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WAR-HEAD  E-mail
Written by Fab   
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 17:15
1.3/5 (23 votes)



I admit, I have not been much impressed by what I've been listening to coming from the Death/Thrash Metal genre lately... BUT there's nevertheless one band that really made on me a big impression by composing intense, catchy & refined Death/Thrash Metal... this one comes from Croatia and is named WAR-HEAD and released last year an amazing album called "Still No Signs Of Life"... I wanted to know more about them & that was also the right moment since they're soon embarking on an european tour with brasilian GRAVE DESECRATOR... Guitarist Vlad answers my questions...

- Hello Vlad ! Hope you're doing fine ! Well, to start the intie, can you briefly introduce WAR-HEAD to the readers ?
Hi Fab, thanx a lot for the opportunity to be featured in Metalheart webzine. War-Head is a Death/Thrash band, or how we like to call it, Deathrash for the Armageddon Millennium :-) We like old Death and Thrash Metal equally, and we simply refuse to play "pure" style of Metal. It is probably a commercial suicide, but we really don`t care.....remember all those great late 80`s bands, that were trying to evolve into something heavier, but they were still Thrash and not Death Metal yet ? This is my favorite period in Metal music. bands like Messiah, etc...... However, we live when we live and we don`t have any intentions to have an actual sound like we`re in the 80`s. We aim for a fat and powerful sound, without being too polished or sterile sounding. But, you know, talking means nothing ,so, I urge your readers to check our website on www.war-head.net and listen to the music to get an impression of what we`re about.

- I guess WAR-HEAD is not your first band... were you all involded in other bands before the creation of WAR-HEAD and why did you feel the need to start THIS band : WAR-HEAD ?
Of course it is not our first band. Dario and me have played in a melodic Death Metal band Serpent Sun. But it wasn`t what we liked, so one day we decided to form another band, where we would play what we like. I also played in some Darkthrone sounding Black Metal bands since mid 90`s til very early 2000`s. Piper, the drummer, he still has a Progressive band called Symbolic, but it is kind of on a backburner at the moment...

- If I'm not wrong, you started as a four-piece band but last year after a line-up change, you decided to remain as a three-piece band .. Why this choice ? Do you think this formula is more comfortable for WAR-HEAD ? Why ?
Yeah, we started as a four piece.... after some changes, Dario took over the vocal duties, while still keeping on playing bass, and we got a second guitar player in the band. It was one of the better line-ups we had (the best one except for the current one). It was also in this line up when we did our first tours. Unfortunatelly,  in the end it didn`t work out with the second guitar player and we kept going on as a 3 piece. So, in a way, it wasn`t really a choice, it was just how the cards were dealt to us. However, we think we function really good as a 3 piece, especially on a personal level. The less people you have in a band, the easier it gets to aggree on things. Also don`t forget about one thing that people are not usually thinking about. We are really an underground band, so, having less people in the band makes our touring cheaper.

- Let's speak about your discography... Your self-released in 2008 your first album called "No Signs Of Armageddon"... and in 2011 you released "Still No Signs Of Armageddon" (thru DENIM & LEATHER Records from England) which actually is a re-recorded version of "No Signs Of Armageddon" with the actual line-up ... can you explain us this way of proceeding ? Wasn't it better to record a new album with new songs ? Did you want to give a second chance to that album that now has a better distribution/promotion, since you're on a label now... ?
I could give a reeeaallyyy long answer to this question :-) But will try to keep it as short as possible. We really weren`t satisfied with the sound we had on the first version of the album. The sound was really a quality one, but it was just too clean and polished for our taste. A bit later, we just thought...... look, we are a smaaaaall band, we have no label pressing us to constantly release new stuff. So, we just decided, let`s re-record the material, strictly for our own pleasure and have these songs exactly the way we want them to be. And it is just what we got. Somebody might like, or not like the material, but it is what we want and it is the only important thing to us.

