Some months ago, I received a promo of GOSPEL OF THE HORNS’ mini "Eve Of The Conqueror" which really took me by surprise! I had never heard the band before and was really captured by their very brutal and heavy Black / Thrash assault! Together with DESTROYER 666 they are probably Australia’s best raw metal band, and so I thought it was a good idea to give them some space in here. I hooked up with Howitser and Hellcunt who came up with the following…
Where are you originally from (city?) in Australia and how did you hook up with the other members to form GOSPEL OF THE HORNS?
Howitzer: "I’m from a small country-town called Whyalla in South Australia. It wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne in 1996 to do the drums for DESTROYER 666 that I met up with the eventual GOSPEL heathens, Marauder and Hellcunt. I will say that even though I moved to Melbourne to join DESTROYER 666, I always knew that one day GOSPEL OF THE HORNS would rise from the grave and truly become a fucking force to be reckoned with. I just needed the time to find the adequate heathens to let loose our ballistic thrashing wall of noise."
GOSPEL OF THE HORNS was formed in Brisbane in 1993, however it took until late 1994 until you recorded your demo "The Satanist’s Dream". How come it took the band so long to come up with a recording? What mainly happened or what did you mainly do within the first years of your existence?
Howitzer: "The first couple of years was a struggle for us, we’d had many problems getting the right guitarist for our sound. It wasn’t until Death Dealer had been recruited in January 1994 that the band finally started to evolve into it’s own identity. His guitarsound and style was perfect for GOSPEL OF THE HORNS, plus he was a fanatical Sodomaniac like I, so this made the chemistry between us even more formidable. The "The Satanist’s Dream" demo is in my opinion a very raw and aggressive recording and one which gives a accurate indication of what GOSPEL OF THE HORNS were about in the early days … pure fucking hate and chaotic aggression!"
"The Satanist’s Dream" received a good response and got even re-released later on by the Italian label Einstand Records. However, that re-release turned out to be a ‘total desaster’ (to say it with a DESTRUCTION song), right?
Howitzer: "Fuck… this was a very low period in my life. I cannot give the reason why these useless fuckers made these hellish mistakes other than that they were an extremely unprofessional label. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong with this release. I urge all who read this not to purchase this sub-standard CD as this backwards label does not warrant your money. I’m gonna be pressing the "The Satanist’s Dream" demo on mini LP in July this year so finally this recording will be free of the foul unending curse it has had to endure over the last six bloody years…"
Not only the layout of that CD was incorrect, they also placed a photo of a different band in the booklet. Which band was that actually?
Howitzer: "I don’t know the answer to this question other than that they were a shitty Death Metal band from somewhere in Queensland. Everyone in that photo looked like a pack of faggots! My blood boils every time I think about this topic!"
GOSPEL OF THE HORNS split in 1996. Why, because things didn’t work out with Einstand Records?
Howitzer: "By the middle of 1995, things became stagnant with the band: motivation was a thing of the past and the guitarist and I were having continual run-ins with the vocalist. His attitude had become increasingly embarrassing both with his performances on stage and the childish things he was stating in interviews. So, after much discussion Death Dealer and I decided to end GOSPEL OF THE HORNS. Plus I had been asked to join DESTROYER 666 and he SPEAR OF LONGINUS so it made the decision much easier… But like I said earlier, I always knew GOSPEL OF THE HORNS would once again take up arms, but it wasn’t until the middle of 1997 that I knew it was time to strike. Even though the mini-CD was a disaster, it had no bearing on the final outcome of GOSPEL OF THE HORNS’ demise in late ’95."
After the split, you moved to Melbourne where you teamed up with DESTROYER 666, you played drums on their "Unchain The Wolves" album. Did you like the time when you’re playing in DESTROYER 666?
