Friday, 23 November 2012


Many years ago in Newcastle, United Kingdom a band called Hellbastard was formed. This band, whether they like it or not, spawned a genre called Crust - a dirty blend of Punk, Hardcore and Metal. Hellbastard were first interviewed by me in the first edition of Crucifixion way back in 1993. I spoke to front man Scruff to see what's been going on since then... 

Hi Scruff, how's things going?

Well, hi to you too Matt, things are definitely going...wrong. Look at the world. What a fucking mess.
I last interviewed you back in 1993 for the first issue of Crucifixion, what have you been up to for the last 20 years?

Ahhh the normal shit, you know - working and earning a wage and paying the bills. Making a lot of bands.

Musically speaking, you seem to be a perfectionist who is rarely happy with his work, but out of all the Hellbastard material, which is your favourite and why?

 Nothing. I have a really great rehearsal tape from 1988 with Bry on drums, that was such a good was 30/9/1988.

With the Ripper Crust demo you basically invented the whole Crust thing. Looking back, is this something you are proud of?

Not in the slightest.

When I previously interviewed you, a couple of things you mentioned was the 'Situation Violent' LP and 'Procession Of The Blind' 12" which were to be released on the Tombstone label. These never surfaced, can you tell us a bit about what happened?

 Marky the guy that ran Tombstone was found dead, he was selling The Big Issue in the street and I think he was murdered. He used to be in a band years ago called The War Ploys. I used to knock around with that guy years before Hellbastard was even thought of. One time we even dyed his hair black in the middle of the street in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Shit happens.

It's been three years since Hellbastard released 'The Need To Kill' and 'Eco-War'. I understand there is a new album in the pipeline though, what can we expect this time round?

Same old shit, probably......

Thanks to you I have had a sneak preview of some of the new material, all of which sounds killer. You have re-recorded 'We Had Evidence' which originally appeared on 'Heading For Internal Darkness' - what made you choose this song in particular to re-record?

 Erm, because we chose that song.

Ever since I have known you, you have never been fond of 1990's 'Natural Order'. Is this still the case? Was it because of the sour taste left in your mouth from Earache Records or purely the material that you didn't like?
Both, definitely...

Hellbastard t shirts and merchandise seem to be pretty scarce these days, are there plans to do some new shirts and patches?

No plans at present, we have no cash to make merch at all. We can't even afford the fucking rent on our rehearsal room.

When we spoke last, you had a new vocalist called Gordon. These days you're back doing the vocals, I take it things with Gordon didn't work out?

Well, we played one show with Gordon, and it was awful. No, it never worked out at all, not in the slightest, not even a little bit. That was 1992 - a long time ago.

What bands are you listening to these days? Are you still a huge fan of Papsmear and Sindrome?

Yes, I will always love those old bands. But now some jazz and some 16 horsepower does me fine, oh with some Gallows thrown in for good measure.

For you, is the lyrical side of Hellbastard just as important as the music?

 No, the lyrics are far more important than the music.

How do you view the Crust and Hardcore scene these days?

How do I view it? Well, let me tell you this - I'd rather stick my head up a cow's ass, and then play with six fully revved-up chainsaws whilst blindfolded, whilst simultaneously trying to fight off a million nazi skinheads.

How did you originally come up What made with the name Hellbastard?

It seemed like a good mixture of Metal and Punk.

Apart from several compilations and a couple of demos, it was almost 19 years between releasing 'Natural Order' and 'The Need To Kill'. You reformed Hellbastard in 2008, what made you reform the band after such a long break?

I had previously been releasing albums, touring and being busy with graduating from university, a band called Nero Circus, then Sidewinder, then King Fuel, then Heavy Water, then The Dischargers and then a band called Moodhoover. All these bands released albums and got busy, keeping me sane.

The most recent release was the split 7" with Dissent. How did this come about?

I think it was that mad drunken bastard Tom from Dissent, it was his idea. We got copies of that 7" when we were on tour in the USA in 2010. I am sure the idea came around in 2009 when we were on tour in the usa then, as well.

