BLASPHERIAN is rapidly growing in underground credentials and fanbase. It should come as no surprise to long time fans of IMPRECATION and other oldschool Texas bands, for BLASPHERIAN has as its guitarist none other than Wes "Infernal" Weaver, who was kind enough to shed some light on his new band’s activities.
"Hails brother! Thanks for your interest in BLASPHERIAN and your overall enthusiasm for underground Metal… I’m doing great at the moment."
You were involved in a few bands before this one, including IMPRECATION – a band that’s begun garnering new interest over the past year. Even though you’re not listed as a member, do you bring the same approaches to songwriting in BLASPHERIAN as you did with IMPRECATION?
"Well, early on in IMPRECATION, the majority of the songwriting was handled by founding IMPRECATION members, Phil Westmoreland and Ruben Elizondo. I contributed, musically speaking later on, much more toward the second half of the band’s existence. I’m not listed as a member now because since the guys reformed, I chose not to participate, due to my work schedule, and my involvement with BLASPHERIAN. They asked me to rejoin, but I couldn’t give 100% so I felt it would be better to have members that could be fully involved. But to get to the question, hell yes my writing is totally influenced by IMPRECATION, fuck man those guys showed me so much… I learned everything from Phil and Ruben, and of course Dave as well… without that experience, there would be no BLASPHERIAN… period. Hail IMPRECATION, and… their new songs are fuckin sick, everyone reading this should check them out."
BLASPHERIAN does sound a lot like IMPRECATION, but having heard all of your releases to date, I would say that the band is experiencing a change of sorts, albeit a slight one. How far do you think BLASPHERIAN has come already, and do you think that on future recordings, you’ll continue to improve?
"Well yes, IMPRECATION will always be an influence, but in BLASPHERIAN I do all the writing, so it will be slightly different. As for future material, it already has improved, with the early records of BLASPHERIAN, it was really me re-establishing myself as a writer, and just getting back into the flow of putting songs together. When you hear our newer material you will see the improvement; more varied tempos, etc… and Matt Mayhem has improved as a drummer so that alone has made a huge difference."
At the risk of turning this into a discussion about just how many Metal sub-genres there are, it’s nevertheless worthwhile pointing out that with BLASPHERIAN, you play in a style of Death Metal that most bands today would associate with some sort of Doom-hyrid, or perhaps even an early form of Black Metal. Why do you think there’s such confusion about what real Death Metal is? Is it even an issue about what is Metal enough when you write music for BLASPHERIAN?
"When we formed BLASPHERIAN, the goal was to create our own sound and style. Whether you like it or not, doesn’t really matter, you know its us. We hold our influences very close; but I feel it’s better to create, than copy. So I wanted to mix together the things I like, to make it us. So really it’s never a matter of ‘is this riff too doomy?’, it’s more the case of if we like it, we fit it in somewhere. Also I do not like writing in the traditional verse, chorus, etc style… to me music is a journey, so the challenge for us is to fit things together, to make the music flow, and have it make a statement on its own. That’s how we do it, and I like it. About the confusion about what real Death Metal is… hhhhmmmmm, I don’t know, I just feel that I know it when I hear it. You get a certain dark and heavy feeling from it, whether its thrashy, doomy or whatever."
Do you find that people enjoy BLASPHERIAN precisely because you don’t write songs the normal way?
"I’m really not sure. I know there are bands out there, in the Death Metal realm that think it’s the "proper" and correct way to write. To me the formulaic way is the most boring way possible. I would hope that any fan of BLASPHERIAN would like our music because they can relate to it; kinda the way I felt when I heard "Altars Of Madness" for the first time, I was like fuck yes this is the shit. Because ultimately music is entertainment, well for me it’s also a release, but you have to be able to identify with it, it has to reach inside my black heart and twist a nerve in the most morbid way possible, I would hope that that’s what our music does for the fans. And if people don’t like it, that’s cool too, we like it and that’s why we do it."
What would you submit as the proudest moment you’ve had in BLASHERIAN thus far?
"We are proud of everything thus far. Vinyl releases, shows, everything has been cool so far, so hopefully there will be more and maybe our proudest moment hasn’t happened yet, we’ll see."
None of us need reminding about how awful organized religion is – we’re reminded every day. However, I would like to ask you if BLASPHERIAN’S vehement stance against christianity has strengthened your own anti-religious beliefs.
