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RAVAGE (AL)

HEY, WHO ARE YOU, WHERE ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE DONE 10MIN. AGO? I’m Al, the singer of Ravage. I’m at my house in Malden, MA. 10 minutes ago I was finishing up some vocals for a song we are doing on the upcoming Running Wild Tribute album. HOW ARE YOUR FEELINGS WITH YOUR NEW, STRONG ALBUM? CRITICS ARE VERY POSITIVE SO FAR! We’re pretty happy with the way it came out. Obviously, no musician is ever going to be completely happy with the way a record is – there are always little mistakes on there that you notice on the millionth listen to a song and things you’d like to go back and change, but this is definitely the best sounding thing we’ve ever done and we’re happy that a lot of metal fans out there like it. I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t care for what we’re doing or don’t understand it – especially in America, it seems. But we don’t really care about anyone other than the fans. ALTHOUGH YOU’RE EXISTING SINCE 1995 YOU’RE KIND OF NEW TO THE GERMAN/ EUROPEAN AUDIENCE. PLEASE INTRODUCE YOUR BAND! As you said, we started out in the mid 90’s and endured a lot of line-up changes through the years while working on our sound and playing skills. The first anyone in Europe really heard of us was with the „Curse Of Heaven“ EP in 2003. Then we had our first full-length released on a German label, Karthago Records, in 2005. We also played the Swordbrother’s Festival in Germany in 2006 – so that’s when people started to hear about us. We had the usual delays in making our second album – personal tragedies, lack of money etc – but we finally got it done and then Metal Blade picked it up and wanted to release it. THIS IS JUST YOUR SECOND ALBUM IN ABOUT 14 YEARS? WHAT ARE YOU DOING ALL THE TIME 😉 Well we never really had the money to record a full-length album – we’ve all personally been pretty much broke forever. And no one really cared about traditional heavy metal in the USA until about the last 2 years to give us any money to record, so we’ve been recording demos, practicing, and playing shows in relative obscurity for a long time, and that’s what we’d still be doing if we hadn’t signed with Metal Blade or another label. We haven’t cared that no one has paid attention to us for years, we’ve just gone ahead and made the music we want to make. We probably could have played a more popular or trendy form of music and gotten more recognition, but we made the conscious decision not to play any music that we don’t want to play – ever! If no one else likes our music, at least we will ha ha, but we won’t change for anybody. HOW DOES THE SONGWRITING WITHIN THE BAND WORK? Usually one or two people come up with most of the music for a song and make a demo. Then I listen to it and add the lyrics and vocal melodies. In certain instances we’ve jammed on a couple of songs and come up with stuff collaboratively with the whole band involved, but generally I think songs are more consistent when they have one or two writers and then everyone else just helps to refine them. HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN THAT MUCH INFLUENCED BY CLASSIC HEAVY METAL? HOW DID YOUR SOUND DEVELOP OVER THE YEARS? My brother Eli and I discovered bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica and Megadeth in the early 90’s and decided that was the kind of music we wanted to play. So even though we’ve gotten into many other bands since then – traditional heavy metal and otherwise – that has always been our favorite form of music and what we wanted to play in a band. So that always had the strongest influence on us. Our sound has developed slowly ha ha. I think when we started out I wanted to be in a dramatic heavy metal band with simple, heavy music and a stage show like WASP or Lizzy Borden or Iron Maiden, but that was eventually dropped. As we got to be better at our respective instruments and new members joined, some of the music became more complex and nuanced but we still kept a lot of simplistic, catchy melodies and heaviness. WHAT IS THE LYRICAL CONCEPT BEHING “THE END OF TOMORROW?” The song „The End of Tomorrow“ is about the end of the world, but from a personal point-of-view. It is about a person who is thinking about what the world would be like if they lost all of his or her friends and loved ones and was the last person on Earth – would you as person want to go on? Would you even be a human being if you were the only human being and had no one to interact with? So it