There have been many cases where I had to walk that extra mile in order to make an interview with a band, but believe me when I say that I went through hell and high water in order to achieve this interview with Hell-Bornís Bassist/Vocalist Jeff.
After the very last-minute cancellation of their gig in the London Underground, and plenty of missed opportunities, I e-mailed Jeff some questions regarding the release of the bandís latest album "Legacy of the Nephilim", and this is what the Polish noisemaker replied.
Congratulations for a very good album. I believe that "Legacy Of The Nephilim" is one of the best Extreme Metal releases I have recently listened to. Give us a few information about the recording process of the album.
Thanx a lot, man!" Legacy of The Nephilim" was recorded in June/July 2003 in Hertz Studio, as our previous records. We feel really comfortable in that studio and work there are always great. I can say that Hertz is a perfect place for HELL-BORN. That time we spent more time with drums and guitars sound than on previous albums, we used better drums and cymbals. I think the album sounds really good, 666 times better than "The Call of Megiddo" and "Hellblast". The studio gear is getting better every year, the guys are really professional and more and more experienced. We mastered the album in the same place and we are absolutely satisfied with the final effect!
This album is Hell-Bornís fourth release. Can you detect any similarities with the bandís previous releases, and what exactly did you feel that you wanted to achieve with this album?
First release was a mini-CD "Hell-Born" 1996 and I don't think we can compare that album to the present. It was released by Baal and Les and I think HELL-BORN 1996 and HELL-BORN today it's not the same band. However we don't forget about first mini CD and we still have "Hellraiser"" from that mini in our live-set. First true HELL-BORN album is "Hellblast" 2001. In fact it consists only 5 new tracks and could be another mini-CD but we put stuff from "Hell-Born" as a bonus on that so we got full length album. For me "Hellblast" is our debut album. In 2002 we released "The Call of Megiddo" with Basti from DEVILYN on drums. That album is faster, more death metal influenced I think, due to Basti's style. But we were not satisfied with drums sound, we recorded that album in hurry and the sound was not good enough. In 2003 we released our third album "Legacy of the Nephilim" and it is absolutely the best album of HELL-BORN so far. Sound and production are exactly what we wanted and the album is really strong and powerful. That album should prove the people that HELL-BORN is not some old school band but powerful death metal machine!
What was the reaction of the music press as far as the album was concerned?
Response is really, really great. We didn't expect such good notes for "Legacy...". We were aware of fact we released a very good album, but reactions are better than we hoped for. Good reviews and interviews for Terrorizer, Metal Hammer or Legacy as well as for polish magazines like Thrash' Em All or 7 Gates of Hell caused us proud of that album.
The album was recorded in Hertz Studios, a place where most Polish Bands record their albums. Whatís so special about this place, and how happy are you with the production of the album?
Hertz Studio has a very good feeling, atmosphere there is really comfortable and work and co-operation with Wieslawscy brothers is a true pleasure. And the studio is not expensive, by the way. We are really satisfied with production and mastering of "Legacy..." We released all our albums there (expect "Hell-Born" mini CD of course) and we can see and hear progress with every album. What's important, the studio develops all the time and the gear is better every year. It means that potential of Hertz is still rising up and our further albums will be also recorded there.
Did the fact that two members of the band were also playing for the legendary outfit Behemoth influenced the way the album sounds, or is Hell-Born a totally different musical proposition?
I think that BEHEMOTH evolved into extreme death metal, music seems to be very advanced, technical and complicated. HELL-BORN is more "classic", our songs are more melodic and catchy. It's still f****' death metal but we are closer to VENOM than CANNIBAL CORPSE. From my point of view BEHEMOTH and HELL-BORN are totally different, however both of us play extreme metal. Behemoth is more like Nergal's band when HELL-BORN is the team where everyone has an influence on music.
Have you scheduled any gigs for the promotion of the album?
We are promised by Conquer Rec. to play on some festivals this summer. So far we played on Infernal Damnation Festival in London and some gigs in Germany as well as on Conquer Festival in Poland. On September we're planning some shows in Poland.
