OLD SCHOOL DEATH METAL
1. Hello! Do a little introduction to SCARVENGER! You’re quite known in the north of France, but it’s not the case in the remaining suburbs of the country…
Christophe, aka ch’Blond (guitar/vocals): I formed SCARVENGER in October 2000. The band played gigs from June 2001 to October 2002 to promote its music… then nothing else. I won’t talk about what occurred because I prefer to concentrate on the SCARVENGER of 2005 that made me able to emerge from serious troubles.
2. The style of SCARVENGER sounds currently more old school Death metal than at the beginning: the vocals are deeper, some riffs are less technical… What were your motivations to follow this evolution?
Ch’Blond: As I solved some personal problems my state of mind changed, so it naturally led to a musical evolution. I decided to focus on the efficiency of songs as I simplified some riffs and thrown away others, nut with a remaining technical touch (that’s important when you play Death metal). I didn’t write new songs, I re-arranged the older ones. If a song has a good basis, it would be foolish to ignore it. All the more, these tracks showed their qualities on stage, according to the crowd’s reactions. But the biggest change (and you saw it) lies in the vocals. In fact, I had to sing in a more Death-metallic vein, more guttural, darker, to fit the best the new musical structures. So, the lyrics were also submitted to some changes so that I gain in efficiency. I’m able to underline much more some words. I had to work my breathing technique. My vocals are the 4th instrument of the band. That’s why it must be irreproachable and without any compromise.
3. What are the differences between the SCARVENGER of 2001-2002 and the one of 2005?
Will (bass): First, there are two new members! Until 2004, Nicolas (from DEAD SEASON and HECTIC PATTERNS) was playing the bass guitar, but as he was more and more into his music studies, it had become a problem to deal with everything at the time. Ch’blond requires a full investment and Nico couldn’t keep on because of his numerous other projects. So he asked him to do a choice, in total honesty. Nico didn’t want to leave all his activities, and so I replaced him in the beginning of December 2004. I have to say Nico is a killer bass-player, he’s able to play stuffs like Steve DiGiorgio and the challenge to replace him seemed difficult at the beginning. But with some adaptation, it occurred quite well and it currently works quite well. I’d also like to say Nico left the band without any personal problem and he remains a friend, he only has a too busy schedule! The fact I joined SCARVENGER was even easier since I’m a friend of Ch’blond since a long time; and we have the same tastes on a musical and football team ( ! !)’s points of view… All the more, without any will to lick-ass, he’s an infernal and impressive rhythmical guitarist in this kind of thrash/death, for me who was a guitarist at the basis.
It’s obvious, the new line-up, the arrivals of Mickaël (drums) and
will (bass) brought a new dynamic to the band. The feeling between
the 3 of us is very good, this is essential if a band wants to keep
on playing… All the more they’re very serious during rehearsals.
The playing of Mickaël is quite unusual compared to the traditional
death metal drummers, because he has a jazzy basis. Concerning Will,
being basically a guitarist, he worked enough to learn all the new
tracks, and he had leads to create. Thanx to Nico, our previous
bassist, for the help, because I wanted some bass-lines to remain
in our songs.
4. Listening to your music, one can thing about influences such as DEATH, PESTILENCE, KREATOR… But are there other ones you’d like to quote or some not being so obvious?
Ch’Blond: Will and I listen to Hard rock (large meaning of the word) since more than 20 years. From Black Sabbath to Dimmu Borgir. So concerning the influences, it’s too varied to develop this question. But one shouldn’t bother us with nu metal crap…
5. Your style is very much old school and some of your riffs display a feeling few current bands are able to express! Sometimes, one could feel as he has came back in 1990! ^_^ When you compose music, do you voluntary try to sound old school, or is it natural? How do you feel if a good riff is coming: is there something special « resounds »… ?
Ch’Blond: It’s simple, I don’t totally consider myself as a musician, but as a fan who pays homage to the musicians who lead me to play music. When I compose, I’m thinking about them. It’s no more, no less, than passion and respect. So, a feeling comes out naturally, I never have to force the writing of riffs or lyrics. And I know when a riff sounds good or not. At this moment it « resounds »! Ah Ah…
6. Some of your riffs have a quite hot and metallic energy that could remind of… BEER !! Ah Ah! Is beer important for SCARVENGER? Do you compose your tracks such as brewers who take their time to let the grain macerate? With the famous rehearsal-rhythm « A song, a beer » that’s quite famous in our suburb, and especially in Cuincy ! héhé
Will: The only beers we drunk during rehearsals are the ones you brought us one day! Hé hé… But, even if we deceive those who think metal necessarily means drunk bastards, we aren’t big fans of beer, at least when we play or rehearse. We have something better to do than get drunk when we rehearse. We all have a job, and when we rehearse we prefer to focus on what we do. There’s also no use to shoot your face before a gig, the risk to play mistakes are bigger. Some peoples think it’s fun, not us. We prefer to play decently and respect those who came and paid to see us! Then it’s true we never spit on a special beer… all the more if it comes with a woman’s smile, it’s true the grain will have a better flavor… Concerning the other points of your question, Ch’blond is the only one able to answer…
Ch’Blond: As will noticed, we do not drink during rehearsals or before the gigs, for the reasons he mentioned. On the other hand, I like to drink some Vodka or special beer after the gig, but on a moderate way, because we have to have sings sorted and drive back home… ah ah. But who knows, maybe later…
7. What do you think of the most original albums some bands quoted before did release (Albums such as "Spheres", "Renewal"... or "Cursed" and "Feel Sorry For The Fanatics" for MORGOTH) ?
