Hard-hitting veterans Peter Scheithauer (guitar), Todd Barnes (vocals), Dave Ellefson (bass), and Stet Howland (drums) have united to create the bone-jarring, uncompromising metal band TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY, whose debut album, "Lethal Agenda", is set for February 27 release on Demolition Records.
Guitarist Scheithauer wrote the music for the 10 songs that are on the album and they were originally demoed with drummer Stet Howland, who played in BELLADONNA, KILLING MACHINE, and STREAM. Soon after the demos were recorded, Howland returned to the road with W.A.S.P. and Scheithauer got busy searching for a bassist, vocalist, and label for the project.
The next time Scheithauer spoke to Howland, TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY was a drummer away from reality. Todd Barnes was already in and bassist Dave Ellefson had signed on as well. Scheithauer also found a label, Demolition Records, for this unrecorded album. Howland did not have to be coaxed to lend his talents to the project and TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY became reality. The band began rehearsing and it was then that they realized the full potential of the lineup.
"I guess it's a bit like expecting a baby and you're looking at an ultrasound and only see certain details, but when your kid is born, it's a different story," said Scheithauer. "I knew the songs sounded good in my head and I was guessing it was going to be cool, but 'til the band jammed together and recorded, I couldn't really see the big picture. Needless to say, the record came out better than I ever imagined."
TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY evolved at a furious pace. "Lethal Agenda" was recorded in a week's time at Alternative Sound Studio in Fort Myers, Fla. Owner Greg Timko, who previously worked with Ellefson when he was in MEGADETH, engineered the record and it was mixed by Jason Slater. Live takes of the songs were laid down and the session was going smoothly, but Scheithauer still had a surprise left for the band.
"I had a secret song to present to the band at the last minute," said Scheithauer. "Nobody ever heard 'Art of War' before, myself included. I just finished it that week and I wanted to hit the guys with it at the last minute because the whole idea behind this recording was to make it natural and spontaneous. I put down the riff and structure of 'Art of War' while Stet and Dave were putting their own magic on it. Meanwhile, Todd was in the lobby writing the lyrics. I love that feeling of emergency. That's metal."
Slater's mix of "Lethal Agenda" is a perfect companion to how the tracks were recorded. It has a raw, live feel to it with the vocals up front in the mix and the music not over-processed.
TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY wanted the album to be recorded and mixed a certain way to capture the energy of the band. "We didn't want to be another ProTools wonder," said Scheithauer. "All the tracks are played in one take and if we had to re-do it, we re-did it from the top. Technology can be great, but if you depend on it, you're not metal. Bands like SABBATH and PRIEST didn't think, 'Hey, I can do that riff there and than loop it.' They played their parts and most of them were recorded live. That's the true spirit of metal. As simple as it sounds, we will play those songs night after night and that's what we wanted to capture — not a perfect take but a real alive balls-out TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY take."
The CD also features a video for the title-track, "Lethal Agenda", was directed by Fabio Jafet, the filmmaker responsible for the documentary "Waking Up Dead".
TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY is currently planning a U.S. tour, which will tentatively begin in March on the East Coast with Midwest and Southern dates to follow.