I saw these guys live and they blew me away and who would have thought that Americans are playing in the N.W.O.B.H.M style. Well these guys are and there pretty damn good. Get there E.P. you will not be disappointed!
1. Thank you guys for taking the time to answer these questions. You guys are going to be entering the studio soon to record your first record. Are you going to re-record some of the songs that are on the E.P? Also, how many new tracks do you have written?
JL:We will be recording 9 brand new songs along with a couple of cover songs just to have. We will be re-recording some of the material off the E.P. Not sure yet what will make it on the record. The E.P. has gotten a lot of exposure so far, so we are treating it as an official release. My best guess is that you will most likely hear at least one of them on the record.
2. I was really happy to see you guys live and I really enjoy music that it's more in the roots of the N.W.O.B.H.M How did you guys get into the N.W.O.B.H.M?
JL:Metallica! It's true! Back when we were just kids we were introduced to some of these band through Metallica's cover versions of some of the classic songs. It's all history from there. We are still discovering great NWOBHM bands everyday! The internet has made a lot of this possible. Say what you want about Metallica, but they really did create the thrash sound and became one of the biggest bands of all time! If not for their influence, many people would not have been introduced to NWOBHM, or even the Misfits for that matter!
3. How did you guys get booked for the Keep it true festival?
JL: We got a glowing review on the Strappado blog. The organizers of Keep It True checked it out and reached out to us immediately! That's kinda when we knew we needed to take this band to the next level. So honored to be a part of it.
4. Do you have any goals or do just go with the flow of things?
JL: We have very specific goals. We have an entire timeline of what we wanna be doing for the next 2 1/2 years. People who go with the flow of things get exactly that. We want to create the flow! Create our own destiny and set high goals for ourselves. Our fans are fantastic, and they deserve the best presentation we can give them.
5. Are you guys excited to be playing with Raven and Diamond Head?
JL: I have a hard time sleeping at night, because I'm so fucking excited to be playing 3 shows with the bands who pioneered the genre. This alone is an accomplishment that we never would have dreamed. There are so many things I would like to say to those guys for years. Now sharing the bill with them, I'm just going to let the music of Night Demon do the talking. Our music is directly influenced by them. It is a show of appreciation for the great music they have given us, and the impact they have left on heavy metal. We are proud to carry the torch and carry on the tradition they founded.
6. So how has the response been so far to the E.P?
JL: Ridiculously good! I've read over 40 reviews, and only found one to be negative. Not everyone will like it, but that is to be expected. We never thought these songs would leave the garage to be honest. It was never our intention to have a serious band around this. It's a real dream come true. You have to understand, we wrote and recorded that E.P. within a total of 22 hours! We have been feeling a lot of pressure to deliver a good record after this kind of response. I'm confident we will not disappoint. We played a couple new jams last night at the Havok show. They seemed to go over well.
7. What song do you most enjoy playing live?
JL: Ritual. We have been opening with it in recent times. That song seems to have a lot of energy. Some kinda speed metal parts and a great guitar solo.
8. How do you write a song is it a conscious effort or does it just come out?
JL: Well both, really. Most of it comes naturally, but I have sat down to write for this new record with the intent of exactly what type of song I wanna write. In the past, I've tried to write different styles of music, but always end of creating a cool rock/metal riff naturally.
9. What is the funniest or most metal thing you have seen during a concert?
JL: I once saw a guy in a wheelchair in the pit with a viking helmet. He had prosthetic legs that stuck straight out like battering rams! His buddies were pushing him around fast and violently! He ended up crashing right into this chick and hurt her pretty bad. I guess not bad enough, because she refused to leave the show before Anthrax played. I saw the two of them later in the night looking like they had found true love. She was even drinking beer out of his viking helmet!!!! HAHA!!!
10. What’s your favorite food?
JL: Pizza!!!!!!!!! We are a metal band!!!!!
I saw these guys live and they blew me away and who would have thought that Americans are playing in the N.W.O.B.H.M style. Well these guys are and there pretty damn good. Get there E.P. you will not be disappointed!
Here's a interview I got with Rick "Rigor" Scythe and he answers my questions on the re-release of the first three Usurper records! I always enjoy reading Rick's answers their always intelligent and interesting. Also other times freaking hilarious. hope you guys enjoy this interview!
