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Accuser's Frank Thoms: "What is annoying is the fact that some abuses will never change and that humans are not able to throw away long-overdue shit"

Interview with Frank Thoms from Accuser
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 02 November 2020, 1:16 AM

People are people, and history never forgets, however, with so much to learn, there are those who aren't willing to listen, to understand or to learn from past mistakes. No matter the number of songs written against what mankind stands for in its darker form, people will go on their way, knowing what to do best, whether to accept that a change is needed or simply ignore and move on. The German Accuser, strictly by their moniker only, have been telling it to folks right in the face, the brutal truth. With their 12th album, "Accuser", out and about, Steinmetal had the annual chat with Frank Thoms, founder of the band, about what pisses him off, Covid, the musicality of the new album, a return of a friend and more…

Hello Frank, I am glad to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, for the third time I might add, how have you been doing sir?

Thank you! I´m fine. I hope you too.

Unlike the previous occasions that we had you for an interview, nowadays the world has been under the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic proved that nothing is certain, obvious or even can be planned ahead as there is danger that might raise its ugly head and in various shapes and sizes. With the second wave currently hitting Europe, how are you viewing all this?

I think we acted in an exemplary manner at the beginning and were able to prevent the pandemic from spreading further. We were also successful with the necessary lockdown. What annoys me, however, is that in the summer a lot of people went on holiday and accepted the danger of getting infected. After the holidays the schools were opened and now the contagions are exploding. We could have prevented this.

Have you thought to yourself how this pandemic is changing your life as a musician at a steady pace? Any wonderings that you had, or have, regarding the future or how everything is going to be from here on end?

Definitely! So far there has been no chance to play live since the Lockdown. This is a huge break into the entire music world. Nevertheless, one should look to the future with hope and still develop new concepts of how to deal with music in a pandemic. No one knows what’s next and nobody knows what’s going to happen in the next few years. If we’ve fought this pandemic, it may be that we’re dealing with another virus. Therefore, look ahead and look for new ways to continue to be able to make music. It already worked with streams. It is not comparable to a live experience but still better than nothing.

Within the veils of the pandemic, Accuser remained active, made quite the effort, and came up with its eleventh release, simply called “Accuser”. I can assume that self-titling it was only a matter of time, but I wonder, for what reason did you wait for exactly to sign this title on this record? What had to be achieved for this rather special occasion to happen?

It is the twelfth album and was recorded shortly before the Lock Down. That was at the end of February 2020. The title was created by the sound of the songs. We listened to all 12 new songs and found that the whole thing sounds like a cross section of Accuser. It was not planned but we find elements from the first album to “Repent” later “Reflections”, “Taken by the throat” and the latest releases. And René is back, who has already experienced the early days of Accuser. This was basic enough to call the new album Accuser.

Accuser’s line-up was also awarded with a blast from the past, in the image of the return of your early lead guitarist, René Schütz, to the fold. What is the story behind this return? What made him make a comeback? Was it a simple question of “do you want in again?”

Dennis was no longer in the band and we had another festival to play at the end of August 2019. Since we have never completely lost contact with René, we asked him if he could imagine playing this festival with us. He agreed and we went back on stage together. It was a great concert and we talked about how to proceed. Finally, we decided to continue together. We’re happy.

Similar to any Accuser record, there is a constant protest, discomfort and a wholesome of criticizing towards the higher powers of society. You have been talking about injustice for example, how do you find your lyrics on this record as relevant to what the side effects of the Covid-19 virus?

All lyrics on the album have different themes. It is about society, war, injustice and law. All processes start in our brain. That is why we also deal with the human psyche. Carina Baron wrote all the lyrics. She is my girlfriend and teacher of philosophy and ethics. This time I have only given the text lines and suggested topics. The song "Be None The Wiser" is also on the album and is already 17 years old. Uwe Schmidt wrote the lyrics at that time and strangely enough, it fits the Covid-19 theme.

On what have you mostly been pissed off lately that has a regard to the new record? Do you believe that there is any way to change the undoing that became common based towards parts of the social order?

That’s a good question. We raised a similar question with the song “Rethink. ” Since 1986 we have been dealing with issues that are repeatedly being discussed. So you can write a timeless text that used to be valid and still is valid today. What is annoying is the fact that some abuses will never change and that humans are not able to throw away long-overdue shit.

