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Temple Of Dread's Markus Bünnemeyer: "Death Metal have always embodied the filthiest, fastest and rawest style of punk. A misanthropic “fuck-off-attitude” and a punch in the face of society."

Interview with Markus Bünnemeyer from Temple Of Dread
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 15 August 2019, 9:35 PM

Sometimes it is hard to resist the urge, the inner will to create, yet the surroundings have to change for it. It is not about taking a chance; it is about to fulfill a vision or else it will be lost forever. Markus Bünnemeyer, of the band Slaughterday, thought it would be best to start something new, breathing life into his ideas and make them come true. Therefore, Temple of Dread was born. Steinmetal caught Markus for a chat about the new project, the heydays of Death Metal, current extreme Metal scene and more.

Hello Markus, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. What have you been up to lately?

Thanks for having me. It`s actually a very busy but also exciting time. We will release “Blood Craving Mantras” end of August and there are still lots of things to do: we have to finish merchandise/shirt-designs, we are boosting the promo-machine and – right now – we`re doing interviews. (laughs)

I guess that it wasn’t really out of boredom, a little while back you started a new band, answering to the moniker, Temple Of Dread. Since, the name has been rather unknown, what can you tell about the band? How it originated and what made you start it in the first place?

Good ideas often start with a beer in my hand (laughs). I think it was at the Wacken Open Air 2017 when a good friend of mine offered me to write lyrics for my next musical projects. Just a few weeks later, he came over with absolutely fantastic lyrics, seasoned with dark black humor. Great Death Metal-stuff! So, I had to follow him and started writing new songs immediately. And yes – it really was out of boredom, as I am living on a small Island and I have a lot of time in the non-touristic winter-season.

What is the concept behind Temple Of Dread? What does it represent? Perhaps a different side of you that has yet to be uncovered as a musician?

We don`t have a comprehensive concept, we just love old school Death Metal. We were wondering, why this kind of music had become so difficult, technical and sometimes confusing. We wanted to go back to the good old times and to catch the spirit of this glory days in our songs. We didn`t want to copy anything, but we also didn`t want to reinvent the wheel. Death Metal was born in the middle of the eighties and it was perfected within the next 5-10 years. We just want to try to create music in the style of this period.

What can you say are your main influences that inflicted upon Temple Of Dread? 

Hard to say. I grew up with bands like Pestilence, Morgoth, Benediction, Dismember, etc. and of course the great U.S. bands like Autopsy and Death. I never liked the technical bands too much, it was always the raw energy of the mentioned bands that drove me to create own music: A rather simple songwriting-structure, cool hook lines, heavy riffs and straight in your face beats
– Death Metal doesn`t need more!

Recently, you signed with Testimony Records for the release of the band’s debut album, “Blood Craving Mantras”. Armed with a great vocalist, Jens Finger, and a massive drummer, producer Jorg Uken, Temple Of Dread spread the promise. What is your overall appreciation of the record?

Everything is/was running absolutely perfectly for Temple of Dread so far. I wrote riffs and they really satisfied me a lot. My friend Frank Albers provided them with great lyrics. Another big step was the support of my longtime friend Jörg Uken. His drumming and his great production brought this project to an even higher level and the vocals from Jens (his first vocal-recordings ever) put the cherry on the cake. Dennis from Testimony-Records supports us in a perfect way - I couldn`t imagine a better start for my baby.

Do you believe that this trio lineup would perform live or at least remain steady for future recordings? Any intention to support the album live?

I hope – no, I`m sure – this lineup will remain for a lot of further recordings. But it`s hard to say if we will ever perform live. The problems are my residence on an island in the North Sea, the absence of a second guitarist and the difficulties to rehearse regular. We also play together in the band Slaughterday and so we already have lot of dates in our timetables. However, I hope to perform our songs someday live.

Temple Of Dread’s Death Metal might sound modern, yet the way I gather, it is a rougher edged Sodom with various gruesome eyes picking in the early 90s Death Metal coming from the UK or Sweden, minus the melodic aspects of that period. Aggression at its finest without taking prisoners, speeding things up relentlessly. Do you agree with that assessment?

An interesting point of view. Yes, I agree. I love Sodom and I’ve been listening to their music for almost 30 years. Of course, they inspired me a lot. I think, in our songs there`s a lot of Eighties-Thrash Metal involved. As I told you, my inspiration also came from bands from UK and Sweden. In the pre-production I even used a HM-2 stompbox, but Jörg told me that my hair was to short, my belly too big and my residence was 1,000 miles too far south to use this Swedish-sound. (laughs)

If I understood correctly, the larger portion of the songwriting was mainly your responsibility? Does it come natural for you to write material on your own, or do you prefer sharing ideas with others?

I prefer to work on my own. I have clear ideas about the song-structures, the riffs and also the drumming- and vocal parts. But when I have finished working out my songs, I`m getting together with Jörg and Jens and we talk about their ideas and then we fit them into the songs. They have always really good ideas! After all “Blood Craving Mantras” is teamwork – I never would’ve reached this result without the support and experience of Jörg and Jens.

What is your favorite track out of “Blood Craving Mantras”? Please explain your pick.

I like “Suffocate the Fire” and “Cottage in the Backyard” most. “Suffocate” has a special vibe, a groovy middle-part and killer-refrain - sorry for the self-praise. “Cottage” is my first attempt to write a slow song. It has worked out well – at least for the first 2.5 minutes. (laughs)

 “Blood Craving Mantras” sounds bloody massive, chunky piece of weighty meat. What is your standpoint of Uken’s studio work on your new baby?

In my opinion, Jörg is one of the best producers for this kind of music in Europe. I gave him a free hand for this production and this is the way he works best. There’s absolutely nothing I would change regarding the production.

What is your appreciation towards the modernized version of Death Metal music? The subgenre has been taking many forms nowadays, whether preserving the old ways to some extent or taking point as a mere aspect within the newly found Hardcore music.

In my opinion, there always have been, and there always will be, just two kinds of music: good and bad music. There are so many bands who think they are great, just because their drummer reaches 260 bpm. Some bands praise themselves because they add classical guitar-arpeggios in their style and lots of others just hide behind a (sometimes ridiculous) image. They all should better give their best to write good songs - not to celebrate themselves. But of course, there are lots of great bands today - new ones and “the ancient ones”. But in my opinion the best Death Metal songs of the last decade came from bands, which were already active in the glory times.

Does old school Death Metal still has a chance to retain its glory days of the early 90s, similar to the ongoing revival of Traditional Metal?

Hard to say. In my opinion, Death Metal always embodies the filthiest, fastest and rawest style of punk. A misanthropic “fuck-off-attitude” and a punch in the face of society. But nowadays it seems that the youth doesn’t have common goals, there`s no punk-attitude anymore. Most of the older fans have become part of the establishment, weekend warriors. But is it really important to hold on to the glory days? There will always be great bands and crazy fans - and they will keep Death Metal alive. This is the only important thing!

Very true, the music has to survive. Markus, I wish to thank you for this interview, it has been a pleasure. I bid you the best of luck on the road ahead, and keep bringing on the tough tunes. Cheers mate.

Thank you very much, cheers!



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