Onwards To Battle: An Interview with Michel Alderliefsten of Houwitser

Onwards To Battle: An Interview with Michel Alderliefsten of Houwitser

Formed by former members of death metal legends Sinister, death metallers Houwitser formed and created their own path with their 1999 debut Death...but Not Buried. Following three more albums, the band would unfortunately disband in 2004. Three years later, the band would reunite and rise like a phoenix from the ashes with their fifth album Bestial Atrocity in 2010. Now, fourteen years later, the band rises again to steamroll their enemies with their newest album Sentinel Beast released in March of this year.

I sat down with guitarist Michel Alderliefsten to discuss the band's legacy, the trials and tribulations of the band's breakup and reforming. We also talk about the new album Sentinel Beast, his side project Bloodphemy, and some bands that him and the rest of Houwitser you need to check it out.

TDIM: How was Houwitser formed?

Michel: Aad and I started around '94 with some jamming in the Sinister rehearsal room. At that time, I was touring with Sinister as a roadie, and we did this death/grind jamming between Sinister rehearsals and sometimes during the soundcheck before a show. After Mike, Aad and Bart recorded Hate, they asked me to become their bass player and this death/grind jam came a bit to a hold. After the recordings of Bastard Saints, Aad and I picked it up again and we started writing real songs.

TDIM: The band originally broke up in 2004, what was the reasoning behind that? and what made you decide to reform in 2008?

Michel: Actually, I already left the band in 2002 due to some personal issues. A couple of years later I decided to pick it up again, because it felt I had some unsolved business. So that's why we started the thing up again.

TDIM: You were originally a bass player in your former bands Sinister and Neocaesar. In Houwitser, you moved to playing guitar. Why the switch up from bass to guitar?

Michel: Well I am originally a guitar player. I've played in some other bands before I joined Sinister. So, I actually switched from guitar to bass and back. In my other band Bloodphemy I play guitar together with Bart van Wallenberg, (also ex-Sinister), which is really cool to do!

TDIM: The band just released their sixth album Sentinel Beast in March of this year. The band's first album in fourteen years. What was the reason for such a long gap between albums?

Michel: We recorded the album already 10 years ago. But, it seemed the whole thing was doomed. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. Even to the point that the computer with the almost finished final mix got stolen. In the mean time, everyone in the band was already doing other stuff, so it stayed on the shelf for some years. Until I got to talk with the guys from Vidar Records about those recordings. And they were really interested to get that album out. So we dug up the whole thing and I gave all the bits and pieces to Bart. He also did the Neocaesar album, so I knew it would turn out great.

TDIM: With Sentinel Beast, what was the direction and sound you wanted to take with the new record?

Michel: It had to be brutal of course. We wanted to have the brutality of the first albums, but with some more musical skills we got through the years. We really took time to arrange the songs, not just piling up some fast riffs you know.

TDIM: Do you have a favorite song off the record and why?

Michel: That's a difficult one..... I guess the opening song "Burning Dogma". I think it shows instantly what Houwitser is all about. Smacks you right in the face. But I really like all the songs. They are all different and kick ass in their own way.

TDIM: Is their plans to tour this year in support of the new record?

Michel: Nothing yet to be honest. We don't have a complete line up and I really don't want to have anyone in the band that hasn't been involved in Houwitser in any way. But we keep our options open.

TDIM: You are also in the band Bloodphemy, what do you differently in that project then you do with Houwitser?

Michel: Well, first of all, I'm really happy with playing in Bloodphemy. They are all good musicians and also really good friends. Second, is that I haven't been involved in the music writing process yet. But, the writing for the next album started, so let's see if I can lay down some cool riffs for Bloodphemy. Really looking forward to that. Also guitar wise, it's really awesome to play guitar together with Bart in that band. We got a long history of playing together and I guess you can hear that when we play live.

TDIM: I watched your performance in the Moscow Atrocity video, what was it like performing there? The crowd looked awesome during your set.

Michel: That was some awesome gig man! It was the last show on a Russian mini tour we did back then, and it really was the icing on the cake. Some crazy motherfuckers over there! Hahaha!

TDIM: I always ask this at the end of my interviews. What are some bands/albums that yourself or the band is digging that you think people should check out?

Michel: Of course all of you should check out my other band Bloodphemy!  We would really appreciate that. And also listen to Neocaesar, our project with Mike van Mastrigt, Bart van Wallenberg and Eric de Windt (all mid 90's Sinister members). Furthermore, check out some other Dutch bands like Bodyfarm and Graceless. They really kick ass. Stay brutal and support the scene!

I want to thank Michel for taking the time to talk with This Day in Metal. Houwitser's new album Sentinel Beast can be found on Spotify HERE . If you want to check out the band and tour info, check out the band's website HERE .

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to This Day In Metal.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.