1. Hey Rick Thank you for doing this interview! Why have you decided to re-release these three records on cassette?
RS: The offer was actually presented to me last year from Night Bird/Todestrieb Records. I figured that it would be cool to release these albums on cassette after all these years, so I worked out a deal with them. It is not some big label. This is just a short run of 300 copies of each version. It is really just something for the die-hards only, kind of a way to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of Usurper.
2. What is something you like most about each release?
Diabolosis: RS: "Diabolosis" I like the rawness of that album. The guitar tone is massive and everything was so fresh back in 1995 when we recorded the album. When I listen to it I remember those days and remember being in the cramped quarters of Eaton Records recording it. I remember the photo shoot and all the good times.
Threshold of the Usurper: RS: "Threshold..." I felt like that is when that classic early line-up of Usurper really perfected our sound. It was like Diabolosis, style but better musicianship and even better tones. To me it is the best representation of early Usurper/classic line-up era.
Skeletal Season RS: "Skeletal Season" was when we really were exploring some new ideas. The first 2 releases were inspired by 80's era black/thrash/death metal. The lyrics were in that vein. By the time I began writing material for Skeletal Season, it was the first time I really came up with lyrical ideas. I was basing lyrics on topics I read about from a perspective no metal bands have before. Odes to Mothman in 1996... no metal band has written a song about Mothman in1996 or earlier... the werewolf tales, the paranormal stuff; all that was pretty original. In 2013 these types of topics are much more common, but in the mid/late 90's this wasn't a popular topic. It was also the first album we actually commissioned original artwork for one of our releases. We had Juha Vuorma come up with an original oil painting that fit the mood of the album. That was a big deal for us.
3. What is something you wish you could change about each release?
Diabolosis: RS: Not much I would change, I suppose if anything just more time and money to record. We had a very tight budget, that's why we had to include 2 songs from the demo on there. Also there are a few minor flubs because we didn't have a lot of times to perfect everything, but that's part of the magic of the sound of that album.
Threshold of the Usurper: RS: For this one, if we could go back in time I would have made it a full length album. I would have made "Anno Satanas" an actual track and not a hidden track, which would have brought the song total up to 6 songs. Then I would have just written 2 more songs and made it a full length album. I know later for the re-issue (including the cassette) we did this, but we used 2 songs recorded years later. But other than that, I feel "Threshold.." is a great release.
Skeletal Season: RS: Just some production stuff. Dave Hellstorm insisted on recording his drums a certain way, and we wanted him to record the same way we did Diabolosis and Threshold. But since Dave was older and more experienced we let him record his drums his way... big mistake! That would never happen again! The drums had a weird tone. It worked with the dark mood of that album, but the overall result was kind of muddy sounding. I know we were a little disappointed with certain aspects of the mix, but we made up for it with good songs, good artwork and good presentation.
4. On Diabolosis why wasn’t Soulstalker or Visions from the gods included?
RS: We didn't want to have the entire demo on the first album. Actually like I said earlier, if we had more time and money, we most likely wouldn't of put any of the demo songs on the album. We just didn't have the money to properly record 8 or 9 new songs, so we recorded a few new, and remixed 2 demo songs. Dusk and Deep in the Forest fit better with the other new songs at the time, so we chose those 2 for Diabolosis.
5. Could you share any stories about recording these albums?
RS: Yes, I could make a book about those sessions. I wish we would have taken pictures or video back then, because those were some magical moments. This guy Brian Eaton had his own record label called Eatin' Records, he put out actual albums and had his own band that he played drums for called North. This was the early mid 90's. This was a time when "metal was dead" in the mainstream. His label was not really metal. Mainly old hard rock bands that shifted their style to more grunge. he also had some guitar wizard artist at the time, some real progressive rock and then his own band North which was sort of industrial/dream theater style. It was a true independent label.
He was an excellent producer and excellent musician. He was a fellow "long hair", but not some idiot metal head. Super intelligent guy. He had this small house and he converted one of the bedrooms into a recording studio. This wasn't some Pro Tools/digital computer home studio, it was an actual home studio! Full on reel to reel tapes, giant mixing board... all the stuff you would see in a regular big recording studio, only crammed into this guys bedroom.
