When I was much younger, I sometimes came across an album or a band which just blew me away with a certain release and where I really felt that that particular album / band will go along with me for a very long time (CELTIC FROST, THE GATHERING, VOIVOD, RUSH, DESTRUCTION, KREATOR…). These days, where so many releases see the light each day, there are really many albums which are just average to ‘good’. It’s very rare that I can still find something new which manages to really impress to me, I’m not even talking about a really shredding release… When I was talking to good old Wannes of PENTACLE one day, he told me to check out the latest DESTROYER 666 release as it should be really good. I was already familiar with the bandname, but never cared to check them out before as I always thought they were a kind of really noisy and totally un-talented Black Metal band. So, as a good boy, I bought "Phoenix Rising" a couple of days later… Aaarrrggghhh… how more wrong could I have been!!!!! "Phoenix Rising" is an excellent mix of old-fashioned Death / Thrash, really a total killer of an album and has so much old-school ‘metal’ feeling in there, it’s just unbelievable!!! There are a couple of songs on the album like for example ‘I Am The Wargod’ (just listen to the long instrumental part in the beginning…) or ‘Lone Wolf Winter’ which come up with such killer riffs, you just have to fall on your knees! Another thing that really makes me worship this album is the really good production (you can hear everything incredibly clear) which nevertheless still totally breaths the eighties atmosphere and still has this mean and nasty character of a band like for example old SODOM! I think we can really already speak of a true classic here, and it makes me wonder if they will be able to top this one with their next album "Cold Steel". In the meantime, I already got ahold of almost their complete back-catalogue and I’m just counting the days until DESTROYER 666 will hit the stage together with IMMOLATION which will be a blast for sure! I hooked up with mainman K.K. Warslut to find out more
When you grew up, how difficult was it to get metal albums in Australia, because I can imagine that that wasn’t easy?
"Yeah, it was bloody difficult, for me at least, as I grew up in the middle of fucking nowhere! Heavy Metal wasn’t a problem really, but trying to get some Thrash Metal releases was a real pain in the ass! Me and a mate would save all the cash we could for like four or five months, get on a bus and travel for five hours to Adeliade to buy records and patches, posters and shit like that. Well, in fact, I’d save my money, he would spend his the day before the scheming, the bastard! So yeah, in short, if you lived in a capital city, there were no worries at all, but if you didn’t, it was lot harder."
Did you do a lot of tape-trading?
"I sent out $ for my first demos around ’86-’87 something like that. The first demos I ordered were the PEDOFILE and SINDROME demos. My big tape-trading days were around ’88-’92 with the demos of bands like BLASPHEMY, BEHERIT and the whole Swedish Death Metal scene stuff. In fact UNLEASHED`s ‘Violent Ecstasy’ from their demo was and still is one of my all-time fave Death Metal tracks."
What were your fave bands when you grew up?
"Bands like W.A.S.P., IRON MAIDEN, ACCEPT, RAGE, IRON ANGEL, DARK ANGEL and the best of the Trash legends… DESTRUCTION!"
From where did you take the nickname K.K. Warslut?
"Warslut was an anagram of BESTIAL ‘WARLUST’ and was supposed to be the name for all the groupies we ‘thought’ we’d get… but never did, hahaha! The K.K. was something I came up with when I was doing the LP cover design for the first BESTIAL WARLUST album which never got released. I’ve never taken band monikers too seriously."
Before DESTROYER 666, you were active in CORPSE MOLESTATION and BESTIAL WARLUST. Which band was first, CORPSE MOLESTATION or BESTIAL WARLUST?
"CORPSE MOLESTATION came first. I pushed for the name-change as we were constantly getting thrown in the Gore Metal camp, which I didn’t want to be associated with."
Can you tell a bit more about CORPSE MOLESTATION because I don’t know anything about that band?