sort of looks at the end of the world from a personal point of view. IN THE USA, HOW HARD IS IT TO BE NOT INFLUENCED BY METALCORE NOWADAYS? It’s not really that hard because we don’t listen to it ha ha. I suppose production-wise, when you have a modern-sounding digital production, certain aspects of the playing will sound like contemporary stuff – but really the big secret out there is that there is nothing new. All of the stuff that these bands are doing was done as far back as the 80’s by lesser known bands- the thrash bands and early death metal like Pungent Stench, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Morbid Angel, even speed metal bands like Metal Church were all doing the kind of riffing that kids today think is brand new ha ha. It’s just in a different context I think – certain parts are repeated more times, the production is different, etc and obviously today there are different vocals placed over the music, but musically I don’t think there’s anything brand new in metal. As for us, we’re not going to have growling vocals mixed with sappy emo singing – which I think is the most annoying aspect of music today – that whole emo influence where bands think „I have to sound like a tough guy – so I have to growl – but no one will like us if I don’t have a sappy melody for the girls to hear“. Fuck that. What ever happened to powerful melodic singing with some balls and conviction? YOU ARE INFLUENCED BY THE CLASSIC LEGENDS OF HEAVY METAL AND ALSO DID A COVER OF “NIGHCRAWLER”. ARE THERE ANY OTHER “NEW” BANDS BESIDES YOURSELF, HOLDING THE HEAVY METAL-FLAG HIGH? Certainly. There are lots of bands out there. They just don’t get a lot of recognition here in America. Locally there is the power metal band Armory and a young band called Zero Point who play traditional heavy metal. Then in the rest of the USA there is Hellrazor, Twisted Tower Dire (who have been around forever), White Wizzard, Cauldron from Canada, RAM from Sweden – I could go on all day… WHAT DO YOU THINK, HOW WILL THE METAL-SCENE DEVELOP OVER THE COMING YEARS? I don’t know. I don’t think traditional metal will ever be as popular or sell as many albums as it did in the 80’s because there are many other music forms and metal forms vying for kid’s attention these days – but I don’t think it will ever be crushed again like it was in the 90’s in the USA because of the internet. Now people can find out about traditional metal bands whenever they want – they don’t have to rely on trending magazines or MTV – so there will always be a crowd that likes traditional heavy metal. METAL BLADE ARE KNOWN FOR MANY GREAT EXTREME AND ALSO MODERN METAL BANDS. HOW DID YOU GET IN CONTACT? We had sent our „Freedom Fighter“ EP (which contained some songs from the album) out to everyone, and were looking at some underground labels or looking to put the full-length album out ourselves and I guess Metal Blade heard the EP and wanted to sign us so they contacted me. I sent them the rest of the tracks we had recorded, and they liked them, so they gave us a deal and released the album. Metal Blade has a very diverse roster, from traditional metal, to death metal, metalcore – they have a little bit of everything which is cool – and certainly many of our favorite bands of all time. YOU GOT ED REPKA TO DO THE ARTWORK FOR THE ALBUM. HE DID ARTWORKS FOR THE “BIG BANDS”, HOW DIFFICULT WAS CONVINCING HIM FOR THIS JOB? He was surprisingly easy to contact and very professional and easy to work with. He is just more expensive than a lot of other artists ha ha – mostly because he is good at what he does and has a long track record. ANY TOURPLANS FOR EUROPE, ESPECIALLY GERMANY? Not as of yet. We are currently trying a US tour while we look for a booking agent and promoters that will give us the opportunity to play overseas. We hope to play in Europe and elsewhere as soon as possible. MY LAST AND FAVOURITE QUESTION: IF YOU WOULD HAVE THE FREE CHOICE FOR WORKING/PLAYING WITH ANY ARTIST DEAD/ALIVE… WHO WOULD IT BE? Tough question. As far as deceased people…if I were producing an album I’d like to work with David Wayne or Carl Albert from Vicious Rumors because they were incredible singers and are both gone before their time. As for those living, as a singer, it would be great to work with a guitarist like Tony Iommi who has come up with some of my favorite riffs of all time, or a great song writer like Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR STRONG RECORD! Thanks for the interview.

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