Australian Black / Thrashers GOSPEL OF THE HORNS’ 2002 effort “A Call To Arms” on Invictus Productions proves once again, that the land of Koala bears and Kangaroos deserves to be entitled the mekka for all fans of dirty, thrashy, raw and rockin’ underground Metal. “A Call To Arms” is a straight old school Black / Thrash attack, no one should miss and so it was a must to talk with vocalist / bassist Howitzer about the new album, live tours and many many more interesting issues…
Hail Howitzer, what’s up!?! I hope you put on the right music and made yourself comfortable to answer my questions! So, what’s the latest news from “Down Fucking Under”?
"Hails Brother, yeah at the moment I’m listening to REVENGE, and it is pounding furiously into my cranium… Right now the band is in the writing process for the next CD / LP, which we hope to have out mid next year. Also there are plans being laid down for a European tour in may 2003… you’ve been warned."
Your new album “A Call To Arms” is out now and well… it fucking kills, man, an excellent Black / Thrash assault!!! My favourite of this genre in 2002! But what overall feedback did you receive so far from press, fans and so on?
"Thank you for your kind words…Yes it’s been a long time coming, but collectivly we are very satisfied with the final outcome… And I must admit we are very satisfied with the responses coming our way… Not only are our core fans into this release, but we’re also converting new hordes along the way. I can honestly say we haven’t recieved any negative reactions to "A Call To Arms" either by the press or Metal fans, let’s hope GOSPEL can get over to the northern hemisphere to unleash this barrage of thrashing Black Metal next year."
Compared to your last release, the fantastic MCD “Eve Of The Conqueror”, what would you describe as the main musical changes or developments on the new album?
"Mmmm, I think it would be a combination of the complexity of the trax and the overall advancement of the sound we managed to obtain from the recording studio.The engineer we used was very adept in draining the best possible take from our ranks, he’d had experience with other Metal bands, such as Abominator and PEGASUS, so this was a huge bonus once the recording process took place. Also this was Masochist’s first offering in the band (our new guitarist), so this also added some new elements to GOSPEL’s creative sound. Personally I believe that "A Call To Arms" is a natural progression from "Eve Of The Conqueror", it has all the true GOSPEL attributes, whilst still evolving and not becoming stale and stagnant…"
If you ask me, “A Call To Arms” is a big step ahead in terms of songwriting and production, who was responsible for the latter and how much time did you invest in the recording process?
"The engineer we used for the recording was Mark Mcormack from Saint Andrews studios. For memory the recording process 14 days, this included getting all the music down and the vocals. This was followed by 4 days to mix and master the final offering… Fuck we recorded this way back in August 2001, but I’m pretty sure this is the correct information,ha,ha…"
What’s your personal favourite song on the new album? Are there songs that mean a lot to you on a personal level?
"Ok, on purely a listening sense I enjoy ‘Chaos Bringer’, because of the sheer brutality this song spews forth, plus the message it sends out, pure might is right ideology… However when GOSPEL play live the one track I really enjoy is ‘Slaves’, this track just seems to flow naturally from riff to riff. This is the classic GOSPEL number, straight ahead hellthrashing Metal, which does nothing more than possess the listener to wildly bang their fucking head… The middle section of ‘Slaves’ really gets the blood pumping, its got that classic British Heavy Metal feel… once the drums kick in, its just pure headbanging mania…"
Give me some details about the lyrics on “A Call To Arms”! Especially ‘Chaos Bringer’, ‘The Trial Of Mankind’ and ‘Slaves’ have some interesting lines that I would like to know more about!
