Goreaphobia

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Goreaphobia is one of the oldest bands from Philadelphia, they attained quite a name with just a couple of songs recorded. However the band is back with the recently released collection “Vile Beast of Abomination” and are finally together on a stable basis – including John McEntee on Guitar!!! They also have some projects for the future already. I got the whole band answering a bunch of questions – plus Anne Bowman, their old manager! Read on there is a lot of stuff!

Interview pt I: Chris Gamble a.k.a. The Serpent Wizard of Yuggoth, Chris G. Mezzadurus

NA: Let’s start with the usual questions: how did you get into music for the first time and how old were you when the Goreaphobia project begun taking shape?
Chris: It started for mewhen I was 7 years old. Kiss was all over the place back then. The ultimate for me was when Marvel comics put out the special Kiss comic book! I was into the look, their live shows, and I thought they were superheros at that age!!! I mean christ! They had their own comic book! So music was my spirit! After that it was The Who and AC/DC!!! My first real change for life came when I got these 3 albums in 1982; Iron maiden “Number Of The Beast”, Motorhead “Overkill”, and Venom “Black Metal”. Then of course comes everything else year after year. It was in the summer of 1988 when Alex and I finally came to seriously making our own band. Out of the mutual love of the underground metal scene we have been involved in. We both tape/demo traded, and collected fanzines from around the world! I’d say this is how we started taking shape of things for Goreaphobia.

NA: Was it more of an Alex beast or it was mostly yours?
Chris: Alex and I created the band as I stated before. Out of the mutual love, and dedication to the extreme metal underground. Alex and I both equally loved demo/tape trading so much, and out of that we found some underground bands back then which cought our serious interest and excitment! They were Necrovore, Pentagram(chile), Incubus(florida), Nocturnus, Atrocity(conn.), Nuclear Death, Necrophagia, Repulsion, Fatal, Hellwitch, Sam Hain/Des Exault(holland), Napalm Death, and also alot of the South American deathrashers like Sepultura, Mutilator, volcano, Sarcofago. Also, Alex and I were both heavily into Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Death, Possessed, Razor, Sacrifice, VoiVod, Sodom, Venom, Carnivore, Mercyful Fate, Exciter, Dark Angel, ect, ect, ect……. Alex wrote all the music, and I wrote all the lyrics/concepts. At first I only played bass. Our good old friend kevin Brennan had the voice/screams. By 1989 Kevin could not continue, and then I moved to doing vocals and bass.

NA: Did you play Speed/Death/Thrash music since the very beginning?
Chris: Yes! It was burned into my soul! I lived for the most potent, and aggressive music that was coming out in the 1980’s! It really was A new, fresh, and exciting time! The pure high energy I felt was intoxicating! Heavy metal, Thrash, Black, speed, death metal!!! It was absolutley everything to me! I wouldn’t be here today doing this interview if it wasn’t for this extreme music!

NA: How did you meet Alex, John and Chris – did you know them before they had a band?
Chris: Alex and I were born, and raised from the same neighborhood here in Philadelphia. We knew mutual people from the are that liked metal music too. We met one day, and then here we are still today! I appreciate my friendship with him. Yes, we both met Craig through Anne working at rock ‘n’ roll plus. Alex ,and I also introduced Anne to the extreme metal underground that we’ve been involved in. Alex and I convined Anne to listen to some of the band that we had already been in contact with. We wanted to see the underground scene come to life in our home town! meeting Criag was really cool. He was hungry to play aggressive metal music, and he took great interest in the ideas that Alex, and I had for doing Goreaphobia! Craig finally made us both feel complete! With Craig behind the drums of thunder & doom, Goreaphobia became very serious! Anne knew people that booked shows at A club in New Jersey (called G’ Wilikers), and she was looking to book metal shows of her own. So with the connections that Alex and I already had. We got Anne in contact with the bands we knew, and she booked the shows! It was A real ground breaking era for all of us together on this! Philadelphia was A city with almost no metal scene at all anymore until everyone came together for the same purpose! It was A special time, and I for one appreciate it all!

NA: Upper Darby and Draxel Hill are just ouside of Philadelphia while Chris and Alex lived the other side of the city so I guess there must have been a meeting place for you guyz.
Chris: Yeah, we practiced at our rhythm guitarest Henny’s apartment at first. then We went all over the city rehersing at friends houses, and there was A few times that we practiced around Craig area of upper darby. We were up-down and all around practicing. You know, who ever would have us. We never had our own practice place. We were A poor band.

