The Band: Angry Nation
Answers by: Walter Oberhofer (guitar), Wolfgang Süssenbeck (vocals), Alessandro Vagnoni (bass, drums)
Angry Nation is a new band hailing from Austria, although with roots in other coutries. You will find in their very first album many influences and a lot of work, which derivates in a very enjoyable death thrash album, with many details, one of those albums that gets higher in your list with every play. Moreover, these guys really live and love what they do, if you don’t believe me just read this long and interesting document we bring to you. A band to follow.
Hello guys, thank you and congratulations for your new album “The Fail Decade”
Wolf: Thank you for the opportunity to present ourselves a bit more to your readers.
Walter: Thank you, hopefully we can give you a insight to the making of this Album.
Let’s know a little more about Austrian band Angry Nation, how was the band created and what happened after that?
Wolf: Angry Nation is the brainchild of Walter. I know him since 1985 and we did a few things together back in the eighties, but I guess, this is a question for Walter.
Walter: As Wolf said, i know him since a very long time, and we played in different Bands together, like DISGRACE, DECEIVER, and some gigs with DARKSIDE, the main band of Wolf. 2014 i had a concept for a Thrash metal project in my mind. Recorded some Demo Songs, had a meeting with Wolf, and asked him if he is interested to work again together. He agreed , and so I began to work with full power on the song material. At this time I was searching for a drummer who would fit in my concept. Wolf gave me the connection to Alessandro, and after some chat and mail sessions Angry Nation was born.
Alessandro started to create some drum preproductions, and at this point, it was clear that his playing style is the perfect addition to the stuff i created . So there were 3 guys working together with all experience they have to approach the goal : creating a powerful album with old school and modern touch in unison.
Alessandro: I’ve been asked to play drums and to take care of the mixing process of the album by Walter, under suggestion of Wolfgang (having already worked for him in Darkside and Wolfheart project). I know Wolfgang since 2005 and in 2008 we started to collaborate in some project/bands (Marginalia, Demolition). I didn’t know Walter but I think it’s kinda cool that he completely trusted in me in recording drums, bass and in the engineering/mixing the whole album. I consider myself an external contributor for this band, having my own projects in Italy with almost no chance to join the group for managing live shows or stuff like that. I think this is Walter and Wolfgang’s toy, so to speak..
“The Fail Decade” is your debut album, how long did you work on it?
Wolf: I started to work on it just before we went into the studio. I never record already written lyrics, I enjoy to write them in the studio, just before recording the songs. I take my time to listen to the song a few times, check out the best vocal lines and straight recording them after writing the lyrics in a brink. Of course the topics have been chosen before, but the actual lyrics are written 5 minutes before being recorded. I like to keep it spontaneous.
Walter: For myself i always start recording some riffs and phrases when i play, only to test which mood i can create, by assembling some different parts/arrangements. So the first parts for „ The fail decade“ are from 2007. For example: the track Nemesis Illuminatia was ready to 80% ( the orchestra ) in 2008. The guitars I inserted 2014. Most of the Songs I have written between end 2014- beginn 2016. Overall I can say it endured 18 months from demos to mastering.
How would you define Angry Nation’s metal approach?
Wolf: To me, we have tried to bring in all our influences under the given aspects of Walters compositions. I have tried to sing a bit different than on my other stuff, also to keep it fresh for myself in the process of making. Alessandro has brought in a lot of experience and of course his art of drumming. I don´t like to categorize music but if you need to label it, I would see it as a mixture of thrash and melody, with occasional excerpts of classical music and death metal-like vocals.
Walter: I am a little bit the oldschool guitarist, and my first influences are from Iron maiden to Slayer, Exodus and Bands like this. But i also heard some traditional music from Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd etc. So I think my playing and following Angry Nation, is a mix open for many styles. Mainly in the world of thrash metal but with some surprising elements. Think of the conglomeration Thrash/orchestra.
“The Fail Decade” is a very suggestive title, what do you talk about in your songs?