"I wouldn’t say its strengthened them, I really don’t need or use the band for that… BLASPHERIAN is a method of expressing my hatred for all religions, through music and lyrical concepts. My hatred is so deep, I wake up and look around every day and I am absolutely stunned at the hypocrisy, war, murder, embezzlement, rip off con men "preachers"… etc that I see, all due to and in the name of religion. I see a church on almost every corner, and yet still humanity is the lowest form of scum on the earth… it fueled my hatred from the beginning, I just channel it through BLASPHERIAN. In fact, the title of our upcoming full length, to me expresses how I feel, it’s called "Infernal Warriors Of Death", and the concept came to me after watching youtube one day, I looked up ‘gods warriors’ just to see what would come up, and I was amazed at the religious lunatics, and the horrid things they teach their childeren in the name of god… it sickened me so much I came up with "Infernal Warriors Of Death", which is as much a movement, as it is an idea or concept… we that fight that bullshit on a daily, or in my case a lifelong, basis could be considered the warriors of death. We fight the tyranny, the hypocrisy, the religious wars… never giving in to their ‘holy’ brainwashing…"
Ah, so there is in fact a full-length in the works? What can you tell us about it? Is it nearly finished, or have you just begun? Please tell me you’re going to include ‘Lies Of The Cross’…
"Yes actually we have been planning this release for quite some time, but as always, things get in the way. Our original singer left the band, also there have been shows we decided to play, among other problems. But, the good news is it looks like we have only 2 more songs to finish and we’ll have enough for the full length. Also I write at an agonizingly slow pace… and don’t worry, ‘Lies Of The Cross’ will be on the full length… and as I said it will be titled "Infernal Warriors Of Death", we’re looking for a label to co-release it in Europe, here in the States it will be on Deathgasm Records…"
Quality over quantity, though, wouldn’t you agree? Do you think the scene would benefit from bands taking time to recharge and write more substantive material? Sheepdog, the singer for RAZOR, said that it was extremely taxing on the band as songwriters to record a brand new album every year. How can even the best bands expect themselves to come up with original material so often?
"Absolutely. Bands that rush material usually release an inferior product. And hell yes Sheepdog is right, it’s better to work on the material than rush it. And, for BLASPHERIAN at the moment I’m the only writer, so that’s limiting as well as the fact I write so slow. But fuck it, I’d rather work for six months on two killer tracks than six months on 10 songs I’m unhappy with."
Approximately how long did it take you to write the songs that were on the MLP, demos, and the songs that are going to be on the full-length? Do you expect delays?
"Those songs took alot of time, we formed in 2004, and we didn’t record them till 2006… there are always problems along the way, I do think we would write quicker if we played Metal for a living, if this was our jobs. But the reality is, we have to work to survive, and that also eats up alot of time. I really don’t expect delays, but unexpectced shit always happens. I only have to finish 2 tracks and the full length will be complete."
How important do you feel it is for a band to have completely original instead of merely playing good imitation music that contains all the proper Metal trappings?
"Hell yes, that’s important. There are many bands these days that mimic, copy and overly plagiarize the forefathers of this scene, which on one hand helps keep the spirit and feeling alive. But to stand on your own I feel you must have your own sound and style, not copy… but create. Take a unique band, like… NILE… how productive would it have been for them to sound just like MORBID ANGEL? Or SUFFOCATION,or OBITUARY? As I said in an earlier question, we keep our influences very close… we worship and respect the oldschool forefathers of Death, Doom, etc. but to merely mimic or copy would be pointless, I’d rather just start a cover band. So with BLASPHERIAN, there are some things I brought in from former bands, mainly IMPRECATION… mixed them with some faves and have tried to create an original sound, and feeling. People say they can faintly hear INCANTATION, and without a doubt they are a huge influence… but if you play both bands back to back, you know who they are, and which one is BLASPHERIAN. Doesn’t matter to me if people like them better, it’s much more important to hear the difference: I’d rather fail on my own than be a mere copy. There are many killer Death Metal bands coming out these days worth looking into such as GODLESS (Chile), DEAD CONGREGATION, VORE, among many more… that have a salute to the oldschool but have a unique original quality about them… hail the new and oldschool Death Metal gods!"
Whenever someone with any ties to the Metal world is interviewed by a media outlet, he or she inevitably hails BLACK SABBATH as the penultimate Metal band, and they then go on to say that all bands that came after them are imitators. Now I would be the first to kneel on bended knee and abase myself before Tonni Iommi, but how can one possibly expect to condense all of Metal into one asinine statement like that? Have you noticed this kind of simple-mindedness since you were a youngster, or is this a new breed of thoughtlessness?
"I think it’s worth noting that in a small way it’s true; the Metal world would’nt be the same (or may not even exist) without BLACK SABBATH. However, to say that BLACK SABBATH is an influence on Death Metal, is a stretch to say the least. There are many that influenced Metal, you cannot leave out JUDAS PRIEST or IRON MAIDEN,when speaking of such things, like the origin of Heavy Metal… to solely put it on the shoulders of BLACK SABBATH is quite silly. But if you trace it back all the way to say 1970, they were in my opinion the first to be that fuckin heavy, without a doubt… but as said, it has no influence on my writing, or lyrics…"
Yes, but I meant the tendency that people have to think that if you only listen to say, three or four huge bands, then you have a perfect understanding of Metal… Where’s the inquisitiveness? I know you prize a thirst for knowledge as a positive thing. How did it disappear?
