This combo has been molesting the German Thrash Metal underground for quite a couple of years now – as one of Germany’s most promising Thrash acts in fact. Their trademarks: brutal rhythms, perverse vocals, speedy drums, crazy guitar-solos, good compositions – just an awesome band. Well – don’t wanna bore you guys to death with this shit. Let’s have a look at what Bernd – BK 49’s vocalist – is on about these days…
Hi there BK 49… well what shall I whimper when it comes to you filthy Thrash mongers? As you know I detest conventional things due to my inner incongruity concerning reality – that is why my first demand reads as follows – tell me something about the essence of the new BK 49 record. What are the progressions compared to the previous outputs? What can you say regarding your lyrics, the way the compositions came into being, the reactions so far, etc.?
"Hell-o F. Cthulhu E., this is Bernd from BK 49 ready to answer your questions! Well, the essence of our new record "Join The Dead" is pure, filthy, throatripping, bowelcrushing Death-Thrash the old school way. It´s all about death, horror, gore, zombies, graves and stuff like that. It´s a big step forward for us in many ways. First of all, we put more time and effort into the songstructures, added more riffs, guitar solos and even some experimental parts in order to create a creepy atmosphere, while still keeping the old school spirit. We also went to a real studio (the "Boiling Blood" demo and the "Zombified" MCD were recorded by ourselves) and recorded with a real drummer for the first time. Everything sounds better, more professional and it´s definetly a step further to define our own style and identity as a band. The lyrics deal, as usual, with horror, gore and zombies. All the stuff is fictional and sometimes mixed with traits of black humor. Just pure entertainment, like the good old horror movies. The songs themselves were written in a period of nearly 4 years. We aren´t the fastest songwriters and besides that very self critic about our own material, so some of the songs were composed, decomposed and recomposed ´til everyone was satisfied. We only got a few reviews, because the official release was just a few weeks ago, but the reviews we got until now were overwhelming. The German magazines will get their copies these days and I´m really excited about their reactions."
What is your major motivation that urges you to prevail as a band? I mean you guys are all extremely busy with all kinds of other things besides music. Marc – your drummer – is even involved in OBSCENITY who are quite big in Germany and thus constantly embarking in tours, gigs… how do you guys still get together such magnificent noise?
"I think the major motivation, as in every other band, is the love and passion for the music that keeps us going. But yes, sometimes it´s a problem when someone is busy with his studies or other things and the band isn´t really moving forwards. You have to learn being patient, which can be really hard if you love making and playing music so much. OBSCENITY play more shows than we do, but they are not able to tour permanently, because some of the guys are busy with their families, children and full-time jobs. Considering Marc, our drummer, all I can say is that he is a full time member of BK 49 and we try as good as we can to arrange everything with our friends from OBSCENITY. If we have to take a break due to certain reasons, we only need a few rehearsals to get back to 100%, so there are no difficulties up to now. But if we someday should become as slow as SADISTC INTENT, I would definetely quit the band, hahaha…"
Inform us a bit with regard to your musical background… well, would be cool if you could consider every band member’s personal style. By doing so, you could introduce the current line-up to us. What are the zombies behind the shroud like?
"We are of course into old school Thrash- and Deathmetal from the 80´s and the early 90´s, but to reduce each member to one style or some bands would be unfair, because we listen to so many kinds of music. We like a lot of bands the whole Metal genre has to offer, including traditional Heavy Metal acts, Thrash-, Death-, Black-, Doom- and Industrial Metal and besides that, Punk, Crustcore, Grindcore, 70´s Rock and also some non-Metal acts. So, let´s start with the zombies behind BK 49: On the first guitar there´s Klaus Kessemeier, who is involved in the Metal-scene since the early 80´s. Before BK 49, he played in several bands, of whom the best known is probably ASSORTED HEAP, who released 2 albums in the early 90´s ("Experience Of Horror" and "Mindwaves") and toured with Paradise Lost and Edge of Sanity. On the second guitar, there is Arne Berents. I know him from school and we´ve been playing together for around ten years. We founded SPLATTERED REMAINS, a Grindcore act in the vein of Pungent Stench in the early 90´s and later started a Thrash band called PAIN FOR PLEASURE together with our current drummer Marc-Andree in 1993. Our bass player Patrick Feist aka Dr. Frankenfeist joined shortly before the recording sessions of the "Zombified" album. I met him at a gig with his old band KING KARRION, where I asked him to join us. A very "extreme" personality, who has the special gift to entertain people. He is also responsible for the primitive cover and backcover paintings on our records. Marc-Andree Dieken on drums is the newest addition to the band and some of you might know him as the drummer of OBSCENITY. We already knew him for years and as one of our best friends, we asked him to play the drums on the new record after my brother Frank left the band. He really pushed us to the limits in the studio with his reckless speed and thank god, he is a permanent member of the band now. OBSCENITY will still have top priority for him in the future, but as I already said, there are no problems in coordinating gigs and rehearsals."
