Please introduce yourself and VOICES FROM THE DARK SIDE to our readers. How many people are behind this webzine? It seems that you Have worked with the biggest metal zines in Germany, please talk a little about this experience.
“Greetings Nathaniel. My name is Frank Stöver, I’m 36 years old and I’m the founder of VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE. The zine originally started out back in 1992 (as a print version) and in late 2000 I started an internet version of it. The number of people who work for me constantly change, so I can’t exactly tell you. Most of them just contribute every now and then, others are more dedicated like Ramon Claassen from Germany, Edouard Vergriete from France and Steven Willems from Belgium. Yeah, throughout the years I already worked for all the bigger German magazines already, like Metal Hammer, Rock Hard, Heavy Oder Was?! etc.”
You have also worked for bands like DESTRUCTION, you lucky guy. What do you think about their come back and the tour with KREATOR and SODOM? On the other hand, what do you think about the american thrashers like SLAYER, TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX and MEGADETH nowadays?
“Yes, that’s true. I helped out DESTRUCTION and KREATOR in their early days. The tour they did together was great and proved that oldschool Thrash is still very much accepted by the fans! I didn’t like the “reunion” album by DESTRUCTION too much, but “The Antichrist” is a lot better already and they are definitely on the right way again. When it comes to the American acts you mentioned – well, except for TESTAMENT which still kick ass these days, they all don’t really do anything to me anymore I’m afraid. My interest in SLAYER ended with the “Decade Of Aggression” live album, I only liked ANTHRAX up till “Spreading The Disease” and MEGADETH up to “So Far So Good So What”.”
Nowadays, there’s a lot of festivals, but there are too much bands playing at the same gig, which give them the possibility to play just 30 minutes. What do you think about that. Is the concert feeling different from 15 years ago?
“Don’t know as I rarely go to shows these days. I can’t stand those big event festivals. Too many bands, too little time so to speak. I always preferred the smaller venues with 2 – 3 acts on one bill.”
You’re 35, I am 21. How do you feel right now toward the metal scene? Aren’t you fed up sometimes? A lot of people stop to listen to metal after they reach 20-25. How do you see yourself at the age of 50? (Evil question,hu!?)
“Well, I’m 36 already, haha, but yeah – sometimes it gets eally annoying. Especially when a new trend appears and every label jumps on that bandwaggon and thousands of bands that are all basically sounding alike are being signed just for the sake of an easy cash in. That’s something I enjoyed a lot more back in the 80’s – most bands probably didn’t sound as professional, but they still had their own unique identity. I suppose I will still continue to listen to Metal for many years as there’s always releases that keep my black flame burning.”
What make you discover metal? Which is the first band you started to collect the albums? You have grown up during the metal golden era, the 80’s, how was it? When did you get involved into the underground?
“The first “heavier” band I really enjoyed listening to was THE SWEET back in the 70’s (I was 5 or 6 when I came across tracks like ‘Hellraiser’, ‘Action’, ‘Set Me Free’, ‘Fox On The Run’ and ‘Ballroom Blitz’ and was hooked!). Right after that was KISS and I became a die hard KISS maniac, buying every record and magazine they were featured in. From there it got heavier and heavier all the time. It was actually a KISS concert in 1980 which introduced me to IRON MAIDEN with Paul Di’Anno who were supporting who were supporting that night. Right after I discovered the NWOBHM with SAXON, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, ANGEL WITCH, DEF LEPPARD, JUDAS PRIEST etc. and then the US Power, Speed & Thrash Metal during the 80’s. I become an obsessed tape trade and was hungry for as many new bands as possible. Those were the days, yeah!!!”
What are your favorite metallic litteratures? Could you talk about UNHOLY TERROR (please tell to Hacker to answer me), BRUTALLICA, RENOUVEAU THRASH… ? Could you also speak to us about Borivoj Krgin, ’cause people like me are too young to have read his monumental stuff? Is it other journalists you worship in this kind of press?
“Pew, that’s a tough question. It’s mostly the fanzines that enjoy(ed) reading the most. Back in the 80’s it was Aaardschok, Metal forces, Kick Ass Monthly, Blitzkrieg, Shock Power, old Rock Hard, Speed Attack and so on. Later on I discovered Slayer Mag, Isten, Holocaust, Putrefaction, Ultimatum, Tales Of The Macabre etc. Unholy Terror is a brilliant, narrowminded pure fuckin’ Death Metal zine that deserves all support! Hacker is sometimes a lazy fuck, but definitely a true maniac, haha!!! Never got my hands on the other mags you mentioned and didn’t really get to read too much by Borivoj myself either, sorry. I only had one copy of Metal Maniacs in which he reviewed the first issue of VOICES and I liked that a lot, haha.”
What are the last albums and demos you have kept for yourself? What are the bands you have discovered recently who have let a big trace of fist on your face?
