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

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Master – The Witchhunt

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Eleven albums in with the twelfth upon us, US death metal pioneers Master shows no signs of letting up or taking their creative feet off of the pedal from continuing to make one of the most inspiring potent impacts on the genre. The Witchhunt is their latest phenomenal scourge of the freshest contagious grooves and sonic temptation crafted within an insidious web of bone shuddering rhythms and predatory corrosive riffing.

Since being formed thirty years or so ago by vocalist/bassist Paul Speckmann and drummer Bill Schmidt, the pair meeting when the latter was brought into the former’s band at the time War Cry, the Chicago hailing band has helped sculpt and drive US death metal whilst influencing the genre across its extensive field. The band’s start was not quite a fluid event with the pair struggling to find a suitable guitarist. This led to Schmidt joining Mayhem Inc. and Speckmann starting up Death Strike which used some of the songs intended for Master.  Eventually Speckmann reunited with Schmidt in Death Strike which was subsequently renamed Master and its history truly began. Across their previous swarm of albums the band has continued to enthral and impress, let along incite and inspire many others, their releases never less than gripping and often acclaimed pinnacles of death metal. The trio of Speckmann, guitarist Alex Nejezchleba, and drummer Zdenek Pradlovsky now unleash another undoubted peak with The Witchhunt. Released via FDA-Rekotz, the release comes with a raw and coarse texture which you can imagine will not be for all but certainly brings an intensity and caustic breath which only accentuates the potency and venom coursing through the album’s veins.

The title track starts of the irrepressible temptation, riffs rhythms seizing the ear as a toxic groove permeates the synapses with MASTER_The_Witchhunt_cover_300dpiridiculously addictive bait. Barely a minute into the track with the vocals of Speckmann squalling nastily over the lure, song and album has hunger alight. Settled into its torrential assault the track does lose some of its surprise impact but offers an intensive unrelenting suasion of heavy shadowed urgency and sonic flames instead. It only accentuates the strength and call of the song, the band still yet refreshingly creating their trademark fusion of old school Motorhead, Venom, and early Slayer corruptive death metal enterprise.

The following Plans Of Hate continues the ridiculously addictive climate of sound and aggression if without matching the immense impact of the first. Grooves and imaginative guitar fire spirals across the plain of intensive provocation, whilst the gait of the track is juggernaut like and fuelled with high grade rapaciousness right through to its final swipe before Another Suicide parades its lumbering intensive pads of sound split with wonderfully niggling sonic rabidity and that vocal maliciousness and scurrilous delivery distinct to Speckmann.

The album continues to increase its grip on the senses and passions, getting better with each subsequent track with Waiting to Die next devouring ears and thoughts with its chugging thrash bred resourcefulness and contagious swagger. It alone confirms that the band still has the instinctive ability to create songs which ravage and annihilate whilst taking the listener on an impossible to resist ride of pure infectiousness and impossibly addictive sonic temptation. The guitar imagination which flails the song later on is equally as delicious and bewitching, ensuring every wants and needs of the appetite are catered for. The likes of The Parable with its swarming predation and the smothering, almost suffocating rampage of God of Thunder twist the passions taunt around their sinews and breath-stealing toxic crusades; the constant waspish grooves and sonic stings stalking the senses through the embroiling rhythmic barrage of invention and violence. Equally tracks such as the exceptional and transfixing Remove the Clowns, a song which shows more compelling twists and sonic curves than a pole dancer, and the Motorhead similar Wipe out the Aggressor, well until it unchains grooves and enticements which should be illegal such their addiction, leave the deepest greed for the album’s presence and corruption.

Manipulated to Exterminate sees Speckmann offering a spoken narrative alongside his usual excellent pestilence of a delivery which brings the lyrical side of the song more to the fore. It has to be said that lyrically the album is a bit of the blur but that is more to do with the epidemically narcotic pull of the distracting sounds; with close attention the word side of things is generally as firm as the maelstroms raging around them. The outstanding track is another major highlight in nothing but peaks with the closing furnace of The American Dream a matching destructive conclusion to one beast of a thrilling release.

The band continues to set benchmarks and certainly The Witchhunt will be another marker for fans and bands alike. The album is easily one of the most impressive and enjoyable extreme metal releases of the year, though do we really expect anything else from Master?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Master/18521536017

9.5/10

RingMaster 27/09/2013

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Interview with Adar and Omut from Shturm

Though still really an undiscovered area outside of its borders the metal scene in Russia has a wealth of diverse and exiting bands that are slowly coming to light. One of the best comes in the powerful and impressive shape of blackened death metallers Shturm. They have just released their new album Karmaruna, an album that rages and rampages with a defined craft and refined thought. Having strongly enjoyed the album and intrigued to find out more about the band we had the pleasure of having twin guitarists/vocalists Adar and Omut from the band tell us more about Shturm and their album.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review, many thanks for talking to us.

