Fancy yourself wandering around on some big festival, at an Amon Amarth show and then… You walk into a guy with a baseball cap and a real awesome Messiah-hoody. You ask the man where got that thing, and then he tells you that he is the webmaster of the band and is some kind of a tourmanager, friend and roadie. And the girl besides him seems the guitarist’s wife… Quite a coinsidence indeed. That was what happened to me on the With Full Force festival this last summer. We talked about all kinds of things and we changed contact addresses, so… When the festival was done and I was back in Holland again I got an e-mail from the guy. He got me in contact with Bröggi (guitarist of the band) and he agreed to do an exclusive interview for Vampire-Magazine. I haven’t got such an honour before to do an interview with one of the pioneers of the European death/thrash metal scene. So, I present you one of the longest interviews I have ever conducted with one of the best bands ever to walk on the European vastlands: Messiah… Enjoy yourself!!
Hey man! Let’s start with the question how you look back on the active years of Messiah
Well, let me first say hello to all readers and how proud I am to be interviewed here! I remember those times with Messiah with different feelings: the very old times with the original line up is that far away, that`s like a dream for me. But I remember with positive feelings a time of real brutal thrashing live shows and a great time we had in the underground-scene to that time. The second new Messiah-line up helped us to get more professional with the albums “Choir Of Horrors” and “Rotten Perish”. “Underground” destroyed Messiah….
How do you look back at each CD?
Unreleased first “demo-tape” 1984: a witness of our first feelings and mirror of our half-year lessons in playing our instruments… :- )
Powertrash: Messiah`s first official demo and a proud release in the underground. I think this tape with its reactions in the scene was more important for us as the first album release “Hymn To Abramelin”!
The infernal thrashing…: second official demo and pre-production for “Hymn To Abramelin”. A great time with our second guitarist “Stony” (R.I.P.1998), with whom I created riffs of “Hymn To Abramelin”.
Hymn to abramelin: first possibility to enter the scene out of the underground with a debut-album. Low budget, real sound made by ourselves, great feelings in the band, first concerts…..
Extreme cold weather: the second album with the great influences of our live shows, and the sad time we split off …
Psychomorphia 1989 demo: first reunion with new members: with that tape we get the deal with noise records.
Psychomorphia/Choir of horrors 1990/1991/Rotten Perish1992: first albums produced professional and for me personally the best Messiah times we ever had.
Underground 1994: the termination and fact that this was no more longer Messiah: I hate this release because the vocals, lyrics and strange hardcore-influences!
Where did you get your inspiration of at that time? What bands did influence you?
Music: I was (and astill am) inspired by bands like Manilla Road, Blessed Death, old Artillery, Sindrome, Witchfinder General, old Anvil, Tygers Of Pan Tang etc. Live: all the experiences of our live shows, especially for the songs on “Extreme Cold Weather”. This is my personal influence and some people could think now what these mentioned bands have to do with Messiah? Messiah`s music is a mixture of different styles of preferred music of each member. Tschösi used more the extreme and I mixed it with more “normal, but real metal-influences”… :- )
What’s the reason why “Underground” wasn’t as good as the others?
The great band’s feeling was destroyed after Patric and Andy left. For me Messiah was history again before we entered the studio with Christofer on vocals. And it was also my fault cause I made too much compromises in the songs, resigned in lyrics and the new compositions were not my style of making the messiah sound.
What’s with “The Ballad Of Jesus”, I never saw that till I saw your site. What’s the tracklist for example?
Not important to be mentioned: primitive lyrics of Christofer, censored in Scandinavia after its release, in some juke boxes a hit (at my home’s pup!) different mixes of the same title in techno and that’s all, sad but true – and forgotten… YEAS!
Did you ever realised you were busy to grow to a real cult status when you put out “Hymn To Abramelin”?
Oh no!! None of us thought that this could be a theme sometimes. We were busy to realise a first album and to be proud to have done it and with all its problems and with the low budget but great feelings we never took it as some kind of a cult status. And I am sure to that time we didn’t even know that something like a cult status existed… (Really – I didn’t know that this exist…)
Do you think it is justified that people look up to you this way?
I am happy when people like our music and have fun with it and had fun on our gigs as well. But my personal opinion is, that if someone look up to a relative successful person, doesn’t matter as musician, artist, actor, architect and, and, and… with the same personal taste, he does look up `cause he want to be one the same position and take identification. But that’s not the point, the product, the art, the fun of the artist is the important thing! Ok, simple answer: NO, each one has to be his own Messiah!!!
How do you think about the cult status yourself?