“Sorry, but there’s so many releases that I can’t remember them all. But I really enjoy the L.A. Death Metal scene quite a lot at the moment with dedicated bands such as DETERIOROT, SADISTIC INTENT, ENGRAVE, COFFIN TEXTS, INFAMY etc.”
You are really clever and brilliant in your interviews. it’s always in dephts. How do you know so many things about the people you interview? It’s like you kneww exactly the number of hairs they got on their head. Have you already thought to write a book about your career and the bands?
“Hahaha, thanx for the compliment. Well, I always do a lot of research whenever I interview a certain band in order not to come up with the usual and mostly boring questions only. A book would be nice, but I probably won’t find the time for it I suppose. Maybe sometime, who knows.”
Please give me your definition of death metal. (It sounds like an UNHOLY TERROR question, isn’t it?). I would also like to know which beer could define perfectky well death metal, according to you? What are your favorite drinks?
“Yeah, that’s definitely an UNHOLY TERROR question hahaha. Well, I would say Death Metal needs a deep grunting, brutal voice, lots of power, lowtuned shredding guitars and an intense rhythm section. I have no idea which beer could perfectly define Death Metal – it’s always a matter of your own taste, so… I personally prefer Becks, which is from my hometown Bremen. But to be honest with you – I rarely drink at all these days. I was a heavy drinker in the 80’s, but stopped in order not to become an alcoholic.”
Could you tell me how you feel yourself while listening to other kinds of music, like medieval, barocco, classical music, jazz, rock, hip-hop, techno…? I know that you like QUEEN. how do you explain that german people often tend to be very sensible to melodic stuff?
“I don’t like jazz (even though I have a lot of respect for the musicians which are amazing), medieval, barocco, I can listen to classical music every once in a while (mainly through movie soundtracks) and I TOTALLY HATE hip-hop and techno! That’s totally disgusting “music” to me. Wow, you really did your homework – where did you find out that I enjoy QUEEN? Well, yeah – it’s true. I really like them a lot. Don’t know why Germans like melodic stuff so much. But it seems to be also very much like that in Greece and Japan these days, so… maybe they have an answer for that?!”
What do you know about the french underground, and what do you think about it? Which is the better place on this globe to play metal, according to you? What do you think about the south american scene?
“I think the French underground had killer Metal acts back in the 80’s, like SORTILÈGE, H-BOMB, ADX, BLASPHÈME and so on. I also think that MUTILATED / ABYSSALS was a very promising Death Metal act and there’s still cool bands coming out these days, so I suppose the French underground is far better than most may think. I think it doesn’t matter which country you are from as long as you’re having the right attitude and dedication for the music you’re playing. The south american has always been a great with all the brutal bands that came out of it (old SEPULTURA, old SARCOFAGO, HEADHUNTER D.C., ABHORRENCE, KRISIUN etc. – they’re all killer acts!).”
Please answer spontaneously to these words:
“A musical genious, he maybe drifted a little too much away from his roots too quickly.”
“Their classic material is still among my faves; didn’t like the newer releases too much anymore, but Paul deserves respect for still sticking to it! Influenced a whole lot of bands without often getting the credits for it.”
“One of the most dedicated bands I ever got in touch with. Great attitude, big knowledge, killer songs and very nice guys (Hey Wannes!).”
Martin Van Drunen
“I totally worshipped the first two PESTILENCE albums as his voice was so perfect for them; I’m not so much into the stuff he did afterwards, but his voice is definitely a totally unique one!”
“Essential – I live together with my girlfriend for 14 years now and it’s still great!”
“SUCKS BIG TIME!!!!”
“A boring individual that has nothing better to do than worshipping Metal, hahaha!”
How do you see the evolution of the scene, since there hasn’t been any real new kind of music created in the 90’s, there was a developpment of the 80’s scenes? What should do the metalheads to keep their lovely music still interesting?
“Another tough question. I think it’s getting more and more difficult these days to come up with something new as there’s so many releases / bands out there. So, as a musician all you can do is listen to the originators and try to come up with your own interpretation of it. But you gotta make sure that you’re doing it from the heart, otherwise you will disappear from the face of earth again, faster than you can think. As a fan – well, don’t let yourself fool by the advertising and review manipulation through bigger labels / mags. Pick up underground zines, go to local shows and support bands that really deserve it instead of simply buying the next chartbreaker.”
Here we are at the conclusion of this little intie. Hope you have liked it Frank. Good luck with VISION FROM THE DARK SIDE. The last words are yours.
“Yes, it was really entertaining. Thanx for the opportunity! Anyone who’s interested in brutal Death, Thrash and Black Metal should check out VOICES (not “Vision” Nathaniel) FROM THE DARKSIDE at this address: www.voicesfromthedarkside.de. Cheers!”