HELL:ON (for The Metal Review)

Hi, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me for the metal review. To start with, congratulations on your awesome new album. When did you guys start the writing process for the album?
Hi! Thanks a lot! You mean the new album or “Age of Oblivion”? Work over “Age of Oblivion” took several weeks, but the recording process was not so easy. During the recording of the album we had one huge problem – we lost all the material due to of the hard drive failure. So we recorded the album twice. However the material stayed totally unchanged. If you are asking about new the album, so, we already started; we now have a few good songs for future use.

I guess that’s the problem with the digital age of recording accidents do happen and hard drives can malfunction. How did you develop your style? It is apparent that you are all old school thrash fans, what bands inspired you to create such a brutal thrash sound?
We all have different tastes in music, and it is not only metal. It helps us to be creative and brings out a special spirit during the whole writing process. If we are talking about our metal roots and main inspirations then Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura, Pantera. The list is far to longer but those are the “fathers”.

Yes I can hear some of the influences in your music, especially the German thrash influences I can hear a lot of Kreator and Sodom in your music style. I know during the 80?s it was hard to get hold of the material in certain parts of the world, was the Ukraine also affected by this problem?
Yeah, we are big fans of Kreator, by the way, we played with them couple times and it was unbelievable experience and pleasure! In 80?s in Ukraine there was not any metal at all. It was easier to meet a polar bear on a street than find any metal vinyl in a store. Everything was totally underground. People could find metal records only abroad, and bring it into the country, but it was also a problem to get abroad.. So believe me, it was really bad times for metal in Ukraine. Everything depended from USSR policy, and as you might know, it was not a good times for Ukraine.

I know it was hard back in the 80?s until the Berlin wall came down, I met a lot of polish fans that came to Germany. Back in the day there were only a few bands that had made it out of their countries to tour, like Kruiz from Russia or Turbo from Poland. Now there seems to be a lot of bands coming out of the former eastern block, which is awesome as they all seem to have a distinctive original sound.
Yes, today it’s much easier to play metal music in our country, go on tours and release the albums. But all metal industry is underground. Majority think that metal is not a good music for people at all, metal is too aggressive. It’s only for the springs. So it’s still hard to “get on top” even inside of the country. But maybe these circumstances make us stronger and somehow influence our sound and so on.

I can imagine it is hard to book shows in your own country also? What is the metal scene in general like in the Ukraine? Is there a big following of fans that do come out to shows?
Actually we’ve played several big tours over Ukraine, so, of course everything is possible. But it’s on underground level. About the metal scene, we have several really interesting bands, but the music industry just ignores metal music. Our Ukrainian producers are interested only in pop music.
So it is very hard to develop as a metal in Ukraine. But instead of it, we move forward, because, what don’t kill us, makes us stronger.

That is very true, the industry has always tried to ignore metal, and there is no way it will ever go away. Ok so let’s return to the album. The sound is very raw almost like the old school thrash albums but with a fresh kick to it. Was this the sound you were aiming for?
We recorded this album at Tony Alien Production Studio. This is studio of our guitarist Tony. Everything we did in our own studio, excluding drums. So we have enough time to find a good sound and work with all instruments. We used Mesa for guitars and Ampeg for bass. As for me, I would like to make the sound more natural, like old school, yes, you’re right. But our second guitarist, Anton, is a fan of all this modern stuff. In this case we have something between.

Yes I can hear the modern influences clearly, but it is a very interesting mix. So what does HELL:ON have planned for the future?
For the near future we are planning to make a video clip for the one song from the album. And also we want to make several shows in Ukraine till the end of year. Then we will start a makin’ a new album.

Sounds like a busy plan, not many bands actually make videos as a form of promotion these days, although I still think the effort is well worth it in the end. Do you know which song the video will be for yet?
Yes, we try to work systematically, if you know what I’m talking about, moving step by step. And of course we chose a song; it will be first track from the album, called „Disaster”. Pure Dynamik and speed. Like a moving train.

That’s a good choice for the video, due to its natural aggressive sound it really does show the band’s potential.
Yes, I feel the same, very dynamic song, we put it in the beginning of the album, because we would like to make a direction for listeners, create a mood. It is very important to put special song in the beginning, it will determinate spirit of whole album. That’s why we started the album with this song.

Well you certainly started the album off with a bang that’s for sure. How did the idea of having Jeff Waters make a guest appearance on the album come about?
You know, to tell the truth, Ukraine is not a well-known country in Europe; at least it wasn’t before Euro 2012. Lot of people thought, that we are part of Russia or something like that. So, that’s why to try to do our best when we play our music and promote it. We try to say to the world that we are Ukrainians, and we not only have the Klitchko brothers or Andrey Shevchenko. We have good metal bands in our country and lot of other interesting things. So this is background. When we asked Jeff Waters to play with us, we wanted to draw attention to our music. If such a star like Jeff is playing with us, we are worth it to be listened to. And of course it is a big honour for us. This is good motivation for us, to play with such a great musician.

This is a sad fact that you pointed out, ok I have an advantage living in Germany I know a bit more about the Ukraine than just the famous boxers and the football. I really do think that metal music in general has developed a lot since the wall came down and that all the bands over in the former eastern block are now as talented as any other band that did not have the problems faced under Russian rules and being cut off from the music world. Bands like Vader or Behemoth from Poland are prime examples of just how big bands can become.
Yes, you know, Polish example is colossal inspiring factor for us. Our countries very close to each other and we have similar problems in different branches of life. But, we can see that Ukraine moved forward with its development last years and I hope it will move faster and faster year by year. So I’m sure, that Ukraine will show to the world a good metal music very soon. We are working on it.

Well with the latest album you sure are on the right road to proving to the world that the Ukraine does have a place in the metal world that is for sure. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me and I hope we will see each other on the road in the future.
I hope so! Thank you for the question and attention to our music. See you!


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