Interview with Luke, The Berzerker (January 31st, 2006)

Australian extreme metal combo The Berzerker will release their third full-length album from Earache Records on the 30th of January (in Europe – the album has already been released in the US). See review of the CD elsewhere on this site.’s Thomas Nielsen put a few questions to front man Luke, a.k.a. The Berzerker.

Thomas: “World of Lies” is my first experience with The Berzerker, and it is in truth a brutal and powerful one. How would you describe your music to those who haven’t yet had the pleasure?
The Berzerker: I wouldn't describe it as a pleasure, for starters! I would say that for most people it will be the heaviest and noisiest musical experience of their lives. It is death metal with speedcore and industrial music elements in there, and it is not in the least bit subtle.

Thomas: How did you come up with the name The Berzerker – what was the source of inspiration for the name?
The Berzerker: The name describes the music and our live show perfectly.

Thomas: Do you regard The Berzerker as a “proper” band or is it a one-man thing with hired guns?
The Berzerker: It's not a proper band, but it's not exactly a one-man show either. The line-up often rotates from album to album and tour to tour. When it comes to the albums all the recording musicians contribute riffs, music and ideas. I should be seen like an executive producer over a collective of people and ideas, and the final say and direction on everything comes from me.

Thomas: How would you characterise the man behind the synonym The Berzerker? Is he as brutal as his music?
The Berzerker: We don't really like giving out information such as that. We have no stories to tell, and feel no need to big-note how hard we might think we are. There is always someone out there crazier than you.

Thomas: I understand from your website that you until recently used masks not unlike those worn by Slipknot. Why did they come off? And will they come back?
The Berzerker: The masks came off because they were rotting from age and had become unhygienic to wear. We could have replaced them but we saw it as an opportunity to run with our faces. The masks were planned from the outset as a way to enhance the live shows, but a few months before our first album
came out Slipknot became huge with their first album. People would write off our music as nu-metal or gimmicky without hearing it. We made “Dissimulate” which was ridiculously mercilessly heavy thinking that would stop the comparisons, but it didn't. So this time around it's just us and our faces and to hell what people think. They have no excuse for not giving our music a try now.

Thomas: You have toured quite a bit in the States, Australia and Europe . What has been your best touring experience so far?
The Berzerker: I'm fond of playing Adelaide in Australia , the crowds are always super enthusiastic there and we always seem to have a great show. But the Art of Noise tour in the US in 2003 with Nile , Napalm Death and Strapping Young Lad was our best experience by far. I mean, we got to see those bands play 30 times in a row. What could be better?

Thomas: Any touring plans for 2006?
The Berzerker: Keep an eye on and for details. It looks like we will be touring UK in the second half of March.

Thomas: What would the bill look like on the tour of your dreams?
The Berzerker: Carcass (OLD), Morbid Angel (OLD), Brutal Truth (OLD), Vader and Obituary. What a great show that would be.

Thomas: What is the recording process like for The Berzerker? Is the writing of material done primarily by you or is it a band effort?
The Berzerker: It's a tricky one to describe. All the guitarists/bassists contribute riffs and semi arranged passages. On previous albums Sam the bassist has contributed some vocals and lyrics as well. From there I
change, arrange and chops all the riffs into songs and writes the beats. On the latest album I did all the lyrics and vocals, all the beats and arrangements, and produced and mixed the whole evil mess.

Thomas: “World of Lies” concludes with a track that lasts around 20 minutes (“Farewell”). And it’s the same riff repeated over and over again. What on earth possessed you to do this?!
The Berzerker: The riff and synth create a mood, and this is the kind of metal that can be comfortably played in the background as opposed to most death metal which commands full attention in order for the listener to get something out of it. Also most death metal bands these days are almost competing to see how many different riffs they can cram into a song and we love doing things completely different to everyone else. You either understand it fully or just don’t seem to get it... I understand it completely.

Thomas: I couldn’t help notice that the tracks on the promo CD are chopped into pieces [the promo CD contains 99 tracks – each of the 14 original tracks have been split up]. This is a brilliant and I take it simple solution if you want to avoid mp3 ripping. What is your attitude towards the whole mp3 situation?
The Berzerker: That is actually how most labels send out their promos these days I believe. Amazingly enough there are still some people out there dedicated enough to rip all those tracks and stitch them into songs then upload them. We like the album to have a fighting chance of getting released before everyone downloads it. The only thing that annoys me personally about the whole mp3 ripping thing is that guys were posting links to our tracks before 'World of Lies' was released with notices saying that they think we suck anyway, and they're only uploading the album for a friend! That's out of line. We would probably be more bothered about it if we'd ever received royalty payments. As it is, if someone downloads instead of buys the album that's another £0 I won't receive.

Thomas: I’ve read that quite a few bands are unhappy with Earache’s way of conducting business. You go back some time with Earache now – what’s your view on the matter?
The Berzerker: No Comment.

Thomas: Let’s play a wee association game. First thoughts when I say:
Drumming and singing simultaneously?

The Berzerker: Fucking hard.

Morbid Angel
The Berzerker: Legends.

The Berzerker: Fascist.

The Berzerker: Exhume to consume.

The Berzerker: Sweat

Thomas: Thanks a million for answering my questions. Any final thoughts you want to share with the readers?
The Berzerker: "World of Lies" will destroy their world. See you all in 2006.

The Berzerker - World of Lies

Album available on Earache Records.

Click on the album cover to see more info on The Berzerker.