Whether you love them or hate them, Germany’s Blood God are back with a brand new album in the form of Blood Is My Trademark. I sat down with the band’s mastermind, Thomas “The Bloodbeast” Gurrath (Debauchery, Eternal Glory) as he discussed the birth of the band and his realized dream of finally being able to sing in heavy metal, like the legends he’s always admired. He also announced a heavier Debauchery disc for 2015 and addressed the myriads of haters who can’t seem to understand why rocking riffs and death metal growls are considered heavy metal… But indeed they are. Additionally, there’s also a tabletop game called World Of Blood Gods that takes place in the Blood God universe, so check that out as well!
Tell me a little bit about this relatively new project. Before you were in Blood God, you were in Debauchery, where you utilize growl vocals.
Yes, I started that Rock`n`Roll thing on the Debauchery Rockers & War album in 2009. After that one CD with Big Ball in 2010, I changed the name to Blood God in 2012 for several reasons. The first real Blood God album was called No Brain, But Balls and it was released in 2012. The new Blood Is My Trademark album is the second Blood God CD.
It’s interesting, because the Blood God project actually uses a clean or traditional approach to vocals, unlike the Debauchery death metal. Why did you decide to use a normal vocal style in this band?
Because it something that I have learned. I wanted to “sing” like that from the beginning, but I couldn’t do it at the time. The screaming on 2003’s Kill Maim Burn is very different I think. The voice is the main reason why there is now the Debauchery subsidiary called Blood God. I think the Debauchery audience would have been offended when the voice would have changed in Debauchery.
I’ve always liked the band, because you guys essentially have mixed traditional rock riffs and classic heavy metal styles in with thick death metal and while some people don’t like it, I’ve always enjoyed it. Reminds me of the Six Feet Under’s Graveyard Classics material.
Yeah, thanks a lot. It was all coincidence. I like classic Heavy Metal and always wanted to play something like Judas Priest or AC/DC. But I could find no singer, so I started to sing myself. It was very “Death Metal”. (Laughs)
Tell me about the new album, Blood Is My Trademark. How long did it take to write and record? Where did you record the record and what was the atmosphere like during the recording process?
It took nearly a year to write all the songs, but the recording process was very fast. I have worked with Dennis Ward every year, for every CD since 2005. I can`t afford to stay too long in the studio, so I record in about ten days, plus mix and master. But it`s no stress, we are just fast, that`s it.
The album actually comes with what is essentially another Debauchery record in the form of a growled version of the lyrics. Are you still going to making Debauchery material or are you going to release both projects under the Blood God moniker?
Yes, there will be another Debauchery album in 2015. The music will be more brutal too. Still Heavy Metal, but more brutal like Priest’s Jugulator or Slayer or something like that. I don`t know exactly, but I think in the end it will sound like a Debauchery record with all the trademarks of fast double bass, groove, brutal lyrics and stuff like that.
What would you say are your influences in Blood God/Debauchery?
Judas Priest, AC/DC, Motörhead, Saxon, Wasp, Accept, Iron Maiden, Guns`N`Roses, Ugly Kid Joe. These are the bands that I have nearly every CD from at home.
What do you do when you’re not playing music? What are some things about you that we would never guess?
I like to play tabletop war games like Warhammer. I have also written one with friends of mine, it`s called Carnage and Zombie Blitzkrieg. You can find free PDFs on the World of Bloodgods page. I also do a lot of the graphic stuff for the bands. So there is not so much free time. A little bit for the fitness studio, I try to do something for my health too. Otherwise it would be far too much computer work.
What inspires your lyrics when it comes to music? What are some topics you are currently focused on right now?
In the beginning most of the lyrics were about Middle Earth and Warhammer. Now most of the lyrics are about the Debauchery background world called World of Blood Gods. You can find out more about the monsters at www.worldofbloodgods.com.
Will you be touring for this material? If so, with who?
Yes, we are on tour right now with Debauchery and are playing an extended show with songs from both bands with a “Painkiller” cover at the end.
ACDC is coming out with a new album, and seeing as they are a big influence on the band are you excited for it? What do you think of the murder charge case? Should he have gotten off scot-free?
As it took a while for the answers, the AC/DC record is out now and it`s on heavy rotation already. My favorites are the title-track, “Dogs of War” and “Rock the House.” And I like the drumming of Phil Rudd but my favorite AC/DC drummer was always Chris Slade, they should take him back.
You seemed to have covered a lot of songs during the past few years in Debauchery. Are there any other songs out there that you want to cover and haven’t been able to yet?
We play “Painkiller” live so it will end on the next album I think.
There are some who think the work you do is a disgrace to death metal, but you’ve been doing it for many years and have been well received for the most part, especially in Germany. What words do you have for your haters?
I have even done a song for them called “King of Killing”. But in fact I never understood the haters. I always wanted to play Metal. When I began I did not even know that there is a difference between the Death Metal scene and the Heavy Metal scene. For me it was all Metal. When I started to make music people said that I was playing Death Metal because of my voice. Death Metal sounded okay for me, like Bolt Thrower or Obituary. But I did not know many more Death Metal bands at the time. The voice is Death Metal and we have an extreme image like Wasp, there are monsters and zombies on our covers and T-shirts like Iron Maiden, yet we have riffs like Judas Priest. That`s what I try to make, just Metal. I do not see how Metalheads – especially Death Metal fans – could be offended by Debauchery or Blood God. I never understood that. If you do not like a band, just don`t listen to it.
Finally, what are your top five records of all time? Why is each important to you?
Guns`N´Roses – Appetite for Destruction: This was my first CD and one of the best Hard Rock records of all time.
AC/DC – Live (2CD edition): It is still in heavy rotation, even after all these years. One of my most listened to CD’s.
Halford – Live Insurrection: It’s real Heavy Metal. Just awesome, with all kind of different songs and “Resurrection” kills everything.
AC/DC – Ballbreaker: This is my favourite AC/DC album and it was on the tour back in ‘96 that I saw them for the first time live. I was only sixteen.
Judas Priest – Metal Works: Priest have done it all – ballads, Hard Rock, neck breakers, experiments everything… I only miss the new songs on the compilation because it was made after Painkiller. In my opinion Jugulator, Angel of Retribution and Redeemer Of Souls are some of the best Priest records ever.
Thanks for making another great mix of rock and death and heavy metal and I hope to hear more from you! The work you do might not be liked by some, but I’ve always thought it was really good stuff. Great for jamming out! – Eric
Thanks for the questions. Cheers!