NA: Let me talk a bit about the demo. Did you ask Phil Hampson to do the artwork or you just asked him to use one of his sketches? Did you have correspondence with him before you recorded anything with Goreaphobia?
Chris: Alex, and I had already been in contact with Nuclear Death before the demo was under . We really loved everthing about Nuclear Death! So natually we loved his bizzare, and horrid artwork!!! I couldn’t think of anyone better to do our extreme art concepts. I believe that Phil was very unique. Therefore, I knew that he would really go beyond my expectations! I spoke with him over the phone about the lyrics for all three songs. I wanted to have an art piece that would combine the 3 songs as A whole.

NA: Did he read the lyrics of “Organ Donor” for inspiration of the cover?
Chris: Actually, “Organ Donor” was the main focus out of the 3 songs. But like I said it was the combination of all 3 songs for the whole artwork.

NA: A guy named John Lovrich is mentioned as producer for the demo, but I have read that Roy also produced one with his own Necroharminc prods. “Morbidious Pathology” was also a second demo tape other than a 7″ on Relapse? Was the cover by Hampson or Eliott?
Chris: Yeah, John Lovrich just engineered the 1st demo. We produced all of our releases. Roy Fox was, and is still A very good friends of ours! He has supported Goreaphobia from the very beginning!! He’s really kept our spirits alive for this band to this day! Roy’s release of “Vile Beast…” was the collaberation of the 1st demo, and the “Omen Of Masochism” 7″ along with 2 old songs that we never recorded before from the past, and 2 new songs we did for this special release. We thank you Roy for everything comrade!!!

NA: How many different drum kits/guitars/amps have you changed this far?
Chris: I have 2 basses, 4 guitars, Creat & pevey amps, and Boss pedals ONLY!!! My first bass was A woodfinished Arial Pro II with dozens of band logo stickers all over it!

NA: What happened to John Arcucci (or was it Arcuicci, on the demo the name typed in both versions)?
Chris: John never played on the 1990 demo. John came into the band to replace Henny on guitar. Once John was in the band that’s when things really started to fall apart. Slowly he conflicted with Alex on every level. From song writting to personal things. John slowly worked on me about how we didn’t need Alex to go ahead with the band, and that we can be stronger. He also would tell me that I was the one who can keep the band going on, and that it’s my creation. We had A big chance handed to us to be A support act for the 1992 Immolation U.S. tour. At the same time Relapse was still kinda into doing our full length album. So, I thought that if I could do this tour, and still feel the raw power, and strong energy with the band on tour that I’d continue on. But as fate would have it, by the time we were halfway through the tour it was everything that I feared for Goreaphobia. It became toxic! John was A good guitarist, and had talent. But however, he really was made for commercialised music. Hard rock, or alternative music was his idea. He really showed this true self on that tour. He expressed to me how he hated the extreme underground metal scene. He mocked me for supporting the rising black metal scene, and told me it was garbage and would go nowhere. He started telling me that we should change everything into A new band. He wanted to change the logo. He wanted no more spikes/bullets/occult visuals. He wanted me to write lyrics about “real life hardships”(???). He wanted the band to be more commercialised and mainstream. He wanted A radio friendly, alternative sound like Lenny Kravitz, Peal jam, Nervanna, Alice In Chains, Stabbing Westward, ect,ect. The only metal type bands that he accepted now were Paradise Lost, king Diamond, and the new Death album at the time. No more extreme dark deathmetal, black, speed, tharsh! I remember telling him that if it was not for those extreme metal attributes, you wouldn’t be here now. I remember him actually telling me things like; “Possessed said the only reason they wore leather & spikes was to make themselves look bigger.”(???) “Bathory is only good when your young, and don’t know any better.” (???) After that tour in ’92, I didn’t care anymore about playing and writting. All that I worked for and created with Alex was gone now. Everybody else in the band just agreed with John, and that put the final nail in the coffen for Goreaphobia. One time John said to me that I can be replaced. I said to him “oh…ok. Just make sure that evrything that Alex and I ever did gets credit. Good luck.” 1 month later John showed up at my front door asking me to do vocals for 2 upcoming shows, and we’ll pay you. I said ok for $250 each show. I got it, and after the 2nd time he asked again and I said no more. It’s done. Now after all the poisonous people, and toxic relationships are long gone and forgotten. The original entity of Goreaphobia will prevail.

NA: Were you struck by a dictionary when he was writing Goreaphobia’s lyrics?
Chris: My first inspirations for lyrics, and conceptual ideas come from dark, and obscure myths, nightmares, sci-fi/horror movies, mankinds cruelty, and of course the occult. I loved the idea of conceptual things in metal music from 2 main sources that are still A dominate inspiration to me today even in Blood Storm: Celtic Frost & Voi Vod.

