„Necrovore was the most brutal and fastest band in Texas at the time”

Necrovore belongs to one of the most obscure bands in the underground. They were active before the modern definitions of Death and Black Metal had become standard. They sometimes refer to their style of music as Black Metal, however the sound of the music is similar to bands like Death, Obituary, Possessed, and other first generation American Death Metal bands. Their 1987 demo Divus de Mortuus is a cult classic. The band’s story was told by guitarist Bjorn Haga.

So Björn, do you still remember, how and when did you find an interest in metal?

Yes, I do. Not sure if it was what most would say today is metal, I suppose it would be considered more „Hard Rock” I was around 9 or 10 I guess.

How did you discover the world of metal as a whole?

I was introduced to it by friends who were into a little harder music than I was.

What were those records, bands that influenced you and made you become a metal fan and musician later on?

There were many, but I would probably say the AC/DC album „If You Want Blood” and British Steel by Judas Priest were the two hardest albums I really remember getting into.

Were you into well known/established acts or did you prefer the underground ones?

It was the more well know acts originally. I didn’t get into the underground until a couple years later.

What do you recall of the Texas scene? How about originators such as D.R.I., Helstar, Watchtower, Slayer, Matrix, Rigor Mortis, ZZ Top etc.?

I was living in a rather rural part of Texas at the time. It wasn’t until I moved into San Antonio that I was exposed to the actual Texas music scene. Funny as where I lived has now become fully ruined with endless suburbs and well off neighborhoods. When I lived there it was nothing but woods and fields. The only bands out of what you mentioned were old ZZ Top and Slayer. The others I never liked or got into.

Did the Texas scene have a strong background, in terms of bands, fans, labels, venues, fanzines etc.? What were the most important cities/scenes in Texas?

I never paid attention to scene politics. The only thing I do know was the constant attitude from most bands was that some talent scout from Los Angeles would come to town to see if any bands were promising enough to sign. With the endless supply of acts in Los Angeles, that would ever happen. This included a lot of underground acts as well as more mainstream unsigned acts. There were a lot of bands in all cities in Texas, and I guess you could say that all the cities in Texas were important. There were quite a few fanzines as well. These were all good quality ’zines as well so one wasn’t better than another.

From what I know, you played in Obsessed Death with bassist Ross Stone, then you joined Ankou. Could you tell us more about these outfits? What were the line ups of those bands?

Obsessed Death was nothing more than Scott Humphrey, Carlos Maldanado, and myself learning to play our instruments. Ross Stone came on board for a month or two and then left. We played a Halloween party and that was it. All covers with zero original material. I joined Ankou AFTER I was in Necrovore. Again it was an all cover act which later incorporated three originals. I did vocals and guitar in both bands.

Bjorn Haga

Was Obsessed Death your first experience as musician?

Yes.

Have you ever recorded any demos, rehearsals with these bands? What kind of style did you have?

Obsessed Death had no demos. With Ankou we recorded three songs. Not sure if the demo was released further than friends in new braunfels or the band itself. It wasn’t my band to start with and I just played my role only. The style was late 80’s Thrash/Death Metal.

You joined Necrovore around mid of 1987 to replace former guitarist Scott Humphrey. How did you get in the picture exactly? Were you the first choice or were there perhaps other guitarists auditioned as well?

Mid 1988 actually. I called Ross and Jon to see if I could audition. Jon asked me over to learn the material. He showed me the songs and I learned them perfectly overnight. I wanted the position badly. As to other people, I have no clue.

There was also another line up change: the band got Javier Villegas (ex-Hellpreacher) instead of drummer Scott Staffney. Can you tell us something about this? Did both of you arrive at the same time in the ranks of Necrovore?

Javier replaced Staffney before I joined.

Were you familiar with the Divus de Mortuus demo by the way? Would you say that Necrovore were the fastest, most brutal band in Texas?

Yes. Scott brought the demo over to a mutual friends house we both worked with. It wasn’t actually titled more than 1987 Rehearsal Demo. The whole Divus de Mortuus title is an internet thing. The demo was never officially titled. Yes, of course, Necrovore was the most brutal and fastest band in Texas at the time. Still is actually.

Did the rawness and intensity of the demo match what could be found on early Sarcofago, Possessed, Hellhammer etc. materials?

