With the release of 2008's ‘War
Without End’, WARBRINGER established themselves as one the most
ferocious young thrash bands on the planet. With the chainsaw guitar
riffs of John Laux and Adam Carroll accompanied by the evil screams of
John Kevill, the band pillaged cities worldwide and established a rabid
hardcore fan base after months and months of touring. WARBRINGER
is ready for 2009 with the release of ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ and they
have already begun a massive touring campaign to scorch the rest of the
Breaking through the mainstream metal underground at a time when the
term “Thrash Revival” was being coined, WARBRINGER struggled and
fought to distance themselves from the flock and the rest of their peers
with an extremely aggressive, energetic live performance and a
determination to drive the old-school sound forward into the next decade
with a sense of fresh air and originality. The band continue to carve
out their place in metal history with the addition of a new rhythm
section (Ben Bennett and Nic Ritter) whose added progressive overtones
can be heard on ‘Waking Into Nightmares’. WARBRINGER is not a
tongue-in-cheek act, but a viable and deadly force looking to continue
driving and perfecting the sound that so many thought had died in the
On ‘Waking into Nightmares’, WARBRINGER was able to collaborate
with true guitar hero and metal legend Gary Holt (Exodus), who produced
the newest offering at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, CA. The record was
mixed and mastered by Zack Ohren (Suffocation, All Shall Perish) with
cover artwork completed by the extraordinary surrealistic Dan Seagrave
(Morbid Angel, Entombed, Malevolent Creation). While still new to the
band, both Bennett and Ritter play a huge part in the band's redefined
sound delivering a massive bass tone and very ambitious and unexpected
drum work, combined with the band's already lethal riff work
WARBRINGER has reached a new level of complexity and brutality;
leaving metal heads with even more reason to check out WARBRINGER's
punishing live show. The band toured the US with Exodus, Kreator,
Soilwork, Nile, and Overkill and Europe with Napalm Death, Suffocation,
and Sworn Enemy. In 2009, it does not look to be any different. With
over 200 US shows already planned, and a European tour in the works
chances are you will be seeing much more of these thrashers soon, so
prepare for TOTAL WAR!
WARBRINGER released their much
anticipated sophomore album ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ on May 25, 2009 via
Century Media Records. So there was much to talk about, here can you
read what John Kevill (vocals) had to say about WARBRINGER’s
Congratulations on the release of
your new album ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ which will be out soon, of
course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it.
First of all, could you start this
interview off with a short introduction of the members, the origin of
the name of the band and a quick update on Warbringer?
John: The name of the band came in a
brainstorming session for a band name, it was started by John Laux and
I, and the current lineup also includes Adam Carroll on guitar, Ben
Bennett on bass, and Nic Ritter on drums. As far as the record goes, the
rhythm section is new but both of those guys have been playing with us
for a while. Andy Laux, our original bass player, was still in high
school when we released ‘War WIthout End’ and he couldn't do the tours
so we asked our friend Ben to do the dates. After 3 tours together we
realized how well we gelled and we just kept him in the band. Andy is
now going to college and isn't playing in another band. Ryan Bates, the
drummer on War ‘WIthout End’, quit between the 2 European tours because
the touring life was not for him and we held auditions in LA and Nic was
one of the guys who tried out. He's a little older and brought a more
technical style to the band which overall gives us more flavor and has
made the band tighter and better players too.
How did you launch into writing
material for ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ and how much time did you spend on
John: We toured for 10 months behind
the first record and stopped touring in late October of last year. We
had about two months to write the record, but we spent a whole lot of
time in the rehearsal room working on it. We worked on it very
concentrated for that time, almost every day. Considering the pressure
we're quite proud of the results and think we have a focused, diverse,
What were the goals you had in mind
when you started to record ‘Waking Into Nightmares’, any elements you
definitely wanted to have on the album?
John: We wanted to make a tighter,
sharper, more precise sounding record than the first. We wanted to keep
the aggression of the debut and expand on it. Our first record had a
more raw, old school production but this time we wanted to take make a
loud, in your face, metal album.
Could you please describe the
implications of the title ‘Waking Into Nightmares’, what does it stand
for and is there a special meaning behind it?
John: It is awakening into a horrid
reality. The title comes from dreams John Laux has where he feels like
he's awake in some awful circumstance. To me it also says that the
nightmare is real, since you wake and it is still there.
What about the lyrics, where do you get your
inspiration from and can you tell me something more about them?
John: They often just come into my
head when I'm hearing some music, but some reflect some demoralizing
outlooks on things that I have. I try to keep them either very violent
and aggressive or very hopeless sounding.
How important is it to you that
people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?
John: Very important. Take any song
and change the main hook lines in it to some dumbly written ones and the
song will be taken down quite a bit, even with the same riffs and
Can you give us a little background
about the songs on the album? Is there a story behind them?
