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Interview

Feral Vocalist Hook Discusses Upcoming Album "Dragged To The Altar"

Photo of Feral

Band Photo: Feral (?)

After the "Welcome to the Graveyard" demo, Swedish death metallers Feral are preparing to go on a fresh killing spree with their debut full-length album "Dragged To The Altar." The band's upcoming unholy necromantic ritual will see release through Ibex Moon Records on April 26th, 2011.

As the band gears up to destroy the living and resurrect the dead, Feral's vocalist Hook corresponded with Metalunderground about the album's recording process and how the band wants to take death metal back to the place where it belongs. "Our music is feral death metal, returned to its primal and wild state and played as it is supposed to sound," commented Hook. He also discussed the band's upcoming tour with Demonical and how Feral got signed to Ibex Moon.

xFiruath: Let’s start off with Feral’s history. When did the band get started and how do all the members know each other?

Hook: It all began with me and Valmer starting to record some songs at home with a drum machine in 2003. Back then I played the guitar and Valmer handled the vocals and bass. This eventually evolved into the black-death demo released in 2004. An important note though is that this was nothing serious and can hardly count as music, we were actually mostly making fun of bands in the extreme metal scene that take themselves way too serious. Some time passed and I got in touch with Damien and Svarte Petter through school, they were both interested in starting to play some music with us and we got the chance to start performing in a more serious way. We had known Big Mac for a good period of time before he first joined as a live member before our tour with Master in 2009 and has stayed with us since as a full time member. We're all good friends to say the least.

xFiruath: If you had to describe the sound of Feral in just a few words, how would you explain the sound of the band to new fans who hadn’t heard the music?

Hook: Our music is feral death metal, returned to its primal and wild state and played as it is supposed to sound.

xFiruath: Fill me in on the new album. Where was it recorded and who did you work with?

Hook: The album’s called "Dragged to the Altar" and we recorded it in several studios in our hometown in north Sweden. Drums and vocals were recorded in the same building as our rehearsal room in a studio called "Spiff.” Guitars and bass was recorded in Petter's home studio "Riverhill Studio,” everything has been recorded by us with Petter as engineer. We later sent the whole thing to the studio mastermind Ronnie Björnström at Enhanced Audio Productions for mixing and mastering, the same man who mixed and mastered our demo "Welcome to the Graveyard" as well as albums by Paganizer, Ribspreader, and several other bands. He really does a really great job.

xFiruath: What do the lyrics deal and who writes them?

Hook: Well, mostly the classic death metal themes: death, religion, violence. We're not really bringing anything new on that front, but I have started to incorporate some more spiritual and occult themes, as well as some stuff influenced by the Cthulhu mythos. Just to get a break from the "zombies commin' to fuckin' eat you-lyrics.” I'm not claiming to be a lyrical genius but I very much think that bad lyrics kill good music and I try to work hard on the lyrics before recording them and usually rewrite them several times. Since there are mostly rerecorded demo songs on the album, most of the lyrics are a couple of years old though.

xFiruath: Will there be a music video from this album?

Hook: We have filmed a video for the song "Welcome to the Graveyard" from the demo with the same name, it can be viewed here. We haven't planned to shoot any video for “Dragged to the Altar,” but it would sure be a fun thing to do. We had a blast when shooting the previous video, maybe if we find a good track from the album as well as the time and money we'll be able to make another one. It sure isn't a bad idea at least.

xFiruath: How does your band approach the song writing process?

Hook: We usually write the songs individually within the band, if I begin writing a new song I'm most likely to finish it by myself as well without anyone else from the band "messing around" in it. The same goes of anyone else writes something, though the lyrics are most often written by me regardless who has written the music with a few exceptions. But of course everyone gets to put their own personal touch on all songs. When a song has been written you could say that it's just a skeleton until we have rehearsed it a couple of times and arranged the solos, backing vocals, drum patterns and whatever. It's important that everyone gets to express themselves through the songs even though sometimes you'll have to compromise due to have been "voted down" in a certain decision within the band.

xFiruath: How did you guys get hooked up with Ibex Moon Records?

Hook: I traded a demo and a t-shirt with Neil out of Fatalist who I think contacted John McEntee at Ibex Moon on our behalf after having listened to it. We later got in touch with John personally and worked out the contract. I believe that’s the best way to get contact with a label today, a lot of people spam their MySpace address and whatever to all labels they can find on the web and I don't think I can imagine how much crap labels get to their inboxes and I believe it's very easy to just be put in the "crap we won't bother listen to-pile" when doing it like that.

xFiruath: What’s your local metal scene like these days?

Hook: Probably just as dead as everywhere else, metal is almost completely out. The really young bands play punk, people our age play indie pop or just want dance floor music, and the old metalheads are too lazy to go to a new metal bands gigs. But of course there are some exceptions, we usually have a decent crowd when playing a local gig nowadays when we have been able to somewhat establish our name. And we have a couple of good local bands in our age playing extreme metal as well like Daemonicus, Plector, and Moloken. They don't come from the same town as us though, but at least they are close and we have quite good contact and show up at each other’s gigs.

xFiruath: Been to any good live shows lately or seen anything crazy at a concert in recent memory?

Hook: It's been a while since I was at a live show but we have been going to a club in Sweden called "Club Deströyer" quite a lot, which always has really good bookings and knows how to put on a great evening. We've seen bands like Tribulation, Kaamos, Nominon and Graveyard (Spain) rip the club up. We also got the opportunity to open for Grave at the same club last year and had a really great experience with a great crowd and the alcohol flowing like there was no tomorrow, which there unfortunately was.

xFiruath: You guys have some tour dates coming up with Demonical. Have you played with them before and where are you guys headed for that tour?

Hook: This will be our first time playing with Demonical, but hopefully not the last since they seem to be great guys and their music kicks some serious ass. I've only met Marin and Ronnie from Demonical very quickly once, but I'm sure we will get along just fine. The tour will go through Europe in May and we'll get the chance to play some countries we haven't played before like France and Italy among others as well as returning to Germany, England, Belgium, and The Netherlands to name a few. We have really high hopes for this tour and we've got our fingers crossed for a really good outcome.

xFiruath: What bands and albums have you been listening to recently?

Hook: I think 2010 was quite a bad year when talking about album releases, but I've been listening a lot Black Breath's "Heavy Breathing" lately. Such a fucking great album with a crushing guitar tone and killer song composition straight through, that's how it suppose to be done. I'm also very much into Runemagick, it's really too bad that they are not active any more. I would love to have a chance to see them live. Otherwise it's the standard stuff that I listen to all the time, some doom, some death and just about anything that gets my head nodding.

xFiruath: Are you involved with any other bands right now?

Hook: Nothing that’s very serious, I play bass and do some backing vocals in a black/death metal band called Blodritual along with Damien. Me and Valmer have talked about recording some kind of doom metal as well, we'll just have to see if anything will come of it. I don't really have that much time over for side project and since I get full satisfaction from playing with Feral I don't feel the urge to chase up members for other bands. But it's always fun doing something else if you have the time for it.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

Hook: I think I have gotten my chance to say what I should, just keep your eyes and ears open for "Dragged to the Altar,” if you're into death metal with a hell of a lot groove I can promise you that you won't be disappointed.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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