Battlestorm Interview With Hades
Battlestorm is a death/black metal band from Singapore. After hearing the band's new release "Summon Decimation" I hooked up with band member Hades for this chit chat:
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Now when did you start to listen to heavy metal music? What were some of the early bands you heard and liked? Are you still a fan of those bands today?
Hades: Started out with mainstream bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura etc. I still listen to the older albums, not the newer ones. But the Black Sabbath 13 album fucking slays!
Now how did the underground rear its ugly head into your life haha? What were some of the 1st bands you heard? Was it a style you took to and liked right away or did it take a few listens to really get into?
Hades: I can’t specifically recall which bands, but it would be easier listening to stuff like Deicide, Marduk, Dissection etc and it just gets more extreme when I got hold of more underground stuff!
Now was getting hold of underground music easy or hard for you back then? Was their stores that sold underground music or did you have to rely on others?
Hades: Absolutely tough, man. CDs and cassettes were expensive, I needed to save my school money to buy stuff. My friends and I would exchange tapes or CDs that we bought so we can listen to the albums. Imported tapes and CDs were not cheap at the shops (probably because I was broke). So sometimes I’d get a friend to burn me a mix of different band albums and compile them to a cdr.
Now, what had you decided to pick up your respective instrument? What instrument did you learn first? Which was harder to learn guitar or bass? Did you know at that time you were going to be joining a band?
Hades: Started with guitars when I was 16/17. However I was, and still am a sloppy player! I’m much more comfortable handling guitars compared to bass because it’s easier for me to compose songs. There were ideas of joining/forming a band in my teens but friends I knew around that period easily lose interest after a while. So I had to do it by myself.
Did you take any lessons at all or were you self-taught at all?
Hades: I only learned basic chords and simple scales from a friend and the rest was mainly self-exploration. Composed my first song only when I was 18.
Now the 1st band you were in was a 2 piece, that has now split up. Tell me about your time in the band Nocturnized. What caused the band to split up?
Hades: Nocturnized was the 2nd band I formed back in 2011/2012. I wish I could have done more with the band and released more albums etc Unfortunately it was rather short-lived. The split was due to many reasons, but the main issue is commitment. I don’t see myself continuing Nocturnized on my own or with new band members, as it was started by myself and Abominathor, so we decided to end it. This then led me to form Lycanthropic.
You are also in 2 other bands and I briefly want to talk about them and then we will move on to Battlestorm. Now you are in or have a one-man (yourself) project/band called Lycanthropic. You have your debut release out this year. How did this release come to be?
Hades: Lycanthropic is sort of the continuation of Nocturnized, except that everything is being done by myself. From composition, songwriting and recording, to mixing and mastering. Since I do everything by myself, it’s easier for me to handle things.
You are also just the singer in the band Devouror. Tell me about them and how come you just sing in that band.
Hades: Shyaithan invited me to sing for Devouror to replace their main vocalist, who happens to be my close buddy Antichristo Xul. He’s unable to commit due to his busy schedule with Infernal Execrator. Since the singing style is different from what I’ve usually done, I decided to give it a go to try something new. We have released 1 album this year, titled Diabolos Brigade, go and check it out!
Now how did Battlestorm form? I’m to assume you formed the band and found Tremor the drummer and this was around 2007 am I right?
Hades: Yes. I needed a drummer, so I contacted Tremor to drum for my demo.
Did you take to writing original songs right away? Have you always tried to make sure Battlestorm does not sound like the other bands you are in?
Hades: Yes. It won’t make sense in forming 2 bands which sound the same.
Now how long was the band together before you put out your debut demo which came out in 2008 as it was you and just one other member who played the drums only?
Hades: Slightly less than a year. I’m not good at making friends, hence a drummer is just enough to get the recording done.
How quickly did the songs for that demo come together to be recorded and released? What was the feedback, if any from people who heard it?
