Bloodlust wrappings and carnal tempting: talking Cannibal Corpse with bassist Alex Webster

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The unleashing of a new Cannibal Corpse savaging is always a cause for eager investigation and so the recent release of thirteen studio album A Skeletal Domain was met with enthusiastic intrigue. No matter your taste for their visceral sounds, the US death metallers has been an undeniable driving inspiration and boundary beater within the genre which the new release reaffirms with raw potency. Leaping at the chance to get a glimpse into the making and background to the album, we took some of the spare time of bassist Alex Webster as the band continue on their successful European tour, to talk album, new producer, zombie video, and much more…

Hi Alex and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

With latest album A Skeletal Domain earning predominantly and deserved acclaim from fans, the metal underground, and beyond since its recent release, did you have any specific hopes and expectations for its unleashing, other than hoping it is liked of course?

Not really. I mean, we feel the same way about all of the albums when we put them out I think. A new album represents the best music we could make at that point in time. I guess since we had a different producer this time we were interested to see what people would think of that, but really our expectations were about the same as always.

Your thirteenth studio album, how were emotions around the unveiling of a new release after two and a half decades laying waste to metal and ears?

Like I said, about the same as always. We are very proud of the new album and hope that our fans will like it.

We felt there was of course the recognisable Cannibal Corpse sound to the album but also fresh exploratory twists to its voracious enterprise and vehemence fuelled depths. How does its sound and presence differ from say its predecessor Torture for you there on the inside?

I think the biggest difference is probably in the production, which was handled by Mark Lewis this time around, rather than Erik Rutan. Both are great producers but each has a different way of approaching recording.

I think the album is also a bit different when it comes to song writing. It just sounds a bit different. There are a few songs on this album that (in my opinion) sound quite unusual for us. It’s still death metal, just a bit different.

Was there any deliberate direction and ideation taken in regards to its sound and intent or was it more an organic evolution emerging as A Skeletal Domain emerged?CannibalCorpse-ASkeletalDomain

We just wrote the song individually and gradually the character of the album developed. We didn’t really have a plan; we just tried to write the best music we could.

After so many releases and years is it easier to sculpt something original to the band or more difficult, with as we find in music in general ideas and sounds going in cycles as in fashion?

We definitely try not to repeat ourselves, but of course it happens anyway. But we do make a deliberate effort to make each song sound unique and fresh.

As you mentioned you recorded the album with Mark Lewis this time around after working with Erik Rutan for the previous trio of albums. What was the reason for the move and why specifically did you go with Mark?

We had gotten to know Mark pretty well since he lives in Florida like we do, and we thought he was a cool guy- so his personality was part of it. We also really liked the work he had done with bands like Six Feet Under, Deicide, and Devildriver. His skills, personality, and convenient location of his studio made him a perfect choice.

What has he particularly brought to A Skeletal Domain which is different to its predecessors and works most potently with your new ideas?

It’s hard to explain so it’s better for the reader to listen and compare. He just has a somewhat different approach to recording than our previous producers, and I think you can hear it right away.

Was a change of producer an early intent as songs and the album began coming together?

Yes, we decided at least half a year before the recording date that we would work with Mark this time.

How did the band approach the studio this time around and was it pretty much as you went into the recording of previous albums?

It was different, since it was a different producer and studio. We were well prepared, as we always try to be, but things did go a bit differently once we started. Mark is a great engineer and editor, and things went very smoothly during the recording. We had a great time and we’ll likely work with him again.

cannibal-corpse_photo02The album is sonically and lyrically as visceral as ever, as expected from a Cannibal Corpse provocation, what breeds the first seeds of songs more often than not?

The music comes first, then the lyrics. The songs are usually written individually at home by each song writer, and then once the song is finished or almost finished, the band will learn their parts and play the song together to see how it sounds. For each writer, the songs probably start out with a main riff and develop from there.

On this album Rob wrote music for 2 and 1/2 songs, I wrote 4, Pat wrote 5, and Paul wrote music for half of a song. The lyric writing was varied in a similar way: Paul wrote 6 songs, I wrote 4, and Rob wrote 2.

At times it feels from the outside that successful and established bands like yourselves come under a harsher and more predetermined focus from the major media spotlights. How have you found it and particularly in regard of A Skeletal Domain?

