-- Legion of the Damned gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
I had my work cut out during the Evil Or Die Fest (October 15, 2016) as I had no less than four interviews during that event. And as if Spoil Engine, the Curse of Millhaven and After All weren't enough, I also had the chance to talk to Legion of the Damned!

So what do I discuss with a band that has already appeared at Graspop Metal Meeting multiple times? Well, I was curious to know how this year's GMM went for Maurice and Twan, their trip through Russia and their upcoming 10th anniversary tour through their home country. Of course we also went a little off the cheesy interview track by talking about our favorite Belgian beers, the hellish sounds of a frying machine and bananas?! No monkey business here!

BMS: Hello Maurice and Twan! I recall your show at Graspop Metal Meeting this year. I had a lot of fun during the festival and I was wondering how the event went for Legion of the Damned.
Twan: Playing at Graspop always is a bit of homecoming for us. As a band you get a warm, relaxed welcoming from the GMM personnel and everything's well arranged for you. Although you do have to remain at your proper part of the backstage area. You couldn't, let's say, have a walk through the entire backstage compound and have a casual chat with someone like Iron Maiden.

Maurice: Yeah, this year the Maiden crew even had their own backstage village.
BMS: In 2013 you released a split EP with Kreator, right?
Maurice: That's right indeed. Back then both we and Kreator were part of Nuclear Blast and our manager came up with the idea to do a split EP with Kreator in order to promote our then upcoming new album Ravenous Plague. So we chose the track Summon All Hate to go alongside Kreator's live version of From Flood Into Fire and combined with the tour we did with Kreator it gave us some really nice publicity.

BMS: Are you currently working on a successor for 2014's album Ravenous Plague?
Maurice: At the moment we're writing new material, but we do take our time to get our ideas into place. We don't settle for anything less than a worthy successor to Ravenous Plague!

Twan: Yeah, we could just write something similar to Ravenous Plague and call it a day, but we don't want to cheaply capitalize on that album's success. We're looking at our discography as a whole and we want to both capture the essence of Legion of the Damned's sound as well as adding some new surprises to keep our fans excited.
BMS: Legion of The Damned has been going on for ten years now, share with me some of your best experiences?
Maurice: The professional and personal road of Legion of the Damned has went pretty smoothly up till now. From the very beginning we had a clear vision about how Legion of the Damned should sound and look like and everyone in the band is thankful for the time and effort they've already put into making this vision a reality.

Twan: I'd say our trip through Russia was certainly one exotic journey.
BMS: Tell me about it.
Twan: If you enjoy rough bread and chocolate then Russia is the place to go!

Maurice: Well, we Western folks are obviously used to having huge, varied meals. But in Russia they don't have access to many different food resources. Especially bananas are a rare treat there! Except for the final show in Russia, then they suddenly provided us with a huge supply of bananas. And we ate them all!
BMS: What next projects are there in store for Legion of the Damned?
Twan: For the first time in LOTD's existence we'll be doing club shows in our home country of the Netherlands. Before that, we only did one or two shows there each time we were on tour. Now, we're going to celebrate LOTD's tenth anniversary in our home country!

Maurice: After that local tour we're going to Spain with Tankard and then we're off to South-America. So we can eat lots of bananas!
BMS: Yeah, bananas are great for breakfast, lunch, dessert etc.
Twan: Fuck yeah! In fact, when a festival provides us with food, we have the habit to eat everything the organization provides for us except for the fruit. Unless said fruit includes bananas!
BMS: What other activities do the two of you do aside from Legion of the Damned?
Maurice: I've got my own music video production company. I take care of the direction and all the post-production elements like visual effects and editing. I've created music videos for bands like Exodus, Kataklysm, Orphanage and of course Legion of the Damned.

Twan: I play in another band called Soulburn in which I provide bass and vocals. And I work as a customer service agent for a water providing company.
BMS: Do you get many complaints from customers?
Twan: Well, that's part of the job. But I always say, don't fret about it. It's only water, as long as there's beer, no problem to be had.

Maurice: Especially when it's Belgian beer. We like drinking Stella Artois, Orval, Brugse Zot and Palm. Jupiler not so much, as it feels too bitter for us.
BMS: Ah yes! We've got a lot of great beers, but I'm sure you Dutch people also have lots of great liquid stuff to offer.
Twan: What beers do you like to drink?
BMS: I love drinking Lachouffe, Orval, Palm and Jupiler. As for non-Belgian beers I dig Guinness and Cubanisto a lot. And plenty of whiskeys too.
BMS: Tell me, your lyrics are written by Tony "Skullcrusher" Manero. What are some of his inspirations?
Twan: Well, like us Tony isn't very keen on religion. We consider religion as a means to keep people dumb and obedient. So for that reason we always want to include at least one anti-religious song in every Legion of the Damned album. Aside from that, Tony also takes cues from the books of H.P. Lovecraft, WWII, etc.

Maurice: You know, listening to that disturbing, hissing sound of the frying machine plugged in next to us I get the feeling that the gates of hell have opened up just a couple of steps away from us. I should ask Tony to write a song about that!
BMS: Yeah, the gates of hell frying everything in sight!
BMS: Are you happy to be here at Evil Or Die Fest?
Maurice: We certainly are. You know, this is one of the rare times that we play at a Belgian festival not named Graspop. But we certainly like it here, we've got a friendly welcoming from the organization and received good food. Plus this venue is much smaller and intimate than GMM and from time to time we like to play somewhere cozier.
BMS: I'm sure Dieter and Eve will love to hear that. And do you have any other funny remarks?
Maurice: Do you know why a banana is bent? BMS: No, you tell me? Maurice: Because otherwise he won't fit the package!
BMS: Well let's hope our picture fits the article!

Legion Of The Damned - Doom Priest