Interview with vocalist and bassist Donald Fiber
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: September 19, 2021
Hailing from Tampere, Finland, is this aggressive and sweaty hybrid of thrash and punk by the name Rain of Terror. The band was formed in 2015 and three years later the guys had enough songs for their 8-track debut demo, Witch Hunt, which brought them some well-deserved attention.
On May 31, 2021, the lads were set to release their debut album, Witch Hunt, both digitally as well as the old school vinyl format. We here at the shining ivory tower of The Metal Crypt heard their debut and became curious about this Finnish punk-fueled thrash metal entity. We contacted the band's vocalist and bassist Donald Fiber and you can read what he had to say in the following interview...
VIRUS, CURSED VIRUS
What's up with you guys? Life sucks and then you die, eh? I just realized from your Facebook page that the "Death Crusade Vol. II" event that was supposed to happen on August 8, 2021, was canceled due to this annoying Crapona virus. Have you set a new date for this event?
Donald Fiber: It sure does sometimes. We are figuring out right now when we can reschedule the cancelled "Death Crusade Volume II" event. This is the second time this has happened with one of our organized gigs and maybe the thousandth time a Rain of Terror gig has been canceled due to Covid-19. It really sucks, but in hindsight we have been able to have some really fucking good gigs in the last year or so (when it has been possible to play them), so I can't really complain.
How much has the virus harmed your band? Undoubtedly, it's been tough to play gigs and arrange band rehearsals, right?
Donald Fiber: Yeah, it has been a massive overhaul. Like I said we have missed out on quite few high-profile gigs, but so has everyone else. One good thing is that we have prioritized our time with recording and, man, let me tell you, it has been a fucking blast. Kind of exhausting but still a blast. We recorded our third album last June. We also have two splits recorded and a third one in the works with Warning from Hell. So yeah, all of that in one year. I think the best way to put it would be that it's been a really productive year for us BUT what we like to do the most is play live, of course!
YES, RAIN OF TERROR
We are here to find out more about Rain of Terror, which is a relatively new metal/crossover outfit on the Finnish underground metal map, formed in 2018. Would you kindly enlighten us on those things that led you to form this band in the very first place?
Donald Fiber: I think that it was bound to happen sooner or later. Jimi, Akseli and (Schnellhammer) and I were talking about a band called Rain of Terror back in 2015. Actually, we were originally Reign of Terror, but "reign" was already taken so we went with "rain". All of us loved the same bands but, before R.o.T., we had been playing mostly in punk bands and it's a difficult task to evolve musically in straightforward punk bands. It is also common with adolescents who come from a punk background that a handful of us ended up wandering to the "other side" of crossover, namely thrash and death metal when things started to get repetitive, although we can never wash off our punk roots completely either!
Was it easy to find like-minded guys to play in the band?
Donald Fiber: Yeah, Jimi (guitar) and I were very much on the same page with what we wanted to do at first, then Irdogan, our drummer, came into the picture and that changed the game for us. The core of Rain of Terror's agenda and the raw aggressiveness of the sound are still there and is the core sound that can be heard on our Witch Hunt demo. We started to polish the whole concept relatively quickly so that we could have more room musically to do what we pleased, breaking the last chain of genre worship so we wouldn't end up sounding like many other bands but remain true to what we came from and/or how we started. There has never been an issue with being like-minded even though we are all pretty different as individuals. We actually have loads of uniting factors.
ROOTS BLOODY ROOTS
It is apparent right off the bat that the band's musical roots are deep in the rawer side of underground metal and crossover/punk. What are some names that have had a strong impact on Rain of Terror's chosen musical style?
Donald Fiber: First of all, I'd say Venom, especially Welcome to Hell and Black Metal. As far as we are concerned that's the first real fusion of punk and heavy metal. Some other bands that might be good references would be Sodom, Master, Amebix, Gism and Slayer to name a few. Those bands don't shine through our music at first, but the more you listen to us the more it becomes apparent.
