Category Archives: Interviews

Into the Primitive: An Interview with El Salvadorian Thrashers, Witchgoat

When I first listened to Witchgoat’s debut effort, Umbra Regit, a restored sense of excitement came over me. Its primitive intensity whisked through my veins, sending chills down my spine with every sick riff. I became curious to know more about these El Salvadorian thrashers, but Witchgoat was seemingly shrouded in obscurity online — with only a small digital presence. Fortunately, I was able to speak with Witchgoat guitarist P. Scyther about the details of the band’s writing process and future plans. Here’s what he had to say…..

Underworld– First things how are you?

P. Scyther– Everything is going well. We are somewhat busy with our jobs, working on the album’s release and our debut that we hope it will occur before this year ends.

Underworld– That’s great! To jump right in, “Umbra Regit” has been getting quite a bit of attention online by webzines and so forth. Besides it being a killer demo, what factors would you guys attribute to the album’s success?

P. Scyther– First of all, we would like to thank all metalheads for the support that the demo Umbra Regit has received, and also we thank the media that supports the underground.

It has been great to find people who are interested in the primitive elements of metal that we have tried to compose. In regards to the response received, we assume that the mix of elements such as speed, aggressiveness and visceral vocalization, all mixed with the sound of the riffs and melodies of old school thrash metal, has resulted in a great response from old school and blackened metal fans.

Witchgoat Guitarist P. Scyther
Witchgoat Guitarist P. Scyther

Underworld– It definitely had that primitive vibe. One of the first things I noticed was the classic feel of this demo and how it brought me back to metal’s heyday back in the late 80s/early 90s. Did you guys intend to recreate that kind of atmosphere on this album? Did any other bands influence the sound of Umbra Regit?

P. Scyther– This classic feel that you mention is a consequence of our own taste for the type of raw/blackened thrash metal which we have been fans of our whole life. Before being musicians, we were enthusiastic fans of these genres so we have tried to impregnate in our demo the elements of those times in which music was honest in its ideas and above all in its sound avoiding excessive technological refinements.

We believe that metal must have a dose of rawness such as the one this genre had when it began in Europe and Latin America in the middle 80’s. At the same time, we have tried to incorporate and admire very much, the melodic part that blackened death metal bands impregnated to the genre in the 90’s. All of this tried to preserve the tuning and a tone close to the standard used by the first old thrash metal bands.

In regards to the sound, we have various influences of thrash metal albums such as: Schizophrenia from Sepultura, Inverted Crosses from The Unsane, Fragments of Insanity from Necrodeath, this kind of stuff… and even classic bands like Bathory, Death, Possessed, Mercyful Fate, Aura Noir and Sarcófago, etc…

Underworld– Schizophrenia is easily my favorite Sepultura album. I definitely hear the same elements of raw intensity on “Umbra Regit.” El Salvador isn’t always the first country people think of when it comes to metal, but doing a quick Google search, it seems that there’s somewhat of a thriving scene in the country. Should metal heads be paying closer attention to the El Salvadorian scene?

P. ScytherEl Salvador is a country with underdevelopment in many aspects. However, like other regions in Latin America, the metal scene has been growing gradually and even though there is not a huge number of outstanding bands, there are some that we recommend and that have represented this region well such as: Conceived by Hate, Disorder, Invocation of Death, Morbid Stench, Dismal Gale, Tabú, among others.

Witchgoat Drummer E. Driller

Underworld– I’ll have to check out some of those bands for sure! Tell me a little about the process that went into writing “Umbra Regit?” How long have you guys been at this? Do you have time to practice as much as you’d like? Metal is DIY in my experience, with bands marketing themselves and buying studio time themselves etc. How much of your blood sweat and tears went into this demo?

P. Scyther– As far as the demo’s composition process and the long play, which is completely recorded and hoping to be released by the end of this year, I can say that music was totally composed in the middle of 2016 and 2017.

Since then, time has served to rehearse and assemble the drums and bass adequately, and to develop a complete concept that includes an agreement regarding the philosophy expressed in the lyrics, and that which we share among the members of Witchgöat. We consider this an important aspect of our music and Morbid Miasma, the band’s vocalist, has taken sole charge of this.

Regarding the composition of the music, sometimes it is easy and ideas come up without much effort. On the contrary, sometimes more time and inspiration is required to obtain the desired result. Either way we shape our creations and work in them until we are fully satisfied with the result.

The production of the Umbra Regit demo has been precarious and much of the sound is actually intentional. Guitars were recorded in my home study and the drums in the studio of a close friend. Vocals and bass were recorded in Devil’s Eve Studios owned by M. Miasma. The mixing was done by us and the mastering was done by a friend of the band. We are pleased with the demo sound because we believe that a demo should have a raw and honest sound but with enough power to show the music that the band is making and to demonstrate the concept. From that point of view we believe that this is an honest production.

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Witchgoat Umbra Regit Official Banner

Underworld– “Towards the Gulgalta” is one of the most emotional acoustic pieces I’ve heard in a long time. Ending the demo that way was a bold choice. Tell the readers a little been about what influenced you to make that choice. Were you just trying to show range, or was there some other inspiration?