He used a closet as an isolation booth to record vocals and to record the amps. He had this electronic drum kit, all these expensive mics. So we would pile in someone's car, drive out to the west suburbs of Chicago and record bits and pieces at time. Usually only 5 hour sessions 2 or 3 times a week. Then we would eat at Portillos and drive home listening to rough mixes of whatever we recorded.
I remember Brian never heard stuff like ours. The heaviest shit he heard back then was Metallica. He was blown away with some of the stuff we were doing. He loved the double bass drumming and the meaty guitar tone. But he also had a bit of a chip on his shoulders at times. It was a really interesting relationship with him. He was about 6 or 7 years older than us and was making a living with his studio and label. We would have a lot of laughs, but also a lot of lectures keeping us in line. So when times were going good with him, he would give us free set up time and do a lot of shit off the clock; when times were tight for him, he would charge us for set up time and round things up on the clock.
He liked us a lot and we loved this guy! We really looked up to him as like the wise elder, but he also got really annoyed with us from time to time, which made things even funnier. He was a world class ball buster! For example, if we started goofing on Jon, he would jump right in and do an entire routine just busting Jon's balls getting me and General laughing hysterically.
He used to also get real mad at General and Jon for farting up his studio. He would be like, "hey motherfuckers, I have to live here, knock that shit off". But General and Jon were both non-stop farting machines, they can't stop! Telling those 2 idiots to stop farting just made them go out of their way to fart even more. The toilet at Eaton Records also had this big shit stain in it and he refused to clean it. When we would go in to take a piss, he would always tell us, "Aim for the stain!" So you can see, there was a lot of crass, low-brow humor during those sessions, which balanced out the very heavy moods of the songs.
One time we were in a serious mix session for Threshold of the Usurper. That album had a lot of complex arrangements and layers, like the title track and "The Dead of Winter" ; it took a lot of concentration to get things right... Well one night we were burning the midnight oil working hard on the mix and General was in the corner farting. Then the General took this recording industry magazine and began wafting his own farts into his own face; smelling it with delight - like how people in coffee commercials look when opening a can of coffee. We've seen him do this a million times, so it was nothing new to us, but Brian was appalled! I remember Brian turned around and had the most disgusted/perplexed look on his face, he said something like, "What the fuck is this slob doing? This guy really enjoys the smell of his own farts". Then general gave him his magazine back and said, "i tried to read this thing, but it stinks". At that point Brian was finally like, "forget it, I'm done for the night". That's just the way it was recording those albums. A lot of long hours, then we would have to stop. Not like typically how you record an album.
I remember during the Skeletal Season sessions, because Dave Hellstorm wanted to record his drums a certain way. We needed to record the drums and basic tracks at this different studio that Brian Eaton suggested. It was one of Brian's friends who was a doctor or something. He had a big house on a lot of land and his studio was in a barn. We recorded it there and then we brought it to Brian to mix. Brian was going through some issues in those days. I know he had this girlfriend living there at the time, and for whatever reason his heart wasn't really into recording us anymore. We brought the tracks to him and he was like, "the drums sound like shit. your guitar tone sounds like shit. this recording sounds terrible". We said, "it was your friend who recorded us, what the fuck?" He said, "I told you what drums to use and how to record them and Dave fucked this up! Rick, you should have used this amp and this guitar" blah, blah, blah...
So we mixed at Brian's house and he was not really into it. It was not a fun session like we had in the past. It felt like he was going through the motions a bit. I remember leaving his house, we were downstairs and his girlfriend had obviously moved some of her stuff in his house since the last time we were there. She had this big glass cabinet with all these little figurines on it right by his front door. As we were leaving one night, I lost my balance a little and started tripping backwards. All I could think was I was falling right into this figurine cabinet. I panicked and did like a twist to avoid it and flopped on the ground right next to this cabinet. I missed it, but did this big, elaborate prat fall just to avoid it. At this point Brian looked at us like, "my god what a bunch of idiots".
But even with all that jack-assery, we really learned a lot from Brian Eaton. The guy was really ahead of his time with his recording techniques and really taught us how to get the tones we were looking for. He taught me about guitar EQ and different ways to get different tones. he really shaped those early Usurper releases.
