DEATHSTORM - Blood Beneath the Crypts  CD
DEATHSTORM - Blood Beneath the Crypts  CD
DEATHSTORM - Blood Beneath the Crypts CD

HRR 494 CD

Mac - Bass, Vocals
Ferl - Guitars
Steindl - Guitars
Mani - Drums

-Splendid Mutilation
-Murder of a Faceless Victim
-Immortalized Sinner
-I Conquer
-Enter the Void / Dunwich
-I Saw the Devil


Austria-based thrash metal hopefuls Deathstorm have been added to the High Roller Roster and are now unleashing their second full-length album “Blood Beneath the Crypts”. The Styrian crew formed in 2007, first starting out as “Damage” before changing their name to Deathstorm in 2010. From the very beginning Damage/Deathstorm have been celebrated as a true kult band that manages to keep the balance between continuously building up a fanbase and staying true to the (Austrian) underground. Vocalist and bassist Mac gives a short account of the history of Deathstorm: “Celebrated? That must have passed us by, ha ha! Back when we started there was no ‘underground’ or anything. We were surrounded by very arrogant people who played in very ridiculous bands which is what motivated us the most to start our own thing. We have always been influenced by Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motörhead and all the other classics, but somehow nobody in our area who claimed to be a ‘Metalhead’ was into those kinda bands. It was rather that everybody hated and despised them. That was basically the reason why we started DAMAGE; to show everyone what heavy music is supposed to sound like. We started out as a five-piece but after a year of little progress, we stripped the line-up down to a three-piece which resulted in the release of our first demo soon after. After that we played our first gigs, recorded another demo, signed with I Hate Records, released an MLP and our debut full-length, added a fourth member to the group, released another EP and here we are now, awaiting the release of our second full length which we are very proud of, to say the least.”
Mac also tells us about the goals Deathstorm had set themselves for their sophomore studio album: “Our goal was to progress in every kinda way, which we have achieved in our book. Of course, as soon as you have finished a recording session, there are always some little bits and pieces you would rather have done differently, but as long as they stay at a minimum everything is fine. With this recording we have become a lot more mature we’d say. The songwriting is a lot better and more thought-through, it is still chaotic and fast but as a whole, the album is a lot more consistent than the last one. We definitely made the album we intended to make.” Though developing as musicians and songwriters, Deathstorm stay true to what they love: Old School Teutonic Thrash Metal; therefore “Blood Beneath the Crypts” shows progress in quality, not in style: “We got better at playing our instruments, got some tricks up our sleeves with regard to writing songs and gained a lot more experience with the recording process. Basically the new material does not differ a lot from the older stuff, it is just, and as I have mentioned above, more mature and ‘thought-through’. So generally speaking, approaches were actually not changed at all rather than improved.”
After first reducing the band to a three-piece, Deathstorm have re-grown into a quartet by adding Steindl on second guitar. Mac on his newest band mate: “He actually already joined in late 2012, shortly before ‘As Death Awakes’ was released. On ‘Blood Beneath The Crypts’ he contributed some of his ideas as well as a shitload of hellraising and mind-bending guitar leads from beyond.” New band members often bring some changes; so how much Damage is still left in Deathstorm? “DEATHSTORM basically is 100% DAMAGE plus another 25% Steindl. It is still the same vision, the same hunger and the same attitude. We started off with a more speed metal oriented sound, you know, those typical “Kill ‘em All” riffs etc. After a while it naturally progressed into heavier and more evil sounding compositions. On the one hand we got faster and faster but on the other we also included mid-tempo parts, which got as far as even having hints of Doom in our music. The doomier parts are fairly ‘new’ but mid-tempo stuff could already be heard on our second demo ‘Less Silence, More Violence’ with songs like ‘Desperate Acts’ or ‘Satan’s Spell.’”
One particularly cool song on “Blood Beneath the Crypts” is the last track “I saw the Devil”, especially because it has this unusual opening riff with a deep black touch. “Thank you very much! But to be honest we do not really understand how quite a lot of people tend to hear black metal influences in our material. Of course there are some hints in tracks like ‘Consummate Horror’ off of last year’s ‘The Gallows EP’ or ‘Nihilistic Delusion’ from the debut full-length, but to us our sound is way more on the death metal side of things.” Mac himself finds it hard to pick a favourite song: “We actually love all songs equally since they are our blood. But if we had to pick one, we’d probably choose ‘Verdunkeln’ and ‘Murder of a Faceless Victim.’ We debuted ‘Murder…’ during a gig at Helvete in Oberhausen last September and ‘Verdunkeln’ last week at the ‘Alpine Steel Festival’ and they are one hell of a lot of fun to play live. The crowd reactions are great as well. Those songs give and take a lot of energy which is what we are aiming for.”
So far reviewers are haven been very pleased with Deathstorm’s true-to-the-bone mid 80's old school attitude & music and for sure this can be said about “Blood Beneath the Crypts”, too. It's another offering of uncompromising Old School Thrash in the veins of the legendary Kreator and other Teutonic Thrash heroes. Is that right or is there anything missing, any other influential band you would name? “No, this is 100% correct. German heroes like (old) Kreator and especially Sodom are some of our main influences. Other than that it is the classics like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Priest, KISS… (the list goes on forever)”
With a title like “Blood Beneath the Crypts” it’s no surprise that the album’s lyrics deal with death and dying, but Mac is more an expert on the topic than most other thrash vocalists are: “Besides studying I work as a mortician, so death is pretty much the omnipresent topic throughout all of our songs.”

