February 24th, 1666
SOUL DEMISE - IN VAIN - SEASON OF MIST
As students of the underground metal scene know, some of the best death metal in the world comes from Germany. The country that brought us world-class hard rock, heavy metal and thrash metal also keeps up its end of the bargain within the most extreme sub-genre of metal. Soul Demise is clearly not as popular as Fleshcrawl, but as the band would point out, that is something the band and new label Season Of Mist would like to change with its brand new album. Given that circumstance and the band's odd choice of calling its latest outing In Vain, Ali "The Metallian" reached bassist Andreas Bradl at home where the man made enough time between his studies, work and touring to sit still long enough to answer the questions put to him. - 08.08.2003
METALLIAN: Andreas, thank you for calling to speak to Metallian. Nine years is a long time. For a band this old you are little-known.
ANDREAS: It is a pleasure to be speaking to Metallian Towers. We celebrated our tenth anniversary this year. We started back in 1993 using the name Inhuman. In 1994 we released our first and only demo tape which was called Incantation. In 1996 we released our first CD called Inner Fears. During 1997 we did our first two tours with the Polish gods Vader. We arranged everything ourselves and were very proud when everything turned out to be satisfactory. In 1998 we changed our name to Soul Demise due to the problem of other bands using the name Inhuman as well. At the same time we released the Farewell To The Flesh MCD to make our new name known. We toured with Krisiun and Soilwork throughout Europe. Again the tour was arranged by ourselves. In 1999 we did a tour with Deranged through Germany and a year later Beyond Human Perception was released through Gutter Records. That album was our first release with a label and helped us move forward. In 2001 we did another tour through Europe with Immolation, Deranged, Destroyer 666 and Decapitated. It was fun for us and enabled us to establish the name Soul Demise in several countries. In 2002 we toured twice with Napalm Death and in 2003 we released In Vain through Season of Mist.
The reason we are not as popular as other bands is quite simple. Firstly, when we began making music we had to improve our technical abilities. This took quite a while especially since nowadays bands are often measured by their technical abilities a lot.
Secondly, we are a German band and it's quite hard to get a deal over here unless you are from Sweden (laughs actually). The record firms and the fans are not that interested in native German bands. It's a pity but unfortunately I can't change that attitude.
METALLIAN: Would you disagree that labels sign Swedish bands simply because Swedish bands are better? As evidence, Soul Demise is actually doing a cover version of an At The Gates song.
ANDREAS: In my opinion, Swedish bands generally are not better than most German bands, but they are considered exotic and hence are more attractive to Germans obviously. Most German bands never get the chance to show how good they really are. They don't get the same support and don't have the same opportunities as the Swedes. It's a pity. I hope you don't get me wrong. Many Swedish bands are excellent; there is no doubt about that. Having said that, German bands can be excellent too.
METALLIAN: How much is the German media to blame for a lack of support for German bands?
ANDREAS: The media must write about things in which people are interested. Otherwise they wouldn't sell. So they are not to blame. As long as they still support the bands from their own country and don't follow every stupid trend or hype then that is OK.
METALLIAN: This may be true of a media guided by and beholden to the shackles of Capitalism. On the other hand, media done properly would be one that is supportive of whatever is worthy and takes the lead in introducing as opposed to following. That though, is a discussion for another day. Since we are chatting in recognition of the recent release of In Vain, What do you reckon is the difference between the current release and the previous ones?
ANDREAS: Well, on the one hand the sound is much better because this time around it was possible for the whole band to be in the studio the whole time. That made things much easier. Elsewhere, the songs are more aggressive, faster and get to the point more directly. Those are the main things I suppose. By the way, the singer is different and we also have a new guitar player who also writes songs.
METALLIAN: That was the next question. Why did the line-up changes come about?
ANDREAS: Well, some members decided to leave the band for personal reasons and some had to leave because they didn't fit in the band any longer. The latter behaved differently in the beginning and changed their attitude and behaviour later. That is not good. Playing in a band means teamwork and not that one could rule all others. Nevertheless, it was much too many line-up changes. We actually were weary of the changes because it is always a step back and takes a lot of time to return to the normal state of things, but some things one can't be avoided.
