There has been something cooking up in the past couple of months. It’s almost like, not even one ray of light made it through the thick blanket of clouds over Bremen. After ten years into their career, German metalcore specialists WATCH OUT STAMPEDE seem to have lost every reason to smile because no one has experienced them as dark and tough as on their new EP ‘Inversions’.
For ‘Inversions’ WATCH OUT STAMPEDE left the nicely arranged, touristic corners of their hometown Bremen and went to where the real life is happening. Like there are places in the famous harbour city that are shaped by hard work, dirt and the weather, WATCH OUT STAMPEDE also felt the need to stop producing sterile music in a clinically pure surrounding but to turn the knobs of real amps, hit the drums drenched in sweat and unleash a completely new vocal power. In short: It was about giving the sound back its original idea and make it an instant physical experience. “The songs on ‘Inversions’ are not comparable with any of our earlier releases”, guitarist and singer Dennis Landt claims. Frontman Andreas ‘Ando’ Hildebrandt adds in a typically Northern German, tight-lipped way: “A completely new framework of sounds – dark, raw, brute and handmade.”
After almost a decade WATCH OUT STAMPEDE felt that it was time for a self-critical inventory and close look on their scene: “German metalcore is moving towards a very constant direction: Everything is glossy, clean and perfect. AND YES, this meant us as well. But we’re no longer seeing ourselves fitting into that box”, Ando sums up. After ten years of experience, now everything is about expressing the personal and musical growth of the band. Dennis describes the coordinates in which WATCH OUT STAMPEDE can now be located: “Standing still means nothing else than regression. The typical metalcore sound no is no longer working for us – we no longer wanted to do it the easy way. We were aiming for something unique, that represents us as the band that we are, right from the first hit on the strings. At the same time, Ando refined the approach to his vocals and tried various new things. With Alex Adelhardt (i.a. NORTHLANE, MARATHONMANN) we found the producer who was able to push us to exactly this level. The cooperation was a ground-breaking experience.”
The ‘Inversions’ tracks are an emotional outlet. “The pandemic gave me a very hard time. I had to learn how to deal with my mistakes and therefore come clean with them, so that they won’t happen again”, Ando looks back. Dennis is transferring this into the WATCH OUT STAMPEDE context: “Like everyone else, we have quite a challenging year behind us, with a lot of pressure from the outside but from ourselves as well. We experienced what it means to completely identify with your music but you’re only able to share it digitally with the world – not personally.” Nevertheless, the whole crisis also had a positive aspect, Ando admits: “The situation gave us the chance to reinvent ourselves as a band and as a family. We now stand closer together than ever before!” The result of this process is called ‘Inversions’, which title Dennis breaks down in the following way: “We are living through a lot of changes while the world is drastically transforming – which is a privilege but it takes responsibility as well. Many things seem to be inverse or upside down. Let’s all take care that our future doesn’t fall by the wayside.”
What the hell does this all mean now? Will it be hard to recognise WATCH OUT STAMPEDE anymore? “There’s still 100% WATCH OUT STAMPEDE inside if it’s written on the cover”, Dennis reassures. “Especially the fans who have been following us for a longer period of time will identify the DNA of the band in the new songs.” The tracks may be about loss, despair or have a fierce attitude. They were shaped by the pandemic crisis and the deprivations of the lockdown(s) but this doesn’t mean that WATCH OUT STAMPEDE shows will be tragic events in the future. They definitely won’t lack the cheeky humour of the band. Dennis states: “We’re doing this only because we love it and it’s still great fun for us – people are supposed to be able to feel this. If they are afraid that we’ll stop babbling, they couldn’t be anymore wrong!” Ando closes: “We are who we are and this means hearty humour and slapstick on stage. We remain who we are – the cringeworthy band that likes to cuddle, too.”