It seems that Thrash Metal is far more influential than what people back in the 80's thought it would ever be. There are numerous young bands nowadays that are trying to recreate both the sound and the spirit of legendary outfits such as Slayer, Dark Angel and Possessed - most of which have achieved to become nothing more than mere cover bands. It seems though that the Dutch outfit Flesh Made Sin is willing to prove that quality and honesty still exist as values in many new Metal bands, and this interview with Twan van Geel (guitar/vocals) will help you reach your own conclusion .
Hi There. Flesh Made Sin has been around since mid 1999. Can you give us a short bio of the band?
Twan: Bjorn and I were thinking about making some sick ripping thrash metal because not many bands did it the old 'German' way nowadays. You had a lot of bands trying to copy The Haunted or Darkane, but we wanted it more raw and old school. Soon we founded Marco (drums) and Stip (bass) to fulfil this madness. After several live devastations with bands like Hypnosia, Dismember and some severe hangovers (!) we recorded 2 mini-albums namely 'Scenery of Death' and 'Masterwork in Blood' both on our own label 'Thrashing Hell Records'. Some time later Karmageddon Media thought the time was ripe to sign us, and we recorded our debut full-length album 'Dawn of the Stillborn'
Who came up with the name for the band? Is there a specific meaning behind it?
Twan: While thinking about a band name I very soon came up with Flesh made Sin. When god made men he gave birth to sin, the greatest enemy of his own will... For example: Peace, love and compassion are not on today's menu are they?
You come from the Netherlands, a country that has given birth to some very important Death Metal bands, like Thanatos, Pestilence (Gods!), Asphyx and God Dethroned. Yet you decided to dedicate yourselves in another extreme Metal genre, Thrash Metal. What's the reason that made you follow that specific musical direction?
Twan: Like I said earlier, not many bands nowadays play the kind of thrash metal we like most. That's why we started doing it ourselves, to piss everyone off with our old school thrashing hell. I mean I wanted to create the same feeling I had when I was 11 years old spinning back the 'hell awaits' album from Slayer to hear the haunted chants of 'join us' roar from my speakers (my soul was sold). We wanted to make real and honest music we think is sinful enough to be spread amongst the plague called men. But not only thrash metal is an inspiration, a lot of black-metal and some fine old death-metal as well. Hail Asphyx and Pestilence! Their albums 'Malleus Maleficarum' and 'Last one on Earth' where of great importance of the music I like (make) today!
Previous to the release of your debut album, you have recorded two mini CDs "Scenery of Death"(2000) and "Masterwork in Blood"(2002). Did you have a contract with a specific label at the time, or were they self-financed releases? How would any of your fans be able to get hold of them?
Twan: They were released throughout 'Thrashing Hell Records' and that means ' by us'. You can order them through our web-site or at the FMS shows of course. Maybe in the future they will be re-released (hopefully we can find someone who wants to release it on vinyl!) The Black-gold salvation...
Which were the most important moments in that early stage of your career? What led to the signing of a contract with Karmageddon Media in mid 2004? Did you have other offers from other record labels at the time, and if yes, what made you choose the Dutch label?
Twan: I think the mini tour we did with Hypnosia was great for everyone. Finally some real ripping thrash bands sharing the stage. Also the mini-Dismember tour was really cool. I think Karmageddon was thinking about signing us during the Dismember tour or some time afterwards. Flesh made Sin has a good live reputation, very aggressive and intense shows probably contributed to the signing with this Dutch label.
Well, it is almost a month since you released your debut album "Dawn of the Stillborn". Are you satisfied with the distribution and the demand in the music market? Which places in the world have shown the biggest interest for your album so far?
Twan: Well. It should have been released the 15th of November, but that unfortunately wasn't the case. I only have a promo-copy myself, but from what I've heard it has been seen in different record-shops at the 6th of December. So it's a bit too early to state anything sales-related. I'm not sure which part in the world will show the biggest interest. Let's hope for the biggest part! hahaha.
Like all of your previous efforts, "Dawn of the Stillborn" was recorded at Harrow Recording Studios. Why did you choose that specific place for the recordings of the album? Did the fact that bands like the Occult and Asphyx recorded their albums there played any significant role in your decision to use it?