It’s hard to say. I think by now everybody already has an opinion about us and a new album is not likely to change that. The press that likes us still will, and same for the press that doesn’t like us. Their opinions don’t seem to be very flexible

Can you give us some background and insight into the imposing and startling video for Kill Or Become from the album?

The video was directed by David Brodsky; he created a concept based on the song’s lyrics and went from there. We think he did a great job. We’ve been writing about zombies since our first album, so I guess it’s about time we had a full-on zombie video.

As one of death metal’s leading lights and inspirations for seemingly ever, how do you see the expanding depth and diversity to the genre? Do you embrace and takes sparks from its ever growing expanse of exploration or prefer a more old school focus to feed your personal tastes?

I like anything that sounds good to me. Some newer death metal is amazing, and I still listen to plenty of the old stuff too. If it’s well-written and heavy I usually like it.

Listening to A Skeletal Domain there are seemingly essences from other genres and styles which flirt with ears and thoughts however slight and whispered they are. What are the inspirations outside of extreme metal which you would suggest have added something to the band sound or ideas over time?

We all listen to lots of different kinds of music so that probably directly and/or indirectly influences how we write. For me personally the classical music I’ve listened too might have an influence.

Where do you see Cannibal Corpse in the ‘family tree’ of inspirations and contributors to death metal?cannibal-corpse_photo06

Hopefully we are considered an important part of the death metal family tree, part of the 2nd wave after Possessed, Death, Master, Massacre, and other earlier bands.

What is left in 2014 going into next year for the band to devour and offer?

We’ll be doing lots of touring in support of A Skeletal Domain. We are currently on tour in Europe; next year we’ll do a big tour of Canada and the USA. So we have some big touring plans ahead.

Thanks again for sharing time with us. Any last thoughts you would like to offer us?

Thanks for the interview! We hope to see all of our fans on tour soon!

Finally is there anything grotesque and blood fuelled which the band has not yet explored but you have a yearning to attack at some point?

I don’t know! We’ll see when we start writing the next album.

Check out our review of A Skeletal Domain @ ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/cannibal-corpse-a-skeletal-domain/

http://www.cannibalcorpse.net/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain

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Cannibal Corpse and their sound need no introduction to metal fans and in many ways nor does the band’s new slice of savagery, A Skeletal Domain. The thirteen studio album from the US death metallers feeds all the wants and expectations of the genre and fans yet also manages within its contagious surface turbulence, to explore new twists of endeavour and vehemence soaked adventure in the depths of songs. The distinctive fury is a fresh if not startling evolution in the onslaught we have all come to know and assume from the band; one providing the rich flavours the quintet is renowned for whilst providing a breath-taking rampage through the senses to again seriously ignite the passions.

A Skeletal Domain also sees the band move from the production of Erik Rutan who added certain richness to previous releases Kill, Evisceration Plague, and Torture. For the new album, Cannibal Corpse has recruited the talents of Mark Lewis at Audio Hammer Studios who has produced the recent albums of The Black Dahlia Murder and DevilDriver amongst many. His touch allows clarity to the emerging twists of ideation and sound within the violations posing as songs. The elements are arguably still not as vocal and instantly striking as maybe they could be but they are allowed a platform to increasingly tantalise from by a production which seems clearer and more conducive to the enterprise than on earlier encounters.

Lyrically there are no surprises; blood, gore, and violence providing aural ‘horror movies’ within the sonic and rhythmic severity as immediately shown by opener High Velocity Impact Spatter. From an intimidating waspish sonic mesh of sound, the track pounds ears with some of the heaviest swung beats heard this year, every swipe thunderous within the brewing assault of corrosive riffery and psychotic sonic endeavour. There is no escaping that recognisable Cannibal Corpse toxicity or the addictive web spun by the guitars of Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien. It is an intensive and contagious furnace exploding within the ears, driven venomously by the thick caustic growls of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and the increasingly intrusive beats of Paul Mazurkiewicz. There is always a ready and waiting hunger for the band’s sound and its appetite is potently fed by the song with extra flavouring from the swirling invention cast by the guitarists.

Both Sadistic Embodiment and Kill or Become seduce and ravage the air as well as senses with skilled animosity, the first a barbarous torrent of rabid riffery and bone splintering rhythms bound in a merciless predation. The bass of A Skeletal DomainAlex Webster growls spitefully from within the severe enticement, another aspect of the band given closer attention on the album compared to some earlier incitements. Its successor finds an even more bestial air to its prowling heavyweight presence, its muscles flexed through every hellacious swing from Mazurkiewicz and the venom unleashed through a horde of rapacious riffs and the increasingly contagious vocal suasion of Fisher. The track is a maelstrom of malicious enterprise, one threatening to become unravelled at times, especially around a senses searing solo, but always checks itself to parade a pestilential and irresistible scourge.