P. Scyther– Thank you for your kind words. Towards the Gûlgaltâ is a piece played with acoustic guitars. We intended to evoke a state of melancholy and darkness in the way old Swedish bands of the middle 90’s used to do. Big influences such as Lord Belial and Dissection have absolutely impregnated in our minds their seal and have marked our path in metal.

A composition like this finale definitely intends to create an atmosphere that will take us to this era and is merged with our own composition essence. It was selected to finalize the demo with the intention of creating some kind of melancholic epilogue following the demo’s chaos and melodic violence.

Underworld– Given the demo’s underground success, do you foresee getting on the bill for fests in the near future? Is there anything already in the works?

P. Scyther- Thanks for saying that, we are taking this step by step so we are focused right now on releasing the debut album and try to get a good promotion and distribution for it. After that maybe we will start in some new material but so far there is no clear vision of possible live performances. We do have some ideas for future releases that we are working on.

Underworld– I’m sure fans will be happy to hear that? When can they expect the first full length LP to be released? What else can we expect from Witchgoat in the future?

P. Scyther– The short-term plans are the release of the full-length album by the end of this year 2018, which is almost a reality. We are working on the final details and hope to have news about the release very soon. Additionally, we are currently working on making new music and rehearsing for preparing new material in order to keep on dispersing in the future our musical pestilence worldwide through the underground.

You can purchase Witchgoat’s demo, Umbra Regit Here

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Decade of Death: An Interview with Jim Roe of The Primitive

Jim Roe

From iconic death metal gods Incantation, to Goreaphobia, Disciples of Mockery, Terror, Womb, and more; Jim Roe has drummed his way to legendary underground notariety.  There isn’t much going in the midwestern/east coast metal scene that Jim Roe hasn’t had his hand in.  With over two decades of experience under his belt, he has certainly built the impressive resume.  And thankfully for the fans, this workaholic shows no signs of slowing down.

Jim Roe’s current focus has been on his solo project, The Primitive, which he aptly describes as “pounding death metal”.  His EP “Founded in Hell” is an old school death metal fans’ wet dream with its blugeoning blasts and sickeningly heavy death metal riffs.  I chatted with Jim Roe to talk about his inspiration for The Primitive, his involvement with Terror, and his plans for the future.  This is what he had to say.

Underworld– You have quite a lengthy heavy metal resume. Tell the readers a little bit about your involvement in various bands. How has playing a variety of different styles of death and thrash metal influenced your writing?

Jim Roe– Yeah. I guess over the years I have played in some different death and thrash bands. I don’t think I approach it very differently. I just play. It seems to me whenever you create music with other people, you get a glimpse into how they view music and where they are coming from. I think everybody walks away with a different angle on music.  At least people that are open to it.

Jim Roe

Underworld– It’s definitely important for a musician to be adaptable.  So, cliche question, but who are your biggest influences as a musician?

Jim– Celtic Frost, Bonded by Blood era Exodus, Slayer, Death, Autopsy, Dark Angel. Other than death metal my earlier influences  would have to be Bill Ward – Black Sabbath, John Bonham- Led Zepplin, Ginger Baker – Cream, Blind Faith, Alice Cooper, Peter Criss- Kiss, Rock n Roll Over was a big influence when I was very young. Steve Gadds drumming on Steely Dan’s Aja really blew me away and still does.

Underworld– Nice!  A lot of great stuff there.  I’m a huge Kiss fan too.  So, tell the readers about your involvement with Terror. Are you still with the band?

Jim– Yes, I’m still working with the band.   Brian and J.J (RIP) have been friends of mine for many years. We have some shows coming up, June 9th in Detroit and June 10th in Chicago. I will be drumming for Terror. I played on the last 7” Hells Headbanger put out for Terror. We redid some classic Terror, Legions of Gore and Carving Techniques and we are talking about some recordings in the near future.

Underworld– That’s great to hear!  So, what brought on your interest in pursuing a solo project?

Jim– I just really love making music, making metal. Bands seem to come and go, at this point in life I have a little more time for music so learning more about music and playing more instruments and thinking of words and concepts is really great, it keeps me sane. Playing in a band when things are good is great, but when things are bad…its really bad. The Primitive, I can always do. It wont fall apart because four or five grown men can’t get along.

Goreaphobia

Underworld– That makes a lot of sense. I think fans of yours through Incantation, WOMB, Disciples of Mockery, Goreaphobia all knew you as a drummer. When did you start learning to play other instruments and do vocals?

Jim– Not too long ago, I would say when Goreaphobia started to go from everything being really great to everything being really bad. This was the time I started thinking I need to make my own music.

I had done a lot of contributing to the music with Goreaphobia, not the concepts or lyrics, however, because Chris is a master at that. At that time I couldn’t play guitar at all.  I had never tried but I would play the drums and when I did, a melody would kind of happen in my head from the pattern/rhythms I was playing. I would sing or hum these melodies to Alex, mostly, and he would work out the parts on the guitar.  Together, we would turn it into music.  The songs Apolcalyptic Necromancy, and a couple others were done entirely like this.

