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Heilander (Fatal Embrace)

Interview with Heilander from Fatal Embrace
by Lior Stein at 03 July 2010, 3:07 PM

From the pits of the German Metal grounds comes the fiery hell of FATAL EMBRACE. Well now I will stop because these guys are no kids. Since 1993, FATAL EMBRACE has been thrashing in their darkest way while worshiping the gods of the old school. I talked to Heilander, the band’s vocalist, about the new album through Metal Blade Records, the band, the music and more…

Hello Dirk, thanks for taking this interview on behalf of your band, FATAL EMBRACE, for How are you doing?
Oh, I say thank you for the interview. In the moment we make a lot of interviews, that’s funny, and very good for us. I make this interview and drink a good cold German beer and in the moment I listen to the first NASTY SAVAGE LP.

FATAL EMBRACE is coming to the release of its fourth album, “The Empires Of Inhumanity”, this month. Can you tell what has changed since the previous release?
I think the new record is better, the songs are straighter, more aggressive, more brutal, but otherwise more melodic. But I can say we make the same music and there are no deep changes. It’s thrashing satanic and anti-religious music.

“The Empires Of Inhumanity” changed something for FATAL EMBRACE as it sees you guys in a contract with Metal Blade Records after being signed to Pure Steel Records. How do you feel about this milestone?
Yes, this is the biggest change…ha ha, that’s true. Metal Blade is one of the biggest labels in the world. Now we have the chance that more Metal maniacs can hear our music and learn to know our band. Brian Slagel discovered the mighty SLAYER or METALLICA more than 27 years ago. In the middle of the 80s I held SLAYER’s “Hell Awaits” album in my hands and now we are a band on the same label, that’s strange…ha ha…

Your Thrash image always had affiliations with the occult and other ‘Black’ stuff, however when it comes to your music it is totally different as an old schooler can find the old SLAYER, TESTAMENT, KREATOR and other Bay Area (or not) stuff.As opposed to Black/Thrash, why this contrast is so important?
FATAL EMBRACE without hell, devil or demons, is not FATAL EMBRACE. It’s not an image, not a trend for us. We have different songs and love different Metal styles, but I like the dark, brutal, demonic, diabolical lyrics. I hate all religions, the catholic church and the pope. SLAYER, POSSESSED, KREATOR, MERCYFUL FATE, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, ONSLAUGHT, RUNNING WILD, VENOM, BATHORY, HELLHAMMER, DARK ANGEL or SEPULTURA, all these bands made the sound of hell and lyrics full of evilness, satanic things, war and torment, especially in the early days.

Let’s go back to the album: is there a message that was meant to sweep people or it is yet another social criticism? I have to say that the self-titled is rather intense so it is got to have a strong meaning.
Social criticism? Maybe a little bit… The empires of inhumanity are here and now on earth, the eternal war between the army of darkness and the troops of heaven, the neverending Armageddon.Many people are in search for immortality, in search of eternal freedom. The human race will destroy the world where we’re living, day by day, minute by minute…the end is near. The catholic church is the biggest mass-murderer of all times, millions of people died in the name of the holy fuckin’ cross. But I hate all religions. It means only death and war, but nothing else. I love it to write about the dark sides in us all, the endless pain and torture in the world, suicide and violence.

As for the album’s music, overall, I enjoyed it a lot and it surely keeps the blood pumping. However, there were strong similarities, whether it was music or vocals, to other classic tracks as “New World Order”, “Angel Of Death”, “Beneath The Remains”. These awesome similarities left me speechless. Were you guys paying tribute or was that unintentionally comparable?
Of course, you can hear in our music our all-time faves. That’s a normal thing. You must know we are Metal fans since the 80s, we listen to bands like SLAYER, VENOM, TESTAMENT, SEPULTURA, RAZOR, EXODUS since more than 20 years! Thrash Metal has to sound like Thrash metal and you cannot invent this anew. Yes, you will always hear our influences in our music, that’s true and no problem, but FATAL EMBRACE is not a fuckin’ copy or retro-Thrash band, Metal is our fuckin’ life, our whole life! We make Thrash since 1993, 17 years long, we hate trends and we are not a fashion band, we are 100,000% pure Metal without any compromises!!! Our music comes from our hearts and every real true Metal band (Death/Black/Thrash/Power Metal…) sounds like a band from the 80s.

