GOSPEL OF THE HORNS

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with Houwitzer of Gospel Of The Horns was done through e-mail by Josh Ngolls in March 2003.

Comprised of veterans of cult Australian bands such as Destroyer 666 and Bestial Warlust, the fact that Gospel of the Horns play a catchy yet harsh style of metal should come as no surprise. There simply seems to be no end to the quality and quantity of bands that this island nation produces. With a 5-song mini-CD and a new full-length under their bullet belts, Gospel of the Horns are poised to grab the world by the throat with a highly addictive brand of seething blackened thrash. Bassist/vocalist Houwitzer manned the keyboard on behalf of his 4-piece strike force.

Gospel of the Horns are 10-year veterans of the music scene at this point. How does the extreme metal scene today compare to the scene in the early 1990's, both in Australia and worldwide?
When I look back to Australia in the late eighties and ninteties, what I recall is the pure energy and raw emotion which was emanating from the ranks...Everything back then was unbridled, new and fresh. Bands such as NECROTOMY, ACHERON, HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH, MORTAL SIN, SADISTIK EXECTUTION, SLAUGHTER LORD, BESTIAL WARLUST and CORPSE MOLESTATION were pounding their demonic tunes to the masses. It made such a change from what was floating around at the time. I suppose because I was around back then, the thing which I find different is originality. Of course I'm not shitting on today's standard, but it was all unventured territory back then...a whole new sound was encompassing the scene...I suppose this was also relevant in the o/s scene as well. Bands in the vein of BLASPEMY, BEHERIT, MORBID ANGEL, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, RAZOR, CELTIC FROST and BATHORY are never going to be replaced in the overall scheme of extreme metal history.

You've had a few line-up changes in your time, and the band was on hiatus for some time. What have you had to look for in prospective GOTH members?
First and foremost the individual needs to have a strong identity; one who isn't easily influenced by anything or anyone. It's important to have the necessary drive and will power to be focused in the same direction. GOSPEL are an identity which is lucky enough to not only be band mates but also very close personal friends...you fuck with one of us then you fuck with all of us...

You played drums on D666's stellar "Unchain the Wolves", and now destroy on bass/vox. Which instrument did you learn first and why? Have you kept up your drumming over the years?
The first instrument I picked up was the drumsticks. I did the drums of death on the first demo "THE SATANIST DREAM" in 1993,but I had also been drumming for an old death metal band from the late eighties called SARCOPHAGUS. However, after the recording of "THE SATANISTS DREAM", myself and the old guitarist Deathdealer became increasingly frustrated with the vocalists' ability to tune in with our ideas. He would just scream continuously over the riffs without having any feel for the songs. Soon this became such an issue that we had no choice other than to sack him. Then I thought rather than getting a new vocalist, I would give it a shot, and in turn take over the bass duties, as well. The last recording I did on the drums was a band called RAVENS WING, titled "THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS". This was recorded not long after the D666 CD "UNCHAIN THE WOLVES". Occasionally I will jump on the drum kit at GOSPEL rehearsals when we are writing new tracks, just to help out Hellcunt with some ideas. Other than that I seldom bash away on the kit.

I know that you are a big fan of both Iron Maiden and Sodom. How are you liking these bands' more recent materials?
Mmmmm, the last SODOM recording I enjoyed was " .....CODE RED"...I didn't get into their last offering "M16"; it seemed a little stale....As for IRON MAIDEN, their last CD with Bruce on vocals was pretty cool, certainly better than the last 3 LP's, but in my opinion MAIDEN'S last classic LP was " SEVENTH SON...."

You seem to know alot about your home nation of Australia. Would you consider yourself to be a patriotic citizen?
Oh, most definitely. I'm very proud of my country and of my heritage...I think it is important to be aware of your past and to have pride in ones' own identity. Once you lose your sense of self (identity), you then lose all sense of direction...Stand your ground, and don't be ashamed of what you are...There are far too many individuals in my country who are falling to the way side, almost giving up in a sense. It almost feels like we Australians are losing our core traditional ideals and becoming engulfed by today's multi-culturalism and mass immigration.

As a fellow member of the British Commonwealth, what do you think about the state of this organization these days?
Unfortunately, if you look at the history of the British Empire and its' colonies, they have in one regard rid themselves of their responsibilities. Palestine, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong are all examples of this. Here once more is an example of a country which is losing its sense of historic identity. It's rather sad and ironic that Great Britain fought to rid the world of Nazi Germany, but in return had to sell off much of its' empire, and also hand over its status of true world power to the USA to gain this victory. Personally, I don't think it will be too long before Australia becomes a republic and unleashes herself from the Monarchy.