NA: Where did he get terms like “slaughterization”, “regoredation”, “disamputations”, “terrorplegic”, “maniactivated”, “beastilites”…?
Chris: Along with the great influences of Celtic Frost & Voi Vod. I had 2 other bands around the time of the 1st written songs of Goreaphobia that have fueled my inspiration, and aggressive nature. They are Carnivore & Necrophagia! I absolutely love the debut Carnivore album! The lyrics that Pete Steel created were just simply fucking savage, and nihilistic!!! Necrophagia with “Season Of The Dead” was my lust for the nightmares, and bloody horror conjured upon that monumental album!!! So the “made up” words came from my love of those 2 albums!

NA: Were you already into mysticism when he was in Goreaphobia or it was a sudden interest that lead you into forming Bloodstorm?
Chris: I always had the occult influences with me from the beginning of Goreaphobia, but I had alot of other obvious interests in the beginning as well. I just let nature takes it’s course on me. As time went on the other inspirations played out until it led me on my correct path; not only as A song writter, but in my personal life as well! After I left Goreaphobia for good, and got away from John Arcuicci’s corruption. I took time out for myself, and plunged even deeper into occult studies. It was the best thing that I’ve done for myself. I severed all ties with the poisonous people, and toxic relationships. I rebuilt myself with pure intentions. Then Blood Storm came to me! Blood Storm was the real direction that I always wanted Goreaphobia to eventually go to. So the real innerself gave birth to Blood Storm, and it is my true nature, and love of the extreme metal music that I’ve always loved in my life! I’m proud of what I’ve achieved though Blood Storm. I will always continue with Blood Storm. Now it will be right along side of the true Goreaphobia! Nature will continue to take it’s course on me. I’m excited about all this!

NA: Is “Polterchrist Entrapment” about a false messiah come to Earth to punish mankind?
Chris: Your half right Mike. It’s about the feelings one may have about being empty, and alone in the world. The person is soul searching, and has nghtmares about dying alone. This person looks to the occult to find A spirit to bond with, and to take away the emptiness, and the fear that comes with it. The person’s own terror becomes fuel/energy for the force that he/she is connecting with. Only now to use that fear, and emptiness as A false comfort. The result is the same. No hope for the weak hearted!

NA: When did the bondage/sadistic element get in the band?
Chris: The bondage thing was really to represent mankinds weakness to their vices in life. The sadistuc thing was the result of peoples childish, unorthodoxed, and selfish cruelty in the inability to balance,and express the primal nature of the mind, body, and spirit. mankind is bonded to sadistic cruelty. That was the idea basically. Symbolism.

NA: Besides, what were you doing at the time?
Chris: I worked in A bookbindry on the nightshift back then. I have 2 jobs now. I work as A machinist for A rexolite plastics contractor, and A schoolbus driver!

NA: Tell me something about Seraphic Decay.
Chris: It was A shame. I could’ve been better. But we didn’t know any better at that time. It was run with dishonesty. You live, and learn.

NA: Did you ever meet the guy in person?
Chris: No. He hid from everyone. Plus, he lived in Cleveland, Ohio.

NA: Did the 7″ in come up in just two colors (I have it on red and green)?
Chris: I only rmember green, and marbled gray. Maybe someone else bootlegged them, and did other colors???

NA: Did you have to buy your own copy of SCAM-006 in a local record shop like Will/Mortician?
Chris: At the time no store around us had it. We got only the 7″‘s first. Then I think A week, or 2 later we got the covers. Our copies were mailed to us. That was the last I ever heard of it unfortunetly.

NA: Regarding the 7″s, how did you get in touch with Drew Eliott?
Chris: Well, Alex, and I loved all of Drew’s art work for the New Renaissance records bands. Necrophagia was the most stand out for me. We hunted him down, and I think someone else helped us out, but I fucking can’t remember now who it was damn it! I know Alex reached him………I’m puzzeled know…….. [actually, it was Anne Bowman – Mick].

NA: Did he read the lyrics of “Omen of Masochism” before writing that brilliant cover?
Chris: As I stated before. It’s the symbolism of makinds weakness to thier sin, and vices, and how sadisticly humans are bonded to it’s cruelty. Drew put the idea A little differently then I had expected. But at the time we just wanted his artistic vision to come out his own way. I was honored that we are getting artwork from the guy who painted some of my classic album favorites!

NA: How did you meet Rob Cady who produced the 7″, can you tell me something about him?
Chris: Rob Gandy was the older brother of Kenny’s friend Garry. Rob had his own home studio in south new Jersey. We recorded the “Omen Of Masochism” 7″ ep for Relapse Records there. He only engineered the project. We produced it. He was A cool laid back guy.

