Sean Peck Raises Some Hell
San Diego's Power Metal 'Cage' have finally released their debut album, which is a awesome release. The band fronted by Sean peck have released 3 previous albums in the past, 'Unveiled' was the bands debut album, which was pretty impressive stuff and opened a door way for cage to play the Dynamo Festival in Holland back in the 90's. it's been a whilst since I last interviewed the band, that was back when I was doing a fanzine. Since then the band have never looked back and have gone from strength to strength and when the band released 'Darker Than Black' saw the band heading for a promising future. San Diego has seen some pretty cool bands come and go, Catharsis (Mikey Niel's old band) and Psychotic Waltz has to be the finest act to ever come out of San Diego, this is something that even Sean would not disagree with. With the band recently released their new album 'Hell Destroyer' is yet another step forward for this powerful Power Metal act, and now signed to MTM the future couldn't be more promising for this act. If you're a fan of either Judas Priest, Savatage, Iced Earth to name a few, then this is the band for you. Sean Peck spoke to me about the new album, what the future holds for the band & some warm up questions to get the interview started. Here is what Sean had to say to the following and many more questions.
"Yeah Sean, good to speak to you again, hope things are going well for you and the band. Looking back at the bands previous material which is you're favourite and why? any least favs?
"Well It's good to speak to you too Jase, damn its been a while bro!! I'd have to say that the 'Darker Than Black' CD is the favourite out of the previous CDs, why? Well we got rid of Eric our old guitarist and he was more into the Blues side of Rock and it would always be him & myself who would always argue about the song writing and Dave would sit in the back and wait for us to start arguing. After he left Dave would come to the forefront with more confidence, so I lot of his writing and mine really did shine through on the 'Darker Than Black' CD. That album was a break through for us as we were free from out musical inspirations and we had the chance to go more in a 'Painkiller' style of metal music. As for my least favourite, that's a tuff question, 'Unveiled' as a bunch of killer songs so did 'Astrology' and the only thing I don't like about the 2nd album is the fact that we went through hell with the mixing. We mixed the album with the same guy who did the debut album and it turned out horrible so we had to go back in and do an emergency remix at 2am till 8pm as we were out of money. We still feel to this day that it is still not mixed right so we are thinking of remixing the whole record and releasing it again."
Do you feel that re-releasing the 1st album through Omega records was a good thing for the band?
"Yeah it was, they helped us out a lot and now we are backing with Sebastian on MTM. I made a lot of money on the debut album as I sold a lot myself and then we licensed it to. We made a little bit of a profit on the 2nd album but not that much to be honest."
Playing the Dynamo festival in Holland back in the 90's, was it that festival that got you your deal with Omega Records?
"Yeah I would say so, the debut got us signed and playing that festival was awesome, the kids loved us!!"
So for the 3rd album 'Darker Than Black' you signed to Massacre Records, what went wrong with them, they seem like a decent label.
"Well I had to sue Massacre Records because in a German court. They didn't pay me what they owed me and we presented them with all these tours and and we had 1 tour with Kamelot and they decided to pull the plug at the last minute. It was strange as that album was getting some killer reviews and the more we dealt with Massacre Records the more they had no idea and when we talked about playing festivals they had no idea. Now they have some feud going on with Wacken that none of their band will ever play Wacken, which is a shame. We finally met up with them at the 'Bang Your Head' festival in Germany and I asked them to let us go from the contract. They said they would never release us, they said we will destroy the band, so I said' why don't I smash your faces in!' So later on they knew something was going to happen and later on we massacred them in court."
I must admit that the cover with the 3D effect looks really cool, who's idea was it to do that?
"Well that was Massacre Records idea, I thought it looked cool but I feel it would of been better to spend some money on the band and get us out on the road touring. The cover was done by the same artist who does the Halford & Dio covers.
"I have noticed that there is a song from that album which has been recorded twice, 1 in English and the other in Spanish, why was that?
"Well the 'Chupacabra' is a south American thing a little bit like 'Big Foot' and we knew we were getting into the Spanish market. So I decided to sing it in Spanish and my manager wrote the words out for me.
