False - 1992 - Nuclear Blast
Erase - 1994 - Nuclear Blast
Soul Survivor - 1996 - Nuclear Blast
Chapter 13 - 1998 - SPV
La Muerte - 2005 - Nuclear Blast
Rise To Ruin - 2007 - Nuclear Blast
S= Sjolmord, Ayreon>>JAN CHRIS DE KOEYER>>Ayreon
G= MOT>>Alex Van Schick - FRANK HARTHOORN>>The 11th Hour - BOUDEWIJN BONEBAKKER
B= Ayreon>>JAN CHRIS DE KOEYER>>Ayreon
D= Marc Hoogedooner>>Halcyon, Remains - Impact, Valkyrie, Lana Lane, Tempter, Ayreon, Elegy, Thanatos, Demiurg, Hail Of Bullets, The 11th Hour>>ED WARBY>>Ayreon, Lana Lane, Ayreon, Thanatos, Demiurg, Hail Of Bullets, The 11th Hour
Gorefest was a Dutch death metal band from the Zealand province. They released two demos (Tangled In Gore and Horror In A Retarded Mind) and signed with the Dutch label Foundation 2000.
Previously, they had opened for Carcass and appeared on a D.S.F.A. Compilation. Mindloss (there are US and European versions of this album with differing cover art) was supported through a tour with Revenant. The latter's label (Nuclear Blast) saw the band and Gorefest signed with NB through Michael Trengert who used to do publicity for Nuclear Blast.
Guitarist Alex Van Schaik and drummer Marc Hoogedoorn (both co-founders) were now replaced. They applied to retain the Gorefest name and release music with Foundation 2000, but they were legally unsuccessful. The next album was also produced by Colin Richardson, released November 9, 1992, and the band toured with Deicide and Atrocity. The gang also headed to the USA to open for Death. Gorefest had become Nuclear Blast's priority at this point and through good management (Mojo Management) and better contacts played the Eindhoven Festival - the result of which is a live MCD.
The Erase album record was scheduled to be produced by Colin Richardson again, but the producer later cancelled on the band. The album marked a change of direction for the Dutchmen, but Erase was followed by a tour with Forbidden. The record was given to Pavement for North America given Nuclear Blast USA’s fledgling status. The band appeared on a Dutch TV network with a full orchestra at this point (hello Metallica, Scorpions, Entombed, etc.). While the band had softened musically, the change on Soul Survivor was drastic. Now a heavy rock act, Gorefest was now occasionally called GF and began to bleed fans fast. The relationship was severed with Nuclear Blast and the last album of the decade was released by SPV before the gang became metal history fodder.
Gorefest ended this stage of its life playing with the likes of Judas Priest (Jugulator era) Frozen Sun and Transpunk.
The band reformed in 2004 and re-signed with Nuclear Blast in 2005. The comeback album, La Muerte, was due in Europe on October 30th through Nuclear Blast Records. The Gorefest, Master, Lunafield, Resurrecturis and Kragens European tour was cancelled in early 2006. According to Gorefest, the "German agency Bruchstein Records" turned the tour "into a farce". A scant two months later the band was again disappointed after finding out it would not be the opening act for Bolt Thrower in Europe, a slot it had believed nearly certain. Rise To Ruin was not picked up by Nuclear Blast USA and appeared in that territory through Candlelight Records. The band duly disbanded in 2009. The doom band The 11th Hour, which featured former Gorefest drummer Ed Warby also featured former Gorefest guitarist Frank Harthoorn as of March of 2010.
Metal Mind Productions was reissuing two albums by Gorefest in April of 2012, False and Erase.
GOREFEST - LA MUERTE - NUCLEAR BLAST
GOREFEST - RISE TO RUIN - CANDLELIGHT
“We’ve grown as musicians and as persons and consequently learned to appreciate different kinds of music. That has influenced our writing.” Jan Chris vocalist/bassist of Dutch metal band Gorefest begins as he sits in the offices of his label, Nuclear Blast in Germany, eagerly promoting Erase, the band’s latest release. The album, the fourth release - following 1991’s Mindloss, 1992’s False and last year’s Eindhoven Insanity live mini-album - sees the band distancing itself from death metal in favour of a direction better described as heavy metal - hence the above explanation.
