Desecrator

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Desecrator, from Melbourne, are a band who has defied convention from the outset, flouting the rules of normality and acceptance by releasing a live album – Live Til Death – and an E.P before hitting the studios and releasing a studio album.
“People ask me this all the time,” laughed vocalist/guitarist Riley Strong of why it has taken so long to release a studio album, “and I wish I had a more valid excuse apart from that we just got on with shit (laughs). We brought out a live album straight away for a few reasons in the early days. One of the biggest things for us was we are a live band and we really wanted to harness and showcase that because we always wanted to be a touring band. We always wanted to play shows and go on the road so we thought the best way we could do that from the very start was to get that out there and show people why they should come to a gig. Then that kind of snowballed. We cut the 10” L.P, we did the Down to Hell release and that was always meant to be a stop gap before the album but then the line up of the band changed – not through any extreme, just one line up moved on as the next one came in – and things just kept happening. We kept getting gigs, we kept playing tours. Forward steps kept happening and it wasn’t the right time to pull the band off the road to finish writing and recording an album. I never thought we would have gotten to the seven or eight year mark without having a studio record but at the same time we’ve done so much that is kind of a testament in my mind that the traditional formula of getting a band together, playing a few gigs and then releasing a studio album doesn’t have to be the formula. You can do it easily in this current climate in the industry. As long as you’re succeeding and you are going forward and it feels like you are taking a good step up the ladder then do it whatever way suits. Play to your strengths. If your strength is playing gigs and getting out there then go with it. It suited us then but it got to the point now that it was time to put out a studio release.”
Although having been done before, releasing a live album as your debut can be fraught with danger which is why it isn’t done often. It is unexpected, and therefore has that shock element, and Strong admits that the decision was helped along through an outside factor.
“It was an older guy who knew the band,” he explained, “and we used to go around to his house and have a few drinks and he just brought it up once. He told us that because we were such an organic sounding band and it was such a raw idea that we should go for it. Everyone is trying to put out the most polished and highest quality release they can and because of home studio advances and technology you can. We thought we would go the other way and just put out a representation of what the band really is. It is a truthful expression of what the band is capable of and the only way to do that was through a live album. At the same time, because we set that precedence and put it out there from the start when it came time to doing this studio album we really had to sit down and say what do we want from this? We didn’t wanna go too far away from what we believe is what we’re about so we really needed to find our organic sound; our live sound and who we are in a studio. At the same time it was important to release an album that will sonically compete with international bands but still be true to what we think Desecrator is and that mission statement that made us comfortable in putting out a live album as our first release.”
To do that Strong says the band basically just made a conscious effort to release something that encapsulated the best possible mix of Desecrator live and in the studio. The result, To the Gallows, achieves that goal and more.

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“Like every album we released it because we wanna spread our music and we wanna grow,” he expressed. “It always has to be a forward step. As a band you always wanna grow with every release or every new song you write. As time passes you get some more world experiences through touring overseas and meeting bigger bands, all these kinds of things that open your eyes or to a degree take off the rose coloured glasses that we’re all firmly wearing as young metal heads. It matures your writing and I guess that is something that you want to show through your releases as time goes on. Whether or not it was an intentional goal or it was just something that was always going to happen, becoming a more mature sounding band on this release and being a band that showed our years and showed the road we’ve walked – because we’re not a young band any more, we’ve been around and done a lot – I wanted to show that. I wanted to show the experience in the songwriting and also in the approach. Even in the appearance of the album I wanted it to have something that said this includes the road we’ve already travelled as well as the road ahead that we hope the album will help us to pave.”

With a blending of 80’s style metal laced with drippings of more modern metal, Strong admits that finding the band’s sound and identity has sometimes been difficult but also says it is something which has come more through time than necessity.
“For me as the orchestrator and chief songwriter of the band I never sat down and said the band has to sound a certain way,” he affirmed. “I also never sat down and said we need this amount of originality. There was no recipe. I wrote the songs that were within me and at the end of the day that’s all I can do. I can only write what I feel should be written and I’m only gonna write the songs that come out of my head. The guys are only gonna add their parts accordingly. Of course that is gonna be largely influenced by all the external factors of where I’ve come from musically, what I listen to and what’s around me so there’s definitely all these influences in there as a thrash metal band but at the same time the modern side of it is not that premeditated. It’s just because we’re in a modern age. Yes thrash metal is an old genre and the side of thrash metal that I connect with the most is the more classic side of the newer wave of thrash metal. That’s what I identify with, the songs where you can still hear… in the original Bay Area and the original German more Teutonic styles there was so many outside influences because these first rungs of bands weren’t copying other thrash bands because there was no thrash. They were copying rock and roll bands or blues bands or whatever they were into so there’s such a wider melting pot of what you call thrash metal in the early days. That’s the kind of stuff I identify with. I can hear all of the other genres. I can hear the hard rock that I like. I can hear the AC/DC in there. I can hear the Motorhead in there and all those things channeled through thrash metal is what I love about music. The modern twist is more just because we’re a modern band. We’re existing now, in 2017. Metal as a wider genre has advanced so far in so many different styles and sub genres that it’s important to not absorb that and to not feel that those bands are your peers because they are existing at your time. Whether we equal something that sounds like it harks back to a bygone era or whether we equal something that sounds original and current it doesn’t really concern me too much as long as people are digging the songs. As long as it’s coming out in a way that people find palatable and that I personally enjoy.”

Written by Kris Peters

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