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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:26 am 
 

So where we left off, War Without End is recorded. Bill Metoyer is a cool guy and reminds me a bit of Ice-T in his mannerisms. He has a studio in a back house here in the San Fernando Valley where I currently live. I go on a month long trip alone to Europe and backpack around for a month on a spirit quest, our first tour (with Exodus!) is booked. I'm about to turn 21 at this point.
At this point I realize that if I go through and talk about all the records in a complete sense I'm actually basically telling my life story, since this took the great majority of my time and effort in life. Ok, sure, let's go.
TOUR WITHOUT END

Our first few years of touring were just to the point of insanity. Some notes on each
2008-
Jan-Feb- Exodus, Goatwhore, Arsis, Warbringer- North America
First tour ever. 5 guys and a friend doing merch in a really shitty blue van from at least before 1990. We had no idea what we were doing and just were thrown into it. I remember getting lost repeatedly (we had no GPS at this point), everyone sick. Us California dudes learned what COLD means. We had no heater in the van too, and we lived in the van. We got $100/show and somehow made it driving across the whole country. We also raged like motherfuckers. I think we were pretty sloppy at this point but our answer was basically to just compeltely flip out on stage and go berzerk and destroy everything with thrash. Honestly we were reckless as humans. We got fucked up and had all kinds of misadventures. Got stuck in a pretty goddamn gnarly blizzard in the dead of night and people were screaming "We're gonna die!" and saying we had to stop, so I was screaming back "Fuck no! We make the show!" or something like that repeatedly. We caused some problems for Exodus with our youthful shenanigans (basically everyone getting drunk and doing stupid shit every night), but they found us endearing somehow and said stuff like "you guys are just like we were." We were friends and it was a blast. I was writing up a "this one time..." story but stopped myself.

March-April- Nile, Suicide Silence, The Faceless, Unexpect, Warbringer- North America

We get a real van. And a GPS. Things predictably improve. Quote of the tour, a dude outside some crummy place in Nebraska- "I just wanna hear breakdowns with no fucking guitar solos!" Weak, dude. Was funny to see the fan-clash there. Some inter-band shit was getting pretty fucked up at this point. Lots of fighting amongst ourselves in these early tours. Not easy to live in a van with 5 other guys and do a stressful job at the same time. Some of the dudes were 19 too, so collectively we were pretty dumb.

May-June- Napalm Death, Suffocation, Warbringer- Europe

We lived on a double decker bus with Napalm and Suffo. Was awesome. Much party. Mostly killer shows. Great memories of this one. I remember the dudes from both these bands up at 2 am having a heated argument of what exactly constitutes a blast beat, and where it first appeared. Was cool to see two of the originators talking about something like this. Anyway, after this tour Ryan Bates quit (he was generally super bitter at this time as I remember, and just hated touring). We had one month until the next tour on the books to find a new drummer. Nic Ritter was the guy we found, he had a totally different backround and was significantly older than us. One hell of a drummer though. We rehearsed nonstop on our little time off and hopped off to tour again.

July-August- Euro-Fests, mixed with tour- Sworn Enemy, All Shall Perish, Warbringer

So this tour began with Wacken 2008, and it was our first show with Nic Ritter. Our booking agency in Europe was more hardcore leaning overall, so we ended up on this tour, which actually went fairly well. Bunch of animals.

September-October- Overkill, Goatwhore (i think) Warbringer, Epicurean

We weren't first on the bill! Woo! Took about 8 months of constant touring, but there we go... we are no longer the youngest and newest band. Ran this one down. Was solid. Now we had til the end of the year to write and record a record before our next tour in January.

As it turns out that time period was just over two months. We locked in Gary as a producer, since we'd gotten on well on the tour. We went down to Hollywood every day to rehearse with Nic and write the songs. "Severed" and "Whirlwind" Laux riffs were already sitting around from Ryan Bates era, but Nic's drumming changed the feel of them quite a bit and made them move around in a more frenzied and spastic way. Cool change that really gave the record its character. Some of this stuff we wrote in an afternoon because we had no choice. Jackal I remember was made super quickly. "Abandoned by Time" was Adam's first full song written for the band with only his riffs ("Nightmare Anatomy" second). "Forgotten Dead" was "my" song on the record, no one in the band wanted to work on a song where I hummed the riffs so I got another guitar played, hummed the riffs to them, got Nic to play drums to that, then made the band learn it. There was animosity on this, and thus we never played the song live. There was a bit of a fight over the direction- I wanted to keep it very very thrash, Ben Bennett had his own idea for things ("Shadow from the Tomb", he wrote the lyrics, which I don't think are great), Nic Ritter had to be constantly watched or he'd start basically playing a drum solo. There was this kind of battle going on over which way the record would go and how much crazy more extreme metal or prog-directed stuff we were going to have vs how much pure old-school thrash. It ended up at a pretty cool balance, I think. We were also now more specifically into the really heavy side of thrash. Epidemic of Violence gets credit here on inspiration.