I had a big part in creating and writing music in all the bands that I have recorded with; WOMB, Incantation, DOM, Goreaphobia. So to do all this over and over again and then just have it all fall apart just gets exhausting. It seemed to me like the only thing to do was pick up the guitar and start trying to play those melody/rhythms myself. So to make a long story longer, I bought my first guitar in 2013.

Underworld– Wow!  You really picked up fast then!  You described Found in Hell by The Primitive as “Pounding Death Metal”. Tell the readers a little bit about what you mean by that.

Jim– I guess I am just aiming to play the type of metal I like; hard hitting, beating the crap out of the drum set death metal.

Underworld– Do you think The Primitive will ever have session musicians and play live?

Jim– Yes, I have two shows booked now for this June. The guys from Terror will be helping me get it done.

Underworld– Great!  So, what are your thoughts on the current Midwestern metal scene? A lot of musicians have complained the scene is waning. Do you think things could be looking up in the coming years?

Jim– To me the scene has always kinda been the same. People talk about the early 90s like the scene was so great, “The Glory Years”. I don’t remember it being much different then now. There are a lot more bands now but the shows are about the same.

Underworld– Finally, what can fans expect to hear from you in the coming months? Any shows?

Jim– Lots of music to come and hopefully many live shows. Cheers and thanks for the interview.  Metal!

You can purchase Founded in Hell and The Primitive at https://theprimitive.bandcamp.com/.  For now stay true!  Hails!

 

TERROR in Cleveland: An Interview with Brian Sekula

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Few reunions were met with more excitement than Cleveland’s own, Terror. After over twenty years on hiatus, the band conglomerated once again in late 2015 to re-release a classic single and give jaded metal heads the blistering assault they’ve been aching for for too long. The band has been making waves in the underground elite since they were confirmed to open Cleveland’s up and coming festival, Hells Headbash. I spoke to singer/guitarist, Brian Sekula about the future of the band, his thoughts on metal’s current state, and upcoming shows. Here’s what he had to say……

Underworld- Hello. Hows things? So Terror’s reunion is really exciting for fans because it’s been a long time coming. What was it like recording with the guys after over twenty years? Did it feel like a reunion, or just like old friends jamming?

Brian- Things are well thanks. We are happy to have a release out after many years the songs we rerecorded versions of older songs written in the late 80s and with the help of my longtime friend ex-Incantation drummer, Jim Roe, we were able to give these songs the little extra they deserved. Over all the years, I still love the original versions, but as my own worse critic, it was nice to go through and do them again, especially with Jim.

I have long been a fan of his style of drumming and was lucky he was able to lend a hand with this project. Replacing my brother on guitar after his passing, is my son Alex. He has come along way as a guitar player after being spoon-fed these songs over the years by both of us, and at one point played bass guitar in another version of the band when he was 16.  It’s in his DNA and I think he’s a perfect fit to fill in after his uncle’s passing. So to answer the second half of your question, it didn’t feel like anything beside family. I consider all the members family past and present.

Underworld- On the latest single, you guys played new renditions of two of your classic songs, Legion of Gore and Carving Techniques. What made you guys decide on those two songs?

Brian- The choice behind choosing those songs was just luck of the draw. They are old fan favorites and they were good choices, but there was nothing behind the choices besides the ones I chose to ask Jim to learn and record. We plan on choosing other old songs to re-record from other demos and will try to make them as close to the original’s as possible but with a better production value.

Underworld- Since you guys have reunited, I’m assuming, better yet hoping, that you’re planning on writing new material. Is that the case? If so, are you guys planning on keeping in tandem with that old school, primitive sound that you guys are so known for?

Brian- We have a few things in the works. The first one is a release on Stormspell Records of all the demos back to back with amazing new artwork and classic photos titled “DECADES OF TERROR. I believe it will be a twelve page booklet with lyrics. That has always been a request to have the lyrics printed on a release, so it’s going to take time to get it done right. The songs are also being remastered, so they will be the best quality we can salvage because most of the original analog reels that the old demos were on have long been destroyed in a fire. The studio we used to record in burned down shortly after the second demo.

As far as new material goes, only time will tell. It’s something I would like to do and keeping it in the vein of the old material shouldn’t be a problem because the guys are amazing and about as old school as it gets, so as long as we can concentrate on the shows we have coming up and the new release and promoting the current release on Hells Headbangers, we should be able to be inspired to write some new material.

terror
This picture’s older than most of my readers

Underworld- Speaking of old school, you guys have been around the metal scene for a long time. How do you feel about metal’s current state in comparison with back in the day?

Brian- There is no comparison. I’m sure new bands feel the way we did when they create music and enjoy playing shows but Cleveland has had its ups and downs over the years. A lot of tours pass us up as a market because of low attendance and local shows are even harder. The great attended local fest or show has become a thing of the past and that sucks.

We have always been known for great talent and great collage radio support, but it’s just hard to get the people in this town to support anything that’s not on a trendy, national level. You’ll have a great local show with 60 to 100 people in attendance the national comes through and all the people come out of the woodwork makes you think “what the fuck”? It would be so much better if people would just give some of these bands a shot.

