Saturday, August 1, 2009

War Master - Interview

Here is a quick preview of my fantastic interview with Daniel of War Master.....

CT: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Daniel. It's a great honor to expose great death metal to the unsuspecting. Tell me about the formation of War Master. How did the band come together and when?

DANIEL: Hey Jon! it's my pleasure... you're doing a good thing here. War Master was birthed from the slimy diseased infested cunt that is Houston, Texas in February of this year. The band is composed of myself (vocals) , Neal (guitars) Ben (guitars) Tom (bass) and Steven (drums). I use to be in a death metal band called Blaspherian. Check them out they're great....heavy evil Incantation / Archgoat worship. Neal was one of the founding members of a grindcore band called Insect Warfare and is currently involved in a heavy as fuck death grind band called Nibiru and the rest of the guys are in Dissent which is a ripping metallic / crustcore band.
The way the band came together is Neal and I were hanging out at the shop I work at - I am a tattoo artist by trade. We were sitting around and he was talking to me about how Steven and him were thinking about starting a doom / sludge band with a heavy Bolt Thrower influence to which I responded by saying " Man..fuck that! Skip the part about being a doom band and just make it a Bolt Thrower worship band. We all love Bolt Thrower and old school death metal in general. I had the itch to do some death vocals here we are!!!

CT: War Master... Is this a Bolt Thrower reference or are you paying homage to other, inferior deities?

D: War Master... just sounds cool and reflects what the band is about (War, Death, Chaos..etc,etc). But, yes you could say that it is a Bolt Thrower reference. There are already two other bands who are active with the same name...we knew this going into it but didn't give a shit because we thought they sucked!

CT: The Chapel of the Apocalypse promo is, as far as I can delineate, your first release. How did the recording of the promo proceed? Where was it recorded?

D: The Chapel of the Apocalypse demo is our first attack. We recorded the demo back in May and it was recorded and mixed in about 6 hours. It was recorded by a friend of ours who has a studio called Dead City.

CT: Chapel of the Apocalypse has a completely natural and live flow to it exemplified by the immediate transition into "Awake in Darkness" but also in what seem to be untouched subtleties across the album such as slightly out of time chord changes and rhythms. I think the disc profits from this attention - or ingorance - to produce something honest. Was there an effort on the part of the band to acheive a more natural and live sounding release?

D: Well...the music on that demo is live with the exception of the vocals, they were recorded separately. So yeah..that explains the organic sound and flow of the recording, thats what we wanted. Plus, it's a demo and should not be sterile and perfect.

CT: It seems that there are more bands that are taking the route of recording all the instrumentation in a live setting and then adding the vocals later on. I know that the recent Immolith demo was done the same way. Do you think that a lot of bands try to be too perfect and produced on their first releases and in fact kill the heart and soul of the music they were trying to make? Is there too much attention to "production" in metal these days?

D: Well....I think that in the " true metal underground" this has always been the approach. It's only been in recent years that people have been focusing soooo much on production and judging a release strictly on that. I do think a lot of metal bands these days try to sound too perfect on their first releases and it really does kill a lot of the energy a band could have if they would just focus on writing good songs. A band could have the best production in the world and their songs could suck.
I myself can look past a recording thats a little rough around the edges if the music is there. It also depends on what you are doing...I think many bands, metal ones especially, have lost sight of what a demo is and what it is for. I think a lot of people think that you can just stick songs up on MySpace and you're ok. But had we not spent a day in the studio and made the demos that we passed out in Maryland it may have taken you or anyone else just a little longer to discover our music. You have to take it to the people... I dont see demos passed around as much anymore... and when I do it's just what we are talking about here to much focus on production and not songs. Now if you are working on an LP...I think that's different I can see maybe spending just a little extra time on production because it's a full length, but I think the same idea applies... good song writing comes first.

CT: Would you call Chapel of the Apocalypse a promo or a demo or an EP?

D: Chapel of the Apocalypse is a demo...that is listed on the back of the CD-r above the song titles.

CT: Oh man, I completely missed that... What is your opinion of the release after all is said and done now? Is there anything you would change on it?

D: I think that it is perfect for a first demo and I personally would not change a thing...however I think there are a couple of things Neal wanted to do to it but didn't get done to due to time restraints. I can't remember now what those things were...but for the most part everbody is happy with it.

CT: Your vocal performance on Chapel of the Apocalypse is particularly emotional and, most importantly, visceral. How did you approach the vocal duties on the album?

D: My approach to the vocals on the demo is like anything else I try and tackle in life.... with pure aggression and power!! I like to also focus on clarity in my vocals... most of my favorite death metal vocalists had a lot of clarity in their vocals, meaning if you are paying attention you can tell what they are saying for the most part.

CT: So you would say you're leaning away from the Tardy method and more towards the Drunen technique?

D: Wow...that's interesting I don't really think I sound like either one of them. I think they are both killer Death Metal vocalist but I don't think I take any influence from either one of those guys. I think John Tardy had a awesome stage presence. If there was one guy I could site as an influence for what I do it would have to be Ross Dolan.

CT: I detect several key influences in your music such as Asphyx and Grave. In your own opinion, what bands have influenced the sound of War Master? What bands and vocalists have influenced you personally that might be different from those that have influenced the band?

D: Wow!! be compared to both of those bands is an honor!!! Fuck yes! Grave and Asphyx are major influences. I grew listening to both of those bands, and a whole lot of other bands from that time period. Other bands that have inflluenced War Master from this time period would be Dismember, Carnage, Nihilist, Entombed, God Macabre, Autopsy... etc, etc, the rest of the late 80's early 90's death metal scenes!
As far as any influences outside of the band that I would be into...theirs probably not that many but if I had to name one it would be Ross Dolan from the band Immolation. I don't think the rest of the guys know or jam that shit, but to me their first LP " Dawn of Possession" is a death metal masterpiece. It made me want to start a death metal band and do vocals. Other guys that influenced me early on were Dave Herrera from the mighty Imprecation which was a killer death metal band from here in Houston back in the early 90's and Craig Pillard from the first Incantation LP.

CT: Can you give insight into the process behind your song creation? How is the music arranged? Who writes the lyrics to the music?

D: The process behind writing War Master songs is pretty simple. Ben pretty much writes all of the music and Tom and Neal may add a riff here and there and then I name the songs and write all of the lyrics.

CT: What lyrical topics and subjects do you concentrate on? What interests you about these topics and why do you feel that they complement War Master's music?

D: Lyrical themes for War Master may be fantasy based and / or reality based... as long as the subject involves death or some sort of mayhem. These topics I feel are important because with a name like War Master and the sound that we have you can't sing about how cool your car is or how much pussy you fucked over the weekend. Besides we're a death metal band and I would like to keep topics in the realm of death and chaos. No one else in the band writes the lyrics except me, I am not opposed to others writing the lyrics as long as they sound good and fit what War Master is all about.

CT: "Thrones of Tyranny" is my pick for best track on the promo. Are you pointing fingers in this song towards religion or political parties or there something more philosophical you are trying to say with this track?

D: Man...I could write a whole fucking book on this question alone....

The Rest Here...

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