Many years ago, you told me about Nero Circus. This was another project of yours, what happened to it?

We made 3 or 4 demos and toured, got a deal with a USA label, released an EP and then got a better deal and released a full album, then made our best recording after that album which had Troy Dixler from Chicago's Sindrome do some guest vocals on it, that was a laugh. There are 10 tracks or so on that, way better than the 'Nailed Harder' CD and the 'Human Pigs' CD. The one video we made was to the song 'Kicked In The Face', it was filmed in a really old barn in Italy.

Have you been playing many gigs recently? Will there be a tour when the new album comes out?

Well, it seems like a long time ago but we only just played The USA Maryland Death Fest with Saint Vitus, Morbid Angel, Anvil, Napalm Death, etc etc. and we were not too long ago in Belgium at Ieperfest with Corrosion OF Conformity, Sick of it All, Agnostic Front, Nasum, Pig Destroyer and a ton of other bands. Previous to this we did a tour of the UK with our mates from Boston, Massachusetts - 'PanzerBastard', that was a lot of fun I can tell ya. We actually plan on touring non stop in 2013 and 2014.

I am personally very excited that Hellbastard are back together and releasing quality music, what do you see the future bringing for the band?

Well our 'Sons of Bitches' record will be out soon on CD via Selfmadegod
 in Europe, and in the USA on vinyl via Unleash Hell and Patac Records.
Any last words?

Yeah, that was really annoying to be sent an interview and have to make it coherent by putting in the numerical question numbers myself. Stop it. Also we have other guys in the band too, Tom McCoombe who plays guitar and Paul O'Shea who plays bass. I could never ever do something so shitty as this by myself, see?
Cheers Matt.

Thanks Scruff. Don't forget to check out the new Hellbastard LP, and be sure to check out their killer back catalogue too. You can visit their offical Facebook page HERE.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


There are very few Death Metal bands who can say they have been around for almost 30 years, but Thanatos can. They were around before the genre was even born so they are definitely a band who have seen a lot of things over the years. This was an exciting interview for me, being that I have always been a massive Thanatos fan myself. I spoke to front man Stephan Gebedi about the history of the one of the genre's most underrated bands...

Hi Stephan, how's everything going?

Hey Matt, well things are a bit hectic right now, we’re in writing mode now for the next Hail of Bullets album, we’ve just had the re-releases of the first two Thanatos albums and I’m having some “domestic issues” right now as well, but hey, that’s life I guess.

Everyone should already know who you are but for those who don't, can please give us a brief introduction of yourself?

Ok, I have been active in the Extreme Metal scene since 1984 when I started the first incarnation of Thanatos. There have been numerous line changes and even a lengthy period of inactivity, but we’re still around. At the end of 2006, early 2007 I formed Hail of Bullets, which consists of (ex) members of Gorefest, Thanatos, Asphyx, Pestilence and Houwitser. Hail of Bullets pretty much became a success story and we’re working on our 3rd album right now. Besides that I also write for Aardschok, which is Holland’s most important Metal magazine. Apart from that I have a semi-fulltime daytime job and a family, sort of …

I have always said that Thanatos are one of the first pioneers of Extreme Metal but are also one of the most underrated. Is this something you agree with or are you satisfied with the recognition you have received?

Haha, have to agree on that one of course. We could and should have had a lot of more recognition but there’s such a thing as bad luck and besides some of my former band mates were experts in missing great opportunities and fucking up things for themselves, so we also have to blame ourselves. We always went against the grain and kept true to our style though and that’s something I can be proud of. That also goes for our perseverance and I see our recent deal with Century Media who will re-release our entire back catalogue as some sort of recognition as well…

Thanatos started in about 1984, with the first demo 'Speed Kills'. What drove you to form Thanatos at this early time?

I guess it had to do with being disappointed with the current local metal scene back then. I had just discovered bands like Venom and Slayer a few years before and there were no bands in Holland that played metal in that style so I decided to form a very fast and very heavy metal band with some friends from school myself. I think we were between 13 and 15 years old when we started jamming and needless to say we weren’t great musicians or anything, but we had some sort of vision from the start…

Thanatos have come along way since the thrashy early demo days to the full on Death Metal monster it is today. What was it that made you turn the corner from Speed Metal to Death Metal?

