Interviews : Deströyer 666 (Ian Shrapnel) – 9/12/2009
Deströyer 666 – Ian Shrapnel
Deströyer 666 have played a major part in Australia’s black metal scene. First starting off in Melbourne’s underground in the early 90’s the band quickly gained the recognition of European support and fame with their first releases. Since then the band have relocated themselves to Europe due to the overwhelming success in that region. In 2010 we will see the triumphant return of Deströyer 666 to Australian shores.
Metal Obsession recently had the pleasure to speak with Deströyer 666 lead guitarist Ian Shrapnel about the band’s return to Australia in 2010 during Metal Month and Screamfest early next year.
Metal Obsession: Deströyer 666 will be playing in Australia for the first time in years; the last time you played here would have to be at least 2003. Are you looking forward to playing live in Australia again?
Ian Shrapnel: Very much. Australia was always a killer place to play. The crowd support for D666 was always strong and we have had many amazing responses in the past. It will be great to be on our home soil once more.
MO: In 2001, you relocated to Europe, what were your reasons for relocating?
IS: We relocated because we wanted to play as many different places as possible. We felt that we had played Australia so many times that we had exhausted all the avenues and opportunities that a black thrash metal band could have there. We wanted to see what the rest of the world had to offer. We couldn’t afford to fly back and forth from Australia, it just wasn’t logistically possible, money was tight and the opportunities are scarce when you’re trying to organise tours and concerts from the other side of the world.
Living in Europe opened up possibilities for us as a band. Without doubt the European scene for metal is the healthiest in the world, there are so many different countries and cities that you can play. It’s possible to easily play 30 or 40 date tours, performing every day to large crowds. To do that back home, playing the style of music that we do, is really impossible.
MO: It was rumoured that your 2002 album Cold Steel… for an Iron Age would be re-released with new cover artwork and bonus tracks. It was also rumoured that Deströyer 666 never approved the cover artwork which appeared on the original 2002 release. Are the rumours true?
IS: Yes, Cold Steel is to be re-issued. Originally there were problems with the layout and cover. Season of Mist didn’t like the original artwork, even though we did. They felt it looked too power metal. So we were given an ultimatum to produce a cover immediately or have a long delay with the album’s release. Things were rushed through, compromises were made, mistakes were made and the end result left us feeling bitter. It was the main reason why we left Season of Mist when our contract ran out and went with the much smaller German label Iron Pegasus.
MO: Why was there such a big gap between the release of the Terror Abraxis EP (2003) and Defiance (2009)?
IS: The band was going through a transitional period. My visa for the Netherlands had expired and I had to move to England. Our bass player had decided that he wanted to go back home which was very understandable. We had done it very hard in the first couple of years. The band was reaching a point of fatigue and once we all moved apart this increased.
We started to try and get things going the usual way by jamming together, which of course now meant we had to fly and meet in neutral ground which was now the south of Holland. Everything cost a bloody fortune; everything took a massive effort…even for the smallest of things. Creatively things started to grind to a halt and as a band we became burnt out. It wasn’t until early 2008 that we managed to get the ball rolling once more. We had to adapt to our situation and approach writing music in a different way. We started focusing on formulating the basic song structures on cubase which enabled us to get a lot of the ground work done before we were all together. Once we starting using this method the Defiance album began to move very quickly.
MO: How have the reviews been for the new album, Defiance?
IS: The reviews have been positive. Some seemed to be disappointed that there wasn’t as much thrash as the previous album. I guess many were expecting Defiance to be a continuation of the ‘Cold Steel’ album, however to me the album continues on the path Destroyer 666 has been on since the early days. The elements are all still present.
MO: Generally speaking, in my opinion each successive Destroyer 666 album surpasses its predecessor, and Defiance is no different. When you write music for each album, do you consciously aim to write a better album than the previous, or is it a natural progression?
IS: Writing music has to be a challenge, it needs to push the boundaries. I’m not interested in creating the same album twice. There was no conscious decision to write a certain way. We try and create music that gives us the feeling metal music should.
Quite often the songs that begin a certain way end very differently, when they reach the album stage they have morphed. It’s almost like you have no control of what’s going on, of what the finished music will be. Like an untamed beast.
MO: What is in store for Deströyer 666 in 2010?
IS: We are planning an eastern European tour with Watain taking us to many countries that we haven’t been before. We are also working on a bigger tour of the states. We are also going to begin writing new material. It’s going to be a busy year.
MO: Any last comments for the Australian fans?
IS: Come down the front, thrash ya brains out, keep the Aussie metal spirit alive. Thanks for the interview.
Deströyer 666 Australian Tour 2010
Thurs 31 Dec @ ScreamFest, Sydney
Tues 8 Jan 2010 @ The Capitol, Perth
Wednes 9 Jan 2010 @ Fowlers Live, Adelaide
Thurs 12 Jan 2010 @ The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
Fri 14 Jan 2010 @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
Sat 15 Jan 2010 @ The Metro, Sydney
Sun 16 Jan 2010 @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
For ticket information please go to www.justsayrock.com.au
Don’t forget our Metal Month giveaway is still running. For your chance to win a double pass to the upcoming Metal Month in your capital city, simply click on the image below and follow the instructions.