Insurgency: Band Of The Day

By on 25 July 2014


The UK underground scene has been producing some great new thrash bands recently – I did a feature on Exxxekutioner from Manchester for this website not so long ago and another North West England based thrash band who go under the name of Insurgency have also recently caught my attention and impressed the hell out of me. These guys clearly worship at the altar of classic Slayer, Kreator etc, full of extreme aggression & snarling vocals, and a pounding double kick artillery propels along this thrash warmachine. Lyrically the band, much like their name, focus on various conflicts and wars that have been afflicting certain parts of the world with song titles such as ‘Desert Holocaust’, ‘Benghazi’, ‘Taliban’ etc…

The band’s debut recording, which will be released as an E.P. titled ‘Death March’, should be available soon, so I thought I’d fire some questions to the band about this and other things and this is what they collectively fired back at me in response…

WORDS: Kat Gillham

WHO ARE THEY: Insurgency
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Lancaster, Lancashire
FOR FANS OF: Slayer, Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Infernal Majesty
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Death March’ E.P. (2014, self released)
WEBSITE: Facebook

Hails! Please give the readers a brief history/background on the band and please tell us who currently does what in the band?
Will (bass, vocals): “We formed in Lancaster about 2 years ago. Basically Andy (Guitar) and I (Bass) were in a Black Metal band together called Consecrated Flesh, and decided we wanted to do something a little bit less miserable and overbearing. We started jamming a few really basic tunes at Andy’s house and came up with the name Insurgency. Having heard of Malek’s awesome ability to pound the living shit out of a drum kit we approached him with a few demos of the material we’d been working on, and he really liked it so he joined up. Since then we’ve been working our way around the North West moving gradually out from Lancaster – we’re hoping to visit a few new places soon and have a show booked in Newcastle in July.

You have been in the studio recently to do a proper studio recording which will be released soon, please tell the readers what they can expect from this recording in your own words. What format will it be released on? Can you reveal the title of it and the tracklist? When will your debut studio recording be unleashed upon the extreme music scene?
Andy (guitar): “We tracked everything separately but it still has that old school home grown feel so integral to our sound. Readers can expect 25 minutes of raw aural terrorism, a relentless raging thrash assault! We only plan on releasing it on CD at the moment, though our 2013 demo will be released on tape some time before the E.P. is. We are planning to release the CD for Thrashoholic Fest in August, it will be called ‘Death March’.

“The track list is as follows:
1. Death March
2. Terror Thrash Totality
3. Tunguska
4. Benghazi
5. Taliban
6.  Desert Holocaust”

Will: “”In the studio!” Makes it sound a bit more glamorous than the reality, but I’ll elaborate on that in a bit. It’ll definitely be released on CD and digitally, possibly cassette, we haven’t fully hashed out all the details yet, or if we have I wasn’t listening! You should expect something with a pretty live feel, as although we are over-dubbing certain aspects of the mix, we began by recording the drums to live-played guitar – no clicks or backing tracks. Hopefully it should sound pretty raw and aggressive, we’re a pretty direct band and I hope that comes across in the recordings. We don’t have an exact date yet, but expect it in the next two months.”

Malek (drums): “No fucking click or fucking triggers bollocks. Only raw is real!”

Where was it recorded?
Will: “We did the drum recordings at our local practice rooms. I’m a Music Technology graduate and have access to some decent recording gear. The nature of the stuff we do, meant that we didn’t need to worry too much about background noise – Malek’s drumming easily masks the Indie band in the room next door! Guitar and vocals were recorded at Andy’s house and bass at mine, which allowed us the time to work pretty intensively on getting them right without having to worry about room hire costs.”

Is the cover art sorted for it, can you tell us a bit about the cover concept?
Andy: “It was drawn by our good friend Alice Biddau. The concept is based upon the various sectarian political conflicts occurring around the globe. It is basically two different armed groups battling it out in a square in Alice’s hometown in Sardinia.”

Malek: “The artwork for the demo tape was made by our mate Tom Hugues from Viocide, who spontaneously did a cover after we played together in Manchester at Retro Bar last year.”