"Yeah, the lyrics are a position I take very seriously, it’s a great way of getting one’s message across. I’m not about preaching, we shall leave that for the christians, but if you can open someone’s train of thought, then this can only be a positive reaction. Todays society is very regimented, molded into a structure which doesn’t dare to go against the grain, everything is so fucking complicated, there are no traditional values, its all about the almighty $… it’s one big cancerous fucking melting pot, and I choose not to become a part of this system… don’t be a afraid to stand alone in the crowd… lead with an iron will… The message in ‘Chaos Bringer’ is simply that weakness is NOT an ideal, it’s a lyrical attack on the very philosophical foundations of the entire ruling world order. ‘Slaves’ is pushing the message of the laws of nature. For me there is only one true deity, the undeniable creative power that is manifested everywhere in nature, and from this wisdom comes the survival of the fittest… ’The Trial Of Mankind’ is a straight out attack on the jewish-christian Yahwe.This religion is a contaminating disease of the mind and it must must be fought with all means available… I hope this helps answer your question."
What inspires you most, when you are writing new lyrics? Are there any books, movies you find extremely inspiring? Do you need a special atmosphere, setting or place to be creative?
"This world we live in today gives me all the motivation I need to get in the correct lyrical way of thinking… aaauuugh… I also gain strength and inspiration from historical books that are based on common sense, truth, and not by wishful thinking and theoretic reveries."
I would describe GOSPEL OF THE HORNS ideology as blasphemous and nihilistic, would you agree to that? What are the band’s intention’s and views?
"I think the answer to question 6 answers this, I must stress these are my beliefs, all members are anti-christian, but at some point our views do differ some what… one thing which really bothers me about religion is that it’s based on blind faith and not on REALITY, it’s nothing more than pride in ignorance…"
GOSPEL OF THE HORNS are around since ’93 I think, but I never heard much about your origins and roots, so please sum up your band history!
"Ok, GOSPEL formed in Brisbane,1993. The original line up was Transvaal / vocals, Hellbutcher / guitars and Howitzer / drums.We recorded the "Satanist’s Dream" in 1994. In 1995 the band split up, I moved to Melbourne to record "Unchain The Wolves" with DESTROYER 666 and Hellbutcher joined the SPEAR OF LONGINUS ranks. I reformed the band in 1997, the new line up consisting of myself / bass, vocals, Marauder / guitars and Warhammer on the drums of death. In 1998 was recorded the "Sinners" Demo and from this came our affiliation with Damnation Records."Eve Of The Conqueror" was then released in 2000 on Damnation. By this stage we recruited Hellcunt on the drums (formally of BESTIAL WARLUST)… we did a mini tour of Europe in 2000, consisting of 8 shows in Holland, France, Belgium, Ireland and England. Now the band is signed to Invictus Productions… we added Masochist to the band in 2001 on guitars to bolster the GOSPEL barrage… and plans are under way for an European tour in may 2003…"
What relation do you have to DESTROYER 666 and ATOMIZER, isn’t there some kind of concurrence in the outback of Australia? What do you think of their new album? “Cold Steel…” was a bit disappointing in my eyes.
"Well, I did the drums on "Unchain The Wolves", then when the band toured for this release I played 6 or 7 shows for them on bass… these are very dedicated blokes, who deserve all that comes their way… they are great fellas, we shall certainly be looking forward to catching up with our fellow Aussie comrades when we tour Europe next year. None of us have ever been in ATOMIZER, however we did use J.Healey (ATOMIZER vocalist) to do our layout for "A Call To Arms"… I must say "Cold Steel…" did take a few listens to grow on me, but after a few listens it had the desired result, my favorite track is the opener, a real neck breaker. But "Unchain The Wolves" is still my favorite, a real aussie classic."
How do you react when people talk of GOSPEL OF THE HORNS as a cheap copy of older DESTRÖYER 666? Do you see parallels in the sound of your band and your Australian fellows?
"First things first, GOSPEL OF THE HORNS have never been one to imitate other identities, we’ve always set out to forge our own sound /our own destiny… I for one have never heard or read us as being a DESTROYER 666 copy… fuck we’ve been in this business for over 10 years and have always maintained the same unrepenting thrashing Black Metal assault… We have never wavered in style, no matter what other influences have come and gone in the scene… What the listener gets when he / she plays a GOSPEL recording is a pure, unbridled Metal fury, delivered straight from the soul… sure both DESTROYER 666 and GOSPEL play with the same rawness and passion, but this is where the similarities between the bands finishes…"
Ok Howitzer, let’s talk about how you did start to play extreme Metal and what Metal means to you on a personal level! How do you “live” Metal?
