This interview with Tuomas Karppinen of Torture Killer was done by e-mail by Egemen Limoncuoglu in April, 2006.

Torture Killer! The band that is mostly known for their new singer, Chris Barnes of Cannibal Coprse and Six Feet Under fame.The Finnish Band’s new album “Swarm!” is out since 27th February via Metal Blade Records. Below are the answers of band’s guitar player Tuomas to my questions about the new album, Mr. Barnes’ involvement and some other issues.

Hi Tuomas, first of all, let’s start with what has been going on since the release date of the new album Swarm?
Greetings. Well, since “Swarm!” came out we’ve been just rehearsing a bit, writing some new material etc. Typical stuff for the bands. We also played 3 gigs here in Finland earlier this year.

You started as a cover band, and we know that at that you were playing Six Feet Under songs, you even named your band after a SFU song, which songs were you playing in those days? And from which bands?
When we started the band we used to play some songs from the 3 first SFU albums. We’ve also played few songs from Obituary, Bolt Thrower, Deicide etc.

Can we mention those bands you played covers of, as Torture Killer’s main influences? Who else can we name as your influences?
Of course the influence of some of those bands (SFU, Obituary, Bolt Thrower) is obvious as you propably have noticed by listening our albums. Let’s just say we’re influenced by the -sound- of old school deathmetal in general.

I guess, you’re telling this story quite a lot these days, can you tell one more time for TD readers, how did you end up working with Chris Barnes? How did all started?
Chris contacted us while we were on our “Blast your violence” European tour. He had noticed our old vocalist left just 3 days before this first european trip and asked if we need some help with the vocal-lines for the upcoming (well, this all happened back in autumn 2004) album and we were like “yeah…I quess it´s okay”. Hahah. But seriously- after that the following year was pretty much full of email changing etc. and in the end of 2005 it all became official as you all propably know.

You’re now signed with Metal Blade records, and some people in the scene, thinks that it’s all because of Chris Barnes’ fame? What would you like to tell about it?
Chris have been Metal Blade recording artist since his early days in Cannibal Corpse, so he has really good contacts with the crew of Metal Blade. He told us he could try to get also Torture Killer for Metal Blade’s camp. We sent demo versions of some new songs for him, he played those to Brian Slagel of Metal Blade and Brian just said “I’m in”. All I can say is that we’ve been really lucky with the band and it’s honour for us to be a part of this legendary record label.

Why didn’t you continue working with Karmageddon Media? As far as i know from Jari’s interviews from debut album era, you guys were quite happy about working with them..
Actually “Swarm!” (“Multiple Counts of Murder” at that time) supposed to come out through Karmageddon Media. Anyway, when Chris came in the things changed pretty much and K.M. couldn’t continue with us anymore, after all they are an indie label you know. We have nothing bad to say about the people behind K.M. It was really great to work with those guys as well.

Chris Barnes is now a permenant member of TK, how does it feel to work with him? How was his contribution to the songwriting process of Swarm! ?
This far it’s been just great. Chris wrote the lyrics for 6 songs, Laine wrote the other ones. And about the music- Laine wrote something like 90% of the songs for “Swarm!”. He just had pretty much riffs coming out all the time and others of us did not, so this time it just went like that. It´s pretty hard to say how these things will turn out for the next album.

Swarm! Sounds in some parts very American style death metal, and in some parts very Scandinavian. What would you like to tell about it?
I’d say we have much more American style of sound than Scandinavian. Actually I don’t think we sound Scandinavian at all as 2 or 3 melodies don’t make a big difference or does it? Swedish bands (Dismember, Entombed / Nihilist etc. 100 bands after those) has always sounded pretty much different than the bands here in Finland (Demigod, Demilich, Abhorrence, Funebre etc.). Sweden still has some really good death metal bands around with this old swedish sound like Kaamos, Tribulation etc. but the sound of old finnish death metal can be only heard through some LP’s, CD’s & tapes which truly is a shame. At least Demilich and Demigod are still playing those great old songs at their shows!

