Interview with Thomas Spiwak (Vocals)
Austrian thrash/melodic death machine Darkfall was formed in the mid-90’s, and has been plagued by minor mechanical problems throughout its existence. Seems like every time Darkfall has begun to build momentum–by way of demos, EPs, and getting gig opportunities alongside genre greats–sudden departures and contractual mishaps out of the band’s control has forced them to reset. This had made the dreaded ‘square one’ somewhat of an unwanted home base for Darkfall, and they’re itchin’ to move on to bigger and better places. Now, in 2013, it looks like the machine is finally up and running at its full potential, as their debut LP, Road to Redemption, has hit the streets at long last
In this interview we touch on the band’s difficult early stages, the state of thrash metal, Darkfall’s take on the ‘road to redemption’ concept, and more.
Metal Revolution: For those not in the know: What is Darkfall all about?
Thomas: Darkfall is an Austrian metal band, standing for down-to-earth thrash/death metal since 1995.
MR: For those who know you through your EPs, should they expect to hear a new wrinkle in your game, or is Road to Redemptionvery much a continuation of your earlier sound?
Thomas: The new album Road to Redemption is more a continuation of our earlier works and perfectly combines all trademarks of our sound. The new album is just an advancement of our style and a mixture of old-school spirit and modern sound developments.
MR: You’ve been active as a band for close to 20 years, yet Road to Redemption is your first full-length album! What took ya so long?
Thomas: Yeah, it’s horrible and I’m really glad that the first official step finally is done. Over the last years a couple of lineup changes and legal notes made it impossible to record or to release an album. So we had to restart over and over again, but I truly hope that now all problems are solved and that we can continue to work as band and that we are able to release our material continuously.
MR: Quite a few people have been involved in Darkfall since its inception. How did you come to find a stable, permanent line-up of members?
Thomas: It seemed to be a never-ending story and mates were coming and going due to the most mysterious reasons. But, in general all these stories should remain in the chamber of time. By now the line up works and consists of well-known and loyal friends.
MR: For a number of years, you had a keyboard player on board. What made you decide to cut that instrument, and do you foresee a keyboard player ever returning to the Darkfall fold?
Thomas: A few years ago we used a keyboard to create a more atmospheric and melodic sound. It just worked great, but however the keyboard never played a key role for Darkfall and after a while we decided to get back to the roots and continued with a more guitar-related sound.
MR: Which song off of Road to Redemption would you choose to play if you wanted to create a new fan of Darkfall?
Thomas: Ha, a very difficult question. If I really had to choose one song I would choose “Peacemaker”, because it combines all trademarks in present. The song is fast but melodic, brutal but catchy and perfectly describes the new way of Darkfall.
MR: Road to Redemption features 4 re-recorded tracks. Did you know in advance that you were going to put these 4 particular echoes of the past on the new album, or did that decision come spontaneously after jamming old material?
Thomas: Three of these songs were just released as the Phoenix Rising EP and due to the limited amount of copies, it always was our intention to re-record these songs for our official debut album. The fourth song, we decided to re-release, is ”Kill The Need MMXIII” originally from our Firebreed EP and it was just a spontaneous idea to use and improve this song for Road to Redemption.
MR: The album cover–depicting a foggy town, hidden behind an open gate that stands next to a sign reading ‘heaven’, with thunder, lightning and a flock of birds looming above–is a neat, moody piece of art. Was it made specifically for Road to Redemption? Does it somehow relate to the content of the album?
Thomas: The album cover was specifically made for [i]Road To Redemption[/i] by Michael Freitag, a good friend of mine. The cover shows a dark cemetery as the so-called final destination ”heaven” after death and relates to the concept behind the album. The concept declares life as a road to redemption and redemption is death. And you decide how the road to redemption should look. It is your decision; we just offer the soundtrack.
MR: How would you define a road to redemption? What type of person ought to walk down that path?
Thomas: It’s not a special type of person who walks down the road to redemption. In general every one is the person walking down the road to redemption. And every one of us has his own path to walk. Sometimes it goes easier, sometimes it demands more will power. But, sooner or later we all will end and meet up on this musty cemetery.
MR: What’s your take on the new wave of thrash metal? Are the groups that grew to prominence during the 2000s worthy successors to their forefathers?
Thomas: It’s hard to say, but there are a lot of young and talented bands out there. But, only time will tell us if they are really worth to be the successors of the old ones like Sodom, Testament, Exodus and so. It will be interesting who will be able to fill out the footsteps, after the old ones are gone. Let the competition begin.
MR: Which was the band that made you go, “that’s it–I’m starting a metal band!”?
Thomas: It was not really a single band, but it was my preference for metal in general. Loud and proud, that’s the way it has to be!
MR: Will there be a Road to Redemption tour?
Thomas: A few days ago we just finished our promotional tour in Austria and in the near future we will play a support show for legendary Exhumed and a festival show at Metal Invasion Open Air in Austria with bands like Kreator, Annihilator, Napalm Death, Morgoth and so on. Meanwhile our booking agency is working on some tour dates in Autumn 2013 and hopefully we will be able to play a whole tour for Road to Redemption. But at the moment all plannings are just a work in progress.
MR: Any parting words for the readers of Metal Revolution?
Thomas: Thanks for reading and have a great festival summer with a lot of fun, beer and metal. You’re welcome to check out our new album Road to Redemptionand maybe we will see you on tour. Stay metal and keep on banging!
MR: Thank you for your time.
Thomas: We thank you. See ya next time!