Interview with Ross Mallie guitarist for Helmsplitter done by Patrick late May 2014…

Formed by Ross Mallie and Nate Boyd in 2008, the band released a demo the follow year, followed by a self-released full length album in 2011. These releases earned them a record deal with Horror Pain Gore Records, their first release with the label which caught my interest was the excellent cd  "Enraptured By Suffering", released earlier this year . It is a roller coaster ride of an album that needs to be heard. Helmsplitter have a lot of influences ranging from black metal to sludge and death metal. If you are into blackened death metal with some rock and sludge Influences, you will definitely want to read more about this band below and pick up their album!


Hello Ross. Please introduce yourself to the readers? When did you all form Helmsplitter? How did you all come up with the name of the band?

Welp, my name is Ross and I play guitar for Helmsplitter, and its 2:33 am and I am baked as hell. Drummer Nate Boyd and I formed Helmsplitter in the summer of 2008.  Nate got the name from a video game he was playing at the time. There is a weapon in this game that would like kill everything in sight and it is called the Helm Splitter, we liked the sounds of it and wanted to make music that was destructive and powerful so we went with it.

What is the current line up of the band? For the readers who have never heard Helmsplitter how would you describe the bands music?

Our current line-up is: Nate Boyd-drums, Lyndon Ehlers-bass, Blakk-vocals, Jason Grevas-guitar, and myself-guitar.  I would describe our music as a violent roller coaster ride because there are a lot of unexpected twists and turns.  We combine a lot of genre’s but we always make sure that it flows and doesn’t sound forced.  One thing is for sure; its very fucking heavy!

Helmsplitter recently released their new cd "Enraptured By Suffering" how long did it take you all to write the songs for this release? How did you all come in contact with Horror Pain, Gore, Death?

Well a handful of the songs on the album were on a demo we did years ago, we decided they were too good not to release so we reworked them a bit and included them.  The rest of the songs are brand new, and I would guess that they were written over the course of 3 or 4 months.  As for HPGD, I had known about the label for quite a while because I would order packages from Relapse Records and since Mike (Juliano, owner of HPGD) worked there he would put his business cards in the packages.  I sent him a copy of our first album, “Storms of Genocide”, and he liked what he heard and we liked what he had to offer so we reached an agreement.

Does the whole band work on music or do one or two members usually write everything? Who writes the lyrics for the band? What are some topics/subjects you write about?

Well, I have always sort of been the main songwriter but getting the songs solidified in a manner we are happy with has always been a team effort.  Also, we recently added Jason Grevas on 2nd guitar and he is already becoming a big part of the songwriting, so future releases will probably have a lot of his material in the mix.  Everyone contributes and gets to add their ideas.  Lyrically it is basically all Blakk, he has written all the lyrics on both albums except for a few verses I wrote for “Aura of Suicide”.  Blakk likes to write about topics that deal with the dark side of life, which of course is almost a necessity considering the style of music we play.  He watches a lot of documentaries about sadistic historical figures, war, witchcraft, that type of stuff.

How has the response been from the fans? What about the press?

The reaction has been very positive.  People seemed to like our first album a lot and it got us signed to HPGD so that one was a success, and this new one is getting great reviews thus far.  Of course you can’t please everyone, and we don’t aim too.  We just make the music we love and if people like it we consider it a bonus.

Does Helmsplitter play live very often? Who are some bands you have shared the stage with? If you could set up a dream tour who are some bands {past or present} you would love to play with?

We go through spells where we play live quite a bit but then there are lots of times where we concentrate more on writing and the other aspects of the band.  A dream tour…hmmmm……well if I were picking the line-up it would probably be Mayhem (the early nineties line-up with Euronymous on guitar), Darkthrone, Morbid Angel (the early nineties line-up), Eyehategod, Electric Wizard, and Us haha.  There are about a million other bands I could mention but those would be my dream bands to play with.  Black Metal, Death Metal, Sludge, and Doom are some of my favorite subgenres and that would pretty much cover them all!

Are there any tours planned in support of "Enraptured By Suffering"? If yes,  where are some places you will be playing?

We are working on setting up a short east coast run with our buddies in The Communion (amazing grindcore from NY).  Other than that we will just be doing a lot of “weekend warrior” trips.  Our lives don’t allow for us to do much touring.

