Monday, August 6, 2018

Malthusian Interview


1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
'Not a lot. We have played a couple of gigs but have been focusing on trying to get everything ready for the album which is proving to be a slog but we are nearly there. We have an idea for our next release but we haven't started writing anything yet so, despite our plan and knowing the way our songs develop over time, anything might happen'.

2.You have your first full length coming out in September, what are some of the things you feel you have done differently with the newer music that you where not able to do with your previous demo and ep?
'It's amusing as we have seen a couple of comments online from people who have heard the album saying that they are disappointed that we have moved away so much from the approach on the demo. To us, we kept the parameters wide open with the demo, covering a lot of ground from direct, primal death metal/war metal to crawling doom and something more bizarre and wonky. That happened naturally as the songs grew but we felt it kept things open to interpretation and meant we could explore more territory as we continued. Every song feels like a push further into our own style, digging deeper and pushing the riffs and structures further. We would be bored as fuck writing the same song over and over again as we all listen to loads of stuff and get excited by new sounds all the time that may ignite the spark of creativity. I'm not sure that we have really done anything that we couldn't have done before other than just really pushing our own limitations at every turn, which has always been part of our ethos'.

3.In the past you have referred to your music as being 'hallucinogenic black death doom', would this term also apply to the newer music?
'I'm not sure. While the new songs sprawl all over the place and twist and turn constantly, in many ways the actual approach to riffs and songwriting has become more and more traditional. We allowed the atmosphere to develop however it may and just focused on letting the riffs follow their own strange course over time. Is it hallucinogenic sounding? Possibly so in parts, but that description was our own reaction to our demo when listening back to it rather than a goal we had in mind when writing. Writing is always more intuitive for us so rather than laying out specific goals- apart from on 'Primal Attunement- The Gloom Epoch', which we wrote specifically as a doom song- much of the time we really have no idea where a song will end up going until it feels complete'.

4.Both the band’s name and the lyrics deal with 'Malthusian Catastrophes', how did you get interest in this topic and do you feel you are also breaking new grounds lyrically in the extreme metal genre by covering a topic that is very rarely ever use by other bands?
'We never have and never will be a Malthusian themed band. Someone put that on Metal Archives and everyone just agreed with it rather than reading the lyrics and noticing that they are about all sorts of other things. The name was interesting and struck us as being original and unique for a death metal band, while having a really appropriate and dark meaning. That is essentially the extent of my interest in it. I think my lyrics might be a bit different to other bands as I can't be arsed pretending to be evil and Satanic and I'm not particularly excited by horror or H.P. Lovecraft. I mean, it's fine, but who the hell needs another Lovecraft themed metal band? Not me, anyway. My lyrics stem from things I see in work as an archaeologist, whether that is actual archaeology, the remote and often haunting landscapes I find myself in with work, books I read (lots of contemporary literature but nothing obviously metal I'm sorry to say) and experiences I have, and then of course, the usual ruminations on existence, death and the origins of life and the universe. All of these disparate things mingle in the cauldron of my brain and spew out in the sometimes abstract, sometimes brutally direct lyrics that I write'.

5.In one interview I have read you also talked about the catastrophes and the effects that it had on ancient civilizations, do you feel that mainstream science as just as bad as mainstream religion when it comes to covering up the ancient past and putting these topics into the pseudoscience, fringe or myth categories?
'I don't know, man. I think that science can only deal with the facts at hand and that is why it is often proved wrong or inaccurate over time as new discoveries come to light. But isn't the aim of science to find answers through hard facts rather than making lofty claims with little or nothing to back it up! Over time, what is considered to be right and true will naturally change as long as scientists, archaeologists and historians continue to search for new evidence. I'm not really interested in conspiracy theories'.

