SLAUGHTER LORD was a four piece outfit hailing from Sydney, Australia. The band was formed in May 1985 under the name of ONSLAUGHT, until the British Thrashers of the same name released their debut album. The band then decided to change the name to DEVASTATOR, but the members all agreed that a more original and better suited name was in order. After weeks of thought the name SLAUGHTER LORD was felt to be the most appropriate title for the band. The band began their quest to place Australia on the map of the Thrash Metal world as five-piece outfit. Various line-up changes were in order to create the ultimate killing machine! The band then played a number of smaller gigs to develop their own brand of aggressive stage presentation. The first major public performance was supporting two already established Australian acts, on February 15th 1986. The manic crowd of over 1.000 bangers , who bled, sweated and went berserk through an hour of merciless thrashing, the first of its kind ever seen in Australia! Soon after this the original vocalist was replaced by another (Claws Mayhem!), thought to be better suited to the style of the band. But after only a few rehearsals and numerous musical disagreements, the original vocalist was asked to rejoin. But there was still more line up changes to come. Guitarist, Sandy Vahdanni left the band due to musical differences. He was replaced a month later by Anton Vazquez. After a few weeks later due to lack of dedication on behalf of the singer, the vocals were taken over by bass guitarist Tony Noel, thus creating the most desired combination, of total dedication and unity. Four members thinking and playing as one. They’re only ambition to kill.
Steve, you’re living in Ireland these days, but you’re originally from Australia. When did you decide to leave your country and for what reasons?
"I have always wanted to leave Australia, as being into Heavy Metal and in Australia is not the best combination, but as I have always been in bands, commitment and lack of funds have always kept me there. This year I finally decided I must come to Europe to meet people, see bands and do comedy gigs."
Why Ireland and not England, Greece or Germany for instance? Have you been in Ireland before already?
"I came to Ireland cause a bloke I was living with in Australia is an Irish guy who had to go back so he said I could crash at his place, so I thought why not?! I have never been to Ireland before and it seemed like a good place to start working in and seeing Europe as anywhere else!"
How did you hook up with Darragh O’Leary (of Invictus Productions) and when did the idea come up to put together a SLAUGHTER LORD CD?
"Well, I’ve had the SLAUGHTER LORD CD idea for about 2 years now. I was actually in contact with a few people from Europe about the idea, but nothing transpired. But when I got to Ireland I met Darragh O’ Leary, Alan Averill (also of PRIMORDIAL) and Mick Power from INVICTUS PRODUCTIONS and we all decided to put it out!"
Who else was interested to release something by SLAUGHTER LORD and why did it not work out in the end?
"I spoke to the guy from Repulse once but we just didn’t follow it through, and being so far away in Oz I just decided to wait till I got to Europe so I could work personally with whoever released it."
Darragh told me that you are a stand up comedian nowadays – how did you get into that genre and are you doing that for a living or is it more a hobby of yours? Have you already been doing that in Australia?
"Yes I have been doing Stand Up for a living for about 5 years now, which is also one of the main reasons I came to Europe. Cause as with Metal, Comedy also has a bigger scene over here, especially in places like England. I originally got interested in Comedy simply by being able to make people laugh. It also gives me an outlet where I don’t have to compromise what I want to do which is not the case in bands."
Are you still involved in music or have you stopped playing after SLAUGHTER LORD broke up?
"Yes I am still involved in music. I think I always will be… After SLAUGHTER LORD I played in MORTAL SIN for about a year, not appearing on any of their albums but doing their one European / American tour in 1990. I then formed a band called PRESTO, which was not Metal at all. Touring extensively around Australia and releasing two CD’s, Australian release only. While involved in PRESTO, I became involved with NAZXUL in about 1995. We released our debut album "Totem" and just recently our new MCD "Black Seed". NAZXUL is very epic, brutal Metal…PRESTO no longer exists!"
What kind of music did you play with PRESTO?
"Very eclectic rock involving acoustic guitars, melodic singing, electric guitars, bass and drums."
