Death metal. A wide spectrum of views, thoughts, and backgrounds. Was it ever meant to be this wide, this pervasive, out of the cellar and into the spotlight? Certainly, there’s no putting the guts back, for they’ve been out, exposed, and rotting for the better part of three decades. When I heard the new project, Infidel Reich, from ex-Asphyx drummer Bob Bagchus and Acheron frontman Vincent Crowley, I had to learn more. Are Infidel Reich just another band in Bagchus’ and Crowley’s storied and collective histories, or are the Dutch/American contingent much more? The group’s debut EP, Infidel Reich, was a six-song blast of old-school attitude — think Carnivore, Motörhead, S.O.D., Venom, Bathory — combined with striking cover art that replicated the propaganda art style — symmetry, bold colors, strong characters, etc. — of the World Wars.
As Infidel Reich prepare to release their debut album Reichenstein through Sweden’s Helter Skelter Productions, the spotlight is yet again on the quartet; ex-Asphyx guitarist Tony Brookhuis (who replaced Stijn Bogers in 2017) and bassist McNasty round out the lineup. Indeed, the war machine of Reichenstein needs clarification, but only through the gunsmoke of “Killing Cultures,” “Reich & Fucking Roll,” and “Gunzilla’s Stand” and the irradiated snow of “Nuclear Showdowns,” “Selling Salvation,” and “Hymn to Victory.” Politically, Infidel Reich voice their opposition to political correctness through the lens of what they call reality. As Crowley will explain below, the words ‘infidel’ and ‘reich’ are indeed trigger words but are not hoisted as a signal flag to denigrate others, except for the politically correct and Antifa, with whom Infidel Reich’s views differ.
So, read on with Bob Bagchus and Vincent Crowley as they prepare Infidel Reich for its first major battle with the monstrous middle finger that is Reichenstein.
Bob, last I counted, you were in Infidel Reich, Siege of Power, Beast of Revelation, and recently Hellehond. Are you slightly crazy or has the hunger for death metal grown stronger over the years?
Bob Bagchus: [Laughs] Not crazy but except for Infidel Reich and Hellehond, the other projects are not going to play live. They are, more or less, studio projects. But I always have a good hunger for old-fashion death/black and doom metal. Always have and always will.
OK, Infidel Reich, a band featuring you on drums, Tony Brookhuis on guitars, Vincent Crowley vocals, and McNasty on bass, started three years ago based off what desire?
Bob Bagchus: Vincent and I have known each other since 1991. A few years years ago Vincent wrote me and asked me if I was interested in doing a band with him. A bit different from our other past and present bands. We had the same thoughts and views on certain things — political correctness in the metal scene, SJWs, we both hate the guts of Antifa, etc. — so we already had a concept. Vincent came up with the band name. We just hated seeing the metal scene becoming a wining pussy scene for the most part, and all the witch hunts which came along with it. For example, use an Iron Cross? Nazi! Being critical on Islam? Nazi, right-winger and nationalist! Love S.O.D. and Carnivore? You support Nazi bands and so forth. We had enough of that bullshit labeling, so we did what we always did, say what we want to say, not being silent just because some extreme left-wing scum might boycott our show or our band. Fuck that shit. And fuck those crybabies.
Vincent Crowley: Bob and I have been friends for many years. We had talked about working together in a musical collaboration for a long time. Both of us talked about our disgust with the present-day, politically-correct culture, where everything is offensive and so-called victims are a plenty. That was the driving force behind the conception of the band, along for our admiration for old-school underground metal and punk.
Most of the band are Dutch. How Vincent Crowley, who is American, enter the fold?
Vincent Crowley: Well, I came up with the name, so I was always in the fold since day one. [Laughs] This was indeed the brainchild of Bob and I. And McNasty, Tony and ex-guitarist Stijn completed the war machine with a collection of great heavy and catchy music.
Who are some of Infidel Reich’s most prominent influences? I hear bits of Venom, Bathory, Motörhead, Carnivore, and Sodom.
Bob Bagchus: Indeed, those bands are our main influences for sure. Especially our full-length album Reichenstein will represent those [bands].
Vincent Crowley: Everything raw, gritty and heavy. I think it is safe to say that Lemmy and Peter Steele were very inspiring to all of us.
