Artist Interview | Page 146 | Revolver

Artist Interview

Philip anselmo Pete steele

I was made aware of Peter Steele's death in the very early morning hours, directly after his body was found and the immediate report came out. To wake up to that news was awful, and too reminiscent of the brutal past. I shook off a layer of sleep and directly called the singer of Agnostic Front, Roger Miret, who confirmed the terrible truth. Shortly after that, I was on the phone with Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard. Both of us were damn near too stunned to really comprehend it. After all, Evan and I weren't just good friends with Pete, we were ongoing fans of the guy. We could talk Carnivore for hours and had several times over the 15 years we'd known each other. It was and is sad.

I was made aware of Pete Steele in general through his band Carnivore back in '87, '88. All my friends in New Orleans were freaking on their Retaliation record, and not surprisingly, I grew to love that album quick-like. Pete's legend grew as time went on, especially after Pantera had the pleasure of touring with him and his next band, Type O Negative, in the mid '90s. He was such a cool cat. Type O Negative had this take-it-or-leave-it approach to their music, and Pete completely knew it. He had a devilishly clever sense of humor!

I can't even begin to accumulate how many different musicians Pete touched along the way. He had the utmost respect of every New York hardcore band in the scene back in the day! He wrote songs for one of my favorite bands of the time, Agnostic Front, and he named the band Biohazard, who I consider brothers as well. There was no way he couldn't have touched your heart if you knew him. If Pete was on your side, he'd do anything for you, and Pete was a good guy to have on your side! He was one of a kind, and no matter how cliché that might be to say about someone after they've passed, it's the truth. I loved the guy as a friend, and I respected him incredibly as a songwriter. He will be missed in this house, no doubt.

Respectfully, Philip H. Anselmo

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The 2011 Revolver Golden Gods collector's poster is available for pre-order now right here. Featuring the bands and artists performing this year, including Avenged Sevenfold, Alice Cooper, Asking Alexandria, Duff McKagan, Volbeat, Devildriver, and Fozzy, this killer rock poster was created by renowned horror artists "Ghoulish" Gary Pullin and Justin Erickson just for this special event.

Quantities are extremely limited, so act fast, as these gorgeous pieces of art will sell out quickly. Each poster is 18"x24", printed by the great folks at Jakprints, and suitable for framing. These collectible posters will be otherwise available for sale only at the 2011 Revolver Golden Gods show; don't take any chances and order yours today.

What are you waiting for? Do it!

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photograph by NurPhoto / Getty

As a member of the "Big 4" of thrash, Megadeth go way back with Slayer. When we interviewed the former band's main man Dave Mustaine for our massive oral history of the four pioneering groups, their intertwined histories and their momentous shows together in 2010 and 2011, we had to ask him to pick his favorite song by the latter. The singer-guitarist admitted that he hasn't listened to a whole lot of Slayer in recent years — mostly for personal reasons — but he did have a decisive pick. See his selection and comments below.

"Angel of Death"

I just started recently getting into Slayer's music because I was pretty much at odds with those guys for so long. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to hang out over the years, much to my loss. I'd have to say probably my favorite Slayer song is the one that they close with, "Angel of Death" [off 1986's Reign in Blood]. Yeah, I love the killer double-kick part at the end of that one.

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photograph by Travis Shinn

If Metallica are the "Big 4" band that made it the biggest by evolving their sound and presentation, Slayer represent another side of the spectrum: The band that stayed big by resolutely sticking to their guns. Of course, despite their divergent creative paths, the two groups have plenty of mutual respect for each other. The historic Big 4 concerts, which brought them together with brothers in arms Megadeth and Anthrax, showcased that, and when we talked to Slayer's Kerry King around those shows, he opened up about his appreciation for his fellow thrash OGs. In particular, we asked him what Metallica song is his favorite — below, he shares his pick(s).

"Damage, Inc."

