We love Hail Of Bullets, so Leave The Hall was massively happy when we got the opportunity to ask a few questions to guitarist Stephan Gebédi. As well as asking him about his favourite riffs, influences and his opinion on the Dutch music scene currently, we also continued our research into band members’ ability to kick hypothetical animals high and far. Just in case anyone thought we were proper journalists, like.
Leave The Hall: On Divine Winds has had a pretty much unanimously great reception including a rare 5/5 from us. I take it you are happy with it? How does it compare to the release of Of Frost & War?
Stephan: That’s awesome, thanx a lot! Yes, we’re very happy with the album. It definitely turned out the way we wanted. The production is a big step forward compared to Of Frost And War. As far as the music goes, I think we stayed true to our style yet managed to avoid an ‘Of Frost and War’ part II. OFAW may be a bit rawer and this one’s a bit more epic I guess, but both albums are unmistakingly ‘old school death metal Hail of Bullets-style’.
LTH: You’ve all previously been in well-established bands. How does life in Hail of Bullets compare to your former experiences, both in writing and touring?
SG: Apart from Ed (Gorefest) and Theo (Houwitser) we’re all still playing in our other bands (Asphyx, Thanatos). The main difference is that everything is a bit more well-thought out with this band; We come up with a concept and try to combine the music, lyrics and artwork as good as possible to get the whole picture across. I’m not saying this will work for everyone, but if you play the album loud, read the lyrics and look at the artwork you might find yourself in the middle of the battles we’re singing about. We don’t do long tours but we more or less focus on short blitzkrieg attacks; flying or driving to a city or a row of cities anywhere in Europe and attacking them with full force. We played a large number of festivals and club shows so far and they were all fun to do. There’s a good atmosphere in the band and we get along fine. The main reason for us to play in a band is still to have fun.
LTH: Is it hard to drag Martin away from the History Channel for gigs?
SG: History channel?! I don’t even know if the guy can afford a TV set as he’s the only one in the band trying to make a living by playing in 2 bands (Asphyx and HOB) , haha , but seriously, his knowledge comes more from reading or actually devouring books about WWII. Of course he also watches documentaries, but historical books seem to be his main source for inspiration.
LTH: What’s your favourite battle?
SG:I think the battle for Stalingrad is one of the most brutal and important battles ever thought; it was one of the main turning points in WWII.
LTH: Have you had any ideas for future albums and would you consider moving your lyrical focus from World War 2 to other conflicts?
SG: That’s up to Martin. he comes up with the concepts and then we all discuss whether this will work or not. I don’t think we’re limited to WWII. We could also go for more recent conflicts or go back to the crusades or anything but on the other hand WWII has so many interesting sides and so much unexplored ground to cover so we might focus on another chapter again next time… we could also choose for 10 songs with individual subjects, who knows. We just released this album and it’s too early to think of a new album yet
LTH: The death metal scene in Holland seems to be stronger than ever at the moment with yourselves, Pestilence, Asphyx, Gorefest, Sinister and others all producing great work recently. Any reason for it? Are you all just really pissed off these days?
SG: The Dutch death metal scene was pretty good in the nineties. in the beginning of this century the female fronted gothic metal bands took over and Holland was only known for those bands and that totally sucked of course. There still were some cool bands around but they didn’t get noticed. The last couple of years some cool bands from Holland like Legion of the Damned, The Devil’s Blood, Asphyx and Hail of Bullets have gained more popularity again. Of course not all the bands I just mentioned play death metal but they definitely put Holland back on the metal map again. I guess we had something to prove to the world with all those Dutch gothic metal bands getting all in the attention in the international press…
LTH: What was the last gig you went to?
SG: I went to see Sadistic Intent at the Baroeg club in Rotterdam last Thursday and they seriously kicked my ass! I’ve been a fan of the band for many years and this was my first chance to get to see them live and I enjoyed every minute of it! The circumstances were not ideal and they suffered a bit from technical problems, but still they managed to put on a killer show!
LTH: You are no strangers to a monstrous riff, but what are your 5 favourite riffs of all time?
SG: The mother of all riffs has to be the main riff in ‘Black Sabbath‘. I think I could fill the entire top 5 with Iommi-riffs, but let’s try a bit harder:
- Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (main riff/opening riff)
- Slayer – Raining Blood (opening riff)
- Infernal Majesty – Night of the Living Dead (slow riff in the 2nd half of the song where the singer shouts “…And Kill all that lives…”
- Massacre/Death – Corpse Grinder
- Dark Angel – Darkness Descends (opening riffs)
but I also could have mentioned a lot of riffs from Possessed, Celtic Frost, Bolt Thrower or even God of Thunder by KISS
LTH: Do you have any plans to tour the UK in the near future?
SG: We only played one show in London and one in Ireland so far, so we definitely have to come back next year and make up for that. we already told our booking agency to play the UK again, and he’s waiting for the right offers. A short UK tour early next year would be awesome
LTH: And finally, what’s the largest animal you reckon you could kick over a set of goalposts?
SG:I don’t know how big your cat is, but I could give it a try…
Hail Of Bullets’‘s new album, On Divine Winds is out now on Metal Blade. Read our review here then go out, go to some sort of music shop, find a copy and buy it to discover what something worthy of 5 Grimmetts really sounds like.