Hail, heathens! Did you have a safe and productive Christmas? Or is reading this article on a bright monitor sending a sledgehammer through your swollen brain? I say if Jesus really loved us as much as they say, he’d give us his birthday as a hangover-free zone. We should talk to him about that next time we see him. Before you careen your way into the New Years orgy, Napalm Flesh would like to present our final article of the year, and it’s a brutally awesome one at that: an interview with front man Eddie Hermida of All Shall Perish, whose new record This Is Where It Ends is being lovingly devoured by fans across the nation. We talk about writing with their new band bros, what inspires him lyrically, and how this summer’s stint on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Fest has helped push All Shall Perish a little more out of the underground. (Check out SLUG’s coverage of Mayhem Fest here, as well as the Mayhem Photo Gallery!) We also have blog-exclusive reviews of new releases from Abnormal Thought Patterns, Anal Cunt and Vore.
If you’re still looking for some plans this weekend, here’s what the valley has to offer in live metal:
Tonight, there are still tickets for the world-famous Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Energy Solutions Arena. Tickets range in price from $29-58 so check out their website for seating.
And to wet your whistle for the coming months, SLUG’s February Localized show is one you do NOT want to miss. Napalm Flesh is presenting an all-metal showcase with locals Visigoth, Huldra and Nevertanezra at Urban Lounge Friday, February 10th. It’s going to be fantastic! Come support your locals.
INTERVIEW WITH EDDIE HERMIDA of ALL SHALL PERISH
Hailing from Oakland, California, underground death metal band All Shall Perish has been taking a steady road to the limelight this decade. They’ve drawn attention across the metal world for both their musical prowess (Kirk Hammett- yeah, that Kirk- named record “Awaken the Dreamers” as one of the top 25 metal albums of the decade) and their recent line-up changes. 2011 saw the highly anticipated release of new album This Is Where It Ends, the first with fresh members drummer Adam Pierce and lead guitarist Francesco Artusato, and judging by the amount of top album lists it’s made nationwide this year, fans and critics alike are on board with All Shall Perish’s newest incarnation. Napalm Flesh got some time with front man Eddie Hermida as he enjoyed a break at home to see how this new fame is treating his band.
SLUG: How was your summer on Mayhem Fest?
Hermida: Shit man, that was one of the best tours we’ve ever done. As an underground band it’s kind of the highest point you can ever achieve is going on your Warped Tour, your Mayhem Fest, your Ozzfest, due to the fact that you don’t really get to expose yourself to that many people very often. It has a heavy implication for what that means for the band. The ability to have that kind of promotion behind you is just immense.
SLUG: Have you seen a big flux in your fan base since then?
Hermida: Yeah, actually, at least at home [and] in certain areas, we’ve seen a lot of people coming back out. We just did a tour with Black Dahlia Murder and we didn’t get a lot of kids coming out to that just because both of us did big summer touring fests, but we [won’t get] a chance to see true crowd response until we headline in April.
SLUG: How have the new songs been received?
Hermida: Better than I assumed, actually. You don’t really know how songs are going to go over, you don’t know how they’re going to be, so when kids actually start jumping around and pitting and going crazy for y our music it’s pretty awesome.
SLUG: Fans are familiar with the lineup changes you guys have endured the last few years; writing with new members Adam Pierce and Francesco, how long did it take you guys to groove together and get in a comfortable place? What was the biggest difference from writing previous albums?
Hermida: It was actually a shit-ton easier. We got through the whole process within like a couple of months. Usually All Shall Perish is known for taking their sweet time on records; the first record I did with the band almost took us a year to write and the second record took us 8 months to write and record. And we did that in pretty much half the time for this new record which was awesome. It was a real big change in how we write. There was a lot less picking every last detail part, a lot more just free-flowing with the music and song structures. There weren’t a lot of throwaways. Usually on a record we have so much left over because of stuff we just throw out that we could end up writing another record of just throwaway riffs. It wasn’t such a battle to write. Because the riffs we threw away from previous records weren’t bad, they just rubbed somebody the wrong way, stuff like that. And they’re not in the band because they started seeing stuff in a much different light. That’s just how it works as musicians, you have to agree, that’s the first part of the job, being able to agree and write music together. With our new guys, we’ve rekindled everything and it got us out of the dumps, and it came together so well that we’re just happy.
