Pat Furey of Behind The Mask recently conducted an interview with guitarist Bill Steer of reactivated British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Behind The Mask: You guys have a new album that dropped late last year on Nuclear Blast, entitled "Surgical Steel". I was surprised personally by the overall positive reaction that was unanimous from people. Did it surprise you given the rampant negativity that seem to infest the metal world?
Bill: [Laughs] Yeah you're right, there's a lot of that going on. I wouldn't say it was quite unanimous, because, obviously, a lot of negative comments are out there, if you look for them, but yeah, it was really shocking to us just how positive the overall reaction was, and I just really wasn't ready for that. I was bracing myself for about a 50/50 reaction, and in the end it was more like 90/10 or something. It was great!
Behind The Mask: You spoke about this being something that's been rewarding. Was there maybe any apprehension or trepidation when it came to making a new album? Were you at all fearful that people would just pass it off as not being relevant and be forgotten?
Bill: Nah, we couldn't really allow our minds to go in that direction; otherwise we would have been frozen with fear. [laughs] I guess the way we started it was, looking back, because we hadn't told anybody we were writing material. Initially it was just Dan Wilding, our drummer, and myself in a rehearsal place, and then very shortly Jeff [Walker, bass/vocals] came down and joined us, and it was a very dynamic vibe between the three of us. Every day we achieved something. Either way we came away with either an entire song or a good chunk of a song finished. And we believed in what we were doing, so other people's expectations or opinions didn't enter into it until the things was done, in all honesty, and once we had it mastered and ready to go, that was a scary time, because you just brace yourself for a load of flack, really.
Behind The Mask: With all of the reunion talk with currently defunct bands, has their ever been any talks amongst you and the guys from any incarnation in the various forms of the NAPALM DEATH lineup, talking about doing a big revival show with the revolving door of people who have been in that band?
Bill: If there has been talk, I haven't heard any. I can't see how that would be possible really, as everyone is in different places. And I don't mean geographically, but mentally and musically. If you look at the current NAPALM lineup, I only actually played with one of those people. I have been at festival where both bands were playing and people would say, "You should get up and play with them," but that would feel incredibly forced, because we didn't actually ever share a stage together in the old days. The only person I can say that about would be Shane [Embury, bass], obviously. It's a tricky one, that band, because there are so many branches of the family tree, but what I would say is that for the era of that band that I was involved in, the pivotal member — and I don't think anyone could dispute this — was Mick Harris [drums]. Really, I think in terms of getting that version of NAPALM back together, he would have to be involved, and from what I understand, that isn't really that likely.
Behind The Mask: Yeah, I've heard that he wants nothing to do with it ever again.
Bill: It might be that, or it might be more complicated, because, you know, if a guy has been away from playing blast beats and very intense drumming for a number of years, it's really hard to get back into it. So even if he had the inclination, goodness, that's going to be a real uphill struggle to get back to that point. I'm sure the present lineup of NAPALM isn't particularly bothered about doing something like that anyway.
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Decibel magazine's third cross-country domination — set to take place next spring — will feature death metal demigods CARCASS alongside melodeath powerhouse THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, technical death metal heroes GORGUTS and emerging death/thrash squad NOISEM.
The third time's the harm, as CARCASS — the Liverpool legends responsible for "Surgical Steel", Decibel's number one album of 2013 — embark upon their first sustained domestic tour in five years. The 2014 Decibel Magazine Tour will fester across North America for 21 putrefying dates, once again seamlessly integrating the past, present and future of extreme music.
Ever-acerbic CARCASS frontman Jeff Walker finds it difficult to contain his enthusiasm. "This is possibly the unsexiest Decibel Tour lineup yet," he quips. "We're all bringing the 'girth' back to the U.S., along with gray hair and sensible footwear. But it's the music that matters, right? Just close your eyes and think of England. If that fails, think of Tampa."