Howitzer: "The time I had in DESTROYER 666 was very enjoyable. I have some fond memories of that recording. I must tell all your readers who haven’t got "Unchain The Wolves" to go out and purchase this album, it’s a classic metal release … pure metal bliss, which possesses you to bang your heads to the devil’s tunes. Their new release "Phoenix Rising" is another brutal offering delivered in true DESTROYER 666 style. The members of DESTROYER 666 are a great bunch of blokes who live the classic metal lifestyle, so hail to the DESTROYER heathens! The realization that GOSPEL OF THE HORNS still had plenty to offer to this rancid, decaying world was the driving force for me to leave DESTROYER 666 and to reform the band. I repeat that this was always going to be the case once I had found the right heathens. Our "Sinners" and "Eve Of The Conqueror" releases are mighty pieces of proof that I had made the correct decision. We shall continue to forge on and take on all comers with our crushing, skull smashing sounds! You’ve been warned…"
Would you agree if I say that the music of GOSPEL OF THE HORNS is actually not that far away from DESTROYER 666 as you’re both playing a kind of really raw metal with killer riffs and some influences from the eighties Thrash bands like for example Possessed?
Howitzer: "Sure, both DESTROYER 666 and GOSPEL OF THE HORNS play with similar influences, however I must stress that we are a band who don’t follow any trends. We are about creating our own destiny, our own identity…"
Hellcunt: "GOSPEL OF THE HORNS has been playing the same style since they first started back in ’93. It’s not like we are trying to follow any new trends. We are about sticking to our original style. We naturally are evolving as time goes on whilst keeping the same rawness that GOSPEL OF THE HORNS has always been renowned for … thrashing Black Metal!"
The country you’re from, Australia, would you say that it had a big influence on your music? Do you like living in Australia? Would you ever consider coming over and live in Europe?
Hellcunt: "Most of the Aussie bands have some sort of uniqueness about them as well as that certain Aussie brutalness that we are known for. We had SAD-EX and BESTIAL WARLUST doing the flat out crazy shit back in the early days, with ABOMINATOR keeping up the tradition by just getting signed to Osmose. We just returned from Europe, which has been a good boost for the scene and us. DESTROYER 666 are touring Europe this year which will definitely be huge. As far as living here, well it isn’t really beneficial for the band to stay here as the scene doesn’t offer enough support and Europe is where metal is the biggest with all the festivals and bands. It’s easier to get more things done as well as getting a good live experience amongst quality bands."
Would you say that together with DESTROYER 666, you’re somehow the ‘Australian elite’ if it comes to raw metal?
Howitzer: "I’m not really in the position to give judgement here other than to say we are both of a professional nature as bands and seem to draw crazy responses at our shows. I suppose it’s an advantage releasing material that draws positive reactions from the European heathens because it gives an accurate and vitally strong indication of the intensely proud scene we have arising from this great country."
Hellcunt: "We’re really the only two bands that have stuck to the old style. Most of the other bands have gone onto the new forms of metal. We do the old thing with a little of our own modern style which I suppose keeps us separate from other bands, so in that respect we may stick out more. Another factor is that we play on a regular basis and always come up with new ideas to keep us and the people interested without going overboard with the fancy shit and that whole CRADLE OF FILTH image. Just keeping the old attitude of playing live."
Howitzer: "DESTROYER 666 and GOSPEL OF THE HORNS have been creating intense music for well over 8 years so we’ve certainly earned the right to be in the forefront when people think of Australian Metal. One important point is that both bands play with plenty of passion, our music is delivered from the soul … that’s why we exhume such earth crushing sounds! Brutal Metal, the Aussie way!!!"
Apparently, during the time you played in DESTROYER 666, you were seeking members to reform GOSPEL OF THE HORNS. You found new members in Marauder (formerly of BESTIAL WARLUST (taking over the guitar duties) and Warhammer on drums. With this new line-up, you recorded your second demo "Sinners" in May 1998. Do you think that with this new line-up, GOSPEL OF THE HORNS got much stronger than in the past? What are all the ex-members doing these days?
