The Revelation Diaries is the debut release for Los Angeles based thrashers Absolution. From the very first track the listener is greeted with an intensity and a ferocity that is reminiscent of the masters of this genre. With over an hour of hard, heavy, in-your-face riffing and finely-crafted songs, The Revelation Diaries pays homage to those that came before them, (Fueled By Fire, Overkill, Testament, and the like) and is guaranteed to be a welcome addition to any neck wrencher’s catalog.
The Thrash Metal movement is alive and well and gaining momentum and bands like Absolution are at the forefront leading the way with The Revelation Diaries; an authentic, genuine Old School Thrash Metal Record. The riffs are huge, the drums are thunderous, and the bass is pounding and begging to be cranked to eleven. Lyrically this record tackles current events with biting precision on subjects such as radical Islamic Suicide Bombers and the war in the Middle East with lyrics that are chilling and that hit close to home. Guitarist Chaz Leon took a moment to answer some questions about the band and their music.
Your brand new CD titled The Revelation Diaries was released on March 24th 2008. Now that it is done how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Chaz: Overall I am satisfied with the outcome. I think it’s a very strong metal record and a fairly ambitious one for a fairly young group. All of the songs are good and it’s over an hour long. Best part about it is that all of the songs are different. I can’t stand the idea of being pigeon-holed into one style or genre. It limits so much creativity. There’s everything from thrashers on this album, from progressive thrash epics, to more slow rockers but it all sounds like Absolution, which is true progressive thrash metal! In my opinions the better albums are always diverse and I’m very satisfied with the diversity of The Revelation Diaries.
Production-wise it came out solid. It’s not perfect and there are some flaws that we are aware of. But considering our limited budget and the circumstances surrounding the recording, it came out pretty darn good. Some of the levels are a tad off but overall it’s heavy, it’s loud, and it’s in your face!
What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of The Revelation Diaries?
Chaz: A really strong metal record from start to finish. You’ve got really heavy aggressive tunes like “Armageddon”, “Servant”, “Eternal” and you got some more mid tempo stuff like “Seven Deadly” and “Blind Reality”. It’s true melodic and progressive thrash. A lot of our influences are from the 80s as well so it’s got a bit of that vibe to it. But it’s a new sound and a good sound for the modern era we think.
Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally that gives you inspiration when writing lyrics?
Chaz: Well for me I write about stuff that affects me emotionally. We want to be a bit more then your standard typical thrash band, so we try to put as much thought and creativity into our lyrics as possible. A lot of it is about the darker side of humanity and our negative traits like dishonesty, abuse of power, violence, war, and just some of the sadder sides of the human condition. Like the song “Human” is just kind of about how sad it is that Humans can send others off to fight their wars that are usually over such trivial reasons.
Along those lines the band keeps things interesting thematically. Touching on Islamic radical suicide bombers, the war in the Middle East and religion in general. Can you talk more about your views on the subjects you tackle on this record?
Chaz: Well most people are in a strong disagreement with the war in Iraq. I’m definitely one of them. The thing that’s so upsetting about that is that you have an administration in power that so blatantly only cares about its own interests that it’s just sad. All the Bush administration seems to care about is their little social elite group and their war in Iraq while the middle class suffers. Of course “suffering” is a relative term I mean we got it pretty decent here, but this gas crunch is pissing everyone off and the value of the dollar is almost laughable. What happened to that strong economy that propelled America to the top of the mountain? Does anyone seem to care?
Suicide bombing is something that’s hard not to be affected emotionally by. It’s frightening that other human beings can be so blindly led and do horrible acts to each other especially in the name of religion. If you look at it from a suicide bomber’s perspective though, he or she believes they are being forced and have no other way out and no other way to fight a superpower than by doing such a horrific act of detonating themselves in a public square. The fact that their religious leaders can convince them that what they are doing will grant them a first class ticket to heaven is pretty shocking.
Religion in general is a touchy subject. Personally I do not believe in any organized religion and I think it had it’s origins as a means of control. However, I’ve kind of learned that religion has its place and it’s not mine or anybody’s place to tell someone what they can or can’t believe in. When people start using their religion as a justification for committing murder and abusing power, it’s pretty hard not to get pissed off about that. Especially when you examine their religions and you realize that they are blatantly twisting their religion for their own gains!
Give us some insight into the record The Revelation Diaries and the meaning behind its title?
Chaz: Well it’s meant to be the diaries of the Revelation. In the bible the book of revelation is about the end of the world. A lot of people view a lot of the violence and suffering in the world as signs of the apocalypse so we decided to make our album title along those lines. Our songs are, in a sense, diary entries for the book of revelation. The cover art and booklet art kind of follow this theme too.
When you compare the early days of thrash metal to the scene today what do you feel has changed for the better? What do you feel has become worse?
