Not many of you readers might have heard of this young band from France as they're not so much popular now, but their new release will probably open them new doors and new audience. HELLIXXIR is a band from my area and delivers 80's Heavy/Thrash Metal hymns, following the paths of their idols such as Megadeth or Metallica. "War Within" is their first full-length and yet assert some great riffs of Thrash Metal, delivering some harsh headbanging parts while some vocals will remind you of Metal Church. Guitarist Matt answered the questions…

Hail, could you briefly introduce you band to readers ?
HELLIXXIR is a fucking good Heavy Thrash Metal band from Grenoble, for sure Metal is still alive in France !

Why did you create a Thrash Metal band and what are the bands that influenced you to write the early tunes of HELLIXXIR ?
To be honest with you, that is the Music I have in my veins. As a kid I started listening to Heavy Metal thanks to my brother. Today, as a guitarist I enjoy playing heavy and thrash riffs, it is my way to feel free and to claim to the world my art, my feelings, my rage, my fears, my love ….Of course, many Heavy and Thrash Metal bands influenced me a lot, especially US bands such as Megadeth, Van Halen, Metallica, (it does not sound original), Slayer, Exodus, Pantera, Death, Testament … Sepultura but also bands like Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray, Scorpions, more recently Opeth or Hypocrisy …

Your band name is a mix between Hell and Elixir with the addition of "x" as Exxplorer did back in the 80's for instance, how did you end with such a name ? I don't know why but your band name reminds me of a kind of XIXth French philosophers and as these writers who used Absinthe as elixir for their inspiration….
Perhaps, we should drink Absinthe for our inspiration, it could be a way to improve and explore our art, why not?
Briefly, HELLIXXIR is a mix between “Hell” and “Elixir”, it does sound Metal for me, and the double “x” is in reality a way to be the only one with such a name, but also has to be read as “XXI”, which means 21st century. The 21st century is a kind of “elixir” that blindly brings us to Hell. It is a healthy poison you cannot escape!

 

Your Metal is pretty influenced by the 80's Thrash Metal Bay Area bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus, Dark Angel and so on, but excepted me being wrong you were rather young when all these bands were at their top in the 80's, so how does it come you feel close to this part of Metal ? Which were the early Thrash bands you discovered ?
Yes, you are right; I was pretty young when all that bands became famous in the 80’s. I love powerful guitars and Metallica or Megadeth naturally became my teenager’s passion! You know, it was what I felt and still feel when I want to claim to the world my emotions, good or bad! Metal is not only music; it is a philosophy.

What is your background in the Metal scene, did you play in another band previous to HELLIXXIR ? When and how did you get into Metal ?
When I was a teenage, I decided to play guitar in order to create my own Heavy Metal band. I strongly desired to play music like the bands I contemplated so much ! We firstly formed - with friends of mine from different musical cultures - a rock band called “Daddy Long-Legs”, but it never became a real band for so many reasons such as musical divergences, studies or girlfriends ! After a year of studies in England and a long period of training, I felt a strong desire to create a real Metal band with friends of mine. HELLIXXIR came to birth in October 2001 but appeared in 2003 into the local metal scene.

You second full length has been unleashed through the French label Brennus Records, could you explain how you ended under their wings ? What is the deal about, I mean did you sign for further album ? And were there any other labels interested in HELLIXXIR ?
Alain Riccard from Brennus Music proposed us a distribution deal for our new release, and maybe for our 2008 upcoming album. Another label was interested in HELLIXXIR’s music but I cannot mention its name… I’ll keep it secret !

Could you explain a bit the concept of the release ? The title album creates parallels between your line up troubles you've been through and the unstable human behaviour is that right ?
Yes, I think this album is the rebirth of HELLIXXIR and the end of an era. In such a point, we can establish a parallel between the line up troubles we had in 2004 and the whole concept as following: "War Within" is a concept album that deals with the theme of Human Behaviour when sick. Immersion in a chaotic world where each individual is contaminated by a parasite, making them unpredictable, irrational and violent. Partially awake, Mankind questions its actions and its future, starting a true inner fight: WAR WITHIN.

What is the meaning behind "War Within" cover album ? Is it a kind of burning foetus in the bubble ? Furthermore, there's a rising sun behind the bubble, which could be interpreted as a kind of new hope or more brilliant future….
I think we can see so many things… but all deals with the WAR WITHIN concept. The “burning foetus” symbolizes in fact the parasite that made people sick. However I will let your imagination see what you want to see, it is mainly the goal. The sun is clearly a new hope which can be felt through the last track called “Adeu”.

