LUCIFER’S HAMMER: Power and passion

lhammerA few really splendid demos have been unleashed lately, it’s enough to mention names like Stone Dagger and The Unholy. Chiles’ Lucifer’s Hammer, formed by brothers in metal as well as by blood, Rodrigo and Andre, also sprung onto the scene late last year with their very impressive tape only-demo.  I desperately needed to find out more about his act, and hooked up with Andre aka Hades to get some information. First, my guess is that Lucifer’s Hammer is a fairly new band. When exactly was the band formed and under what circumstances?

– The band formed during the first months of 2013, basically with the necessity to create traditional seventies and eighties heavy metal, that was the sound we were looking for. In relation to the members, at the beginning, we were only my brother and I; Titan (Rodrigo) and Hades (Andre). We formed Lucifer´s Hammer.  At the beginning, it wasn’t difficult to create the songs because we knew what we wanted. I think we recorded all instruments in a week, but the vocals were the big problem. We looked for several singers to participate as vocalists, the search was difficult since there was nobody who fit with our ideas and tastes in music. That took us down and we stood aside the project for a while, but one day Titan said: what about you singing, Hades? Hades then went – I’m not a singer, man, and I never will be. After thinking about it for a while, he tried and in the beginning, it was a disaster. Little by little the vocals were improving, and we got the voice we wanted; not a Rob Halford, not a Bruce Dickinson, but a singer with all that passion for NWOBHM. After that, with the help of our friend Antonio Kurt, we recorded our demo in three weeks.

I think Hades sounds great, had he really no experience at all from singing?

– No, no really nothing, only passion .

What are the main influences for the vocal of Hades? A few particular singers or a particular style in general?

– I had never chosen to be the singer, it was like a spontaneous act, and I didn’t even know I could sing. Because I always played the guitar, I considered myself incapable of being a singer. What I can say, is that the singers who influenced me at to take the vocals in Lucifer’s Hammer are Bobby Franklin (Medieval Steel), Jørgen Jensen (Randy), Zeeb Parkes (Witchfinder General) and the amazing Kevin Nugent (Legend), 100 percent passion!

Do you think passion is the most important quality for a metal singer, more important than a strong voice for instance?

I think two things are very important: If you wanna be a heavy metal singer, you  need the passion  and  the power , not everybody is naturally a good singer. If you aren’t, don’t expect to be absolutely amazing at first. It will take a lot of work.

Are the two of you involved in other bands as well, or is Lucifer’s Hammer your only band at the moment?

– We used to play in a thrash and speed Metal project called Demolition Steel, in which we recorded a six-song demo which remains lost in the Chilean underground.

When two people form a band, I guess they must share a lot of the same musical influences. As Lucifer’s Hammer sound quite influenced by US metal, I guess both of you have a passion for the obscure American metal from the eighties? 

– We are clearly influenced by the obscure metal of the seventies and eighties; we grew up together sharing similar musical tastes and interests, but in terms of musical scenes, both the American and the European scene is amazing in terms of diversity and musical creation. They inspired us, and many other cult bands.

I also have two brothers who used to listen to heavy metal, and we had this competition between us with different favorite bands. One of my brothers loved Judas Priest, the other one was a huge Dokken-fan and at the same time I discovered Running Wild. It was kind of cool to like different bands. What about you and your brother, did you listen to the same bands, or did you argue a lot about your favorite bands?

– Well ,in relation to heavy metal  bands , we hear the same song twice. Haha!…   I like the bands from Sweden a lot, you know the classic bands , like Heavy Load.  French heavy metal is also fucking amazing for me. Titan  on the other hand, likes  all the traditional heavy metal band  from the UK, the  NWOBHM. We have separate musical collections, but we have the similar passion for the real  traditional heavy metal

Your Facebook-page says “traditional metal from Chile”. What other genres or bands apart from US metal, would you name as important influences?