I think we still have a very strong thrash metal aspect in our music.
When we started out the term ‘ Thrash Metal ‘ wasn’t really used that much yet and we had never heard of ‘Death Metal’ until Possessed released their demo tape a
year after we started out as Thanatos. So it was a logical development for us. We were fanatically into trading tapes and we traded or early recordings with people like Ken and Bill from Carcass, Killjoy from Necrophagia, the guys in Dark Angel, Possessed, Death, Master/Deathstrike etc, so the music we listened to and managed to get hold of became heavier, faster and more brutal along the way, so the step from Speed Metal, as we called it at first, to death/thrash metal was a natural progression. We experimented with vocals to try and sound rawer and more brutal than on the early recordings, so we became more ‘Death Metal’ than before, but we always kept our Thrash influences as well.

There was a long break between 1992 when the band split and 1999 when you reformed. What were the reasons for the split and what was it that made you want to reform?

Several people in the band were more into partying and doing drugs than into playing metal and writing songs. We also encountered a shitload of trouble with our record label back then and two major tours we were supposed to be part of, one with Cannibal Corpse (35 dates) and one with Exhorder (20 dates or so) both fell through, so I got really fed up with the whole thing. Needless to say it began to feel like unfinished business after a while so in 1999 I recruited new members and we made a fresh start

Apart from Thanatos, you are also involved in Hail Of Bullets, Legion and in the past Second Hell. 

What's happening with Hail Of Bullets at the moment?

Well, I was never really involved with Legion; I was supposed to join that band, but it never really happened. Second Hell was the former band of ex-Thanatos guitarist Mark Staffhorst and me, him and former Thanatos member Erwin de Brouwer joined forces in a new incarnation of Second Hell. I really liked to sing those old songs but unfortunately the band disbanded and we never got a chance to re-record those songs. Hail of Bullets has become my main band although Thanatos is still equally important to me. Right now we’re writing stuff for the 3rd Hail of Bullets album which we hope to start recording early next year.

What made you choose Thanatos for the name of the band, and who came up with the logo?

The guy with whom I formed the band, guitar player Remco de Maaijer, actually came up with the name Thanatos. We were first called Whiplash until we found out about the three Tony’s...  I came up with the first version of the logo and a guy from Belgium called Wim Baelus, who also wrote for Aardschok magazine made a better version of it if I’m correct.

What bands from the UK are you into? Are there any UK bands that influenced the way you play music today?

Oh man, too many to mention. I was raised on stuff like Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, Saxon, Motörhead, Raven, Jaguar, Holocaust, Satan and of course Venom, which was one of our major influences. I was totally into the NWOBHM thing and I also loved the early Sabbat stuff. So yeah, UK Metal has been a major influence on our sound and song structures.

Your latest release was a split 7" with Asphyx, how did this come about and are you happy with the way it's turned out?

It’s a funny thing cause in the early nineties there was huge rivalry between bands from the western part of Holland (like Thanatos) and bands from the east such as Pestilence and Asphyx. It’s really cool to see people form both sides now joining forces in Hail of Bullets and of course our guitar player Paul Baayens plays in Asphyx, Hail of Bullets AND Thanatos, which makes him the biggest musical whore in the Dutch death metal scene right now I guess, haha. I like the way that EP turned out, two cool bands from Holland that have been around for ages both doing a cool cover song, we’re considering a similar release with Hail of Bullets and Legion of the Damned sometime next year.

The last full length was 'Justified Genocide' which is some of the bands finest work to date, has the album sold well and received good feedback?

Thank you, I totally agree and consider it the best album we’ve made so far along with ‘Realm of Ecstasy’. It received great reviews but unfortunately it didn’t really sell well. The label it was released on is just a tiny label with poor distribution and no money for proper promotion so it died a silent death. I’m happy that Century Media records have decided to re-release our entire back catalogue so hopefully it will get the attention it deserves when it is re-released sometime next year.

