– Hello, thanks for taking your time, how are you holding up during this pandemic, almost dystopian times? How’s everything going with the release of the new album?
Hello Tania. Somehow we’re holding up pretty good. UK is currently in the middle of 3rd lockdown so people around are fed up with it, depression is wrecking many, domestic violence exploding and substance abuse is high like never before. Hopefully all the liberties we sacrificed will come back in full swing and current situation won’t become some kind of fucked up “new normal”. In Eternal Rot coffin is cozy and comfortable, we’re busy with jobs, families, these troubled times are treating us quite mild. Our “Putridarium” reached most of the maniacs who could be interested with it so it is awesome, we’re very happy with response, Recently we’ve finished 2 tracks for upcoming split release, hopefully it will be released soon and bring more misery to this World.
-To begin with, how was ETERNAL ROT born? What was the purpose behind forming a band like this, firmly rooted in the early 90’s sound?
Eternal Rot has been born in our sick heads around 2012, during one of the countless gigs (music performed live in the front of people, very abstract idea these strange days) we used to attend when Mayer and me lived in London. There was always a larger group of freaks drinking and smoking far too much and we were part of it. We chatted often about music while swinging beers from local off-licence shops before and after the gigs, we discovered that we have a lot in common when it comes to music taste. Our music spines are created mostly by Death Metal from early 90s as we were early teenagers, not knowing each other then, when this genre exploded spewing out its most important albums and fucked us up forever. Combination of most formative age, and such kind of music is explosive, we were shaped for life then. Anyway, Mayer said that he’s often playing the guitar, having some ideas and finished 2 full tracks, with vocals, drum machine etc – full package, and didn’t know what to do with them. Our friend Tomek Zagorski (who is active in the underground as Behind the Mountain Records) heard them and convinced him that this is good enough to be released in some form and offered his helping hand with doing so. Mayer sent this music to me as well, and instantly I fell in love with it, insisted that this is too good to sit on it without sharing with the world. Soon after Eternal Rot was born. So Tomek designed the tape booklet, very talented Rafał Kruszyk drawn logo and agreed to use one of his artworks as a cover, I’ve dreamt the name and song titles and this became the „Promo 2013”. Mayer copied it 100 times from master tape and to our suprise and thanks to many maniacs from different countries its been sold out in few weeks. Said „Promo 2013” has been released later under the title „Grave Grooves” on 7 inch by great Polish underground label Fallen Temple. We agreed that from next recording I’ll join on vocals… and here we are almost 9 years later, with Radek Pierściński on drums, still flogging this demented zombie.
Main purpose of forming this abomination is a will to express our own vision of heavy music. It is a bit of a homage payed to the Death Metal itself as we are very much a band made out from fans of the genre, as we percieve the worlds through Death Metal glassess.
– You have just released your sophomore album, “Putridarium”. What does it mean to you? Is a second full-length a step further into your own personality and learning from the experience of making a debut album?
“Putridarium” is very important for us indeed, it means that these 4 tracks feed our craving for sonic death and we were satisfied enough with them that we shared it. We are glad that we improved our sound, we let in a bit of a melody and “air” to the whole corpse, without compromising the heaviness factor. But most important part of the whole thing is the fact that now Radek chopped to the Eternal Rot coffin and added his groove and style. This album has been mixed and mastered by the same person, Haldor Gurnberg in Satanic Audio from Warsaw, it was great to work with him again as he feels our music. Our personality is set and ground from the very beginning, we know what we want to achieve with sound, so as we get better with technicalities it only benefits the sound. We constantly evolve and learn how to improve and how to dig this grave deeper.
– Already the album title itself gives a hint that you lean more towards the grotesque and rotten. How do you transport this to your sound?
In our case this is the other way around. First the music is created and while listening to the rough ideas the deranged imagination goes wild, somewhere there the track titles are born, and around them the lyrics appear. So the sound gives birth to the lyrical content, “Putridarium” is based around my mental leakage for the first track from it, “Downwards Among the Departed”, a picture of the dead, put underground together to rot but somehow still being conscious and… Bit active.
– This is your first release as a three-piece. How did this come to be? What effect do you think has it had on the final outcome?
I know Radek from his music endeavors from long ago, from the times when his band Neuropathia played obscure gore grind, we have a lot of common friends as well. We like his (sadly recently disbanded) The Dead Goats very much, and absolutely brilliant act Meat Spreader where he plays stellar mix of gore grind and punk alongside Jaro, Tocha (of Dead Infection fame) and Artur (Squash Bowels). As a man of many talents including painting, drawing and now tattooing, we asked him to draw our new logo as he liked our music before, when it comes to Death Metal tastes we have a lot in common. We were getting closer and closer, Radek expressed the will that if we would need help with drums, he is willing to do so. It was like music to our ears, Mayer asked him if he could record drums for us for the second album. Radek’s only worry was the thing that all the bands he played since then were playing fast or fast as fuck, we are on slow or mid tempo side, so he didn’t know it it will work but we agreed to try. When he finished his work in studio on “Putridarium”, 7 hours of work for 30 mins material of filthy death doom metal, we are just amazed. The groove, the vibe, everything fell into place. We welcomed him to Eternal Rot sect with open limbs. His effect is immense, it gave us wings, it feels organic, it rots so well with everything we do. As I’ve mentioned before, live drums of his creation are one of the biggest value of our 2nd album, his slamming with sticks is heavy, he isn’t delicate with his drums, he hits them hard as it should be done.
