Siegfried Rudzynski: Vocals
Leo Schacht: Guitar
Martin Hochsattel: Guitar
Sebastian Kerlikowski: Bass
Matthias Scheuerer: Drums
Nothing can beat the thrill of thrash at its best, and no one is keeping the spirit and sound of the genre alive quite like Berlin's Space Chaser. Marking their ten-year anniversary with their third full-length, Give Us Life, they are returning in force and once again establishing their importance in the scene. "What we do is contemporary Thrash Metal, if you will, and while still having the 'old-school' elements everyone loves we try to incorporate some of the influences that we expose ourselves to. Over the last ten years this kind of music progressed a lot, and of course that has its influence on us. But what we do is still Thrash Metal, we just hope we're able to translate it a little bit better into 2021."
With five years having passed since their last full-length, 2016's Dead Sun Rising, the band were feeling the pressure to deliver, which only made them up their game. Unhappy with the demos they initially worked on they also embraced how much growth comes with such an extended period, which helped them to feel like they were positioned to make the next step. "If you are releasing as little as we did it makes you feel you have something to prove, to yourself, to your fans and everyone who thought you were done. We actually canned an entire album and rewrote everything. Really, I think there are only a handful of riffs that survived from that and made it onto the final record." Knowing the sound that they wanted to achieve, Space Chaser had been aiming for something darker and more brutal on previous releases, but finally felt ready to pull it off this time around. "I think people might be surprised by the Death Metal elements you can hear in some songs, which work incredibly well with our thrash sound and our vocalist Siggi's thrash voice, and there are less singalongs than before. The production is also a lot more powerful and brutal, the guitars on Dead Sun Rising appear almost tame compared to the new stuff." Of course, working with an old school sound, it can be hard to keep things sounding fresh and original, and this is something the band are aware of, never going into penning a song with the idea of emulating anything that has come before. "We try not to say 'let's make a 100% Thrash song' but rather take an idea - even if it may not at all sound like us at that moment - and see what happens. We play Thrash because that is the music we love the most, but we also listen to a lot of Death Metal and Hardcore and Punk, and of course these things find their way into our songs."
While they predominantly take their lyrics seriously they also have moments of fun, such as on "Army Of Awesomeness", but the band are primarily drawn to dystopian sci-fi stories with roots in real-life physics and the works of Carl Sagan, and as they point out "it's still a lot of fun to sing about a dying sun turning into a black hole and becoming a galaxy devouring behemoth." The title track might possibly contain the most epic theme ever covered, describing the emergence of life and its inevitable death from the smallest to the largest possible scale. "It's always an act of violence, birth and death. When a star sheds its hull and collapses into a white dwarf it soon will perish like all life, biological or non-biological. If a star goes supernova it explodes and spreads all the elements needed to create life, and the whole process begins anew. Thousands of worlds have to perish, to create new worlds and life of its own." By comparison "Juggernaut" is far smaller in scope, but it wields great lyrical brawn and is a perfect fit to the band's thrashings. "Imagine a tank-like super-fortress that was built eons ago only for one purpose, killing everything in its way. Hundreds of meters long, wide and high, travelling alone along ancient ruins and devastated landscapes, because everything was killed and annihilated millennia ago. Who knows if there is still anyone alive in its cold and dark bowels, but there sure is no one alive outside. Studded with thousands of artillery guns and the banners of the armies it crushed, it's the pinnacle of warfare that still roams." And "Dark Descent" similarly brings together sci-fi and technology to create something that is twisted and haunting. "As humankind finally develops the technology to travel beyond the boundaries of its system, they find that just outside this someone or something has built a massive Dyson Sphere. The gravity is so immense they crash-land on the surface and their ship is shattered, so the only way to survive is to find a way inside the sphere. They find a way in, but the glowing orb of the star inside is almost dead and the civilization who built it long perished, because they have opened a gate to another universe of total chaos. I thought of the architecture to look somewhat H.P. Lovecraft-y and so alien to humans that it's outright horrifying to us."
The album was recorded at their go-to studio, Berlin's Hidden Planet, with Jan Oberg, who the band acknowledge is a rather unknown name in the metal scene but his work proves up to par with international standards nonetheless. The songs were produced by guitarist Leo Schacht and drummer Matthias Scheuerer with the help of Oberg, and for mastering they had Dan Swanö of Unisound Studios at the helm. "It was the smoothest recording process we have ever had. Everybody went in perfectly prepared and every idea worked out just how we anticipated. It's almost surreal, though being satisfied with your production can lead you to get lost in details forever - and the intro for "Burn Them All" was a bitch!" Acknowledging that it feels weird to have reached their tenth anniversary already this landmark has only stoked the fires. "We never felt so pumped and ready for whatever life throws at us," they say, and asking what they see when they look to the band's future they are emphatic. "World domination! Well… sort of. I think every band just wants to get as big a name in the metal world as possible, and we are no exception. We really hope to expand our fanbase outside of Germany with Give Us Life, and we never even dreamt of getting the chance to release a record through Metal Blade. Furthermore we definitely want to tour a lot as soon as we are allowed to. We are anxious to leave Europe for the first time, and we want to prove that we are capable of delivering on an international standard."