It took more and more part of thinking about it the time after Messiah split and more we did the ‘Reanimation’-thing 2003 and released the first two albums again. I always try to identify what it really means and it lets me fall in a schizo-situation of a good and bad thing. Let me tell the strange aspect first: the word “cult” is a very actual used word for old things that don’t exist actually in its original form and remembers me on my grandfathers words “in our times it was …bla, blabla…”. But I am a person that always looks forward and don’t want to be lost in the past. OK, I understand that the word “cult” is used in most Messiah-reviews, and stands for a positive and good thing and may be for longing to our music, and this is the positive way of thinking of which I’m really proud.
What do you yourself consider the best Messiah album, and why?
“Rotten perish” from 1992: the best line-up with the best feeling during that times, and “Rotten Perish” is the mirror for these fantastic times. I like also the production. And Messiah changed so many things in the life of each one of us, during the “Rotten Perish”-times I met my wife and this happened only because of the several rehearsing-times with guests…
Did (or do) you have anything to do with other Swiss bands like Samael, Coroner or Celtic Frost?
From the old times I know Martin of Celtic Frost (Martin Eric Ain a.k.a. Slayed Necros – Felix), and of course our producer “Dinosaur” (former roadie of Celtic Frost) who gave us the possibility to record our first two albums “Hymn To Abramelin” and “Extreme Cold Weather”. The guys of Coroner are more known by Steve, the second drummer, coming also from Zürich, Samael played a support for us in 1987 in Geneve.
You might’ve said this about a million times in the metal press before, but I (and with me a couple hundred) missed it, but why did Messiah quit?
Messiah split two times and I think it was both because of personal problems, but different. The music of Messiah has different influences of musical-styles from the members, and all members were and are too different to be strong as one. And to be “a lied one” for an image – is and was never an acceptable philosophy for Messiah. And we never were “a professional band” with all its compulsions. But we split up because the very important good feeling was lost, why to be together if it works not again?
And what did the four of you after calling it a day?
We met each other in a pub, all from the old and the new line-up and each one of us gave his opinion about an reunion and his possibility to participate… First, some of us met on my wedding on February 2002.
What do you guys do for a living these days?
Tschösi is working at a IT-firm for Internet-solutions. Jazzy has it own painter-business. Steve is working at a CD-press factory. Andy distributes an American sun-crème on the coast of South Spain where he lives with his family. Frugi (Patrick), is working in a tools-factory. And I am working with my father in our own office for architecture.
Didn’t you (or don’t you) miss the fact being in a metalband (of the Messiah calibre?)
If you asked me that question ten years ago in the same situation – maybe. But now I am happy with my situation and feel more “free” in my life, cause music turned “to became” just a second priority. Please don’t get me wrong, music is always very important in my live, but I also can realise it in a more quiet and slow style with my solo project…
What was the reaction of your fans after you quit?
I don’t know because I left the scene. But I received several letters from ‘sad’ fans in my PO-Box with their opinions…
Do you still have contact with your fans?
No, not really, but most of them from Switzerland were friends of us!
I heard you are still active in another band, could you supply with some information about this band?
Yeas, I will realise a solo-project called “Mourningside”, but I take my time and may be it`s a egoistic thinking: I do it for myself! Just of fun and interesting in music, I think I will release a demo-cd without a deal with a record-company, just for fun and without the “pi,pa,po” of the scene and buisness-shit….he,he more on the messiah-websites soon!
Are any of the other Messiah-members active in any other musical projects?
Steve plays in a cover band called “Mirto-Massacre”, Frugi used to play bass in a band called “Chapter Seven”, played before in Succubus. Jazzy plays since 97`in Braindead. Tschösi and Andy stopped making music.
Are all Messiah members still metalheads anyway?
This question I can’t answer definitively, cause I don’t know how the others think. Let me explain my situation: If I will be 85 your old, I’m sure that I will listen the same and upcoming brutal stuff from the metal scene. My heart will be always the same, but u must understand, that a lot things in a man’s live will change and I think you only can definite a “metal-head” as a species who take this proud live-feeling forever in his heart. But if I had to identify me with the nowadays scene, I must say no, I am not a metal-head – just a fucking poser…! :- )
So, why did you want to do the Reanimation tour 2003?
For all the people who liked to see us again for one time and the newer and younger maniacs who discovered Messiah with the re-releases.
What was your expectation for this reunion?
First, let me say that this was not a reunion, cause we did it only for two shows without future planning. Messiah never exists again, just a deja-vue for a moment. A lot of other bands do reunions with touring and new albums. But I think if we would do an new album, it couldn’t be Messiah again – too different feelings and the people who know Messiah couldn’t identify… (Wait for Mourningside – and you will hear what I mean…) That’s why we didn’t call it a reunion, just an reanimation.