“The guitarists Frank and Boudewijn (the band is completed with drummer Ed) write 90% of the music, and Boudewijn, for example, is on a massive '70s trip - you know Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, early Van Halen, et cetra. That put a lot of melody into Erase. We are a pretty bizarre band when it comes to recording. We start writing after we’ve booked the studio, confesses the singer. “It puts a healthy pressure on us. If we had more time to write, we would put more melody on the album, we did say we are going to write an album that has a groove to it. We wanted to have an album which people would enjoy live!”
Speaking of working on an album, the band had initially hoped to work with producer Colin Richardson, but things didn’t quite work out that way. “We wanted to use Colin Richardson. Everything was arranged. I had called him six months ahead. But seven weeks before entering the studio his manager calls to say Colin won’t be available as he has had an offer he can’t refuse. So we quickly got Pete Coleman who had worked on the False album. He’s good, and he likes our stuff. I think we are going to work with him in the future.”
Another Gorefest intention is to stay as far away from death metal as possible. Did the band have any trouble reconciling that with the previously mentioned song writing procedure? “Firstly, I call us extreme metal,” states Jan. “It is still heavy. But you have to remember that we have to play these songs live for a year as well, and you can’t do that if you don’t stand behind your songs. Yes, we are heading for a different direction, but it’s a good direction. We had some troubles on Erase. The song Peace Of Paper, for example, was the only song where we felt we have to put some fast parts. It’s not easy to throw away something you already have and bring in something new that people might not like. Peace Of Paper, therefore, doesn’t fit too well with the other songs. If we had one more song, perhaps it wouldn’t have made the album.”
The band’s musical direction is changing as the band seeks to attain a different audience. I wonder if the band name is a source of regret as the logo has already undergone a change (to 'GF' as seen on the Erase cover) similar to Celtic Frost’s 'CF'. “No, I don’t mind the name,” asserts Jan. “Actually before the release of False, I wanted to change the name. Our guitarist had left, and we kicked out our drummer. They had actually taken the name!” reveals the singer. “So I said, 'Fuck it. Let them have the name.’ But then the label and the management didn’t like it (the idea), and we had to hire a lawyer to get the name back. Those guys wanted to release an album under the Foundations 2000 label, but it didn’t work out for them. As for the logo”, continues Chris, “I drew the original logo five years ago, and I am bored with it. It was typical. We really have two logos now. The music’s changed and is more interesting for a broader audience - the old logo might scare away that audience! I am pretty sure when in a couple of months people see GF, they’ll think of Gorefest!”
The band is in the process of changing labels in the US. Then they hope to tour the US and Canada. “With the last album, we did 32 dates in the U.S. with Death and Sacrifice, and we never saw the guys (from Nuclear Blast America). One likes to see the people who are working for him! We are going through Pavement/BMG this time around. After that release, we might tour the US with Death again. I don’t know about Canada. In the meanwhile, we are going to tour Europe either with Obituary or headline with Amorphis. I hope to see you in the US and Canada. Be happy, and be an individual.”
This interview initially appeared in Pit Magazine No. 11.
Gorefest is singer and bassist Jan Chris De Koeyer a.k.a JC, guitarists Frank Harthoorn and Boudewijn Bonebakker and drummer Ed Warby. It was that last name which called into Metallian Towers one Monday evening when in fact the band's publicist had put Jan Chris' name forth. Apparently suffering from a cold the front man had deputized the band's drummer to speak to Ali "The Metallian" in support of the newest record, Rise To Ruin. Ed Warby, who commanded the English language flawlessly, came across as both candid and sincere although on occasion unsure as to why the record is on Candlelight Records in North America or the album's lyricism. The new album is exceptional, however, and Warby had plenty to say about that. - 10.09.2007
METALLIAN: Ed, before addressing the new album let us talk about what made you guys reform. Obviously a whole number of bands went away and came back.
WARBY: I think the story wasn't finished. It all ended on a really sour note. There was the misunderstood Chapter 13 album, personally we weren't getting along or getting the satisfaction, but I always missed Gorefest. In the years that we weren't doing stuff I always felt that was my thing and my identity. I used to be the drummer of Gorefest!
