samedi 28 décembre 2013

Buried By Time And Dust Records interview

Here is an interview I made in October with Russ and Nick of Buried By Time And Dust...the name should ring a bell for all the metal vinyl maniacs out there...they don't need introduction ... so open a good beer, put on Black Sabb' Heaven And Hell (why not heh ?) and read what the evil brothers have to say...

How was BBTAD put together? What was the whole idea and goal behind the label at the beginning?

BBTAD was put together totally by accident. Growing up in the early 80’s our favourite band was and is Witchfinder General, an obsession that still exists to this day. In the mid nineties we would routinely take turns and get up in the middle of the night to call Heavy Metal Records (In England) which was their last known label to ask if they had any unpublished material or live stuff that they planned on releasing. For years we did this with the same reply that they had stuff but needed a bit more time to move on it. We always let them know that if they needed any assistance we would certainly be of help.  Fast forward to the early 2000’s when Phil Cope and Zeeb Parkes found a tape that had a great sounding gig on it. They approached Heavy Metal Records who owed them a lot of back royalties and said let’s square up and then release this. The label’s response was to the effect they didn’t have the money for back royalties but they knew two guys in America that could help. At this point the band saw no sense in letting the label screw them further and decided to contact us directly in the form of Phil Cope calling us on the phone out of the blue. To say that we were shocked would be a ridiculous understatement. A dream of a lifetime came true for us that day.

I believe BBTAD is run by two persons. What is your personal role and how do you share the tasks between you two?

Yes, the label is run by Russ and I (Nick) who are brothers. Russ does all of the financial, shipping and daily stuff of the label. We work together on layout, presentation and the balance of the work.

Except being simple listeners, were you guys involved in the metal scene before starting BBTAD? Were you familiar with all the matters regarding the management of a label? I mean dealing with pressing plant, getting licence, working with bands, etc.?

We had zero familiarity on label stuff. Our involvement was simply going to gigs and buying records.

How many hours a day do you spend working for BBTAD? Does it demand a lot of time, effort and sacrifice to run a label such as BBTAD?

On a daily basis not much time. There are certain periods where there is a lot to do but since we only do 5 or 6 releases a year it is not too bad.

Your first release (WITCHFINDER GENERAL live DLP) was a collaboration with Nuclear War Now! Productions, why? Was it financially too risky for BBTAD to release it alone? How successful was this collaboration and how did you convince Yosuke to work with you?

After Witchfinder General had contacted us Russ flew to Stourbridge England from San Francisco to complete the deal. When he returned we had a master tape and literally zero idea of what to do with it. We knew Yosuke from NWN! Knew what he was doing from some of the releases we had of his and geographically he lived only about twenty minutes away so we approached him with the deal. It had nothing to to with risk or finances but simply us not having any experience and not wanting to fuck it up. The collaboration produced the Live 83 DLP and the Buried Amongst the Ruins projects which with the exception of a few fuck ups turned out very good I thought.

You guys are huge NWOBHM fans; are there any particular bands from that area that you really want to reissue? Or wanted to but didn’t work in the end? I’d love to see DAWNWATCHER, KRAKEN, SARACEN (the one on Roksnax comp’) or TRESPASS getting the BBTAD treatment for example, what do you think?

There are plenty of bands we’d love to do projects with and in fact are doing a couple right now that are in various stages. The bands you mention of course are fantastic so well see.

What are your views on the current underground music industry? It seems that the demand for vinyl records among metal fans is still rising up but don’t you think this trend will disappear in the end considering the continuously increasing retail price for one single LP (and I’m even not speaking about postage rates…)? Is it getting harder those days to offer high quality vinyl for a decent price?

The Underground is alive and well. Tons of cool labels, tons of cool bands so for me there is nothing to complain about. People say vinyl is a trend and maybe it is...we don’t care. We love when people dump their record collections or leave the metal to do some other limpwristed style. Good riddance.

You guys are mostly specialized in reissuing old stuff, is it hard to convince band members to work with you? I’m also clueless regarding to copyright matters, contracts, getting licences, etc. Could you please explain us roughly how does it work? Hard to believe but did you already have problem with bands not satisfied with your job in the end?