Weren’t you afraid that you “didn’t have it anymore” to go onstage again? That the feeling got lost?
Yeas and no… Yes since the last two concerts 2003, no because the band had to exist again. If we talked five years earlier and you would ask me if I sometimes will enter the stage again, hehehe… NO!
How did you prepare yourself for this event?
Two things: the first one was possible to calculate: rehearsing all the old stuff, and believe me, it was hard work because I stopped playing guitar regularly the last nine years. Fuckin’ hard work a half year with rehearsing one evening a week and a lot of rehearsing work at home all the days with the CD’s – only for two gigs! No one can say we did it for money…(some people suggested that in a well-known magazine). The second one: mentally it was not easy for me, cause it was ten years ago after I was on stage, and if you weren’t in the scene, you ask yourself with all these expectations of the fans wheter you still you can do it or not? And that’s perfect the point we didn’t want to do an reunion: we only tried to realise a journey back what the people know, without to be a new “reunion-band”. Another problem was, that we rehearsed only a short time with Andy, cause he lives with his family in Spain, for some rehearsing-sessions we could arrange some vocals with my good friend and singer of Mourningside.
Could you tell us about the show in Zürich, Switzerland? How was the show itself, how was the reaction of the crow and the reactions afterwards
For me personal, it was a great show, one of the best Messiah gigs ever. There is a very wonderful review of that concert from Dalia of Gryphon-metal magazine that tells all about. So let me add here these words:
Event of first class this evening in Zürich at the Abart Club: cult Death/Thrash band Messiah will play one last concert in Switzerland , followed by the last opportunity to see them play live at the With Full Force Festival in Germany, in a couple of weeks (4.-6. JULI 2003). it’s not a reunion, only a “reanimation”, this is to say a moment offered to the fans and to the band itself in order to stay together one time more, for playing live once again, before the definitive goodbye from the stages.
1994 the Swiss Giants of Death split up, but then in september 2002 the cult albums “Hymn To Abramelin” and “Extreme Cold Weather” were re-issued by Massacre Records. Times were definately ripe for a memorable come back. Messiah will play tonight presenting themselves with the 1992 line -up : singer Andy Kaina, guitarist and founder member Brögi, bassist Patrick Hersche and drummer Steve Karrer.
After the last tickets bought this evening, the Abart is completely crowded and sold out, doors open at 20:00 and we arrive just when the crowd begins to flock to the venue. The Abart club is guesting an important event after the other in this period, and today will turn into the Swiss Death temple “par excellence” , think! the Abart with its Gothic attitude is guesting tonight the connoisseirs of the hard Swiss Metal scene from Lucerne to Bern, without speaking of all the guys arrived from abroad, in particularly Germany, where a group of fans has even planned and organized special bus travels in order to live this cult show . For us of GM the cult began yesterday always in Zürich , when we had the possibility to make a very nice and interesting interview with the charismatic Brögi of Messiah .. So prepare to bang your head and prepare to Death in this hot summer Reanimation night! no fear , you will resurrect!
23:05 in few minutes Messiah will be back for just one night in their Switzerland, powered by the founder member Brögi: the atmosphere is electrified, everyone is waiting with enthusiasm, trying hard to get a good place in order to make handbanging or to see the band better. Drummer Steve Karrer is preparing the drumkits, setting the cymbals. The crowd begins to greet ” haaa Steve!!” and to acclaim Messiah – “Messiah!!! Messiah!!” ; the last sound check is carried out “Messiah!! Messiah!
23:20 here they are: Bassist Hersche, drummer Karrer , singer Andy Kaina and The spirit of Messiah “Brögi” take the stage among applauses outstreched hands, and a lot of sincere approvals. Brögi has prepared a cool apparition , he shows up on the stage wit a lot of energy, absolutely concentrated and good mooded, brandishing a bow for strings playing his guitar with it taking out incredible sounds that enhance the start of the show. Bow off and hymn to Abramelin on , the bangers are in rapture and me too, cause already from the first moments i measure how this band master the situation: it seems that a gap of almost 8 years has never existed, they play like they would be trained by a long but not exhaustive tour: excellent notes, great virtuosisms. My gosh, many bands nowadays move their first steps into success having everything: studios, producers, labels, managers and similar luxuries, on the contrary ,when Messiah began in the 80’s their fantastic and mythical career, they had nothing if not their determination, creativity and enthusiasm, believing in their musical dream and not in money. But Look now how they play, how brilliant they are and above how modern their music sounds., They could tread any stage , taking part of any festival, tour or event, remaining a big span higher than many others .