How do you rehearse? That is, how do you proceed when you set your compositions up? Was there any experimenting with different approaches in the past?
"It´s always the same procedure. We always rehearse, write and arrange the songs together as a band. The songwriting process often starts off with a couple of riffs, that Klaus and Arne wrote at home or from just jamming around… Over the years we developed a feeling to categorize each riff on a kind of subconscious level, for example the starting riff, the verse riff, the chorus riff, or the bridge riff. The biggest difficulty is to find a proper idea to start the song with. Then we usually build up the verse and the chorus in order to catch the attention of the listener. Another difficult part is a twist or turn, usually in the middle or the end of the song to keep it interesting. It´s hard to describe, but the main challenge for us to vary the structure of each song while still keeping the typical elements of the verse, chorus and bridge. I think in the song ‘Buried But Not Deep Enough’, we broke down the boundaries of traditional songwriting in order to create a dark and sick atmosphere. This songs reminds me a little bit of a soundtrack to a horror-movie, because it consists of three parts with different moods, while still remaining a unit somehow. I usually write the lyrics after a song is finished, because I like to let the song inspire me. The only thing I do during the songwriting process is to set down the vocal patterns. After the song is finished, I think about a cool title that fits to the music and start to write the lyrics fitting to the title. So music, title and lyrics become a strong unit. After everything is done, we usually make a rehearsal recording and listen to it a couple of times. When it feels good, a new BK 49 song is born, otherwise we have to rearrange some parts ´til everyone of the band is satisfied with the result. Sounds complicated, but it is an effective way to write songs in my opinion, because everyone knows every time what the song is about and what he has to do. Our motto during the rehearsals is: "Don´t talk, just play!"
OK, Bernd could you please state your preferred linguistic discipline here? Well, you know that I am keen on Morphology and Semantics — but what do you fancy? Moreover, I always wanted to hear your opinion on "regressive assimilation"! And, oh yeah, could you please analyse the following complex compound with regard to its morpheme-constituents and provide explanations that specify the role of the elements: the lexeme is "Fetus Discorpsement", a neologism as you may have noticed.
"F. Cthulhu E., you sick bastard! To be honest, I hate Morphology and Semantics, because it´s twisting my brain and often gives me a headache after a seminar. I´d rather prefer literary and cultural studies. Man, I really don´t remember what "regressive assimilation" was all about, so I think you have to tell me or I have to ask Prof. Dr. Boeder, the master of Morphology and ruler of all Semantics on planet earth and beyond. I would consider the lexeme "Fetus Discorpsement" somehow as a compound in a compound, because "Discorpsement" is a compound itself. I think it´s a so called "blend", consisting of the words "Disgorge", "Devourment" and "Corpse". Anyway, enough of this bullshit here. All I have to add is, that this is the perfect name for another US death-grind band in the vein of DISGORGE and DEVOURMENT with a little bit of DYING FETUS and CANNIBAL CORPSE in it. What about "Cannibalistic Fetus Discorpsement"? Hey, I maybe should save the rights for this name, hahaha… giggle (F. Cthulhu E.)
Now it is time for a standard. Please, delight us with an attempt to proclaim your 10 favourite albums here: Of course, everyone reading this knows that this is a compromise, so no worries!
