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Death Dealer (May 2013)

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    Posted: 25 Sep 2015 at 12:57pm
This is an archival re-posting of my interview originally done for Heavy Metal Haven, transferred to Metal Music Archives due to the original site's closure. 

Death Dealer are a new group featuring members and former members of various established bands including Cage, Manowar and Empires of Eden. Heavy Metal Haven's Adam got the low down on the group's debut album War Master from lead vocalist Sean Peck (also of Cage).

Heavy Metal Haven: Hi Sean, first off allow me to congratulate you on Death Dealer’s first album War Master. How about we start this off with a little introduction about how this band made up of such seasoned metal musicians came together?

Sean: Man I need to start copy pasting this story ha!  It is so cool because Stu and I were like playing fantasy metal band maker and within an hour we had dreamed it, called the guys one by one, and had a new band.  Afterwards we were like...”Shit we need to write an album now!”
HMH: You and the other members of the band all obviously have backgrounds in other bands, yourself in Cage but between you all there are connections to Empires of Eden, Manowar, Ross the Boss’s band and more. What can fans of these bands expect from Death Dealer?

Sean: Well the album covers a lot of heavy metal ground.  I think it has the mid tempo anthems, the speed screamers, the Peck King Diamond ode and even a killer power ballad that all the press has really been focusing on which is cool because I have not done a power ballad in years.
HMH: Death Dealer has already stated that it’s important for you to be seen as a proper band, so what does this currently mean for the other band’s you’re variously involved in? Will you return to them after a time or continue to focus on Death Dealer?

Sean: Yes CAGE is finishing up our 7th record and it is a horror concept cd that is going to be a son of a bitch to get right.  I have a lot of other offers that I may or may not do but one in particular I am doing that will “shake” the foundations of metal.  Of course it is secret and I can’t say which sucks but I have included a veiled hint in this statement that only the most serious of metal nerds will be able to decipher.  But yes this band is going to play a lot and release a lot of product quick.  I hate it when you get excited and into a new band and they take 2 years to put another one out (CAGE ha!).  We are loaded for bear with a ton of stuff.

Sean Peck
HMH: I've given the album a high rating at 93/100 myself, how has the reception been elsewhere so far?

Sean: Man it has been great I am really spoiled and am used to really high press ratings and this so far has been great.  All the crazy comments are coming in like best cd in last 5 years, the album Priest should have done after Painkiller, all that stuff.  I love it!!

HMH: War Master kicks off with the song Death Dealer. How important was it to start off the album with this song? It feels very introductory to me sharing the band name and including the ‘Death Dealer I Be Named’ lyric. 

Sean: Yeah it is really funny how natural this record came out.  It was the easiest one I ever wrote or recorded.  I knew that song had to be first.  The chorus I just love.  We kept cramming more and more metal into it as it went along and then the iconic lyric.  We may do a video for it.
HMH: I’m going to be honest, ballads in genres like power metal, which are fast paced by nature, often seem out of place to me. I did not have this problem though with Children of Flames, the ballad from War Master. Did adding a ballad on an album like this seem natural to you and is there anything special you’d like to say about the song?

Sean: I am glad you brought it up.  I have not done a power ballad in 10 years so I was into it.  That was another funny one.  Stu had the acoustic clean guitar part and I just started add libbing and it was money on the first run through.  The melodies I spit out off the top of my head were the ones we went with.  I would say 75% of all the reviews mention that song and how much they like it and how we were able to capture something special with it.  It has some deep feeling for any of us who have experienced losing someone close.  My grandmother was my first big hit and it left me empty until I came to realize there are ways to still feel their presence. 
HMH: Curse of the Heretic is an interesting track on the album, very theatrical in its later stages to my ears. What inspired the way you performed this one?

Sean: Stu came up with the Keys and orchestration in the middle and one night we just kept making it crazier and crazier until it was like a lost Mercyful Fate song.  Mike Davis freaked on it when I sent it to him!  I love that part as it shows a real diverse side to the band and the chorus in it is so metal.  We knew to really have a badass metal album there had to be some witch talk in it!
HMH: Heads Spikes Walls brings to mind Game of Thrones for me, was the inspired by the books or TV show by any chance?

Sean: Yes of course Tyrion Lanister in the show says the line and I stole it in the dead of night.  I have written a straight up game of Thrones songs for the next album but not sure if it will make the cut or not yet.  That song came out cool and thrashy again showing yet another side to the band.  Ross and Stu shred that one up while Rhino thunders it!
HMH: Regardless of if I was right or wrong about the lyrics in the last question, War Master does sound like it covers quite the variety of topics, what sort of inspirations have gone into writing the album? 

Sean: Well, some fiction and some serious Liberty/rebellion themes.  Then the ballad got serious for a bit and there is other touching on the afterlife with Wraiths on the Wind.  They just have to have the badassness that encompasses all the metal greats that influenced me as a kid and the epicness of the Manowar glory days.
HMH: Following on from the last question, what is the writing process like for Death Dealer, do you share duties or is there a particular lead writer among you for the group?

Sean: No we really all collaborated on this which is all the more reason I am amazed at how easy it was.  It was really like it was meant to be.  I know that sounds silly but the whole way the thing came together is a true blessing.
HMH: Perhaps it’s a tough question but I always tend to ask it, do you have a favorite track from the album?
Sean: It changes all the time but right now CURSE OF THE HERETIC is the one I am going to.  I have obviously had the album for a long while but I am still playing it almost every day.

Recording sessions for Curse of the Heretic with Guitarist Stu Marshall

HMH: What does the cover art represent? I described it in my review of War Master as ‘futurist warrior dude taking on a horde of goblins’ but is there any particular tie in with the music, in particular the title track? Is this guy ‘the’ War Master?

Sean: Yes he is the War Master.  We wanted to show a futuristic warrior vibe to capture the classic fantasy feel but show this was something new and fresh.  This was advancing the genre and showing the brutality that all metal fans crave also.  We threw in the chick so we could have some tits in there too.  I insisted.  Your description was good.  Marc Sasso is the best and we did a great job as I directed him driving him crazy in the process.  He described it as a demonic biker gang though.

War Master
HMH: Do you have any sort of tour plans at the moment?

Sean: Three shows on the west Coast and one in Mexico to start and get the band together and functioning.
HMH: The album is still to be officially at the time of writing these questions, from where can people pre-order/be able to purchase it?

Sean: and any store that sells great metal.

Ultimate Warrior Pak Promo Video

HMH: One of the questions I always ask, since it’s always interesting to know who the artists themselves are listening to, any recent albums (2012 – 2013 releases) that you’d like to recommend to the Heavy Metal Haven community?

Sean: Ok I just got into Battle Beast.  I love the chicks voice and besides her, Marta from Crystal Viper, and the within temptation chick I am not a fan of female metal singers at all.  I love the songs they have almost a disco vibe.  I did hear a new Primal fear song Ralf sent me and it was thrashy so I am optimistic about that.  These guys from Stonecast are cool too.
HMH: Thanks for your time Sean, if you’d like to add anything to round off this interview please feel free to do so:

Sean: Thanks for the time and as always look to get ahold of us on the social media people we love talking to you!!


Heavy Metal Haven's review of War Master may be read here.

Death Dealer around the web:

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