by Jean If you’re into Belgium metallic hardcore and H8000, then you must listen to “Worship. Regret”, SKIN CRAWLER’s first full-length release – CD and limited colored “Chaos AD” tape on Kick Out The Jams (very limited) . I received mine a week ago, the same day I received “No Prayers Upon Deaf Ears” limited tape re-issue on Rising Nemesis Records Vinyl & Tape. Perfect soundtrack of the evening; thrash/death metal good vibes melted with hardcore fury. No needs to ramble on that record – you’ll read great stuffs further. I guess if, like me, 2015 is the year you decided to make it up with the 90s metalcore style – because of records like XREPENTANCEX first LP (and pretty much every Carry The Weigth release), GUIDANCE LP, DIGRESS demo or that ARKANGEL re-release (just to name a few) – you must listen to SKIN CRAWLER. It’s not like this record was just a good tribute to some kind of old-fashioned trend now updated: I guess this record is actually brilliant cuz I listened to it like dozens of time in a row on bandcamp the day someone posted it on a Facebook forum, had a break during several weeks and the next time I listened to it again I could’nt help ordering the tape…
1/ Thank you for according your time, Jens! How are you? Can you introduce yourself and SKIN CRAWLER? (SKIN CRAWLER seems to be a combo of different bands from Belgium (GOLDEN BULLET, SEVENTH CIRCLE, MURDER INTENTIONS, E.B.D.B., XVICIOUSX), in which ways SKIN CRAWLER differs from them?)
JENS: Hey Jean, nice to meet you, I’m fine, thanks for asking! Hope you’re doing good as well?
Let me start with introducing the band members to you. The current lineup consists of Thomas on vocals, Kenny and Ivo on guitar, Jan on drums and myself on bass.
The story of SKIN CRAWLER started out in 2005 under the name of GOLDEN BULLET, through the years we played a fuckload of shows, both local and abroad and released a full length album and a split cd.
Ivo and Jan are the only 2 remaining constant members since 2005.
In 2012 both Kenny and myself joined the band, in 2013 Thomas joined as the new vocalist.
We started recording “Worship.Regret”, and along the way we kinda felt that the time was right for a new name, and that’s how skin crawler was born.
Once the recordings were finished Rik from CLENCHED FIST RECORDS came up and wanted to help us out with a cd release and KICK OUT THE JAMS offered to do a tape release for us.
Both Kenny and Thomas used to play in VICIOUS and are currently killing it with SEVENTH CIRCLE (blackened hardcore / grind), while I play bass in E.B.D.B. (groovy death / slam) and guitar in MURDER INTENTIONS (brutal deathgrind)
2/ On your bandcamp profile, SKIN CRAWLERs first release “Worship, Regret” is described as “23 minutes of brutal H8000 styled metalcore”. Were you fond of that Flemish style of “hatecore” during the 90s? Were you a part of moshing hard in the pit during events or playing in other bands?
KENNY: My personal favorite song of all time is a classic H8000 song called “Human Disgrace” by SPINELESS although the whole H8000 thing happend before I got into Hardcore.
JENS: I know Jan & Ivo love all the classic H8000 stuff by CONGRESS and LIAR etc but I was more into the whole SEPULTURA, MACHINE HEAD, SLAYER… thing back in the 90s. It was only in the early 2000’s when I started getting into a lot of hardcore bands, some of my favorite hardcore bands back then were bands like LENGTH OF TIME, DEFORMITY, VITALITY, KICKBACK, ABNEGATION, CRAWLSPACE, IRATE, … hahaha, probably anything that came from GOODLIFE RECORDS at some point…
I also have tons of great memories to all the shows in the Ypres area and the VORT’N VIS, can’t even remember how much I must have seen RETALIATE or OUTCAST in those times.
Nowadays, do you believe there’s a H8000 inheritance in Belgium, Europe or into the worldwide hardcore scene? What do you think of local bands like MORDA, RAFFLESIA, FATAL RECOIL, SHREDDER, STAB, BLOOD REDEMPTION, THE BOSS – and I think we can def add XVICIOUSX and GOLDEN BULLET to the list – or those who became more famous and decided to change their approach like RISE AND FALL, AMENRA, BLACK HAVEN, OATHBREAKER, TRENCHFOOT…?
JENS: Yeah there is definitely still a lot of heavy music happening over here in the H8000 area, a lot of the ones you mentioned aren’t really active anymore, but when it comes to hardcore or metalcore in the H8000 area these days, be sure to check out DECONSECRATE, HEADSHOT and WHATEVER IT TAKES.
What happened to the different “values” which kind of characterized the H8000 thing – the straight edge, vegetarianism/veganism, that “tough guy” mentality (anti-emo, for example, or the position against homophobia whereas a lot of dudes in the scene were actually calling emo kids faggots (!) )? Do you figure things have changed? What are your personal position as a metalcore band in 2015?
