Interview with Cemetery Urn Guitairst Andrew Gillon by Dale & Patrick Halloween 2018…

We have been trying to secure an interview with Cemetery Urn for a couple years now with little success. But finally our persistence here at CA has paid off with an excellent interview that is quite comprehensive thanks to Mr. Gillon's in-depth answers. Finally we get to support this excellent old school death metal band and spread their words far and wide...


Hello how are things going in Australia this week?
Not any metal shows this week, so a little quiet. Beers and Metal at home.

When did you first start listening to metal music and who were the first bands you listened to? The first album you purchased with your own money?
I started listening to Metal around 1988. The first Metal albums I heard were Reign in Blood and Master of Puppets. I was a big Slayer and Metallica fan so the first albums bought would have been a Slayer or Metallica album.

I believe all the members of the band have been a part of the UG scene since at least the early 90's. What is your opinion of the underground metal scene back then and now?
Back then many of the earlier bands were pioneers and layed the foundations for Metal moving forward. But for a long time now the scene seems watered down with a lot of average bands and albums getting a lot of promotion. Home recording has changed a lot. Back then it was normal to hear a demo sounding like it was recorded on a tape deck. There was some really raw sounding demo tapes. These days you can buy some cheap software and depending on your skills can record at home with very high quality. You don’t even need a real drummer!!! So it’s a completely thing now. But the Underground is cyclical and eventually the scene becomes a parody of itself and implodes. Just like it did in the late 90’s. The shit like death core or metal core gets left by the wayside and people get back to listening to the true Underground bands. You always see bands compared back to the early era, in that it sounds like Sodom, Beherit, Grave, Incantation or Blasphemy etc. because these bands are legendary and have survived the purge. Out of the ashes rises new bands carrying the torch of the true Metal Underground spirit. There’s a lot of great Metal bands out there today and although the word ‘Underground’ doesn’t carry the exact same meaning these days, it’s killer that there’s still some maniacs out there keeping the underground spirit alive.

Did you ever do much tape-trading back in the early days? Do you remember what the first few demo tapes you bought were? You’re first foreign band demo?
Sure a few. But I was surrounded by people who were extremely active tape traders. So I was luckily flooded with choice. Some killer demos I remember writing for were Desaster ‘Lost in the Ages’, Masochist…

Were you a regular reader of fanzines back in the late ‘80s through the 90's? In your opinion what makes a good fanzine? Do you think fanzines / webzines still have importance these days?
Not in the 80’s for me but in the 90’s there was always different zines around. From ’94 Abominator had many interviews in various zines. So there was always different ones around. I think Sadistic Execution interviews always make for an entertaining fan zine!!! Also brutally honest reviews are always a good read. Fan zines whether online or printed are a still essential for a band to spread the word. Especially newer bands.

What were your fave fanzines from the your early days in the scene? Do you keep up with any web-zines these days?
I remember Slayer mag, Voices From the Darkside, Full Moon Zine, Grimoire and a few others. I don’t order any these days. I just read online now.

What was the spark that led to you forming Cemetery Urn in the beginning? Who would you say are the bands biggest influences? Do they remain the same over a decade later?
I decided to start the band after the 4th Abominator album was recorded. It was started at the bar in 2005. I was having a beer with Damon Bloodstorm from Bestial Warlust/Abominator and we were talking about the lack of Death Metal bands we liked and we both agreed it would be killer to start a pure Death Metal project. I wouldn’t say there are any particular bands that we tried to mimic, it’s just always been focused on an early era of Death Metal. The beginnings of Death Metal when Thrash just got heavier and evolved into Death Metal (I loved that time period! -Dale). The direction of the band remains the same and always will. I’ve just found different ways to write over time.

Damon Bloodstorm was a founding member of Cemetery Urn and was with the band for 7 years. What led to his departure? How has his absence (he seemed to be the band spokesman etc…) changed the band and was it hard to replace what he brought to the Urn?
Damon retired. He’d had enough. Damon was doing all the social networking and most of the interviews. So after he left I had to learn MySpace and Facebook etc, as well as do all the interviews. Plus he left before any lyrics were written for the 3rd album ‘Cemetery Urn’. So I had to ask C. Volcano of Abominator to write and record the lyrics for the album. But during that time It wasn’t just Damon that left. Every member from ‘The Conquered Are Burned’ era quit, so I had to rebuild the entire lineup from scratch. It caused the band to lose momentum, which is why there was such a large break in between the second and third albums.

Did the line-up changes disrupt the song writing process? Also it seems some new members are generally less experienced than the old line up. So, how did that change the overall band dynamics and things such as recording in the studio?
I write all the music myself so there was no problem writing the guitars for ‘Cemetery Urn’. I wrote about twenty songs to get the final ten for ‘Cemetery Urn’. But I don’t write many lyrics so there was a delay in the vocals. That’s why I brought in C. Volcano. He’s a lyric writing machine. For the current album ‘Barbaric Retribution’ I brought in the live Bass/vocalist for Abominator ‘S. Geoffory’. He’d done a few Abominator shows with us so I knew he had enough live experience to handle the role. The lyrics for ‘Barbaric Retribution’ were a collaborative effort which included 3 songs with lyrics written by C. Volcano.
In the Studio I record the bass and guitars. The studio is always just producer Sam Johnson and myself. So no matter what’s happening with band members it always just ends the same way with Sam and myself completely sleep deprived in the studio for a couple of weeks.