You also managed to write very cathcy riffs and songs without sounding too much commercial or anything like that, is it the secret formula behind the TK’s musical approach? To sound brutal & very catchy at the same?
Hey, you answered the question by yourself. Haha. “To sound brutal & very catchy at the same time” indeed. Want to know a secret? Just take the words “brutal”, “groove”, “deathmetal” and “old-school”, mix all those together and there you have the secret formula behind Torture Killer.

When will the European & American audiences see you guys perform with the recording line-up? Because when i checked out the live dates from your website, i saw that there are no dates confirmed yet.
At the moment Chris is really busy with SFU and they will start to record new album later this year. Of course this is totally OK with us as SFU is his mainband and our other guitar player Laine is really busy with his work as well. All in all, we are patient and we know our time will come.

You guys have other bands besides TK, is TK the priority for you all, right now? Especially for you? You play guitar for Deepred and Funeral Feast and you play drums for Archgoat, and you also sing for two cover bands! A pretty busy schedule, huh?
Yeah, I’m sure Torture Killer is priority for all of us. And yeah, I play in different bands as well, but those don’t take that much time anyway. Busy schedule? Hell no! Actually I feel fuckin' bored usually as we really don’t rehearse much with any band i’m playing with. Haha.

Can you please tell us more about the current situation of your other bands? Some info about them?
Archgoat – Angelslaying black metal of death. We will start to record new album entitled “Whore of Bethlehem” during next month.( Deepred – brutal, fast deathmetal. At the moment we are just writing some new material. ( Funeral Feast – Black deathmetal. Slowly writing some new material I quess, I really don’t know what’s happening at the moment. (

You play drums, guitar and you even sing for two cover bands! Which one do you prefer to build a career upon? Or are you happy doin' all of these at the same time for different bands?
I’m totally fine with this situation right now. I really can’t sing, I just “sing” thrashmetal-kind of vocals, so no “career” in sight with that. Hahaha! Actually I used to play bass/sing in these thrash metal coverbands, but I decided to throw the bass into corner and just scream. Now I can drink more before the shows. Hah. I’m also pretty crappy drummer, but I can play enough for Archgoat so that’s fine as well. I’ve played guitar something like half of my life, so I guess that’s my thing, even I could be much better with that one too.

When i was browsing through the interviews TK did after the release of the debut album, i came across something that really surprised me. It was like this :” I mean I seriously think we have like 0% originality, but that hasn't been our goal at all. We could try to be original but it would probably end up sounding totally shit.” These are the words of Jari, and he also tells in that interview TK manage to write good mid tempo death metal songs that work really well on stage. I really wonder do you think the same? Don’t you think being not “original” can be a disadvantage?
Well, I really don’t think we had any originality on our first album and there’s nothing so original even in “Swarm!”. The music we do is just the way we like it and we’re not trying to be original just for the sake of being original. We will develope our music somehow within the every album we’ll record and we will never make the same album 2 times, if you know what I mean.

What does Tuomas listen to when he’s at home these days? What was he listening to when he was a teenager? As far as i know, you really like 80’s thrash, right? And do you remember the first album you’ve ever bought?
Nowadays I just listen everything from Bathory / Angelcorpse / Hell Hammer to Tangerine Dream / Dead Can Dance / Puissance. And yeah, I’m really much into old great thrashmetal like Sodom, Destruction, Exumer, Metallica (old), Exodus etc. etc. Hmm..I guess the first album I’ve ever bought by myself was “Appetite For Destruction” by Guns’n Roses or “Master of Puppets” by Metallica, I’m not totally sure which tape I bought first.

Do you remember why did you pick that particular albums at that time?
I just simply liked for what I had heard of those bands from my older friends and then I bought ‘em. Haha. I still like both albums very much anyway. Great shit

What’s next for TK for the year 2006? What are the plans for the rest of the year?
We are slowly writing some new material, rehearsing a bit and so on..nothing special in sight anyway.

Thanks a lot for the interview, greetings from Tartarean Desire...
Thanks a lot for this interview! Stay true, stay brutal.

Thanks to David from Metal Blade Rec. and Vincent for his patience...

Links of interest:

Torture Killer
Metal Blade Records
Metal Blade Records Europe