Underworld- Yeah, it’s unfortunate that local shows don’t get the support they deserve, considering the caliber of music Cleveland has to offer. Luckily, I’ve found Hells Headbash is drawing necessary attention to Cleveland as a mecca for metal. Anyhow, I’m curious, tell me a little about your decision to release the latest single on a 7 inch rather an MP3 or even a CD. Did you have a specific reason for doing so?

Brian- No reason. I wanted to have it on all formats and intend to do so eventually. The guys at Hells Headbangers said doing a 7 inch was the right thing to do considering it just two songs. With the collectability of vinyl these days, I agreed. I wanted to release a 7 inch for quite some time and those guys do such nice work and truly support the local scene. And if people are into the MP3 thing, rather than physical copies, check out the Hells Headbangers bandcamp page. All digital formats are available there as well as quality, two sided, limited run shirts…

hhb

Underworld- Speaking of Hells Headbangers, you guys were recently signed to that label. How are things going with them? Do you feel like signing with them was a good decision overall?

Brian- Were just friends in metal. We have no commitment in writing with Hells, it’s just the right fit for us and we trust them. They are men of there word, they do what they say they will, and we will continue to work with them if they show interest in where this band is going. They are great scene supporters.

Underworld- Are you pretty excited to play the big stage at Hells Headbash in September?

Brian- Headbash III is going to be fun. We have decided to open the event so if you are wanting to see us play live with the mighty Jim Roe of Incantation, who’s coming in all the way from New Jersey and playing drums for us, get there on time and get your money’s worth. The last thing I want to hear from everyone is I didn’t know you guys were playing so early. Well, here’s your notice. We are going to be the first band on Friday night, so get there early and don’t miss it! We’re performing a special, never played before set. I mean never!! There is a lot of talent joining us and we plan on delivering the goods, so support the scene get there on time and have a great weekend. If it’s better than last year, then you’re all in for a great weekend of classic rare performances.

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Underworld- Terror was also recently confirmed to play the late Jim Konya’s (former drummer for Nunslaughter, Schnauzer etc.) Life Celebration Show. Is that going to be difficult for you guys considering the circumstances?

Brian- Konya Fest is also going to be a great show. He was always one of the band’s biggest supporters and we are going to give it all for our fallen comrade. We have special friends filling in to make the show happen, such as Chris Dora (Decrepit /Soulless) taking care of the drums and Duane Morris, from Decrepit as well, filling in on the other guitar for all our show commitments throughout the rest of the year. This will be an important show in Cleveland many people plan to travel to attend. It’s a worthy cause as well. They will be starting a scholarship in Jim’s memory at Kent State for music to pass the metal torch to another musician. Be there!

Underworld- Oh, I plan on it!! Finally, what can fans expect for the future of the band? Is this reunion intended to be long lasting or short lived?

Brian- We are going to continue to record and play select shows and do it as long as it’s fun. I know many other musicians have said the same thing but you have to be passionate about music to make it work because there is no money in it! So as long as we are doing the right thing and recording great music, we will continue to do so, maybe at a slower pace than the old days because we all have to make a living and cannot make our music our number one priority but it is definitely our number one passion. As long as people are into what were doing, we will continue to play. We have always been a fan friendly band and have always appreciated the support we have received over the years, so with that being said, everyone try and make it to the up and coming shows. Say hello, pick up some new merchandise, or a copy of the new release if you don’t have it yet, and support the scene. Thanks for the interview and the support.

To purchase a physical or digital copy of Carving Techniques, as well as rare merchandise from Terror, visit Hells Headbangers official website at the following link  http://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/terror-legion-of-gore-vinyl.asp. Don’t be a cheap fuck! Buy shit!

A Taste of the Old School- An Interview with Matt Sorg of Ringworm and Shed the Skin

Matt Sorg (1)
Being a Cleveland native, I am not only proud of the diverse metal scene in Cleveland but I also often find myself frustrated by how often Cleveland metal is overlooked. Bands like Embalmer, Blood of Christ, Decrepit, Soulless, and Ringworm all hail from Cleveland and help to mold the unique tone of Ohio metal. Matt Sorg found himself at the center of the Cleveland metal movement long ago, and has been a part of numerous bands, including Blood of Christ, Soulless, Decrepit, Ringworm, and the recent project, Shed the Skin. I spoke with Matt about the future of Ringworm, the new album, and Shed the Skin. Here’s what he had to say.

Underworld- First of all, how are you?

Matt Sorg- I’m good. Thanks.

Underworld- Ringworm just did a split with Early Graves that’s set to be released in April. What was it like working with the guys in Early Graves?

Matt Sorg- Our manager set up that split for us. We didn’t have any contact with Early Graves. We recorded our tracks here at Bad Back Studios with Dave Johnson and then sent them out to Joel Grind for the mastering.