Would you first introduce the band and its members?

Adar & Omut: Hi! Thank you for your questions! Now “Shturm” is 3 persons: Adar (vocals, guitar), Omut (guitar, clean vocal) and Petreno (drums)

When and how did the band first start?

Adar: The group “Shturm” has appeared early in 2003. I and Sinner (bass, vocal) had organized it. At that time we were playing “war black metal” which can be heard on demo “Shape Of Chaos”. A year later the debut album “Fresh Christian Meat” had been recorded. It wasn’t only a black metal album, there was much more death metal. In 2009 label FONO Ltd. released our second album “Kalahia”. It was a blackened death work. Our image was reflecting the influence of black metal.

What were the influences that led you to getting into making music and those that inspire you now?

Adar: First we were influenced by such groups as Marduk, Immortal, Hipocrisy. Later we couldn’t avoid the influence of such monsters as Nile and Behemoth. Now the influence of these bands is very low. Listening to our album “Karmaruna” everyone can notice there the influence of different groups. So it’s difficult to say exactly who has influenced us during its creation.

Your music has evolved deeply between your demo Shape of Chaos and debut album Fresh Christian Meat in 2004 and your excellent new album Karmaruna. How would you describe the change and maturity that has emerged?

Adar: Really, I don’t know how to answer this question. As the years roll by everything turns out of itself. The childish maximalism concerning the views about life, music and fashion disappears. The music horizons broaden and you want to compose more interesting, distinctive music. Hereby “Karmaruna” appeared. The symbiosis of styles and views about life. We couldn’t allow us to make such a bold album before but now the time has come to break musical ranks and to experiment.

You started out as a brutal black metal based band really originally as you said earlier, what was the thought behind the band at the time?

Adar: That’s right. At that time we were 17 and we were only interested in protest against society, religion (especially Christianity), foundations, all these fops listening sugary pop music. We were like a bundle of nerves, drinking a lot, haggling. All this was reflected in our music – fast, raw, aggressive. It was a true black metal concerning all: views about life, texts, behaviour, attitude to people. We hated those who differed from us and we thought we were the strongest. We even had a song “Overpeople” which speaks for itself.

It seems that when you Omut, joined the band and struck up a strong understanding and combination with Adar that things really began for the band and the new defined shape and direction to your sound. Is that how it was?

Omut: After my appearance in the band much has changed as compared with previous course of things. But changes weren’t revolutionary. I and Adar, we were developing in the direction which was interesting for us, we were creating “Shturm” and we continue to do it. I think changes were gradual and logical.

So the change as much simply a natural evolution of the music as it was down to this reassessing of things then?

Omut: We always try to generate some unexpected, unpredictable decisions within the scope of our musical and lyrical ideas. That’s why the development of the band and of all that connected with it can be considered as planned (because all is often carefully planned) and spontaneous (because musical ideas for a new material are a great surprise even for us).

As mentioned Shturm started out as a black metal band and has evolved through death metal to an even more brutal form though without losing your skilled intricacies and creativity. Have you found you have lost a few fans from the evolution though obviously gained a great many more?

Adar: Oh, yes! Having broken through the ranks of death-black metal we have been subjected to criticism by our old fans. We were reproached for being pop and fashion oriented. But we don’t anger as it’s not true and we prove at our concerts that we are metal group as before but now we are not interested in playing only within the frames of several styles.

What was the metal scene like in Russia over the first few years and did it help or hinder your progress?

Omut: Metal scene of extreme genres in Russia has always been not impressive especially during the times of the formation of our group. It can be explained by the legacy of ban on this music made in The Soviet Union. While all the world was developing in the sphere of heavy music we had a sever ban on it in our motherland. At the early 2000 extreme metal scene represented an embryo under the influence of impressive bands from foreign countries. All this had a great influence on the lack of colouring and originality of Russian heavy metal. All the same we still loved such groups as Drama and Ragor. Russian heavy metal always makes us glad – Aria, Black Coffee, Master, Legion. We love this music and surely it has influenced on us.

It seems now that music from your homeland and surrounding countries is finding a wider market and attention, is that the case?

Omut: Of course, today there are more interesting Russian bands of different styles within the ranks of metal. Some of them are famous and needed abroad and it makes us glad.

You have had a few line-up changes over the years, how does that affect a band when it happens?

Adar: Line-up changes are always disagreeable. It turned out so that people have never left “Shturm” voluntary. We must dismiss them because of their futile approach to the work or we couldn’t simply find the common language. New people bring changes which are almost always good. I hope “Shturm” will have a stable, solid membership ready to compose for life and to do all for the band development.

You have just released your excellent new album Karmaruna as we mentioned, and your most creative release to date. What are you most proud of about it?

