After witnessing Ratlord support Gatecreeper last week at Audio and witnessing the short, but blistering set of German based hardcore/death metal newcomers Ratlord, I simply had to introduce myself to the band. Having only one self-titled EP through Injustice Records in Germany, their set was not even half an hour long but let me tell you that their lasting impression on me was a lot longer than that. Ratlord play death metal, the Swedish way, with their earlier bands’ hardcore influences shining through in parts, which altogether makes something unique. I really hope these guys make it as even though this is a band in its infancy, their set was extremely tight, ferocious and in your face that they should garner your attention. I introduced myself to vocalist Kreso at the gig and he was very kind to do this interview.
Simple things first – how did you meet?
We used to play in two hardcore bands on the same label, Powertrip Records. Three of us played in a stoner hc band called Dull Eyes and I was part of Gone To Waste which was influenced by 90s NYHC. We played a show somewhere in Germany and while chatting, those guys dropped that they have written some death metal riffs for a side project. I told them I always wanted to sing in a death metal band and so we met again in a stinky Düsseldorf rehearsal room.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Maybe two years, on and off. So yeah we are a pretty young band.
What are your influences?
In the hardcore scene you’ll always find hybrid bands. Some that are inspired by the blues, punk, metal. Our tremolo riffs and melodies were influenced by old school Swedish death metal like Dismember and Carnage of course. The ‘slammier’ parts were inspired by 90s Suffocation, Immolation and other East Coast bands from that era.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Maybe our hardcore past. I always thought this could be an obstacle for us but actually it is what makes us and our music unique. The songwriting is more about energy and groove instead of developing a riff-based structure. But both things don’t have to contradict of course.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
We keep it simple and put the environment we grew up in in focus. We are all city kids so our lyrics are a way to transport all the neglect we have for modern day society in all of its forms.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
And again we keep it simple here. We like it short and hard and in the face, keeping it as minimalistic as possible and let the music speak for us. We played something around 30 shows, I’m really bad at counting. Might be some more or less.
You have only been together a short time and have already released an EP. Are you ready to record new material?
We’re about to write new material for a full length and we are already playing a new song to stretch our set a bit. I think the new material is gonna be a bit harder but we’ll see where the songwriting process will get us to.
Is there anything that you would change now that you have had the chance to reflect on the “Ratlord” EP?
To be honest, not much. It’s not perfect at all but this is what I like about it. In times of generic over-productions of records it is a rough counterpart. As a band you definitely grow songwriting-wise so our next record is a chance for us to do things smarter or better. I think the biggest mistake would be that the next record would sound like our debut. This pretty much means we haven’t learnt anything on the way or we’ve been too cowardly to change things.
Was it difficult to find the sound that you wanted and how did you find the place to record your EP?
We didn’t want to go to one of those new studios where you record everything through a Kemper and the drums being triggered and corrected through and through. We wanted to have an organic sound and we knew that the Tonmeisterei in Oldenburg could deliver such a sound. Those guys keep it old school.
On the subject of touring, is it difficult for everyone to get away from their day job and maybe do an extensive tour?
It kinda is because of all the bureaucracy in Germany. But it’s definitely worth fighting for with your boss or lecturer. So yeah we hope to hit the road very soon again.
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!
That’s a tough one. I’d like to support Death back in the Schuldiner-days just to see him play. Or for Fleshcrawl back in the day. As a support I would take our friends in Angst. It’s super heavy 90s mosh metallic hardcore.
Are there any bands in your local scene that you would recommend?
The Deathrite and Deathbearer guys, of course. Spirit Crusher, Angst and Absolve for the 90s hardcore faction.
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?
This would be a weird party but I’ll take Angelcorpse’s Exterminate to kick off the evening. Cro Mags’ Alpha – Omega. A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats, Rhymes & Life. Then something I was shown on tour: Drangsal’s Harieschaim. And to send everyone home: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska.
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
If you weren’t annoyed earlier and made it to here: Thank you for showing interest in a young underground band. Thank you for showing interest in the underground in general. And check out injustice-records.com for our debut EP on vinyl. They put a lot of effort into it and we are proud of how this record turned out.