Throughout the “Accuser” record it is noticeable that you have strong ties to your 90s past, while also sharing several elements that are somewhat of the Neo Thrash nature. Nonetheless, Accuser’s much older heritage, crossing the late 80s, is also still there. Would you say that the musical efforts for this record is something that should have happened earlier on or now was the right timing to do so?

I think it’s the right time for that. With Accuser we have made a musical journey in the past. Today it is noted that each station has its right and can be resumed without repeating itself. It is a development we experience in the band.

How do you mark the efforts on “Accuser” as yet another stage of development in the band’s career? Do you think that Accuser still has something to prove, even as one of the veterans in the worldwide Metal scene?

With the new album we were able to show that variety and catchiness are compatible. In addition, we were able to design our music timelessly and still make it sound modern. We don’t have to prove anything, since we have already written a lot of albums that have been heard. It is more curiosity that shows us new ways and targets.

We spoke earlier about the return of René Schütz to the band’s lineup. How do you find his contribution to the album’s songwriting? I can attest to the fact he is a great lead guitar player, yet it would be interesting to know his impact on the songs as a whole.

When René returned to the band, I had already written a lot of songs for the upcoming album. However, in a raw version, so much could still happen in the studio. The songs have gained a lot of structure with all the band members. René has added a lot to this album with his solos and melodies. In the future he will be part of the production phase of the songs and thus something new will develop again.

Sounding massive as ever, the “Accuser” record devoured its chunk, meaty sound.  I understand that you worked with Perzonal War’s Martin Buchwalter along with the mastering of Dan Swano. First, how do you find Accuser’s sound on the record? Second, what is your appreciation of the work done by such two proficient engineers?

We have been working with Martin Buchwalter since “Agitation. ” We have become really good friends in this long time and are happy every time we are with him in the studio. We have a very good collaboration and Martin knows exactly what is good and important for us. We worked with Dan Swanö for the first time. The result is amazing and we are totally happy with it. Both engineers did a good job.

A kind of track that I haven’t heard from Accuser in years is a balladry kind such as “Be None The Wiser”. If there is something that I have always appreciated is the Thrash Metal balladries, always heavy, cutting edge and emotive. What do you make of this track? Is there a relation of the pandemic in any way, in particular due to the “Our enemy has no face…” or mankind as its own enemy?

As mentioned, the song "Be none the wiser" is 17 years old. It was a demo song of our former band Scartribe and Uwe Schmidt wrote the lyrics. We wanted to have this old song on our new album. Only later did we find that the text, which was written 17 years ago, fits the current pandemic situation. Totally crazy!!!

“Psychcision”, now that is something different, rather uncanny. It might sound like a typical Thrash Metal tune made by Accuser hands, yet it has several developments that takes it into other angles. What can you tell about this track and its musical direction?

In the beginning I only worked with the guitar effect and wanted to make some kind of intro for a song. Then I thought it was cool to make the beginning appear in the song several times. When I had several parts together, I realized that the chorus represents a Voivod style. And so very different things happen in this song and yet it sounds like one piece.

I know that it can be a bust a nut kind of question, yet I have to ask. Which tune is your favourite out of the bunch and why exactly?

It’s not easy. I love all the songs and they give the whole thing. But I answer quickly and brutally. "Misled Obedience"! I love the output at the start.

Given that time factor that is on your side, with the pandemic still there, what are your intentions for the coming months, at least until there is an actual vaccination?

The pandemic has overwhelmed us again. It was really much better a few weeks ago but then a lot of people flew on vacation. Now let’s wait for the next lockdown. It’s such a shame. Why don’t we all take care of each other and stay at home? That would have saved us now. Planning will be difficult in the near future. Next Sunday we wanted to record a live stream and play 2 concerts with “Legion of the Damned” in November. The government is deciding tonight how to proceed in the future.

Frank, once again sir, it was a pleasure to have you for an interview. Heaviness and down the throat has always been a part of Accuser, and I am glad that I had the chance to experience it once again. Cheers sir. 

I have to thank you. It was the third time and the questions was very interesting again. Stay healthy! Cheers, Frank



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Edited 28 May 2023

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