Visa issues may have prevented SADISTIC INTENT from desecrating the UK this summer, but being stuck on the other side of the Channel gave guitarist RICK CORTEZ good chance to give Iron Fist’s Jérôme Maréchal a potted history of metal’s most tortured souls
Let’s avoid the boring “can you please introduce us …” and instead tell us the bands that made you wanna start Sadistic Intent? Looking back on those 20 years, would you do anything different?
Rick Cortez: “Technically, Sadistic Intent started in 1986 under a different name but we changed it in 1987 when we brought in a new vocalist. Back in those days we were influenced by the more extreme music of that time; bands such as Slayer, Sodom, Venom, Destruction, Celtic Frost, Dark Angel, Mercyful Fate, Bathory, Discharge, Extreme Noise Terror, Death, Terrorizer, Repulsion, Death, Doom, etc. Honestly, I knew back then that our other band members would eventually leave the band within a year or two and I figured that would be the end of Sadistic Intent. All we had in mind was to play backyard party gigs in the LA area, especially because at that time bands like Sadistic Intent were not allowed to play in the Hollywood club scene: they wanted stuff like Guns N Roses or Poison.
“We never pictured Sadistic Intent being around for another 25 years, or even to play outside of our hometown for that matter. By late 1987 we had started corresponding with diehard metalheads of the international underground scene and when we first started receiving fan mail from around the world it was very motivating. Looking back, one thing led to another, and those things kept Bay [Rick’s brother – bass/vocals] and I into Sadistic Intent. It got to the point where we started accomplishing things we never even dreamed of. It’s easy to look back now and say we could have done this or that but that’s the way it goes and since I don’t have a time machine, I look at it as a learning experience.”
You’ve just toured Europe. Is there a country or a city you particularly enjoyed?
“Well, it’s really difficult to only pick because we’ve really had several enjoyable memories. Sadistic Intent’s very first appearance in Europe was in Hamburg and that was a killer night for us! We met people who came in from different countries, the show was sold out and we had a great time doing the gig with our old friends Pentacle! Meeting Fenriz of the mighty Darkthrone certainly was cool! Another special night for us was our gig at Hell’s Pleasure in Germany with a crowd of diehard metal maniacs banging their heads to Sadistic Intent! As far as being in tourist mode, we really enjoyed Amsterdam!”
You’re working on a split 7” with Pentacle, is that correct?
“Yes, the Sadistic Intent/Pentacle split shall be unleashed very soon through Iron Pegasus Records. We will be releasing two songs each so more than likely it will be on 10″. As far as meeting Pentacle, before the internet days, Bay and Wannes [Gubbels, bass/vocals] had contact through actual pen and paper. Not only is our support mutual for each other but also we’ve become good friends for nearly 20 years now.”
What about your first album? Let’s speak the truth, will it ever be released?
“We’ve been through so many different problems that we decided to put it on hold. Seriously, it is a long story but if I told you every detail then I think it would make sense to everyone. We never planned for it to take so many years to materialise, but on the positive side, at least we’re still around and getting back on track. I know that when the time comes we’ll be ready to lay down our tracks and I’m certain that the music is going to be killer! With regards to us building up the band over the years, some one else brought that up to me recently, saying that Sadistic Intent is a rare phenomena. I believe that it’s been quality over quantity and on top of that our attitude, we never gave a fuck about trends that come and go, even when they told us that our style of music was dead, we kept marching forward.”
You spent three years in Possessed. How come you’re not now?
