Disbelief - 08/05/2009

DISBELIEF is a metal band from Hesse, Germany. Their music is rooted in death metal, but has an unusually melancholic tone. The band was formed in 1990, but did not become one solid line-up for several years. They began with Karsten Jäger, Oliver Lenz, and drummer Markus Gnap, with guitarist/bassist Denis Musiol joining later. DISBELIEF released their self-titled debut album in 1997. The band can easily be generalized as death metal, although they have progressed from this style significantly. The label often designates them as "emotional deathcore", while others find the simple description "noise" or "extreme metal" fitting. The extremely brutal music is performed with a strong melancholy and depressive tone.


Chapter 8 in the history of DISBELIEF is opened  ‘Protected Hell’ (out now) is the title of their new album. DISBELIEF still do not create easy listening music but they manage to write catchy songs in their own style, devastation on the one hand, deep empathy on the other - a tornado of emotions!!! Once again, Michael Mainx was hired to produce the album (he also the ‘Navigator’ album in 2007). The sound of this record is aggressive and heavy but it also spreads the typical DISBELIEF - atmosphere which is necessary to transport the intensity of the songs!! To finalize it all, Tue Madsen did the mastering at the Antfarm studio. Songs like “Hate/Aggression Schedule” embody the lyrics in a frightening way, “Hell Goes On” or “S.O.S. - Sense Of Sight” blow you away and finally there are the typical, deep emotional works like “One Nation´s Son” and “The Return Of Sin” that stop your breathing!!!



Apparently there is much to talk about and so we had a little chat with Bass player Jochen "Joe" Trunk, here you can read what he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com:


It’s been two years since your previous record, ‘Navigator’ was released. Could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the (new) bandmembers, the origin of the name of the band and what you’ve been up to the last two years?

Jochen: Our new guitarists are called Alejandro Varela, he’s from Spain and Witali Weber, and he lives in our hometown. The name of the band has no special meaning, our singer Karsten  took it from a prong-song, that´s it! The last 2 years we´ve been busy touring and preparing the new album ‘Protected Hell’!


How did you launch into writing material for ‘Protected Hell’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?

Jochen: It took more than 6 month to finish songwriting and pre-production! The most difficult part is always to find a beginning, when I reach this it is like a flow! This time we had the possibility to do a more detailed preparation of the new songs by recording them in Witali´s studio!


Who was responsible for writing the songs and the lyrics on this album and where do you get your inspiration from?

Jochen: Since our ‘Worst Enemy’ album in 2001 I’ve done nearly all the songwriting, Karsten  is responsible for the lyrics! Inspiration can be anything, things that happened in your life or around you, music from other bands, doing live-shows, this all sums up and is shown in the riffs I write!!


What approach did you take to make this album, did you go for a more raw exposition.. or something more reminiscent of your previous works, or something all together different?

Jochen: Yes, raw is a good term!! We wanted to sound more aggressive but also still atmospheric and I think we reached our goal!! The guitars are more in the front, combined with melodies the disbelief sound is really put into another dimension!


Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

Jochen: Both of the above, our intention was to strengthen the guitar-riffing, more technical stuff!!! When I have a cool riff I try to add melodies or chords to make them sound very special and put this typical disbelief-feeling in the song!! This is what I missed a little bit on our previous album ‘Navigator’!


What comes first, lyrics or melodies?

Jochen: Music comes first and then Karsten starts with his lyrics!!


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Protected Hell’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?

Jochen: The album should sound strong and like one heavy stroke!! We always talk to each other about what we want to improve or add in our way of songwriting and then we follow this masterplan!



What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you, Is there any typical way that a Disbelief song comes into being?

Jochen: The groove and the deep, emotional melodies we add in our songs are the typical elements in our sound, of course we have some fast songs like “Hell Goes On”, these songs sub-line the power that is embedded in our music!!


Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Protected Hell’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

Jochen: They are kind of opposite terms, “hell” is outrageous, not safe at all, and “protected” means being sheltered and having someone care about you!!! “Protected Hell” for us is the perfect term to describe a situation of being in a prison and mistreated by the person that keeps you in there!!


Who was responsible for the lyrics on this album? Where do you get your inspiration from and can you tell me more about the lyrics?

