Greetings, sir, and many thanks for joining Sentinel Daily on our latest trip through the Seven Ages of Metal… Before we kick off – for the benefit of our readers, please identify yourself and tell us what you do in Disentomb. “I identify as Jake Wilkes and I play guitar”.
Here you are then – entering the world of metal, probably in your early teens, mewling about the unfairness of it all and puking on cheap white cider… Which band was your introduction to metal? How did you find out about them? And which bands generally do you think make the best ‘entry level’ metal music? “My brother was always into the heavier side of things so I was used to hearing metal growing up. Metallica was my jam for the first couple of years but it really started taking off when I got my first Pantera album, and then by chance about a week later I found the Cowboys From Hell home video on VHS in a Cash Converters for $1. I would have been about twelve at the time so I was fairly impressionable, and seeing their approach to music and touring really struck a chord with me. I also never had the internet at home until I was about seventeen, so I think I was able to really focus on quality rather than quantity in regards to the bands I got into. As for the best ‘entry level’ bands, I’m not sure if there are any that are better than others. It all just depends whether they strike a chord with you or not. Sometimes the worst bands can inspire the best musicians!”
They certainly can! – Okay -You’re in! The magical and bewildering world of metal lies at your feet… you’ve assembled a small collection of records and tapes – or CDs of course, if you’re a youngster – but you’re still very much a School child, whining because the olds won’t let you go to a gig – until the scales fall from their eyes – and you’ve got the Golden ticket in your sweaty little palm! Who were the first band you saw in the live arena? Did it confirm your suspicions about just how massive this hidden world was, how inspiring? Or was first ‘in the flesh’ contact a little disappointing? “I went to the Big Day Out for my first real show. Bands like Slipknot, Hatebreed, System of a Down played and in contrast to anything else I’d witnessed, I was amazed. But then about a year later I went to a much smaller festival here in Brisbane called Overcranked, and I consider that my first real exposure. I’d been to a bunch of big name metal shows by that point, but nothing with this sort of intimacy in terms of how cramped and close everything was. The two bands that changed my whole outlook at that show were Dawn of Azazel and Psycroptic. Having not even listened to a lot of death metal at that time, seeing it performed live in that type of environment was a complete ‘HOLY FUCK’ moment for me. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew I was blown away by it. Everything just started to kind of snowball from that point on”.
You’re now a full-grown acolyte, a fully-fledged lover of the dark arts, as it were. But listening and watching isn’t enough. You need to consummate your love, by forming or joining your own metal band – tell us about your formative bands and what life was like on the bottom rung of the ladder… “Not too long after starting to play guitar I knew I wanted to find people to jam with, but being from a small country town made options limited. Eventually a good mate decided to buy a drumkit so we could form the greatest metal band Kingaroy had ever seen; The Onions. Finally jamming with people is what made it all click with me. At the same time Jord and Henri (James and Sison – respectively vocalist and drummer for Disentomb- Ed.) started a death metal band with some other mates in the next town over. Jord and I grew up together since we were knee-high, so when they were down a guitarist they hit me up to join. From jamming together in a tin shed to playing our first real show in Brisbane was a huge trip for us. Coming from such a small place, we didn’t really know what to expect when we jumped into the metal scene, nor did we have any expectations. We were just stoked to be there, and I think we’ve always maintained that way of thinking through the years”.
Mission accomplished – you’re in a band. A Soldier of metal mired in the trenches fighting for our way of life, possibly on a tour of the toilet venues of your home locale – what was your first tour like? What valuable lessons were learned? Or was there just to much fun to be had to worry about tedious life craft? “Just after we released our debut album, we decided to embark on our first real tour of Australia. Looking back on it now, it was just about as perfect as a first tour could be. Shitty turnouts, cancelled shows, thousands of kilometres in a tiny van cramped with gear and merch, but we had a fucking blast. Constantly pissing ourselves laughing and having a good time. l think the main thing we learned off that tour was that touring rules and we need to keep doing it
Amen to that! Away from you now – your career is in full bloom. But what of the elder Statesmen, the justices who still reign, Saturnine and all-knowing? Which of the old-but-still-living Gods still command the most respect in your eyes? And why? “Basically any that kept releasing albums with confidence, regardless of ever-changing trends and fads. I don’t mean bands that only stick with the one sound, instead, bands that release albums that THEY think are sick. Napalm Death for example. Scum, Diatribes, and The Code is Red are all drastically different sounding albums, but if you listen to them independently of everything that influences your opinion except the music, the songs are sick for what they are. They also kept up a consistent and energetic live show over the decades so I respect the shit out of them and draw inspiration from that”.
Too true – though you’d never believe from watching and listening to Barney Greenway that his fave bands are Toto and Survivor! But what about those still around who’ve maybe pushed it a little too far, those bespectacled and pantalooned ‘legacy’ artistes on their nth farewell trip across the globe? Is there anyone on our world you think might like to think about hanging up the old Les Paul and giving themselves and us a rest? “Absolutely not! Who am I to yuck your yum? Ya know? Just because I don’t find value in something doesn’t mean the next person won’t. Some band that we might think is washed up could be some kid’s first introduction to metal that blows his mind, and then makes him go out and buy a Les Paul!”
And the final age, of course, is death. We’ll all be left Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything eventually. Which deceased metallian do you miss most? And what are your happiest memories of them? “That one’s a bit of a toughie. I prefer to focus on making more top-notch memories with my current metal brethren of the present!”
That’s a nice positive note on which to end – thanks again for taking part and good luck with the tour!
Our readers from Australia can catch Disentomb on the road with guests Whoretopsy on the following dates next month:
July 12th – Melbourne / Northcote Social Club w/ Odiusembowel, Convulsing + Zeolite
July 13th – Brisbane / The Tivoli (Dead Of Winter Festival)*
July 20th – Sydney / Crowbar w/ Resist The Thought + Alchemy
July 26th – Adelaide / Enigma Bar w/ Tzun Tzu + Putrescent Seepage
July 27th – Hobart / The Brisbane Hotel w/ Mephistopheles + Zeolite
*Whoretopsy not appearing