Tell me a little bit about the new album, the lyrical consent etc...
"Well this album is based on the revelations of the bible. On the new album there was going to be a bonus track which was going to be sang in German called 'Skinned Alive', which is kind of like a 'Rammstein' kind of thing. Everybody in the band was against it so I sung most of it in English. I think it will be on our Japanese CD as a bonus track."
Before signing to MTM, which other labels did you approach?
"Well we sent the CD out to every label man!! We were very close to signing to Metal Blade and the owner wanted to do it, but there were a couple of people who didn't want to to sign us. We were also working with Manowar for 2yrs and it fell apart and it didn't work out. We have been working with Manowar for a few years now and we thought we were going to be a 'Full Magic Circle' act. We were going to sign to Metal Blade, but somebody from the label didn't like us that much but Brian loved us. Later on when we released the enxt album we got rave reviews and Brian was upset that he never signed us up, i really did loose out!!"
Are you happy to be back with MTM Records?
"Yeah for sure, they have a lot of traditional Metal and they put a good effort into what they do. I cant believe that a lot of labels didn't take our album, they really did shit out on a awesome release, oh well there loss is MTM's gain!! I would of liked to of seen my advertising for the new album."
Is this new album the 1st album that has been a concept album? Or did you have this idea for the last album?
"Well we were going to do a concept for the 'Astrology' album but it wasn't the right timing, I would of loved to of done 1 then, but it wasn't meant to be. I came up with the name for the new album 'Hell Destroyer' and I thought it was a bad ass name, really cool!! I knew that you couldn't get any more metal than the name we had for the new album. I love the title. So I went into the studio and ran the ideas through the band and Dave was blown away by it, so the more I started putting to the album the more the band were into it. I found a guy who does comic artwork and I gave him some ideas and he did the rest of the artwork for us. You really have to see the booklet for the CD, its the main story line bro!! I know you only have a promo so it's hard for you to see the whole picture Jase. The booklet is 28 pages of graphics and we were going to do a comic but it would of taken for ever!! There is a picture for each song and it tells the story for the whole album."
Tell me a little bit about the songs from the new album, are the lyrics wrote by yourself or is it a team effort? Also was it difficult to put this album together?
"No I write all the lyrics, and I came but with the story. I wrote all the melody lines, lyrics, and vocal melodies and guitar parts too. It was difficult to put the album together, because we had to top the 'Darker Than Black' album and I think we are 1 of the few bands that can achieve that as we have top each album over 1 another."
Do you think that you can top the current album with the next 1? Will it be hard to make the next record even stronger?
"Well I think we always seem to arise to the occasion and I think that is why it takes so long for us to release a new album because of that. Getting rid of Massacre Records really helped us out. We play a lot of new songs live to the fans before we record them to see how the fans react to them and I think that is really good. Its about the songs and the quality of the songs for us, and I think we can do that with every album."
Briefly, what are the songs about on the new record?
"Well 'Hell Destroyer' is about when Gods most feared battle is about to start when the battle angel does down to hells city and rips the place apart and that is in the middle of the story when Satan is killed on earth over the battle of humanity. The album starts in the middle and after that he sits on the throne of hell and watches over mankind lives on up above. Next is 'Christ Hammer', that is were the story would actually start and its like at the crucifixion were Jesus tells everybody that he is going to be killed. It is also a double meaning to that one, the Christ hammer is the hammer that nails Christ to the cross and they have to save that because they use that later on in the story to kill the Anti-Christ in now times. Next is 'Born In Blood' this is about the evil side and that is about taking the blood from the shroud of Turin and in the story they steal the shroud and extract the blood and then clone Jesus and make him into the Anti-Christ. Next is 'Abomination', that was actually going to be a bonus track on the CD but I just didn't feel that the song was strong enough. Its one of those songs were I wrote most of it and the more I heard it the more I started to hate it and the band were liking it more. That is were the Anti-Christ rises up through for lords of chaos were everything is moving towards a new world and a 1 world government. Its kind of like the Omen films. Next is 'Rise Of The Beast' were he takes total control over the planet. Its a long story Jase, I could talk about it all day. It's a hard and in depth story, so once you see the booklet and read the lyrics it all becomes clear. At least you have some idea to what the whole idea is all about"
Are you a religious band or a anti-religious band?