What are your current plans with Thanatos? Are there plans to enter the studio again soon?

We’re booking some shows for November/December now and hopefully will add a few more next year. First of all the sold stuff will be re-released and after that...who knows?! It would be great if we could do a new studio album for Century Media, but that will depend on the sales of the old stuff I guess.

Looking back over the Thanatos back catalogue, which is your favourite and why?

I really love ‘Justified Genocide’ but I think my favourite still is ‘Realm Of Ecstasy’
I has great songs and I like the dark and brooding atmosphere of that album. My vocal performance could have been better on that album, but as whole I think that’s our pinnacle, although ‘Justified..’ comes damn close.

Do you have any particular inspiration for the lyrics you write?

Sometimes I become pissed off watching all the misery in the world, caused by religions, politicians, whatever and sometimes it’s simply a good old horror movie that inspires me or a combination of fiction and reality...I tend to cross the line with lyrics sometimes but that’s simply the person that I am.

You have done some great covers in Thanatos including Celtic Frost, Massacre and Dark Angel. Are covers something you enjoy doing?

Thanks, yep we enjoy doing them for sure and it’s also a way to pay tribute to the bands that inspired us.

The 'Beyond Terror' EP and 'Undead. Unholy. Divine' album were both only released on CD, whilst the rest of the releases were also available on vinyl. Was there a particular reason for this, and are there any plans to release them on vinyl?

Those were label decisions unfortunately...if all goes well, ‘Undead...’will be released on vinyl next year. A remastered version of the Beyond Terror EP will be added as bonus material to the CD version of Angelic Encounters, which totally has been re-mixed by the way!

Death Metal seems to have gone full circle, with a lot of bands now playing in the style of the late 80's and early 90's. Are you proud to be able to say you always stuck to your same style and didn't change for anyone?

You bet! For me so called ‘old school’ Death Metal is the only valid form of death metal and you should not mix that style with exotic or modern influences...that’s sacrilege. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s good that certain bands and genres try to progress and expand their musical horizons, but death metal is a conservative beast and should remain that way.

Official Thanatos merchandise is hard to come by, you have a couple of cool shirts for sale on the band's website but are there any future plans to make some more merchandise such as reprints of old shirt designs and some patches etc?

As a matter of fact we’re thinking about doing a reprint of the original Emerging from the Netherworlds shirt one of these weeks... all cd’s and lp’s will be available worldwide now once they’re re-released by Century Media.

What plans do you have for Thanatos over the next few years?

Well in 2014 we might celebrate our 30th anniversary... IF we make it till 2014 it would be nice to go out with a bang and release another studio album... our aim is to make an album with the same spirit and intensity as Dark Angel’s ‘Darkness Descends’.

Thank you very much Stephan, and I wish you well with both Thanatos and Hail Of Bullets in the coming years. For those of you who have not checked out Thanatos or Hail Of Bullets, firstly where have you been? Secondly - check out these links - Thanatos on Facebook,  Thanatos official site, Thanatos on You Tube, Thanatos on Myspace,  Hail Of Bullets official site, Hail Of Bullets on Myspace, and Hail Of Bullets on Facebook.

Monday, 1 October 2012


Hadoth is a one-man Black Metal project from the USA who is currently busy working on a debut album. I caught up with the man himself to speak about his project...

Hi Hadoth, can you please introduce yourself?

Hello readers - I go by either Hadoth or H if you prefer. I do a Metal project in California - nothing more, nothing less. Thanks for your interest.

Please tell us a bit about Hadoth?

Well, I started in June 2008. In the beginning, I was playing drums/doing vocals for a band called Dodsredskap (meaning the instrument of death in english). I consider this the beginnings of Hadoth as I named that band that month, and worked on my first song, and recorded my first demos. At first I wanted to be a depressive black metal band, but that got really boring, very quick. Now I just play what I feel and that's more interesting.

You're currently working on the debut Hadoth album, how is that coming along?