You released an 8-track digital demo titled Witch Hunt in October 2018, which obviously got the band some name recognition on your home turf, Finland. How much did you try to shop it around for labels and media in general to cause a stir around the band?
Donald Fiber: A LOT!! The issue was we were too metal for punk labels/zines and too punk for metal labels and zines, so it was pretty tough to get coverage anywhere. That was expected, though. Most labels releasing stuff like ours are independent and struggling, and there are so many bands nowadays due to ease and low (sometimes no) cost of recording. Most bands get lost in the noise of it all. There's no guarantee of a record selling when it comes to new bands so getting signed to a label is harder than ever. It's kind of overwhelming when you think about it.
Do you have a "promo guy" in the band who takes care of things media-related, promotion, interviews, and such things or is this something all of you are keen on doing even if it is time-consuming and requires devotion and sacrifice?
Donald Fiber: It's pretty much me writing all the emails for all that stuff, me being the "artistic supervisor," so it's maybe the smartest move is for me to do it, you know? But make no mistake, R.o.T. is obviously very much a band and everybody chips in. Each of us has sacrificed things to keep us going forward.
You released your debut album independently, both digitally and on the old-school vinyl format on May 31, 2021. The album's carrying the same name as your previous demo, Witch Hunt. Can you tell us about the process of rehearsing and shaping the songs and eventually recording them?
Donald Fiber: That's actually pretty funny and also a display of musicianship. We rehearsed live three times before recording the album. Akseli left the band as he got too busy with Radux and Igniter, etc., and Irdogan joined the band while he was studying in Croatia, so he just listened to the demo tracks there and came to Finland two weeks prior to the studio time and kicked the shit out of us.
THE DIY METHOD
Why did you release the album on your own instead of trying to find a proper record label to release it? Did you want to make sure that every penny you have invested in the album would come back to your own pockets?
Donald Fiber: Yes and no. We released it on our own because labels didn't have the budget for a vinyl release. Like I said, it's a huge risk for an indie label to do that for an unknown band like us. We got some offers to have it out both as CD and cassette versions, but we were dead-set on a vinyl release. So, if they wouldn't do it, we had to.
Hey, if there are any label owners reading this who might be interested, please send us an email. We haven't pressed the next one yet.
How pleased are you with the feedback so far?
Donald Fiber: It's been great! No bullshit, very straightforward feedback has been given to us so far.
People have also noticed that there are some faults on the record. Those faults have been pointed out rather effectively and fairly. Also, the pros that make it a dope record. Keep in mind that it's our first record, so it's obvious there are some things that could be more polished. The next one will be even more Rain of Terror (whatever on earth that may mean) than our debut was but that's how it almost always goes. You don't want to play all of your aces right off the bat, right?
You made a video for the song "Witch Hunt" this spring. Would you say it turned out the way you hoped?
Donald Fiber: I think I speak for the whole band when I say we are satisfied. I think the video turned out 70-80% as planned. Our budget was only 30 euros, meaning we had to use some imagination to fill in the gaps, get tons of help from some of our friends (our sincere shoutouts go to Henry Könö and Heikki Alasalmi, it wouldn't have happened without them) and a shit ton of editing. Things were always fucking up but that's quite normal with making music videos anyway. It's a much harder format to nail than audio only.
How much did this video help get the band's name out there more? I guess we can never underestimate the power of promotional videos, right?
Donald Fiber: Absolutely! It's hard to say exactly how much coverage we received via the video. I'd say plenty. The biggest advantage is that the band has a "look" through a video. Anyway, it's almost mandatory to have a music video or even a few nowadays, taking into consideration we live in the age of YouTube, etc., and it's actually pretty fun (but time-consuming) to make them, too.
What about new material? Have you got the wheels rollin' as far as new songs are concerned?
Donald Fiber: Yeah. Like I mentioned earlier, we have been quite busy on that front.
