Long Island hardcore outfit This Is Hell have been on the scene for a while now. Getting ever more thrashy with every album (that’s cool with us), they’ve just released their fourth full lenth "Black Mass" through Rise Records. We caught up with guitarist and founding member Rick Jimenez to talk $2 sushi and dressing up as Metallica.
Hey man, for the record please tell us your name, what you play in This Is Hell and your favourite Slayer jam of all time?
Rick Jimenez, guitar and vocals, either "South of Heaven" or "Angel Of Death".
Your fourth album “Black Mass” has just dropped. How has the response been from critics and fans?
Critics have loved it for the most part. Lots of 8s and 9s out of 10 or 4s out of 5. Not everyone loves it obviously but we have received a lot of great reviews. I appreciate great reviews a ton, but it’s just one person’s opinion and doesn’t really mean much outside of a temporary ego boost. Still rather have great reviews than shitty ones but I’m more concerned with what the show goers think. Kids at shows and ones that bought the CD seem to really be into the new stuff which is radical. But most likely if someone doesn’t like it, they just keep it to themselves. I’d like to say everyone loves it but I’m not sure if that’s realistic. So long as people have a good time when we play and exchange energy with us, I’m siked.
Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process for this record?
It was essentially the same as the last album. I wrote the music and demoed it out, showed it to everyone and from there I did lyrics and demoed those out. Then we start to really learn the songs and have them take shape.
“Black Mass” is the second album you’ve released with Rise Records now. For many it was probably a bit of an unexpected signing, how has it been working with those guys so far?
Pretty cool. It’s always the goal to make sure the record winds up in as many hands as possible and as many "types" of kids as possible. Rise has afforded us that again, just as Trustkill had prior. We appreciate Rise taking us on being that we sound and conduct ourselves completely different from all their prior bands.
The band is currently doing a huge run of dates through Canada and the States at the moment with Underoath, Comeback Kid and The Chariot. How’s tour been going so far? Any highlights?
Its been fun. Once again it’s a different crowd for us so that makes it a bit of an uphill battle every night, but we’ve never been afraid of that. And it’s also that much more satisfying when you win kids over and really open their minds. The highlight of the tour so far was when we wound up beating some bum off the stage in Minnesota before our set after he kept talking into our mics with his dirty bum mouth. I never kicked a bum off a stage before, let alone before we even played a note.
You’ll also be playing a Halloween show as Metallica with “Fugazi” and “Poison The Well”. Does that mean you’re just dressing up or are you doing an all-Metallica setlist?
We’re going all out with Metallica this year. Even more so than when we did Guns N Roses last year. We dressed as and did some snipets of GNR last year in Vegas, this year we’re doing a set of Metallica songs, dressing the part, have some stage set up ideas etc. With these things you gotta go big or go home. And going home is never fun.
This Is Hell has been out to Australia a few times now. Do you have any particular fond memories of down under?
Everything about Australia is a fond memory. We get treated so well over there so it makes everything really awesome. Believe it or not my favourite part is the fact that you can walk a hundred feet down the road anywhere and get a $2 sushi tuna roll. That and 8 out of 10 girls are extremely good to look at.
What five records does the van stereo play the most when you dudes are on the road?
Metallica – "Ride The Lightning", Metallica – "And Justice For All", Guns N Roses – "Appetite For Destruction", Cro-Mags – "Best Wishes", and Megadeth – "Rust In Peace".
Are there any up and coming bands you’ve heard lately we should be checking out?
$nakes … brand new band with some sick dudes. NY band – keep on the lookout.
What does the rest of 2011 hold for This Is Hell?
We’ll be out on this tour til the end of October, Halloween show, then a few shows towards the end of the year. Next year we’ll be everywhere on this new record!
Thanks for your time dude! Any last thoughts?
Pick up our CD/vinyl ASAP and headbang your life away!