Poltergeist was formed in 1988 and released three Thrash albums that remain cult classics to this day: Depression (1989), Behind My Mask (1989) and Nothing Lasts Forever (1993). After over 20 years, Poltergeist has returned and are set to unleash their much anticipated Back to Haunt due out October 21, 2016 on the Pure Steel Record label! We here at MN have the pre-release and it is a serious kick in the ass! While Dragon staked quick claim on the album review (soon to be published) I got the true honor of an interview with this legendary master of old school Thrash! Freakin’ stoked about this one!
V.O. Pulver – Guitars
André Grieder – Vocals
Ralf W. Garcia – Bass
Sven Vormann – Drums
Chasper Wanner – Guitars
Odyssey: First off: Thanks for the opportunity to ask you guys a few questions. A real treat to interview a now legendary band I remember from my formative days! Much appreciated! Man! 22 years. I remember hearing about Carrion way back when and had a couple of your cassettes (hell, I might still have them somewhere) under the Poltergeist name!
Again, thank you for this opportunity to chat with you about your upcoming release!
Poltergeist: You’re welcome! Thank YOU for the interview!
Odyssey: What inspired the re-unification of Poltergeist? Whose idea was this or was it something that has been in the works for a while?
Poltergeist: Actually, it was more of a coincidence… André, Marek and me, we meet every year at new years eve to celebrate. Then, 3 years ago, we fooled around with an old vinyl album from Poltergeist. We made a pic of us with the record and my wife put it on Facebook. Soon a lot of people started to ask for a reunion and Sven Vormann (Ex-Destruction drummer and old friend of us) wanted to join as a drummer… we were a bit skeptical first, but after the first rehearsal, we decided to give it a go…
Odyssey: How did you go about choosing guitarist Chasper Wanner, bassist Ralf Winzer Garcia and Sven Vormann on drums?
Poltergeist: Marek decided to leave the band this year, he was sick of the music business and had a burnout from his work, so we had to find a replacement. Ralf was the first choice, as we know him for a very long time and he’s a really great bass player! With Chasper it was like we always wanted to have a second guitar player back in the days, but never quite found the right man. This time we were lucky and Chasper is really a great addition to the band. He also wrote some of the songs on the new record!
Odyssey: How has this felt since you guys have been busy on other projects and bands? Like a reunion or more like a new band?
Poltergeist: A bit of both… Of course, when we play the old stuff, there’s a certain magic of the old days coming back, but since it has been such a long time and we have several new members in the band, it also feels like a new band in some ways…
Odyssey: How has writing changed since last you worked together as a band?
Poltergeist: There was no big difference for me. I used to write all the songs and lyrics by myself in the old days. So I just gave it a go again… What’s different this time is the contribution from Chasper, he wrote some music too and it ended up on the record. He’s a great writer!
Odyssey: Has musical/lyrical inspiration changed for you? How so or why not?
Poltergeist: For me, I don’t think so. I still listen mostly to the same stuff like in the 80ies and my trademark riffs never really changed that much over the years… 😉 Lyric-wise I always wrote about life and society in general, this time some of the songs also deal with fictional things like time travel or science fiction.
Odyssey: To my ear, you have stuck to a very traditional Power Metal/Thrash sound as opposed to the heavier direction we heard from years ago. How did you land on the new sound? I really like it, by the way, and dig that this form of Thrash is making a resurgence!
Poltergeist: I don’t know.. to be honest. I think we continue where we have left with our last album. Nothing Lasts Forever from 1993. As we have a singer who really can sing, we try to maintain a certain level of melody, that’s what makes it probably “traditional”.
Odyssey: What did you do/try this time around that you would have never done before?
Poltergeist: We incorporated some twin guitars à la Maiden, now that we have two guitars in the line up, we finally can pull it off live! Besides that, there’s not much different than on the old albums…
Odyssey: What other bands have influenced you over the years and what affects have they had on creating Back to Haunt? What original influences have not changed?
Poltergeist: I think it’s still the same stuff that also influenced us in the old days. Bands like Exodus, Testament, Destruction, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, even Kiss… from the newer stuff it might be Nevermore which found it’s way into our sound.. 😉
Odyssey: Poltergeist has gotten a fair amount of press about the reunion. What has been fan response? How about other bands that are still around that were contemporaries?
Poltergeist: So far the response was great! We had some cool shows to begin with. We played the first reunion shows on board of the 70’000 tons of metal cruise in 2013! That was a blast! I remember coming off the stage and there was this guy from the Obituary crew telling me how he loved it that we are back! We also had great reactions when we played the Metal Assault Festival and the Headbangers Openair. Regarding other bands from the old days: Of course Schmier from Destruction was very pleased, as over all the years, he always asked for a reunion.. 😉
Odyssey: How have the remasters/re-releases of the Depression, Behind the Mask and Nothing Lasts Forever been doing as fans have been awaiting Back to Haunt? How have pre-sales been doing for the new LP?
Poltergeist: I have no idea, I think the pre-sales not even have started yet… The remasters were done on limited runs. I don’t know if they already sold out, but I don’t think so.. 😉
Odyssey: What does the future hold for Poltergeist? Any tours on the horizon?
Poltergeist: We will see what’s happening when Back To Haunt is released. Nowadays it’s really hard to tour or earn some money in this business. As we all have also other projects in our lives and families to feed, it will be difficult to tour the world like it used to be standard back in the days… We try our best!
Odyssey: How do you find balance being in multiple bands like Gurd, etc.?
Poltergeist: I don’t think about it and just try to manage everything as good as it gets… My main job is my recording studio‚ Little Creek, where I spend most of my time.
Odyssey: How does the Metal scene in Sweden differ from other parts of the world? Anyplace you prefer over others? Why? (Alright, sue me. I am human and was listening to Opeth when I was writing this up. LOL!)
Poltergeist: Actually, we are from SWITZERLAND, quite far away from Sweden.. 😉 The scene here is very good, there are a lot of known bands from here (Krokus, Celtic Frost, Coroner, Eluveitie, etc..). We also have a really nice club right around the corner. It’s called the Z-7 and it feels like my second home.. 😉 Every time I play there with one of my bands (I play currently in 4 bands..) it’s just perfect!
Again, I would like to thank Poltergeist for so graciously offering the interview and giving us real insight into what makes such a legendary act tick! Cheers my Metal brothers! All the best!