"Bloody hell we’re going back in time now, ha… Well the first extreme band I was in was Deathfuck. This was just 4 mates playing Death Metal, we weren’t very good, infact quite bad, but the passion was there. Just to be able to plug in and play with maximum volume was enough back then ha,ha. Personally Metal really is a passionate lifestyle, you become almost engulfed by the magik of it, once you’ve been consumed there really is no turning back. It’s rather funny actually when you cast your mind back to when you first get into Metal, and remember all the false, wanna-be Metallers raving about their dedication to Metal, then one by one these posers jumping ship, whether it be because of work, girlfriends, etc,… it’s when you look around and see your true mates who have wheathered the storm, that you realize how passionate and extremely loyal Metal fans really are… it’s a real test of one’s character."
What do you think about the Metal scene today? What do you hate the most and what do you love about it?
"I think the Metal scene is in a real healthy state… one thing which isn’t good is the infestation of all these Nu Metal bands into our craft, it really is just commercial bullshit soley for the purpose of the almighty $… and another thing which irks me is the falsness of some individuals, who are only interested in image, these people have no substance, spineless souls who have no direction, they are always waiting for the next trend to come by, then quickly become engulfed by it… nothing more than mindless sheep."
How would you comment the Australian scene? With bands like VOMITOR, MARTIRE, ATOMIZER, yours of course… it is alive and well, don’t you think? Are there many Metal concerts and fans in Australia? How is support among each other?
"Yeah I would say the scene downunder is in a healthy situation… What does irk me is the lack of support local bands get down here compared to when an international band tours… who knows the answer to this, maybe these people who don’t come to see their own bands don’t have a clue about the quality of what’s in their own backyard. But I will say this, our fans are extremely loyal, they are always at the front headbanging and chanting along to GOSPEL numbers… hail to all the GOSPEL hordes, you are all crazy mutherfuckers… Generally the support between the bands is positive, I’ve got issues with certain identities, but that’s got to do with their attitudes rather than the band’s musical craft."
And speaking of Australia, what do you love and what do you hate about your country and people’s mentality?
"Ok, first things first… the bloody heat is unbearable, not pleasant at all. Secondly the average Australian seems to have abandoned his / her’s sense of identity. It’s almost as if they are ashamed of who they are. I cannot stomach these beings, nothing but do-gooders out to please everyone else except their own kind…These are the sort of characters whom are the first to jump ship when the pressure begins to mount… On the positive side of things, the country side and general open spaces is truly awe inspiring… in one instance you are taking in the beauty of our rain forests, then within a few hours you are met with the harshest most uncompromising desert plains… A country I really recommend you and your readers to visit."
Alright, this should be enough talking about Australia, tell me more about GOSPEL OF THE HORNS live! What can one expect of a GOSPEL OF THE HORNS show? Do you just play your own stuff or covers as well? Do you remember a funny or disgusting story you might share with us?
"Basically at a GOSPEL show what you witness is four intense motherfuckers giving every last ounce of blood, sweat and beers to the audience. We might not be the most technically advanced group going around, but that is overcome with the sheer rawness and balls. GOSPEL are primarily a live entity which you shall all experience in 2003… Over the years we’ve done covers from SODOM (‘Sodomy And Lust’, ‘Outbreak Of Evil’) MORTAL SIN (‘Blood, Death, Hatred’) and BATHORY (‘Sacrifice’), but those days are in the past, for we much prefer playing our own material to the listeners, since we have ample songs to choose from. Mmmmm some disgusting, funnny stories, hahahaha, I think I’ll save these for when we meet in Germany next year haha…"
You told me in an email that you know someone from my hometown – Bochum – the most wonderful and beautiful city in the world, haha. Nah it’s not very special, have you been there? Or in other regions of Europe? How do you like it here, our culture and our way of living?
