Welcome to your Nightmarer


Jason Turner I The Hawkeye

Nightmarer playing to an attentive audience at the Orpheum in Tampa

Tampa is known to many metal fans as the birthplace of death metal. Most of the early bands like Obituary and Morbid Angel got their start there and the majority of early albums were recorded at Morrisound Recording Studios. There is now a relatively new band for death metal fans to embrace. That band is Nightmarer.

Nightmarer got its start in Germany when guitarist Simon Hawemann and drummer Paul Seidel of War from a Harlots Mouth wanted to continue making music after their band broke up. Hawemann later moved to Tampa, where Nightmarer wrote their first songs in 2013. After releasing the “Chasm” EP two years after, they finally released a debut album named “Cacophony of Terror” in 2018. Hawemann was kind enough to speak with the Hawkeye about his band and their music.

Because Seidel still lives in Germany and John Collett, the vocalist, lives in New York, many fans thought that Nightmarer was never going to tour. However, it was always the intention that Nightmarer would be a live band.

“Funny enough, the first show of this tour was the first show we ever played together as a band,” said Hawemann. “It went really well.”

They wanted to wait until they could get on a tour that would make sense for them as a band. It had to be with the right kind of bands, in the right size venues and during a time when the band members could all go out.

Their current plans are to be available for more touring and to write new material. Since the band members do not all live in the same place, their songwriting process is different from most bands who work together in a studio for months at a time.

According to Hawemann, the process begins with a guitar riff followed by the programming of drums to it. Afterward, he often adds a second guitar over the initial track. When all of the guitars and vocals are recorded in his home studio, he sends the work to Seidel, who rearranges and plays live drums on all of the tracks.

“It’s long-winded, complicated and extensive, but I think it pays off in the end because we give the songs a lot of time to work,” Hawemann said.

Regarding death metal in general, Hawemann says, “The biggest misconception is probably people are not familiar with extreme music in general. They view it as very, very aggressive and assume the people who play that kind of music are reflecting the sort of behavior the music is about, which is not always the case.” He went on to say that many death metal musicians he has met are friendly, polite people despite their appearance.

Nightmarer as a band wants to make their music sound oppressive. They play with dissonance and atonality while still trying to make listenable music. Hawemann likes music that sounds different, not just in normal major or minor keys.

Hawemann says, “We want to challenge the perception of the listener to a certain degree. [Playing] with that sort of tension evokes more of an emotional reaction in the listener. It’s a balancing act to find the right dose, but that’s what we’re playing with.”

Courtesy of Season of Mist

Look for Nightmarer to play in the area again soon. Until then check out their album, “Cacophony of Terror,” on Season of Mist Records everywhere.