After the release of their new album “Maximum Violence”, SIX FEET UNDER are headlining the Summer Clash Festival Part 2... And then, in Strasbourg’s ‘La Laiterie’, I talked to the first metalhead who doesn’t like beer! He’s named Terry Butler, the bass player (ex-DEATH and MASSACRE). He’s a very cool guy, very talkative, and most of all, a huge IRON MAIDEN fan! If you guys wanna be friends with him, just give him some MAIDEN rarities...
So, what’s new since your previous Summer Clash Festival tour last year?
Well, we have a new album. The music style of the new album is a little bit different, it’s a little darker, more aggressive. For the fourth album, it was time, not for a change, but we had to put more aggressivity in the music. That’s what we have done, basically.
What about the recording sessions and the way you composed the album?
Me and Steve wrote the album in the course of two or three months, and Chris was helping us when we were in rehearsal. We went to Miami, recorded the album at the Criteria Studio, a famous studio that has done everything from Eric Clapton to MANOWAR to...everything. And we did three covers: ‘War Machine’, ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘Wrathchild’. Those turned out really good! We took our time mixing, we didn’t want to overproduce, we wanted a raw sound, but...an opened sound. And I think we managed to do that.
And what would you say to the fans so that they buy it?
It’s got some of the old SIX FEET UNDER style, which is slowlier and groovier, but it also has faster and quicker songs, more traditional death metal style. Chris is really over the top on vocals, I think it’s true heavy, like I said, a kind of darker.
Why did your former guitarist leave the band? Could you please introduce Steve to us?
OK. Allen West basically parted with us for some reasons, but I feel it was a good change. We needed someone that was 100% dedicated to the band to go forward, and sometimes Allen was out of that, demonstrating or whatever. He wasn’t 100% dedicated. Steve was in MASSACRE for an EP and a couple of tours. I’ve known him for a long time, Greg has known him for a long time, and it was just a natural choice for us to get Steve. Someone who has a little more...not technical, but someone with a little more guitar knowledge, to spice it up. But it’s not an ingredient, Steve can do a little bit more, and at first, we were a little skeptical about the change, we didn’t know how people would react, but it has been positive.
But are you still in touch with Allen West?
Greg talked to him occasionally, but I haven’t talked to him for a couple of time. He’s in a new band now, another band, with someone who used to be in DEATH for tours.The music is a little bit different from SIX FEET UNDER, but the new guitar player...He’s not more complex or progressive, but it just gives us another push for music.
Chris’ lyrics are really gore! Can he always remember them or not? And is he a normal guy or a sick man?
He gets his inspiration from what he sees every day, or his thoughts. He does a really good job! When we write a song, the next day he’ll have the lyrics written. He’s a normal guy, he doesn’t kill people (laughs)! He’s like anyone, he has his thoughts and his theories on life, and that’s cool!
What do you think of the evolution of the death metal since the beginning?
To me, when I was into POSSESSED, DARK ANGEL, or early DEATH, that was death metal for me. It just got faster and faster until the black came in, grindcore came in. Now it can’t be different, it all has been done before. It’s just how you can get strong songs, and hopefully, people will like it. Now it seems to be there’s a new scene, with the power metal come-back, which is cool. I wouldn’t say that we play an old style of death metal, we just go out and play the music that we grew up with, that’s in our heart, and we just hope people like it.
From album to album, you haven’t evolved a lot...
Well, that’s just where the new guitar player comes in! I couldn’t see this new album sounding like ‘Warpath’ again, or else you start playing music that you have done before. That’s why I think on this album, with Steve and me writing, we got a little different feeling, but still, we have some songs that have the old SIX FEET UNDER style.
Do you think it would be possible one day to see SIX FEET UNDER, OBITUARY, CANNIBAL CORPSE and DEATH on the same stage?
I don’t know. It would have to be a festival! We are going to play the Wacken, and so is CANNIBAL CORPSE, but I don’t know if they play different time or different day. But I don’t care, whatever. I have no problems with any of those men.
And what do you think of these festivals mixing black metal and death metal bands?
I think it’s a really good mix, because it draws different people. You’ve got the viking metal with ENSLAVED; CRYPTOPSY which is more blast and complex; VADER, with heavy SLAYER riffs...
I’m pretty sure you can’t wait for the new IRON MAIDEN album! What do you expect?
It should be good, because the music on the last two albums was good, but the vocalist was horrible! Really bad! I don’t know why! I thought to myself, “Can’t they hear that this guy doesn’t fit the music?”, but I think it’s good, as I liked the last two Bruce Dickinson albums a lot.
Will you come in Europe to see them on tour?
I’d like to.
I heard that on the 9th of September there will be Paul Di Anno, Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bailey!
Probably Bruce Dickinson will kick Blaze Bailey’s ass! (laughs)
And would you like to appear on a tribute album? To IRON MAIDEN for example?
It would be OK, yeah. We actually made cover songs which came out from nowhere, because we were just starting to do drum tracks, and someone suggested we should do covers, and someone said ‘Jailbreak’, and some IRON MAIDEN too.
Did you choose ‘Wrathchild’ as it was your favourite song?
I think it’s the song that most of us knew, maybe ‘Killers’ would have been a heavier song to do, but most of us knew ‘Wrathchild’ already, so it was easy.
Another question about the evolution. What would you say if I call you the AC/DC of death metal?
I think you’re right! On the first albums, we were just straight ahead, with nothing complex. Pure energy with Chris’ vocals, and just heavy riffs. That’s how we made our stuff on the first records. I don’t wanna get to where CANNIBAL CORPSE have gotten. I just want good heavy riffs, time changings throughout the record...
And what would be your last word for all those who are gonna read the interview?
Hopefully, you’ll like the new album. And if you do, great! Thanks for supporting us like that, and hopefully, we’ll see you at the shows! Thanks!