Interview with Yotam Avni (Prey For Nothing)

An interview with the voice of the Israeli Melodic Death Metal band Prey For Nothing that very recently released their debut album.

Metal Express Radio: Hey Yotam how are you? Thanks for giving this exclusive interview to Metal Express Radio and giving the listeners a peek into the Israeli Metal scene.

Yotam “Defiler” Avni: Hi, I am well, thank you. I am truly glad to give this interview in behalf of my band.

MER: What is the source of the name Prey For Nothing? What does it represent?

Defiler: The first thought for a name was Pray For Nothing. But after some consideration the current name was decided. It means the head of a spiritual food chain. Metalheads, around the world, don’t give up to society’s consensus. Society, today, doesn’t recognize Metal as a way of life but only as a brief phase when you are young. Metal contradicts society’s pink future view and shows the truth. No man can really say that there is something better. If you can, take it, you might not be able to in the future.

MER: Recently, Prey For Nothing, signed a contract with the indie label, Rusty Cage Records. How does it feel being one of the numerous bands from Israel to march on abroad?

Defiler: I really don’t think there is a difference between signed bands and unsigned ones. Of course the band member’s ego come to mind, but seriously – I know many unsigned metal bands all around the world that put to shame most of the signed ones. In contrast to other big bands in Israel, we didn’t earn the signing deal from great concerts abroad, only by sending our album to large numbers of labels. We decided to sign on Rusty Cage Records although we had several other offers.

MER: Prey For Nothing are a great mix of Thrash and Death Metal in Death’s vein. Why have you taken a course, which many bands today take, by renewing Death’s music?

Defiler: On the contrary, most of the leading bands in Melodic Death Metal today turned into Metalcore like In Flames, Killswitch Engage and others. We feel that our style of playing is filling out an open void that was created since the death of Chuck Schuldiner, and it has been 10 years since the last Death album. We don’t recognize ourselves as the direct continuation of Chuck; it’s really the spirit of the music in all of us as musicians without any kind of patronization. The new album we released is fresh and it’s totally the band nothing more.

MER: Your new album, Violence Divine, has just swarmed into the Metal world. In general, what does this album reflect?

Defiler: Every song on the album asks a different question that is connected to the Israeli folklore. One of the subjects which are included is Politics, but it’s not the same political songs that can be heard from Kreator. One of the main questions is what does a person, from outside Israel, think about the local crisis and is there a wide consensus regarding Israel’s actions as a nation in crisis. It’s like searching for the acceptance of others to the actions taken by Israel in the matter. Another subject worth mentioning is relationships which are described in a metaphoric way. The song, “Bestowed Upon The Void”, asks how a man who embraced death as a common fact of life, like emergency personnel or soldiers who lost their friends, can deal with the society which keeps ignoring the facts that life is a very short and fragile thing, and keeps dealing with the adjunct and unimportant things like fashion, gossip, etc. It’s kind of philosophic, but I’m sure many people can relate to those words.

MER: The self titled song,”Violence Divine”, talks about terrorism in Israel. How did these subjects reflect your songwriting?

Defiler: The main issue here is the feelings of the Israeli people regarding Terrorism or how the Israeli people, every day, swallow terrorism and how it’s affecting their lives since the emergence of Zionism through the violence in the streets today. Human nature is distorted when facing violence.

As for the songwriting, the intent is mostly to avoid an all around political album because it’s not really expressing anything. In the personal level there is no self expression. The songs’ greatest achievements are that they truly express something much deeper and part of them are cynical but with a strong meaning.

MER: Which songs from the album do you truly recommend? Which one of them you like best?

Defiler: In my view the best song of the album is “Cowardice” that really expresses the album on its own. Other great songs are “Averting Our Eyes”, “The Maw” and “Breach”.

MER: With the album out, are there any future plans for gigs outside Israel? Or maybe a joint tour with one of your label mates?

Defiler: We are dying to perform abroad but it’s very hard for an Israeli band to set concerts abroad unlike the easiness of, almost the rest of the world, bands. As for our label mates, we have good relationships with bands like Cipher and Obsidian and some others. The matter of concerts depends on the label’s booking. We don’t have an agent, but we are fortunate on having the big bands in Israel as friends and they can help us with gigs abroad.

MER: Will there be any future videos for songs off this album? And will there be any new material recorded anytime soon?

