Friends of Hell Honor Their Doomed Origins on “Friends of Hell” (Early Track Stream + Interview)
If we were still in the mid 1980s, any fan looking for buried treasure in the cut-out bin at the local record store that found Friends of Hell's debut self-titled album would likely have hailed it as an all time classic. A new entity consisting of Tas Danazoglou (Mirror, Satan’s Wrath, ex-Electric Wizard) and Albert Witchfinder (ex-Reverend Bizarre, Opium Warlords) among others, Friends of Hell choose to marry the slow sections of the Witchfinder General album that acts as their namesake with early black metal more in line with traditional heavy metal structures. No stone is left unturned by these keepers of the flame; this is authentic metal played by a band that knows no boundaries besides just wanting to “play slow”.
Heavy metal can act as a meeting ground that helps to forge some wonderful friendships among fans, and musicians' friendships tend to bear music as well—Friends of Hell was no accident, and it seemingly had its seeds planted nearly 20 years ago when some of its members first met. Thanks to modern technology, this project was now a hell of a lot easier to record than ever before, and on their debut all parties involved give it their all without any geographical considerations.
The title track (sharing its name with both the band and the album, in classic metal fashion), which we're premiering here, opens with Witchfinder joined by some crunchy riffs as he ascends to his traditional vocal style—one that has made his presence unmistakable ever since he was a part of In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend all those many years ago. The song plods along before giving way to some excellently dismal riffs all played with a sense of first-wave black metal and doom with the bells ringing off in the distance. It's a track that will please both old and new school fans, cleverly combining the salacious sounds of yesteryear while whetting the appetite for something new.
We spoke to bassist Tas Danazoglou about Friends of Hell's formation and inspiration—read the interview below while you listen.
Tas, you are a busy man; how do you find the time for so many different bands?
Fortunately, I have an amazing wife Stacey who helps me in all aspects of my life, from work to family.
Is the style of a band a main draw in terms of creation or do the ideas just come to you?
I think it’s a bit of both. Sometimes a certain band demands a certain style and some other times it’s just random ideas.
Why "Friends of Hell"?
Actually, Albert Witchfinder came with the idea of the name, and we all agreed as we are all fans of Witchfinder General.
How did the group come together? Was it hard to record the debut seeing as everyone is kind of spread out all over the place?
The band came via mutual friendships that have been formed for many years. It wasn’t hard to record thanks to modern technology!
What makes Friends of Hell different than other doom bands, that either you’ve played in or others in the scene today?
The difference is that we don’t see Friends of Hell as a doom metal band, we just wanted to write music in the vein of Pentagram, Hellhammer, Mercyful Fate and Venom. We didn’t want to play fast.
Seeing as we are premiering the title track along with this, walk me through the songwriting process for it in particular.
Jondix (the guitarist) wrote the riffs on the title track, and I did the arrangements and the lyrics. In the chorus riff spontaneously came to my mind for the lyrics Slayer’s “Evil Has No Boundaries”
What was the most fun part of putting together Friends of Hell?
Albert telling me in an email that we should fire the drummer. He didn’t know that I was the drummer.
Are there any plans to tour as Friends of Hell? If so, where?
If there’s a good offer, we are open for touring or festivals.
Any plans for some of your other projects or those of the other band members of note?
We are releasing with my other band Mirror our 3rd album called The Day Bastard Leaders Die that will go out on Cruz Del Sur Records [on April 22nd].
Anything you would like to add?
Thank you very much and thank you to those who have supported us so far.
Friends of Hell releases March 18th, 2022 via Rise Above Records.