It is not too hard to convince people as long as you come off genuine and show you care for the band and have their best interests at heart.  Band members  can smell bullshit a mile away for the most part so the fact we only do stuff were passionate about and have enthusiasm for makes things easy. A few of the bands have wanted contracts which is fine, no problem. Most bands we work with deal on a handshake and trust...nothing written at all. Only would happen in the underground. Regarding bands not being happy with the final product it hasn’t happened least they haven’t said anything.  We try to make things look like we would love to see in a store and pick up on a blind buy like you had to pre internet. Etc....

When it comes to actual releases, you clearly prefer quality over quantity. What’s your opinion on the current metal “scene”? Does a label like BBTAD receive a lot of promo stuff? What bands need to do if they want to be signed on BBTAD?

Like I said before the metal scene is great I think...anybody who complains about it isn’t paying attention. I don’t think weve ever received one piece of promo material though....

Do you wish to expand your activities in the future and make the label bigger and more “professional”, a bit like High Roller Records now? Or do you prefer BBTAD to stay like it is now?

No, I think were fine with the way things are. There are full time day jobs, kids and families involved so with the time we have left the label will stay small I think.

Does a label like BBTAD use promotional tools to survive or the reputation/word of mouth is enough? I don’t remember ever seeing a BBTAD flyer for example and you don’t seem to care a lot about promoting the label…you don’t think it’s necessary or do you want BBTAD to stay confidential?

We have a small presence on some of the underground forums but that is it.  It is not that we want to stay confidential but were just not aggressive marketers. If we have extra time we will be drinking and listening to records.
I was pleasantly surprised to see EVIL BLOOD material getting properly reissued. I know a lot of other labels tried to work with Dennis Harris (Bat Connan) and EVIL BLOOD in the past but didn’t succeed in the end because Dennis is quite a tough negotiator and very demanding. Is that true? How hard it was to persuade him?

This is partially true...Dennis can be tough but when Russ wants to do something he can get it done. I think it was a combination of us being Slavic and Russ’ passion for Evil Blood that convinced Dennis to work with us.

On the other hand, that’s another story between PAGAN ALTAR and you. They seem to be very confident and supportive toward BBTAD, am I right? How does it feel to work with such a mythical and magical band? How did you enter in contact with Terry and Alan? What’s your opinion on their recurrent line-up problem?

Working with Pagan Altar is another dream come true for us. We first met them when we flew to their London ULU gig with Warning, Against Nature and The Lamp of Thoth and of course they were incredibly nice. The next year my wife and I flew to Ireland to visit family and catch Pagan Altar at a small club date their put on by Sarlacc. Terry and I drank and talked for hours before the gig with some of the other Templars. He asked how the label was going and at the time I think we only had 4 releases out. He then said “would you like to put out our vinyl “.... Taking into account that I just flew 12 hours to see the gig the answer was of course Hell yes! He then said as long as you want to do it you will be the guys and we shook on it and he has never gone back on his promise. Again a dream come true for us. My opinion on the line up problem is that I don’t like it in that it delays the band recording but past that it is none of our business.

You’ve released a few CDs in the past. This is something the bands wanted or are you personally interested in this format?

We do cd’s occasionally when demand might be there but overall we loathe them.

What’s your most successful release so far? And the least one?

The best selling stuff is obviously the Witchfinder General and Pagan Altar stuff and Satan as well. The live records sell slower than most as people are that crazy about live records I guess.

How come you don’t run a mailorder list? Is it a part of the business that you don’t like or it’s just because you lack of time?

Lack of time, space and there are plenty of people who do this well.

Well I guess you’re both huge records collectors, aren’t you? How big is your collection and what are your most cherished items? Is it financially difficult to be both a vinyl collector and a label owner? Did you already sell valuable records to finance your releases?

Our collections are okay...nothing that would blow your mind though. Our finances come from our jobs..not from the label so we never have to sell records to finance other stuff or whatever. Russ has one of the best NWOBHM 7” collections I have seen but other stuff is too numerous too mention.

What would be your advice to people who want to start a label nowadays? 

