Suicidal Angels

Bands - Musicians - Issue 24

HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine met with the hardcore guitar duo of old school thrash metallers, Suicidal Angels, just a breath away before their headline concert in Athens, at Gagarin 205. Suicidal Angels are one of the most successful Greek metal bands, and they are steadily rising. We talked with Nick Melissourgos, frontman and guitarist of the group, about the course of the band, their love for old school thrash metal, their expectations and ambitions, the local and international metal scene, the highlights of their journey, and of course about his tattoos that are mostly done by the departed Savas Papanikolaou.

Interview & Photos by Ino Mei.

After six studio albums and a course of sixteen years, how would you describe the current era of Suicidal Angels;

I could honestly say that this is so far the best era of the band. We have a new album, which has received very good reviews, we returned from a really successful European tour, we have prepared concerts in Greece in more cities that we have performed before, there is generally an activity and much appetite for the future.

Are you still absolutely devoted to old school thrash metal?

We remain devoted to the music that we love. We remain devoted to the music that we grew up with and were absorbed with when we were young. This is the music that we dig, and yes, we are and we will be devoted to this genre. We always want to evolve, to differentiate our style slightly from album to album, of course within the style that we enjoy playing. Stagnation is certainly not something that we like or characterize us.

Which were your expectations when you first started and which have you managed so far to fulfil?

There was no expectation for something. It was the diffuse sexual excitement to play music. The music that, as said before, absorbed us. To try writing trash metal by ourselves. To record, to go into the studio, to play a concert, even though there were only people of our age and of younger classes among the audience. So, yes, we fulfilled all these expectations. Only instead of our school, now it is clubs, and instead of classmates, our audience are people who have been following and supporting us all these years, and instead of the younger classes, there are todays’ teenagers.

What are your ambitions?

To play in every single corner of the known world, as well as to continue to write music that reflects us.

Are your live performances still a priority?

Of course! The band is our priority. I would say, music in general is our priority.

Which is the most "extreme" incident that has ever happened to you during touring?

We have seen knives and guns coming out, people have tried to open the tourbus, food poisoning, punches into the bus between drunk members of bands... The list is rather long and extreme. The point is to be able to avoid the pitfalls so that you won’t find yourself into trouble for no reason. There are countries that do not provide any safety out in the streets. If you want to be a “cowboy”, you should be prepared to face the consequences (laughs).

Which countries do your most of your fans come from?

Hard to tell… Each country is a surprise. Certainly, there are places that we haven’t visited yet and that we would like to go in the near future. The moshing crew members grow and multiply day by the day, tour by tour.

What do you think about the metal scene of today?

Metal music nowadays is widespread from planet’s edge to edge. They are now markets that have opened which couldn’t be approached before, due to political schemes and certain circumstances. However, in recent years this situation has changed. Moreover, many sub genres have emerged in the field of metal, so this makes it even more popular. At the same time, after a small throwdown the traditional metal has returned powerfully. The scene in general has strengthened greatl. There are so many festivals and concerts, and that’s really promising.

How does the Greek scene treat its bands and how do the bands treat the Greek scene?

Firstly, I would like to say that the Greek scene, especially in recent years, has become enormous compared to how it was ten years ago. There are amazing bands in all genres. I believe that the thing that changed the past, was the internal support that started within the local bands. In the past, the underground concerts gathered by force one hundred people. This has now changed dramatically. People go to local gigs and supports them. Unfortunately, what is dramatically missing, has nothing to do with the scene itself, but with the infrastructure provided by the state, so as to enable the bands to do the next step. It takes a lot of effort and personal contribution to allow a band to proceed further. When it comes to the music itself I think we can equally compete with bands from other countries. What we cannot easily compete are the chances that the bands from abroad have.

What are your unquestionable highlights of your journey so far?

Highlights… It is difficult to isolate just some, because so many things have happened… Our first contract with a record label, that was something almost impossible back in the day, our support live with Kreator in 2007, where Mille was wearing our t-shirt on stage, our contract with Nuclear Blast and Rock the Nation, the Thrashfest tour, our participation in Sonisphere with Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth, the  Full of Hate tour, all our releases; each of which is reflecting the psychology of the band at that time, the entrance of our third album "Dead Again" in German, Austrian and Swiss charts, the stay of our next record in the charts, our first headline tour in 2014, our moving to Germany... It is a long list. Anything positive is a highlight for us, because as I mentioned before, we have been constantly fighting for more, because we don’t like stagnation. 

When did you get your first tattoo done and what is it?

If I can recall, I had my first tattoo done when I was twenty-three. It depicts an album cover of our band that we never used, until it became the cover of our live DVD that was released together with our latest album. This tattoo was done by the late Savas, with whom I was friends. He also gave me the tattoo I have on my leg as I gift. It is a humorous tattoo, as he designed me in a beer “body” while performing on stage.

Which of your tattoos do you consider as more “symbolic”?  

All of my tattoos are symbolic. I didn’t make them because they are fashionable or because they matched to our “image”. Tattoo is something that you carry for a lifetime. I would never do something that I would ever have the slightest hesitation, just to be able to say “look I have a tattoo”. Perhaps I could “distinguish” the tattoo I have on the inside of my right arm cause unfortunately we never manage to finish it with Savas…

Is there a particular tattoo style that you prefer?  

I mainly like the old school technique and school and I also prefer black & grey tattoos; in my opinion they have something magical. The way of shading in particular is what bares all the magic. Clearly there are fantastic colour designs, but I personally prefer black & grey.

Why most musicians of the metal scene have tattoos?  What is your opinion?

Metal is a music against trends, and against the stupidity of everyday life routine. Same is tattoo. It’s not for the comfortably settled people. Of course, in recent years, it has become more popular and has taken the form of a very serious art. This is a good thing, because many people stopped looking at us in a weird day, just like if we got out prison (laughs).

*Suicidal Angels are performing live in Athens at Gagarin 205 on Friday 17 February 2017. Released Anger, Karma Violens and Abyssus will also be performing as special guests.