Cry havoc and let slip the aural armageddon! The Extreme Metal Voyager rummages through bulks of music everyday and there´s one particular album I´ve been pretty fond of lately. UK´s Winds Of Genocide have in “Usurping The Throne Of Disease” created a threatening slab of crust/punk induced Death Metal, bearing such destructive sonic levels, rendering scenarios of utter and complete annihilation. The present course of mankind seems like a sunny day in the park when compared to the necroed content produced by this lot! Naturally, since my curiosity goes bonkers everytime an album gets to me, I had to examine this band a bit more. And so, I ventured into the art of “conversation” with the band´s vocalist Kat “Shevil” Gillham, who not only has an outstanding roar but is also a formidable wordsmith, and she´s a great interview subject, as you´re sure to discover in the lines below. Read on and learn why “Kångpunk” is something very dear to the whole band, how Kat approaches her songtitles, and you might get a handful of interesting band recommendations!
Hi Kat! How are you doing? Congrats on a stellar all-wrecking album. It´s been a while since I got my ears raided in this delightful necro fashion!
Kat: Apokalyptic Hails Frodi! Glad you like the album, always good to read positive responses from people out there in different parts of the world!
You have quite the task of making up equally badass song titles for the next album. Did you consider to have this in mind? I mean what´s more wicked than “Into The Darkness Of Eternal Nuclear Winter”?
Kat: I like to make an effort with my songtitles and put some thought into them and make them quite interesting instead of just having one word songtitles for example that have already been used by so many other bands, not saying my songtitles are original but they are not just “lazy” songtitles, I have sometimes refined and changed a songtitle a few times at least before I am happy with it and decide to settle upon that songtitle for good. “Into The Darkness Of Eternal Nuclear Winter” is definitely one of my favorites that I have come up with so far for the band, bit of a tribute to the band Winter in there too but in my own style! It is definitely a very conscious thing for me to have songtitles that will stick out to people and make them think “that sounds like a cool or interesting songtitle, I will check the song out” or “interesting songtitles, I will check out the album” etc…I want the lyrics and songtitles to be as dark, apocalyptic, grim, eye catching as possible and not just have songtitles like “Darkness”, “Disease”, “Apocalyptic” etc…..nothing wrong with that mind you but I prefer to be more creative with my songtitles and play about with words.
Speaking frankly, how has the album been received in general, now that it´s been out for a month or so?
Kat: The overall response so far has been absolutely awesome, really happy with the response in general from both the music media (both print and web based) in different countries and fans of the band, the album has received great reviews/ratings in some very well known magazines such as Rock Hard, Legacy and Deaf Forever in Germany, Metallian in France, Aardschok in The Netherlands, Terrorizer in England aswell as online via countless websites/webzines. So, so far so good overall.
“Usurping The Throne Of Disease” appears very complete, everything from music style, artwork, sound values etc. Did you have a firm mission statement so to speak, when you started working on it?
Kat: The album is just a continuation of the style on previous recordings both musically and lyrically, we have just evolved the sound a bit more by injecting more death and black metal influences/sounding parts into our songs than ever before, the newer material is definitely more death metal sounding in places than on past recordings/releases but without the losing any of the crust/punk edge that we are now well known for, when we first started the band we made it a clear mission statement to mix both crust/kängpunk and old school death metal together and have a very dark, apocalyptic approach both lyrically and aesthetically, over time our sound has slowly evolved but not too much, we just have more obvious death metal influences overall in the album material. The lyrics are following in the same vein as on previous recordings, the main difference lyrically and aesthetically is that we have a release title without the word “Apokalyptic” in it this time around! I wanted to have a well thought out album title that would be eye catching and that sounds like an album title. So yes it is an overall complete package of APOKALYPTIC DEATH CRUST AURAL ARMAGEDDON!!!!
The album was recorded in studios in Nottingham and Stockholm. Could you tell a bit more about these locations and how you experienced the sessions?
