“Without music, I would die”
In music, it can sometimes be difficult to stand out from a crowd, to do something that no one else has thought of before or just not sound like every other band out there. This rule is even more relevant in the deathcore genre, which over the last five years has been quite saturated with copycat bands or bands who seem to lack progression.
Enter Slaughter To Prevail, right from the off their new album ‘Misery Sermon’ emanates just pure brutality, but not in a novelty way, musically they are just insanely tight and the band has put a whole lot of effort into what they are putting into the world.
Already Heard had the opportunity to catch up with vocalist Alex Shikolai who said even though they aim for success, it is important to play music with “all your heart”.
From an outsider looking in it could be perceived that Slaughter To Prevail have delved deep into the darker side of the genre to find their sound, but Shikolai explains everyone has an innate darkness to them.
He said: “I want to show people how they are all rotten inside, and I’m not an exception! Music is a medium to transmit the information. When people listen to our album they will be able to see themselves in it.”
And the current political climate of where members of the band lives – the three-piece has members in both the UK and Russia – has added to what comes across in their material. Something which Shikolai explains that without this passion to drive them, they would not know what to do with their lives.
“Life in Russia is very different from life in the UK. The standard of living, people and mentality,” added the vocalist.
“That is why it turned out to be kind of a mixture. Jack (guitar) put his soul into the instrumental part and I put my soul into the vocals.
“I found myself in this life. It is my passion. Without music, I would die.”
And it is this passion and drive which is another element which keeps Slaughter To Prevail ahead of their peers, especially in Shikolai’s native Russia, where there isn’t much of an appetite for deathcore, but the band plough on and continue to make music which to blast through to your core. He added: “Many people say that we raised the Russian deathcore scene but what is happening in Russia or in America doesn’t really bother me. I’m doing what I love to do, and will continue to do it even if this scene will one day disappear.”
Even though a lot of what Slaughter To Prevail is left to their music to do the talking, they have gained a lot of attention for their aesthetic. In particular, Shikolai’s mask which he wears on stage – and is the only image on the artwork of the new record. The whole concept stems back to the idea of the band and everyone having a darker side to themselves.
“For me, personally, and for Jack (Simmons – guitar), the image of the band is very important,” added Shikolai. “We are the core of it and we are standing behind it, we control all the processes. At least we’re trying to do it.
"The idea of my mask was born three years ago. I was working and developing the design and the sketch since childhood, I was attracted by a variety of characters in the mask. My mask reflects my inner state, especially when I’m on stage. For me, it is my other self. And this identity is not hypocritical it’s real. Pure hate.”
‘Misery Sermon’ by Slaughter To Prevail is out now on Sumerian Records.
Words by Tim Birkbeck (@tim_birkbeck)