Arduous Task Interview
By: Benjie Stewart
Arduous Task are a young death metal band coming out of the woodwork that bring an old school vibe to their music. They are very outspoken and true to their word and vision. This is what guitarists Heathen Hooligan and Bestial Devastator told Metal Mayhem Underground.
Metal Mayhem Underground: "First off, tell us about Arduous Task., and the origins of the band?"
Heathen Hooligan: "Arduous Task started in the mid-2000’s under the name Subhuman Slaughter. At first it was only myself and Panzer Wulf. Eventually we acquired Grizzly on bass, Bestial Devastator on guitar, and finally, Sturm Keizer on drums. We released one demo with a drum machine before Sturm Keizer joined, which, in hindsight, seems unnecessary. Honestly, only the releases that came after Sturm Keizer’s entry are the ones we care about."
MMU: "Who writes the music and lyrics?"
Bestial Devastator: "The music is written by myself and Heathen Hooligan, although recently bassist Grizzly Lynch has been bringing more ideas to the table. As far as lyrics go, they are handled by Heathen Hooligan."
MMU: "Is the metal scene better today or is it worse?"
BD: "In my opinion, it's way worse now. There is an overflow of crappy retro knock off bands that release music without a shred of originality. Overall, the quality of new bands isn't very high. Also, every week it seems some new festivals are taking place. These are usually a mish mash of crap that doesn't go together. What happened to tours like Ultimate Revenge? Compile that with an influx of PC politics that result in a witch hunt for anything remotely taboo. You can sing about raping nuns, child molestation, and castrating priests and its okay. But if you talk negatively about Judaism or Islam then you are racist. Talk about World War II and you may be NSBM. It's a bunch of bullshit. There aren't supposed to be taboos in metal. I also don't agree with labels putting whole albums up for stream. I only need one or two songs to tell if I'm into it. If the album is garbage, and it's available for a full stream, then no one will buy it. I guess labels view that as a two way street though."
MMU: "How many gigs have Arduous Task played?"
BD: "As far as shows go, I'm sure it's close to 20 that we have played, possibly more though. However they've come pretty much to a halt since we are banned from the main venue in Connecticut because of a bunch of people that have issues with the lyrics to our songs. There aren't a lot of places to play around there, and word spreads fast so I wouldn't be surprised if people don't want us at their venue for fear of a fight breaking out. That isn't likely though because we have never been confronted by any of these people that want to ‘beat us down’ for being a ‘band full of ignorant racists’. Pussies. We are going to concentrate on recording and releasing material right now, and perhaps after the new year we will look to play with the right bands/people. The fact of the matter is this: it doesn't make sense to play out in this region every other weekend because no one supports one another. Instead they'll sit at home on internet forums and trash talk your band and bitch about the shirts you are wearing. When we went down to Maryland, and played with Druid Lord we had a good size crowd that seemed into it. That was probably the biggest crowd we’ve played in front of. It was different, but refreshing to see people head banging and causing mayhem. Despite not having an ample sound setup, it was still a good show."
MMU: "What does death metal mean to you?"
BD: "Death metal means a complete and total outpouring of violence, hatred, and anger. It is the worship and praise of death. Be it a historical event, the destruction of a foe, etc., there are no limits or restrictions. Anything goes."
HH: "Indeed. Death metal to us, is about absolute hatred, blasphemy, intolerance, war (and the warrior), and sheer contempt for modernity."
MMU: "Do you have a demo or album out? Are you working on anything new?"
BD: "Yeah, the Hate Raping Warfare demo is still up for free download on the bandcamp page. As far as releases go, we have two split CDs available. One with Gravewürm and the other with Alcoholicaust. We will be recording for a 7" EP and a full length by the end of the year if all goes well."
MMU: "What inspires Arduous Task?"
BD: "Lyrically, we are inspired by history. Specifically Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, world wars, Viking conquests, and the complete disparagement of the Abrahamic religions that destroyed pagan Europe. The only song not history based is A Grim Struggle. That one is based off of the novel and film, The Road. Musically we don't adhere to one strict style. Our stuff combines the influence of Grand Belial's Key, Mercyful Fate, Sadistic Intent, Tormentor (HUN), early Mayhem, Varathron, old Rotting Christ, Demolition Hammer, Arghoslent, Absurd, Iron Maiden, Omen, early Exodus, Kreator, Possessed, early Death, Slaughter (CAN), Celtic Frost, Carnivore, Burzum, Bathory, and early punk/hardcore like Agnostic Front, Negative Approach, and Siege."