"Ah ok… yes I agree totally. We as Metal fans are hunters, so to speak… we are never satisfied with the same old shit everyday… I love the search for new killer music… it brings to mind how much the internet sucks, and how it sucks that mom and pop music stores may be a thing of the past… it’s a fucking blast to go to the record shop, look through the bins, find a couple of things you’ve been looking for, maybe a zine or two… you miss that feeling when all you do is look at a computer screen all day and use mom and dads money to buy stuff on ebay. That is fuckin gay. As for the loss of inquisitiveness, I think you either have it or you don’t. Real Metalheads are a rare breed, never satisfied… most sheep in this world are happy with their mainstream ‘Metal’ force feeding of MACHINE HEAD, GAYSWITCH ENGAGED, etc… never searching for heavier and better… that to me is the epitome of stagnation, and for sure those weaklings are indeed posers. So my overall answer is you either are a hunter always searching for that next true Metal high, like a fuckin’ Metal junkie… or you’re a fucking poser lost in your world of stagnant weakness."
Do you conduct any band business via snail mail, such as sending demos and other promotional material?
"Yes. Fortunately there are some things left from the oldschool days. We will always have mail, we need to mail things like CDs and shirts, so at least when I package up something for a friend I kinda get that old feeling. Also, I don’t hate all technology; I’m glad we have email… it makes doing business much quicker and easier. Although I do hate myspace, it’s an important tool these days, so as much as I despise it, it’s necessary."
Will you ever press your demos on cassettes?
"Actually yes, at one time, we were talking to a guy in Macedonia, that only does cassettes. He was interested in releasing some stuff. Unfortunately I haven’t spoken to him in a while, so I’m not sure of the status of any BLASPHERIAN releases on cassette. I do not deal with cassettes myself, however I’m not opposed to the format. I did alot of tape and video trading back in the day, I have a shitload of old demos, etc… it’s just not something I’m into anymore, but to those that are… hails!"
It would do everyone a world of good to see Blaspherian material on tape, I’m sure. Who designed the logo and artwork for the demos and MLP?
"Yes I agree, and remember… we hail all the ancient ways… cassettes, vinyl, printed zines, spikes, headbanging, patches, buttons… all the ancient ways of the real headbanger. As for the logo and artworks… so far it’s all been done by our previous vocalist, Desekrator. And we will continue to use art from his unholy hand in the future, although we will use others as well."
How is your gigging situation? Do you anticipate a full blown tour sometime, or will you continue to pollute the Texan landscape with local shows?
"So far we have only done like 8 shows. We would like to tour Europe, so if that came along we would jump on it. But yes, here in the U.S. it will be mostly shows close to home, although if the right shows came along I’m sure we’d do them…"
Have you considered donating another track to a compilation record? You were on the "Bestial Necromancy" tape put out by Black Vomit Records a couple years ago. Do compilations help promotion these days?
"Yes, that would be great, we’d love to be on some comps., in fact we were gonna be on a comp called "Death Metal Power"… until the guys doing the comp. completely disappeared, we were looking forward to being on that one… it had alot of killer bands…. oh well maybe next time."
What about splits? Have you done any yet, and would you be interested in doing any in the future so long as you approve of the bands you’d be sharing space with? Which label would you prefer as your ideal for releasing BLASPHERIAN material?
"Well we have done 2 split 7" so far, one with our warbrothers, ADUMUS… which we like to call the Death / Black split, it’s on red vinyl and hand numbered, 666 copies. We’ve also done a split 7" with our buddies in EVIL INCARNATE, which is titled "Behold: The Endless Glory Of Baphomet" and it was released through Hells Headbangers… it also is on colored wax, red and black, and limited to 500 copies.
How would you handle it if BLASPHERIAN suddenly started making CANNIBAL CORPSE money? To preserve the music’s integrity, would you call it quits or try to keep it cool and grounded?
"Honestly it would be great, as long as we can keep the same spirit, and never sell out. As you say, if we could keep the same integrity, I’m all for it, no compromise on music, lyrics or art… so we would never sign a contract or deal with any label that would want us to change, even in the slightest. Also, if I wanted to make money at music, I’d be playing different stuff, there’s no money in Death Metal… as you know we only do this because we love it."
Love for the music is indeed cardinally important. Before we wrap this interview up, is there anything you’d like to return to or clarify?
"I think that’s about it, thanks for the killer interview, and it’s an honor to be included in the legendary VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE…"