The only advice I would give is to work with bands you love and have fun...otherwise whats the point?

What the future holds for BBTAD? Can you reveal some details about your next projects and releases?

Well the Pagan Altar Judgement of the Dead repress is happening now along with the Paul Chain- King of the Dream lp. Also by press time of this zine we will have a Radium release out called “Through the smoke and Into the Grave” which is a reproduction of the 1981 7” single and a full lp of incredible live stuff from 1980. Other than that we’ll have a few more announcements soon as well. Other than that we will be sitting around drinking and with fists in the air.

Thank you very much for your time! End this interview like you wish. Long live BBTAD!!

Cheers and Die Hard!!

 (Roksnax sampler from which the BBTAD logo comes from...)


samedi 19 janvier 2013


Celles et ceux qui me connaissent bien savent que je suis un grand admirateur de Hard et de Heavy Metal français. Une des raisons principales à cette passion est que la scène française regorgeait de petits groupes confidentiels aussi talentueux les uns que les autres et qui auraient pu revendiquer (avec un peu de chance et une bonne promo) une place à côté des gros noms de l'époque que furent TRUST, SORTILÈGE, H-BOMB, HIGH POWER, BLASPHÈME, SATAN JOKERS ou WARNING. Parmi eux, certains n’ont même jamais dépassé le stade démo (PACEMAKER, SLAUGHTER, ORIALIX, TNT, etc.), d’autres ont tout de même eu la chance de voir un jour leur musique sortir sur vinyle, soit en collaboration avec des maisons de disques dignes de ce nom (VOODOO CHILD, DER KAISER, EXCESS, etc.), soit en autoproduction ou sur des labels moins importants (AUROCH, VENIN, 38 TONNES, PSYCHOSE, DAMOCLÈS, LEGEND, TOKYO, etc.).  

CALAMINE, dont il est question dans cet humble billet, fait partie de cette dernière catégorie. J'ai toujours eu un faible pour ce petit groupe sous-estimé mais de haute classe et son Hard Rock accrocheur et mélodique. C'est donc tout naturellement que j'ai cherché à en savoir plus et je suis tombé sur le fondateur et guitariste du groupe, Gérard Cappagli, qui a gentiment accepté mon invitation de revenir sur les moments forts qui ont marqué la courte (mais intense) histoire de CALAMINE. Une histoire qui débute d’abord avec IRIS, le premier groupe de Gérard, que les plus âgés d’entre vous se souviendront peut-être : "J’avais formé IRIS avec quelques potes du lycée. Á l’époque, j’avais 18 ans. On a fait pas mal de concerts et festivals (dont un à Nancy devant 1000 personnes). C’était vraiment sympa, on a eu notre petit succès et on ramenait pas mal de monde à nos concerts. A mon âge, je ne m’en rendais pas trop compte.Et puis il y a eu notre album « Litanies » en 1972, et deux 45trs. Il y en a même eu un troisième mais je ne faisais déjà plus partie du groupe. Comme de fait, on est souvent impatient quand on a 18 ans, et IRIS était dans une période d’inactivité de 3/4 mois. On pensait donc que le groupe était fichu et on a plus ou moins décidé d’arrêter."

