French death metal band Cadaveric Fumes released their first demo ‘Macabre Exaltation’ back in 2012, which caught the attention of quite a few people thanks to its old-school sound that was just as focused on atmosphere as it was crushing riffing. The demo caught the attention of Blood Harvest Records, who reissued it on vinyl a year later and is now set to release the band’s newest EP ‘Dimensions Obscure’ on May 2nd.
We’re excited to premiere the second track from the EP, Extatic Extirpation. Right from the start it’s clear that Cadaveric Fumes has grown significantly without losing the elements that made their earlier material so enticing. There’s added clarity to the sound, and an increased amount of thick, tense atmosphere wrapped in more adventurous riffing. About three quarters of the way through, the weight of the instrumentals suddenly lessens to let all of that gloomy, foreboding atmosphere seep in before launching right back into the intense riffing. It’s a catchy song that has plenty of twists and turns, which is true of the entire EP as a whole. Give this one a listen, especially if the more adventurous riffing of death metal bands like Tribulation and Morbus Chron have been a regular part of your listening repertoire.
It’s clear that Cadaveric Fumes has branched out significantly on this new release and is ready to branch off on their own path that captures the dark and murky spirit of older death metal while venturing off in a direction of its own. We had the chance to ask guitarist Wenceslas Carrieu some questions to learn more about ‘Dimensions Obscure’ and what the band’s been up to lately.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. You recorded the material for ‘Dimensions Obscure’ last year. Did you record at La Jaille again or did you decide to try a new studio this time around?
Cadaveric Fumes: Actually La Jaille was not a studio per se, it was just the name of the locality where our rehearsal garage was. We did not have the money to finance a proper recording for ‘Macabre Exaltation’ so we recorded our demo and the split with Demonic Oath over there, using a couple of mics and a soundcard. For ‘Dimensions Obscure’ we felt the need to take things a step further: we went to a proper recording studio for the drums, then to a gear collector’s place for the guitars and bass, and finally to our sound engineer’s flat for the vocals. It took a lot longer to finish everything since we had to plan different sessions over time but it gave us the ability to be a lot more meticulous about the result.
TO: You mentioned in an August post that you weren’t completely satisfied with the guitar recording and were going in to re-record them. What did you decide to do differently when you went back for that additional session?
Cadaveric Fumes: The first session I did at La Chambre Jaune I recorded the guitars pretty much the same way as usual, stereo tracks with stereo solos here and there the way I like to do, sometimes angry chaotic leads on one side only. I soon realised the results had annoying flaws; I liked how the sound was clear on its own but it wasn’t grinding enough and wouldn’t stand out of the mix, and I quickly understood that if I wanted big clear guitars the solution was to add a third one in the middle. The two others on the sides would take care of the basic rhythm parts and stereo solos, the one in the middle adding nuances and doing the occasional disorder. That also meant I had to redo everything, but we were a lot happier in the end, the guitars got a lot bigger sounding while remaining very clear.
TO: Your sound has expanded considerably on ‘Dimensions Obscure’. There are still plenty of heavy hitting and morbid death metal passages, but much more of an emphasis on atmosphere and melodic elements this time around. It reminds me of the type of transformation that bands like Tribulation and Morbus Chron went through; releasing albums that drew heavily upon the traditional death metal sound and then branching out onto their own path. How do you guys feel your writing has progressed from the ‘Macabre Exaltation’ demo to know, and how did you reach this point?
Cadaveric Fumes: I really think the only key element that denotes ‘Dimensions Obscure’ from our other releases is the fact that we just got better at our instruments over the years. I don’t think “our sound” has much changed really, from a certain point of view I find we don’t go far enough, I just think we learned to play music better than before thus allowing us to try new things and expand our universe.
TO: The trailer for the EP features clips from a wide range of movies including The House by the Cemetery, Eraserhead, and The Holy Mountain. I knew from reading previous interviews that you guys were into horror movies, but some of these more surrealistic films seem like a good fit for what you’re channeling on ‘Dimensions Obscure’. How did you decide which clips to choose for the trailer and how do you think surrealist works can fit into the context of death metal?
Cadaveric Fumes: We started to compose ‘Dimensions Obscure’ a long time ago now, so it still has a lot of the early Cadaveric Fumes vibe, which obviously is a bit outdated for us today. Hence the need to put some synths and piano for example. When the EP started to sound as a whole we realised it had a lot more to do with the cosmos than cemeteries. I guess when you listen to a lot of different stuff you feel the need to let the music you play transpire the diversity of your influences, otherwise you just end up playing a musical genre for the sake of it instead of keeping your integrity and letting out what’s really going on in your… Nah the hell with it, we just thought it would be cool to put those clips. 2001 is awesome.
TO: There are two ambient/synth sections on the EP, which seemed to be channeling that foreboding feeling of a horror movie soundtrack. What are some of your favorite horror movie soundtracks, and are there any in particular that may have influenced your ideas on ‘Dimensions Obscure’?
Cadaveric Fumes: I’m actually not much into horror movies, Romain really is the one into the whole 70’s Italian horror, cannibal movies and Lovecraft novels. These last months I have been more inspired by Dune and Mozart than Fulci and D’argento, so I did not really compose those synth sections with horror movie atmospheres in mind. I just love synths and wanted to have analogue synthesizers playing some riffs featured on the EP. Plus there was an awesome concert piano where I recorded the guitars so it had to be used.
