After reviewing their new 7” single, “Hell Comes to Life,” which is expected to be released in late March through Boris Records, I decided to come up with some questions for the Atlanta based thrash metal maniacs in Death of Kings. Two of the members, Matt Kilpatrick (Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals) and Scott Price (Bass / Backing Vocals), were kind enough to answer these questions that give more insight into the band's history and upcoming releases. Their enthusiasm for heavy metal music is undeniable and they are definitely an act to keep an eye out for in the world of metal.
Hi Matt and Scott! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about Death of Kings and what you guys have in the works for this year. 2017 is looking to be a busy year for the band.
Matt: Our pleasure, man. We’ve got a lot coming this year. This band has been at it for more than seven years and after numerous line-up changes, these guys are ready to show the metal world what they’ve been stewing on for so long.
Scott: With a single and a full length coming out, this is the year we’ve been working toward for a long time. The anticipation is killing me!
To begin, you guys have a new 7” single, “Hell Comes to Life,” that will be released March 31st through Boris Records. How excited are you about this release and what are your thoughts on the two songs featured on it? One of the songs is a killer cover of, “Hell Patrol,” by Judas Priest and I wanted to know what made you guys decide to choose that song in particular?
Scott: I was pushing for it for a long time. Painkiller has always been my favorite Judas Priest album. For so long I was dying to hear our vocalist/guitarist, Matt Matson, sing it. I’m really excited – it’s the first official release to feature Matt Kilpatrick, and we’ve been waiting to drop the song Hell Comes to Life since not long after we released the Knifehammer single in 2013.
Matt: We’re all really excited about this release. It’s the band’s first official release since the Knifehammer 7” and we’re extremely stoked on how this one sounds. Raheem Amlani (of Withered) of Orange Peel Studios really delivered on engineering these two songs, and Damian Herring (of Horrendous) mastered the tracks to perfection. When I was first thinking about joining the band in early 2015, our drummer, Amos, mentioned covering Priest’s “Hell Patrol” and I think that made me realize I was meant to play with these guys. That’s always been one of my top Priest songs, and I never thought I’d have the chance to play it with such rad dudes.
After the single is released I read that you have an album in the works that is expected to come out later this year. Can you maybe tell readers a bit more about when the full-length will be released? Also, how would you compare the new material to Death of King’s older material?
Scott: Having Knifehammer on the record really helps the transition from the old material to the new material. That song was really a turning point in our sound – and it set us down the path that lead to this album. Compared to the band’s previous efforts, this full-length is a complete work – every one really stepped up their game to bring a crushing final product.
Matt: The full length is scheduled for an early June release. The new material is far more developed, destructive, and vicious than previous efforts. The band has gone through its fair share of line-up’s before my time, and I think the band has really cemented their identity with the songwriting it’s been doing since the last single in 2013.
The band has been around since 2009, however, Matt joined later on from what I read in the bio. Matt, how did you come to join Death of Kings? Also, I know that you play in another awesome brutal band called, Cemetery Filth, so I wanted to know what it’s like balancing the work between two bands?
Scott: THIS IS NOT ABOUT SCOTT. NEXT QUESTION.
Matt: Haha… I didn’t join Death of Kings officially until early 2015. I temporarily left Cemetery Filth in late December on 2014, and moved back to my hometown of Atlanta. Death of Kings drum lord, Amos, knew me from booking a couple of Filth shows, and asked if I was interested in joining DoK. Based off my prior knowledge of Death of Kings, I wasn’t sure if my riffing style would work with the band – but he showed me some secret demos of some new songs that really turned my head. I was extremely excited to finally play in a band with songs in the classic thrash vein. I grew up on 80’s thrash metal and slowly developed into a death metal guy. Being able to play in a band that plays the old thrash style in such a new and refreshing way really fulfilled a lot of dreams I had as a teen in Atlanta, back before the metal scene had fully re-developed.
