Interview with Tyrants Blood; guitarist Marco Banco chats with Rick Scythe

Tyrants Blood are a Vancouver-based black thrash/death metal band featuring members of legendary Canadian bands, Blasphemy and Infernal Majesty. Tyrants Blood was formed by ex Witches Hammer/Blasphemy guitarist Marco Banco, (Traditional Sodomizer of the Goddess of Perversity) and local drummer Kevin Volatile in 2006. The group now consists of Marco Banco, ex Abuse drummer Matt Blood Modder, Infernal majesty vocalist Brian Messiah Langley and bass/vocalist Vinnie Borden.



Tyrants Blood are a Vancouver-based black thrash/death metal band featuring members of legendary Canadian bands, Blasphemy and Infernal Majesty. Tyrants Blood was formed by ex Witches Hammer/Blasphemy guitarist Marco Banco, (Traditional Sodomizer of the Goddess of Perversity) and local drummer Kevin Volatile in 2006. The group now consists of Marco Banco, ex Abuse drummer Matt Blood Modder, Infernal majesty vocalist Brian Messiah Langley and bass/vocalist Vinnie Borden.

Tyrants Blood’s genuine approach and uncompromising sound is everything you would expect form these veterans of the Canadian extreme metal underground scene. Their third album entitled, Into The Kingdom Of Graves, is their latest release, so now was a good time to talk to founding member/guitarist Marco Banco to get more details… check out this guest interview by the renowned Rick Scythe.

Hello Marco! For those not familiar with Tyrants Blood, fill the readers in on the bands’ philosophy, history and latest news.
Marco: Hi Rick and thanks for taking interest in us. The band’s philosophy is fairly straight, we play hard heavy music, and we play it the way that is most natural to us. When we get down to writing or working on a piece I bring in, or someone else brings into the studio, we just jam it out and follow each others lead. It’s cohesive because we have all played this style of music for a long time. The image and complexion of the band is to relate the sound to our style. So it comes easy in that sense, if I have to analyze it at all, because it is what we do in a really natural way. For me personally, this kind of music has always been what bleeds out of me.Aggressive music suits me well.

Blasphemy is regarded as a premier Black Metal band from North America. That band has received legendary status since forming in the mid 80’s. Blasphemy was one of the first North American bands to play this form of music. Do you feel Blasphemy gets the credit they deserve? How does Tyrants Blood fit in with this legacy… a continuation of sorts or simply a new band formed by a die hard of extreme metal?
Marco: Yeah, Blasphemy has received all their credit since about 2001, before then they were relatively unknown to most people really, and for that matter, more or less gawked at and thought of as more of a forgettable group to the majority. But since early 2000, the people that grew up with Blasphemy began flying that flag and really forcing that style into the foreground. So that new genre termed War metal, really began to take on its own place and form, and Blasphemy are really the group that fashioned that style. Now of course, there are a lot of groups playing in this image. Many clone acts and groups are paying homage to Beherit, Blasphemy, Sarcofago and that, but for the longest time, it was true, true underground music, and really thrived in a hidden shadow, where I felt it ruled: The dark alleys and in the fog. the stuff of legend and story.In the foreground it loses most of its edge for me personally.

Once the veil is lifted, most of the mystery is taken, and it becomes another fad for awhile. It’s good that the band was championed by the true fans, because even though they never did much as far as recording and writing, what they did do,has spurred on a movement and created a style. Blasphemy deserve their stamp and place 100%. As far as how Tyrants Blood fits into this, I am simply someone who performed with the group. I do not live in the past or care to try and recapture anything from those days, it has no place for me today when it comes to writing or how I move forward. Everything from the past is a tool and experience that has brought me here and now, and that’s that.

Into The Kingdom Of Graves is the title to the third full-length album. How do you feel this compares to your previous work. What are some of the lyrical themes and influences for this one?
Marco: The album is very heavy in comparison to Crushing Onward Into Oblivion. The theme is darker and more aggressive. The lyrical themes are relative to the album title, songs like “Spiral Seas” which deals with insanity. “Disowned and Defiled” takes on darkest parts of human nature. We also wrote songs for the album such as “Conjure the Watcher” and songs that work with old text from the Necronomicon and passages like this. So the title Into the Kingdom of Graves could probably be very slightly interpreted as almost a social doctrine based on the murkiest and most shadowed places. But of course we write in a style that is more akin to horror movies and bordering on the occult and darker imagery to emphasize the riffs we lay down. We are never going to be overly politically charged in our writing, we just track what we feel lyrically gels with the sound-Heavy themes.

Check out the song “Destruction Consuming”

For being a relatively new band, Tyrants Blood has done quite a bit of touring. What bands have you toured with and has the band been well received?
Marco: For our South American stint we played with the great Mystifier, and local legends Unholy Flames as well as the members of Bestiamator’s new band. In Belo Horizonte they presented me with Wagner Antichrists Bc Rich axe to lay down the show with. This went down as the most memorable show of my life, as Sarcofago had such an impact. The whole Brazilian, Belo Horizonte, Sao Paolo scene, was just massive to me with their tradition and style. Anybody that is from that generation knows what I am talking about when I say this: The importance of those groups to this style of music is unmatched.

Of course performing in the Amazon jungle with Mystifier was just over the top, the heat, the raging river, the bats and beasts as we played, like a wicked dream. In Europe we played with various groups throughout: Vassafor, Hell Patrol, Hatred, Temple Desecration, Apocalyptic Salvation, and many others. We felt very welcome in Europe. They seemed to know the lyrics to our songs very well in some cities, and knew the riffs better than me. It was a very cool time for sure. What group does not want to perform in these great places?