We recorded four songs, two originals and two covers. One original and our cover of Motorhead’s Iron Fist are coming out on the Early Graves split and the other original and a cover of Venom’s Poison are coming out on a split with a new band called Brain Tentacles. They’re a really heavy experimental band that has Aaron Dallison (Keelhaul) on bass, Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) on saxophone and Dave Witte (Municipal Waste) on drums. That one is coming out soon on A389 Records.

Underworld- The single was heavy as hell! Were you pretty happy with the outcome of the split?

Matt Sorg- Yeah, both splits came out really good. We also just finished mixing a new full length record at Spider Studios with Ben Schigel that just got sent out to be mastered and James is finishing up the artwork now. That will be out on Relapse hopefully in the fall of this year

Underworld- That’s great! So, being in a hardcore/thrash band, what are your thoughts on the division that’s developed within the genres? Are you a fan of some of the newer bands that are incorporating hardcore elements into their sound?

Matt Sorg- I don’t listen to much newer music so I’m really not the best guy to answer this. I’m old. Haha. I like Thin Lizzy, Discharge, Voivod and Motorhead.

Underworld- Fair enough. Is Ringworm currently on tour or planning a tour?

Matt Sorg- We go out for a month long US tour with Unearth starting on March 18.

Underworld- Ringworm has been playing shows and touring for years so you must have a ton of stories. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you guys during a show or on tour?

Matt Sorg- There are a lot of good ones over the years. In 2001 on the Birth Is Pain US tour, we played a show in Savannah Georgia. James and I got really hammered. James puked on the bar and we were just obnoxious and we got in the van and left to drive and find a hotel. Dora was driving the van and Frank was in the front passenger seat. I passed out on the floor behind Frank and James passed out in one of the van seats. Dora hit a bump, I woke up and immediately puked on the pillow that I was using. Frank turned around and said “did you puke?” I said no because I didn’t want Chris to know I puked in his van but Frank said “bullshit. I can smell it.”

Anyway, I pushed the pillow aside and passed out again. When they found a hotel, they couldn’t get either of us to wake up and so they left us in the van. It was mid summer in the south and so it was crazy hot! It had to be like 95 degrees when the sun came up. I woke up and somehow James and I had switched spots in the night and I was in his seat and he was on the floor with his head in the pillow that I had puked in.

The smell in the van was just whiskey, sweat and vomit and I woke him up and he lifted his head up and his hair was caked with my puke. We were totally sweaty and dehydrated. We both felt like death and had no idea what room the other guys were in or anything but the scene was ridiculous. As shitty as we felt, we couldn’t help but laugh.

We’ve been lucky enough to tour with some of our favorite bands like Voivod, Napalm Death, Agnostic Front, Mindshare, Eyehategod, Macabre and a bunch of others that we’ve made friends with. We’ve had a lot of good times on the road and there’s still more to come.

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Underworld- Haha! Great story! Anyway, I’d like to talk about your other project, Shed the Skin, for a moment. How did everything get started with that?

Matt Sorg- October of 2012 marked the 15th year anniversary of our friend Tom Rojack’s death and Duane Morris wanted to put together a memorial show at the Jigsaw on the date. Since I had been in Blood of Christ with Tom, Duane asked me to help him put together a Blood of Christ tribute set where he would do the Tom role of guitar and vocals.

I asked Ed Stephens who had been in Civil Disobedience with Tom back in the day and Kyle Severn who we’d all known since back in the early 90’s when he was in a band with Aaron Dallison called Escalation Anger to fill out the lineup.

BOC also used to use some keyboards here and there so we got my friend Brian Boston who played the keys in FROM THE DEPTHS to play also. We rehearsed a few times and then the show was just fucking killer and a few weeks after that, Kyle got a hold of me and said how much fun he’d had playing those old songs with us and he thought it would be a good idea to write some new material in that same BOC vein and start a new band. Since it all started as a tribute to Tom, I thought we should name the band after one of the BLOOD OF CHRIST songs so we ended up calling it SHED THE SKIN

Underworld- The demo is fantastic! So heavy! Was it your intention to recreate that old school, Cleveland sound, or did it just sort of happen organically?

Matt Sorg- It definitely was intentional. We set out to kind of recreate that BOC vibe. I had been in BOC, Decrepit, From The Depths and Dead of Night before joining Ringworm and playing that BLOOD OF CHRIST set at Tom’s show really made me miss playing that old death metal style that I spent so many years playing in my 20’s.

This band is a way for me and all of us to relive that era. Obviously, Kyle still plays death metal with INCANTATION but for me it’s a return to my roots and for him, it’s a different style of playing than what he does in Incantation.

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Underworld- What happened with Duane Morris? How did you guys end up working with Ash Thomas, your current vocalist?

Matt Sorg- When Kyle said we should start a band, I originally thought we would just keep the lineup from the BOC tribute set and that’s what we set out to do but we recorded the music for the 7” sometime in early 2013 and it sat for a really long time waiting for Duane to lay down the vocals.

After months and months of waiting, Kyle and I decided that if we wanted to move forward with this, we would have to find someone else to do the vocals. I think Duane just had too much on his plate. He’s gonna come up on stage with us to sing a couple BOC songs at the Hells Headbash.

