Recently I took a shot in the dark and out of the selection of albums to choose from, I came across Savage Annihilation from France. I do what I normally do and listen to a couple of songs on YouTube and if I like it, I select that band to review. I was very happy that I chose Savage Annihilation as I was going through a rough time and required a way to let out this aggression that I had built up. There is no better way to get your anger out while listening to brutal death metal from a band that up until now I was unaware of. It’s one of the perks of this job (reviewing music) that you get to hear new bands and form a relationship with the band. I caught up with all round nice guy and guitarist/vocalist Dave from Savage Annihilation and learned all about Lieutenant Savage, a very healthy French extreme metal scene and, erm, Little Johnny.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
My brother Mike (drums) and I (Dave, guitar/vocal) are from Montargis, Loiret, in the centre of France. It’s a little town at 120km in the south of Paris that we call “The Gatinaicticut”. It’s sort of French Texas! Benoît (bass) lives in the north of Paris.
How did you meet?
We met Benoît in 2014. Our previous bass player (Aara) decided to leave the band and focus on his professional and personal life. So we were looking for a new bass player and got in touch with Benoît who played in the Parisian band Insane which sadly split up, to play a few shows with us. He did his first show with the band without meeting us and rehearsing before. He did a huge job by learning all our songs in one week. He’s the band’s official bass player since this day.
How long have you been playing as a band?
My brother and I have been playing metal music together since 1996, when I was 11 and Mike was 9. We always played in band. We first played kind of heavy-thrash style, not so really violent. We were young and we didn’t take any lessons.
Then Savage Annihilation was born in 2002, with the same members than previously that suggested to us to take another musical direction and play death metal. We always listened to this music style but we thought ourselves not good enough to play this music so complex. We decided anyway to try to evolve as musicians.
Benoît who’s played with us since 2014 played with several bands before us, first as a eguitar player from his teenage years, before switching to bass guitar since 2009. He played with Unreason, Disaster, Sentence, Insain… He’s a very good musician and an excellent friend with whom we love to share our passion. Our European tour with Avulsed and Mercyless did make us closer even more. It was awesome to do it with him. Benny rules!
What are your influences?
We have various inspirations in metal/rock/blues genres and all these styles inspired our music since the beginning. But when we discovered bands like Deicide, Deeds of Flesh, Death and all the others, they showed us the way, I can say. Morbid Angel’s songs always intrigue me in the way they do. For me, Heretic is a great album!
Otherwise, we discovered metal music very early, in all formats; from old bands to new ones, ultra underground bands to more known ones, in many metal sub-genres and also a lot of rock ‘n’ roll like Little Richard, Elvis, Gene Vincent and more…
Benny listens also to a lot of jazz, funk, dark ambient, classical music and even drum ‘n’ bass but the metal scene is the only one we’ll all follow till death !
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
It’s not so manifest, I always have difficulty to describe our music. I’ll say our death metal is evil, brutal, dark and suffocating with those bomb blast, double bass drums and riffs which all stop only when the album is finished. At least, that’s what I think. I don’t really know if our music is unique and I don’t think so, even it surely is different compared to what we could listen to nowadays. We mostly do what we want without absolutely looking for being original or being different. There’s still some metal fans who think we are original and unique and we thank them for their support.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Yes, indeed. The story takes place in an abandoned military and industrial complex with refugees of an apocalypse, led by a religious dictator who uses this apocalypse to manipulate them. He sets a theocracy and a way of thinking to the People of Sion , the place they live, inflicting the Inquisition’s torture to those who might think differently, pointing them out as heretics serving the devil. Those who don’t confess their faith to Lucifer are crucified and given as offerings to the zombies to ease God’s wrath against humanity, but this is useless because God isn’t responsible for this.
There is a man who does not agree anymore with this system. Hyrreit is his name. He decided to open Sion’s doors to man’s flesh eaters to stop this madness and redeem himself before God. Lieutenant Savage, our mascot is a witness to this dementia which flies beyond the dunes of corpses, devouring the world, organ after organ and when the cross of blasphemies lowers, Hyrreit plunges this tomb of atrocity and their inhabitants in horror, marking the end of this devouring anthropophagic degeneracy.
I like to create my stories like a movie. I watch a lot of movies of all kind and Poup’s artwork supports this dark mood and gives life to the story. We love his style and he did a great job on the artwork and each one for the lyrics.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
I don’t really know to be honest to tell how I am on stage. We’re not on stage to offer a particular show, to prove we are the best or anything like that, but to simply make live our music for the audience. We love to play on stage, more than recording albums. It’s on stage where it all happens and a band can show who they are. Even if we wouldn’t record albums anymore, we would still play live because it’s where metal lives! I’d say we played … shows since our beginning, I think. I don’t remember exactly.