- How did you hook that deal with DENIM & LEATHER Records ? This label is not that old and has a few releases out (Adrenicide/Nuestros Derechos) but seems to be run with passion & dedication for Thrash/Crossover styles.. how do you feel being on DENIM & LEATHER Records ?
We got in touch with Denim & Leather through our mutual friend, the boss of the French label Infernö Records and we are eternally gratefull to both guys. You know, it is really not easy for a band from Croatia to get released on a Western label. Some of the songs found on this release date all the way back to `92. It is a great thing we can finally lay the past to rest, so to speak and start moving forward. The label is still small, but so are we, you know :-) Richard is a great guy, obviously doing all of this for the love of it.

- Back to that "new" album... what about the responses it got so far.. I mean from the medias ? Do you think it gets the attention it really deserves ? I mean I personally think it is an amazing piece of technical Death/Thrash Metal and I'd be sorry to hear the feedback is average or bad....
To be honest, I have no idea how is the media response...... if I`d have to guess, it would be almost unexistent. We are a small band on a small label... you know how these things are usually going on.....you need exposure in big magazines.....but big magazines review just the bands from big labels, as big labels are paying them advertisement money..... But we don`t care much.....another way of getting noticed is by doing a lot of gigs, and this is exactly what we plan to do....it might take a bit longer, but, nevermind.......
Bands can also present themselves with spaming all over the facebook, forums, etc............ but this approach is not for us and I am disgusted by this way of promotion.....

- Well, we're talking about the band & album.. but not precisely about the musical style... How would you describe your style to the readers ? Would you agree if I say it sounds like a mix of Kreator (for the aggression) and Death/Monstrosity (for the more complex parts) and also Carcass, this being due to the vocal type.. which makes me think of Jeff Walker's way of singing... at the "Heartwork" period...
Guess I already partly answered on this in previous questions :-) Think you are perfectly right in your stylistical description. We are are also quite influenced by classical music when it comes to guitar riffs......actually, it might even be the biggest influence on us.
When it comes to vocals, we have a rule that the voice must be aggressive, but understandable. Again, why speak about the music, just listen to us :-) or even better, come to one of our gigs.

- I've been really impressed by the guitar works... it's precise & riffs are really sharp and they emanate real feelings of anger.. but not only as you sometimes integrate dissonant parts (like on "Away") and also the guitar solos are always melodious & full of feelings... Is that important for you to keep this balance between melody & aggression in your sound ???
Heh, you`re simply asking for looong answers again and again :-) When it comes to solos, I really think it is not my strength, my forte are riffs. The riffs are what the music is about. Don`t get me wrong, I just LOVE guys like Malmsteen, but am not listening to music for the solos......
And yeah, it is REALLY important for us to have some contrasting parts in the songs, we will never have a 100% full speed ahead song or 100% slow song.....When it comes to feeling in our songs, it is just what`s coming out of us you know...we don`t plan to sound this or that way....it just comes out the way it is..........usually it simply happens to be a bit dark and angry haha....
I can`t tell you how much work was put into sounding sharp and precise. Especially on the recording, as we did 4 rhythm guitar track. But sounding sharp and precise is not just in the guitar work, but the work of the whole band. We tune to B, so, when you`re tuned this low, you need to pay attention to how you set up your amplifier.

- Still about certain guitar-riffs & other ideas... in the booklet, it is said some are really old.. from 1992... Do you mean you started working for WAR-HEAD a long time before the band was created or... another reason would be the historical events in ex-Yugoslavia... and the war that happened there.... is that the reason why you have finally been able to release them in 2011 ?
I started writing songs at that time with no special band in mind......the war had nothing to do with the songs being released so late........it was just the fact of not being able to find the right people for these songs. I was always in some other people`s bands, and the stuff i had was just not right for these bands.......I would love it to give more interesting answer on this question, but I  told you the truth :-)

- The war... it seems to be an essential part of your lyrical content.. I mean war and everything that goes with... society's problem, struggles... I guess this historical part of your country is still very present in your minds.. Is dealing with those topics it a way to exorcise the demons from the past.. kinda catharsis ?
The lyrics were written by our ex-singer, Igor and they are mostly personal thoughts and struggles, thoughts on the world surrounding you. This is what I like. The real thing !! To put your intimacy to the audience, not just do lyrics for the sake of it and sing about zombies and stuff. You just can`t escape from the effect the war had on us all, it is just imprinted deep inside of you, wether you like it or not ,wether you`re aware of it or not.....so, even if the lyrics are not directly connected to war, I am sure some things just surfaced unconciously...... And you are completely right, the lyrics were a 100% catharsis for the guy who wrote them.

