Slaughterday – Keeping It Old School

Saturday, 6th September 2014

In the crowded death metal genre of today, there seems to be two major factions: old school and technical. The old school death metal scene has resurfaced in a big way over the last few years, with everyone wanting a piece of the Entombed-clone pie. But some bands strive to do better, providing their own identity amongst the surplus of copycats and retreads of the days of yore. One of these bands is that feels the need to break out of the old school mold is Germany’s Slaughterday.

Hitting us hard and quick with last year’s debut Nightmare Vortex at the tail end of 2013 and quickly returning with this summer’s Ravenous EP, Slaughterday provide some excellent old school death metal without sounding too “Swedish.” Bands that strive to forge more of their own path than blindly following the old school death metal textbook deserve some extra attention, so we reached out to guitarist/bassist Jens Finger (they are a two-piece after all) to get the lowdown on all things Slaughtereday.

Dead Rhetoric: How did you come up with the name, Slaughterday?

Jens Finger: In the end of 2010 Bernd and me sat together and decided to jam a little bit without any plans to record anything or getting a record deal. At that point we didn’t have a place to rehearse regularly and we didn’t have a name either. The Party-San Festival in 2011 was a turning point for us. Autopsy played and Chris Reifert announced the song “Slaughterday”, which they had already played, for the second time by mistake. We instantly looked at each other and knew that that’s gonna be our name. A perfect match for us being huge Autopsy fans. But it still took a few months for us to get a place to rehearse on a regular basis. In the end of 2011 we really started to write songs.

Dead Rhetoric: Slaughterday was signed to F.D.A. Rekotz before you recorded your demo, how did you manage to pull that off?

Finger: For us it was really weird, because right from the start we thought that it would be cool to release something on FDA Rekotz, because we’ve really liked their work and the bands they’ve released. After having finished one of our rehearsal-songs (“Abyss Of Nameless Fear”) we set up a Bandcamp page and after that posted the information in the forum of the well-known German Rock-Hard Magazine. Rico from FDA Rekotz immediately got in touch with us and was excited to hear some more material. So after having heard two more of our rehearsal tracks, he decided to work with us and offered us a deal. Up to now the cooperation and communication with Rico have been absolutely great and we are really happy about the deal with FDA Rekotz.

Dead Rhetoric: Your debut, Nightmare Vortex, was just released back in December. Why release an EP eight months later? Was it just feeling inspired?

Finger: When we recorded Nightmare Vortex, those songs had already been written and so we decided to record all songs that we had at that point and see if it would be possible to release them in whatever form sometime. A few months later Rico mentioned the idea to release them as an EP.

Dead Rhetoric: It seems that you have moved a bit away from sounding too Swedish on the new EP, did anything spark that change in sound?

Finger: Actually we already did that on Nightmare Vortex. As I mentioned before it was the same recording session. When we recorded the demo Cosmic Horror, we didn’t think of a special niche or regarded it as a clever idea. I just wanted a totally different guitar sound than I used before after I left Obscenity. I still like the HM2 sound, but I wanted to try something different again and so I came up with the JCM 800, which in my opinion fits better to the music and makes you able to hear more details. Some reviews for the demo characterized us as a Dismember-clone, which I still don’t understand. I guess they just heard the HM2 sound and for them the case was clear. Maybe that also had some effect on my decision to use a different amp. I wonder what kind of amp I will use next time.

Dead Rhetoric: The artwork for Ravenous is a bit more visceral than your demo or Nightmare Vortex. What were you going for with this album cover?

Finger: We wanted to do something very different from the Nightmare-cover and contacted Jan Pysander Whitney who had already done a t-shirt artwork for us. The lyrics of the song “Ravenous” are based on a short story by Lovecraft called The Lurking Fear. We think the cover fits perfectly.

Dead Rhetoric: There is a cover of Acheron’s “Ave Satanas” on the Ravenous EP. What are some of the band’s other influences?

Finger: We are mainly inspired by the true pioneers of Death Metal: Old Death, Massacre, Autopsy, Master, etc. But our sound has also traits of classic Doom like Black Sabbath, Trouble and Pentagram and some Finnish Death Metal bands like Demilich, Abhorrence, Demigod or Hooded Menace. These are the three pillars of our sound. The works of H.P. Lovecraft deliver the madness for the lyrical incantations. Me and Bernd complement each other perfectly in terms of songwriting and we both share the same musical vision. Our songs have a simple, classic structure with verse, chorus and bridge. As we don’t use too many riffs in one song, everything has to be well chosen. People often underestimate how difficult it is to write a catchy tune.

Dead Rhetoric: You function as a two-piece, how does the writing process work?

Finger: It all starts with a riff, of course. Mostly I create the riffs at home and record them on my eband. After that Bernd and I listen to the riffs during our rehearsals and we decide together, what riff might fit to the current song. Sometimes Bernd just “whistles” a riff, which I try to play, sometimes we just jam and see what happens. The arrangement of all the songs is done by the two of us and I often wonder how we agree musically. The lyrics of course are all done by Bernd.

Dead Rhetoric: Along with being a two-piece, do you use anyone when you play live?

Finger: We already found some friends who help us out when we play live. These guys played together in “Ingurgitating Oblivion” and are great musicians. Bernd only played drums yet. Therefore Ulli Kreienbrink was singing. But they are only touring with us and they also have their own bands. Uli decided to quit a few weeks ago because of personal reasons and I think we are going to look for a drummer and Bernd is going to sing.

Dead Rhetoric: With the flooded old school death metal market, what do you feel is the key for being successful at this point?

Finger: Stop playing death metal! Haha! It’s still music for a small group of people. We just do what we feel is right. I think you have to create your own sound, the people should be able to distinguish between your band and other bands. And of course a band should be able to write good songs containing memorable riffs!

Dead Rhetoric: Do you have plans for your sophomore album at this point?

Finger: Yes, some songs are already written. We will see how they sound like after recording!

Dead Rhetoric: What’s next for Slaughterday?

Finger: Writing songs is all we do at the moment: The fun part in playing music in my opinion!
But of course we would love to play live after we have played with the new drummer that we are in touch with and everything works out fine.

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