Kat: Well we were supposed to go over to Stockholm, Sweden and record everything for the album with Fred Estby, both the music and the vocals, as well as have him handle the mixing duties but due to a few different reasons we had to abandon that plan at the last minute and do the music tracking at a small studio in Nottingham here in England called Stuck On A Name Studios run by a guy called Ian Boult, who took care of the music tracking for the album. Then a month later I went over to Stockholm for a week to do the vocal tracking and oversee the mixing with Fred Estby at Gutterview Recorders in Solna just north of Stockholm city centre as originally planned, and a guy called Jack Control over in Austin, Texas, USA mastered it at Enormous Door Mastering, Jack is also the vocalist in the punk bands World Burns To Death and Severed Head Of State. All of those guys did a great job and injected their own personalities and talents into the recording!
You even got Fred Estby to mix the album! How did that come about?
Kat: Well initially we were planning to record the album at a place called Springvale Studios in south east England where Extreme Noise Terror have done quite a lot of recording work, but then our label boss at Pulverised Records, Roy Yeo, heard the production on the Wolfbrigade “Damned” album and also a Martyrdöd album that came out around the same time and suggested we should go over to Gothenburg and work with Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman. So I then suggested we use Gutterview and work with either Nicke Andersson or Fred Estby, as I really liked the mixing Fred did on the Bastard Priest albums and also I thought the overall sound on the debut Morbus Chron album was killer, plus Fred has a great reputation when it comes to recording/mixing/engineering bands from all styles of extreme music and has also worked with Death Breath, Entombed, Grave, Disfear as well as been very involved with the recording/mixing/engineering of a lot of Dismember recordings. Fred really put his own mark on the mix and stamped some of that organic Fred Estby drumsound on the recording, although I would have liked to have heard the drums be recorded by Fred and not just mixed by him, but that wasn’t possible so to have him at least do the mixing for the drums and the recording was the second best option. It is an honour to have him involved so closely and hands on with the album as we are big Dismember and Carnage fans too and there is more than a little Dismember influence in our music/songs! One magazine called us “Dismember meets Punk”, that description is definitely very accurate for parts of our songs!
I love the intensity the album has, there´s so much classic Extreme Metal stuff mixed with dedicated chaos. I get the feeling there´s a great chemistry at rehearsals?
Kat: Intensity and chaos are two elements that are always present in Winds Of Genocide, not just musically but we can be quite intense and chaotic individuals too as well as intense and chaotic collectively as a band unit in different ways both personally and musically, the band is made up of some very charismatic people with strong opinions which sometimes leads to some disagreements/debates about stuff but we definitely really go for it at rehearsals and play as intense as we would in a live situation, theres no point going to rehearsal and doing it half assed, to practice the songs properly you have to have that live intensity and chaos there…our live shows are very loud, intense and at times very chaotic. Chaos is ever present in this band!!! But that is what makes Winds of Genocide the band it is… 100%PUNKED UP CRUST CHAOS!!!
Your influences are plentiful, but from what I´ve read, there´s a particular love towards “kångpunk”. Any reason why this style is somewhat more highlighted than the other influences?
Kat: Swedish punk and kängpunk and crust in particular has always had a strong metal influence overall which I/we love, from as far back as Anti-Cimex, No Security and Bombanfall, Asocial (later stuff) to bands that came after them such as Driller Killer, Disfear, Uncurbed, Skitsystem, Wolfpack/Wolfbrigade to newer bands such as Martyrdöd, End Of All to name some off the top of my head, some of those bands have very clear and obvious old school death and black metal influences in their music. Wolfpack/Wolfbrigade mixing up of Discharge, Anti-Cimex/Kängpunk and At The Gates and Entombed influences in equal measure has definitely been a huge influence/inspiration on us and they were the first real “death crust” band in my opinion. Swedish kängpunk and Swedish death metal are definitely two of our main influences and the ones that have reared their ugly heads in our music more prominently throughout the years and various recordings we have done but non Swedish influences such as Discharge, Doom, Amebix, Axegrinder, Extreme Noise Terror, Disgust, Bolt Thrower, old Napalm Death, Terrorizer, early Slayer, early Kreator, early Bathory, Venom, early Mayhem, The Portland/PDX crust punk scene, the Japanese crust punk scene, etc. are also very important and significant influences on us which must be mentioned.