What are the lyrics of the album about? Who is responsible for them?
All lyrics for HELL-BORN are generally written by Baal, expect in the "Hellblast" album where we did it together. Since "The Call of Megiddo" album Baal is the only writer in the band and all lyrics, titles and layout are his job. Baal is very specific guy, very into movies, books, comics, PC games so his imagination is unlimited. All lyrics are his visions and histories based on Bible's prophecy of final battle in Megiddo and they are his declaration of the side we stand. Antichristian message is very clear in all HELL-BORN's lyrics and don't expect any changes in this matter.
What is the normal song-writing process that the band follows?
Normally Les and I write songs and bring them to rehearsal room. Most of them we have arranged and completed, but sometimes we work on some ideas together. Baal doesn't write music in HELL-BORN but he is very at stake of drum parts. Just to say he played couple of years in BEHEMOTH on drums and he has not lost that feeling. As you know we have permanent problems with drummers, just to say that every album was released with another drummer, so Baal's experience and skills are necessary with writing and arrangement the songs.
Name the most important moment in the history of the band.
To say the truth I can't see any special moment in our history till now. In 2000 we were very proud that after four years' break we got the deal from Pagan Rec. without recording any demos or promos. In 2002 we were very proud with playing in USA as a second polish band -Vader was the first one and Behemoth had their first visit in USA couple of months later then we had. Today I can say we are really proud with our third album "Legacy Of The Nephilim".
You are under the "Protective Wings" of Conquer Records. How satisfied are you with the way the label treats you?
In 2001 HELL-BORN was a very small band from Poland who released mini CD five years earlier. Some people remembered our name, some forgot us. After 3 years in Conquer Records HELL-BORN became well-known name in Europe, we released three albums, we played several festivals and two small tour in USA, we appeared in many good magazines and on many compilations. We are really satisfied with that. But there is also some bitterness, distribution of our CDs is very, very poor and we still have not played any professional tour in Europe with some good headliner. It's absolutely necessary to put HELL-BORN level up, in other case we will stand in place. We hope everything will be ok with next album.
When are we to expect a new Hell-Born album? Do you have any new ideas ready?
We've just started writing new songs for our next album but I don't think it will be released this year. We are not going to change anything in our style. If somebody thinks that it means no progress I can say "f*** you!". We are faithful to our ideas and we gonna be as classic as possible. There are a lot of progressive bands in the scene and HELL-BORN is not going to join them. We want to be more like death metal MOTORHEAD than create new music dimensions. We have left that to others.
Are you satisfied with the evolution of the band? What is it that you want to achieve as a musician, and collectively as a band?
I think it's very personal in HELL-BORN case. HELL-BORN is not our first band and all of us were involved in other bands in the past. Les released several albums with DAMNATION and BEHEMOTH, Baal released first two albums of BEHEMOTH and DAMNATION "Resist" and I was only a person with no album experienced he, he. I think that we are all satisfied with the place we are now. We do what we want, we don't need to prove anything to anybody and we just play music that we love. I love fuckin' death/thrash metal of 80/90ties, that's my roots and I'm really proud I can play that music with people who thinks the same way. After three albums I can say I'm satisfied as a musician and I can proudly go on.
What inspired you to become a musician in the first place?
I think it was Metallicaís "Ride the Lightning" album. I was absolutely obsessed by their sound and power, it could not be compared to any hard'n'heavy bands I listened before. The same like Slayerís "Hell Awaits" and Kreatorís "Pleasure to kill". I remember that everyone wanted to look like Mille Petrozza in those days, ha, ha, ha!. You know, long fringe on face and tore blue jeans. But all school-playing changed in 1989 with Morbid Angelís "Altars of Madness" album. That was the turning point for us and in 1991 Les and I formed our first professional band DAMNATION.
A message to your fans.
Metal, Leather and Hell Forever! Thanx a lot for the interview. See you in hell....
Interview © 2004