FFO: Thrash Metal
Featuring former Sodom band members Bernd “Bernemann” Kost (guitars), Markus “Makka” Freiwald (drums), second guitarist Chris Tsitsis (ex-Suicidal Angels), bassist Marc Hauschild and vocalist Ingo Bajonczak (Assassin), Bonded’s debut album Rest In Violence dropped in January via Century Media Records and lives up to the hype. Also last month, Musicinterviewmagazine featured Bonded, a new German thrash metal supergroup, in New Music Previews.
Rest In Violence has all the hallmarks of a modern day thrash classic, including crushing riffs, powerful and aggressive vocals and dynamic drumming highlighted by stellar double-kick work. Check out “Suit Murderer” for an indication of the rawness and intensity these seasoned metalists deliver. The new album also features a fair amount of musical and creative risks, from a harmonica solo to lyrics about space exploration and international terrorism. The special guests who perform on the blazing title track are the icing on the proverbial cake.
Musicinterviewmagazine caught up with Kost, Freiwald and Bajonczak to discuss the members’ histories, the careful approach to writing about controversial topics like terrorism and how they feel the band honors thrash music.
Musicinterviewmagazine: How did the band come together?
Bernd Kost: Makka, Marc, Chris and I have known each other for ages. And our producer Cornelius Rambadt is a buddy for a long time, like many others we’re working with. We needed some time to find the right singer. We knew that his job could be the most important part in the band and we didn’t want to make a compromise. A friend told us about Ingo and we were immediately impressed by his expressive voice.
How did Bernd and Markus’ history together set the course for Rest In Violence?
BK: We have worked together for years and we were responsible for the basic tracks of the last two Sodom albums [that we played on]. We knew where we wanted to go and worked pretty hard on new material whenever we had time. While searching for the new lineup, we never stopped writing new songs.
Why do you think thrash has experienced a global regeneration in the past 15 years? How do you feel Bonded contributes to the genre’s popularity and longevity?
BK: There are not many musical directions with this intensity and energy. For me, the music is honest and down to earth. Where do you find these attributes in the music business nowadays? Unfortunately, I see tendencies of mass compatible “Schlagermusic metal” that is really successful at the moment. But I am not afraid about the thrash metal future as long as new authentic bands follow the path of their heroes. The sound of Bonded is clearly rooted in the past, but is not a poor copy. We found our style in connecting old school with modern elements in combination with memorable songwriting.
“Je Suis Charlie” is a great song with an anti-terror message. Not many bands have written about the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack tragedy so directly. What challenges did you encounter while writing it?
Ingo Bajonczak: To be honest, I already did another song to this topic before, that’s the track “The Word” on Assassin’s Combat Cathedral album. But up until now this threat is still on and real. With the birth of my son I asked myself, what kind of world may he grow up in? I don’t want him to come up in a society full of fear and hatred where you mistrust every stranger or even your neighbor.
It is so important that we keep our dignity and freedom of speech. We have to fight and stand against those who want to bring us terror and oppression. It’s a straight and clear statement against any kind of censorship. Humorists and artists always have to have the right to expression in any imaginable manner without fear of getting killed, even due to bad taste.
The title track features a legendary metal singer, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth of Overkill. Did you always have him in mind for collaboration and specifically for the title track? What was it like recording with such a high-level singer?
BK: We never expected to work with Bobby, even though we know him well. I guess he liked the idea of doing something different, especially when he heard that Christian “Speesy” Giesler [former bassist of Kreator] would play on that song for us. He spontaneously offered to sing this track. I started to think about the riffs later and tried to find something that’s not too far from Overkill. It was great to see how he enjoyed it. He did not only sing, he also added some lyrics and worked on the vocal arrangement. For me, Bobby is one of the last great characters in the scene and we are happy and proud to have him on board.
One unique detail is the harmonica solo on “The Rattle & The Snake,” as it’s not an instrument often heard on a thrash record. What led you to include it?
IB: I just came up with the idea because the lyrics deal with an ironic western theme and I thought a typical southern style sound could add a bit of feeling to it. Also, it was a test, if you could do so in a solo part between the leads of the guitars without appearing cheesy. In my perspective, it worked very well. Bernemann was skeptical at first, but when we gave it a try, he and the other bandmates also began to dig it.
“To Each His Own” is a standout that happens to be a bonus track available on the first pressing of the CD. It’s a truly positive but energetic song. How important was it to include a song with a strong and even hopeful message?
IB: There’s always light when there’s darkness, always two sides of the coin. Of course a thrash metal band needs a lyrical basement that matches the raging power and aggression the style represents. You can hardly sing about daffodils or rainbows when the beat and riffing is in for the kill. You verbally need something hard enough to unite music and word. Aggressive lyrics often tend to appear negative and I tried to amplify a positive approach to it all, but without losing power.
What are some things you can accomplish musically with Bonded that you could not do in another group?
Markus Freiwald: Musically, we can theoretically reach everything with Bonded. We have reached a point where the band is melded into an unstoppable unit. We are five musicians who love what we do and this is the main reason why we could reach a lot, if we stay tuned. You never know what is reachable with a different band or a different constellation. I hope that we will do a lot of shows and we are going to record as many records as we can in the future.
With so much demand and simultaneously so much competition in the genre, what are your hopes and goals for Bonded?
MF: We just want to play live as much as possible to present our music wherever possible. We hope that thrash metal fans all over the world will like the album and let us keep going and doing what we love to do while letting them be a part of it. The business is hard and we have to be patient for a while. We have the advantage that we have a lot of experience and a lot of popularity and support, Bobby Blitz for instance, in the scene and that helps for sure.
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Justin Smulison is a professional content writer and producer whose first love is music. Smulison’s digital and print copywriting experience spans music, law, true crime, advertising and real estate, among other subjects. You can often find JS in Long Beach, New York, either running on the boardwalk or in the sand with his family.