“Bloodbath” is the latest album of Greek very-promising thrashers Suicidal Angels and Metalpaths met the band at their personal studio in Athens, where the frontman of the band Nick talks about the new record, the guest appearances on the album, their experiences of the Thrashfest tour and many more about the future.
First of all some general things about “Bloodbath”: When and where has been recorded and who undertook the production?
Bloodbath has been released in January 27. It was recorded in October with Dimitris Liapakis as usual. We have already made 2 records with Dimitris that has become something like a 5th member of the band. He knows our sound, how we play, he also plays in a metal band (Mystic Prophecy) he is an old school guy and has a huge discography. He has understood exactly what we want, but this time we tried to mix the album in another studio, in Guggenheim Studio in Germany, and we did the pre-production here, in Zero Gravity studio. We had a general picture in our mind about how we want to make the album so we focused a lot on the details, mostly technical details in order to achieve a different sound comparing to our previous albums. So I think that now we have reached to a point where we tried to give something special in every song, separetely from the others.
How much time is needed for the creation of a new Suicidal Angels record? From the beginning of the recordings until the end of the mix and the mastering.
Recordings last about 10-12 days. They do not last longer. The mixing depends on how easily the guy that takes care of the mix will understand the style of the band. He sends you some samples through e-mail, you tell him “I like this, I don’t like this, fix this” and so on, so it needs a procedure for about 10-15 days for the mix and the mastering. It is accordingly on how close to our sound the guy that makes the mix and the mastering is.
For the second time the cover of the album was made by Ed Repka. How did you manage to have him draw your covers, and how you feel when working with such a great artist?
The record company helped a lot for this. They found him and we said that of course we want to collaborate with Ed Repka. The interesting part is that we never gave him an idea. We just told him tha name of the record, and after a while he sent us the first drawings, that were not digital but drawn on hand with a pencil, and we were telling him “yes or no” and the also interesting is that he did what we imagined for both albums.
What do you think are the differences between “Bloodbath” and your previous records?
I think that “Bloodbath” represents the period that the band is at that moment. We have worked with the guys in 2 records, we became a great team, we have toured together, we know each other extremely well. I believe that this is shown on “Bloodbath”. I think that it is more mature album compared to the other two. Don’t misunderstand what I say, I don’t think that the other records are worse , but I believe that “Bloodbath” is much more mature, and this is shown on the final result. As I said before, we focused a lot on the small details. In the previous records we needed some time to get to know Dimitris better, especially in the first album, so that Dimitris could understand how we work. In the second album we didn’t need so much time, and on third record was done very easily.
The song “Legacy Of Pain” has a lot of death metal elements, and the song “Torment Payback” has been influenced by the Swedish scene. Do you set a limit in the experimentations that you make, or do you leave yourselves free to experiment in every song?
I don’t think that there is a limit in music. OK we play thrash, thrash has some “limits”. If you cross them or not it is totally a personal matter, and a matter of how it sounds to the listeners. For example I may put classic heavy metal elements in a song and someone may say that it sounds very good or some others may not like it. We obviously have influences from old school death metal and from old school Swedish scene. It is not an experimentation, it is just some “steps” that we do and we see how they sound. In the future we may also try some other things or we may become totally old school, or we may become a trio (laughs). I am joking!
In the song “Legacy Of Pain”, Karl Willets of Bolt Thrower makes a guest appearance. How did you manage to have him appear in your record?
There is a background with Bolt Thrower, apart from Karl’s appearance in the album. In 2005, when they released “Those Once Loyal”, we wanted to see Bolt Thrower live and since we hadn’t seen them in Greece, we decided with Orfeas and 3 other friends to make a road trip and see them in Florence, Italy. We bought the tickets for the concert, we found the venue after a lot of trouble, and we went there. As soon as they found out that people from Greece had come for the concert, they came and met us, and they told us that due to a very serious electricity problem of the venue, they would have to cancel the show. They asked us if we’d like to come to the next city to see them that was 300 km away and we went to the next city. We followed Bolt Thrower’s tour bus and they let us enter the show for free, they gave us free t-shirts and so on, and that was where we first met them. Then, in 2010 if I remember well, we both played in Metalfests in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and the guys still remembered what had happened back then! We spend some days with them and we came closer and got to know each other better. When we wrote “Legacy Of Pain”, which is a special song, a more old school death metal song, we wanted it to have something special, so we asked Karl if he would like to make an apperance in a song and he told us to send him the song and if he liked it he would do it. We sent it to him, he agreed and that’s it.