Please tell the readers a little about the roots of FATAL EMBRACE. How did it start and what made you going and still make you guys go as an old school Thrash Metal group?
We started in 1993, our first name was NOSFERATU, 4 weeks later came the change in FATAL EMBRACE. We played darkfull Thrash Metal from the beginning. I think we were one of the first bands in the beginning of the 90s who played Thrash Metal. Nobody knew or heard in this time Thrash metal, how I said: no trend - no fashion! And 17 years later we make the same music and I’m proud we have survived, ha ha! We released some demo tapes (“Death’s Embrace” - 1994, “Way To Immortality” - 1998), some singles and our 3 long players (“The Ultimate Aggression” - 2000, “Legions Of Armageddon” - 2002 and “Dark Pounding Steel” - 2006). We had a lot of lineup changes and we lost a lot of time. We played shows with SODOM, DESTRUCTION, GRAVE DIGGER, HOLY MOSES, DESASTER, ASSASSIN, VENDETTA, NECRONOMICON, GODDESS OF DESIRE, HIRAX and many more.

As opposed to tons of other bands out there, you guys stay true to an old school production. In a personal note, I have to say that this is admirable. Why do you think that this kind of production is the cutting edge of yours as opposed to those other bands?
Hm, hard question. Old school - new school, I think our sound is timeless, very brutal, just into your face and very heavy. We recorded and mixed the record in one of the best places for Thrash metal in the world. Our producer Mathias Wendt made a killer job and he gave us a aggressive pure mayhemic sound. He is the partner of the legendary Harris Johns (KREATOR, CORONER, VOIVOD, CELTIC FROST, SODOM, TANKARD and many more) and the Music Lab Studio here in Berlin. The Music Lab is definitive one of the best places to record a Thrash Metal album!

What is FATAL EMBRACE’s next step with “Empires Of Inhumanity”? Are we talking about an intensive tour? Festivals and sorts?
Oh, we hope to play a tour. In the moment we’re looking for more good booking agencies. We will play some shows, but we want to play more and more. We are an absolutely live act, we want to play in the whole world, it is the most important thing for us, we love the stage and the Metal fans. We hope to play more shows in Europe, Japan and of course in America (Bay Area, TampaFlorida, New York and many other towns). That would be great, we don’t need money for playing, just money for the flights and beer, ha ha! We will see what will happen…

Dirk, when you look at Thrash Metal today, what do you see? Do you like the rain of comebacks? Do you like the new school Thrash and the new wave of old school Thrash?
Some comebacks are good, some comebacks are terrible, ha ha! I don’t like new school Metal (jump, jump, ha ha). Metal has to sound like Metal. In the moment there are more than 100,000 new old-school Thrash bands and many bands are good. Some of them sound like old FORBIDDEN, some of them sound like old KREATOR, SEPULTURA or whatever…very different styles, but it’s OK for me.

What type of message do you have to give to today’s Metal scene? Are you satisfied with what you seeing? Where do you think this world scene is going?
I’m coming from the 80s. Metal in this time was great, we lived and died for our music, we had trouble with the police every day, the early days…what a fuckin’ nice time. METALLICA was a pure Speed Metal band, full of aggression and heaviness. SLAYER were young and the kings of satanic high speed music, VENOM were the gods of hell, ANTHRAX made only great records, MEGADETH played good music, records like “Bonded By Blood”, “Hall Of The Mountain King”, “Abigail”, “Evil Invaders”, “Violence And Force”, “Pleasure To Kill”, “Feel The Fire”, “Ride The Lightning” or “Seven Churches” were born. But today? I think today we have a lot of horrible styles, a lot of false trend bands, a lot of pure shit! But otherwise many good young Metal fans were born in the last 20-25 years, young people with patch jackets and cartridge belts, I think the real immortal Metal scene is still alive, I hope for all eternity! We have many young fans, they have the style of the 80s and I love it.

Dirk, I would like to thank you for answering this interview with I wish you the best of luck with your new album, which one of the true forms of Metal and Thrash in particular.
Oh, we have to say thanx a lot for this interview, hell(o) to all real Metal maniacs, stay Metal, stay evil, support the undying real Metal scene and I hope you could understand my German English…ha ha, 666!


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Edited 31 January 2023

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