"When I first moved to Melbourne from my pissy country-town, me and the same mate I used to go record hunting with, started a band. He played drums (and in fact went on years later to record drums for RAZOR OF OCCAM / Damnation Records) and I played (or tried to play) guitar. The biggest influence back then for me was BLASPHEMY, BEHERIT and the SUFFOCATION demo with all those blast beats which we had never heard before at that time. I still remember the day we got that demo ("Reincremation" I think it was called). Both of just looked at each other, no words were needed as we both knew that we had to have that beat in our songs. Also there was a little POSSESSED influence in there, Skullfucker brought a slight CARCASS influence with him as well."
The most known release by BESTIAL WARLUST is probably the "Vengeance War Til Death" album, it sounds very chaotic! Were you already involved in that album (cause I just have it on tape, that’s it). What are your thoughts about it these days? And what do you think about the second opus "Blood And Valour"??
"The "Vengeance War Til Death" album was the only album that I was on, shortly after that one I left the band. As for "Blood And Valour", I think it’s a better album in many ways, but the production didn’t match the first. The goal with BESTIAL WARLUST was always to be the MOST extreme we could, both lyrically and musically."
What was for you the main reason to start DESTROYER 666 in 1994, to have your own band or were you maybe tired of playing War Metal (as the style of BESTIAL WARLUST was called that way) and did you prefer to focus on Thrash Metal?
"Well, yeah, that was certainly one of the reasons."
How did you get in touch with ABOMINATOR drummer, Criss Volcano, to record the demo "Six Songs with the Devil"? Did you already know him very well at that time?
"I knew him a little, he had played drums on the Death Dealers’ (now of VOMITOR) project in Melbourne, called T.Vulgar. He was a very strange little man, young Criss Volcano…"
One year hereafter, you recorded "Violence Is The Prince Of This World" with session work from Bullet-Eater (Ex-HOBB`S ANGEL OF DEATH) and Matt ‘Skitz’ Sanders (DAMAGED). How big were HOBB’S ANGEL OF DEATH back in their heydays in Australia because I still listen to their debut now and then and still really love it.
"Yeah, the HOBB’S ANGEL OF DEATH debut is a fucking classic, that’s for sure ! Well, in my hometown, they were huge and certainly their first album is THE best album to come out of the extreme music scene here in Australia. I’d travel 16 hours by bus and train to come and see them play."
What’s your opinion on "Violence Is The Prince Of This World"? It was a bit short, isn’t it (not that that really matters)? Sound and production- wise, the songs also differ a lot I would say, what caused this?
"In reality, I think it’s a mini LP. The reasons for the sound discrepancies are varied. One was that I felt the demo versions were better than the re-recorded versions, so I threw them on there. Then there was the matter of the second and the third song from the CD, where I felt that Criss did a very bad job on the drums and Modern Invasion were keen to see Matt Skitz have a go at a few songs. I agreed and that was that. Then there was also the fact that it’s very hard to find a good metal engineer here in Melbourne, so I kept on returning to (different) studios to remix the damned thing."
In October of 1996, you had a real line-up together, consisting of Bullet-Eater on bass, Shrapnel on lead guitar, Howitzer on drums and yourself. With this line-up, you recorded your second album, "Unchain The Wolves". This album is the only release I’m not familiar with, it’s rather difficult to obtain these days. What are your thoughts about the album, do you think you progressed a lot and how does the album sound like?
"Well, "Unchain The Wolves" was originally released through Modern Invasion and seems to be the album that got the most attention. I can remember a lot of people who liked the first more and were not totally happy with it due to the lack of blasting fast songs. But personally, I think it’s a much better album than the first. It’s kind of a mix of Thrashy songs with the usual DESTROYER 666 epicness thrown in for a good measure."
Are you a very experienced live band? Did you already ever play in Europe and / or America or did you mainly play in Australia so far?
"So far, we have only played in Australia. I used to think we were an experienced live band until I began to take notice of tour-shirts from overseas and saw that bands did more shows in one tour than we had done in three years, hahaha! The trouble here is that there just isn’t a big enough crowd (nor enough cities) to play live in."
With Howitzer leaving the band in late ’97, the drums were taken over by Deceiver. With this line-up, DESTROYER 666 attacked the East coast of Australia during the third tour, and recorded the first 7" "Satanic Speed Metal" hereafter. How did that tour go and what are your thoughts about that E.P.?
