Slayer, Exodus, Amen Members Team Up With Super Producer for New Project (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)
“I was standing on Gary’s side of the stage at a Slayer show in San Bernadino and I saw this incredible thing happening that really freaked me out,” producer Ross Robinson tells Noisecreep. “This fire, energy and wisdom,” says the man behind albums by the likes of Slipknot, Korn and Deftones.
It was bound to happen: Exodus‘ riff auteur Gary Holt, forging a creative alliance with Slayer‘s Dave Lombardo. They are touring in the same band these days, after all, with Gary filling in for one Jeff Hanneman: still recuperating from the spider bite that nearly cost him his arm.
Add in Amen‘s Casey Chaos and Queens of the Stone Age‘s Nick Oliveri and the creative results are pretty startling; no surprise really considering the talent on hand. “The still-unnamed project was borne out of the endless hours the two stood onstage during Slayer soundchecks whilst touring the world. “Whenever Dave and I would get on deck for soundcheck, we’d go up there first and jam make up stuff everyday,” says Holt. “It just comes easy for us. We’re both into being spontaneous and improvising. We probably have an album’s worth of material.”
So how did this gaggle of professional malcontents and seasoned metallurgists come together?
In a Noisecreep exclusive, Robinson divulges that director Dean Karr (best known for his landmark videos for Marilyn Manson) and producer Sean E. Demott approached Robinson to provide music for a documentary film about, House of Shock, the infamous New Orleans haunted house attraction founded in 1992 by one Phil Anselmo. “The first thing I wanted to do was tap into this energy between Gary and Dave,” says Ross of the unnamed project. “And Casey has this amazing ability to do these amazing choruses and be so violent and ruthless at it.”
“I miss thrash so much,” says Ross. “When I saw Gary play way back in the ’80s when I was playing guitar [for LA thrashers Détente], I wish I was able to do what he did and the riffs were always so fucking good. And I never dreamed I would get to meet Dave Lombardo and here he is in my house!”
Watch Dave Lombardo Track Drums for the New Project
We’ve all been in the same room together breathing the same funky man-air!” laughs Holt of the pre-Christmas-week recording session at Robinson’s Venice, Calif. home studio. A workman-like studio setting this ain’t. The House of Shock soundtrack sessions feel more like a night out at the bar with a few severely fucking talented brothers in metal. Even one guy named Robert Trujillo topped by to hang out at Ross’ place last week. “Rob from Suicidal [Tendencies] came in today,” mentioned Ross. “We’re trying to get him to play.”
“He’s also in that other band,” chuckles Gary about the current Metallica bassist. “The one that’s kinda big.”
“It’s a real live vibe, all of us out there in the room going for it, including Ross out there in the room, reaching over and doing slides on my guitar for me, punching in the air and inspiring us all to really push it,” the guitarist enthuses. “I swear the song we’re working on today is twice as fast as the one we did yesterday! Some of the picking on it is right at the borderline limit of what I can physically pull of!”
In the space of a few days, three songs have come together. A listen to one of the tracks at its barest guitars and drums showed a feral intensity and love for the almighty riff that’s as pure in spirit as it gets. “The one we were working on today, it’s like a combination of all of our bands with Discharge and The Exploited and GBH on it,” Holt gushes. “Really, really punk. Super crunchy and super brutal. It just came together so naturally. There’s a beat and a riff and Casey starts spewing some venom on top of it. It’s awesome!”
“These guys are pouring their hearts out into the raw performance rather than giving up their humanity to a grid,” adds Casey. “At one point, Dave stopped, listened back and said: ‘That’s the fastest drum track I think I’ve ever done!’ (laughs) Growing up listening to the Misfits or Black Flag, part of what I loved about those records was the mistakes and the nuances. When Dave and Gary started making records, they did it the same way and became masters of their craft in the process.”
Could the bloody roots of a new band be twisting together as we speak? Will we hear a full-length album resulting from this caustic collaboration? Chances are strong that it will happen with future get-togethers in the planning stages. While Holt is writing for an Exodus album and Lombardo is hard at work on new Slayer material – to say nothing of Casey already having a ton of unreleased Amen material in the can – the potential is there for this to be more than a “lost weekend” of thrash-tastic bliss.
“I’ll be there,” says Dave Lombardo without hesitation.
“I’ve always got time for something this inspired,” says Gary. “Not that I don’t get inspired by my own band or going out and playing live with Slayer but the creative process on this has been phenomenal. I shit you not. If we came in for two weeks of just riff-writing and another two weeks of putting it all together, we’d have an album that would know people for a loop. They wouldn’t know what hit them.
“I’m as proud of this stuff as anything I’ve ever done. It’s phenomenal.”
World of metal – meet a new league of extraordinary gentlemen.