Translation: Dope Fiend / Insanity
Plague Bearer – Drums, Vocals
Bestial Tormentor – Guitars
Sadistik Slayer – Vocals, Bass
From grindcore to “war” metal it seems the step for the Elders Of The Apocalypse was short. Born from members and former members of Your Kid’s On Fire, they debuted with “The Law Of Iron”, see what they have to tell us.
How are you, guys? Welcome to our site, we take the sums of 2011 that it has abandoned us?
Ryan: Hail, and thanks for getting in contact with EOTA! 2011 was good for us since we got “The Law of Iron” released. We recorded it almost 5 years ago, so we’re glad everyone can now finally hear it. We’ve heard many good things from the people who like their musick raw and chaotically violent.
What pushed “grinders” like you in totally different areas? How did the Elders Of The Apocalypse born and why?
Plaguebearer and I talked about doing the band sometime in the 90s. We had heard Bestial Warlust’s “Blood and Valour,” which made a huge impression on us. Anyone who has heard our grind band Your Kid’s on Fire knows we love to play fast and crushing musick, and as we got more and more into bands like Blasphemy, Beherit, Sarcofago, etc., and heard other devastating albums like “Black Force Domain” and “Battles in the North,” we wanted to play in a style inspired by those bands and play riffs that wouldn’t have fit in YKOF. Also, Plaguebearer was only a vocalist in YKOF back then and not the drummer too (he and I are now the full line-up in YKOF), so it was a level of violence he didn’t have in the other band he was playing drums at the time. We started rehearsing in 2002 or so as a 2-piece with me on guitar and him on drums, and then wound up bringing YKOF’s then-guitarist (Bestial Tormentor) into EOTA to play guitar while I moved to bass/vocals. That’s been the line-up ever since, with Plaguebearer and I splitting the vocals.
How did you choose your battle’s names? They represent some of your favorite plays?
I took the name Sadistik Slayer from the Beherit song “Six Days with Sadistik Slayer” (which eventually became “Six Days with Lord Diabolus”). Plaguebearer took his name from the classic Bolt Thrower song. Bestial Tormentor comes from thrash classicks, with Destruction’s “Bestial Invasion” and then Destruction and Kreator both using “Tormentor”.
How the scenery depicted in “The Law Of Iron” is akin to the barbarian choose on the artwork?
The artwork comes from the cover art of a movie called Ironmaster, an Umberto Lenzi film. The movie embodied some of the concepts in our lyrics, so we thought it made sense to try and find an appropriate image from Ironmaster to represent “The Law of Iron.” We also had Ranarchy do some artwork that we used in the inlay. The layouts in YKOF have always been based around horror films and we needed something different from that.
The question arises: are you fond of the figure of Conan and that style of movies? You combine the music with literature and cinematographic art?
Yes, we do like those violent warrior type movies such as Conan and Ironmaster, or something like Fulci’s Conquest. I read several Robert E. Howard stories before writing the lyrics as well, so they tend to be about battle, conquering, and even some black magic with the worshippers of Set. We sampled Ironmaster very liberally, and of course the title of the album comes from the movie as well.
Black/thrash assaults, but the authenticity is the one of grindcore, in which instinct is perhaps even more striking than the mere primordial of the “war”. Composing songs in this style has brought to you unexpected difficulties or has it naturally happened? How do you give life to your songs?
We never really had a difficult time structuring our songs. In most cases, we were able to agree on a structure to the riffs we had and begin rehearsing the song immediately. It is certainly different than our grind songs in YKOF, though, yes, since some of these songs are longer and will have more riffs than the average YKOF track. It is more challenging to play them. I know some reviews have said our riffs are “primitive,” but for every song like “Ritual Sodomy” or “Plague Lords,” there is something like “Berserkers” and “Mass Murder of Believers.” I’m not saying you have to be a guitar virtuoso to play them, but some of them are far from primitive.
“Mass Murder Of Believers” is an apt title to the historical period we are living, between religion struggles and the masonic “power” that advances should make an extermination. Who are the believers of which you speak? And what do you think about religion in general?
