By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Melbourne deaththrashers Sewercide arrived in the USA this week for a full-on 30-date tour (starts June 1) and they’ll pick up copies of their long-awaited debut album, Immortalized in Suffering, while over there.
Five years in the making, Immortalized in Suffering is an old-school death delight – a little less thrashy, a little more gory – with cover art by prolific Finnish metal artist Turkka Rantanen. It’ll be on CD/cassette by Unspeakable Axe out of Athens, Georgia, with vinyl due later this year through No Posers Please/Televised Suicide.
UB spoke to bassist/vocalist Tobi Zama before the first show in LA this Wednesday (June 1).
Immortalised in Suffering is “deathlier” sounding than your earlier stuff. Were you aiming for something slightly different?
There wasn’t any conscious effort involved in any evolutions that have occurred in the band. It’s something that has happened naturally through various line-ups, countless live shows and quite literally hundreds of rehearsal session hours. The overall sound is truly a testament to the hard work, passion and frustration that we all felt at many different times throughout the whole writing and recording processes. It is something that we have spent considerable amount of time on and we are very proud of the finished product.
You recorded with Chris Brownbill. When did you first discover that he knew how to do death so good? What was it like recording in Brisbane?
We first hooked up with Chris last year around the same time we recorded the album. At the time he had just recently opened Underground Studios, we knew him through our long-time buddies in Sick People. Recording the album was most definitely one of the hardest, most life-affirming moments I have ever experienced. Two weeks essentially stranded (I broke my phone/limited internet access) from the majority of my usual human interactions. It was, however, immensely effective for keeping everyone focused (even through moments of great tension) towards achieving the same common musical apex that we had all worked so hard striving towards.
The recording was only done in May, finished a few weeks ago – what timeframe did you set yourselves? Anything you would have liked to spend more time on?
We had planned to record around April/May. From when we came back from Southeast Asia late last year there had been various plans for tours, some canned and some pulled through. While all this planning was taking place, also deep into writing the album, we suffered setback through intense work schedules, unforeseen car accidents and stacks of debts. This distorted plenty of timeframes where the album was concerned as we had a US tour imminent. This caused plenty of internal tension which could have been quashed had we had access to a more fluid timeline. As it was the situations were as they were and we had to deal with unsavoury pickles to do with everything from gear to songwriting. Having said all this, at no point was their compromises of quality in order to satisfy any needs business or otherwise. Everything that is on the record is there because we believed it to be 100% at the level.
Tell us about Turkka Rantanen doing the cover art; what was the brief you gave him?
Turkka Rantanen illustrated so many of my most favourite records, the creepy insane landscapes and scenes of horror conjured up on the LPs of many of the Finnish death metal cult, Demilich, Depravity, Adramelech, etc… The art has actually been with us for a while now. We planned to use it on various failed previous releases and when it came time to choose an album cover it got picked and we couldn’t be more stoked – it fits the tone of the album perfectly as well as the content both musical and lyrical. We had originally not given him an art brief, instead relinquished control and let the artist’s own imagination run rampant. The only thing that I was super keen on having input on besides us approving the sketches was having him return to a non-digital medium, which in my opinion adds so much texture and grit to the illustrations.
Lyrics, themes – is there much porno lyrics on the debut album?
No porno garbage on any records of ours. It has no place in our music. We do not, nor have we ever, nor will we ever support or condone any lyrical or art content which would discriminate, degrade or in any way hinder peoples’ right to do whatever the fuck they want and whoever they want with only the great cosmic nothingness and themselves as judge. I am solely concerned with dying, perceptions of existence and the blurring lines of our (false) conceived notions of what we have all convinced ourselves is reality…people more readily sacrifice their ambitions and dreams in trade of a steady pay cheque, it gets sickening to watch the extent that people will limit their own ability of critical thinking through xenophobic political views, failed corrupt religions and engrained weakness perpetrated through established social values. Think for yourself, always follow your heart, do right by others, and always strive to be the best you can be and you will never go wrong. Never compromise.
Unspeakable Axe is putting it out on CD and tape first. What’s the full plan for the rollout?
We have had previous working relations with Unspeakable Axe as well as being fans from the start (Besieged fucking rips!) so it’s awesome to be part of such an awesome roster again. Eric is always nothing short of amazing to work with and has put together a string of great releases with many more to come. We will be receiving the album upon our arrival in Atlanta within the first leg of the US tour so we have organised to do a split with our LA buddies SKULLS to have available at the first few shows. No Posers Please out of Norway and Televised Suicide out of Perth have both handled the vinyl to be released later in this year and I hear they are putting together quite a killer package. NPP we had initially hit up to release our previous EP and they had at the time been too busy but had been interested in us so when it came time to release new stuff they got in it. As for TS, Ben is our boy!
Ever done anything close to this insane as this US tour before? How did you make this happen, who is doing most of the organisation?
This is our first step into our descent into eventual madness. Hahaha. But in all seriousness, when we had the dates of when we wanted to go it was just a matter of gathering the contacts through friends of friends of friends of friends… you get the idea. I handle most of the managerial side of things more so just because I always have and no one else is ever too keen to do it. I had plenty of help from many legends both at home and abroad and I couldn’t be more grateful for how sick my mates are. Shout outs to all of you cunts! We are playing 30+ shows over just as many states. There are so many sick shows I can’t wait to do ’em all!
Immortalized in Suffering is officially released CD and cassette on August 19.
Sample the delights:
US tour dates:
June 1 – The Lexington, Los Angeles, CA
June 3 – Masters Chambers, Phoenix, AZ
June 5 – Three Links, Dallas, TX
June 6 – Bull McCabe’s, Austin, TX
June 7 – Houston, TX
June 9 – Loosey’s – Downtown, Gainsville, FL
June 10 – American Legion Post 111 Lounge, Tampa, FL
June 13 – 529 Eav, Atlanta, GA
June 14 – Best Friend Bar, Lexington, KY
June 17 – The Side Bar, Baltimore, MD
June 18 – Second Empire, Philadelphia, PA
June 20 – Brooklyn, NY
June 21 – TBA
June 22 – TBA
June 23 – Ralph’s Rock Diner, Worcster, MA
June 24 – The Lair, Buffalo, NY
June 25 – Monty’s Krown, Rochester, NY
June 26 – Cleveland, OH
June 27 – Howlers Coyote Café, Pittsburgh, PA
June 28 – New Dodge Lounge, Detroit, MI
June 29 – Minneapolis, MN
June 30 – Colorado Springs, CO
July 1 – Day of Decay at Rhinoceropolis, Denver, CO
July 6 – Oakland, CA
July 7 – Oakland, CA
July 8 – Ashland, OR
July 9 – Third Street Pub, Bend, OR
July 10 – Panic Room, Portland, OR
July 11 – Seattle, WA