Exumer is a classic German thrash metal band that was formed in 1985 then disbanded in 1991, they got back together in 2008 and came back to the metal scene with a powerful album called Fire And Damnation in 2012. Since then they have been toured North America, Europe, and South America.
For 2016, they will be releasing their new album The Raging Tides on January 29th, and at the same time, they will be touring Europe until mid-February. Exumer‘s new album was recorded at Waldstreet Sound in Dortmund, Germany and produced/engineered by Waldemar Soychta. The Raging Tides continues with the raw sound that the created on Fire And Damnation and their lyrical content confronts the reality of modern issues but it’s described on a different way.
Recently we spoke with vocalist and founder member Mem V Stein of Exumer about the ideas behind the album, their lineup changes, and their touring plans for 2016.
Exumer “Road Rage 2016” tour dates
Jan. 28 – Barcelona, ES – Boveda
Jan. 29 – Zaragoza, ES – Centro Civicio Delicias
Jan. 30 – Granada, ES – El Tren
Jan. 31 – Madrid, ES – Lemon
Feb. 4 – Leiden, NL – Club Gebr. De Nabel
Feb. 5 – Pfarrkirchen, DE – Club Bogaloo
Feb. 6 – Dornbirn, AT – Schlachthaus
Feb. 7 – Mailand, IT – Blue Rose Saloon
Feb. 8 – Rome, IT – Traffic Live Club
Feb. 10 – Berlin, DE – Comet
Feb. 11 – Warschau, PL – Progresja
Feb. 12 – Lodz, PL – LDK
Feb. 13 – Hameln, DE – Sumpfblume
Feb. 14 – Lunen, DE – Lukaz
The Age Of Metal: Hello Mem, How are you?
Mem V Stein: Good, yeah excellent. How are you?
TAOM: really great, so today we will be talking about the new album, ‘The Raging Tides‘. What is the idea behind this record?
MS: The concept of the album was basically what I wrote about on 10 songs that deal with human misery, suffering, and despair inflicted by others in order to gain advantages through political or religious reasons. Each song discusses some form of torture or a way how somebody can get brainwashed and made to do things that they wouldn’t do otherwise.
TAOM: That’s an interesting subject because on the times we are currently living, we see things like the demagogic speech of people like Trump, and we see movements like ISIS. Did you get any influences from those characters?
MS: Yeah, of course. I kind of get inspired by everyday events for me is important to discuss things that are based on reality, and the way I talk about them, I don’t try to name things, I don’t try to say this song is about the president or this song is about the CIA. I use metal language, let’s say the word Satan, I describe an evil force or something that is within us, we can be god and we can be satan at the same time. Or evil is something that is more like a dark force that does things in a negative way to others. That is how I weaved into the lyrics. So, I tried to talk about reality using metal language and giving people a way to think about these things and use their own imagination and kind of thinking also like what it could mean to them when they reach my lyrics.
TAOM: The Raging Tides is the second album after Exumer got back together and released Fire And Damnation, how has been the process of creating this album in this new metal scene?
MS: Basically what we try to do is, we have our own sound. Exumer sound like Exumer, we don’t try to sound like other bands, obviously, we were influenced by the same bands that everybody else was, and all the bands influenced each other at the time we started in 1985. But, when we started working on Fire And Damnation we said to ourselves; ‘We are not gonna do a low-fi sounding record that sounds like 1986, we gonna use a current sound but the spirit, the energy, and the love for the music from the 80’s we are gonna keep that‘. The best thing about that vibe, the aggression the effortless kind of vibe. We tried to do that on Fire And Damnation, and then we took the best aspects of Fire And Damnation basically and took that to improve on this record. So, every Exumer record should be a continuation from the last one, and it should be something new at the same time, but something familiar as well. So, we are not rewriting thrash metal, we don’t want to do that, but we want to be exciting every time we record and release a record. That is our main goal really if you think about it.
TAOM: Without a question that is something that is very important. Now, on this album, you guys did two cover songs one by Pentagram and another one by Grip. How did you guys decide to cover this bands?
MS: Well, with the Pentagram song, our philosophy if we ever cover anything it should be out of our genre not inside of our genre, so for us to cover let’s say Slayer‘s Black Magic or Exodus‘s Bonded By Blood doesn’t make much sense because we can do anything better than this bands have done with those songs. So, it’s kind of nor authentical. I grew up with Pentagram, I have been listening to that band for a long time I am a big doom fan, when we were talking about songs to cover and what riffs we loved, we were like: ‘Oh man! Forever My Queen that riff is just immense‘, and we love that band. So, it was not brainer to do that for us I am a big vinyl collector if you ever go into my Instagram you’ll see a ton of doom metal. So, it’s very close to my heart and to all of us because we like the song and the band so much. Like I said we are old enough that we just didn’t start listening to the band with the documentary.
