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Interview with Death Angel’s Rob Cavestany on Killing Season

Well by now, most of you should already have the latest Death Angel masterpiece, ‘Killing Season’ in your grubby little hands. If not, you are a bit behind the times here. And a true masterpiece it is.

Death Angel come full throttle at you with their newest, and destined to be a classic thrash opus. Bay Area style thrash has not seen such a release like this in many years. I recently had a chance to catch up with an old friend, Rob Cavestany, to ask him a bit about what’s been going on with the band and what the future holds.

RC: Hey John it’s Rob. How are you doing?

JH: Good, good. Getting a bit tired.

RC: Yeah, I feel ya.

JH: Yeah, I bet. So how do you like these press days?

RC: Not too bad at all. You know it has it’s weird little Chinese water torture method to it, but in the other case, we’ve been having some good feedback from people and we’re all pretty excited about our new album. There could be worse things happening.

JH: I didn’t even think I was going to get a copy before talking to you. But I got it yesterday. Been through it twice already.

RC: Cool, cool.

JH: Awesome man.

RC: That’s great! So nice to hear.

JH: So congrats again on your successful reunion up till now.

RC: Thanks.

JH: At this moment, what’s going on in the Death Angel camp?

RC: Well, we’re just taking a deep breath before we jump off the edge of the cliff into touring. It’s the ‘Killing Season’ touring season. We’ve just spent the past year writing, recording, creating, and finally recording the new album. That right there was a heavy chapter. Now we’re just in that little space that is the calm before the storm. We’re doing the press and getting ready to do the hardcore rehearsals for the tour.

JH: So the new album comes out on Feb. 26th. Can you, in your words, give us a brief rundown on it?

RC: Well, the new album, ‘Killing Season’ which we just recently recorded, an amazing, amazing experience. We’ve got some CD release shows coming up and it should be really cool.

JH: Okay, so is there a general concept of theme that follows the album?

RC: Not originally, but it sort of turned into it after it happened. We were just writing songs, and after they started to come together, I was looking at the different songs we had written at about the half way point and the different lyrics that were going on. So I was like “Hey! There’s something happening here with this whole theme here” we’re creating. So then at some point of the writing process, we then looked at it like that and the album was completed at the ending stage with the idea of a concept.

JH: Accidentally?

RC: Yes, we just stumbled upon it. Funny thing was, is that Andy, before we even started writing, had mentioned that we had never done or tried to do a concept album. I was like cool, but what? It was just the idea of it that would have been cool. Then we didn’t think anymore of it. But as the album started coming together, I was like “here you go”.

JH: Doing it the other way, you’d have to have a story to write around and then break it down into individual songs.

RC: Exactly. Something like that. You ultimately would have to have a topic to work from and almost work backwards to write it out. Without a subject or topic, I don’t know what you’d want me to do with that, so just started writing naturally and it was just funny because in the end, it was just that.

JH: How do you personally compare ’Killing Season’ to previous Death Angel albums?

RC: To the last one? Or to the rest of them?

JH: To the rest of them. I mean to me, personally, with the overall sound and intensity that ‘Killing Season’ offers, it would have been the perfect fit following ‘Act III’ back in the day.

RC: Hmm. That’s, that’s exactly how I see it. That’s what it is to me. If there was a way to describe it that way because of course it’s a different time and all that shit. But it’s definitely worthy of that position I think. We basically put ‘Act III’ as our benchmark for this album. We love ‘The Art Of Dying’, it actually represents what we were doing at that time, but then to look back on our entire catalog, I still put ‘Act III’ as the benchmark, not ‘TAOD’ because where we were at when we created ‘Act III’ was , we were three albums into a non-stop run. When we did ‘TAOD’ we had just recently gotten back together. It was sort of a spontaneous ride to even do that album. It was not originally the plan. With this album we were just a lot more in the mode. There was a lot more reconnecting as a band while making this album.

JH: How are all you guys getting along? Is it a happy Death Angel these days?

RC: It’s amazing. We’re just like the old-school for us. We all seem to get along the same and really always have from day one.

JH: So why was there such a long gap between ‘TAOD’ and ‘Killing Season’?