Jochen: Karsten did all the lyrics, he tried to put a kind of concept into them, not telling the story of a specific person but giving examples of humans that make other humans’ lives feel like hell!! Our daily life is full of rape, war, hijacking, murder – and it seems that it gets worse every day!! This is what is described in our lyrics!!


How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?

Jochen: It makes the music more authentic and easier to get for the listener when he reads the story as well!! At our listening session with some guys of the German press Karsten  announced what every song is about and after the listening session they told us that they were really impressed and even had goose-bumps because they could really feel the pain that is in some of the songs!!


Did you guys spend a fair amount of time working on the record before heading over to record the album?

Jochen: Yes, pre-production gets more and more important to get a first impression of a song!! After that you still have the possibility to improve for example the arrangement, the vocal-line or the melodies and riffs!!


What do you think are the main differences between your previous album ‘Navigator’ and ‘Protected Hell’?

Jochen: ‘Navigator’ contains 10 songs which I still really like, but the connection of the songs was not that listenable, they were all kind of single-works!!! ‘Pprotected Hell’ should have this connection between the songs, this is what we wanted to care about!!


Do you have any favourites on the album?

Jochen: “One Nation´s Son” is one of the most intense songs we ever did, this story of a soldier is also listenable and feelable!!


Have you received any feedback on the album yet?

Joe: So far the German press have written some great reviews, we are amongst the best 10 albums in the 3 biggest magazines. The fans also showed great response and I think they like the new album!!



Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?

Jochen: Firstly we as a band must be happy with the new material, but of course we hope that all external parties like the stuff as well!! The fans’ opinions are the most important, they should share our emotions towards the songs, this is what we always try to reach!!


Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective? Which element on the CD are you most proud of?

Jochen: So far we are!!! The sound is great, the songs are too!! But you need a bigger distance before you can criticize your own stuff!!


Who are your greatest influences - both in terms of composition, as well as your guitar playing?

Jochen: I learned a lot from guitarists like Wilton/Degarmo from Queensryche, they really know how to put emotions in riffs !! I was impressed by their way of composing!! But I am the bass player and Steve Harris was the man that made me play the bass 8-10 hours a day!!


Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?

Jochen: As a musician you have the possibility to say more than words through your music, you reach people in their very inner self; this is my motivation to share feelings with the fans and at a concert to get rid of bad things and to transform them into positive energy!!


What were the highlights and low points throughout your career?

Jochen: The first European tour with SFU in 1997, we were really proud of that!!! The lowpoints are always when someone leaves the band!!


Regardless of the albums you have under your belt, do you feel you have to prove yourself with each release due to the climate in metal right now?

Jochen: We just want to be happy with the new album and show the best possible quality!!!


What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? What do you think about the overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the scene?

Jochen: You are totally right – this overload sucks, lots of bands just follow a stream and do not care about individuality!! So it gets more and more difficult to find cool bands in this release-ocean. But nowadays, and this is one positive aspect, I think the fans are very open-minded to all kinds of music and this makes me think positively about our future!!

What can we expect from Disbelief in the near future, any touring plans?

Jochen: Playing live as hell!!! We want to do as many shows as possible!! This is where we win most of our fans!!!


Where do you see the band going within the next couple of years, and where do you see the band’s musical direction going for the next album?

Jochen: We keep on doing it the way we did it over the years: keep on progressing, improving and destroying live on stage!!


Anything left to say to our readers? Here’s your chance!

Jochen:  ‘Protected Hell’ is the best summary of the disbelief-works so far, listen to it and see us live – you are welcome to our shows!!

Jochen "Joe" Trunk and Disbelief.


Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver



Current members :

Karsten "Jagger" Jäger – Vocals

Jochen "Joe" Trunk – Bass guitar

Kai Bergerin – Drums

Alejandro "Alex" Varela – Guitar

Witali Weber – Guitar


Previous Members

Markus Knap – Drums

Jonas Khalil – Guitar

Denis Musiol – Guitar, Bass Guitar

Jan-Dirk Löffler – Guitar

Tommy Fritsch – Guitar

Olly Lenz – Guitar



(1997) Disbelief

(1998) Infected

(2001) Worst Enemy

(2002) Shine

(2003) Spreading the Rage  

(2005) 66Sick

(2007) Navigator

(2009) Protected Hell