It’s a fact that’s been creeping up on the scene for a while now: the borders that used to define the music industry have burst open. Thanks to the internet, global metal is available to everyone’s ears. If you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves, you can get your message out there – even if you have to fight twice as hard in the process.
“I would say music in Russia is very bad,” sighs Slaughter To Prevail frontman Alex Shikolai, a native of Yekaterinburg. “As far as metal goes, good music only began to appear here about 10 years ago, when the rest of the world got it 30 years ago! The other problem in Russia is that we have a church that hates metal music and believes that it’s all Satanic. Many metal shows are cancelled because they judge people who say, ‘God does not exist!’ It’s insane, you know what I mean?”
Frustrated with the limitations and narrow-minded attitudes towards heavy music in his home country, Alex made a point of trying to reach beyond his local scene.
“Every time I tried to find someone like me who wants to do music on a professional level, there was no one around,” says Alex. “And I thought to myself, ‘Fuck it, I will do covers!’ and I dropped my first ones on YouTube. I got a lot of hype around my videos, and I was surprised when [guitarist] Jack Simmons, from England, found me and messaged me on Facebook, saying, ‘Hey, man! Let’s do some shit!’ So we put a few songs on the internet and people liked it. A lot of water has flowed after that time and we continue to develop.” The duo have been joined by drummer Anton Poddyachy, but Alex insists, “Jack and I are the fathers of this band.”
The result is Slaughter To Prevail’s monstrous new album, Misery Sermon, a record that takes the sound of classic pummelling death metal and brings it kicking and screaming into the present day.
“We will be the number one deathcore band,” Alex says very simply when asked about the drive to make music. “Trust me. I want that shit. My only goal is to do what I want, and I want to make heavy shit.”
Something else that adds to the Slaughter To Prevail experience is the freaky masks that Alex and Jack wear onstage – something Alex insists is more than a gimmick, and that other members will have to earn in the future.
“This is my soul. This is what and how I have felt about myself since I was just a child,” explains Alex of his mask. “It reflects my personality. I’m pretty sure each member will have their own original mask in the future, but they need to deserve it. Show me you want to be a part of what I want to do with my life.”
And Alex has a simple message for anyone wanting to escape the limits of their surroundings:
“If you really want it,” he says “distance doesn’t really matter.”
MISERY SERMON IS OUT NOW VIA SUMERIAN