The title track tears through ears and imagination next, its intensive stomp flaring with malice and rhythmic sadism whilst vocally it sprays inhospitable emotion like a sand storm. A welcome variation in gait and intensity offers an intriguing turn whilst another potent solo flames excitingly across the track adding to the weighty fascination of the proposition. At first glance the following Headlong into Carnage is a close relation to its predecessor but eventually emerges with a distinctive tone and ruinous attitude which is as compelling as it is enjoyably oppressive.

The deranged and blackened suasion of The Murderer’s Pact is next, guitars crafting an addictive and destructive sonic trap to which vocals and rhythms make available their rewarding yet ruinous hues. It is an absorbing challenge, the band delving into tortured shadows with open relish and magnetic invention. The sonic ingenuity of the solo within its haunted climate is exceptional, not outstaying its potency but adding enough colour and radiance to light the cavernous malevolence of the song. Its triumph is matched by the pernicious lumbering atmosphere of Funeral Cremation, its increasingly expanding and toxic voice breeding an uncomfortable and invigorating onslaught of coarse sonic rabidity and rhythmic voracity. It is the winding groove of the song though which lights the passions most of all, its crawling temptation irresistible within the tempestuous climate around it.

The viciously chilling and tenaciously compelling Icepick Lobotomy and the enthrallingly inventive Vector of Cruelty ensure senses and emotions are ablaze with pleasure and breath-less satisfaction but it is after their outstanding efforts that the album hits its pinnacle, the final trio of tracks leaving the strongest lingering impression. Bloodstained Cement steps forward first and from its drama fuelled start unleashes an insatiable rampage of hypnotic rhythmic turmoil and contagion drenched riffery. There is a flowing addictiveness to the track which soaks every aspect of its unrelenting swarm of sound and ideation. The track is an exhaustive treat but soon surpassed by the brilliant Asphyxiate to Resuscitate. As expected there is no peace from its poisonous intent and rabid jaws, guttural growls and drums a finely honed and barbaric blitz on ears whilst guitars and bass combine to sculpt an impossibly infectious malignant gale.

The album closes with the hellacious creative fury of Hollowed Bodies, a last explosion of bad blood and ear seducing grooves within a back breaking intensity. It is a scintillating end to a mouth-watering release, seeing Cannibal Corpse at their best with very loud whispers of new exploits to tantalise within a recognisable presence and sound which fans will willingly embrace. The band’s best album can and will be debated but one of their most pleasing and enjoyable A Skeletal Domain definitely is.

A Skeletal Domain is available now via Metal Blade Records @ http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/item/27304

http://www.cannibalcorpse.net/

RingMaster 17/09/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Strength through adversity: Interview with Zach Simmons of Goatwhore

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Goatwhore is one of those propositions which triggers extra sparks of enthusiasm and anticipation when you hear of a new unleashing from the New Orleans based band, and their new album Constricting Rage of the Merciless was certainly no different. Following the gripping and exhilarating Blood For The Master, it had much to live up to but rose to the task with ease to provide another brutal and uncompromising, as well as rigorously thrilling provocation. Not needing to be asked twice, we grabbed the chance to find out more about band and album through drummer Zack Simmons, proceeding to discuss the origins of and challenges before the band over the years as well as looking at the recording of and inspiration for their latest triumph…

Hi Zack and thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Before launching ourselves at new album Constricting Rage of the Merciless, can you give newcomers to Goatwhore some history to the band and its birth?

The band started around 1996 after Sammy’s other band, Acid Bath dissolved. It was out of a necessity to keep playing music for him and to take a darker direction than his previous band. I joined about ten years ago and our current bassist has been with us for five years, so this has been the most consistent line-up for the band.

Was there a specific intent behind the band and its sound at the start and has that continued today or evolved into something different?

The band started out with a heavily Celtic Frost, Bathory influenced sound and has sort of evolved to become its own animal. Those influences are definitely still intact but we’ve grown over time to allow some of our other influences to shine through as well. A lot of the stuff we grew up on, like Motorhead and Judas Priest has definitely made its way into our sound.

