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Interview - WEREWOLVES - Metal is a vehicle to express anger, fear, hate, and violence.

Interview with black death metal band from Australia - WEREWOLVES.

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Recenze/review - WEREWOLVES - What a Time to Be Alive (2021):

Ave WEREWOLVES! Greetings to the Australian underground. Let's go straight to the most important thing. You have released a new record „What a Time to Be Alive“, which is literally packed with honest, dusty death metal. How did the album come about and how do you feel about it? What direction have WEREWOLVES evolved to?

We’ve released a new record fuck yeah 666! Basically we never stop writing or recording. „What a Time to Be Alive“ was being recorded just as our debut was released, and we’ve nearly finished recording album 3 right now. We are NOT evolving. We leave no rock in our cave unturned when it comes to searching out ways to be dumber, coarser, hairier. How DARE you say we’re evolving. The next album will be so stupid, the lyrics sheet will be hieroglyphics etched into dirt with a blunt stick.

You released a new record in the strange times. No one could have known that Covid 19 would hit the world. Has the current situation affected releasing process in any way?

Nope. For the last 15 years, it hasn’t been a big effort to record albums where everyone’s in a different location, and we’re way beyond the days of posting a master tape to a record label. Covid certainly fucked up tours and live shows, but it has left recording untouched, everything’s done over the net. Any intelligent label isn’t gonna get in the way either, right now it’s all about who can put out the most content possible. Don’t think we’re gonna slow down though when the plague is over. We’re antisocial as fuck, so we’ll still be locked up in our homes making horrible smelly music.

What is the current situation regarding Covid 19 in Australia? Clubs are already open, can you have a tour, for example? Many summer festivals have been canceled in our country, foreign groups will hardly reach us.

There are some bands doing national domestic tours and one-off shows, none from overseas though. It’s too hard to get in the country, there’s still thousands of overseas Australians trying and unable to return. Anaal Nathrakh aren’t going to be able to jump the queue ahead of them! Pity, really.

Things may look carefree down here but I can assure you it’s not the case. We’re just coming out of summer, whereas you guys have just had winter which is when a sneeze can really get around. Our turn will come again in a few months, just watch. We’re still having Covid outbreaks and when that happens, States and Territories here tend to close their borders immediately with no notice. If you book a show in two month’s time I reckon there’s about a 1/3rd chance it’ll get cancelled because of an impromptu shutdown.

But let's talk about new record. I'm listening to it right now, and I have to write that this time it took me a while to get this record into my blood. I put the album into the player, I am listening to it in the car. I really like the sound. It is lively, organic, old school and at the same time clear. It seems different to me from your previous record. Where did you record and who is signed under the sound?

Yeah, first album was us having a bit of fun and the second album was us trying to assault the listener as hard as possible for having the temerity to purchase our music. The first impression would probably be something like „fucking hell, this is angry“. We didn’t want to do the modern thing, where you go blisteringly heavy for twenty seconds then slow it down and give everyone a break...and we didn’t want to do the other modern thing, of having a wall of kicks and sweeping and a waveform that looks like a great big fat black brick. We all recorded separately...guitar and bass were done at Matt’s flat then reamped in a studio in South Melbourne, Dave recorded drums at his studio, and the vocals were done at Ghostnote Studios in Adelaide. Dave’s brother Joe (Haley) mixed it again.

You'll probably agree with me that the cover sells. Your cover is really brutal this year. The author is Mitchell Nolte. Personally, I like this cover. I'm just wondering if it's not "too" brutal. You know, on social networks, artificial intelligence evaluates what is and what is not right. Many bands had problems due to similar covers. How did you get together with Mitchell and what exactly does the motive have to express in relation to music?

It’s a pretty strong cover, no doubt about it. I think anyone trying to ban it as being explotative would find themselves in an uphill battle trying to explain their reasoning behind it, particularly with the woman’s dominant position. I’ve wondered why we haven’t run into at least one halfwit trying to have a go at us, and I don’t know if we’re just lucky or if they realise we can actually argue our own case. Predators usually prefer easy victims. Facebook AI hasn’t picked up the image either, I can only imagine that the images are too blurry or too obviously painted for us to be troubled. Again, we may just be lucky.

Dave knows Mitchell personally, they’re both from Tasmania. He did the cover to the first album too and all he needs to get going is the lyrics and a general theme. The theme we gave him was ‚harrowing violence‘ and we think he represented this perfectly.

I put „What a Time to Be Alive“ in my head again and again and I say to myself that I like the most this old school death metal feeling that's hard to describe. Looks like we're of the same blood. Who were and are actually your idols? Every musician started somehow, there are patterns that shaped his signature. What about you?

I think Matt grew up worshipping everyone from G’n’R Slash, Petrucci, King Diamond, but also stuff like Marduk and Dark Funeral. So you get someone who is really technically capable but also loves the extreme stuff that goes right off the deep end. I know he and Dave share a love for Marduk, particularly their Panzer Division album. Dave is similar to Matt, an absolute master musician who shamefully craves ridiculous blastbeats and brutal music. I grew up worshipping early Morbid Angel, Deicide, Carcass, and Brutal Truth. I liked the arrogance of Dave Vincent, the vocal rhythms of Glen Benton, the trade-offs of Carcass, and Kevin’s screaming in Brutal Truth. I wasn’t interested in too much progressive metal outside of Cynic or Death, I wanted metal that was incredibly harsh or fuck off.

What do you think about the current trends, widespread mainly among young bands, where they try to play as technically as possible, they often insert a saxophone, various keyboards into death metal and look for a way in a very complicated way. Do you enjoy such bands? For example, if I ever come to a concert and someone like this performs there, I'm confused. It seems like a rehearsal of a jazz school to me, but in the end I don't remember anything at all. What about you and current trends in death metal?

