Max, lead guitarist of the Belgian Thrash/Speed Metal band Evil Invaders answered some questions right before the release of Shattering Reflection, their third album.
Version Française ? – bientôt disponible
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Evil Invaders without using the usual “Metal” labels?
Max (lead guitar): Hi! My name is Max, I play guitar. Then there’s Joe on guitar/vocals, Senne on drums and Joeri on the bass. We play fast, sometimes slow music that sounds disturbing to your parents and neighbors especially if you play it loud on your speakers after midnight. Our shows are 4 guys going crazy like people that just fled from the mental institution and the look of the stage is pretty cool but intimidating to the eyes of the regular people.
Where does the band’s name come from, and what is its link with your music?
Max: The origin comes from the 1985 record and song Evil Invaders by the Canadian Speed Metal band Razor.
After five years, your new album Shattering Reflection was finally announced. How do you feel about it? Did you already have some feedback?
Max: Oh it’s fantastic! It took us quite a while to get all the songs finished, but we are very very happy with the result. Some songs just need some time to sit, so after a while you pick them up again with fresh ears and then new ideas pop up you know. It’s rare to write a perfect song just like that. Rome hasn’t been built in a day either hahaha. Of course the 2 years of pandemic had quite an impact on the songwriting process as we were unable to rehearse for a long time and the suspension of the music/culture scene gnawed a bit on the motivation, but we got our asses up and finally finished what we started. It feels great to finally have new material that we can present to our fans! So far only close friends and magazines, reviewers have had the chance to listen to it, but overall the general feedback is very positive.
How could you sum Shattering Reflection in three words?
Max: Cold, dark, heavy.
How does the composition process happen? Was it different from your previous releases? Where does your inspiration for this Old School style come from?
Max: Basically it’s like one of us comes up with an idea or demo, and then we take our time to bring in our ideas and puzzle. This time we took a bit more time to review our work and to refine a lot, especially little details that would enhance the listening experience. Also the songs were more open to influences from other styles, which made the composing process of the album more interesting in my opinion. There was more experimentation involved. I would not say that we particularly aim to have an oldskool style, but the fact that most music we listen to is from the 70s/80s/90s has quite an influence on how we approach our own music, so we eventually end up with a lot of oldskool influences in our sound.
What can you tell me about the artwork? What about its link to the sound?
Max: The artwork of Shattering Reflection is based on two ideas. A few years back I came up with the idea, that it would look pretty cool if our icon would crash through a mirror like a wrecking ball ( a bit like the cover of Savatage’s Power of the Night) and within those broken shards that are flying away, you could see pictures of the content that is sung about in the lyrics. Like in the reflection. Joe had this idea about an old factory in mind. Like you stand in front of this huge old metal gate that is opened just a little bit but enough to have a glimpse of the inside. The inside itself would display some kind of factory of pain, where all the evil takes its form before it gets unleashed to the world. Since we could not really decide what is the coolest, we decided to just put both ideas together and the result is the artwork we have now. The sound of the songs and the album itself is very dark and cold, so I think the album artwork reflects that in a very good way. You know what to expect when you see it.
My favorite composition is The Circle, the last one, on which I felt some gloomy and occult tones. What is its story?
Max: The Circle was a very very difficult song to realize. Joe came up with the idea. It was a long song stuffed with a lot of elements that were all really really cool on their own, but the pieces somehow didn’t match yet in the big picture. We dicked around with it for a loooong time trying to make it work but eventually we all got stuck on it. On Shattering Reflection we worked together with Francesco Paoli (Fleshgod Apocalypse) as a producer, as we figured, that we would get stuck in the writing process and couldn’t move on, so luckily he helped us out. He took the arrangement and just flipped it around. We were so stuck on our idea that we never thought about mixing the riffs and parts in a different way. Like we were stuck in this loop, but since he wasn’t involved in the writing process from the beginning, he had a fresh mind and saw the possibilities that we just could not see anymore and saved the song. And so The Circle got completed and I am myself also very very happy with the end result. It’s one of my favorites on the album as well.
Since 2020, Covid-19 crisis fucked a lot of things up, how did you face the situation as a band? Did it have an impact on the album?
Max: We just went along with it. There was nothing much we could do. It was a very depressing time music wise, also in general of course, so in my opinion, you can clearly hear that on the overall sound of the album. This entire emotional rollercoaster got processed into the songs, that’s why the album sounds harsher and colder. Dark times create dark music.
