This week, on an all new day for SLUG’s weekly metal blog, we have a fine interview with Mr. Jacko from Mexican death metal two-piece Zombiefication, whose killer new album Midnight Stench is available now. The band plays old school styled death metal highly influenced by the early Swedish scene—it’s rotten and nasty and you need to hear it. Only a couple shows going on this week. The Deftones are playing on Thursday, but I never considered them to be very metal (even though they’re playing with The Dillinger Escape Plan) hence leaving them out of the official concert goings on. Also featured are some blog exclusive CD reviews from Indian, Norther and Miasmal and shorter “quickie” reviews from Symfonia, Graveyard and Haeresiarchs of Dis.
If celebrating 4/20 is your thing or you just need a reason to rock out, the MetalJuana Tour hits Club Vegas tonight with headliners A Balance of Power and support from Incidious, Ravings of a Madman and Live in Prequil. $7 at the doo,r tunes underway at 8 p.m. It’s also Club Vegas owner Dusty Ash’s birthday, so expect a party!
Enjoy your Zombie Jesus day (also known as Easter Sunday) with a little shindig at Raunch Records with headliners Aseethe, all the way from Iowa City, as well as notorious locals IX Zealot and Muckraker. Tunes start early at 6 p.m.
SLUG: Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions, I’m definitely glad Midnight Stench got to my ears, it’s fantastic record.
Mr. Jacko: Thanks a lot, glad you liked our sound and vision of Death Metal!!!
SLUG: How did the idea of Zombiefication come to be? How did the members come together and then what drove the need to craft the sound you have for the band?
Mr. Jacko: The way we met was very strange. Zombieficaiton is basically two members, Mr. Hitch and myself. One day at work I had this person add me on the messenger. I accepted and he wanted to congratulate me on one of my other musical projects. Some days passed and between all the talk Mr. Hitch said, ¨Hey, why don’t we do a Death Metal project called Zombiefication?¨ and I said ¨Sounds great¨. By that evening we had a logo and I had already sent Mr. Hitch the first song of the band. It was a virtual band for about six months until we met one week prior to recording our debut Midnight Stench. So as you can see, technology played a big part in the process.
SLUG: For the people who have never heard Zombiefication, how would you describe it to a metal fan, particularly a rabid death metal fan?
Mr. Jacko: We both are huge Death Metal fans and every time someone asks about Zombiefication´s sound, we say that the band is a Death Metal band raised on Aztec Bloodshed. We are big fans of Swedish Old School Death Metal and that can clearly be heard on Midnight Stench. At the same time, the horror aspect plays a big part in our music, so throughout the CD you can clearly hear many horror passages that make Zombiefication´s signature sound stand out.
SLUG: I really haven’t come across a lot of Mexican death metal bands, what’s the scene like in Mexico? Any cohorts in your scene you think deserve some attention?
Mr. Jacko: Mexico has always been a big Death/Thrash/Black Metal country. The aspects that suck here are two. The first one is that even if the bands are great and have the skill to play and deliver like any band in the world, the support we get is pretty fucked up and poor. Not even the promoters do shit for what they say they believe in. And second is that bands don’t take themselves seriously and see this more as a party and fun thing than a [lifestyle]. Luckily here is where Zombiefication stands out. We are a perfect oiled Death Killing machine and no one will stop us.
Bands worth mentioning are definitely many: Shub Niggurath, Cenotaph, The Chasm and Mortuary from the early days, as well as Agony Lords and Dies Irae. From today I would mention Denial, Metralla, Piraña, Infinitum Obscure, and many more.
SLUG: I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah and we actually have two bands (containing some of the same members) that play Mayan and Aztec themed black metal all sung in Spanish. One of them, Yaotl Mictlan , actually got signed to Candlelight records. In any regard my question is pretty simple: with some of the European bands singing in their homeland’s tongue, why did Zombiefication choose to do the vocals in English?
Mr. Jacko: Funny that you mention that. I remember seeing an add by Yaotl Mictlan in Metal Maniacs and that made me research the band and their background. Now that you mention that, I think that most of the Spanish Extreme Metal singing bands are not from Mexico. They have this nostalgia going on, that when expressing themselves through Metal, the can do it in a better way through Spanish because they are far away. On our side, we truly believe in Spanish, and we even have some Spanish going on in the lyrics, but our focus is more on English. That is how we see our vision on Death Metal and that is why we do it this way, aspect that may change someday, but as far as today goes, this is the way we like to open the graveyard door to all Death Metal Heads.
