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Rebel's End's Jef Wouters: "Rebel’s End aims for the throat while giving a knee to the groin… We come to trash your party and leave before the dust settles"

Interview with Jef Wouters from Rebel's End
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 26 October 2021, 10:37 PM

Even if the present demands more complexion, a way out of the simple things that are more or less the same every time, it doesn't really have to be that way. When it comes to the livelihood of Rock N' Roll, being simple, to the point, straightforward, without beautifying it, is an important message for everyone to take into account, even if we aren't in the 80s anymore. Rebel's End, mashing a barrage of styles in their music, take no prisoners, simply having fun in an evilized kind of way. Due to the release of their new album "Sing To The Devil", Steinmetal wanted to explore further and had a chat with Jef Wouters.

Hello Jef, I am pleased to have you for this conversation for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing man?

Hello Lior, thanks a lot for having us !!! I’m very honored to be talking to you and Metal temple online. I have been doing fine and was able to stay healthy during these trying times.

Recently, Rebel’s End joined the constantly forged lineup of Pure Steel Records, at diversifying their exports of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. So can we say that the new bad boys are in town to tear everything up? How do you feel about this signing with a label that has been known to be rather old school in its direction?

We were indeed very happy with Pure Steel Records considering us to join their roster of kickass bands. They have been focusing more to old school, that’s true. But during the conversations, they made us clear that they were widening their scope for the future. Also they expressed that Rebel’s End was “hard and metal” enough for them. So that made us feel we wouldn’t be the ugly duck in the row, so to speak.

Your sophomore album, “Sing To The Devil”, is already up and about. In overall, how did your fanbase react to the new record? What is the general opinion of the reviewers’ public, how are they taking it?

So far the reactions have been great. Fans really seem to dig the new songs. We are eager to see how the live reactions will be as the first shows are close by now. We have been amazed with the reviews as well. With the aid of Pure Steel we see that our album is heard more and that really shows. We’ve had far more reviews than our first self-released album.  I don’t want to jinx it, but so far all the reviews were excellent.

You state with the title, which is probably the only thing that is not straightforward on this album, “Sing To The Devil”. Is this a state of mind, or a merely catch phrase that caught your ears and sounded cool enough to become a title? Is there a deeper meaning by any chance?

This line was taken from the song “Death and Destruction". A song which deals with religion, fanaticism and atheism. “I’d rather sing to the devil than kneel for the lord. Don’t bother bring your bible we feast and rejoice.” Or more to the point. Stop all this seriousness and live a little. Enjoy life and embrace other and different ideas.

The album’s artwork, which I found to be simplistic and providing a darker impression of how the album is going to sound, yet I bet that the listener would think otherwise once the post intro track starts clicking. Why the darkness then? Simply was it to celebrate the title that is occultish in its flavor?

Once the title was chosen, we were aiming for some artwork that would match. We have a background in the heavier genres such as hardcore and black metal. We like to draw influence from those genres and play around a bit. Also the lyrics deal with darker stuff such as old horror movies and occult themes.

You have been twisting and turning throughout the album in terms of singing about stuff that has been going on in a certain reality, or imagination. Is there a connection to what has been going on worldwide with this damn pandemic? Would you say that this album is your escape calling card to sail away from all the madness and create a new one that fits the band’s image?

All the songs were written before the virus broke out, so no real relation there. You could say that having a finished album on the shelf during the pandemic kept us focused and driven to really take our time. We were able to search for a record label and do promo step by step.

One of the things that I like about you guys is your attitude, that screams both from the music and lyrics. You take no shit, you are street and damn feel like it. Would you say that it is part of the evolutionary process of the band, to become one with denim, one with the blue collar folks?

Well thank you, nice to hear we bring some attitude with our music. Something we don’t do intentionally, I think. If you would catch us in daily life, you’ll see that we goof around a lot and are down to earth kind of guys.

Through the songs, you channel a lot of thrill, yet you also explode at times with bursts of fury, as if there is something that is coming straight from the heart that bothers you out there. What is your opinion about that?

Mainly because we like to rock, and rock hard. Sounds simple but we love to deliver a head-butt and sing about the darker stuff. We also grew tired singing about parties and girls.

You guys deliver that fine American Hard Rock meets Heavy Metal mixture, late 80s and early 90s combined. Nonetheless, you also have that Swedish new age Sleaze Metal in your tunes, and damn a lot of swagger to show for. “Sing To The Devil” is essentially a bellyful of riffs, hooks and a leathery spiked fist in the face. How forward would you say that you guys went with your music since the debut?

