-- Balance Of Terror gets shredded! --
On September 28, 2018 I went to music bar the Giraffe in Zwalm for the birthday party of my friend and loyal fan Stephanie. She brought along local comedic grindcore band Steengruis and French death metal band Balance of Terror to entertain all the people invited. Since I had already met Balance of Terror’s frontman Flo Butcher a month earlier at the Zottegem carnival I decided to sit together with him after the gig to discuss Balance of Terror’s origins, how they managed to get a record label for their very first release and Flo offers some advice to death and metalcore vocalists! Check it out!
BMS: First off, congratulations on doing a great show tonight! The music was tightly played with plenty of brutality and melody and you’re an excellent frontman. Wide vocal range, a physically imposing look and plenty of headbanging moves.
Flo Butcher: Thanks a lot, Metal Shredder! Me and the guys had a great time tonight as well. There was high quality sound both on stage and in the audience and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback not just from you but from other people in the crowd as well. So everyone can head home with a smile on their faces!
BMS: Did you play in Belgium before?
Flo Butcher: Yes, we’ve already played several gigs in Belgium, with fellow Belgian acts like Serial Butcher and Putrid Inbred. Great guys, it’s always fun playing with them and their music styles perfectly complement ours.
BMS: That’s right, brutal death metal galore! Now tell me something about your band’s origins.
Flo Butcher: Balance of Terror came to fruition in 2014. Me and the other guys all come from the Saint-Omer region, located north of France between Calais and Lille. Gaz Oil (our guitarist) and Mat Trak (our drummer) came up with the idea of bringing us all together and make something of our own after we had already played in other French death metal bands like Egorged, Torment, Butcher Instinct and Rest In Pain.
BMS: And last year you released your first album, World Laboratory.
Flo Butcher: Yes, we released it through Japanese record label Ghastly Music. The album was well-received and it has given us the confidence to continue expanding our sound.
BMS: How did you actually manage to got a record label for your very first release? I know a lot of bands who release their first album(s) independently and I think they would love to hear your little “secret.”
Flo Butcher: There’s no secret at all but to do your homework! We looked at the material we had written at the time and we selected one song to record and mix to the best of our abilities and budgets. Once the song was ready I looked throughout the internet for labels who may be interested in signing us. It was a long and tedious process, but in the end we had about three different record labels who wished to work with us. Ghastly Music gave us the best offer and helped us at lot in covering the distribution costs for our first album. I believe that looking for a record label is like looking for a job with your recorded song(s) functioning as your curriculum vitae. Make some good material, record and mix it like a pro and search as long as necessary until you get signed! That’s all!
BMS: What are your future plans?
Flo Butcher: We’re working on a new album, this time we’ve got two guitarists (Jean Gui joined us a few months ago) so that opens up a lot of new possibilities for us. In addition, we now do a lot more songwriting together. With World Laboratory, Gaz Oil wrote all the music and I did all the lyrics. Our new material will sound similar to World Laboratory but with more depth, technique and variety. We’re also looking for a new record label. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a good collaboration with Ghastly Music but they only focused on the logistics and the overall distribution and not the promotional aspects. So we hope to find a new label who can help us out with that as well! As for gigs, I’m looking to book our band for some shows in Germany and other places in Europe. As always, I’m going to search the web for promoters and bookers and hopefully get some positive answers soon. Because who seeks shall find and who knocks shall be opened unto, and in our case you can take at quite literally!
BMS: Speaking about opening doors, in May 2018 you opened up for Napalm Death! How did that evening go?
Flo Butcher: We received the invitation from the event’s organization (it took place in Le Poche, a venue in the city of Bethune, not far from our hometown) and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first read the email. It’s had always been our dream to open up for a band like Napalm Death and there was our chance! It also was one of the first gigs we did with Jean so people who knew us already had the chance to be treated to Balance of Terror 2.0! It was a truly memorable night for all of us and we hope to open up for other death metal giants in the future!
BMS: I’m sure more of such opportunities will arrive soon! Tell me, Flo, your vocals are pretty impressive, do you have any special techniques to achieve and maintain your voice?
Flo Butcher: I’ve being singing death metal on a continuous basis for twelve years now and to be honest, I don’t have any special techniques or rituals that I do before gigs. However, one thing I never do is putting my microphone directly on top of my mouth as many death and metalcore vocalists do. You can sound just as brutal and clear if you put the mic a couple of centimeters away from your mouth and that way your facial expressions are more visible! In addition, I breathe through my belly, allowing me to push a lot of air through my mouth.
BMS: I see, so, what other things do you do in life aside from Balance of Terror?
Flo Butcher: I also sing in a Belgian slam death metal band called Human Vivisection and I frequently go to the gym to stay in good health and shape.
BMS: Good, good. You’ve got anything else to add before we take the picture?
Flo Butcher: Thanks for coming to tonight’s party and I hope to see you again soon!
Balance Of Terror - World Laboratory