EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: PETE SANDOVAL ON THE RETURN OF TERRORIZER, MORBID ANGEL’S ILLUD DIVINUM INSANUS, AND MORE
Terrorizer are back. The band that spawned Morbid Angel, Nausea, and Napalm Death has been around since 1986, but due to obligations to the aforementioned bands, two break-ups, and the unfortunate passing of guitarist Jesse Pintado, they’ve only previously released two albums. Newly signed to Season of Mist, their third offering, Hordes of Zombies, came out out this month, and it’s a brutal, straight-forward death/grind record that’s probably going to be the best punch to the face you’ll get this year.
Drummer Pete Sandoval was nice enough to talk to me about the volatile history of Terrorizer, as well as share some words on various other subjects like Morbid Angel’s recent shenanigans. He’s beyond psyched that Terrorizer are back, and you should be, too.
Can you talk a bit about the new album? How it came to be, what it sounds like?
This project started around September of 2008. Anthony [Rezhawk] asked me if it was time to start working on new stuff. At the time, I was still busy with Morbid Angel, doing tours and festivals, so he asked Katina [Culture] of Resistant Culture if she wanted to play guitar for the band. I finally got together with them, we recorded a demo, our manager then started to look for a label to release it, and that was the beginning of the process. Season of Mist was the company that released this album in the end.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard a lot about the new stuff, reviews about the album and such. The majority of the reviews seem to like it! We are very optimistic about this album; it’s very old school grindcore you know, Terrorizer style. This album is just pure, how you say… if you’re not familiar with grindcore, it’s just like a punch in the face, extremely fast, brutal songs. There are thirty songs on the special edition and I just, I truly love this album. I like it so much! I believe the sound and production came out better than the previous two albums, and I love the songs that Katina and Anthony wrote. There’s a little death metal mixed in, a little black metal, but the message for this album is pure; it’s all about what is in the world. All the economic problems, political problems, it’s about the truth. That’s what the lyrics are. It’s insane and well, Terrorizer is back! It’s pure extreme grind. I don’t know what to say.
We made a video for the title song, “Hordes of Zombies,” and that’s coming out soon as well. Just get ready, because we’re going to be touring, and this is the first time in history Terrorizer can tour beyond California. The first and second albums made this third one possible, but hopefully more people will like this than the others. They’re still important and part of our history, but I’m really excited about this new album.
Yeah, this is only the third Terrorizer record. There was a pretty long break between the first and second. Was that because everyone had other projects going on or were there other reasons?
Yeah, the first album came out in 1989 and the second in 2006. Morbid Angel started around 1990, and as soon as I joined them, Jesse [Pintado] joined Napalm Death, and we both had a lot of work with those bands. That’s why it took so long; we didn’t have the time or patience to do another album. The original vocalist [Oscar Garcia] gave up on us and didn’t want to work with us. We tried to get as many original members [back], but there were a lot of issues. Oscar was a family man and was working with Nausea, a local band, and then Jesse passed away. Anthony was very close with Jesse, for years and years, and that was hard, too.
Is it very different working with Katina Culture? There’s always been a lot of heat surrounding women in metal — does that ever affect the band?
The number one thing everyone needs to know is that she and Anthony wrote all the songs. If you write something, it’s yours. She’s already been a guitarist for many years, and maybe not in a grindcore band, more hardcore, but she took this opportunity, and felt honored to be included. I think she will be perfect for us. We haven’t spent much time together, we haven’t done any shows yet. just recording. But she and Anthony are the perfect couple for this band. I wrote the drum parts, but they wrote the music. We all get along so well, we’re like family, and that’s how a band should be. Our personalities just match, we’re all equal. We’re all great musicians and have the ambition to bring these songs and albums [to life].
David Vincent also plays on this album, right? You, of course, know him from Morbid Angel.
He was asked to do this by the label because they were anticipating a huge Morbid Angel album and thought Dave playing on this record would attract more attention and be great. The label insisted on it, and that’s how Dave came to be on the album. For me, this is a three-piece band, and he’s a seasonal who came in to play bass. Of course, we will have a bassist on the road for tours as well, but not Dave, as he’s busy with Morbid Angel.
Speaking of Morbid Angel, what did you think of the new album? You didn’t play on it at all, right?
Yeah, I had my back surgery and I had to be in recovery, so I didn’t play on the album. I don’t know — I don’t know what they thought… the first half of the album was okay, but it definitely wasn’t fresh and new. And then the techno songs on the album? I don’t know why they did that with the DJs, they could’ve have just done a separate project without calling it a Morbid Angel album. That might have been better. The reviews and fans were not very happy, I don’t think. But I’ve been with them for twenty-plus years and I wish them well.
That’s kind of an understatement. But back to Terrorizer, you do plan on touring, right?
I’m dying to go play Terrorizer songs! We’ve never done a tour together and even if we do like a two-week thing, that’ll be like wow! We are hoping the album does well. I think a lot of people are anticipating this album as well. I want to go play the songs because that’s what I do best and what I love to do. I’ve been doing it for over twenty years.
Any favorite songs?
This album just gets better and better, especially toward the end. You know why we have so many songs? Because they’re all three minutes of brutal, extreme, Terrorizer-style grindcore. I think Katina, I don’t know what she does, but she’s added this new style, a new style of picking, maybe? Anyway, it’s so clean it’s like a chainsaw; you can hear all the noise. It’s not too much, not too little. All the songs are good but I really like, “Generation Chaos,” and… let’s see, I don’t have the names in front of me, but…”Subterfuge,” that’s also very good. My favorite might be “State of Mind,” and then the special edition has a new song, too, “Wretched.”
I just love the way [the album] starts off; a little bit long, a little intense. The way the guitars sound and its just Terrorizer from start to finish. I’m telling you, I expect eighty percent of the population to love this album, as opposed to the last one, which something like forty percent liked. The sound production was not… well… there wasn’t much production. That’s why I’m ecstatic about this album; now we have three albums, we have enough material to tour. We’re writing and working on new stuff too and who knows. This is my first band, the band I started playing in. I never want to give up on it and we just want to work hard and play our music.
That sounds great, that’s the way it should be. Any last thoughts you want to share?
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, and for giving attention to Terrorizer, and we’ll see you on the road!