In this day and age of digital downloading, how important is it to have physical products such as CDs and LPs? Do you feel it’s important for fans to buy physical copies of your releases or do you feel that as long as they hear the music and spread the word it is not as necessary anymore?
Marco: I think the industry has to try to roll with the punches, it has changed so much. It’s been said a million times – it sucks on one end and its great on the other. If you’re a collector, a person that really has to have it physically, it’s there for you.
As an artist I perform and create no matter what. I can see the frustration in musicians that really want to have the freedom to perform what they want with no restrictions, but because of the way the market is, the songwriter has a real uphill battle, an incredibly steep one at that, to get to the top with original material.

The market is saturated with suits and ties shoving this weeks crap down everyone’s throat and don’t need to answer the door unless you look and sound like whatever is selling today.
But of course, this is also why a lot of us are playing what we play. We are throwing our guts out because we don’t have to try and fit into any mold. We sweat blood, and vomit all kinds of horror and terror. This is our thing, it’s not even really a market, it’s how we live.

How do you feel about cover songs? Do you guys play any live? What bands are you influenced by?
Marco: I don’t play covers personally live. At home I do all the time. In the Rehearsal studio we do sometimes, I don’t really care too much for other renditions of already killer tracks. I like the originals. Of course every now and again someone will knock you off your stool with their cover, but that’s few and far between in my opinion. I’m influenced by a thousand groups, everything from my parents collection when I was growing up – all that music from the late 1960’s and seventies – to the music I claimed as my own in the 1980’s, bands like Razor, Possessed, Exciter, Mercyful Fate. There are a lot of groups, if I was to actually make a list, there would be a thousand groups, and songs that have had an impact and influence on me and my style.

What kind of guitars and amps do you use? How do you feel about Pro Tools and home recording methods?
Marco: I use Jackson King V guitars and also a custom 67 Gibson V that I have had since she was a virgin. Always played V axe guitars. They sit right, look deadly and play great. Peavey amps, used them for a long time, went to Marshall for a time, but went back to Peavey and have been ever since. Pro tools are great, especially for demoing your own stuff. I like it. I hear a lot of bitching and moaning about it, but I think they are just fine.

What is the writing process for Tyrants Blood? Do you have a primary song writer or do all members contribute equally?
Marco: Usually someone will bring a song or just have part of a song or an idea. Whatever way work. I write about 90% of the music and about 95% of the lyrics too. It’s open to whomever has an Idea or song really, it’s democratic. Our motto is, whatever you have, we’ll make it work. And we do for the most part. I just happen to be writing constantly, I have pages and pages and pages of psychotic lyrical themes, pieces of paper all over the house, with stuff written on it. It’s what I do when I’m doing the most menial of tasks, I just write all the time.

On this latest album our drummer Matt had a chance to expand on his writing and did a good portion of writing. So that was a good change in song structure listening to the mix today, it worked out well. There are really peculiar deranged patterns that only a drummer could come up with. Brian added a few riffs here and there to color up a few of the tunes and of course Vince did a bunch of riffs for pretty much every tune on the new album also. We all get involved with the writing process whether the song is written in whole or part. It rarely stays the same as its original draft.

Check out the song “Slithering Into Exile”

Does the current turmoil in the world effect the lyrics of Tyrants Blood? Do you directly or indirectly have your political beliefs or perspectives influence your songs, or is Tyrants Blood more of escapism from global events?
Marco: The current turmoil is the same as the old turmoil. The constant struggle against the yoke and the plow, the eternal determination to stay awake, to keep your eyes open, the cynicism and to be on the fringe. Stalking the woods, cast out the verminous wolves, always hungry always sharp, these are the things that keep us here. We see the flock as terrifying, being led to slaughter by the one who is charged to lead. Until the weakness and frailty of time finally lays the sword to the ground, this belief in the force of free will remain.

What is your opinion of the underground metal community? From your perspective, how has it improved/declined over the years? Do you ever get disgusted with certain aspects of “the scene”? How do you feel Tyrants Blood stand out from the pack in an over saturated underground scene?
Marco: It ebbs and flows as always, it hasn’t changed in that aspect. Metal has been around a long time now. It’s gone from mainstream, to the underground and back into the light in different forms of sound and style. It’s changed a thousand times in look, sound and now has even gone retro as the latest trend. Who could have seen that? I suppose it was inevitable. As far as improving and declining, I see it the same as ever. Of course now I see it differently in that I’m continuing on from where I began. But for the people who have just now discovered this, I am sure for many of them, it feels much the same as it does for everybody when they hear that song that makes their blood fire.

I don’t see right now too many revolutionary sounds. Things seem to be a bit stuck in trying to redo, but hopefully out of all that someone will come up with something that will blow the doors off. There are a lot of killer groups coming out now playing extreme styles, so the homework has payed off. Oversaturated for sure, but through it all there are some deadly groups. As a band we play our own style, so we feel we are different. We aren’t following anybody’s lead as far as song writing goes or performance.

Thanks Marco for answering these questions. Keep kicking ass and slaying posers with Tyrants Blood! Any final words?
Marco: Thanks for the interview! To all the fire breathing headbangers, witches, destroyers and black metal skinheads: all power to the Underground!


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