We got to know John (vocalist) from Warbringer a little better during our time at Heavy Scotland. We find out about his breakthrough into metal, the influences behind his lyrics and also his terrific future plans.
“We’re pretty much our own creature […] and also way more brutal.”
How are you doing?
Doing great man, it’s a pleasure to meet you.
Thanks, would you like to introduce Warbringer and tell me a bit about yourself.
Warbringer was started in 2004 out of a desire to do metal. There wasn’t something that represented the direction we wanted to take around that time. As a kid, growing up, when I got into music I felt that and I wanted to make a band that did it the way I felt it should be. You know speed, power, aggression and riffs. Warbringer has evolved through time; our first album was super raw old school thrash. Its evolved from there and I think we’re pretty much our own creature that’s instantly identifiable, and also way more brutal.
What about your influences? Who influenced you to get there when you first started.
Black Sabbath are my true love in music. [Their] powerful riffs, which is the perfect place to start a metal journey, [is] the beginning and in many ways [I] went forward chronologically after that. My taste went from Sabbath to Maiden, Priest and from Maiden/Priest stuff to Children of Bodom and that got me used to hearing harsh vocals.
Warbringer really started when we heard lots of speed and thrash, we like the more brutal end of things, like the first like five Kreator records, early Slayer and early Sepultura when they still played fast, Demolition Hammer’s first two records Morbid Saint, Sacrifice and Bathory are some of [our] favorites.
Cool, I understand that before Warbringer you had another name?
That’s actually not true. I believe that what you’re referring to was Zombie which was a demo band that existed concurrently with pre-first album Warbringer. The first album Warbringer did was a fusion between the Warbringer demo line up and the Zombie demo line up and included myself and Adam Carrol who are the only original members.
“I wanted it to be heavier and it pretty much is.”
The new album dropped yesterday, Woe to the Vanquished. Vae Victis, where is it from?
It’s from Roman History. A Gaul named Brennus invaded Rome from the north and beat them in battle. The Romans trapped and surrounded on Capitoline Hill strike a deal with the Gauls to get them to leave. They offer the Gauls a thousand pounds of gold to leave the city be and the Gauls agree to the deal.
The Romans measure out the gold on their precise Roman scales and they bring it before Brennus who insists they weigh the gold on his scales too. On his scales the gold measures out to be less than a thousand pounds. The Romans cry out “this is a trick, you have cheated us. Your scales are rigged.”
They probably were and this is where the album title comes from: Brennus responds Vae Victis or ‘Woe the Vanquished’ and he drops his sword on the scale. The meaning of that is essentially it doesn’t matter that you’re right, you lost and are subject to my will and you will do what I say. Complete submission [where] the defeated and the weak get nothing. I went all the way back to Roman history for this but the theme applies to all human history. Even today as we see the conflict between the oppressors and the oppressed throughout the globe. I believe that America post WWII world has taken on this role of the oppressor to many places in the world and its created many of the international tensions that we see. People in America that are pro war are largely unaware of the stuff we did a generation or two ago that now the [children] of these people want vengeance upon us and this cycle is something that I intend to get the other side of for the next record.
Anything else you can tell us about the next record?
It’s going to be like the other side of the coin from this one. A dual a pair of records it will focus less on the destruction and battle and a bit more on the drive for vengeance. Attacking the ideas of patriotism, glory and nationalism because if you think about it nationalism is really dumb. Look at earth from space; where’s the lines you know. It’s a human construct. Look at how many have died for it. Humans are dichotomous creatures so I don’t think it’s purely evil but I think that these positive virtues of humans: bravery and patriotism, and self sacrifice is so tragic and it’s so infuriating that it gets turned unto evil ends where brave men ended up fighting for their country ended up fighting for Nazi Germany because they believed in patriotism, not even the Nazi philosophy, just patriotism and look at what evil can be done and the same is true in America today. Unfortunately [they] believe that they’re defending their homeland but will then go defend their homeland thousands of miles from home by blowing up other peoples homes and I’m scratching my head you know.
“The meaning of that is essentially it doesn’t matter that you’re right, you lost and are subject to my will and you will do what I say.”
So tell me about the sound of the new album Woe to the Vanquished.
Aw you have to check it out man it’s brutal! Basically we wanted to make a record with zero filler and the way this one is structured opens up like holding a machine gun to your face and holding down the trigger. That’s more or less the effect I wanted it to have. I wanted it to be heavier and it pretty much is. We made a really nasty [and] mean record but towards the end it kind of settles into a dark melodic style, with a bit more black and death metal influence, a bit less raw speed. We made an eleven minute epic that’s our biggest most ambitious song. I think it’s a great end to the record and the sound is very different because it’s less like explosions. It’s less like fiery red and orange, the record opens like that but then it becomes a dark blue/grey at the end.
Tell me about your plans for the future and what’s happening this year?
We are going to tour our asses off with Woe to the Vanquished and will be blowing up a town near you!