A few weeks ago saw the release of a thrash driven album which brought a fresh breath and vibrant intensity to the genre. The impressive concussive treat came from Portuguese metalers Terror Empire, a band which feels on the verge of breaking beyond its homeland where already they have built a powerful fan base. Their debut album Face The Terror is an aggressive and riveting release which marks the band as one who has all the armoury to become one of the future powerhouses of trash metal. Grabbing the opportunity to learn more we had the pleasure and treat to talk with guitarist Rui Alexandre about the band and album.
Hi and welcome to The RR
Thanks, my friend. It’s an honour to be featured at your website!
Could you start by introducing the band line-up and telling us how Terror Empire all began? I believe half of the band were already playing together in another group which disbanded?
Yeah, you’re right. Me, Ricardo and Puga used to play in Against, while Sérgio and Gonçalo played in zag.a.lot. After a couple of gigs together, and when the two bands died, we started to talk about creating a supergroup of unknown musicians! Hahaha…
What was the initial focus and intention of Terror Empire?
We all love thrash, among other types of metal. We wanted to create something thrashy, yet brutal at the same time. We’re not interested in melodic stuff, as of now; we just want to create extreme music while delivering a message to the world. This world is fucked, we’re destroying the planet, and nobody seems to care or to be brave enough to confront those who brought us to this point.
The band name feels like it is a reflection of the world and its mind at the time, and since to be honest. Is that the case?
Bingo! Like I said before, we feel like there’s a hidden hand behind some of the most brutal events in the western world, like the WTC, London and Madrid attacks. There was a need for an excuse to attack the Eastern countries (who were being co-operant at the time, mind you). It makes us sick that a country would inflict a false flag attack for economic purposes. Yet, it had been done before (*cof* Pearl Harbour *cof*), so it might have been done again. It would make perfect sense… it’s just not fair.
You are tagged as a thrash metal band though your sound has much more to it, how would you describe it to newcomers to the band?
We play classic thrash with a modern flavour to it. The vocals are way more aggressive (think Max Cavalera-style), and then there’s groove, breakdowns and odd-time signature tempos here and there. Still, we’re a thrash band… to the bone. The riffs and the drums are fast and extreme… Give us a try!
Thanks for the compliment! Well, remember when you were in school, and you’d leave the classroom after an important test, without knowing if it would turn out OK or not? It’s the same feeling, kinda. We knew we had the chops and the production necessary; we just didn’t know if people would like it or even pay attention to it. Metal has always been a tricky style to play or to be liked – the audience is really picky (I’m picky myself, so I know how to make or break a band that is shown to me… haha). With this in mind, we focused on creating an album that WE would be proud of, in the first place. I believe this kind of artistic honesty really paid off. People are really enjoying it, and the reviews have been stellar.
The album contains six impressive tracks which certainly leave a strong mark. Are they tracks written over the previous three years or very new for the album?
Some of the riffs are more than ten years old! Dirty Bomb, for example, is a really old song that I wrote ten years ago. It used to be very slow, in the vein of “Death Church”, from Machine Head. Weird, I know. The Brave, on the other hand, was written a year before we recorded FTT. It was a mix of the two situations.
How has your music evolved over your existence to date?
Personally, I would rather write a good song, overall, than a crappy one with lots of sterile technique all around. I’ve always focused my effort in trying to write the best song possible. Still, to be honest, I don’t see myself writing a song without a complicated riff in it. I blame the young Dave Mustaine for this! Haha. In terms of the band, per se, we’ve become faster and more ferocious in the last year… as we became tighter, as a band, we created room for improvement in terms of technique. So, to answer your question, we have definitely evolved as a band – in terms of technique, musicianship and as five human beings trying to play as a sole machine. It’s been great!
One of the best adjectives for the album is ferocious. How hard or easy is it to keep that fire raging whilst expanding the songs with your inventiveness and infectious yet abrasive grooves?
