Philadelphia's BLOOD STORM is without a doubt a very strong force within the thrashin' Black Metal underground these days. With three officially released albums they proved very easily that this type of music can still be played with the necessary energy, aggression and attitude. Unlike many other acts that are around these days BLOOD STORM never gave a shit about wimpy keyboard sounds, female vocals or a stupid vampire image. Unfortunately they are still struggeling a bit when its comes to a bigger recognition, that's why we at Voices headquarter felt the urge to contact mainman Mezzadurus and discuss the entire career of the band with him so far. Here's the result...
Before we get into the whole BLOOD STORM thing, I would really like to know when and why you split up with your former band GOREAPHOBIA?! I mean you already had built up quite a strong foundation in the underground and things looked very promising for the band to get signed sooner or later, so why didn't you just continue on with them?
"Well, the old days, back around '88 to '91 were great years for me. We had great shows and great memories. After the other members in the band decided that they needed to be more commercial and sissy about the song writing and live presence then I decided that I would eliminate the band before the goodness of the name went to utter dog shit!!! We only released the 1st 1990 demo and the "Omen Of Masochism" Ep on Relapse Records 1991. Nothing else ever made it to the public unfortunetly. I split GOREAPHOBIA because of musical and attitude differences! I wasn't into being the new ALICE IN CHAINS, QUEENSRYCHE, PEARL JAM, tiger beat teeny-popper nerd band!!! I cheerish all the good accomplishments we had in that career, but all the damage has been done to try to undo the negative events. BLOOD STORM was the direction that I wanted for GOREAPHOBIA so in the mainframe Metal essance BLOOD STORM is the successor to what I was approching for GOREAPHOBIA."
Was GOREAPHOBIA your first band ever or have you been playing in any bands before that already? How did you actively get involved in the Metal underground?
"Yes, GOREAPHOBIA was my first band. I started the band up in 1988. I was just playing bass too. We had a vocalist named Kevin Brennen that didn't last very long due to his obsessive drug addiction. In '89 I went to bass / vocals. Oh man! My first music interest came when it started with KISS at age 6 (1976) then AC/DC. Well, for the real extreme Metal music my spirit was possessed in 1982 by VENOM, MOTÖRHEAD, & IRON MAIDEN at the same time! Those albums were VENOM "Black Metal", MOTÖRHEAD "Overkill", and IRON MAIDEN "Number Of The Beast". 1st Fanzines were "Total Thrash" from here in Philadelphia, "Ripping Headaches" Florida and "Deathrash Mayhem" Japan. I got a few demos around the same year and they were HELLWITCH (Florida), ATROCITY (Conneticut), PENTAGRAM (Chile), and NECROVORE (Texas). The only one I don't have unfortunetly is the ATROCITY demo tape. I did write a little for a 'zine here in Philly called "Regurgatation". I did some tape trading in my time. I still can remember getting all those demos and fanzines in the mail coming home from school or work and I was excited too man!!"
Musically it's quite a drastic change from the Death Metal stuff that GOREAPHOBIA was playing to the raw Black Metal of BLOOD STORM. So, when did your interest in Black Metal become so strong that you decided to play it yourself?
"My extreme Metal musical interest has never changed at all. It's just with GOREAPHOBIA it was myself and Alex that combined our ideas and influences together getting that sound. The top inspirations at the beginning of GOREAPHOBIA was CELTIC FROST, REPULSION, NECROVORE, NECROPHAGIA, MERCYFUL FATE. When all that shit happened to the band until 1992 it was other members of GOREAPHOBIA that clouded the concepts and material. My ideas have always been the same as they are today so nothings changed with me, it's just now BLOOD STORM was my solo creation and I write all the music! So your hearing all of my elements 100% in the song writting and occult concepts. As I stated before, BLOOD STORM is the successor of GOREAPHOBIA."
But you still used parts of the old GOREAPHOBIA lyrics for BLOOD STORM... So, how did those lyrics fit into the BLOOD STORM concept?
"Before I disbanded GOREAPHOBIA, I had some lyrics that were going to be used for the "Coqueror Of Thorns" album. But obviously that never happened! So I used them later in BLOOD STORM because it was the real evolution of material that was suppost to happen for GOREAPHOBIA. So once again BLOOD STORM continued where GOREAPHOBIA dissolved. BLOOD STORM is the total completion of my extreme occult Metal concept! BLOOD STORM is what GOREAPHOBIA was meant to be! This process was inevitable to happen!"