Un autre album intitulé «Ça Pourrait Bien Recommencer » sortira malgré tout en 2009 : "...avec des vieux de la vieille (rires) dont Tony à la basse/chant (qui écrivait la plupart des textes à l’époque pour IRIS), un ancien guitariste et un ancien batteur (et claviériste) de Thiéfaine. On a refait quelques concerts mais il n’y avait pas de truc « porteur ». Les gens de notre époque ne sont pas revenu nous voir, du moins très peu, et ceux de la nouvelle génération ne nous connaissait pas. Cela n’a pas accroché comme on voulait malgré des bons concerts. En plus, j’habitais assez loin des autres membres du groupe et ce n’était pas évident pour la promo, etc.…du coup, on a laissé tomber. Je garde tout de même un souvenir sympathique de cette aventure car cela nous a permis de remarcher sur nos pas et d’une certaine manière, de terminer quelque chose que nous n’avions pas pu finir à l’époque." Après le split d'IRIS, Gérard déménagera dans la Marne et formera EASTERN ROAD avec le regretté Philippe Chauveau au chant ainsi que trois autres musiciens dont c'est la première véritable expérience musicale: un guitariste Jean-Pierre Humbert, Eric Paillet à la batterie et Jean-Jacques Tridon au poste de bassiste. Le groupe enregistrera peu de temps après une démo: "C'était le début des radios libres à l'époque et ces dernières étaient le meilleur moyen de se faire connaître. On a donc enregistré une démo sur un 4 pistes pour leur envoyer et on s'est rapidement fait connaître grâce à ça. La démo contenait d'ailleurs "L'adolescent" (qui apparaîtra plus tard sur le 45trs) et les radios passaient beaucoup ce titre." En effet, l'engouement pour EASTERN ROAD ne se fera pas attendre et à force de concerts (Vitry, Châlons-En-Champagne, Reims entre autres), le groupe s'impose comme une valeur sûre dans la région et ce, en seulement six mois d'existence: "Je me rappelle d'un concert que nous avions promotionné avec seulement quelques affiches et au final, un millier de personnes étaient venus nous voir, c'était la folie. A cette époque, c'était plus de personnes qu'à un concert de TELEPHONE en ville !" 

Le groupe connaîtra quelques problèmes de line-up (Philippe Chauveau occupera notamment le poste de bassiste en plus de celui de chanteur après le départ de Jean-Jacques Tridon) mais cela n'empêchera pas EASTERN ROAD de passer à la vitesse supérieur et d'enregistrer un 45trs. C'est également l'occasion pour le groupe de changer de nom et d'opter pour un patronyme français. "Pour le nom EASTERN ROAD, on avait joué la carte de la démocratie et c'est celui-là qui est resté mais personnellement, j'aurai préféré un nom français dès le départ. Et pour les producteurs, un patronyme anglais n'était pas dans l'air du temps. C'est la raison pour laquelle on a choisi CALAMINE pour la sortie du 45trs et bien sûr aussi parce que ça collait mieux à nos titres chantés en français. C'était un nom sympa et ça rappelait le temps où on grattait le moteur et les culasses de nos mobylettes." 

Ce 45trs sort donc 1984 sur une maison de disques parisienne appelée Griffe et sera distribué par CBS. Le succès (justifié) est tel qu'il y aura un repressage la même année (avec une pochette légèrement différente). Comment résister à un titre tel que "La Dame en Noir", ses mélodies belles à chialer, son refrain entêtant et ses solos de guitare remplis de feeling. Probablement un des meilleurs titres de Hard français qu'il m'ait été donné d'entendre. Frissons garantis. Et que dire du chant exceptionnel de Philippe Chauveau..."L'adolescent" quant à lui, se veut moins dur, plus posé et plus accessible. Le jeu des guitares y est encore une nouvelle fois superbe et le refrain terriblement accrocheur. "Je suis toujours très fier de ce que nous avions réalisé. Ces deux titres ont été mixés au studio Guillaume Tell avec Thierry Rogène aux commandes, il est devenu plus tard une pointure dans le domaine de l'enregistrement. Le son était vraiment excellent pour l'époque et ça n'a pas vieillit d'un poil aujourd'hui. Ça me donne envie de réenregistrer des inédits de CALAMINE d'ailleurs. Pour moi, la musique est intemporelle et ressortir ces titres avec les méthodes actuelles pourrait être vraiment sympa. Après tout, les arrangements restent les mêmes." Le groupe enregistrera également un video-clip avec "La Dame en Noir" et sera diffusé sur France 3. CALAMINE continuera à donner beaucoup de concerts dans sa région mais aussi partout dans l'hexagone où il rencontrera un succès certain. Malheureusement, l'aventure se terminera peu de temps après pour Gérard comme il me l'explique: "C'est souvent la même histoire dans ce milieu pour des groupes de notre envergure, on avait pas beaucoup d'argent et des problèmes personnelles commençaient à pointer le bout de leur nez. J'ai donc été obligé de quitter le groupe et de m'installer ailleurs...c'est à cette époque que j'ai travaillé pour Thiéfaine comme régisseur sur sa tournée, c'était sympa et ça me permettait de rester dans le monde de la musique. J'ai ensuite déménagé à Paris pour un autre boulot mais je n'ai plus fais grand-chose dans la musique par après...jusqu'à récemment."