With the Grip cover was equally organic we were sitting around and we were talking about what we could cover, we always said; ‘Waldemar is such talented musician, and we always loved Hostage To Heaven‘ One day we were like; ‘would be cool to cover that song‘ and Waldemar said; ‘Yeah why don’t you‘ and we were like; ‘Really?‘, and he said; ‘yeah, go ahead‘ and then we said; ‘well, why don’t you play guitar on it, it’s your song‘ and he said; ‘Ok‘. Waldemar used to play in a band with Markus called Despair, Markus is the drummer now for Sodom for several years. When we discussed the idea with him, he said; ‘I would love to play drums‘ and our drummer Mattias said; ‘Great, why don’t you play drums‘. So, when I started working on the vocals and I looked at the lyrics, then I said to myself; ‘It would be great to have a second vocalist’, because the way the lyrics are written Gus wrote in such of ingenious way that if you could split them you can split them perfectly for two voices too. I was scratching my mind about who I could ask, and then one day Mattias’s friend Nick Barker (Benediction, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth) He said; ‘Hey why don’t you ask Rob (Dukes)’, and we were like; ‘Yes, that is a great idea‘. We contacted Rob and talked to him on the phone, and he is like; ‘yeah, I am definitely gonna do it‘, and I was like: ‘wow, that was fast‘. So, I sang the whole thing and send him both tapes, he did his thing and it sounded amazing his vocals sounded so good, that is how the whole thing came about, really very organically it was just a labor of love, a very nice experience.
TAOM: H.K left the band in 2013, and now the new album features Mark B. How did he end up in the band, and how have been the experience of working with him?
MS: Mark is a good friend of Matthias from Dortmund, he also is a good friend of Markus who plays drums on Sodom, so everybody knows each other in that area of Germany and when H.K left the band, he left the band because of health reasons, unfortunately, he passed away a year later, because of health complications. So, when we asked Mark we were on a weird situation because we had picked our last show with H.K to be at Bangers Heads in 2013, but then we had already booked a South American tour and we really need it, somebody, fast. So, Matthias asked Mark; ‘We need a guitar player that can jump in, we need someone to play this tour which it would be interesting‘, and Mark said; ‘Yeah, no problem‘. So, he learned the songs in like a week. His first show was in Colombia with us co-headlining with Destruction, that was his first show, that tour went really well. After the tour, we all went home, and we said; ‘we gonna ask Mark if he wants to continue playing with us‘. That is how he came to the band and he stayed with us ever since. We are very happy and it brings a lot of different new things to the band especially with the solos, his guitar tones are really interesting, everything is just different. We are very happy with him.
TAOM: When Exumer came back, there was a new wave of thrash metal (Lost Society, Warbringer, Municipal Waste). What is your opinion of this younger generation making thrash metal?
MS: I think is very positive, because you always need new generations of fans and also as musicians. So, I think is great that people can keep a certain style of music alive because they love that style of music and at the same time it helps a band like us to come back because of those bands are influenced by us. So, it’s a whole reviving the scene, reviving a style of music that really it was necessary for newer bands to come and revive the style because things could get forgotten quickly. For me, it was very positive.
TAOM: from a different perspective, what these modern bands are missing, or what kind of skills they are lacking on their style?
MS: I don’t know if they are missing anything to me when we started in the 80’s I thought every band that came out was kind of unique. Exumer sounded like Exumer, Destruction sounded like Destruction, Possessed sounded like Possessed, every band was playing similar music but totally sounded different. One thing that I noted now is that a lot of bands sound very similar, and I wish that some of this bands try not to fit a mold, do different stuff and at the same time be true to the music and be creative and don’t have like a uniform sound.
TAOM: Exumer is going to Europe this January and February when we will see the band here in the US?
MS: Well. we are talking to some agents right now, so basically what we are going to try to do worldwide for 2016, we gonna do the two and a half weeks in Europe, then we gonna see what festivals want us to play in Europe, and then the second part of the year we will focus on South, Central, and North America. So, either we would do it on one big tour or we’ll do several smaller tours.
TAOM: Finally, do you have some words to the fans that are expecting the new album, and want to see Exumer live?
MS: Yeah, thank you for supporting Exumer from the past 30 years, and the new albums. The Raging Tides is coming out and it’s amazing to have such love and such support to grow up together basically and still feel relevant. Thank you very much for that, we really appreciated.