AFL: Hey Vlad. Thank you for letting us look a little deeper on your latest activity’s with Siberian Meat Grinder. How happy is it for you that the new album is ready to be released now? It has taken a long time for Join The Bear Cult.
Vlad: This album has a very tough history being mostly recorded during the pandemic, the release was postponed several times due to the delays at vinyl printing factories – not their fault, but again – the result of the pandemic – and now it is gonna be released in the nightmarish times of war. We just want it to finally hit the eardrums of metalheads and punx around the world, since we put so much sweat, blood and energy into it. We really love how this record came out and can’t stop blasting it again and again banging our heads like crazy, despite having heard these songs a million times already – and for us it’s the most important proof that we did a good job.
From the first days of our band we set the goal to come up with our own style mixing together metal, punk and other genres in our own way, playing fast, aggressive, yet technical music. Join The Bear Cult was going to take our music to the next level, venturing deeper into the metal territories, adding more death, black and power metal influences, while not forgetting about our punk rock roots. We also spiced up this mix with some surprising droplets – from grunge and stoner to hip-hop and even reggae.
The album was mastered by the famous Sweden-based Fascination Street Studios, known for working with Sepultura, Kreator, Amon Amarth, At The Gates and other titans. We are also extremely stoked about the album art – based on our own idea and created by a talented artist Andrei Bouzikov, also known for his works for Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, High On Fire and other cool bands.
AFL: Like you said, the pandemic infected your working on the new album. But also your touring activity’s, right?
Vlad: Sure. When the pandemic started (and successfully canceled our tour with Madball, Knocked Loose and Harms Way) part of the album was already written, so we decided to rewrite parts. Working on the new album was problematic during Corona: Our drummer lives in another city, band practice became a real issue during lockdowns. We exchanged an endless amount of demos and spent a long time discussing tracks in messengers and on the phone. Even the recording had to be postponed again and again, because, for example, gathering people in a small space to record backing vocals wasn’t a good idea. Anyway, we managed to finish the album against all odds and it sounds exactly like we wanted it too.
AFL: Which topics have inpired you to the lyrics on the new album? What about the last video: Does IntoTheGrinder tells the story?
Vlad: Major part of the album was written and recorded during rough times for everybody on our planet (while even harder times were coming as we see now), so on this album we tried to create music which would raise our own spirits and give us the inspiration to keep on grinding despite all the troubles. It really worked for us and if it would have the same effect on anybody else, blasting these tracks, then our mission is complete. Bear Cult is here to give you the adrenaline and spiritual boost to keep walking tall no matter what.
And another important message of this record is unity – Bear Cult unites punx, headbangers and all the people of the free will by the fast and aggressive music of SMG and when enough folks will join the Bear Cult, the world will reach another level of spiritual and physical existence.
Speaking about Into The Grinder – watch it and you’ll see what fate awaits those who deny the Bear Cult, try to abuse our animal friends or chop down the sacred forests. A little spoiler: They are being pushed into the meat grinder by the righteous Bear Cult adepts and become stuffing for the sacred Siberian dumplings which are being offered to the Bear-Tsar on a forest altar. So put on the Bear mask, blast SMG at full volume, defy the false leaders and Join The Bear Cult until it’s too late for you!
AFL: How is the recent Tour goin? Do you play new material live and if, what are the fans reactions?
Vlad: Oh, I am sorry to disappoint you. Our Winter/Spring Tour with Napalm Death and Doom was postponed due to the new restrictions in February, which was a big disappointment, since we were really looking forward to sharing the stage with these legendary bands and finally blasting our Siberian anthems to our international metal\punk army after 2 years of lockdown. We also had to put a lot of effort, time and money to get all the visas, tickets and vaccines – since traveling to Europe during pandemia was insanely expensive and while the Russian vaccines were not approved by Europe, it was also impossible to get European jabs in Russia. Can’t help but notice that the approach of the world governments to fighting the pandemic around the globe looked like a complete political circus while people kept dying and suffering.
AFL: Are you playing in russia too? Tell us a little bit about the situation for punk, hc or metal bands in your country with the conservative gouvernment.
Vlad: We regularly played gigs and tours in Russia before pandemic since our first days and gathered a powerful legion of Bear Tsar warriors there. By the way at our very first gig in 2011 in Moscow we got the full Plan B club – a big venue, where foreign bands like Madball, Agnostic Front etc usually played back in the day. We hope to start playing again really soon. Living in Russia and playing our type of music you never know what might happen – I remember riot police raids on our shows, once I almost got attacked by a police dog right on stage during our set. But that’s what we do – playing angry music that pisses off the authorities and idiots.
AFL: How many questions were asked about the war between russia and the ukraine? I mean you are a russian band. Do you had problems because of your origin?
Vlad: So far nobody asked any questions or tried to give us any problems since everyone in the scene knows that SMG stands for peace, unity and equality and against war propaganda, violence and discrimination. War is hell and it must be stopped right now, since it claims lives of innocent people every day. Also luckily all the people we work with on the global music scene are intelligent individuals who understand that attacking people because of their background, nationality, roots etc – is close-minded hatred.
AFL: What are your plans for 2022?
Vlad: We gonna finally release the album and go on tour – us and our booking agency M.A.D. Tourbooking have some great plans for the Autumn 2022. Also we have some music videos for the new tracks in the making, so keep your eyes peeled! And don’t forget to get the record and join The Bear Cult!