Once you get used to Blaine’s vocal style you’re in for a real metal treat. Guitarist Sam Williams and bassist Terry Butler answered. Anders Ekdahl ©2011
Denial Fiend is made up by members from some of my favourite bands (The Accused/ Massacre/Death). How did this all happen?
Sam: This is kind of like DF mark II. The first line-up came about when I wanted to play some metal and called up some guys that were in my favorite metal bands to jam. We messed around with a couple of recording projects and then decided to turn it into a real band. So that’s what we did. We recorded a record and did some touring. Unfortunately, due to personality conflicts, that line-up fractured. Me and Terry stayed and decided to carry on. I was acquainted with Rob (DRI) and Blaine (the Accused) from playing with them in other stuff. It was a very obvious choice to ask them to be in the band.
How much of your old bands seep through to Denial Fiend?
Sam: This is my first metal band. Everything else I’ve done has been punk or hardcore. I’ve always been a fan of metal, but never attempted to try playing it. Anyway, I don’t think it sounds anything like any of my other bands. But I think the attitude of being different and doing our own thing is similar. I do think there’s a punk/hardcore feel to Denial Fiend. I just don’t think it sounds similar to Down By Law or the Spears or whatever.
Terry: I agree, I don’t think it sounds like any of the bands we are in. Obviously we don’t want it to sound the same, so I don’t think the music is written with that in mind. It just flows that way.
What other influences do you draw from to form the sound of Denial Fiend?
Terry: Well, our favorite bands are always influences. Mostly we want to crush people’s skulls so that is a big influence as well. Movies provide some food for our twisted thoughts as well.
Was there any problem gelling as a unit seeing as you all come from pretty different musical backgrounds?
Sam: Not at all. We’re all old enough to remember a time that punk, hardcore and metal (especially death and thrash metal) were all occupying a similar space. Everyone was just trying to create anti-mainstream, extreme music. Everything had a DIY ethos. And some of these bands were even on similar shows. I remember hearing about DRI playing with Death in the old days. And the Accused were a very metal influenced band. In turn, a ton of seminal death metal bands of the past and present cite them as a major influence. So it all feels related. We all grew up loving the same stuff, really.
Terry: Tampa has always had a big punk and hardcore scene. Before there was such a thing as death metal we would go see local punk bands play. The only bands coming through in the early ’80s were punk bands such as D.R.I., C.O.C., Black Flag So this was extreme to us.
Blaine’s vocals are pretty unique. Is it hard to write music around such a specific voice?
Sam: Hell no. It’s exactly what our newer material was already suited to. We already had the majority of the stuff written, and we could see that we were headed in more of a thrash/crossover direction. He’s like the perfect thrash/crossover singer. It was just kind of already matched.
Terry: When I first heard the vocals I was like “holy shit” that’s intense. It’s like an extra instrument. It fits perfect.
You’ve released an album now, where do you take it from here now?
Terry: Well the plan is to tour as much as possible and build up a legion of Fiends. We want to get the band to be a household name. If we are doing this why not do it as big as we can. I think there is enough space out there for us. We have a couple of tours in the works. They are at the beginning stages so there is not much info to tell. We want to hit the festival circuit as well.
Horror movies and the whole aesthetic surrounding it seem to be a big part of Denial Fiend. What is it that is so attractive about horror movies?
Terry: Well for me it’s about shock and brutality. When I first saw the splinter go into the chick’s eye in Zombie it made me squirm. It was so brutal, slowly watching it burst into her eye. Total gore. It’s being attracted to something dark and sinister.
In Fantasy it is easy to see the battle between good and evil but in horror movies there’s just evil. Can horror movies too work as a commentary on a current social situation?
Sam: They definitely can. But I think it’s far from necessary. My favorite horror movie of all time, the original Dawn Of The Dead, has a very obvious but subtle social commentary slant about consumerism. And it’s done very, very well. So it can be done. But I don’t look for that in a horror movie. I think for the most part, horror movies and metal are meant to provide a fun escape. Not to beat us over the head with profound declarations about deep stuff.
The cover to “Horror Holocaust” has an old school comic feel to it. How important is it to have the right cover in today’s ever so changing media climate?
Sam: My opinion always changes on this. But I know that some albums are trying to establish a mood. And a cover can help you get set up for that mood before you even put the CD in your player. I like to think of the cover as like another song on the album. We really put a lot of time and thought into each song on here. So it wouldn’t make sense to put some half assed cover on it. We got what we think is a great cover for it. I have no idea if other people pay attention to that or not, but it makes us happy. Actually I have heard several comments about the cover sticking out. I’m a big comic nerd. And Tim Vigil is one of the most legendary horror comic artists around. I’d met him at some conventions. He’s done most stuff for us, including our logo and former album cover. But he really nailed it with this one. It’s perfectly matched to the energy of the album, I think. And he’s never even heard it. I think the comic book feel kind of helps it stand out a little bit, too. Which is fine by us.
Terry: These days I think it helps to have a good cover because some people do judge CDs by their cover. When I was younger a bad album cover was normal because bands didn’t have a budget for artwork. Most of them had friends do the artwork and most of them sucked. I think the artwork for “Horror Holocaust” is awesome. It’s like a great cover from back in the day.
What more can we expect from Denial Fiend now that you’ve established the name?
Terry: You can expect more crushing mayhem and gore!!!!!!!!!!