ZT INTERROGATION: OLD SCHOOL DM WITH A LIFE SENTENCE FROM SUPREME CARNAGE
German death metal crew Supreme Carnage have just released their second album, via Redefining Darkness Records. The band’s founding member, and guitarist, Acker gives ZT’s Paul Castles an early insight into Sentenced by the Cross.
ZERO TOLERANCE: Hi guys, congratulations on your great new album, Sentenced by the Cross. For anyone who’s not heard it yet, what can they expect?
ACKER: Hey Paul, thank you very much!! We are a Death Metal Band from Münster in Germany. If you are into Old School Death Metal you should definitely risk an ear – I think one of our trademarks are some really heavy riffs, that immediately makes you nod your neck – combined with some atmospheric, dark sounding melodies and of course brutal growls. I really hope that we will got the chance to play some shows in the States someday – because we are a passionate live band!
ZT: The album clearly has an anti-religion theme running through the songs. Tell us more about that?
ACKER: On the one hand you are right, because all songs follow a lyrical context about the so-called “Ordeals”. “Trial by ordeal” was an ancient judicial practice by which the guilt or innocence of the accused was determined by subjecting them to an unpleasant, usually dangerous experience. In many cases the church used this procedure to get rid of undesired persons. And this approach can be found in many institutionalised religions. But on the other hand it is more about learning from the past. Nowadays a lot of people seem to suffer from a memory loss about what happened in the past. When you are aware of the mistakes people did before – for example following false leaders or mistreat others – you hopefully won’t repeat them. But the latest occurrences show that the human race seems to be unteachable…
ZT: This is your second album, after Quartering the Doomed in 2013… do you feel this is a step up from the first?
ACKER: Absolutely – although our first album was released just two years ago, the songs on it are often somewhat older. The songs on Sentenced by the Cross are more refined and still more aggressive and heavier. So in many ways they reflect much better how Supreme Carnage sounds today.
ZT: Was it a record that you spent much time working on?
ACKER: Actually many songs have been written in a comparatively short time. But what saved the most time was the decision to record in a real studio. Quartering the Doomed was completely self-produced. We spent a lot of time in adjusting the sound of every instrument – switch back and forth between different settings. This time we could completely concentrate on the songwriting.
ZT: How were things in the studio, smooth or rocky?
ACKER: Jörg Uken (Soundlodge) has recorded, mixed and produced more than 400 records –so he really knows what he does. What we like best about him is that he really tries to find the best individual sound for the band. Instead of simply using presets for “Death Metal” ;) Nowadays you’ve got great options to prepare all your stuff to have a smooth studio experience and it worked out really great! For example we recorded DI Tracks of the guitars and the bass at home – and reamped them in the studio.
ZT: Tell us a little about the songwriting process, are you all involved?
ACKER: In general I come up with the main ideas of the songs. Then we try to put them into practice at our rehearsals. When you play the songs with a band you often get an idea which parts really work out well – and sometimes you have to adjust some transitions or cut something down. We always make some demos of our new songs. When you listen to a song some weeks later you often get a new idea immediately – but when I’m really convinced by a song in the first time – I won’t change it.
ZT: You’ve got some cool sleeve artwork going on there, who’s responsible for that?
ACKER: My wife is an art lover and when I was talking about the lyrical concept about the new album she came up with the awesome painting “Autodafé” by Zichy Mihály an artist from Hungary. We did some modifications so that it fits better to the size of a Cover artwork – but in general we left it untouched, because you can’t really improve a painting from the old masters ;) She also had the idea to use an old drawing from a city for the background of the booklet pages and the small copper engravings to emphasize the individual tracks. We used an old painting for the cover artwork of Quartering the Doomed as well.
ZT: Supreme Carnage have that real dirty old school DM attitude. Tell us some of the band’s influences, Morbid Angel, Obituary?
ACKER: My musical background started with classical rock / hard rock and turned more and more into more brutal subgenres of metal. I am a huge fan of Death Metal from the 90s. I love bands like Dismember, Unleashed, Grave, Gorefest, God Dethroned – just to name a few. But I also like some more “modern” sounding bands like Kataklysm, Hatesphere or Ill-Disposed. Every band member has his own favorites. Nova (guitar) for example really is a brutal death metal guy – so there are some other influences too. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel – we want to play the music we love, but I think that we created our own vibe and you can recognise a Supreme Carnage song immediately.
ZT: Do any of the guys have any other musical projects they’re involved with?
ACKER: All band members have played in other bands before but at the moment there are no side projects, except of a little cover band project I’m involved.
ZT: What’s been your highlight on the road this year?
ACKER: We had some great shows going on. Our release gig in our hometown Münster was a blast and we played a great new festival named “Tank mit Frank” together with Tankard. Hopefully we get the chance to play some more open air / festival shows in 2016 and maybe we’ll find the time to do a short tour too.The first dates are already confirmed!
ZT: Thanks for taking time out with ZT guys. Finally are there any plans to tour outside of Germany next year, the UK perhaps?
ACKER: We’d love to play a show in the UK – our vocalist and guitarist finally got their visas and are allowed to travel to the UK from now on – so maybe it will happen in the near future. Any promoters our there: get in touch!! Thank you very much for the interview. Take care everybody and don’t forget to check our web or Facebook page!