Interview with vocalist George B "IronBeast" and guitarist Nick P.
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: March 18, 2021
Violent Definition is a Greek band that formed in 2008 and have been flying the flag for violent and furious Thrash Metal for many years, doing what they love: getting people to the pit to have fun. And that's what we really need, although playing live isn't possible right now due to these unfortunate Covid-19 times. But things will take a turn for the better eventually (don't be so negative, folks!), so let's be patient a bit longer...
However, it hasn't stopped bands from being creative and active on the recording front and, after a little struggle, Violent Definition released their debut studio full-length, Life Sentence, in March 2018. Many things delayed that release and what were they, you may ask? The band's vocalist, George B "IronBeast" and guitarist Nick P. guide us through a time some 15 years ago through to today regarding the band's history. Read on...
IN DIFFICULT TIMES...
Hey George, how's life been treating you during these difficult times? Are you totally fed up with all the restrictions?
IronBeast: Hello Luxi, thanks for having us on the almighty The Metal Crypt. To be honest the situation sucks big time! Despite the "global" standard downfall, that is also applicable for Greece, we have a police enthusiast government that tries to enforce their right-wing beliefs and take advantage of the situation by oppressing the Greek common folk more and more. We have had the longest and strictest quarantine in Europe and people are fed up! A couple of days ago though (on 9/3/2021) we had a big protest that escalated to some major clashes and a beautiful anti-police outburst. I only hope these actions (and similar to follow if required) make the government reconsider and realize that it's the people that have the power and within the next days to come (in combination with the vaccinations), everything calms down eventually, and we are set free from this stinking coup situation.
According to what I've read, Violent Definition was formed in 2008 by you and guitarist Nick. Was it easy to find like-minded musicians to carry out the same vision you and Nick had regarding this band?
Nick: By the time I left Crucifier, as a guitarist I wanted to continue the vision I had when I wrote the six songs on the Cursed Cross album, although this wasn't an easy task. A lot has changed and when you grow up, you lose some of the hunger you had as a teenager. Thankfully George and I were constantly searching for members to fulfill that vision, although while this came late, it was better than never. Right now, we couldn't be happier with the result.
How did you end up choosing the name Violent Definition? Did you try to find a name that described what this band is all about musically?
IronBeast: Well, we were aware that the tunes we were going to make wouldn't sound like a peaceful lullaby, plus we were constantly pissed off (still are) with many people, ideas, actions and re-actions. The Violent Definition name came out easily and naturally.
When you released your 2-track promo in 2010, was it meant for labels and hoping to get the band signed or was it mostly meant for the media?
IronBeast: When the 2010 promo was made, we only circulated it to friends and people close to the band. Since we knew that the mandatory army obligations were approaching for us all (meaning almost a year of wasted time) and our lineup being incomplete at that moment, this promo was just a simple way to have a release in our arsenal for the future "warfare" to come.
PROLONGED BIRTH OF LIFE SENTENCE
The band's debut album, Life Sentence, was a long time in the making. Both guitars and bass were recorded in 2013 and everything else in 2017. What kinds of things delayed the recording?
Nick: Well, this album was supposed to be recorded in 2008, since I composed the music back in 2006-2007 just after I finished the recordings of the Cursed Cross album with Crucifier. Things didn't go well, and I left the band and started Violent Definition with our ex-drummer Nick Georgiadis and George "IronBeast" who joined a bit later. We had some bad luck chasing us since we made this band happen including army duties and multiple jobs. This meant no time for band practice. George and I wanted to perform the V.D. tunes live and record the album so badly, but we never found the proper musicians to do it. In around 2010, Dimitris Charisis (guitarist of Released Anger band), a good friend of mine, helped us out by playing the drums and finally participated in our first ever live show. But Dimitris was residing far away from Athens and he couldn't physically be in the rehearsals, so things were tedious and uninteresting for the foreseeable future. Finally, in 2013 I began recording the album with the 12 finished songs here in my apartment in Athens. Both guitars and bass took me around two weeks. It was completed by that time with the exception of the lead/solo parts which were recorded a bit (way) later, along with George's vocals. Since there wasn't a real drummer to play and record the whole album, once again V.D. was paused for around 3-4 years. I was also in a fun project, a "Speedrock" band called V8 Carburetor those few years (we even recorded a 7-inch) and George had also other musical "commitments" with Mentally Defiled and Antidasi (Greek '80s Hardcore pioneers). Eventually Dimitris Charisis once again wanted to help us out and we both agreed that this album should be recorded. So, in early 2017 he began recording the drums in his home studio (500+ km from our HQ in Athens). There were some long intervals with the recording and mixing/production with the studio, but in early February of 2018 the Life Sentence album was completed. This album took some months to be released in all the various formats and by then, drummer John "Maelstrom" Votsis joined VD, as well as Chris "Stray" Zoukas on bass.
