The fear and manipulation of Enraged

interview with douwe of enraged death metal band

Dutch Enraged displays it all. Founded in 1997, released their "Tirade"-debut demo in 1999. Hooked up with the Dutch record label So It Is Done in 2000, who released their "Counterblast" MCD in 2001. In 2004 Enraged finally presented their most matured and extreme release so far: "Resist Or Serve - Promoting Our Contemptuous Resistance Against Human Treason". Line-up changes in 2006 unfortunately caused a major set back for drummer Douwe Talma. Talma eventually remained as sole band member and started recording a full-length album back in 2007. At the end of 2012 the album "It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power” was released and thus time for a talk with founding member Douwe.

Hello Douwe. First of all, congratulations on your full length and debut if I am not wrong. What is the feedback on it so far?
Thanks! It's our first full length indeed, but  not our first release. We already released some demo's and a mcd some years ago. This new album already got some great national and international reviews so far. And I am very glad with that of course!

The band exists since 1999 and it took almost 13 years to release your debut. Why did it have to wait so long man?
That's the first question everybody asks me when it concerns this album so far. Basically it comes down to line-up changes in the past. In 2006 most of the other band members left the band for several reasons. We (other remaining band member Peter Hagen and me) refreshed the line-up, but that line-up somehow lacked the musical chemistry we had with our first line-up. So we decided to  part ways in 2008, which left me being the sole remaining member. We already started recording drums for this album at the end of 2007 and I wanted to finish the album either way. So, I had to find some motivated and qualified session musicians to do the other musical duties for this album. The biggest delay in the recording of this record was because it was not easy to find a guitar player who was willing to record all the rhythm guitars. I've asked several and some offered to do so, but eventually lacked the motivation or what so ever to finish the job. It wasn't until 2010 that Tjaard Walstra offered to do the guitar parts next to the recordings of the bassguitars. From that moment on we slowly finished all the remaining recordings and it took until last summer before we could do the mixing.

"It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power" is the title someone would give to an album that is fully on political crap when it comes to lyrics. Your lyrics are mainly about politics (anti-governmental) and the world downfall! Do you believe that a death metal band can wake people up with its lyrics or do you believe that lyrics are just there so the singer has to do something when on stage?
Apparently we don't seem to share the same opinion as far it concerns lyrics. Lyrics have always been quite important for Enraged. And I think typical death metal lyrics about gore and splatter are quite immature and childish. Perhaps that's a fun thing to do when you're sixteen or so, but from that moment on you should grow up in my honest opinion. Lyric wise Enraged never fit in with the archetypes in death metal lyrics. We have more in common with bands such as Napalm Death, Death, Arch Enemy and US sludge/doomers of Dystopia. So I don't think our lyrical concept is crap at all. It just proofs that I like to dig my self into subjects that tend to bother me and write about that. Especially on a global scale.
There are a lot of things in life that inspire me to write lyrics about and I'd rather have something to tell the audience then just to make primitive sounds. If someone picks up any of the message of our concept, that's a good thing. On stage, or just by reading our booklet. So yes, I think lyrics might affect people. Perhaps not all of them, but it always worked on me.

So who is the main lyric writer of the band? Is there a particular concept behind the whole lyrical front of your debut, or is it just a bunch of world hating songs all gathered in a record?
Like I said, I'm the main lyric writer for Enraged. And yes. There is a lyrical concept for half of the songs on our new album. It's all about fear and manipulation. The cover artwork really explains the concept: manipulating people through media by making them afraid. Fear makes you weaker and 'smaller' in a way. Easier to be controlled. Defenseless even and I'm sure a lot of people are not aware of that. If you are aware of such a process, I think you won't be fooled that easy anymore. Think for your self, instead of just believing everything you read or hear. That's the main subject. But the other half of the tracks on the album are about my personal views about subjects or persons that I had to deal with in life. Not in a pleasant way though.

Tell me a bit about the procedures necessary for Enraged to write and compose a song. Is it a one man's job or does the whole band take part in it?
Both, in a way. An Enraged song always starts off with one of our guitar players who writes a bunch of good riffs. Sometimes a small arrangement, and sometimes just as a single riff. Bringing his ideas into the rehearsal room, as a whole band we forge it into a song. By adding riffs, breaks and interludes. By playing it during rehearsals we slowly fine tune the song until we find it worthy playing live. Most tracks evolve on stage most of the time. You know, improving them tracks by adding small details and so.

As time goes by and the music evolves it gets harder and harder for musicians to record a decent album. What were the nasty parts of this drill, Enraged had to overcome in order to record this full length?
Well if you put it in a way of competing with other metal bands or albums: that never has been an issue. We just try to write good songs that satisfy ourselves in the first place. As soon as that's a wrap, we kinda test them by playing those tracks live. If the audience likes the songs, then the tracks are OK. The actual real nasty part of recording this album was to deal with delay and setbacks in the whole process of recording. Especially because of a bunch of guitarplayers who did not finish what they promised: recording the guitar tracks. Like I mentioned earlier. It was really a hard road to persevere in finishing this thing up, considering the fact that it took me way too much time of finally finding somebody who would finish the guitar recording job. That took me a couple of years. As soon as the guitar tracks were recorded, everything went a bit smoother.

