Polish death metal band Kingdom released their third full length ‘Sepulchral Psalms from the Abyss of Torment’ last October via Godz ov War Productions and it was one of those albums that caught my attention from the first song. Like many of you, Kingdom had flown under my radar previously despite the fact that they had been cranking out destructive and dark death metal since 2003. Coming in at a quick thirty four and a half minutes, this is one of those albums that is blistering from start to finish and leaves behind scorched earth in its wake.
Deceased are a staff favourite over at Transcending Obscurity. They’ve released some excellent albums over the years and have developed an unmistakable sound and identity as a death/thrash metal band. Our label division even put out an official reissue of their 1997 album ‘Fearless Undead Machines’ over HERE. With a new album slated to come out in the foreseeable future titled ‘Ghostly White’, guest interviewer Tyler Brooks talks to King Fowley about that and the band’s illustrious past.
Transcending Obscurity (Tyler Brooks): You were the first band to ever sign with Relapse records, a label that would become a powerhouse at the peak of early 90’s death metal. What were those early days like?
Deceased (King Fowley): Working with them early on was fun. We were all gung ho and ready to rock. As the label got bigger and successful they sadly lost their way and it got harder to deal with them on a business level. But those early days we will always cheer and thank Relapse for giving us a shot!
TO: You made a flyer that you promised you were going to “out-thrash Slayer” at one point in the early days. Do you feel like you achieved this?
Deceased: Yes! We are still playing 100% deceased music while Slayer to me is playing hot topic metal for a paycheck and a past glory gratification! No thanks!
TO: Many fans consider your third album, ‘Fearless Undead Machines’ to be the album that solidified the Deceased style for years to come. What is it about this album, or the circumstances surrounding its recording, that you feel make it so powerful?
Deceased: I just think it was a heavy metal record in a time when heavy metal was a bad word. We didn’t care; we just lined it up and knocked it down! The songs are very strong on it. I think a lot of metal people related to the horror tinged theme of it. It’s my third favorite Deceased record behind ‘Supernatural Addiction’ and ‘Surreal Overdose’.
TO: Everyone has a favorite Deceased album, and I believe yours is ‘Supernatural Addiction’; ‘The Weird Travel On’ happens to be mine. Do you think that says anything about yourself or the people that choose other albums?
Deceased: It’s always neat to hear why someone has favorite record, details of it etc. To each their own I always say. We all have different names for a reason~!
TO: Modern day death/thrash seems to be used as an excuse for death metal bands to play traditional death metal riffs at hyper fast speeds, but Deceased has always held the thrash side of the moniker in high regard. What is the secret to blending so may influences into a coherent product, while still retaining quality songwriting?
Deceased: Passion for the styles and influences tenfold. You gotta believe! People sadly a lot of times toss shit together to hope its unique when it comes off kitchen sink or half assed. Neither is a good thing. Deceased really does where our metal heart on our sleeve. I arrange everything and I love hooks in songs and memorable music in general. Mindless song writing is a horrible thing. Wasted music as I call it, what a shame
TO: Speaking of influences, you’ve made it pretty evident where your influences lie. It’s clear from the plethora of covers of everything from Cro-Mags and Bad Brains, to Running Wild and Voivod. Why do you feel so compelled to show reverence to so many classics when others may relegate one or two song to their influencers?
Deceased: It’s just a part of it. We take Deceased very seriously in our albums. To let up and have some fun amongst the song writing usually means a cover song tribute to a band or moment in time to us. We have lots of influences so we show it as often as we can!
TO: In 1988, tragedy struck when Rob Sterzel, then the bassist, lost his life in an accident. Many bands are incapable of continuing on from something like that. What helped you to get through dark times in your formative early years?
Deceased: It’s all we knew! Music was our lives and we had to trudge on. Rob would have demanded it. Rob’s death was awful and it floored us. But we took from negativity and made positivity out of a dire situation.
TO: Your style of melodic death/thrash pre-dates even those bands from the Swedish Sunlight Studios period. At a time when melody was probably a dirty word, what drove you towards it?
Deceased: A love for it. I know it’s a big part of my music heart. A good melody is so inspirational to me. We always had hints even at our dirtiest sounds. But it took time to grow as musicians both song writing and playing wise. When it fell into place I was thrilled!
TO: Deceased has consistently released excellent music almost yearly since 1986, whether it be through singles, EP’s, demos, or compilations. How do you keep so relevant years later without burning out?
Deceased: Again you gotta believe. You gotta want it. People that really listen or follow a band can almost always know when a band is mailing it in. We don’t rush into new records or toss out 8 new songs a year just to call it our new record. We got into writing music because it is dear to our hearts. And all these years later it still is!
TO: You’ve said in an interview that you love performing live shows. How does playing live differ from writing in the studio?
Deceased: The studio is a very serious thing at times. You have to keep your mind right. On stage you get to perform your tuned in front of a crowd there (well a good bunch of them) to hear your music. You give it your all and it’s one big thrill ride. I love to entertain and getting on a stage and going for it really makes me happy!
TO: You’ve had numerous lineup changes over the years, mostly stemming from members living all over the country. Les and Mike seem to be such constants throughout most of your timeline. What kind of relationship is necessary between the three of you?
Deceased: Understanding is the key. We are all older now and things like family, work etc come into the mix as you get older. Everyone still rocks when it’s time to do so. Mike didn’t want to play live anymore late 2000’s and we worked it out so he could continue as a studio guy while turning over his live presence to someone else. Les married a gal and moved to Texas. He is still part of the studio band and plays out live with us as often as he can. Being around since 1985 life tosses stuff at ya it’s how ya deal with it that keeps it moving forward.
TO: For ‘Rotten to the Core’, Dave “Scarface” Castillo took over behind the drum kit for live performances. Was this something you had been seeking to do for a while, or was Dave just the perfect fit?