JENS: 3 out of the 5 members in SKIN CRAWLER are practically straight edge, however, none of them feel the need to force their choices onto anyone, and that’s the way it should be! Don’t discriminate kids, hate everyone equally!!
Kenny: Back then you had to be straight edge and vegetarian or vegan to be part of the movement and a lot of people felt forced to be like that. I know a lot of people who actively were a part of the movement and all of them were straight edge and vegetarian or even vegan at some point but If these things aren’t your personal choice you’ll never stick to them. Nowadays you have the same thing with the clothes you wear or whatever, if you don’t do this or wear that you’re not hardcore and other bull. And the whole tough guy thing is something of all ages, I don’t think it was typical for the H8000 scene.
JENS: I never really had a problem with the whole tough guy thing, hard music comes with a hard attitude in my opinion. Metal and hardcore are often a way of venting negative emotions and hatred towards certain things in life or society. In my opinion, it should be dark, violent and dangerous…
3/ I’ve read some of “Worship, Regret” lyrics on the bandcamp profile (“Bloodsoaked”, “Hollow”, “Under The Weight”, “Suffocated”, “In Mourning”, “Crucify Me”. Some words, some feelings crossed my mind: like hatred, solitude, incomprehension, disgust…in that sense that the record title “Worship, Regret” seems def appropriate! What is the philosophy behind that title? Apart from Humanity’s weakness, are they any writers, philosophers, sociologists or even film-makers who inspired the lyrical process of the record?
THOMAS: “Worship, Regret” is a title we basically chose together, it’s not specifically connected to the lyrics although its bringing the same kind of feel to the table as the lyrics do.
I like to think the title means that all our life we worship all kinds of things which influence our everyday behavior in either good or bad ways which we are bound to regret at some point in our life.
The lyrics themselves are based on what I was feeling at the moment of writing. subjects for lyrics mostly come pretty easy after watching the news on tv or reliving personal experiences. Neglect, disgust, the meaningless of life are subject that I like to use because it’s easy to write about.
Inspiration is basically all around.
Musically, this is definitly hardcore for metalheads, or metal played by hardcore kids (who cares? This record is just brilliant!) – a part from SEPULTURA (I like your tribute to “Chaos AD” on the limited edition tape cover – and I can of course hear some intense references to that awesome thrash metal record concerning several “Worship, Regret” songs) which metal bands inspired you to create that sound? I can’t help thinking of OBITUARY first two LPs, actually (“Slowly We Rot” and “Cause Of Death”)…
JENS: Haha, thanks man, think you might be spot on with your description. The music we play is mostly a mix of all our favorite bands really. Jan and Ivo both listen to a lot of stuff like BOLT THROWER, LENGTH OF TIME, old SEPULTURA, CONGRESS, MACHINE HEAD, ALL OUT WAR, SLAYER,… personally I mostly listen to brutal death or black metal these days, but some more melodic bands like AT THE GATES, MISERY INDEX, THE HAUNTED, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, or PYREXIA are defiantly an influence for me in SKIN CRAWLER!
Kenny: For me as a guitarist I would also like to add RINGWORM as one of my influences. I could even add a more recent band that influences me personally in writing riffs for SKIN CRAWLER, namely POWER TRIP. But even some of my personal favourite bands have definitely influenced me in one way or the other, bands like PULLING TEETH and the older stuff from HARM’S WAY.
ENS: For the release of the tape we wanted to add something extra to that release. We thought a cover track would be nice, and after we settled with “Slave New World” by SEPULTURA we thought it would be fun to go all the way with the artwork as well. It’s just our way of paying tribute to one of our favorite bands from the 90’s really.
4/ What’s SKIN CRAWLER near future? Are you working on new releases? I’ve just realized you will play next Ieper Fest edition, how do you feel about that? There are tons of great bands featuring on that 2015 edition anouncement (like MÖRSER, XREPENTANCEX, GIVE… just to name a few)…
JENS: Well it’s just an absolute honor to be playing at Ieperfest really. In 2011 GOLDEN BULLET already played there, and it was one the coolest shows they did back then. So we’re really really excited to play there with so many killer bands.
We played together with XREPENTANCEX just before we changed our name from GOLDEN BULLET to SKIN CRAWLER, I remember they were pretty sick then, and I’ve heard so much about MÖRSER over the years, I’ll check em out for sure!!
Besides those I’m really excited to see BIOHAZARD, CRYPTOPSY, BRUJERIA, ALL OUT WAR, ANAAL NATHRAKH and EXTREME NOISE TERROR, but honestly, the whole weekend is going to be a blast!!
5/ No more questions, if you wanna add something, promote, bands, booking crews, venues, fanzine/webzine editors and anything it’s up to you! Thanks!
No more namedropping man, we’ve done more than our share of that already! THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW!