OBITUARY Guitarist Says New Album Is 'More Energetic' Than 'Frozen In Time

Chad Bowar of About Heavy Metal recently conducted an interview with OBITUARY guitarist Trevor Peres. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

About Heavy Metal: How did Ralph Santolla come to join the band as your new guitarist?

Trevor Peres: "We've known Ralph for probably 20 years. He's from Tampa, and he's been a musician playing with bands in the area forever. He had been with DEICIDE. We did some shows in Mexico with those guys. We were without Allen [West] at the time and were a four-piece playing live. Ralph left DEICIDE for reasons I'm not really sure of, and then we called him and asked him to put down some solos on the album. He did that, and one thing led to another."

About Heavy Metal: How did the two of you mesh musically as guitarists?

Trevor Peres: "He's a totally cool guy. He's a practical joker and loves to have a good time, which is good because that's how we are. We are pretty lighthearted people. We don't like to be serious all the time. We've done a few shows with him so far and it was great. We had a good time playing with him on stage. As far as him recording with us, the album was already written and recorded. He came in and put some solos down. I put a few down, too. It was actually the first time I've played solos for OBITUARY, so that was fun. There are a couple parts where he and I go back and forth, like [Jeff] Hanneman and [Kerry] King from SLAYER or something. (Laughs)"

About Heavy Metal: Is Ralph a permanent member of the band, or is he just filling in for Allen?

Trevor Peres: "Right now he is a member of the band. Allen obviously has his problems and he's in prison right now for the next eight months or so. I think he's supposed to get out in February 2008. We're not even sure about that. We never wanted Allen to leave in the first place, but he had some problems going on."

About Heavy Metal: How has the band's sound evolved from your last album to "Xecutioner's Return"?

Trevor Peres: "We haven't changed our sound much, ever. I think it's more produced-sounding now than our first couple albums. But as far as guitar tones, I haven't changed anything since day one. I think the songwriting is a little more upbeat on this album compared to the last one. It's a little more energetic. On the other hand, there's a song that's probably the doomiest, heavy song we've ever written."

About Heavy Metal: For those not familiar with your history, explain the album title.

Trevor Peres: "The initial idea came from the cover. Andreas Marschall did some pencil sketches for us. We had him change a couple little things and he painted it. It looked like a futuristic creature with a big sword that would cut your head off. Somebody suggested 'The Executioner Returns' or something to that effect. I simplified it to 'Xecutioner's Return'. It feeds off our old name, since we were originally called XECUTIONER. We changed the name when we signed with Roadrunner, because there was a band from Massachusetts with the same name. They didn't want us to be confused with that band, so we changed it to OBITUARY. We decided to bring back the old name, because it's a fresh start for us. We're off Roadrunner now. Our contract ended last album. I think the vibe of the music is more old than it's ever been. It sounds more like our older stuff."

About Heavy Metal: This is your second album since reuniting a few years ago. What's different this time around?

Trevor Peres: "We've always been pretty close. Donald [Tardy, drums] and I have known each other since 1980. We've been friends forever and grew up in the same neighborhood. We used to hang out all the time. When we split up we were all getting older. We had been playing music and that's all we knew. Since I was 19 I was on the road touring and putting out albums. I didn't know reality from fantasy. Our whole life after high school was playing music and we didn't really work normal jobs. A couple of us were getting married and having kids, and it was just a good time for us to take a break. We didn't say we were done, we just didn't do anything. It was mutual without saying anything. We were all passing 30, so it was a needed break. As humans we were trying to find ourselves in life. Now it's great, because all of us took our break, got married and had kids. We lived normal lives and worked and realized how much it sucked. You work no matter what you do, but playing music is a little more fun and you get to call the shots more when you work for yourself. Donald called me a few years in a row and I wasn't ready yet. One day in 2004 I thought it was finally time, so we got back together. We're a little more mature now and we all want the same thing. We're on the same page."

Read the entire interview at this location.


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