In the world of metal, be it Black Metal, Thrash or Death, innovation is pretty rare. In the dawn of the new decade a trend in Black Metal began to create innovative and interesting music from a genre largely known for being relentlessly boring. Wolves In The Throne Room, Primordial, Analnakraath, all of these bands helped turn Black Metal on its ear and rebuild the concept of it. Another band adding to that movement is Brooklyn based Black Anvil.
Born from the ashes of hardcore legends Kill Your Idols, Black Anvil is a brutal, nonstop assault of Black Metal mixed with a punk ethos and a hardcore sensibility. It isn’t the tinny guitar sound played through a Coke bottle from the basement of a tin house. Black Anvil is a huge slab of sound, a complete kick to the jaw coming out of a three piece.
It hasn’t all been pretty for Black Anvil nor has the metal or hardcore world accepted the new band with open arms. Even the release of their new record Triumvirate and a shiny new deal with Relapse Records hasn’t chilled the haters out. I got to speak candidly with Black Anvil bassist (and old friend) Paul Delaney about the past, dealing with the hate, the new album, World Of Warcaft and a lot more.
CRAVEONLINE: What’s going on right now with Black Anvil?
PAUL: We just put out the new record Triumvirate and we’re headed out for a tour with Goatwhore that’ll take us through the end of the year.
CRAVEONLINE: Give us a little history on Black Anvil, for those not in the know.
PAUL: (Laughs) We can’t escape the fact that three of us were in Kill Your Idols, which was a more hardcore punk band based out of New York, which we all kind of fell out of at one time or another. First Raeph (Glicken, Drums) left, then I left to do something else and then came back to Kill Your Idols in order to finish the band properly. When it was all over Gary (Bennett, Guitars Vocals) and I started another band called Death Cycle, which was again more punk rock driven. From that point on we just kept writing heavier and heavier stuff and tuning down lower and lower. Eventually those songs became the first Black Anvil record.
CRAVEONLINE: So is the new material more focused than the older stuff?
PAUL: With Time Insults The Mind we were just excited to be in the same room together after so many years. At that point I was behind the drum kit and Gary and I were just throwing things together. I called Raeph and told him he had to be part of this and he agreed for the same reason, just to be able to play together again. So we busted out eight songs pretty quickly. This time around we’ve been a band for a while and approached writing as a fully formed unit, we’re a little more on top of our game. We just grew and attacked this much harder.
CRAVEONLINE: Hardcore is usually pretty sloppy musically and Black Metal is razor precise. Black Anvil kind of slaps the two together, don’t you think?
PAUL: Yeah that just kind of happened. I’ve been a fan of Black Metal for years and I always knew Gary and I would be involved in something like this. We’d talked about it for a long time but never really had the time to do what we wanted to do. I think it boils down to our approach. We come at song writing from a more punk and hardcore ideal. Poison Idea, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, these are all bands that will be number one with us because they have attitude and an edge. They’re just as inspirational to us as Black Sabbath or any metal band.
CRAVEONLINE: According to your critics you’re not really a Black Metal band.
PAUL: Yeah, I keep hearing that we haven’t fully yet formed into a Black Metal band bullshit, which is fine because that’s not what we’re trying to do. Our lyrics stand for themselves and are pretty bold. Musically we’re…
CRAVEONLINE: (Interrupting) What do you mean bold?
PAUL: To me that’s really where the Black Metal aspect comes in. You can nit pick a riff to death and people love to do that to us. I’ve seen our songs picked apart, sometimes good sometimes bad. Lyrics are more of the driving force, they’re darker and we all write lyrics.
CRAVEONLINE: So you guys are still at odds with the Black Metal purists?
PAUL: To an extent and I think we’ll always be. When you read a review about us and New York Hardcore or Kill Your Idols is mentioned in the first sentence, it makes the metal kids pause. Then they feel like they have to read the rest of the review with a question mark on us. I tried to avoid that when Black Anvil first came out. I wanted to just release a record without anybody knowing who we were. That didn’t happen. I guess we can’t deny who we are and that it is important to what makes us up as people. At the end of the day we really don’t care.
CRAVEONLINE: Is it hard not to get pissed?