TO: In an older interview with Wenceslas mentioned coming from a garage rock background prior. I hear some elements on ‘Dimensions Obscure’ that I felt had more of a rock influence at points, such as the guitar solo on Where Darkness Reigns Pristine or three quarters of the way through Crepuscular Journey where the leads have a rock groove to them. Am I completely off the mark here or have some of these influences found their way into your material?
Cadaveric Fumes: I didn’t exactly put my psychedelic rock influences voluntarily in the EP, although it was very important for me that we used vintage gear on the recording. But I certainly have my way of thinking about music, which has a lot more to do with early rock than late 80’s metal. I’m not a shredder, I like when things are well-composed yet simple, straight-forward and catchy as well. I like the smell of an old cranked tube amp, wahs and fuzzes. I guess that can be felt in ‘Dimensions Obscure’, and I plan to go a lot further for the first album.
TO: The album art was done by Spanish artist Raul Gonzalez, and I think it’s a great representation of the type of otherworldly atmosphere the material on ‘Dimensions Obscure’ is able to generate. Did you send him a general idea or theme to work with, or did he pretty much have free reign to create what came to mind from the songs on the EP?
Cadaveric Fumes: Raul Gonzalez is a great painter, I especially really liked what he did for Morbus Chron’s ‘A Saunter Through the Shroud’. That’s the kind of cover I was longing for. We honestly did not have any precise idea of what we wanted, so we thought it would be interesting to give him the lyrics and some raw recordings of the songs and let him speak his mind and heart. I think he got it right.
TO: You’re once again working with Blood Harvest Records, who reissued your demo on vinyl back in 2013. How did the collaboration originally come about, and what makes them the right fit for Cadaveric Fumes?
Cadaveric Fumes: We started to work with Rodrigo for the re-release of the demo because he had bought some demo tapes from Impious Desecration and I had thanked him for the support. Blood Harvest is a good label we already knew and respected and I personally was really happy that our demo could be sold in Sweden because I lived in Rodrigo’s town for 2 years and really loved it there. We started to exchange mails until he proposed to release a vinyl version of the demo. From there we went to have a beer with him when we played at the Killtown Deathfest in Denmark and since then kept a good relationship with him. It was obvious for us we had to work with him again because we knew the guy and we thought it was important that we knew who was gonna take care of the promotion and release of the EP. We like to know who we’re working with, and Rodrigo ain’t no joke.
TO: Your most recent live performance (as of the time I’m writing these questions) was with Pentacle and Bones in Rennes. Tell us a little about that show, and what it was like to be able to play with one of the longer running death metal bands out there.
Cadaveric Fumes: I honestly did not know Pentacle but they put on a great show. We were especially happy to play again with our Belgian friends from Bones, who we had not seen for 2 years when we played together in eastern France with Entrapment. It was a great evening, we were happy about our show, and it’s always nice to play in Rennes, they’re always very supportive even though most of the audience that comes has already seen us like 10 times. It can be very unforgiving because they always have a level of comparison, so the expectation gets pretty high over the years, but we got great feedback.
TO: You’ve mentioned Convulse as an influence in previous interviews. I’m wondering if you’ve heard their newest album ‘Cycle of Revenge’ yet? If so, what did you think of it? They also went off in a very different direction with an emphasis on melody, and even though both of your bands are unrelated I think listeners could draw some parallels between both records.
Cadaveric Fumes: Heard a bit of it but in all honesty I’m not convinced at all by what they’re playing nowadays. I do wish all the best to them anyway though, they’re great guys and I was glad to meet them and play with them in Rennes and at the Wolfthrone festival in late 2013.
TO: To date you’re released a demo, split, and an EP which I could argue is as long as some other bands’ full lengths. Is a longer full length debut planned for the near future?
Cadaveric Fumes: We just started to work on it indeed, but I cannot say much about it, except the result might be surprising. We always took a very long time to compose, and that EP has been tiring to do for us. We feel the need to start fresh and be in phase with our present mood, leave the past behind and think about the future. We’re hitting a wall here, digging deeper is not gonna help, we have to break it all down and we’re starting to realise it. It’s a lot of work which craves to put everything we do into question, but I believe we can make it.
TO: You’re in the process of planning a European tour for May and June in support of the new release. Will this be your longest tour to date? For those in Europe who are able to make it to the shows, what can they expect from your live set?
Cadaveric Fumes: Well it’s our first tour so it sure is gonna be the longest to date! In terms of setlist I don’t think our shows are gonna be much different to the ones we did these last months really, we’re just gonna promote our EP and play some older stuff. A cover would be cool.
TO: What are some currently active French bands (metal or other genres) that our readers should check out?
Cadaveric Fumes: The first that comes to mind is Necrowretch, I honestly was not convinced about their first albums, but they really blew my mind when I saw them in Paris in the middle of March. They’re still the worthy representatives of the French scene. I have not been on the lookout for new bands here for a while, so I’m not the most qualified to answer. I’d mention Ritualization, Skelethal, Hexecutor… Venefixion because I play in it. Oh I also play in the Madcaps, check it out.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Dimensions Obscure’ or the band in general?
Cadaveric Fumes: Fear the wrath of the Biomechanical Werewolves…