I think we came together more as a band since the debut album, where we maybe were testing the water a bit. With our 2nd album we found our place and sound combining hard rock sleaze punk and metal elements without forcing the recipe.

As far as inspiration goes, what were the triggers to some of the songs that people are listening to “Sing To The Devil”? Any particular special moments of “eureka” that sent you down writing a tune faster than the speed of light?

We were already covering Motörhead song “Overkill” in our set when we were puzzling the new songs together. That made me think that it would be cool to have an original song matching that speed and attitude. It only needed one rehearsal to write the song Outlaw. Mostly what comes easy and naturally, is a good thing. Such was the case as well for Outlaw.

In your opinion, what makes the essence of “Sing To The Devil” uncanny in contrast to various albums coming out on a daily basis that share your platform of mixed Rock and Metal? What is that extra flavor that makes “Sing To The Devil” a winning chip?

Rebel’s End aims for the throat while giving a knee to the groin. Don’t expect drum or extensive guitar solos from us. We come to trash your party and leave before the dust settles. We like bring songs that are to the point, with big hooks and catchy choruses supported by larger than life drums.

With my guess that you are the songwriter, or one of them, on “Sing To The Devil”, how would you say that it developed you as such? How would you say that the record changed your perception towards constructing a song and how to approach raw material?

We have a way of working with ideas and new material. Stijn likes the “no bullshit” approach and just play his idea on rehearsal. Rutger and me like to record a small demo to showcase how we hear the song in our heads. Sometimes it’s nearly done with licks, vocals and drums. We go from there to make it our own and add ideas and extra flavor.

One of the things that the pandemic caused is several bands finding their way into disbandment. Therefore I ask, how did the ongoing work on “Sing To The Devil” help the chemistry of Rebel’s End? Did it rightly serve as the glue to have you guys keep going?

It helped us to have an album on the ready whenever the light went from red to green. We had something to look out for, and right now I’m pleased that we did not make the mistake of releasing the album mid corona crisis. The danger that it would die a silent death was pretty big I think.

Another aspect of the record that has to be mentioned is the backing vocals, it felt like a live experience, everybody is barking the chorus, participating, sharing their blood and passion for the songs. Was it your intention from the get go to push for that feeling for “Sing To The Devil”? How do you find this old school driven vocal productions yourself?

We do love our gang vocals in the back 😎. I think it really helps to bring a powerful chorus and it’s a recipe we love to use. Live is this also a big help for me when the guys give their everything while I take a breather.

One of the toughest bad ass tunes is “Black Crow”, a vehement scorcher that is so tight, created build ups and simply tasty for any person that wishes to enjoy a good headbanging. What is your appreciation of this tune?

Black Crow has a link with the hidden track “Chernyy Voron” at the end of the album. It’s an instrumental cover of a Russian folklore song. The original track has lyrics which tell the tale of a dying soldier on a battlefield. He sees a black crow and asks the crow not to feast on his flesh. Instead he convinces the bird to fly to his loved one and speak of his departure. There is where “Black Crow” comes in. The lyrics are our interpretation of that story. Musically the song was formed around the first riff.

 “Death & Destruction” has that Punky attitude that was implemented with finesse with your Rock and Metal antics. Its hooks are undeniable and certainly hard to dismiss its existence. When it comes to Punk, which has also been part of the Swedish wave of Hard N’ Heavy, would you say that it is an integral part of Rebel’s End and maybe its next efforts?

Death & Destruction is a song for which we have to give credit to our bass player Stijn. He came up with this one and it soon became one of those songs that are easy and so fun to play. Stijn and myself have a healthy history with punk. Both from playing in a Punk band and going to countless shows. Guilty as charged. We hope to draw more on this in the future.

Heavier in its edge, and with an ounce of groove, but strong with its hooking chorus is “From The Ashes”. Talk about bread and butter of the genre, yet a formula that works like a charm and with these kinds of solos, damn. What can you tell about this track and its creation?

From the ashes was actually the first song we had after “Seeing red Seeing dead”. The opening riff I had for a while back then. We worked our way through the song as a band and were able to move a bit more toward a punky vibe in the bridge and solo. A favorite of ours for sure. It’s a song about never giving up whatever life throws at you. No matter what, you will always rise again when misfortune hits you.

What does 2022 have in store for Rebel’s End? Are you back in the circuit of live shows?

We sure do hope to play a lot of shows and bring this new album to the stage. Hopefully we might see each other there. Who knows 😉?

Jef, tons of thanks for your time for this interview, my neck aches thanks to you. I wish you all the best and keep up with great records. Cheers. Lior Stein

Thank you for this interview Lior.  All the best and more


 



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