"Hell, I really can’t remember how particular tours went (apart from the first which has more tales than any). All in all, we have only had three bad gigs here. All the others were received really well. As for the 7", that was fucking great fun and finished a two week party we had going. It was great to get all the Aussie bands together for a song. I’m very much into the metal head culture thing. I totally love that shit."
About one and a half year ago, you came over to Europe. Where did you stay most of the time? Why did you come to Europe, to find a label to put out "Phoenix Rising"?
"In fact, I was there just last year from June until October. No, I just went because I had promised myself that if the band didn’t make it to there in 2000, I would go anyway. GOSPEL OF THE HORNS were playing there, so it seemed like a good enough reason to go. I was supposed to stay there for 7 weeks until the Wacken festival was over, but I persevered through thanks to no money and the pain of an extended drinking binge and the urge to follow DESTRUCTION on tour! Which I did and I fucking loved every damned minute of it."
If I remember right, I saw you several times last year in Belgium at gigs of bands like for example DEADHEAD and DESASTER. So, I guess it was the first time that you got to see bands like that, how was that for you? Did you like your stay in Europe and what are thoughts about Belgium?
"Errrr, ahem … Belgium has great people, but I found the country itself to be a little ugly. No offense intended, it just seemed a bit industrial and run down in parts."
From where do you know Wannes of PENTACLE, since he’s mentioned in the thankslist of "Phoenix Rising"?
"I only met him once while I was in Europe and the thankslist for "Phoenix Rising" was long done by that time. No, the thanks was for him mentioning DESTROYER 666 on their album. Upon meeting the man, I was impressed with just how metal he was, even if he doesn’t booze it up. I was so impressed in fact, I smashed his guitar, haha! They actually invited me to sing on one of their songs for their next release, which was quite an honour! We had a good time and then I smashed his guitar … . PENTACLE are actually one of the best live bands I saw in Europe."
You said in an interview that you were really impressed by the Wacken 2000 festival. Why, which bands impressed you the most there and how does it feel to play there with DESTROYER 666 yourself this year?
"Australia has only ONE yearly festival which attracts around 1500 people. I always have a good time there and that festival is really great but you just can’t compare it to 30.000 real fuckin’ metalheads which are all together for one hell of a party! Fuck yeah, I loved every damned minute of it, well perhaps not the toilet part, that was most disturbing, haha! Even without good bands, I still think I would have a great time at Wacken. The best bands for me personally were ROSE TATTOO, ANGEL WITCH, MORBID ANGEL, DEE SNIDER, ARTILLERY were O.K. too. Errr, there’s some more, I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few. I really loved just hanging out in the big tent drinking with my mates."
The bill of the festival looks incredibly promising this year with bands like DESASTER, HOLY MOSES, VOIVOD, DECEASED and yourselves playing there this year, don’t you think?
"Yeah, they seem to be letting everyone this year, haha! No, it should be great. I’m especially glad that DESASTER and DESTROYER 666 will be playing. I think we are two bands that have stuck it out and stood the test of time without too much BIG media help."
From what I heard you’re a very big DESTRUCTION fan as you went to see them 9 times in a row last year. I totally worship them too and I personally think it’s maybe the best ‘re-union’ that happened within the last couple of years. Why is DESTRUCTION so special for you, where did you see them and what is your fave release of theirs?