Does it bother you that a lot of people know that Mezzadurus is Chris Gamble? Or would you prefer to keep that more as a secret?
"No! Not at all! Mezzadurus is my magical entity that is my vessal into the mystics of BLOOD STORM. Chris Gamble is who I am just as much as Mezzadurus is too! It makes no difference to me."
BLOOD STORM was formed sometime in the winter of 1994… Was it only Teloc and yourself straight from the beginning or have there been any other musicians involved in the early days of the band?
"Yes that's right BLOOD STORM has been just the 2 of us from '94 to '98. However, over those years we had friends help out playing live. Nothing solid until '98 when we got Axarcuth fulltime on guitar. Then Deyaxulgaat on bass 2000."
By the way, is Teloc Coraxo your real brother or do you just name him that way, like a "brother of Metal" or something?
"No, Teloc Coraxo is my REAL brother by blood relation. He's older too!! (hahaha)."
In 1995 as well as in 1996 you released your demos "Iron Flames Of Battle" and "Death By The Storm Wizard"… Would you mind telling us a little bit more about them, like how many copies you sent out of each one of them, which songs were on there, where you recorded them, what kind of response you got etc.?
"Ok, Let's start with "Iron Flames Of Battle" 1995. It was recorded live on an 8 track mixer at Vortex studios and it cost $200 to make. The songs are: 1) Spell Of The Burning Wind, 2) Savior Under The Sword, 3) Destroyer, 4) Calling Lands Of Blood Storm. We sold 300 copies. The response was good for the kind of low budgit recording it was! We made a positive mark in the extreme Metal underground. In '96 we did our 2nd demo "Death By The Stormwizard". This was a professional cassette ep with good packaging and 16 track recording also done at Vortex studios. The songs are: 1) Vision Of The Soothsayer, 2) Yuggothian Slayers, 3) Expulsion Of Wrath, 4) Volkruun Jhuul Zhahruus, 5) Serpents Of The Icecross, 6) Crypts Of Sorcery. This demo did very good for us, we sold 1,000 copies plus re-recordings. The response was outstanding for us! We gained many new worldwide fans and media interests in us and this lead us to many Metal fest proformances! Our name reached a respected extreme occult Metal act for America!"
I read somewhere that "Death By The Storm Wizard" is also available on CD. Is that true? Who released that, is it same same tracks / packaging as the original demo or has there been anything changed on it? Is there still a chance to get a copy of that? And how about "Iron Flames Of Battle"? Any plans to re-issue that as well?
"Yes, actually the "Iron Flames Of Battle" demo is on the same disk as the re-issued "Death By The Stormwizard" CD appearing as bonus tracks. It's really released as a double demo disk with a bonus track that was cut off the "Atlantean Wardragon" Cd which was the song 'Clavicula Solomonos (Of The Lightless Fire)'. It was repressed on disk by Nightfall Records as a limited press of 2000 Cd's. It's the original recordings right from the dat tapes but mastered for Cd pressing. I'm hoping to get someone to release these demos again onto vinyl!! If possible I'd like to also repress the Cd's too! I guess you'd have to look around for any copies left of the disk? I'm not sure who has any around anymore?" (if anyone who reads this still knows a source, or is willing to trade or sell a copy please get in touch. Thanx. - Frank)
As far as I know not all of the old demo songs have been used for your albums yet, so will you continue to do that or is that chapter closed by now? Do you still play them live?
"It all depends really on what direction the albums are going as far as lyrical concepts if I would use a demo song. I leave that option open all the time. The future will tell. Yes! We will always play demo songs live! I feel that all BLOOD STORM songs are in league with each other and we like to play something from each release. Because as a fan, I like to hear when other bands play songs from all the releases they have! I think it shows appreciation to the fans that come and see you and it shows comfidence in the band. That's who I see it basically."
What actually lead to your deal with Cacophonous Records? Was it one of those demos or did they hear about BLOOD STORM when you were involved in ABSU?