SLUG: Lyrically you’ve always had a very vivid revolutionary energy, and speak of both politics and social-based issues, but you also seem to have some deeply personal ties threaded into albums. Where do you get inspiration for those moments?
Hermida: Growing up as a lower-middle-class kid, I didn’t really grow up with a lot, but I saw a lot of kids grow up with a lot. You see the same patterns in hierarchy as you do in our government, monarchy same issues, it’s just one of those things where as a decent human being I like to speak out on those issues, I like to call it as I see it, if you will.
SLUG: How do you go about writing your lyrics? Does a song right away feel more political than personal and vise versa?
Hermida: Yeah for sure, absolutely. When you’re writing a song you just kind of immerse yourself in it. You drown yourself in it. You play that song for 70, 80 times through and really have it affect you and manipulate your thoughts almost. Once you’ve listened to it a few days’ through, once you’ve really soaked it in, it really starts speaking to you and you think of where it’s taking you and from there it’s just redefining and polishing it, the same way you would get a big block of rock and chisel away and then it becomes David.
SLUG: How has your outlook on what you create changed since your first album as well as your outlook on being a career musician?
Hermida: Every day is a new surprise. I feel like I’m growing into a different person. If you would have put me in front of a 16 year old me playing rock music, I would have never guessed that this is what it would become. Your ideals change, your views change, your tastes change, but I’m happy with where I’m at and I’m happy with the musician I’ve become. I feel like I give back to the fans as much as I can and anyone who wants more is just a selfish person. [laughs]
SLUG: What do you think about the current state of metal?
Hermida: I think it’s a lot better than where it was when hardcore was the primary underground music. I like a lot of djent bands, a lot of deathcore bands, a lot of death metal bands, and they seem to be the bands doing really well in the underground scene. The resurgence of the European death metal is really prominent right now with bands like Decapitated and Obscura doing well in the States. I couldn’t be happier, it’s a good time to be playing death metal.
SLUG: Tis the season everyone’s counting down their top albums of the year—I’ve noticed you guys are on more than a few lists—but what are your top albums of the year?
Hermida: Decapitated’s new record is really really fucking good; the new Fallujah record is incredible, they’re our buddies from this area. The new Acacia Strain has been a favorite, been playing it over and over.
SLUG: What’s your favorite track off This Is Where It Ends?
Hermida: A tie between Pure Evil and My Retaliation. They’re both really fun songs for me to listen to. I still get the same feeling I had when I first listened to it.
SLUG: Tell me about your side business Fear the Beard Productions.
Hermida: It’s an endeavor I’ve taken on to try and find out what’s going on with the Bay Area metal scene. I’m trying really hard to get good shows so that we can start building a club where people can be really comfortable at, and people can go and after a show say, “Damn, I had a really good time, I really love that venue.” That is lacking for us right now. The Pound was it for us, it was a place we used to go to every weekend just to see what’s going on. I’d love for something like that to happen in San Francisco again, but unfortunately there hasn’t been a venue that’s given priority to metal shows on the weekends. Most metal shows happen during the week here. I’m just trying to re-establish what I had when I was younger. It’s still getting off the ground but I know what it takes to be a good promoter just from being in the band, I’ve gotten a good insight. I’ve been successful at the shows I’ve put on, but success won’t come until I’m able to book on the weekends, and show that my bookings will do well and that I will be able to bring people on the weekends.
SLUG: Assuming the Mayans are full of shit, what do you hope to see the band accomplish in 2012?
