Hailing from Germany, Desaster embody the terror of a war machine crushing all on its path with their killer riffs in the pure tradition of the total fuckin’ black/thrash attacks of the eighties…The die-hard infernal main songwriter told me everything I wanted to know about the history behind... a true alcoholic old-school metalhead maniac. Bang or be banged!
01 - Hail Infernal! In the beginning, anno 1989, Desaster released two fucking rehearsal tapes that were never out in official format, just distributed among your true bloodbrothers - why so? Later, in the 1990s, the band split up and stayed on hiatus for two years. Could you explain the strange reasons behind this long silence?
Well, when we started in 88/89 we were some young and crazy metalmaniacs who were totally possessed by the magic metalic spirit that bands like Venom, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Destruction, Sodom, Mercyful Fate, Bathory and many others had spread around the globe and we decided to follow the path these bands had walked before although at the end of the 80s nobody was any longer into satanic and evil metal - even some of the mentioned bands wanted to get rid of their satanic image to achieve more commercial success. But we vanted to start a band with a black concept and we still walked around with our denim-jackets full of patches with spikes, bullet-belts and chains and this in a time en everybody was into this skateboard-bermuda short-funny lyrics shit. Everybody thought that we were crazy but we didn’t care at all because we knew how real metal has to look like! So we started to rehearse and record our rehearsals on tape but we didn’t thought of releasing those tapes because first of all we thought that nobody would be interested any longer in this kind of music and honestly speaking the songs we made weren’t that good at all because we could hardly handle our instruments, haha! We also had no clue about how the underground worked, we didn’t know to whom we could send our tapes, so we only record them to a few friends. Well, there were different reasons for our split-up in 1990, one was that our session drummer hadn’t had the time to go rehearsing with us, and another reason was that my companion creator Cassie changed his taste in music and left the band to go to fucking disco instead! So, I was the only remaining member in the band and I was searching for other musicians to go on, but it was very difficult to find people who shared me taste in music and my main attitudes, so it took 1/2 years to find some real warriors to continue. Desaster was not really dead in that time. I was going on writing new songs on my own until I found the right warriors to go on as a real band with a constant line-up.
02 - I know that my holy words will touch your heart, but when I listen to your first demo “The Fog of Avalon”, I found it very influenced by pioneers such as Venom, Hellhammer and Bathory. And frankly, without wanting to upset you, I think that the second demo “Lost in the Age” opted for a different style, because your sound was typically Norwegian - influenced by Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal... Could you tell me where those huge differences in your songwriting arose from? Did you get good or bad reviews in the underground press with these demos?
I wouldn’t agree with you, I think the only big difference between our two official demos was the sound, “Lost in...” had a better round because we went to a studio to record the tape in 1994 and we were very satisfied with the outcome of the recordings, for a demo it has a great sound. And the response to this second release was really amazing! We got very good reviews in many zines all over the world and sold over 1000 copies of the tape! But also our first demo “The Fog of...” already got good reactions .First we only did 100 tapes of it because we thought it would be enough, but then w sold over 500 copies of it. This tape helped a lot to spread our name though the worldwide underground. Although it had a very rough sound because we record it at our rehearsal place it has a special atmosphere. Well, you say that the first demo sounded more old school than the 2nd one, which sounded more Norwegian to you. Well, when the first demo came out some people blamed us of copying Darkthrone. Okay, there are the typical blast speed black metal parts, but this way of playing wasn’t invented in Norway but in Sweden some years before by a guy called Quorthon! But of course I won’t deny that also the old Norwegian bands you mentioned had a great influence on us, in those times these bands brought back the black spirit into metal music which was really great after many death metal bands had wimped out!
03 - After both demos, Desaster released several split EPs with the fucking diehards of Ungod, Pentacle. My thought about these releases is that your songwriting was more varied in terms of influences, production… they sounded like a mixture between of grim black metal meshed with old German thrashing assaults. Do you want to return to the energy of pure thrash ‘til death, which was the glory of your country in the 80s?