What other interests do the members of GOTH have outside of the band?
Marauder and Masochist are in other bands DEATHSHEAD and HELLSPAWN respectively. Hellcunt is going to be reforming BESTIAL WARLUST with Skullfucker to release the "SATANS FIST" CD. As for myself, I spend my spare time reading historical books( based on truth and not on theoretic reveries), staying fit, drinking with my mates and generally looking after myself. Pretty boring, hey! Hahaha.

Lyrically, you take a seemingly Satanic, anti-Judeo Christian stance. Aren't these two sides of the same coin and quite inseparable?
Let's be honest here. This is a religion based on blind faith. I, for one, refuse to be a part of this concept of ignorance, where the blind lead the blind. It is a cancer which has infiltrated our culture, and in turn infected our psyche. I say "stand your ground, and lead with an iron will". Not for one second do I believe that our victory is just around the corner. It will only come about with an uncompromising resistance, and a will-power which shall not be broken by anything or anyone.

How have Australians reacted to the deaths of your countrymen in Indonesian terror attacks? Has this effected people's opinions on the pending "war" in Iraq?
It was certainly very emotional period for people in Australia. It was one of the few times that I can recall people down here being united and very patriotic. It's bad enough that we have refugees setting fire to and generally smashing up the living arrangements that we Australian taxpayers are providing for them, than for innocent tourists being attacked (like those in Bali).But I'm still to be convinced that this attack is linked with Bin Laden; it all seems a little suspicious to me. As for the pending war with Iraq, I would say most Australians don't want to be a part of this posse who intend to hang Saddam. Many people still remember the Vietnam War and how there wasn't really any positive gain for our country to fight this war. If America wants revenge, let them do it alone; and also surely people can read between the lines and realize the real reasons for this war and who are behind the scenes pulling the strings and tightening the noose around Saddam.

You have plans for a European tour. How is that coming?
Ah yes, things on this front are progressing well. Our first show is in Paris on the 9th of May, and will then take us through Poland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Serbia and the U.K. Darragh from Invictus and our friend from Agonia Magazine have done a tremendous job in organizing this event. Hails to these blokes for their dedication to their craft and generally for being honest and righteous men.

GOTH seems to be able to retain some melody, yet also drives things forward with speed and power. Do you have a set formula for the GOTH "sound", or are you trying to keep all options open so as to not become an "every song sounds the same" band?
It may sound simple and uncomplicated, but Gospel basically play music we would like to hear when listening to a band of our liking. We keep things simple without consciously rehashing old formulas, in a sense not taking short cuts in the song writing process. As a band, I believe we are adept in structuring riffs and melodies into one solid nucleus, unlike many bands out there who may not have difficulties writing powerful riffs, but do fall short of the desired result because of their lack of ability in structuring and moulding a song into the final entity.

Tell me about the band's writing process. Do you all get together a few times a week and write songs together, or is it an individual process? Why do certain things work better for you than others?
Marauder generally comes up with the riffs, with help from Masochist, who is now coming to the fore in the riffing material. It is certainly alot easier getting our ideas down on tape because Marauder and myself live together. He will play me the riffs, then from this stage we choose the riffs to our liking, then begin roughly structuring the song together, coming up with basic drum beats and fills. From this stage on we then go to the studio and begin jamming the track down with the band until we are satisfied with what's on offer. We don't have a time frame on when to get the song down. Sometimes a track can be down in a couple of rehearsals, then on other occasions it may last many more hours before we are satisfied with the final take. Like I stated in the previous question the reason for why our formulas are quite successful is because we keep things simple, and of course from the soul.

How important are the lyrics to you and why? Who are some bands who have inspired you lyrically, and who are some who have bored you with theirs?
Without a doubt, I'm a huge fan of Pete Helmkamp's lyrical content in both Order From Chaos and Angelcorpse. He doesn't just state the bleeding obvious, but manages instead to open up ones' train of thought and think deeper into the mystery and read between the lines(well for myself, anyways). This is what I'm trying to invoke when someone reads my work. Always be aware to counter-attack and counter-attack again. Denying just isn't good enough: push forth your ideals no matter what. Smash through the barriers! It is my opinion that lyrics can never be too cruel or to crude, for this is a means to an end in pushing forth ones' message, no matter what the cost. Hmmm, other bands who I admire lyrically include Morbid Angel, Destroyer 666, Celtic Frost, Iron Maiden, early Sodom...At the other end of the spectrum, I've never been big on gore lyrics-it just does nothing for me. Boring, indeed.

I never hear anything about your neighbor New Zealand as far as metal goes. What goes on there? How does it differ from Australia?
I have to admit, I don't know too much about the New Zealand scene. Other than Demoniac and the zine " Key of Allocer", I can't tell you much more. But one thing the Kiwis do get up to is fucking their lovely sheep, the kinky bastards....hahahahaha


Links of interest:

Gospel Of The Horns
Invictus Productions