John: Each song has its own little
story or concept that goes with it. "Severed Reality" is about being
stuck in a horrific psychedelic realm and unable to return to reality,
"Forgotten Dead" is about World War One trench warfare, "Jackal" is
about murder and betrayal. All of them have something a little
What is the utmost important
ingredient for a song according to you? Is there any typical way that
your songs comes into being?
John: For us I think it is sustained
intensity. We try to balance the speeds and riffs so that it keeps the
adrenaline going as much as possible. Also I think it's very important
for a song to have a hook or two in it, too many bands have songs that
go in one ear and out the other now. We jam our songs out, and tinker
with them in the jam room and bash them into shape.
How can we imagine you work on new
songs, what's the typical writing process like for Warbringer?
John: We jam our songs out, and tinker
with them in the jam room and bash them into shape. It isn't any set way
but everyone brings their ideas to the table and we try to make the best
songs we can with everyone.
What comes first, lyrics or
John: It is not set in any way;
sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes riffs, sometimes a drumbeat
even. Whenever anyone has an idea we all start working on it usually and
forge a song around it.
After the release of your previous
album ‘War Without End’ Andy Laux (Bass) and Ryan Bates (Drums) left the
band and soon after that Ben Bennett and Nic Ritter stepped in. Did
this line-up change have an influence on the new songs?
John: Yes, both of their styles went
into the music while we made it and their ideas as well. I think you can
see somewhat of a change in direction between the two albums and that is
definitely a part of it. Our new rhythm section is very prominent in the
overall sound of the new album.
How did the recording process
proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?
John: We went up to Oakland to
Sharkbite studios, we had 2 weeks booked but we finished the record 2
days early. It was different than the first album as we did that in Bill
Metoyer house over 3 months and just recorded here and there a couple of
hours. This time we fully immersed ourselves by getting out of town and
even sleeping in the studio at night.
Did you work differently than you
did on your previous album?
John: Yes, the recording on this album
was much longer hours and more focused, and over a smaller period of
time. I think this helped in the end result.
What do you think are the main
differences between your debut album ‘War Without End’, and you new
album ‘Waking Into Nightmares’?
John: The arrangements are generally
more intricate on the new one, and there's some more death metal
influence than on the first. The playing and production are also a lot
tighter this time around.
‘Waking Into Nightmares’ was
produced by Gary Holt, what made him the perfect man for Warbringer?
John: He definitely understands the
thrash sound, and how to make a guitar sound fucking heavy. We had the
idea to ask if he'd be interested in producing and it came together
really well. We became friends with Gary as Exodus was the first band we
opened for when we started touring the US. They've been a great help to
In which things/songs on the new
album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?
John: The tightness in the
performances and the guitar tone are where you can really hear his
influence. The actual songs themselves were written before we went in
the studio and there were no major changes to those.
Which element of the album are you
most proud of?
John: I'm very proud of my vocals on
the album, on this one I am finally starting to feel really confident
about what I am doing.
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?
John: I love nature, history, and
value logic. The history interest goes a long way for writing about the
Are third party opinions (press,
fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band
the only things that matter?
John: They aren't terribly important,
someone somewhere is always going to love you and someone is always
going to hate you. We usually get a good response which is nice, but I
see my own happiness with the music we make to be more important.
What have been the highlights and
low points throughout your career?
John: The first tour was probably the
hardest; we were falling behind the tour in severe blizzards for a
while. Anytime we get sick on the road is a lowlight. The rest has all
been good. I'd say an absolute highlight was playing Wacken last summer
What makes Warbringer different
from the other Modern Thrash Metal bands out there?
John: I think we have our own style,
we are not a party-thrash band at all. I think if you listen to us next
to any old or new thrash band you can tell it is us.
What do you think of the thrash
revival that’s going on right now with all those new thrash metal bands
like Evile, Warpath, Bonded By Blood, Gamma Bomb, Municipal Waste and,
of course, you guys?
John: I think it's a good thing,
people are playing thrash metal again. Some of the bands are good and
some aren't that interesting, but I will take standard thrash over say
deathcore any day.
What goals did you have when the
band started out and how do those goals stand now?
John: We just wanted to play some
music and have some fun. Now obviously things are quite different, we
want to tour as much as we can and build the band up as much as we can,
while still playing the music we love.
Are there any particular bands
who’ve been a big influence in your song writing, metal or otherwise and
which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you
think “this is what I want to do!”?
John: Kreator's first 5 albums were a
huge influence, they pretty much cover the spectrum of what thrash
should be. There are many others though who are also influences.
Where do you see the band going
within the next couple of years?
John: Hopefully we’ll stay out on the
road through next summer and spread our name across the globe! Where
will we end up? Only time will tell.
Anything left to say to our
John: Hails, hammer on!
Thanks for your time.
John Kevill - Vocals
John Laux - Guitar
Adam Carroll - Guitar
Ben Bennett - Bass
Nic Ritter - Drums
Emilio Hoschet - Guitar
Evan Reiter - Drums
Victor - Guitar
Ryan Bates - Drums
Andy Laux - Bass
(2006) - One By One, The Wicked Fall
War Without End
Waking Into Nightmares