It is fair to say that the years have brought plenty of obstacles from the maybe accepted like line-up changes to the unexpected such as paranormal activity and natural disasters to bear on members and the band as a whole. Without this kind of trauma to incite the band’s emotions do you think Goatwhore and its sound would have been a different kind of beast?

I think all of those things have a big part in making the band what it is. We are sort of a product of our environment and experiences and even though we’ve had our fair share of negative occurrences, we’ve always seemed to come out the other end stronger.

All bands need perseverance and commitment to the cause but Goatwhore has needed more than most over the years would you say?

I would say so. We’ve been through a lot, man. Ben was involved in a van accident on tour which left him with two broken legs and not knowing if he’d be able to walk again. Also, hurricane Katrina was a major setback for the band. The Goatwhore coveralbum title kind of says it all. All these things that happen just make us want to push harder and keep going instead of being defeated. It makes for some very aggressive music.

As we mentioned you have just unleashed new album Constricting Rage of the Merciless, what was the feeling over it compared to previous albums for you as it was unveiled to the world?

Every album is very special to me because it is kind of a snapshot in time and holds a lot of memories and emotions. I think this is a very special album for the band and it’s just the next step in the evolution of Goatwhore. With every record you try to step things up a notch on every level. I definitely think we achieved that with this one.

How do you see the difference in sound and presence between Constricting Rage of the Merciless and previous albums Blood For The Master and Carving Out The Eyes Of God?

The main difference in the sound of this record and our past records stems from the fact that we tracked to two inch tape instead of digitally. It was a more time consuming process but the end result was well worth it. I think you can hear more of a vibe in this album and a punchier, warmer sound overall. Erik Rutan really outdid himself on this one.

You just mentioned that the new album was tracked to two-inch tape, what was the inspiration and idea behind this and how did this impact on your approach and style?

We thought it’d be a great way to try and capture our live sound on a record. Some bands want the really modern digital sound but that approach doesn’t really work for us. We want that classic, thick, heavy sound and recording to tape really brought that out. Recording to tape really requires you to be on top of your game and very prepared since there is much less opportunity for studio trickery. It’s a much more honest approach to recording and it worked very well for this band.

Where do you see the album pushes the Goatwhore sound and invention most potently?

I’d say there is a bit more anger and venom on this album than some of the more recent ones. It’s got a bit more variation as well. A song like Cold Earth… is an example of something we’ve never really done before. Little variations like that allow the album to breathe a little more and offer more of a ride for the listener.

Did you bring anything else majorly different way in songwriting and recording to the album this time around?

It was pretty much business as usual. I’d say we were more into the idea of trying new things and a little less apprehensive of changing things up a bit. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and see what happens. It’s a good way to stretch your boundaries as a musician.

Goatwhore photo01How does the songwriting process work within the band more often than not?

It all starts with getting into the practice room and firing up the amps. We’ll sift through the riff library and throw ideas around until something clicks. We also do a lot of work on our own since we live in different places. We’ll email ideas and song structures back and forth to get a head start on things for the next time we get together.

Other than being bred from the writers and band’s hearts how personal are your songs at their core?

I’m sure every song means something to different to each of us but each song is very personal to me. It’s an outlet of creativity and aggression that we all put a lot of heart into.

As you said earlier gain you linked up with Erik Rutan in the studio; was that always going to be the only choice of who to helm the recording or did you ever contemplate a new direction at any point here or on previous releases?

We never really thought of working with anyone else. We have very much the same vision in how this band needs to sound and how to make that happen. We work very well together and improve upon things with each record.

Eric is in many ways like an unofficial member of Goatwhore?

Totally! He really is the fifth member of the band.

We felt whereas Blood For The Master exploded like a beast in season that Constricting Rage Of The Merciless is more of a predatory proposition, one which prowls and sizes up the listener before going for their throats. Is that something you can see between the two?

I totally agree with that. This album has more of a bloodthirsty, murderous vibe to it. It’s a bit more chaotic and violent.

Every release to some degree opens a doorway to a new train of thought for bands about their sound and ideation ahead. Has there been anything about Constricting Rage Of The Merciless which has sparked certain ideas or intent for the next engagement?

It’s never something we plan or think about ahead of time. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there but I’m sure it’ll happen very organically and naturally like it always has. We are focused on touring now and spreading these new songs to any and every place with a stage and a power outlet.