Typically how does a typical Insurgency song come together from birth until it is a full song? Who is responsible for most of the songwriting?
Andy: “Each song is different. Some of the songs are written at home individually, but sometimes we get a spark of inspiration in practice and smash something out. Will and I write the riffs and the lyrics, Malek ties it all together and acts as Quality Assurance.”

Will: “Andy and I have written all of the songs to date, the lion’s share come from Andy. We generally sit down and write them from start to finish in our own time and then bring them into practice to jam on them and see if we want to use them. Usually certain elements will change a little during this process as each of us adds our own touches to our parts.”

What inspires you to put pen to paper?
Andy: “The various political and sectarian conflicts around the world. The band formed around the time of the Arab Spring so that was a massive inspiration for the first few tracks we wrote. Counter Insurgent Militia is about the armed gangs Bashir Al Assad uses to quell dissent in Syria. The crises in Ukraine and Nigeria will no doubt influence our next set of songs. Due to our sound and the nature of the music we play we tend to write from the “bad guy’s” perspective.”

Will: “We made a conscious decision early on that our lyrics were going to be a commentary on violent events around the world, and have written about the fighting in the Middle-East, the Bosnian War and many more already. Both Andy and I seem to have a morbid fascination with these types of events, but we try not to impart our own politics to the lyrics, and rather describe the events as distant observers. While so much metal relies on fantasy for its subject material, I personally think that the things that happen every day in the world are often far more horrible than anything we can simply imagine, and it isn’t always a bad thing to draw attention to that.”

You guys are a very active live band, where have you managed to play so far? What can people expect from an Insurgency live assault? Would you eventually like to get out and tour and possibly even play outside of the UK?
Andy: “We have played all over the North West, Manchester Liverpool etc. People can expect a relentless sonic assault. Hard, fast and loud. Raging old school thrash with a DIY hardcore attitude. We would love to tour and get outside the UK, at the moment we are working on building up a following, though there are plans in the near future.”

Will: “We’ve stuck to the North-West so far, playing shows in Lancaster, our hometown, Preston, Barrow, Wigan, Liverpool and Manchester. We’re hoping to play further afield in the future, and we do have a few contacts in Europe that we’d love to utilise once we’ve explored the UK a little more. It’s hard for me to say what to expect, as I’ve never seen us play but we generally blast through our material pretty quickly, and the current set is fairly intense. Whatever else we are, I can guarantee we’ll be fast and loud!”

Malek: “Ideally, we’d love to do a Scandinavian tour at some stage next year.”

What live thrash assaults have you currently got in the pipeline?
Will: “We’ve got shows coming up in Wigan (18th July, The Boulevard), as well as one in Newcastle with WOS (Wraith Of Satan, feat. Trev Robinson and Andy Reed from Satan) (25th July, Royal British Legion), and Thrashaholic Fest in Leeds (16th August, Wharf Chambers), which look like being a lot of fun!”

Malek: “Not to forget our first incursion in Scotland on the 13th of December in Edinburgh with Nngnn, Exxxekutioner and Evil Blood.”

You currently play some cover versions live, please tell us about why you chose these songs? Have you played any other cover songs?
Will: “Well, we play ‘Death From Above’ by Discard most shows because Malek said so. At our last gig we played ‘Necrolust’ by Mayhem, and we’ve played ‘Agent Orange’ by Sodom on a number of occasions. Most of the covers we play are by bands who had a big influence on what we’re doing now. I’m hoping we might do something from one of Death’s early albums soon as Chuck Schuldiner had a massive influence on my songwriting.”

Malek: “We also did ‘Countess Bathory’ by Venom, inviting our mates in Exxxekutioner, and I joined them for Celtic Frost’s ‘Into The Crypts Of Rays”, I feel strongly about spontaneity in our live shows and include fellow musicians where possible. Quite often we swap instruments at practice to jam anything from Venom to Anti-Cimex, Mob 47 or Rattus.”

Please tell us about the band name and how come you decided to settle on Insurgency?
Andy: “We feel Insurgency represents the “fuck off” attitude of our music. It also fits nicely with the subject matter we write about and sounds evil.”

Will: “We decided on Insurgency because it fit the subject material we wanted to write about, and also, we thought it was kinda punchy. It seems to suit us pretty well.”