In the studio- We recorded in a place called Shark Bite in Oakland. Someone tried to break into our trailer with a crobar. We lived in a totally empty box of a room in the studio. We were there exactly 12 days. Gary did a great job... he had an engineer do all the engineering but his ear and knack for guitar tone were a big help. He showed up early every day, often barging into the room and getting us all to wake the fuck up and start working. We had some fun times, he brought in Tom Hunting to help set up the drums, and Zetro came through as well. We worked swiftly and productively and once tracking was done, set off for another tour. We literally were listening to and making notes on mixes of the record from our moving van in the mountains, heading out to the next tour.

The record itself- I think Waking is a damn strong record. It's definitely thrashy as hell, but has a different quality than most thrash I've heard. It has this spastic chaos to it that our other records don't have as much, because of the circumstances of its making, and because Ritter's hyperactive drumming. This isn't always a strength, as I think some tracks towards the end fall a bit short (Always hated "senseless life" chorus, was originally gonna be "Anti-life" which I thought was a fucking terrible title. The solo/harmonies at the end rule though). It also contains only one "war" song, in contrast to the first record having 7 or 8. I think I still sound a bit young and nasal on this, but stuff like "Severed Reality" (probably my defining song for the record) has a great blend of >really< crushing parts and blistering speed along with a huge crazy drum fill leading into a cosmic solo section... I think here we start to really set ourselves apart from the flip-hat hordes that were appearing at the time. The video for this was actually filmed live all at one show, in Milwaukee. People flipped out SO hard.

Anway, we then played over FUCKING THREE HUNDRED SHOWS in 2009. Our tour shirt had 100+ dates on it printed in size 8 font. I think peabody's in Cleveland appeared on it 3 or 4 times. We did laps around the country. We did a full two month tour with Soilwork where I got pnuemonia for a week and was beyond miserable (didn't miss a show!). Then after that tour ended on the East Coast, we played some headline shows heading west to meet up with Exodus to play more shows heading back East to meet up with Kreator in Baltimore. The tour was Kreator/Exodus/Belphegor/Warbringer/Epicurean. It was a sweet lineup due to the double thrash legends, but we hobbled through the whole thing playing only 5 songs and with the drummer for Epicurean filling in. In one of the headline shows in DeMoines, Iowa, Bennett said some really cruel personal stuff to Ritter until Ritter flipped, ran off into the night and punched a dumpster as hard as he could, rendering himself useless as a drummer. (Adam filled in on Drums for the Exodus shows). I yanked Bennett out of the van and stomped on his face. Probably the most violent I've been towards a fellow human. We got on stage somewhere and played a show the next day. Rough.

Gotta give a hats off to Kreator for being great humans as well as a great band. (Exodus is too but I already wrote on that)

We went back to Europe, I think, back to the US, I don't honestly even remember anymore. At some point 2009/2010 Nic Ritter quits and we finally get a break... to go find a new drummer and make a new record for release as soon as possible so we could tour again.

I'm pretty sure during this period I've toured basically as hard as any human ever has. To the best of my knowledge Warbringer 2008-2009 toured more than any band ever, at a total of about 570 shows and a new record, and handling a change of drummers, in 730 days. I think to myself "someone must of done more" but I've never actually heard any stories of a band playing more than that. A different city every day. A 6+ hour drive every day. When I got home I would just linger uselessly for my week and a half or whatever and just hop back in the van by the end. It was certainly taking a huge toll on us though. At this point fatigue really set in on everyone and it never truly left.

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ElectricBasement
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:39 pm
Posts: 35
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:55 am 
 

So, do you make any actual money from this or does it leave you pretty broke still? because with all the driving and people you need to employ I'd imagine it would take away most of your profits.

I admire your hard work though, chasing your dreams and doing something special with yourself. What do your missus' thing of that touring lifestyle? man if I were playing in a succesful thrash band I'd be trying to get that sweet puss.