Wolf: We try to avoid the typical clicheés but we also want to implement actual themes in our lyrics. I mean, Thrash Metal has always been a field for rather socio-critical lyrics throughout the years and we wanted to keep this kind of tradition, but we also wanted to deal with stuff that affected us throughout the past couple of years and which are affecting us all in certain ways I guess. Let´s take it track by track then:
Descent of Men: Charles Darwin - The application of his controversial theory of evolution on the origins of the human species, "The Descent of Man", was the culmination of his lifes´ work. In "The Origin of Species", Charles Darwin refused to discuss the evolution of man, because he assumed the issue was too tainted with prejudice. He had his notes frequently worked over since the 1830s, but only with hesitation he finally published "The Descent of Man" in 1871. The book put the monkeys in our family tree and made a family out of races, diversified just by "sexual selection "- Darwin's provocative theory that female choice between competing males leads to different racial characteristics, was referred by Sigmund Freud to as" one of the ten most important books "ever written. In "The Descent of Man" Darwin states the basics of how we think about what it is that makes us so unique human. Charles Darwin (1809-1882), a Victorian scientist and naturalist, has become one of the most famous figures of science today. The publication of "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" in 1859 was a challenge to science and contradictionary to all contemporary biological and religious beliefs. Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, known as a collector and geologist who adopted and also presented scientific evidence available, that all kinds of life started to develop over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution happened, was accepted by the scientific community and the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selection as the primary explanation of the process of evolution met wider recognition only until the 1930s while today it is regarded as the foundation of the modern theory of evolution forms. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery remains the foundation of biology, as it provides a unifying logical explanation for the diversity of life. Darwin developed his interest in natural history while studying medicine at Edinburgh University, then later while he was studying theology in Cambridge. His five-year voyage on the "Beagle" established him as geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformal ideas, and the publication of his journal of the trip made him a popular author. Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began to investigate the transformation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed more time for his extensive research and his geological work had priority moreover. He wrote his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, which in effect drew the joint publication of the two theories.
His book "On the Origin of Species" established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. He examined human evolution and sexual selection in "The Descent of Man", followed by the "expression of emotions in man and animals".
Descent, in English, not only means origin or descent, but also decline and descent. In a kind of Darwinian sense this would mean a slowdown or even a reversal of our evolutionary process, in fact nothing else but the degeneration of human societies ....
Society Extinct: How could our society fail? With a reinforced camp thinking on the one hand and the declining level of education, our Western, enlightened societies are moving more and more to the brink. The inability of the established political parties is driving people towards extremists in droves and is exacerbating the social climate. However, one must clearly see that global problems will not be solved with the nationalist focal lens of a small state. In contrast, in fact, the societies erased in recent years in some Mediterranean countries brought those states to a mere collapse, by consciously creating power vacuums, performed by foreign states, to achieve a change of the status quo. To which extent these situations are comparable and how do they influence each other? The attempt to answer.... Stupidity is a far more dangerous enemy of the good as evil. Against evil we can protest, we can expose it, it may be necessary to prevent it by using violence, evil always carries the seeds of self-decomposition in itself by leaving behind at least a discomfort in people. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor force can achieve anything here; Reasons not caught; Facts that contradict ones own prejudice, simply need not be believed - in such cases, the loser is even critical - and if they are inevitable, they can easily be pushed aside as insignificant individual cases. In this case, the stupid are completely satisfied with themselves, in contrast to evil persons; yes, it is even more dangerous, because easily irritated, the stupid are eager to attack. Therefore, it is necessary to use more caution towards the stupid than towards the evil. We will never try anymore to convince the fool by reasons; it is useless and dangerous. To know how we can counteract stupidity, we must seek to understand its nature. This much is certain, that it is not essentially an intellectual, but a human defect. There is intellectual extremely agile people who are stupid and intellectually lumbering that are anything but stupid. This discovery we make to our surprise on the occasion of certain situations. In these cases one gets less the impression that stupidity is a congenital defect, as that under certain circumstances, people are made stupid, or even love to be made stupid. We observe further that displaced and lonely living people show this defect rarely as socialy prone or condemned people and groups. So stupidity seems perhaps less to be a psychological as a sociological problem. It is a special form of action of historical circumstances on people, a psychological side effect of certain external conditions. On closer inspection it is found that any strong external display of power, may it be political or religious, a large proportion of people fail with stupidity. Yes, it seems as if the almost a sociological and psychological law. The power of one group needs the stupidity of others. The process is by no means, that certain – for instance intellectual – predispositions of man suddenly wither or drop out completely, but that under the overwhelming impression of power unfolding ones inner independence is stolen and that this - more or less unconsciously - drives people to renounce finding their own behavior in the resulting situations. That stupid people are often stubborn, must not obscure the fact that they are not independent. You can feel it actually talking to them, that one is not dealing with themselves, with them personally, but with powerful slogans and buzzwords that have become their personality.. They are in a spell, they are blinded, they are abused in their own nature, maltreated. Thus, having become a mindless instrument, the fool is also ready for all evil and at the same time unable to recognize this as evil. Here lies the danger of diabolical powers. These people will be ruined forever. But it is precisely clear that not an act of policy, but only an act of liberation could overcome the stupidity. We will have to accept the fact that a true inner liberation in most cases will only be possible after the outer liberation has preceded; until then we will have to renounce on all attempts to convince the stupid ones. It will be due to this situastion that we try in vain to understand what the people actually “think”, and why this question is at the same time so superfluous for the responsible thinker and doer - always under these circumstances.