SLUG: Have you ever been mistaken for a Swedish band in any press or fan stuff?
Mr. Jacko: So far, 90% of the reviews, which have been killer by the way, mention the Swedish influence we have in our sound. So answering your question, yes, maybe not mistaken, but certainly the influence is mentioned many times.
SLUG: On that same subject, Zombiefication has a bit of that old school Swedish death sound, but die hard death metal fans will be able to hear how the band is different. I have my opinions (all good) but what would you say makes Zombiefication’s sound unique?
Mr. Jacko: Zombiefication´s sound is very unique in the sense that we like to express ourselves with typical song structures. We believe more in the mighty riff than in technical wankery which only makes music boring. At the same time, and as I mentioned before, there are many horror aspects in our music that set us apart from many bands. This will clearly be heard in our new material, more dark, more horrific and more disgusting.
SLUG: How much did you actually mess with the guitar tuning just for recording Midnight Stench? How many tones did you mess around with and how many got used out of the different tones?
Mr. Jacko: For Midnight Stench we actually recorded 3 different guitar sounds. They all came from the same amp and distortion, but the EQ is what changed. At the same time we really gave emphasis to the low distorted end, which is what makes Midnight Stench so damn heavy. We didn’t really look much for the sound, we knew what we wanted and that is exactly how it turned out.
SLUG: The production for Midnight Stench is beyond excellent—better than some of the big Swedish bands’ recent albums. Who did the album’s production?
Mr. Jacko: Midnight Stench was recorded by one of Mexico’s leading rock/Metal producers, José Pastas Padilla. He has worked with Disgorge, Ravager, Piraña, Morbosidad, Hacavitz and many other bands. Pastas really understands what the rawness of Death Metal really means, and him, by being a Death Metal fan, even if nowadays he has nothing to do with Metal, really interpreted our disgusting sound into tape. Raw, filthy and pretty disgusting if you ask me.
SLUG: Have you ever toured in the United States? If not you definitely would have a decent hunk of fans come check out Zombiefication in not just my city, but I’m sure plenty of other places.
Mr. Jacko: We would certainly love to do so mate!!! Invite us and we will surely be there. And one thing I can surely guarantee you, if you think we are heavy on the album, you have no idea how much your head and bones will hurt after experiencing the Zombie squad live. You have been warned!
SLUG: The press statement emphasized the need to hear the album on vinyl and it’s been released in several different LP formats. Why is it important for Zombiefaction to be heard on vinyl?
Mr. Jacko: We are big collectors and music fans, so we have always supported different musical formats. LP wise, the sound is as real and true as it gets, and besides that, neither of us have ever had an LP release, so we were really after that format and Chaos Records supported us the best way possible. Also we know the value of each release, so every format so far has had a different cover. We even have the tape cover, but so far that one has not been released.
SLUG: Some of the LP editions are limited. For the interested folks (including me) are there still LP formats available to purchase?
Mr. Jacko: LPs are moving fast but you can still find them at http://www.chaos-distribution.com/eshop/ I recommend you getting in touch soon, cause they are moving fast and only 500 were made. 300 black vinyl and 200 grey vinyl. First edition CDs are almost sold out, but you can still get it there too.
SLUG: Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. The more I listen to the new record the better it gets. I can’t wait to hear more of what Zombiefication has to offer!
Mr. Jacko: Thanks a lot for the info mate. We definitely appreciate the time you took to make this disgusting interview!!! We have already recorded a new EP with 5 brand new songs and a cover song that shall be released in the coming months. Look for us on myspace.com/zombiefication666, on Facebook as a band or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greetings from Mexico and as stated before, Zombiefication will surely keep on pushing Mexican Metal boundaries to the place they deserve!!!
