– Hello, thanks for taking the time. What’s currently keeping you busy?

ROB: I just came back to China and I am in preparation of my football league new 11/12 Season. Loads of work to do, believe me.

– We could say ASSASSIN is an intermittent band: you released just two albums between 1985 and 1989 and you disappeared until 2005, then a demo with the same name of this album appeared in 2009 and then you have now released your new album. First off; what happened between 1989 and 2005?

ROB: The Upcoming Terror came out 1986 and Interstellar Experience came out in 1988. In 1989 the band split up. Of course there were various reasons. Dinko (guitar) left the band and did some time in prison while the new replacement Olaf did only play half hearted and later left again and we decided to continue with just one guitar for the moment. Then in my case I was very busy graduating from college and the equipment got stolen which was largely paid by the record label so we had a big debt. That all lead that the band at the end split up. Then between 1989 each member did go his own way. I graduated from Collage and went to Japan and in 1994 to China. Micha ended up in Sodom for some time. Lulle went to play with a 60s band, Frank followed later Micha to Brazil. In the 90s we had several reunion trials which succeeded then in 2002. 2003 we had our first re union concert and also played in Wacken with following line up: me (vox), Scholli (guit), Dinko (guit), Baerchen (Bass) and Atomic Steifff (drums). In 2005 the member changed: Dinko went back to Croatia and left the band and Micha came back, while Steifff joined Holy Moses and Frank came back to replace him. And Baerchen was replaced by UFO on bass and then we recorded our 3rd album “The Club” which we produced and distributed by ourselves. Then from 2005 to 2009 we had many shows everywhere in this planet and a final line up change. Frank left and Bjoern Sondermann took over the drums and on bass UFO introduced his friend Joachim to the band he then also joined as UFO was too busy with other projects.


– Then, why did it take you so long to release this brand new «Breaking the Silence»? And why is named like the 2009 demo?

ROB: Well we recored the Demo with the old line up and it had only couple songs. Then with the new line up we worked through the old material and straightened it out with full power in the face and also wrote the remaining songs for the new album. Since we were and are 100% convinced that ‘Breaking the silence’ the song is our new album opener we also wanted to name the album like the song.


– The sound in «Breaking the Silence» I think is a comeback to your roots; tunes have that old flavor that characterized ASSASSIN. What are your thoughts on this?

ROB: Absolutely. Unlike our 3rd album “The Club” we wanted “Breaking the silence” 100% pure thrash into the face which destroys anything coming into the way. We are old school Thrashers and we knew we could master a new piece of destruction in Thrash and that what came out with this new album.


– Do you think is some detail left in this album or is it perfect like it is?

ROB: Well I wanna be fair. Our aim was clearly to round up one master Thrash piece where each song makes the headbanger go off into whiplash. So each song has a certain speed, heaviness and the songs are produced in a certain way which makes the album a one piece. We mostly got very good reviews and reply from the metal scene, but of course some complained that there should be more differiencion among the songs, but as I said we wanted a round thrash headbanger masterpiece and not a slow song on the album for example or even undistorted guitars.


– We can find a new bass player and a new drummer in the album; how’s everything going with them? What have they brought to the band?

ROB: Both of them are a full enrichment into the band. First of all Bjoern on drums is in daily life a drum teacher and is very exact. He is to the bone a full Thrasher and knows what each part of the song needs. Compared to prior drummer Frank, he has 99.9% no timing difference, always to the point and with the bug hunger to do things right. Also privately a great guy such as the new bass man Joachim. He actually studied in a University in Holland ‘Guitar’ and later changed into a full fledged bass player. He is also fully Thrash blooded and gives each song a devastating touch what a real thrash song needs. Also he knows his instrument in and out and is always reliable live on stage to play everything right as well as making a great live show with his big chain bass holder.


– We can find another change this time, as you are now working with SPV/Steamhammer Records. How’s this relationship so far?

ROB: Well, SPV/Steamhammer is our old label from the 80s and they were the first label who really wanted to sign us after we sent out the Demo to the record companies. So far we are very happy with the cooperation and the label is also very happy with the current sales of the new album and the re-release of the first two albums.


– Could you please tell us a bit about the lyrics behind the album? I guess they have something to do with war themes…

ROB: Each song has it’s own story, so I will go into some songs: ‘Breaking the silence’ deals with a psycho-part who is forced by his nature to do a massive massacre. Maybe like recently the guy in Norway who was ‘forced’ to do something for his believes. ‘Turf War’ is a song of the multiplayer game of GrandTheftAuto (GTA4) where I often play and on PSN I am 13th ranking in the world. “Kill or be killed” deals with having your own will. Others always try to always force something upon you. The song says don’t let it happen otherwise you be down (killed) so have your own mind (kill – not in the killing sense).


