«Dawn Of The Apocalypse» is the name of the most anticipating and «life-asserting» album of the Americans. Due to the hasty advertising campaign of Osmose we have been hearing this title for a long time. However the year of 1998 has already passed but the successor of the killing «Forever Underground» has never appeared. In such a «hurry» the album might sooner be called «Sunset Of The Apocalypse»! Being seriously concerned with such a pessimistic outcome, we called the drummer/guitarist and keyboard player Dave Suzuki to overwhelm him with a pain-in-arse question: «So where’s the album, man?»
You see, Dave, we have been waiting for your new album «Dawn Of The Apocalypse» for a long time!!! If I am not mistaken, Osmose has promised to release it before the end of the summer! So where’s the album, man?
Like always, delays and more delays. We are finishing the last song as we speak. All the music has been done since this past summer. After «Forever Underground» was released, we toured the U.S. twice, both times with INCANTATION. Then we had the unexpected pleasure of touring Europe in the fall of 1997 with VADER, MALEVOLENT CREATION and INFERNAL MAJESTY. It was the band’s first experience overseas! All thanks to Herve and Osmose Productions. We’ve been working on the new songs for about a year now. Due to constant line-up changes, our goal has been pushed back further and further. Until now!!! We should be in the studio by late December. Finally, to finish our most anticipated work to date! "Dawn of the Apocalypse" will be released before the summer of 1999-6661 on Osmose Productions.
Are you still working as a three-piece? Is it so difficult to find a new forth member?
We work well as a three-piece. Recording wise, it makes things easier for us. Like before, it will be: Joe - vocals/bass, Tony - guitar, Dave - drums/ lead guitar/backing vocals/keyboards. It has been impossible to find another guitarist. Tony only looks for the best... but we haven’t found anyone yet. It's a fucking bitch!!! If worse comes to worse, I (Dave) will switch to guitar and then find a drummer... this is for touring purposes only!!!
Although your lyrics are about Satan, you are still neither a black nor death metal band. «The American War Metal» - that is how you call your music, don’t you?
I don’t know who labeled us «American War Metal»....in truth, we are still 100% Death Metal in the Satanic vein. We talk about being in Battle with those who have the Christian mentality. That will never cease. If people want to label us «war metal», so be it. It’s all the same....the War against the hypocrisies of God and all that stands under him....I want to see it abolished and destroyed.
Satanism in your music has always been the dominating element. Does it still influence you and your music? Why did you decide to follow Satan? When did you first realize that you would like to fight against Christianity?
Our music and views have always been influenced by inner-strength and pride. Not by Satan as a living being. The philosophy of Satanism has personal meaning to us. I still know right from wrong, I have a will of my own, but the word of God has nothing to do with it. His way of answering prayers of the sick... «let them suffer, it is my will... they will accept it.» It’s such a waste of human emotion. Fuck Him and his worthless followers.
VITAL REMAINS is now the only brutal death band Osmose signed a contract with. Why do you think the French decided to deal with you?
Osmose has opened their horizons to many different styles of Metal. Herve’s bands have been around for years: ABSU, IMPALED NAZARENE, MARDUK, ENSLAVED... etc. With newly signed bands like RITUAL CARNAGE, DRILLER KILLER and VITAL REMAINS will keep Osmose fresh throughout the years. As for Herve signing us, it was Joe’s persistence that finally got us on Osmose! Herve and Osmose rules!
There are three main death schools in the US: Chicago, Florida and California. Why do you think it happened?
I couldn't tell you. I’m from Las Vegas, Nevada! Maybe the weather in these places created such brutality?! NECROVORE... they were from Texas. RIGOR MORTIS...from New York. AUTOPSY... from California. Death metal was all over the U.S. I guess it flourished and became popular in these states quicker.
What is your attitude to European death metal? What is the difference between the US death metal and the death metal in Europe? Where is it more interesting to tour?