“Mass Murder of Believers” is “end of times” paranoia. Some people believe there will be a massacre of religious followers in the final days. The song is more interested in the methods of said massacre rather than any real philosophical debate, though, haha. It’s more like “Angel of Death.” We saw the title in a book at our rehearsal room and thought it sounded suitably violent, so we decided to use it. Religion isn’t that interesting to me personally. People have their beliefs and that’s fine, but I don’t particularly enjoy hearing about them. I’d rather talk about horror and metal. I suppose for some, religion can be inspiring, comforting and thought-provoking, but for many it is conversely just a shortcut to thinking.
Why covering “Atomic Nuclear Desolation”? You wanted a rapid and successful conclusion of the album and at the same time pay homage to Blasphemy?
It’s a very simple but annihilating song by a legendary band. It was something we used to regularly rehearse. When we were deciding which songs we would record in the studio, it seemed like an obvious choice. It’s so short anyway, not even 30 seconds. It does end the album on a satisfyingly destructive note, too. It is also appropriate since the album begins with our most Blasphemy-inspired song (“Ritual Sodomy”), so it ends the same way.
“The Law Of Iron” was released only in the tape version, it was your decision or, since on your Facebook profile I read the news of a possible release on CD in the near future, it was only a requirement of the moment?
Our friend Bill Connolly released “The Law of Iron” in a cassette version through his label NoVisible Scars. At the time, Bill was only doing limited cassette releases, typically 100 with the added bonus of cover art that was more like something you would see for a 7″ EP. We had been in contact for awhile through a mutual friend, Devon of December Wolves, who was passing along YKOF and EOTA material that I sent him to like-minded sickos. Bill wanted to be the one to put out “The Law of Iron.” Bill is now going to start putting out CDs too, starting with a compilation of YKOF EPs and demos this year, but at the time he was doing cassettes exclusively. There will hopefully be a CD release of “The Law of Iron” this year through Beau of Death Smile Records on a new label he is starting. He contacted us about doing this in the near future. I am working on another mix of the album. The version released through NVS was a remix of what we first did in 2007, but there are still improvements that could be made and I now have the software to experiment with it myself.
What do you think of this trend that for some time bring out a constant series of productions in limited numbers? I understand the needs of those who at that time want to do something strictly for those who followed him for years, but don’t you believe that there is also someone who takes advantage from that?
Yes, there are people who can take advantage of limited numbered releases by turning around and selling them for insane prices. I think it is up to the potential buyer to look for something at a more reasonable price. There are a lot of lazy metallers on eBay who are paying exorbitant prices for things that are oftentimes still available from the label at the original price. They don’t look, though. I am surprised that this practice continues now that music is usually easily available online, but instead of giving people more options, it just seems to make them lazier.
Since you started listening and playing, what are the most noticeable changes you noticed in the music world? What has been lost and what is gained by making a comparison between the golden era (80’and 90′) and the post-2000?
A lot has been lost simply by the ready availability of music. When I was just getting out of high school, the Internet was not quite as common and distro options were more limited. Most of my ordering was through Relapse Records. In those days, you would send $15 off for something new and hope it was worth it. If you didn’t like it immediately, you kept listening to it anyway to see if it would grow on you because it wasn’t always easy to hear new extreme music. And a lot of times, you did end up liking it. Nowadays, people download hundreds of albums, listen to one song by a band, and delete the files to try the next band if they’re not immediately blown away. They don’t have the patience to try to connect with music, and are further distanced from it by downloading so much. Music is an audio medium, yes, but there is something significant about having the artwork and the actual CD right in front of you which is totally lost from mere MP3 files on a computer screen. And the ready availability of music also makes people less appreciative of what they hear, in addition to being easily dismissive. Internet spoils people with contacting, too. In the old tape trading scene, people wrote to each other, especially to bands. By hand. Actual letters. Now it’s easier than ever to get in touch with a band and most people don’t. We find out about people who like YKOF all the time from friends of friends, but it’s nearly unheard of for people to send an actual email or letter to us directly. Or I’d see forum posts about “The Law of Iron” where someone would say, “I have to get this, but NVS is already sold out!” Someone else would tell them, “Write to the band, I think they still have some.” But we’d never hear from them. Musically speaking, I think we’re getting closer to a generation that is more influenced by metalcore/deathcore rather than Celtic Frost and other metal gods. The oversaturation of mediocrity will continue. But as with any era, there will always be true warriors writing superior music for those who seek it.
