTORN’s origins.
Bitty: (Vocals) The band started in 2004, with Ryan, Hart (on drums) and myself as a three-piece. Within half a year I got a call with an offer for our first tour, which was with Municipal Waste. We did a mini tour with them and ever since then we have been able to go on tours with amazing bands each year such as Los Dolares, ATU, CYP, Krang, In Defence, Pyroklast, Hellshock, and up next RAW POWER . We have been to 13 countries and have done lots of releases on many different labels.
Ryan: guitar / low vocals / whiskey enthusiast. Well we started as a 3-piece and over a span of over 8 years, have ended up with 6 members. With 3 of us being guitar players we are able to diversify our songs in ways that we could only do in a studio setting. This obviously makes a difference live as well.
Ela: I’ve been the bass player for over the last 6 years. Recently, we came out with an LP/CD on Southern Lord Records called “Iconic Nightmare” and a 7-inch, “Domestic Terrorist”, released on Profane Existence (which is part of their limited edition singles series).
Toban: (Guitar) I think I might have the most arrests out of anyone in the band. Not like its anything to brag about. I did narrowly avoid another arrest a few weeks ago.
Derek: Guitar as well. I’ve been in the band for a few months and have been on two tours so far.
Start digging in your closet for that multi-colored Anthrax shirt (size XL) you bought in the mid-80ies, search for your Adidas high tops and better flip that bill of your cap because when the first note of this 7” resounds the laws of physics will be suspended: You’ll be immediately brought back to a time when bands like DRI, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, NUCLEAR ASSAULT or MOD merged Hardcore and Thrash Metal to create an urban soundtrack for endless skate sessions, wild mosh-pits and out of control house destruction parties.
FORESEEN’s new 7” Structural Oppression is stuck knee-deep in the 80ies and reproduces this classic crossover sound so well it’s hard to believe that those two songs were actually recorded in 2012 and not 25 years earlier. Besides sound-wise similarities to the aforementioned bands (and a shitload of others, I can’t help but think of the German Hardcore phenomenon TRUE BLUE for example) there are also the excessive vocals which are almost drowned in reverb and the downright hilarious cover artwork that totally support this 80ies-feeling. The sound of the recordings is quite rough, but very lively and direct – as I’ve heard these tracks have been recorded analogue, so that might be an explanation. And it’s great, most important.
If there is one thing I have learned about heavy metal it’s that there is no one generic “metalhead.” Yes, there are people who have tried to argue that metal is a European thing or a white thing, but all that tells me about those people is that their experience is limited (and they are seriously ignorant and should just shut the hell up). Go to any metal show in L.A. and you’ll see at least half, if not more, of the crowd is latino. There are metal scenes in Singapore, Brazil, the Middle East and Africa, just as there are scenes in Scandinavia and Russia. My point is, there is no color or nationality that can truly lay claim to this music, because it is a culture that finds root in many earths. South African photographer Frank Marshall traveled to Botswana to take portraits of the metal scene there – a small but strong one, heavily influenced by bands like Iron Maiden, Megadeath and Motörhead. Talk about being outcast from society – try being a metalhead in Botswana, wearing head to toe leather in 80 degree weather. The Renegades series of portraits show people who truly live for the music they love, making bullet belts out of used bullet casings and making a style of their own when it comes to metal fashion, a kind of leather-thrash-cowboy-Mad Max look. This collection of 60 portraits is available in book form from the Rooke Gallery in Johannesberg. After the jump, check out some of Marshall’s Renegades portraits and see Botswana Heavy Metal in action…
That’s right, rough thrashers Evil Army are back with a new 7″ I, Commander. Picking up where their rad self-titled effort left off back in 2006, Evil Army offer 3 songs that have appeared on their Armory Demo which was limited to 50 cd-rs and unbeknownst to most.
I’ve never understood why this Tennessee three piece never got the attention other thrashtards have, especially when anything retro seemed to be as popular as metal could get. Thankfully, Evil Army never relied on gimmicks, a fad, or a label; instead, their punk attitude, mixture of speed metal and Teutonic thrash make them such a fun band to listen to and immediately like that you don’t need some silly video or white high-tops to like them. Evil Army’s style is all about essentials; no fat, nothing superfluous and nothing slow.