"Ah yes, I have visited your hometown last August, when I stayed with my good friend Christian Myschor. I was travelling around Europe and Great Britian with my girlfriend, we had a fucking great time, especially in Germany. I really loved the lifestyle in Munich, as well as the country side. I was most taken aback by Ludwig’s Castle and the scenery in the surrounding districts… One of the highlights was going to Nuremberg, to see where the NSDAP had their annual rallies… My friend Chistian took us to Aachen, to see the ancient Roman sites, which was the furtherset most western boundry of the Roman Empire. Europe really is an amazing place, because of its history and varying cultures, there is just so much to take in and witness. If I could afford it, I would visit Europe every year, but of course this just isn’t possible, so every couple of years will just have to do. Along with Germany I really enjoyed Ireland, Scotland, France, Holland, Sweden and England, each of these countries hold positive thoughts, when I look back at photos and memories, I’m so bloody envious of you Europeans, haha…"
What do you think of the European Metal Scene? What bands do you like? Only the old cult hordes DESTRUCTION, SODOM, KREATOR or younger ones as well?
"Well I have to say along with Iron Maiden, Sodom are my favorite band. "Obssessed By Cruelty" is a classic LP. The energy chaos this LP releases is life changing, well it was for me when I first heard it… I’m also a fan of the first two HELLOWEEN recordings… Throw in Slaughter, Celtic Frost, Razor, Destruction (whom just toured OZ and were fucking brilliant), AUTOPSY, early DarkThrone, Immortal, Beherit, Blasphemy, Overkill, Hobbs Angel Of Death, Morbid Angel, Tankard, Slayer , aaauuugh fuck the list is endless (I’m showing my age here ha)… Of the newer bands I like Destroyer 666, Primordial, Pentacle, Abyssic Hate, Grenade, Ares Kingdom, Vordvin, Revenge, Axis Of Advance, Vomitor, and Bloodstorm, to name a few…"
Is there a chance for a European tour once in a while?
"Gospel Of The Horns will be touring Europe in May 2003, that I can promise you, for further information on the dates when they are released contact Invictus Productions…" (YEEESSSS! – Stefan)
Now a standard question! What were the latest albums / EPs / demos you bought? Anything one should not miss? Anything you like to recommend?
"Ok, the latest LPs I got were, Destroyer 666 "Cold Steel…", SLAUGHTER "Surrender Or Die", FORTRESS "The Fires Of Our Rage", PRIMORDIAL “Storm Before Calm", BLASPHEMY "Live Ritual", Abyssic Hate "Suicidal Emotions" and ROSE TATTOO "Assault And Battery"… EPs, REVENGE "Superion.Command.Destroy", VOMITOR "Neutron Hammer", Entombed / Possessed Split, ANARCHUS "Final Fall Of The Gods"… and demos GRENADE "Promo 2002", HELLSPAWN "Promo 2002”."
What are your all-time faves? Do you own a LP / EP / demo you are extremely proud of?
"My whole Sodom, Iron Maiden collection I’m quite proud of. Basically all the bands mentioned above sit proudly in my LP collection. I’m not as die hard at collecting LPs like I was when I was younger, but if something refreshing and powerful comes by I will track it down on LP…"
What happens next with GOSPEL OF THE HORNS, do you have made any future plans yet?
"We are in the process of working on the new LP, which we hope to have out mid 2003… We’ve also got shows booked down under to support the release of "A Call To Arms"… plus of course the planning ahead of the oncoming Euro tour…"
Well Howitzer, that’s it!!! I hope you really enjoyed this bunch of questions and I would like to wish you all the best for GOSPEL OF THE HORNS, hope to hear from you whenever there’s something new to tell! Now give me some last words for the maniacs out there and add whatever you like or I forgot to ask
"Thanx once again for supporting GOSPEL and to all your readers be on the look out for our CD "A Call To Arms”, I promise you it will rip your balls to shreds… and finally to the Gospel Of The Horns heathens out there, stand your ground, smash through the barriers and continue to lead with an iron will… hail the new dawn!!!" Website: www.gospelofthehorns.cjb.net