Bastard Feast: Kicking You While You’re Down

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Portland’s Bastard Feast, formerly Elitist, have opened a lot of doors for themselves in the year and a half of their existence. Their debut record as Bastard Feast, Osculum Infame, drops on July 22, and if you’re into heavy, aggressive, hateful metal, you should not only pick up the album when it’s released, but trudge down to The Shred Shed on Monday, July 7, to be sonically abused in the best possible way.

Though the two projects share nearly identical lineups, they are different bands. Justin Yaquinto, who played bass on tour with Elitist, now plays guitar full-time in Bastard Feast, while Jesse Apsy has jumped on bass in the new band. In addition to slight changes in instrumentation, time and patience have transformed Bastard Feast into a new beast. Osculum Infame is one of those records that makes you incredibly miserable and euphorically happy at the same time. It hits hard and heavy, and doesn’t let up. There are definitely crust, grind and doom influences, but Taylor Robinson (guitar) insists that they’re “just a fucking metal band.” On a flier for the upcoming tour, “PDX Doom” is written next to Bastard Feast. Robinson says, “I just started cracking up. I was like, what the fuck? They’re gonna be really fucking disappointed when they see us, and it’s gonna be fast shit the whole time. For the most part, we’re kicking you while you’re down.” I suggest that playing a doom record at 45 RPM might come close. Robinson laughs, “Yeah, if it was doom sped up to a punk level, then I guess we’re doom,” he says.

With Osculum, Bastard Feast’s sound has grown considerably more dark and deliberate. Of having three guitar players (Yaquinto, Robinson and Apsy—though Apsy plays bass live), Robinson says, “[We have] a way bigger writing palette. We have three guitar players that can do whatever they want. We can really expand and clarify everything that Elitist was doing, but make it way heavier—now it really punches in the dick when we play.”

Stephan Hawkes of Interlace Audio recorded, mixed and mastered Osculum Infame. Elitist had recorded previous albums with Hawkes, as had drummer Nick [Parks]’ other band, Gaytheist. “We recorded 10 songs with five people in four days. We were so well rehearsed before we went in,” Robinson says. Between Hawkes’ engineering and the band’s musicianship, Osculum is a perfect representation of Bastard Feast. Heavy and calculated, it’s the result of a newly found momentum for the band.

Hawkes’ recording resume (Gaytheist, Red Fang, Black Elk) is an accurate indicator of the (heavy) musical fertility of the Pacific Northwest, and of Portland in particular. I asked Robinson about how living in Portland has influenced Bastard Feast. “Every fucking person here is in a band. You could throw a rock at the house next door [to mine] and, I guarantee, the dudes from Tragedy walk out. I also live with the guys in Stoneburner. There’s an awesome energy in Portland for that—everyone is always doing shit, so you’re always stoked for everyone else on top of your own band.”

Though the record hasn’t dropped yet, Bastard Feast are already churning out new material. “We’re always ahead of the curve. Writer’s block is something that doesn’t even exist within me anymore. The most fun part for all of us is writing songs and then just laughing when they’re done. We just think they’re so ridiculous. [We’re] just staring at each other, like, ‘Oh my god, that was so fucking silly, but yes. Yes, that needs to happen,’” Robinson says. They’ve got plans for a couple of splits followed by another full-length.

Themes of anti-theology and anti-oppression are still significant parts of the band’s ethos. Lyrically, though, they are more self-aware. Robinson says, “[Elitist was] a lot more angsty about it … It was basically like, ‘Fuck you, here’s a bunch of upside down crosses.’” They’ve left the shock value behind and have delved into the pure darkness and hate that makes Osculum Infame so perfect.

Josh Greene’s vocals revolve around a message of “anti-humanity—[it’s about] us destroying ourselves and how much we hate humanity. It’s being uncomfortable with people. It comes from being misanthropic and having anxieties about life and about people in general, and why we all exist together … all with a bunch of evil shit about whatever,” says Robinson as he chuckles.

Osculum Infame will be released July 22 on Season Of Mist. The album features art by Anthony Lucero (The Goddamned) of Salt Lake’s hometown heroes, Cult Leader. Robinson adds, “Anthony is one of the sweetest dudes. He’s always been fucking cool.”

Bastard Feast’s debut is heavy, deliberate and mean—in the best possible way. Pretty impressive for “just a fucking metal band.”