METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Plague. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for Metal Pulp And Paper. Much appreciated.
The headline reads, 'Masked metal supergroup Terror Universal unleashed their brand-new debut full-length album, entitled Make Them Bleed via Minus Head Records on January 19th.' Let’s get this out there right away before we go on any further. If Topps or Fleer put out a Terror Universal baseball card today it would have some impressive stats on the backside. Just alone in its first week, Make Them Bleed debuted at #8 on the iTunes Metal chart, as well as #13 on the Billboard New Artist chart, #17 on the Billboard Hard Music chart, and #165 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart! In addition, the album landed at #3 on Metal Contraband’s Most Added chart (#11 overall debut), in addition to #27 on the NACC Loud Rock chart. We’ll talk more about Make Them Bleed here shortly, but when you see, read, or get the reports on how well your release is doing, how does that make you feel?
PLAGUE: We all feel extremely proud on how well it’s doing. Not just for us, but for everyone involved who have put forth their endless efforts along the way to help with both its creation and release. The experience has been an inspiring one to say the least. We are just incredibly grateful to all the fans who have made all of this possible. Seeing and hearing the reactions to Make Them Bleed just helps us in stoking that inner fire that continues to grow and will inevitably become the power source for the tours to come as well as the next album. We can’t wait.
MPAP: It must feel good to have the blood, sweat, and tears paying off since the band molded into form back in 2014?
PLAGUE: We’ve all put in our sacrifices from time to time and this of course is an understatement. Any band that is dedicated enough to put their hearts and souls on the line for something that they truly believe in collectively know that there are sacrifices. Being in a band takes dedication not just from those in the band but from those who surround each individual player. With that said, there are families in this band. There are friends in this band. Without them, there would be no band. So, for this project to finally render its intentions with the contributions from each member with their friends and families pulling for us at the finish line as they have been since day one, I guess one could say yes, it does feel good to say the least.
MPAP: Getting to know your band, according to Wikipedia, Terror Universal is an American horror metal band, consisting of current and former members of Machine Head, Soulfly, Upon a Burning Body, and Ill Nino. What else should everyone know about Terror Universal that you think matters that a lot of people might not know about, or even gets overlooked since it’s a band that’s only been together for a short amount of time, four years to be exact?
PLAGUE: The hard work and dedication from each member of this band, or any band for that matter, always seems to take a back seat to the overall view of what the listeners see. With a band like this, there are many things that one could talk about that many have no idea about and would be floored if given in large doses. But at this point of the game that mystique is necessary. Even though there is the fact that we wear these masks, this alone if at all isn't exactly what I am talking about. Depending of course on what the overall goal is for any act, many would agree that being a fan of something or someone is to also be patient with what the band or person chooses to reveal. They are a fan for a reason. They are interested in what it is that is being done and displayed. They like that feeling of something new and different, that surprise that comes along as it goes. When one reads a book, they typically don't start at the last page. We have merely laid the foundation in these four years that will be used for us to build upon. We are all architects building hallways that lead to different rooms for our fans to discover.
MPAP: Now let’s talk about who is in the band and what they do? Please introduce all your partners in crime, including yourself?
PLAGUE: Diabolus plays bass, Massacre plays drums, Thrax is a guitarist, and Plague spits words out at different volumes.
MPAP: Going back to something that was mentioned earlier, before we move on to talk more about your new release, Terror Universal is called a 'supergroup'. Is that something you’re fine with? There will always be a few out there that are going to compare or expect you to sound like the abovementioned groups when you want to stand out from them correct?
PLAGUE: Each member, whether they are from a prior act or not, have their own sound that they carry with them. It's theirs. Just because one chooses to go elsewhere doesn't mean they must go against who they are or how they play. Sure, they might have to adjust to the style of the project, but it wouldn't be in anybody’s best interest to have anyone in the project change the initial reason that they were summoned for in the first place. Sure, people will compare because that is what they do. They need to try and take it apart, find the familiar pieces, put it back together again so that they can have a fighting chance at calling themselves experts. It’s the human way (laughs). As I have said in the past, the label, 'supergroup' is just something that helps humans to categorize and put into an order so that they don’t misplace or forget. Brains are complex, especially nowadays with all the worry of what the correct thing to say is or isn't. But I digress. People will continue to compare sounds and bands and looks until someone else says, "Just shut the fuck up and listen to the music". Then, maybe.
MPAP: New music. Make Them Bleed. Like a kid on Christmas morning tearing off the wrapping paper to a toy he’s always wanted, tell us what’s inside Make Them Bleed? With smiles on our faces, what are we going to expect to find and hear on it?
PLAGUE: If I told you, then it wouldn't be much of a Christmas present now would it. But, I think, at least I hope, they will find something that they have all been waiting a long time for. I know I have. Whether it stays in the CD player or ends up stuck between the console and the seat just above the quarter and the roach, it exists now. Their used to be an impatient time when it didn't.
MPAP: Make Them Bleed clocks in at just under 40 minutes. Tell us about some of the songs that can be found on it like, "Passage Of Pain," "Dig You A Hole," "Through The Mirrors," and "Your Time Has Come"?