6. Is there any future plants to re-release Skeletal Seasons on CD. Also in the future will there be a re-release cassette wise of Necronemesis, Twilight Dominion, and Cryptobeast.
RS: I doubt we will re-issue the CD for Skeletal Season, but you never know. I know Necropolis re-issued it with Threshold of the Usurper. The cover art is terrible and the packaging is lame. As for Necronemesis, Twilight Dominion and Cryptobeast... there would be too much red tape with Earache Records at the moment. (Damn you Earache! --- Metal warfare)
Ok thank you for your time and instead of asking for last words I’m going to ask a stupid question. What pastry is better Pie or Cake? (PIE FTW!!)
RS: Definitely pie! Pie kicks cake's ass. I never liked cake that much. It was one of those things you were supposed to like as a kid, but I didn't really care for it. I like Blueberry Pie, Cherry Pie, Pecan Pie, Coconut Cream Pie... all of those kick cake's ass! I don't really like chocolate too much in general, so I would choose pie over cake any day of the week.
Woah this is an honor!! I'm a big fan of Rick Scythe's music. He has influenced me a ton as a guitarist and to tell you the truth I think is the best interview I have ever gotten!! Rick is a legend in my book so this is just amazing and an honor. Hope you enjoy this interview!! Hail SCYTHE!!!
1. Thank you Rick for taking your time and answering these questions it means a lot. OK how is it recording the new record Subterranean Steel?
RS: Recording went great! We used a small, local studio called Arcane Audio, which is run by our drummers' good friend Dan Klein. For me personally, this is the 11th album I've recorded in my career spanning back to the 80's - not including demos and singles and stuff like that, so at this point I know what I am doing. Our drummer and bassist are much younger - they know what they're doing too, but don't have nearly as much recording experience, so for us as a band it is much more important to have a competent producer/engineer who is easy to work with, and to be in a comfortable setting rather than a big budget studio that doesn't really care about the band and just wants to get you in and out, so this was a good choice.
We started on March 30th 2013 and finished mixing on May 12, 2013. Our new drummer Joey really killed it! The drums sound monstrous! He laid down a perfect foundation to pour the molten metal on top of. I got my rhythm guitar tracks done all last week, and finished my solos too all within 2 days / 23 hours. The rhythms are beyond anything I have ever recorded in both tone and performance, and these are definitely the best solos I have ever recorded! Dan's bass sounds as killer as last album, his tone compliments my guitar tone quite well. The vocals sound very good too. Basically it sounds like Beware The Scythe, but bigger, heavier, louder, better quality.
2. Could you tell the readers what the songs on this new album are going to be about?
RS: There are 9 songs on this album. The songs deal a lot more with occult practices of the global elite. It deals with a lot of end time prophecies, rise of the police state and the rise of the New World Order, also stuff like occult science, technology run out of control and other conspiratorial topics... also some songs about the paranormal and the cryptozoological, with of course a blatant homage to all forms of true heavy metal!
3. On Beware the Scythe there was a lot of symbolism within the artwork will there be anything like that with this new record’s artwork?
RS: Yes, there is definitely some symbolism in the artwork. I am very much into art and symbolism. I have studied occult symbolism for for many years and have a few different art degrees, it is something I like a lot. So there will always be some aspects of that in the artwork and presentation. I definitely don't want a pile of zombies or corpses eating each other in the artwork. That shit is so boring, uninspired and uncreative; I want nothing to do with that. To do uninspired cliches like this in 2013 it is for dumb people who have no original ideas. It has nothing to do with our lyrics so I can't see why we would ever do something like that.
Basically we won't release the cover art until late summer. The cover art is AMAZING! Unfucking real how detailed and symbolic this cover is. Basically it depicts aspects from various songs and all the aspects from the title track "Subterranean Steel". It was done by this artist named Damien M. from Canada. He did the vinyl version of "Beware The Scythe" LP, but this time we pushed him even further. It took him from December 2012 until April 2013 to complete this. He did a great job. It really fits the power and feel of SCYTHE. Very traditional looking, yet very unique to this band. We also have an alternate cover for the European gatefold vinyl painted by long-time Usurper/Scythe artist Juha Vuorma which also kicks ass! Juha out-did himself with this one too!
