DOTF PART 7 - CHUCK + ANTON, THE WOLVEN BROTHERS BEHIND TOMBSTALKER + BLOOD OF THE WOLF FEST
BY ANNA BRYANT
Our latest DOTF highlights two people I have a very sincere and loving bond with.
No matter how far apart or how long I go without seeing them, Anton and Chuck have always been men that inspired me to do better and stay involved. In their own individual and personal ways they have always had my back and encouraged me.
About six or seven years ago their band, Tombstalker—Kentucky-spawned blackened, death crust—had a show in Atlanta. After the show we all chilled at our friend Scott's house. I recall my first interactions with them vividly. Chuck said "Manowar rules" with a huge smile on his face while Anton talked to me about the cool wolf cover art on a 1997 Destroyer 666 release. An organic relationship blossomed. It was great because I always felt like they addressed me as an equal. They're the people I think of when I reflect on the family bond I've created and maintained in this subculture. Throughout years of shows and fests together, where I’ve seen them mature and develop in their own ways, two things have never changed— their dedication to the underground music scene and their reputation as genuinely loving friends.
The Wolven Brotherhood— as they call themselves and other males involved —have always balanced a masculine bond among fellow men that I respect, while never dismissing or alienating the females around them; It's not a clique, it's a union. Since its inception, Tombstalker has released six albums fueled by the creative duo — their latest being Black Crusades. Never passing on an opportunity to tour in support of their latest efforts, Chuck and Anton have a keen ability to reach out, not only to their friends, but to the punk and metal community as a whole. They're more than solid people; their magical charisma is undeniable and everyone who meets them can feel it. I'm so proud and humbled to call them both dear friends.
I decided to kick off our latest DOTF with these two very special people, because this week marks the third annual Blood of the Wolf Fest executed by the Wolven duo in Lexington, Kentucky. Mark your calendars for this weekend- March 24-26. This fest is different because of the friends it brings together and the relationships that form and grow tighter every year. Blood of the Wolf Fest is truly a tribute to the underground and everyone consistently involved. I encourage everyone to go— it's nothing but good vibes and grimy metal.
You guys have been long time friends. How did you first meet, and have you always been into the same music that brought you together?
CM: “We met in high school, being from a relatively small city in Kentucky there weren't too many people into extreme music so we were naturally kind of drawn to each other through mutual interests and we've been best friends ever since.”
AE: “Chuck and I met in high school and have been eternal brothers ever since. If I recall correctly we met during lunch hour and started a discussion over some shirt one of us was wearing or something like that. The rest is history. Chuck and mine’s connection through music is one of sharing ideas. I come from a predominately punk rock pedigree and Chuck a metal one. In some ways we helped introduce the other to a different world.”
When did you form Tombstalker and how has your band progressed over the years in terms of sound and skill?
CM: “We decided to start a new project that would become Tombstalker in the winter of 2008, and released our first demo in January of 2009. From the onset we wanted to fuse together elements from genres that had had the biggest influence on us and every new song we write feels like a very natural evolution of our early sound.”
AE: “Tombstalker was formed in the winter of 2008 and has undergone several line up changes since its inception. Chuck and I are the only remaining original members and it is basically our collective brain child. As far as our evolution goes we really just try to refine our sound in natural ways that compliment the foundation we developed in the early days. We don’t force anything but we also seek to find new ways to expand our sound. Most of our core influences come from early 90s Scandinavian black death as well as some UK and Scandinavian hardcore influences. We do however branch out into other realms of extreme metal from time to time but not in an overt way and we have nods to our favorites weaving in and out of the core sound."
Which bands have influenced your sound the most, and where else do y'all draw your inspiration from?
CM: “Bolt Thrower, Entombed, Anti Cimex, Discharge, At The Gates, Dissection, Wolfpack, Skitsystem, Sepultura, Dismember, and so on. Basically any band coming out of the late 80's/early 90's death metal and hardcore/crust scenes going on in England and Scandinavia haha. Lyrically we've also been heavily influenced by Warhammer 40k / Sci-Fi in general but used as allegory for the unending battle and strife that is modern life. There is only war!”
AE: "Bands such as Entombed/Nihilist, Discharge, Necrophobic, Bolt Thrower, and Sepultura are just a few of our biggest influences. The warhammer 40k lore has also been a large inspiration to us as well as scifi horror film and other similar classic literary realms. While being fantastical in nature we seek to use these ideas as metaphor for the dark reality of this world.”
I have been to every Blood of the Wolf you've thrown. What made you guys want to start it and what do you think contributes to its success?
CM: “Lexington may not have the biggest scene in the country but we easily have one of the most non divisive, non cliquey, and supportive ones I've ever seen. We were tired of always getting passed over for shows and wanted to do something to draw attention to our city and highlight all of the talent and great underground acts both here in town and regionally and In 2013 Blood of the Wolf was born! This will be the third year we've put it on and every year has been a success despite us flying by the seat of our pants to make it happen. I think that those who have attended in the past recognize that we have something really special here in Lexington and hopefully all of those attending for the first time will find the same.”
AE: “Blood of the Wolf is an event that started originally as a our simple desire to bring all of our closest artist relations and friends together for an event where we can work on our network with other people in the underground while showcasing unlikely talents that you may haven’t heard of as well as some bigger names. Blood of the Wolf foremost is an event that prides itself on creating a community of diverse talent and is very much a family affair in many ways and a way for us to support our inner circle and our allies. The success of the event in many ways is largely due to the way we curate the event and our focus on underground network and community over simply booking the coolest whatever bands, blah blah."
What should everyone expect this year? Any bands in particular you're especially excited to see?
CM: “If I had to sum in up in one word, maniacism. Every single band is worth checking out and supporting! This is the first year we've been able to bring bands in from the west coast that folks may not have had the opportunity to see before or again so I'm pretty stoked about that.”
AE: "This years event will continue the tradition and with any luck should be bigger and better than the previous years. Expect nothing short of a total legendary destruction ritual with some of the wildest demons in the underground in attendance. I am personally very excited to see Father Befouled, Caveman Cult, Rotten UK, and Sacred Leather. Although the entire fest will be firing on all cylinders so there are many more to behold.”
If you could tell people about the Kentucky metal/punk scene what would you want them to know?
CM: “Like I said before, we may have a relatively small scene but it's full of truly devoted individuals and very non divisive. Metal heads, punks, hippies, etc. Everyone hangs and everyone supports one another.”
AE: “The scene here in Kentucky is strange but Lexington in my fairly biased opinion is the best place for underground extreme music in the state. There is a bit of everything here and people aren’t particularly divided and splintered like in other bigger cities. Overall we have a supportive scene of dedicated individuals and we try to work together as best as we can to bring great talent through here.”
You’re both very intelligent and spiritual people. I always take your ideas and wisdom to heart. What is the best advice you could give to humans, friends or strangers?
CM: “Stay present and be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
AE: “Master your reality in whatever way you see is best and never stop striving to reach the next plateau of awakening.”
Name 5 bands you've been listening to lately.
CM: “Lately a lot of Townes Van Zandt, the new Immolation record, the new Phrenelith record, and the Nocturnus demos. The Radha Krsna Temple album is always on heavy rotation as well.”
AE: “Drab Majesty, Blitz, Cirith Ungol, Totale Vernichtung, Garden of Mary”
What's your drink of choice?
CM: “Water, tea.”
AE: "Yerba Mate, Beer, Water, Tea, etc."
CM + AE: “We appreciate you taking the time to do this, Anna. We look forward to seeing you and all the other maniacs this weekend! Cheers!”