CALAMINE continuera quelques années de plus sans Gérard mais aucun disque ne sortira et le groupe splittera définitivement vers la fin des années 80. Quand je lui demande quels sont ses meilleurs souvenirs et ceux à oublier avec EASTERN ROAD et CALAMINE, Gérard me répond simplement qu'il n'a passé que des bons moments: "Il n'y en a pas vraiment eu de mauvais dans mon aventure avec le groupe, peut-être quelques concerts dans des bleds paumés de la Marne devant presque personne, mais là encore, on avait notre petit fanclub qui nous suivait partout et ça restait sympa. Il y a juste eu l'accident de moto de Philippe Chauveau. Il n'était blessé gravement mais ça lui a fait un choc et il a eu un petit passage à vide...mais dans l'ensemble, on s'est éclaté et on a eu que des bons moments !"

Un titre de l'album d'IRIS:
Iris - Le Siècle du Soleil

Les deux titres du 45trs de CALAMINE:
Calamine - La Dame en Noir
Calamine - L'Adolescent

Et enfin un inédit que Gérard a mis en ligne sur youtube récemment:

Si vous possédez d'autres enregistrements inédits d'EASTERN ROAD / CALAMINE, ainsi que des photos, articles de journaux,...merci de prendre contact avec moi ironhammer(a)


samedi 25 août 2012

HORACLE (Bel) interview

Interview with Franck L. Sabathan.

HORACLE is a Heavy/Speed Metal band influenced by such bands as all the NWOBHM as well as the early days of Speed/Power Metal bands such as early HELLOWEEN, early BLIND GUARDIAN, ABATTOIR, LIEGE LORD, AGENT STEEL and many more...
Metal Maniacs, be ready for some Heavy Invasion!

Their duty: Playing Loud, Electrifying Metal Crowds, Delivering the Goods and Reborn Steel for a new generation

HORACLE is definitely worth of your attention if you're a trad. heavy metal fan. Those guys are full of promise so read on ! (French version of the interview to follow soon)

Horacle's Logo par

So Franck, What did you think of your gig with RESISTANCE in Namur? Were you satisfied of your performance that night?
Hi Julien, thanks for dedicating some of your time for HORACLE. The gig was really great in every way, excellent audience, overall good ambiance and we spent some great times with our friends of RESISTANCE. We would like to do gigs like this one more often!

As HORACLE is relatively unknown, I think that a band’s presentation is judicious. For which reasons did you create the band in the first place?
Well in 1999, I was still playing for ENTHRONED but I already felt the need for something else and wanted a back to my roots. I was surrounded by blast-beats and crappy black metal bands, it was the decline of the genre yet with bands who were more concerned about their imagery than the music itself and the rock’n’roll attitude. I felt the urge to escape this world so I started a band the same year called PANDEMONIUM (which is basically pre-HORACLE act) but the band didn’t last long and I dropped this project two years later mostly due to lack of time. Indeed, ENTHRONED did sign to a bigger label at this point and we began to tour more often. Moreover, I had a hard time finding a suitable singer for PANDEMONIUM...I wanted a real frontman with good heavy metal vocals and charisma but only worthless dickheads were coming to our auditions. It’s only in 2007, after my departure from ENTRONED, that I resurrected my project. It was once again a pain in the ass to find dedicated heavy metal musicians and to stabilise our line-up. With a bit of luck and thanks to a friend, I later entered in contact with Terry Fire, he was the singer that I was looking for since all those years. HORACLE is in full force in 2007 with Terry Fire (vocals), Greg War (drums), David D.C. (guitar), Dyno (guitar) and myself (bass).