4. What gear are you using to record this album?
RS: I am using a lot of the same gear I used for past Usurper recordings. I used my USA handcrafted custom Iron Bird as well as my Takamine 12 string acoustic guitar (same one I used on songs like, "Blood Passion" and "The Dead of Winter"). I always have recorded 4 rhythm tracks for every album since the 90's. It just simply helps to create the sound of a full stack cranked at full volume rather than if you just do 1 or 2 tracks. The whole idea of recording an album is to get the most accurate representation of how the band sounds live... ironically if you try to track everything live it sounds much smaller, so you have to do things this way to create a big sound, to replicate the sound of being in the room with the band playing at full volume and getting pummeled by a wall of sound.
I used Celestion speaker cabs and a blend of 2 amp tones... again to get the feel of the full spectrum of the amp sound waves crashing through your body and against the walls; such as how you would hear my stack in our rehearsal room or concert hall. I used my Randall Head for the main tones along with an array of other pedal and blended amp tones. Also used a Marshall JCM 800 for the lead tones because you simply can't beat the classic metal guitar solo sound with any other amp. Basically my sound on this album is a combination of the "Threshold of the Usurper" guitar tone combined with the "Cryptobeast" guitar tone. It has the dirty, ultra heavy voicing of the "Threshold of the Usurper" tone combined with the precision tightness and aggressiveness of the "Cryptobeast" guitar tone. Sort of like the "Beware The Scythe" guitar tone, just magnified and sharpened!
5. How do you think your playing has style has changed or evolved over the years? And what motivates you to continue playing this music?
RS: I think everything has been a natural progression. When I was really young I learned by simply watching more experienced guys play and learned from them. I never took any formal electric guitar lessons, so I really just listened a lot. I was never one of these kids who thought I had all the answers... because of this attitude, it has helped me develop an "ear" for my guitar tone. I really over analyzed different guitar tones on different albums throughout the years and tried to capture certain elements of all these tones that I liked.
Nowadays I am just motivated because I love playing loud, heavy music. If there is any drama in the band, or if it becomes a task I will find a way to eliminate the problem or just quit all together. I won't waste my time playing with people who have different agendas or who want to cause drama. Life is too short and I am too old, luckily that hasn't been a problem. In the past (in Usurper), I was much more "goal" oriented.. I still have goals now, but these days I am more "satisfaction" oriented.
As far as being a guitar player, I think now I am much more aware of music theory - not only how the notes on the guitar relate to each other but also how the guitar notes relate to the other instruments and the entire other parts of the album. You will hear it on this album especially. The solos and leads are both schooled in theory, yet have plenty of chaotic feel and mood. I have some very fast solos like on the song "The Grunting Dead" as well as very melodic, moody solos such as the solo on the song "Thunderhammer". So it was just fining a balanced approach this time around.
... And what motivates you to continue playing this music?
Getting back to motivation... It is weird, in 2009 I went through a lot of shit in my personal life, I got divorced, my Dad died, other family members died, I had no band and things looked bleak. I kind of felt like it was time to retire - like I completed everything I needed to and it was time to move on. I remember Usurper was getting some offers for some pretty cool shows and fests overseas and for countries we never played before. Because of this resurgence in interest in Usurper, I thought it would be a great time to bury the hatchet and do things right again... certain members were all for it, yet certain members indirectly told me to fuck off. Kind of made me think even more about retiring. Sure, we had a falling out when the band broke up, but we were best friends since high school and earlier. We traveled the world together and hung out together every day for years. So when I got this cold response when I reached out with some solid offers, I basically felt like certain people turned their back on me and spit in my face. I just felt like I should probably just get out of the industry all together.
Then I remember talking to people I really respect and admire. Good friends who were there throughout my career; people who believed in me and who didn't want to see me retire. People like Stan Koson [Scythe Manager / R.I.P. Records], Neil Kernon [producer], amongst other fans and friends who supported the band over the years reached out to me on a personal level, not just as the guy from Usurper, but as friends and supporters and told me that I should continue. That meant a lot! Usurper wasn't some huge metal band. We were a small, but very viable force in the underground. We always had a small, but very loyal die-hard fan base worldwide; so our fans - the ones who are obsessed with Usurper musically and lyrically - they are the ones that I write for, these are the people I feel obligated to create quality music for - they also motivated me to continue.