At one point they were going to release all our old albums on CD through Transmission Records with new packaging because they weren't available anymore so JC and me went over there for some business talk. We were planning to sell the rights to them and just give away our legacy because we figured 'what the hell we are never gonna get back together,' but during those meetings the guy there asked "why don't you get back together and maybe tour? and we were, 'no no never never," Boudewijn and JC hadn't spoken for six years since they split up and they thought there was bad blood between them. At one point Boudewijn decided to just call JC and they found out that the problems that existed in the past weren't really there or were just a product of miscommunication so with that out of the way we had sort of a band meeting talking about the reissues and before you knew it we were talking about getting back together and doing some rehearsals just for fun to see if could still make music. It was a very natural thing and not a big planned comeback. We weren't really sure if we were gonna make a new album but right away we started writing stuff.
I was sure I really didn't want to continue where we had left off. I wanted to go further back to the good days of False, the more death metal brutal stuff because I think that is what we were good at. We did some experimental stuff, which were cool, but I think the strength of Gorefest was the more pounding death metal so that's why we went back in that direction. There was a lot of cynicism that we love money but I think by now we have proven them wrong.
METALLIAN: So why did Gorefest disband in the first place. The heavy rock material was not received well, but I think you are saying that there was an inter-band conflict.
WARBY: Pretty much, the engine just ran out of steam I guess. We did the album and we put our heart and soul into that. Soul Survivor wasn't the band that Chapter 13 was. We really had a lot of faith in it and when it failed to do what we had hoped - to take us to the next level - I think that was the final blow and we just gave up on the band. It wasn't like we were fighting amongst each other. It was just 'oh well let's just quit.'
METALLIAN: What was the issue between the two members?
WARBY: We all had issues. The biggest issue was that we didn't communicate. I mean instead of saying I don't like this or that we would just grumble, just let things go back and when we would see each other say 'I don't want to be around these people' and that is a bad situation to make music. These days it's the complete opposite. When we see each other it's great and it makes for a much better musical environment. You have to reach a certain age to realize that, I guess.
METALLIAN: Your last album before disbanding was on SPV but you came back and again were on Nuclear Blast. Assuming that when you signed to SPV it wasn't for one album how come you didn't return through the label?
WARBY: I do believe we offered them the first shot out of courtesy but we really wanted to go back to Nuclear Blast. That is where the real success story started with False and we sort of lost touch with the label when we into a different direction but as soon as we decided that we are going to be making brutal death metal again it made sense to go back and Nuclear Blast was extremely interested and happy and so that was a no-brainer.
METALLIAN: In that case, why did you leave Nuclear Blast in the first place?
WARBY: I think they didn't understand what we were doing at the time. Soul Survivor was our last album with them. They tried to promote us as fast and brutal death metal but what we gave them was a '70s inspired rock album. I know they weren't very happy with the product that we delivered at the time. I think it was just their taste at the time and we were exploring other stuff that we maybe shouldn't have explored looking back, but that was just where we were at the time and SPV seemed to be a better home for that since they have many classic rock bands. At the time we had the illusion that we could become one of those bands.
METALLIAN: The Chapter 13 CD was Pink! When I got that CD at the time and when I saw that I told myself that this couldn't be good.
WARBY: I think it was supposed to be red and they fucked up the paint. The front cover of Soul Survivor was fucked up as well, the whole booklet looked great except the front cover. Looking back I wouldn't call you ignorant. Now looking back I can understand how people felt seeing the Pink CD and the white sparkly drum kit. I would be the same now if Obituary came out with a bluesy rock album. I would go 'what the fuck,' but at the time we felt have the right to change as much as we want and I still feel that way but I could understand that people didn't want to go where we tried to take them.
METALLIAN: Listening to Rise To Ruin I think I am hearing a lot of False influences. Are you building up the band to those levels?
WARBY: We got back in 2004 so it has been three years already and it feels like 3 weeks. The secret is that we are having fun. We decided not to make the band be the biggest thing in our lives again so in that sense I would say 'no.' I mean if we get big and the album is selling really well in Europe and we have chart entries that is really cool but we are not gonna let it take over again because we want to keep doing this for a couple of more years. I mean, of course, in Holland there wasn't an heir to us so it was quite easy to get back together. People may doubt our motives but doing a lot of shows has convinced everybody that we are back for good reasons. Still, we don't really have the ambition to conquer the world. We just want to make good albums, give good shows and do everything on our terms. We are only going to be touring for three weeks this year, which we think, is long enough to do the important countries. We all have jobs and lives and maybe different musical projects on the side. Gorefest is really important, but we don't have the burning ambition anymore. I think that's a healthier situation to be honest.
