COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN from the US play a fascinating mix of Florida Death, Black and Thrash Metal and surprised at least me with their great debut album “Revealing Damnation” on Martyr Music. Although COTF are around since 1997, they went a bit under in the big press and remained one of those small gems the underground has to offer. To get more information about the band and its “prominent” members – Derek Roddy (HATE ETERNAL, INTERNECINE, drums) and Sean Baxter (BROKEN HOPE, EN SINFONIA, bass / growls) – I contacted mainman Kevin Quirion (guitars / screams) and here are his short, but precise answers
Hi Kevin, what’s up? What’s the latest news on Council Of The Fallen?
“Well I’m on vacation and doing some traveling, Derek’s on tour right now with another band and Sean’s in school studying guitar. We are all keeping busy before hopefully recording the next CD at the beginning of the new year.”
I personally think of “Revealing Damnation” as one of this year’s best albums, but what overall feedback did you get from press and fans?
“The overall press has been pretty favourable. The only countrys with bad reviews are Norway and France and these of course are the countrys that think they have a monopoly on Metal and are slightly pretentious. Not all, of course, just a few in the press. The underground press has been better than the print mags, but the underground press is more in tune with this style of music and only covers extreme Metal and not all this only material that’s out there.”
Somehow I got the feeling that the CD went a bit under and did not receive the attention it deserved, especially here in Europe I must admit. I only read one review and that degraded “Revealing Damnation” to a mediocre Florida Death album. What’s your opinion about COTF’s publicity and promotion?
“It definitely deserves more attention, unfortunately to get coverage in print mags you have to buy ad space and with a smaller label you can’t buy ad space everywhere. This scene is rather political and politics is always biased. Anyone that thinks COTF is just mediocre Death Metal obviously hasn’t listened carefully and maybe shouldn’t review 20 CDs in a day.”
As you are not that known here in Germany, I think it would be good, if you sum up the band’s biography and line-up! There are a few “prominents” among COTF’s members, huh? In which bands did you play before COTF?
“I have only recorded one song with Aurora Borealis. It was just a one song thing for fun. Derek Roddy and Sean Baxter are in the band and you can figure out who they play with. We sound nothing like their others bands so mentioning them would be pointless.”
Is Council Of The Fallen just another of those “one-album-side-project”- affairs or is it a real band? Can we hope for more damnations to be revealed in the future?
“We would like to tour, but since Sean and Derek are busy in other bands and we all live scattered throughout the U.S. it is difficult and we might just put out studio CDs. We are planning on recording the second CD in early 2003 and then I will decide what to do with the band. The material is written and just needs to be recorded.”
How did you convince Derek Roddy to play the drums on the album? Wasn’t that hard to coordinate with his other bands HATE ETERNAL and INTERNECINE?
“I was playing with Derek before these other bands. He was living in the same area at the time we met and we started writing songs. It was natural to eventually make a studio recording. We recorded the demo and then passed it around until we found a label.”
“Revealing Damnation” lives off its variation of styles (Death, Black and Thrash Metal) and that they are combined with so much finesse and talent! Who is responsible for this quite unique mixture? Who did most of the songwriting and how did all these different musical elements found their way into the COTF – sound?
“I did most of the songwriting and lyric writing. This is my first band so all of my influences are present from the first Death Metal CD to the first Black Metal CD to the first Thrash CD. I also want this to be my only band so when I write a riff I will use it. Finesse and talent, huh? Now if I can only find a girl to say that about my sex life.” (Ha Ha!!! – Stefan)
Which songs are according to you the best on “Revealing Damnation”? Do you have any you favour or maybe even some you do not like?
“I actually like all of them the same. I don’t work on songs or riffs that I don’t love. I take a long time to write songs and try many different arrangements before I am satisfied so they all have a certain appeal to me and a certain memory.”
Tell me more about the lyrics! They seem quite dark, but also philosophical to me. What do you express through the lyrics? What’s your message? What sinister stories / feelings do you like to unveil through them?
“I also take a lot of time writing the lyrics and tend to deal with the question of a higher being and also with the subject of solitude. I don’t have a certain message, but I like to raise questions. I don’t believe any religion on earth has the answer to if there is a god and I like to explore that. I do have some other more fantasy based lyrics, but it always ties into the question of existence. I just can’t get away from that intriguing subject.”
How do you get inspired, when you write new lyrics? Is there any special atmosphere or place you need to get inspired? I bet you do not just sit behind a desk and tell yourself “now I have to come with something really evil”, huh?
“I’ll just listen to the song over and over until I get into the mood of the song. Sometimes it starts with a lyric and sometimes it starts with a song title. A lot of the lyrics on the debut were written many years ago when I was still in school. I just need to be in the lyric writing mood. It helps after reading a good book or inspiring movie.”