The Band ! par

I know that you’re a heavy metal fan since so long, so why did you create HORACLE only in 2007? This is mostly because of the metal “scene” in Wallonia I guess…
You’re right. Real heavy metal is totally unappreciated here in Wallonia, this is weird because this genre left a mark on several generations since 40 years. Only metalcore, folk metal, pussies metal, NIGHTWISH clones and heavy metal boys bands à la EDGUY are appreciated here. There are no genuine metal bands here, and by genuine metal I mean IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, ANGEL WITCH, MERCYFUL FATE, etc. It looks like most people here have forgotten what happened during the 80’s…The metal scene is inexistent and there is no bands worth of interest…quite frankly, I only remember those from the 80’s like PALASS, DRAKKAR, FN GUNS, WHITE NIGHT, etc.

I was really impressed by the quality of your EP. We can feel a mature band yet and master of its subject which is quite rare for a first release. And the sound production is more than good. What do you think?
We’re really satisfied with it, especially for a first release but I can already say that our future songs will be even better, in terms of heaviness, fastness and in their martial nature.
We do not like to beat our own drums but if you speak about real heavy metal, I think our release is one of the best since DRAKKAR « X Rated » LP in 1988 in Wallonia. 

Moreover, the band looks at ease and pro on stage. Do you think playing gigs is an important step for a heavy metal act? Tell me about the best show HORACLE has played so far!
Playing gigs is obviously essential for us and I complain that we don’t play very often with HORACLE but the opportunities are low, especially here in Belgium. Our best show was in Oberhausen, Germany, as opening for IRON KOBRA and SKULLFIST. That was the first time that we played in front of 100% dedicated heavy metal fans. In Wallonia, we often play in front of bystanders that listen and appreciate but have no clue about what metal is all about. The situation was different in Oberhausen, as soon as the first noted rang out, the audience liked us and they knew what we were doing. It was crazy. Most probably, we will return in Germany in 2013.

Did you get many feedbacks for your EP so far? Are you satisfied with the sales? It seems that you sold a lot of them in Germany, right? Did some records companies show interest in HORACLE? Is there any labels you would like to work with?
Since we have no promotion company or label helping us, we’re satisfied. We could have done better but we definitely need a label. Today, it’s very difficult to get signed even if you offer quality music. The feedbacks are quite good we suffer from lack of distribution. I hope the situation will change with our second EP and that some labels will show interest into our music.
Actually, our first release will be reissued on vinyl at the end of the year. One of the guitarists of ATTIC (a really promising German heavy metal band) is in charge of that.
It’s true that we sold more copies of our EP in Germany than in our own country, but it’s not surprising. Germany is still the country number one in Europe when it comes to heavy metal and the fact that HORACLE is appreciated there is rewarding for us.  We have to go there to be recognized.
Like I said earlier, no records company showed interest for HORACLE for the moment but things will change as soon as our EP will be repressed on vinyl so we will benefit from a good distribution (mostly in Germany) and coverage. Hopefully, our second release will be released through a decent label with good promotion and distribution. I’d like to work with records companies such as Metal Blade, Hellion, Hell’s Headbangers, High Roller, Iron Bonehead, etc., I respect them and I worship their work and the bands they work with. They know what metal is all about, they live by it and for it, like myself since 30 years now...Major labels interested to sign trendy bands and making cash can stay far from me ahah

Anyway, a small Mexican label called Tape the Reaper did release your EP on tape! What can you say about them and this cooperation? What does this format mean to you?
 Indeed, Tape the Reaper did a great job with the tapes and I was really satisfied to see our demo EP released on this format. It was supposed to be a tape release only as I wanted but some members of the band preferred a CD version. In order to satisfy everyone, we released it as a pro-CD first and Tape the Reaper did take the charge of the tape release. The best is yet to come: our EP will be reissued on vinyl soon for our fans’ pleasure but also mine since I’m a vinyl freak (CDs do not interest me). The only complaint about Tape the Reaper is that they took months and months before sending out our tapes but overall, it was a nice collaboration.