Alright, I´ll throw in a couple of more personal questions if you don´t mind. Firstly, what´s your view on the music industry today, and by that I mean things like downloading, social media insanity, people getting lazier when it comes to concerts… has it seen better days do you think?
Kat: 1/ Downloading – well, I come from the early 90’s death metal underground/tape trading scene so I have no problem personally with people innocent downloading and innocent file sharing as that is really no different to having albums etc copied onto a cassette tape by a friend which was a widely done thing back in the 80s-90’s, it only becomes shitty when people start selling bootlegged and illegally downloaded stuff, I don’t mind if someone innocently file shares our album as someone who gets ahold of it that way might buy it just like I have done plenty of times in the past after getting hold of albums/demos etc on cassette tapes or CDR´s via friends throughout the years. File sharing is pretty much the modern day equivalent of tape trading, there is always gonna be plenty of people out there who will go out and buy the original and physical releases as a lot of people want to HOLD an actual product and read the lyrics, thanks lists, look at inlays etc… you can’t beat holding a physical format of an album in your hands and really having the complete package experience!
2/ Social Media – it has both its good and bad sides, it’s a great way to get your band and music heard by a lot of people in a short space of time and great for overall promotion of releases, tours, gigs etc… but there are so many trolling keyboard warriors out there across the world who are so full of bullshit it makes my eyes ache sometimes and makes me wanna put my fist through the screen and grab some of them by the throat and go “arrrgghhhhhhh shut the fuck up you fucking wanker!!!!”
3/ Concert turnout – well I still see a lot of very healthy turnouts at gigs but there is more competition than ever to get paying people into shows because with more bands comes more shows and a lot of people have to carefully choose what shows they pay into due to lack of cash etc… but speaking from my own experience there is still a lot of gig hungry people out there who make the effort to go to as many live gigs both underground and more mainstream as financially possible.
Are there any new albums/bands that have blown your socks off recently, or do you stay with the classics. If the latter, which classics are these?
Kat: I am hearing new stuff all the time, the new track I heard by Maim from Sweden sounds absolutely awesome, recently played a couple shows with a Finnish doom/death band called Solothus and their new stuff sounded deadly, watch out for their 2nd album on Doomentia Records. Some other albums/bands that I have recently heard that have impressed me a lot are Hellripper (UK punked up blackthrash), 2nd album by Anguish, ”Mountain”, is killer doom metal, they deserve more attention, Halshug from Denmark are a great newer crusty raw punk band. The latest Revel In Flesh album is great solid death metal too. Also heard a new song by Divine Eve which sounds great even though it’s not fully finished or mixed. There´s more that currently escape my mind. As for classics, there is always regular classics playing on my stereo that are a staple of my music listening diet as well as newer stuff. Recently some classics I’ve been replaying are Wolfpack “A New Dawn Fades”, Wolfbrigade “In Darkness You Feel No Regrets”, Disfear “Souls Scars”, Celtic Frost “Morbid Tales” and “To Mega Therion”, Slayer – first five albums, Dismember “Like An Everflowing Stream” and demos, Entombed “Clandestine”, Unleashed “Where No Life Dwells” and “Shadows In The Deep” and demos, Venom “Welcome To Hell” and “Black Metal”, Dischange “Seeing Feeling Bleeding”, Anti-Cimex “Absolut Country Of Sweden” and “Scandinavian Jawbreaker”, Winter “Into Darkness”, Skitsystem “Gra Värld/Svarta Tankar”, Morbid Angel “Altars of Madness”, Mercyful Fate “Don’t Break The Oath”, Grave “You’ll Never See…”, Dissection “The Somberlain”, Kreator “Pleasure to Kill”, Cathedral “Forest of Equilibrium”, Trouble “Psalm 9”, Metallica first 2two albums etc…
That´s a nice list of albums! What keeps you occupied beside wreaking havoc in Winds Of Genocide. Any side-projects?