Sadly, a bit slow and it's kind of an awkward process- and maybe that's because my method of recording is a bit unconventional and somewhat unique. But on a more positive note, a longer song was recorded and it's 10 minutes long- original, brand new material. it will be released as a single sometime soon to bring something new to the table. I think maybe the album could be done in the beginning months of 2013. It will be a full length.

Who, if anyone, are your main influences in the band?

So many to name, I'll try not to forget any: Lifelover, Bathory, Forgotten Woods, Old Gehenna, Old Satyricon, Burzum, Trist, Ulver, Arckanum, Wolves in the Throne Room, Black Plague (torrance) - surprisingly, lately I've also been picking up on Nirvana 2002 and Obituary. In the beginning days, my influences were more stereotypical DSBM bands that I don't care much for today.

Being a one man project can often be easier and more rewarding than being in a band with full members, how does it work out for you?

It's good and bad at the same time! I think you're right, it can be very rewarding. You never answer to anyone and no second opinions are required for the material or your recording/practice time. It's sometimes bad because I enjoy the feeling and atmosphere of playing along with other humans, rather than just yourself. But for the most part, it's great.

The 'Painful Assemble' mini album was a long time in the making, why did it take so long and are you happy with the end product?

Happy with it? Yes and no - I kind of regret the shitty quality of one of the songs on there, but for the most part I was very content with it. It took long because of either being on hold, or because of recording troubles, or feeling like the project should just stop. Better late than never though, right?

At the moment your releases have been digital downloads, why has there not been a physical release yet?

Great question! Well, the reason for this is that when I began in 2008-09, I hated labels- but I also could not afford to put physical formats out on my own. I didn't like labels because I felt that they would constantly screw bands over. However I am a bit more open minded these days, and know that not everyone out there is a prick- so now, physical formats will arise and be more common. Some physical formats of my releases exist from the 2008-09 days- though they are heavily rare and mostly due to Nino of Black Plague, making DIY copies and handing them out at shows. They are so uncommon, that I don't own an old copy myself- and I don't know what they look like either. In recent times, I made DIY copies of my split and EP, and sent them out to strange places where you'd never think to see metal- like Missouri.

Where do you see Hadoth going in the future?

I'd like to do some live shows and also, release music and merchandise in physical formats - shirts, patches, CDs, tapes, and more importantly, vinyl. I don't believe it will deviate too far from this. But getting stuff out on vinyl is difficult and labels will rarely do it- but fuck it. Better to try and fail than to not try at all.

You did a split release with Black Plague called 'When The Earth Stands Still, can you tell us a bit about it?

Yes, I was very excited about that. At the time, especially, I was excessively fond of Black Plague. It was received *very* well in the underground. I think I recall Nino, the band behind Black Plague, telling me that he gave out somewhere between 50-100 copies of the split- he promoted it beyond my expectations. But yeah it was a big thing for me- lots of people liked it. I like the rawness of the first edition in 2008, my split side- it's very demo sounding. Some people have described it as sounding like it was recorded in a dungeon.

What do your lyrics deal with?

Mostly themes of desolation, despair, chaotic occurrences, fantasy, nature- that kind of deal. I try to keep lyrics interesting and not boring- I attempt to invoke different kinds of images in the readers/listeners heads by using metaphors or maybe describing something unique.

Black Metal has changed a lot since the glory days of the early 90's, do you think the changes have been good?

It's definitely been both bad and good. It's good because we get to hear more original sounding stuff- creative takes on making music- that sort of thing. It's also been bad, due to copycat bands or those who are interested in looking "cool". Some of my favorite newer bands are Wolves in the Throne Room, Black Plague, Benighted in Sodom (who is very experimental, especially in the last couple of albums). There is some really great stuff out there, and I'm grateful to hear it.

What does Hadoth mean and why did you choose it for a name?

-Excellent question. For those of you who are HP Lovecraft fans, you may recognize the word from the story titled "The Outsider". I won't give away too much of this story- it's like 6 pages and found online, so those interested can read it. But let's just say that it describes perfectly what I envisioned for making music and the way I feel about myself, oftentimes anyway. Another main reason why the name was chosen was because no one had this name- I didn't want the name to be boring, stereotypical, or taken by others. Instead, I wanted a name that raised curiosity. I think its successful in doing this.

