MASSIVE ASSAULT may be Dutch but that is only by nationality. Musically they are anything but Dutch. This is like the perfect amalgamation of all that is great about Swedish death metal/extreme metal mixed with the greatness of the Floridian death scene. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
You make no secret of the influence that Sweden has had on your music. What is so great about Swedish extreme music?
-Swedish extreme music rocks really hard! I´ve always had the feeling that Swedish Death Metal, especially in the beginning, had this kind of punk-feel in it. Also there is this groovy, rocking feel in Swedish Death Metal that we really like. It must have something to do with the musical upbringing of the Swedish people. And then there is, of course, the crunchy chainsaw sound of the Boss HM-2 that we really like to hear! But it’s not only Swedish Death Metal that influenced us. British and Florida-styled Death Metal also influenced us a lot, as well as crust, hardcore and the good old rocking legends like AC/DC and Motörhead.
What is it in death metal that other forms of metal don’t have that made you want to go this way?
-Death Metal is extreme and brutal. The grunts, growls and screams sound like something from beyond the grave. It can sound hellish, furious and pissed off to the max all at the same time! Sure, I like to listen to other kinds of metal as well, but the Death Metal way is what gets me excited the most! I guess the next best thing, for me as vocalist, is either crust or grind. It’s just the best way to get all the aggression and frustration out, as you can hear on “Death Strike”!
Are you more obsessed with one era of death metal/crust than any other? Can you speak of different eras?
-I’m obsessed with good Death Metal and Crust, that’s for sure! Of course, I’m a rabid fanatic when it comes to the 80s and 90s classics in Death Metal, but my blood also boils when I hear newer releases. Yet, it must be said, most of those newer releases are (from the new wave of) Old School Death Metal, that have that early Death Metal feel to it… I think that you could talk about eras in Death Metal back in the 90s. A lot of Death Metal bands strayed away from how they started out in the mid 90s, because they wanted to broaden their horizon and wanted to try something different. This was of course a logical step for many. But you can also see that a lot of those bands are back at their roots. I don’t know if you could talk about eras in Crust, though. I own many Crust-releases and, just like in Death Metal, there are also different directions/styles in Crust as well. But, one thing that is universal in crust: it all sounds extremely furious! And I happen to like my Crust furious!
How much of a difference does it make in today’s strange world of music consumption to be on a record label compared to doing it yourself? What good is a label today?
-A label can help you spread your music further then you can do yourself. Labels mostly have more and different connections then most bands have. When Massive Assault started out, we released our demo’s through our website, free of charge. But we had to put in heaps of time to get ourselves known. Back then we had that time, since most of us were going to school. Nowadays everybody in the band has a decent job, a girlfriend and a housekeeping. That obviously takes a lot of your time, so you can’t spend that time on going to every concert, visit every website or forum and so forth. Also, a good label takes care of all the things concerning releasing an album, distributing it and all that stuff. FDA Rekotz is doing a great job so far! So, we can spend most of our spare time on the thing we like to do best: play Death Metal and ofcourse stay in touch with everyone as much as possible!
You guys formed in 2003. When did the band become a serious thing and not just something you mess around with in a rehearsal room?
-Well, we did that messing around back in 2002. When our other bands split one after one, we got more serious with Massive Assault. We wrote enough songs to go on stage and continued writing in between gigs. Oddly enough, that’s still how we do it today. It works best with us. We write songs, we improve them along the way and when we’re happy with the results we record them. Simple as that!
What has been the best possible way for you to promote your band? Anything that doesn’t work that good in today’s electronical age?
-Playing live as much as you can, wherever you can and as best as you can is probably the best way to promote yourself. Whenever we play live, we give 200% and that shows! I also think that it is important to be a positive and open person off stage. Being a dick doesn’t get you anywhere (well, at least, that counts for most of us). Another thing that helps is that you keep in contact with people and other musicians. That’s also how FDA Rekotz got to know Massive Assault. We believe in helping each other out. For instance, if you and your band help us out with a gig, we’ll try to help you out with a gig as best as we can as well.’
Is there a specific aesthetic to death metal that has to be there for it to work? Is it more death than flowers?
-I think it all comes down to having the right feeling for and in a song. Almost everyone can create music, but not everyone can put in the right emotions. Death Metal certainly deals with the darker side. I think that it’s safe to say that there is no Death Metal band that sing about peace and love and smelling the roses. That simply doesn’t work. Death Metal is dark, brutal and aggressive. My lyrics about war, death and misery. These subjects fascinate me and they fit best to the sound of Massive Assault.
How death metal/crust is digital downloading and listening to it on your computer? Why would anybody want to choose a mediocre mp3 file over a CD?
-Everybody is downloading and listening to music on their computer nowadays. Internet made everything easier to obtain. Back in the day, when I was a teen, we used to tape records for each other. Call it blasphemy, but wasn’t that the same? The only difference is that back then, you got your music from friends and nowadays you can get it from anyone. I personally would rather listen to a CD then an mp3 file, or better yet, to vinyl! I’m not opposed to downloading. I do that myself as well. Nowadays I also listen to a lot of shit on Youtube in between doing all kinds of stuff. That’s how you also discover new bands. I think that great music is worth buying and supporting. That’s also the reason why I have a large collection of albums on any format. And, in the end, I enjoy listening to music on either CD or vinyl best. That’s what I’m also doing now as I’m writing down the answers for this interview. Nothing beats the real deal!
How important is the packaging to you in this day and age when most people seem to prefer to download instead of buying a physical product?
-I think the packaging has to look killer. Sometimes I think that I’m part of a dying race, but I always get excited whenever I get a 12″ with killer artwork. Of course, the most important thing is the music, but the artwork completes the whole package! We always try to get great artwork. Personally, I like the handdrawn or painted covers best. If you look at the artwork for “Death Strike” you can see that this album breaths Death Metal. Gijs van Hal @ Upper Graphics has done a great job! You can see references to the subjects on the album, as well as the style we play.
How long do you see Massive Assault going? What is it that is so great to be a part of the band?
-Massive Assault is going on until everyone of us are old and grey and buried six feet deep! No, seriously, we’ll continue as long as we like to do so. We haven’t planned any expiration date or something. We play Death Metal the way we like best! That is why it’s so great to be part of Massive Assault.