You mentioned that you just released another MCD with NAZXUL, so I guess the band is still going strong… Will you remain a member, now that you’re living in Ireland or is that chapter closed for you?
"Yes it is still going strong. NAZXUL did their first ever live performances with me last October and have recently done 7 shows with IMPALED NAZARENE with another drummer. Spiritually while NAZXUL exists I am still a member. What happens in practical terms in the realm of the physical remains to be seen? NAZXUL is and extremely talented and amazing band and I constantly hope that they will come to Europe but only time will tell."
Talking of the break up… What exactly were the reasons to end the band and when was it?
"SLAUGHTER LORD spilt up in 1987 and in hindsight the reason was simply immaturity and not being able to deal with personal issues…"
Did you ever hear the AT THE GATES version of "Legion", which ended up on the Japanese version of their "Slaughter Of The Soul" CD?
"Yes I’ve heard it…I was very surprised and honoured as "Slaughter Of The Soul" is such a great album!"
Tell us a bit about the early days of the band – was it difficult to find musicians in Australia back in those days who were into that extreme kinda music?
"When I first started making bands, Thrash was virtually unheard of and in fact in Australia, totally unheard of! But I always wanted to make a heavy band and yes it was difficult to find people but I was very determined and the pieces just fell into place over the course of many years! Mick Burke, who was the SLAUGHTER LORD guitarist I met at school and he introduced me, with the help of his big brother’s record collection, to bands such as VAN HALEN, JUDAS PRIEST. He also introduced me to a friend of his who had the first VENOM album! You can imagine what happened then!! Tony Noel, who became the bass guitarist and vocalist of SLAUGHTER LORD, I met through a friend of mine by pure chance. In fact there were many line up changes to go through between ’83 and ’86. Sandy Vahdanni, who played on the first SADISTIK EXEKUTION album "The Magus", was an original member of SLAUGHTER LORD along with many other guys who ended up in many other prominent Australian Metal bands. Anton, the guitarist, I met through previous members of SLAUGHTER LORD. Eventually, nearly all Sydney based Thrash / Death bands were formed out of our core group of friends, who were the "Blacktown Death Thrashers" referred to on the "Taste of Blood" demo tape."
Have you had good possibilities to play out live in your area or all over the country? How often did you approximity play with SLAUGHTER LORD?
"SLAUGHTER LORD played live about 20 times mainly in Sydney except for one tour to Melbourne with MORTAL SIN."
Have you been in contact with other Australian bands, like HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH, ARMOURED ANGEL etc.?
"No I’ve never really known anyone from HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH, ARMOURED ANGEL. Wayne Campbell, original MORTAL SIN drummer is still one of my best friends."
Who was in the original SLAUGHTER LORD line-up?
"Well, as I mentioned before, many line up changes happened over the first few years of just putting an actual band together. But the first line up to perform live was: Colin Butcher (…no relation to Necro….): vocals, Mick Burke: guitar, Sandy Vahdanni: guitar, Tony Noel: bass and me (Steve Hughes): drums."
I have a live recording from an old 1986 SLAUGHTER LORD show… Back then you played covertunes by POSSESSED and KREATOR… So, were those two bands your major influences? Did you play other covers as well?
"We were influenced by many bands, and of course individual members have their own personal influences. I don’t think extreme music was as segregated back then as it is now. It was just us against the world! There was to me anyway, only good bands and bad bands. METALLICA and BATHORY were both good and extreme and we loved them both! And everything else from SODOM, DESTRUCTION, S.O.D., MERCYFUL FATE to JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN. All good Metal bands!!! In answer to our major influences, I’d have to say METALLICA, KREATOR, EXODUS and SLAYER. Other cover tunes we covered were "Angel Of Death", "Blasphemer", "Black Magic" and earlier on "The Four Horsemen" and "For Whom The Bell Tolls"."
Which two bands did you support on February 15th, 1986?
"They were local Heavy Metal bands, LOTUS and a KISS rip off band called AXATAK! We basically changed the Australian Metal scene that day as we went on first to a crowd of 1,000 and by the time AXATAK came on, there were more people wrecking the toilets than watching the bands!"