Deceased: After playing on stage as front man in October 31 it just felt right to be upfront. I always found it constricting live to sit behind a drum set on a stool and front a show. Dave is a dear friend and fit right in.
TO: Iron Maiden, or Judas Priest?
Deceased: IRON MAIDEN WITH EASE! Judas priest should have walked away mid-80s for all the following of musical trends to stay current they did. Iron Maiden just keeps on doing their own thing!
TO: Do you have anything to tell the fans about upcoming performance, or the highly anticipated seventh full-length album, ‘Ghostly White’?
Deceased: It’s almost complete song writing wise then the will record. A lot of time and effort has gone into this one. I’m really digging the tunes. It’s very heavy metal this go round with a lot of emphasis on melody, reminds me in spots of ‘Supernatural Addiction’. We are all very pleased!
Music to me has always been a gateway away from reality. But these days I come to understand as to how this world’s reality shapes and influences music, while the music itself offers escapism to those that seek it during troubled times. The past few weeks have just added more reasons and examples as to why this world is turning into this terrible place. It’s good that we had some solid metal and punk releases to lean on this month. ~ Shrivatsan R
Amiensus (USA) – All Paths Lead to Death (Black / Death Metal, Apathia Records)
One of the most reputed labels in the brutal death metal underground, Comatose Music from US, has decided to employ the services of Transcending Obscurity PR. Having worked with similar established labels in the line such as Lacerated Enemy Records, Amputated Vein Records, Rising Nemesis Records, etc. it’s an honour to work with what is regarded as among the best out there.
The first release is of Pathology no less, who’re regarded as one of the biggest death metal bands in their line. Here’s some info about their self-titled upcoming release via the US label –
Devastating brutal death metal unit PATHOLOGY have gone from strength to strength, incorporating variations and technical flourishes within the ultra-heavy framework of the sub-genre. Eight full length albums have cemented their position worldwide as one of the best bands of their ilk, and their new one on Comatose Music will only uphold their global status and take it higher. On their latest opus, we have 10 songs of cutting-edge chock-a-block brutality without any intros or beating around the bush; and yet each song has its own identity largely due to the compositional skills of the members. High speed execution is matched perfectly by the standard-setting guttural vocals of Matti Way who is in best form since the early DISGORGE days. All in all, this is a contemporary death metal beast that remains true to its art and will go down as one of the best albums in the style for years to come.
Matti Way – Vocals (ABOMINABLE PUTRIDITY, ex-DISGORGE, LITURGY A.D.)
Dave Astor – Drums, Vocals (ex-CATTLE DECAPITATION)
Tim Tiszczenko – Guitars (BEING KILLED)
Par Olofsson (IMMOLATION, DEEDS OF FLESH, ABOMINABLE PUTRIDITY, DEVOURMENT)
Every month when we put together this highlights list, I go through the entries and try to sense a discernible pattern. But so far it has always been the case that our scribes cover a wide range of sounds where no commonality can be traced. April 2017, is perhaps a first in our monthly highlights series, where the entries tend to eschew towards two particular styles — Tech death and Crust. Though we do have a smattering of other styles included, it’s hard to miss how every other entry in this list either has a crust or tech death connection here. A random coincidence? Or some deep conspiracy by the scribes of Transcending Obscurity? One thing is for sure – these are all excellent releases that you should pay attention to! ~ Shrivatsan R.
They may not have released their first material until 2013, but Chilean death metal band Soulrot’s origins trace back to the early 1990s. It’s clear that guitarist J.L. Olmos and company have been making up for lost time, as they’ve kept a steady stream of releases coming over the past few years. Following a demo and EP, the band is now preparing to put out their debut full length ‘Nameless Hideous Manifestations’ on April 24th via Memento Mori. And it’s sure to make a strong impression, as even though there’s that familiar Boss HM-2 buzzsaw sound and a good deal of Swedish influence to the writing Soulrot doesn’t feel like a clone of any one particular act and has the riffs to back things up. We’re excited to offer you a full stream of the album alongside an interview with the band so you can get crushed by its immense weight and ominous atmosphere.
Ruin’s debut full length has been a long time coming, with the U.S. death metal band having existed in the early 1990s for a year or two before lying dormant for the better part of two decades. The promo material for their debut full length ‘Drown in Blood’ (due out April 24th via Memento Mori) mentions periods of incarceration and institutionalization as one of the main reasons behind Ruin’s disappearance, but whatever the circumstances may be the band re-emerged in 2015 with the ‘Spread Plague Hell’ demo and released three splits shortly after. Now with the full length ready to unleash its nihilistic and filthy death metal on your ears in a little under a week’s time, we’re excited to premiere the album in its entirety.
There have always been few labels peddling in doom metal dedicatedly and UK based Aesthetic Death label are one among them. In my early years, I used to refer to them as being Esoteric’s label (as they released majority of the band’s catalog) and in the last decade, have unearthed some absolute gems such as Eibon, Murkrat, Fatim Elisum, Wreck of the Hesperus and more. It made sense to throw more light on the overlooked but extremely high quality and seemingly passionate label and write about some of their newer, more relevant releases. Thanks to the contribution of the fine Transcending Obscurity webzine staff, we’re able to to put together a worthy feature highlighting this doom metal label. ~ Kunal Choksi (Editor-in-Chief)
If it is possible someday, I would make a clone of myself to just keep writing about the music I listen to, without having to pay heed to any of the real world responsibilities. But since that is not possible at the moment, real life does tend to get in the way of writing. This month I had to focus my attention on other things in the real world causing me to overlook most of the releases that came out in March. But looking at this huge list put together by my colleagues, one thing is clear. I have a lot of catching up to do. ~ Shrivatsan R.