1st Horacle Released EP par

It seems to me that you’re the main songwriter in HORACLE, right? How does the writing process take place in the band? Some musicians have to be in a special frame of mind to compose music, is it the same with you? What makes a good HORACLE song in your opinion?
I’m not the only songwriter in the band. I generally co-write songs with our guitarist David D.C. while Greg War composes a lot of stuff alone. Most of its songs are typical and in your face heavy/speed (i.e. Blaze Up the Town) with riffs sharp like a sword. I generally write more melodic stuff (i.e. A Dream of Glory and Disturbing the Light), some of them even tend to be progressive and epic at times (I’m huge RUSH fan so I’m probably subconsciously influenced by them). David D.C. is responsible of our more “classic” sounding songs (i.e. To Face the Fire), he is fan of DEEP PURPLE, QUEEN, KANSAS, LED ZEPPELIN so you can feel the 70’s feel through his songs.
Basically, I share my ideas and riffs with David D.C., we put them together and we record our stuff in its home-studio. Greg War works alone and send us its scores on Guitar Pro. When a song is completed, we record it with a Tascam recorder and send it out to our singer Terry, he lives far away from us so we don’t rehearse together. He works on its vocals lines, records them and sends the recording back to us. We discuss and analyze them until everyone is satisfied.
A HORACLE is worth
The essential elements of a good HORACLE’s song are the sharp and powerful riffs, solid and strong rhythm sections, melodic yet raging guitar leads, epic, melodic and catchy vocals. We will never turn cheesy and honeyed like HAMMERFALL or SABATON. This is not our thing. We have more in common with early IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST (defenders of faith/screaming for vengeance) MERCYFUL FATE for the epic and evil or early METALLICA for the fastness, some riffs and dynamics.
I was truly impressed by your singer Terry Fire, his level skills are quite keen. It’s rare to find such good singer in Belgium, does he take singing lessons?
Terry is indeed a fantastic singer. Good heavy metal vocalists are kind of scarce commodity those days, not only in Belgium but also in the World. Terry is one of them. In my opinion, that guy could compete with the best ones such as Geoff Tate (QUEENSRYCHE) or John Arch (FATES WARNING). Moreover, he is great human being, modest and not pretentious at all. He lives for music, like me! We share the same ideas, culture and influences, which is a rare thing nowadays. Believe me, I auditioned a lot of “singers” and most of them were ridiculous, and didn’t even have a metal background. Sometimes, I thought that my insurance broker came telling me a good news but it was actually just one of those yokels auditioning to be a heavy metal singer haha. Their musical culture consisted of crap bands like EDGUY, KAMELOT, RHAPSODY, ANGRA, etc.
I got some funny stories...
“-Have you ever heard of BLACK SABBATH?” “- Hmmmm yes, Paranoid, that’s right?”
“-What about JUDAS PRIEST?” “- Isn’t it that band who used to cover Painkiller from DEATH?”
“-ANGEL WITCH by any chance?” “-Don’t have a clue but I know Send Me An Angel from NIGHTWISH”
“-Sheer Heart Attack from QUEEN?” “- Yes I know QUEEN, I have their first album A kind Of Magic, the first METALLICA record too...well... that black album you know?”
Hahaha I burst out loud so many times, sometimes even with them but in the end, I had to tell him the joke was over. Come back home and thanks for coming hehe.
You’re right, Terry did take singing lessons in a music academy located in Nancy, France, where he actually live. He passed the tests for both vocals and guitar with success. He is an amazing guitar player too with a great rock and metal knowledge. He is like a living encyclopaedi.

Most of the lyrical themes in HORACLE are quite traditional and not very original though I think they are worth of our attention nonetheless. Could you tell us more about them? What are your influences regarding that matter and who are your favourite lyricist? Do you personally attach importance to the lyrics?
Yes I do, lyrics are important to me. I write them in collaboration with Terry Fire though David D.C. adds some lines and ideas as well. My influences are the same that when I was in ENTHRONED, I follow my spirit and thoughts but I won’t hide that King Diamond, Dio and Ozzy at his early days had huge impact on me when it comes to lyrics and concept. In HORACLE, we dropped out the historic and Napoleonic concept (“To Face the Fire”, A Dream of Glory”) as it didn’t get along with our new lyrical direction anymore. At first, we wanted to create a kind of concept about our region’s history, battle of Waterloo and Napoleon‘s influences on our civilization but we thought that it would have been a bit too cheap and caricatural (like in some folk metal bands such as ALESTORM). Moreover, I don’t have enough ideas yet to deepen that concept and to make it credible. We have decided to stay to what we are the best for: Lyrics about paranormal topics, witchcraft, legends (local legend and mysteries too), fantasy and stories that come from my mind. When I wrote lyrics, I’m in a kind of trance (like in another world) and I put on paper what it seems I’ve seen or lived in a previous life.