"Without a doubt, my favorite Metallica song would be 'Damage, Inc.' [off 1986's Master of Puppets]. It just sounds like something I would've wrote. [Laughs] I remember when that came out and thinking to myself, 'Man, I wish I would've wrote that riff.' I love that song. Also, 'Battery.' I love anything that's just brutal like that. I love it when James [Hetfield] just comes out and belts out his lyrics, James-style. There's nothing better. It's awesome."

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Revolver Presents: The Big Four is available on newsstands and online everywhere today. It contains features all-new, exclusive interviews with members from each group talking about how they've crossed paths in the past, the idea behind the Big Four tour, and what lies in the future. For more on the issue, click here. Check out an excerpt below.

REVOLVER Lars, how much attention did you pay Megadeth early on?
LARS ULRICH
I don't remember getting that into the first record, but when Peace Sells came out in '86, it just blew me away. That was right up my alley. That literally became my favorite record for a long time. Dave would come up and play San Francisco a lot. And I would always go find him, and we would drink and do lots of drugs and sit around. For those years, '84, '85…me and him got over our issues really quickly at that time.

I remember at the …And Justice for All tour, we played down in Irvine Meadows [near Los Angeles], and Dave came down and hung out at the last couple shows at the Justice tour. This may have been '89, and we just hang out. I remember actually when we finished the …And Justice for All album in L.A., in the summer of '88, I went to some apartment and played it for him at 5 in the morning. We were sitting there, playing "Blackened" and a bunch of other stuff while we were busy keeping ourselves awake. Me and Dave had kind of a friendship and a cool thing going at that time, up through most of the '80s.

It wasn't until both bands started getting bigger that this whole kind of thing started happening in the press, which was really kind of different than what we had going between us. There was almost like two relationships there. The press loved the whole Megadeth-Metallica [rivalry]. And I sort of think it got a life of its own. And in some way, you could argue that the thing that the press was doing about setting our bands up, eventually started kind of transcending itself into our personal relationship and probably became a big part of the fact that over the '90s it got a little frosty at times. You know what I mean?

Lars solo photo by Anton Corbijn. Lars and Dave by Ross Halfin.

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Chris "Can You Put Me on the List?" Krovatin is the author of two young adult novels, Heavy Metal & You and Venomous. He is currently working on multiple new writing projects, as well as new material with his local New York metal band Flaming Tusk. He is a freelance writer for Revolver and generally comes off as a good-natured pain in everyone's collective ass.

A Queens apartment, midday. An office, small, faintly smelling of genitals. The walls hang with framed heavy-metal posters. A bookshelf piled high with records and coffee table books about morbid shit sits in the middle of the room. CHRIS KROVATIN, mid-20s, doughy, bad skin, sits at his desk, strewn with notes, CDs, lighters. Chris wears a pair of boxers with beer kegs on them and a Slayer shirt with a hole in it. He taps his finger nervously on his battered laptop. Silence. Chris runs his hand through his hair and utters a single line:

CHRIS: (grouchily) Brandon fucking Geist, fucking lists…

Chris leans into his computer. He picks at a bit of dried skin on his cheek, and then begins typing furiously...

Trust me: If it's done right, theater is awesome. Movies are cool, but there's nothing quite like the spectacle of live performers onstage, especially if those performers are mutilating each other or getting nude for your amusement (though it should be noted that going to Private Eyes Gentlemen's Club is not theater). However, there's a reason we think of plays as stuffy overdone nonsense, and that's because many of them are. So for the discerning thespian (and her legally-joined life partner—wait, sorry), here is my list of the Six Most/Least Metal Plays.

The Six Most Metal Plays:

1) William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus What do we have? Disembowelment, rape, torture, mutilation, infanticide, filicide, decapitation, and oh, yeah, a nice healthy dose of cannibalism at the end. The Bard did it best.

2) Euripides, The Bacchae This is the tale of Dionysus, Greek god of booze (you're hard motherfuckers if you have a deity for hooch), sending a crew of insane bitches to tear a dude to pieces. The old blind shemale is the only character who doesn't get messed with in this play.

3) Doug Wright, Quills This modern masterpiece tells the story of the Marquis de Sade's terrifying final days at the Charenton Asylum. A priest cuts out the Marquis' tongue towards the end, then cuts off his dick. The stuff leading up to that? Way worse. So...