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thrashinbatman
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 634
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:41 am 
 

Man, I didn't realize you guys had so many interpersonal issues during touring. It can definitely take it's toll on you. I just did a week and a half long tour last month, obviously not the perpetual tour you guys did, but it went pretty swimmingly, very little issues. Though we had to fire our drummer right after, so maybe not?

I really admire your guys' work ethic during that time. That must have been brutal.
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BastardHead
Magic Mike

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:53 pm
Posts: 7429
Location: Elgin, Illinois
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:11 pm 
 

I didn't post in the previous thread since I just don't have much to say about WWE (it's alright I guess but I don't listen to ever), but I am reading and enjoying these. I remember commenting to friends around this time just how many god damned tours y'all were on at the time and it's cool to see you acknowledge how insane that was and to read what kind of a toll it took on you. My only question is the same as posited above, as to whether or not you made any sort of money out of all that touring or if you were lucky to break even. I hear horror stories all the time about that sort of thing. I saw the Chicago date of the Kreator/Exodus/Belphegor tour and to my knowledge it's the only time I've seen Warbringer live. Personally thought Belphegor stole the show there, their stage presence is completely unreal and I've done my best to not miss another Chicago date of theirs since (though I missed last Sunday).

For what it's worth, I like Waking into Nightmares probably the most out of the current four albums on the whole (though far and away the best song has yet to come), and it's a ludicrous amount better than War Without End. I liked the heightened heaviness that bordered on death/thrash at times, and it was cool to read about that writing/recording process and to see how much the personnel at the time had to do with that shift.
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SkullFracturingNightmare
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:20 pm
Posts: 809
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:52 pm 
 

Damn, talk about really putting in the effort to get your band's name out there. Reading about all that extensive touring you guys put in definitely makes me appreciate Waking into Nightmares a LOT more than I already do. Absolutely my favorite Warbringer album for sure, favorite tracks would be Shadow from the Tomb, Jackal, Living in a Whirlwind, and Scorched Earth just to name a few. Nightmare Anatomy kicks ass too.
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Deathdoom1992
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat May 07, 2016 9:19 am
Posts: 226
Location: Wallowing in a sea of sorrow.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:20 pm 
 

Fuck yes! Waking into Nightmares is one of the greatest thrash albums ever made imho. The energy is just so raw and the music is so technical and brutal as BH said.

My question is: what led to Andy Laux departing and then rejoining around a year later? Was he just ready to rejoin after Bennett left?
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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
Posts: 7669
Location: At the Heat of Winter
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:38 pm 
 

My band opened for you guys at one point in Detroit. You were headlining, and I believe traveling on your own. Was a lot of fun, you guys certainly didn't seem burned out then.

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Jester66
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2005 5:23 pm
Posts: 74
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:08 am 
 

I knew you guys toured a lot back then....but damn. I think I saw Warbringer like 100 times at Jaxx on the various tours. It seemed like you were on every one....now I know why.

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Jebator
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:11 am
Posts: 128
Location: Croatia
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:22 am 
 

I really enjoy reading this, so please continue.

I am saving my questions for the last album :-)

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:43 am 
 

ElectricBasement wrote:
So, do you make any actual money from this or does it leave you pretty broke still? because with all the driving and people you need to employ I'd imagine it would take away most of your profits.

I admire your hard work though, chasing your dreams and doing something special with yourself. What do your missus' thing of that touring lifestyle? man if I were playing in a succesful thrash band I'd be trying to get that sweet puss.


Basically, no. I see it like I've made a decision to be poor in order to do metal. I've done various odd work. Now I'm studying history (aim to be a professor), working on BA. Only able to do this now due to support of my fiancee and family.

Thanks! Well at the time I did it >that< much (which I will not do again), it was an obvious strain on my relationship I had at the time.

I thought similarly to you, I'll just say that :P

thrashinbatman wrote:
Man, I didn't realize you guys had so many interpersonal issues during touring. It can definitely take it's toll on you. I just did a week and a half long tour last month, obviously not the perpetual tour you guys did, but it went pretty swimmingly, very little issues. Though we had to fire our drummer right after, so maybe not?

I really admire your guys' work ethic during that time. That must have been brutal.


I think we got along and worked together well most of the time. We weren't dysfunctional, I think for young bands we were one of the better ones around live honestly. We improved swiftly as a live band despite lineup changes what seemed like every 6 months. Every single time we have to go re-train like 13 songs at least of blistering fast music. I am SO weary of this by now. We had to do this often in between tours, so our off time wasn't. I think just living the band almost non-stop for years really strained some of the interpersonal relationships. Anything else interpersonal was a result of being collectively young and stupid in a really tight space together for a long time. Touring can be a very weird thing to deal with mentally, the sense of no home can really fuck with people's heads.