"Oh my god, I hate to do that. Alright, let´s pick 10 out of the millions of cool albums I worship: 1. AUTOPSY – Severed Survival (…and all other AUTOPSY records), 2. REPULSION – Horrified, 3. MORBID ANGEL – Domination, 4. MAYHEM – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, 5. DEMILICH – Nesphite, 6. NECROPHAGIA – Holocausto De La Morte, 7. TODAY IS THE DAY – In The Eyes Of God, 8. RIGOR MORTIS – Rigor Mortis, 9. SUFFOCATION – Effigy Of The Forgotten, 10. EMPEROR – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk …and…and…and…"
Tell us something about your label – GWN records they’re called, aren’t they?! Are they doing a good job, or what?
"GWN stands for GREAT WHITE NORTH and it´s a label based in Canada. We got in touch through Klaus, who has been in contact with Stéphane Belanger for about 15 years. Stéphane used to be the manager of the Canadian cult act OBLIVEON, who Klaus worshipped a lot. Later he worked for a webzine called Soundscape and after that founded GWN together with Rémi Coté. Klaus always sent him our newest outputs, so Stéphane always was informed about our development. He didn´t really like our demo tape "Boiling Blood", but he was into our MCD "Zombified". Stéphane and Rémi were really overwhelmed by "Join The Dead", so they offered us a very cool and fair deal. All I can say is that they are doing an absolutely amazing job. There are no problems with the great distance, because today there are many possibilities with internet and e-mail and these guys are really fast in answering our questions or solving other problems. The communication is great and Klaus is even telephoning with one of the guys from time to time. Although GWN is a small label, they are doing a very professional job with dedication. They are really into the music and bands they release and we are very grateful and honoured to release our record on their label. Hailz to Rémi and Stéphane! Check ´em out at www.gwnrecords.com."
Hmmm, I know a lot about your musical preferences by now, I reckon – that kind of makes you vulnerable, harharhar. I know that you are into the good old Thrash / Death Metal stuff of the late 80’s / early 90’s. What do you think about today’s musical ejaculations then? Well, as a provocative hint, what do you think about high-speed outfits such as DISGORGE, BRODEQUIN, DEVOURMENT, INTERNAL SUFFERING and the likes?
"Ah, I think you are alluding to these so called "frog-noise" bands, aren´t you? Well, to keep it short; I am absolutely not into this style of Death Metal due to different reasons. I even downloaded a few songs of these mentioned bands in order to find out what people like about those bands, but it simply didn´t get me. For me, Death Metal is about a dark, hateful atmosphere and a deadly groove, but that´s absolutely missing here. Songwriting is another important aspect for me. These bands only took that riff of SUFFOCATION´s ‘Liege Of Inveracity’ and created a million of songs of it. The vocals sound like a parody, like Jay Leno or the German Harald Schmidt making fun of Death Metal in their evening shows. I think that the future of Death Metal isn´t to be found in lightspeed drumming and the deepest vocals ever and you can already notice in some magazines that people start getting bored by that style. But who cares about my fucking little opinion and nobody forces me to listen to those bands anyway. Maybe I´m even wrong and Jay Leno is into DISGORGE and Harald Schmidt is the singer of DEVOURMENT. Who knows…?"
What do you think about the reunion of SUFFOCATION? They’re one of your faves, too, aren’t they?
"Fits to the question above. SUFFOCATION is a great band and I think with "Effigy Of The Forgotten" they created one of the most brutal Death Metal albums ever. I don´t know of any band managing to reach that level, except maybe NECROPHAGIST´s "Onset Of Putrifaction". "Effigy.." was intense, brutal as hell, had a killer production and contained great songs. I don´t really know what to think about their reunion. On the one hand it´s sad that Doug Cerrito isn´t in the band anymore, because he made 50% of the typical SUFFOCATION sound, but on the other hand I´m excited about their new material and I hope they won´t put out any crap. It´s pretty cool that Mike Smith is back behind the drums though."
What inspires you guys to come up with such twisted, old-schoolish lyrics?
