Brent Williams interviewed by PSL
Can you begin with introducing Atrocious Abnormality to our readers and tell me a little about the band biography?
Well, Atrocious Abnormality was formed around January or February of 2006 by me and Steve Green from Lust Of Decay/Comatose Music. We both were looking to do a brutal death metal band that could go as far as possible. We really wanted this band to be into playing tons of shows and tours and do as much as we can to make it better than any other band we've done before. Shortly after we recruited James O'Neil for the bass duties, and he added another element to the band. He has extreme talent on the bass. After about a year of writing we entered the studio in July of 2007 and recorded our debut album Echoes of the Rotting. While we were recording the CD, we added Russ Hardin to the band as the second guitarist, which added tons to our live shows. As of now, here in the summer of 2008, we have almost sold out of the first pressing, and it is now at the factory getting re-pressed, and we should have them by the time we go to the Central Illinois Metalfest in July. After the fests this summer we plan to start writing for our next full length, and also do another tour in the fall.
Is there any band or bands in particular that have inspired you?
I can say for all of us that we all are influenced by many bands over the years. Everything from the old school Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, and Morbid Angel days of the 1990's up to some of the sicker bands of today such as Devourment, Hate Eternal, Origin, the almighty Suffocation, whom we get to share the stage with at Central Illinois Metalfest with Origin and Massacre both in front of them!
Steve wrote most of the music on Echoes of the Rotting. Will this be different on the next CD?
Yes, most definitely. James and Russ have already written some new songs and they are simply much more complex and brutal, and we are all really excited to get the new songs constructed. Hopefully we will have a demo out before 2009!
You recorded Echoes of the Rotting at Sound Lab Studios with engineer Bob Moore. What made you go for that studio?
Sound Lab Studio has quite a reputation, and we were familiar with that. He has recorded some great albums such as Lecherous Nocturne, Domination Through Impurity, the last Lust Of Decay, and all of Nile's full length albums since they've been on Relapse. Plus he used to be in a band with Derek Roddy, and he knows how metal sounds, and he really is a pro engineer. He also just recorded the new Lecherous Nocturne for Unique Leader Records, and is going to record the Cesspool Of Vermin album featuring Jay Barnes from Lust Of Decay on vocals.
Contrary to many other bands the bass in Atrocious Abnormality is audible. Did you intend it to be so from the start or is it something you discovered in the studio?
This was very important to us from the beginning. James is a great bassist and we wanted him to be heard. He gives the songs a lot of the feel. Plus we are all fans of thick sounding death metal, like the older Suffocation albums, so the bass is very important!
Well, there is kind of a history to us doing a Misfits song. Steve is a huge Misfits fan from way back. He grew up jamming to them and Samhain, and Minor Threat and old school shit like that while he rode his skateboard. And he has always wanted to do a death metal version of one of their songs. And the main reason we did "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?" was because it was one of Steve's favourites, and it is also one that had not been done yet to our knowledge.
After the recording of Echoes of the Rotting you've added guitarist Russ Hardin to the line-up. What has he brought to the sound of the band?
Russ was brought into the band as the second guitarist to make the full and proper sound for the live show, and for future recordings. We recorded the album as if there were two guitarists, but Steve played both parts. So we knew we always wanted to add someone, and Russ came to practice one night and had four songs tight, so we knew he was serious and he had a lot of talent to be only 21 at the time. So it was a natural fit. Hopefully you will hear his talent soon on the new stuff!
Echoes of the Rotting was put out via Steve's own label Comatose Music. Did you choose to put it out via Comatose because it was a convenient choice?
Well it basically comes down to this... if Steve is in a band, he will put it out on Comatose, just as he did with Lust Of Decay. He is really into running his label right, and doing it like it is supposed to be done, so we were quite happy he put it out. He has promoted it well as he does with all releases, and he also knows what bands need from a label because he has been involved with playing in this scene for over 10 years, and understands as a musician how hard it is to be a band without any support. Comatose Music is a great label, and we're very happy!
I know there's no money in brutal death metal, but how many copies would Atrocious Abnormality need to sell before you as a band would be happy?
Speaking for myself, I am quite happy with the numbers we've sold already. It is getting re-pressed as I as we speak, which is very cool. But I also wouldn't mind selling a whole lot more! And I surely don't think Steve would mind either [laughs]! We are quite happy with the amount we've sold though, plus our shirts sell really good too which is great! We really appreciate the support from the badass death metal scenes scattered around the U.S.
There's often talk about there's too many bands and too many CD's being put out. What do you think of this? Is the underground healthy today?
To be honest, I do hear a lot of releases from the smaller "do it yourself" labels that are really young bands that really have not found their style yet. But I also think that you can look at it as a good demo system too, now that the internet is around, and all the digital video possibilities, bands with one or two smart guys can make something of themselves playing good music, or slammy deathcore shit, and most take the deathcore route and try to infuse it with death metal shit because one or two of the guys have different interests. That is one of the reasons you have so many one and two man grind and death metal bands now, it's because these younger guys cannot find any more people into true shit like they are. So I guess I would say the underground is kind of mixed with good and bad elements, mainly depending on where you are. The scene here in our area and 50 miles beyond is not so good. We have our best shows in Knoxville, Tennessee which is about three hours away, and Charleston, South Carolina which is a little further. And it is like this in most of the U.S. Scenes are scattered too far apart. And I think this weakens them.
Steve drew the great artwork for Echoes of the Rotting. Besides him being in the band what other than that made him the perfect choice?
We were sitting around discussing who we should get to do our cover art, and Steve simply said he might try and come up with something, but use a new style that would be different than any of the Lust Of Decay covers he drew. Steve used to draw all the time. He has a great talent with art and design for sure. After he drew some sketches, he showed us the ideas and we liked them, so he got to work on it. It took him months to finish, but after it was done we were really happy with it.
Well, Lust Of Decay is on hiatus for now. Only Steve and Jay are left so they need a drummer and bassist. But Jay is busy right now with his new band Cesspool Of Vermin. They are about to enter the studio to record their debut CD. I was in the band Putrilage for a short period back in 2002 I think. I moved to Texas after I left Lust Of Decay mainly to play for Putrilage, but the band broke up after about eight months, so I moved back. Atrocious Abnormality recently went to Texas for a small tour back in April and I got to see all of my old friends from Putrilage plus a lot of other friends I made while living there. James is also in another band, he plays bass for the black/death metal band Apotheosys. They are like Myrkskog mixed with Emperor!
How is the death metal scene in North Carolina? Are there any bands you can recommend?
The scene is getting bigger as far as bands go, like I mentioned before, we have Cesspool Of Vermin and Apotheosys, then there is Bloodsoaked, Morose Vitality, Coffin Syrup, Chaosego, Krotalus, Lecherous Nocturne, Malebolgia, and Dark Autumn, there are more but my memory sucks. A couple of those bands are from South Carolina, but we live right on the state line and we consider those "local" bands!
When looking a bit ahead what next is in store for Atrocious Abnormality?
We have the Central Illinois Metalfest coming up, then the New England Deathfest two weeks after that, then we will concentrate on writing new songs for our sophomore release. We are also possibly going to tour again with a super sick band to be mentioned later, sometime this fall! We hope to release a demo of new songs before the new year, and release our second album as soon as we can!
Anything you would like to add to conclude this interview?
Just a simple thank you for the interview, and the support! We really appreciate all the sick comments and support from all of the death metal freaks all over the world! There is nothing like playing this kind of music, for you kinds of people! Please keep an eye out for us on the road in the U.S. and hopefully in Europe next year!