Given my long-term open support of the band Hellcannon, I thought it was about due time I sat down and interviewed their lead guitarist, Kevin, about what's been going on over there in Buffalo NY since they (finally!) released their debut full length "Infected With Violence". Here's what the man had to say...
Good afternoon Karnage, how are you doing today?
Doing well man, although we don't really go by our nicknames anymore- Just Kevin, KMuck, Ryan and Derrick. But it's all good when we're talking to our friends who supported us back in the Raiders of the Waste Days.
No worries, for the purpose of the interview I'll refer to you as Kevin from now on!
Lets start off with a bit of a background on Hellcannon, what you guys have been doing, what style you guys play and who's in the band.
Well we've been a band for about two years now, and this past December released our first full-length album "Infected With Violence" on Butchered Records. So lately we're just trying to get the word out about the new CD and will be hitting the East Coast over the next few months (Possibly with some friends from Thrash Unlimited)- and I guess we'll just see where to go from there. But we have some big plans.
As for our style, its definitely Death/Thrash. However, we don't really hesitate to write outside of that "box". So you may hear influences form other genres,but really as long as we think it's cool and heavy- we'll play it.
I play Lead guitar, Ryan is the vocalist and plays rhythm guitar, KMuck plays Bass and does backing vocals, and we have a new drummer - Derrick. He's a killer drummer, learned the songs very quickly, and we're stoked to play some shows and start writing with him.
What would you say are the main influences of Hellcannon's sound? And what bands to you guys personally like to listen to when you're just hanging out?
Hellcannon was basically formed because we were all huge fans of bands like Death, Sepultura's Early CDs, Slayer, Kreator, Exhumed, Megadeth... the list goes on. We're still being influenced, even by more modern bands but i'd say most people that listen to us can pick up on our influences.
We listen to all sorts of music just hanging out. I'll listen from anything to Rush, Bloodbath, and Carcass. KMuck is the same way, he'll listen to Immortal, Hail of Bullets, and Ted Nugent. We're still just a bunch of metalheads but definitely have respect for the classics.
Great taste and influences right there!
Now, I think my readers would like to know where you guys are from, and a bit about the metal scene there. Are there any up and coming bands from the area we should know about and keep an ear out for?
We are from the Frozen Tundra Wastelands of Buffalo, New York. As most Death Metal fans might know, we have a lot of history in our metal scene here. Unfortunetly, up until the end of 2009 there were very few active metal bands in the area.
But over the last two years our scene has started growing, and there's some killer bands in the area now. Theres Cain (check em out Thrash Fans), Seplophile (Killer old-school death metal), Grave Descent, Vile Vindiction, and Avulsion to name a few.
We went from playing with punk and hardcore bands to almost exclusive metal shows since we started, so it's really cool to see more and more of the Buffalo Metal scene return.
That sounds like a great scene to be part of. You're very lucky to be playing in an area with a scene like that! You must be proud to share the stage with so many great metal bands.
Now, on to the topic of your excellent debut album "Infected With Violence" which has recently been released on Butchered Records if I recall correctly? I don't actually know anything about this label (I only actually heard of them when I received your album in the mail, haha!) and was wondering if you could tell my readers and I a bit about them?
Absolutely, it's great to actually want to see local bands haha.
Butchered Records is actually based in Buffalo as well, but they release albums from all over the world, and work with Sevared Records. They're very particular with the bands they sign, they're only interested in bands that are all about promoting true, old school, Death and Black metal.
I think we are actually the first Thrash band to join the label. But that's exactly why we decided to release our album with them- we weren't looking for a guy trying to make a quick buck. If you're looking for true, brutal metal- check out their website.
Sounds like a cool label, I wish them the best of luck, thanks for the little blurb about them!
As many people know, I have supported Hellcannon from the beginning, reviewed both your releases on this site etc. Anyway, I remember not long after receiving my copy of "Raiders of the Waste", you actually announced "Infected With Violence" to be released in March of 2010, which was followed with many delays, pushing the album back nearly a whole year! If you don't mind sharing the stories, what happened there?
Oh yeah, that was Brutal. We recorded the album in December of 2009, and were trying to get it out for almost all of 2010. The Label ran into a few problems with packaging, and the discs and the layout etc. It was just a few unfortunate problems after another. Theres really no one to blame, but we're really pleased with the final result so thats all that matters.
That's definitely all that matters, anyone who has a complaint about the final product deserves a punch in the dick! Haha.
As we drift towards the end of our interview, I'd like to know, what tracks stand out the most for you on the album? What are you most proud of in regards to "Infected With Violence" ? Is there anything you think could have been done differently, would you change anything if you had the chance?
Well "Leviathan" has seemed a little controversial lately. The acoustic intro, guitar harmonies, the vocal layering, and even the arpeggios at the end all stand out. Theres a lot of people that love it, theres some that hate it- but that keeps things interesting, and i'm really proud of it.
"Act of Violence" is one of our favorites too. It really represents the album well, and i'd like to think it shows each of our strengths. That song kinda just wrote itself.
There's just small editing things in the album that we would change. Either one riff is too long, too short, missed opportunities. If anything it'll just be something to keep in mind to make the next album even better. Overall we're really proud to show people this album and so far we've been getting a good response.
So it's a case of learning from your experiences, rather then a case of wishing you could go back and nitpick through the whole thing?
Before we wrap this up I'd like to know what's next for Hellcannon? Any news on upcoming shows that readers who might be in your area could come along to? What about Merchandise? Are there any plans for future releases as yet or is it too soon to ask?
Definitely, we aren't gonna dwell on the past. We're still learning, and still getting better.
Hellcannon has a lot planned for this summer- unfortunetly it's not set in stone yet, but we'll be announcing a lot of shows and more over the next few weeks. T-shirts are coming soon, and of course we've got our new CD. This Friday, March 4th, we're playing in Rochester, NY with our friends, Cain, at Montage Music Hall.
We're still going to be promoting IWV over the next few months, theres a lot of people and places we have to visit before moving on. We do have new songs, and we're always writing - so who knows? By the end of our touring for this CD we could be ready to record another...
We're not slowing down, we're just getting started.
That's all great news for myself and my readers!
I would like to thank you for taking the timer to do this interview, I know you're a busy man. As usual, I'm going to let the interviewee have the last word. Is there anything else you would like to say to me or the fans/readers?
Thanks a lot dude, always cool talking to a fellow metalhead.
Buy our new album "Infected With Violence", Support your local music, and Support true metal!