Raine von Kiszka: From Death Metal to Horror Punk
A band named Brutality from Tampa, Florida, naturally produces Brutal Death Metal, and those genre pioneers have been devastating the US underground since 1986. Guitarist & vocalist Larry Sapp, now called Lorraine (or Raine) Von Kiszka, had been part of it from 1986 to 1991. Thanks to Floga Records and their „Exhuming the Noise“ re-release, you can listen to the early Brutality material, the demos from 1987 to 1991, via vinyl or a stylish cassette demos box set with many extras. By the way, Brutality split up in 1997, reformed in 2012 and have been active since, releasing a new album this May – detailed info below. But first Raine von Kiszka, giving us some insight into her many band projects and her career:
Raine, when and how was the band Brutality formed?
Late 1986 I wasn’t chosen for the guitarists position in Purgatory. A friend, Dennis Sheppard introduced me to Jeff and Donnie Yanson and Abomination was born. We changed the name to Darkness, then finally Brutality.
Any favorite bands?
First is always Kiss and Misfits, but I love everything from rock to death. Zeppelin, (original) Skynyrd, Sabbath, (early) Metallica and Megadeth, Morbid Angel, Carnage – “Dark Recollections” is my all time favorite DEATH metal album, Mayhem, Piledriver, Exorcist, Nasty Savage, Obituary….I could go on forever…Overkill, Anthrax, Venom, Exodus, Slayer, Greta Van Fleet, Cinderella, Mötley Crüe, Plasmatics, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Klassik 78, Agent Steel, etc, etc, etc.
What was it like being in Brutality?
It was like a family, and still is. Many members and past members are friends. The early days were tight, though. We were brothers on a common mission, to play the heaviest we can. Getting wasted and laid, it was frickin great!!! Jammin and recording demos in my house. Rehersals turning into parties. We were in our early 20’s and did some crazy stuff. We met other bands on the same mission. In short, It was great!
What was the death metal scene like in Florida, when Brutality began?
We started at the perfect time, Metal was just taking off. Lots of other Florida metal bands started about the same time we did and we got to do shows with most of them. Morbid Angel, Nocturnus, Deicide, Obituary, Malevolent Creation, Nasty Savage, Powersurge, Oblivion, Resurrection (Roadkill), and so many others. Again, I could go on forever.
You are a songwriter, as well as vocalist. What inspires you to write?
Imagination & life in general. “Hell On Earth” is about divorce, “Frozen Amputee” is about James Warren Baily (Look It Up), Both Astaroth 93 and 95 demos are about killing my ex girlfriend and marrying her corpse. “The Body Before Me” concerns necrophilia, “Ignitics” is ignorance and politics combined to addresses war issues. “My First Night” is suicide. “Now Mosh” is about being in that pit.
Could you tell us about Astaroth. How did this band form?
I had parted ways with Brutality and had wanted to continue with the “Metamorphosis” structure of blending the songs into one long experience with no breaks between songs. I also loved the tuned down heaviness of the Swedish bands and thus we tuned way down. The “L.S.D.” & “S.O.S.” demos/albums came out so perfectly, exactly what I was gunning for. The B.C. ep was a total love for Deicide and Possessed with it’s unusual time signatures and speed.
Raine, you have covered a song by the Misfits, and Celtic Frost, and tell us about recording John Lennon’s Stand by Me.
I’ve always had a studio in my home and from time to time I would sit down and record some of my favorite songs, most of which are available free to listen to on my facebook page (just scroll down to my “doubleface” picture). Most were relaxing, because I had learned to record alone and could just do them peacefully on my own time. It’s pretty cool having the headphones on, a guitar hanging off you, a microphone in your face and the board at your fingertips – all at once.
Tell us about the band Green Overdose. What was it like recording that album?
A complete blast, the most fun I’ve ever had recording an album. There is one rule in G.O.D., No pre-writing music or lyrics, everything was off the top of our heads. The drums, guitars, vocals were all written as they were being recorded. The “Attack Of The Green Thing” album was completed in less than a week. Love Ken Clark’s production, too. It was recorded in my living room on a 16 track analog recorder I had just bought, and every night was a party. I got to play most all the instruments and vocals too, except some lead/rhythm guitars by Demian Heftel. G.O.D. did an ep as well as a few singles, too. I’m lovin the idea of putting it all on disc as an anthology sometime in the near future.
Please tell us about being in The Gravesiders.
Ken Clark (R.I.P) and I love the “American Psycho” and “Famous Monsters” albums by the Misfits, and we wanted to revisit the songs being “connected” as a full album presentation. We did the devil locks and makeup (Misfits and Kiss, right?). I also wanted to do clean vocals as opposed to the growly death vocal style I had done. Having said that, “Graveside Manor” is a masterpiece of horror punk. We spent 2 years crafting some pretty cool songs, first in my home studio, sometimes 2 or 3 different recordings/versions. I spent those 2 years also progressing my voice (learning how to sing) to a not so Elvis kinda thing, so it’s me trying to sound like Elvis, but I sound nothing like him. There is some mystery in the structure of 2 of the songs on “Graveside Manor” that has never been revealed to this day. It’s something that could be discovered and it’s right there in the 2 songs, but no one has ever figured it out. Ken and I thought this was amazing and very clever when we stumbled into it/figured it out.
SOOOOO, then we found the best – The Bone, Crypt, Blade, and B13 and went to the best studio around to record them, Morrisound. Writing, structure, lyricly & production wise, this album is near perfect. The follow-up ep was pretty bad ass too. We did some live shows and got a stage at that years Guavaween here in Tampa.
Any future plans and projects, Raine?
Well I’m retired from performing for a while now. I’ve done a little writing but not much since Ken died in 2017, he and I wrote songs and recorded together for 25 years. I’m working on a new studio here at home, so we’ll see. I married my beautiful wife almost 2 years ago and I enjoy being with her. We go to Disney a lot and just enjoy life. Most of you know I collect cd’s and records and I go “clackin” around local cd/record stores once a week or so. Right now, I’m loving the resurgence in interest in the music I’ve done in the past. Brutality and Astaroth have both enjoyed cd issues with VIC records in the last few years. With Brutality having a cassette demos box set called “Exhuming the Noise” released by Floga Records in early 2022, and 12″ “Exhuming the Noise” vinyl by Floga coming in mid 2022. AND an issue of the Brutality 2003 demo with bonus tracks on both cd and lp by VIC in late 2022. Still want to release my G.O.D. anthology and the “Original Brutality” project, a song collection of old Brutality songs from those old 1980’s rough demos, re-recorded in a real studio between 2012 and 2015. Then maybe re-issue the gravesiders album and ep on 1 disc. My life is good, hope yours is too.
Thanks for the interview!
Interview: John Wisniewski, photos: artists’ websites