Assaulter talk to eGigs

Australian blackened thrash metallers interview on Tue 7th Aug 2012

Before a rare onslaught of Australian blackened thrash metal is unleashed over north London, eGigs manages to steal S. Berserker (vocalist and guitarist) and T. Hellfinder (guitarist) of opening talent Assaulter for a conversation on metal in their native land and an update of life in the Assaulter camp.

How are you guys?
S. Berserker: Good.

Are you looking forward to tonight's show?
S. Berserker: Yeah, we're pumped for it. It's a pretty obscure kind of show considering it's four Aussie bands in London and they're the kind of bands that wouldn't normally play together in Australia.

Really? I assumed you guys all knew each other.
S. Berserker: Yeah, we do but Destroyer [666] have been in Europe for a long time now. Gospel[ of the Horns] have just relocated as well.

Where are they now?
S. Berserker: Germany. I guess it's a bit of a novelty as well considering it's not in Australia; it's in London. So it has attracted a lot of people. I know there are people coming from all over Europe.

Australia has such a heritage for black thrash bands and you say an event like this wouldn't have happened in Australia. Why?
S. Berserker: It's too unorganised. But also like I said, Destroyer and now Gospel are in Europe. To have those two bands as well as Hobb's [Angel of Death] come over who have never played England…it's great. We did have Vomitor on the bill as well.

Why did they cancel?
They didn't have any other shows lined up and the cost to come over here for one show is ridiculous.

Obviously you have a history with Destroyer 666. It must be good seeing old friends again.
S. Berserker: Yeah, it's like every three years you run into each other so it is cool. And it's cool that we get to do it in this fashion - playing on stage - as well. It's cool. It's a good idea. It's just because all the bands happened to be in Europe at this particular time.

On this subject of Australian black thrash, why is it there's such a big black thrash scene? You have bands like Atomizer, yourselves and Vomitor. Why Australia?
S. Berserker: I can't answer that for you. I always get asked it but I couldn't answer it. I guess it was just a congregation of the various scenes in each city and what everyone was into as far as influences go. Over time, it kind of developed its own stink, you know?

It's very unique to Australia.
S. Berserker: It is.

Obviously, you get bands like Nifelheim or the newer black thrash bands in Europe but most of them do seem to come from Australia. I just wondered if there was a reason.
S. Berserker: No, none that anyone knows.

Are you all from the same area in Australia or different cities?
S. Berserker: We're from Sydney and Gospel and Destroyer were originally from Melbourne. Hobbs are Melbourne as well. Vomitor are a Brisbane band.

So it's all spread out over Australia.
S. Berserker: Yeah, the three East Coast cities.

It's interesting, a whole East Coast movement.
S. Berserker: Yeah, back in the nineties, we used to drive down to Melbourne to watch Gospel of the Horns.

Is it only recently that this has all kicked off, in the past ten years or so?
S. Berserker: Yeah, I think so. I think probably when Gospel first came to Europe, which I think was 2000, they were kind of the first band to do that style of music and take it internationally and there were heaps of people in Germany who were really into that stuff.

Do you tour Europe often?
S. Berserker: No. T. Hellfinder: This is our first one.

What date on the tour is this?
T. Hellfinder: This is show number five.

How has it been? How have the audience been to you?
T. Hellfinder: Great. We've had some early slots in the festivals and the people have been there. A lot of them have actually finished work early and been there to see us so it was great.

Nice. You must be feeling really good.
S. Berserker: Yeah, particularly in Finland where it was cool. It was a Friday and we were on at 1:30 and people were there specifically, calling out certain songs. It was great. We don't even get that in Australia.
T. Hellfinder: No. It's cool considering really all in all, no one knows us over here.

How do crowds in Europe compare to crowds back home? Obviously at home you're a lot more established.
S. Berserker: Yeah, Sydney is always great.
T. Hellfinder: Brisbane is good too. You get a smaller crowd but the guys that are there fucking go off. They get into it.

Well, you've got good reactions from the crowds in Europe.
S. Berserker: Yeah, Hell's Pleasure in Germany and Hammer Open Air. It's cool. We played in Dublin last night. Wasn't a big crowd but it was cool. Despite Dublin's supposed reputation, it was quite cool.

