Battalion - 25/03/2010

Hailing from the pastoral environment of Switzerland, BATTALION comes in riding the wave of new-thrash that’s been plaguing the metal world for some years now. The band is quite young, their sound is old school thrash metal at its best according to the promo. The same promo describes the sound on their debut album ‘Underdogs’ as “uncompromising, aggressive and straight-forward thrash metal as it was the 80s”. This young Swiss band aims to create a sound up the ally of bands such as Kreator, Slayer, Coroner, (old) Metallica and Destruction.

 

 

After reviewing BATTALION’s debut album ‘Underdogs’ we were also given the opportunity to talk with Silvan Etzensperger (Vocals, Guitars), here you can read what he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com

 

Could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the band and an explanation of the origins of the band’s name?

 

Silvan: Yes, we are Battalion. Me, Samuel & Cyril formed the band in 2006. We made a Demo-CD called “The Fight For Metal” and played gigs. We had a bit of trouble finding a bass-player, but since 2009 we have Lukas on the bass. With him on our side we released our very first album called “Underdogs” in February 2010. We heard the name ‘Battalion’ in the Saxon song “Deeds of Glory”. We thought that was a cool name for a band, so we took it.

 

How did you launch into writing material for your album ‘Underdogs’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?

 

Silvan: Uuuuhhhh.... I really cannot tell you how much time we invested. But normally it all starts with a riff in a jam.Then me or my brother start forming a song and we check the whole thing with the drummer. After that, the whole band hangs together and checks the song again. At the end, I write the lyrics.

 

As I saw on several websites, ‘Underdogs’ is not exactly your debut album, a number of songs on this album were apparently also featured on ‘The Fight for Metal’. Can you explain why?

 

Silvan: Yes. That’s true. But ‘The Fight For Metal’ is not an album, it’s only a Demo-CD. We took the best songs from ‘The Fight For Metal’ and the best new songs that we wrote and put it together on the album ‘Underdogs’. So that is really our first album. There wasn’t really a release for ‘The Fight For Metal’. It was our own production. ‘Underdogs’ was released by the german record label “Silverwolf Production”. So there’s a big difference here and that’s why ‘Underdogs’ is our first album.

 

Which approach did you choose to create this album?

 

Silvan: Mmmhhh.... We didn’t really choose an approach to create it. The stuff just flows out of our veins. For an example like I told you in a jam.

 

Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

 

Silvan: That differs. For example, “Running Alone” we wrote in 2 or 3 days. On songs like “Stalingrad” we worked for months. I can’t plan things like this. I cannot plan that I’m writing a song March 18 2010 at 08:00 pm. That doesn’t work. Sometimes there are just ideas coming into my brain. It could be everywhere at any time. So you start writing when you’ve got an idea.

 

What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Underdogs’, any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?

 

Silvan: This question I can answer very short, what we wanted is:            UNDERDOGS MUST KICK YOUR FUCKING ASS !!!

 

Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Underdogs’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

 

Silvan: It stands for us and for all the people who are doing their own thing. When you start doing your own thing, people don’t believe in you, people laugh and joke about you, but you don’t care, ‘cause you live for it. We are going our way. We are Underdogs. We never give up!!!

 

About the lyrics, where do you get your inspiration from and can you tell me a little more about them?

 

Silvan: Well, our lyrics are mostly about heavy metal and war. One song: “Dictators of Stone” is about the problems of our youth. With this song I got inspired by all the stuff that happens around me I think...

 

How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?

 

Silvan: For me it’s important that they like the whole thing. It doesn’t really matter if it’s only because of the lyrics. Of course I like to hear positive stuff…

 

If someone was only going to read the lyrics and not listen to the music, what would you hope they would take from them?

 

Silvan: I would hope that he would buy the CD and listen to the sound.

 

What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you?

 

Silvan: There isn’t just ONE thing. The whole song must just go into your veins.

 

How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?

 

Silvan: It took us 1 ½ moths. We first recorded the drums, then the rhythm-guitar, then the bass and finally the vocals and the lead-guitar. After that we made the mix.

 

 

The album was produced by Tommy Vetterli, what made him the perfect man for Battalion?

 

Silvan: What was important for me is that he is a perfectionist. So he really pushed us over our limits. He really made us sound the best way that we could sound. I think another important thing is that he really likes our sound, so he had a good feeling of what this record should sound like.

 

In which elements on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?

 

Silvan: I think you can’t hear his vision because we wrote all the songs and we already brought the vision. He just helped us realise our vision.

 

How would you describe this album to someone that has never listened to the band before?

 

Silvan: I usually say to people; Mix the old Metallica and Slayer stuff together and then you have an awareness of how our sound is. Of course it’s not the same, but it’s very simple to explain it in this way and people can imagine easily what our sound could be like.

 

Which element of the CD are you most proud of?

 

Silvan: “Thrash Maniacs” & “Wings Of A Demon”.

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? What are you personally into?

 

Silvan: Well, I’m personally into music. I also like to party at the weekend and drink alcohol. I don’t know really where I got the motivation from…

 

Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:

 

Thrash : hell yeah…

Underground : That’s where we come from!

Internet : www.doitbiatch.com

Religion : heavy metal. Hahahaha…

Politics : no interests

The Netherlands : good soccer-team

Switzerland : Battalion ;-)

 

What have been the highlights and low points throughout your career?

 

Silvan: Highlights: The release-show for ‘Underdogs’ in Zurich.
Low points: The loss of the bass-players that we had in the past

 

What is your opinion on the thrash scene these days? Is there anything missing in the scene?

 

Silvan: The scene is cool cause the people are very loyal and fuckin’ crazy. It would be good if the scene would be bigger, cause FUCKING THRASH METAL STILL KICKS ASS, MAN….

 

What makes Battalion different from the other modern thrash metal bands out there?

 

Silvan: I don’t see Battalion as a normal Thrash Band. We have a lot of NWOBHM-Influence. We also play slow and my voice is different.

 

Which goals did you have when the band started out and how do those goals stand now?

 

Silvan: Actually the goals are still the same: HAVE AS MANY GIGS AS WE CAN PLAY. Best thing would be in an overcrowded place filled with mother-fucking-maniacs.

 

Are there any particular bands who’ve been a big influence on your song writing, metal or otherwise?

 

Silvan: Yeah of course: Saxon, Metallica, Judas Priest, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Exodus, Coroner.

 

How would you describe your own music?

 

Silvan: Heavy Metal that got fucked by Thrash !!!

 

What can we expect from Battalion in the near future? Any touring plans?

 

Silvan: Well, I can’t tell ya what we can expect, but our plans are: GIGS, GIGS, GIGS and making new songs.

 

Where do you see the band going within the next couple of years, and where do you see the band’s musical direction going for the next album?

 

Silvan: Well, the music stays the same. And where we are going??? We’re going to hell, man, or we are already there. And we’ll never come back!!!! Hahahahahaha…..

 

A last statement?

Silvan: Come to our shows and drink alcohol until you puke on the ground!!!

 

 

Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver

 

 

 

Members:

 

Silvan Etzensperger - Vocals, Lead Guitar

Cyril Etzensperger - Rhythm Guitar

Lukas Marti - Bass

Samuel "Sämi" Riedener – Drums

 

Lukas

 

Former Members:

Dejan Terzic - Bass

 

 

Albums:

(2006) - The Fight for Metal (Demo)

(2010) - Underdogs