Which personal views and emotions surface through COTF? What status has the band on a personal level?
“The band is my number one hobby and takes up a lot of my time with songwriting and lyric writing or doing interviews. All of my emotions come out in COUNCIL. This debut has very aggressive pieces and then some slower groove sections and even some inspiring solo sections. COTF is all and nothing.”
Please tell me the details of the production of “Revealing Damnation”? The who, where, when and how long of it! How was it financed?
“Derek did all of the producing, engineering and mixing. I’m glad someone in the band that understands the music was involved in this and not some producer with a foreign input. It was recorded in Derek’s personal studio and it only took about two weeks and that’s just because the songs were worked out ahead of time. I paid for the recording and then the label reimbursed the money.”
The label Martyr Music is quite unknown to me, please tell me more about them!
“It’s a record label.” (Oh yes? I thought they were selling shoes, damn, a bit of background information about them would have been interesting, man!!! – Stefan)
Let’s talk a bit about the US scene right now. What bands do you like, support or recommend? How strong is the scene at the moment?
“Most of the bands I’m listening too right now are from Europe, but where a band is from doesn’t really matter to me. As long as the songs are good. My favourite US band right now is NEVERMORE. Their last two CDs have been great. The scene over here is ok, but the same bands keep touring and its at the point where I don’t care to go see again. Most of the bands just stand on stage live and seeing them more then once is pointless. The scene seems to be alive, but not in the shithole South Carolina that I live in.”
What do you hate most about the Metal scene today?
“The politics. A lot of the top magazine cover bands, in my opinion, aren’t the best there is to offer. The larger labels are also signing some horrible bands. Metal Blade has signed some real garbage lately. It really sucks that when a band gets to a certain level they don’t have to put out good CDs anymore and everyone will buy it anyway without thought.”
What does Death Metal mean to you and how would you define its lifestyle?
“Death Metal is my major hobby and its about listening to it or finding out about shows or hearing a new band. That’s the REAL lifestyle and not all of this I worship Satan at 10:15am and then sacrifice a cat at 11am and then harrass some old folks at 12pm. It’s just going to shows and listening to the music. That’s all. Listening to Metal while doing what everyone else does.”
Do you know or do you have contact with any German bands? Have you ever been to Europe? Are you interested in Europe?
“I have not been to Germany yet, but I have done some travelling in Europe. Italy, Spain and England. I do want to visit Germany and France before I die. I love travelling and visiting new cultures. I don’t have contact with many bands, German or not. I would like to visit Germany to see the awesome castles and festivals and France because that is were my family heritage.”
Please tell me what albums you bought last? What are your all-time faves? I guess you must love a lot of stuff, because your music covers or touches so many styles!
“Just ordered the new THERION double live CD and the viking edition of the new AMON AMARTH. Some of my favourites are any AMON AMARTH, any Cradle of Filth, Carpathian Forest’s “Black Shining Leather”, Diabolical Masquerade’s “Nightwork”, the first DEICIDE, Nevermore’s “Dead Heart In A Dead World”, and KREATOR’s “Coma Of Souls” and even their new one. There are many more, but these are the top.”
What can I expect from COTF five? What live experience do you have? Do you remember a funny or disgusting anecdote you might share with the readers?
“We haven’t had the chance to play live yet, but if we did you could expect an energetic show and not just standing there like a country band.”
Is there any chance that you might come to Europe and play here? You could sleep at my house, ha ha, that’s a promise! It would be fucking killer to see you over here!!!
“We most likely won’t play Europe, but if I can visit Germany and you show me around that would be great. Its always better when you know someone who lives there. You get more of a sense the way day to day life is. I could play COTF songs, but just the guitar parts if you want.”
What will happen next to COTF? Do you already made some future plans?
“Should be recording the next CD early 2003, if everyone’s schedules are free. I’m ready. The songs are written and we just need to get together. I’m planning on moving in May to Orlando, Florida so I need to get things recorded by then because I’ll have a different job and might not be able to get the time off.”
Now the last question: which album do you like best? HATE ETERNAL – “King Of All Kings”, INTERNECINE – “Book Of Lambs” or HATE ETERNAL’s debut. They are all good albums, but meanwhile they tend to sound a bit similar, what do you think about this statement?
“They are similar albums. I like the COUNCIL CD better than any of them, but that’s just me. COTF has all of the good parts from all styles of extreme Metal. If you want blast beats or groove. It’s all there.”
Well, Kevin, thanks a lot for the interview, I hope you enjoyed it and now give me some last words or add whatever you want…
“Thanks for the great questions and maybe I’ll visit you in Germany. Let me know. People can get Council merch at www.councilofthefallen.com. I have shirts and stickers and the CD for sale. Hope to hear from you soon. Later people”