"Why are DESTRUCTION so special? Well, their songs first and foremost! But I would say with the risk of sounding a bit laa-dee fucking daa, is that their music sounds simple but activates certain emotions, like a key put it simply. So what you end up with is emotional memories linked to certain sounds (songs), just as we have emotional memories of death, happiness, getting attacked by a big bloody dog, etc. So to me, DESTRUCTION are VERY much imbedded in my psyche or heart or whatever word you want to use to define that which makes up your ‘self’. And seeing them live finally and as many times as I did (still not enough, mind you) brought back all of those feelings from my past. It was just as an emotional event to see them now, as it was to listen in disbelief to them way back then. In fact, after about four times, it became a ritual experience for me. I learned a lot from my time with them. And not necessarily about bands and music, more about myself. It brought out a lot of feelings I hadn’t surfaced for quite some time, especially the feeling of nothing else matters except this one band. That’s something that happens more in your teenage years than it does in your twenties. Well for me at least, that was the case. It helped as well that they were all great blokes and very generous with the drinks, etc. Hell, they even let me get on the tourbus for a few nights for a few drinking sessions, now that’s fucking good fan-relation! I sacrificed a lot to follow that tour and spent a hell of a lot of money to postpone my stay there to see them. Unfortunately, they are touring the same month as we are this year, so I’ll have to wait for the DESTRUCTION – KREATOR – SODOM tour and see if I can follow that one as well. It depends on $$$ more than anything else and I don’t have a lot after last years’ little effort! I’ve almost run out of things to sell! Damn it! Long live DESTRUCTION!!!!!!!"
Why did it take so long before "Phoenix Rising" got released? I can’t imagine that you didn’t find any label to put it out as the album simply shreds!!!!!!!!!
"We just took our time I guess. We had members leave and replaced and then the whole process of getting intros and shit finalized. I tend to mess around with shit like that and then don’t even use most of it after all. Then there were the negotiations with the labels, we had some specific demands that I’m glad to say I’ve always been very successful in attaining. It’s nothing huge, it’s just that the album also has to get released on vinyl and some other shit. Once the deal had been sealed, the next delays were taken over by Season Of Mist. It’s a pain in the ass for us as well, because the songs on "Phoenix Rising" are already old for us."
‘Lone Wolf Winter’ got dedicated to D. Morgan. Who is that and why did you dedicate that track to him?
"Dan Morgan was an Australian outlaw from the mid 1800`s. He was neither very successful nor noble in his chosen career, but there are certain parts of his story which stuck with me. One was that he spent some freezing winters in the Victorian country living in a pissy cave. Two was that the press at that time, described him as having ‘lived the life of a wolf and the death of a dog’. What’s interesting about that is that he was shot dead in the back by the ‘good’ guys. There’s a piccy of him on the vinyl version. There will be another Aussie outlaw song recorded late this year or early next year about The Kelly Gang. Hopefully it will be released through the Irish label Invictus Productions."
Are you a bit annoyed or maybe bored to talk about "Phoenix Rising", because the album itself is already about 2 years old.
"Yes! It’s a bit like that. Since my return from Europe in October 2000, my only goal was the next album which is all but written. We need lyrics and leads and then it’s done."
What is actually the main thought behind the title? I mean, to my knowledge, the phoenix was a mythical bird which brought war, wasn’t it?
"Nothing more than the obvious. It’s the depth of your understanding that matters here. How and where you see this happening, it’s a world-view that softens the senses to the initial shock of neccessarity and all that it requires. It’s Nietzsches’ ‘revalue all values’, it’s Mansons’ ‘killing the ego’. It’s everywhere and it’s not new to DESTROYER 666 either. I’ve been screaming about in lyrics since I wrote for BESTIAL WARLUST. It’s an old theme for me that never seems tire."
Can you tell a bit more about the artist who’s art you have used on "Phoenix Rising", Rosaleen Norton? From the info I found about her on the internet, she seems to be a very special person. Unfortunately she already died … . The DESTROYER 666 EP "King Of Kings" that Ajna Offensive released was based on two art-pieces created by her, so she must be very special to you, isn’t she?
"Well, I include some Australian art on every DESTROYER 666 release (apart from the music, but some wouldn’t consider that to be art, haha). Yes, her work does have a special effect on me. It’s really beautiful stuff."
Bullet-Eater has left the band already for quite a while to pursue his own project LONG VOYAGE BLACK. Can you tell a bit more about this project because I don’t know anything about it. Have they already put anything out and how does that band sound like?
"LONG VOYAGE BLACK have two albums out so far. I’d recommend both albums to anyone into Atmospheric Metal. Perhaps OPETH fans would love this. Personally I like most of it. It’s some of Australia’s best composed music."