Musically, I personally hear similarities between Hadoth and early Burzum, do you think this is a fair comment?

Absolutely! Burzum is one of my main influences. I don't really know if I would have gotten into Black Metal had it not been for Burzum, really.

What are your current and future plans, musically?

Record and put out the album for sure! Apart from that, some of you who remember me being in Dodsredskap will be happy to know we are re-recording the demo tracks and making an EP of that as well. We'll be going to our old recording spot to do this. It's 4 tracks, so it will be short but nostalgic nonetheless- very much so. I don't think we even remember how to play the songs, but no worries- we'll figure it out.

Any last words?

Yes, thank you for reading and a huge thanks to Crucifixion zine/Matt for your kind questions!

Thanks Hadoth. For those of you who are interested in checking out the band, be sure to click the following links - Bandcamp, Youtube and Facebook.

Saturday, 8 September 2012


Back in 1993 I decided to start up my own fanzine. At the time I was only 13 years old but I was heavily into the underground and was tape trading with people from all over the world and corresponding with bands and buying their demo tapes.
I have decided to upload scans of the original 'zine for you to read, and check out some of the interviews I did at the time. Bands included are Catacomb from Italy, Decomposed from England, Exempt from Sweden, and Cradle Of Filth from England - way before they reached the success status they have now, plus many more interviews with other top bands. There are also some reviews of various demos from that era and I apologise in advance for the slightly immature writing style but as I said, at the time I was just 13. Click the link below and enjoy the read.


Argentina isn't the first place that springs to mind when you think of Black Metal, but this is where Wolves Winter hail from and having released a very strong demo of cold and grim Black Metal, could well be putting Argentina well and truly on the map. I spoke to front man Beelzebuth...

Hail Beelzebuth, can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Hi brother! Yeah, of course! We play Black Metal, influenced by the Occultism and the Finnish bands.

Please tell us a bit about Wolves Winter and how the band was created?

Wolves’ Winter was formed in the 2008 by me, and the help of Cabra. The band changed members many times. One of the oldest members is Longinus, since 2009. But Zagoth too, although he left the band the same year and returned this year. Cabra left the band in the 2011, and was replaced by Maleficvm, he’s the actual member of the band.

The lyrics of the band are about occultism, mysticism, spiritism, black witchcraft, necromancy, etc…

How did the demo sell? Were you pleased with the response you got from it?

Yes! Of course! We sold all the copies!
And, yes, we got good reviews for it! We get interviews, proposals and offers after the release!

What got you into Black Metal, and why did you choose this genre for your band? 

I have listened the first wave and second wave of Black Metal via a friend of mine when I was young.
And I felt the hate, misanthropy, coldness and all those kind of feelings, and I decided that’s all I want in my life. So, if I had a band, it would be Black Metal.

How much do you think Black Metal has changed since the early 90's, and do you think the change is good?

How did you guys come up with the name for the band?

 I wanted a name who represents  Black Metal, fiercely like “Wolves”, cold and grim like “Winter”.

What UK bands are you particularly into? 

I know the bands Baalberith, Witchclan, Code, Basilisk, Ragnarok, Niroth and Subvertio Deus.
Good bands!

Is there any Wolves Winter merchandise, and if so how can people obtain some?

There’s no merchandise yet, we’re working to bring stuff to Europe! 

Do you have any main influences in the band?

Yeah, we're mostly influenced by Arckanum, Satanic Warmaster, Sargeist, Behexen, Horna, Unhuman Disease, Beastcraft, Darkthrone, Drowning The Light and more!

How important are the lyrics to you?

The lyrics are as important as the music…
Our lyrics talks about personal experiences, books, rituals, witchcraft, necromancy, spiritism, like I said…

Do you see Death Metal as an enemy of Black Metal or do you think the two genres are connected in any way?

I don’t see Death Metal as an enemy of Black Metal… They are different, different different meanings, 'ideologies' but that doesn’t mean it is an opposite genre… I don’t think it's connected, but both are Extreme Metal genres.

