As Flesh Decays interview with Chris(Taz) on the day of the new album release!!! Sick chat with a killer bloke and insanely wicked drummer.
As Flesh Decays interview with Chris on the day of the new album release!!! Sick chat with a killer bloke and insanely wicked drummer.
Hey Chris, well today is the 22nd of April which means you can finally drop your hugely anticipated second album, the brilliantly aggressive beast that is Dead City Cathedral…first off congrats on a frankly absolute classic and is one of the best Australian Death Metal albums in the last 10 years….how pleased are you with it?
Chris: Cheers mate! Appreciate the kind words!
Yeah, we're definitely stoked with how it all turned out since the first riffs were written back in 2018 and following that a huge writing session in 2019 and then the obvious Covid business set back the recording process, so it's a huge relief to finally have the album in our hands!
As Flesh Decays have always been a blistering band on the live front, but this album really encaptures the sheer brutality of this band, give us a history of the band (including lineup changes and all releases so far) and why a bunch of non-Melbourne or Sydney based metalheads can produce such world-class material, also what are the aims of the band and how has it changed over the years? What are also the band's main musical influences? What particular albums shaped the current album? How different do you think this album sounds compared to your debut, the lineup is more streamlined, but I feel it all sounds much more aggressive and dynamic, and grim yet sonically spot on.
Chris: That's a bloody good question!
So, basically, I started the band in 2012 (Ten fucking years this year!) and started jamming with former guitarist, Jason, who left the band in 2018, and we shared a love of bands such as Bolt Thrower, Entombed, a lot of the classic bands that were on labels such as Earache, Peaceville etc. We didn't really try to sound like a clone of any particular band or style, even though we use the classic HM2 pedal for that chainsaw sound. We just wrote what we liked, if it had a Trash riff or a Black Metal riff, it didn't matter, there was no "That's not an As Flesh Decay riff" If we could put a solid beat behind it and sounds good, why the fuck not. Our lineup shortly after consisted of Billy on bass who is now our guitarist and Lacca on vocals who is still our vocalist and just recently, jumped on bass as well. We had a bloke named Alex who was on our Sinister EP which was released in 2015. After he left, Billy jumped on guitar and we have had a lot of friends fill in on bass duties since then after Jason left, we enlisted Ryan from Dread The Winter on guitar who is still with us.
The aim of the band from the start was to play anywhere but home for a while, since I had been in bands that just went nowhere out of town so our first show was a Jeff Hanneman tribute show in Sydney to a packed room which was nerve-racking since we were running on lack of sleep and beers hahaha. It was a great debut show (We played Jesus Saves as well) and we have been invited back many times since and have been fortunate to play many places including my birthplace of Tasmania. There isn't a big Extreme Metal scene up here on the Border, it's pretty non-existent but there were some sick bands here back in the day, so it just seems natural that a bunch of blokes up here with a love of blast beats and fat riffs do this Death Metal thing. The one thing that has changed is that we don't drive 8 hours for 5 bucks anymore so that's a positive thing hahaha!
The main thing that changed with this new record compared to our debut is that we've always been a DIY band but this time we enlisted the services of the main man himself, Dan Swano, to mix and master this release and he definitely put his spin on the songs that we would never have expected or thought of ourselves. We wanted Dead City Cathedral to have a more full sound, to capture somewhat of what we come across live and I think it's done that very well.
Chris: There was a time when you couldn't pick up a release without Dan's name on it, so he's always been on a wish list since I was a teenager and a few years back I picked up the Heathenspawn EP and they are from Sydney so I was like "Holy shit, I could probably ask him" and then when our mates in Rituals from Melbourne released their EP and Swano's name on it, it definitely convinced the others to go with him. I mean, have you seen his list of bands he's worked on? It was a no brainer. I first heard of him when I saw his name on the first Marduk release, Dark Endless back in the 90s and I was a big Black Metal fan back then and he was also on my favourite Dark Funeral album, Secrets Of The Black Arts and then of course Blood Bath came along and he's worked with a favourite band of ours called Entrails, a pure sick Death Metal band with a killer discography!
