Some of you may have already heard the bandname but not their music. Just let me tell you that SHADOWBREED from the Netherlands is a good Death Metal band which has a very nice picture disc out called "The Light Of The Shadow", which offers some well executed fast and also mid-tempo Death tracks which you can really bang your head and raise your fist to! In a couple of weeks, their debut "Only Shadows Remain" will be released so watch out for that! Bassplayer Kasper was so kind to answer my questions…
For all the people out there who are still maybe not that familiar with the band, can you give me a very short history of the band, how you got together?
"Well, to start… the history of course… We started out almost 10 years ago under a different name namely MORGANOM, we were all very young back then and didn’t know anything about the music industry. We just wanted to play Metal like our favourite bands at that time such as DEATH, BOLT THROWER, SLAYER, TESTAMENT and others. With MORGANOM we recorded some tracks for compilation albums and a demo called "Wastelands", after that we decided to quit and all members went separate ways. After being parted for a few years, 4 out of 5 MORGANOM members re-united and started SHADOWBREED. I myself joined in 6 months later and since then SHADOWBREED has been together for almost 3 years now. When we rejoined, we started writing new material and after 6 months we went on stage for the first time to kick some ass. Our good friend Laurent of Painkiller Records was very interested in what we did and offered us to do a 7" for his label, so we went to the studio and recorded 2 tracks for him. After this recording, our friends at Hammerheart Records got a tape and they told us to go back into the studio immediately and record some more tracks for them. This resulted in our first CD called "The Light Of The Shadow". We got excellent reviews on this CD and so the SHADOWBREED name was set. To promote this CD, we have done tons of interviews and gigs and gained a lot of attention from the media, the fans and other labels. Right now we just got back from the studio, where we recorded our first full-length album which will be entitled "Only Shadows Remain". It contains 11 tracks and was recorded at the Harrow studios in Losser (Holland)."
Since 4 of the 5 SHADOWBREED members were already involved in MORGANOM, why didn’t you just continue with that band, even if the musical style of SHADOWBREED and MORGANOM was different? Where do you see the difference between SHADOWBREED and MORGANOM?
"Lots of things have changed since then. We were parted for a few years and we wanted to do something else, a new start and therefore a new name. MORGANOM was much faster and technical, SHADOWBREED concentrates more on basic riffs and songs which we now prefer more!"
Since Guido of Hammerheart Records was involved in BIFROST as well, I guess he helped you a lot through the many contacts he has. Do you think that, since you already managed to get some very good response and since the feedback to SHADOWBREED was really good, the people of Hammerheart were also responsible for a big deal for that success or do you think there are other reasons?
"Of course Hammerheart Records and Guido as being a BIFROST member helped us a lot, especially in the early days. But I don’t think that that is the basic reason for our success, I think we owe a lot to ourselves as well. We have always been working very hard (and still do this now) to get more gigs, contacts etc.! And we are the ones who create the songs, Guido and Hammerheart helps us spreading the name by releasing our debut album."
I read already quite some reviews to SHADOWBREED, which always state influences of BOLT THROWER and UNLEASHED. I’m very familiar with both bands and I don’t know from where they get that idea, since I don’t think you sound like those bands at all, what do you think?
"I never made that statement either, but it was written on our info sheet. I know where Hammerheart got it from though, our vocalist Remigius sounds similar to Karl Willets of BOLT THROWER and SHADOWBREED’s music is more in the vein of old UNLEASHED (the moodier parts that is)."
Throughout your career you already opened up for quite some very known bands like IMMORTAL, MAYHEM, CANNIBAL CORPSE, DEICIDE and many others. How did you get the opportunity to open for such big bands?
"Well, there isn’t one basic reason for that I think. Of course, Hammerheart helped us on this one as well when they organised the MAYHEM tour last year + the fact that we are in good contact with a lot of those bands throughout the years. And of course we owe it to ourselves… hard work, no bullshit and good music!"
The first SHADOWBREED output was a 7" called "Avatar" released by Painkiller Records. It features 2 tracks recorded at the Harrow Studios. How do you look back at those recordings and what do you think of that studio? Why didn’t you put those songs out on a demo instead at that time?
"When we got the offer from Painkiller to do a 7", we didn’t hesitate. Vinyl rules so this was our chance! Demos are a bit old-fashioned if you ask me, right now every band releases a mini-CD immediately! And we had no releases so far, so every offer we could get to spread our name was OK for us back then, so we signed the deal! I still have no regrets on it because it looks very good and the 2 songs are our best songs we wrote I think. The Harrow studio is ultimate, we have recorded everything there including our new episode "Only Shadows Remain"!"
