From 1986 to 1996 Accuser were heroes of the underground metal scene. Ripping out classics like Who Dominates Who and Repent, the band ultimately called it a day in in 1996. Although some of the members continued on as Scartribe, the band officially reunited in 2008 and released Agitation in 2010 as well as a re-recording of Who Dominates Who in 2013 to celebrate the band’s anniversary.
Ultimately though, a band is only as good as their last album. Accuser joining forces with the mighty Metal Blade Records for their new album The Forlorn Divide should provide plenty of hints as to how good the album is. Accuser has arrived…..again.
We caught up with Frank and Dennis via email to find out more about this cult favorite band, their new album, and their bright future…..
So, how are things with Accuser these days?
Dennis: It's going quite well. The fan and press feedback to our new album is very positive so far and thinking back it's a bit surreal how this whole journey from writing to release turned out.
The Forlorn Divide is your first album made for Metal Blade Records. How did you come to sign with Metal Blade and what made them the right place for Accuser?
Dennis: When Accuser officially reunited back in 2008, they were still looking for a record label. They tried to get a deal going with Metal Blade Records but the label was skeptical if the band could sustain itself after such a long hiatus so they declined. But after building more and more momentum over the last few years and continuously releasing new albums, talks with Metal Blade started again last year and everything finally came together resulting in a record deal. It's a big honor for us to be signed to this esteemed metal label with such a rich history and we always believed that it's the right place for us and our music.
This is your first album of new material since 2010 and your first new release since 2013. This is such a spectacular album! I’m curious, what goals did you have for this album when you started writing and recording?
Dennis: We started talking about a new record back in 2013 and spent quite a bit of time discussing the musical direction of the album and what we wanted to accomplish before we even began writing. After we finished re-recording "Who Dominates Who" for its anniversary in early 2014, it became apparent that we wanted to take the more technical and complex elements from this classic Accuser record and combine them with the modern and aggressive style of the bands more recent releases. I think that having a clear goal in mind the whole time really helped a lot during the writing process and allowed us to find a good balance between creating a cohesive whole and having varied songs.
How did it feel to be back in the studio? Do you enjoy studio recording or would you rather play live?
Dennis: I honestly love both aspects equally because they're fun in very different ways. Recording an album in the studio is great because you get to really dig in and engage with the music on a fundamental level. The focus lies on creating something new and that's always an exciting prospect for me. And despite the fact that you spend many hours a day recording stuff, it never feels like work but more like a vacation. Now, playing live is awesome as well. Getting an instant reaction from the crowd is a totally different experience to being in an isolated recording environment and releasing an album many months later. The immediate crowd feedback in a live situation brings a whole other dynamic to the music and really transforms it in combination with the performance into something that's happening at the moment, rather than something that happened some time ago in the studio.
“Impending Doom” is one of my favorite tracks on The Forlorn Divide. Would you mind telling our readers a little about what inspired it musically and lyrically?
Frank: Musically I wanted to write a very dynamic song that continuously builds up until the end. The lyrics deal, as the title suggests, with the idea of an impending calamity and the fear of not knowing when this event will occur. I tried to symbolize this fear in the form of a vampire that can strike at any moment and I examine the question of how to stop this menace and if it's even possible.
The punishing “Fifth Column” is another standout track for me. Would you mind telling our readers a little about the inspiration for that one as well?
Frank: My goal with this song was to create a very direct and straightforward track with some atmospheric elements throughout that focuses its energy at the end. Lyrically this song's about fictional sleeper agents that have been brainwashed and are used as mere tools for political actions.
2016 is the 30th anniversary of Accuser. How does it feel to know that you are still standing 30 years later while so many other bands faded away?
Frank: It's an awesome feeling. Of course we've had a drawn-out hiatus, that's important to remember. But it's also important to remember that we never officially disbanded. It was more of a long, creative break for the band. Did I expect to still be playing in the same band 30 years later? Always, because I'm very persistent. If I set my mind to something, I stick with it. But I wouldn't be able to keep the band alive on my own. Luckily, the other guys in the band have also made their decision to be part of Accuser for the long-term. I think our situation is a great example for how staying true to your decisions can yield very positive results.
Are there any plans to celebrate the anniversary this year? If so, what can we expect?
Frank: We don't have any specific plans for that right now. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of "Who Dominates Who" with the re-recorded version and this year we released "The Forlorn Divide". In addition, the old records are also being re-released so there's plenty of new and old material available this year. Maybe we'll be playing a 30th-anniversary show where we go through our discography in chronological order.
The music industry has changed so much since Accuser debuted in 1986. If you were debuting in 2016 do you think Accuser would be able to get people’s attention in the way you did back then?
Frank: The response and attention of the people is still very positive so in a way it's not much different compared to our early days. Of course new forms of media and different audio formats have changed musical landscape dramatically but the music scene had to evolve as well. There're pros and cons today just like there've always been.
What do you feel is the biggest difference between the Accuser of 1986 and the Accuser of 2016?
Frank: Back then the whole genre was completely new and fresh so we just wrote music and experimented a lot without much concern for what other bands were doing. Today we have a plethora of metal subgenres and things have grown considerably. I think that being innovative is still as important as ever but it has become much more difficult. On the other hand, familiarity and spontaneity shouldn't be ruled out completely. If something sounds good then it sounds good even if it may be similar to something else. It's almost impossible to create something totally original these days anyway.
Thanks so much for your time! Do you have any parting thoughts that you’d like to leave our readers with?
Frank: Thank you very much for checking us out. And here's to another 30 years of Accuser. See ya!
Dennis: Stay metal and always be passionate about the music you love!