First of I wouldn’t say that we left black metal in favor of 80s German thrash. We’ve grown up with the old bands, not only thrash metal but also heavy/speed/power/death/black metal and it’s clear that we are influence by this stuff. We always call our black metal “traditional” because we want to separate from all the modern keyboard-gothic bands that call their music “black metal”! But of course also “newer” bands like Samael, Darkthrone, Burzum had a big influence on our music, so one can describe our music as a mixture between old school thrash/death/black/speed/heavy metal and raw fast black metal of the 90s in the veins of old Bathory with a few medieval soundings elements. Perhaps the olds school elements became stronger and stronger within the years, but we had these elements in our music - if it sounds very diverse to you, I take it as a compliment because we always pays much attention on variety, we won’t release with 10 songs that all sound the same!
04 - Hey! I saw you’re a total fucking diehard because of your worship of the extreme 80s heavy/speed/trash/black metal bands that rocked your blasphemous youth. It’s no surprise on your great covers of bands like Venom, Razor, Kreator... and more recently the godly Pentacle! Wouldn’t you want to release an album containing all these wild covers?
We enjoy doing covers, especially to play them live is great, to surprise the people with a new cover song that nobody except to hear from your band, I think that’s the main reason to play covers! But I think that recording whole albums with only covers songs isn’t very interesting and just a method to do some extra money, so we prefer to write and record our own songs and only do cover versions from time to time. A cool thing when doing covers is that you can learn to play in different ways when you practice songs of other bands which can be very inspiring! You forgot that we also did Slayer’s “Black magic” on the “Hellfire’s Dominion” LP version. And we also contributed “Proseloytism Real” on a Sodom tribute which was included on their “Code Red” CD, and we did “Darkness and Evil” for a Sabbat tribute LP. We also record covers from Bathory, Exhumer and Possessed, but they were never published, we only record these songs for ourselves.
05 - What an honor... many special guests came to voice their hatred on your black/trashing hymns such as Mille (Kreator), Lemmy (Violentforce), Wannes (Pentacle/Asphyx/Soulburn), Toto (Living Death), or Beliar (Mayhemic .Truth/Morrigan) - it must have been a fantastic monumental reunion of true old-school metalheads which much drinking involved!!! Did you ever feel tempted to create a project in these veins?
Well, I feel no need to do another “retro-thrash project”. I use all my thrash metal influences for Desaster! It really seems to me that black metal guys have discovered old school thrash metal and now start playing this old style because they have recognized that they can make some extra money with a thrash project. But I think most of those guys don’t have the real “spirit” to play this kind of music because most of them are too young and they did not grow up with this music, it’s simply not in their hearts, so they are also not able to write original songs but steal the original riffs and tunes and sell it as their own!
06 - Desaster is raw as a name for a black/trashing band - I like it, but out of curiosity, does it have a link with Destruction’s track from the first MLP “Sentence of Death”, or is it purely a coincidence?
No, that’s exactly where we got our name from! When we started we were totally into the early Destruction albums and we had a kind of saying - “let’s go to town and make some ‘total desaster’!” So when we were looking for a name for our band, we soon came to Desaster - with the German spelling!
07 - It seems in your lyrics that you have a nostalgic feeling for the Middle Ages... a lugubrious passion expressed in the form of bloody rebellion! However, could you imagine returning to the 14th century, when the inquisition led innocent people to the funeral pyres because they supposedly practiced occult black magic with their free will? For inspiration, do you listen to any kind of medieval music?
It’s true that some of our songs contain some medieval sounding tunes and melodies. I think they have become another trademark of Desaster. I must admit say that I’m not very much into Middle-Ages music but when I’m standing on the wall of an ancient castle such majestic tunes appear in my mind and I have to add them to our sound. Since I was a child I was fascinated by the countries castles and ruins of our region and we still like to visit old castles and ancient ruins, the majestic and magical atmosphere between the old stonework is really fascinating and during a night on a castle you can feel the spirit of long centuries and a few beer en you close your eyes you can hear the sound of iron on iron, the horses hoofs and the battle cries! The Middle Ages are a big source of inspiration, these times were rue by death and darkness, by wars, plagues, by the oppression of the fucking church… Today’s view on the middle ages is offense a very romantic one but life was very hard in these times but nevertheless I sometimes wish to escape this fucking crowded modern world and live my life in medieval times when words like pride, honestly, firmness, faithfulness, sincerity still had a meaning and yes, in some songs (especially in our traditional medieval outros) we try to travel back in time and call back the spirit of the ancient times.
08 - Infernal, you are a fucking diehard and determined to keep the flame of the eighties alive in your brutal spirit. Quickly, what are your fave bands in this glorious period?
