*Originally published in Sin City Presents Magazine
Azrael’s Bane is Back!
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Melodic progressive metal band Azrael’s Bane originally formed in 2001 in Houston, Texas. After a five-year hiatus, they are back with a re-mastered double CD entitled ‘Modern Day Babylon’ that is scheduled for a December release. Azrael’s Bane recently signed a multiple album deal with Sleaszy Rider Records, who are based in Greece, and are planning a 2017 Southwest tour. Fans of progressive metal bands like Queensryche, Savatage, Iron Maiden, and Dream Theater will love Azrael’s Bane. Vocalist Trey Gadler Talks About the New CD, Record Deal, Tour Dates, and More!
ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: Hi Trey! I have absolutely loved listening to your upcoming release ‘Modern Day Babylon’ and am excited to be doing this interview with you for Sin City Presents and Metal Babe Mayhem!
TREY GADLER: Thanks so much for the support!
METAL BABE: You are welcome. First of all, congratulations on signing a worldwide deal with Sleaszy Rider Records! I read in your statement that you had “a few false starts,” but you are “very much looking forward to working with Tolis and the rest of the Sleaszy Rider Records crew to bring Azrael’s Bane music to the world.” How did this come about?
TREY: I’ll start with the “false starts” part because it’s a bit of a long story. Most of the tracks on the album were recorded back in 2009 or so. We were on the verge of releasing it when the label we were on at the time went under. It was depressing. We had this great album ready to go and it just felt like somebody took all the wind out of our sails and the band really lost some of its momentum. We ended up pressing a few copies ourselves, but we never really put it out there. There was no promotion and no distro, so for most people, it’s still a brand new album.
METAL BABE: Oh wow.
TREY: When the band reformed, we started shopping it again and inked a deal late last year. We had the deal in place with everything ready to go, but due to some circumstances I can’t really go into, things just didn’t work out with those guys. We had started shopping for a deal again recently, when Tolis from Sleaszy Rider Records contacted us expressing his interest. After some negotiation, we got the deal done. We’re really looking forward to working with them and finally getting this record out there.
METAL BABE: Thank you for explaining… I understand what you mean now. The re-mastered double album ‘Modern Day Babylon’ is scheduled for release this December, and will be available on CD, vinyl, and digital formats. How do the re-masters compare to the originals?
TREY: There isn’t a tremendous difference to my ears. It’s a subtle thing. I guess the main difference is that the two albums sounded really different from each other prior to the remaster. Since we are packaging them both as a double album, it was important to try and get some uniformity in sound between them. They sound good next to each other now.
METAL BABE: That’s great. I was really excited to see Savatage’s “Edge of thorns” was on the ‘Modern Day Babylon’ remaster! It’s rare to hear a band cover Savatage, especially on a release. What made you choose to cover “Edge of Thorns?”
TREY: We’ve been playing that song as part of our live show for a really long time. It’s kind of been our go to encore song for years and I really like our version. I’m a huge fan of that band and I like to think that we do that song justice. Since the record is technically a re-release, we really wanted to include a bonus track as a little extra treat for the fans.
METAL BABE: Very cool. That is definitely a special treat for fans at your live shows too! Where are you at in the booking process for your 2017 Southwest tour?
TREY: Booking is still a work in progress right now. We’re looking at every opportunity that comes our way and working towards getting on the road. I don’t have anything concrete that I can announce at the moment, but we will definitely be out there soon!
METAL BABE: What is it like working with a label based in Greece? Do you think this will open doors for the band to play European festivals?
TREY: So far so good. It’s a brand new deal, so we haven’t done a whole lot together yet, but the communication and follow up with them has been excellent to this point. I do expect some opportunity for some European dates to come from it. Sleaszy Rider Records has a strong presence over there and we’re already discussing the possibilities of getting that done. We’ve traditionally done fairly well across the pond, but we’ve never been able to work out the logistics of getting over there to play. I feel safe saying that we will definitely get to Europe this time around.
METAL BABE: I’m happy to hear that. It would be amazing to see Azrael’s Bane on a European festival! Do you have plans to play other parts of the U.S. as well?
TREY: Absolutely. We’re looking at fly in dates. At this stage in our lives and careers with our other commitments, long-term touring is very difficult, but flying in for a festival type gig and playing a handful of dates in that region for a week or so at a time is definitely in our plans.
METAL BABE: Great! Let’s talk about how you reunited. I read that you got back together in 2013 (after a five year hiatus) to plan a memorial concert for your close friend and crew member Giovanni May?
TREY: We were all close to Gio. He was a good friend that went all over the country with us. His passing was sudden and completely unexpected. It really threw all of us for a loop. We had a discussion amongst ourselves about getting together for a memorial show in his honor that ultimately led to the band reuniting. We had never split up. We had just taken a break that I think we all initially envisioned as lasting six months or so. Somehow that six months turned into five years. Once we all got into a rehearsal room together again and started playing all those old songs, it just felt right. I like to think that somewhere Gio is smiling, because he would love to see us doing this again. He loved this band.
METAL BABE: I’m sure that he is… Everyone who is currently in the band was in the original line-up, except Van Turner (drums). How did you find Van?
TREY: We’ve all known each other for a long time. For such a large city, Houston’s hard rock and metal scene is pretty close knit and everyone kind of knows everybody else. Van played in another local band (that enjoyed some national success) called ZlotZ for a long time. We’d done some shows with those guys in the past and were all familiar with him and his playing. He was the first guy we contacted. We never even considered anybody else. He’s a tremendous drummer and fit right in.
METAL BABE: How did you choose your name when you first formed in 2001?
TREY: I’d love to say that there was some awesome and meaningful story behind it, but the truth is, we just thought it sounded cool. We were sitting around trying to come up with a name, like all bands do, when Brent came up with “Azrael.” I thought that sounded pretty cool, and the character has such an interesting back story in various mythology, so I did some research. I discovered that there was already another signed band out there using that name, so we nixed it. I honestly don’t remember where the “Bane” part came in. Somebody, probably me, came up with it, and it stuck.
METAL BABE: Who are your biggest influences as a band?
TREY: That probably depends on which one of us you ask. The five of us have some really varied tastes. Our individual influences all come out and contribute to the overall sound of the band. Bands like Queensryche, Iron Maiden, and Savatage do seem to have a bit of an influence on all of us though.
METAL BABE: Those are definitely three of the best! What final words would you like to say to your fans and our readers?
TREY: I’d like to thank you and your readers for your interest and support. We couldn’t do any of it without you. Please drop by our website http://www.azraelsbane.net/ or FaceBook now and then to keep tabs with what we have in store and be on the lookout for ‘Modern Day Babylon’ in December. We’ll hope to see everyone on the road soon!
METAL BABE: Thank you for the interview Trey! It’s been great talking to you. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to see you guys play LA next year!
TREY: Thank you for a great interview!
Azrael’s Bane is:
Trey Gadler – Vocals
Jeff Clifton – Guitars
Chuck McFadden – Guitars
Brent Marches – Bass
Van Turner – Drums