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4 tablatures for Sacred Steel

Sacred Steel - Pounding the speakers - October 2002

The new SACRED STEEL has become an absolute high achiever. A record which pounds diversified and plausible through the speakers. Adding some occasional growls suits the band very well. That's why Ralf easily assigned 9 big points to it and instantly contacted old hand Gerrit Mutz.

Hi Gerrit! This is Ralf from the "Metal-Observer" webzine, how are you doing? Everything alright?!

Yes, everything is just fine, after the common symptoms of a cold have abated, I'm now looking forward to this year's first pollen.

Your fourth record has been finished and it's called "Slaughter Prophecy". I'd claim it is your hardest and best work ever since. Who had the idea with the growls?

The thing with the growls wasn't planned in the first place. When I first heard the song and tried to sing to it with my usual voice, I realized it wouldn't work out right. Then in the rehearsal room I tried to sing rather thrashy to the song, like "Dark Forces lead me to the brimstone gate". It sounded okay, but it didn't really fit to it. While being in the studio I inevitably had to choose a tone and when I listened to the song over headphones I instinctively tried to find the right tone, which ended up sounding "growly". At first I was a little appalled about my voice. On second thought it was ideal for that song.

The record is more plausible without becoming to "poppy". You seem to be influenced by those US 80's bands, or am I wrong?

The major part of the bands we adore originates from the US. So it's logical that our own creative output sounds similar to our favoured musicstyle. I can't stay that "poppy Metal". That's why I try to avoid making the melodies sound like nursery rhymes in spite of the catchiness. Many people talk derogatory about "Retro-Bands" and dispose 80's stuff as antiqued. But still I absolutely believe that the early 80's were the golden age of our music. There is no more desirable aim for a Metal band than to carry on the spirit of this era.

When I look at the song titles I see there's a lot of "evil" stuff to listen to. I don't have the lyrics right now but I think you'll stick to your usual way.

For this record I wanted to deliver a good mixture of short stories, Metal-wisdoms and animadversion on church. And I finally held on to it. From a Christian point of view there sure is a lot of "evil" stuff on this record. In return I regard the Christian church as a fascistic machinery of power with an "evil" background, so I think their point of view is alright. I think I overextended myself with the "Bloodlust" concept, which in the end seemed to be irreproducible for a lot of people. That's why the lyrics on the new record are easy to comprehend for everybody.

Apropos clichés. They belong to Metal like an ass belongs to the bucket. But I think to be discriminated because of short hair is too much … what's your opinion to this?

Everyone shall walk around the way they feel comfortable. If my hair wouldn't have fallen out when I was 18 years old, and if I wouldn't have looked incredibly awful I'd regret not having my long hair anymore. But now I'm comfortable with my handy short hair cut. I personally feel alright in my Metal shirts and my rivet-studded leather jacket. Who likes to dress another way shall do it. I don't care at all. But who discriminates against others because of the way they look, should think about himself suiting to some clichés, and by that deserves to be discriminated himself.

Now the record has come out. Will there be a tour?

There's nothing planned yet. We'll see.

When will you finally play at the "Bang You Head" or "Wacken" festival?

You have to ask the responsible men Mr. Hübner and Mr. Odermatt. We are tired of running after the responsibles. But it would be nice to play there because to me both festivals basically are the blowoffs of the year.

Apropos Wacken, have you heard that CANDLEMASS will play there this year ..?

I think it's way cool! I'll likely fly to the Sweden-Rock to watch CANDLEMASS over there. I'll hopefully see some more bands at this year's festivals. Last year I missed nearly everything because of my work.

In my review I described your vocals as "cranky". I hope you don't get it wrong! You are to be considered as a connoisseur when it comes to "obscure" Metal. Due to your tips (we met a few times at expos in Ludwigshafen) I got for myself gems like SOLSTICE, SLOUGH FEG or GRAVEN IMAGE. Thanks for those tips. What else can you recommend to our readers?

The majority of my favourite bands is printed in the booklet of our "Slaughter Prophecy" album. There are about 100 names. Go and get everything of those bands. HaHa…who got questions about one of those bands can ask me about it at one of the festivals. (Now I'll have to buy the record because I don't have the booklet - Ralf) Considering the smaller new bands I like GOREROTTED, TWISTED TOWER DIRE and PALE DIVINE the most.

You secondary got DAWN OF WINTER, who not only play slow but also are everything else but fast considering their releases. Will there be a new record this decade?

That is difficult to say. We just released a 3-track EP after four years of silence. See there's a lot of stress - HaHa…. In the end we're a Doom Metal band and according to this we're not the fastest. If we feel like making a Doom-record we'll release one. Currently it's not conceivable when it'll be. Good Doom needs its time.

What kind of Metal don't you like at all?

Nu-Metal and Gothic. Even if it's not Metal to me. It's just crap with tough distorted guitars.

Which question would you like to be asked?

Who come your lyrics are so good?

Your opinion on:

A: Helstar-reunion : Whatever James does, main thing he keeps going on.
B: Spain-metal : I think it's too melodic and not tough enough !
C: You being labelled as a scrapper … : Who really knows me knows it's all rubbish.

What final statement do you like to place?

I hope that young Metal fans will realize some day that stuff presented to them as Metal has got nothing to do with Metal at all. Ignore all that hyped shit and rather buy some good old vinyl LP's from the glory 80's in a second hand store. Who once tasted it will never get away from it. If Metal ain't heavy, it ain't Heavy Metal!!!

Thanks for your time! See ya' !

Right! Hope to see you soon.
Metal greetings


1997: Reborn In Steel (CD, Metal Blade)
1998: Wargods Of Metal (CD, Metal Blade)
2000: Bloodlust (CD, Metal Blade)
2002: Slaughter Prophecy (CD, Metal Blade)

Ralf Henn

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