Until some months ago, I had never heard your music but after I saw the gig you played in Roermond a couple of months ago which I enjoyed really very much, I decided to buy your picture disc which is a very good release in my opinion. Do you think SHADOWBREED is a good live band and does it happen often that people buy your material after they’ve seen a gig of yours?
"Yeah it happens very often. We are all very experienced musicians for years so we know how to put on a live show by now."
Why do you think people should check SHADOWBREED out?
"Nobody has to do anything! But they will miss for sure some great Death Metal if they don’t check us out, hahaha!"
Which are your personal fave tracks on "The Light Of The Shadow", why and how do you look back at that mini-album nowadays?
"It was our second release and it helped us a lot, people liked it and you cannot believe the reactions we got on it. So I am still very excited about it, I know we could have done better but not at that time! My favourite track is ‘Avatar’, it’s a true battle-hymn!"
BIFROST had a very pagan image, in the lyrics of SHADOWBREED, these pagan thoughts and elements are also still very present in my opinion. What does paganism mean to you personally and how does it maybe influence your life?
"I am personally more involved in the heathen way of life, I am also very into the limburgian (the area were I life) culture, old tales and way of life. It sure does have a big impact on my life but how is hard to say! Remigius wrote all the lyrics on the mini-CD so he could inform you better on this one! I can only speak for myself!"
Besides SLAYER’s ‘Hell Awaits’ which you seem to play at almost each show, are there other tracks that you covered throughout your career with SHADOWBREED? Any songs you’re planning to cover or would like to cover?
"We have done the DEATH song ‘Forgotten Past’ for a tribute festival we did. Right now we are working out some new cover tunes for our upcoming shows… no more ‘Hell Awaits’! We will probably play another SLAYER song, maybe KREATOR or BOLT THROWER as well! Don’t know yet!"
Do you know Kris Verwimp who made the cover for "The Light Of The Shadow" personally very well? Which other artwork of his do you really like?
"Yeah, I know him quite well! I have been in contact with him for several years now! I like the artwork he did for ABSU and the first THYRFING cover rocks as well! I don’t know but blue is my colour so maybe that’s why! He is a great artist!"
In May 2000, you went on your first small tour together with PRIMORDIAL and THYRFING. How was that experience for you and the response to SHADOWBREED in general? I guess the relationship between all the bands was really good?
"The atmosphere among the bands couldn’t be any better then this! I am friends with THYRFING and PRIMORDIAL for already a long time, so we all got along very well… except for Alan (the vocalist in PRIMORDIAL), he is a pain in the ass and a very annoying guy… hahahahhahaha! The tour was great for us, we learned so much! And also the audience was killer, most of the people didn’t hear us before but were really enthusiastic after the show!"
You were planning to go the to the Abyss studio to record your full-length debut album, but that didn’t work out in the end. Do you think that’s a pity and why can’t you go?
"Of course it was a pity. I am still upset… snif snif! No without the bull-shit, we couldn’t go due to our drummer. His girlfriend was pregnant and she was supposed to deliver the baby around the same time as we were recording the album! Our drummer didn’t want to take the risk so we cancelled! We went to Harrow instead and we cannot complain about the result, they did a marvellous job!"
I read in an interview that you recently recorded a promo, just meant for record-companies, at the Harrow studios within 10 hours. Guess you really had to hurry up?
"Not really! We just played in all the tracks live and added the vocals afterwards, it went really fast!"
Which songs are featured on that promo and did you already get a lot of response from record labels to it?
"The following songs are featured on it: ‘Warcraft (After 2001 Stories)’, ‘Lost Ways Regained’, ‘Warriors Blood’, ‘Victoriously Born’ and ‘Only Shadows Remain’, those songs will also appear on our full-length CD! Yeah, we got a good response on it from several record companies!"
Do you already know which company is going to release the album?
"No, we are still working on it. We have some offers but we are still figuring out which one the best one is for us!"
What can you already tell about the upcoming full-length album "Only Shadows Remain"? And in which direction is the new material going, more up-tempo or more mid-tempo? I read that Tomas Of THYRFING is gonna do some backing vocals, is that correct?
"The album contains 11 tracks + 1 intro, it was recorded at the Harrow Studios in Losser. The new material is much faster and more up-tempo then everything we have done before! Thomas was supposed to do some backing vocals but he didn’t since we recorded in Holland and not in Sweden!"
Current future plans?
"In March, we will start a small club tour with our Dutch co-metallers THANATOS and after that, we hope to get onto a bigger tour to promote our new album even more. The CD will be released in February I hope, but more news on that will be published soon on our website, www.shadowbreed.nl, so check that site for the regular SHADOWBREED updates!"
Anything you would still like to add?
"Of course I want to thank you and wish you lots of luck with your activities. People like yourselves keep the scene together… nothing but respect! Besides that, I want to tell everyone to check our homepage and get in touch if you have some questions! Hail!"