Hello and welcome to Metal Invader. Truly happy to exchange a few words with you! Are you ok? How’s life treating you these days?
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to do this interview for you. I am great and life has been pretty cool lately. Happy to be part of this latest chapter of HEXX and excited see how the new record does.
Twenty six years after the release of your last full length album “Morbid Reality”, “Wrath of The Reaper” emerged. Why did take you so many years to release a new full length? What’s the main ‘obstacle’ you faced, considering you re-formed the band in 2013?
If you recall, the music scene in the 1990’s took a dramatic turn towards Grunge and Alternative Music and Metal Music just seemed irrelevant at the time. It was during this time the band decided to part ways and everyone went in different directions. While Clint Bower and John Shafer continued playing Metal, Dan Watson and Bill Peterson shifted gears, and put together a rockabilly outfit called TombStones releasing several CD’s. After the band reformed in 2013 and played Keep It True & Headbangers Open Air Hexx went through several personel changes until we got a solid lineup. Once the lineup was solidified, writing and coming up with the material that is on Wrath of the Reaper, came rather quickly.
It’s common knowledge that Hexx disbanded during 1995 – 2013. Why did this happen in the first place and what made you reconsider?
From struggling through the bands early years on Shrapnel, changing singers from Dennis Manzo on “No Escape” to Dan Bryant on “Under the Spell, to changing the bands style and subsequently releasing “Quest for Sanity” and “Morbid Reality” with Clint Bower on vocals, the band had simply run its course and was burned out from years of trying to “Make It” in the business. It was during this time the band decided to call it a day. Now we fast forward to 2013. Hexx being offered to play at the KIT Festival is what got the ball rolling. We still weren’t sure whether the band would continue after KIT but the once the band started to gain some steam it was full speed ahead. We haven’t looked back since.
Despite the band’s hiatus, Hexx has been around since 1983; that’s a whole life, if you ask me. What keeps Hexx on edge and eager? What’s your main driving force?
This current line-up, and the passion we all share for this music, is what keeps the band motivated. And now, with the release of Wrath of the Reaper, and all the positive response we have been receiving, we are more determined than ever to keep the fire burning and continue to deliver more great music to the fans!
How has the feedback for “Wrath of The Reaper” been so far by both Press and fans? Are you satisfied by the outcome? How does it feel to see that in 2017 you got still some diehard fans?
Early reviews of our record have been very positive. Critics and fans have been describing this record as having elements of NWOBHM as well as U.S bands Metal Church, Savatage, Vicious Rumors. All high praise, and we have been more than delighted by the overall response. Over the past few years we have been overwhelmed by the amount of diehard fans who have come forward. It is because of them, and of course the support of Bart Gabriel and High Roller Records, that we have been able to put out this record. For this, we are truly grateful!
What’s new in “Wrath of The Reaper”. Have you tried different approaches towards the composing process for example? What do you think is your new record’s main characteristic?
That’s a very good question! Hexx has quite a history of change. From our earlier power metal records No Escape with Dennis Manzo and Under the Spell with Dan Bryant, to the more speed/thrash/death metal style albums like Quest for Sanity, Watery Graves and Morbid Reality, Hexx has always given the fans something different. Hexx in 2017 is no exception. We have returned to our Power Metal roots with Wrath of the Reaper while also sprinkling elements from our thrash metal era during the late 1980’s.
Diving into the past, Hexx were initially formed under the moniker of “Paradox”. Why did you change your name afterwards and what were your ambitions back then?
When we signed our deal with Shrapnel Records back in 1983 there were already several bands calling themselves Paradox worldwide so to avoid confusion we changed our name to HEXX. Our ambitions were to be a great metal band, make kick ass records, tour the world and gain a global following!
Now that’s 2017 do you feel you’ve achieved your goals? How does it feel to be around 34 years later?
It feels good to be back doing HEXX again! We have not yet achieved our goal of total world domination but we are happy to be back in the game and on the playing field again. Being around for 34 years makes us kind of older but it also makes us a little wiser.
Since you we inside of things when metal music was thriving back in the ‘80s, what has mostly changed as time passed? What’s different now in the music industry from your point of view? Is there something you miss from back then?
Man…so much has changed in the music industry over the last 30 years, where do I begin! For one, the form of metal we were playing pretty much disappeared after the 1980’s. After the grunge movement came and went we did start to see metal and hard rock return, however, in a slightly different form. You see, the newer generation was not only influenced by the music they were exposed to by their parents, but they were also influenced by current music such as rap and hip hop. I have to admit, I was NOT a big fan of this era, but was glad to see metal making a return in whatever form it was. Today, the way we listen to and purchase music has completely changed and has made it difficult, for even veteran bands, to make a decent living. We have become travelling T-Shirt salesman. What I miss are all the great live venues! It used to be an event to go out on Friday and Saturday Night to see your favorite band. It’s just not the same anymore.
Besides ‘Tyrants of Steel Vol.1’, “Wrath of The Reaper” is your first release via High Roller Records. Do you feel you’ve found a new home? How has your collaboration been so far?
High Roller Records has been great and we are in much appreciation for all they have done. From the initial process of securing the contract, to the selection and recording of the songs, and selection of the artwork, the process has been very smooth. So far we are very pleased with how everything has come together and are looking forward to working with them over the next several years with this release and our next record due 2019.
Any plans of touring this autumn / winter? Is Greece included? What should your fans expect from you this season?
As of right now, the band has no tour support or any invitations to perform in Europe. Hopefully, after the record has been out for a while, we might get some opportunities to play in Europe in 2018 and beyond. Although we are very optimistic, alot is riding on how successful this album will be, so we will just have to wait and see.
That’s all from me, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Closing is yours; any messages for our readers?
Thank you for your well thought out questions and for the opportunity of this interview. And a HUGE THANKS to our fans worldwide. Without them, this new album would never have been possible. And last but certainly not least, a big thanks to our Management in Europe, Bart Gabriel Management and to High Roller Records, for giving us the opportunity to record this record!
See you in 2018 and beyond!