Kat: I currently have two other bands on the go, Uncoffined, which I describe as “Doom Metal Of Death”, we have one album available titled “Ritual Death And Funeral Rites” on Memento Mori, a Spanish label which should appeal to fans of Early Cathedral, Candlemass, Winter, Saint Vitus, Grief, early Penance, Dream Death, Thy Grief Eternal, etc.. I do drums/main vocals in this band. And recently I started up a third band called Lucifer’s Chalice which is more straight ahead old heavy metal in the style of early Iron Maiden, early Judas Priest, Angel Witch etc… no material recorded yet but we are well into writing and very actively rehearsing. I also do writing for Terrorizer magazine (mostly website based), walk in nature and graveyards a lot with only my mp3 player for a companion, watch old classic horror films, read etc…
And lastly… Metallica… still relevant?
Kat: Yes but they would be more relevant if they recorded something studiowise that stands up strong to the first four albums and doesn’t piss all over their classic 80’s legacy!!! They haven’t recorded anything that could be called classic for well over twenty years.
The band will be turning ten years in 2016. In a record industry that loves destroying itself again and again, are you at all surprised that this aural armageddon of yours has lasted that long?
Kat: No because we are not a bunch of trend following hipsters and don’t give a flying fuck what the latest cool hyped musical trends are, we are totally 100% into the music we play and have never conformed to any trends or jumped on any bandwagons so certain music trends could blow up and explode up their own arses, and we would be still here playing the same kind of music and not giving a flying fuck what is considered “in”, “cool”, “popular”… DEATH TO POSERS AND TREND BANDS!!! Our apokalyptic aural armageddon transcends any fickle media/industry hyped trends and our musical honesty, integrity and passion will remain strong no matter what trends come and go and ultimately get destroyed within the music industry.
Now, the band´s necrohails stem from a place in North England called Durham. I gather it´s a smaller town? Have you always lived here? What´s the local Metal scene like?
Kat: Durham city is a small rural historic city which has a huge ancient cathedral and castle dominating the skyline and which tower above the main part of the city. It is surrounded by fields and woods and you can walk 15 minutes each direction and be in open scenic countryside. We are spread out across the North East of England but Durham City is our base and is where we rehearse. I was born and brought up in this area and have lived here all my life, Glynn (guitar) was born in Germany to English parents and has lived in England since a very early age, Ian our drummer is also from this area and Dan our bassist is originally from Glasgow in Scotland, so some of us have always lived in the north east of England. The local music scene is very healthy right now, some bands I recommend to check out are Horrified, Live Burial, Cholera, Fed To The Boars, Rotting Bull, Prolefeed, Hellkrusher, Plague Rider, Uncoffined etc…
You recently had a release gig in your hometown, how did it go down?
Kat: It went fucking great, the place was packed, the crowd was great and very responsive, we played a good set featuring material from the album and our other recordings/releases, we had two great local death metal bands play with us, Live Burial and Fed To The Boars, great night all round!
Is there more happening on the live front? Do you have plans to take the album out on the road?
Kat: Only one gig booked at the moment, we will see what other offers come our way. It would be great to tour in support of the album a bit, theres no concrete plans at the moment though.
Thanks Kat for taking the time to answer my question. Any last words?
Kat: Many thanks for the great interview and the support Frodi! Buy our album from Pulverised Records or your local stockist of extreme sounds!!! RIDE UPON THE BLACK WINGS OF ARMAGEDDON!
For more info on the band, check out their page: https://www.facebook.com/windsofgenocidecrust
“Usurping The Throne Of Disease” is out now via Pulverised Records. I can´t recommend this highly enjoyable piece of audio filth enough!