Below is an interview that I recently conducted with South African Metal hellraisers ARCHITECTURE OF AGGRESSION., consisting of Van Alberts (vocals, guitars), Anton Alberts (drums, vocals), and William Bishop (bass). They were all keen to get in on the act, so all three members chipped in with their opinions and views We discussed the band’s history, the SA scene, and their brilliant new conceptual album “Democracy: Consent To Domination”. If you have a fondness for Metal that bleeds both brawn and brains, then read of if you dare… And check out their new album!!
PS – no Christians were harmed in this process.
Hi, how are things today? Thanks for doing this interview!
Van: It's our pleasure! Thanks for interviewing us.
Anton: No problem at all, we're honored.
William: Cheers bruv, appreciate the interest.
First off, I have to congratulate you on your new album! I’ve been enjoying it a lot. How do you feel about its reception by the fans so far?
Van: I'm very pleased! Seems like the fans are enjoying it. We've only received positive feedback so far.
Anton: yip, seems they're all blown away. Haven't received any complaints yet.
William: The response has been great. JP De Stefani (B# Studios) did a sick job on the recording, which is quite unusual for SA Metal. So yeah, great recording, killer songs, nasty cover, everything’s in place.
Please give us a brief history on the band, from its inception to the present day.
Van: The band was formed in early 1995 by Anton and me while we were still in High School. We were joined by Brian Liebenberg on bass. We started playing the local scene in 1996.We left for
AOA plays Death Metal although there are also some Progressive Death Metal and Thrash touches here and there. I think it’s like a cross between DEICIDE, ALTAR, FEAR FACTORY (without the electronics) and DEATH. Agree? How would you describe AOA’s sound to the unknowing Metalhead?
Van: I agree. All those bands had a great influence on us, along with many others. We label our style as Progressive Thrash/Death Metal with lots of groove.
Anton: All hail the mighty ALTAR! They definitely never got the recognition they deserved! As a band we've always been growing so it's been important to have many diverse influences! We've already started writing new material and it's even heavier, faster and more technical.
William: Other than ensuring the music is heavy and brutal as all fuck, we draw influences from many directions. In a genre which is constantly reinventing itself it’s important to keep a fresh ear. What the fuck is a fresh ear? (Well, obviously one that is not rotten! – ed.)
Please name some of your major influences – bands, writers, films etc
Van: Bands: DEATH, ARCH ENEMY, SEPULTURA, SLAYER, OBITUARY, DEICIDE, SYMBYOSIS, ALTAR, GOREFEST, FEAR FACTORY, METALLICA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, SUFFOCATION, MALEVOLENT CREATION, MORBID ANGEL, MONSTROSITY, ATHEIST, CYNIC, MESHUGGAH, CARCASS, CRYPTOPSY, NILE, ENTOMBED, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DREAM THEATER, DYING FETUS, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, NEVERMORE, ALICE IN CHAINS, TOOL, JOE SATRIANI, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN etc. There are too many to name!
Writers: David Icke (conspiracy theories), Robin Hobb (fantasy), Zecharia Sitchin (ancient civilizations), Anton Szandor Lavey (Satanic Bible)
Films: “The Matrix Collection”, “Gladiator”, “Alien,” “Aliens”, “Event Horizon”, “Starship Troopers”, “Lord Of The Rings”, “The Grudge” (I fucking hated this tripe!! – ed.), “
Anton: Uh... What Van said! Been getting into NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and never forget the author Michael Marshall Smith who wrote “Only Forward”, my favourite book ever!
William: Peter J. Carrol, Richard Dawkins, Aleister Crowley. BLACK SABBATH always. MESHUGGAH!! “Fear and Loathing in
Just by looking at the cover art of the new album it is clear that this is a politically charged album. It’s not just blaspheming for the sake of blaspheming – the fact that you sing and approach scourges like religion in a broader socio-political context gives the album some depth and ‘brains’. Clearly, this is not just another disposable DM album… Your thoughts?
Van: I believe that you are right. Everything that we do is always done with purpose and meaning. The album has a very strong message. The issues that we address in the album are issues that we feel are very important for present as well as future generations. It is meant to provoke thought in the now and future.
Anton: Thanks for the compliment, much appreciated. Sometimes it's not what you say, but How. I've always preferred lyrics that give you pause to think and look at things in a different way. My lyrics are only my opinions but I hope people will find some meaning in them that they can relate to.
William: Man you said it! “Scourge”. It feels great to have such a political stance on the cover as apposed to demons etc (we love demons too…).
Do you have distribution in the
Van: We don't have any U.S distribution as of yet, but our record company is hard at work trying to organize it. We won't be the first band to piss off republicans and conservatives. I'm sure some one in the U.S will have the balls to distribute our album.
Anton: I think they need to be pissed off; people always get angry when they can't laugh at themselves! But no news on
Please tell us about your experiences as a DM band in a country with a very small Metal scene and generally unreceptive public
Van: It can be quite tough at times. We don't play many shows because club owners in general are very unsupportive of the metal scene or they feel that we are too controversial. There are a lot more Metal fans in SA than club owners realize. Also there are some Metal bands that refuse to play with us, because we are so controversial. ARCHITECTURE OF AGGRESSION has been around for eleven years and in that time lots of clubs and bands have come and gone. We are still going strong! We've realized a long time ago that there is no future for Metal bands in SA. We have always had our sights set on the international market.
Anton: The few fans that are here are probably the most dedicated and hardcore in the world and we love them for it, but in a country with only about ten thousand Metalheads it's difficult, especially playing an underground genre in an already underground scene.
