Backstage with Warbringer at Heavy Scotland...

"I‘m actually a complete pacifist but for a complete pacifist, I can tell you way more about the actions about the Panzer divisions, than most I guess!"

Warbringer are fast becoming one of the hardest hitting thrash metal bands to come out the Californian thrash Metal scene. Although they’ve been around since 2004, they’ve had a few different line-up changes and with the recent release of their new album Woe to the Vanquished which came out on March 31st literally flying off the shelves; they are making quite the name for themselves. Warbringer played at Edinburgh’s recent festival Heavy Scotland to a boisterous crowd and I caught up with founder and vocalist John Kevill over a coffee, to pick his brain on the art of war....

Heya John! Welcome to Ye ole Edinburgh - congrats! The new album Woe to the Vanquished is now unleashed, how has the reception been in the lead up? "Oh its been great so far, a lot of people are already like “Dude, the album is getting compared favourably to some of the biggest releases of aberration”, I’m really proud of it and I think out of any record we’ve ever done, that deserves this kind of response, its this one". Yes! Well, you guys spent quite a while recording this one and it’s your first release since 2013? "Yeah, well I had to rebuild the whole band, twice, in effect, to get to the point, where we are writing and recording this. That was quite an ordeal, fortunately it's done and we have a stable lineup and I intend on going forward with this group of guys on the next record and the one after that, and hopefully bring the band to a level of success it's never been to before". 

The band has quite an extensive European tour coming up and you're playing at quite a lot of festivals? "Yeah, well right now we’ve got this month in April with us, Havok, Exmortus and Gorod so it's a pretty full on tour and we’ve got some festivals coming up in the summer which are going to be great. I saw that you guys will be playing Metal Days in Slovenia, I personally love it there, you’ve played there before? "Oh yes! I love that one, we’ve played that festival two times it's so beautiful up in the mountains. Actually that festival area is an old battle ground, its an old Italian front for WW1, the Isonzo river (also known as the river Soča ) around that area has had 12 battles. The Italian General Luigi Cadorna was incredibly uncreative, so his answer was to attack at the same rough location, over and over". John, you’re quite passionate about the past, you’re studying history right? "I am studying history, I’m trying to be a professor. I take a particular interest in military history and strategy, not just the battles and such, but the sentiment and how it effects culture and the kind of tapestry of everything woven together. I’m interested in warfare because its like a crisis point for humanity and I‘m actually a complete pacifist but for a complete pacifist, I can tell you way more about the actions about the Panzer divisions, than most I guess!" [laughs] Wow! Does your historical knowledge influence your lyrical content? "Absolutely! I’m trying to get a more serious take on it, that isn’t just a bunch of random violence, but content that captures some of the real bitterness, anger and the sense of betrayal of human kind. There is a lot of this on the new record, particularly in the last track". 

So after Summer are you planning on taking the new record on a headline tour? "At some point we hope to, I mean, I can't tell you exactly what we’ve planned, I sort of just show up and play the shows, but I can tell you that we are going to play a lot of shows for this tour". Do you think maybe Australia is on the cards? "Oh well that’s a tough one for me to say, but if we have an opportunity then yes, of course, if there is an opportunity to do it.. It really requires someone to want to front the money to fly us out there, so if someone in Australia does that, then we’re there!"

(Listen up Aussie promoters!)

You’ve played with quite a lot of big, well known bands, was there anyone or any band in particular that you met or played with that gave you a fan boy moment? (John takes a pause) "I don’t do that. I hate that about our culture, fuck the entire idea of celebrities. People don’t fucking matter, music is sacred, ideas are sacred. You take the most famous musician ever and even the guys that made my favourite records growing up, a lot of them, I’ve seen them live now and I’m like “this guy sucks”, same exact guy, so many of them. So, no, I don’t have any of those starstruck moments, I’m appreciative for music but there is no person in the world who I could meet and be like 'Oh I must lower myself before them or be so humbled to meet them'. Meeting somebody - any man or person should shake your hand, meet any other and shake their hand and consider themself equal. Writing a sweet record doesn’t make you any better than anyone else. This idea of the “Gods” in music, I hate it. I’m an atheist and I’m not in metal so I can worship people; that’s what mainstream culture does, why should we do it here? We should know better, we’re against that. This is my mindset, I think that heavy metal is about a more honest form of artistic expression and you lose some of that when you sort of idolise people, because we create this myth about it and I don’t really think the myth is true you know?". I totally get that and I totally agree. Well John, I have one last question for you, if you were a prehistoric creature what would you be? Mr Kevill’s ears perk up.. "Hmmm, pre-historic creature, well that’s tough to say, how pre-historic are we talking, Ice age… time of the Dinosaurs?" Lets go Ice Age! "Oh Ice Age, well I would be a woolly rhino for sure, I would be a rhino if I was alive today, I think I'm pretty bull-headed and I like the direct approach. But if we say Dinosaur age, I would definitely be a Tyrannosaurus- Rex!". Thanks for the the chat John and of course the history lesson....

I watched John stalk off back stage like the T-Rex he is to get ready for the show. Be sure to pick up Warbringer’s new Ablum Woe to the Vanquished and listen to it ten times in the first sitting. Forget making a cuppa tea, because by the end of this you’ll be ready to charge into battle! 



MAY 27 | Destruction with Warbringer, Jungle Rot, Hellbender | Marquis Theatre, Denver, CO, 

MAY 29 | Destruction / Jungle Rot / Warbringer / Demons Within | Reggies Rock Club Chicago, IL, 

MAY 31 | Destruction, Jungle Rot, Warbringer & Demons Within | Mod Club Theatre, Toronto, ON

JUN 2 | Destruction | The Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY 

JUN 5 | Destruction | The Masquerade. Atlanta, GA 

JUN 6 | Destruction, Jungle Rot, Warbringer, and Demons Within | Haven Lounge, Winter Park, FL 

JUN 9 | Destruction/Warbringer/Jungle Rot/Electric Vengeance | Gas Monkey Dallas, Dallas, TX 

JUN 12 | Destruction, Warbringer, Jungle Rot | The Regent Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

SEP 7 | Dark Tranquility | O'Malleys Sports Bar, Margate, FL 

SEP 8 | Dark Tranquility | Haven Lounge, Winter Park, FL 

SEP 9 | Dark Tranquility | The Orpheum, Tampa, FL

SEP 11 | Dark Tranquillity | The Underground at the Fillmore Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 

SEP 12 | Dark Tranquillity w/ Warbringer, Striker, Datura | Motorco, Durham, NC, 

SEP 14 | Dark Tranquillity | Fish Head Cantina, Baltimore, MD 

SEP 16 | Dark Tranquillity | The Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY 

SEP 26 | Dark Tranquillity with Warbringer & Striker | Dickens Pub, Calgary, AB 

SEP 27 | Dark Tranquillity with Warbringer & Striker | The Starlite Room Edmonton, AB 

SEP 30 | Dark Tranquillity | El Corazon Seattle, WA

OCT 4 | Dark Tranquillity with special guests | Brick By Brick San Diego, CA 

OCT 6 | Dark Tranquillity | Tricky Falls El Paso, TX 

OCT 8 | Dark Tranquility * Warbringer * | Stryker Trees Dallas, TX 

OCT 9 | Dark Tranquillity | Southport Hall Live Music & Party Hall, New Orleans, LA