What’s behind the band name, Infidel Reich? The word ‘reich,’ in relation to the war themes explored by the band, will, I’m sure, be cause for concern for those without the proper context.
Vincent Crowley: In this day and age, where people are offended at the drop of a hat, we thought it would be amusing to use some combined ‘trigger’ words to piss some close-minded people off. Neither word is offensive unless you make them that way. Reich is our band realm and empire. It has no connection with anything political, religious, racist or things of that nature. I really think our attitude reflects a lot of ideas that Carnivore produced back in the day. Our only goal is to make killer music with lyrics and aesthetics that make you think.
Vincent Crowley: Not at all! [Laughs] Reichenstein is a Monster Tank mascot; that is pretty much symbolic of the band’s songs and attitude. Nothing is going to get in our way. We will crush all that try to talk away our artistic freedoms.
I found the title “Gunzilla” humorous, but then I realized it’s a top-line gun cleaning solution. Is that what the song’s about? Or, is it a take on the Heavy Gustav gun, the large-scale artillery gun the German’s built to attack the Maginot Line from afar?
Vincent Crowley: Wow, I didn’t even know that existed. No, “Gunzilla’s Stand” is just a tongue-in-cheek title (since this album had a monster-type title) that is basically my views on gun rights for citizens. Laws are different in Holland, but I think we all agree every stable human being should be able to be armed and have the ability to defend themselves if needed.
And “Nuclear Showdowns” is self-explanatory. Are you talking about the East-West Cold War confrontation or the always-imminent threat of thermonuclear war between Nation A and Nation B?
Vincent Crowley: The song explains the stupidity of how nuclear-armed countries always try to out-number each other with nuclear weapons. It is very much like little kids fighting over “My Dad can beat your Dad up!” You can say it is very anti-nukes. Get the wrong asshole behind the button and this whole fucking planet could be wiped clean.
The self-titled Infidel Reich EP came out in 2017. What was the response like?
Bob Bagchus: The response was really good, except for the extreme lefties who, of course, thought it was right-wing propaganda. But, hey, they never have a clue on anything anyway and here it was no different. We are on Helter Skelter, a small label from Sweden and while we had very little promo and only one interview in a German magazine called Legacy — some other mags refused. Despite all that, we sold 2,000 pieces of our EP, which is pretty solid.
Vincent Crowley: It is indeed been building up. We are getting more and more fans every day. Being on a smaller label is harder to get attention, but this band has really made some headway since our formation in 2016.
The new album, Reichenstein, is a monster. Do you view it as a direct continuation of the EP or a step up in terms of brutality, song quality, and theme?
Bob Bagchus: Thanks! Much appreciated! I think it is a step up in every aspect. Better songwriting and probably even harder when it comes to the lyrical content. Pure reality, which some folks may dislike but that’s okay for us! [Laughs] On Reichenstein, Motörhead and Carnivore are more present than before too.
Vincent Crowley: I think it still indeed has the same “Reich & Roll” flavor. But on this album, you will hear many more different old-school music influences in the songs. My favorite thing about this album is that the songs kick you in the teeth, yet are catchy and memorable. Metal with a high-energy punk attitude.
You’ve premiered two tracks on Youtube, “Gunzilla” and “Victims Inc.” Both are crushingly heavy yet straightforward bangers. Why these two tracks?
Vincent Crowley: “Victims Inc” has lyrics that really reflect the problems with today’s “Poor Me” movement. It just seemed fitting. Not to mean it is a great high-energy track. As for “Gunzilla’s Stand,” we had a video concept in mind, so we went with that one.
Tell us about the cover art to Reichenstein. Again by Triple Seis Design?
Vincent Crowley: It was a play off of the classic Mary Shelley book, Frankenstein. It is our monstrous musical creation. We all have our alter-egos in this band. Mine is Dr. Reichenstein. But the mad scientist on the cover art represents the whole band not me. Because we all created this beast!
When is Reichenstein released? Helter Skelter Productions, from Sweden, will release it, correct?
Bob Bagchus: Yes, Helter Skelter/Regain will release it again. The album should be out in September.
** Infidel Reich’s new album, Reichenstein, will be out September 2019 on CD, LP, and digital through Sweden’s Helter Skelter Productions. Pre-orders are not up yet, but keep checking HERE for updates.