NA: How did you get in touch with Relapse? Was it Bill Y. that contacted you?
Chris: Matt Jacobson contacted Alex first. Matt came out from Denver, Colorado to meet with Alex, and I here in Philadelphia. He came here at my home with A brief case. We talked metal, and everything about it under the sun that day! It was cool! He said that he was branching off from Nuclear Blast records, and forming his own lable called Relapse with Bill from Exit 13. Years before Alex used to already write to Bill so this was cool! We felt the mutual connection. I remember Matt showing Alex, and I the add for the mighty debut release of Dismembered “Like An Ever Flowing Stream”. He actuall gave us a few promo tapes of the album to listen to, and spead out! Alex, and I were blown away with that album!!! Plus, they were in Leather/bullets/inverts/blood!!! We wanted to be with Relapse instantly!!! Bill, and matt were extremely supportive of Goreaphobia, and wanted to back us 100%.

NA: You have 2 (or 3 if the Necroharmonic one is real) demos, 2 seven inches, one MCd, one recently released collection (on Necroharmonic) – and Relapse just released the “Relapse Singles” Cd that contais the “Omen” Ep. Isn’t it a bit overkill for just a couple of tracks being recorded? Is my impression that there are more shirt designs than songs correct?
Chris: It is abit too much of the same songs re-released. I totally agree Mike! I can’t stand seeing 15 different oddball re-releases of Mayhem’s material all over the place. So yes! It’s overkill to do that. But, when people like something that they can’t get A hold of themselves. Then that’s usually when we all see the ‘re-issues’. It’s A fan based thing that goes on. Not just with us, and Mayhem, but with hundreds of other bands. I very honored that there are alot of fans still of Goreaphobia! It’s those great people that kept us alive in the metal underground! So A gigantic THANK YOU!!!! to each, and every metal maniac tyrant out there worldwide! We are with you!

NA: How many bootleg shirts have you seen around?
Chris: I’m not sure? I know they exist. I don’t know how many.

NA: You care at all?
Chris: No. I like Cronos when it comes to bootlegs. I only want A few for myself really. I think if your going to bootleg our material send us some please!

NA: How is it possible the band gained such a cult status with only a few tracks?
Chris: What else can I add to what both Craig, and Alex have said here? The “cult” status thing I think is on the time line of events, and the people, places, and music recorded at that time frame. I mean, I’m A fucking freak for Necrovore!!! I absolutely can not get enough of those paragon 4 songs on that unholy rehersal demo!!!! Certain things effect people differently, and on differnet levels. I believe that sometimes the history of things that surround A band can shine through to people when it becomes more then just music to them. It becomes an emotion, or strong feeling behind the discovery of other things that may surround the individual’s life. And that maybe these people see those things in the music, or in movies, art, books, or other events that relate somehow? It’s very flattering when your work sincerly sticks with people after time has past. I know that is how it is for me when it comes to all the great bands I grew up with! It’s all still here with me today! I just want to carry on the great metal traditions that have grew in me, and has made me what I am today! I think that any artist in the world wants their work to carry on through others! Not just in music alone, but in all artforms! The world needs the arts to inspire the best in all of us. However that may be. I am extremely greatful for all the bands we got to play with, the good friends, and the great fans involved. For the experience that others have shared with us in the band, and that all our years of dedication to our music is stronger then ever. I can’t say “thank you!” enough.

NA: Are you actively rehearsing again with the other guys or is it just a short one-time reunion?
Chris: Again. I agree with Alex. I’m very excited about working with John McEntee! He’s been A great supporter, and metal maniac tyrant with us for A very long time now! This is best lineup that Goreaphobia has ever had! We are one entity! This is the true Goreaphobia!

NA: Have you gotten out of the Black Metal thing?
Chris: It’s always been there. It has been there since the 1980’s. Right in the ’80’s with Bathory, Possessed, Venom, and Necrovore! I really never serperated black metal from death metal in my heart. As time goes on there’s even more subdivisions among black metal, and metal in general! Goreaphobia was abit of all the influences that we loved in the beginning. We just really thought of it as dark, and extreme underground metal. As time went on other attributes surfaced. For example; I was always into leather, chains, spikes, occult images. No one else was really into the live appreances, and photos. I’ve always believed that I should not only play aggressive, and write aggressive, but also to look aggressive! Like I felt about playing our music! My real inspiration for that came from Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Bathory, Voi Vod, Possessed as an example. In fact, there was a very rare few shows were I wore black facepaint! I got this from my obvious early influences. Nothing more. Of course, after the end of Goreaphobia for me. I bought more of those visuals out into my music, and that is Blood Storm! If the lineup would have stayed with Alex, Craig, and myself instead of the wrong people that entered into the band later. The result would’ve been identical to Blood Storm! It would’ve been A natual progression!