"Nihil from Cacophonous Records came to see ABSU in Paris, France 1995, and he took all these live photos at the show. I wanted to get copies of them so I contacted him about it and he asked if I played in any other bands. So I told him about BLOOD STORM and he asked me to send him a demo tape. Well, I sent him the "Iron Flames Of Battle" demo and he called me a week later about signing on Cacophonous."
Before BLOOD STORM became really serious you helped out ABSU from Texas as a session vocalist / bass player. How did you get together with them - did they contact you or vice versa?
"ABSU contacted me about playing for them on their tour with SADISTIK EXEKUTION & IMPALED NAZARENE. They actually knew me from that 1992 GOREAPHOBIA tour we did. They came to the show in Fort Worth, Texas. They liked my Metal background and felt that I was into Metal the same way they are! I was honored that they chose me to play for them! I'll always enter any sonic battle that they summon me to help them with! ZOS KIA CULTUS!"
Have you just been playing the tours with them or have you also been involved in any recordings?
"No it's just live proformances only. 2 European tours 1995 & 1997. 1 North American tour with ENSLAVED & INCANTATION in summer 1995. '97 in Europe was with INFERNO & ENSLAVED. Plus in '97 we did 4 big shows in Mexico."
Did you ever seriously consider to join them on a permanent base or was that always out of the question for you?
"Yes I was interested in joining up full time, but I couldn't afford to move to Texas and things started to pick up for BLOOD STORM. I still think of what it would be if I did move down to Dallas, Texas back then. ABSU are very great comrades to me!!"
Even though there's quite a difference in the music of BLOOD STORM and ABSU, you both take the lyrical concept very seriously and invest quite a lot of time in it, don't you? Is it true, that you even study occult sciences or something? When did your interest in all that start?
"Of course my lyrical concepts reflect my occult sciences and beliefs. Each BLOOD STORM album is a phase the of transplutonic currents that cross the deathian pylons of universe A and universe B. The process of each BLOOD STORM album / magikal current is the summaries of the realms of the great crimson desert Set-Typhon, Set-Hrilu, Set-Anubis and of the voids of starfire in the stellar reptillian forces beyond the dementions of the Outer Gateways. An extremely potent magikal phenomenia of the Yesodic power zones in the triple complex known as Yug-Yog-Yig. It is in the 3 currents of the triple fire tongue, which comprises 1) The Ultimate powerzone, Yuggoth (yug), 2) The Daathian doorways, Yog-Sothoth (sirius-the gate!), 3) The Yesodic Yig, which typifies the terrestrial manifestation of the Ophidian Current. Hence the 3 magikal elements in the Aeon of Horus, the Aeon of Maat, the Aeon of Set-Thoth which constructs the elder calculations of my draconian spirit. That's the 3 forms of the Meonic consciousness in BLOOD STORM. The Atlantean, Zothyrian, Yuggothian spectreal forces! Myself inside BLOOD STORM is the timeless demensional and primal chaos phenomenia that heralds the warning and awakening of the coming 13th stellar constellation of the loathing rise of the Arachnean! I feel that the occult influences found me first! I just have been completely consumed by the possibilities of other universes, other lives, other creatures, or other gods. I started to investigate the teachings of other ancient civilizations and their mystic cerimonies to contact their gods. This was when I was still in high school. When I was 20 years old I had terrible times with dreams and emotions. I then took a dark step forward into the realm of the forbidden arts. I was tutored by an experienced occult adviser who served in WW2 in Egypt. Needless to say anymore this of course landed me in that paragon, Qliphothic web, of the conceald gates to Azyn! No more personal details here... But I think you see the point. Occult icons that I hold with admeration and respect are Kenneth Grant, Micheal Bertiaux, Austin Osman Spare, Robert Temple, Charles Stanford Jones, Soror Adahadna to name a few."
I'm always heavily impressed when bands like yours or ABSU talk about their lyrical contents in interviews as there seems to be so much knowledge involved. But on the other hand I doubt that the ordinary Metal fan is really able to follow your thoughts in that department. So, don't you think it's a little waste to write such complicated type of lyrics?