Now I feel like I have had a renaissance! I am writing and playing the best songs of my career. Besides the stuff on the new album, I have 13 songs either complete or near complete or in segments for future use. 4 songs are specifically songs for Usurper, (if I ever do another Usurper record). The rest are songs, parts of songs, lyrics and ideas for future Scythe songs. I like to write and record stuff all the time and keep journals and notes for everything. Songs will always evolve and change until I record them. I'm also in a band again with guys who like to contribute and enhance ideas, so this makes things sound even better.
6. You play B.C rich exclusively what put’s that guitar above every other one?
RS: I've played many different guitars over the years. I have 11 guitars currently in my collection. In 1997 myself and Jon Necromancer got an endorsement deal with BC Rich. We both got an opportunity to have them build guitars for us from their USA custom shop and nothing compares to a USA hand crafted BC Rich. Obviously the most metal shapes on the planet, but also the quality and tone can't be beat for heavy metal. I have been armed with my Ironbird and other quality BC Rich axes on countless stages in 17 countries! There is a huge difference between handcrafted USA Custom Shop versions and the Guitar Center imports. But no matter what, BC Rich is the ultimate guitar company!
7. Beware the Scythe is a great record from front to back. Every song is completely headbangable and it's just an awesome record. The vocals also kick major ass!! It's just a pure metal assault! A metal fist in your face. How do you hope to top Beware the Scythe?
RS: Thank you! I feel this new album is a natural progression. These are simply the next 9 songs that were written so it is not some drastic departure or stylistic change. If people liked "Beware The Scythe" I can't see how they won't like "Subterranean Steel". The biggest changes are that we have a new drummer, but he kicks total ass, and the production is even bigger and more aggressive. The songs are still all 100% headbangable, fistbangable metal anthems! Songs you can sing a long with and bang together with your real metal warriors friends! It is no pretentious bullshit. It is no preaching. It is no wankery. These are all iron fisted hymns - a soundtrack to Armageddon if you will!
8. In your song Tyrannical Stronghold you talk about the new world order. Sometimes I think maybe both the Democrats and Republican parties are all playing for us for some bigger agenda. As you know there’s Skull and Bones, Freemasons etc.. Do you ever think there all in cahoots with each other? What’s your opinion on that?
RS: Yes. 100% right about that Nathan. People just need to discover the truth about these families that rule the world. Just observe and recognize the Illuminati Bloodlines of these families. They are all related some way. They are all puppets of the Globalist banker elite. They are simply different heads upon the Beast of the Apocalypse. Read any end time prophecy and you will see how evil and corrupt things are. They control everything. Every news channel, every Hollywood movie, every television show, every hit song on the radio and it is all to enslave and dumb down the masses... and they have people right where they want them; arguing about being a Republican or Democrat.
People don't even know their rights anymore. People are called "traitors" for questioning things? I love the USA, the USA that our Founding Fathers fought for. It is not a hate crime to hurt someone's feelings.This is America, we can say whatever the fuck we want!
Also Chemtrails... people thought I was a conspiracy nut back in the late 90's. If you don't believe me, just look up in the sky you idiots? Do you seriously think it's just a natural jet plane contrail? Contrails don't hover there for hours and spread out into giant chemical clouds. If so then why didn't this happen in the 60's, 70's, 80's and early 90's. I remember arguing about this on the tour bus in 1998 with Jon Necromancer.
To anyone who doesn't believe this, just use logic and common sense. Just like watching a tower that doesn't get hit by anything collapse perfectly into it's footstep while people like Larry Silverstein makes millions and millions of dollars because of it... just use basic high school knowledge of physics and common sense and you will discover things are not what they seem.
We have a song called "Beyond The Nothwoods" it is about false flag attacks throughout history. Also "Nights of Terror" about the rise of the Police State and Eco-Fascism. Also the song "Thunder Hammer" about Tesla's Earthquake Machine and HAARP weather warfare. "Monarch" which is about MK Ultra and Mind Control Programs... this is all 100% true. So we definitely touch on political topics, but they are written in a metal way; from a perspective where they just paint a scenario. The lyrics can be cryptic and vague at times with multiple interpretations. The lyrics are non-linear stories that create something like a small little horror movie. They metaphorically symbolize battles between the barbarians and the tyrants, the struggle between the wicked and the righteous... people can make up their own minds or just headbang along to a metal anthem. But for the few that know the truth, these words mean something more than just a metal anthem.