"When it came to the question of the lyrical direction of BK 49, I thought that it would be cool to write about old school horror movies, because it fits the best to our music. I know that thousands of bands write about horror or gore, but there aren´t that many Thrash bands that do so nowadays. I always liked horror inspired Thrash bands like RIGOR MORTIS and BLOODFEAST. Today, most of the bands write about social criticism, politics or highly sophisticated things I´m not interested in. Our "Turn-back-the-clock" music is somehow primitive, to the point and back to basic, so what would fit better as a good, old entertaining horror story? We all love old horror movies like "The Thing", "The Fog", "Phantasm", "Evil Dead", "Night Of The Living Dead", so I´m often inspired by one of these movies while writing the lyrics. Another important influence is the stuff Chris Reiffert wrote for AUTOPSY. NECROPHAGIA´s Killjoy also comes up with cool lyrics. These guys can write about the most gruesome and disgusting stuff ever while still producing smile on the lips of the reader at the same time."
One question concerning your vocals on "Join The Dead", Bernd. Floboter and I agreed on the assumption that someone who maltreats his voice like that does have severe personal problems (like being overwhelmed by the urge to jerk off at least ten times a day and stuff like that) – is that so? I mean we all know that Dr. Frankenfeist, your bassist, is a perverted sicko . but what about you?
"Hahaha, very interesting approach, never thought about it that way. Hhmm, I don´t have a girlfriend at the moment, so maybe you´re right. To be serious, I´m totally satisfied with my vocals for the first time. The atmosphere during the recording session was very relaxed and most of the time there was only me and producer in the studio. A lot of vocals were also done under the influence of alcohol and I think this all helped me to lose my inhibitions, to get out of control and put 100% into the recording. If I am a perverted sicko? Who knows…"
· Arne Babb
"A kangaroo with a reindeer mask, who does lots of evil things. Cheers to Metalion and SLAYER-Magazine!"
· the underground
"Endlessly breeding new talented and interesting bands."
"Dr. Frankenfeist´s favorite topic."
· OBIDNEY / A. TROSS – I.T.Y. / SEPULTSHA
"Wrong prounciation of Metal bands can lead to funny results and many insider jokes."
"Dr. Frankenfeist´s cover paintings."
· religious matters
"Doesn´t play an important role in my life."
· Bud Spencer
"Roasted beans, silly talking ("Wenn du das nochmal machst, mach ich aus deinen Ohren Wäschtrockner") and a guy with grey hair, who gets beaten up in every movie."
"The embodyment of Death Metal and one of the most powerful live acts."
· George W. Bush
"A devil who reads the bible."
"Flat land, tea, nice people and a healthy Metal scene."
· jerking off
"You get stupid and a crooked back when doing it too often."
How come that you asked Killrich Korpserotter to provide some vocalic blasphemies on "Join The Dead"?
"He wrote the lyrics to the song ‘Buried But Not Deep Enough’, so we invited him to do some backing vocals on our new record for he has a cool old-school sounding voice. I always liked the idea of friends taking part on one of our records, so next time there might be even more guest musicians. I´m thinking of powerful backing chorus with lots of different voices or some guest solos. Lyrics are also very welcome, because I´m a really lazy writer, hahaha."
What are your future plans? Anything specific planned so far? Will you come on tour, will there be shirts and stuff?
"Our future plans are to spread and establish our name in the worldwide underground. Until now, there are only a few gigs planned, but a little tour would be great. We talked to our label GWN about a possible tour in Canada, but there´s nothing fixed yet and that will probably take place next year anyway. But I promise that there will be shirts in the near future."
OK – I assume this was enough torture then… here’s my last demand / request: please, try to define what Metal is all about for you. What is its essence in your eyes, what kind of energies to you draw from it?
"This music accompanies me for over 15 years now and I can say that is has become a fixed part of my life. It´s hard to describe, but Metal, or music in general expresses my inner feelings and inspires my daily life somehow. Friendship and loyalty is also what I would associate to this music and last but not least BK 49 is a place to release my creativity."
The last words, of course are yours . anything you’d like to ululate into the Metal abyss out there?
"Thanks for your support, friendship and the chance to give some information about BK 49 to the Metal-hungry people out there. Everyone who is sick of waiting for the new SADISTIC INTENT record, who misses the good ol´ Death-Thrash bands of the early 90´s like INCUBUS, SADUS and DEMOLITION HAMMER, who listens to KREATOR´s "Pleasure To Kill" for breakfast or who just wants to listen to some intense, aggressive shit should check us out or get in contact at www.bk49.de. J O I N T H E D E A D!!! Cheers, Bernd. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bk49.de."
F. Cthulhu E.