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER frontman Trevor Strand is a longtime CARCASS superfan, so much so that he has the coolest tattoo ever: surgical instruments from the cover of the 1992 "Tools Of The Trade" EP. "We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this amazing tour," he says. "I will do my best to play it cool in the presence of such great and influential musicians who I have worshipped since the seventh grade — but I can't guarantee anything.
"We in the DAHLIA camp are elated to have been considered, and vow to do our best to impress. Nothing less for the combined might of CARCASS and GORGUTS!"
Luc Lemay of Canadian technical death metal institution GORGUTS can't wait to bring songs from 2013 comeback sensation "Colored Sands" to the stage. "Since the first day I discovered Decibel, I always saw them like an institution," he enthuses. "So, when I got the news that we were offered to be part of their annual tour, I felt totally honored and excited as hell! It will be amazing to share the stage with CARCASS, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and NOISEM to perform our new music every night!"
As for Baltimore death-thrash upstarts NOISEM — who blew minds with brutal-beyond-their-years debut "Agony Defined" — guitarist Sebastian Phillips keeps his thoughts on the tour perfectly succinct: "Dream come true. Period."
There will be a number of VIP premium packages available in each market, providing you with a T-shirt, poster, "Skip the Line" pass and free digital sampler from Nuclear Blast. The price of this package is less than you would spend on a ticket and a tour shirt at the show!
The dates are as follows:
Mar. 18 - Orlando, FL - The Beachum Theater
Lifelong horror enthusiast and METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammettrecently spoke to Nikki Blakk of the San Francisco, California radio station 107.7 The Bone about his first annual horror convention, dubbed Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEviL, which will take place February 6-8, 2014 at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California. You can now watch the chat below.
Created to honor the weird, the wonderful, the eclectic, and the things that make your hair stand up on end, the heavy doors of collector/curator/historian/guardian Kirk Von Hammett's crypt will be opened to the public to display the finest acquisitions in his extensive collection of horror memorabilia which includes rare movie posters and props, costumes, models, masks, and toys from various eras.
"I've always loved horror, I've always loved collecting, I've always loved weird and macabre things and I've always loved conventions," confessed Hammett. "So what could be better than having your own Fear FestEviL where ALL those great and crazy things can be enjoyed by like-minded people under one pretty cool roof?! Nothing!!! And because I've seen some conventions turn from back-room gatherings of like-minded dorks into mainstream hipster extravaganzas, rest assured that it's my intention to make this a great experience where all things horror, weird, and nerdy are celebrated! So come one and all!!!"
Already confirmed to attend as panelists will be Slash, makeup FX legend Greg Nicotero ("The Walking Dead"), Tom Savini ("Dawn Of The Dead"), and John A. Russo ("Night Of The Living Dead").
Private "Crypt" tours, signing sessions, and musical performances by Nuclear Blast artistsCARCASS, DEATH ANGEL and ORCHID will also be included in the three-day event.
Visit www.FEARFESTEviL.com for the latest information on horror's newest and coolest fan convention.
In 2012, Hammett released "Too Much Horror Business - The Kirk Hammett Collection", an oversized 228-page hardback book documenting his love of all things related to the horror genre and features more than 300 photos of items from the collection of horror memorabilia he has accumulated over the years. The book also included three lengthy interviews withHammett, who also wrote the captions for many of the photos.
Hammett told the San Francisco Chronicle, "I've been into [horror] stuff since I was five years old . . . My love for this stuff is insane and totally obsessive-compulsive. It's just one of those things. I'm still waiting to outgrow it or get tired of it or get bored with it. But it does not seem to happen."
Hammett, who has been collecting items and watching horror movies since he was a child, told Loudwire why he thinks the genre is so popular. He explained, "They're just fun. They're a fun experience. It's not unlike a roller coaster ride, you know? A good horror movie should have peaks and valleys, a good horror movie should move you emotionally, a good horror movie should be exciting to watch and energizing in a weird kind of way . . . horror movies deliver that."
Hammett added, "I've always been attracted to the darker things in life. I was never one to go for light, airy stuff, even as a child. My whole aesthetic has always been one of the darker side. That rings true also in my tastes in music."