Thanks! Yeah it was but we play from the heart so the whole time we just grit our teeth and did it. Figured it was the only way a band like us would ever succeed.

BastardHead wrote:
I didn't post in the previous thread since I just don't have much to say about WWE (it's alright I guess but I don't listen to ever), but I am reading and enjoying these. I remember commenting to friends around this time just how many god damned tours y'all were on at the time and it's cool to see you acknowledge how insane that was and to read what kind of a toll it took on you. My only question is the same as posited above, as to whether or not you made any sort of money out of all that touring or if you were lucky to break even. I hear horror stories all the time about that sort of thing. I saw the Chicago date of the Kreator/Exodus/Belphegor tour and to my knowledge it's the only time I've seen Warbringer live. Personally thought Belphegor stole the show there, their stage presence is completely unreal and I've done my best to not miss another Chicago date of theirs since (though I missed last Sunday).

For what it's worth, I like Waking into Nightmares probably the most out of the current four albums on the whole (though far and away the best song has yet to come), and it's a ludicrous amount better than War Without End. I liked the heightened heaviness that bordered on death/thrash at times, and it was cool to read about that writing/recording process and to see how much the personnel at the time had to do with that shift.


Glad to hear you enjoy these! I'm having fun writing them.
Later tours (Worlds and after) the band became profitable. Not on a "raking in the cash" type of sense, but just so long as we conduct our business with reasonable intelligence we will at least break even at this point. Touring is >expensive< and just keeping up with the cost is a big hurdle for most new bands. The breakdown of guarantee is also often slanted really hard. I've often felt (and been told) that we are underpaid relative to how many people we draw in while we are working as a support act for various tours. Essentially, this aspect of it has felt like a huge uphill battle and I do wish I had more to show for it. That being said, life is working out well regardless. Post- Empires I pretty much thought my life was over but it comes around eventually.

And yeah, for me it's Waking or Worlds as a whole record, though I think Empires has a couple individual songs that are as good or better than anything on those.

SkullFracturingNightmare wrote:
Damn, talk about really putting in the effort to get your band's name out there. Reading about all that extensive touring you guys put in definitely makes me appreciate Waking into Nightmares a LOT more than I already do. Absolutely my favorite Warbringer album for sure, favorite tracks would be Shadow from the Tomb, Jackal, Living in a Whirlwind, and Scorched Earth just to name a few. Nightmare Anatomy kicks ass too.


Thanks dude! This approach of ours gives me an instant hatred for gimmick and image based bands. I just can't help it.

Deathdoom1992 wrote:
Fuck yes! Waking into Nightmares is one of the greatest thrash albums ever made imho. The energy is just so raw and the music is so technical and brutal as BH said.

My question is: what led to Andy Laux departing and then rejoining around a year later? Was he just ready to rejoin after Bennett left?


Thanks man! I think it's got its own little cool niche in the thrash genre. I am glad you like it, we have always tried out best to make sweet records for those who like to bang heads!

Andy recorded WWE but did not tour for it. He had to finish high school. That's how young we were. He was about 2 1/2-3 years younger than me. Ben Bennett lived nearby and hung out with many of the guys, so he joined on all the first tours. Having gone through the first 6 months of tour adventures with everyone he kind of took Andy's place in the band. About a year after that happened Ben got himself kicked out for a long streak of bad behavior, some of which has haunted us. Andy then rejoined.

Diamhea wrote:
My band opened for you guys at one point in Detroit. You were headlining, and I believe traveling on your own. Was a lot of fun, you guys certainly didn't seem burned out then.


Hell yeah! Well often it's illness that really gets me. I felt like I was sick half of the last tour. Being sick on tour sucks all the fun out cause you are just kicking yourself for sucking all the time.

Hey we probably had a beer or something then. Sweet. What's up dude?

Jester66 wrote:
I knew you guys toured a lot back then....but damn. I think I saw Warbringer like 100 times at Jaxx on the various tours. It seemed like you were on every one....now I know why.


Sad that place is gone. We always had great shows there.

Jebator wrote:
I really enjoy reading this, so please continue.

I am saving my questions for the last album :-)


Sure! I'll try to keep this up at a reasonable rate.