The vocal parts were recorded in the summers of 2016 and 2017. Why did you need two separate sessions?
Nick: Most of the vocal recordings were done in the summer of 2016, with the exception of four songs, which we had never rehearsed before as a band. This was done before Dimitris recorded his drums, so basically George recorded the first seven songs with MIDI drums. In the meantime, I was doing the mixing for the album and was in standby mode for Dimitris to finish his recording. Another problem was with the studio as a lot of bands were recording and we had to wait quite some time. Actually, all the vocals were completed just before the summer of 2017 and after that we began the mixing and production in the final quarter of 2017. It basically took us a whole year (2017-2018) from the moment Dimitris recorded the drums until the completion of the album in the studio.
IronBeast: As Nick explained above, Life Sentence might be a monstrous audio beast, but it was made in a "Frankenstein-ish" way—at our own pace, without any rush and deadline pressure (although it took too damn long eventually). Still, the anticipation was worth it since the end result of Life Sentence is one of the best albums I ever participated on. Hope you enjoy it as well!
The album was well received when it was released back in March 2018. Are you still happy with how the album turned out despite all the delays?
IronBeast: Once the album was ready, we started reaching out to labels to make it physically happen. Since we are all old-school fans, we did the first release by ourselves on tape and vinyl formats. The reason I created my little label Read My Feast Records was to have this one on tape and vinyl. For the vinyl release, Weird Face Productions collaborated. They are a label that released vinyl records for bands like Death Courier, Morbid Saint, Aggression, Evil Army, Whipstriker, Détente, Anialator and many other. Those first presses sold out almost instantly! With the release gaining a reputation and fans worldwide, the demand was getting bigger and bigger, so we had offers for CD releases from Argentina (Metal Command Records), China (Thrashing Cult Records) and Brazil (Marquee Records). The first two labels made it happen in 2018 and early 2019, but Marquee chickened out. They never explained why despite us providing them with some extra material and alternate cover art. Anyway, the final blow was a vinyl re-release by Floga Records in late 2019 that helped the record reach some "major" store shelves and gain even more reputation. To conclude, we are happy with the outcome and the feedback we received from Life Sentence and we hope the same happens with our next full-length that will be named Progressive Obsolation.
KICKING THE DOORS OPEN
Did this album open new doors for the band where gigging opportunities were concerned?
IronBeast: It sure did. We had our first co-headlining European tour to promote it as much as possible (along with our brothers from Rapture) and we also played some good local shows in Greece supporting foreign bands as Midnight. Sadly, the whole pandemic fucked us good. We were forced to cancel an Asian tour in China and Japan and a major festival here in Greece. We plan on resuming once the situation allows it.
You also recorded a couple of new songs, "Reprobate Misfits" and "The Last Grain in Your Hourglass", in October 2020 that were a step forward in aggression and intensity. What has been the label response for this new promo? Any possible label candidates that might offer a deal?
Nick: The two songs for the EP/promo were never supposed to be recorded, as normally we would go to the studio and record the full album. Things kinda changed with the pandemic and we decided that an EP/promo would be a good idea for labels and for the fans to have a taste of what we're doing. This kind of intensity and '90s taste we have in our sound and mind is a bit ambiguous if it will "sell" now as a trend or as a "New Wave of Thrash" to the majority of people and labels. The future will tell. Labels, in all truth, want their band to sell the most, whatever the cost. And nothing's wrong with that, of course. It's the music industry. Either you want to be a part of it or not. Speaking of truth and to answer your question, we've got some positive interest from very big labels, but, on the other hand, things are still vague and we would be interested in receiving more offers before we confirm the record.
I assume you are working on the band's follow-up album and that these two songs will most certainly be a part of it. How many songs have you planned to record for this new album and what's your realistic target to enter the studio?
Nick: We certainly are! I finished most of the new album in 2018 and 2019 but the pandemic kinda changed our plans. The full album will contain nine songs with an intro/instrumental opener, much longer songs compared to Life Sentence, a slower pace but with more than 150 different riffs to taste. There's still some research to be done, but realistically speaking, probably (I hope) we will hit the studio this year.
You were the lead vocalist in another Greek Thrash Metal group named Torture at the same time you formed V.D. with Nick. Did you see any dilemma with being the vocalist for both bands at the very same time?
IronBeast: There was no dilemma at all. Torture was just a fun project formed with good friends, destined for studio releases and no live performances. On the other hand, Violent Definition is "the real shit" and working with Nick and his high demands (this guy is a perfectionist and loves to squeeze his band mates) required my full energy and a great portion of my spare time. In terms of devotion and commitment, V.D. receives the best my lungs, throat and mind can possibly offer.