NA: Is it true Philadelphia has the best pizza in the US?
Chris: Fuck Yeah! I love Renzi’s here in my part of town. I’d say that philadephia is equal to Italy! I’ve had pizza there before! It was fucking delicious!!! I’ll tell you what, NO ONE can make A fucking god forsaken cheese steak like Philly can!

NA: Why was “Conqueror of Thorns” never released?
Chris: During that time frame. The line up was Alex, Kenny, John A., and myself. John was being totally difficult with Alex about the songs. He wanted to change alot of the way they were played, add all this harmoney bullshit into all the songs. He was making Alex lose interest in the whole project! John started grilling Alex on A personal level making him feel the oddman out. John worked on kenny to get on Alex with him about the band, and personal life! It was an ugly mess in just A few short weeks after this. Alex had enough, and quit! John however, didn’t think Alex was that special to the bands future, and that’s when he had me convinced that the band should go on without him, and that I was the real voice, and force of the band! What A fool I was to listen eh? Soon after I was the target, but you know that part already. Anyway, After relapse records found out that Alex quit the band. They (Relapse) were goning to pull the plug on the album deal for “Conqueror Of Thorns”. John now needed me to do the ‘dirty work’ of telling Relapse A false story just to save the contract, and cover his own ass. Relapse then agreed to still consider making the album with us. But now they wanted A demo tape of what the band was like without one of it’s important, founding members, and main songwritters! This was not easy to do. I was already starting to lose A little confidance on my part after all the shit John was pulling. I was the guy that had to answer everybody about “What happened to Alex!”. It wasen’t easy at all. Now John wanted to make sure that the band still sounded as close to “Omen Of Masochism” as possible. Next came the last recording I was ever involved in with Goreaphobia back then. That was the 2 song demo of “Sabbatic Communion” and “Orcus Will Reign”. Relapse bought the tape, and gave us the thumbs up for the album. Now this is what really killed the album from ever being done. Relapse Records was going to give us A $12,000 budget for the album. John actually got offended, and demanded more money. He told me to tell Relapse that we need $15,000 to record the album at least if not more! I was disgusted with his attitude, and told John to call them himself, and tell them that one! John argued with Matt, and Bill. That killed the album from happening! John was just plane greedy! I spoke to Relapse one last time after John fucked that all up. Matt, and Bill said the only reason they were going to do the album was because of me. But John being in the band ruined their interest! Then yes. Not to long after that. I left my own band. But that’s the way it happened.

NA: Were you already paid for the studio? How did you get in touch with Proscriptor and Tarot records, and when should we be able to hear “Sabbatic Communion”?
Chris: Proscriptor, and I are very close friends. We have been for over A decade now. I was Absu’s session bassist/vocalist for 2 tours. Absu used to write us way back in our eary days of Goreaphobia! Proscriptor asked me if he could put out A 7″ of the 2 last songs I recorded with Goreaphobia. Of course him being A true, and close comrade I said absolutely! I souly gave it to him for Tarot Productions! You’d have to ask him about the release date of it. I’m not sure.

Chris: 100,000 salutes to you Mike! Thank you for all your interest, and support in us! Keep the metal torch burning high, and forever!

Interview pt II: Same questions were sent to Alex and Craig, as you can see the detail of the answer is so different that I preferred to split the interview in three.

NA: Let’s start with the usual questions: how did you get into music for the first time and how old were you when the Goreaphobia project begun taking shape?
Craig: I first got into music when i received a bag of cassettes that my father brought home one day which included such bands as Zepplin, Santana, Boston, Kansas, Jethro Tull, Aerosmith etc. now I was about 6/7 years old at the time and then my took me to my first concert first concert Kiss, and Van Halen in1978 and i was hooked on music really from that point on.
Alex: i got into music from my father:beatles,the doors,the who then my uncle introduced me to black sabbath,pink floyd,ac/dc etc..as far back as i can remember i knew music would be my life.i was about 14 when i started goreapbobia w/chris gamble.

goreaphobia.jpgNA: Was it more of an Alex beast or it was mostly yours?
Alex: it was mine and chris gamble,s vision.

Did Rellik already exist when you joined Goreaphobia (I see a band called Rellik in the thanklist on the demo tape)?
Craig: Yes [Thanks for elaborating /n.d.e.]

Did you play Speed/Death/Thrash music since the very beginning?
Craig: Yes at first though i was given lessons from friend in my junior high school years.
Alex: yes,since 1986 i have been playing extreme metal.

How did you meet Alex, John and Chris – did you know them before they had a band?
Craig: I met them through Anne Bowman.
Alex: i met chris when i was about 12 or 13.we were both in german thrash and bands like possessed,dark angel,celtic frost/hellhammer,pentagram{chile},early death etc… i met craig later on from ann bowman.ann worked for a record store called rock n roll plus..