The second album is going to come out in the spring of 2022 and we also recorded the third album some months back. Every record has been recorded fully analog in the same studio with the same engineer (Tapio Lepistö). Some songs that we have included in our live set list from the second record at the moment are "Total War", "Baptized in Fire" and "R.A.W. (Ruler of All Wars)." You can fucking count on there being a vinyl release!
"IT'S A SHITSHOW...!"
As it's been really difficult (if not impossible) to make future gig plans for the past two years or so, how much have faith in booking gigs going forward do you have?
Donald Fiber: That's an absolute shit show. It's almost pointless trying unless you can see the future. The timing has to be perfect. It is obvious that everybody is so anxious for everything to go back "normal", and it's always way too early to open all the places but they do it anyway and here we are again. Vaccination or not. We have had to cancel two tours because of this. So yeah... it's a real fuckin' shitshow!
Some bands are into playing club shows while others prefer performing at festivals to reach bigger crowds all at once. Which camp does Rain of Terror belong to, or does it really matter as long as you get a good opportunity to play live?
Donald Fiber: It doesn't matter at all as long as it's a good setup, a good lineup and a well-organized event ("well organized" as in shit doesn't fuck up all the time). We do a bunch of pro bono stuff for friends as well. If the setting is good, we're there to bust some heads. By this I mean, it's nice to get something out of gigs financially because normally gigging is pretty expensive when you have to drive long distances, especially if you're broke to begin with. I'm getting off topic, but by this I mean music always comes first, and the ability to play for people. Especially with Covid, it is a pretty rare treat, so we take every kind of gig that is sensible for both parties.
WORKING OUR ASSES OFF TO GET OUT OF FINLAND
Are you pleased with the idea of having some domestic gigs booked for the band or is your intention to play outside of Finland in the future as well?
Donald Fiber: Out of Finland as fast as fucking possible! It's really hard and risky right now to organize stuff beyond Finland but the payoff is rewarding in a few ways. Finland has good gigs here and there, but it is mostly people standing in the crowd arms crossed, trying to look tougher than the next guy. You don't have to go any further than Sweden and this shit changes drastically. So yeah, we want to get out of Finland to play gigs as soon as it's possible.
The Finnish (underground) metal/punk scene seems to be stronger than ever these days with countless bands that are widely known abroad. How would you see Rain of Terror's current position among all of these countless Finnish metal/punk bands in terms of visibility, success, etc.?
Donald Fiber: Not to toot my own horn, but I'd say we are pretty high up there (in the underground sector in particular). We have done a shitload of work for the state we are currently at. All the months of songwriting, all the nights of writing emails, all the money we have spent on the recording and vinyl pressing, money that we don't theoretically have. All the gigs we take on, we do 110% percent whether it is 5 people or 500, it really does not matter that much for us. We have still a long way to go but it's been great to see that people are backing us up when they take notice of how serious we are with this. It hasn't been like this before. I think so because we have fallen into very generic genres with our former bands, basically doing the same records again that we're done in the '80s and '90s, even though we pay homage like crazy to every song. We are really happy to be our own thing. So shit is good, no regrets.
OK, I have one final question then I'll let you go get a cold beer. If you picked three reference albums to describe the sound of Rain of Terror to someone who has never heard your stuff before, which would you pick?
Donald Fiber: Uuuuuuuh...!?! I would say Exodus' Bonded by Blood, Sacrilege's Behind the Realms of Madness and Sepultura's Schizophrenia or Slayer's Show No Mercy, but more amped up.
Such a hard question, too many bands/albums to name.
Thank you for your time and I would like to wish all the best with your future endeavors. Now you are entitled to the final comments to wrap up this conversation properly (if you have any, of course), so be my guest... ;o)
Donald Fiber: This was a fun interview. Total blast and good questions! Shout out to Kouristus, an excellent grind band to put you in a coma and all the metal punk people. This world will fucking burn...!! Thanxx!!
|Other information about Rain of Terror on this site|
|Review: Witch Hunt|
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