Could you please introduce the band to our readers?
Jeroen: Izegrim started way back in 1996. As with every band we had some line-up changes, but I won’t bother your readers with that. We’ve started out as a melodic death-metal band but that style changed during the years. We’ve released some demo’s and EP’s in our early ages. Things started to really roll in 2002 with our full-length “Guidelines for Genocide”, combining thrashy riffage with death-influences. Since the beginning we’ve had a grunting female on vocals. For us it’s pretty normal, new listeners could consider us a vulgar copy of Arch Enemy. We’re simply not, we started with female grunts way before Angela came to Arch Enemy. Furthermore, our music is not that polished and tends to lean more towards the thrashy side of the metal-spectrum. We signed a deal with Rusty Cage Records in 2008, whom released our “Tribute to Totalitarianism” full-length. After some extensive promotion-campaigning (including a European Tour with Flotsam & Jetsam) both Joep and Kristien decided to leave the band.
With the new line-up we’ve released our EP “Point of No Return” (again through Rusty Cage Records). Unfortunately RcR got broke last year. Within a short period of time we signed a pact with French based Listenable Records which will release ‘Code of Consequences’ on 28 february. Musically we find our influences in bands like At The Gates, Carcass, Kreator, Legion of the Damned to name a few. But also Cannibal Corpse or even Nevermore can be listed with these names. Performing live is our greatest passion. We are not the kind of people that stay backstage all day at a festival, so if you want to drink a beer with us and we play somewhere near you; chances are good to catch us somewhere in the audience, haha !
First, why did founding member Joep van Leeuwen and vocalist Kristien Dros leave the band?
Jeroen: After the extensive promotion-campaign we did with our previous full-length “Tribute to Totalitarianism” in 2008, both Joep and Kristien decided that this was not the way they want to spend their time. Joep had lost his general interest in metal, Kristien wanted to spend more time pursuing ambitions in her professional career. All legitimate reasons to leave the band and we are still very good friends.
Marloes Voskuil took over all the vocals, especially live this will be a big difference with before. Special about Izegrim was the double female vocals, don’t you think people will miss it?
Jeroen: For Marloes it is a big difference indeed. Where she ‘just’ had to sing some backing-vocals once in a while during a gig, she now has to sing (and bass) and being the front woman of the band, all at the same time. Will people miss the backing vocals ? To be honest, backing vocals are completely overrated, haha ! We have played a shitload of gigs with this new line-up and I’ve never heard a complaint about the missing backing-vocals. Guess Marloes is doing her job very well, hahaha !
Bands always say that the new line-up is stronger and better than before, is that the fact with Izegrim too?
Jeroen: Let me start by saying that there was nothing wrong with the old line-up. We’ve had a great time with Joep and Kristien. Of course I have to say the new line-up is better ! When changing the line-up, it’s for the improvement of the band. Would be stupid to recruit worse musicians than you had before, ain’t it ? The past few years we’ve really worked as a team, where everyone had its share on the music and production. Acting as a quartet has some other advantages to, we all have the same goals and are utmost motivated to take Izegrim to the next level. I can admit that I have never worked this hard in the history of Izegrim, actually, we all did.
In 2009 you released the EP ‘Point of No Return’. Why first an EP and not immediately a new full-length?
Jeroen: At the moment Joep and Kristien left the band, and we’ve recruited Ivo as our new drummer, it was clear to us that there would be a shift in style. To introduce the new line-up and (obviously) the change in style, we recorded an EP as a wake-up call to the world, a mere introduction of the new Izegrim. We could have waited until we had written a full-length, but we all thought the change in style was such a landmark, that we needed an EP as introduction as soon as possible.
It is sad that Rusty Cage Records had to quit, but for you it would perhaps mean that you were still with them and not with Listenable Records. Can we call this a problem that became a benefit?
Jeroen: We did not have a multi-record deal with Rusty Cage, so we were free to go with this album. It is true, that with Listenable we have a bigger record company than before, so it is a benefit for us, I agree on that one.
What do you expect from the cooperation with Listenable Records?