The new guy on the bass is S. Berzerk. "Cold Steel" will be the first DESTROYER 666 output where we will hear him. Where does he come from?
"He’s originally from the middle East coast of Australia, about an hour North of Sydney. But he spent the 10 months previous to joining DESTROYER 666 in Ireland."
Was it your own idea to re-release the "Six Songs…" demo on vinyl or was it the idea of Damnation Records? Satisfied with the way it came out? Are you a vinyl maniac yourself?
"Originally I was approached by a another Dutch label about releasing it on CD. After trying to get them to release it on vinyl, I finally agreed. Then I didn’t hear anything at all from them for 4 weeks. During that time, they were supposed to send me 75 Aussie $ to transfer it from reel to reel to DAT tape. After four weeks, Damnation Records contacted me about other matters and the subject of the demo came up. I said I was unsatisfied with the other label and they offered me right there to release it on vinyl which they did. I`m quite surprised anyone would want to release it. As for vinyl, of course it’s the BEST!"
What can you already reveal about the upcoming album "Cold Steel" as it is already in the process of recording for the moment, isn’t it?
"No, I think we’ll have to record it on your side of the world. It’s certainly the best thing I’ve ever been a part of, that’s for sure."
Concerning the scene in Australia, you said in an interview that it is becoming more and more influenced by the Black Metal thing which is sad. Why, because you prefer eighties Thrash?
"I do indeed. BUT I’m also all for progressing. The Thrash masters have come and gone, we have to become masters of our styles. Not piss on yesterday’s glories. That’s what made the Thrash bands so great. They were pushing boundaries, not conforming to them. Well, some of them at the time at least."
Are you happy about the cooperation with Season Of Mist?
"Yes, so far, so good. They’ve been great so far, so we’ll see how it goes in the future."
In an interview, you said that with "Phoenix Rising", you wanted to create a band-feeling since in the past you wrote most of the material yourself. Do you think you have succeeded?
"To some degree absolutely! There will even be more band-feeling on "Cold Steel" as Berzerker will sing on a few songs on that album as well. I’m getting tired of singing all the time."
Have the others contributed a lot on the songs for "Cold Steel"?
"Shrapnel has written 3 songs and Berzerker wrote 1 song. But as usual, they contribute bits and pieces here and there, which all adds to the final picture of course! I think Shrapnel’s leads are an integral part of the DESTROYER 666 sound these days."
On the forthcoming album you will record an old CORPSE MOLESTATION track. As this was Keith’s former band and that track was written by him, it’s not exactly a cover or a tribute to an old band. So why did you decide to record this track?
"No, the CORPSE MOLESTATION song was the track ‘Phoenix Rising’. I’ve always wanted to redo this song and it seemed like the perfect chance. I wanted another short fast one on the album and it fitted perfectly. There are actually two old songs on that album and it fitted well with the actual phoenix concept of throwing the old into the fire to create the new."
Are you already looking forward to the upcoming tour in May with IMMOLATION, DERANGED and DECAPITATED? What can we expect?
"Yeah, it should be good, it sounds a bit too much like hard work to me … 21 shows in 21 days! That’s bloody rough mate! But of course we WILL destroy!"
Current future plans?
"Errr … some festivals like Dynamo, Wacken, Fuck The Commerce, Under The Black Sun and the Milwaukee Metal Festival, hopefully followed by a short U.S. tour. We may also do the Stonehenge festival which will give us a chance to play more of our older songs for the old fans. I think there are also 3 shows planned for late August together with CARPATHIAN FOREST, which will be a fucking KILLER combination! I’m really looking forward to that as I love their new album! Just contact Damnation Records for more information about that one though. After all that, I hope we can settle down and start rehearsing the new album and go in to record it."
Any last words?
"Cheers for the loooooong interview!!! Good questions mate, you’ve obviously done your homework! And we’ll see all you fuckin’ crazy bastards soon on tour! Hell or High water … K.K. Warslut, the Sexual AntiChrist."