Upper Darby and Draxel Hill are just ouside of Philadelphia while Chris and Alex lived the other side of the city so I guess there must have been a meeting place for you guyz.
Craig: Yea we would meet at henny’s girfriend’s apartment thats where we would rehearse.

Was it Anne’s shop?
Craig: sometimes

Let me talk a bit about the demo. Did you ask Phil Hampson to do the artwork or you just asked him to use one of his sketches? Did you have correspondence with him before you recorded anything with Goreaphobia?
Craig: Chris gamble was a big fan of Nuclear Death and he handled all the dealings with Phil when it came to the artwork
Alex: yes, we asked him to do the demo cover art.we were freinds w/nuclear death early on.i did not know phil was so fucked up!!i hav,nt spoken to him in years.i guess he read the lyrics to organ donor to get inspiration to do the lyrics for the demo cover.

Do you know he’s totally fucked by meth nowadays (I even think he’s in prison at the moment)?
Craig: well that sucks for him maybe one day he will get better

Did he read the lyrics of “Organ Donor” for inspiration of the cover?
Craig: I don’t know really

A guy named John Lovrich is mentioned as producer for the demo, but I have read that Roy also produced one with his own Necroharminc prods. “Morbidious Pathology” was also a second demo tape other than a 7″ on Relapse? Was the cover by Hampson or Eliott?
Craig: Drew Elliott.
Alex: john loverich engineered the demo.we produced all our stuff.roy put out the new cd.drew elliot did all the 7″ covers and the cd cover roy put out. [Roy Fox never answered when inquired about this demo he says he released. As far as the band says, he never did. /nda]

On the demo thanklist you name Tom Smilowski and crew – is this your brother and friends?
Craig: Yes

Did you change many rehearsal rooms?
Craig: no not really

ow seriously did you take the process of rehearsing?
Craig: before we even rehearsed once we were going around saying were goreaphobia strange I know, we would rehearse on the weekends, if I am correct

How many different drum kits/guitars/amps have you changed this far?
Craig: Only 3 thus far and that will be it unless i can upgrade in the future iI am a huge fan of SONOR drums alway’s have been for many years and now I have a solid kit that is well constructed & a top of the line model (Designer series)
Alex: we were very unorganized in the early days.but,today we very serious and professional about what we are doing.i use Gibson, e.s.p. Marshall equipment.

What happened to John Arcucci (or was it Arcuicci, on the demo the name typed in both versions)?
Craig: Arcuicci
Alex: john arcuicci never played on the demo, nor did he every write any of the stuff when i was in the band.i played all the guitar tracks.john died of a heroin overdose.

Was Gamble struck by a dictionary when he was writing Goreaphobia’s lyrics?
Craig: i would not know maybe
Alex: no,it was all his vision.me and chris were allways intrested in the occult.

Where did he get terms like “slaughterization”, “regoredation”, “disamputations”, “terrorplegic”, “maniactivated”, “beastilites”…?
Craig: from the dark recesses of his mind.

Was he already into mysticism when he was in Goreaphobia or it was a sudden interest that lead him into forming Bloodstorm?
Craig: He could answer that better than I can.
Alex: chris formed bloodstorm because he had to move on with his vision. bloodstorm is basically he his solo project. he writes all the material for bloodstorm.

Is “Polterchrist Entrapment” about a false messiah come to Earth to punish mankind?
Craig: ask chris he is the lyricist.
Alex: i believe polterchrist is about someone who played w/magick and got burned. the bondage thing dealt with one song omen of masochism. we never considered ourselves a gore band or whatever.the band deals with darkness.

When did the bondage/sadistic element get in the band?
Craig: that i would imagine came about when i was apart of Immolation.

Were you only a session member in Immolation?
Craig: No.

I checked there are 122 miles from your old address to Yonkers, how did you get in touch with them and how did you manage to rehearse with Immolation, did you tradel by train/bus every session or did you move there for a while.
Craig: ,I lived with Bob Vigna

How did you do with your job?
Craig: What job?

Besides, what were you doing at the time?
Craig: before immolation and presently I waterproof basements.
Alex: i was doing nothing but the band in the early days.

Tell me somethig about Seraphic Decay.
Craig: why waste time on thieves .

Did you ever meet the guy in person?
Craig: i don’t like thieves
Alex: i never met that guy!! fuck him!!!

How was he like, do you think he actually meant to ripoff everyone or he was just unable to handle something bigger than him?
Craig: thief

Did the 7″ in come up in just two colors (I have it on red and green)?
Craig: there were gray ones and I think some vomit colored ones I think.

Did you have to buy your own copy of SCAM-006 in a local record shop like Will/Mortician?
Craig: no we were not that lucky to be able to find it in a store near us.