Franck, you have played many metal styles during your musical career: Death Metal (MORBID DEATH, GODSEND, DYING CORPSE), Black Metal (ENTHRONED, DAWN OF CRUCIFIXION, SLAUGHTER MESSIAH) and now traditional Heavy Metal with HORACLE. Is there any genre that you feel the most confortable with ? Be it in studio or on stage ?
Not especially, I like all genre and the fact of playing different styles help me to improve as a bassist.
I feel as confortable in HORACLE as in my other band SLAUGHTER MESSIAH. Since those bands are playing quite often, I improved my music skills a lot. Actually, as long as I enjoy the music and feel at ease, I’m able of the best and can surpass myself. During my last moments with ENTHRONED, I didn’t feel at my place anymore and the new songs bored me. I should have formed HORACLE during that period (it would have certainly helped me) but that’s the way it goes...
I don’t find myself in today’s black metal. It lacks of “rocking” and catchy riffs like we used to find in the 90’s in bands such as MARDUK, EMPEROR, DISSECTION, etc. Now, it’s full of dissonant riffs (which are very boring to play in my opinion) and tedious atmosphere. Really, I don’t have any interest in the current black metal scene.

Could you tell us about your new band SLAUGHTER MESSIAH?
I’m much honored to be part of that band. I needed to come back as a frontman (like I used to be in ENTHRONED) and SLAUGHTER MESSIAH gave me the opportunity for that, a golden chance. I joined the band after my ousting from DAWN OF CRUCIFIXION in January 2011. I saw that they were searching for a bassist and a singer so I contacted them. It was worth the wait, I thought their music was killer and I wanted to do my best with them like in ENTHRONED and DOC. Those guys trust me, believe in my scenic and musical experience. The general mood and atmosphere are optimal and I actually never felt so good in any band before (whereas I’m not even the founder of the band…).
With SLAUGHTER MESSIAH, it reminds me of the time in ENTHRONED when Cernunnos was still alive: friendly mood but serious when needed. Regarding our style, we play black/thrash. No fuss, no dissonant riffs, no occult atmosphere. Only direct and skull-crushing extreme metal with rock’n’roll and fuck off attitude. It’s what I like the most when it comes to extreme metal and our music depicts me as a person: a metal and hard rock fan with a rock’n’roll mindset in the first place.
We recorded our first demo “Deathlike Invasion” in June 2011 in a home-studio run by the singer of HORACLE Terry Fire. We got many great feedbacks so far we played some cool gigs with bands like TSJUDER, BESTIQL RAIDS, VULCANO, etc. A cracking start to say the least! It all happened so fast. We just recorded three new tracks for a vinyl EP (I can’t reveal the label’s name yet) and we have composed half of our first album. We just need to get a good deal and that’d be right.

What the future holds for HORACLE? Any specific wishes?
Firstly we will enter in studio the 12th of October to record our second release which is a four-tracks EP. The new songs are still in the HORACLE vein but more superior and catchy! At the end of this year, our first EP is going to get the vinyl treatment, it will include a new art drawn by Velio Josto (CRUEL FORCE, IRON KOBRA, etc.), a poster or a patch and maybe a cover but we are not sure to get the copyrights for it yet. As for 2013, even more gigs. My first goal is to getting signed to a decent label to release our first album (which is currently being written) and to play in German festivals like Keep It True or Headbangers Open Air.

End this interview like you wish Franck. Thanks you!
Thanks Julien! Beware…and spread the word…’cause the HORACLE is watching you!!! Support real heavy/speed metal and forget about trends. SEE YOU IN HELL, ON TOUR, ON STAGE, whenever you are and you will be, you will be caught in the eye of the HORACLE!!!