What was the reason that you parted company with your original vocalist shortly after and how did you hook up with Claws Mayhem as his replacement?
"We hooked up with Claws Mayhem through the simple fact that we knew him! He was heavily more into Death Metal than our original vocalist who was married and having many problems that affected the band. But also apart from his personal life, his musical vision was getting further away from ours."
Why didn’t he work out on the long run and was it difficult to get your original vocalist back into the group?
"Claws didn’t work out because he was a fucking lunatic! He didn’t really sing and basically had no musical talent! He just rolled around the rehearsal room floor biting the mic leads and smashing his head into the wall!!! Which of course was all good fun and great for a laugh, but we needed a front man and not a performance artist. Colin came back gladly but this decision made Sandy leave the band, so now we had no second guitarist and a singer we didn’t know if we could work with."
Again a little later your bass player Tony took over the vocals – were you just sick and tired of searching for a replacement? How did you find out about his vocal abilities?
"Well now of course with Sandy gone we searched for a new guitarist and eventually got Anton. He was one of our course friends and had only been playing guitar for 8 months, but had natural ability. So I eventually conned him into joining the band. So we begun rehearsing again but of course the same problems came up with Colin. He eventually left and we forced Tony to sing! Luckily enough he did it and we were finally united!"
I never managed to get my hands on your rehearsal demo from September 1985, so what can you tell us about that? Did you already spread that around?
"It was just your usual band practice tape that we put out on the underground as we had to get something out into the rest of the world as Australia is fucked for Metal. We have great bands but our geographical isolation and small population over such a large area makes it very difficult to succeed."
Was the line-up already steady at the time and is it the same on the "Taste Of Blood" demo?
"To tell the truth I can’t remember. I think we had one tape floating about with Colin and Sandy on it. But when we did ‘Taste Of Blood’ we had the proper line up."
A lot of people have probably heard about SLAUGHTER LORD for the first time when this obscure split 7" with MORBID ANGEL came out… Do you know more about its origin (I guess it was a bootleg, wasn’t it)?
"I’ve heard about it for many years but never knew it really existed. The first time I ever saw it was when I got to Ireland as I’ve been staying with the guys from PRIMORDIAL and their guitarist has a copy of it. In relation to its origin, I have no idea!"
Whatever happened, that you never put out anything else after the "Taste Of Blood" demo? I mean, you were playing shows, so you obviously must’ve had more material (besides the cover songs you did). Has there never been any label interest in the band?
"Well we recorded two new tracks just before we broke up which was bad timing, as they were the best we’d ever done. They were never released, obviously, although bootlegs go out some how. There was never that much interest from record labels in the early days although I’m sure the two unreleased tracks would have generated interest."
Will the two tracks that you recorded shortly before the SLAUGHTER LORD split-up on the ’85 rehearsal be on the CD release as well?
"Two unreleased tracks we recorded just before the band split are on the CD. As for the rehearsal songs, they’re not from the ’85 rehearsal tape but later rehearsals from around ’86 or ’87."
You mentioned that you already helped out MORTAL SIN on their European tour… Was it any different for you to play overhere instead of touring in Australia?
"Yes indeed, there were big crowds and it was a very professional tour involving press, photo shoots etc. Touring Australia is quite a lengthy process in terms of travelling and you end up playing in front of relatively small crowds. There just isn’t the professionalism you get here in Europe when it comes to Metal. In Australia there are some quite professional underground promoters, but a lot of it is amateur and done by the bands themselves."
Have there ever been thoughts about a SLAUGHTER LORD re-union while you were still living in Australia? What are the other members doing these days?
"No, not at all…it would be nothing like the original and therefore suck! Some of the other members are still involved in music. Anton has a home studio, Mick does sound engineering. Tony works with underprivileged kids. But as far as creating the kind of mayhemic feeling we did back then would be impossible."
For further information on SLAUGHTER LORD please contact:
P.O. Box 7171
Tel. / Fax: 00353 (0)1 8332407 or 00353 (0)1 4972037