I thought so. This is a subjective opinion. I thought we were as good as Sarcofago. Possessed is God so not commenting about them. I hate Hellhammer and still do, I never saw the merit everyone gives, except as a nod to Celtic Frost, which were OK I suppose. CF are still meh. I like a few songs, but Trypticon is where CF should have started.

Did the band manage to leave its mark on the development of the death metal genre?

You tell me…

Do you agree with that the Texas scene started getting bigger in the mid 80’s, a lot of bands started popping up from every part of the state, such as Rotting Corpse, Gammacide, Solitude Aeturnus, Devastation, Death Tripper etc. What were your views on the scene?

As I stated above, I never was into scene politics and really didn’t care about other Texas bands. We were all somewhat in competition with each other. But man, I was in Necrovore, what did any of the bands you listed have in common with us? They were not on the same wave length at all, they played thrash at best, we were creating a sub genre our own. Necrovore was and still is the epitome of Blackdeath.

Why did you re-record the complete demo in 1988? What was your goal with it?

I was not involved with the band at this time. They recorded it the weekend after I had joined, so I was still too new to participate.

Did the re-recorded version sound a lot better then the original version?

I dug Jon’s vocals better, and the music was faster due to Javier’s standard Lombardo style speed drumming, but otherwise I felt it fell flat of the original.

Was Divus de Mortuus heavily spread around in the tapetrading circuit by the way?

I suppose it was. Seems everyone knows about the band still. I know I personally dubbed over 200 cassettes myself on my personal stereo system. We did as much or more on Ross’ stereo.

Did the new line up write any songs? Did you have any material written, that never saw the light back in the day?

Yes, we wrote and recorded 4 new songs. The second „demo” as it was, was never completed.

Slaughtered Remains got on the Satans Revenge Part II. compilation which was released by New Renaissance Records. How did you get the opportunity being featured on that record? Did it help a lot the band getting more fans, making Necrovore’s name more known etc.?

I was on that recording. Did it help? I wouldn’t know, as there was a conflict between that label and Jon. We got on the compilation album that was it.

Did the label offer you perhaps a contract? Were there any labels interests in the band?

I’m not sure what was with New Renaissance. At this point so many years have passed I couldn’t be truthful with answering that as I cannot remember the circumstances. As for other label interest, I guess the band waited a bit long to start shopping for labels, as well as not playing out enough to generate a local fanbase.

How often did you play live? Can you tell us about the Necrovore gigs?

Necrovore played two shows period. One for a metal/punk fest with all local acts in an old theater which was pretty neat as I saw many bands that influenced me there, so it felt like a major accomplishment at the time. The second show we played was at a regular venue, that wasn’t a great show. Shit pa and no monitors so you wouldn’t hear each other. This was the show that saw Necrovore split up after.

At which point and why did the band split up? What kind of reasons did lead to the demise of Necrovore?

Right after the second show. Major differences of opinion between Jon and Ross was the reason.

Is it correct that Jon DePlachett even asked Trey Azagthoth and David Vincent to join Necrovore just before Altars of Madness was recorded?

No clue, I think they asked him to join Morbid Angel, but Jon wouldn’t change his gear so as to put Trey in Rock Star Guitar God status.

In 2008 came out a compilation titled Unreleased Evil; is it a bootleg? Could you tell us any details about this material?

I had zero to do with this. I think it is a shit release and does zero to honor the fans. Its pretty packaging is all. When I left the military in 1997 and contacted Jon again I always just wanted to release the original songs we had in a good studio recording. He strung me along for a few years until I got bored with his shit and left and did Hod. He got pissed off at me thinking that I was showing the world the Necrovore Style of writing (which he had obviously already done with Morbid Angel as well as a few other bands) and did the release as a payback for starting Hod (like I gave a shit aside from I felt it was a cheat and half asses approach to honor the fans as well as the music).

Are you perhaps aware of what are doing the former Necrovore members these days? Are you still in contact with them?

No, I am not in contact with them. Jon works for the government as an electrical engineer making things that go boom. Ross is a retired military, Scott is a police detective in Seguin Texas. The two drummers I have no clue. Me? I have Lasanche as well as other session stuff I do.

(to be continued)

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