PAUL: Well, usually it’s some mid-west kid with a Facebook page, wearing spikes and listening to vacuum cleaner sounding metal. He wants to only listen to the raw form of some shit band from wherever and this is deeper than that. People have no idea who we are individually or what inspires us. It’s easy to say ‘Hardcore guys with another band’ but we got into all of this because of metal.
CRAVEONLINE: I think the purists hate the fact that Black Metal is growing beyond what it used to be and you guys are part of it.
PAUL: We definitely are. I don’t even feel that we fit in with the newer bands that are out there. Most of them have a very similar formula and we’re just off in our own world. Then again I don’t really follow a lot of bands. I just feel that it’s easy to write fuzzy, loud guitar and scream over it instead of doing some homework and really trying to make something great.
CRAVEONLINE: On the flipside at least you don’t have hardcore kids calling you sellouts whenever you do anything to further your career.
PAUL: That was always following us in Kill Your Idols. We got a (guitar/bass) string endorsement, we’re sellouts. A sneaker endorsement, we’re sellouts. I mean fucking god forbid if I’m touring seven months out of the year I catch a break on guitar strings. I didn’t make it big, I was still working a shit job when I got home. It was cool to get away from that for a few minutes but then there’s always somebody with something to say. Whether it’s some kid on the Internet or with a blog, somebody is always questioning how real we are or if we’re posers. You have to just block it out.
CRAVEONLINE: It’s less personal though
PAUL: Yeah it’s not as brutal as the hardcore or punk scene. I’d read something somebody had written and know who it was and want to go kill them. Now it’s a lot more anonymous, it’s less as personal so I have an easier time getting past it.
CRAVEONLINE: It must rattle the metal kids that you guys are a three piece. Metal bands are rarely just three guys.
PAUL: True, but it hasn’t affected our sound. Gary’s always had a really Tony Iommi, Pig Champion (guitarist for Poison Idea—I.R.), gritty type sound and I’ve always had to accommodate that. I try to make sure my bass sounds like a bass and not another guitar. Black Anvil should sound like Hip Hop coming out of a car, really huge. You can still do that and sound raw. Some of the stuff is hard to pull off live but we just don’t want to add anybody, nobody really fits the mold. If somebody should’ve been in the band, they would have been there from the start.
CRAVEONLINE: So as far as Triumvirate goes, what are you most proud of?
PAUL: The flow, how the whole thing came together worked out better than I thought it would. I stress track order; I’m always the one that thinks about strategically putting songs together. I think the way Triumvirate worked out even gives it kind of a concept record vibe.
CRAVEONLINE: How did the big jump to Relapse Records come about?
PAUL: They were the first label to approach us in the U.S. At first we were approached by Reflections Records in Holland, the guy who owns it just emailed me when he found out we were doing a metal label and asked us to be part of it. We really owe him everything for getting our name out. I’d actually probably consider him the fourth member of the band (laughs). He put everything he had into that release, which in turn caught Relapse’s attention. They came at us in such a matter that we had no reason to wait or weigh out options.
CRAVEONLINE: You guys share that label with another Brooklyn metal called Tombs. Was that any part of your decision?
PAUL: The singer actually lives directly across the street from me; I’ve known him for years. I don’t know, I guess in a way all of those connections had an effect on our choosing Relapse.
CRAVEONLINE: Okay, for all my gamer friends out there. Did the name Black Anvil come from World Of Warcraft?
PAUL: (Laughs) No but I realized what that was from Google searching. I started seeing all this stuff about that and was wondering what the hell W.O.W was. I’m a moron with a computer; I don’t know anything about that stuff. Gary actually came up with name, which is a cross between a Black Sabbath reference and a Judas Priest song. He just spit it out and it stuck, unfortunately it’s also from World Of Warcraft.
CRAVEONLINE: Well it is a weapon, I think, which is kind of Black Metalish.
PAUL: I did some research and I still don’t know what it is.
CRAVEONLINE: I bottomed out with games with Atari 2600.
PAUL: Yeah, I get anxiety from Tetris on my phone. That’s about it for me with games.
For more on Black Anvil check out: BlackAnvilNY