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Rust-resistant metal | Angelcrypt

Having formed way back in 1997, Angelcrypt remain one of Malta’s most enduring metal acts. Ahead of their performance at the Xtreme Metal Assault festival, we speak to guitarist Shawn Mizzi about how the Melodic Death Metal band evolved over the years, their plans for the future, and the challenges of being part of an oft-forgotten musical genre

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
8 July 2015, 1:00pm
Angelcrypt perform at Notte Bianca in 2014
Angelcrypt perform at Notte Bianca in 2014
What would you say is the main reason you guys remained a band for so long?

To tell the truth, I am the only original member of the band left. So I saw many members come and go. But I am very happy with this present lineup, which has been going for about four years and our bond is getting stronger. The main reason I never gave up and called it quits is the very big passion I have for metal music. I can’t imagine living without it, and I can’t throw away 20 years of Angelcrypt legacy, so I feel kind of responsible to carry it on.

What was your original intention with the band when you started out, and how did your style and approach evolve over the years?

Our original intention was to create a new style of metal music. Thrashy riffs, melodic choruses blended up with harsh vocals. Today there are countless bands with that equation but at the time, I think we were a first for Malta. Recruiting new members always brings new ideas to the band, so over the years our style evolved to a harsher one, going back to a more melodic power-ish one and back to where it is today, which I can safely label us as a ‘Melodic Death Metal’ band.

What were some of the most significant changes to your sound after the line-up change?

Our most significant change was that we bought ticker gauge strings and down-tuned all the way down to B. This was to complement Joe Grech’s deep vocals. We managed to make our sound as heavy as possible while also maintaining our melodies, which we’re famous for.

How would you say the metal scene has changed in Malta over the last couple of years in particular?

I have been active in Malta’s metal scene for over 20 years, and I’m sorry for the younger kids who do not remember what it was like back then. No style differences, no genres: it was metal. Everybody went to everyone’s gigs. We were like a big family, which unfortunately I do not see today.

There are a lot of sub-genres of metal and all have their own small crowd, which in my opinion is killing the scene in general. I hope that one day we would learn to support each and every genre, as we were doing back in the 90s.

What do you think of the musical scene in Malta in general? What would you change about it, and what are some of the most significant challenges musicians face? What changes to it would you suggest?

We are full of talent in Malta. I have seen bands that are way more capable than foreign bands and do not have the exposure they deserve. We as musicians always face the same problem: Malta is so small that are virtually no opportunities to grow. The only way forward is gigging abroad.

We have only one venue left for metal bands to play at. Occasionally we find somewhere where they let you do a one-off gig. Then there are a couple of metal festivals where we can play, which are also struggling financially. I think the main reason for this is because metal is still an underground genre for Malta. All the commercial bands get the big gigs and billboards, but we are the underdogs.

It’s too heavy for radio, it’s too loud for the village feast. It’s music, like every other genre of music. There are those who like it, and those who don’t. But I believe that there should be equal opportunities for every kind of Maltese band – whether they play death metal or soft rock.

What’s next for you?

Our full-length album is finally in its last stages. It has been recorded for over a year, but we’ve had to re-record all of its vocals due to a lineup change. But now we are booked for a photo-session and album artwork is ready for print. So our next big thing is launching our album. We are also planning of launching it abroad, to mark our position internationally.

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About Xtreme Metal Assault
The Xtreme Metal Assault festival will be taking place at the Corradino Old Military Prison, Paola on July 11 from 17:00. Featuring the bands: Sahhar, A Broken Design, Ashes for Nought, Rising Sunset, Relicuia, Ascendor, Arachnid, Fallen Icon, Blind Saviour, Repugnance, Angelcrypt, In the Name Of, Insurgence, It Came From the Desert, Martyrium, and 12th Ode. Entrance is at €15.

Angelcrypt are:

Joseph Grech – Vocals
Shawn Mizzi – Guitars
Campos Gellel – Guitars
Jean Cutajar – Bass
Keiston Busuttil – Drums

For more information on the band, log on to: www.angelcrypt.com

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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