Magazine: LotFP
Article: Death

Lametations of the Flame Princess

Written by: Jim Raggi
Published: March 1999



December 13 at the Masquerade. It is after the show, and I am going to interview Death after the final show on the US tour for The Sound of Perseverance. This is different than a couple of hours earlier when I talked to HAMMERFALL; there was no previous rapport established, Chuck seemed that much more imposing because he's a 'headliner' and Death is really a band with nothing to prove at this point, and it seems the whole crew of DEATH, HAMMERFALL, and the roadies were hanging around and Chuck wanted to do the press (damn I still get the jitteries thinking "Hey, I'M PRESS!" I wonder if that will ever pass. I wonder if I want it to.) right there with everyone in a room. So, with tension high (to me... fifteen people who will instantly know before I do if I ask a stupid question!), here is the conversation we had. All answers by Chuck unless noted otherwise:


The first thing I want to say is that the album is really fucking cool. How has the response been?
It's been fantastic. We've done Europe now and the US is officially done, and it's been great. I couldn't be happier actually. It's been awhile since our last album and people are ready for a new one and now is the time.

How have the sales been as compared to Symbolic?
Much better because it's been better promoted. Our last label didn't promote it as hard. It's like anything, if it's promoted well, people are going to know about it. It's been really cool, there is a really good relationship.

So, for the cover of Painkiller, are you one of the people that wanted to get into JUDAS PRIEST and couldn't, so you decided to make Judas Priest songs like some other people out there?
Well, basically it was a chance for me to sing different. I prefer singing melodic. I don't like singing death vocals. The PRIEST song was a chance for me to have fun, we all love the record. Painkiller is God. it's a chance to have fun with it. We get to sing. We didn't know we were going to release it, we didn't know it was going to come out, really. We decided to put it on the album.

The logo mutates from record to record. How many more records until that 'T' is going to look like a capital 'T'?
It will never be a capital. I think we've found a happy medium right now.

You were here in Atlanta last I think it was 1995, and you had INTOXICATION opening up for you. How did that come about? I've never heard of them before or since.
They wormed their way out to the show, unfortunately. It will never happen again.

You mentioned Nuclear Blast doing the better promotion. This is the first Nuclear Blast record I've seen that’s in all of the stores that deal with any kind of metal. it's actually in the stores!
Well Nuclear Blast is now officially very strong in America. Before it was just a big European thing, and now they have an American office, they have kick-ass people working for them. They have a lot of great signings and the lineup is growing. I think Nuclear Blast is basically taking over the metal scene in the US, what’s left of it, and they are rebuilding it. That’s what we're here for, that is what this whole tour is about. To build it back up.

In the past you've had the 'All-star Lineups', with this guy from that band, etc. Now it's new guys, the talent is still there but there isn't any added name value. How has the fan reaction been to that?
It couldn't be better. The response could not be better to everyone. It feels very comfortable. There is no competition between the last lineups and this one. We do what we do.

A song like Voice of the Soul off the new album sounds very good, it's easy sounding, not really harsh. How do you come up with stuff like that next to things like Scavenger of Human Sorrow?
it's got to be more. There is so much more in me as a guitar player than just heavy double picking riffs, which I think is apparent on a lot of the new record. I use a lot of different chords, a lot of melodies. Voice of the Soul is actually something I wrote during Symbolic, but it just never made it onto the record. For me it's a chance to not scream, and do just guitars and have fun. I'm a guitar player first, and a screamer second.

The new material is a progression from the older stuff, it sounds much better, but from some of the press you've been doing you make it sound like you're completely distancing yourself from the stuff in the past.
I'm not trying to distance myself from what I've done. I just think people need to realize that this band has grown, outgrown categories that we've been thrown into. I'm proud of everything I've done. Certain things I wish I wouldn't have done, but they're done, and I can live with it. Everyone is like that. Talk to any band, they'll be like 'On that album, I wish I would have done that differently.' I'm proud of where I came from, I'm building on top of that. All my roots are in the early 80s. That’s what DEATH is, a band derived from KISS, IRON MAIDEN, SLAYER, DOKKEN, MERCYFUL FATE, all those bands were very inspirational to me.

