INTERVIEW: Alex Shikolai – Slaughter To Prevail

Since their formation in 2014, there has been an air of anticipation surrounding SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL. Hailing from the UK and Russia, the deathcore outfit have shot up the ranks of the extreme music scene and are taking the style back to its roots with utter musical brutality. 2017 bares the long-awaited arrival of the band’s debut full length record, Misery Sermon (read our review here). Prior to the record’s release, we caught up with vocalist Alex Shikolai to talk about the album, its themes and grim messages, and how the band are taking the deathcore world by storm.

Your new album, Misery Sermon, is set to be released very soon. What can fans expect from your upcoming album?

Alex: Very severe, depressive and aggressive music which reflects the humanity.

You’ve mentioned that the lyrics to King explore the evil inherent in man. Is this a theme that we are likely to hear across the entirety of your album? If so, why do you think that such negative themes are a common focus for extreme metal bands?

Alex: Metal is an aggressive type of music, so it should not really be a surprise. In all our tracks you can see the rotten human and his vices. You should understand it and you have to think about it!

What, if any, is the significance behind the masks we see in both your music videos and promotional photos?

Alex: The industry is slowly but surely growing. The mask is my second face. I created it by myself. And I wish that it would be just a mask, but a real cult which reflects all negative in a person. Without negativity there would not be any spiritual growth. It’s important.

Your new album Misery Sermon is due to be released soon. You’ve said that it has been influenced by elements ranging from extreme metal to rap music. Would you argue that confining oneself to a single genre is obstructive to your writing process?

Alex: I believe that it is not good to limit yourself in something when the heart wants it so much. I listen to different music and in any music, I find strong spiritual lyrics which make me reflect a lot. This is the most important thing in music.

Your guitarist Jack mentioned that he feels Misery Sermon has surpassed any of your previous work. Would you agree, and if so, why?

Alex: We certainly have been growing and still gathering the experience. I agree with him. The next album will be more mature.

You recorded Misery Sermon with Stu McKay [BRING ME THE HORIZON, INGESTED] in the UK. When did the writing and recording process for Misery Sermon begin? How do you cope with the logistics of having members spread across both the UK and Russia?

Alex: We didn’t have any problems. Our drummer and I bought a ticket a year ago and flew to the UK to record vocals and drums. Everything depends on your desire. Of course, not without the help of our label, Sumerian Records. Special thanks to them.

You were swiftly signed by Sumerian Records following the release of Chapters of Misery. Did any of you have any prior musical experience before forming SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL, or is being thrust into the international spotlight a new experience for you?

Alex: We’ve all had the experience in playing with other bands, so for us it was some kind of level up.

Continuing from the previous question: You formed less than three years ago and already have a European, Russian and U.S tour under your belts; and not to mention that you are soon headed back to the states to tour with OCEANO. SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL are taking the deathcore world by storm. To what would you attribute your rapid growth and success?

Alex: I think about how to become more popular every day. I think about how to make our music better every day. I think of music every day. I believe in the power of our thoughts. I have been thinking about this for the past nine years, so I wasn’t surprised that it happened so quickly. I have to work even harder to accelerate the process.

So, what is in the future for SLAUGHTER TO PREVAIL? Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Alex: I would really like to have a huge amount of people at our shows in five years and I will do everything to make it happen. For me, it is very important that people know about us and about the message I want to transmit in the songs. Our group is not just music, it is something more and I wish that people would become part of this culture and start to work on their spiritual and physical state.

Finally, Misery Sermon fuses a multitude of genres together almost effortlessly. What are your opinions on the current state of the international extreme metal scene?

Alex: It’s slowly but surely growing and I put everything in it right here and right now. We are a big family.

Misery Sermon is out now via Sumerian Records.