Hi, SAVAGE ANNIHILATION. Greetings from Sick and Destroy team. What are you up to these days?
Dave (guitars & vocals) : « Hi! We’re just back home from our latest tour and chilling a bit, answering to your interview ! »
Would you please introduce your band to our readers who are not aware of your band and music?
D : « Sure ! We are a Death Metal band from the center of France. Our music is evil, fast and dark, full of blast beats, double bass drums, suffocating riffs and leads supported by a massive and aggressive bass sound which results in a SAVAGE ANNIHILATION, but there’s more to this as our albums, 2012’s « Cannibalisme, hérésie et autres sauvageries » and the newest one, « Quand s’abaisse la croix du blasphème », are concept albums telling a cinematic, post-Apocalyptic story with all songs linked one to the other and all are sung in French. »
Give us a little insight into the formation of the band. When and how did it happen?
D : « The band was created fiften years ago, in 2002, by my brother Mike (drums) and myself on guitars. The previous band we were in back then decided to change its musical direction (Heavy / Thrash, then) to Death Metal. Our then guitarist couldn’t stop singing CANNIBAL CORPSE’s song « Savage Butchery » back then and that’s how we became SAVAGE ANNIHILATION. »
At what age did you guys start playing instruments? Since when are you into Metal music?
D : « We, Mike and I, started playing music back in the 90’s. We were 9 or something. I discovered Hard Rock / Metal with AC/DC and Mike was hypnotized by IRON MAIDEN. We got into this immediately and ever since day one, I felt home, like part of something, a family, a scene. It’s been something really positive to me and it immediately became clear to me that this would be the kind of music I would love for my whole life and when I started to play the guitar, it’s been a revelation. Metal made me a better person and saved my life if I may say so. »
Bono (bass) : « I started playing the guitar at the age of 13, when a classroom mate decided to put an instrument in my hands and teach me some riffs. I didn’t stop to play ever since. It was at this time I discovered Hard Rock and Metal music. When I got 18 years old, I got on bass for a band friends asked me to play in with them. It lasted two years, and I continued on guitar after. I fully switched to bass in 2009, when I slowly last the pleasure playing the and had no band to play with anymore. Since this time, I don’t regret my choice any second. Bass is definitely my thing ! »
SAVAGE ANNIHILATION recently released “Quand s’abaisse la croix du blasphème” via Xenokorp. Tell us something about it. Walk us through all the tracks lyrics and meaning.
D : « It’s the logical follow-up to our debut, « Cannibalisme, hérésie et autres sauvageries » as it’s the contination oof the post-Apocalyptic adventures of our main character, Lieutenant Savage. In this new chapter, the story takes place in a abandoned military complex where survivors of the Apocalypse, led by a religious dictator who uses the apocalyptic events to manipulate and rule them, have taken shelter. They name that complex « Zion » and the dictator forces a theocracy and a certain way of thinking to the people of Zion, inflicting torture of the inquisition on anyone who thinks otherwise, making these « betrayers » « heretics serving the Devil » to the others. Those who refuse to conform and confess their faith in Lucifer are crucified and given as offerings to the hordes of zombies roaming outside to, supposedly, appease the anger of God against men… but it doesn’t change shit since God is not responsible for this. There’s someone, though, who no longer agress with all of this, Hyrreit, and he decides to open wide the gates of Zion to cannibals to stop the madness inside and redeem himself. That’s the story of this new one. Put into chapters / songs and in brief, there’s Lieutenant Savage, our mascot, is a witness of this madness that takes place in Zion, beyond the dunes of corpses (song : « Par-delà les dunes de cadavres ») where the dead roar, devouring the world organ after organ (song : « Organe après organe ») and when the cross of blasphemy falls (song : « « Quand s’abaisse la croix du blasphème »), Hyrreit (song : « Hyrreit ») plunges this living tomb of atrocity and its inhabitants into the deepest horror (song : « Le tombeau de l’atrocité »), marking the end of a devouring anthropophagic degeneration Apocalypse (song : « Dévorante dégénérescence anthropophage »). I’m not into simply writing horror and gore lyrics, one song after the other. I’m much more into creating a real world of its own and consider each album as a chapter of a whole story, a movie, a series. I’m into movies a lot! And the artworks are of course connected to this post-Apocalyptic world, all created by Poups of Undead Kreation. I write the stories, we write the soundtrack and he creates the visual art for this all. He brings the story to life somehow. We work closely with him and love his style! The layout’s impressive and there are many details everywhere, for all lyrics in the booklet, the poster in the vinyl version, the DigiPak version, etc. »
How has been the response so far by the listeners? Have you started working on new songs already?
D : « Reviews of the new album are very good thus and I think people start to get the point : SAVAGE ANNIHILATION is not just « an other Death Metal band », we really try to create our very own thing. When we released « Cannibalisme, hérésie et autres sauvageries », it seemed like people just listened to the album and didn’t pay attention to the conceptual approach, which was quite deceiving to us, but it seems that everyone is starting to notice there’s more than meets the eye and we try hard to bring « something ». Of course, it’s been five years since the release of our debut and it’s obvious everything’s better on all aspects, from the playing to the production, the addition of Bono on bass which brings us to a whole new level, and the packaging too, so it definitely helps being way better in all aspects. As for new materials, besides the six songs of the album (34 minutes, though !), there’s our Jeff Hanneman homage song, « When the Slayer Bangs His Head », which is an exclusive vinyl bonus track and we recorded three more songs during these sessions. Another short horror story. We don’t know yet what we’ll do with these in the future, maybe an EP or previously unreleased new stuff for a compilation, I don’t know, but it’s recorded and since the album had a bit of delay for various reasons (itw as ready for release in 2016, in fact), we’ve indeed started working on new stuff already, but we prefer to take our time. We’re much more into quality over quantity. »
When and where did you play your first gig? How was the experience of going live for the first time?