Cemetery Urn is getting ready to release their fourth full length release through Hells Headbanger's. How did you come in contact with this legendary label and sign with them?
I self released the first two Cemetery Urn CD’s on Cemetery Recordings. Which was a distro I started for the Cemetery Urn project. I was trading CD’s into catalogs all over the world. Over time the HHR trades out sold every other outlet. I think it was HHR that offered to release the LP versions of the ‘Urn of Blood’. They did such a killer job that after ‘The Conquered Are Burned’ CD was released I got them to do the LP for that as well. After that the Australian postage rates went up a couple of times and it became too expensive to distribute from Australia. Plus I thought it was about time the band had some professional level promo. So I offered them to release all formats and now HHR handle all promo and release all CD’s, LP’s, Cassettes and digital formats from the U.S.

I believe with your previous releases the band handled / financed everything from the recording etc… plus sales and distribution deals. So how different is it having a record label now and having them do all of that?
The promo and distro from the mighty Hells Headbangers is way beyond what I could achieve. ‘Barbaric Retribution’ has been reviewed in well over 100 magazines, both online and printed. It’s beyond any label promo that I’ve ever been involved with. I’ve heard you can buy a Cemetery Urn CD in Target now!!! Maybe even Walmart!!!

Do you think this situation is better now having record label support or at least less time consuming? Besides the new release does the band have any other merchandise available for the readers?
The main roles of the label are to handle promo, pressings and distro, so it’s a huge time saver. It also frees up my time to concentrate on other aspects of the project like writing songs and arranging tours. For ‘Barbaric Retribution’ HHR will have CD’s, LP’s, Cassettes, short and long sleeve shirts. The band has Merch available at shows, the rest is handled by the label.

What have been some of Cemetery Urn's most memorable shows over the years? The band did a tour in the USA very early in it’s existence. How did this tour come together and how did it go? Was it what you expected going into the tour?
The ‘Burial Procession of Europa’ tour we just finished is by far our most brutal accomplishment. We worked with Killtown Bookings and Necrowretch to play 14 shows in 8 countries across the EU. Locally we played with Sadistic Intent and Archgoat in Melbourne for D. Bloodstorms last show a few years back, which was a great end to the Bloodstorm era. We toured the U.S. in the early days with over 30 shows over 2 tours. Our friend Chris Hatewar booked most of the U.S. shows for us. Hatewar has a network right across the U.S. The first tour was with Angelcorpse and Gospel of the Horns. So although Cemetery Urn was mostly unknown, we had good attendance. The second tour we headlined and as we had released two albums through HHR and toured the U.S. already and it had great support from the U.S. maniacs!!!

Are there any tours or shows coming up in support of the new release? Who are some bands you will be sharing the stage with? I would imagine Cemetery Urn thrives and are at their best live, true?
The new album ‘Barbaric Retribution’ was released just in time for the European tour. The album launch was the first show of the tour at ‘Killtown Death Fest’ in Copenhagen. During the tour we shared the stage with killer bands such as Demilich, Spectral Voice, Cardiac Arrest, Blood Incantation, Phrenelith and many many more killer bands. We’re currently working on further tours through Asia and the U.S. as well as some local shows. Cemetery Urn live is an extreme experience of Barbaric Death Metal!!!

Cemetery Urn comes out of the storied Australian metal scene. What is your opinion of Australia's metal scene? Do you think the Aussie scene has it’s own uniqueness compared to other scenes around the world? 
 The Australian metal scene is the same as everywhere else. All the genres and sub genres are represented. I don’t think you can say the entire scene has a unique sound. I mean a Grind band, Prog/Glam Metal or a traditional Black Metal band is going to sound pretty much the same no matter where you are in the world. But there has been some legendary Thrash and Death Metal bands from Australia like Slaughter Lord, Hobbs Angel of Death, Sadistic Execution, Bestial Warlust, Portal, Destroyer 666, Abominator, Vomitor. These bands were very well known and influential outside Australia and were similar in the raw Thrash/Death Metal sound. It’s this raw barbaric style/sound that is referred to as the ‘Australian sound’. Although this only represents a small section of the Australian Metal scene, it is the best section of the Australian Metal scene.

Who are your all-time favorite bands coming out of Australia currently? What are some new bands you feel the readers over here should check out? Can you recommend some Australian ‘zines, distros and labels? 
All time Australian favourites would be Sadistic Execution, Destroyer 666, Bestial Warlust, Slaughter Lord, Armoured Angel, Necrotomy, disembowelment. Some active bands worth checking out are Eschaton, Ignivamous, Abominator, Denouncement Pyre, Nocturnal Graves. Modern Invasion and Aurora Australis are labels worth checking out. I’m not aware of anyone doing a zine here at the moment. International postage is so expensive here that running a distro is completely pointless.

Thank you my metal brother for taking the time to fill this interview out! Do you have any final words for the readers?



The Cemetery Urn Discography 

Urn Of Blood Full-length, 2007

The Conquered Are Burned Full-length, 2010

Cemetery Urn Full-length, 2017

Barbaric Retribution Full-length, 2018





Click above to return to the homepage