Dead End

“From the Bulldozer Mag Archives 2017”

When it comes to mixing death and doom metal, there are two nations in the world that reign supreme. One is the UK, with the likes of Anathema, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, all of whom focused more on the doom side of things in their early days. But then there’s the Netherlands, with bands that focused more on the death elements. Bands like Asphyx, Necro Schzima, and Dead End. Asphyx of course has been going strong for some time now. Necro Schzima fell by the wayside, as did Dead End. Or at least they had until recently. Bassist Alwin Roes gathered a new lineup and has resurrected Dead End. Last year saw a re release of their demos, and then an album, titled “Reborn from the Ancient Grave.”

BM: How are things?

Alwin Roes: Hi Tom, well, we can’t complain, it’s all going very well thank you. 

BM: Let’s start with the early days… What do you think sparked the decision to play doom/death metal instead of say, death, thrash or grindcore?

Alwin Roes: I think it was the influence of the bands we individually listened to that made our mixture music as it is, I like a good thrash album now and then, and also a real old school death metal album I can surely appreciate, but also I like to listen to old CANDLEMASS (Messiah era) and Anathema was one of my fav’s, so I guess I am to blame for bringing in the doom..BM: What were some of the more memorable gigs you did?

Alwin Roes: Well, back in the old days (87-93) the gigs we did with Pestilence, Gorefest and Pentacle are the ones I still remember as awesome, but most of the gigs back than were awesome, you can’t compare it with nowadays…    and looking at the gigs we did since our come-back.. Of course Metalday’s Slovenia was awesome, ’16 we did second stage and now ’17 we’re playing the main stage opening for bands as Amon Amarth and Sanctuary, on the same fest as bands like Opeth, Doro and a great spectrum of bands…. So yeah, that’s a crown on our work. We did 2 mini tours in Lithuania that were really cool, and last January we did our first gigs in Sweden… looking back we had a very good time.

BM: Was there much interest in the band your first time around?  Why do you think you didn’t get picked up like others did?

Alwin Roes: The times were very different than, gigs were well visited, not so much bands and a lot of pioneers were in our time, and we were called ‘the Godfathers of the Dutch Doom/Death… still a title I am proud of. Of course, we actually DID get picked up. Just before we died, we got offers from 3 majors… sadly that was also the reason we decided to go our separate ways…

BM: Back in those days, were you known much outside of your country?

Alwin Roes: Well, in our top years ( ’90-93 ) we received a lot of mail, back than it was still on a piece of paper in an envelope, people sending dollars to order demo’s or shirts and sleeves, and it was from all over the world. I remember, Brasil, Mexico, Poland, Czech, Germany, UK.. you name it, and that’s what we noticed when we came back, a lot of responses from all over the world, people who were happy that finally they could get our music on cd, because their tapes were already dead for a long time [laughs]. So it was very cool Vic Records released ‘Forever is Not Eternal’ with the old demos and farewell EP on it. And even The Crypt Records USA is going to release that stuff on a double vinyl. Very cool.…

BM: What led to the initial breakup?

Alwin Roes: Well, as I mentioned, after our demo “Purity,” we got some offers from small and some major labels. Along with the record deal was a touring obligation, and 3 of the Dead End members just had started a university education.. they could and would not commit to these obligations… then we had to decide.. all or nothing, and sadly enough it became nothing.

BM: And now, why the return?

Alwin Roes: Roel from Vic Records contacted us, if we would like our old shit re-released on a cd, we thought it was pretty cool so we gave the green light, Misha ( our original vocalist ) opened up an Facebook page so the few people from the old days who would maybe still like us, can see that our old music was available again…. And then the bomb exploded, so many likes and response that I decided the try to pick up where we left … and so we did, with some new band members we went on our second time around..

BM: Are all of you guys close in age?  If not, has it been a problem?  Like the younger guys not having families like you do, and not understanding that sometimes the band can’t come first.

Alwin Roes: In the band it’s like 2 guys are pretty young (25-26 ) one of them is 31, one 41, and I am a fossil myself. And no, no problems at all, we made a clear plan and went with it. All minds in the same direction.

BM: Are you still in contact with former members?  Have they expressed any interest what Dead End is doing now or given their support?

Alwin Roes: Support and blessing to pick it up, I got from all the guys, and with Jeroen ( guitars ) I even started a new band INTO THE ARCANE. We recorded an ep that will be released on Doc-Records in co-production with Vic Records. Because I was very busy with my company ( I do a lot of things in the music scene ) so we decided the band was better off with a new bass player. But we still rehearse in the same place, and I will probably become their booker and label, so that contact will proceed. With the rest of the members, it’s way less, sometimes we say hi on Facebook, and Misha inquires how we are doing and stuff, Eef (guitar) doesn’t have any connection or feeling with the metal music anymore…. ‘the lost infidel’……[laughs]

BM: Turning to the new album, your first album, really…are the songs all brand new compositions, or are some of them older songs that were never recorded before now?

Alwin Roes: Only Another Weakness is an old one we slightly remodeled, and the opening riff from the album was a riff we used on the old song Dead End (a short song with just this rif ) so you can say that Dead End (Reborn…. ) is a closure on the old song Dead End.

BM: You managed to get a very 90s sounding production too.  Was that intentional, and if so, how did you accomplish it?

Alwin Roes: It was my demand… I told the other guys, listen, I’m an old man, and this is an old band, if we do this under the name Dead End, we have to become Dead End, (otherwise we should start a new band with a new name). So I talked to our label boss and told him I wanted to do the album as old-school as possible, and he agreed, he gave me full freedom of choice. I found a sound engineer who got my drift and we recorded on the attic of an old farm, and just like 26 years ago, we came in, installed our gear, tuned, threw some mics around, put on some headphones and started to play our songs, all together in one-takes (except vocals and solo’s, they were added later)  no metronome, no click-tracks, sampling or other modern shit… just do what we do and record this shit…. And I am very proud of the result, I may add….

BM: Could you talk about the themes and ideas in your songs?

Alwin Roes: Some of them are mine, others are from Bryan (Boorsma-vocals ) and it’s all-in the old style Dead End writing, it’s about emotions, feelings, and thoughts , slightly atheist and some biographic stuff, but all is free for your own interpretation.

BM: What plans does Dead End have for 2017?

Alwin Roes: We are actually writing on our new album right now, 3 songs are already finished, the plan is to make a concept album, about the 7 deadly sins, seen through the eyes of the ancient gods… but who knows how this will turn out, we let our music be the guide of our directions. Furthermore we are easing down a bit on the live shows, try to pick the nice ones and give it all we have there.  Reborn is coming on vinyl too on Doc-Records, and I am thinking of something special to release but still brainstorming on that one. [laughs]

BM: Final comments are yours!

Alwin Roes: Thank you all for your interest in Dead End, we came back hoping there would still be passion for Doom/Death as we played in the old days…. And there still is….. 
Stay Doom.

Interview By Tom Wren