Songs like Space Invaders, Choir of Horrors, Akasha Circle, Living with a Confidence follow in the setlist. What i really like is that their music turns out , chord after chord, so rich with many facettes to enjoy: from brutal rhythm to more melodic passages you can have everything you desire from Death and Thrash Metal , without omitting even rock touches. The music is well structured and immediately comprehensible though it’s a live show: the sound is really very good , thanks to ability of the band helped by the sound engineer from Zeche Bochum, if i have understood well.
Anyway the great preparation and attention for the sound lets underline Andy’s vocals which are impressive. No one would believe he has established since long time in another continent, having there other interests than music and singing. No, no one would believe! So, very good vocals, brilliant guitar and great bass work. But another great characteristic of Messiah tonight are the powerful drums that hit me really: not hyperactive but lively and mighty , Messiah drums can be fast or slow with right essential and effective strokes, being able to shoot also very bass grenades . They support the band with a brilliant, exact and involving solid frame: they are protagonist without giving the idea to be. And this introduces the fact that Messiah, like shortly mentioned above, can be melodic and doom too, with enthralling stop-starts. Brögi’s melodic picking, that many times open or close a song, are simply clear, well executed.
What can i say more, if not the enthusiasm of their fans is immense; ovations, wild moshing, hands raised towards the band, acclamations. While Brögi, as Lord of this absolute enthusiasm, is headbanging like hell. Another point: Messiah are very heavy , they put everybody under a severe progression of heaviness but they can be gentle and harmonic when they want: this is old school, meant like having valid musical schemes and being able to create an atmosphere without electronic crap. Charismatic personalities, all Messiah members entertain the audience and don’t disappoint anybody. The setlist is awsome, with songs taken from every mile stone album .Their fans have so much waited for this event and they are fully rewarded. Every song is the hammer, with a mythical aura!
At 00:32 the show ends among the general satisfaction, mega success in more than pure Candlemass style. The encore is a must , so soon they are back : “Messa – iahhh – Messa- iahhh – Messa – iahhh !” ovations, and new dose of electrfying and pushing Death as the concert would just begin again this moment, under green and orange lights. 00:44 the band greets everybody “danke vielmals!” but they cannot surely escape a second encore: after one minute they are again on the stage in front of the hungry Abart, alternating pushing rhythms with romantic guitar passages. 00:50 the reanimation show is ended, though another encore would have been fully welcomed. Time has simply flown away. Moreover tonight, no one noticed how small the stage here is and the sound was cool. Small big magic done by people who prepare their shows really good. After The with Full Force Messiah will no longer play, silence for “eternity”, but …just a minute: guys ! if space and time are relative, the eternity can be even short. Metal still needs you Messiah, you can reanimate when you want! It was worth for everyone to be here, it was worth to come from the North of Germany too, so it will be worth waiting for eternity.
REVIEW BY dalia “gryphon_spirit” di giacomo
Please, visit the Homepage of Gryphonmetal
What made you take the decision of doing the second (and last) show of the Reanimation Tour 2003 on the German With Full Force festival?
It was a chance that we got the offer from With Full Force-organisers the same time we met Andy after his returning from living in Mexico and talking about the possibility for making one last show in Switzerland. With this offer we decided to do it definitively, two last shows ever. Another point is that we were one of the first death metal bands who played in the ending times of DDR/East Germany. And the With Full Force-promotor we know from the early 90`es, to these times he organised a show for messiah at Werdau, before he started with the big things like With Full Force…
Could you answer the same questions about this show for the festival gig too?
It was an unbelievable moment as we entered this huge stage. A year of rehearsing and waiting for that last moment was over and we knew. This is really the last show ever that we will play with Messiah. And as we saw that a lot of real Messiah-Maniacs were on the front and enjoyed with us together all the old songs – an unbelievable moment – and for me personally maybe the most important Messiah show ever. But the 47 minutes were like a short moment and as I remember now, it was like a dream for me. It was also a special project because I haven’t been on stage for nine years before these ‘Reanimation’-shows. I think this was a really respectful gift that our fans gave us – Thanks to you all again!
Were the past two shows a success for you?
Oh yes, it was the best success we could have, because we could playing very freely without fuckin’ stress-feelings like a band who just released a new album and has to push it etc. etc. It was a personal success cause people gave us the respect and were happy with the shows…
And there won’t be a new Reanimation tour?
No, the chapter is closed now – and it’s good that way!
It’s good that you not only re-released the first albums again, but also but some new merchandise on the market, since it was just utter rare. Can we expect more re-pressings in the future?
