How are you doing today?
Terry: Excellent thanks for asking.
Denial Fiend has just released your second full length album "Horror Holocaust" through Ibex Moon Records. Let's start off today by discussing the meaning behind the name of your new record. How did you guys come up with the title "Horror Holocaust" and what does the title of the new record mean to you?
Terry: Sam and I were pitching some ideas back and forth dealing with similar names and this one stuck.
Sam: I think I initially mentioned some lame ideas to Terry. I think Horror Metal was one. He tossed a few ideas back. One had the word Holocaust in it. I mentioned it to Blaine and he suggested Hardcore Holocaust. Which is a great name, but there's already a pretty famous comp by that name. But then the lightbull went off and we came up with Horror Holocaust.
This past May Denial Fiend released a split recording with Incantation. You had also released the "Dead Awakening" EP through Ibex Moon back in 2008. It's no secret that Ibex Moon Records is owned and operated by Incantation founder/figurehead John McEntee, how long has he been a supporter of Denial Fiend and at what point did it make sense to form a working relationship together with John? Do you feel like Ibex Moon is properly getting the word out on the new album?
Sam: The second we got together, we made a crappy rehearsal demo. The songs were really, really rough as we were just getting our sound together. I sent it to a few places for the heck of it. John wanted to sign it immediately. Even though we barely resembled what we would eventually become, he totally understood where we were coming from and saw the potential. It's a very difficult time for record labels now. But John's heart is totally in the right place and he's a huge supporter of metal and puts everything into Ibex Moon. For a label of this size, they do a great job. Because John cares so much about the band. It's very cool.
Denial Fiend recorded "Horror Holocaust" at the famed death metal compound Mana Studios (Hate Eternal, Goatwhore, Exhumed) in St. Petersburg, Florida. What made you decide to record the new album at Mana Studios? Was their a specific record you guys had heard that influenced your decision? Was it an enjoyable working environment at Mana Studios for Denial Fiend?
Terry: Actually we recorded Horror Holocaust and They Rise at Sam’s studio. GL Studios , and we mixed at Mana with Brian Elliot. I had recorded an album there with Six Feet and I liked the mix that we got. So when we needed a place to mix I suggested Mana. Brian is a killer engineer and mixer and Mana is a great studio. I recommend it.
Sam: Brian really understands what we want and he's great. We're really pleased with the way this record sounds, especially.
What proved to be the most challenging aspect of recording the new album and in turn, now that it is finally done are there any particular tracks on "Horror Holocaust" that you would single out as being a favorite or holding a special meaning for you?
Terry: I think the most challenging part was finding new members. Corrupted Flesh, because it just hits you like a bag of hammers right at the beginning. Flesh Coffin and Horror Holocaust are killer as well.
Sam: It was definitely tough to figure out exactly what to do after the first line-up fractured. Some of the songwriting was challenging, too. As we really wanted to outdo our previous effort and make sure the songs on Horror Holocaust were as good as we could possibly do. Every time I listen to it I have a different favorite song. They're all very different, in my mind.
Your new album "Horror Holocaust" clocks in at just under a half hour. Was the game plan going in to making this record to destroy everything in your path, take no prisoners and then get out a conscious decision? Do you think many metal fans get bored with longer albums?
Terry: I personally hate albums that drag on. I think ours is perfect. It rapes your ears and mind and leaves you wanting more.
Sam: It was initially going to be an ep. But things was going so well that we decided to extend it to a full-length. But we stopped while we were ahead. There's absolutey no filler on here. We didn't see the point of extending the album just to reach some time mark. I think it's the perfect length.
"Horror Holocaust" features guest appearances by such super heavyweights of the Florida death metal scene as James Murphy (Obituary, Testament) Ralph Santolla (Deicide) and Steve Swanson (Six Feet Under) Let's talk about how these guest appearances came about and what it was like to work with these three...
Sam: That song is really unique. It was actually written drums first. Then me and Terry came up with parts to go along with it. I was shocked at how 'together' it sounded in the end. It sounded so good that I thought it would be a cool idea to just make it into a total shred jam with a bunch of other guitarists. Kind of like a grand finale. Terry is, of course, friends with every notable person in death metal. Especially in Tampa. So it was really easy to get these guys on board. They were all very cool and gracious and I love the way the final product sounds.
I've worked with Steve Swanson when we did the Massacre tour together. I think the dude is really amazing and totally underrated. Definitely one of my favorite death metal guiarists. And of course the section where Ralph and James have a dueling solo is just unreal.
Speaking of these guest appearances and considering that you recorded your new album in your home state of Florida, from the "outside-looking-in" one gets the perspective of the Florida death metal scene having a great deal of mutual respect and camaraderie amongst the old school bands. Is this really the case in your opinion? What is your current take on the Florida death metal scene?
Terry: A lot of the friendship between bands is still there. The scene is still strong, not as good as before but still there. There is still a lot of support for the local bands when they play.
Are there plans to tour in support of "Horror Holocaust"? Any idea which markets you might be hitting and any other bands you might take out on the road with you.
Terry: We have a tour in the works for Europe in January. We don’t have all the specifics yet such as what other bands will tour with us and dates. That will be finalized in a few weeks.
