American MASKED JACKAL play a more technical Thrash Metal with the feeling of an old school, and that's important to me. On the one hand they are fresh, but they adhere to the spirit of old Metal. They don't sound like Slayer, Metallica or Testament, they go completely different direction, but they do not act like a retro Thrash. The band released only one demo from this year clearly named "Masked Jackal," so it's a pretty new band. I was curious to see how this band will strike. They responded promptly and the responses were momentarily in the mailbox. Questions were answered by Kumar (drums).
Greetings to MASKED JACKAL! It looks like your band is still relatively fresh, you have released only one "Masked Jackal" Demo '18. Could you reveal the basic motives for setting up the band? Who addressed whom and what is your vision of music?
It started about 3 years ago in 2015. Kumar (drums) I was looking to start a band so I jammed out with a old friend and he knew Steven (rhythm/lead guitar) then he also brought in our current vocalist/guitarist Anthony. Soon after we needed a bassist so I hit up my old band member Valentin (bass) and we've been playing ever since. Our vision is to play for as many people as we can and get our music to reach the farthest places in the world as well as playing all over the world.
Your band name is interesting. Is it inspired by the Swiss Coroner legend band or it is just a coincidence?
Yes the name is inspired by Swiss Metal legends Coroner! They are one of my favorite bands because of they're musicianship and being underrated over here in the U.S. I got the name from the song "Masked Jackal" off of Punishment For Decadence album.
Could you tell a little more about the "Masked Jackal" writing process? Who brings the most ideas, creativity and how does the rest of the band participate on the process? Do you think it's better when the music is composed by one member or when it's a joint work?
The writing process takes a lot of time because we try to fit good sounding transitions into new riffs and we also don't want to bore the listener by playing songs that sound too much like other bands they've listened to. It's much better when we all add our thoughts into the music because we usually don't have the same ideas so we work with each other to make the songs interesting.
It's not the easiest thing to label your music, but I guess I will not be wrong if I write it's a fusion of Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal with technical but also melodic overlaps. Could you write something about your music idols, influences and what music do you listen in either Metal or non-metal areas?
Yes! We agree it is not easy to label the music because we don't want to sound exactly the same as local bands or well known bands. You are correct though! We add in many Heavy metal, thrash, jazz, death ,black, and a lot of melodic influences.
Music Idols would definitely be Coroner, Dream Theater, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden , Destruction, Amon Amarth , Death, Nocturnus, Halloween, Angra and many more.
We listen to many genres from Jazz to punk to metal to reggae, electronic, gothic metal, doom metal, and pretty much anything that sounds good to our ears.
Your music is full of special aura of past times, the songs reminds me feeling of the 80s and 90s. Do you agree with my opinion? Does today Metal affect you as well?
Yes I agree they do remind us of 80s and 90s metal but we also listen to many modern artists.
Your music contains technical elements, but it is not literally technically precise. How much is technique in music important to you? Some passages slightly refer to a bit of Jazz's thoughts, but you're still sticking to Metal's soil in its traditional and classical form...
Technique is extremely important to us. We don't like playing EXTREMELY technical but we also don't like playing too simple. We try to find the right balance with each song and try not to make one song sound like the other. Jazz is definitely in our blood because we like noodling and adding odd time signatures.
Some bands are able to write riffs and tie them together, but as a song, it is more like a puzzle than a song. Many bands have forgotten to use grip, chorus and compositional flow, but that's not your case. What are your priorities and preferences for a song to really be a song?
We try to make each riff and passage flow fluidly with what comes after but also we want the listener to be surprised by the next part in the song.
The songs have to pack an extra punch and make you want to listen again and again.
The sound of demo is quite good and reminds me past times, everything sounds strictly analogous. How did you record it and where? Do you believe the sound of the band is actually soul and character and it is helping to complete the overall atmosphere of music? Have you ever been talking before recording how the demo should sound?
We recorded the demo with a good friend Toshi Kasai. He has recorded well known bands Tool, Foo Fighters, The Melvins and many others. The analog sound has much to do with it but yes we think we portray a Certain mood for each song to stay stuck in your head.
We didn't talk about how the recording should sound. Toshi is a master engineer and he helped us create the overall atmosphere as well.
Could you briefly introduce individual themes of your five songs on the demo? Which topics are most relevant to you and what importance do you attribute to the words you use? Do you think everything was "said" in Metal's genre or can you always come up with something new in terms of lyrics? Do you prefer a psychological or dark level of lyrics?
The song" Tales from the crypt" is about man who is imprisoned in hell and has to defeat Satan in order to be free but instead of leaving he takes over the hell realm.
"Inside the devil's den" is about soldiers in war seeing their best friends killed in action and leaving them feeling hopeless.
"Vanished Souls" is about a drug addict who destroys every relationship and everything in their life because of their addiction to drugs.
"Slice 'N' Dice" is about a murderer who cuts people into pieces with a rusty saw and keeps their heads and remains in a collection.
"Galactic Abduction" is about a man who is Abducted by Aliens and they experiment on him while he's awake and also they want to destroy our world.
What are your ambitions with MASKED JACKAL? Do you take your music rather as a fun or it is a very fanatical matter for you to express yourselves?
We take the band very serious and are trying to keep making interesting music for listeners all around the world who want to listen to something a bit more fresh than your generic metal songs.
On your facebook page I have noticed you are quite active in the live performances, you have played quite a lot of live gigs even with more famous bands. What do the live gigs mean to you? Do you prefer writing process, recording in a studio, or live presentations when you can meet the fans face to face?
We love performing live and we also love writing in the studio. Recordings can only give you a short scene of the music but when you experience us live you can definitely feel the intensity of the songs.
We have a small fanbase right now but we are growing and we definitely love to meet people who fall in love with our music.
Are you as a band totally cohesive and spend a lot of time together or you have a lot of other activities besides playing and you only meet in the rehearsal room and live performances? What are your relationships?
We are very cohesive. We used to all work together at the same jobs so we could make time to rehearse and we hangout a lot. We have our own rehearsal space now so we can get things done much quicker.
Ok, that is all from me, thank you for this interview and wish MASKED JACKAL wonderful times and interesting inspiration.
Thank you for the questions! And if possible please share our bandcamp links and Facebook page and also our Instagram page so we can get some new fans from over there. Thank you and much love from us!!
Kumar 9. 11. 2018 Mortuary
Tales from the Crypt