Phantasmal is a killer speed/thrash metal band and after hearing them I knew an interview was in order so here is one with band member Psychopomp:

How did the band form and did any of you come from any other bands?
Wraith (guitar / drums) approached me a while back wanting to combine our individual ideas on black / thrash / speed / heavy metal. We hammered out some riffs and arrangements, put them together, and so "The Reaper's Forge" demo came to be. We are both "scene veterans" (relatively speaking of course) and have participated in other bands in the past, but those aren't important at this time.

What were some of the early practices of the band like? What, if any, cover tunes did you fool around with?
Well, some distance separates the two of us, so regular practices are not really a thing. We bounce riffs and arrangements back and forth electronically, and convene in Wraith's lair when the time comes to record. We have played around with a number of cover songs from bands like Bathory, Misfits, Sepultura and so on; some of which you will hear in the future, and some of which may wind up on the cutting room floor.

How did you come up with the band name and were any other names considered?
We considered a few names in the initial stages, but Phantasmal stuck as it really resonated with both of us and seemed reflective of our musical ideas: dark, menacing and deadly.

What is the current line-up of the band these days?
Right now the band is just Wraith and I. When or if the time comes to do live gigs, we will recruit a few suitably minded and abled souls to aid in perpetrating some live reaping.

Now I have your excellent "The Reaper’s Forge” demo. How did the songs for this release come together and how quickly was this demo recorded?
Thank you for your kind words. The songs for that release came together between 2012 and 2014. We would send each other loosely-arranged riffs, put a bit of gravestone polish on them, then do the final tracking. As I said, Wraith does all the recording himself, which allows us the luxury of taking our time when necessary.

How has the feedback been for it so far and is the feedback what you expected or has it been better?
We are very pleased with all the great feedback we've received so far. We weren't sure exactly what kind of response we would get, but a vast majority of it has been glowing.

Now you released it on cassette? Why on a cassette and is this the only format it is available on?
The cassette, to us, is very evocative of the past days of tape trading (which you of course are intimately familiar with). We first got into metal by listening to cassettes, so it's sort of stuck with us as a kind of subliminal thing. The demo is currently only available on cassette, and will be re-released on cassette by Hellforced Records from Malaysia very soon, along with some extras like stickers and patches.

For someone who has never heard the band, what would you describe the bands sound to be?
Dark and evil black / thrash / speed metal. Melodic yet uncouth. Fans of bands like Witchery, Desaster, Bewitched, Mercyful Fate and others of that ilk will likely find something to appreciate in our music.

Where is the band based out of and is there a good metal scene there?
We are located a few hours apart in the Midwest USA, and yes, overall there's a great metal scene here. There are loads of great bands from Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and everywhere in between that we appreciate and share kinship with.

Do you as a band have any goals for yourselves?
We will simply continue to issue evil metal that bangs both our heads and the heads of the metal masses for as long as possible. Anything else that happens is a bonus!

Have you sent the tape out to any record companies and if not, do you plan to at all?
Sure, we sent plenty out to labels. The aforementioned Hellforced Records re-release of "The Reaper's Forge" will be out soon, and we will also be releasing our next CD EP through Legion Canada Records. Any other labels that are interested in doing releases for us can feel free to reach out to us.

Please plug any band sites you have?
Have a look and listen at the following sites:
www.facebook.com/phantasmalmetal
phantasmalmetal.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/hellforcedrecords
www.legioncanada.com
or drop us a line at phantasmalmetal@gmail.com.

Any last words and horns up for doing this interview.
Thanks and cheers for your kind words and for the interview. Keep an eye and ear out for more releases coming later this year. See you at the graves!

Interview by Chris Forbes
Answers by Psychopomp


March 2015

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