Broken Hope – Still For Only the Sick Part I

Sunday, 25th June 2017

Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned being a death metal lifer – what is it about death metal that makes it stick with you. What makes it this piece of you that’s lasted through the years?

Wagner: What I mentioned earlier, talking about my influences…that’s part of my journey, as I like to say. Jeremy Wagner, 12/13 years old, loves music…talks about myself in the third person [laughs]. He’s a kid who got into heavy metal. Judas Priest, Krokus, Scorpions, Iron Maiden…bands like that in the beginning. That’s what young Jeremy Wagner was really getting crazy about. Then I’d say it was about 1984/1985, that’s when I discovered Metallica. I never heard anything like them. When I heard Ride the Lightning, that album blew my head off. That’s when I was like, I want to be a guitar player. I had always been fascinated with guitar, and I actually had an acoustic guitar that my mom got me at age 12 but I never took it seriously. It wasn’t until Ride the Lightning that I said, “I’m taking this shit seriously.” I got an electric guitar and an amp, and at that age I wasn’t even looking to form a band. I just wanted to have this electric guitar and bash on it.

I thought, “What could be heavier than this?” Then not long after Ride the Lightning, I discovered Slayer’s Hell Awaits and all this shit happened within a couple years. It was like Ride the Lightning, Hell Awaits, Master of Puppets came out, and then god damn Reign in Blood. That was it! When Reign in Blood came out, it was like, “What’s heavier than this? What’s the heaviest thing out there?” Then it was Celtic Frost, then Dark Angel, and I discovered the band Death…and it was all death metal from there, and grindcore too. Napalm Death, Terrorizer…World Downfall is one of my favorite albums of all time. I fucking love that album. Next to Reign in Blood, that’s one of my favorite metal albums. Ride the Lightning is up there too. Those three are influential to me…but I digress, it kept going on – death metal was what I found.

I wanted the heaviest music in the world that I could listen to and play too, as I was evolving as a fledgling guitar player. I’m telling you, death metal, from then until this day, I haven’t heard anything heavier than most death metal music that I enjoy. It’s just so fucking heavy. When I told you that it was part of my journey, part of my journey was to be on this quest to keep finding the heaviest music out there that bands were writing and releasing. Part of my quest was also for me to write the heaviest music I could with Broken Hope, and to lock in the heaviest guitar tone possible [laughs]. That’s always a never-ending quest, even now. After all these years, I’m still trying to get the heaviest guitar tone possible.

That’s what makes death metal special for me, it’s the heaviest form of music that I know of. I don’t know of anything heavier…that could be argued – there’s so many genres of metal that someone could come along and say, “Doom metal has got heavier riffs and sludgier riffs.” But it’s my opinion…death metal, the genre collectively, all the bands and all the riffs written have produced what I feel are the heaviest riffs and songs anyone has ever heard. That’s the appeal to me – the brutality factor. That’s what I’m all about.

Dead Rhetoric: On Omen of Disease, you re-recorded “Incinerated.” This time, you have a “Swamped in Gorehog” medley to finish off Mutilated and Assimilated. What’s the reason for revisiting these tracks?

Wagner: I can explain – we never really thought about re-recording these old tracks. There have been some bands that have re-recorded their debut album, like Exodus. That’s not for me. I never want to re-record an album we have released. My philosophy is when you record an album and give it to the world, that’s it. It’s eternal and it is what it is. You can remaster it and remix it and re-release it that way…to me that’s cool. But not to re-record an entire album.

In our case, I’ll explain why there are basically three Swamped in Gore era tracks that were re-recorded. When we first came back, after being on that long hiatus, back in 2012, we started writing the new Broken Hope album that eventually became Omen of Disease. With that, someone in the band, I can’t remember if it was me or someone else who got this idea…they proposed at band practice that we re-record “Incinerated” because we have been gone a long time, and wanted to show the fans that we don’t forget where we come from. “Incinerated” was the first track on our very first album. In 2013, when Omen of Disease came out, we were like, “we’ll put the very first song from our first album on as a bonus track” and again, this will be something to show the fans that we have one foot in the underground at all times. Even though we were gone for ten years, we don’t forget our past. We are the same Broken Hope that you knew back then. That’s kind of the thought process and reasoning behind re-doing “Incinerated.”

Four years later, we now have Mutilated and Assimilated. The bonus track is “Swamped in Gorehog,” which is like you said, a medley of the title track “Swamped in Gore” and “Gorehog.” The reason we did that was because we actually recorded that last year, in 2016. We originally wanted to release “Swamped in Gorehog” as a single – a 25th anniversary Swamped in Gore tribute single. Last year was the 25th anniversary of our debut album and I thought we’d pay tribute to it. The single never happened last year, so when we were doing the new album, we had already done the drums, so recorded the guitars the same way we did for all the tracks on Mutilated & Assimilated and did the vocals and all that.

We decided we were going to put that on as a bonus track. It’s still a tribute to that 25th anniversary of Swamped in Gore coming out, it’s just a year later [laughs]. From now on though, I don’t think we are going to re-record any other old songs. I think that’s going to be it – as far as bonus tracks in the future…maybe we’ll do something like extra material from the studio, but we are going to try to keep things fresh and relevant.

Part II of Kyle’s talk with Jeremy Wagner will post tomorrow night, Monday June 26th.

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