But Heavy Metal has always been about this. Read Manowar's lyrics or Celtic Frost for example. Many songs are about the struggle of man against the elite tyrants. It is about not taking shit and rebelling against authority. I don't understand this huge PC agenda in the metal community these days. Real Metal is against the establishment. Real metal is very un-PC! Now there are a bunch of brainwashed fools in the metal scene who don't have true metal ethics.
9. On the song Talon’s of Steel it talks about the Bohemian Grove “ Cremation of Care” Ceremony, Also the Owl in inner cover is related to Bohemian Grove. How did you first hear about Bohemian Grove? Also why do you think such important people meet at this place?
RS: I remember hearing about this back in the late 90's. I read some books and articles about this, yet people thought this was just a wild fantasy of a conspiracy nut. They would say things like, "how can global elite, politicians, law makers, CEO's of corporations, meet and do a mock sacrifice to a giant owl named Molach? How could it be true that these people really worship ancient gods and draw their power to enslave the masses? How can it be true that all these elite powerful men engage in all these base activities?"... then Alex Jones exposed this by infiltrating and putting out the DVD, "The Dark Secrets of Bohemian Grove" and it is all there for everyone to see. Now people just shrug and still don't believe it. It's 100% true. There are people of authority that use occult powers to manipulate the masses of people who are clueless.
10. Could you list some books/authors that give you inspiration for your lyrics?
RS: I have 2 huge bookshelves at home with all sorts of books on the paranormal, conspiracies, UFO's, the occult, Tesla technology, cryptozoology, time travel, the unexplained, ancient and medieval art, Renaissance art, giants, end time prophecies, mind control, New World Order, etc... all true books, not many novels.
For "Subterranean Steel" I was influenced heavily by Alex Constantine, Steve Quayle, Troy Taylor, Jim Marrs, Zecharia Sitchin and Cathy O'Brien. I am fascinated now with how cryptozoology, ancient religions, ancient bloodlines and modern occult practices of politicians are all related. Everything is related if you connect the dots.
11. In the early years of your career you were in the band The Dead Youth and Usurper was originally the side project why did you switch gears to Usurper? One day do you think any Death Youth albums will be re-released?
RS: Yeah I'm 42 and have been playing in bands since 1986. My first band was this band called Armageddon from 1986-1987, actually parts of the song "Soulstalker" from the first Usurper demo were from an Armageddon song. After that I joined Dead Youth, which was a lot of fun. I was in high school and there were a lot of different members throughout the years so a lot of the influences changed, but I got my first experience playing shows. Basically I got really dissatisfied with that band after the CD's came out. I didn't really like the lyrics or production and just had some different things I wanted to explore in the early 90's. There are too many bootlegs and illegal uploads, which I am 100% against, I won't support it and get offended when "true fans" promote this shit. I may release a DVD though... I own all the rights.
I started Usurper in 1992. Usurper was a band I started from the ground floor, where it was all my vision along with our vocalists' vision. Back in those days, bands like Venom, Celtic Frost, Possessed, Sodom were looked upon as dinosaurs - yet we were HUGE fans of these bands since we were like 14, 15 years old. It wasn't the thing kids in the scene liked. They all wanted death metal like the stuff that was coming out of Florida. That stuff was cool, but it was being so over done that I really didn't feel inspired by it. I felt like the death metal stuff was good, but the old stuff was so much better.
Usurper felt like it was paying homage to these great bands that were slowly being forgotten. People can deny it all they want, but I lived in this period of time. I saw this attitude first hand, and I can honestly say Usurper was a big reason why people began to re-discover bands like Celtic Frost, Venom, etc... People would come to our shows, hear us play and say, "I thought you guys were just a black metal band, but this is really different" then we would list our influences in interviews and a few years later there were more and more bands playing this style and more and more people wearing Celtic Frost and Venom shirts. More people discovered Celtic Frost because of Usurper than anyone would like to admit.
