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Severe Torture – “…they said we were anti-female and pro-violence, just by seeing our cover. A local journalist did an article about it and the promoter was forced to cancel us”

severe torture – “…they said we were anti-female and pro-violence, just by seeing our cover. a local journalist did an article about it and the promoter was forced to cancel us”

Info

Severe Torture is a very hardworking band that over the years (five to be exact) built themselves quite a reputation. After a lot of shows (and I do mean a lot!) and a couple of releases, including their debut album “Feasting On Blood”, I think it’s safe to say that we’re dealing with the leading 100% pure death metal band in the Dutch scene. Their second album, “Misanthropic Carnage” has been released some time ago, but the band had a very tight schedule, including a European tour with Cannibal Corpse! Now they’ve been back a while, and guitarplayer Thijs found some time to give a word to Vampire-Magazine.

Your new album has been out for quite some time now. I think it’s a very good album and I can only give you credit here! Better than it’s predecessor even. How do you and the band look upon this and how have the reactions been so far, both fans/listeners and media?
Well, the reactions have been very good and also sales wise it’s doing better than ‘Feasting’. We are very satisfied with ‘Misanthropic…’ because we accomplished to change all the things that we didn’t like on ‘Feasting…’ in a positive way.

The recording and production have been done at the same studio with the same people, though I find the result to be better than “Feasting On Blood”. Especially the bass, which is a important factor in Severe torture’s music, is more emphasised. What significant changes took place to accomplish this, or did everything went the same way?
That’s because there were some things on ‘Feasting..’ we didn’t like, like the bass sound, the guitar sound and the drum sound. We worked harder on the guitar sound, tried different amps and guitars and I think we succeeded! With the drums we only triggered the bassdrums and that sounds more natural. We also used extra hours for mixing to get the bass perfectly in the mix. The bass is very important for Severe Torture, it’s not just there because it’s usual. The bass makes the sound fatter and the guitar- and bassparts sometimes differ and it’s very important that everything is audible.

Though the titles actually speak for itself, can you give a gruesome and bloody explanation to what the songs are all about?
Well, here we are on Seth’s territory so it’s very difficult for me to explain the individual lyrics. I can explain the whole concept. We see how a lot of people don’t live their own lives but live in the name of god, allah or whoever. They follow their saviour as blind slaves in stead of living in the real world, which is fucked up, but no reason to believe in something that doesn’t exist. In our lyrics a lot of those people are being killed. We think a lot of people are useless because they don’t have a goal, just live their day-to-day life and they ain’t happy with that life. And still they breed like rabbits and more and more useless people step in to this world.

On “Misanthropic Carnage” you still rage like a  but I do hear certain musical changes compared to your first album. For instance more slow(er) parts, Dennis tries more with his throat, more variation within a song (riffing and breaks) and this time there are also long(er) songs on the recording, of which the shooter is of course “Your Blood Is Mine”. Were these all natural changes or artificially brought in for the necessary variation?
We tried to create a bigger contrast between slow and fast parts. A slow part is even slower if you put it between 2 fast parts. We really tried to make even more slow parts but that just isn’t our style, maybe on the next album, who knows. We also wanted Dennis to sings less low because on ‘Feasting..’ the vocals sounded as one level. On ‘Misanthropic..’ he uses screams and low vocals and I think it’s much more interesting now to follow the vocals. About the length of the songs, that’s just a coincidence. It’s the way the songs turned out.

What more of these changes can we expect musically in the future of Severe Torture? Anything particular you guys are thinking of/working on?
I think we will try to create a even bigger contrast between slow and fast and maybe try to build in more slow, catchy parts (headbang-parts) without losing brutality of course! I think we also will spread more hate in the lyrics and artwork. The world is asking for it…..

I heard that you are being censored in Germany because of the shocking artwork on “Misanthropic Carnage”. Can you tell us more about this, the why’s and how’s and how you as a band look upon this? And how did the people in Germany reacted to this during your gigs there?
In Germany the big distributor will not carry our cd with this cover. That’s why Hammerheart decided to release the censored version with a black cover. I think it’s stupid because behind the black cover you can find the original cover and if people read something about censored artwork it’s a stimulance for them to buy it in stead of rejecting it. I hate all forms of censorship because censorship makes people blind and ignorant to reality. But the Germans fans were pretty cool on the tour. We sold a lot of un-censored versions there…..

Here we see the cover in question. Can you tell us what it depicts and what was found to be so profound that it had to be censored? Personally I think it’s a cool cover. Done by Joey Malone, right?
Yep, it’s done by Joe Malone, the same guy who created ‘Feasting on Blood’, and we  really like this cover because it’s more direct and in-your-face than ‘Feasting on Blood’. But I think that’s the point why it is being censored. Some people even thought that it was meant to be a women on the cover (I don’t understand why that is more brutal than slaying a man?) but it is just a human being. You can see that human as symbol for ‘all useless people’ and that symbol is getting butchered by a stronger force.

Do you think something like this brings along extra publicity? After all, bad publicity is also publicity, and I think that something like just makes you more curious and especially in the extreme music scene it’s accepted with a smile. Tell us your opinion.
I think it’s positive publicity! It only sucks for the people who go to cancelled gigs or whatever but in totality it gives us more promotion and that means more people get to know us and maybe buy our cd’s. For kids it’s also much cooler to buy censored or forbidden cd’s so it only supports the metalscene!

