After a four year wait, Black Anvil unleashed “Hail Death” to the masses back in May, and it’s a record that completely blew my mind. Vocalist, Paul Delaney, told me before it’s release that they had something special coming our way, and he was not joking. As I’ve said before, “Hail Death” take their sound to a new level that is beyond what I think anyone expected, and leaves you wanting more in the end. It truly takes the listener on a breathtaking ride from beginning to end, and is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive releases I’ve heard this year.
Luckily for those of us in Brooklyn, we were treated to a special show this past Sunday where the band performed the album in it’s entirety, and if you think it sounds huge on the record, just wait until you hear it in person. As the guys played through each track flawlessly, it sounded as close to the record as possible, but with the band feeding off the energy of the crowd, it quickly became a memorable experience for all of those in attendance.
Before the show I got to speak briefly with Paul about the new record, the band’s new found power, and much more. Enjoy excerpts from the chat, along with footage of their entire set from Saint Vitus below!
Metal Mark: First off, congratulations on “Hail Death,” because it is an exceptional album. Being that it was four years since the last release, what was the mindset going into writing this record?
Paul Delaney: I wouldn’t say if it was a mindset or not, but for the first time we did what came natural to us. We kind of feel like we may have rushed previous material, so this time around we really just sat back, took our time, and enjoyed the ride of putting the songs together, and I think it’s shows in the music.
MM: One thing that is really impressive to me is the overall flow of the record. Nowadays people have the shortest attention spans ever, but this is truly an album meant to be listened to from start to finish. How important was that for you?
PD: Very important. I’m kind of a psycho in that department (laughs). I mean today people’s attention spans are shit, so if it’s over forty minutes or something, people can’t deal with it anymore, which is a shame. So as we began putting the pieces together, it was definitely in the back of our heads to make it flow together well, and really tell a story to the listener. It’s calculated for sure, but naturally calculated.
MM: With each track there seems to be an overriding mood, which sets the tone perfectly when you listen to it, and I know this may be a hard question to answer, but is there one track that has a higher importance than maybe the others?
PD:The first one. I mean they all are important to me because they help tell the story, but “Still Reborn” definitely hits home strongly with me.
MM: Why’s that?
PD: Read the lyrics. You’ll understand why pretty quickly.
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MM: That’s interesting, because “Until The End” seems to be the one that the press is really grasping onto, and saying is the best on the record.
PD: That surprised the hell out of me. I thought we would get shit on for that track because it’s kind of the oddball song on the record. It’s completely different than anything we’ve ever done, but you’re right, I haven’t seen anything bad said about that song. The only negative stuff I’ve read about the record are just from people that are completely missing the point of the album. People that obviously didn’t take the time to fully grasp the message in the music, but that comes with the territory. Hell, one guy compared us to Mudvayne, so his opinion quickly went out the window when I saw that. I mean, of course it’s our shit, so I’m going to be biased, but most of the negativity I’ve read are from people that either don’t get it or just don’t want to get it. To each their own though.
MM: Yea, I read somewhere that the “gang vocals” threw some people off, which they would understand if they knew your roots.
PD: Exactly. They are only there I think twice on the album, and it comes from our hardcore roots. It’s us ya know. We don’t follow a guidebook on how we should sound. We write what the fuck we want to write our way. Even if we don’t sound like the stereotypical black metal band from other areas of the world, we consider ourselves a black metal band, but we just do it our way. Read our lyrics, really listen to the music, and you’ll get it. If not, find something else to listen to, because everyone’s entitled to their opinion. We will never compromise our sound though. We are who we are.
MM: Since you brought up the black metal genre, and it mostly being known for the European scene, what was it that initially drew you to that style of music here in New York?
PD: Seeing the Bathory goat for the first time (laughs). That and hearing Mercyful Fate for the first time, among others. Once I understood that there was much more to it than music, that’s when it started to click for me. Yes, the music has it’s unique power, but the message behind it is what fuels me and gives me that fire to write it. We’ve all heard the stories and seen the movies about black metal throughout the years, but there is so much more to it. It’s a lifestyle, and for me it’s really personal, and that’s why I love it and live it every single day. It’s who I am.
MM: Very cool. Well after tonight’s set, you have a huge tour coming up with Skeletonwitch and Ghoul(dates here). Can we expect that album in it’s entirety again?
PD: Hell no (laughs). This is a one time thing, so enjoy it. I’m going to be happy to go back to our half hour sets and get things chaotic for the other bands like only we know how to. That tour will be interesting, because again we are kind of the oddball band on that bill, but we’ll take it on and carry that torch proudly. After that tour, we’ll see what comes next, but we are going to be pushing the hell out of this album and keep moving forward. That’s all we know how to do, so get ready.
Check out amazing photos and more footage from Saint Vitus at Invisible Oranges!