"Absolutely not! It is vitaly important that my lyrical concepts are written as they are. The lyrical occult subjects give a true sense of character to BLOOD STORM and it can help to create a visual behind the music. It defines us and makes us unique in our style. I do understand completely what you're saying about lyrics that go deep into obscure subjects, however I do feel that it opens the minds eye to the 'unknown'. I think in alot of ways the ordinary Metal fan will read the lyrics and maybe say "that's strange" or "That's fucking weird, what's that about" and in doing so it allows the subconsciousness to wonder openly to those thoughts creating a deep essance from within to explore those concepts and in some cases a person investagates these thoughts. In layman terms, a book is only as good as its words speak."
You once mentioned in an interview that NECROVORE is one of your main musical inspirations... I personally also like the band quite a lot, but would really like to hear what you find so special about them?! What do you think is the reason that the band gained such a massive worldwide underground following with only four officially released songs?
"You know Frank, it's the subject manner that makes me engulfed by their extreme music! A little of what I just answered in the last question also sheds some light on my great love of NECROVORE! They make a grand visual terror behind their music! For me NECROVORE is the ultimate occult vessal of extreme Metal!!! I've always seen them as such! Yes they are more obscure and distant from the normal approach then others at the time, but it did light a scalding fire under MORBID ANGEL's ass back in '87, as I remembered it. I love NECROVORE because I see things behind their music! Maybe in alot of ways many people see and hear things behind them too. To me it's genius to give that gift in extreme music."
In 1997 you finally released your debut full length album "The Atlantean Wardragon" on Cacophonous Records, but even though it is a high quality album, with a great Joe Petagno cover, it somehow got lost a little bit among all the releases that came out at the same time. What do you think was the reason for that? Would you mainly blame the lack of promotion from Cacophonous or was the timing in general not the best to release another Black Metal newcomer to the scene?
"All I will say about Cacophonous is that they need to promote their bands better and let bands know what's being done with thier music! They lack communication! Nihil and Julie have always been cool with us and it seems that the boss there doesn't give a fuck about the Metal scene. It's obvious that I'm glad to be off of that label. I think that they do cheat bands out of their royalties. They still rely on selling the CRADLE OF SISSIES, oh I mean FILTH and DEMON BURGER, ah damn, I mean DIMMU BORGIR albums and they are not even on the label anymore! "The Atlantean Wardragon" was out for 6 months before I've ever seen it on an ad!! It was advertised for like 2 months that I know of anyway. It's pointless to be on a label, or to have one at that, if these jerkoffs don't support their bands!!! What's so hard about advertising! Oh YES!! "The Atlantean Wardragon" release was butchered by Cacophonous! The track listing was all rearranged, Lyrics were cut out, They put a boarder around the good cover art that took away from the picture, and they cut out an original song written just for that album! Someday, I will remaster it the way it was meant to be! We will re-release "The Atlantean Wardragon" album again!"
In SLAYER magazine you mentioned that the song 'Clavicula Solomonis' originally was supposed to appear on the album as well, so I suppose that you already had recorded it. What exactly happened there and why didn't you just put it on the second album later on?
"Ok, as I said earlier on that "Clavicula Solomonis" was cut by Cacophonous Records without me even knowing they've done it!! They felt that that song didn't fit with the other songs on the album!?!? WHAT THE FUCK GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OUR ALBUM!!!! Well, it ended up on the "Death By The Stormwizard" Cd as a bonus track from that recording!"
In between the release of "The Atleantean Wardragon" and your second album "Pestilence From The Dragonstar" there's also been two live releases ("In Howls Of Pain And Fury" in 1998 and "An Attack Of Sonic Torment" in 1999). What can you tell us about them? Was it cassette releases or CD's? And where and for what reasons did you record those shows?
"Since there was a gap between new record contracts we thought it would be good to at least release something to keep us alive and let everone know that we didn't fall of the face of the Earth basically. The cassette live show was done by Chanteloup Creations (France). It's from the Milwaukee Metal Fest 1997. The Tracks are: 1) Iron Flames Of Battle, 2) Crypts Of Sorcery, 3) Yuggothian Slayers, 4) Destroyer. It was limited and I forget to how many copies it was. The 12" split LP with MORIA (Sweden) was released by Hellflame Productions (Italy) It was a mixed soundboard recording from a show here in Philadelphia 1999 and a studio cover of EXCITER's 'War Is Hell'. The 2 live tracks are: 1) Clavicula Solomonis, 2) Destroyer. It too was limited to 500 copies. It comes with a small logo sticker and lyrics / photo sheet of both bands."