D : « Our first gig? I can’t really tell. I don’t remember exactly, but I’d say it was in 1999 with our previous band and 2002 with SAVAGE ANNIHILATION. What I remember for sure it that it was very a lot of stress to play in front of people for the first time, ahah ! We wanted to give the best of ourselves and play as good as we possibly could but it was also a lot of pleasure. A lot of stress, but so rewarding to do your very own thing and let people discover it without judging you. Meta lis a positive thing. »
Bono : « My first show was when I was 15. It was a birthday show for a friend and it was mostly a set of covers. My first show with SAVAGE ANNIHILATION was in 2014 when they asked me to fill in when their previous bassist left. They sent the songs and I learnt them. We didn’t even rehearse before that first gig! And, since then, I’ve joined the band as a permanent member. »
What, according to you, is the secret behind the band’s success?
D : « Success ? Ahah ! We’ll be successfull when we’d play for a living, eh ! So, generally-speaking, I don’t know if there’s really ONCE secret recipe for success, even though support is most generally the key word here for sure ; label-support, fan-support, media-support, family-support, etc. but when it comes to myself, I love playing music and I don’t care if I ever become a millionnaire. Anyway, I never will, playing Metal anyway ! »
Ever had an epic fail moment during a gig?
D : « Not really with SAVAGE ANNIHILATION… er… yet ? But I had that akward moment with a previous band when we played a song and our drummer played totally different patterns then totally stopped to play a few seconds when he realised he wasn’t playing the right song. I was playing the guitar at this time and fortunately, the other guitar player and I didn’t stop. So, the drummer could have join us few bars later in the song. »
If asked to differentiate SAVAGE ANNIHILATION from other bands in your country, how would you like to respond to it?
D : « I don’t think there’s a « national Death Metal style » in France so every band is quite different, but if I had to define SAVAGE ANNIHILATION as a band and tell how it is different from other Death Metal bands, I’d say we play Savage Death Metal. A mix of old-school Death Metal in the riffing with kind of a modern approach in the most brutal aspects with evil-sounding riffs containing you can actually sing-along and remember, though. Brutal, yet catchy. The headbanging factor is very important to us. We could play faster or more technical, but we focus on writing good songs that’ll stick in mind. We don’t play really fast comparing to modern standards but that’s not the purpose. We put the emphasis on heaviness and atmosphere and, believe me, listening to « Quand s’abaisse la croix du blasphème », you’ll definitely get hooked to that grim, morbid and gore atmosphere while still having a lot more to discover with the concept, lyrics, artwork and stuff. The fact we’re singing in French makes a bit of a difference, but that’s not the centerpoint. I mean, it would be lame if we were only « that other Death Metal band but with French lyrics ». We try hard to bring way much more than what could be seen as a language gimmick, which it’s not, by the way : I’m just singing in the language I feel the most comfortable with and through which I can really channel these dark atmospheres on stage. »
The band has seen some change in line up since its formation. How compatible are band members with each other right now?
Dave : « I think this formula is working quite well ! SAVAGE ANNIHILATION has always mostly been my brother Mike and myself in the past. Our previous bass-player, Aara, joined after the recording of our previous full-length, but he had to left due to his other activities taking him too much time and we’re really happy we found Bono to join as a real third member. Our personalities work well together, despite our different lifestyles. So for now, this line-up is the best since the band’s creation. »
Bono : « Mike and Dave, as you should know are brothers, that kind of brotherhood of closed people, supporting and fully understanding each others. I am quite open-minded and I adapt easily and we sympathized very fast with the brothers as they are really nice people. »
Which bands / artists do you draw your influences from? Which are your favorite local bands?
Bono : « The most influencial band for us is definitely MORBID ANGEL for sure. Then comes other major Death Metal bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE, IMMOLATION, etc. Mike for example loves Heavy Metal as a whole and IRON MAIDEN especially. Dave loves old Rock’n’Roll and Prog Rock and I grow besides Metal and Classical music standards like MOZART, BACH and so on… As for French bands, we loves the music of our bros from NEPHREN-KA, SLAVEONE, CORROSIVE ELEMENTS and the Godfathers of French Death Metal MERCYLESS. There are so many great bands in France and the above are only a few of them. »
How do you guys manage jobs and gigs? Also how often do you guys gathering altogether just to fun?
Bono : « Mike and Dave don’t work at the moment so it’s not a real problem for them to deal with gigs or rehearse. It’s a choice of theirs. Life is extremely tough when you don’t have any money, but they can play together three times a week at least and gig whenever they’re offered to. I have a day job myself and work on my music at home afterwards. And as I live in another region, we usually meet to practice just before shows. »
SAVAGE ANNIHILATION is a very promising formation. Talking of your future, 5 years from now, where do you see yourselves?
D ! « Thank you very much ! Well, in five years… We hope we’d play at great festivals, with another album to promote, sharing the stage with bands we love and we didn’t yet have the occasion to play with. Basically, this kind of future… We’ve been lucky touring and playing with many of them already, like MERCYLESS, AVULSED, DYING FETUS, HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL and many others… but we wouldn’t have enough of a lifetime to play with all the bands we love, anyway, ahah ! »
Well, that’s it. Thanks a lot for your time. Speak out to all your fans and supporters.
D : « Thank you very much for the interview and a loud and savage « THANKS ! » to the fans supporting us from the beginning and the new ones. Our albums are streaming everywhere, so check them out if you don’t know SAVAGE ANNIHILATION yet or, of course, come to one of our gigs or, even better, get us to play your city, ahah ! Support the underground and stay brutal! »