After the release of your debut full length "They Rise" which was embraced throughout the underground by both fans and critics you parted ways with your original vocalist Kam Lee (ex-Death, Massacre) What lead to Kam's departure and is he still on good terms with the members of Denial Fiend?
Terry: Sam would you like to give the play by play for this one…
Sam: It was just a horrible experience being in a band with Kam, in particular. I've been in dozens of bands over the years, and I've never seen anything like it. Like pretty much everyone that's ever worked with Kam, I didn't get along with him on any level. As Denial Fiend got more successful, he became more erratic and hard to deal with. I tried very hard to keep it together because I loved the band. But after reading interviews with him trashing me and other members of the band, we told him to get lost. It disappoints people to hear stuff like this. It certainly disappointed me to have the singer from one of my favorite bands turn out to be such an unbelievable pain in the ass. But that's life. He's a talented front man that sang on a legendary album. But he's also very self destructive.
You found your replacement for Kam Lee in Blaine "Fart" Cook (formerly of The Accused) who is now the full-time vocalist for Denial Fiend. How did you find Blaine and why is his nickname "Fart"?
Sam: I had met Blaine the same way I met Kam. Working together on an album I did with a bunch of guest singers years ago. The Accused has always been a huge,huge influence on me and Denial Fiend. We have always stayed in touch. And Blaine has always been very cool. It seemed like a really natural choice for vocals when we the need came about.
It works on a number of levels. His vocals are completely different than Kam's, which is what we wanted. I hate when bands switch singers and find a clone. And the direction we were heading kind of lended itself to more thrash oriented vocals. I've heard one of the songs on the album with both singers. And definitely Blaine fits the new material best. Blaine's band before the Accused was a hardcore band called the Fartz. That's where his moniker comes from.
So with the addition of both Blaine "Fart" Cook on vocals and the heavy hitting, powerhouse drummer Rob Rampy (D.R.I.) laying the smack down, and of course the recent release of the new album "Horror Holocaust"; it's safe to say that there is a lot of steady momentum building within the band. Have you already begun the process of writing some new music and if so, how would you describe the musical direction of it?
Terry: The band is tighter, stronger; meaner the buzz seems to be gaining speed.
Sam: We haven't been writing new material yet. But the band is back in full swing. So we don't forsee any more 4 year breaks.
Some members of Denial Fiend stay musically active in other notable bands such as D.R.I. and Obituary. Is it difficult to find an agreeable time to write and record new material and perform live considering the balancing act certain members of the band face?
Terry: It can be but we are all committed to Denial Fiend. We are all in bands that tour but we will find time bring Denial Fiend to the Hordes of fans that await us.
Everybody has heard Denial Fiend referred to in the press as belonging to the horror metal genre. Tell me about your favorite horror movies and your opinion on the current state of horror films being released today. Is it a case of "They don't make them like they used to" or is their still some quality blood and gore to appease your unquenchable thirst for blood?
Terry: It might be cliché to say but I always and will stay a Zombie fan. I love the Italian Zombie flicks. I love "The Thing” I love movies that have people isolated and getting picked off one by one. It seems so hopeless.
Sam: I also like all the classic zombie movies. I'm glad to see them make a come back.The older movies always hold a special place in my heart. But there is good stuff still coming out. I think Walking Dead (the tv show) is easily one of the best things to come out of the horror genre, ever.
Considering the lyrical content and album artwork for your music the only thing that is missing from the Denial Fiend equation is a professionally filmed music video soaked in blood and guts. Does something like that sound like a possibility for the immediate future?
Sam: We'd love to. There was talk at one point before the album was finished, but it didn't quite pan out. We were going to try and work with the production team of After Party Massacre. It's a little more difficult than usual because our singer lives in Seattle. But I think it'll definitely happen one of these days.
Take me back in time to when you first discovered horror films and metal music. What were the films and who were the bands that originally drew you in? What was the initial attraction to the dark side, speaking for yourself, personally? What all do you remember about that?
Terry: We had a TV show that came on every Saturday called Creature Feature. It was mostly Hammer Films and classic Monster movies but I was 10 years old and it scary as hell. As far as music my Uncle was a little older than me and was playing Deep Purple, Kiss, Led Zeppelin all the time. So I was exposed at an early stage. I always gravitate to the darker side of things.
Sam: Creature Feature! Yes! One of the best things about being a kid in Tampa at that time. It was kind of like a local version of Elvira's show. Hosted by a guy that went by the name of Dr. Paul Bearer. They played all the classic monster movies. To this day, the old Hammer stuff is probably at the top of my list. I was always into Halloween, comic books and fantasy stuff. From that, bands that had cool images like KISS and Alice Cooper really caught my eye and drew me in.
What's next for Denial Fiend for the remainder of 2011?
Sam: Mostly gearing up for the release of the record and hopefully a tour that will occur sometime next year. Setting stuff up for next year after the release of the album. Maybe some shows before that. Who knows?
On behalf of Pest Webzine and XMG Venezuela I'd like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Terry: Thanks to Pest and to the fans for your support!!!
Interviewed by: Robert Williams and Osi Stef
Answers by Terry Butler (bass) and Sam Williams (guitar)