Twan: Not in the first place, because Occult and Asphyx recorded there the name 'Harrow' was of course better known, but we recorded the album at Harrow Recording Studios because we were very pleased by the way they did our previous works. Marc ter Braak is a great guy to work with. He really let's you sweat the sh*t out of yourself and he is not pleased fast. This way it really contributes to the tightness of the album.
How much recording time were you given in order to complete the album? Did you enjoy the whole process? Are you satisfied with the result?
Twan: We were there for 7 days. It was intense, hard work, and of-course a lot of fun. We're all very happy with the results, but I have a feeling the best is yet to come...
Tell me a few things about Marc Ter Braak and his contribution to the fresh and heavy sound of "Dawn of the Stillborn". You have managed to capture the spirit of the 80's quite well, and also to create a clear and strong production - a luxury that most 80's Thrash Metal bands never had. Did you use any specific gear or any recording tricks that we should know of?
Twan: Great you like the soundings of the album! We used nothing special, just a Marshall 'jcm2000' sound for the guitars and no triggers on the drums, just plain and honest aggression. We also tried to make the bass-guitar less hear-able but more feel-able. You understand this?
"Dawn of the Stillborn" consists of eight songs with a total duration of thirty-eight minutes. Most of the 80's Thrash Metal bands like Slayer and Dark Angel were also in favour of fast albums. Was that a deliberate move from your side, or do you also agree that Thrash Metal compositions should not be any longer than four minutes?
Twan: I don't give a fu*k about the length of an album or song as long if it's good and essential. If a song lasts longer then 4 minutes it isn't thrash? What about Kreator's 'Pleasure to Kill' (4:08) hahaha!???????????
When did you first start recording material for "Dawn of the Stillborn", and which were the bands/artist whose music influenced you the most? I have found many elements from bands like Sadus, Dark Angel and Infernal Majesty in your music.
Twan: That's a good thing! I like all 3 bands very much especially Sadus and Infernal Majesty's "None shall defy"- Killer!!!! But I'm also inspired by loads of different music like Wumpscut, Diamanda Galas, N.I.N. , Curve, Neurosis, Craft, Deathspell Omega, Watain , Katharsis, Judas Iscariot, audial-hell like Halo, Godflesh, Pungent Stench, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Dark-Throne, Carcass, My Dying Bride, Anathema etc...Maybe you wont hear it in our music, because our mission is pure fuc*ing Thrash-metal, but for me it's an inspiration more in general. When it comes to the song writing process, every band has a different way of creating their songs. How do the guys in Flesh Made Sin record their songs? With a severe hangover!
Tell me a few things about the lyrics of the album. Is that your job, or does the rest of the band contribute to them? Which is the message that the band is trying to promote through them?
Twan: The lyrics I make represent darkness and death in horrid ways. Serial killings, suicide propaganda, war and other great knowledge of destruction bathing in oceans of total death reflecting from this worlds shattered mirror while god slices his wrists with the shattered glass of his existence...the next dawn will be stillborn! And so we wait... And so we create...
Do you believe in the importance of the lyrics in Heavy Metal music, or do you believe that the music is far more important? How easy is it for you guys to write lyrics in a language that is not your own?
Twan: The lyrics have to fit the music, if the music goes straight for the kill, the lyrics have to follow. But I like it when people can find their own interpretations in them. I don't want to write too serious lyrics. Life is to short and fu*ked for that kind of sh*t. The power of metal lyrics in general to me is that they should stand above the masses. An elite force of darkness and evil...Join us! (Hail the Slayer lyrics from 'hell awaits', need I say more?!)
Which one out of the eight compositions of the album is the one that you find most to your liking? Is there one song in this album that stands out and could potentially become the representative of the band's music, if such a thing is needed?
Twan: I think every song has it's own importance on the album. My personal favourite is 'Spiritual Death-Trip'. But we try to make every song a worthy effort for this band, otherwise it wouldn't be on the album!
Have you got any touring plans as far as the promotion of the new album is concerned, and if yes, is the United Kingdom part of your forthcoming tour?