I think of you as one of the most hardworking bands in the scene I know, with all the shows and especially the tours (two in the US and three already through Europe!) you have already done and will do. Isn’t this hard on all of you, concerning work and all? How do you achieve all this?
We don’t have ‘career-jobs’ so we will even quit a job if it’s not possible to tour. I have a real cool boss so I can go as much as I like and the rest also doesn’t have a real problem. And if you know these tours (about 4 months in total) are done in 2001 and 2002 there are alot of days left to work…. Sometimes it’s hard to get it organized financially but that’s only a small problem compared with all the cool things we do.

The latest tour was a European one with Cannibal Corpse as a headliner. You all never made a secret out of the fact that you all like Cannibal Corpse very much and are fans of their music, and now you got the opportunity to go on tour with them. How was this as an experience and for the band on it’s own?
We got the chance to watch Cannibal Corpse 29 times in a row! It was also very cool to tour with them because they are real cool guys and we had alot of fun with them, Dew Scented and Viu Drakh.

How did the crowd react during your shows? Did you notice anything different perhaps then the last tour through Europe with cultband Macabre?
The crowds were bigger than with Macabre and this time we weren’t opening band so the place was filled every time we started. We had really big moshpits and headbanging people every day! Every day the crowd asked for more so that’s positive.

 

Can you tell us more about the tour you recently rounded up with Cannibal Corpse, Dew-Scented and Viu Drakh? Any cool road-stories or experiences you guys had on the road this time? The food, days off, merchandise sails, very ashaming moments (heheheh…),… whatever you come up with. Do tell us.
Well, we had a lot of alcohol, our bus broke down so we had to wait for a new one, Corpsegrinder was a big help bringing us drunk boys to our bunks in the bus, Steve DiGiorgio untightening Patrick’s shoelaces (on stage) during our show, bad food in Paris that gave 5 of us stomache illness for a week, male fans who bought girlie-shirts and wore them, Dennis vomiting in Barcelona and Madrid, almost not make it to the Prague show were like 700 crazy fans were waiting, and more you readers will never know….

As righteous pigs first censored your artwork in Germany, on tour you were even banned from playing the Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland, again due to your explicit artwork! Can you tell us more about this? Was this a decision of the venue owner or the cops…?
They also thought it was a woman on the cover and the said we were anti-female and pro-violence, just by seeing our cover. A local journalist did an article about it and the promoter was forced to cancel us.

Can you give us a brief info on your previous tours? This ’cause of my next question, so it will make more sense (plus you get to show off your carreer of course…)
Our first tour was a 10-day European tour with Damnation from Poland in 2000. Then we did a European tour with Macabre, Broken Hope and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter in 2001. In April 2001 we visited the US, did some shows and played at the Ohio Death Fest. In April 2002 we visited the us again, did 25 shows in the US and Canada and played the New England Metalfest and again the Ohio Death Fest. Last tour we did was the 5-week tour with Cannibal Corpse, Dew Scented and Viu Drakh last september.

As you have been on both the main continents of touring, Europe and America (and Canada partially), can you tell us what some of the biggest differences are between the two? For instance, where is the crowd more enthousiastic, distances and where is it better to tour, better booze…?
The crowd is enthousiastic everywere you play. Touring Europe is more comfortable because you get treated well by the venues (breakfast, diner, a lot booze and dressingrooms) and you usually travel with a big bus. In the underground, touring the US is more of an adventure. You have to rent a van and drive it yourself (or hire a driver; expensive) and you have to drive very huge distances (1000 KM between 2 shows is common). If you are lucky you will get a dressingroom and free drinks in the club but usually you get nothing but the door money they make. You also make money by selling merchandise but all the money go to the rental-van, food, drinks, off-days, motel for showers and your flight-tickets. But all-in-all touring the US is very cool because it’s a beautiful country and you see things you will never see in Europe. Canada is more like Europe (French speaking part) but the fans are more crazy.

You seem to be very popular here in Holland, as well as abroad. What do you think the key to this is as a band: to achieve so much goodwill from both fans and media?
Play a lot live shows, stay in contact with the fans and magazines and never try to be popular.
Keep in mind that succes can be over in a second and always respect other peoples opinion about your music!

You are working for a long time now as a four piece band which is working out very good, but.has the thought ever came up to recruit a new second guitarplayer again and be a five piece band again (though I don’t think it to be necessary at all), for live shows for instance, and why not/so?
We are always thinking about getting a extra guitar player. But it’s very hard to find the right guy who can technically play all the songs and also gets along with us (which is very hard). We don’t really miss a extra guitar on stage but sometimes it can sound better with 2 guitars and maybe in the future we will be a 5-piece, who knows…..

What lies ahead in the (nearby) future of Severe? Are there alresy plans/songs for the recording of a third album or are you taking things somewhat more easy now?
We are writing new songs and we will be on tour again in Europe in march 2003 together with Lividity and Damnable. Hopefully we can get back to the US at the end of 2003 but we have to wait for the reactions on ‘Misanthropic’ which will be released in feb 2003 in the US. We want our third cd to be the best and blow everything away with it so we have to work really hard on it.

This is the end. Thank you for the interview and any last comments you got you can all put down here.
Thanks for the interview! To anyone who hasn’t heard the new CD, go fucking buy it! Visit our shows and visit our Website at http://www.severetorture.com/