METALLIAN: I noticed that your album is not on Nuclear Blast in North America.
WARBY: No it is on Candlelight. In Europe it is still on Nuclear Blast.
METALLIAN: How did Candlelight get into the picture?
WARBY: To be honest, I am not sure because originally Nuclear Blast USA had set a release date for Rise To Ruin, but then all I heard was that it was being postponed and then all of a sudden it was Candlelight distributing the album, which is fine with me because we are in good company. I think it was just a business decision.
METALLIAN: Are you still with the same management company you were with in the '90s though? They were instrumental in your success.
WARBY: No, in the '90s we were part of the Mojo organization, which is the biggest booking agency in Holland. Right now we are just doing everything ourselves as much as possible. We do have a management or production company, which does the bookings and takes care of some of the business side.
Mojo does part of the Dutch bookings which is good because they are the main booker in Holland but the business stuff and tour bookings we can pretty much handle ourselves.
METALLIAN: Is the band going to do anything as far as touring in North America?
WARBY: I would love to, but there are no plans at the moment. We are happy enough that we got a European tour. I have no idea to be honest, I think the US tour that we did was one of the highlights of our career so if something like that comes along I am sure we will grab it with both hands.
METALLIAN: The new album sounds political.
WARBY: Yes, very political.
METALLIAN: What is the slant?
WARBY: We had some fun. It is very universal. It is about the way mankind rises to ruin. We keep striving to becoming bigger, better, richer and mightier and at the end we just destroy ourselves. That's pretty much the basic message. There is separate song dealing with terrorism that is not too explicit. It's a very angry album. JC is very pissed off at a lot of things obviously. I don't know what every lyric is about specifically but it is definitely about the sad state of the world at the moment.
METALLIAN: Is the album not directed at the US?
WARBY: Well, sure but as much of it is directed at other super powers or terrorist organizations. It is universal and it is not meant to take a stab at one country or regime or anything like that. We are all fucking this up together. We are hardly Napalm Death, although I do know that JC is still inspired by them a lot.
METALLIAN: You have been quite busy personally. What else are you doing nowadays?
WARBY: I have a project with two guys from Thanatos and Martin Van Drunen, the old Pestilence singer, which is called Hail Of Bullets. It's old school death metal. It is very old fashioned, but it's very groovy. We have a four-track promo coming out mixed by Dan Swanö and we are looking for a record deal at the moment. We hope to record an album early next year, maybe do some shows and I am also involved in a Swedish project called Demiurg with Dan Swanö also, but that is more of a project and I am along for the ride. There should be new material coming out next year as well. I also did the new Ayreon album.
Hail Of Bullets is definitely a full-time and dedicated band thing. Demiurg is mostly through email and MSN. I never met the guys. I play drums there and we talk about it through MSN so it's a long distance band thing. Ayreon is also a just a gig for me. I am pretty involved in the process but its Arjen's project obviously.
METALLIAN: With the last Gorefest album the band was supposed to tour twice and they both got cancelled.
WARBY: The headlining tour was a situation where we just got the feeling that we were getting ripped off and we were right so we had to pull the plug on that. We weren't going to go on tour and lose money. Making money is nice but not necessary but I am not about to lose money on something like that.
METALLIAN: You want to at least break even.
WARBY: Yeah totally. The plan looked very good on paper, but in reality it didn't look as good so if we had done that I wouldn't be talking to you at this moment! We had to cancel that and then we decided we would be better off supporting big bands so Bolt Thrower's tour came along and that was all set but then the behind the scenes business stuff occurred.
METALLIAN: Are you saying some other band took the slot?
WARBY: Those are your words not mine. It was just a combination of a couple of things. It wouldn't have been the proper tour for us, I think.
METALLIAN: As much as I like Bolt Thrower one thing you can count on is that their tours get cancelled or get mixed up in a controversy.
WARBY: We have been getting that reputation ourselves. We are getting the Deicide reputation.
METALLIAN: Congratulations! Any news to add before we call it a night?
WARBY: We are at last touring in Europe. Make sure everybody knows that we have a crushing album with killer grooves and down tuned guitars that goes back to the False days, but that also looks ahead.
Rise To Ruin is the name of the album, the unintended consequence of the politics and a hell of a death metal dissonance. Need to know more? Visit http://www.gorefest.nl.
If you enjoyed this, read Sinister