Defiler: We are playing with the idea of producing a music video for the song “Overture Of Dust”. The script is quite finished to the very last detail – we just need to invest some cash in it.. We believe that the music media should be expressed fully. We have a new song that we, lately, started playing in concerts, it goes by the name of “Spiritual Guillotine” which is more Technical Death than the previous material.

MER: How did it feel, recording abroad and working with a guy like Jacob Hansen?

Defiler: The work with Jacob was great. First of all he is a great person, although at first you get some cold first impression, a warm and caring person as well as Michael, his assistant, that was also great and a good friend in the present. The work in the studio was under a well crafted plan. We knew exactly what sound we would receive, because the man is totally professional. Most of the work, pretty much, was made by us with all regards to mastering the songs that we could cut a good amount of studio time. I think that we made it more than we ever expected because there were times that Jacob couldn’t keep up with us regarding sound editing and we waited by watching some 80’s Schwarzenegger films. To summarize, the real deal was the experience of recording with Jacob, since I know his work, from the moment I got into the world of Thrash Metal and I got to know the material of his late band Invocator, which was awesome. We also learned a lot about ourselves and about the behind the scenes of the music industry… like studios and work on the road. I can say that we tasted a little of adult Metal life as a band.

MER: Now a little bit about you. Any early bands and history?

Defiler: I am 25, from the city of Naharia, a second year student of Psychology and History in the University of Haifa. The recent band that I was involved in was called Abed which played in its earlier development more Technical Thrash / Death Metal. We were up and running for 6.5 years, we released an EP. I must say it’s truly sad that this period ended. After Abed, I was in a Death Metal band by the name of Matricide. My termination from the band was due to personal issues and the fact that the band changed its sub –genre to Metalcore. After that I started a Modern Thrash Metal band called God Below along with the rise of Prey For Nothing. Currently, God Below is on hold. We were thinking of changing the name of the band and starting over.

MER: What can you tell the listeners about the Metal Scene in Israel? What do you think is the future of this Metal scene and its development?

Defiler: There are two ways to answer this question. On one hand, the bands in the Metal scene in Israel are much more professional than in the past. I hope that in the near future, Israel will become the Mecca or Stockholm of the Middle East with all that concerns Metal. The standards of the scene will be much higher in future years. But on the other hand, a huge Metal festival in Israel seems like a far away dream. Promoters will be able to bring one or two bands from abroad and the rest will be local bands. In 2004 – 2005 we had two festivals by the name of Metalist festival. In 2004 the Polish Behemoth performed and in 2005 Destruction and Megadeth were the prime abroad acts. I think it’s very hard for foreign bands to have crowds, like 10,000 people, here and every foreign gig here is mostly off-tour that receives a small amount of people.

MER: From what was understood from you , earlier, that you had a connection to your female version, Decadence’s singer – Metallic Kitty. What was that all about?

Defiler: Well in my opinion Kitty Sarik is a great singer that does a God’s work with her band Decadence. But, our connection is pretty much limited. I consulted with her on issues regarding the music industry in Europe. Since not long ago, she was the exclusive manager of her band’s copyrights and ran an independent record company for the purpose of marketing her band anywhere she could, and I know best what her capabilities are. I think, recently, that the band signed with Massacre or Metal Blade or some other huge label that will assist Kitty with her promotion work. She gave me a lot of advice, concerning, not vocals but on the survival in the Metal industry abroad. If you are reading this lady, you are the Queen Of The World!!!!

MER: In summary, is there any last words to the Metal World?

Defiler: I think that our product is a good one. Not concerning any motherly pride that the band has for its album, I, personally, believe that if I wasn’t a member in this band , doesn’t matter what its origins , if its music like ours I would have bought the album. I truly believe that the album has the highest standards that Melodic Death Metal can provide. As I said earlier, we feel that there is a huge void in the world of Melodic Death Metal and most of the bands that were this sub-genre’s creators went a bit after a fashion although we think that anyone should do what he likes but it’s pretty frustrating to know that the music you love is fading away and evolves with some damned trends. Our album is not a trend breaker or comes to crush posers or anything ridiculous as that. Its purpose is to give a suitable alternative to all of those that got tired of the fashion and look for quality heavy hitting and melodic music. We hope that the songs will create an impact from all aspects – textual, musical and performance. We also hope that the album will impact the whole Metal world. Of course we thank everyone who supports and believe in us by buying the album, the shirts or concert tickets. All support counts and is very much appreciated. We are looking forward, we hope, to very soon conquering Europe.

Iron Up!!


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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