Interview with DESTABILIZER

Interview with DESTABILIZER

- in Written interviews

Hi! What’s the story behind the album title “Violence Is The Answer!” and how does it reflect the album’s message?
Thomas Haxen: Hi! Thanks for having us! The concept conveys some different themes. For example, here in Denmark, if your home is invaded, you cannot necessarily protect your possessions and your family by force. If you hurt an invader, you can even go to jail for a long time. The concept addresses this moral dilemma and challenges the Danish laws of self-defense.

I have two small kids and a wife, and when I initially became a dad, I had a lot of thoughts and inner dialogue about this scenario. At first, my thoughts go to the violent solution, then of course reason sets in upon deeper thought, but thrash metal is meant to communicate aggression, not reason. The title and image address a primal fight or flight response and the urge to protect your loved ones. It is violent as hell, which we are all about!

In the lyrics for the title track “Violence is the Answer,” the wife calls the cops on the dad character because he is mutilating the invader, and he is ultimately put in jail and abandoned by his family because of his actions. The message isn’t necessarily that you should do this act, but I think it is something many fathers out there are thinking about at night. It seemed like a cool and relatable subject. It speaks to my primal fears and primal responses, for sure, and in the end of the day, that is what metal is all about, for me at least. The title has a double meaning, but I will let the listener decide how to interpret it.

We’ve got a couple of songs revolving around the theme of “father-characters losing their families,” like “Terrorist” and “The Road to Hell.” “Violence is the Answer” felt like a strong, impactful choice for both the cover art and the title track.

How does “Violence Is The Answer!” capture thrash metal spirit, and what makes it stand out among other thrash metal albums?
Thomas Haxen: The album is fast and uncompromising; the production is old-school. We’ve strived to achieve a sound in the spirit of the old classics—“Bonded by Blood” by Exodus comes to mind. We want our music to sound like a real band: real drums, real amps, true aggression. This style of music is not meant to be polished in our minds; thrash-metal dies and loses its edge when it is overly produced.

The main thing that stands out from other thrash bands is probably the vocals. We have mixed some almost hardcore-ish shouting with high-pitched screams, high-register throat singing, and some deep growls at times. Kenneth (our drummer) and I are sharing the burden of singing. Initially, we searched for a fourth member to sing, but we really enjoyed being a three-piece, so we took the challenge upon ourselves. The result is something rather maniacal and in your face that ended up working really great in our minds.

Something else that stands out is our guitarist Niels. I say this as a man who has been in the Danish scene for about 15 years and knows every band, player and venue: I have personally never encountered a metal guitarist as good, fast, and as precise as Niels. It really shows when we play live, and it is a true pleasure being a part of.

How did the collaboration with Mario Lopez come about, and what inspired the artwork?
Thomas Haxen: Another Danish thrash metal band called “Killing” worked with Mario for their debut album, “Face the Madness.” Cool cover and cool album. Definitely worth checking out. I messaged their drummer, Jesper, and asked about how their collaboration went. He had nothing but good things to say about Mario, so we went for it. He is very talented, and it is a pleasure working with him. He is currently at work on the cover for our next album.

How has the Danish scene influenced your music and approach?
Thomas Haxen: We have all played in different Danish bands before Destabilizer, so all these bands have, of course, influenced our styles and way of playing in some form or another.

Thrash metal-wise, we aren’t that inspired by the Danish scene. But nonetheless, our band name is somewhat reminiscent of the old Danish thrash band “Victimizer.” We also have Artillery that we all have listened to, and we talked about Killing and the album cover. That is probably the extent of our inspiration from the Danish scene.

We are much more inspired by German, American, and Canadian bands: Sodom, Exumer, Slayer, Exodus, Razor, and the list goes on and on.