Is there a particular aspect or moment within the album which gives you the biggest personal tingle of satisfaction? Goatwhore 03

To me, every song on the record gives a lot of gratification but one that really sticks out is Cold Earth…. After being bludgeoned with the first five songs, I think it’s the perfect song to set the tone for the second half of the album. It’s a pretty unique song for us.

What is next in store for and from Goatwhore?

We’ve got another two weeks on the Summer Slaughter tour with Morbid Angel in the US. After that we’ll be doing dates with Samhain in the US then heading to Europe with Dying Fetus in November.

Once again thanks so much for chatting with us. Any last words you have for us all?

No problem. Thank you! I hope to see you all at a show in the near future!

facebook.com/thegoat666

Read the review for Constricting Rage Of The Merciless @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/goatwhore-constricting-rage-of-the-merciless/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 06/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard @

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Goatwhore – Constricting Rage of the Merciless

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Two years after unleashing the gripping and exhilarating Blood For The Master, an album which without setting new templates for black-hearted death metal got the passions boiling, Goatwhore uncage successor Constricting Rage of the Merciless. It again is an album which delivers an encounter which is attentive to needs whilst staying within well-trodden avenues yet consumes ears and senses in a tempest of ravenous sounds which leaves satisfaction full and appetite greedy. Brutal and uncompromising, as expected from a Goatwhore release, Constricting Rage of the Merciless also brings a more deliberate and concentrated creative foreplay to its climactic endeavour. Whereas the previous album exploded like a beast in season, the new onslaught prowls and sizes up its opportunities before stealing its prize.

Less than a handful of years away from entering into their third decade, the New Orleans based Goatwhore has left plenty of landmarks and inspiring indentations within metal since being formed by guitarist Sammy Duet (ex-Acid Bath/Crowbar ) in 1997. Their albums, starting with debut Eclipse Of Ages Into Black in 2000 and followed by Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun three years later as well as A Haunting Curse and Carving Out The Eyes Of God of 2006 and 2009 respectively, have thrust the band and their persistently intensifying and potently growing sound into an acclaim lit ever deepening stature. Goatwhore has simply become one of the sure fire attention grabbing, passions igniting propositions in death metal, defying the moment when the band was involved in a near-fatal van crash that left vocalist Louis B. Falgoust II temporarily paralyzed and the future of the band uncertain as well as other bouts of disaster which seemed to stalk the band.

The Erik Rutan recorded Constricting Rage of the Merciless is Goatwhore at their creatively rabid best, entwining new songs with the imagination and invention we have come to expect. With bassist James Harvey and drummer GW-ConstrictingRageZack Simmons alongside Duet and Falgoust, the release also holds surprises which arguably are at times slight but open within a presence which is an organic continuation of Blood For The Master. There is also preciseness to the release, no doubt in some ways down to it being tracked to two-inch tape, something which brings out the intricacies of songwriting and presentation perfectly though it does defuse a little of the always tasty venom which flooded previous encounters. Overall though Constricting Rage Of The Merciless is a thrilling and irresistible proposition which immediately steals ears and emotions with opening track Poisonous Existence in Reawakening.

Riffs and rhythms are instantly ganging up on ears, battering on the senses with urgent predation and merciless intent. Once breaching attention, a raw and fiery examination explodes with incessant rubs of guitars and bass as rhythms persist in their brutal barracking. Riding the unrelenting provocation the vocals of Falgoust grouchily squall and gruffly expel the song’s narrative, another unsurprising but eagerly devoured aspect of the band. Across the song the mood of the assault ebbs and flows, at times rabid and in others moments holding a dark pestilential breath but always demanding and rewarding. It is an excellent mouth-watering and exhausting entrance swiftly emulated by Unraveling Paradise. Again the charge is as hostile and urgent as a horde of slavering beasts, riffs and rhythms grinding and rapping with breathless purpose upon the senses respectively. It is a viciously solid attack but the initially subtle underlying groove which erupts eventually into a contagiously acidic nagging is where the track enslaves the passions. It is masterful bait which binds tightly around the imagination and a rising hunger to overwhelm with the stinging potency of a swarm of hornets.

Baring Teeth for Revolt steps in next with a ferocious burn of heavy metal enterprise, a flavour which dominates the song from start to finish offering a quick twist to the release. It is a track which took longer to convince than certainly its predecessors, but under numerous doses of its persuasion and the impressive spiteful shift into a heavier rapacious savagery around its middle, the track becomes a firm favourite upon the album.