4) Maurice Level, The Final Kiss This play, written for the classic French splatter-theater the Grand Guignol, might be the first case of a play where a man disfigures a woman with acid onstage. You never know, with those Greeks…

5) Georg Büchner, Woyzeck Anyone down to watch an army officer get cuckolded and experimented on until he falls into a state of insane desperation and murders his wife? Anyone? No? Just me and Opeth, right? OK.

6) Antonin Artaud, Jet Of Blood Physics-defying falling limbs. God bleeding everywhere. A woman's vagina swarming with scorpions. You better believe a fucking Frenchman wrote this two-minute masterpiece.

The Six Least Metal Plays:

1) Various, Free To Be…You And Me Adapted from a children's book and album in 1972, this love-era performance piece teaches the tenants of life, love, and equality. Lame. Put a wargoat somewhere in there.

2) William Gibson, The Miracle Worker This adaptation of Helen Keller's autobiography tells of one Annie Sullivan, a hardened Irishwoman who taught the deaf, blind, and dumb child to speak. Unfortunately, it was written in 1957, when being risky or realistic in theater was tantamount to Communism. WAAWAAAH!

3) Catherine Johnson, Mamma Mia! The only musical on this list (it's easy to call musicals non-metal—they're generally campy as fuck), this British tour de force based on the songs of ABBA is…well, there you have it.

4) Oscar Wilde, The Importance Of Being Earnest Leave it to a gay man to make romance this obnoxiously boring. Full of slow-moving hijinks and muddled Britishisms, Earnest will forever be the play that men are dragged to by their girlfriends. Trust me—I've been there.

5) William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives Of Windsor Shakespeare's only romantic farce sees him take Falstaff, one of his finest characters, and make him lame. No murder, and very little ribaldry. Not this time, Billy-Shake.

6) Jay Presson Allen, Tru It's a two-act one-man show about Truman Capote in a hotel room. I'd rather nail my dick to a Doberman.

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When asked about playing an old-school music style, Olof Wikstrand—singer and founder of young Swedish speed/heavy metal band Enforcer—answered, "heavy metal is timeless." Fittingly, one listen to the band's latest release, Diamonds, isn't a throwback to 1983, but rather a documentation of five classicly-minded dudes playing classic heavy metal in 2010.

Formed in 2004 as a solo project of Wikstrand's, the group released their blistering debut, Into the Night, four years later via Heavy Artillery. Though the band is rapidly gaining attention and success (with even an unexpected name-drop by Lady Gaga's DJ, Lady Starlight), they recently suffered a major blow: the departure of lead guitarist Adam Zaars.

The remaining members—guitarist Joseph Tholl, bassist Tobias Lindqvist and drummer (and Olof's younger brother) Jonas Wikstrand—vow to carry on with their relentless touring and deliver the goods the only way they know how: pure, heavy and fast.

While I was over in Bergen, Norway for the Hole in the Sky Festival last August, I caught up with Zaars, Tholl and Wikstrand shortly after their set to talk about touring North America, success, Diamonds and heavy metal in their native Sweden.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Enforcer.

You guys went on a full-scale North American tour in 2009 with Cauldron. How was that?
JOSEPH THOLL It was sort of like a test for us. After doing a tour like that, we now know that we can do any tour. I mean, most bands who go through a long tour like that—five weeks with nine guys stuffed in a van—would probably say, maybe this isn't what we are supposed to do, and break up. We enjoyed every second of it, even though it wasn't a luxurious tour.
ADAM ZAARS I think it was a step in the right direction for us. We planted a seed over there, and I'm happy to say that we've done it though I wouldn't headline Texas ever again.
THOLL It also varied from state to state. Like, the coasts and major cities were really good to us, whereas the middle part of the country wasn't. Looking back, I can say that it wasn't a good idea to play Texas as a headliner…or Idaho.