The Fail Decade: Over the past decade, Americans watched with amazement and anger as one institution after another - from Wall Street to Congress, from the Catholic Church to Major League Baseball, imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. As part of the "Fail Decade", the social contract between citizens and elites lies in ruins.
With "Twilight of the Elites", Christopher Hayes tries to offer a radical new answer to ideological and partisan categories. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy brought to power a diverse group of men and women, the "leaders" learned to embrace the acceleration and inequality, which had set them near the top, a new American elite, prone to error and corruption and far away from the contact with the people they ruled.
Presenting a mix of political analysis, current social commentary and deep historical understanding, Hayes re-oriented our perspective on our time around, with the argument that the loss of public confidence in the federal government, the American companies and the media led to a crisis of authority has that not only threatens threatens our policy, but seems to devour our daily lives.
The consequences of the "Fail Decade", from 9/11 to the Iraq war and its far-reaching geopolitical interventions in complete economic and social systems get more and more noticeable every day for us Europeans. The noble visage of the worlds policeman has turned into the ugly face of a war profiteer moth, a guns and drug dealer and the abhorrent mask of an oligarcically created, pseudoaristocratic successor in a democracy by heritage, whose sole appeal appears to be the enslavement of the entire free world.
Weapons of Mass Migration: At first glance, the US decision to escalate the war in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, China's position on North Korea's nuclear program in the late 1990s and early 2000s and the EU resolution of the early 2000s, namely to erase totally what was still left of the arms embargo against Libya, seem to share little in common. But each of these seemingly unconnected and far-reaching foreign policy decisions led at least partially to the exercise of a unique kind of coercion, namely the intentional creation, manipulation and exploitation of real or artificially generated international mass population movements on order to threaten opponents.
In "Weapons Of Mass Migration", by the American author Kelly M. Greenhill, the first systematic study of this widespread but largely unrecognized instrument of except state influence has been undertaken. It shows both, how often this unorthodox way of coercion was tried (over fifty times in the last half century) and how successful it was (more than half of the time). It also deals with the issues that explain this policy instrument in more detailed form, for what purpose and how and why it works at all. The aim of the pressure practitioners is to influence the behavior of the target State, by abusing the existence of competing political interests and groups, states Greenhill, and by this manipulation directing the costs or risks of these operations directly onto the population in the target country.
This "forced by punishment" strategy can be done in two ways: The first is based on direct threats on the ability of the destination country to cope with a refugee or migrant influx; the second, a type of standards-enhanced political blackmail against existing legal and normative obligations towards those fleeing from violence, persecution or deprivation exploits. The theory is illustrated more in depht and a variety of case studies from Europe, Asia and North America are examined on their reliability. The book provides help for potential victims in order for them to be able to respond better to threats of this kind and to protect themselves against this unconventional kind of exploitation, but moreover it also provides some workable policy recommendations for scientists, government officials, and in particular, the real victims of this kind of coercion - the displaced themselves.
