Tell us about your debut full length, ‘Witching Metal Ritual’, from Heaven and Hell Records!

“Witching Metal Ritual” is a no holds barred heavy metal assault.

How long has Witches Mark been performing together? What is the ‘who, when, where and why’ of the band’s formation?

Witches Mark was formed in the fall of 2005 by Robert Williams who had just left the Austin, Tx. based Black Metal band [Of The Fallen], He was looking to start a new band with a more traditional approach and I think he was out raging at some show and saw Michael Lance [Reverend, Ancient Cross] onstage and just knew that he was the guy. After some well placed demos Michael agreed to be the vocalist. Steve Perez {Of The Fallen, Demontuary} was the original second guitarist, after he decided to leave the band Robert contacted me. Robert and I were neighbors when we were younger and we used to jam every day in his pops’ studio. He ended up moving away and after like 15 years this guy rings me up wanting me to join his band, after hearing what they were doing I was in. Andy Gonzalez

[Hammerwhore, Cruxiter} joined soon after on Bass and we released “A Grim Apparition.” During the writing process for “Witching Metal Ritual” it became more apparent that the bands sound was evolving and Michael at that point stepped down. We decided to keep vocals duties in the band and I took the helm. After recruiting Scott Palmer{Demontuary} on the drums the current line up was complete.

How long has the material on ‘Witching Metal Ritual’ been in the writing process? Does the band write as a whole or as individuals? Why?

Robert had a lot to do with writing the riffs for this record “Salem’s Fire” and “Cauldron Born” are from the first E.P and written by the original line up. Those were the only tunes that have survived from that time so we decided to re-record them with more power and I updated and re-wrote the lyrics. Only a few of the songs were solo efforts, I wrote music and lyrics for “Swarm” and Robert wrote the music and lyrics for”Slaves To Their Own Sin.” Robert had this killer doomy track written with no words which became “We Die” and Martin Debourge{Damien Thorne,Kantation] did guest vocals and wrote the words for that one. So there really is no set formula.

What are some of the key elements that make ‘Witches Mark’ a force to be reckoned with?

Witches Mark doesn’t sound like any other band out there, we are not concerned with sticking to any genre of metal. Fans of heavy metal, thrash, power, doom and black metal will find something to bang their heads to.

I was pleased to find the lyrics included in your CD. What are some of the themes or messages that you wanted to convey to the listener?

The album starts off with “Bringers Of Heavy Metal Death” which is a reaction to the ever growing Police State in this country and around the world, it was written during the time of the Arab Spring and then soon after the Occupy movement. It seemed at that time the people were standing upagainst tyranny and “Bringers” is an iron fist straight up the ass of the establishment, and the Zombots that are brainwashed by it. A lot of the themes I wrote about are more subjective and are in place to create an atmosphere, whether by sleaze or spite, vindication or glory of battle my interpretation is secondary to the listeners. If your fist is in the air then mission accomplished.

How is the music of Witches Mark best experienced, from the stage or from the stereo? Why?

All music is best experienced live in my opinion. When you put something on wax you are taking something that is very primal and larger than life and trying to make it small enough to fit in a couple of tiny ass speakers. Go see the bands.

Austin, TX is legendary for its music scene. Would you say Witches Mark has found its home there, musically and personally?

Austin is my home away from home, I hail from Portland, Oregon which makes my commute to band practice quite an arduous task to say the least. Austin kicks ass for sure but I find that heavy metal fans are true as fuck no matter where you are, that is what Witches Mark represents. Metal is a way of life for us and we bear that mark with honour.

What are some of the influences that have helped shape the sound of Witches Mark? Why?

Speaking for the rest of the band I would say Angel Witch and bands like Saxon and Manowar. I prefer a lot of the originators of the craft. Ian Gillan from Deep Purple is a huge influence on me vocally as well as bands like Lucifer’s Friend and even more obscure bands like early Christian Death and The Damned. Also being under the influence is a big influence.

What can fans expect in the near future from Witches Mark?

We are about to release a split 7inch with Twisted Tower Dire, we are covering one of their songs and vice versa. A tour of the southern part of the US is in the works and we will be playing the Ragnarokrr Festival in Chicago in April so if you’re in the windy city come out for a killer festival. Grim Reaper is headlining that one.

Last words?

Yeah, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today, and I’ll see you crazy fuckers on the

road. Keep your Axes Sharp!