Blog exclusive CD reviews:
Miasmal = Unleashed + Grave + Dismember
You know those visceral riffs that just shred beyond shredding? The ones that sound like they’re tearing flesh and sinew from bone? That’s exactly what Sweden’s Miasmal offer up on their self-titled full length, and heaps more in the realms of grim atmosphere with clashing doom and d-beat. Dark Descent has offered up a nice package for this CD release from the band which includes the eight tracks of the brand spanking new album and also the band’s demo material and tracks from a sold out 7”. LP hogs should hit up Detest Records/Me Saco Un Ojo Records to track down a fancy LP version. I have accused a few bands of rehashing the classic Swedish death metal sound in the past, but there’s no rehash tromping though this record’s tracks—no classic Dismember riffing, just outright horror and blatant audio pain. What some of the songs lack in memorability they make up for in sheer brute force. This is a highly recommended album for fans of those nasty, gritty guitar tones, muddied bass, guttural vocal grizzle and bone popping drumming. –Bryer Wharton
Indian = Sourvein + Invdrs + Grief
Chicago, Illinois’ Indian have been on the scene for a good eight years, but their third full-length and debut for Relapse Records is going to garner these sludge fiends a larger audience. Guiltless runs the gamut of straight up groove-sludge, where the guitar riffs rule the songs pounding in perfect conjunction with a high-caliber drum performance. Vocalist and guitarist Will Lindsay has a wealth of band experience to bring to Indian’s wide sludge palette: he’s spent time in Middian, Wolves in the Throne Room, A Storm of Light and Nachtmystium. The album isn’t quite going to pay off on initial listening no matter how seasoned a sludger or doom fanatic you are. Aside from the straight slow dirge riffing that bellows loudly there are dare I say some almost post-metal elements mixed in with the haze of this album quite a few moments where the guitars fuzz out from straight riffing and set a weird soul defeating atmosphere that will make you defy anything happy or light. Guiltless is a trip worth disturbing and a psychedelic trip worth taking. Analog would fit this monster well. –Bryer Wharton
Norther = Children of Bodom + Scar Symmetry + Soilwork
Finland’s Norther have definitely undergone some changes since one their former vocalist/guitarist Peter Lindroos, now part of pagan metal crew Ensiferum, was buddies with Alexander Kuoppala of Children of Bodom which helped the band land a record deal in their early years. The band now does not contain a sole original member. Despite changes that sometimes kill bands, the newer incorporated members still tread on under the name Norther. Circle Regenerated may not be in the same vein as older Norther material but as far as melo-death metal goes, this one aims to please—it actually rocks more than the last few Children of Bodom albums as far as melodies and pure catchy songwriting goes. The album is definitely more accessible to the metal mass culture, but that’s an obvious fact of what the band is going for. Older fans may not embrace this album, but fortunately I never heard the old material. Circle Regeneration is solid melodic death metal, strong in its melodies and beyond catchy in some of its songs, “We Do Not Care,” “Falling,” and “The Hate I Bear” are definite tunes to check out. –Bryer Wharton
Graveyard = Led Zeppelin + Black Sabbath + Deep Purple
There’s always been respect for the “classics” and a few new releases I’ve stumbled across lately (Firebird, Blood Ceremony, Rival Sons) are embracing ‘70s rock/metal—hell, I’d even say ‘60s rock. Sweden’s Graveyard, born from the ashes of doom/stoner act Norrsken, are in near perfect form on their second album Hisingen Blues. The album just plain rocks—don’t try to label it or you’ll start confusing yourself. Blues, rock, folk and much more, it’s all extremely well played and doesn’t sound like some homage to the greats but something entirely new. Definitely try this—itextedittextef you don’t like it, get your hearing checked. –Bryer Wharton
Symfonia = Stratovarius + Sonata Artica + Helloween
You’d think with the line-up basically a super group would be at melodic power metal fan’s wet dream, Timo Tolkki and Jari Kainulainen of Stratovarius, Andre Matos former vocalist of the legendary Angra, Uli Kusch of Helloween and Mikko Harkin of Sonata Artica. All of the members and aforementioned bands have solidified themselves in heavy metal history, as for Symfonia that’s yet to be reckoned depending on how the melodic power metal community reacts to it. As for myself the purely and most important thing lacking is the fact that there are no songs that catch my ear and make me want to go back teand give this a spin, it just falls flat, the guitars are probably the most solid thing about the band, the vocals well if you listened to Angra with Matos at the helm you know what to expect. But hell, my word is by no means law, check the album for yourself with a free stream from AOL Music.
Haeresiarchs of Dis
In Obsecration of the Seven Darks
Haeresiarchs of Dis = Bathory + Blut Aus Nord + Lustre
One man black metal act Haeresiarchs of Dis helmed by Cernunnos gives way to the notion that one black metal acts don’t have to have basement end production values, In Obsecration of the Seven Darks isn’t grade A production but it’s clean in effect allowing listeners to soak up every hearty bit of instrumentation. There’s plenty of what ever type of black metal fits your fancy lurking on this record – stark atmospheres paint ways into either speed ridden black metal or some more melodic styled almost in the vein of some notable Swedish acts. This is Cernunnos third full-length and easily the acts most concise and best offering yet. If you missed it Napalm Flesh did an interview with the band for it’s previous release Denuntiatus Cinis released last Oct. Check it here.