Wow, thanks! Well, this might be our first album, but we’ve been listening to metal for years and years… Not trying to bring the “true” card to the table; just saying that we “know” a riff or a section is going to work or not. This might be the key to what you refer to in your question. We focused on being really fast and really aggressive; the rest came as extra dynamics to add variety to the sound, as a whole. Is it easy? When you love what you’re doing, everything is easy, even the struggle to get it right!
As you look at it from the other side what is your proudest part of the album, the moment you feel a tingle inside? Haha
Definitely, man. Personally, I get goosebumps when I listen to my solo after the radio voice in “Dirty Bomb”, and when I listen to “Last Fire”. That song is like a nuclear attack, it’s a friggin’ sucker punch… I love it!
You have self released the album, a decision I get the feeling which was yours and not just because there was no other options?
Releasing the album on our own allowed us to do it our way, from the production, to the artwork, to the promotion, etc. Taking into consideration that we didn’t know how the album would turn out, at least we did it our way, pleasing us in the first place. I know it might sound like I think I know it all, but it’s not the case – if you put yourself on our position, you’d probably do the same. Besides, we were nobodies (still are) – it’d be impossible to get a label to help us release “Face The Terror”! We sent some e-mails, baiting the labels with our work, and nobody cared. Now, I have all those people in my little black book… ha!
Let’s face it, only true fans buy CD’s (and some only buy the digital version). We needed fans in the first place, so we had no choice. We really needed to get our work out there and spread our project to the world. We still sell a physical version, though. Check our website for more info… *cha-ching*!
Tell us about the great artwork for the album.
An old colleague of mine did it. Her name is Márcia Gaudêncio, and she’s a kickass graphic designer, crafter and overall artist. We told her the concept, and she pulled it with flying colors. The concept is basically someone facing a situation of terror, in which the pupils dilate in sheer fright. I had this idea when I read somewhere that Michael Angelo’s “David” doesn’t have tiny balls – he’s scared shitless because he’s facing Goliath from below. My balls would decrease in size, too… hahaha. Ok, so the part of the human reaction is explained; if you take a look at the eye color, you can notice that it’s a green eye. It’s the bloody eye from the Illuminati symbol – it’s the “rulers of our world” who are scared to death when the uprising comes. And it will come, alright…
Reading your individual bios on your website
I think it is safe to say there is a definite Sepultura love from you all, Chaos AD being the first brought album of most of you. What other influences have inspired not only the band but individually?
I’m a huge fan of PanterA, Megadeth, Metallica, Death, among many others (and so is the rest of the band). Our drummer loves Between the Buried and Me, Trivium and The Black Dahlia Murder. The vocalist gets off on Napalm Death. I could go on… bottom line is: we fucking love metal. If it’s good, we’ll like it!
Metal in Portugal right now seems more powerful than ever and gaining good recognition far beyond its borders is that how it feels from the inside?
Good for us that people like you notice it! Yeah, as bands grow out of borders, the rest of us feel like there isn’t anything impossible. Our good brothers Switchtense just toured with the mighty Sepultura, for example! Still, most of the rewards only come after lots and lots of hard work. Nothing comes easy in this life.
We’re currently on our “Face The Tour”, which focuses mainly in playing in Portugal, for now. We should do this for the next months, then we’ll start writing new material… and the cycle starts yet again. We just hope to get bigger and bigger; until we become a band everybody knows and enjoys listening to. We wanna play everywhere and, who knows? discover the world.
Many thanks for taking time to talk with us, would you like to leave any last words?
Justin Bieber RULES! Haters gonna hate! Hahaha, just kidding. Thanks for the support. If you, the reader, still haven’t listened to our sound, check our website www.terrorempire.net and get your fix! You can download the album for free, or order the physical edition. Tell your friends about us. Like us on www.facebook.com/terrorempire! Be good to your mom, etc! Cheers, enjoy life.
Read The Face The Terror review @
The RingMaster Review 05/09/2012
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