“Violence Is The Answer!” delves into dark themes. What do you hope listeners take away from the album’s lyrics?
Thomas Haxen: I haven’t thought about this at all to be honest. I of course hope people enjoy them and find them relatable in some way or another, but we are not trying to convince the listener of anything. They are just about things that we are thinking about and some about things we are angry about. At the end of the day, they are aggressive lyrics that are meant to fit aggressive music and I hope people feel the spirit of old-school thrash metal in it all.

How do you see Destabilizer contributing to the evolution of thrash metal?
Niels Sonne: Hopefully we will make more people, at least in our own country, more curious about the musical territory called thrash. Many fans of heavy music know about the big four and some of the bigger acts, but the genre expands way beyond that. It’s one of the most diverse genres in metal, and hopefully more people will dive into it, if they like our band!

There is so much history in the evolution of the genre and it’s rooted in some very talented and passionate musicians. There is so much great and diverse thrash out there. Viovod, Coroner and Holy Moses, just to name a few bands who sounds totally unique. Ofcause there are many traits that defines this genre and our band is all about using these traits, and try to make songs in the right atmosphere! Our band is not necessarily trying to be unique per say, but sometimes the ideas just comes out that way. We just want to thrash the proper way, cause else we would rather die!

What were some challenges you faced while making this album?
Kenneth Terkelsen: We decided to do everything ourselves recording «Violence is the Answer». This has had its ups and downs for sure. I did all the mixing for the album, and it was a long and tough process. The thing about doing this stuff yourself rather than hiring someone to do it for you is, you’re never fully satisfied with the product; you listen to the same songs over and over again, those little mistakes and quirks in the recordings begin to stand out more and more, you start doubting yourself, you can’t seem to get that precise sound you’re after… It’s exhausting, really. But once you get there in the end it’s totally worth it. We take great pride in having done it all ourselves, and we’re more than happy with the results!

How do you plan to connect with your fans beyond just the music?
Kenneth Terkelsen: We always take our time to hang around and mingle with people at shows. Being avid fans of the genre ourselves it has always meant a lot to us getting to chat with our idols, and we want to be there for our fans as our idols have been there for us. The personal interaction aspect means a whole lot to us. We recently held an in-store event marking the release of «Violence is the Answer» on vinyl at the Copenhagen-based record shop Mephisto, and it was really cool just to hang around and have a few beers with people dropping by. This is what makes metal stand out from so many other genres: The community surrounding it is absolutely astonishing, and we are all for it!

How do you ensure your shows match the energy of the recorded tracks?
Kenneth Terkelsen: I’d say our shows are even more intense than our recordings, for sure. We don’t play with any sort of backing track or click track so a lot of the time we play songs a little faster than they were recorded which certainly adds to the intensity. I’m usually the one addressing the audience in between songs, and I really like to connect with the audience; doing some call-and-response kinds of things, cracking lame dad-jokes, toasting with the crowd, etc. People should feel like they’re part of the action and not just watching from the outside, and Thomas is really great at making these gnarly faces at the audience, wheeling them in and further establishing this connection with the audience that we love so much.

Are there any bands or artists that have influenced your sound?
Niels Sonne: We are all big music geeks and we have very similar tastes, so our discussions are often about music. We are just all in when we contribute to making the sound of the band, and there are of course many artists from whom we draw inspiration. The guitar riffs are very much inspired by bands like Razor, Rigor Mortis, Nuclear Assault and the mighty metal gods Judas Priest! We’re also big into horror movies, which is also a big contributor to coming up with ideas and themes for lyrics.

On our latest album, we included a built-up instrumental track called Invocation. I’ve had these and many other similar guitar licks for years and these ideas came from artists like John Carpenter and many other horror movie scores. The inspiration for invocation actually came from seeing and hearing the score for 28 Days Later.

What are your hopes and goals for Destabilizer’s future? Thank you for your time!
We hope to make some great tunes and make some more thrash fans excited. Our plan in the nearest future is to record our second full-length and play some awesome shows with many other great and exciting metal bands!



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