Regarding the 7″s, how did you get in touch with Drew Eliott?
Craig: Alex ….and I think chris maybe had something to do with that.

, he should be 10 older than you so I guess he was not in your own gang, or was he a famous name in the Philly’s scene?
Craig: Yes he is well known
Alex: i don,t rember how i met drew elliot.i supose from the scene.i knew of the work he did for necrophagia and bloodfeast.he is a great guy.rob gandy fucked up the production on those songs.matt from relapse contacted me about signing us in 1990.

Did he read the lyrics of “Omen of Masochism” before writing that brilliant cover?
Craig: I don’t think so Chris was just expailning what he wanted to see.

How did you meet Rob Cady who produced the 7″, can you tell me something about him?
Craig: I never met that person as far as i can recollect.

How did you get in touch with Relapse? Was it Bill Y. that contacted you?
Craig: Not bill but Matt and it’s been so long I don’t remember who contacted who.

Are the Dungeon Studios still active?
Craig: I really am not sure.

What’s your opinion about the 2 track promo “Return To The Shadowlands” (I think it’s horrible)?
Craig: as much as you are right about that I find a couple rhythm’s in those song’s that I actually like-drum wise.
Alex: i don,t know about dungeon studios.that 2 track promo is shit!!!!

You have 2 (or 3 if the Necroharmonic one is real) demos, 2 seven inches, one MCd, one recently released collection (on Necroharmonic) – and Relapse just released the “Relapse Singles” Cd that contais the “Omen” Ep. Isn’t it a bit overkill for just a couple of tracks being recorded? Is my impression that there are more shirt designs than songs correct?
Craig: your probably right.

How many bootleg shirts have you seen around?
Craig: Quite a few.

You care at all?
Craig: absolutely

How is it possible the band gained such a cult status with only a few tracks?
Craig: It is strange but at the same time nobody in our area at first was doing what we were and that set us apart from the other local bands at the time and the 1st, 2nd, demo songs were well received at the beginning and we had the honor of playing many excellent shows with bands such as Carcass, Napalm Death, Death, Nocturnus, Brutal Truth, Repulsion, Autopsy, Nuclear Death, etc.
Alex: i agree we never released much material because we broke up back then.we are recording a full length now.with all new songs.the new stuff crushes anything we have ever done.much darker and heavier.it will be released sometime early next year by ibex moon.there are alot more songs then shirts my freind.i have seen alot of bootlegs.what are you going to do.this is the underground.i don,t know how we have such a cult following.i suppose we were one of the earliest death metal band from the u.s. that played the real stuff.i guess we inspired alot of people along with our comrads at the time immolation,incantation,autopsy,and profanatica.

Are you actively rehearsing again with the other guys or is it just a short one-time reunion?
Craig: Actively.
Alex: we are back together now.more serious then ever.john mcentee has joined the band as well on guitar.this is not a one time reunion now.as far as chris goes,we consider black metal and death metal the same until death metal was ruined in 1991 by all the false bullshit.especially the u.s bands.

Has Chris gotten out of the Black Metal thing?
Craig: Absolutely not.

Is it true Philadelphia has the best pizza in the US?
Craig: Gaetano’s or nothing!
Alex: i beleive new york has better pizza.

Do you have plans to grow that lovely Freddy Mercury moustache again now that Goreaphobia is back?
Craig: whatever turn’s you on.

Why was “Conqueror of Thorns” never released?
Craig: Good question.
Alex: we never recorded that because the band broke up.we were scheduled to do the album at sunlight studios in sweden.in 1991.we never got paid.

Were you already paid for the studio? How did you get in touch with Proscriptor and Tarot records, and when should we be able to hear “Sabbatic Communion”?
Craig: obviously a question for someone other than myself

How was the recording of those tracks, did you go at the Dugeon Studios again?
Craig: that did not involve me.
Alex: proscriptor contacted chris about that release.i had nothing to do with it.no it was not recorded at dungeon studios.

Craig: thanks Michele the int. and stay vile you… nuclear beast of abomination!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alex: cheers.

Interview pt III: Anne Bowman

metalgoddess.jpgThis interview has been made with that extremely cool and laid back person that is Anne Bowman. She has answered in extreme detail and is probably the best part of this interview (eh). Go ahead and read what the Goddess of Metal says about our friends.

NA: Can you tell me if you knew the band or some of the early members before they got the name Goreaphobia?
Yes, I did know most of the members before the band was officially formed, in fact, I introduced them to each other. Chris Gamble always had the name Goreaphobia in his head before he even had the full band formed. I met Chris and Alex Bouks in a music shop I was the managing on South Street in Philadelphia, a popular place where musicians and various freaks hung out on the weekends. I also met Craig Smilowski in the same shop. Chris and Alex were looking for a drummer, and I mentioned I knew this drummer who was looking for a band, so I put Craig in touch with Chris and Alex. The first incarnation of Goreaphobia was then Chris [bass, vocals], Alex [guitar], Craig [drums] and Henny [second guitar]. John Arcucci [guitar] was Craig’s friend, and a little while later, when Henny wasn’t working out, Craig brought John into the fold.