People can deny it all they want but Usurper never gets the credit for this stuff. I was there first hand in the early to mid 90's, I saw it happen. I saw people who never heard of these bands until Usurper, who later get totally into these bands. But I sound like the guy who saw a UFO or Sasquatch... I know what I experienced, no one believes me and I know I sound insane, but it's true.
12. Back in the day a lot of people always saw Usurper as a Celtic Frost clone. When I listen to your first record you can hear the Celtic Frost influence but it was still in your own style. This is going to sound fanboyish (maybe I am a fanboy) but your riffs are just awesome whether it be Usurper, Nightshade, The Dead Youth or Scythe your riffs are always good. It’s kinda ironic how later bands would copy a certain band’s sound totally and then they would get praised for it. What’s your opinion on that?
RS: Any band I've done I think I have a signature guitar style. I am a very heavy handed guitar player and I like a certain tone. I don't care if it's even something experimental, such as what I did with Nightshade, you can still hear my riffs. Yes once again, when Usurper started we were crucified for being Celtic Frost clones... yet we were merely influenced by Frost; anyone who actually was a fan of Frost would realize there are way more differences than similarities... but of course we got put down and shit-talked for this.
Which is funny because look at all the bands that EXACTLY rip off Carcass, or Morbid Angel, or Black Sabbath or Cradle of Filth or Mayhem. Or nowadays that EXACTLY rip off bay area bands like Exodus... yet these clone bands get praised while Usurper got shit on. That's alright though, we have always had a few small handful of fans who understand what Usurper stood for. Everyone else can kiss my ass!
That's why for me, Usurper die-hard fans are my favorite... they actually "get it", when someone actually understands what Usurper was all about is the ultimate for me! These are the people that help keep me influenced to carry on with Scythe! These are the people I am always glad to correspond with and I always have time for! That was the band that I feel best represents my creative vision and the united vision of all the guys I was in a band with... I am proudly carrying on that tradition with Scythe! But who knows, there might be a new Usurper release down the road, even if none of the old guys want to do it, I still might do this because I still have Usurper songs that were never recorded, ones that I don't want to do with Scythe. To me Usurper and Scythe are like how Mercyful Fate and King Diamond are connected... both are from the same roots, both have similar aspects, both have a similar attitude and similar sound, yet there are distinct differences too. Scythe and Usurper will be forever linked.
13. I saw a picture on the Usurper Facebook page and it shows an outtake for the video for “Embrace of the Dead” I couldn't find it on youtube. Was that video ever released to the public?
RS: HA! HA! That would have been a kick ass video. We were filming it at this old cemetery called, "Bachelor's Grove" (which was loosely what the song was influenced by). Necropolis Records paid for a film crew and we had this great vision. There was this one scene where I had one of my dad's old sport coats and shirt and tie and I was to be buried in the ground and break out (hand first) like an undead corpse like from a Fulci movie, complete with tripe, fake blood, blue "Romero style" zombie make-up...
Unfortunately we didn't have a permit to film, the cops shut down the shoot and we never heard from the film crew again. Necropolis was out $1,000 and my dad was missing a sport coat. HA! HA! I think I have a picture of me wearing that, if I can find it I will send it to you. It might be on our old myspace page?
14. Are There any tour dates planned for this year?
RS: Yes we have some plans, but we will have to see how things go because nothing is set in stone. We just finished recording "Subterranean Steel". Then we will take the summer off to take care of some personal things. "Subterranean Steel" will be released September 2013 on R.I.P. Records [USA] and Primitive Reaction [Europe]. We are planning some US shows in the fall of 2013, definitely doing a show in Chicago with Sabbat [Japan]. We would like to get out to the East Coast and West Coast too, but too early to tell if/when that will happen. Other than that we will see how things go.
15. Last question if you could write a song with a musician dead or alive who would it be?
RS: I feel I already have with King Diamond in 1999 for the title track of the NECRONEMESIS album! He actually sang my lyrics to my melody, which was an honor beyond words for me, but he also added his own personal touch, so in a way it already happened! Who else could top that? Perhaps Ted Nugent?
Well thank you very much for your time Rick!! Do you have any last words or Death Grunts whatever you prefer to say to the fans?
RS: Uggggh-ahhh! HEYYYY!