What attracted you to old school thrash metal in the first place? What was it about such a style of music that made you want to form a band in this style? Which bands fuel and shape the sound of Insurgency influence-wise?
Andy: “Thrash is the purest form of metal. Whilst it all started with Black Sabbath it was bands like Slayer and Kreator that got people banging their heads the hardest. Thrash has had such a massive influence on the current extreme metal scene that it would be rude not to play it. Our main influences are obviously Slayer/Kreator/Destruction, etc. We also draw a lot of influence from the global hardcore scenes and black thrash bands such as Aura Noir, Antichrist… and early death metal too.”

Will: “For my part, I really like the way this kind of music cuts through the bullshit and gets straight to the point. I love complex, technical music too, but sometimes you really can’t be bothered being so cerebral and shitting yourself over every missed note or whatever. Thrash is just so visceral and that makes it ideal as live music. There is an energy at a good thrash show that you can’t get anywhere else in my opinion.”

Malek: “I’ve been into thrash for a long time through tape-trading and basically having older friends, which opened a world of discovery regarding proper raging stuff like Sacrifice, Sadus, Infernal Majesty etc. As for the influences, anything from Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, Motörhead, Negative Approach, Raw Power, DRI, Discharge, Bathory, Rhinocharge, Massacre, The Shaggs, Disvoodle, Sacrilege, Anti-Cimex, Rattus, Sleaford Mods, Terveet Kadt, Riistetyt, Napalm Death, Discard, GBH, Gauze, Gism, Anti-Septic, Confuse, Bastard, Inferno, Lama, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Slaughter, Pentagram Chile, Disorder, Chaos UK, Ultraviolence, Moderat Likvidation, Death, Death Strike, Master, Autopsy, Nihilist, Genocide, Siege, Repulsion, Shitlickers, Morbid Angel, Swankys, Exodus, Ulysses Siren, No Security and Bombanfall.”

Describe the band in 5 words only!
Andy: “Raw Terror thrashing terrorist attack!”

Malek: “Total voodle doss rhino charge!”

Will: “I can do better than 5: Fast. Loud. Raw.”

What is your opinion on the current UK thrash metal scene?
Andy: “There are some quality bands and some shit. I suppose that is the case for all music scenes. There has recently been a massive boom in the North West with bands like Exxxekutioner, Exiled, Viocide, Obliterator, Nngnn and us flying the flag of hate. As clichéd as it sounds I think the move towards the dirty old school sound is probably a positive. There are many bands who go for that sterile overproduced sound, whilst the riffs are often good, the attitude and the atmosphere of releases like pleasure to kill, reign in blood is central to thrash metal and this is lost if a release is overproduced.”

What is your opinion on the worldwide thrash metal revival that has taken the metal scene by storm in the past 7 years or so?
Andy: “As mentioned above, the very recent trend towards the darker side of things is definitely a positive. Bands like Thrash from Bangladesh show that the genre is represented in nations in which it was previously unheard of and this can only be a positive. Unfortunately many bands seem to focus more on writing technical riffs than listening to Motörhead!”

Malek: “I’d definitely say Antichrist.”

Which current thrash bands out there do you feel an “affinity” with from both home and abroad?
Andy: “As far as thrash bands go there is Exxxekutioner, Exiled, Viocide and Callus from the North West, however Lancaster has many bands from different genres worth a mention. Most notable are Eliminator, a NWOBHM band, there is also The Fighting Keegans who play Stoner rock, and The Fighting Bears who are a very talented bunch playing Post Hardcore. A special mention goes Riggots from Wigan. Lord knows what genre they play but its loud and fast so it works for us!”

What are your plans after the debut proper release is out? Are you guys fast songwriters and already have more new material in the pipeline?
Will: “We write songs pretty quick, but we also cast ’em aside like no-one’s business, so things don’t always happen fast. The upside is we often have material we can go back to and improve upon when it comes to writing new songs. Usually when we get into the groove we’ll write four or five or more songs pretty much all at once, so I don’t imagine you’ll have to wait too long before we’ve got something new on offer!”

The last words are yours, thanks for answering this short interview!
Andy: “Keep it raw, keep it fast and don’t stop listening to Motörhead!”

Malek: “The doss is for life, not just for X-mas!”

> Will: Thanks for listening!

About Kez Whelan

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