Both Reanimated Sacrifice and Heaven’s Crumbling Walls of Pity keep things boiling enjoyably, the first a muscular tsunami of vitriolic beats and malevolent riffs which never quite goes for the jugular but definitely leaves a gleeful wasted pleasure in the emotions, especially with its brief but flaming solo. It’s almost concussive texture and energy is matched in quality and ferocity by the second of the two, a song which slowly unwinds its voracious attitude and intensity before stalking the senses with urgent gait through a sonic malignancy. Each leaves a rich dose of virulent satisfaction before making way for the atmospheric haunting of Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh. The track opens with a stark and chilling ambience veined by evocative guitars. It sparks the imagination immediately, opening up exploratory thoughts before coming out of its emotive ambience with a lumbering heavy crawl of intense rhythms and pit bred vocals, all laced by emotive sonic designs of guitar. The track is as mesmeric as it is threatening, a fascinating incitement which also takes longer to find success with its suasion but eventually seduces for the strongest satisfaction.

The thrash punk assault of FBS, a virulent urgency driving its caustic expression and tenacity, and the predatory natured Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed ravage and excite years next, both tracks unfussy and surly confrontations which bring a big smile to ears and emotions even if neither finds a flame of unpredictable ingenuity to their bodies. Their enticing presences are assertively matched by the vindictive Schadenfreude, its enticing yet mistrustful grooves leading into darker shadows and infectious savage depths. The song is a spellbinding violation which never quite goes where you want or need yet provides an inventive slavery which is thoroughly inspiring and enthralling.

The album closes with Externalize This Hidden Savagery, a final barbarous consumption driven by volatile rhythms and wonderfully fractious groove spiked riffs. It is a mighty end to a tremendous album, much as expected from Goatwhore but never taken for granted. For personal tastes Constricting Rage of the Merciless just misses the levels set by the last album even though the craft and invention is undoubtedly stunning and presence exceptional but there are fewer songs which stick in the memory. That is the only thing leaving it in the shadow of Blood For The Master but to the fore of death metal releases this year.

Constricting Rage of the Merciless is available now via Metal Blade Records @ http://www.metalblade.com/europe/releases/goatwhore-constricting-rage-of-the-merciless/

www.facebook.com/thegoat666

8/10

RingMaster 08/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Unveiling seasons: an interview with Jon Kunz of Rivers of Nihil

RoN

The Conscious Seed of Light is a startling album, a captivating confrontation which devours and stretches senses and thoughts alike with superbly accomplished textures and ruinous craft. The debut from UK progressive death metallers Rivers of Nihil it is an incendiary and uncompromising slab of inventive death metal which resourcefully and skilfully earns all the deserved acclaim it has and will receive. Seizing the opportunity to find out more we had the pleasure to talk about the album, its theme, production and much more with guitarist Jon Kunz.

Hello Jon and thanks for talking with us.

Firstly can you give us some background to the band, it members, and the time leading up to and the beginnings of Rivers of Nihil?

The band was formed in the spring of 2009. Me, Ron, and Jake played in a band prior to forming Rivers of Nihil. We played 1 show as a trio, with Brody and Biggs joining almost immediately after the show. They both were the core of a band who had line-up problems , so they decided to end the band and join up with us. Biggs actually played bass on the first Rivers of Nihil demo, which was a Basement recording of “Human Adaptation”. Brody also filled in for a few shows on second guitar in our old band, so the connection was already there. We tried unsuccessfully to have Brody join Rivers when we first formed, but he was still committed to his other band.

Was there a particular intent or drive to the band as it came to life?

After our old band ended, me and Ron continued to jam on some stuff, but nothing really was working out. We were bullshitting one night about playing shows and how much fun we had, so we figured we’d try to do another band and play death metal. That was the only goal when the band formed and still is our main goal to this day.

Tell us about the band name, is there a big story/meaning behind it or is it just one which emerged and sounded good?

Like any other band naming process, we were throwing around name and Jake said “river of nihilist” or something similar that sounded cool but didn’t make sense whatsoever. I thought of “rivers of nihil” as the idea of existence being nothing. We made the idea fit the name after we came up with it , so it really means nothing.

You have just released your impressive debut album The Conscious Seed of Light, a release we called a demanding and intrusion affair as RiversOfNihil-TheConsciousSeedOfLightwell as one which constantly stimulates and ignites the imagination and passions. There is a definite organic feel to the offering as it provokes and incites the senses; how much is natural evolution in your music and how much of the album was a deliberate steering of its direction and intent?