Howitzer: "The "Sinners" demo is a recording that the band was very satisfied with. It gave the underground a small sample of what we still had to offer, it made sure our name was surnonimous with thrashing chaos, and in turn gave our fans a small taste of the brutality which we had brewing from within. Sinners until the end… The old drummer, Warhammer, is probably watching porno’s, that’s all the little fucker used to do. Hellcunt’s inclusion into GOSPEL OF THE HORNS was the final hail to complete the chapter. The band is now a solid, unbreakable unit with more heaviness than a fucking neutron bomb… and I mean fucking heavy!"
Why do you think BESTIAL WARLUST has such a cult status over here in Europe?
Hellcunt: "BESTIAL WARLUST were one of the first satanic Black Metal bands to come through the Australian Scene. It was a big eye-opener for Modern Invasion and the whole Metal thing here. The sort of band that you either loved or hated. Which was good I suppose because we got noticed either way. We were the one of the first to sign to a semi-decent label. Naturally the music was brutal to the core, which most Europeans appreciate. I got a lot of questions and general enquiries about BESTIAL WARLUST when I was there. When people think of BESTIAL WARLUST, the first thing that comes to mind is chaos and death, which was what we wanted create with this satanic black craft."
After the release of the "Sinners" demo, you signed a deal with Damnation Records for a mini-LP and a full-length album. Are you happy with the cooperation? Were they the only label you got serious offers from or which others were also in the running?
Howitzer: "We had offers from a couple of local labels as well as some overseas but we wanted a label which was true to the underground whilst still having professional characteristics. Damnation have been the perfect foil for GOSPEL OF THE HORNS, they’ve given us 100% support and of course are releasing our devices on LP. Daan is a true metal warrior who has all the metal attributes flowing through his veins! Hail to Damnation Records!"
In November 1998, you released a 7" called "Monuments of Impurity" which contained three tracks including "Blood, Death, Hatred", a MORTAL SIN cover taken from their "Mayhemic Destruction" album. Why did you go for exactly this track and what does this band mean to you?
Hellcunt: "MORTAL SIN was one of the first Aussie bands that we really got into. They were the only band back then that could mix it with the best that Europe had to offer. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them with METALLICA in ’89 and thought to myself ‘Man… these guys are from Sydney’. GOSPEL OF THE HORNS wanted to pay tribute to one of our own, rather than do a cover of an overseas’ band. The song "Blood, Death, Hatred" has the lyrical content that suits ours, so it seemed perfect."
Howitzer: "When I purchased "Mayhemic Destruction" back in ’87 or ’88, it really fucking blew my balls apart! The line from "Blood, Death, Hatred"… ‘You worship the Devil, your soul has been sold’ hit me like a sack of hammers! Excuse the pun, Marauder!"
Soon after this release, Warhammer got replaced by Hellcunt (also ex-BESTIAL WARLUST), injecting a more solid edge to the band. GOSPEL OF THE HORNS’ debut on Damnation was released February 2000 and it was the very strong mini-album "Eve of the Conqueror". This is actually the only GOSPEL OF THE HORNS release I’m familiar with, but I must say that I really love that one!!! Can you tell a bit more about the background of this release, like when the songs were written, how you put them together, any special stories you can reveal while recording them, etc
Hellcunt: "I joined GOSPEL OF THE HORNS just after recording the drums on the latest ANATOMY album, "The Witches Of Dathomir". The tracks on the "Eve Of The Conqueror" album were pretty much all down bar one or two. ‘Time to Strike’ was completed shortly after I joined. ‘Eve of the Conqueror’ needed a bit of work on the drums, mainly fine-tuning and shit. The whole rehearsing and recording didn’t take that long. We recorded the mini LP about two months after I joined. The main hold-up was finalizing the artwork and corresponding with other countries on the other side of the world…. Hmmm… one rather vulgar story was the dual penetration act Howitzer and I did on a slutty wombat, sick stuff indeed. If John from CRUACHAN and Darragh from Invictus Productions read this… the legend continues fellas, haha!"