How has the relationship been with XenoKorp? It must have been a no-brainer to sign a record deal with them? Did you have a lot of options at the time?
Our relation with Nico, Xenokorp’s label manager is excellent. He does a great job and he’s a friend. He managed Kaotoxin Records with which we released our first album Cannibalisme, hérésie et autres sauvageries in 2012 and with which we also should have released Quand s’abaisse la croix du blasphème. But Nico had health issues which compelled him to stop Kaotoxin activities.
So we were in search of a new label but it was complicated. Some labels work in some well-defined genres and don’t want to diverge from their ways or to take risks, which we totally understand, but it was kind of desperate. Some don’t like our artwork, others the music… But Nico liked everything and proposed a deal. We know well and appreciate each other. It was a pleasure to work again with him on this album.
What has the response been from fans and media alike so far with the album Quand S’Abaisse La croix du Blasphème?
Surprisingly the response is very good. Personally, I thought it would have been welcomed as our first album, as we didn’t change our style alot. It evolved for sure, but I didn’t think metal fans would love it more than Cannibalisme…. We like it a lot because we worked on playing our sound and I think people heard that.
Is there anything about the album Quand S’Abaisse La croix du Blasphème that you would like to change or redo now that you have had time to reflect on it?
Not really, no. We like it like that. It is spontaneous and doesn’t have many things we can’t do live. It’s important for me to keep an honest and spontaneous aspect, even if in the future there will be some songs that will be composed only for records.
It’s very important to consider an album entirely, even its negative aspect and be proud of it. It has to be a lesson so as not to repeat the same mistakes. It’s very important to listen yourself to progress.
Now that the album is out there, what are the plans for band in the near future? Is it difficult for everyone to get away from their day job and maybe do a week long tour in Europe?
To promote the album the more we can, anywhere we can and see where it leads us. We recorded some extra songs during the recording of Quand s’abaisse…, a tribute to Slayer’s Jeff Hannemann entitled “When the Slayer Bangs His Head” with Sybille Colin-Tocquaine from Witches and Dum from Pleasure to Kill in guest vocals. This track is a bonus one on the album vinyl edition. We have 3 more songs we would release later but we didn’t work on it for now. We manage to tour as often as possible but we can’t go on tour for too long. We play in other bands and have other obligations we can’t shift but we book the band with these parameters in consideration.
How often is the band able to get together and rehearse and what are the facilities in France like for studios and recording ?
Mike and I live pretty closed to each other and we meet very often to rehearse, like 2 or 3 times a week. Benoît lives a 2 hour drive from us so he works a lot at his home and comes as soon as he can. There’s pretty much studios for recording or rehearsal here in France at a reasonable price but I admit we didn’t look too far for our albums.
The sound of the album I felt was perfect and very clear, allowing each instrument to be heard but to remain brutal at all times. Was it difficult to find the sound that you wanted and how did you find the place to record your album?
I’m glad you like it, thank you. It was recorded it at Mike’s house, by Alexandre Boise from Aleskingeenering, the same guy who recorded our first album. It’s always a pleasure to work with him and he did a great job for the sound of this album. He knew how to give a new dimension compared to Cannibalisme… . Then it was mastered by HK Krauss from Vamacara Studio and the result is what you can hear.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
It’s quite a difficult question. There’s a lot of bands we’d love to share the stage with, opening for us or us in support. There’s too many bands and it’s hard to make a choice. We’re metal fans before everything else and we would play with all the bands we love if we could do so. But we always play with bands we like as Disgraseed, Corrosive Elements, Mercyless, Avgrunn, Tools of Torture, Kraanium, Fleshless, Lelahell, Avulsed…
We’ll be on tour from 10th November to 18th November in France with Neprhen-Ka who have also released a new album too.
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
Pantera’s Power Metal, ZZ Top’s Deguello, Cock and Ball Torture’s Sadochismo, AC/DC’s Let There Be Rock and Morbid Angel’s Formulas Fatal To The Flesh to end the night really hard!
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
Thank you Ricky four your support and for this interview. Thanks for all the Moshville Times staff and all the fans who support us. I invite everyone who don’t know us yet to come to our shows. We want to tour in Scotland as soon as possible.
The Annihiliation continues…
There you have it. If ever you wish to let your aggression out, then there is no better way than to listen to bands like Savage Annihilation. Contact the band and introduce yourself and you will find very friendly guys who are fans of music and love nothing more than to perform their art on stage at a place near you.
Quand s’abaisse la croix du blaspheme is out now