Though the label may be based out of Sweden, Blood Harvest Records has been one of the biggest supporters of South American metal bands. In particular, they’ve paid a good deal of attention to the wealth of talent present in Chile, and have unearthed another act worth paying attention to with Violent Scum. Violent Scum is one of those bands who make it clear with their name what their music is going to provide, and their demo ‘Festering in Endless Decay’ is three songs worth of putrid, chaotic death metal. Originally released on CD independently last November, Blood Harvest is giving the demo a proper cassette version on June 24th.
Wasting no time on intros, the band launches right into their attack with opener Burial in the Sky. One of the first things most of you will notice is that for a demo, ‘Festering in Endless Decay’ boasts some surprisingly strong production values. Rather than simply recording it themselves with the lowest budget possible, Violent Scum went to Maestro 3 Studio to record their material, where a lot of other Chilean metal bands have recorded at. The results speak for themselves, as the sound is thick and bottom heavy, giving off that harsh and abrasive feel while still allowing the details to break through. When it comes to the songwriting, the band seems to be paying tribute to some of death metal’s earlier days, with fast and violent riffing that recalls the death/thrash crossover that was prevalent in the early 90s.
Each of the three songs treads similar territory, and yet Violent Scum is able to shake things up enough to make it feel like they’re merely repeating themselves from one moment to the next. It also helps that vocalist Miguel Gonzales has one of those grotesque, inhuman screams/growls that have been placed over top of the instrumentals and gets under your skin almost immediately. They’ve left themselves with room for growth as they move forward, but for a short demo that’s the band’s first statement in the metal world they’ve started off with a more polished and violent release than most.
With the re-release almost out and another demo on the way later this year, I had the chance to ask some questions to lead guitarist Cristian Astorga to find out more about Violent Scum’s origins and the work that went into ‘Festering in Endless Decay’. Check out the cassette reissue from Blood Harvest on June 24th and check out our exclusive stream of the demo below.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): Violent Scum is a relatively new band, but most of your members have been in other groups over the years. Tell us about how the band formed and how your musical ideas differ from the other groups you’ve been a part of.
C.A: Hell Chris, thanks for writing. I have only played in other bands from the Chilean underground: Communion, Necroripper among others. When I decided to form Violent Scum, the idea was always to create violent music, directly to your bones, without gimmicks, always remaining in the line of death metal. As a matter of fact, since Violent Scum was formed, the music flows spontaneously, because we knew each other for years and it is easy for us to create Violent metal.
TO: What bands would you consider to have been most influential when it comes to your interest in death metal?
C.A: Difficult question. I think to create metal, you need a wide range band spectrum, it is very difficult to choose some of them. But if I had to name some bands that are related directly with Violent Scum, these would be: SLAYER, VENOM, SODOM, SUFFOCATION, GG ALLIN, RAZOR, SADISTIK EXEKUTION ETC..
TO: ‘Festering in Endless Decay’ was recorded at Maestro 3 in Santiago, where a lot of other metal bands from Chile have recorded their material. What made this studio the right choice and how did the overall recording process go?
C.A: I had the opportunity to record several demos of Communion in that studio, Claudio is a good musician and sound engineer. I think he is a serious person who understands perfectly what you want regarding to sound, that is why we chose to record our first and second demo (coming soon) in this studio.
TO: The demo was originally self-released on CD, and now Blood Harvest is handling a cassette release. How did the collaboration with Blood Harvest come about, and what are your thoughts on releasing material on cassette?
C.A: Blood Harvest is a well-known label in the underground of our country. Rodrigo got in contact with us and so far we have worked very friendly.
TO: The artwork for ‘Festering in Endless Decay’ was created by Alonso Wilstchek. How did you come to work with him, and did you give him a general concept or let him create his own vision based on your music?
C.A: Alonso Wiltschek and I are founding members of Violent Scum. The concept was chosen from a lyric of the song Burial in the Sky, it is about Tibetan funerals, in which the bodies are considered impure, and they are offered to the vultures to be eaten by them.
TO: The demo originally came out back in November, are you guys already working on more material for a future release?
C.A: Yes, we have ready our second demo, also recorded at Maestro 3 studio, remaining the same line of death metal. Coming soon, be attentive!!!
TO: In your opinion, what does it take to write a quality death metal song?
C.A: I think a death metal song should be sufficiently rapid, violent, so you can capture the attention of the listener, and the lyrics dark enough, that will make the atmosphere of the song be brutal.
TO: Has the band done any live performances, and if so how would you compare your live performance to your recorded output?
C.A: Any live performance of Violent Scum is the most faithful to any studio recording of the band, a lot of Violence, and non stop headbanging!!!
I think a death metal song should be sufficiently rapid, violent, so you can capture the attention of the listener, and the lyrics dark enough, that will make the atmosphere of the song be brutal
TO: South America has a lot of killer metal bands, but Chile in particular has been responsible for a lot of them. What is it about your country that leads to so many forming metal bands?
C.A: A lot of killer bands were formed in South America as in Europe. Many of them did not continue playing and some other are still active, but I think in Chile, in general, apart from its classic bands, there are excellent underground bands. They put a lot of passion and hatred when composing, and they are active releasing new material, playing live, etc. That creates a great competition between bands; I think this makes Chile a country that is still active in the worldwide underground in a very good level.
TO: What are some other Chilean bands that our readers might not know about yet that they should be paying attention to?
C.A: There are a lot of bands in the Chilean underground, to name a few: Uttertomb, Deathly Scythe, Insanity, Coffin Curse, Communion, Verbum, Horda, Black Beast, Praise the Flame, and the list is very long, for every taste.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Festering in Endless Decay’ or Violent Scum?
C.A: Just keep blaring our demo, and pay attention to our upcoming release by Apocalyptic Productions from Chile and Kampf Records from Poland. Thanks for this opportunity.