Back in 2018, German thrash titans, Sodom announced a significant lineup change when founding member/frontman/bassist Tom Angelripper essentially kicked everyone out of the group. This didn’t take guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and drummer Markus “Makka” Freiwald long to pick up where they left off as they immediately formed Bonded. After spending time finding the right members for the group, the band signed with Century Media Records and recorded their debut album, Rest In Violence, which was released on January 17th (order here). We caught up with Bernemann to discuss the new album, initial formation, and his overall experience starting the next chapter of his career.
Let’s start with the beginning, can you discuss how Bonded was formed?
It was directly after the split in January 2018. So Makka [Markus Freiwald, drummer] and I wanted to continue because we had the rehearsal room, we have known each other for a very long time. We already started to write material for the next Sodom CD and, of course, we have been good friends for many, many years. I have known Makka for a long time and so, for us, it wasn’t a question to continue. For sure, we wanted to continue. And so, we were looking for a new line up and our bass player, Marc [Hauschild], he was our guitar tech since 2005 and also a good friend. We have known each other for a very long time and he’s also a good bass player. It’s the same with Chris [Tsitsis], the Greek guy in our band. We have known him for many years. Also, Chris was working for Sodom as a guitar tech and he’s a fantastic guitarist. Makka and I had this idea to get these two friends and both are great musicians. We asked them because we have known them for a long time and we know they always give 100% and that was the reason why we asked. There was only the singer Ingo [Bajonczak], it took a while until we got a new vocalist in the band. That was quite difficult to find somebody. But after all we find Ingo and we are very, very happy with him. We especially didn’t want to make any compromises. We wanted a really good frontman. And so Ingo fits this position, 100%. We are very happy with this lineup now.
How does it feel starting over?
It feels good. We already played a lot of the first shows last year. And so, I guess, we started very well. I know that many people, they know us and many people are waiting for us. We had our release show and it was fantastic. So many people were interested. Also on the internet, people have known us for a long time and have been waiting for our songs and I hope they like it.
What was the recording process for Rest In Violence together?
I said that we already started in 2017 so I had the first song finished, just the music of course, the basics for the music and for the songs and they were finished. At the time we were playing with Sodom, and so we had maybe five or six songs, more or less, ready. Of course, no vocals. And at this time we were looking for the singer, the lineup, and so on. So Makka and I, we never stopped writing new songs. When Ingo entered our band, we were already prepared and had more than 40 songs, which were more or less finished. So we collected a lot over time. And finally, when we received the record contract with Central Media, we figured 12 or with bonus, 14 songs, so we had enough for the album.
Are there any particular songs that were more challenging?
For us, it was a challenge to record some songs. We have two on the CD, which is “The Outer Rim” and “No Cure For Life.” These songs are unusual for us because in the past years with Sodom we could never do this. These songs are slower, but very groovy and heavy. But we couldn’t do this with Tom [Angelripper], so with Ingo now at the vocals, we have more opportunity to write the songs. I’m very happy about this because with Ingo we can be much more versatile than ever before. But this is also, for us, a challenge now and we have to see the people’s reaction. But at the moment I guess that the people really like it.
Can you talk more about the song, Godgiven?
“Godgiven” and “Suit Murderer” were songs from 2017. The first songs where we finished the music and the riff. “Godgiven” was written at the time that I was with Sodom only we weren’t working on the chorus. So the chorus wasn’t finished and we did it with Ingo. It was the first song that he came to our rehearsal room. This was the first Bonded song we made with Ingo and it was fantastic. How he sang his idea for the melody and the hooks, they were great and I guess that was more or less the ticket for Ingo to get into the band. How he sings is “Godgiven.” So yeah, this is a special song for us because it was the first Bonded song that we played together with Ingo.
The record remains heavy from beginning to end and I would love to hear it live. Do you have any plans for more shows or a full tour in the works?
We will get together with our booker, so we have a couple of shows. At the moment, many producers are calling but nothing is confirmed at the moment. We will get together with our booker and talk about shows that will follow this year. Of course, there will be some open-air shows and hopefully we can jump on a tour as a support band. But at the moment nothing is confirmed. We have only confirmed the show in March at the moment, the Endzeit Festival, we are headlining. I am sure more shows will come and we will find out what happens next.
Is there anything else that you want to say or add about the album?
The fans can expect this about Makka and me, what we started. We didn’t change our music. We follow the path that we have taken. I was writing all the riffs in Sodom for more than 20 years and this is my music and together with Makka, this is our music. It’s what we continue with Bonded. I want to say, if they like the last releases from Sodom over the last 20 or 22 years, of course they will like Bonded. We will continue to make this music. This is our music and this is our style and I hope now with Ingo we can be more versatile. But people can expect exactly this from us, what we have done for more than 20 years. We won’t change our style and we won’t change our music.