BLURTING WITH… Saviours

Talking
fun and magic and filthiness with the “indie metal” messiahs.

 

BY KENNY HERZOG

 

You could hypothesize that it sucked to be
Saviours circa 2006-2008, a period that saw the Oakland, California
thrash-metal revivalists release their first two LPS, Crucifire and Into Abaddon.
After all, one couldn’t pick up a Blackberry without perusing some blog that
deemed metal to be the new indie rock, and dudes like Austin Barber
(vocals/guitars), Cyrus Comiskey (bass), Scott Batiste (drums) and recent
recruit Sonny Reinhardt (guitars) as headbanging messiahs for the hipster set.

 

But as Batiste says rather flatly, “I don’t
think we really ever gave much of a shit about any of that.” And that lack of
pretense is exactly why they continue to thrive as both contemporary genre
icons and get recognized by their influences, like newest tour mates and doom
legends Saint Vitus.

 

Fresh off a hat trick of 7-inches that
boasted both new material and covers of heroes such as Saxon and Judas Priest,
their newest full-length, Accelerated
Living
(due in late October on Kemado), is a fitting paean to the holy
unholiness of hard rock, and finds the foursome in meaner, leaner,
riff-ravaging form than ever.

 

Not that they give a shit what you think.
Batiste elaborates on the band’s blissfully uncaring philosophy, while owning
up to his own stereotypical metal qualities and revealing who else on the
axe-slinging scene actually lifts their weight with indulgent backstage Abaddon.

 

***

 

BLURT:
I have to admit I was disappointed that Accelerated
Living
lacked the wordplay of Into
Abaddon
or Crucifire. Why break
that pattern now?

BATISTE: It’s just the right name. We
argued about different names forever and this came up and it just sums up where
we’re at musically, personally, vibe-wise, etc… I like that it has a lot of
different connotations and possible interpretations.

 

What,
in your estimation, are the essential cornerstones of an accelerated lifestyle?

I guess drinking, drugs, girls, extremely loud hard rock and metal, and just
doing our best to kick ass in all of those endeavors constantly.

What
specifically about the sound of Living feels more locked in than your previous efforts? Layered guitar harmonies?
Superior thrash?

We just wanted to kick it up a couple
notches and make a punishing and uncompromising record. Adding Sonny to the mix
definitely helped with that. We wanted the speed, the sludge, heaviness, solos,
harmonies and everything to be there. It’s pretty diverse for what it is.
Someone told us recently it reminded them of Celtic Frost meets Sweet. [It’s] Slayer
meets old Blue Öyster Cult, whatever you like.

 

 

It
seems the media fervor around the “indie-metal” scene is dying down. Was it
tough to stand out as distinct and genuine when that such a buzzed-about
movement?

There’s not much in modern metal that
interests us. We don’t read the magazines or pay attention to any of the hype
stuff. Lump us in with whatever you want. Our approach from the start has been
to do fun or weird shit and play as much as possible because that’s what we
love to do and if you dig it, cool. And if not, whatever, fuck off.

What’s
the reception like for you guys overseas versus the States? I’d imagine in
certain European and Asian territories you’re treated with headbanging
hysteria.

Europe is killer, though I wouldn’t say it’s any rowdier than the killer U.S.
spots. We’ve only been over a few times but it does get more rad each time. We’re
going to Japan
for the first time in February 2010, [so] we’ll see about that.

You’ve
toured with metal acts old and new, legendary and upcoming. Who are the
craziest motherfuckers you’ve shared stages and dressing rooms with?

High on Fire and Annihilation Time come to mind first. Oakland, go figure. U.S. Christmas, Black
Cobra, Earthless and The Sword all were awesome too.

What’s
the biggest cliché about guys in metal bands?

I’m a vodka-drinking homeless drummer, so I might the wrong guy to ask.

It’s
kind of mind-blowing that Saviours has roots in ’90s hardcore band Yaphet
Kotto. Is it a natural evolution for talented hardcore musicians from the
hardcore scene to rediscover the relative sophistication of metal?

Most of the guys I know from that time are either still involved with hardcore
or else graduated to limp-dick indie rock or else are not involved with music
at all. There are some exceptions of course. I was into metal in late
elementary school and got into punk shortly after. The actual music aside, I
have a pretty bad taste in my mouth about most of what hardcore is “about” now
after my time and experiences with that band. We had some good times, but I
hope Yaphet Kotto stays dead forever.

In
a nutshell, what’s the feeling you hope to deliver to people who experience Accelerated Living and/or see you play
live?

A completely punishing and exhilarating metal experience. Hopefully putting
some fun and magic and filthiness back into metal. Everyone is so serious and
slick and biz oriented, it fucking kills me.

 

 

 

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