Omut: Maybe it’s a subjective judgment but we are proud of many traits and features of “Karmaruna”. The material was composed in unrepresentative atmosphere – we were discussing the finished riffs, ideas and drafts together and we were making the arrangements. That has had an influence on that the album turned out varied concerning style ranks. We are satisfied with both music and texts which gained our own specificity.

Tell us about the album title.

Omut: This is a symbiosis of two words that we wanted to call our next two albums after “Kalagia” – “Karma” and “Runa”. With the lapse of time we decided not to be in a hurry to release the double album and we created the material for “Karmaruna”. Karma is the law of cause and effect in which Buddhists trust. Runa in our interpretation is a sign, display. So, “Karmaruna” is this is how the fate or the karma of a being shows up in the world. In the form of rune signs can be recognized in trees, rain, love, war. According to the law of Karma the seeds of our past actions germinate in our current life and form it. So, as we understand it “Karmaruna” is the life, all around.

What does it offer that those still unaware of your music will find hard to resist?

Omut: I think people with different musical tastes in metal will be able to find something interesting for them in our album. So, the fans of heavy metal can enjoy melodics, the connoisseurs of black and death will like energy and speed. The sappiness of solos and the richness of drum parts make our music resemble to progressive metal. So, “Karmaruna” can be a very interesting for metalheads with different preferences. I’m too modest, aren’t I? 😉

How long has Karmaruna been in the making?

Adar: It took about half a year to compose the material for “Karmaruna”. It took much time to try different arrangements, riffs and words but it’s worth the effort.

 Did the album come out exactly how you imagined it before going into the studio or did it change during the recording process to surprise you?

Adar: Coming at the studio we had a strict plan of actions, almost all the arrangements were recorded on demo that’s why we needed only to record it with better sound quality. So, there were few changes during the recording and all passed as we had planned it. But experimented recording the vocal and it turned out quite different from our plans.

How does the songwriting happen within the band?

Omut: The songs for “Kalagin” were composed discretely by Adar and me. After that they were united in album playlist with few changes. It was a different thing with “Karmaruna” the material was composed by Adar and me but it weren’t finished songs. Raw material was sifted through and saturated with unexpected arrangements by me, Petreno and Adar. Drums and arrangements (and some riffs) of Petreno who took a very active part in composition enriched a lot the sounding of the album.

Your songs and lyrics are often related to and refer too, quoting from your bio, “…the atmosphere of ethnic music, the heritage of Maya and the nations of Oceania, bearing the wisdom and grandeur of the old ones…” Can you elaborate on this?

Omut: This characteristic can be applied partially only to the material of “Kalagia”. The texts for this album represents our interpretations of legends, traditions and mystic cults of “Buddhist” Tibet. On the text side “Karmaruna” became more wide – most of songs speak not about something far and mystic (as before) but about something vital and close to each person. The base is our modest reasoning on the basis of the Buddhist philosophy. Besides the album reveals the themes of patriotism, our private feelings about everyday life.

 What is it about the subject and themes that connect with you the most?

Omut: All about what we sing excite us to a considerable degree. The past of our nation, our private feelings, reasoning about happiness and suffering based on the covenant of Buddhist teachers. All this is important and impressive for us.

You have a reputation for powerful and memorable live shows I am told, this is always a special event you like to bring to your fans?

Omut: We try to push ourselves to the limit giving concerts. This is our way to express live our feelings and ideas born during our albums work. We try to make our show energetic and emotional. We had a different image before. Now we are disposed to the individuality and hope to surprise more those who give us much attention at out concerts.

Have you gigs lined-up to promote the album?

Adar: Yes, we plan concerts to promote “Karmaruna”. For the present it will be the concerts in Russia and CIS, but we hope to travel farther.

What is next for Shturm?

Adar: I think the future will be more interesting for us and for those who appreciate our previous work. Until we live “Shturm” lives. There will be new songs, concerts, clips. I hope we’ll visit England with concerts. Of course it’s not easy but it’s worth doing! We plan the release of a new clip for one of the songs of “Karmaruna”, the recording of EP which will contain one new song and some interesting compositions known by metalheads and connoisseurs of early “Shturm”. And of course the new album which creation has already begun.

Thank you for taking time to talk with us, very much appreciated.

Would you like to end with some words for your ever growing army of fans?

Adar & Omut: Thank you for your questions and your interest in “Shturm”! We wish every success and prosperity to your portal! We express our gratitude to those who like our music – thank you for being with us! Those who only begin to familiarize themselves with our music – welcome to our world, symbiosis of black, death, thrash, heavy and something else…I’ll be damned if I know!:)))

Follow “Shturm”, everything is just beginning. The most interesting is ahead!

Stay heavy!

Read the review of Karmaruna @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/shturm-karmaruna/

The RingMaster Review 02/05/2012

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