– And how do they fit your artwork?

ROB: We wanted a full energy loaded action cover for the new cd. So when you see it then you will also know what it is (the product): a fully loader thrasher till the end. The lyrics as I said are extreme and fully fit with the action going on.


– How was the songwriting process for this CD?

ROB: The plan to make a 100% Thrash devastation was already made with the older guys including Frank on drums. That’s how also the ‘Breaking the silence’ Demo was made. Well then with the new line up we went part for part also with the newly created songs and we all made damn sure that each part is set and fit and put at the very right place. The album was fully planed and each little ‘noise’ is meant to be. When we rehearsed the new tracks we often head banged along in the rehearsal room just from nature and we knew that this will be the right way.


– «Breaking the Silence» was produced by Harris Johns; how was this experience like? Did they get the sound you were looking for?

ROB: We know Harris already from 1988 when we recorded in West-Berlin the second album ‘Interstellar Experience”. I also met him over 10 years ago when I went with Mille (Kreator) to make some backing vocals for ‘Nailed Within’. In 2007 we met as band with him again on the eastern European tour with Sodom when he was the mixer. There we already him about the plan going to use him as he is very experiences and a very cool guy. He was very expensive and we the band had to pay a lot of money to have him (even to him it was a special price to us)…lol. Nevertheless, under a lot of time pressure (expenses) he did an excellent job and we are very happy with the outcome. Not all producers know what a band really wants, but he does.


– You have released a boxed set consisting of «The Upcoming Terror» and «Interstellar Experience»; how did everything start? And how much input did you have on this decision?

ROB: Well from the beginning SPV/Steamhammer really wanted the rereleases of the old albums and us the band had to do a lot of work that this goal was finally realized. First of all Micha remastered both albums, and the covers had to be rescanned and reworked (as all original stuff was lost by SPV over the years). So we also included a lot of pictures from the old days and I really had a hard time to get the lyrics of the Bonus Track ‘Strange world’ back together. Then we contacted our old Japanese friends ‘Casbah’ (a famoes 80’s Japanese Thrash act) and we recorded together their song ‘Low intensity warfare’ which was fun. Also a Demo 1985 track ‘Religion’ was first time released as bonus track. Then we had also to mix and master the 2 live tracks from Japan. All work was done by the band in order to insure a special re-release of the old albums.


– ASSASSIN has influenced other newer, and not that newer, bands but, what bands have influenced ASSASSIN?

ROB: When we were teenagers we all listened to Metal. AC/DC. Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath & Judas Priest for example. Then came ‘Kill em all’ from Metallica and ‘Show No Mercy’ from Slayer and as we learned our instruments we got influenced to play harder and faster. We come from the real Metal genre. Now days we all listen to all kinds of music but good old Thrash is still and will always be our No.1 front runner.


– After all these years into the music industry, what are your feelings on the current Metal scene? I guess it has changed a lot in the last 20 years for instance…

ROB: Absolutely. We are old school Thrashers and do not even know too much about the bands who came in the last 10 years. Now days I listened to some, for example “The very end” I like quite much. But on the other side the metal heads are the same. They wear leather jackets, badges, pins and spikes. There are still the hardcore metal collectors of demos or live recordings and traders exist in the same passion as in the old days. The metal fans wanna have fun and enjoy an exciting show by their favorite metal bands.


– And after such a long career, is there something you would like to do (in musical terms) you haven’t done yet?

ROB: Yeah we wanna write the new official German national anthem… No bro, we wanna stay fully on course of what we do which is pure Metal to the bone.


– I think the best or most important Thrash Metal scenes are hailing from the US and Germany. Which one do you prefer?

ROB: As you are from Spain: which football team do you prefer? Brazil, Spain or Germany ? …lol. No disrespect for that joke please. But we are Germans and of course are very proud of our traditional metal scene. To be objective: both scenes in the US and Germany had it’s own special character and probably the US is far more famous with Metallica, Slayer & Exodus & Co then the German one. Nevertheless for the only Metal supporter both are important.


– Finally, what are your near-future plans? Will you tour to support «Breaking the Silence» on stage?

ROB: We already had several gigs including in Greece. We plan in the end of fall or beginning of winter to make a ‘Breaking the silence tour’. Our booker is busy creating it. The word is maybe together with our good friends from Hirax.


– That has been all, thanks once more for your time. Take the last lines if you want to add any final words.

ROB: First of all a big thank you to you for taking the time to talk to us and deliver this interview to the metal heads in Spain. We really appreciate this. To all the Metal heads in Spain: “We really hope to come to Spain as soon as possible and make sure that each one of you will get his whiplash in head-banging along the ‘Breaking the silence’ Concert. Thrash ‘til Death 4ever. Greetings Rob and the rest of Assassin.

Sergio Fernández


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