Lyrics from "Mr Hide" some kind of reminding me Mercyful Fate even though your lyrics are not as evolved as the Danish mastermind, do you agree with me and are you influenced by his lyrics when creating yours ?
This question should be answered by my singer (Julien), given that he wrote the lyrics of M. Hyde. Sorry.

Let's keep on the "Mr Hide" lyrics, the end of the song mentioned grave desecration and a lost man in a graveyard. These images brought me in mind 90's Scandinavian grave desecration from B.M. scene, is there any connection to them ? By the way what is your view on religions as a whole and on Satanism ?
No, there is no connection at all with. About religions and Satanism, I cannot argue a lot, it is not a point that really matters as regards my band. I do respect religions, but it does not interfere with HELLIXXIR’s music. Satanism, well, it is the same issue as religions, don’t you think it belongs to the whole of the religious ideology ?

According to me, the lyric department of "War Within" would have needed much more time. Songs such as "Tears Of The Christ" are really down to Earth and sorry for this but useless. Don't you think that you could have come with more complex
themes ?

To my mind, you are right: this song seems to be useless and doesn’t reflect well Hellixxir’s music now. You probably know that playing in a band sometimes means to do compromises and choices. This was the case and it reflects Hellixxir’s difficulties trough the past. You are right, maybe this song could have been more personal… nothing is perfect. But I want to thank Pascal TOURNOUD for playing guitar with me on that song.

One of your song is rather humanist as you point the violence through war and suffering people from these events through "Of Rage And Violence", so do you consider as lover of mankind ? I noticed that back in the 80's even though many Thrash Metal acts were pretty aggressive through their lyrics they wrote many songs against war and chemical warfare (i.e. Whiplash, Toxic, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Kreator, Sodom and so on…), is that the same from HELLIXXIR…?
It is true that war often appears in Metal songs, it is an issue that does represent this music from the beginning, especially in Thrash Metal bands. Any kind of Music is a way to express feelings, claims or doubts to the world. So to conclude with your topic, yes it is the same for HELLIXXIR on “War Within. Not only it is about war and violence, but it is mainly focus on a more global theme: the human inner fight ! I do not consider myself as a lover of Mankind; I just simply criticize what is wrong and devilish in the world.

How does it come that "Kill The Parasite" is a bonus tune on your web site and doesn't feature on your release ? By the way who are those parasites you're dealing with ?
“Kill the Parasite” should have featured on War Within, but this song was not completely achieved at the recording session in terms of lyrics, rhythm, melodies and arrangements. We only put the middle part of the song on the web because we thought this was really great !

How do you write a HELLIXXIR's tune ? Who come in first with his musical part ? Many of the impressing artists being from musical field, literatures, painting used drugs and hard addiction substances to get the best of themselves. I mean they needed to go beyond their everyday mind to get the worst of themselves and create something unique. Do you believe that you need this kind of state of mind to compose your tunes, have you ever tried to explore this unknown part of your brain this way ?
Very often what comes first is the guitar with different riffs. Secondly, I work on the melody with a second guitar (solo, arrangements …) to get an overview of the music. Thirdly, I do work with my drummer, and that is here that the music really creates. The Lyrics often come after, but the main idea is here in my head or my singer’s head from the beginning. Words come later. However, what is great in HELLIXXIR is the mix between all the musicians, everybody bring their ideas.
I don’t need any drugs or substances to get more inspire, I think my guitar is enough a drug!


You have only played gigs in your hometown so far, are there plans for a national tour since you're signed now ?
Of course in a first time, we especially played in our hometown and through the Rhône-Alpes region, but it seems that a new landscape is going on for us. I cannot say more now, but we are going to play gigs over France and probably in few European countries.

What is your religion with religions ? Do you think that all Metal bands must deal with religions ? Do you consider yourself as antireligious ?
My religion is to respect people when they do respect me and my friends. I am not antireligious at all, I do believe in something, but I don’t know what. I don’t mind if some Metal bands deal with religions, if they do respect the others. Religion as a concept is a good manner to get inspiration for Lyrics as War or Peace, Death or Life, Drugs, Girls are.

Thanks for the answers, end this int' as you wish…
Thank you Eric for this interview, it was hard to correctly answer to all the questions, I did my best. I hope it remains understandable. See you soon in our pubs. Stay BrutalJ !