METALLIAN: In that context, why did you change labels?
ANDREAS: Gutter Records was the proper label to support the Beyond Human Perception album, but with its successor we wanted to take the next step forward. We didn't want to stay little-known (laughs). The distribution system of Season Of Mist is much better which allows them to spread the word much better. I mean, when one improves as a band then why wouldn't everything else improve as well? It is just logical. When you're working hard for something, you don't want things to stay at the same level forever.
METALLIAN: What was your experience with Gutter Records?
ANDREAS: They did what they could. Sometimes it was a problem when it came to monetary matters, but I guess this is typical for most labels. The band is vulnerable and not able to defend itself. All in all though, they were OK and they did push us forward They made shirts, pictures, etc. for us and that is quite cool.
METALLIAN: How did you come to sign with Season Of Mist in France?
ANDREAS: I am not quite sure about this. I guess our former label's manager got in contact with Season Of Mist and helped us in this matter. He was dealing with them at that time and asked them to listen to our CD. They did and obviously like it. Sometimes life is quite strange (laughs heartily). By the way, Season Of Mist was not the only offer we got. There were three in all, but Season's made the most sense.
METALLIAN: Are you saying that you owed Gutter Records more albums and they sold your contract to Season Of Mist? Furthermore, how many albums will you record for SOM?
ANDREAS: No, we signed with Gutter for only one album. The next one should have been discussed, but we didn't want to sign with Gutter again. We wanted to reach a higher level. I hope we did by signing with SOM.
We singed with SOM for just two records. We don't want to be bound to one label for more than two records. I mean, look at Napalm Death. They signed for seven albums with Earache at one point and were not satisfied with the work the label did even for their very first release. Such a situation could mean death for a band like us.
METALLIAN: You have chosen to name your album In Vain. The album's title strikes one as an odd choice. Are you natural pessimists?
ANDREAS: No, we are not pessimists (laughs), but realists. If you look around at this world you could get to the point where you might think that all your efforts to improve it are in vain. This is quite depressing I think because the way we behave is very dangerous. Moreover, the title belongs to the title track which is about people being so greedy and not giving anything to those who really need it. They don't want to realize that when they die everything remains on this planet. Actually it is quite simple - maybe too simple.
METALLIAN: Given that line of thought what do you think of the current global situation?
ANDREAS: The world is going down! There are too many people living on this planet who behave badly. If we would treat Earth like the worthiest thing we have, she could bear double the current population easily. But as it is now, we will kill ourselves sooner or later. It's just a question of time. There should be an awareness about this problem in everybody's mind, but unfortunately there is not. Especially when those who have the power care the least.
METALLIAN: Is your assessment of death metal's state in 2003 equally bleak?
ANDREAS: We are rising. Death metal is coming back, as is thrash metal. I am very fond of this development. The funny thing is that all the new bands made it possible. Don't get me wrong, I don't like their music, but with their heavy sounds they made metal more popular. The new generation starts to question how and why do these bands use such sounds. Korn once said that they were total fans of Sepultura's Beneath The Remains - I mean. This is killer news to me. Since their fans will undoubtedly check out the said album. Slayer might be next and after a while it will maybe even be Soul Demise's turn (laughs triumphantly).
METALLIAN: As much as the last statement seems inaccurate to me, let us banish the visions of mallcore aside seeing the late hour in Germany. What is the latest news with the band?
ANDREAS: We have recorded a song called Forever Blind from the Terminal Spirit Disease album for an At The Gates tribute album which will be released at the end of 2003. Watch out for it. It is going to be killer. That's actually all, Metallian. Thank you very much for the interview and thanks to everybody supporting Soul Demise and Metal in any way. You rule!
Singer Roman Zimmerhackel, guitarists Andreas Schuhmeier and Alex Hagenauer, bassist Andreas Bradl and drummer Roland Jahoda can be heard on the Season-Of-Mist issued In Vain. The album was recorded at Berno Studio and is recommended to fans of death metal. For more information please visit www.souldemise.de.