We liked to re-release a best of with the newer songs released with the albums under Noise (Record label – Felix). We had contact with Noise-records for trying re-release the newer albums before Reanimation shows, but Noise/Sanctuary wasn’t interested in doing it. So we have the problems with the rights… Merchandise: I think with the three motives it’s enough now, and there will be no new pressings because the market is over now for Messiah. So if someone wants a shirt – get it now as long as they are available. I think this merchandise could become rare in half year as well…
More about shirts, once I saw someone walking in an awesome “Extreme Cold Weather” shirt, is this a bootleg shirt?
I think so, the only “Extreme Cold Weather”-motive is very, very old. One from 1987 an the other from 1989…
Another question about shirts, what shirt does Patrick wear on the backside of the “Rotten Perish” album?
That’s the mentioned before first unofficial “Extreme Cold Weather”-shirt, only about 100 copies…
This brings me to some more detailed questions, could you please tell me about the Therion singer, what did he do in Messiah and how did he came to the band? Please tell the story.
After the split with Patrick 1993, Andy also left the band and we had to search a new singer. I must say that from this point, I felt that this could be the end for Messiah. It was not easy to find a new singer after the reunion 1989 after Tschösi, the original shouter. If I wouldn’t met Andy, we wouldn’t have been doing an interview now… :- ) And to find again a new shouter after Andy, with the pressure to release a new album under Noise, was not easy. We rehearsed with several singers from Switzerland without success, if I would’ve met the shouter of my nowadays solo-project “Mourningside”, he would’ve been the new singer… Ok, back to your question: I knew Christofer of Therion long time before from tape-trading and also the first Therion CDs, Therion played a support with us together on the Metal-Mania festival 1992 and I organised also a Therion-show here in my home-town Zug the same year. That’s why I knew him and someday I phoned to ask him to do a new Messiah-album with us. So we did it, but it was the end. I was burnt out, not really interested to discuss about all the changing in the band and the music-style, I resigned with the lyrics, tired of talking about the aspects of the ever same singed themes, not interested in Christofer’s Swedish-historic and mystic lyrics. It was just a fault and in the studio it was the pure horror with Christofer trying to find a hardcore-sounding way of singing, it just sounded very off-key and I think you can here this on “Underground”, the most destructive and worst release Messiah ever made… Don’t understand me wrong, I don’t want to blame Christofer – he tried to do something new, but it was my fault because I resigned and the way we did the last album was definitively not the “Messiah-way”, but like a strange bad other band…
Both of the last two shows are filmed, and will be released on a DVD right (which have to see the light at the end of the year)? Please tell us something about the further content.
First there are some problems with rights because we want to put a ton of bonuses: Messiah 1984-1994, including also some recordings of the legendary very early show with Celtic Frost at St.Gallen / Switzerland 1985. The final show with Killer in Belgium 1987. The Metal Mania festival Poland. Marlboro Rock-in 1991. Planned is also to put on a cut clip of the With Full Force X-stage version filmed by my wife and a very special: the ever last rehearsing in Zürich two days before the final With Full Force-show. The last Switzerland – “Abart-show” will be also released, and the With Full Force X show which is professionally filmed with 8 cameras…
I heard that the first ten orders of the DVD will be pleased with a genuine shirt from 1985, is this true? And how can it be you still have those?
It was an idea but from the last twenty shirts were left now one now cause we sent some for free to good friends an the rest is sold out to some maniacs in the scene… Tschösi gave the shirts, during the Reanimation-03-project I was in constant contact with him…
As the last question, what are your best memories on Messiah, and what are the worst?
I can remember the very early times as we began making our noise and as it started, we didn’t think about doing concerts and I personally had no idea how it could be when being on stage. First we made music just for us and as we get the first chance to do a concert. I was surprised about the reaction of the people, they gave me a new feeling and it started a time of which I still remember the best memories. The other side is how it can end, the split after “Underground”, the other face with a bad band-feeling, no more positive reactions on stage and this way in its direction is harder than when you became success after a “normal” start…
I’d like to thank you for giving me the honour and the opportunity to do this exclusive interview. Do you have any last words for your fans?
Yeas: I like to thank again the maniacs who were on our last shows, and you are exactly the reason why I personally decided to rehearse a 100-minute repertoire that I never played again since nine years. And you gave me the respect. And that was not a matter of course, cause there was not a very big promotion in the scene, without re-releases of the Noise-albums… And you came to the shows, and had that party with us after nine years of silence! You are real fans and that’s it what counts… thank you again – to give us a respectable final ending of the Messiah – era! Forever: be your own Messiah and enjoy yourself!