Chaz: Well first of all I think it’s great that there’s such a young thrash scene that’s so ravenously into the music. They’ve kind of come straight of the 80s as if someone made a time machine from 1985 and brought those kids into this era. What I feel has become worse is that you don’t really have many bands that are doing a lot to further the genre. A lot of the bands are just kind of rehashing what the forefathers did in the 80s. That’s cool if it’s what you like, but creatively it doesn’t really move the genre forward. Then again as much as we love thrash, we clearly have other influences that you can hear on the record. I love the ravenous intensity of the thrash metal crowd, but you never want to become stagnant in my opinion.
What is your view on the current state of Thrash Metal? How do you identify with the rest of the Thrash Metal scene?
Chaz: Well my opinion on the current state of thrash metal is mixed. Like I said on the one hand it’s great that it’s back and its gaining momentum, but like I said too a lot of the bands really aren’t furthering the genre with their sound in my opinion. You get a lot of guys doing just simple basic thrash but you don’t have anyone really pushing the envelope. In my opinion the best bands in the thrash genre were ALWAYS Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. And what did those bands do? They pushed the envelope with their sound. They added more progressive elements rather than just a typical thrash sound. Slayer was a bit more extreme but Metallica and Megadeth really did an awesome job furthering their sounds. I mean eventually they completely crossed over to the mainstream, but up until that point, they were really doing great by adding other elements to their music and keeping their own sound. A lot of the thrash scene is young, but you don’t hear much else other than basic thrash.
How do we identify? Haha, that’s a good one. Well honestly we love thrash and have roots in it, but it’s tough for us to identify with a scene that likes their metal the way it is. A lot of the thrash kids have seemed to embrace us and accept us, especially when we play a really aggressive set list, but you can hear on the record, Absolution is not just a thrash band. There’s lots of progressive and melodic songwriting elements in the sound. Absolution isn’t really meant to be a typical thrash band. We’re really heavy and have roots in thrash, but we’re also very melodic and progressive too. Most of the underground scene is really cool though and there are some really cool bands. But we identify best with the ones that don’t have closed minds. Metal is funny you know. On one hand it’s suppose to be the thinking man’s music but on the other hand some fans can be surprisingly close minded. But hey in the end, it’s all about what you like.
You guys have shared the stage with some heavyweights of the thrash metal scene. Bands such as Overkill, Nevermore, and Fueled by Fire. What was that like? Did you find it intimidating at all?
Chaz: Actually no it really wasn’t intimidating. Overkill was really cool. The crowd was insane that night. We actually did a show or two with Fueled by Fire when they were coming up, but they’re always pretty cool. The crowds for the most part have been pretty cool though. Nevermore was really cool to watch but my favorite group to have opened up for was M.O.D. They put on an awesome show! We had a great time!
What was the writing process like for The Revelation Diaries? Did you all write together? How long did it take?
Chaz: Well half of the record is older songs that have been around for about 2-3 years. For the rest of the stuff I would kind of come in with ideas and riffs recorded and show them to the band and we’d just jam on them. In the future we’d all like to write together but that’s how most of the songs were written for this album. Some of the new ones were written really quickly. The last half of “Mask of Liberty” and most of “Reflections of Hate” were spur of the moment practice things that just sounded good.
What is the hardest part about being in a metal band and what’s the biggest obstacle your band faces?
Chaz: The hardest part about being in any metal band is the lack of mainstream support. I know we all hate the mainstream, but it can be a pain in the ass when most venues and promoters put most of their energy into more mainstream music. Metal just doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The biggest obstacle our band faces is sticking it out through all the bullshit. A lot of metal bands are really really good but it can be tough trying to build your music and deal with a music scene that just quite frankly doesn’t pay attention to music. There’s like an entire generation out there that just has no clue about metal. You bring it up in conversations about music and they just scratch their heads and look at you like monkeys. The new generation seems pretty enthusiastic though!
How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artist?
Chaz: MySpace and the internet are awesome promotional tools. They are great for getting people all over the world and country exposed to your music. Invaluable tools.
Downloading is a mixed bag. On the one hand it gets your music out there but it really really hurts with the money. In case a lot of you didn’t know, we don’t make a lot of money doing this. All bands need money from album and merchandise sales to keep going. Where it really hurts is when record labels lose massive amounts of money and have to cut down on the support they can give to their bands? Who do you think they cut from? The established artists? No way, they cut from the bottom. So downloading music can really hurt an upcoming artist financially.
What’s next for Absolution?
Chaz: Well, we’d like to tour and are looking at getting on a record label. We think this music should be out there and should be receiving some good promotion. We’d also like do no another record relatively quickly. We’ve got a ton of ideas, have learned a lot from our first recording experience, and will have much more input from the entire band now. We’re looking forward to it! Thanks a ton for the interview and the support! We really appreciate it! Thanks to everyone out there who has supported us! Really you guys are awesome! [ END ]