– First of all, we love US speed and thrash metal because it definitely changed the way to create metal; much more fast and aggressive. I could name a lot of bands, but I consider Slayer’s “Show No Mercy” as one of our big influences because of the dark heavy metal we like so bad. There are a lot of great bands to name here, so I will not name any other. But, there were a lot of bands that influenced our way to create music.

As Shadow Kingdom also says, the demo could have been mistaken for an unknown recording from the eighties. Was it an ambition for you to sound as old school as possible? Will future recordings have the same sound, or will you look to upgrade anything?

– We always looked for that seventies and eighties kind of sound and, with our friend Antonio Kurt’s help, we could record that sound we wanted so badly. In relation with our next record’s sound, we don’t want to upgrade anything or to experiment with other sounds, but I tell you; you might get a couple of surprises like keyboards. Still, we want our record to sound like a classic eighties record because we are passionate about that classic and real heavy metal sound!

Tell us a little about the recording of the three songs. Did you use a professional studio, or is the demo recorded in a rehearsal space or even at home? If my information is correct, Titan is behind the drums while Hades is taking care of guitars and vocals. Who’s playing the bass on the demo?

– Well, we recorded the demo at our friend Antonio Kurt’s studio, which is located in his own house. We talked about how we wanted the record to sound and he gladly accepted to record our demo. After a couple of months sharing many beers and ideas, we first recorded Titan’s drums and then Hades’s guitars, bass guitars and vocals. After the final mixing and when we found that sound we wanted, we started to spread the music to the bangers.

What is the purpose of the demo recording? Did you want to find a label, or just to check the response to your material from the fans? How long did it take to sell out the first edition of the tape?

– Our purpose was always to create music that finally completes us, we have never thought about the fans, or even about success as a band. We just wanted to do this because in Chile, there are very few heavy metal bands. Chile is well-known for its death/thrash metal bands and we wanted to do something different. In relation to Shadow Kingdom, Tim contacted us and offered his help to put out our next records. Shadow Kingdom is a worldwide known metal label and we are very interested in working with them for our future musical projects.

Approximately how many copies of the demo were sold to people outside of Chile?

– In relation to the demo tape, it sold out in about a month. There were only 150 limited copies. I must say that in our country, we only sold about 35, the rest were shipped to Greece, they’re heavy metal maniacs, Germany, Denmark, France, Australia and USA among others, but mainly to Europe.

a0765919638_2If I am not mistaken, three different versions of the demo exist. First, there is the tape version limited to 150 copies, then there is also a CDR-version limited to only 40 copies which I also guess is sold out. Finally Shadow Kingdom is releasing the demo on tape again next month. Was the first edition self released or was it done by Evil Confrontation? The cover seems to be different when you compare the first edition tape with the one Shadow Kingdom is doing. Why was it changed? Are there any other differences between the two editions? Has any labels showed an interest in releasing the three songs on CD or vinyl too?

– As a matter of fact, there are three versions of the demo; the one we self-produced, limited to 150 copies, which contained an art that showed the histories of the three songs. That was the cover we consider for our first self-produced tape, only for the people that was interested in us. For the rest of the editions it was something different, for instance in Argentina, a CD was edited by Power Cage Prods, but only to 40 copies, and only for the people there. And finally, Shadow Kingdom will put out a limited edition of 100 tapes and they will be selling them worldwide. Musically, all versions sound the same, and the tracks are in the same order, nothing special. In terms of propositions, they have offered us tape and CD, our idea was to make a 7”, but probably in the near future. It all depends on how the tapes sell, that’s the way it works.

Bands like Capilla Ardiente and Battlerage are also from Santiago, the same city as yourself. Is there a metal scene in your city, and do you hang out with members from these or other bands?

– There is a big scene in our country, but mainly death/thrash/black metal. There is nothing to envy compared to the greatest scenes of metal worldwide, and the Chilean scene has always survived the pass of time. When we talk about the Chilean heavy metal scene, you can count the bands with the fingers of your hand, and we don’t keep contact with many bands to do our projects.

