Interview: Warbringer

Interview: Warbringer

- in Written interviews

Warbringer play thrash metal in its truest form. Fast, heavy, energetic and custom made for the pit! Their new album Woe To The Vanquished is out now and is a brutal album ready made for headbanging to! We caught up with the bands vocalist John Kevill  to hear all bout the new album, the bands history and some of their most memorable live experiences.

Photo taken downtown Los Angeles on 01/26/17.

Can you give us a brief history of Warbringer?

We began at the end of 2004, and for myself it was my first venture at all into music. We made two demos and got a record deal in 2007, which led to our fast and raw debut album, War Without End. We Toured Without End too, playing 250+ shows a year in 2008, 2009, 2010, slowing down only a little in 2011 and 2012, during this time we made Waking into Nightmares and Worlds Torn Asunder, as well as 2013’s Empires Collapse. Waking… and Worlds… continued the evolution of our brutal thrash sound, but Empires went and tried many things. The band broke up almost immediately after that record, and was kept alive by myself and guitarist Adam Carroll until now, when we release Woe to the Vanquished, which I feel is our ultimate statement to date.

Who are some of the bands influences?

Many many things, in the fields of thrash, heavy, death, black, speed, metal. Some favorites- Slayer, Kreator, Bathory, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Demolition Hammer.

Your new album Woe To The Vanquished is out now. What can you tell us about the album?

This is one savage thrash record, but is also very well-written and crafted throughout, musically and lyrically. The side A contains our biggest continuous burst of musical gunfire to date, and the side B expands the scope of the band into more progressive and epic territory than ever before. The record is aggressive and angry, but also bitter, sad, and soul-crushing.

How did the recording of the album go?

Excellent and smooth. Creative and busy, but in a relaxed atmosphere. Mike Plotnikoff is a great guy and excellent producer. Credit to engineer lord Hatch as well.

What are some of the songs about on Woe To The Vanquished?

Many of the songs deal with violent and vicious parts of human history, and with a cold malice and indifference basically saying that we are doomed to re-live these mistakes. Each has its own flavor and subject, a couple (Descending Blade and Spectral Asylum) are more works of imagination than reality.
The last song is the 11-minute “When the Guns Fell Silent”, a true epic, written about the end of the First World War and the following spiritual desolation, and parts are based upon literature from real life warrior-poets such as Siegfried Sassoon and Gilbert Frankau. It is the most ambitious song we have ever done by far.

Photo taken downtown Los Angeles on 01/26/17.

What inspires your lyrics?

I am currently in my non-metal life studying to be a history professor so I gain a lot of inspiration from what I learn there. In addition, I find this to be a good avenue to speak about the state of the present world.

In terms of sound, is this album a continuation of your last album Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse?

In some ways yes, in the epic and melodic elements, but this is a much heavier and more focused record.

You have done a video for the song Silhouettes, can you tell us a bit about the video and its concept?

Yes, it deals with atomic annihilation, which relates to the lyrics of the song (which are about that, but have much more to them, it’s a pretty spine-chilling story in this song).

You signed with Napalm Records last year and this is your first release with the label. How are things going with them?

Great so far! We’ve gotten everything we’ve needed and they are more hands-on than we are used to.

You were previously on Century Media, how did the signing to Napalm come about?

We completed our fourth album in a four album deal and were then inactive for three years. So we naturally needed a new label so we shopped around and got a few offers and felt Napalm were the most encouraged and had a good worldwide operation.

What are your live plans when the album comes out?

To tour basically all of 2017. We should be through Europe/UK once in April, once in July/August, and who knows, maybe a third time end of the year.

You are playing the Heavy Scotland festival at the start of April with Behemoth, Havok and Grave amongst others. Is that a gig you’re looking forward to?

Hell yes! Going to be great! Many great bands, a killer way to start the tour.

Will you be doing a full European tour after that?

Sure will, whole month of April, with Havok, Exmortus and Gorod.

Will you debuting much material from the new album?

Yes, absolutely! We think it’s strong as hell and can’t wait to play it live.

Which bands would you love to tour with?

I’d love to tour with Kreator, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Metallica, any great metal band really.

What can we expect from a Warbringer live show?

Absolute destruction, high energy, and a broken neck.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a show?

Probably people jumping off a really high balcony, or a circle pit on tiered concrete stairs in Mexico.

What is the best tour that Warbringer have ever done?

Hard to say. We got to play with Megadeth for a couple weeks once, was a real honor. Kreator/Exodus 2009 was a top choice. Also 2012 European summer festival run was amazing.

You’ve been confirmed to play at the Resurrection Fest in Spain in July with bands like Rammstein, Rancid and Mastodon. You must be looking forward to that one?

Of course, as with all shows!

Are you playing any other summer festivals so far?

Yes. Many to be announced shortly around the release of the record.

Have you played many festivals in the past?

Yes, we have been putting out records since 2008 so we’ve played a number of different festivals, and lots of European ones large and small.

If so, what have been your favourite memories of them?

Playing music live from the stage. Our first time at Wacken is very memorable.

How do festivals differ between the US and Europe?

They exist in Europe.

Do you prefer playing the big festivals or smaller and more in your face venues?

Both. I like the epic feeling of the big stage, but I also like to get in people’s faces and whip them into a frenzy.

What song do you love playing live the mist and which song gets the best reaction live?

I’ve always loved doing Living Weapon live, fun to sing and a fantastic middle break. Reaction wise it’s between that, Combat Shock, and the new song Remain Violent.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever seen?

Iron Maiden 2013- They played a set with a lot of Powerslave and Seventh Son, my favorites.

If you could do a cover version of any song and give it the Warbringer treatment, what would you choose?

Well we literally can do that you know! Some we have chosen- Motorhead “We Are the Road Crew” and Death “Evil Dead”.

What is your opinion on the state of metal and thrash in 2017?

Excellent, tons of quality releases and bands coming out! A good time to be a metalhead.

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