Integrity’s Dwid Hellion on ‘Suicide Black Snake,’ Humanity and Charles Manson
Photo courtesy of Integrity

Photo courtesy of Integrity

Dwid Hellion is a scary man that thinks that all human life should be eradicated from earth, including himself. He has put out records by Charles Manson, studies ancient pagan rites, and there is more than one rumor about him shooting people. Oh, also, with his band Integrity, he created one of the most influential underground metal genres: “Holy Terror” heavy metal combines the raw energy of punk with the nasty licks of thrash with waaaay out there occultist beliefs, like, for instance, the idea that earth is actually hell. (Some people call it “hardcore” or “metalcore,” but if you are in front of Hellion, you probably shouldn’t if you like your ribcage where it is). Hive telephoned Hellion at his home in the woods in Belgium to speak to him about Integrity’s new album, Suicide Black Snake, Charlie Manson, the upcoming reunion of the band’s classic lineup, and like, for real, dude, does he actually think all humanity should be wiped out?

Suicide Black Snake has the song “Detonate Worlds Plague.” Do you really think that humanity should be eradicated?

I think that humanity is a disease, yeah. But, I mean, myself included. I’m not going to be prejudiced and say everyone should be eradicated but myself. I include myself in that.

Why should humanity be eradicated? Is it the greed? Is it selfishness?

I just think that it’s a disease and something’s wrong with it. Compared to what the animals and nature are doing and what we are doing, is totally different. What we are doing is just totally destructive. We’re not productive. I think that if it was all gone, then all our souls would free. But, all of us have to be gone, so you don’t come back. Exterminate it all and there ain’t nothing to come back to.

People rarely ask you about your own personal beliefs. Is that something you are interested in talking about?

I don’t really like to talk about that kind of thing. I don’t really have a perfect answer for the question. I’m always learning and I’m always trying to expand on my own spiritual beliefs. I guess, the simplest way to say it, at base, we are all energy and when all of this is gone, we’ll be free from this hell. Once we get out of this level — it has be to be everyone, not just one person, or one race of people, or one nation of people, or one faith of people, it has to be all of the humans to be gone, in order to be free from this crap, because otherwise, you just keep coming back and getting tapped in this, over and over again. If that’s what you mean by afterlife and stuff. As far as magic, and how things like that work, I have different ideas on that. It’s all energy. Quantum physics is what they are calling it nowadays.

Is that the result of research or internal searching?

Combination of both, I’d say.

On “There Ain’t No Living in Life”, you play the harmonica, which is new for the band.

Yeah, I like blues music.

I remember that you once said that blues is the roots of metal.

Well, I think that Robert Johnson was the first guy to play heavy metal music. He was the first guy to sell his soul at the crossroads. Whereas people attribute heavy metal music to Black Sabbath or Zeppelin, but in reality, it’s Robert Johnson. He’s the one that started it. The other guys just picked it up later and took credit for it.

Ah… but if Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil … and if you once said that Humanity is the Devil, then does that mean that Robert Johnson sold his soul to himself?!

[Laughs.] Well, that’s one way of looking at it, I suppose. Humanity is the Devil is more like that humanity is a disease, it’s some kind of diseased animal eating on itself.

You’ve used the image of Charles Manson on a lot of your projects. What does Charles Manson, or the image of Charles Manson, mean to you?

Well, Charles Manson means a few things for me. I helped put out one of his records. I’ve always been a fan of his music. I think he got railroaded in his case. On one hand, I’m not really a generous person or a person who wants to change the world, because I just want it to end. But, at the same time, I see this guy as somebody that should be treated like they treat like martyrs of political oppression. Everybody knows that his trial was pretty wishy-washy, and if it was anybody else, it would be declared a mistrial and he’d be set free. Whether he’s guilty or not, I’m not saying either way, that remains to be seen. As far as Manson’s philosophies, I agree with a lot of it and can connect with a lot of it, but there’s a lot of it that I don’t agree with and cannot connect with.

What is one of Manson’s philosophies that you can connect with?

I admire the ATWA thing. Do you know about that?

I do not.

He has a movement that is an environmental movement. I can admire that about him. I don’t agree with it. I don’t want to try to save the world, but it’s a nice thing for him to do in his situation. It’s the last thing that you’d expect from a guy in his position. Basically, it’s Air, Trees, Water, and Animals. He’s trying to make people aware about that stuff, ecological, environmental stuff. It’s not really my cup of tea, but I think it’s pretty honorable of the man. As far as his viewpoint on the way that the world works, and the way that our minds work, I have some resonance with that —  that a lot of this is an illusion. A lot of the stuff that we experience and go through is an illusion. I have some belief in that.

You did two Donna Summers covers back on Project: Regenesis. I never understood that. Was Integrity trying to be funny or do you like Donna Summer?

I like Donna Summer.

Wow! I like Donna Summer, too!

I think some of those covers didn’t come out so well. We also had a Hank Williams Jr. cover, but we lost it because we had a hard-disc recorder and hit the wrong button and lost the entire thing.  It sucked. I thought some of the songs sounded like shit, I thought some were good. The whole EP was more for fun, unlike the other albums that we do which are more serious. Obviously, making a cover album is fun. Nobody makes a covers album to be serious.

The recently released remix of your second album, Systems Overload, sounds great. I actually like it better than the original.

I do, too. I think that [Integrity’s first guitarist] Aaron Melnick and [Integrity’s current guitarist] Rob Orr did a great job on that remix. I think it sounds a million times better than the original version that came out 20 years.

So the new A2/Orr mix is closer to your original intention?

Closer to Aaron’s original intention. My mix would have been more raw, more distorted, but I like what they did.

The breaking news is that at the A389 bash next year, you’re going to play with [Integrity co-founders] the Melnick brothers for the first time in about 16 years,

That’s true.

Are the Melnicks and Robert Orr going to be on stage at the same time?

My understanding is that it’s the Melnicks, and Chris Smith who played on our first album, and Mark Konopka who played drums on Systems Overload. Rob is going to join us for a few songs at the end of the set with them … like fucking “We are the world” or something.

 

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