Twan: We really are a live band and I can't wait to go on a decent tour. Nothing confirmed yet, but I sure as hell want to go to the U.K! Letís hope for the best! We'll spill our blood and Beer!
In the past you have shared the same stage with bands like Asphyx, The Haunted, Dismember and Callenish Circle. Which one of those bands did you prefer playing with, and what kind of experience did you gain from these gigs?
Twan: The best shows we did were probably those mini-tours with Dismember/Callenish Circle and the triple devastation with Hypnosia. When you are playing with a bigger band there is more audience. When there is more audience, we play better and more devoted to make it a ripping thrash experience. Because it was only for 3 days both mini tours, we went for total destruction, it was fu*king alcoholic as fu*k. Smoking my daily 'greenery' really gave a nice hallucinative touch to it. I love both bands in a personal and music approach! Hails!!!
How would you describe the live performances of Flesh Made Sin? What should we expect of the band while on stage?
Twan: Intense, honest, aggressive and ready to fu*king dominate! Bang your fu*king heads off mother fu*kerssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, there have been many bands who have claimed to truly serve old school Thrash Metal, when all they do is to shamelessly copy the riffs and even song titles from legends such as Destruction, Kreator and Razor. What makes Flesh Made Sin different from all these bands, and how easy would it be for people who grew up with 80's Thrash Metal such as myself to accept and embrace the band?
Twan: I copied one song title 'Tormentor'. (It's on 'Masterwork in Blood') I did it because there are so many 'tormentor's' written in the old days that I wanted to keep that Thrash-Icon song title in honour. Kreator, Destruction, Slayer, Execution etc. all have one! Maybe it would be cool to release a various artists album with all Tormentor's on it...Ripping! By the way: We really don't want to sound too retro-thrash. Don't get me wrong, I like bands such as Nocturnal Breed (NOR) and Desaster (GER) very much, but with Flesh made Sin their is a different approach to the old days, I'm not really sure what it is, maybe more grooving rhythms and a different sound approach. But it's made to thrash your miserable souls apart, so embrace and be ripped!!!
You are obviously quite fond of old school Thrash Metal. Do you believe that this style of music will give you enough artistic liberty to express yourself in the future? Which are your plans for the future of the band, and what will be in your opinion the next logical step?
Twan: No way, not only old school thrash! For Flesh Made Sin we all know their is only one goal and that is to keep on making great Thrash-metal in the old-veins! But besides this band we (almost) all have other musical activities. We don't want to infect this band with other influences so we create other bands or projects to fulfil this need for sickening creative art. Interested? Check out www.saurondeathsquad.com , www.antrotribe.com , www.somaworx.com (=BUNKUR and the site of the artist that made our album-cover)
Which in your opinion are the five top Thrash Metal albums of all times, and which are the bands that never received the recognition that they truly deserve.
Twan: 1.Hell Awaits -Slayer 2. None shall defy-Infernal majesty 3. Possessed - Beyond the Gates 4. Venom - At war with Satan 5. Sadus - Swallowed in Black. 6. Messiah - Hymn to Abramelin (oops, I named 6...sorry) Bands like Sadistic Intent, Sacrefice, Merciless, Slaughter, but I don't know if those bands really wanted to make it big. I think the more underground the more devoted people will know you and that way you would remain forever in the hearts of the ones that deserve, instead of going for the big $$$, and unworthy audiences buying your t-shirts who will go to an R&B concert the day after anyway...fu*k that sh*t!
Your drummer Marco Stubbe was wearing an impressive Infernal Majesty T-shirt during the photo sessions of the album - a T-shirt that I've been looking for my whole life! Can you by any chance give me his home address? I would like to pay him a visit!
Twan: He will defend it with his life and probably wear it while lying in his coffin on his own funeral!
Thank you for doing this interview for Pure Metal. The last words are yours.
Twan: First of all, thank you for this interview! I really hope we can go to the U.K to promote 'Dawn of the Stillborn'. It will be my second time in England then! I'm going to the Neurosis concert in London this weekend...Hails to all you metal heads out there, cheers and keep the spirit of metal alive. We are those who stand above this world of sh*t, Live fast and Die hard motherfu*kers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Interview © 2004