William: The attitude of many people in the industry towards Death Metal is unfathomably pathetic. But I guess that just fuels the fire. The fans we have are zealous mother fuckers and they multiply like cockroaches in a crack house.
Please name your favorite SA bands, past & present
Van: GROINCHURN (These guys were amazing! – ed.), METALMORPHOSIS, BATTERY 9, PLUM, NINE, ANARCHY, FUNERAL GOD, UNDERBELLY, RHUTZ, FOREVER WILL BURN, MISERICORD(old), CRYSTAL DAWN, IMPERIAL EMPIRE, DETACH, CHIEF REBEL ANGEL.
Anton: I agree. You can tell we're brothers right?
William: FOKOFPOLISIEKAR, HOG HOGGIDY HOG, RHUTZ, END OF MY LEAVE, TIDAL WAVES, VENDETTA CARTEL, ALL FORLORN, FOREVER WILL BURN, DETACH, BLOODLINE LTD., and FUZIGISH!!
Since we’re on the topic of religion, politics and the economy, what are your views about these issues in terms of the South African context?
Van: I feel that religion has a very negative influence on the average South African's mental and emotional states. People are way too conservative for their own good. A lot of our social problems are caused by useless religious dogmas. Our economy is run by monopolies and we are at their mercy. Our goods are way too over priced. Covertly we are still a British colony with the illusion of freedom. (I bow before NO Queen!! – ed.)
Anton: Democracy is a lie, not just here but worldwide! Capitalism is a not just an economic system but a socio-political one! We live in a "capitalism" not a democracy! Organised religions are the most mind-bendingly dangerous creation on the face of the planet! Fuck nuclear weapons, religions are the true weapons of mass destruction, they've always been!
William: The brothers have spoken truth upon truth.. Religion, Democracy and Capitalism (never mind all the other bullshit ideas) are global problems and will ultimately require a global solution(nuclear war sounds good to me…). Specifically in the South African context, we have a culture of extreme conservatism coupled with a constitution which is arguably the most liberal in the world. This makes for interesting times for us!! I guess I actually have more faith in this country than the world at large (not saying much), but one exists inside the other.
Where did the band name come from? The MEGADETH song? I’ve always been curious about that…
Van: Yes you are right. It is the MEGADETH song from the “Countdown To Extinction” album. I feel that we've really grown into our name and that it represents our music perfectly.
William: When I joined, I must admit, I was not even aware MEGADETH had written a song called “Architecture Of Aggression”. But yeah, it does describe the music and us in general very well. Well proud of it.
I must commend your bassist (William) on a brilliant job on the new album (same goes for the rest of you, BTW). His little bass-runs are very “Individual Thought Patterns”-like… Rumbling, moody, atonal, melodic!
Van: I agree! William is an amazing musician. He's the bassist we always wanted. He’s very creative and passionate.
Anton: He's an awesome little beast - even though he looks like a boy scout, he plays like a fucking demon! The cool thing is we're all very like minded so he fits in not only musically but socially as well. His mom's cool too! (Does she bring milk and cookies to rehearsals then? – ed.)
William: Cheers. There is so much room in this music for exploration, precisely one of the reasons I love it above all other styles. Bass is certainly coming in to its own now days. The scary shit is on its way with the next album!!
So what do you guys do for a living? I don’t think playing DM in SA pays the bills…
Van: It sure doesn't! Anton and I are both waiters at Tings and Times at the moment. Playing in a full time band, one needs a job that is very flexible.
Anton: I also give drum lessons, think I'm probably the only metal drum instructor in SA.
William: I teach trombone, trumpet, bass guitar, music theory and maths at PBHS (
If all of you could have one person eliminated from this earth and one resurrected from the dead who would it be? Why?
Van: I would eliminate
Anton: Damn that's a tough one! Mmm..... let me think.... Cortez (the Spanish conquistador). I know he wasn't ultimately responsible for the destruction of the South-American cultures (that's the un-Holy Roman Church's fault too!) but he was the poster boy for all the destroyed cultures and destroyed irreplaceable knowledge!!! Who'd I resurrect? No doubt my dad! He rocked, he put us on this path.
William: Chuck Norris can go, it’s not funny anymore, it never was, it’s just painful. Did you know he can drown himself by ejaculating on his own face? Bill Hicks… That man was on another level and I figure he’d have plenty to get worked up about right now.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Van: Anton and I have been loading our CD collection on to our pc recently, so basically we've been listening to our whole collection on random. The most recent CD I bought is the new CRYPTOPSY – “Once Was Not”.
Anton: DISMEMBER's playing now, but in general CRYPTOPSY, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, and DREAM THEATER.
William: Been indulging myself in some PRIMUS lately and managed to dig up my old AQUA tape. Seriously… (You’ll be banned from the scene for this statement my boy! Haha – ed.)
OK guys that’s it! Mighty hails for doing this interview! The last words are yours…
Van: Question everything! Make up your own mind. Don't let anyone tell you how to live your life!
Anton: It's been a real pleasure, thanks for asking some real cool questions! FREEDOM DEFINED IS FREEDOM DENIED!!!!
William: “Yet that which is not neither is nor is not that which is!” –
1997: Under Destruction (Demo, Self-production)
2004: Manifest Destiny (CD, Self-production)
2006: Democracy: Consent To Domination (CD, Witchdoctor Records)
|© 2000-2013 The Metal Observer. All rights reserved. Disclaimer|