Five adjectives to describe the Elders Of The Apocalypse?
Violent, devastating, insane, raw, and chaotic.
The word “Apocalypse” has always filled the mouths of many people, what is or what will be it in your opinion? We approach to the legendary date that second the Maya’s prediction shall be the decline of the world we know: if it were true, which is desirable for humanity?
There is bound to be another extinction level event in the distant future of this planet which all our advances in technology will not be able to prevent. I doubt it is anything we will see in our lifetime, though. There are scenes of disaster and violence every year which people think are indicative of “Apocalypse,” but again, they happen every year. It is the natural order of the world.
The U.S.A. are endless, musically how is the scene in your area? There are realities with which you are in constant contact and with whom you share the stage in live?
There is not much of a scene where we live. Most extreme metal shows here consist of the bands playing and a few of their friends. We’ve been invited to play with Malignant Christ and Domestic Assault, who are friends of ours, but we have not rehearsed as Elders since 2005. It is not impossible that we will play live again, but we’re going to make sure we don’t end up putting all that work into it to play what is essentially a glorified practice.
Do you have some way to support each other with the help of other formations or fans of the genre in different cities or states to carry on stage your music?
I am sure we could set up a show in other areas of the USA. We have contacts with bands who play shows in other cities and some people who set up shows. I know Bill Connolly had talked about getting a show together for us in the northeastern USA, which may be a possibility one day. If we were a band who wanted to get out and play more shows, it wouldn’t be too difficult, but of course you never know for sure if you’re just travelling several miles and hours away from known places where you merely played for the other bands on the bill and a few of their friends to merely play UNKNOWN places for little more of an audience than the other bands on the bill and a few of their friends, all while having to spend a hell of a lot more money to do it.
There was a live performance that you remember with particular affection?
EOTA has not played live very much. In 2003, there was a show where another band canceled and we agreed to fill in with zero notice. That was before we’d even written many lyrics, so it was just an instrumental thing. We did a few songs at a show in 2005 and were planning to play a show later that year, but the place closed down. Then at the beginning of 2006, we moved out of our rehearsal space and playing live stopped being an option.
You find a kid at the concert that asks you an advice to start listening to metal: what are the albums that you listed as the most suitable and why?
I would tell him to listen to the Hellhammer “Satanic Rites” demo and Celtic Frost’s “Morbid Tales” and “To Mega Therion,” because they are legendary albums that have influenced more extreme metal bands than probably anyone other than Slayer. Also the first 4 Bathory albums, arguably as influential. And I would suggest some of my favorites like Repulsion’s “Horrified,” Destruction’s “Infernal Overkill,” Slaughter’s “Strappado,” Terrorizer’s “World Downfall,” Dark Angel’s “Darkness Descends” and “Leave Scars,” Kreator’s “Pleasure to Kill,” Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore,” Darkthrone’s “Transilvanian Hunger,” Immortal’s “Battles in the North,” Angelcorpse’s “Exterminate,” Aura Noir’s “Black Thrash Attack,” Conqueror’s “War Cult Supremacy,” etc. Every year there are great albums, but these (and some others) continue to obsess me all these years after I first heard them.
News and updates on work of Elders Of The Apocalypse?
We did not record all of our songs when we did “The Law of Iron,” and we are talking about going back to the studio this year to do those. There are 4 songs total, and perhaps we will add a cover song as well. One of the songs, “The Age of Apocalypse,” is 6+ minutes of utter madness and one of our favorites. And hopefully we will see the CD version of “The Law of Iron” this year. Plaguebearer and I have been coming up with a few riffs to use in the future, so perhaps we’ll start putting new material together soon, too.
We came to an end, thanks for the time spent with us, will you leave a message or just say goodbye to our readers? I leave you the final word.
To all of your readers who appreciate skull shattering hell-paced audio violence in the vein of South American death with some German thrash, check out “The Law of Iron” and contact us at [email protected] Thanks again for the interview!