Were you their official manager for a while? What made you supporting them since the very beginning?
I did manage them for a couple years. I thought they had something special. This was the early 90’s, maybe 1991-92? At the time, all the local extreme or underground bands were definitely in the thrash/speed metal vein. Goreaphobia had a darker sound. Their concept for the band was more along the lines of black/death metal. Chris and Alex were listening to Morbid Angel and early Sepultura. They also knew of Immolation from NY, and other early DM bands and did a lot tape traded with them. Craig and John were listening to Slayer, Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. Of course all of them were familiar with Hellhammer/Celtic Frost and Venom. Looking back, I’m convinced that they were creating some of the earliest form of black metal. I can’t say that they were influenced by the Norwegian scene, as it was like 1991 and that scene hadn’t even hit America yet. There are photos from that time that show Chris Gamble wearing corpse paint, I always wondered where he got that idea from, because as I said, Norway hadn’t reached America yet.

Were you following the band on tour?
I wouldn’t say “tour.” The only proper tour they did was with Immolation, and that was after I had stopped my association with the band. And might I say, doing a full tour without a record contract was quite a feat for an underground band at the time. I did book many out of state shows for them, and many I went along with them. But not all. Since I had booked the shows, I had to go to make sure they got paid. Traveling with them was fun, but it was also a lot of work too.

Were you perceiving anything negative in the band when they were about to break up?
Listen, I’m going to be very honest here, and some people might not like it. Yes. They were having problems. Mostly personality clashes and creative differences. After Henny left, and John Arcucci joined the band, there were power struggles between Chris and John. Goreaphobia was Chris’s band, but John, being the talented musician he was, wanted to have more say in the writing of the music. And for the record, I will not stand for the diminishing of John’s talent as a player and a writer, he was good, really good, and could write. I think it’s a shame and a big waste of talent that after Goreaphobia finally broke up, he couldn’t exorcise his personal demons and start another band on his own. Anyway, I think Chris and John had different ideas on how the band should progress. Honestly, I think John was the one who wanted to take it towards a more darker, melodic feel, a more black metal sound, and Chris was the one who wanted to keep it more raw, grindcore/death metal sound. Chris had a lot of great idea’s and concepts for the band, he was a great frontman/ extreme vocalist and lyricist, but he really wasn’t a natural, accomplished musician, it’s something he had to work at. It was Goreaphobia’s guitarists, Alex and John, who were the real talent in that band. Alex and John had different, but complimentary, playing styles. Alex was more easy going, I don’t think he felt so threatened by John. I think he (Alex) recognized that having two guitarist’s with varying styles could be a good thing for a band. Think King/Hanneman, Tipton/Downing and Murray/Smith. Alex tried to keep the peace, but eventually it all fell apart. After Craig left to join Immolation, the band carried on for a couple more years with various line-ups. I can’t remember Kenny, the drummer who replaced Craig, last name. he was phenomenal though. I think Alex left before Chris, I remember taking photos of Kenny, Chris and John as a 3 piece. Chris might have left and came back a couple times also, my memory of the time is fractured, they had released me and then asked me back a couple times also. I think Alex tried to come back towards the end also. Spencer Murphy had joined on second guitar. They also added a bass player towards the end, and Chris moved out front as a vocalist/frontman. Chris was really a natural as a frontman, he had a very commanding presence when he was released from the burden of playing bass and singing at the same time. But this was to be the basis of their demise, because Chris really wanted to play an instrument and he wanted to be the leader of the band.

Can you tell me some cool/interesting facts around the band?
They all had great senses of humor, and each in their own way were very funny. We had lots of laughs when we weren’t fighting.

Do you think they had something special when compared to the other local bands I Philadelphia?
Yes, I did think they were very special, otherwise, I wouldn’t have invested so much time and my own money into them. I think if they could have stopped fighting, and stood back and really listened to what they were creating, and tried to get along better and stopped the petty infighting and thought of the music, they could have been huge. There were record labels who wanted to sign them, there was no doubt in my mind they would have got a recording deal. I totally believe they could have been HUGE. Just for my own shits and giggles, I think this line-up, which I don’t think actually ever happened, would have been the best and most creative and the one which could have catapulted them to the world stage. Chris, Alex, John, Kenny and a bass player. That would have killed.

Interview by Mick a.k.a. Necrogoregrinder

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