We in Europe can currently monitor closely artificially induced migration and how this system works. In the case of Europe there are several injured though, on the one hand the local population, on the other hand the migrants and in a broader sense, of course, the welfare state and the economic mainstream. Who benefits from a weakened, economically vegetating, politically torn Europe in hostage by extremists and yesteryear political jugglers? Isn´t it them, the very ones, who claim to be the peoples´mouthpiece, who benefit the most from this situation? Those who have been demanding a suspension of the policy of compromise and conciliation for years, doesn´t this situation suit them almost perfect? What if everything is completely different than it seems?
Nemesis Illuminatia: The title of the song seems reminiscent of an ancient language, but it is a free invention. It stands for the end of the Enlightenment, the end of reason and the seemingly irreversible new retrogressiveness of societies, that are giving in to extremes more and more, panting behind old patterns and ideologies and joining some pseudo-leaders in an even bigger extent, the ones that offer only ridiculous concepts for overcoming contemporary problems or no solutions at all, just preaching volatile demagogy . This fictional dialogue is settled in such an environment, but it may also represent the inner conflict of the people themselves in a symbolic way.
To Protect and Serve: This song does describe the work and tasks of the police in very ambivalent way, not without a certain amount of irony and humor.
Into The Sirens Well: This song is lyrically influenced by a chapter of the Odyssey by Homer, namely the one about the island of the Sirens. In their further journey Odysseus and his companions had arrived close to the island of the Sirens. This island was inhabited by nymphs, half bird, half man, who enchanted everyone driving past with their singing. Anyone who has sat across to them, allured through their lovely song, was lost and had to die. Kirke had warned them about this. Therefore Odysseus glued the ears of his companions with wax as they approached the island. He himself, however, driven by curiosity to hear the song of the sirens, asked his men to him bind to the mast and ordered them, no matter how he may ask and pray, not to free him until they had sailed past the island. And in fact, the song was so lovely and magical that Odysseus begged his companions to untie him. But they triggered after his behest only when the shackles of the sirens were long behind them. As a kind of metaphor this story might also represent an attempt to move closer to extreme positions, without falling for them, or even an attempt to distinguish strictly from them, but to listen carefully to recognize the seductive voices clearly and to expose them as a lie.
Blood Money: Is the story of a man condemned to death from the perspective of the families of the victims. In the middle part, the storyline widens to a dialogue between the perpetrator and the executioner, also introducing the thoughts of the perpetrator.
In The Name Of The Race: All across Europe, groups and political forces have been emerging for some time, that strengthen on subliminal racism, patriotism of the lowest levels as well as scaremongering and having abstruse conspiracy theories tacked on their banners. They rant about 80-year-old plans concerning ethnomorphosis and cultural exchange, they are not ashamed to present forgeries to explain the course of history and they indulge in slang, diction and ideals of the darkest time of the last century. They would like to proclaim themselves as preservers of consisted truth, as a populistic task force for the last remaining Europeans (sic), as racially pure last bastion against overpopulation and the cultural decline of Europe. But the only things arising are merely a few deep, rightist belches, because these gentlemen know nothing about the so beloved stories of their own heroes (sic). "In The Name Of The Race" explores these trends. The cultural decline of Europe in the 20th century began with the emergence of conservative dictatorships in Southern and Western Europe and continued after the 2nd World War in progressive dictatorships in the East . The political extremism, political narcissism and inhuman ideologies of fascism and dictatorship of the elite of living communism have stolen a century from us Europeans. The same applies to the monotheistic desert religions. Where reactionary based on old values comes in, where the nationalist pettiness of a stubborn minority celebrates a vengeance, where people are flocking to demagogues, charlatans, "Führerchen" and other blenders, swindlers and self-styled prophets, there, caution should be exercised because these are the ones that seem to be the real enemies of reality.
Visionaire´s Apocalypse: Actually more an outro than a real song, this piece tries to process some of the previously collected impressions again and to give a kind of musical outlook of the coming, accompanied by spoken words, using an excerpt from the book of Revelation
Awesome, nothing else to say. I also like the album cover artwork, it fits very well with your music, how did you get it?