- It seems the ex-yugoslavian scene was very rich before the war.. bands like BOMBARDER, DEMONIAC, ANNATHEMA to name a few were really interesting... and probably they'd have grown big if the war didn't come to fuck all this up... What about the scene in your country now.. ? Any good bands, labels to mention ? Is it easy to play live for a band like WAR-HEAD and are people numerous to gigs ??
You`re asking for it again :-) It is one of my favorite topics to talk about...the ex-Yugoslavian scene. next to the bands you mentioned, people should listen to Evil Blood, Dr. Steel, Drinking Skull, Witchcraft, Aeon, Dissection, Kain, Heller and my favorites from ex-Yu, Bloodbath. There are many, many other great bands from the area, but are too numerous to count...
It is actually also a quite painful topic to talk about, as I am sure if it weren`t for the fucking war, the ex-Yugoslavian scene would be one of the strongest in Europe. We had a vast amount of fans......there were festivals with just the local bands playing, and the attendance was counted in well over 5-6 thousands........
We had the critical mass, and just when the time was right for the explosion, the fucking war happened and destroyed everyting......
There are just a couple of really small labels in ex-Yu area, they are mostly in Serbia. I think the biggest one is Grom records. When it comes to the bands from these areas, I need to mention Bane, Agonize, Toxicdeath, Stone, Wasted Generation, Kymera, and a lot of other good quality bands in different genres.
If we speak about War-Head concretly, we have no problem getting gigs in our area. Usually we play for 100 to 250 people. The biggest audience on our headline gig was 520 sold tickets.

- About gigs/Tours... You toured in Europe in 2010 with WARBRINGER and in 2011 with EURE ERBEN (Ex-DARKNESS from germany)... what souvenirs do you keep from these experiences ? Do you like being on the road and playing outside Croatia ??
We are strange people sometimes :-) We are not even taking pictures, not to speak about the souvenirs :-) The only souvenirs we have from these tours are great memories. Tours and gigs are the reason we`re doing this you know...........But when you`re mentioning our tours, don`t forget the 6 days Cro/BiH tour we did with USA Thrashers Devastation....it was a great, great time and they are a great, great people.  We just love being on the road, we usually even sleep in the van, but it is not a problem for us......because.......did I mention we just fucking LOVE touring :-)

- Your next tour is imminent now ! You're about to tour with brasilian GRAVE DESECRATOR... right ? Can you tell us more on this tour ? How was it possible ? How many dates & where ? How do you feel about this... excited ???
The tour will go through a lot of countries I won`t be mentioning each country, but some of them are France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway....... We will play something like 25 dates, and after it, Grave Desecrator will continue alone for more gigs. We took months and months to book this tour, but now it will be a reality. We just can`t wait to hit the road.....

- Great ! I hope I can catch you somewhere on this tour & share a few beers :-) Besides that tour, what are the other plans for WAR-HEAD ??? You said to come to Valenciennes, so, hope it will come through. beers are always an option :-) besides the tour, we will  participate to the first Croatian Wacken Metal Battle. No matter the outcome, it will be a great gig. In July we will go on the road again, this time with the Brazilian Thrashers Violator. Some festivals will also happen over the Summer, but we still can`t give out the names......as you see.......touring is our plan :-)

- I just have now to thank you for your time ... it was a pleasure doing this interview.. last words are yours... Anything you want to add ??? I want to thank YOU man, the pleasure is mine. You had some interesting questions, it was a pleasure to answer on your questions.

> www.war-head.net




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