Mark Riddick is a man of many talents. In addition to being an renowned artist, he performs in 2 bands, Fetid Zombie and Macabra. Macabra features Adrien “Liquifier” Weber (Vociferian) on vocals. Last month, the band released their second album ‘…to the Bone’ via Vonfrost Records and Morbid Visions Music. The album has 8 songs of 90’s death metal, a must listen for all death metal fans.
I spoke to Mark Riddick about ‘…to the Bone’, the current state of death metal and working with Indian bands.
Macabra (Mark Riddick): Macabra was initiated in 2011 when Adrien had commissioned me to do some illustration work for one of his many bands, Alienante Damnation. After completing the art and layout for his LP, Adrien suggested the possibility of collaborating on a music project together. After dwelling on it for a few days I decided to entertain the idea and we moved forward with our first four-song demo tape, “Thy Entrails Rot.” We were both very pleased with what we had conjured together so we decided to adopt Macabra as an additional project to our already existing bands.
TO: Why did you decide to play 90’s death metal? What do you enjoy about that era of time?
Macabra: The idea behind Macabra is to express the sound of the demo tape days of death metal, hence our unpolished and crude approach. I’m a product of the early 90s era and often turn to my own collection of underground demo tapes to draw on inspiration for Macabra. Although this is the foundation of the band, we do go out of our way to add layers of atmosphere to our songs, giving them a unique sound, we don’t want to be cliché; we want to bring something new to the table as well. The goal with “…to the Bone,” was to deliver something familiar yet simultaneously unfamiliar.
TO: Your new album, ‘…to the Bone,” comes four years after your previous release, “Blood-Nutured Nature.” What was the writing process with both of you being in different counties (US and Belgium)?
Macabra: We published one split 7” EP with Father Befouled and a demo tape, “Heavier Than Your Own Coffin,” after our debut album, “Blood-Nurtured Nature” was released. It had certainly been a year or more of silence for the band before embarking on our work for “…to the Bone.” Work on the new album began after Adrien and I executed a bonus track for a compilation tape release of our discography, “Necroverdose,” which came out in early 2016. The new track we worked on sparked inspiration in us both to move forward on a new full-length. The entire album was written and recorded in a 2-month time frame in early 2016. We’re very satisfied with the final result as it encompasses many of our influences from the early 90s such as Sepultura, Napalm Death, Nocturnus, Pestilence, Catacomb, Cenotaph, and Midas Touch, etc.
TO: How did you manage the recording sessions with your busy schedules? What was the recording process for the album?
Macabra: As mentioned above, “…to the Bone” was recorded in a two-month time period between January and February of 2016. I simply recorded all of my instrumental parts via my home studio and passed the files over to Adrien to lay down his vocal tracks. We essentially wrote and recorded a new song each week for two months straight. The entire process for us was very straightforward; Adrien and I work quickly and quite well together when the inspiration is in place.
TO: Do you have time for any other interests other than art and music?
Macabra: My family takes priority over everything, followed by my day job responsibilities as a graphic designer. My art and music endeavors occur very early in the morning or very late at night and only when time permits. I know Adrien can relate to this ethic as well since he is a husband and parent too.
TO: What are your thoughts on the current state of death metal?
Macabra: I’m very happy with the state of death metal music at this time. I never thought that after a few decades listening to this genre there would still be new, original, and interesting bands to discover out there. Of course I enjoy some of the classics like Pestilence, Morbid Angel, Deceased, Gorguts, Malevolent Creation, etc. but there are some more recent bands that are equally as impressive like Horrendous, Howls of Ebb, Ataraxy, Blood Incantation, Skeletal Remains, Stargazer, etc. There has certainly been a defining resurgence of death metal music in recent years. I believe death metal existed in black metal’s shadow since the mid-90s but now it’s back with a vengeance…a lot of new and young bands playing writing great music and old bands coming together again to put out new records, etc. It’s all very positive in my opinion.
TO: In 2012 you worked on the cover artwork for Indian thrash metal band Kryptos. Could you tell us a bit about it? How did the collaboration come about?
Macabra: I can’t recall exactly but I believe I worked through Kryptos’ management regarding their album cover request. They had a few specific details they wished to include otherwise it was a smooth process as usual. I’m not too familiar with their music but I’m assuming they are fairly well-known in India?
Have you heard any other Indian bands? What are your thoughts on them?
Macabra: I’m not too well versed on bands from India. I know of Gutslit, but only because I did some illustration work for them; the same goes for Heathen Beast. The digital compilation that Transcending Obscurity published earlier this year was a nice gateway into the Indian scene and also showcased a lot of other bands from the area, like Pakistan and Bangladesh. I don’t own much music from India but I can attest to the quality and versatility of their musical efforts. The genres they perform are very broad and well-executed, much like the kind of bands you can hear coming from the United States or Europe. I do appreciate how bands like Heathen Beast incorporate some traditional instrumentation and elements into their music; it makes their approach distinct to their heritage and sets them apart from a lot of the other Indian bands.
TO: What are the other projects that you are currently working on?
Macabra: I’m quite busy with my solo effort, Fetid Zombie, which has several split releases coming out this year as well as a new full-length, “Epicedia,” scheduled to be published by Transcending Obscurity. In addition, the final release from my other band, Grave Wax, finally came out in the form of a split 7” EP with the Greek death metal band, Soulskinner. Adrien has also been preoccupied by his many projects, most notably Vociferian, who put out a new LP this year as well as reissues of several of his other bands, like Luger and Goat Holocaust.
TO: Do you foresee a possibility of performing live in the future?
Macabra: No, it’s likely we’ll never perform live given the distance and our other commitments outside of Macabra.
TO: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Macabra: We plan to release a split CD with Nucleus, who just put out an excellent full-length this year on Unspeakable Axe/Dark Descent. The cover art will be handled by Dan Seagrave once again.
TO: Thanks for answering all the questions. Do you have anything else to add?
Macabra: I wish to thank you for your time and support, featuring Macabra on your webzine. We are very grateful for your time and support. If any readers wish to explore our music, please visit us here. Metal ‘til death.