We hate everyone and are driven to record so much music because barely anyone makes what we want to hear. There’s very little experimentation I enjoy. I liked Brutal Truth using power tools to add industrial sounds. I didn’t mind the Napalm Death album where I think John Zorn freaked out on a saxophone or something. Experimentation without vision though is just wank. I think Nile fucked up a generation of metal with their technical approach, suddenly every young band thought the way forward was to jump from riff to riff as jarringly as possible and make sure you didn’t repeat anything which could be enjoyed by the listener, then break it all up by playing some obscure acoustic stringed something. That works for Nile because they’re actually talented, but now we’re left with these groups of young musos jerking each other off at 300bpm with nothing to say. Metal is a vehicle to express anger, fear, hate, and violence. I hear great musicianship these days but no crazies expressing emotion. Just these sad little pantomimes pretending to be something more than cover bands.

Having said that, I think The Amenta album ‚Revelator‘ is a good recent experimental’s like it grew up in the same ‚City‘ from SYL’s second album, but then got old and mentally ill and confused and disillusioned. And I’ve heard the new Voices album due out later this year and it mixes piano, clean vocals, and beautiful arrangements with death metal perfectly. It sounds like Bryan Ferry decided to get all the musicians from the early 80s and make a 2021 death metal album. These two albums work because they have obvious artistic vision, they’re not experimenting for the sake of it, and they have years of perfecting their craft behind them.

When we look back at the beginning ... What was the first impulse to found the band? And why the death metal? It's not the typical style which can would give you great "glory".

Fuck glory, anyone making extreme metal for glory is set for a lifetime of disappointment. They should get down to the gym, wax their balls, buy some DJ decks and learn to dance. We make death metal because it’s illegal to bash people to death, and making this music will have to do instead. Matt and Dave founded the band almost as a joke, they wanted to see how quickly they could form a band and make an album. We’re used to putting in painstaking amounts of work on our recordings with other bands and it was interesting to see how far we could go this time with little to no effort.

You come from Australia and you play extreme death metal. Our readers would certainly wonder how the death metal scene works in Australia. To tell you the truth, so lately I hear only the great bands from there. Does this mean that the scene there is so strong at the moment? What about concerts, how many people coming to them?

Hmmm, well I know Whoretopsy played three nights in a row recently to 250 people each night so it seems like the live scene has a bit of a heartbeat. There’s certainly a lot of bands doing worthwhile stuff right now and it’s interesting to see groups emerging with an ‚Australian‘ sound like Dead Kelly or King Parrot. I think life here is still easy enough that it’s possible to focus on a band and take it as far as you want, and there’s enough talent around so that you can round out a lineup. Just ask Dave and Matt, they play for about a hundred bands each! Hahaha. Yeah, I think things are good here right now. There was a great scene in the 90s and a few good years in the early 2000s. I think things are coming around again.

From your music is possible to feel that you are influenced by American death metal school and as well by the old European bands. How do you feel about it as a fan? Do you prefer the original death metal of the 1990s or do you get inspiration as well from the new albums? If yes so I am wondering which bands had the greatest impact on WEREWOLVES.

I loved the Florida genre of death metal in the 90s, the early english grind bands, and the second wave of black metal like when bands such as Emperor stopped burning stuff down and started getting real about their art. For me, it’s all about 90s death metal, the first half of the decade was golden....everyone was putting out legendary albums, everyone had their own sound, no doubt at all that the zeigeist was there at the time. As a band? Panzer Division Marduk is our north star. Whatever we do, we’re pointing in that direction. And Mortician’s „Chainsaw Dismemberment“. I think the only modern bands doing anything for us would be Anaal Nathrakh, and their last three albums or so haven’t had the intravenous hate-injection we usually fiend for.

In the end I always ask a slightly philosophical question. How would you define death metal and what does it mean to you? I don't mean the playing technique now, but rather what it brings to you, how you perceive it in relation to the fans. Did you grow up on it?

Death metal is the most aggressive form of metal and the least dogmatic. You can make it whatever you want it to be or do a brutal 90s homage like we do, and there’s room in the genre for both.

I started on death metal when I was 16 or so. I was listening to gangsta rap before then, I had a real taste for snotty arrogant music. Then I made a rapid progression through Slayer and Metallica to the extreme stuff that was getting released at the time. Even then I could tell it was a real special era for this sort of music, you could see that every month another album would get released that was gonna live forever. Y’know, Sepultura ‚Arise‘, Death ‚Human‘, Carcass ‚Necroticism‘, Morbid Angel ‚Blessed Are the Sick‘, Pungent Stench ‚Been Caught Buttering‘, month after month after month.

Looking back, I think it completely obliterated any of the youthful fear and awkwardness you feel which is a big deal when you’re a kid. I’d listen to Bolt Thrower before playing a football match and knock out so many fucking people, including myself. You’d have all this aggression as a young guy but no way to express it, and revealing it in any way was so taboo...then suddenly here’s this music and a scene where you can totally let rip, fury is out in the open and totally accepted, encouraged even. That’s still what it does for me, instant fearlessness. It’s why I’m disappointed in the modern push to make metal safe and inclusive and unaggressive. It’ll take away one of the last places where you’re allowed to be standing in a hurricane of violence.

Thank you so much for the interview. I appreciate it. Now let's talk music. I'm going to play „What a Time to Be Alive“ really loud! I wish you good luck and all the best in your personal lives. Thank you!

Thanks man. Fuck everyone. Death Metal.

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