Hermida: I think I’d like to be touring with some of the aforementioned bands. I’d like to see us write another record honestly. I’d like to see more of what’s been going on, us continuing to grow. We feel like we’re not done, we feel like we could take this band to any level that our fans will allow us to take it to.
Blog Exclusive CD Reviews
Abnormal Thought Patterns
CynNormal Lab Recordings
Abnormal Thought Patterns = Zero Hour + Cynthesis
The members of Zero Hour and Cynthesis are in creativity mode again, hence this EP from new band Abnormal Thought Patterns—which, other than guitarist Richard Sharman, is comprised of members of both aforementioned groups. In a nutshell, Zero Hour was prog metal for extreme metal fans. Abnormal Thought Patterns continues that extremity but digesting this EP would be comparable to eating a pinecone. Four of the EP’s songs seem to be a split or variation on one track called “Velocity and Acceleration” but the cuts feel more like variations of the same song rather than extensions of it. You can listen to the “Velocity and Acceleration,” or “The Machine Within,” and “Electric Sun,” and while their sound waves may penetrate your cranium and make some sort of impact which can be completely different each time, it’s still extremely hard to comprehend—I really cannot fathom how hard some of the guitar riffing displayed here is to play. Whether this EP is a precursor to a full-length or the band is just testing the waters as an instrumental project, any prog/math metal connoisseur would do well to give this EP some thought (pun intended). In the end the EP isn’t something that’s going to change metal, but it’s an experience for folks that love the geetar and all one can do with it. –Bryer Wharton
The Old Testament
Anal Cunt = complete noise
There’s nothing like saying goodbye by taking a trip down memory lane. There is a weird almost comedic irony about this release, planned well before the death of the man that is Anal Cunt: Seth Putnam. This is basically a collection of early Anal Cunt classics (or not-so-classics) compiled by the man, and the two disc noise monster also includes liner-notes written by Putnam. This is completely worth owning given the rarity of some A.C. releases—if anyone out there has every bit of plastic and wax A.C released, please provide photographic or other indisputable evidence and I’ll literally shit my pants in a public area. There are many gems and shits lying in wait for the willing to hear on this - it’s an insane collection of stuff that loosely resembles music. Reviewing every little tidbit is next to impossible. I do enjoy the fact that it includes portions of spilt 7” that would be nightmarish to actually track down. The split the band did with Psycho is something I’d love to physically own. There’s also the “Unplugged EP”—it’s must hear material, along with the probably many other bits of noise this monster offers that most folks have never heard. I‘m sure bits of this have wound up in the land of tape trading or piracy but it‘s just nice to have it all on two little compact disks. To note, a short trip to eBay yielded nothing from this compilation in original format—get it while‘s it‘s still steaming, friends. –Bryer Wharton
Vore = Malevolent Creation + Monstrosity + Vader
Generally when we Americans think of Arkansas, we think of backwoods rednecks that love NASCAR. Well, now I can add something else to think about the “Natural State”: it’s the home of Vore. Gravehammer is my first insight to the death metal band. Going into this not expecting the earth to shatter probably helped me to enjoy the shit out of it. Vore play straight up American death metal heavy on the groove—really heavy. Some of the pummeling riffs do get me thinking Polish (a la Vader style), but when it comes full circle it’s Americana death metal. The album’s production beckons to listeners with its familiar style, makeing for a nice break from the rising crop of “Brutal Death Metal” bands that squeal like pigs and love to slam and slam away. Gravehammer offers quite a bit, and a hefty chunk of its songs run past six-minutes and graciously don’t get old, just better. The title track is actually seven and a half minutes of that good death metal stuff. “Doomwhore” and “The Claw is the Law” keep sucker punching listeners. There’s comfort in what Vore offer with Gravehammer—its familiarity makes it better than trying to figure out what Decapitated were trying to do with their latest album or what the hell the meaning of “djent” is supposed to be. –Bryer Wharton