Howitzer: "The lyrics are most important, it’s a way of sending forth one’s message. Combined with the music it becomes a strong weapon in spreading our ideals. Take control of your destiny, don’t be afraid to stand alone in the crowd and more importantly don’t be fooled by a religion based on blind faith. This is what the Judaic / Christian religion is. It’s a corrupt form built on conformism which has stripped us of our pagan rites for the last 3000 years. Our message is to trade blow for blow until we are the victor!"
What are your memories about the short European tour you did in July /August 2000 and especially the gigs you played at the Frontline (Ghent) and the Stonehenge festival in the Netherlands? Was it the first time for you to come over to Europe? Did you like Europe, any special places you visited?
Howitzer: "The memories from our mini-tour are of total mayhem! The European heathens treated us like brothers, the comradery was strong! The gig in Ghent was typically crazy, the maniacs at the front went berserk! The Stonehenge Festival was also killer, even though Merauder was so fucked up from the night before he could barely stand up on stage, the drunken bum, ha! I made many close comrades from our Euro assault! Hail to all the metallic fuckers I drank, thrashed, chanted and went psycho with last year… you guys fucking ruled!"
Hellcunt: "Some of my favorite moments from the European Tour was catching up with all the Dutchies, meeting Daan and Jeroen from Damnation. We smoked and drank our fuckin’ brains out over there. We did a show in Bladel (Holland) with PENTACLE, which was just great. The vibe was all there, the Hell-Bangers were there and so were quite a few of our Aussie mates. Dublin was fuckin’ killer also! We stayed with a friend from Invictus Productions, Daragh, how are ya’ doing buddy? We played with PRIMORDIAL, which pulled one of the biggest metal shows in Dublin. The after-party was good fun. There’s some funny photos floating around which you’ll see when we release the album. We did three shows with ENTHRONED, Paris for me was the best one. The crowd was big and they went off tap. Margueax and Nornagest from ENTHRONED showed us a good time whilst we were in Belgium. We drank heaps of Jupiler, Sangria and smoked a shitload of hash. The Stonehenge Festival in Holland wasn’t our best gig of the tour. We had a bit too much ecstasy and alcohol and it definitely affected our performance. Merauder and me weren’t really on stage when we were playing that one, if you know what I mean, hahaha!! But the after-party was probably the biggest one of the trip. A band that blew me away at that gig was CONSTRUCDEAD from Sweden. Their drinking performance backstage and live performance was a privilege to be a part of, hahaha!!!"
Normally, your full-length album should have been out around summer last year. What happened to that plan, is that album actually out in the meantime or not, because I haven’t read any review of it, nor did I see it anywhere, so I guess it’s not out yet?
Hellcunt: "Last year when we were in Europe, our main priority at that point was to promote the band overseas with the "Eve Of The Conqueror" mini LP. We are currently writing the new album and we hope to release it later on this year through Damnation Records. We’ve written five new tracks which are all mainly in the vein of ‘Desolation Descending’. All of us wanted to add a little bit of a faster, up-tempo feeling to this album without losing that unique, thrashy GOSPEL OF THE HORNS sound. It’ll be a brutal mix of heavy thrash and up-tempo riffs and blasts. All in praise to Satan!"
What are your current future plans?
Hellcunt: "Our current future plans are to finish the songs and get the album out. We’ll do some shows in Melbourne and then do an Australian tour when the album is released. We’d like to be back in Europe around this time next year, probably for at least six months. We’d like to do a bigger tour and hit more countries this time ’round. It took us a few months to get back into the swing of things when we got back from the tour. I was fucked from all the drinking and substance abuse. We did a couple of shows with DESTROYER 666 around new year. A bit of entertainment for some of our European friends that came here for the summer. We did a show with ATOMIZER about a month ago and tomorrow night, we’ll play with DESTROYER 666 again before they head off on their European conquest."
Is there anything else you would still like to add to this interview?
Hellcunt: "You can check out our website at www.ausmetal.net/gospel. Look out for our new album which will be out through Damnation Records. You can get the mini LP, "Eve Of The Conqueror" and longsleeves by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org