Interview: James McBain from Hellripper

Interview by Steven

Scottish one-man band Hellripper is absolutely tearing it up at the moment with The Affair of the Poisons, undoubtedly one of the coolest Metal releases of 2020. Steve, from Aeons Abyss, was very grateful that James McBain, the man who is Hellripper, took some time from his hectic schedule to answer a few questions about the release.

Hellripper is a very cool band name.  How did you come up with the name, who’s in your band, and when did you first start?

Thank you! The name just popped into my head one day and I thought it sounded cool, although I probably got the idea from somewhere else subconsciously. Hellripper is a solo project of mine (James McBain), and I guess you could say the band “officially” started in 2014 as that’s when I started properly writing things with the intent of releasing them under the Hellripper name. The first release was an EP that came out in January 2015.

Your new album “The Affair of the Poisons” has just dropped and is killer.  What are 3 things we need to know about this release?

It has plenty of riffs and plenty of speed!

The album title comes from a series of true events that occurred in 17th century France involving poisonings, witchcraft and infanticide that were tied to members of the aristocracy.

The album was all written and recorded by myself at home.

Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons (2020) released by Peaceville

What is your favourite track and why?

It’s hard to choose as I am very happy with how the albums as a whole turned out! I think if I had to choose, it would be a toss up between the opener (“The Affair of the Poisons”) and the closing track (“The Hanging Tree”). Both of these explore some new territory that hasn’t really been heard in Hellripper’s music previously.

… some lyrics from “The Affair of the Poisons”

Black divinations bring power from hell
Manifest poisons and bless them with spell
Sin’s congregation with death and disease
Hail the eternal one!

What’s it like being signed to Peaceville?

It’s been great so far! The album has done very well and the label have been easy to work with! Of course, it’s great being a part of a roster that includes some of my favourite bands of all time also!

Hellripper has lots of really cool merch. What’s your approach to your merch?

Thank you, I am glad you like the merch! I like to have killer artwork/designs for the merch most of all. I update the merch somewhat regularly with new items and designs and I take note of what people want to see! I receive questions almost daily about whether I will be making a certain item or whatever, and if enough people are interested, then I try and make it happen.

What other bands would potential listeners of your album enjoy?

So many! Toxic Holocaust, Venom, Darkthrone, Butcher, Megadeth, Wraith, Whipstriker, Bewitcher, Bonehunter, Blackevil, Hexecutor, Devil Master, Nocturnal, TANK, Motorhead, Agent Steel, Metallica, Slayer, Speedwolf, Wasteland Riders, Sabbat, Bathory, Chapel, Cruel Force, Diabolic Night… I could go on and on!

Tell us one amusing thing about your band.

My initial intentions were to record an EP at home for fun and share it with my friends in the local scene with the hopes that a few of them would dig it! There were no real plans after that and there were certainly never plans for Hellripper to ever play live shows. Once I released the EP and posted it on Youtube and Bandcamp, it received attention from quite a few people from all over the world, which is something that I never in a million years thought would happen!

What have you got coming up in the next 6-months?

We have a couple of festival appearances planned for 2021 but other than that, nothing much yet unfortunately. We are mostly waiting to see if the current world situation improves and the best way to go about doing things when shows eventually return. I’ve started work on the follow up to ‘The Affair of the Poisons’ too so I hope to get that released within the next 18 months!

Last question … have you ever seen our peaceful underwater ally Nessie (nod to Napoleon Dynamite)?

Haha, everyone in Scotland has! We just keep him a secret from the rest of the world.

All links for Hellripper here:

About Steven - Aeons Abyss 42 Articles
I do the music for the band Aeons Abyss, and also co-host The Metal Podcast on Spotify. I have been into Metal since the mid-80s, growing up in country Victoria, Australia. Some of my favourite bands from back in the day include Morbid Angel, Slayer, Obituary, Bolt Thrower, King Diamond, Megadeth, Sabbat and Iron Maiden. I am a massive fan of Aussie Metal, and underground metal in general, and for me, nowadays the scene is very much akin to the tape trading days when metal first started; but instead of tapes we have Bandcamp, websites like Noob Heavy, and Social Media platforms. These are the tools to network with other underground metal bands and metal fans from all over the world. A little about my band: Aeons Abyss formed in 2017 and we play our own brand of Death Thrash Metal. Our music is on all streaming platforms and Bandcamp, where we also sell our merch directly to fans. Also, our lyrics are a very important component of our music, so much so that our vocalist is known as "Death Metal Poet".

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