When the new one is closer and I can actually talk about it I'll do one on that too.

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AndySlayer
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:57 pm
Posts: 117
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:39 am 
 

Sweet post. I remember seeing you guys live numerous times and interviewing you after Waking had come out, always a class act on and off stage, the whole band was rad and super down to earth. Got to talk shop with Adam for a little, dude's a great conversation partner, very chill but engaged all the same.

Crazy little moment in time for me, I remember playing Metal Camp 2012 with my band, packing up our shit and rushing over to see Warbringer play, literally running off during the last couple of songs to catch a series of trains to get to Party-San in Germany and catching you live there as well. Felt surreal at the time :)

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Spiner202
Metalhead

Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:32 pm
Posts: 1582
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:18 am 
 

I'm pretty upset with myself because I was at that Kreator/Exodus/Belphegor tour and missed you guys. At the time, I was newer to the more extreme side of metal. I loved Exodus, and had a couple of Kreator albums, so I showed up just for them pretty much. It was probably later in the year when I got into Warbringer, and that's when I realized my mistake. I've still seen you guys 3 times over the years (had to miss you at Wacken 2012; they put you guys on at the same time as Sacred Reich! WTF? But I caught the Kreator/Overkill tour, the stacked lineup earlier this year with Cauldron/Exmortus/Enforcer, and the tour with Destruction in 2012).

Anyways, it is great to read your insight. Waking Into Nightmares stands alone as the best thrash album since 1991. It is unmatched in catchiness and brutality. I found it interesting you mentioned Senseless Life as one of your least favourites, as that has grown on me since release to become one of my favourites on the record. As soon as the tempo change happens, that song goes INSANE. Abandoned by Time is probably the best song, once again because of the tempo changes in the solo.

It's also funny how much better the touring conditions were for you guys in Europe. It really goes to show how much better metal is treated over there than it is here.
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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:52 pm 
 

AndySlayer wrote:
Sweet post. I remember seeing you guys live numerous times and interviewing you after Waking had come out, always a class act on and off stage, the whole band was rad and super down to earth. Got to talk shop with Adam for a little, dude's a great conversation partner, very chill but engaged all the same.

Crazy little moment in time for me, I remember playing Metal Camp 2012 with my band, packing up our shit and rushing over to see Warbringer play, literally running off during the last couple of songs to catch a series of trains to get to Party-San in Germany and catching you live there as well. Felt surreal at the time :)


Metalcamp! Love the grey-green river and the mountains there. Was listening to Basil Poledouris "Conan" soundtrack in the mountain drive up there, amazing.
Adam is a great dude, we've been doing this together the better part of 10 years now.
Hope you dug the shows!

Spiner202 wrote:
I'm pretty upset with myself because I was at that Kreator/Exodus/Belphegor tour and missed you guys. At the time, I was newer to the more extreme side of metal. I loved Exodus, and had a couple of Kreator albums, so I showed up just for them pretty much. It was probably later in the year when I got into Warbringer, and that's when I realized my mistake. I've still seen you guys 3 times over the years (had to miss you at Wacken 2012; they put you guys on at the same time as Sacred Reich! WTF? But I caught the Kreator/Overkill tour, the stacked lineup earlier this year with Cauldron/Exmortus/Enforcer, and the tour with Destruction in 2012).

Anyways, it is great to read your insight. Waking Into Nightmares stands alone as the best thrash album since 1991. It is unmatched in catchiness and brutality. I found it interesting you mentioned Senseless Life as one of your least favourites, as that has grown on me since release to become one of my favourites on the record. As soon as the tempo change happens, that song goes INSANE. Abandoned by Time is probably the best song, once again because of the tempo changes in the solo.

It's also funny how much better the touring conditions were for you guys in Europe. It really goes to show how much better metal is treated over there than it is here.


Thanks! Catchyness is very important to me... I find it lacking in a lot of newer metal material and to me I find it largely due to lazy/dispassionate songwriting.

Senseless life I think gets awesome at the end guitar section. (I can claim credit for the idea to do that with the song, to just have a long guitar outro section, though the part itself is a laux/carroll co-composition. Adam rules at the Swedish sounding melodic stuff) I find the verse/chorus to just be kind of a weaker version of other songs on there. Particularly the chorus. Wasn't my idea, that bit. Never liked.

Europe is a lot cushier typically and has better shows on average. USA has a lot of stretches that are way less good than the main urban zones. Still, you can have good and bad shows anywhere.

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