“Blood Beneath The Crypts” was recorded within five days in December 2015 in a small studio in Graz called “SiSi Top Studios”, as Mac reports: “It’s a very small studio and we have become good friends with the studio owner. We also recorded “The Gallows EP” there. Basically it is very hard to find a suitable place for a band like us in our region. People here do not understand our music at all.”
“Blood Beneath the Crypts” was mixed in Magnus “Devo” Andersson's Endarker Studio.
What was working with him like? He is widely known as the bassist in Swedish Black Metal commando Marduk, but does he also have a real connection to Old School Thrash? “Working with him was great! He’s a very relaxed and fast working person who completely immersed himself into what we wanted. He is a big collector of Slayer as far as I know, so there you have the connection.”
The cover artwork was again drawn by Linda Nygren, a Swedish artist working under the nom de guerre “Henbane Art & Illusions”, who already contributed cover artworks for the previous records. Linda has also worked for The Wounded Kings and other bands; how did Deathstorm get in touch with her? “She is the girlfriend of Peter Liden, the owner of I Hate Records, our former label, and he got us in touch with her. She’s a very talented artist and she has always delivered great work!”
As mentioned above, earlier this month Deathstorm played the Alpine Steel Festival, a very small, very underground fest with a strict Austrian-bands-only policy: “Playing there was great and indeed a total success. We debuted a lot of new material, which was very well received by the crowd. The fest is organized by Bruder Cle (Deaf Forever, ex-Rock Hard writer) and some other people, total die-hards who know the ropes. Definitely the best festival on Austrian soil!” Talking about Austrian soil, Mac almost goes into a rage when asked about his opinion on the recent Austrian (Thrash) Metal scene: “To make it short, there are three bands worth mentioning, namely Kringa, Ewig Frost and Triumphant. Those are the only bands that somehow developed an ‘international’ status. Other than that it is very weak. Especially Styria (where we are from) is beyond horrible. Bands tend to be ‘fun projects’ that are nothing more than a parody of what they actually want to be. It is disgusting.” Having signed with High Roller, Deathstorm can be sure that “Blood Beneath the Crypts” will get all the attention it deserves. Mac remembers how he first got in touch with us: “After ‘As Death Awakes’ had been released Steffen contacted us. He was interested in working with the band and we met at KIT 2013 where we had a little chat. After that we were not 100% sure if the band got what it takes to work with a big label like High Roller so we did not accept his offer immediately. Two years and another EP later we knew that now it was time to get in touch again. Steffen was still interested and we sealed the deal. We are very happy to be a part of the High Roller family and are excited about what’s to come.”
It’s maybe unlikely, but does the song title “Verdunkeln” have anything to do with the Black Metal band from Aachen of the same name? Mac denies: “I’m sorry but I have never heard of them before, so no. Since we like German song titles a lot we thought that the term “Verdunkeln” would be a perfect piece to fit into the ‘Blood Beneath The Crypts’-jigsaw-puzzle.” Now with all the details discussed, Mac has one last thing to say: “People who are into honest and trend-free music definitely should give it a listen and people who are into chaos and mayhem definitely should come to see our live shows! Other than that, all has been said. Thank you very much!”

Ulrike Schmitz