Have you been playing many shows recently? 

Mmm no, only one show in June 19th, that was the only gig in the year. I think at the end of the year we’ll play a show again.

Which country do you feel has delivered the strongest Black Metal over the last 20 years?

That’s hard to say but Sweden, Norway, Finland and France have the strongest Black Metal I think.

Where do you see the band going within the next few years?

I think we have a future. We’re working hard to show that Argentina has Black Metal too. The First full length album will be the coldest thing Argentina will have seen I hope.

Can we expect some new material from the band soon, and if so, what will it be?

Yeah, of course. We’ll finish the album before the end of the year, and maybe we'll do a split with Unhuman Disease! So, we’ll have good material soon!

Any last words?

Yeah, if someone is interested in make a split with us, just contact the band! We’re open to do that!
You can check more stuff on our sites!
Thanks to Crucifixion 'Zine, and thanks to Matt for the Interview!

Thanks Beelzebuth. Make sure you support Wolves' Winter and check them out  on their official websiteFacebook, You Tube and My Space.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


There are few Death Metal bands and few Death Metal front men who can say that they were there from the very beginning. Master and Paul Speckmann are an exception, having been around from the very early 80's in one form or another, Paul has battled on through thick and thin and is now considered one of the Godfathers of the genre. I caught up with him to discuss Master, Abomination and various other things...

Hi Paul, most people reading this should already know full well who you are, but for any newbies can you introduce yourself?

Sure I am Paul Speckmann a bassist and singer as well as a songwriter for many underground bands that I created, struggling as always to survive the underground and succeeding at this. Master is my main focus at the moment while my other bands Deathstrike and Abomination are re-entering the picture with a few various shows coming up this year at a few festivals in Europe. You can read the bio at for those who are interested in the history of the band and its influence on the genre so-called Death Metal.

I for one consider you to be one of the three godfathers of Death Metal, along with Kam Lee and Chuck Schuldiner. How do you view your career in the music business over the last 30 years?

My career has been faced with an uphill battle ever since the inception of the band. Over the years shitty record contracts, members coming and going as well, has sometimes had a devastating effect on the band, but we still endure and conquer the competition every year with true and aggressive Metal, period.. Master and I have had our ups and downs but the band continues to play shows and create brutal masterpieces again and again. If it was only about money I would have left the scene years ago. It's about sharing your views and ideals in the music. I realise Satan sells better than the truth, but I prefer the truth over fiction any day.

What's happening with Master at the moment? You recently released a new LP, how has that been selling? 

Pulverised says the CD is selling well but I don't have any figures at the moment. The reviews have been unbelievably phenominal this time around. You create an album and have too see how it goes. I personally write albums for myself and see how the chips fall. This is all you can do really.

Your debut with Master is considered a genre classic, how do you view this album 22 years later? 

The debut is and was a good album, but let's face it this was 1985 and we were really just experimenting at this time. Today we have the music down to a science, and the recordings as well as the playing, is much better than in the beginning of the genre.

Over the years your vocals have become slightly more lower in tone, and sound very different to your older style of the 80's and early 90's. Was this a conscious change you made or just natural progression?

This was just a natural progression, old age mabye. When recording the vocals I just go in and do them. I never conciously think about the tone of the vocals I just go in and sing a few songs per day and hope for the best. Sometimes they are killer and sometimes I'm not satisfied in the end, this is just the way the cookie crumbles brother.

On the second album you recorded at Morrisound in Florida, which is where so many bands at the time were recording. Is this something that Nuclear Blast pushed for or was it a choice that you made personally? 

This was a choice that Nuclear Blast made and I suppose this helped the record sell the 25.000 copies as well having that moron Scott Burns at the helm. The guy was only interested in the 100 dollars an hour that he and the studio were making. All he did was talk shit about Morbid Angel and many other bands and I am sure followed suit after Master left.

Abomination is another one of your bands which is steeped in history. How are things going on that front at the moment? 