Why didn't you stay with Cacophonous for the second album? And how did you get together with Soul Sold Music then, a rather unknown small company
"Well it's all for the obvious reasons that I've stated before really. But to go a bit more deeper, I'll explain the end of our deal. In April of 1998 we were supposed to go into the studio to record our 2nd album "Pestilence From The Dragonstar". It got called off 1 month before it was time to record. So we had to reschedule time for June of '98 to record. Once again it got postponed until the fall of '98. Everything was set and 1 week away from recording Cacophonous called it off again and I was told that they didn't have enough money to do any 2nd releases with any bands on their roster until they can get their 1st release artist contracts completed! I was sooo pissed off that they made us wait all year long and never being honest with us! We wasted the whole year because they didn't have their shit together!! So both parties agreed to terminate the contract. During that time we decided to go with a smaller independent label that we can keep close watch on and on we can get honest answers from. So this lead to Soul Sold records. I've known Tom Wilkinson & Chris Forbes for a very long time now and since it was a new label for them, and the fact that they both have been in the Metal underground scene for years now it made sense to me to try out this new label because Tom & Chris' background in Metal is similar to mine. Sometimes maybe the new underground labels will pay more attention to the scene and know what's going on in the extreme Metal underground."
Who was responsible for the packaging of "Pestilence From The Dragonstar"? I could imagine that those ugly colors that were used probably cost you a couple of sold units… Any comments on that?
"I'm serious when I say that I'm happy with the cover to the "Pestilence..." disk. It's what its supposed to be. Sure, maybe it's not the prettiest thing but with no big money to hire a big artist we must use what we can. It's characteristic features and concept is the way it is supposed to be though honestly."
It was also the first album to feature a real band line-up after all. How did you get together with the two new members, what have they been up to previously?
"Well, Axarcuth has been playing session bass for us since '97. His old name was Namtar and he played in a local underground band NAMTARU. The other guy was a friend of ours who turned out to be a joke when we went to record he could play bass right at all! We were pissed because he wasted our time. His tracks were shit so we had to re-record all the bass tracks over! He didn't play on the album at all, but unfortunately the album cover and cd layout were already finished and Soul Sold couldn't afford to remake the new layout with his photo out!!! Oh well...That's life I guess. We got Deyaxulgaat on bass in 2000."
By the way, did your guitarist change his alter ego name from "Pestilence From The Dragonstar" to "Ancient Wraith Of Ku" or was it a printing error that he originally appeared as Axarcuth and later on as Azareuth?
"Hahah, oh yeah, it's only a printing error. It's really Axarcuth."
How much involved in the lyrical concept are the other members in the band? I mean, I suppose that those names they are using are somehow connected to that concept as well, so did you propose those names to them or have they studied the same kind of books as you have?
"None, I write all the lyrics and form the concepts. Well, they have choosen their own names based on my concepts. Yes, Axarcuth and Deyaxulgaat have read up some books that I have. I kind of showed them somethings so they get the general idea of what I've created and then they do the rest on their own paths."
Why didn't your bassplayer Nexarulhu work out and how did you hook up with Deyaxulgaat for the recordings of your third album? Is that still the current line-up of BLOOD STORM?
"Basically it's what I previously said. He told us he was ready and capable of playing bass for us and since he was a friend we trusted him and gave a chance. He lied and he was pure shit on bass so we fired him. Deyaxulgaat played bass in NAMTARU with Axarcuth . So we knew he could play good."
I heard that BLOOD STORM also appeared on one of those Dwell Records tribute albums… Please tell us more about that, like which song / band you picked, when you recorded that and what made you do so?
"We appeared on the "Tribute to VENOM" and we figured that the "Possessed" album was Venom's more obscure album and it's quite difficult to choose only one VENOM song! But it was either 'Satanachist' or 'Possessed' That we were thinking on. I felt that 'Satanachist' had the correct attitude that I portrayed as a link of what BLOOD STORM would be through VENOM. We did this in 2000 at our rehearsal studio. Basically that's it!"