What's the difference between touring in Europe and in North America?
THOLL Ugh, the drives! America is much bigger than Europe, but Europe is good to us all around.
OLOF WIKSTRAND But, like America, the big cities in Europe are better than the small ones. I would say the biggest difference is the distance between towns in America. We had to travel like 16 hours between shows where it would take us like three in Europe.

Are you guys ever surprised that you're gaining recognition and success by playing such a traditional style in today's contemporary metal scene?
WIKSTRAND It's very hard to say. When we write music, it has always been for ourselves.
THOLL I personally feel that we're on a much higher level than what I expected. I know that there are many people in the underground who loves this music, but I've been seeing a lot of people who aren't music freaks that really enjoy what we do, too. And that's really good.
WIKSTRAND We always knew what we wanted to achieve, but our goals are always higher than what we set. It wasn't that surprising when we were able to play big festivals like Band Your Head or Metal Camp because we've always had a much higher goal in mind. We enjoy it, of course, but we are still aiming for the top.

Let's talk about Diamonds. The album has a sound that is very different than most other metal albums from 2010, especially with the guitars. They have a very classic sound to them.
WIKSTRAND We wanted to achieve a sound that was eternal, where every instrument has its own part.
THOLL Yeah, when I was recording, I didn't think about the Seventies or Eighties. I was just thinking about a good guitar sound—a sound that comes straight from the amp, and I was using a 1969 Vox amp. That's a good guitar sound.
WIKSTRAND We wanted the guitars to sound like guitars, not when they are put into the mixer and "right in your ears!" A guitar plugged into an amplifier will give you a guitar sound and that's what we wanted.
ZAARS I guess we could have experimented with 20 different amps, but we didn't. A Marshall JCM900 and a 1969 Vox amp will always give us a good sound. I mean, we're not guitar nerds. I could care less about the technical side of amps but this is what fits our needs.

The songs on Diamonds are more cohesive than your debut, Into the Night. Were there any goals in mind during the writing process?
WIKSTRAND The basic difference this time was that we had nothing to start with. We built everything up from the beginning rather than record songs we already had, like the first album. We wrote songs with more dynamics and different parts this time around. Also, we all worked together in a different way than we had on Into the Night, as we wanted Diamonds to be an album—where you put it on and listen to it from the first song to the last in one sitting and find all the parts interesting every time.

Do you remember the moment that made you decide this is what you want to do?
THOLL Megadeth got me into this mess.
ZAARS Kiss. The first time I watched Ace Frehley play, I knew I wanted to be a guitar player.
WIKSTRAND I first heard Metallica when I was four years old and I was completely sold.

Is heavy metal accepted in Swedish society?
WIKSTRAND My interest in heavy metal is purely based on my dedication to it. The only reason why I do this is because I love it.
ZAARS It's what Darkthrone said: we were "raised on rock." [laughs]

Being from Scandinavia, why do you think that region of the world has such a huge amount of metal bands?
THOLL Well, in Sweden, we have a lot of great bands in all genres—not just metal.
ZAARS I think it's because we have such a rich history of music, especially pop music.
WIKSTRAND From ABBA to the Cardigans and to anything, really, Sweden has everything for everyone. You can dig into anything and find something you will like and I think that's a part of why heavy metal is so good there.

There's been a lot of interest in classic heavy metal from younger people these days. What do you think of it?
ZAARS I see it as a double-edged sword. There are, of course, good bands and there will be some bad ones who are in it for the wrong reasons. The good thing about this current interest is the publicity: more people are starting to get into heavy metal music. The bad thing is that there will always be people who just follow what other people like and that ultimately makes some bands sound like crap and pollute the scene. It happens in every "revival," where the good, real bands stay together and the ones that aren't disappear. It always happens.

Finally, what's next for Enforcer?
WIKSTRAND Touring our asses off!

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Markus Goldman is a member of the air staff at 93.3 WMMR, a radio station in Philadelphia. He recently conducted a series of interviews for Revolver Magazine. This installment is with Josh Scogin, vocalist for the Georgia mathcore group the Chariot. Listen to it below.

Josh Scogin of the Chariot

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