I've been a huge fan of the old school painted album covers and while I'm not against brutal covers with chopped up bodies, gore etc...I was and still am a huge fan of Dan Seagrave's art with bands like Morbid Angel, Suffocation and especially Dismember so I wanted to go with something that can look like an iconic DM band's front cover even though it's just us hahaha! Also being a Horror film inspired band, I wanted to combine two things I love into one picture.
Chris: Funnily enough, without being intentional in any way, a lot of the songs and even the cover art tie into the themes of religion. The cover is a Cathedral of course and tracks are inspired by films such as The Exorcist, The Amityville II: The Possession, Let Us Prey, Salo and Martyrs which of course involve religion in some way, it turned out a great link to the album overall! I like to choose the films of the Horror genre from both old and new as there is so much great stuff if you know where to look, especially in recent years.
We know that the Horror genre is a strong foundation for this band, you don’t mind making a killer video either, both on your previous album and the recent sensational video for Transcendence Through Torture-tell us about how you made these and how pleasing it is to see your visual concepts come to fruition? Are there more plans for more videos….we are begging you...please!
Chris: Oh I love making videos and the new lyric video for Transcendence was all Benji Bourne (Frontman for Canberra Grind Death legends, Wretch) design. I had an idea for a video to include Benji who also does guest vocals on the new album, but it fell through, for now, so I suggested a lyric video based on the French film, Martyrs and I knew it was going to be a killer video and he delivered. We also have a video for An Excellent Day For An Exorcism which we shot inside an old church which we should have out sometime later this year and I have a few ideas for some future videos floating about, so we'll see how we go.
Chris: Thanks mate! I definitely love those tracks and I'm looking forward to playing those tracks live, they have a lot of energy. We'll be playing 6 tracks off the new release so hopefully, they all play well live. As for my favourite tracks, I personally love them all hahaha. I'm very proud of this release.
Also, the cover tracks at the end of the release are out of this world great-what made you choose these songs? They work perfectly on this album and are a killer bonus!!!
Chris: Having guests on this record was something I wanted from the beginning and Benji from Wretch being a good mate of the band was a first choice as well as Pierre Francois from Rituals, and Pierre, who is French, sang on Transcendence which is about a French Horror film so that turned out well for us and they both did killer jobs. Our last guest vocalist was a last-minute saviour. Due to Covid restrictions, our original guest who we will get eventually, couldn't do it and I'm a huge, huge fan of the band, Fulci, from Italy and I just reached out to Fiorre and asked him and he had said yes and had it done within the week. A true professional and an awesome bloke and all the way on the other side of the world.
What’s next release-wise and also on the live fronts? Do you guys also play in other bands or have projects?
Chris: We have some new music written for an EP titled 1888 which will be based on Jack The Ripper, we're giving Lacca something meaty to write about since he loves his serial killers, so that gives him a rest from the Horror films I throw at him hahaha!
We'll be playing our album launch on the 30th of April in Beechworth, then following that a show with Black Rheno and also the 3 day Canberra Metal Fest and Killfest in Melbourne which will have Skeletal Remains, so that's definitely exciting!
Have to ask what are some of your fave horror movies?
Chris: Of course, I'd love to answer that.
My favourite horror films are in no order: Jaws, Suspiria, Demons, The Thing, I Saw The Devil, Battle Royale, City Of The Living Dead (Fulci Lives!), Return Of The Living Dead, Rosemary's Killer, and Amityville Horror II: The Possession
Chris: Musicwise, I actually listen to a lot of non Metal stuff hahaha but as far as Metal goes, I listen to a lot of Australian Metal. I champion that stuff hard, I personally think we have the best music made right here and it doesn't cost much to see these bands or buy their merch. I've loved it since the 90s and more so to this day. the list of bands I could name could fill three pages and every week there's a new killer band coming out, including Knife!
Final thoughts and words of gore for us all? (And thanks for doing this interview mate, it's been a ripper!!)
Chris: Firstly, thanks to Devil's Horns Zine for checking out the new record and for the kind words and I hope everyone gets around Dead City Cathedral and looking forward to seeing everyone on the road at a show in the future! Keep your beer cold, your Horror gory and your riffs thick!