Dominika Šimová • Eyal Peer (photos)
Israeli Nail Within has come to life after a long time and we immediately decided to ask them a few questions. Vocalist Yishai Sweartz was my guest and was so kind to answer all my questions, apparently not only about music this time.
Yishai, there is no other way for me to start this interview, how have you been and are you all safe?
Thanks for asking, we are safe but the situation is horrible, major loss and the whole country is in grief.
Where are you now and how do you cope with everything going on around you?
We are at home with our families, trying to live as normal as possible, both mentally and physically, trying to work as much as possible, it's hard...
What´s your opinion on the conflict and all we can see in the world? Was it expected from your point of view?
I can speak for myself, it was somehow expected as I knew very well we are dealing with a very extreme terror organization, but I cannot say I was expected it to be that massive and cruel, we are in shock even though we knew very well who are hamas, no country in the world would allow things like these to happen.
I mean, this has been a crazy few years. My country, Slovakia, is totally divided - Covid exists/does not exist or people are pro-Ukrainian/anti-Ukrainian, pro-Russia/against Russia. I feel people are not able to communicate any longer, everything´s extreme and radical. People see just the white or black and nothing in between. Everybody's fighting - physically or mentally! I am so sorry for everything going on! Is there the light at the end of the tunnel?
Sadly I don't know, people became more extreme, more ignorant, more "my way or the highway" kind of vibe, more brutal and cruel, a light at the edge of the tunnel? I hope so but I doubt it.
Let's turn the page, let's talk about music and especially your band. You started playing back in 2002 as far as I know. Many years ago but you have just released 2 records. How come? Why the gap?
We split up in 2003 and reunited in 2021, so this album was written and recorded in less than a year in fact.
What did you do between the first and the second album? Were you active in some other projects?
After the band split up in 2003 Guitarist Matan Cohen signed his other band BETZEFER to ROADRUNNER RECORDS and started a successful career touring with acts as Sepultura, Lamb Of God, Fear Factory and others, Guitarist Alex Shuster moved to the states and joined the band "16" (RELAPSE RECORDS), Bassist Evil Haim toured the world with Israeli punk icons USELESS ID, played in few local bands and opened a record label while Vocalist Yishai Sweartz (me) became the biggest metal promoter in Israel and formed TOMORROW'S RAIN (A.O.P RECORDS) with Drummer Nir Nakav (who continued to play in SALEM) we joined forces.
Your sound and lyrics are basically about what we live, right?
The meaning of the name SOUND OF DEMISE is simple: the world is going back to primitive way of thinking, more violent, more ignorant, more "our way or the highway", look at what happened in the states with the abortions, look at Russia Vs Ukraine, look at ISIS, and all the fake news controlling the media, the world in 2023 is much more dangerous than in let's say 1993, many songs are dealing with these subjects, almost all of them: Bleeding Society, Manipulated And Doomed, Everything We Know, Regression… and The Price We Pay, about 50% of the album is about it, the other songs as "Duplicate Our Lives" is about the bad situation of musicians nowadays, "Years Of Madness" is a tribute song to LG from Entombed and the early death metal scene, Eyes Of Evil is about an abusive relationship…
Some of your lyrics are a bit emotional, even personal, perhaps. Is it because it is based on your personal experience?
Sure, agree 100%, they are.
Your sound doesn't sound Israel-like. To me, it's more northern-like, Scandinavian-like, why? And do you agree with me?
I don't know if "scandinavian sound" is the best way to describe it but I think generally it's more "in your face" in a way, a song like "King Obscenity" (from the 2002 debut) could not be in "Sound Of Demise, it's an angry record, we were of course influenced by more or less the same things musically but this album is more thrash metal I think, it was always a kind of blend of things we like as Entombed, old At The Gates, Slayer, Kreator, Testament, old Sepultura and some classic Hardcore of course.
On your newest record, Sound of Demise, there are also great guest musicians, Tom Angelripper (Sodom) and Eric Peterson (Testament). Tell us a bit more about the collaborations? How did it feel to work with such huge names?
Both are legends, I have been a fan of Sodom since 1987 when "Persecution Mania" was released, it's a very important band for me personally, a huge influence, I wrote to Tom, sent him both the lyrics and the demo of the track, he liked what was there so he joined the song, it's a huge respect for us, I never thought that the guy who did "Agent Orange" will sing in my album, and here it is… As for Eric of TESTAMENT, I am a promoter in Israel and I did the band's show a few years ago and that's how we knew each other. I am of course an old TESTAMENT fan since the 80's so it's a great feeling to have both in the album.
This leads me to another question. Do you have a dream to work with some particular band or musicians in the future?
Via Nail Within? The first name that I can think about now is Kerry King.
What a dream! One part of your album was also recorded in California, USA. Another one at home, in Tel Aviv. What was the biggest difference in recording in Israel and the USA?
Hard to answer because only the guitars were recorded in the States and the rest in israel.
Any plans of performing in Slovakia or somewhere nearby in the close future?
Hopefully, but first we have to get back to normal life here, it's a crazy situation I never thought I would be in.
Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
Thank you so much for your support and great words, it means a lot to us and we hope to visit your country in the future.
Let me thank you for your time and this interview! I want to wish you all the best!
Same here my friend!