There's also a three song BLOOD STORM video available ("Visions Of The Soothsayer") which features the songs 'Clavicula Solomonis', 'Invader Of Darkness' and 'Nibiru Assassins', plus live bonus footage from a show at CBGB's in New York. Tell us a bit more about that and the other video compilation ("The American Underground Onslaught" Volume 1) which has exclusive interviews and rare live footage from NECROVORE, ABSU, NUN SLAUGHTER, SADISTIC INTENT, THE CHASM, BLACK WITCHERY, THORNSPAWN, ABAZAGORATH, KRIEG, KHISANTH, KATHONIK, IBEX THRONE and BLOOD STORM.
"The video includes 3 pro shot songs showing the band's side of occult concepts along with 'A Wizardscope' of a live performance. Plus, you'll find a live video clip from CBGB's in New York. The idea is simply to show the fans a vision of the lyrical sorceries incorporated into the aggression of the live appearances! We did an exclusive interview mixed in with a pro shot live video for that extreme Metal compolation! It's a great video about our extreme underground scene here in America! I love the NECROVORE segment best of course! It was a cool thing for us to appear on. If you like the bands then check it out!"
Your latest album "Ancient Wraith Of Ku" was once again released by another kinda small and unknown company, Metal War Productions… A fact which makes it rather difficult to get ahold of your releases overhere in Europe. What is the reason that you don't try to find a more experienced label for BLOOD STORM in order to achieve better distribution / promotion?
"I prefer to work with REAL Metal labels and sadly enough it's mostly all the small lables that really seem to care more and try real hard for you, and they take supporting their bands more seriously then big corporate lables that care about cash and social status with their queer yuppie friends. I'd rather work with individuals that are strong spirited about our extreme scene. Sometimes maybe the new underground labels will pay more attention to the scene and know what's going on in the extreme Metal underground. Metal War Productions and BLOOD STORM are a true label and band team combination! We all sat down and made the agreemant strong as steel. Metal War Productions did more for us then Cacophonous / Nightfall & Soul Sold Records have done put together!!! We got a new album of great quality, good promotion, more ads for "Ancient Wraith Of KU" then all the other releases put together as well! They put out a pro shot video and we got featured on the "American Underground Onslaught" video comp. More national radio airplay, they put merchandise of great quality for us, I see BLOOD STORM on tons more distro lists and in more record stores, Plus to top it a small underground label gave us tour support for our October American tour with ENTHRONED!!! At least we are getting what we need done! Small or not right!"
How about BLOOD STORM live shows - have you been playing across the US often already? Is it usually single gigs here and there or do you also book your own tours? Tell us about your most memorable gigs so far.
"We did our first American tour with Belgium's ENTHRONED! 15 shows from New York to San Diego, California. It was hard but it was great to tour with our comrades ENTHRONED! Mostly, we play the Metal fests over here. Once in awhile we play single shows here and there. Earlier years of BLOOD STORM I booked us for shows, but in the last 2 years we've been called on as a headliner. So far the most memorable shows for me was the Milwaukee Metal fest 1998 because everything went perfect that night! The crowd was tremendously savage and pounding relentlessly!!! The other was September 29th 2001 when we had Proscriptor of ABSU play drums that night! That was just utterly chaotic and filled with high magical energy!!! CRUSH! KILL! DESTROY!!!"
Well, I think by now we should've covered almost everything of importance in order to promote BLOOD STORM a little bit more. If we still should have missed out something here, feel free to speak about it now, otherwise I'll leave it up to you to end this interview in a way you want.
"I just wanted to say thank you very much Frank for all your support in BLOOD STORM! And to everybody out in the ravenous and nihilistic Metal world! BLOOD STORM salutes you all 100,000% Keep the Metal torch burning high and forever! For BLOOD STORM Merchandise contact: Metal War Productions at www.metalwarprod.com or by surface mail at: Metal War Productions, P.O.Box 5996, Philadelphia, PA. 19137, U.S.A. For BLOOD STORM contact: Bloodstorm_mezzadurus@hotmail.com or surface mail at: BLOOD STORM, P.O.Box 20334, Philadelphia, PA.19137, U.S.A.
last five Mezzadurus Live Pics by:
Martin Wickler (3)
Claudia Hemmann (2)
Interview: Frank Stöver
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