RC: Well, touring will count for one year of it. And then, doing this recent album counts for the last year of it. We started it at the end of 2006 and spent the whole year on it. The two years in between we ended up in an invert ant hiatus so to speak. We basically had to just take care of shit that was happening here at home that we were just not prepared to abandon to be in just Death Angel mode. That kind of goes hand in hand with the position we were in doing the last album and touring. None of that was pre-planned. We only planned on doing that one benefit show for Chuck Billy and that was it. Next thing you know we’re doing another show, and another show, and another show. A little tour, then a bigger tour. The album was next, by time we knew what was going on we were in way too deep to stop from our original plan to get together and do that one show for Chuck. That and the reality of our families, us having kids during that time. It all adds in to it. We’re not 17 anymore. We wanted to really make sure our heads were into it and that we were all fully prepared this time. So now we’re in a striking position brother.

JH: That’s sort of my next question as to the bands state of mind going into 2008.

RC: That’s what it is. And once again, it would be possible if we hadn’t of taken that break.

JH: What does the years touring schedule look like?

RC: ‘08 is shaping up beautifully. The tours are being booked as we speak so I don’t have any official dates to give anyone. But I can give you the general idea that we’re looking at Europe in April, doing the states in May and June. Back out to Europe in June and July for the festival run, back to the states in August and then see where we’re at then at that point. We want to have been through the states like twice before Autumn. We didn’t have a proper tour at all for ‘TAOD’.

JH: Well, I got to catch you up at the Milwaukee Metal Fest which was awesome. Well until they cut the power during “Kill As One”.

RC: Oh yeah. That was sort of fucked up. It was fun then, but seriously, next time you catch us we’re going to be seriously ripping.

JH: I’ve read around and heard rumors about a possible Death Angel, Exodus, Testament tour. Is there any truth to these?

RC: You know, everyone is just talking about it. They keep bringing it up. It goes away, then it comes back. From my personal opinion, we’re totally down with it. But it takes all three to tango so there’s a lot of details to be worked out before that ever comes about. If it does, we’re stoked for that tour.

JH: It would be like being a teenager for me again. I used to catch you all like every to every other weekend somewhere in the North Bay Area.

RC: That’s what it is. It would be crazy. For the fans, that would be a totally killer night.

JH: What are your thoughts on this whole “thrash revival” talking that’s going around?

RC: I really hope it’s true. I hear a lot about it. It’s in every interview I do. There’s a question about that. I’m ready to see what it’s all about when we hit the road. All I can say is that I’ve heard what I’ve heard. We’ve been in the laboratory working on our shit the past year, and when that happens, you really can lose contact with the real world of things. So I’ve got a stack of CDS that people have been telling me about and hopefully when we hit the road, I’ll have the time to listen to some of the new music/bands out there. There’s never any time when you’re at home.

JH: May I recommend, if you have the new Warbringer CD. They can really throw it down.

RC: Yep, that’s one of the names I’ve heard of. Municipal Waste is another one. And a couple others.

JH: Do you think that with all this new interest in the genre that thrash may finally have it’s day in the spotlight?

RC: I would hope so. I’m rooting for it. I’m really not to sure how much into the mainstream of metal it could get just for the fact that it’s fucking heavy, but at the same time there’s all this other heavy styles of music that are more popular than they’ve ever been. So who knows. I hope that just rock in general takes back the forefront. The wave of things come in and then they go out. We’ll just have to see. I do think it can get bigger and shit with all these new, younger bands playing it.

JH: I can’t think of anything else really. Is there anything you’d like to add or comment on?

RC: Definilty the main thing I want to say is to thank everybody. All the fans who support our band. New fans, old fans. Everybody that checks us out because without all of them, there’s no way we could ever possibly be doing what we’re doing. Our fans just fucking rule!!! Thanks guys. And anyone who hasn’t heard, ‘Killing Season’ 2008. Get it. And we’ll be out on tour.

JH: Right on.

RC: Right on.

JH: Well it was great to talk with you again.

RC: You too John. Hope all is well for you and your family out there in the Mid-West.