We knew Ash for a really long time and Kyle asked him if he was interested and he was so we sent him the tracks and he sent us back the two songs with vocals within just a few days. We were really happy with what he did so I asked him to put a guitar solo in the song Rebirth Through Brimstone and he did and then we sent the tracks to Dan Swano to mix and master it.

Underworld- I was incredibly excited to hear that Shed the Skin was just confirmed to play Hells Headbash III. Does this mean that new Shed the Skin material is underway?

Matt Sorg- Yes, we have a full length record that’s being pressed right now. It was also recorded at Bad Back Studios with Dave Johnson and Dan Swano did the mixing and mastering again.

James (HF) Bulloch did the album cover art and layout and it looks fucking amazing! We wanted James’ art on the 7” and the LP because he did the BLOOD OF CHRIST artwork that we used for the I.N.R.I. 7” cover and the art for our 93 demo and since this band started as a tribute and sort of a continuation of that, we really wanted his art for these records.

There are 12 songs on the record, one of which is an old BLOOD OF CHRIST tune called Innermost Sanctuary that Tom and I wrote together in 1993 that never got recorded until now. I remembered how to play the song all these years later and I also remembered the title but we didn’t have the lyrics anymore so we had Chuck Sherwood from Incantation write new lyrics for it that fit the song title.

Chuck wrote all the SHED THE SKIN lyrics for us. Back in the BOC days, Tom used to just fake the lyrics right up until we were in the studio recording the songs and then he’d sit down and jot down some stuff from the Satanic Bible and fill in the lyrics that he’d been faking up until then so it probably never actually had finished lyrics anyway until now. The record is called Harrowing Faith and will be out this summer on Hells Headbangers.

Underworld- Any other exciting plans for the future of the band?

Matt Sorg- We hope to play some more festival gigs and maybe a few shows here and there when RINGWORM and IINCANTATION’s schedules allow time for it.
On top of the two Ringworm split 7” EP’s and the SHED THE SKIN and RINGWORM LP’s that are about to be released.

Hells Headbangers is also putting out a deluxe gate-fold vinyl version of the first FROM THE DEPTHS release. It was originally two demos released on one CD by Duane’s Dismal Records label in 1996.

I started that band with Jim Konya who went by the stage name Malcolm Judas Anthony in FTD. Both of the demos that Jim sang on were on the original CD and now for the first time are being released on vinyl. Jim already worked on the layout with Hells Headbangers before he died.

This was a record he had been talking about and working towards releasing now for many years. I really wish it would have come out while he was here to see it but I know he’d be happy that it’s finally getting released. It’s set to be released on Jim’s birthday, April 21st. They should be available at the Jim tribute show on April 23rd at The Agora.

Be sure to check out Shed the Skin’s new EP, entitled Rebirth Through Brimstone on Bandcamp. You can buy merchandise through Hells Headbangers. Ringworm’s newest split is available for streaming on YouTube. You can also stream Ringworm’s material on Bandcamp on merchandise through the band’s label, Relapse Records.

Is None More Brutal- An Interview With Eric Newton of Sodomized

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Brutal death grind foursome, Sodomized have been making waves since reuniting a few years back and even caught the attention of other, big name acts, such as Black Dahlia Murder. Being close friends with most of the members of the band, and having witnessed their success first hand, I decided to get the inside scoop on the future of the band. I spoke with formative member and vocalist, Eric Newton, (also known as “Fig”) about the band’s success, writing process, line up changes, and plans for the future. Here’s what he had to say.

Underworld- First of all, how are you?

Eric- Doing alright thanks.

Underworld- The new album, Raised in Meat, has been been receiving a lot of underground success, tell me how that’s been for you guys.

Eric- It’s been pretty cool. I’m not sure if it’s a “success” we put the CD out ourselves, I haven’t done much with getting them out to distros, labels, ect. Brian, our old bass player, had the connections for that but he left the band last year so we’ve been selling them at shows and on our big cartel site

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Underworld- I heard something about Trevor Strnad,the singer from Black Dahlia Murder, recognizing Raised in Meat as one of the best albums of 2015. Do you think that has helped your guys’ success at all?

Eric- Yeah that helped big time! He writes a column for Metal Injection (I think?) and we were on a list he did that was for CD’s to check out then we were on his best underground albums of 2015. That was an honor for sure. Trevor actually ordered the CD which is totally cool for him to do being at the success and level that hes at, I have a lot of respect for him and his support of the underground scene. Paul (from EMBALMER) has also really helped us out a lot too getting the word out there.

Underworld- You guys have some insanely hilarious and offensive lyrical themes, tell me a little bit about the writing process.

Eric- Um actually if Bob (guitars) told you we have lyrics he’s lying. I never really saw the purpose in having lyrics since people don’t know what I’m saying anyway hahaha. We don’t have a set writing process we just start jamming and whatever sounds good we work on it.

Underworld- So wait, you literally just grunt into the mic?

Eric- Hahaha, somewhat.  I’ll use random words or make fun of someone in the audience…..or Bob.  He’s always a good target. 

