Interview with Black Anvil: Hail Death

Brooklyn-based metal band Black Anvil have been tearing up the scene since their formation in 2007. Forming out of the ashes of the hardcore group Kill Your Idols, the three-piece has released two full-lengths, Time Insults The Mind and Triumvirate, making them a staple in the black metal genre.

The Aquarian caught up with bassist/vocalist Paul Delaney and drummer Raeph Glicken before their set for’s CMJ showcase to talk about their upcoming album, Hail Death, working with producer J. Robbins, and what it means to be a band from New York City. The transcription is below:

How far are you in the process of writing and recording your third album?

Paul Delaney: We’re done. It’s done. We finished in July. And I believe it’s slated for a Spring 2014 release.

When Black Anvil come together to write an album, what does the creative process entail?

PD: (Pause) That’s a good question (laughs). Normally it just involves hiding out and writing music. It’s a pretty big process. With every record for us, it’s become a bigger process, which is a good thing because you don’t want to write the same record over and over again. It just took a lot of time and a lot of solitude to develop what we did for this record.

How long did the whole process take?

PD: I’d say about a year. We recorded it rather fast, in a couple weeks. But the writing process took a while, which I’m happy with. It’s good to just take our time and be fully satisfied with the end result.

Is there anything you want to accomplish with this album that you feel you have not previously?

PD: (Pause) No, actually. We get to do what we want when we want, and we’ll always continue to do that as long as we do this, so I feel whatever comes our way we want to do and can we’ll do. Yeah, I don’t have any regrets. I give shitty answers (laughs).

What made you choose J. Robbins as a producer for the album?

PD: Good question. My other band recorded a record with him in 2007, I believe? Years escape me at this point. But I made a record with J. some years back and it was a great experience, and produced a very organic sound. I’m a fan in general of his stuff. And since we did this band, I’ve always wanted to make a record with him. I always thought it would be really cool because even though it’s metal, we still have a pretty raw, natural element—not tight, compressed, death metal recordings. So I wanted it to sound like a heavy metal record, and he’s someone who I’ve always had in the back of my head but never thought it would work out.

We were supposed to go to Sweden to record with Devo [Andersson] from Marduk. That was the grand plan. He’s a friend of ours and another person we highly respect. But the timing and shit ended up not working out and we had to do it here. So when I realized that was sort of out of the question, the J. Robbins wheel started turning again like, “How can I fucking make this happen?” And it worked out. He was totally psyched. I didn’t know what it entailed to make that happen, but it happened, and I’m very happy with the end result. It’s exactly what we need.

How does the album differ from Triumvirate and Time Insults The Mind?

PD: Uh… Another [good] one. See, I’m shitty at answering questions. The first two I guess we sort of wrote quick, because we were just anxious to write music. And it was all natural, we weren’t trying to do anything, and this was just the next step. We knew it had to be different. We were all mentally in different spots, so it was a bigger process. We had to dig a little deeper but it came naturally. So it’s just bigger and better.

Raeph Glicken: The biggest difference? I think everything changed. Music, lyrics, attitude… life. The hope for death got stronger and that has to do with life. We changed as people. Changing and evolving.

What made you choose Hail Death as an album name?

PD: You got that answer with that [previous] question. You have to open up the record and read the lyrics.

When Black Anvil started, you got a lot of hate for being former members of Kill Your Idols. Do you still get slack from the black metal scene or have people become more receptive?

PD: I don’t even really care anymore. I think people come and go. And anyone who is going to have an opinion like that, like a shitty opinion that’s totally not looked into, is a fly-by-night asshole anyway. I feel people like that come and go and are part-timers anyway and don’t mean anything. To us, say whatever the fuck you want. If it’s all just talk and not physically in our face, who gives a shit? Real recognizes real at the end of the day. We just separate our shit from that and say what you want. Actions, not words.

Do you feel being a New York band affects your music?

PD: Absolutely. We come from a tough musical background. I mean, the hardcore scene, going back to hardcore, is fucking tough. It’s an edgy scene being actually from New York, having a history and growing up in these surroundings—not the gentrified Williamsburg but like the J train or the fucking A train early on. We’ve just had rougher lives. I haven’t had like, the roughest life or a shitty life, but you know, I know what those situations are like, and it has created character in all of us. It definitely influences us sound-wise.

Obviously, we don’t sound like the definition of “black metal” by journalists or whoever reviews music and bases shit on specific sound rather than content and everything. So we definitely have our own sound, I am very comfortable in saying that—not in the cocky, shitty way. I believe that he [Glicken] can agree on almost all of that.

RG: Yeah, I mean, you can grow up in Des Moines, Iowa, and get raped by your father and have some shitty circumstances, or you can have those same type of circumstances go on in a tougher neighborhood. So it’s not that it’s necessarily a tougher world—everybody’s got their own shit that they have to deal with—but if you live in a faster-paced place that is always in a hurry, people don’t give a shit as much. Not giving it a bad rap, but it definitely is a little faster here than a lot of places. The mind has to move a little faster and you have to learn how to run from people and learn how to run after people. It’s good.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

PD: We’re just going to buckle down until the record comes out. Tighten up some stuff on our end, make it ready for proper live presentation, and when the record comes out, sort of hit the ground running.

RG: The mix is done, the master’s done, we’re waiting for artwork to come, and the whole monster starts taking shape. Then we’re opening up the cage and the monster’s going to run. Then it’s going to be good.

PD: It’s a silent period but at the same time there’s a lot going on internally. We’re going to be busy every day.

RG: Plus just getting ready for these shows now and playing all new material, which I think is really important as much for us as it may be, hopefully, for you. It’s kind of a good ground to not go crazy and set yourself up for when a tour happens. Getting to play new music at a couple local shows, not overdoing it, making sure it’s correct, practicing hard still. It’s not like we’re just dormant. We’re still doing our thing and getting new songs ready for everybody, because that’s really important to us right now.

Anything you’d like to add?

RG: Hail death.

PD: The devil always wins.


Black Anvil will play at Amityville Music Hall on Jan. 11. Their upcoming album, Hail Death, will be available in 2014. For more information, go to