Sweeping Death: Progressive Thrash on the March
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Sweeping Death started out when Simon Bertl (guitar and backing vocals) and Elias Witzigmann (vocals) were in the tenth grade and jamming out to Metallica. Though Witzigmann admits they were “extremely shitty” at the time, the two young metalheads felt something was there.
Forming the cover band, Order of Priority, Bertl and Witzigmann eventually realized that the band had no future for them. Splitting off, the pair teamed up with Markus Heilmeier (guitar), Thanks to Heilmeier’s “next level” play style, Witzigmann gave up the guitar and focused on vocals. By 2012, Andreas Bertl (bass) and Tobias Kasper (drums and piano) had joined the lineup and the name Sweeping Death was adopted.
“Although it took us long enough to form a solid band, we are more than happy with the constellation,” Witzigmann says proudly.
Though the band started out with the thrashy grooves and riffs of Metallica, Sweeping Death doesn’t exactly fit into the thrash genre. Every member has their preferred style of metal, whether it be thrash, old school metal, or progressive, so the band combines it all into something unique. Witzigmann explains:
“It´s a very unique style. We try to combine classic, thrash and progressive Metal. Our overall goal is to create something we can call our own style.”
Their style hitting hard in their native Germany, the band won a few contests and played countless shows in the five years leading up to the release of their debut extended play, Astoria, in January 2017. Of course, not everyone has caught the fever and the band has taken their fair share of boos and trash talk.
“I´d say that being brave can be hard sometimes,” Witzigmann says. “Some people won´t like your music if you try to do things different than other bands. You have to be above such things because in the end and we really believe this. It pays out.”
As for the reception to the EP, Witzigmann says the band has had an overwhelmingly positive reaction giving the band greater reason to carry on chasing their dreams.
“Since I touched a guitar this is part of the dream…to hold your own CD in [your] hands,” says Witzigmann.
Their debut still hot off the press and growing in popularity, Sweeping Death is looking to capitalize on their first major career victory. To this end, the band has set up a “pretty strict” touring schedule for early 2017.
“We are pretty happy that the people want to hear us live, actually,” Witzigmann says proudly. “When we play, we have a mission: to present and celebrate the beauty of metal music, nothing less.”
Still a relatively young band, Sweeping Death is still rocking the small clubs and venues, but they’re dreaming big. With any luck, the band will eventually grace the big stages around the world, and maybe even the big name in metal, Wacken Open Air. For now, they’re focusing on building their reputation from the ground up. To achieve this, they have plans for an official video for ‘Devil’s Dance,’ which will feature a “gnarly location,” so keep an eye on the band’s social media accounts in the coming months.
So now that they’ve made their professional recording debut, what’s next for Sweeping Death? Well, if one thing is for certain, these boys aren’t lazy. When they’re not rocking a club, they’re writing new music or conjuring up new ideas. As of this writing, the band plans to commence production of their debut full length album or their second EP by late 2017.