We will play some shows in Italy next year after a Cancer Festival in Dresden at Skullcrusher on October 5th for young people struck with the disease.

Are there any UK bands you are particularly into at the moment? 

Sure, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Onslaught. What a bunch of cool motherfuckers. We just played a cool festival with Onslaught in South Italy again and had a blast. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will have a chance to tour with this band.

In the early 80's you were in a band called Assault , which went on to become Funeral Bitch. What happened to the band? 

It disappeared of course after I left the band to form Abomination with Aaron Nickeas. I felt Abomination was a better direction for me in 1987 and Master disappeared by the wayside for a few years. I laugh when I think about it now. This Funeral Bitch was blast beats and crazy time signatures and at the time the critics were saying it was too fast etc, and Napalm Death and many others went on to make a career of this style.

There is an unreleased Master album from 1985 which only saw the light of day about ten years ago. What were the reasons it wasn't released to the public for such a long time? 

This was the original Combat demos and I left them in the closet until I felt the time was right to release them.

You have one of, if not THE best beards in Metal. How long did it take to grow that beast? 

I regularly tell people 15 years but in reality it no longer grows, my wife trims it and it grows back to the same length. I last shaved in 1996!

Of all the Master albums, and demos, which is your favourite and why? 

The latest New Elite is my personal favorite at the moment because it is a fresh vision on the old formula I have always used. The production has also improved as the studio gets better every year as well. Many people still love the first two and this is cool as they are classics of course but in my opinion the last several records are the best. So I can only hope that people give them a spin. They are definately missing the quality and writing on the latest masterpieces because many are stuck in the past. People get over it. 
The best demo is the 'Four More Years of Terror' demo which was recorded mixed and mastered in one day. This demo truly captured the intensity and ferociousness of Master, period.
The one thing about Master is consitancy, many of the more successful bands are copying the latest trend, we always stick to our roots and never try to change a winning formula.

Since the early days of Master, how do you feel you have progressed? Do you ever listen back on the old material for any inspiration? 

Never. I only hear the old albums when it is necessary to listen to them for a re-issue. I never really listen to my records after recording because it's the past. I live for the future. Of course I'm forced at shows or clubs to hear old songs sometimes, but I hardly ever listen to the old albums in their entirety anymore. I think I said earlier on, that I only listen to Rock and Heavy Metal as well as a dose of Punk Rock from time to time. I don't want to be influenced by bands that I already influenced in the early days, for one thing and I want always to keep my music fresh, so no Death Metal is ever played in my home, period!

What made your music develop into the Extreme Metal style? 

Life, the ups and downs of my own personal life made me become more aggressive and critical of society in general and this has always been captured on the Master recordings. The things that happen in my personal life as well as the lives of others dictate the music for me. We live in and aggressive corrupt filled society and music is my muse so to speak. There was no Extreme Metal Scene in 1982, only Motorhead, GBH, Discharge and The Exploited. This was the main influence on my many projects right from the start!

What kind of interest from other labels have you had so far? 

Labels always say we sell too little so it's always a struggle to get on a bigger label, when in reality we just need more promotion. The New Elite was released in the USA on August 14th and the US promotional company wrote me that they didn't even know about this. Great work from our current label Pulversed.

What are your current and future plans, musically? 

We have already begun writing the new album as the latest CD was recorded in October of 2011. I have over 100 shows to play from now until March 2013 so things are running normally as always.

There has recently been a nice lot of Master and Abomination merchandise, I take it this was heavily in demand? 

This is how I make my living period, from the merchandise!

What are your favourite type of lyrics to write? 

The lyrics write thmselves. After the music I create, the lyrics come naturally. Society dictates what's happening on the albums. We live in a society ruled by dictators that tell the people when to eat, when to shit, what to wear, and when to sit back and watch with their remote control!

Any last words?

Sure go out and buy the New Elite and support the band instead of just illegally downloding the album like most people are doing in this shit society.

A big thanks to you Paul for doing this interview. For those of you who know Master (which should be  most of you) be sure to buy the new album and support Master. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 26 years, you can check out Master on the official site, on Facebook, and on Myspace