Supposed reputation?
S. Berserker: Yeah a bit quiet, you know.
T. Hellfinder: Still good though.
S. Berserker: But this was good.

I imagine tonight is going to be a bit more immense and it's London. Your first time playing London and London crowds are obviously bigger. On the subject of your second album 'Boundless!', in your own words, how would you say it's different from your debut?
S. Berserker: It's better.
T. Hellfinder: Slightly different style as well, I guess.
S. Berserker: It’s just in every way a lot better – more refined, better playing.

Very clean production.
S. Berserker: Yeah, I think it's quite raw musically. We had a fairly minimal budget.

You wouldn't guess. It sounds quite professional.
S. Berserker: Yeah, it would be good in the future to get some more beef, more attack. Compared to the first album, which was really low-fi, essentially a two-man project…

So all three of you were writing this one or just the two of you?
S. Berserker: Just the two of us, whereas the first one was just me.

Was there any difficulties in creating a second album?
S. Berserker: Always.

What kind of difficulties did you come up against?
S. Berserker: The same shit most bands go through. Line up problems.
T. Hellfinder: Securing members…that's always tough.

You had line up problems? Really?
S. Berserker: Yeah, always. Always.

T. Hellfinder: Because it's a small scene. You want someone new that someone else hasn't used a thousand times.
S. Berserker: And it was good because when Tom [T. Hellfinder] joined Assaulter, he hadn't played in any other bands of that ilk. So from that particular scene in Melbourne or Sydney, he's a new guy.

Somebody new – new talent.
S. Berserker: Yeah, exactly.

What kind of reactions has 'Boundless' received from the fans and the critics?
S. Berserker: I would say generally pretty good. That kind of depends on what audience the album’s being promoted to but people into generally underground metal seem eager, I think.

You guys came out at a good time when this stuff is really kicking off, at least here in Europe.
S. Berserker: Yeah, I mean reviews are reviews. It's someone's taste. But we came over here to play shows to try and say to people that we actually exist so in doing that we're trying to push the album as well, even though it's over a year old. It's alright.

S. Berserker: It's pretty classic.
T. Hellfinder: It's very classic.
S. Berserker: I guess the key is to take your influences and not imitate them. If we were to rattle off influences of bands, they’d all be old.

So what kind of influences are we talking about?
S. Berserker: Mercyful Fate, Sodom, old Metallica, a bit of Priest.

The guitar solos are really awesome, all over the place.
T. Hellfinder: Yeah, they're more heavy metal influences.
S. Berserker: That definitely gives it a new fresh feel, especially for us. For us, it's nice to have that heavy metal influence. So in the future there will be even more of that.

It compliments your music. It's all very Eighties sounding so it all goes hand-in-hand. Having said that, it's not another retro heavy metal band.
S. Berserker: Oh definitely not. I wouldn't consider it so.

Obviously it was Poison Tongue it was on but it was distributed through Metal Blade.
S. Berserker: Yeah, it was a funny deal. Alan from Primordial had this idea of doing a side label with Metal Blade so he could get bands from the underground.

So Poison Tongue is Alan's label?
S. Berserker: Well, yeah kind of. But Metal Blade press it and distribute it.

How did he get in touch with you?
S. Berserker: He's been a friend for many years. He was into us and wanted to push it a bit.

Did you get in touch with him or did he get in touch with you?
S. Berserker: He contacted us actually. It was good 'cause we didn't know anybody was interested.

What are your future plans?
T. Hellfinder: To get another deal for another album. That's the only plan after we finish here.

Are you working on new material already?
T. Hellfinder: Yeah.
S. Berserker: He is! I haven't yet.
T. Hellfinder: Yeah, but he'll end up writing most of it.
S. Berserker: But the plan is to go back and start working on the third album and take our time. We're gonna take as long as we need.

So no pressure from labels.
S. Berserker: No, there won't be because we won't be tied to any one so we can write and then ship around.

Do you have any final words?
S. Berserker: Hopefully, everyone who's here tonight realises what a killer night it's gonna be because it will never happen again. So whoever sees it will enjoy. Never to be repeated.

Thanks for the interview, guys.
S. Berserker: No worries, thank you.

article by: Elena Francis

published: 07/08/2012 16:40

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