Interview: Marco Banco of Tyrants Blood

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Tyrants Blood was started by ex-Witches Hammer/ex-Blasphemy guitarist Marco Banco in the year 2006. Their underground classic debut album, Into the Kingdom of Graves, was recently re-released by Tridoid Records. Al Necro got together with the legendary guitarist of Blasphemy to revisit one of underground kvlt metal’s most defining moments.

The initial release of Into the Kingdom of Graves occurred during a time that was known for groove metal and alt metal predominantly. How do you feel about the very positive reception of Into the Kingdom of Graves in light of the fact that it was perhaps released before its time? Do you agree that Tyrants Blood would have more success in the present metal climate, what with genres and sub-genres being so much more proliferate and diverse these days?
Well fashion be damned I say. Music is purely subjective as an art form. As has been the motto always, perhaps even a bit too rigid at times, always go against the grain. I suppose it comes from the old days. That angst and abhorrence for anything posing as rebellious. Only to be exposed truly as a try hard attempt to become institutionalized into some chic clique. But honestly, that album was as naturally written as anything before. There is no “we need to sound more like” within the vocabulary or inside the process.
I got a chance to listen to Into the Kingdom of Graves again, and I have no doubt that it is underrated in spite of its acclaim from critics worldwide. Would you agree that the breakneck speeds and musicianship that made the album so enjoyable can barely be matched by bands today that attempt to play at such blistering tempos? Will there be a re-release of your other records by Tyrants Blood?
Thanks for the massive props. But I hear quite a few groups in this style. Different of course, but very proficient. However, listening back, we did perform the quickest bpm’s on this album in comparison to our previous releases. The songs needed that maniacal energy to complete the work.
I believe the previous albums will be re released at some point. Personally, I’ve always thought PROPHECY would look great on vinyl.
You guys were signed to Invictus Productions in Ireland after the release of your debut. How was it like working for a bigger label and were your releases with them of comparable quality to Into the Kingdom of Graves in your opinion?
Invictus was a fine label for the EP and the Crushing Onward Into Oblivion album. But before that, Morbid Moon was great for our debut. Of course, Mutilation Records also took on Crushing Onward Into Oblivion for the South American area. Tridroid records did quite well with Into The Kingdom of Graves I think. Each label has done well.
When I listen to Into the Kingdom of Graves, I think that even bands like Conqueror pale in comparison due to the brutal tempos that Tyrants Blood easily makes masterful use of. Which bands in the scene back then or today would you recommend to fans of this style, if any?
I‘ll always be a fan of Destroyer666, especially the latest release. If people haven’t heard Force of Darkness original demo and release or Verminous first album, get on that today. Those are very good albums and demos. Unmatched in my opinion.
Track 8 on Into the Kingdom of Graves is a divergence from most of the music that comprises the album. Can you share your thoughts on what inspired this interlude?
That piece was inspired by the influence of old Black Sabbath albums. Seems I’ve always written some sappy interlude in between the chaos. An eye in the storm of you will. That piece was put together with Martin Meyer (Disciples of Power/Aggression) and myself in the studio one day. We just started laying down guitar tracks till it felt proper.
Please describe your experiences with your former bands as opposed to your stint on Tyrants Blood. Does Tyrants Blood offer you more opportunity to play what is closer to your artistic vision?
My first band, Witches Hammer, was started when I was 14 in 1984, and continued until I was 19. Lots of changes in those years. A great way to channel all that teenage aggression and angst. The positive effect was that we were the only speed/thrash metal band in the city for almost 2 years. So we had the opportunity to perform with every deadly band that came through our city. When I joined Blasphemy, a completely different style, so again, I got to absorb a wicked world of ideology and energy that had great influence on me. With Tyrants Blood, I would bet that if I was to analyze it, it would be parts of those two worlds colliding in a galactical juggernaut.
What forms of experimentation do you find exciting to integrate into Tyrants Blood’s sound? Is the music always going to be uncompromisingly brutal, the way Into the Kingdom of Graves was made?
The sound will evolve naturally without much overthinking. It’s inevitable, the new material is already marked with a different sound than any of the previous releases, which in turn are all individually different from one another. It’s always going to be be very heavy, very fast, but variations in writing will come by in a very organic manner.
The re-release by Tridoid Records is timely considering that most newer fans easily pleased with lesser efforts are not aware of Into the Kingdom of Graves. Does it excite you to campaign for the album all over again, and what are your hopes for the album this time around that are different from the initial release of the album?
I am glad to see it , I like that Tridroid will be adding the digital COVEN download with it. That has previous material from our other albums. So that’s positive to me.
What other projects are you working on these days that would be of any interest to fans of Tyrants Blood or your former bands?
Our new album is written and ready to crawl back into the dungeon studio to record again. The demo for the album is just being finished up, I’m excited to get that moving, and really looking forward to laying down these fresh cuts.
Is Tyrants Blood releasing any new material soon? If so, when can we expect some samples of the new album to surface?
Damn, already answered this question before I read this one. But to reiterate, yes and yes. New album and a new demo, fresh meat for the wolves.
Thank you for speaking with me and allowing me the chance to share your insights with the Nine Circles audience. I am a fan of many of your previous projects and wish you the best in your plans for future ones.

Your servant, massive thanks supporting our initiatives.

Many thanks to Marco for his time!

– Al Necro


Into the Kingdom of Graves is available now on Tridroid Records. For more information on Tyrants Blood visit their Facebook page.

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