Will : « Spheres
» of PESTILENCE was a deception at the time, in part because of
the production that wasn’t good for the talent the musicians had.
I must say I was probably not ready to hear a so experimental music.
Speaking for myself, PESTILENCE stops at their 3 first albums, mainly
« Consuming impulse » that remains in my Death metal top 5! A fucking
amazing production and some fucking genius! The album « Cursed »
of MORGOTH is very good one I listen to very often. The first time
I played this album in my Hi-Fi system, I was amazed by the production
and mostly by the vocals of the grunter, who had some vocal textures
being quite near of John Tardy (BODITUARY). In the same kind of
metal, I also loved the « Abject offerings » album of MERCYLESS,
a French band that didn’t last long because of line up problems,
I think. This album was a pure murder, it should be advised to those
who want to know what old school Death metal is!
Ch’Blond : I immediately like « Renewal » and « Spheres». Concerning MORGOTH, I stopped with « Odium ». I like VOÏVOD a lot (until « Negatron ») and MEKONG DELTA. And there’s also CYNIC with the « Focus » album.
Will : It’s true this CYNIC album is great! It’s a bit the same than for « Spheres », I had problems to get into it at the time, because of numerous atmospheric parts… I was probably too young and my hears weren’t used to these kinds of sonorities. I actually enjoy this album much more, it’s an amazing one…
8. In the deep underground, one can realize more and more bands begin to play old school Death and Thrash metal! Some even record demo tapes that voluntary sound as if it was recorded 12 years ago! And some bands such as NUCLEAR ASSAULT, DARK ANGEL or OBITUARY are back! What are your feelings about this enthusiating phenomenon?
if it deceives the die-hard ones, such as yourself, the era of tapes
is totally over! And if there’s a back to the roots with tapes,
I don’t find it enthusiasting at all. But God knows I had a lot
of demo tapes in the 80’s ! At this time, it was the best, but we
must recognize few peoples are interested nowadays.
I’m glad OBITUARY are back. I thought they would come back because
they never officially announced the band split up… I’m dying to
hear the new album. I’m a fan since « Slowly We Rot », it’s my fave
album and I regularly listen to it. It’s also cool for DARK ANGEL.
And what to say of David Vincent’s come back in MORBID ANGEL ?!
Please don’t do bullshits and record an album!
9. What’s your opinion about the French underground? It’s better than few years ago, but are you able to keep informed about what happens? Many bands have problems to be informed about everythings…
Will: I think I’m the most informed on in the band, since I’m a part of a webzine. There are some great bands as well as some really rotten ones! But well, what’s the underground today? Metal is underground, and even if we hope for a bit more or recognition, I don’t want our music to become mainstream, nor follow the pure craps we’re fed with on TV! But if we think deeper about extreme metal, France seems to have infinite resources? It’s very cool, but we’ve problems to know everything… because a musician seems to sleep in each metaller… and there are currently too many bands. The quality has increased, since everyone owning a good computer and few decent microphones can record a demo with a perfect sound. But! And there’s a «But »! The Metalcore bands are currently seen as a part of the extreme metal underground, some bands who know nothing about what we called Metal! Tell them about MAIDEN, KREATOR or DEATH and these pieces of shit will laugh! In my opinion, it’s not metal but pure shit! Most of he time, these guys don’t know how to play more than 4 notes… dreadlocks and overdriven guitars aren’t enough to be a part of the extreme underground. This is music for teenagers and it bores me a lot! SCARVENGER shows a totally different conception of the underground, somekind of pure…
Ch’Blond: I don’t really care for the French bands. I have enough work with SCARVENGER. I see the bands during gigs, then I see the bands and I can make my opinion. I’m not the kind of guy who read underground fanzines. I prefer to see the bands, listen to their music, and discuss with the musicians.
10. Why does your guitarist use the nickname « Ch‘blond » ? Did he choose it? Later on, will you use this kind of nicknames for the other band members? (Such as Ch’Will and Ch ‘Sven…)
Will : A lot of my friends already call me Ch’Will… since I speak an argot from the North of France, it’s a way to keep linked with tradition… So, Ch’Will, why not… But did you already try to correctly say « Ch’Sven » ? I won’t try it much… Ch’blond is easier, and Tophe always wears black shoes! And we’re from the North of France, right? So, that is, let’s speak Ch’ti…
Ch’Blond: Peoples call me this way since about 15 years. I will change the color of my hears, so that they’ll have to find another nickname! Ah Ah !
11. What are your future projects? This interview is finished… Let’s conclude! Thanx for the answers. Gab
Will: Thank for this interview and for what you do in the underground, with your website and your distro! There aren’t much more peoples like you… it’s an endangered specie! Ah Ah! Concerning the projects of the band, I’ll let Ch‘blond tell about it, after all he’s the boss! But before all, I’d like to thank Ch’blond through this interview, to trust me for SCARVENGER.
Ch’Blond: Everything occurs as planned, we will record the demo this summer (with our friends of DISGUST), Then we’ll send it to record labels to try to find a deal and record a first album. I think there will be a new track entitled « Into The B Zone ». I wrote 80% of the music and structures and I’ve the beginning ideas concerning the lyrics. But before all, we want to have some pleasure during gigs! Big THANX to you, GAB and to those who are interested in SCARVENGER.