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BERZERKER, THE


The Berzerker - The Mayhem Behind the Masks


By Dr. Abner Mality

"When the masks come off, the real horror begins!"

That would be the perfect tagline for the new Berzerker album "World of Lies" if it was promoted like a horror movie. And in many senses, that's just what this mercurial Australian outfit is...an auditory horror movie. For years typified by their gruesome image that was like a more brutal version of GWAR, the Berzerker was known for two things: their masks and their sheer extremity.

On "World of Lies", the masks are gone, but the extremity remains. However, this,too had undergone a change. Instead of the machine-gun chatter of speed for speed's sake, we now get something resembling catchy songwriting mixed with the utter brutality. The result is the Berzerker coming of age and taking their rightful place on the world stage of extreme metal.

I recently spoke to bassist Sam about the changes in Australia's (and perhaps the world's) most ravaging band...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:The band has finally ditched the masks. Was it a relief to get rid of them or was it a little sad to get rid of something that was part of The Berzerker for so long?

SAM: It was a relief quite honestly. Masks were always a chore to put on and play in and maintain. They have been a longtime part of Berzerker but then again so has been change.

WC: I heard the masks were literally starting to liquify at the end. Did you perform a burning or any other ritual to put them to rest?


S: No, they deserve to live out the remainder of their lives in peace. They still have form but they're just dripping a lot of slime.

WC: When you perform live now, are you in street clothes or is there still a theatrical aspect to the Berzerker?

S: Well, we haven't performed since deciding to lose the masks, so I guess everyone will have to wait and see. I imagine the visual aspect of the show is still going to be very important and always will be....unless everyone starts turning up to gigs blindfolded.

WC: You have also revealed your own identities instead of being known collectively as "The Berzerker". Was it just wanting recognition that led to this decision or was there something more to it?

S: No, it was more because you can go easily as a collective when no one knows your face but after touring, getting to know people, releasing a dvd with our names and faces plastered all through it, there wasn't that much point going on as a nameless collective. People already know our names, we figured we'd let everyone in on it.

WC: The band line-up has been pretty fluid. Do you feel you finally have the right balance of personalities for a stable and lasting band?

S: No, we'll still bring in both old and new faces to get the job done for whatever we're doing at the time whether it be recording or touring. We're not really aiming for a traditional band line up that never ever changes.

WC: The songs on "World of Lies" are much catchier and more memorable than previous works. How was the songwriting process for this album different than the earlier efforts?

S: Instead of the whole recording process being laborious and preplanned with extensive preproduction we came up with
and recorded the riffs really spontaneously, all in the space of a week. I think we were previously afraid to go with the simple sections sometimes despite them often being more effective to listen to, especially on Dissimulate which is insanely technical.


WC: What's the secret to keeping a song insanely brutal and catchy at the same time?

S: Knowing when to drop a riff which doesn't have fingers akimbo all over the place, just for the sake of it. A lot of material on Dissimulate I thought was pretty catchy, it just went missing in the mix somewhat. This is definitely not a problem on World of Lies. Once you have your material in place with production to support it, then feel free to turn up the violence and speed until it reaches +1000000000 fuck you.

WC: "World of Lies" is a pretty pessimistic title. Is the album wholly negative or is there some hope or defiance in the lyrics?

S: There's always a note of hope and defiance in our music and lyrics. Drowned out of course by a sea of hate and misanthropy. It's a pessimistic album, all of ours are.

WC: The samples between the songs are pretty intriguing and different from the usual horror movie stuff. Where did you get them from?

S: We don't tend to let people know where we get the samples for songs from. Some things about Berzerker will always remain a secret.

WC: The track "Farewell" is a very drastic departure for the band. What was the idea and impetus behind this cut and will you be doing any more like it?

S: We always do something pretty different on our albums. The debut had "Ode to Nash", "Humanity", heaps of different tracks. Dissimulate had the Carcass cover "Corporeal Jigsore Quandary". This is the different track on World of Lies.Most of our songs you have to give total attention to from start to finish, "Farewell" is an amazing song and journey, some will "get it" some won't. We'll always do something different on our albums.

WC: Have you guys been acknowledged by Guinness as the world's fastest band? Are you worried that might be seen as a gimmick by some?


S: No, we are not officially acknowledged as the world's fastest band. We don't give a fuck if people think we're a gimmick band or not, people think the most retarded shit about everything anyway. Take a wander down any metal online forum to see how wrong people get things.

WC: Australia's metal scene really seems to be exploding. There's bands like Psycroptic, Alchemist, Amenta, and more coming up. Is it a pretty unified scene and are there any more names to watch out for?

S: Hmmm, a Perth band called The Furor seem to be getting some press for their black/war metal thing they have going on.

WC: Any idea of how The Berzerker's sound will develop in the future?

S: No idea, although we're amazingly happy with how it has turned out for this album. I'm not sure if there would be such a huge difference between this album and the next as there has been with previous albums. The sound we have for World of Lies is one that we've been striving to get for three albums now, and now that we have it we're in no hurry to change it.

WC: Any plans for a U.S. tour?

S: Not as yet, it depends what kind of offers we get.

WC: What was the last CD or record you picked up for your own enjoyment?

S: Melt Banana, 'Cellspace'. Crazy Japanese indie band that mixes pop with grind and everything inbetween.

WC: What was the last gig you caught for your own enjoyment?

S: Melt Banana again, where I bought the cd. Awesome show, they seem to be doing their own thing and it's completely unique and amazing. I couldn't believe the tiny female bassist could dominate her instrument so bad.


WC: Especially during the "masked" era, there must be some "Spinal Tap" story for the Berzerker. Is there any you'd care to share with us?

S: I remember one of our first shows, we all collapsed post show backstage. A couple of giggling girls came into the band room to meet The Band. We were all lying there completely exhausted and dripping sweat, makeup, steam, and smelling all manly and metal. They took one look at us then ran out of the room. We've had everything happen to us. We've had instruments break on the first song of the set, producers leaving the project a week into recording,the drum triggers and module die halfway through the gig, the click tracks for the band go missing midset, mics fail, masks break, drummers break, and every one of us has gone mad at least once because of it.

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