I must say that I really prefer to listen to the old 80s bands because the newer releases in black metal aren’t very exiting any more, but it’s not only thrash metal I’m listening to, it’s all kind of bands from AC/DC to Terrorizer! It’s hard to mention only a few important albums, but to choose a few all times classics which not only had influenced me and Desaster but also hundreds of other bands. I certainly have to mention Slayer’s “Reign in blood”, which for me is the hardest and most aggressive album of all times, Bathory’s first albums which influenced all the 90s black metal bands as well as Bathory’s ‘viking style’ albums which a big impact on the 90s on all the so-called ‘Viking’ or ‘Pagan’ bands. Not to forgot classic speed albums like Metallica’s “Kill ‘em all”, Exodus “Bonded by blood” or classic metal albums like the first two Mercyful Fate LPs and of course Iron maiden’s first albums with Paul di Anno and also Bruce Dickinson. But I also like to listen to many albums which are not that famous but which simply blow your speakers like for example Protector’s “Misanthropy” EP; Razor’s “Executioner’s song”, Dark Angel’s “We have arrived”, Running Wild’s first two LPs etc…
09 - I presume that Desaster plays a lot gigs, particularly with some real metal bands: Sabbat, Behemoth, Enslaved, Mayhemic Truth (r.i.p), Occult and so on… some .rumors even state that you played with the fucking trendies of Mystic Circle! Do you have intense memories of your performance at the Wacken festival? Why did Okkulto leave Desaster you after this concert? Can you please tell me more about the thane to his throne, as he is currently unknown to the scene?
Well, Sataniac played in Divine Genocide, a local black/death metal band which had two demos out. When Okkulto left the band I immediately thought this guy and phoned him, so he showed up at the rehearsal room one week later and could sing already five songs by heart! His fucking voice nearly blew the speakers, and we were very impressed by the power of his organ! So he became a fucking Desastermaniac also because he had the right spirit to join our horde which was also very important! I can’t tell you much about Okkulto’s reason for leaving the band, he has his personal reasons and we and the fans have accepted his decision, but in the meantime the maniacs have accepted Sataniac as the new singer, especially live he’s a killer frontbeast and most people say that he fits perfectly to the sound of Desaster!!! I have to correct you: we never played with Mystic Circle, we were supposed to do two times but both times they didn’t play! We really like to play live very much, what can better than to bang and drink together with the fans? I think every real metal band must be able to perform their music also live on stage, you can produce everything you want in a studio but you also have to produce the same atmosphere on stage if you want to be called a real band! So far we played in Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Bosnia. This year, it seems that we get the chance to play in Brazil, the first time on another continent, we hope this becomes true!!
10 - Desaster has already been in the scene for ten long years... to commemorate this event, Merciless Records will release a mischievous best-of titled “10 years of total desaster” in DLP format, including many unreleased songs. Isn’t the selection of these wild tracks too difficult? Soon, you plan to release a live LP on a Brazilian Company, and then to go touring in this sex/fun country - it’s “total desaster Brazilian live Armageddon”!!! I think that you have invited all the moselfranken hellbangers, like a pure fucking diehard…
The ‘ten years of total desaster’, double LP gatefold with a large booklet, was released on Merciless records in 1999. It’s no ‘best-of ’, we just wanted to celebrate our 10th anniversary and give the fans something special, so this double LP will never be released on CD, for vinyl-hunters only!!! Well, because it shouldn’t be a kind of ‘best-of’ album, it wasn’t that difficult to choose the tracks, we just took some rare, unreleased and live material out of every era of the band’s existence as well as fourth songs. Yes, some of the hellbangers can be heard on two lives songs which were record in our hometown Koblenz. Well, it’s true that we plan to record the show we are going to play in Brazil and release in on limited CD and LP format, so I hope that many, many Brazilian maniacs will come to our show in Sao Paulo and help to create a crazy metalized atmosphere!! We are looking very forward to our trip to South America, it’s really amazing!!
11 - It sucks, but it’s already the end... perhaps a last desasterthrashing message…?
Yeah, I hope that we can play in France for the first time, there are some shows planned for our forthcoming your with Zemial in June 2003! So take a look on our homepage total-desaster.de for the latest news! To all the true maniacs out there: keep up the flag of hate and remember.
Interview : Kanz-Noz