In a period of 5 years you released 4 studio albums and you toured a lot. How did you manage to cope with such a busy schedule?
We rehearse every day. The band is our first priority and our main activity. We do not do anything else every day. There is no other way to do it. If you want to do something more, whatever that may be, you have to stick at this. We rehearse every day and that has given us the chance to work at any new idea instantly. In this way, although we tour a lot, when we return we chill out for a few days and then we start rehearsing again. So, we continue working on previous ideas, we work on them a lot and step by step we create a record between the tours.
Until a few days ago you were in tour. How did this tour go?
It was fucking awesome! Amazing atmosphere. We hadn’t met Cannibal Corpse before, so it took us some time to get to know them. We knew Behemoth because we had played with them in Metalcamp and in Bulgaria in 2007, we knew Legion Of The Damned since we have played together here and Maurice Swinkels (vocals) made the 2 videos for “Sanctify The Darkness”, so there was a familiarity. We met Misery Index for the first time and they were great guys, as well as Lexus Inferis from Wales, that toured for the first time. Everything was just great. When Corpsegrinder learned that we are Greeks, we came closer since his wife is Greek too, and from then on then the situation got completely out of hand. It was a very friendly atmosphere. And I think that it’s the most important factor for such a big tour to go well, and when I say big I don’t mean in duration, the tour was 23 shows, but in the number of persons, since we were 47 people. So even if there is only one asshole there, he can destroy everything and ruin the atmosphere. Imagine if there are more of them.
In 2010 you were part of the Thrashfest tour with Kreator, Exodus and Death Angel. How was it to tour with some of the biggest thrash bands ever? What did you learn from them and the way they work?
There is a bit strange feeling when you enter a tour bus or a venue and you suddently see Gary Holt, Mille, Ventor, Lee Altus, Mark from Death Angel and so on and you see them all together and you say “I listened to these guys when I was 15 and suddently I tour with them for one month”. It is a bit strange feeling until you get used to it, that you wake up in the morning and you drink coffee with Mille and Gary Holt. When you get used to it, you start coming closer because all of them are very good guys, the best guys we have ever toured with. I don’t know if you can learn something or just watch your idols play music every night and drink beers with them. Of course you earn from their professionalism, by seeing how they behave after all these years, because they are in the scene for almost 30 years. You earn experiences.
What is the process of the creation of a new Suicidal Angels song?
We enter the studio and we jam. Either me or Panagiotis, we have some ideas and we play them at first, and if all four of us like them, we start building them up, everyone tells his idea and with good will and mood we create it. There is no “recipe” or secret or form that we say ok we start like this 1,2,3,4 take it.
What are the plans of the band for the rest of 2012?
We will play in some summer festivals like Hellfest, Queens Of Metal, Extremefest and so on. We will be for a long time on the road, for about 1.5-2 months, maybe with a band that we have toured before, I can’t say more at the moment because it is not 100% certain. For the rest of 2012 there are a couple of ideas but we haven’t booked something yet. Sooner or later something will be announced.
In Greece there are many bands that play very good music in every subgenre of metal. What advices would you give to these bands?
Who am I to give advices? You need to do a lot of work. If you believe in your band and you want to take it to the next level forget about your personal life, friends, women and even your family and focus on the band. No coffees, no beers, no time to spend with your friend, or your girlfriend, or your boyfriend, if you are gay, and focus on the band. I don’t have to say anything else. There is no other recipe. Spend money to release a decent record, spend money to enter a tour, because it is a common secret that others accept and others refuse, that you have to pay yourself for the first tours. In order for you to enter a tour, the producer demands an amount of money. Give the money and enter. You never know who will be in the audience. For example in Germany, people from record companies may go out for food or beer but they may also go and watch a concert. You never know who is watching the show. He may be from a band, from a record company, the boss of Nuclear Blast or Century Media, it may be Mille from Kreator drinking a beer, it could be everyone. Go out and invest in your band. This is the only “advice” I can give. Nothing else.
These were my questions you may say whatever you want for the closing.
We would like to thank Metalpaths for this interview. We hope to see you all in the 2nd of June, when we’ll play with Sepultura at Fuzz Club in Athens. Until then, keep the horns rising!
Panos “Thrasher” Bantzis.