Hades: The guitar compositions were all ready when I found the drummer. So it only took a few months for us to rehearse, and record. Feedback was both good and bad, however, I myself wasn’t too happy with the finished recording. Guitars were out of tune, etc. But that demo got me a label deal to release the debut album. So I’m pretty satisfied overall.
How did you come up with the Battlestorm name and logo?
Hades: I wanted a band name that represents the heavy and chaotic music I deliver, and Battlestorm’s the perfect moniker for the band. Logo was done by Christophe Szpajdel.
So in 2009, you were back with a new 4-song demo. You also had your drummer play bass only on this while you found a drummer and you did vocals and guitar and all the songwriting. Did you feel this was a step up from the debut demo?
Hades: I wanted the 2nd demo to sound very raw and different from the debut, so we did a live recording at the studio. Tremor couldn’t commit to drumming for the band, as he was in multiple bands at that time so I had to find another one to replace him. So he ended up helping me with bass and overseeing the drums sections, and that’s about it.
How did you end up hooking up with Deathrash Armageddon, who released this on cassette?
Hades: I sent them the Tempest Of The Orient demo, and they agreed to release the album. Then they asked if I wanted to do a mini-release prior to the album, in which we recorded the Violating Angels demo.
Now in 2009, you did a split release with the band Damned Eternal, in which you had 4 songs. Now band member Iblis was back to drums, from bass on the previous release, and you added a 2nd guitar player on this named Djinn. What are your thoughts on this release and what was the feedback from the underground metal maniacs out there? What did you think of the other band on the split?
Hades: The split with Damned Eternal was taken from both bands’ first demo. Since I was also helping them with the composition of their demo, we decided to promote both bands on a single tape release.
Now in 2010, you released your 1st full length called “Demonic Incursion” on Deathrash Armageddon once again. However, this release was a 2 piece with you handling everything but the drums and Iblis doing the drum parts. What happened to band member Tremor?
Hades: He can’t commit, and the band still has to progress. So he was out, and Iblis was summoned to replace him.
Now for this full length were all the songs pretty much ready to go before you recorded them? How easy is it for you to write songs? Who came up with the cover idea and title for the album?
Hades: Yes. Writing is easy when you know what you want. I came up with the cover idea and everything else too.
What was the reaction from the underground to this release? Despite being only a 2 piece were you able to play out live using session musicians for a live setting? What are your thoughts on this release these days and overall are you happy with it?
Hades: This album was quite successful indeed, being released in multiple formats and reissues. However, I still wish the recording could have been better. We did perform live as a duo, and there were times that we used live sessions.
In 2011, you were part of a 6 band split called Son ov Satan on Trooper Art Regime Distro. How did you hook up with them for this release? What are your thoughts on this release these days?
Hades: That wasn’t a split but a compilation, and I sent 2 drunken rehearsal songs. It’s a pretty fucked up recording, to be honest.
In 2012, you worked with American Line Productions on a split release with Fetid Zombie called Defiling the Altar of Gods. Are you the only one that plays on this release? How did you hook up with this label as they were pretty well-known a few years back? 3 tunes are on this including a cover of Destruction’s “Total Desaster”. How good of a job do you think you did on their tune ans to your knowledge have they ever heard it or have you ever met the band?
Hades: I was the only active member during that time. Iblis briefly left the band after the Demonic Incursion album due to some issues, so I asked him to help record 2 songs which we’d rehearsed before. Then I got Abominathor and Ramses from Damned Eternal to help me record 1 song as well. Also got some other sessions to record 2 solos. I contacted Joel from American Line Prod to release it on CDs and LPs, to which he agreed. Regarding that Destruction cover, I think we could’ve done better, but then we did make up for it with the Sepultura cover on the LP version which is totally killer! Djinn’s precision on guitars definitely helped a lot!
Do you think up until now back when your 1st demo came out that your sound had changed much? If so by how much?
Hades: The sound has only gotten better over the years with each release. Back then I was kinda clueless with regards to recording, sound etc, so trial and error on each recording have helped much of the bands’ progress to the sound aspect.