I came on board during the Individual Thought Patterns time period, and I only went back and got as far as Human, so I was wondering why everyone in the press seems to call you Evil Chuck?
That comes from high school, when I formed Mantas. It was the embryo of DEATH, so to speak. I was the only person in high school into SLAYER, METALLICA, RAVEN, EXCITER, all those bands, so they called me Evil. I had SLAYER on my notebook, VENOM, and back then, people thought METALLICA was garbage. Seriously, back in '83, I was trying to convert people, playing EXCITER's Heavy Metal Maniac, MERCYFUL FATE, SAVATAGE and everything.

When did you start MANTAS, and how old were you?
1983, I was 16.

And when did that turn into DEATH?
When I was about 17 it turned into Death.

I've seen some discussion about the origin of the brutal voice in Metal. Your name always comes up, and some people think it was POSSESSED that came first...
I take no fucking credit at all! I can't. I hate it when people do that. People say 'Oh, the originators.' I'm not the originator of shit! I'm just carrying the flag of metal as I know it forward. POSSESSED was before DEATH, album-wise, I love POSSESSED. SLAYER was before us, VENOM was before everything.

But I think the way they were doing is different than doing the over the top roaring though.
It's definitely different variations, but they were way before me. I never like to take any sort of credit for that at all.

it's always a big thing in interviews you're always like 'don't believe rumors, don't believe this and that.' Where does all of that come from?
Because of people talking so much shit! Always shit about this band, or that band. I don't believe anything I ever hear unless I absolutely narrow it down to the source. There's a lot of bored people out there. That’s why we have the ‘evilnet’, the internet. That whole thing can just fuck off. I pray for the demise of the internet. I fucking hate it.

I brought it up this time, but do you ever worry that by bringing it up all the time in interviews that you might be coming off as defensive?
Absolutely not. I laugh at that, it's hilarious!

Yeah, because I've always found you cool, because I remember last time you were here you came out before the show, talking to everyone in line.
I'm the most non-defensive person. I just want justice, I want to be treated fairly like any other human being does. I'm a person. I don't care if I'm in a band, I don't deserve any special treatment. If someone starts talking shit.

Oscar (of HAMMERFALL): Can I just say something?
If you say it loudly!

Oscar: Before we went on this tour, we heard a lot of weird things about this guy.
Thanks, I love you too!

Oscar: Well we heard this stuff, and none of it was true. He's the coolest guy ever.

Oscar: Everyone knows it!
That’s exactly it! It's a perfect example why people think I'm defensive. Because I know people talk shit!

Joacim (of HAMMERFALL): People should make up their own minds! Not believe rumors all the time, because they are bullshit!
I've heard a lot about people I've met and grew up worshipping. Like Gene Simmons, I always heard Gene Simmons is this and that, and he's the greatest guy I've ever met, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. He's super fucking cool. Bruce Dickinson, I've heard people say weird things about him, and he's the nicest guy ever! That shows you, I'm a fan too, I know what it's like to hear shit on people!

That’s one of the things I was worried about when I started doing the fanzine, talking to people whose work I liked, what if they were assholes, would that ruin me enjoying their work?
Most of the time, I can guarantee to you that people are going to be really cool that you talk to. That’s usually the case.

OK, last subject, a few questions about CONTROL DENIED. I know you want a different vocal style, but what about the music?
That’s the only thing, vocals are different. Musically, it is completely parallel with what DEATH is doing now. What you hear on the new DEATH album is what you'll hear on CONTROL DENIED.

I think it's weird having just different vocal styles but the same music between two different bands.
Absolutely not, because I think that the music has outgrown the boundaries that DEATH are facing. Vocals make or break a band. Vocals can enhance, or they can take away from. For me, the next logical step is a melodic singer in this music, and that’s it, that’s the next step. A step forward.

In Metal Maniacs for awhile there seemed to be a micro soap opera whether Warrel Dane from NEVERMORE was going to sing or not. What’s the story behind that?
It almost happened one time, but things just didn't work out schedule-wise and we have a great singer, Tim Aymar who is a singer from America, who has done a lot in the past. Not album wise, but he has been around for awhile, a very educated singer.

When CONTROL DENIED gets released, if it takes off and becomes as popular as DEATH, will you retire DEATH?
In a heartbeat. Just like that! I hate screaming. I just don't like it any more. it's very hard. I just got over being sick a week ago and I haven't been the same since. it's difficult. I started playing guitar. I never intended on singing this way. I never did!

I guess since you're the singer I can sympathize, but as a fan I don't agree. But thank you very much for your time, and the great show, and I guess I'll see you next time!


to talks

EmptyWords-Published on October 20 2003