Wolf: The cover was done by Kewin Miceli, a french artist who has already worked for the likes of Cradle Of Filth, Sepultura and more. I got to know him when he did the artwork for the last DARKSIDE album „Inferno“. The kind of cooperation we have with Kev is a peculiar one, because actually he is living in the caribbean and we are situated right in the heart of Europe…this means we were having long skype sessions during the process of creation of the artwork, which always ended up being painful for either him or us due to the time difference, haha. The final result is a balanced mixture between our ideas and his input artistwise I would say. The samurai on the frontcover stands for old worths and traditions where his environment represents the modern influences we all are exposed to nowadays. You could short it done to a battle between tradition and modernity, but that would not reflect the whole meaning behind the concept. The samurai also stands for some kind of code of honour, respect and tradition, values that seem to disappear in our modern society.
Walter: Yes, really long chat and skype sessions..... (laughing)
Aweome, once again. “The Fail Decade” seems a very mature album, I mean, not from a band that is just giving the first steps in the music world, I suppose it reflects all your past experience, right?
Wolf: As far as I am concerned, I tried to put in all my experience I have gathered over the past 20 years and of course I also tried to approach new frontiers vocalwise.
Walter: All of us are making music since decades, we have a lot of experience through the past. I think on this 11 Songs you can hear, that everybody who was involved gave the best he can. At this point I also need to mention Jaroslav Lukac.. He also did a great job by mastering the album. And not to forget: the personality of each of us, is a great mix, a friendship. Creating music in this way is fun without pressure.
The song “The Fail Decade“, that gives name to your album, is one of the big tracks, amazing riffs, awesome guitar solo, mid tempos and blast beats and even some melody, it has it all!
Wolf: This tune kinda reminds me of some Megadeth songs somehow, I mean, it hast he same trademarks even if I wouldn´t want to compare us with one of the greatest thrash metal bands out there, but to me, this song has kinda like the same approach as for instance „Countdown to Extinction“ even if musicwise we are definitely somewhere else.
Walter: As you said in the question, for me this song has it all, and stands as perfect example which way Angry Nation wants to go, melodic and heavey. This is why we chose this song as the titletrack for the album.
We also get some straight to the throat songs as “To Protect And Serve“
Wolf: I personally think it is important to have variety in terms of songwriting, structures and composition on an album, especially if you take a narrow genre such as thrash metal, the instrumentation and arrangement of the various songs becomes even more important. Alessandro´s drumming for sure had a big impact on the development of the songs, it eventually changed the whole mood of a song and a great portion of the heaviness and aggression on the album is there because of him. As in fact ist he case with this track.
Walter: I totally agree with Wolf, without Alessandro ´s playing this album would not have the power and the aggressivity it needs.
Or the powerful and addictive “In The Name Of The Race“, combining some power riffs with thrash rythems
Wolf: „In The Name..“ is definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album, because it is REALLY addictive as you mentioned in your question. It´s again the drum rythems that sparkle through the heaviness oft he guitars, but in this case, also the guitar work shines alot – a perfect combination between rythmic patterns and frenzied melodies.
Walter: This song is a good example how i like to play fast riffs in the „old way“. Its a classical Thrash metal track with my favourite orchestration in the chorus.
I think you have got a strong album, with no ups and downs, and that is important for a band’s debut album
Walter: I only can say, that we are really happy with the final result.. Maybe there is no „killer song“ on it, but we can identify to all tracks to 100% . The challenge is to write songs from your innerself. I think the listener can hear this.
It’s curious, this makes me think about a question, in Metal music fans always expect a whole album, a compact work with no fillers, this does not happen in every kind of music, for instance the pop. What do you think?
Wolf: Well, everybody who invests money into something will expect the most satisfying result. Pop albums are often based on one hit single, that´s why a lot of people have the impression that the rest of the songs on those albums are only fillers. What if the artist tries to explore new boundaries ? What if there is a dispute between artist and management about the direction of the music ? Of course there are a lot of fillers on all kind of albums, not necessarily limited to pop music in my opinion. A lot of different aspects lead to the final result when creating an album, even more if there are a lot of outstanding people involved, like managers, producers, labelmanagers a.s.o. The more pressure an artist gets, that more difficult it gets for him to focus on the main thing, his music.
