ICONS OF BRUTALITY is another Dutch death metal band. That should be enough to wet your appetite. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
Is there such a thing as a Dutch death metal sound? What would characterize it?
Knolle: I`m not sure if there is a typical Dutch Deathmetalsound because of the variety of styles, for instance, take the sound and style of legendary Dutch Deathmetalband Gorefest and compare it to the sound and style of, also legendary, God Dethroned. Compare great Oldschool bands like Asphyx, Massive Assault, Entrapment and Hail of Bullets to more modern bands like Devious and Monolith Deathcult. There is a wide spectrum of different styles but i think Dutch Deathmetal is at a standard that matches Swedish, British or American Deathmetal.
Ever since the 60s Holland has been a place for bands to go to play. What has that kind of exposure to international bands meant for the national music scene?
Bakvet: I think that the energy that bands produce on stage have influenced the national music scene a lot. For example: Bolt Thrower is very popular in Holland and you can hear their influences in a lot of Dutch bands. Although they have a sort of Dutch sound combined with, for example, a Swedish sound. There are a lot of great concerts in The Netherlands, so I guess people will catch some ideas and use these in their music.
Has the fact that most metal bands come through Holland on tour meant that the national metal scene has been able to form its own identity?
Jimme: You are absolutely right about this. We have the opportunity to visit cool concerts /
tours almost every day of the week. Besides these gigs, there are many (open-air)
summerfestivals (like “Stonehenge”, “Into The Grave” or “Fortarock”) organised in The
Netherlands. When you compare the line-ups of all these events, all kinds of metal-varieties (from gothic-metal to deathmetal) are popular in our country and I think we can state that Dutch metalbands are influenced are by all these styles. Just take a look at the bands that Knolle mentioned in the first question in this interview. However……Icons of Brutality comes from the North-eastern part of our country and in this region old school-death metal was (and still is) maybe the most popular style. Even our small hometown concert-venue have been visited by very cool tourpackages with oldschool-acts like Grave, Samael, At the Gates, Dark
Angel, Dismember, Escarnium etc… So it is hardly a surprise that these magnificent bands
have been influencing the Dutch metal-scene.
You have a new album out that you promote now. Has the reactions to it been what you expected? What kind of reactions/responses have you had to it so far?
Appe: The Positivity off the reviews has far exceeded our expectations.
When you make an album you think it’s great but you never know how someone else (professional critics) sees it.The most regular criticism is that the album is rather short, I like to explain that as a positive point: if people think the album is too short they would like more of our music.Further the drive and aggression is praised by most reviewers, it’s just Old School Death Metal That’s what we like and that’s what we make.
If you were to sell the album to somebody that is just getting into death metal what would you say to this person to get then interested in ICONS OF BRUTALITY?
Appe: I would say that it is an intense piece of music with quite a bit of depth and history,
Start with well-known classics like Left hand path and Like an Everflowing stream
Then our album is a natural follow-up.
Jimme: “Between Glory and Despair” is an album filled with brutal, aggressive and crushing deathmetal, inspired by great bands like Entombed, Vomitory and Bolt Thrower. Just like the old-school deathmetal-bands from the early 90’s, we use both fast-paced grindriffs and also groovy parts that make you bang your head immediately. Due to the HM-2 guitarsound, it almost seems that a diesel-truck is starting up in your living-room, when you hit the “play”-button on your cd-player!!
Death metal has been around almost 30 years now. How do you feel that it has evolved over time?
Appe: I think music that would qualify as Death metal has really grown into an extremely varied group with among others the American Style DM, Technical Deathmetal and the style preferred by us: Swedish Death Metal.
Generally I think you can say it’s grown faster and more technical over the years but it has also been combined with genres like crustpunk.
The way we try to bring it is with a lot of groove and a lot of power
How hard is it to take bad criticism to something that you’ve slaved over for a long time? Is it like they attack you personally when they criticize the music?
Jimme: Like Appe mentioned in a earlier question, almost every review about Icons of Brutality is very positive, so we are very delighted that so many people seem to enjoy our band. Offcourse bad critics are inevitable, but we don’t consider them as an assault in any way. I think it is always a good thing when someone did listen to our album and write a honest review about our music, even if it is not positive. Sometimes we even learn from bad criticism, but we will never change our musical direction. If someone doesn’t like our band at all, it’s okay with us. We are aware of our roots and Icons of Brutality shall always play death metal in the old-school way!
How do you deal with the fact that you can’t control what people say about your music once it is out there?
Knolle:Well, it`s actually very easy to deal with to be honest, we have set a goal, and that goal is playing brutal, fast, heavy, groovy Oldschool Deathmetal, because that is what we do. We all take our band very seriously and it`s like Jimme says, We will always play the music we want to play, and so we don`t mind if someone has something to say about our music, even if it`s unfair or..untrue, there`s no, Need to Control. We know what we want to do, and we`re doin`it, if you think it`s cool, check us out on the internet, we have a brutal site, we`re active on lot`s of social media, buy our album and if you get the chance come check us out live,and if you don`t think it`s cool, leave us be.
Is it worth the time and effort to do a video these days? Where can you show a video today and what does it bring to the band?
Knolle:Yeah, we hope to make a good video ourself anytime soon. It can be a good way to get people interested in the band, but also it would be a fun activity making it. Nowadays it`s easy to broadcast your videoclip on Youtube, Facebook,www.iconsofbrutality.com and many more, so there will certainly be some kind of activity in the visual direction on our behalf…Soon!!
What is in the future for the band?
Bakvet: The main thing at this moment is to try to play as much as possible to promote our debut album. It’s not easy getting gigs, so we take every chance to get people known with our music. Maybe a bit early to speak about, but we are busy writing new material for our second album. I believe 5 songs are almost finished and they really blow your head off. But at this moment we are not sure when we are entering the studio again. Keep an eye on social media to stay informed about our developments.