Plague Bearer Interview
Metal Purgatory Media- Can you tell us a little about the band’s formation and how you came to play black metal?
Plague Bearer-The band was born in the early 1990’s after a handful performances, a couple of demos and some lineup shifts the members decided to forge a new name and PLAGUE BEARER was no more. Years later the project was re-born as a black metal sounding band, and over the next few years several recordings were made. At one point we had a similar project called WINDS OF PESTILENCE that performed and recorded music heavily influenced by early SLAYER, VENOM and DARKTHRONE among many other influences. In 2017 we revived the project again for a special performance that featured music from our years of recording including the WINDS OF PESTILENCE of material. We had 2 CD’s of complied demos released. We decided to keep working together and eventually put together new versions of our favorite songs from the old demos and recorded the SUMMONING APOCALYPTIC DEVASTATION. Over the years our recordings were quite different in style with more or less black and death metal influences.
MPM-Seattle is known for having a vibrant music scene, how has the city influenced your sound and style?
PB-Our being in or around a Seattle music scene has had little to no impact on our style and sound. The weather in our region is probably the biggest contributor, rainy, grey and sometimes dreary and depressing.
MPM-Your lyrics often deal with dark and introspective themes, what inspires you to write about these topics?
PB-I’ve written a lot of PLAGUE BEARER lyrics over the years, not all of them. The lyrics for the ‘Bubonic Death’ recording was inspired by the extreme horrors of the black plague. The 2000-01 recordings were most definitely hate driven, nihilistic black metal style vocals. This carried over to some extent to our WINDS OF PESTILENCE band (2004-2008) The 2004 recorded ‘Rise of the Goat’ Ep as PLAGUE BEARER was lyrically mire black metal, with music that was more of a continuation of our earliest death metal approach. Butcher has always contributed lyrics and is the main lyricist now along with contributions from Nihilist. Personally my lyrics were an opportunity to went my frustrations and express myself in the forn of metal music. I’ve experienced a lot in life since writing what I did. I’m pleased to have relinquished the duties to my trusted friends to carry on the work as they see fit, in cases carrying on with many of our original ideas.
MPM-What sets your band apart from other black metal acts in the scene?
PB-I’d have to leave that to listeners outside of the band. There are millions of bands, everywhere. We have some experience and connections, enough to get this record released. There are thousands of bands trying to do that. We’re just getting started defining this version of PLAGUE BEARER.
MPM-Your live shows have been described as intense and atmospheric; can you talk about your approach to performing live?
PB-In the grand scheme of things, we have barely scratched the surface of performing live. We have consciously added some distinct visual elements to our stage act in the last few years. Our music and the visual elements contribute to the intensity and atmosphere. We all have a background from years of performing and are working on presenting an entertaining experience.
MPM-How does your creative process typically work when writing and recording new music?
PB-Typically I will present an idea in the form of a mostly competed song. Then we will work together to learn and fine tune this. Now I will track the guitar to a click track and use that as the basis of a recording. Most of my song ideas evolve from obscure soundtracks of old horror movies.
MPM-Your use of traditional black metal elements such as blast beats and shredding guitar solos is balanced with moments of melody and atmosphere, how do you find the right balance for your songs?
PB-We are experienced in song writing, recording and performing and utilize this experience to blend various elements into a cohesive style. Having recorded this record and subsequently written and developed a new albums worth of music that truly realizes this blend of styles into our evolving sound.
MPM-Can you talk about any particularly memorable experiences or shows that you have had as a band?
PB-I’ll never forget the first show on January 31st 1993. I have a video tape of this, my mom’s first and only attendance so far to one of my band’s performances. The band wasn’t quite ready to perform, and this lineup dissolved soon after. But it was a start. Some people, very important to my musical future were there. Our recent shows have been a lot better, with plenty of hilarious alcohol-fueled moments.
MPM-Your discography over the years features a mix of singles and EP releases before your upcoming LP release, do you have a preference for one over the other when it comes to releasing music?
PB-Getting music released has always been a goal of mine. Any format is fine. Having grown up in the time of vinyl LP’S, that’s probably the most preferred.
MPM-Many black metal bands face controversy and criticism, how do you respond to these criticisms and negative perceptions of the genre?
PB-We have existed as an obscure, underground entity for 30 years. Only now with the forthcoming release will there be an opportunity for significant criticism.
MPM-What are some of your favorite black metal albums or bands that have influenced your sound?
PB-So many bands and records, too many to list. SLAYER ‘Show no Mercy’, VENOM ‘Black Metal’ and ‘At war with Satan’ and BATHORY ‘Under the sign of the Black Mark’ are some of my earliest influences for this band.
MPM-Can you give us any hints or teasers about what fans can expect from your future releases or shows?
PB-The release date for the record has changed several times, in the ensuing months we’ve completed writing music for our next album. I anticipate more opportunities to perform and another record in the next few years.
Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation will be released on LP, CD, and digital formats through Nameless Grave Records on March 3rd.