In my opinion, the whole setting for rock/metal artists is different. You don´t go there and try to make a one hit wonder in most of the cases. Bands generally are built on a different basis, musicwise as well as structural. You rehearse together most oft he time, spend time together discussing things and you are creative together, experimenting, improving techniques and skills all the time. This builds a certain common energy, a common sense of approaching things, but also as far as composition and arrangement are concerned. The band starts getting their own „style“ as a natural process. With pop music, normally it is totally different, that might be one oft he reasons why rock/metal albums are different and of course also create different expectations.
There seems to be a certain inclination for concept albums throughout rock music. Many great examples for concept albums like f.i. „Operation Mindcrime“ by Queensryche or „The Elder“ by Kiss, but also „The Wall“ by Pink Floyd or „The lamb lies down on Broadway“ by Genesis or the more extreme examples like „Crimson“ by Edge Of Sanity or „The Key“ by Nocturnus. It is these execellent albums that made rock fans used to getting compact albums were every song is great and stands for its own. As for „The Fail Decade“, it isn´t a concept album in the classical way, but of course we didn´t want to put songs on the album that wouldn´t stand the test of time from our point of view. The challenge is to deliver the best possible work at a certain point of time, but it is always just a challenge towards ourselves. Music is not about competition, music is about emotions and feelings as well as about agressiveness or melancholy. Since we are releasing our stuff on our own, we at least are free to decide on most of the important question regarding our music and that for sure is a big advantage as far as creativity is concerned.
As far as pop music is concerned I allow myself to cite David Bowie, The Beatles, Björk, Frank Zappa, Ray Charles, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Buggles, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, U2, Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rodgers, Rihanna, Radiohead, Queen, Mike Oldfield, Nine Inch Nails and many more have released concept albums over the years, most of them featuring great ideas and songs…it always remains in the eye of the beholder how one classifies music and genres
Nothing to add to your comments... hahaha.Do you have some scheduled dates to present your album around?
Wolf: Not for the moment. We are trying to put some gigs together for the next year, but due to the various commitments of everybody involved, it will be giving us a hard time to let this become reality. On the other hand we can inform you, that we are already working on the first demos fort he next album.
Great, you have already our email to send us the final result. Germany is just beside, that is a great oportunity for an Austrian band, a big market, are you mainly focused in that country?
Wolf: I wouldn´t say we are focused on Germany in the first place, but of course it is an important market and there are lots of metal fans in Germany. We are situated in Austria and so I think our main focus are the surrounding countries in the first place and of course also Italy is important for us, as Alessandro is hailing from that country.
What are your most important influences in Metal?
Wolf: For me personally, its bands like Queensryche, old Metallica, Morbid Angel, Death, Slayer and many more. On the other hand I enjoy listening to ancient arab music as well as to singer songwriters or especially to the music and lyrics of the american band The Doors.
Walter: As i said in a answer before, Slayer, Exodus was my favourites in the beginning of my metal area. I also like some old progressive Bands like Mekong Delta and Watchtower. A real big influence i think comes from Mike Oldfield in his early traditional time. Albums like Tubular bells, Hergest ridge and Ommadown. Great non metal music.
Alessandro: I never considered myself a Metal listener, because I have a different musical background. Sometimes it happens that people are talking me about the roots of this music and I am totally unprepared hahaha.. anyways, this reflects the way I play or think about music, incorporating things that are distant from the usual scheme. If I think about the most inspiring moments in Metal era, I would say for sure Tool, Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Strapping Young Lad, Death and few more..
How do you see the Metal scene in Austria nowadays?
Wolf: „The scene has grown to a big variety, we have quite a bunch of really cool bands in Austria at the moment, the underground scene is growing constantly and the scene is way more active than before.
Walter: I´m with Wolf, there are so many good bands on the way, that gives bright hope for the future. I´m a little bit sad, that most of the youngsters are only playing metal/deathcore or other modern styles. They should be thinking a bit more where the influences come from. Maybe this is our part , haha
Thank you very much for your time guys, we wish you the best!