MetalTalk.net recently spoke to Jost Kleinert, vocalist with German Death Metal band Lay Down Rotten about their new album 'Mask Of Malice'.
Jost, the band has made six full lengths in 13 years. That's a pretty impressive workload. How do you manage to keep the music standard high?
"Lay Down Rotten is the vision we have for Death Metal, our passion. We express ourselves by writing music. We do not censor our creativity or doubt our inspirations. This is why we are still here, writing the best songs we can. Keeping the music standard high also means questioning yourself and your motives. We are still hungry after all these years and 'Mask Of Malice' shows that we are stronger than ever."
Article continues below...
And how do you feel the band has developed over the last 13 years?
"We have grown both as musicians and as people. We now have much more experience and have gathered a dedicated following. Every album has taught us a different lesson and given us the inspiration and the right motivation to go on."
Have you achieved all you set out to achieve with the band or have you more yet to do?
"It is never enough. We want to play more concerts, record more albums and have more fun! We love what we do. There has never been a master plan or regulations. We live Death Metal. This keeps us going. This is what we do best. Lay Down Rotten will never slow down, sell out or take a break."
How do you think this album compares to 'Gospel Of The Wretched'?
"'Mask Of Malice' is darker and features our new guitarist Kensington for the first time. He replaced Daniel Jacobi and we are happy to have him in the band. Kensington brought eight songs to the first rehearsal. Amazing! He gave us a lot of new inspiration for the Lay Down Rotten sound and that's innovative. Our bassist Uwe wrote the music for 'La Serpenta Canta', his first contribution as a writer.
"'Mask Of Malice' feels like a new beginning. 'Gospel Of The Wretched' was the maximum we could achieve with the old line-up. It is a great album but 'Mask Of Malice' is a natural progression and very personal considering the lyrics and song titles. This is the start of a new era!"
What was your source of inspiration for the lyrics for this album?
"Well, just take a look around. 'Mask Of Malice' is an album about human malice. Malice is a part of our everyday life. No one talks about it as we all are so full of greed and want more and more. Although we are not hungry we eat and consume. It is a very interesting topic. I could go on for hours. Malice is a very hard to detect, character defect, as we call brutal narcissists, successful and disciplined people. No-one would ever refer to ignorant business men as pigs full of malice. The majority applauds corrupt, egoistic bastards. There is no real resistance.
"As long as we have our TV sets and computer games there will be no revolution. Malice is manifested among us and in society in various forms. We focussed on the nature of malice and emphasised the structure and history of this character defect."
What approach have you used in the writing and recording process?
"My brother Elmar and I sat down to write the darkest and most personal lyrics weeks before the recording sessions for 'Mask Of Malice' started. Then we held rehearsal sessions to try out the new material and record demos. We had a blast putting all our ideas together and just enjoying ourselves.
"The process of writing can be quite difficult sometimes and we had long discussions about the lyrical approach but all the hard work paid off in the end."
What kind of pressure did you experience in the writing/recording process?
"Well, there is always pressure involved as you cannot control the results. This is quite frightening. As a musician you are in a bubble while writing and recording. You have to be. That is why we have to rely on ourselves in the creative process and trust our intuition and inspiration.
"But it should be fun. This is also necessary to achieve your goals. Otherwise the listener will be disappointed in the artist because like it or not all in all it is about entertainment."
The album has pretty stunning cover artwork. Where did the cover artwork inspiration come from and who is the artist?
"Toshihiro Egawa (toshihiroegawa.com) designed the cover for our new record. He is a very talented artist. He has caught the vibe of the album and combined a lot of metaphors from the lyrics with his own ideas. I think his style is unique and he always adds something special to his artwork. Honestly I think cover artworks are very important. It is nice to see that a band put some effort in having a great album cover."
What are your touring plans for the album? Are you thinking of coming to the UK?
"We have a tour coming up with Cannibal Corpse and Aborted. This is a dream come true. Both bands are great and work very hard. I respect them and appreciate their attitude. Cannibal Corpse recorded amazing albums throughout their career. More dates and festival gigs are on the way. Please check our news section for further details."
Thank you Jost, for taking time to do this interview. Do you have any final comment you would like to make?
"I salute all of you crazy Metal maniacs. Check out our website: www.laydownrotten.com. Thank you so much for your support. Cheers."
'Mask Of Malice' is available now on Metal Blade records.