PILLARS OF TRUTH
(An interview with JOE HENLEY of REVILEMENT)
This mosh-me-to-the-ground band is absolutely awesome as f*@k! Their heavy, brutal and offer all listeners a death metal punch! This band oozes a grinding powerful prowess and -mark my words – they will be tearing your metal hearts out with slamming drums, shredder guitars and invigorating vocals. Let me introduce to you: REVILEMENT
The Taiwanese death metal band, Revilement, has been busy since their origins in 2006. Last year December saw the release of their third offering entitled Pillars of Balance on Coyote Records.
Air Guitar blog was privileged to scoop an exclusive interview with vocalist Joe Henley of Revilement. Henley tells of Filipino Metalheads, political influence and looking forward to 2013!
Revilement has been going quite strong for roughly five years now with a few changes to the line-up. How have you as a vocalist progressed since then musically and personally?
Musically I think I’ve gotten a lot stronger, as when we started the band I hadn’t really done vocals in any serious way other than messing around in my room trying to mimic Corpsegrinder from Cannibal Corpse. Hopefully I’ve improved a little bit since then. And personally, I’d say I’m a much different person from when we first started the band, a lot more stable than I used to be.
|Pillars Of Balance cover|
Pillars Of Balance are an awesome blend of brutal death metal and old school metal. Did the Band feel like they have achieved their initial goal for the album?
I think it’s a great start for us. I don’t think we ever want to say we’ve achieved our goal, because after you’ve done that, what’s left? But we’re definitely happy with the result, and we’ll just keep trying to build on what we’ve done and get better and better with each coming release, while still staying true to the sound we’ve established with Pillars.
That sound is indeed quite incredible and progresses from the previous Revilement releases. Could you tell the readers what was the concept behind the Pillars Of Balance release?
The overall concept is based around the failing institutions that humanity has built up in the course of our existence, and the need for those institutions to be critically examined or, in some cases, be done away with entirely, if we are to have any hope of progressing as a species. Whether there is any hope or not is a question that, lyrically, I choose to leave open ended.
Revilement performing 2 songs from Pillars of Balance
Overall, I would say the album denotes a fair amount of political aggression. Would you consider that Revilement is political in their music?
Speaking strictly for myself, I’m very influenced by political events and I do include them in my lyrics, however indirectly. So in that sense, yes we are political, but we’ve yet to stand up and say we are aligned with cause X or movement Y. I’m just a news junkie at heart, and journalism major in my student days, so I guess I can’t help but include those elements in our music. And of course, for my part, the lyrics have to be meaningful to me if I’m going to stand up there and scream them on stage, and these political and social themes that we have in the lyrics are what move me. I’m not one for just wanton gore and carnage. I need something a bit more real to get me going.
Apart from Pillars Of Balance, what are the biggest surprises, musically, that has come out of the year 2011 for Revilement?
The whole year was filled with surprises for us. There was a time when we weren’t even sure the album was going to happen, so that in itself was a surprise. We also got to have a few firsts this year, such as our first tour in Japan, and our first shows in Thailand and Singapore, which were both incredible experiences.
|Revilement after the Philippines show in January|
Revilement has been touring a lot over the past few years and there are more dates that have been added for a tour around Asia. So far, what have been the highlights of touring especially in new areas with new fans?
Every time we get a chance to head out overseas it’s a big highlight for us. It’s always an amazing experience to head out to a place you’ve never been before and share your music with new people, and to get a chance to interact with the people in those places is the biggest privilege of all. I can’t pick out just once experience, as each time we’ve played outside Taiwan people have always been incredibly receptive of our music and ourselves, and we’ve had some great hosts along the way. I guess the one that is freshest in my mind right now is our trip to the Philippines a couple of weeks ago. People there sure do love their brutal death metal, and the Filipino metal heads are amongst the friendliest people I’ve ever met, in or outside of the metal community.
Revilement on their Thailand Tour – short clip
On that note, what have been the low-lights of touring?
No low-lights to speak of for us so far. We have yet to head out on any sort of extended tour at this point. Usually for us, due to our day job situations, we go out for a weekend, or at most 4 or 5 days, so we don’t get much of a chance to get sick of each other and have some massive band blowout. In late March and early April we’ll head out for 10 or 11 days throughout Asia, so maybe after that tour I’ll have an “I hate my band” story to tell, but there’s been nothing like that to this point thus far. Though we’ve played outside Taiwan quite a bit in the past couple years, I guess the term “touring” is a bit of a misnomer. Pulling a Black Flag and doing 300 shows a year across America and Europe, that’s touring.
Heavy Metal Anthropologist, Sam Dunn, proved an awesome point about Metal going Global in his documentary. What is Revilement’s opinion on Global Metal?
I am a huge fan of Sam Dunn’s documentaries and I’ve watched them several times. I think it’s an awesome thing that he’s done, connecting the dots, so to speak, between metal’s evolutions in various locations around the world. He’s proven beyond a doubt that metal is a truly global movement at this point. I hope he will have the chance to come over to Taiwan to experience our scene a bit more in the future. There are lots of bands worth checking out over here, and there are many scenes he has yet to explore. He should do something on those metal head cowboys in Botswana.
Botswana – This is not very far off from me. We would love to get a bigger picture of the countries that Sam Dunn missed. So, what do you think of the Taiwan metal scene and how does this affect the band? Is it the artist who creates the scene or is it a limited scene?
The Taiwan metal scene is small, relative to the U.S. or countries in Europe, but it’s a small country of about 23 million people, so that’s to be expected. Nevertheless, Taiwanese metal heads are extremely dedicated and passionate about the music. I wouldn’t say the scene is limited at all. There are always new bands popping up here, and new kids are coming out to shows here and there. Metal also enjoys quite a broad level of acceptance over here because Chthonic have become local celebrities in the mainstream media, so lots of people here who might not have otherwise had exposure to extreme music at least know what it is.
Considering you are a part of a multicultural band, how supportive are the native metal fans of Revilement? Are there any prejudices or is it taken well?
The Taiwanese metal fans always supportive of us. Without them, we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. I have yet to experience any prejudice whatsoever due to my nationality or race. The metal heads here have welcomed me with open arms since Revilement‘s first show and have been very supportive towards myself and the band over the past five years, and I’m very grateful for that. They’ve made me feel at home.
Revilement has received a certain extent of success and great reviews – what can the Metal fans and curious Headbangers expect in the future from the band? Any specific dates that we should take note of?
Well, as I mentioned before, in late March we’ll be heading out on our first extended tour, if you can call it that, through China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, and other parts of Taiwan as well. We may add some dates to that tour yet, so stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates on that. After that, we’re looking to head to Japan again this summer if all goes well, and then we’re talking about getting back into the studio to record our second album in the latter months of 2012. We’re already looking forward to 2013 as far as touring goes as well, and we may have some big news on that front, so keep an eye out for that.
Very grand thank you for letting me have a piece of your patience and time, Joe Henley. Would you like to part with a final say?
Huge thanks to you for taking the time to do this interview, and many thanks to everyone who has checked out our music and supported us along the way. We’ll see you on the road!
Thanks again, Joe Henley! Much appreciated from my side of the world! All the best of luck to you and Revilement for the future!
Click here to catch more of Revilement on Facebook, or for Twitter or to their official webpage. Also check out the Revilement videos on YouTube or music on Reverbnation.