Now from 2012 till 2015, nothing was heard from the band. Did you just take a break to work on your other bands?
Hades: I was working on Nocturnized albums etc. I’ve always kept myself busy creating new songs and so on.
Now in 2015 you back and band member Djinn was back playing the guitar on this release making you guys a 3 piece again. This time was a 7″ EP called From Hell on Warhemic Productions. How did you hook up with them?
Hades: I have a few songs to release and contacted Xakal from Warhemic Prods and asked if he’d like to release the EP, which eventually materialized on 7″. By this time, Djinn was already a permanent member of the band
On this 4 song 7,” you also do a cover of Bathory’s “War”. How do you think that turned out and was writing songs for you still pretty easy how did you manage to keep the sound of your other bands from creeping into Battlestorm?
Hades: Writing songs has always been a breeze for me. It just depends on what or how I want a particular release to be about or sound like. I have always known the direction I’m going for and what to compose for each band. So they will never sound alike to one another.
How was the Singapore underground metal scene at this time? Did you get to witness many live shows yourself?
Hades: I really don’t know much about what’s going on in the scene. I don’t really socialize. I only go to gigs if there are bands that I wanna watch. The last show I went to and wished I could see again was Krisiun. Freaking mind-blowing! Adding on, do check out this band from Singapore, Decius! They recently released a fucking killer album which fucking attacks you from beginning to end!
After 2015 you took a 5-year break. Was this planned or not planned? Were you doing stuff with your other bands at the time as well?
Hades: Yes, I was focusing on Nocturnized releases. Albums split etc.
When did you know when it was time to bring Battlestorm back?
Hades: We have completed rehearsing and the 2nd album songs were ready since 2016. However, due to Djinn’s constant touring with Impiety, plus some label issues, personal stuff etc, everything got delayed.
First, you started off a single, just one in 2020. Was this to let people know that the band was back? How did it feel to be back after 5 years of not doing anything?
Hades: Yes, the single was a rough preview of what the upcoming album would be like.
Now the band is back in full force as earlier this year you released a brand new album called “Summon Decimation”. Why this name and who did the album cover? How did you get on Trauma Records?
Hades: The album title represents the total chaos and barbarity of the whole album. All concepts and ideas have always been mine since day one. For artwork, I did a sketch and sent it to the artist, Jenglot from Indonesia to execute. Initially, the album was supposed to be released by another label but due to some unforeseen rubbish, we decided to go ahead with Trauma Records, who was also offering us the album release. Trauma Records was also the label that released the reissue of the Demonic Incursion on Digi CD.
You also have the same 3 guys in the line-up for this as you had for the 2015 release. Was it easy to get them on board for this? What has the feedback been like for the release so far?
Hades: Getting everyone onboard is never easy, but we managed to do it anyway. Feedback has been positive thus far.
Do you hope to be able to play live at all beyond this release? How quickly did the songs come together for it?
Hades: It really depends, on if we have a new drummer. Iblis left the band right after the album recording, to focus on his career and personal life. I can’t tell exactly how long it took for the songs to come together, but everything was ready within a year. It’s just that the recording was delayed.
For those who have not heard the band, what would you say you sound like?
Besides the demos, what stuff that you have released is still for sale or is around?
Hades: I still have a few copies of the Demonic Incursion CD reissue and a couple of tapes.
Would you say the sound of the band has changed much over the years?
Hades: Yes. (fantastic answer-Chris)
For those who are interested in checking the band out or looking to get merchandise, where is the best place to go?
Hades: Just search on distros online, or order directly from the label!
Label email: [email protected]
Hades horns up for answering my questions and any last words, the floor is yours.
Hades: Firstly, thanks for the intie! Do check out the album releases of the bands I’m involved in! BATTLESTORM, LYCANTHROPIC, and DEVOUROR! No rest for the beast, Kill!!!!