In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about the underground scene? And what does the term "metal underground" mean to you?

In my opinion the internet is both the best and worst thing to happen to the underground.  It’s great because you can make music and have it available to the entire world in no time.  It sucks because it allows for every band under the sun to do this, which makes it very hard to get noticed.  People are so overwhelmed by bands bombarding their facebook pages and shit that you really have to do something special to stand out.  And even then it might still not be enough.  The term “metal underground”, to me anyway, means more than just the bands.  It’s the bands, the fans, the labels, the websites, the magazines, and anyone or anything else involved in heavy music that goes under the radar of mainstream media and the “suitable for mass consumption” society that we live in.

Do you or any member of Helmsplitter play in other bands? If yes please tell the readers about  them?

Yes, we are all involved in other projects actually.  Blakk has been the mastermind behind Angelkill for over 20 years (no doubt all the way back to the old days baby when I ordered their “Garden Of Crosses” tape from Wild Rags! in the mid-90s… - Dale) and he is still going strong with that.  He is working on a new album that sounds amazing thus far.  Jason has a project with a drummer from Arizona that I don’t believe has a name yet. From what I have heard of it it is going to be brutal and technical death metal.   Lyndon, Nate, and myself are in a sludge/crust punk/doom band called Obsidian Hammer.  It is a new band but we are off to a good start.  We are opening for DRI at the end of this month and are stoked about that.  I am also working on a solo album that will have R. Micheal Cook from A Hill To Die Upon on drums and vocals. I haven’t got around to naming that project yet though.

Ross you play the guitars for the band when did you start playing the guitars for the band? Are you self taught or did you take lessons when you were younger?

I started playing guitar for the band upon our inception, since day 1.  I am almost totally self -taught. I actually started on bass when I was about 12, but honestly I didn’t take it seriously until I was like 18.  I took a few lessons here and there but I didn’t get much out of them.  I learned most of what I know by watching Soilent Green practice and perform when I lived in New Orleans.  I didn’t actually start playing guitar until I was around 21, I was sick of not being able to find a guitarist that was writing music like I wanted to play so I said fuck it and bought a guitar and decided to take a stab at it myself.  I always planned on being a bassist in a band but it just didn’t work out that way.

Who are some of your influences/favorite guitarist? Do you play any other instruments?

As I mentioned I play bass also, although I haven’t done much of it for a long time now.  I could list off guitarists who have influenced me for days but some of the ones at the top of the list would be Brian Patton (Soilent Green/Eyehategod), Morgan Hakansson (Marduk), Euronymous (Mayhem) Kirk Lloyd Fisher (Buzzoven), Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel), Kirk Windstein (Crowbar, ex-Down), Mieszko Talarczyk (Nasum), Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer), and of course Tony Fuckin Iommi.  And there are many, many more.

You come out of the Midwest metal scene what is your opinion of the Midwest scene? Who are your all-time favorite bands from the mid-west? Are their any new bands you feel the readers should check out soon?

Well to be perfectly honest I have mixed feelings about the scene here.  I think I got spoiled by how good the scene was in New Orleans so when I moved back to the Midwest it was kind of a let-down for me.  On the other hand I have managed to wind up in two bands that I am thrilled with will living here so I am very grateful for that.  There aren’t a lot of good clubs where we live, RIBCO in Rock Island Illinois is the only club that brings in “bigger” underground bands.  And unfortunately it seems like attendance at shows is not what it should be.  However there are some good bands around; Angelust, A Hill to Die Upon, Crater, and Disentegrator to name a few.  So there are good things and bad things about the scene here, like most places I suppose.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when not working on band music or interviews etc..?

Being a full-time college student, a husband, and a member of two busy bands pretty much consumes all of my time.  I enjoy sitting on the couch and having a beer while watching a good movie when I have time for that, I also enjoy fishing and being in the wilderness but I don’t get to do that very often anymore.

Well Ross we have reached the end of the interview do you have anything you would like to add before we end the interview?

I would just to thank anyone who reads this and takes the time to check out Helmsplitter.  The best is yet to come from this band for sure.  I would also like to thank you for the interview!


The Helmsplitter Discography 

Demo, 2009

Storms Of Genocide Full-length, 2011

Enraptured By Suffering Full-length, 2014




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