 

Underworld- Oh man, that’s even better. So, speaking of your writing process, who are your biggest influences?

Eric- We started out back in 1993 so I feel we take a lot musically, as influences, from Incantation, Bolt Thrower, Cannibal Corpse, and Terrorizor. The song style is still the same but with a little update but we definitely are an old-school style death metal band.

Underworld- The band was on something like a ten year hiatus. Tell me why the band initially split and what sparked an interest in a reunion.

Eric- We were on hiatus from 1998 til 2012. Dan (drums) was moving to Florida, at the time, and I didn’t really wanna continue the band without him since he and I formed the band (along with his brother Joe). Plus, it really wasn’t going anywhere and I was kinda burned out with the whole scene and what not, so I took I break as well.

The reunion show happened at the just the right time. Getting back together to play the Feast Of The Deceased fest was in memory of our brother Andy James who passed away in 1996. Dan brought the idea up about doing a show in Andy’s memory and Joe (original guitarist/bassist) was gonna be in town at the time so we figured lets do it. It was supposed to be only one show but there was an interest for the band and we had a great time jamming again so here we are.

Underworld- You guys recently changed bassists, tell the readers a little bit about what happened with your former bass player, Brian Baxter, and how things are going with the new bass player, Rob. Also, did Rob write/play all the bass lines on Raised in Meat?

Eric- Brian left the band beginning of last summer. He got married and I guess wanted to enjoy that part of life. I haven’t heard much from him since he left but he’s doing good. He’s still our brother and I actually miss the big dummy. We went to high school together and we’ve been good friends ever since. Rob is such an amazing bassist and musician and all around great guy we are very lucky to have him. Brian played bass on the “Raised In Meat” CD.

Underworld- I think we all miss seeing Brian around but I’m glad he’s happy. So, I know you guys like to experiment with different tuning, tell the readers a little bit about how you guys achieved your sound on the new album.

Eric- We don’t experiment with different tuning, its an argument between me and Bob. I say D flat he says there is no D flat and its C sharp or some tech term for it. We achieved the mighty guitar tone from solid state Randall amp and Metal Zone pedal. Bob will hate me even more for saying that hahaha, fuck yo Peavy Bob!!!!

Underworld- Hahaha! So anyway, are you guys in the process of writing a new album at the moment?

Eric- Yea we’ve been working on new material we have 2 new songs as of now. It’s been kind of a slow process but no sense in rushing it.

Underworld- Great! You definitely don’t want to rush it. Not at the expense of the sound at least. So as far as live shows are concerned, can fans look forward to more touring in the near future?

Eric- We only can do weekend runs if we do any type of out of state shows. We all have decent jobs, family, kids, ect. So to drop all that and go out on tour isn’t very feasible, it would be nice but gotta have your priorities first, ugh the adult life is a bitch!!!

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Underworld- Amen to that! So, finally, tell the readers about the funniest that’s ever happened to you guys on the road or the stage.

Eric- Funniest road trip story was when we played Chicago last summer. Bobs uncle Rock went with us and got totally wasted and was going up to random groups of girls and talking to them but not realizing he had drum hardware in his hand. He also did this weird walk thing on the way back where he would start spinning his left arm to go right, or vice versa, to help him attempt to walk a straight line.

Well, there you have it. Sodomized certainly looks like they’re working on great stuff, granted adulting doesn’t get in the way. Order their new CD, Raised in Meat, or any custom merch off the band’s distribution site http://sodomized.bigcartel.com or you’re a posevr. Stay brutal.

Thrash Metal, Guitars, and Reunions: An Interview with Warbringer

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Only a few years ago, new wave thrash aficionados, Warbringer were talking about calling it quits. Three members had quit the band and things did mot look good for Warbringer after the release of 2013’s Empire’s Collapse. So you could not imagine my surprise when the band announced their American tour early this year. They was also talk of a new album in the works. I sat down with formative band member and guitarist Adam Carrol, as well the band’s drummer, Carlos Cruz to discuss the tour, the new album and the future of Warbringer. Here’s what they had to say.

Underworld- First off, how you guys doing?

Carlos/ Adam- Good, good.

Underworld- Awesome! So how was the show in New York?

Carlos- Oh in Rochester? Surprisingly great! It was a good turnout for everybody. There was one local act and four bands opening. Everybody had a great time.

Underworld- Good! So, I think your fans wanna know, what’s the direction of the new album? How are things going with that?

Carlos- As of right now, nothing seems to be written. There was a previous lineup of the band that were working on a potential record. Unfortunately, out of five members, three of them are no longer in the group, so for this particular tour, it would be myself on drums, and then we have two fill in players to help us out on second guitar and bass guitar.

So as for right now pretty much the only obligation and what we’re putting all our efforts toward is fulfilling this tour. We still have another six or seven weeks on the road, so after we return home we’re going to start fresh in the writing process.

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Underworld- Okay, so with having new members in the band, does everyone have the same vision? I know what was on the last album was really great, is this album going to be a continuation of that sound or are you thinking about changing things up a bit?

