Interview with Steve Rowe
Metal, ever since the beginning, has been thought of as satanic, and just generally as music that goes against society. Many metal fans will not accept a band that falls outside of this categorization. But what metal is really about is staying true to yourself instead of falling for trends and whatnot, as well as about aggression. Mortification has both of these traits, yet many people can not get over the fact that they present their Christian beliefs in their lyrics. Mortification has been struggling against this type of closed-mindedness ever since the beginning, and several albums later, they are still around to be among the few who actually present a positive message with enough aggression to please ANY metal fan out there.
Enslain – Tell me a little bit about the history of Mortification.
Rowe – Um, it started in 1990... Before that I was the bass player in a classic metal band, sort of Iron Maiden sort of style. And that band split up, and I was getting into bands like Slayer and Sodom and stuff like that, especially three piece bands like Sodom, and I decided to start an extreme metal sort of band. We started off in, sort of that thrash sort of vein, and we got caught up in the whole death metal, grindcore thing with our first and second album... sort of in the European sort of style of extreme metal rather than death metal. Basically the guys I was working with then saw the band in that style, and wanted me to be this sort of monstrous front man which, sort of didn't fit my personality. So over the years I had a couple of line-ups, and with the line-up we now have we've done two albums, and basically combined elements of grindcore, death metal, thrash, classic metal, and a bit of groove, so we do a lot of different things and sort of mix it into one melting pot.
Enslain – Do you market yourselves more as a Christian band or more as a metal band?
Rowe – Well, you know, the music is very important, we work hard on creating our own sound, I think that it's important that if you're going to be a band that you don't copy or sound like anybody else, that's why we combine so many influences. The reason that the Christian message is so strong is because the black metal and satanic bands are so strong about their message, we thought it was important to be strong about our message, just because we're the only ones doing it and people need to hear the other side of the story. The new album, "Triumph of Mercy" speaks a lot about my fight with cancer, and I was diagnosed with Lieukemia in September of '96, and was given a one percent chance to live, and so I've been through a couple of years of pretty extreme sickness and come through, and it's been great to come back and um, be able to start touring and doing albums and things again.
Enslain – Would you consider yourselves a Christian band, or as a group of guys who have Christian beliefs?
Rowe – We are a group of guys who have Christian beliefs, and we think that it's important to share that with other people because there's so much of the hatred side being presented, that it's a very important part of our band to present the Christian perspective on issues, and we feel that a lot of people are not very responsible to their audience, and we feel that, you know, if you're going to play music, that you have to have some sort of responsibility about what you say and what you present. And if you are presenting some sort of image which is just a joke to you, you should tell your audience. I think a lot of people are seriously into all of this evil stuff... One thing I always liked about Iron Maiden is that like people thought that they're into satanism or something, but they actually said live, you know, we're not into this, we just sing about this sort of as a story. I think that people in bands have kind of lost that responsibility to their audience...
Enslain – Do you generally tour with bands who are christian or secular?
Rowe – In Australia we mainly play with non-Christian bands. But now that we are on Metal Blade, I'm sure that in the future that we'll probably be more out in the clubs and all that, which we haven't had an opportunity to do in America so far, really.
Enslain – What is coming up for the future for Mortification?
Rowe – Well, um, I've been sick for a couple of years, "Triumph of Mercy" basically talks a lot about the fact that I went through cancer and stuff, and a bone marrow transplant, and so I've actually got to raise my health status a little bit. It's going to be pretty tough for me being on tour. I get stronger all the time, so I'm sure that in the future we'll be doing a lot more stuff.
-- Lady Enslain