There’s no foreplay with Evil Army as the title track rips right into you with extreme fervency.The second track, “Ashes of the Nuclear Fire” has a much more basement kinda production, leading me to think these are culled from different sessions. The drums are super flat and the bass is an anonymous noise below the scratchy guitar, but it still rocks hard. Rounding out the EP is “I Must Destroy You” which is more akin to the first track and sounds even more on the edge as vocalist/guitarist Rob Evil sounds like he belongs in Anthrax‘s Madhouse. It sounds like this isn’t new material, but rather older stuff re-released to coincide with Rob Evil’s return to the fold and the band’s assumed reactivated state.
And, as promised, I have returned once again, with almost the slightest hint of a regular schedule, to bring you visions from beyond to sate your Friday hungers. For those just tuning in, this is the third installment of my series re-animating the frantic amateur video documenting of some of my favorite artists, over the course of about two years. Roughly three-quarters of those videos seem at home in this space, but their ordered inclusion is solely at my whim.
Seeing that their epic wall of sound will be ripping through the District of Columbia once more in the coming week, I thought I’d revisit some time spent with the legacy that is Jucifer, in the very spot they’ll be returning to. (Ok, truth be told, my own band is opening for them, and I’m stoked out of my mind.)
Another year’s nearly gone by, and I have the honour of compiling CVLT Nation’s top 6 of German releases. I’ve tried to include releases from at least somewhat differing genres, as well as different formats (not just full length records) and also from new, exciting bands as well as established acts. Of course, a top six can never be complete, considering the huge amount of records released in one year, and naturally these choices are completely and utterly subjective. There are a bunch of other records I could have put easily on this list as well: O, Red Apollo or White Fields for example all released amazing records this year, but somehow I had to make decisions. Let us know in the comments section which records would have been on your top 6 German releases list and if we might agree on one or another! Oh and I cheated here and there a tiny bit, but I guess it should be fine with the golden rules of best-of-listing. Let’s go:
Are you ready to fucking head bang? Check out this gnarly 1989 Slayer documentary, nuff said! Peep the madness after the jump and play this motherfucker LOUD!
Hey Rob —- I guess by the time you see these questions the vinyl copies of the LP have just arrived, so the first question is are you happy with the finished result?
Very happy, they turned out great, iron bonehead did everything they promised, hail satan!
The new record seems like a pretty solid step up from The Devil’s Poison in terms of the sheer insanity of the songs (and the leads!) —- when you started writing did you feel like you were trying to top the last album or was it just a case of writing whatever came naturally this time around?
Some of the songs I had floating around on tapes for a while – we played one of these trax at our first ever gig actually, it just didn’t suit the other albums. We had a second guitarist for this album, so things needed to be a little different, specially from the last album, so we ran a completely different guitar sound on this album, a lot dirtier, hahahha!
So for the past couple of years now, you’ve been living in Ireland —- has it been hard to keep the band going since the move? Were you ever tempted to try and get a line up of the band together here in Dublin for convenience sake or anything like that?
The only thing that’s difficult is playing shows, we used to play quite a bit before I moved to the opposite side of the planet. I write all the music and lyrics, so that part hasn’t changed and slackness still prevails haha.
With the distance between members, how did the actual writing/recording process for The Escalation take place?
I went back to Australia for 7 weeks to jam with the other guys, and we also roped in a new guitarist, Horror Illogium (PORTAL) to help us out with the madness. We jammed for 4 weeks straight, putting riffs I had on tapes together, the usual drinking sessions and showing off till it all came together. “Prayer to hell” was actually only finalized in the studio while we were recording – we record all of our albums LIVE in studio, so the recording process is very quick, this album only took 4 hours to record, ie, a 5 minute song takes 5 minutes to record. Then we spent 2 weeks on and off mixing and mastering the fucker, Mick at Vibrafeel Studios has been working with us for over 18 years now, so he knows what we want, which helps a lot.