Jeroen: I’m constantly doing interviews, so I can confirm that the promotion is great. What I’ve seen on all the reviews, the new CD is received very positive. The advantage of a bigger label is that they have more resources (time and money) than the average underground label. Rusty Cage did a great job for us, the only setback was the limited amount of resources they had. One of the main reason a lot of labels are quitting nowadays. I’m familiar with all the work Listenable has done with bands like Textures and other great bands they have (or had) on their roster. For us it was clear from the beginning that this alliance would turn out to be a fruitful one. Listenable has a substantial name in the metal-industry and we are honoured to be on a roster with bands like Hate and Gojira.
What are in your opinion the biggest differences between ‘Tribute to Totalitarianism’ and the new record ‘Code of Consequences’?
Jeroen: Different cover, other songs, haha ! Where ‘Tribute…’ had some substantial stoner and groove influences, with ‘Code of Consequences’ we lean more towards staccato, trashy based songs. There’s more speed and aggression on this record, as well as a lot more leads. Bart wanted to show of his skills as the lead guitar player, haha ! We spend a lot of time on the actual composing and arranging of the songs, instead of putting a bunch of riffs in a certain sequence. Especially the small details were a time-consuming process, but well worth the effort.
Especially the vocals of Marloes are awesome and sometimes unbelievable. How does she do that and doesn’t she destroy her voice?
Marloes: When I was younger I’ve had singing lessons (clean vocals). I learned how to breath right and handle my voice. This is the basis for my growls nowadays. I practise at home and of course in the rehearsal room with the other band members. To keep my voice in shape I exercise a lot (running, jogging) because growling requires a good lung capacity and I don’t smoke. I’m always careful with my voice.
How is the song writing process for a Izegrim song?
Jeroen: We now have the luxury of our own rehearsal-room which we can use 24/7. I’ve bought some proper equipment to make decent recordings, to listen back to, after rehearsing. Most of the time Bart and I come up with some riffs. We both have a setup at home where we can record everything that comes to our minds. These ideas are turned into proper ‘small’ arrangements, together with our drummer. These arrangements are the building-blocks for our songs. It’s almost like playing in Billund with Lego, haha ! We put a lot of time into the pre-production. Every note/break/solo was worked out, before we entered the Soundlodge Studio in
Does the title 'Code of Consequence' have a deeper meaning?
Jeroen: First of all, we like to play with alliterations. Album one: Guidelines for Genocide. Album two: Tribute to Totalitarianism. Album three: Code of Consequences. All the titles fit well together since 2002. This new CD is not a real concept album, where the lyrics tell a story from A to Z. However, there is a main subject within the lyrics; the older we get, the more actions we have taken, the more consequences you have to bear. It’s about reaching your (personal) goals by any means. This could relate to selfish behaviour, killing your beloved ones or even creating your own secret organisation to fulfil your needs.
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jörg Uken. Has he already have a reputation producing metal albums and are you satisfied with it?
Jeroen: Oh yes, he has a great reputation. He recorded, mixed and mastered the last 3 albums of God Dethroned. He also worked on albums of Dew-Scented. Not small and unknown names in the metal-scene. I can only agree to all the bands that have recorded at Soundlodge: its fucking perfect !! The way Jörg worked with us was excellent. He’s so laid back and relaxed, unbelievable. I guess you have to be, having bands around you all the time, haha ! In terms of technique and recording skills he’s definitely one of the best. The final result ? The most versatile, riff-packed and aggressive sounding album we’ve ever recorded, its as simple as that ! We could not be more satisfied with the result.
Are there already touring plans?
Jeroen: At the moment our bookings-agency (TMR-Music-Productions) is working hard on scheduling several gigs around
Could you convince our readers why they also should buy the new Izegrim record even when they just bought the new albums of Legion of the Damned, Onslaught, Destruction and Lazarus A.D.?
Jeroen: It’s not my job to convince the people to buy the new record. The music has to sell itself. We have some new songs online on MySpace and Reverb Nation. So far the reviews have been great, so I guess we’re doing a good job. If you like the bands mentioned above, check our news songs. if you like it; buy the damn record. If you don’t like it; buy it for a friend !!
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Jeroen: First of all, thank YOU for the interest in Izegrim, always really appreciated ! We absolutely would love to play in
Interviewed by Reinier de Vries