Thank you! We’re glad the album moved you in such a way. We were looking for a very bleak and depressive atmosphere, something that can give you the chills. That much was intentional, as was the way we approached the songwriting. With the exception of the older tracks we re-recorded, we wanted to write songs, no just some riff and riff thing.

The album is according to the promo release with it, the first of ‘four separate albums tied together with one common theme: each reflecting a particular season of a year.’ Can you expand on that for us and will there be an intense and interlinking connection to the releases than just the overall idea?

Each album will be tied together by the seasons. The next will be the summer. How it’s linked together besides the seasons? Wait and see….

The songs within The Conscious Seed of Light undoubtedly work singularly but equally do feel as if part of a larger canvas. How easy was that to achieve or was it more a case of letting tracks find their own place in the theme naturally?

There wasn’t any thought of naturally linking the songs, rather we wrote them to be able to stand strong on their own before anything else such as theme or concept. When the record was finished being written, we realized they all offer something different but still work cohesively which is awesome. We definitely want the listener to take in the whole thing in from front to back though.

How does the songwriting and its realisation work within Rivers Of Nihil from a song’s initial concept?

Either me or Brody will come forward with some riffs or even a whole song and we’ll start working on it in the practice spot. The last few songs that were written we’re demoed on Brody’s computer , so that is something that we’ll be moving towards with songwriting for the next album.

You recorded The Conscious Seed of Light with legendary producer Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel). How did that come about and how was the experience?

We’re forever indebted to Erik. He reached out to us after we released our first EP expressing how much he dug the band and wanted to record us if the opportunity ever presented itself. Being able to record with a death metal legend such as Erik was incredible and something we’ll all keep in mind for the rest of our lives.

Did you learn new things about your songs whilst working with Erik and what emerged most potently from the recording which you will take into future releases?

For sure…the biggest thing we realized is a lot of our riffs, especially the octave chord ones, are a huge pain in the ass to record due to our low tuning. We had a hell of a time keeping our guitars in tune perfectly for those parts. I think we look at riffs more closely in that regard now.

riversofnihilband2013_638Do your songs continue to evolve from their  ‘demo’ state in the recording process or are you a band which has a pretty much tied down idea and intent with how tracks will emerge before entering the studio?

We have everything completely finished going into the studio. We do pre – production to keep things as smoothly as possible. The studio is stressful enough as it is, outfit it knowing the songs going in make it a million times harder.

How would you say your songwriting and sound has evolved since your early EPs, Hierarchy and Temporality Unbound of 2010 and 2011 respectively?

I’d say we’ve realized the power of song and feeling rather than sheer brutality. A lot of early stuff relied heavy on that, but it’s the easy thing to do for us. We find more enjoyment now doing things the way we do, but I guess you can relate that to growing up a bit. The first Rivers song was written when I was 18. I’m 23 now, I hope I’ve grown up a bit since then !

What brought about the link up with Metal Blade Records, who did the chasing 😉

Tour, tour, tour . Honestly I’d say the hard work we put into this band brought us to the attention of Metal Blade.

Can you tell us about the great artwork for The Conscious Seed of Light?

Dan Seagrave is the fucking man. When we were brainstorming ideas for album art, he was at the top of the list of artists we’d want. Luckily for us he dug the concept and we got a sick piece of artwork.

You are and have been touring and gigging intensely for the album, an area we assume which is just as much a potent outlet and adventure for your creativity and imagination, not forgetting energy. How has that been going and what is ahead for the rest of the year going into 2014?

Touring has been great for us. Being able to go out and see new places and meet new people is a huge reason why we do what we do. The energy you experience on stage is intense, it’s soul appeasing. We’ll continue to do what we do in 2014 and onward.

Are you already deep into plans of the next songs and album or is that too early to contemplate right now?rivers-of-nihil

Maybe 😉 the album was released less than a month ago, it’s still way too early.

We have our ideas but what does The Conscious Seed of Light hold which makes it an important and to our mind an essential investigation for our readers?

It’s hard for me to separate myself considering how much we put into the record. We try to keep it real. No bullshit.

Once again many thanks for sharing time with us. Would you like to leave a final thought or word?

Thank you for the interview ! Get drunk.

Read the review of The Conscious Seed of Light @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/rivers-of-nihil-the-conscious-seed-of-light/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 04/11/2013

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