Carlos- Well, it’s been nearly three years now since that record was written, maybe released a little bit later of course, but, like I said, we’ve got two new players who we consider fill ins because they’re more or less learning the older material for the purpose of the tour to fulfill our live set. Now the three actual remaining members would be myself, Adam, and our vocalist, John. The three of us have pretty similar interest in music and work well together.

Even with Adam it will be a different approach because Adam wasn’t in the group for the last record so it definitely will be a whole new kind of sound. Were moving forward. There’s definitely been a natural progression with each record. The lineup has a lot to do with the sound on each record and the composition so I’m sure it will be a whole new sound.

Underworld- Cool! This question is directed more at Adam, being the guitar player. A lot of the guitar work on Empire’s Collapse was great. I’m sure your fans are wondering how you guys achieve your sound?

Carlos- Me being the drummer, I had a lot of time to compose music on the guitar. Adam has been in the group since the beginning, so he’s a returning member, and played on the first three records, just not on the fourth.

Sound wise, it was a mix of the producer having a bunch of gear in the studio that he preferred to use on top of what the band owned, so as far as the technical aspect is concerned, we used amplifiers ranging from MESA Boogie to using different guitars like Jackson or Fender. We worked with the same producer for the last two albums and they do sound very different overall, not musically speaking, but more the sound of the guitar, drum etc.

Underworld- This question is a little more difficult but you guys were talking about breaking up after Empire’s Collapse. Since reuniting, have things been better? Do you see a long future for Warbringer or is this kind of a farewell tour?

Adam- It’s kind of a rebuilding tour, because basically we had members quit after Empire came out, so Carlos and I started trying to rebuild and we had to hire three members to replace the members that quit as of late last year. We got our two fill ins and we got Carlos, so we just get through this tour and see what comes after but we have no intentions of stopping. We’re slowly climbing back to where we once were.

Underworld- That’s so great to hear. So, last question, when can fans expect the new album to come out?

Carlos- If we have time to write it at our own pace, we’re going to do that, but definitely sometime this year, or at the very latest, early next year. We intend to take our time to write a good album. We don’t want to rush anything.

Things are definitely looking good for the future of Warbringer. The band is currently on a US tour. Look out for them in your hometown.

Infuscation Interview

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If you haven’t heard about the budding metal scene in Dhaka, Bangladesh, well you my friend, have been missing out. In the past five years the land of Bengal has been churning out quality bands by the dozen and they don’t seem to be stopping. Bands like Morbidity and Orator put Bangladesh on the map with the raw and unpolished death thrash that has come to define the sound of Bengal. Since then, bands have been blazing through Bangladesh like wildfire. Death/thrash outfit, Infuscation are no exception. Forming earlier this year, Infuscation is a three piece, raw, death metal band out of Dhaka that’s planning to release their much anticipated debut album before the year’s end. I spoke with the band’s guitarist and main songwriter, Aaswad Arif about the new album, the local scene, and the band’s plans for touring next year. Here’s what he had to say.

Underworld Zine: First of all, how are you?

Aaswad Arif: Got a little daunted by current terrorism and conspiracies beyond them. Oh well, we are doing fine.

Underworld Zine: Yeah, I think we’re all pretty shaken up by the whole ordeal. We’re all grieving for the those who lost their lives and their loved ones. So sad. But metal must live on, am I right? Tell the readers about your band?

Aaswad Arif: Well, we are “Infuscation”. We are a three piece. Aaswad Arif is the guitarist and songwriter, Aymun Khan is the bassist and vocal, Navin Iqbal is the drummer. This band is all about dark philosophies, Occult-fiction, Mythology. During college days Aymun and Aaswad (Me) found that we had same taste in music. We both used to listen to heavy music. Basically the old school stuffs. I mean, Iron Maiden was a part of our daily conversation. Then we started to explore more of it, we attended many underground shows that offered true metal sounding bands, met many musicians. Those shows and brothers who were involved in this metal madness before us worked on as a force to inspire us to form our band. Almost over a year ago Aymun found Navin to play drums for the band. We started as a thrash metal sounding band. You could say 80s thrash inspired band. But I couldn’t escape the greatness of Death Metal that hit us with thrash and I also got badly gripped by all-embracing miseries of sickness, old age, pain and death, hence we evolved with both death and thrash. We jammed and worked hard on our techniques to the point where we found our own style of sounding.

Underworld Zine: Let’s keep our fingers crossed that everything works out as planned. Does the band face any challenges being a three piece?

Aaswad Arif: Not at all! I would say it’s more comfortable. We are doing great.

Underworld Zine: Yeah, I’m sure there would be fewer issues with less people in the band. So one last question. I’m sure the fans would love to know, does Infuscation plan on touring in 2016 or playing Banish the Posers fest?

Aaswad Arif: Yes, we definitely do. I mean, how astonishing that would be!?! We would love to play at BTPF if we got the opportunity and yes, positive about the tour. If we get a tour offer and everything is sorted we’d love to do it. After all, putting on a face-melting show is the most important thing.

Well, there you have it. Look out for upcoming tour dates from Infuscation worldwide, and don’t miss out on their debut release. Hails!