PLAGUE: "Passage Of Pain" - It’s about this time that I attended a seminar about 'Serial Killers'. As I sat there, learning, I realized that the speaker that day had such a passion for the subject that he came off to me as a possible future serial killer himself. That is if he wasn't one already. As soon as he said, "Most if not all hide right out in the open", I knew right then and there that he was one. I’d made up my mind right there. From that point on everything he said took on a completely different meaning. Is was as if he were challenging us to be like him. Whether anybody else was hearing it the way I was or not I felt though this guy wasn't just talking about the ways of serial killers but was actually subliminally recruiting. (laughs). At least it was good idea for a song, right? "Through The Mirrors" - I had just gotten back to the dressing room from playing the last show of a long tour. With mask on I just stood there looking into a mirror. I had no interruptions for at least a solid five minutes where all I did was where all I did was stare into the eyes of this sweaty melting illusion. I think by minute four I had an idea of what the song was about. I wrote the lyrics, as is, on the plane on the way home. "Dead On Arrival" - It was a mixture of feelings at one point. Just a bunch of words written at different stages of life. It wasn't until I had received the sad news of George A. Romero’s passing that I realized that it was a song in letter form and that I now knew how to finish it. "Make Them Bleed" - Let’s just say that everybody has a song like this on one of their records. "Spines" - This is the song on the record that everyone in the band and at the studio had a hand in writing lyrically. Some more than others but none the less everybody contributed. As far as its meaning goes, well, maybe one day we can decipher. Until then, it’s up for interpretation. As far as the rest of the songs, since its only me in the room at this point, you’ll have to wait for those who wrote them.
MPAP: Is there a message in the music and the lyrics that you are trying to get across to the listeners when they hear these songs for the first time? What are you hoping they will walk away with after hearing it?
PLAGUE: I think every song written under the sun has a message. Even if that song was just a bunch of rushed words that needed to be gathered so that a song could exist for the soul fact of running time. I believe that there is the inspiration for the song, there is the written song, and then finally the interpreted song. A song can be written while tears of loss are drowning the writer and then that same song can be used as filler for a graduating class to march cadence to as they are ceremoniously fed to the eager jaws of the 'real world'. Growing up, I would hear a song and I would find a meaning that applied to me at that time. Now I’m older and that same song means something else to me completely. I think folks will inevitably interpret our songs to fit them personally at whatever stage of life they seem to be going through at that particular time. That's good, that what they are for. That's music. As far as what that song will become for them later on down the road that’s up to them. It’s just nice to think about somebody listening to your music for a lifetime. Most people who do nothing but judge others their whole lives can only dream of such accomplishments.
MPAP: Also, recently Terror Universal dropped a video premiere for the song "Through The Mirrors" directed by you. You were given the freedom to give your visual interpretation of what the song meant to you. The video mixes band performance with the hallucinations and the troubles of a man who clearly has some issues going on. For someone that is having troubles in life, from suicide, depression, addiction, or bullying what would you want to say to that person?
PLAGUE: There are more people in this world that have these issues in common with you then you would think. Whether it be thoughts of suicide, feelings of depression, a struggle with addiction, or some prick ass-hole man, woman, boy, or girl who’s own insecurities have shrouded and ultimately obscured their feelings and views into disregarding the feelings of others, just know, there are others in this world with the same problems if not all the above that have found each other and have worked out solutions with the aid of genuinely caring people who are dedicated and do give a shit about the healing of the human soul. Everybody has problems in life and you are not the only one who has gone through them or is going through them or will go through them. As a person who at many stages of this life has gone through such issues as mentioned above, I will tell you something that was once told to me and is a mindset that I often visit from time to time and helps me when things only seem down. It goes like this. "When you see the light at the end of the tunnel, don't be discouraged when you approach only a lamp hanging upon the wall. You just lift the lamp from the nail and continue on. Become the light that others follow." Hang in there, make some music.
MPAP: Make Them Bleed has a couple guests featured on it. John Moyer (Disturbed, Art Of Anarchy, ex-Adrenaline Mob) on the song "Spines" and Tony Campos (Fear Factory, Ministry, Soulfly, Static-X) on "Dead On Arrival". Those are some heavy hitters. How was it having them be a part of those songs?
PLAGUE: Of course to say the least, we are extremely honored to have been availed with such talents.
MPAP: Two last questions before we bring this interview to a close. Red wine and a seasoned filet of salmon go well together, what would you say Terror Universal goes well with?
PLAGUE: Horror films!
MPAP: Terror Universal’s recommendations of horror movies to watch?
PLAGUE: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House Of The Devil, Pumpkin Head, Halloween, The Fog, Suspiria, Monkey Shines, Night Of The Living Dead, Creepshow, Tales From The Darkside, The Shining, Bloody Birthday, Black Christmas, A Nightmare On Elm Street. NO REMAKES, NO SEQUELS. That’s just to name a few.
MPAP: On behalf of myself and Metal Pulp And Paper, thank you, Plague, for being a part of this interview. We look forward to what Terror Universal does in 2018 and beyond.
Any last words for all the readers and your fans worldwide?
PLAGUE: The question makes me feel as though I'm standing upon the gallows with a rope around my neck. So, the answer is NO. "We’ve only just begun"~ Carpenters (laughes)
Plague-Terror Universal/ March 10th, 2018/ Interview #96