SODOM, DESTRUCTION, CELTIC FROST, BATHORY, MERCYFUL FATE, MOTORHEAD, ARTILLERY, VENOM... The list goes on and on. European metal still rules. Lately, atmosphere in the music has been a trademark in European bands. The U.S. bands kept the music raw and brutal. They influence each other now more than ever. Nowadays, you can live in the U.S. and have that Norwegian/Swedish sound. It’s become really hard to distinguish the origin of bands lately. Touring in Europe is definitely the shit! We had the best time when we toured with VADER, INFERNAL MAJESTY and MALEVOLENT CREATION. I couldn’t have asked for more. The people were great! The food was good. The currency was absolutely mad!! As for touring, anywhere would be fine for me.
It seems that there are three main «subjects» of death metal: zombies, social crap and religious madness (Satanism)... Why do you think death metal bands have chosen these particular themes?
Musically and lyrically, death metal is straight up brutality. And these subjects fit the mold of societies portrayal of «evil». Someone had to bring up the subject!!!
Your lyrics and your real life: the opposites or the reflection of your real inner world? Are you that satanic in your real life as you are on your albums?
Our lyrics are more fictional than our real life. We have normal jobs and social lives. It’s our music that brings everything to the surface. We don’t go around smashing Christians physically...maybe mentally... I don’t feel like spending my time in jail! Do you know what I mean??
I guess so. Do you know Paul from MASTER? Once Paul told us that his band and DEATH were the very bands that started to play death music and the others have just copied their stuff? Do you agree?
We toured with MASTER in 1996-1997. They’re still true to their roots: old school death metal - ABOMINATION back in the ‘80s... I’ll say that they were one of the original death metal bands back then. So was DEATH’s «Scream Bloody Gore» is an American classic! You can’t take anything away from those bands. I’m sure they were influenced by someone else. The chain goes on and on....
What is your attitude to other death metal bands: DEATH, DEICIDE, OBITUARY, BROKEN HOPE, SUFFOCATION, CANNIBAL CORPSE and others? Could you point out the bands that have the major influence on the American death metal movement nowadays? Being a satanic band, what is your attitude to DEICIDE and their leader?
I respect those groups who searched for more out of their music. DEATH is one of my favorite bands today. I can’t say that OBITUARY or BROKEN HOPE kept my interest these last few years. What the fuck!! You can’t please everyone. There are so many bands out there that keep out doing the other. Like, who is crowned the fastest band? Or who’s the slowest or sickest... The bands that sound American, are indeed, American, ha-ha! My attitude towards DEICIDE.......humm.....I don’t know them personally, but I love their music. They talk the talk and walk the walk. Understand? Well, I don’t!
What is the concept of your name: VITAL REMAINS?
The name «VITAL REMAINS» was created ten years ago. So, I’m not sure what meaning behind it really was. Paul Flynn, the original guitarist, thought the name up. Back then, the music was totally different, more «speed/thrash» metal. When Tony Lazaro and Jeff Gruslin joined the band, that's where the «death/satanic» metal influences came to life. As a result, Tony has written all the music for VITAL REMAINS ever since. I guess that the name «VITAL REMAINS» would stand for «True Fucking Blaspheming Art» in the Anti-Christian way! No boundaries with our music in any way.
Death metal is always a subject for criticism: all the countries consider this style to be violent and too bloody. Are there many people in the States who would like to prevent death metal bands play in their towns? Are there any problems with the censorship? The US is a very religious country, is there place for Satanism in it?
I really pay no attention to the censorship issue here in America. I’ve seen the sickest things on the internet and I have 24 hour access to this depravity. Censorship has been a very big issue of the people here in America. They feel that if you have censorship, it violates your freedom of speech. As for Satanism, it is still an underground organization. How do you explain the successful business called «Church»? If there was no evil in this world, there would be no need for the thought of «God» coming to save you. And for someone to constantly remind you that «God loves you...» and all that shit. Bottom line, money sucks. It’s all a crock of shit.
It seems that mass media is putting up with metal music: MTV shows the blacks with their rap criminal stuff, VIVA broadcasts techno... What is going on, man? Do you think the situation may change?
Trends... and more trends. There are people out there who need to be told what to like and what to dislike. A big mind-controlling machine. The art of repetition: radio, television and magazines/tabloids, whatever. Underneath the surface, metal has always been there. Metal does not need MTV or the media to flourish. It stands strong on its own. I have no worries of «metal» disappearing any time soon.
Hate and brutality: these are the major moods of your music. Do these things occur in your everyday life?