Balancing work between the two bands can be difficult – but we all make it work. The Filth guys still live up in Northern Tennessee, so I’m about 5 hours from them. It sucks, but we make it work – and Amos’ promotion company, A.Rippin Production, still treats us as Atlanta-locals – so we’ve gotten a lot of opportunities through him that we’re eternally grateful for (thanks man!) Both bands are on different schedules, though. I’m very lucky in that respect.
We all have had more than one project going at once... Our vocalist/lead guitarist, Matt Matson, recently re-started an old hardcore band (and underground legends), The Despised; Amos has been full-force with Death of Kings while in grind destructors, Spewtilator, new wave vet’s, Lust, and until recently, Magoo’s Heroes, as well as some other fun new projects; and Scott’s been working with a local band called Air Wolves. When you’re into music – you make time for it. If you don’t have the time for it, well…You usually start looking for a new job.
Death of Kings has shared the stage with some very influential and iconic metal bands over the years. Is there a concert that stands out, or do you have a few memorable performances?
Scott: Dude, D.R.I. were the coolest dudes. We shared a few beers and partied down in their mini-van listening to other projects they had in the works. They put on a great set for about an hour and a half. Playing with Ghoul, Skeletonwtich, and Black Anvil was also a dream line-up for me. They were all great guys and we raged – destroying the place.
Matt: Though it was a year or more after Scott’s favorite show with Ghoul; opening for them was a dream come true. Playing with Horrendous, All Hell, Night Magic (former members of Hour of 13) and so many others at Mac Rock Festival last year was also an incredible experience. Opening for the legends VOIVOD and our bro’s in Vektor was a show I’ll never forget...there’s just so many. It’s so fun to be a part of Death of Kings because they’re an amazing live band – and it’s an endless party at their shows.
Sort of jumping back to the new music and the songwriting process in general, how does the band go about writing songs? Do you all sort of pitch in, or does one person come up with something and then you work together on it from there?
Scott: Matson usually comes in with some riffs and we jam it out from there. Our drummer, Amos, helps us figure out timing and arrangements. Matt and I throw in riffs as the song progresses. Then we just put it all into a Thrash Compacter.
Matt and Scott
Keeping with songwriting as a theme, what do you think makes for a great thrash/heavy metal song? What elements do you like to hear and maybe offer some examples from bands who may have influenced you?
Scott: It’s all about the chug’s (fast or slow), over-the-top solo’s, and crushing change-up’s. Riffs with a little dose of hardcore and crossover. In regards to bands who influence us: Motorhead, Slayer, Megadeth, Bad Brains, DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, Exodus, Cro-Mags, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest – throw all of those together and you get Death of Kings.
Matt: These guys have been playing music for years – Matson and Amos for around two decades. They were punks then (and may still identify that way)…but that raw, spiteful energy flows through in the forms of blood-hungry riffing and ripping drumming. When it comes to excellent thrash and heavy metal songs, we’re all about writing parts that make you want to break your neck to – riffs that release all of your frustration’s with the world.
When the full-length album is released do you plan to go on tour? If so, are you heading out West? I am sure the Bay Area thrash metal maniacs would be ready for some of your headbanging riffs of hellish nature.
Scott: We’ve got a short run planned for the single release, and Amos is vigilantly working on planning a tour for the early summer when the record is released.
Matt: We’ve got plans to do a Northeast circuit as soon as the record drops in June – and we hope to head out West and hit the Pacific coast either late this year, or Spring of 2018. We’ve got a lot of energy built up behind this album and have some awesome new ideas formulating for what’s next – so you’ll be sure to know the reckoning of Death of Kings.
Thanks again for doing this interview and can’t wait for more face melting riffs of thrash insanity from Death of Kings! Keep up the good work and I am glad to know that there are young bands enthusiastically carrying the flag for heavy metal!
Scott: Horns and Hails!
Matt: Many thanks and hails as always, Robert! Hopefully we can get out to the Bay Area and party with you soon!
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