Shadow Kingdom’s homepage says: “Night Sacrifice (Demo MMXIII)” is the very first of many releases to come.  What will be your next step, an EP like many bands do these days, or a full length album? Will you continue working with Shadow Kingdom also after the release of the demo, or have had other offers as well?

– Our next step is to focus on our full-length, we are working on that and we are very interested in keep on working with Shadow Kingdom. Obviously they have their conditions and rules, but I think we will pass the test. In relation with other offers, all will depend of the response of the audience to our full-length.

Do you have other songs apart from the three on the demo already written? Are they all in the same style, or will the songs show more diversity both in tempo, structures and melodies?

– Sure, I can assure you that the new songs for the full-length are already written. They are like a travel in time. We focused on creating a record with our own essence, and this traditional heavy metal with classic influences won’t let anyone down, I can tell you that for sure.

Can you reveal any song titles? Will the lyrics dwell around the similar themes as the ones on the demo?

– Well, there are many surprises about the titles and lyrics , we focused on creating occult lyrics and epics song, and the same traditional sound. I can’t say any more.

Is your band name a direct homage to Warlord, or did you just feel it was a cool name? Would you name Warlord as an important influence on the sound of Lucifer’s Hammer? I am asking because Warlord isn’t the first band I am thinking of when hearing the demo.

– I’m going to spell this out, we like Warlord a lot, specially “Deliver Us”, where you can find the song “Lucifer’s Hammer, but we never thought about naming the band because of that song. We knew the name through Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s novel and it seemed like a powerful and attractive name. It clearly have nothing to do with Warlord.

Will you look to expand into a full band with more members? You did a concert on 11th of January this year. Was this the one of your first live shows? Who are the other members that joined you on stage? Do you perform only self composed material live, or do you do some cover versions as well?

– In fact, that day was our first live gig, and now the band is made out by bassist “Julian” Gonzales, who is of great importance for the band, and has contributed with many ideas. At the time, we are looking for a guitar player that fills our expectations and shares our ideas. That day we played a cover song; Witchfynde’s “Give ‘Em hell”, but I think it wasn’t necessary for our first presentation.

Where did you find “Julian”? What is his background? What does he bring to the band?

– Well ,Julian is a good bassist, we  found him through our friend  Antonio Kurt who recommended by him.  Julian has many influences , he likes the heavy metal from the seventies  and that made him fit nicely in with the band . His contribution to the band is making final arrangements for each song.

Let’s talk about the three songs on the demo. “Wolf” is the opening song of the demo and has some really cool riffs. Was it clear from the start that this would be the first song? Are the lyrics about the wolf as the animal, or does it have a more symbolic meaning?  Do you open your concerts with this song too?

– This is the song that we choose to introduce both the demo and live performances because it has a powerful introduction that keeps you expectant on what’s next. The song “Wolf” talks about a man that is like a wolf-man, he gets into the woods to fight against his internal demons and to be free from dark and evil forces.

“Shadows” is probably my favorite song off the demo. Fast head banging stuff with a killer chorus and some really high vocals. Do you have even faster songs than this one written?

– Yes, there is indeed a little speed in some songs, but that’s not what we are looking for, we are a traditional heavy metal band. If we wanted speed, we would play speed metal. Our main point is that heavy metal doesn’t need to be as fast as other genres.

“Night Sacrifice” is the last one, and I have to admit my least favorite. It’s got a quite long, intro with bass and guitars performing a melody that seems quite familiar, before the drums sets in. I feel this one doesn’t quite have the same amount of energy as the two other songs. 

– That song is different from the others, it has a mixture of sounds, it’s a slow-tempo, penetrating song, pretty melodic, and it’s the essence of our heavy metal. This song names the demo precisely since it focuses on the heavy metal that was made in Europe in the eighties. It doesn’t need to be fast to be a good song, not is it going to be less powerful. There are lots of immortal slow-tempo songs, and I don’t think that heavy metal needs to be fast to be good.

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