So did you get any lonely while in studio? Did you have to call for some friends over to be around and maybe play a solo or two here and there?
Not lonely, but sometimes a bit less motivated. But because I truly believe(d) in the quality of all the tracks, I kept going on. I finally gathered a whole bunch of befriended local session musicians, who helped me out to record this album. Logically Jitse Schregardus was the first one to ask after the withdrawal of former vocalist Peter Hagen. He really did a fantastic job, and was a logical vocalist for Enraged because he already did the vocals on all previous Enraged releases. Tjaard Walstra helped me out for all the rhythm and bass guitars and did a fantastic job as well. It took him a lot of time and effort to record everything the way I wanted it to. He also helped me out with doing some premix editing and stuff like that. Jos Hindriks who is playing in local death/thrash band Disintegrate helped me out by writing an acoustic interlude at the end of the album and by doing some guitar solos on the track 'Confabulated To Defile'. Most of the rest of the guitar solos were done by Jens van der Valk (God Dethroned, Autumn). His solos really give a finishing touch to most of the tracks: melodic and dark as well. Furthermore Pieter Oevering and Marten Hutten (both are bandmates of mine in my other band: Insurrection) helped me out as well. Pieter did an excellent job on doing the acoustic guitars on 'Respice Finem' and Marten helped me out of playing a guitar solo on a bonus track we've recorded as well. Next to all these people Dannny Boonstra (who does vocals in Disintegrate) helped me out during the vocal recordings by doing some additional vocals and by giving advise on vocal arrangements. And last but not least: Robin Koster helped me out in fixing the artwork of the album. He also did the artwork on all previous Enraged releases.

I've seen in your bio that almost every member in the band was or is still playing in other bands as well. That fact adds a lot to experience but on the other hand how hard is it for a band to work as it should when its members are active on other bands as well?
You're right about that, but that wasn't a problem for these recordings. We just tried to match our schedules. Nevertheless, that did not work out every time. So that was one of the reasons as well that the recordings took a bit longer then I expected.

I see… So how about live shows or touring? You are a really experienced band and you've played with some great bands all the way! Any plans for 2013?
No plans yet. It all depends on the new album. If the album is gonna be a succes, and venues or festivals are interested in us, we might take a bunch of new gigs into consideration. For now, nothing is certain yet.

Most bands on the scene and especially in the death metal scene are very far from living off music! How do you see this whole music thing evolving for Enraged? Do you see it possible to make this a full time job at some point?
Would be nice, but I know that's not very realistic. To be honest, I don't expect such a thing for Enraged. And that's ok for me. I gave up that dream already some time ago. But still, I like to make good extreme music and will continue in doing that. Even though I won't be able to earn myself a good living through death metal. That's also the reason why I'm playing drums in a second band next to Enraged: Insurrection. That band is a bit in the vein of Enraged but the songs are more straight forward and most of the riffing is a bit thrashier. We are in the middle of recording our first MCD right now. Entitled: "Catatonic" and should be released before this summer.

It appears that you like to mix brutal music with some more melodic interleaves, lead themes and solos. How important is this blending of brutality and melody to you? You think that a lead theme in guitar would remove the brutality from a song or it kind of makes the song breathe?
Yes! I really like good melodies, but I'm also very much into extreme, fast and aggressive music. Blending those two elements is just the way how an Enraged song should sound. Them melodies just give a finishing touch to the songs, especially when they're least expected. Best of two worlds. Just melodies are boring. Same goes for just brutal music. At least, in my opinion.

What are your personal thoughts on downloading? Many claim that downloading just gives a fan the opportunity to preview what he wants to buy, and others that any form of downloading kills music. What is your stand on this?
I'm not really into downloading music myself. I'm a bit old school, in a fact. I'm still buying the albums that I like and think that others should do the same to support all them bands (like we, ourselves) that really invested in a new record big time. Downloading makes it easy to get tracks you want for free, but besides  draining the income of record companies it is also a real threat for all the indie bands that are doing their best in refunding some money by selling their own album. Anyone who wants a preview of our new album is able to check a teaser of one of the  new songs on Youtube. And that impression should be enough, I am not giving our music away.

So, how's life for you besides Enraged. What does the drummer of Enraged do when not in studio or tour?
Perhaps a bit of a spoiler, but I play my drums a lot. Of course. Practising my ass off in gaining speed and stamina and so. Besides that, I like to read a lot and try to enjoy life as much as possible.

What bands would you list as your influences? What bands could possibly find someone under "It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power"?
I grew up with metal bands from late eighties and early nineties. Bands such as Sepultura, Metallica, Napalm Death, Carcass, Pungent Stench, Suffocation. Sentenced, In Flames, Grave, Death, Dismember, Entombed, Atheist, At The Gates, Eucharist, Gorefest, Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, Dark Millennium. And most of them bands influenced me as a drummer, and the sound of all my bands in a way. So I'm pretty old school as far as it concerns music as well. For this new Enraged album the influences differ a bit from bands like Suffocation, Meshuggah, Dillinger Escape Plan, Death, to Carcass and Eucharist as far I can tell.

Ok, time to loosen the leash a little bit. Studio time can be a big pain in the ass that's why it is important for musicians to have a bit of fun while doing it! So tell me the some of the stupid things that can happen when in studio. You know things that go unscheduled and make everyone around laugh their guts out!
Well, we had some laughs during the vocal recordings of Jitse at Danny Boonstra's studio. Jitse  had some trouble in getting the right feel for his vocal lines a couple of times, because he didn't wrote them all (me, myself and Peter Hagen ñ our former vocalist ñ did most of the vocal arrangements). He got a bit angry a couple of times about that and me and Danny really had some fun about that. Jitse also pranked in doing some unexpected  heavy metal vocal lines on one of the new songs. You know, in a Bruce Dickinson style. But that really sounded awful. We deleted those files immediately. But had a good laugh about it. We were all very determined in getting the best final result, but sometimes fooled around a bit as well.

Ok Douwe it was a pleasure talking with you. I wish the best for Enraged! Close this drill any way you want!
Thanks for the great review of our new album and the interview. To all readers that dig our music: check the youtube teaser to get an impression and buy our new album! It is available at or via I-Tunes, Spotify and Amazon. Cheers!