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Interview

David Vincent Discusses Vltimas, Country Music And His Role With Terrorizer

Death metal is without question, one of the most popular sub-genres in any form of music. There are countless bands performing the style today, as well as many groups who have used to create fusion genres and more. Its influence can even be heard in rap music via such artists as Necro and Jedi Mind Tricks. Of course, this all had to come from somewhere and one of the first legendary bands in death metal was Morbid Angel, fronted in the beginning by David Vincent.

Fast forward to the modern day and while Vincent is no longer with the band, he's still pushing boundaries, breaking barriers and experimenting with his new outfit Vltimas, which also includes former Mayhem guitartist Blasphemer and Cryptopsy drummer Flo Mounier, whose debut album, "Something Wicked Marches In" stormed its way into the ears and minds of metal fans the world over last year. Add to this his own take on Morbid Angel, I Am Morbid, as well as a solo career in country music, an autobiography and his past work with Terrorizer and it's hard to tell whether his past or his future is the more interesting.

Vltimas are currently on the road with Abbath and 1349 and I was fortunate enough to sit down with this titan of death metal in London to discuss all these projects, which can be heard in full below.

Diamond Oz: You've been putting your time to good use, most notably Vltimas. The album ("Something Wicked Marches In") is amazing.

David Vincent: Thank you for saying so. There's a lot of really good reviews that have come in at the end of the year. We got number two of the year in Aardshock, we're in a lot of the top tens, which is great because we put a lot of work into that record. Everybody worked very very hard.

Oz: It's very clearly important to you because you all made a point to work together rather than fileshare or anything like that.

David: No and I'm happy about that too. I have done that kind of thing before, I can do that. There's no replacement for the kind of magic that you get sitting in a room with people and the sharing of ideas on a cerebral plane like that.

Oz: It's very interesting but also very catchy, which is kind of strange to say about a blackened death album. I think it's the best thing that anyone in the band has done for a long time.

David: I don't disagree with you. Trust me when I say it's very organic. We just banged it out and banged it out. We kept it in the circle and kept working and working and working and we're all very pleased with the outcome. It took a long time to get there.

Oz: I was going to say, you'd been sitting on it for a while hadn't you?

David: Well, we had it recorded and then because we were only worried about the music, we realised we need artwork, we need an album cover, we need a photo shoot, all these things that we didn't think about at all because we were only worried about the music. We were so excited about the sound that everything else became out of sight, out of mind until the label asked about the artwork.

Oz: By working together in person, can you see that delaying the sophomore album, since you all have other projects going on as well?

David: Well, this really is a priority for all of us. We already had our first writing session for the next record. It's still in its infancy. I can't say, "Oh, it's almost done" because it's not, it's nowehere near but I want to say that we're further along with our first writing session for our second record than we were with the first writing session of our first record because we all pretty much know how each other thinks now and it's easier to think in unison.

Oz: And thus far is it very much in the same vein as the debut?

David: It sounds like us, but we grow. I'm not going to say it's a drastic change but it grows and it's going to be bigger. We didn't pigeonhole ourselves on the first record because there's so much diversity, it lends itself to continuing with that as opposed to trying to get one narrow sound. None of us like that.

Oz: When you listen back to an album, does it kind of take away the magic a little, knowing what you were doing and how you felt at certain parts of the recording?

David: The good thing about it is that it's done. I think there's always something that somebody would say, "Oh you know, I might have been able to do this a bit better or I might have changed this bit up a little" but at some point, you have to be done. I've read another artist say this: "You're never really done with a record. You give up." You could spend months on minutiae and that's not going to get it done. You have to just be disciplined, get into work every day, do the best you can and hopefully the result is something that everybody can feel proud of.

Oz: Like we said, you've been very busy with all kind of other projects as well, quite notable you do I Am Morbid with Tim Yeung, which is cool to see you celebrate your history rather than carry on as Morbid Angel Inc. or something.

David: Well, that's what it is. I spent over thirty years of my life on something and it's very important to me and apparently it's important to other people too because the booking agent keeps getting calls. It's a nice portfolio of music that has a fair amount of diversity in it and it lets me wake up in the morning and be me another day.

Oz: Would you ever do an Vltimas/I Am Morbid double bill?

David: I'd have to have people carrying all kinds of stuff. I don't know, I think that would be a little much. Maybe for a one off but not for a tour.

Oz: It's great to see you enjoy your past while also having such an exciting future with Vltimas, as well as your outlaw country project.

David: Yeah, well I have a lot of material, I just need to find the time to record it. It's a priority, but it's not a priority. I have these songs and I want to do it, it's just between touring and writing, I have so much going on, I still have to make time to relax and spend time with my wife.

Oz: I think for a lot of foreigners like me, it might be hard to understand why outlaw country and metal isn't too dissimilar.

David: Well, I would argue that Johnny Cash was death metal, he just didn't know it. He lived it, so did George Jones, so did David Allan Coe, so did Waylon Jennings, it's a certain style. There's a big difference between this Nashville, pop music and real, heartfelt country. Big difference. Not everybody hears it because that's not what they grew up with. It's kind of more of an American thing to a degree, I believe, but I liked it and I do my version of it and folk seem to like it.

Oz: I mentioned I Am Morbid and I believe that's also the name of your autobiography.

David: Yep and that comes out at the end of February. I'm looking forward to that, it's another thing that I've been working on for many years now. I'm ready for it to come out, it just took a while to get right and then it took a while to get the right publisher and set up, get the schedules. Everything takes time. So I've been collecting and searching through the archives and family photos, finding old things, personal stuff that I hadn't even seen before but somehow I found it.

Oz: Cool. One of the many things that you've been involved with that I'm a big fan of is Terrorizer. Were you ever an official member?

David: No. I did the first record, I did the third record and that's really Pete's (Sandoval) thing. He's out touring with it, I saw him recently. He's doing well, it's very good to see him playing again.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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