We express our hatred through our music and lyrics. We draw it from everyday life - not that we kill or brutalize the people we hate - I find it more productive to put our feelings into the music. Too many things piss me off.
Why do you think the blacks don’t play death metal? What is your attitude to race discrimination and «right» radicalism in general?
I don’t know. It comes down to the music. Look at Terence and Mike of SUFFOCATION («Effigy Of The Forgotten» - their best album), they started the «New York sounding» death metal style. I have Japanese, Korean and German blood in me. I don't discriminate. It doesn’t mean I love everyone around me either.
You have been playing death metal for many years already. So, being an experienced musicians, how do you see the death metal movement nowadays?
It seems that a lot of bands today emulate their favorite artists due to lack of originality. It is definitely hard to come up with a style of your own nowadays. That’s why you hear so many bands that sound alike. Especially in the Black Metal scene. But as always, the strongest and most determined bands will survive. The carbon copies disappear as fast as they came.
What is the difference between the old school death metal bands and the bands of the new era?
The old school death metal bands paved the road for the bands today, a sort of blueprint for the newer bands to follow.
Has death metal a future? How might it evolve?
The future of death metal could be endless. If every band sounded the same, I think people would loose interest very quick. I couldn’t handle that kind of monotony. That’s why the blood of death metal flows continuously... the many styles it holds. Those bands who possess originality in their music, stand out first. Those who copy another seem to fade in the shuffle.
Is it really difficult to play death stuff for many years and not repeat yourself?
Death metal is possibly the most extreme form of music today. It is definitely challenging to the musician. That’s the most gratifying part about it. The pain!!! The pain!!!! Being a drummer, it is not an easy task. But if I play well, it is worth all the pain! As for coping ourselves, we won’t bore people with that. Trying different things beyond our boundaries will always keep the music fresh. Every new album has an element of both «old and new» styles combined.
Can you earn your living playing death metal music? Do you have a job?
Me?! Money?! No fucking way!!! I have a regular job to pay bills and to buy music!!!
Name five albums that has the greatest influence on you.
In no order: CONFESSOR - «Condemned» (absolute sickest doom metal band ever). CRYPTOPSY - «Blasphemy Made Flesh», «None So Vile», «Whisper Supremacy» (gods from Canada). MY DYING BRIDE - «Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Mpyrium», «Turn Loose The Swans" (the gothic kings of England). ATHEIST - «Piece Of Time», «Unquestionable Presence" (Roger Paterson, bass playing warrior). KRISIUN - «Apocalyptic Revelations" (just fucking brutal). There are too many bands to list here. Before I joined the band back in 1996, they sent me a copy of «Into Cold Darkness» - VITAL REMAINS second album. That album still devastates my soul to this day. The first song of the album, «Immortal Crusade», impressed me so much that I had to try my very best to become a part of VITAL REMAINS.
Would it be harmful for child’s mentality if he reads your lyrics? Would you let your child listen to your music and read your lyrics?
I think the child wouldn’t understand the philosophy behind the music. So, I wouldn’t really worry about having kids listen to our music. When they become teenagers, that’s when their curiosity explodes! I would let my own child listen to our music, read the lyrics, anything to spark his/her curiosity... for them to ask questions... to hopefully raise a child who can live by his own freewill. And to also know the difference between wrong and right. I'm rambling...
Do you listen to some other styles of music except death metal?
I listen to everything: jazz, classical, darkwave industrial, rock... If the music interests me, I’ll listen to it. Whatever it may be.
What would you like to say to all your numerous fans in Russia?
We hail all those who support VITAL REMAINS! Keep your mind free of Christ. Support black/death metal all over the world. Soon the cracks will show upon the faith of Christianity and the true warriors shall rise and crush all hope. The new millennium is upon all of us... this world is going down in flames. Hope for one day before all the destruction, that we could visit and play in your country! We would certainly get polluted (wasted) on yummy Vodka!!! From all of us in VITAL REMAINS, we bid you farewell. For all our supporters out there... you are all true warriors of the Underground movement!!! Keep Metal Alive!!! «Dawn Of The Apocalypse» will be out by mid-1999 on Osmose roductions. Hell Awaits 1999-6661...