6.All of the band members where also veterans in the extreme metal scene prior to forming this band. what are your thoughts on the way metal has evolved over the past two decades?
'I personally started diving exclusively into the underground at the tail end of the 90s, having been a metalhead for around a decade already but mostly focused on more mainstream stuff, and in the time that I have been digging deeper I have never been stuck for exciting new music, while simultaneously diving back into the classics. It feels to me like we are going through a profoundly rich period in metal, and have been for at least a decade, if not two. As my taste tends to absorb a lot of different things I'm never stuck for something new (or old) to get excited by. It's almost impossible to say how metal has evolved over the past twenty years because it has evolved so much. Where do you even begin? Every style seems to push and pull with and against the tides of change, so for every forward looking band making something truly unique or avant garde there is another band resisting change and writing powerful music rooted more in the traditions of any given style. As a fan of both forward looking and regressive sounding music, it works out nicely for me. I think that that wide range of interests is apparent on the new album, maybe more so than on the demo or 'Below the Hengiform', even though our writing process hasn't changed over time. Some parts feel like we are perhaps expanding into new territory while other parts are resolutely old school in their style. It is simply an honest reflection of the band's musical interests'.

7.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
'The front cover was made by Tim Grieco (Antediluvian). We initially contacted him to design a hoodie but when we saw the results we realised it had to be the album cover. I sent Tim the lyrics to 'Remnant Fauna' with a description of the themes and the direction to do something figurative. He took it from there and produced that incredible piece. I can't wait to see it printed up. We also commissioned an inner gatefold piece by Joseph Deegan (Slidhr), and while being stylistically different to Tim's piece, it really compliments it and will also look phenomenal printed up. We commissioned five new pieces from Timo Ketola, whose legacy speaks for itself, and they will illustrate each set of lyrics, and finally we asked Death Dealer (Vomitor) to scrawl out the lyrics in a crude and nasty manner, which he duly did and we are in the process right now of tying all of this great work together. It will be a morbid and ghastly feast for bleeding eyeballs'.

8.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
'We have played some incredible shows and some incredibly bad and drunken ones too, and all have been memorable in their own way, haha. We actually played a really great set in Dublin last weekend with Oraculum, Slough Feg, Vircolac, Coscradh, Sacrilegia and Death the Leveller. We played three new songs, one of which we hadn't played live before, and we nailed the fuckers, which was very satisfying. A particularly memorable gig was in the hills outside Parma in Italy, where we played Navajo Calling Fest on a farm! It was surreal and incredibly cool. And then getting off-stage and watching Mortuary Drape headline under a full moon was a special and memorable experience'.

9.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
'Nothing is planned yet but next year we hope to get out and tour if the offers come our way'.

10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been so far to your recordings by fans of black, doom and death metal?
'The demo really caught a lot of positive attention and we seemed to take the underground by surprise with that one. The subsequent EP didn't really elicit the same ecstatic response and we think that might be due to the murky production. We fucked the production up somehow and it lacks impact, but we still love the songs and play them live. I think that there is so much stuff coming out these days, a lot of it really good and a lot of it very hyped up that it is easy to get lost among the crowd. Hopefully the album will get people excited but I think that it will be divisive as many people seem to just want us to rewrite the demo again and again. That will never happen. Every song for us is a step further into our own abyss and if people want to stick with the demo, that's cool, but we are already through the looking glass and have no inclination to turn back just to suit other people'.

11.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
'Johnny joined Conan last year and a lot of his time is taken up with touring with them. Pauric is busy with Mourning Beloveth and working on new material I believe. I don't think Matt has anything else on the boil at the moment but that could easily change. I am currently writing Thergothon/Skepticism inspired (rip-off) funeral doom with Ray from my other band Wreck of the Hesperus, who are currently dormant, and Muiris from Apostate Viaticum. The band is called Bacterium and we should have something recorded in the next few months'.

12.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
'Further, deeper, darker, stranger, uglier...'

13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your current music and also what are some of your current favorites?
'Morbid Angel, My Dying Bride, Slidhr, Antediluvian, Ride for Revenge... the list is endless and I'm not always sure exactly where an idea might stem from but we usually try to push our riffs further each time which I think adds our own flavour to the end piece. Some bands I'm listening to a lot lately are Dionysiaqe, Macabre Omen, Nocturnity, Mooncitadel, Malokarpatan, Spite, Chevalier, Solstice and many many more'.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
'Thanks a lot for the interview


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