"Well we are doing a lot of interviews for Christian Metal mags, and Mikkey G and myself are the only 2 Christians within the band and I didn't make it into a Christian album, but if you're going to do a concept then what would be the most bad ass concept you could ever write? So I came up with the idea for 'Hell Destroyer' and the Armageddon is the most bad ass thing you can imagine, the end of the world!! Most metal bands have started something like this, but never actually finished it. Whereas, we did the end of the world story and put the nail in the coffin so there will never be another devil song or the end of the world song without referring to Cage. Now I have that out of my system the next album will not have demons and angel in it. I wanted to do that album without leaving any stone uncovered or unturned.
I noticed that you have a song on the new album titled 'King Diamond', is it a King Diamond song?
"No actually it is not a King Diamond song, its a song about King Diamond. At first I was going to do a song like King and sing like him but then I decided to do a song based around him. This is a idea that I 1st wrote for the new album and it is a tribute to him, I think it turned out really well and yeah I can sing like King for sure!!! The King fans really love it down here and its getting a lot of air play too. I'm not sure if he has heard the song yet."
When you said earlier that you are religious, what religious bands have inspired you?
"I love Stryper, there cool, but I'm not inspired by them. I'm not trying to push my believes on people and my goal on this album was to make Gods warriors look even more bad ass then the satanic shit, and people are into it because it is so bad ass, its bullshit man!! So if you can make the God stuff even more bad ass then I've achieved something cool!!"
Has the album been getting good reviews so far?
"Hell yeah!! It's been getting awesome reviews so far, a couple of guys in Italy gave it 4/10, which I couldn't believe, fuck that!!! So far it's been getting awesome reviews and people are saying it sounds like 'Painkiller' Pt.2. We worked so hard on this record and its good to get awesome reviews."
Who produced the new album as I only have a promo?
"it was produced by Richard Carr who did the last 1, and we wanted to record the album using analog to get the classic sound without using pro-tools or plug ins. It went to tape and we wanted an organic sound for this album and that's what we got For the next album we will use Pro-tools so we will sound fresh again. Richard worked his ass off on this record for about a year."
So how do you see this album as a progression from the previous albums?
"Well vocally I see it a massive step forward as I can do things now that I could not do before. It was a lot faster and heavier and more ripping. Its a vicious album and we love it!!"
"Will you be recording a promo video for this album?
"Well we just filmed a video
for 'Hell Destroyer' and we are doing a live DVD filmed from Mexico. We are also
doing a live video for the song 'I Am The King'. The live DVD will be out in
winter, we are releasing about 4-5 old items back then. The DVD which is out now
was filmed in Switzland which was a small festival and it is cool. We also have
'The Law' CD coming out which is songs that we never released, they are songs
before 'Unveiled' its 96 early stuff that we didn't release, some of the songs
are on the album but in a different context. We also have a CD out called 'The
Cage Hidden Sessions', which are cover songs that we did and some un-released
stuff etc...and we also have a CD coming out called 'The No Mad Tapes', which is
stuff that I did with Eric before Cage which is more prog metal, its worth
So moving on, as this year is going to be the year for Cage, do you have any festivals or tours line-up soon?
"Well we are waiting for this promoter to see what will come up for us. I'd love to play something like Bloodstock or the ProgPower festival in the UK next year."
Well Sean, I want to wish you and the band all the success for the future, take care and do you have anything to ad before we finish? I'd also like to wish the best of luck for Mikey Niel who recently left the band.
"Yeah Id like to thank our fans for their loyal support and I hope to see you all on tour very soon. Look out for our shit that is coming out really soon. Take care Jase and see you soon brother!!!"
Cage are looking for a new drumer right now, so anybody who thinks they can handle their music should contact the band at: www.cageheavymetal.com