What about Mentally Defiled, which you are also an integral part of since 2001? How are you able to handle the time management between all of these bands?
IronBeast: With Mentally Defiled time was not an issue. Due to Alex's (co-founder and guitarist of the band) commitments to his day job and being abroad in England for the past few years, I could easily manage recordings and selected live appearances. Thankfully he is back in Greece now, and working on new material as well (last release was a split with Evil Army back in 2018), but the pace of the progression is inversely proportional to the pace of the music. Notice that I also sing in a Greek-speaking band (Antidrasi), which is quite active and popular here, but I always manage to find time and give the best I can to all the bands I am a part of, although V.D. is the most demanding of all! Sleeping less and thrashing more is the key!
IN LOVE WITH THRASH METAL
Your love of Thrash Metal is unquestionable. What makes Thrash Metal such a likable and lovable form of music for you and what are some of the most important and meaningful albums that define the genre?
IronBeast: Extreme music and Thrash Metal in particular, has been a good friend and a valuable companion at various stages of my life. I believe it was love at first sight (note?) because when I discovered it, I was just a teenager with excessive amounts of energy, anxiety and attitude to question and doubt everything, so Thrash was the right answer! The classic Thrash anthems are the most meaningful and influential to me and I can distinguish Bonded by Blood (Exodus), Ride the Lightning (Metallica), Chemical Invasion (Tankard), Terrible Certainty (Kreator) and Arise (Sepultura).
Nick: From the first moment I listened to Thrash Metal, I never thought that it would become my favorite music and someday I would be a part of it playing the guitar and writing songs! Needless to say, it was a "deep dive" into this genre, without ever listening to classic Metal and Rock, although I did so after some years as I'm still discovering music and like the history of things. Hard to answer your question, though, but classic and important albums for me might be Dark Angel's Darkness Descents, Sepultura's Beneath the Remains and probably Slayer's Reign in Blood!
Some people have said that you are Greece's equivalent to Paul Baloff. How do you take that compliment?
IronBeast: Legends like Paul Baloff are unique and have no equivalent, so this is a huge compliment! The only similarities with Paul, according to what my friends say, are me being a funny, yet also aggressive guy (when required) and capable of going on a rampage on and off stage when entering the thrashing trance. That's all!
Greece has become a new hotbed for newer Thrash metal bands over the last two decades or so. You guys have a very strong scene there with such names as Mentally Defiled, Released Anger, Violent Definition, Exarsis, Nightbreed, Convixion, etc. being just the tip of this Thrash Metal iceberg. Can you find any specific reasons for this strong Thrash Metal movement there in Greece?
IronBeast: To be honest I prefer quality over quantity, but it looks like in Greece we can somehow achieve both. I am not quite sure why this happens, but I am glad it does. An explanation could be that the overall uprising of the so-called "New Wave of Thrash Metal" in combination with the tendency of many youngsters to be an active part of it, lead into forming more and more bands. If you also consider that here alcohol usage has no age limitation, you get a kick-start and an extra inspiration bonus at a very young stage.
I am sure you guys have also made some plans for gigging after the virus situation will allow it. What are some of your short—and long-term plans regarding the band's future activities?
IronBeast: We will definitely play as many gigs as possible, trying to reclaim lost ground. In a manner of speaking, I am happy the record was stalled and will be released at a more convenient time, so it can be properly promoted and displayed to the audience live. As we also mentioned, we have not yet committed to any label for the release. We are always open to new suggestions and offers so we can choose the most promising and beneficial to the band. We also want to make the canceled Asian tour happen and get to play across the Atlantic for the very first time.
HOPES AND EXPECTATIONS
OK, I have one last question for you and then you can have a couple of shots of Ouzo. What are some of your personal expectations and/or hopes as far as this band is concerned?
IronBeast: To be honest I do not expect to make a living or to be a rockstar by playing Thrash Metal. All we expect and hope is to have as much fun as possible in the making of music, visiting cool places and meeting cool people while thrashing around with Violent Definition. A greater recognition of the band would be welcome, and I am glad to see this happening day by day. Such an acknowledgement would lead to more releases but notice we will always be a part of the underground and loyal to it. Fans first, performers second.
By the way, Ouzo is great, but so is Raki (slightly stronger as well). Once you get to visit Greece, we will have some shots together!
Thank you very much for your time and all the best with your future comings and goings with your bands. Let the last commentary belong to you...
IronBeast: It is a pleasure and honor to be here! Keep supporting true music and hope we get to visit Finland to display live on stage our Violently Defined tunes. Stay sick (in a healthy way of speaking) ... Kippis!
|Other information about Violent Definition on this site|
|Review: Life Sentence|
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