Thomas Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom G. Warrior; CELTIC FROST, TRIPTYKON, HELLHAMMER) recently spoke with the "Fantasm" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below (interview starts at 3:10 mark). A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
Thomas: "We formed the band to realize the music we'd had in our heads, which was as heavy and as extreme as was possible at the time. You have to bear in mind, there was no extreme metal scene. There was punk, and maybe a handful — or not even a handful — of metal bands that played extreme music. Maybe MOTÖRHEAD and early VENOM. Other than that, you had to resort to punk bands like DISCHARGE. We had in our minds, even though we were beginners, to do something like this. The reason for this was of course based in the fact that we both had a rather difficult youth, so we united to form HELLHAMMER and to try our own hand at such music."
On how the group's music was initially received:
Thomas: "HELLHAMMER was ridiculed. We had, maybe, a handful of fans. Nobody wanted to book a concert with us, because people said what we're playing is not music – it's noise. People said we're not going to go anywhere with this kind of noise. People didn't take us serious [sic], even though we were actually a very professional band. In spite of the underground, we practiced every day, which was much more than any contemporary Swiss band at the time. But just by the nature of the music we played and by the nature of the photos we made, people at that time rejected us left and right, so HELLHAMMER remained an underground band and only became a household name maybe 10 years later when the black metal wave started to happen in Norway."
On whether he felt any vindication when people began to reconsider the group:
Thomas: "It didn't affect me, because I had already been in CELTIC FROST, and HELLHAMMER was the past to me. Moreover, the attention that the name HELLHAMMER got through the black metal wave wasn't always in the spirit of what HELLHAMMER was all about. These people from Scandinavia instrumentalized what HELLHAMMER was for their own purposes. HELLHAMMER wasn't really about crimes and things like that, but unfortunately, some of the protagonists of the Norwegian scene saw it fit to commit crimes, and HELLHAMMER was named in certain things that happened at the time in Scandinavia, which of course wasn't always to our liking. For example, I take massive issue with any homophobic activities by certain protagonists in Norway then and now. HELLHAMMER became a legend and a myth, but it wasn't always positive. Some of these people in Scandinavia, in Norway, lacked a brain, and it's very difficult to reconcile our own work of the early '80s with some of their deeds."
On revisiting HELLHAMMER's music with TRIUMPH OF DEATH:
Thomas: "I didn't want to say it was a reformation of HELLHAMMER, because it's not. HELLHAMMER was mainly Steve Warrior and me, and at the very end, it was Martin Ain and me. Steve Warrior is no longer in a position to play, and Martin Ain is dead, so I wasn't going to lie to the fans. But as HELLHAMMER never played live — the music was never performed on stage by HELLHAMMER — as these are my songs, and some of them are very important for me in my life, and each song has its own story, I really wanted to do this before the end of my days. I didn't want to reform HELLHAMMER, so I did it very officially as a tribute band to keep things honest. It's an enormously fun project. I assembled people around me that I consider very close friends. It's a huge pleasure to play with these people, and we are working very diligently on making this sound very authentic — as close to HELLHAMMER as possible. We are very respectful with the material, and nobody's in the band for a check. I know these people, and I am absolutely 100 percent sure that they do it for the right motivation, and not for a career decision or for money. I'm playing with people that I trust, and that I know are doing this music justice. First and foremost of these is the bassist Mia Wallace, who's also in ABBATH and my other side project NIRYTH. She was really the inspiration to do this project now. I had the project as an idea in my head for many years, but I never really found the time to do this on my own. When I told Mia, she began to transcribe HELLHAMMER songs, and her enthusiasm, her energy and her fandom of HELLHAMMER really gave me the inspiration to actually now do this for real. In all honesty, I couldn't have done it without her. She took such a weight off my shoulders, and she worked so hard toward making this a reality. I'm in huge debt towards her for making this possible, and the result makes me very happy."
HELLHAMMER disbanded in 1984 after Fischer and Ain changed the group's name to CELTIC FROST.
Fischer founded TRIPTYKON after leaving CELTIC FROST in 2008. Last November, he announced plans to perform HELLHAMMER music live with TRIUMPH OF DEATH, which has appeared at a number of festivals in recent months, including Hellfest, Wacken Open Air, Brutal Assault and Psycho Vegas.