“It really got to the point where we had to part ways with our now ex-drummer and shortly after that, Jeff Becerra decided he was better off keeping him and hiring new members to replace the rest of us. We had just finished doing a USA tour supporting Danzig and Jeff was really proud of us, at least that’s what he told us. So when we got an email from him a couple weeks later that he was looking for new members, it was a bit surprising to say the least. As far as our time in Possessed, it certainly was an adventure with its peaks and valleys. It began with a record label that wanted to put together a tribute to Possessed. The label got a hold of Jeff Becerra as well as Sadistic Intent and asked us both if we’d be interested in recording a song together. We both said yes and then we got together and recorded ‘The Exorcist’. About two or three years later I came out with the idea of playing the song live with Jeff so I asked him if he was interested in doing that. I still remember him telling me that he did not feel comfortable going back up on stage because of his paralysis but I immediately told him not to worry about any of that bullshit so he said yes. About a year later we were talking about the great response we got, that is when he asked me if I’d be interested in doing more Possessed songs. He told me; ‘you’re a fuckin’ bad ass Rick, I know you can do it and I’m gonna call it Possessed’! Being into the original band, that moment stuck with me. That is basically how Sadistic Intent got together with Jeff Becerra. Bay and I were Possessed fans since 1985 so playing in the band with Jeff was a bit surreal.
“Throughout those three years we met various Possessed fans who had seen the original line up who told us that we actually sounded better than they did! We even had some new material in the works and I did my best to keep it in the vein of [1986’s] ‘Beyond The Gates’ so when he told me ‘fuck ’80s Possessed, think outside the box,’ I asked him, what did he expect? At that time he told me he wanted to sound different than the original Possessed, he wanted some ‘blastbeats’ and I let him know that it was not the style of Possessed. Then he asked me to come out with something ‘groovy and commercial’ so I told him, ‘Jeff, you know how to play guitar, you come out with the groovy, commercial stuff and I’ll come out with the old school death metal’, but apparently that upset him. Anyhow, we did have new material in the works and the new music was being written by me, with some help from Bay. The way we look at it now, obviously the music is ours so we’re going to take at least one of those songs and record it for our upcoming split with Pentacle. We’ve had several people get in contact and tell us that regardless of any potential obstacles which got thrown our way they continue to support Sadistic Intent. Even though I could refute the gossip, I’d rather not drag things out with Possessed. All it is now is just a part of our past.”
Let’s talk about Dark Realm Records. It’s the record store you’re running in Downey, California, right?
“We got inspired to open up a shop after we toured Mexico back in 1991. We noticed that in the different cities, they had either metal shops or swap-meets with the vendors selling not only the big label stuff but a lot of underground bands as well. Back in those days, the vast majority of metal fans in LA were not really into extreme underground bands, so we felt that perhaps with our own record shop we could help spread this music. Walking inside our shop, you will notice all of our walls are black and we have some chandeliers with candles and even skulls on the main centrepiece, with album covers and posters (several of them autographed) of bands such as Venom, Slayer, Bathory, Dark Angel, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Destruction, Sodom, Kreator, Watain etc. As far as what can be found on the shelves; CD’s, LP’s, DVD’s, t-shirts, magazines/fanzines, patches, incense burners, candle holders, jewellery, bullet belts, etc.”
Should you be able to sign a current band to Dark Realm which one would you pick?
“Well, there’s been several bands such as Grave Miasma and Cruciamentum that I’ve enjoyed but if I could only pick one at this moment it would be Unaussprechlichen Kulten. I really enjoy their music, it’s heavy, dark as hell and they’re a serious band, diehards to the metal of death!”
I’m sure veterans like you have a precise opinion of the so-called metal scene. Please give me yours! And don’t be afraid to go for the throat so to speak, if needed!
“Honestly, a lot of what the mainstream media and fans deem as metal today is really lame. When did shit like I Dated The Prom Queen [sic] become metal? My interpretation of metal is not nerdy, dorky bands who think just because they growl and play fast are death metal! Death metal is something deeper than that, it is something philosophical yet spiritual and perhaps those idiots may try to mock us but we don’t give a fuck! We’ve been doing our own thing for 25 years without mainstream help and we are devoted. The oath has not been broken! Eternal praise to all who embrace Sadistic Intent, the cult is alive.”
Originally printed in Iron Fist #2
Copyright © 2023 Iron Fist Magazine. All Rights Reserved.