Do you already have plans for the future after the release of the album?
Max: Play as much as we can of course! We are very motivated to play our new set live. We got new gigs coming up soon and the festival summer is looking nice as well. A tour for next year is also in the planning, but whatever opportunity to play comes our way, we’ll gladly take it. We wanna go out there again and shred stages into pieces !
The band reaches in 2022 its fifteenth anniversary, do you have some ideas to celebrate it?
Max: Not really. Actually no one thought about it hahaha. Now that you mention it, yeah, it’s the fifteenth anniversary, damn! We did have the talk about the idea of maybe doing a special EP show next year, as the Evil Invaders EP turns 10 years old next year. But there are no concrete plans yet. Would be definitely cool to do something special in my opinion !
What can you tell me about the evolution of the Metal scene around you?
Max: The Metal scene is a very very loyal one. When there’s a gig in town, the people will go and support. If they don’t know the band, they’ll go check it out anyways and that’s great.
What’s cool to see is, that over the years, you saw more and more very young people at the gigs as well. It’s nice to see how they get in touch with this type of music and then start digging deeper to learn more about other bands and such. The scene and the music is being kept alive for years to come and that’s awesome to see !
Do you think you still improve yourselves as musicians?
Max: Yes totally ! I really really noticed it recently while rehearsing the new songs. We played some stuff off Feed Me Violence to warm up and I noticed, that the songs that I thought were actually quite hard to play, were suddenly very simple compared to the material on Shattering Reflection. There’s always room for improvement if you ask me. Music has such a wide spectrum of styles and skills, it’s impossible to learn it all, but you can always widen your horizon and improve your skills. You’ll never be a perfect musician in my opinion, and that’s cool because it will never get boring as there’s always something new to learn !
What are your best and your worst experiences as a musician ever?
Max: I don’t really know how to answer this. For me, being a musician is always great. Of course sometimes there are bad times like the pandemic, but those times will come to an end and it will be great again. Ups and downs haha. I am very grateful to be able to live the life I live !
I was lucky enough to see the band twice, at Motocultor in 2017 and in Paris, back in 2019. How do you feel before getting on stage? Do you prefer small venues or big festival stages?
Max: Cheers haha! Both is perfect. Of course standing on a big stage is fucking amazing, to hear the sound crushing through those gigantic speakers and such but on the club shows you are more in touch with the crowd and the exchange of energy is way more intense. So yeah, both are always amazing experiences !
What led you to the Metal universe back in time? What was the very first album you ever bought?
Max: My Mom always liked rock and metal music and my dad is a rock musician, so the influence was always there. I remember digging through the vinyls as a kid and being scared shitless because I found Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon. Him being dressed like a werewolf definitely left an impression. So when I was around 10 I started to check out the music more and more. Since I was skateboarding at the time, the music fit pretty well to what I was doing so when I went out to skate, I’d buy records at the special deals section with my lunch money. I mean, who needs food if you can have Motörhead right ? So my very first CD that I bought myself if I remember correctly was Motörhead – Best of the Epic Years which is a compilation of the 90s Motörhead.
What do you know about the French Metal scene? Which French bands do you know and like?
Max: France has so many great bands. I am a huuuuge fan of Sortilège and ADX. But there are so many other great bands like Agressor, Hexecutor, H-Bomb, Skelethal, Attentat Rock, Furies, Mercyless, Blockheads, Iron Bastards, Loudblast, Massacra… Just to name a few but right now I can’t come up with more names hahaha.
What if I ask you to compare Evil Invaders’ music with a dish? Which one and why?
Max: A spicy Pepperoni Pizza! It’s a fast, heavy food full of nice ingredients that burns twice hahaha!
Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with?
Max: Too many to count them all hahaha. I’d love to work with King Diamond, Lemmy (R.I.P.), Gary Holt, Slash, Jon Oliva and Dave Lombardo for example. That would be so amazing, but I could go on and on now. There are soooo many great musicians out there, it would be fun to work with them all. Like making a song like they did in the 80s with the Hear ‘n Aid thing where you had so many of the great Metal and Rock musicians of the time together in one song. That would be my dream.
Last question: which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour with Evil Invaders as opener and three other bands!
Max: Definitely Exodus and Obituary. Somehow I think that would be an amazing package, but my dream tour would be : Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Kind Diamond, and then us haha.
That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Max: It was a pleasure! Stay true, stay save, eat your veggies and fuck Putin and his war ! Cheers !