HH: "Lots of stuff, from classical to metal and hardcore. For a while it’s been a lot of the martial industrial band Triarii. Then great shit such as old Slayer, Nocturnal Fear, Angry Aryans, Manilla Road, Molested, Gravewurm (USA), Bound for Glory, Seges Findere, Sheer Terror, GG Allin, Cro-Mags, etc.. Then the profoundly mind-altering pieces from the likes of Paganini, Beethoven, Wagner, Schubert, Liszt, and several others. I guess it really depends on what mood I am in."
MMU: "What are your thoughts on the following?: NSBM, DSBM, Baby Metal, and Post-Black Metal?"
BD: "I'm a fan of some NSBM, like Dark Fury Der Stürmer and Goatmoon, however I've found a fair amount of crap within that sub-genre. DSBM, I don't like on the whole. I do enjoy old Mutiilation and the first couple Bethlehem albums. Oh, and early Forgotten Woods is excellent. If that's what you classify as DSBM mind you. I really despise these sub-genre tags [laughs]. Who gives a fuck if it's depressive black metal, war metal, shoegaze polka blip core, or Christian porn death grind? If you like it that's all that matters. I tried recommending old Blut Aus Nord to a friend, but he couldn't get into them because he didn't like "bedroom" black metal. I don't know why everything has to be wrapped up in a neat little package for these morons nowadays, but I digress [laughs]. Baby Metal? What is that? That's a joke right? Post black metal I hate with a passion because it isn't black metal at all. To me, black metal is stuff like Master's Hammer, Vlad Tepes, Necromantia, Bestial Summoning, Fullmoon, Beherit, and Mortuary Drape. Bands like Liturgy and Wolves in the Throne Room have no real anger and can't convey any feeling with their stuff."
HH: "There are some great NSBM bands out there. But like any genre, there exists a plethora of crap as well. DSBM, not that into it really. Though I guess it depends on which bands you are speaking of. I’m still not certain what “baby metal” is, and I hope to keep it that way. “Post black metal” is just a silly term that pretty much means nothing to me, with the exception that the band calling their music by that tag means it is probably terrible."
MMU: "I disagree with you on Wolves In The Throne Room not having any feeling, I believe it is just a different kind of feeling, a different mood, aura etc. Times are a changing, things evolve from what once was. What is on your playlist?"
BD: "I'm currently spinning:
Hallows Eve- Tales of Terror
Toxodeth- Mysteries About Life and Death
Treblinka- Severe Abomination
Havohej- Unholy Darkness and Impurity
Belial- Gods of the Pit pt II
Necromass- Mysteria Mystica Zofiriana
Black Sabbath- Tyr
Grim Reaper- Rock You To Hell
Mercyful Fate- Return of the Vampire
Dark Angel- Leave Scars."
MMU: "Arduous Task's music is based around history, but what do you think of the current state of the world?"
BD: "I think that domestically this country is slowly turning into the Soviet Union. This country’s foreign policy is so out of whack it's ridiculous. I think that the higher ups in this country have basically taken the constitution and turned it on its ear. It seems like little by little more rights are taken away. If anyone out there has read George Orwell’s classic, 1984, it seems almost prophetic when you take into account what is going on in these modern times. I also see a lot of parallels with the current state of the United States with the fall of the Roman Empire. Political corruption, over expansion of our military into areas we don't necessarily need to be in. These are all things that happened 2,000 years ago."
HH: "Our enemies have astutely recognized that the most beneficial war is not done on the battlefield, but in the mind. This notion itself goes back centuries, but has truly become detrimental over the last 40-50 years. Cultural Marxism has taken hold of nearly every facet of Europe and the United States, from academia all the way down to the “metal scene.” Luckily we in Arduous Task are from the United States, so we do still have some sort of freedom due to our founders, but even that is waning fast. I become truly disgusted when I look to Europe and see my brothers and sisters being silenced and quite often killed and/or raped by foreign scum. What truly disgusts me is that we, of European blood, sit idle as this transpires for fear of being labeled “racist” or “anti-Semitic.” That is why I truly appreciate the likes of the Golden Dawn from Greece. In my opinion, that mindset needs to spread all throughout Europe."
MMU: "Thanks for the interview, any final words?"
BD: "Yeah, thanks for giving us a moment here to speak our minds." ∆