Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Final Assault/Vengeance interview

Final Assault/Vengeance's rare stuff is out thanks to Texas Metal Underground and I couldn’t resist asking Alexander Robles III for a detailed interview. The charismatic singer replied at once and revealed many forgotten details concerning the band’s past! Texan Metal history unleashed!!
What was the reason that made you release your works? Are you satisfied with theresponse of the fans?
Alexander: Well The main push to release the CD was Scott,(Texas Metal Underground) he inspired me to get this out, mainly the Vengeance stuff. As you know we had a very limited life, I mean the band did. Scott informed me that he was getting a lot of e mails from Europe and I was getting the same responses myself, so I just happened to have a copy of the music from both Final Assault & Vengeance, when Scott said he could have his tech guys clean it up and we could release it over seas, Man I was all for it. The whole process started a couple of years ago, late 2007. Scott and I exchanged e mails daily, along with phone calls and pictures of the bands. I suggested to Scott to name the CD Final Vengeance, by using both bands names along with, well, the end of that era, it tied in nicely. The art work was also and idea I had, my lyrics have a religious theme to them, I use God and my faith to influence my decisions, it's work well for me. As for fan response, Man it's been great! all the reviews along with yours have been just overwhelming. I never thought we would ever get to show the world our music, I thank God for the blessings he has bestowed on us. I know some of the tunes on the CD may sound creepy, but that's just some of the experiences that are real, let us not be fooled there is good and bad out there.
Describe me the enthusiasm that was vivid through Texas, back in the middle 80’s, regarding all these youngsters who were starving to play metal.
Alexander: When I was around 18 I got introduced to some rock bands via 8 track, (ha,ha) my best friend at the time had a good selection of bands like Kansas, early Black Sabbath, Rainbow etc. One night he came over and brought Hell Bent for Leather (Judas Priest) over, that was it, I was hooked. I practiced every day, bought every album and from that point other big name bands came into my collection. Just like me others followed in the same way. I never knew really I could sing, I did have the high vocals and could carry low tones as well, in my mind I thought that's all I needed, I was wrong so wrong, with Final Assault #1, I think we were one of the first to original material after that all jumped on board. The younger fans took to us like we were stars, I mean autographs, pictures weird phone calls etc. Many young kids took up playing just to have a chance to play a show with us, man who would've thought it would explode from there.

Who were your musical idols and influences?
Alexander: Vocally as I said before Rob Halford started it all for me, then I diversified, I got into Dio, Geoff Tate, and others (my secret) you could probably tell when you listen to our songs. I never try to settle on one style vocally as you'll listen Final Assault material is quite different from the Vengeance stuff, I have been working on some new material that you'll soon be hearing in the months to come, just stay tuned.

Which Texan bands were you picks?
Alexander: Ah, wow what a large selection I have, well, I can truly say Helstar, Pantera, and............ I guess that's it, everyone else was good and I have a lot of respect for them and what they accomplished, I think now for me they were not as much an influence as the bigger bands were.

To my ears, Final Assault was more raw-sounding than the Vengeance material. Which are the differences between the two projects?
Alexander: Final Assault was a raw band to start with, we didn't find our legs until later, don't get me wrong some of the stuff we had was awesome, but it just wasn't refined enough I wanted things musically that weren't possible in FA, due to different personalities and music limitations. When you here Vengeance you hear what should have been all along. At least for me, I pretty much had control over lyrics and haunting the stuff up. I think if we had more funding we could have done it up big time.

Why Vengeance didn’t release any demo? Are there more songs recorded that didn’tappear on the CD?
Alexander: Vengeance never really had any backing, we scraped money together however we could, that meant some of us had to get jobs.. yuck!! The same went for studio work, if the owner hadn't worked with us, we would had never released even these songs. I can remember some other songs we wrote, I have some very rough recordings of our practice sessions. I think they were in the near completion stage. The ones you'll hear are the ones we kinda liked the most.

Tell me about the live track of the CD, “Awaken The Child”. To which era does it belong?
Alexander: “Awaken the child” came from the 1st FA project, we had many songs during that era, Izzy the guitar player was especially fond of that one so we dusted it off from time to time.

You always chose talented guitar players for your projects. Which one was the ideal to work with?
Alexander: I think both had a spark the other was lacking, let me explain Ruben Vela, was so melodic he had catchy riffs and was easy to play with, I mean the songs just came out ’cause they were not as technical. Izzy, well, he was a master guitarist, he new his stuff, technique, solos I can go on and on, I guess he was more difficult to work with ’cause everything had to be just right. I love them both very much. I really can’t choose between them. They helped me grow as much as I helped them, they pushed each other and that I think was FA's lethal weapon. When we parted ways it was rough I lost some real close friends, it's a shame we have to get old.

Describe me the atmosphere of your live shows. Did you play any covers? Is there any possibility to arrange a reunion or releasing any live concert on DVD?
Alexander: We never played any covers really, I can remember though on one occasion Vengeance did a cover from Black Sabbath's “Sign Of The Southern Cross”. It was fun but very professional, we planned out everything, of course we had some in put from our manager too. On some occasions we had some audio trouble, till this day I think someone did it on purpose. Ruben and I did speak about a get together, and he was all for it, me living in Georgia doesn't help much, all my brothers are in Texas. If I had the means to just take off for a few months and get ready, well then I think we would do it. I do have some early Final Assault on DVD, songs that were never recorded, it was a gig we had with Watch Tower on Thanksgiving Day, it was a huge success.

Do you listen to any new Metal bands? Name me any favourites of yours and anything you may want.
Alexander: Not really, once an awhile some will come my way via Myspace or email, but I'm not really looking out for anyone. I think the stuff that's out now lacks heart and soul, there are a few bands that still deliver, but for the most part the air waves are saturated with junk! I will always go back to my roots when it comes to metal, if you watch TV you'll see some early metal tunes are being used for car commercials and whatever, that goes to show metal will once again come back! I'm just waiting for all the garbage they play now to go out of style. It's just like the 70's stuff, clothes, music, language, all that has come back in style again, even my daughter wishes she was born in the 70's ha,ha. My ultimate favs are Queensryche, Judas Priest, Crimson Glory and you can throw some Dio in there also. I like to listen to early 70's stuff it takes me back when things were not so complicated. Some bands were really good back then, they played with a lot of feeling, that's me also. Let me say it's been a real pleasure doing this for you, I have a lot of love and respect for the people that helped me touch lives through our music and maybe through this interview. Please to anyone out there, were still here, and our music is still here, so if you want drop me an email or comment on our music by all means do so, only you the true metal fans will help keep it alive. Take care everyone, love ya and God Bless.

Dimitris Starakis