– In your filthy, raw, old school Death Metal you also seem to throw influence from horror in different forms, including Lovecraftian themes. What horror movies or authors inspire you?
George Romero and his visual creations is an obvious choice, of corpse. Independent film called “Begotten” created by Edmund Elias Merhige messed with my head, absolutely unique piece of art which haunts me and gives goosebumps till this day. Lovecraft is an eternal influence too, his Universe goes deeper than any best movie as imagination always will be better, his picturesque descriptions of all possible horrors are huge influence. Personally I value Stefan Grabinski a lot, forgotten Polish writer from first decades of past century, sometimes described as “Polish Poe/Lovecraft”, never appreciated during his lifetime, now almost forgotten and cherished only by those who dig in the subject. In recent years lack of free time doesn’t allow me to read or watch as much as I would like, so I rely mostly on stuff I’ve devoured in the past, reading a lot of Clive Baker, Graham Masterton, Guy R. Smith, Stephen King, watching a lot of movies made by Fulci, Kubrick, Lynch or Jarmusch – all of it is still important and influential.
But apart from books, movies and music, in Eternal Rot we are under the spell of the art of Zdzislaw Beksinski, best painter of all times. Anyone not familiar with his paintings should check it out as soon as possible, you will be teleported to the worlds beyond anything you can dream of. Views he evoked from his imagination inspire us the most. In this department H.R. Giger is massive as well.
– You transport these inspirations to your music, managing to conjure up a sinister, engulfing ambience. Does atmosphere play an important role in your music? What kind of images do you want to paint into your listeners’ mind?
Atmosphere is extremely important as we would like to make imagination run wild, to be some sort of nightmarish soundtrack to the vivid dream that can run in your mind. Listener who allows our music to his life and enjoys it is special kind to us. There is no certain picture as each listener is an entity of its own, unique, with his own emotions and feelings, but if someone imagines classic stuff made from endless cemeteries, bleak landscapes and the undead as a cherry on the top – then we succeeded. There is no escape from referencing Zdzislaw Beksinski again.
– Would you say your music works as a book or a movie? In the sense that it should take you on some kind of journey. Transport you somewhere else.
Definitely – this is how I listen to the music. This is the greatest form of escapism and never-ending source of enjoyment. It doesn’t have to be pleasant, it just have to feel honest and right. Sometimes I can listen to music for the technical values and appreciate someone’s talent as a musician – or a madman – but I like the most when I am taken by the sounds to the point that I forget where I am and time stops. There is plenty of albums that can trigger this and I’m feel lucky that I managed to discover them.
– And what other things do inspire you? It can be a moment, an artistic movement, a feeling…
It can be everything, but mostly it is the music we listened when growing up. Feelings that music induced then and now. These things stay forever and when you cherish them inside, not allowing so called adulthood to break and change you then it is a gift.
– What fuels the band? Booze? Horror? Filth?
All of the above. On these very rare occasions when we meet, we enjoy a beer or eight, in this respect we are like most metalheads who sometimes go crazy with drink. Horror is engraved into Death Metal as here we are no different as well, such aesthetic is with us. Mental filth is prevalent, but we try to do our best to live quite normal lives and not being locked up in jail. We’re fuelled by a will to create something we would like to listen, to express that death metal feel that is with us most of the time. This is the burning flame that keeps us doing Eternal Rot related things even after 11 hour long shifts of sometimes back breaking jobs, to fill our scarce free time with something we like the most. Labour of love coming from passion, and when likeminded freaks dig it as well, this is win win situation.
– You have once again a b&w cover, which I think gives some kind of DIY and old school aesthetic. Was this the intent? How did you work on the artwork?
Yes, it was intentional, as we feel that black & white imagery fits us and has this old school vibe. We established nice relationship with one and only Mark Riddick, for most of the fans of the underground Death metal he needs no introduction. He helped us so much in the time of need that we will be always grateful for it. In case of “Putridarium” we’ve let him know how the album will be called and sent first track from it with lyrics. The thing with Mark is the fact that beside the talent he has this instinct, knows perfectly what will suit certain band, being Death Metal fan and creator himself. His artwork will be featured on our next release too.
– On the other hand the sound is just putrid and crushing. How was this whole process like? I guess you may have a clear vision of how your music (and the style you play) should sound.
Thank you. Mayer spends every moment of his free time on preproduction at home and has the vision of how it should sound, tries countless times different setups till he is satisfied with it. Tracks he sends to the studio for mixing and mastering are set so composition-wise nothing changes from them, Haldor Grunberg then fights with this sonic sewage and sends few various versions of the final mix, we discuss it between ourselves, letting some time think about it, sometimes changing certain parts of it (usually asking to make something sound heavier) and then we have final monstrosity waiting to desecrate the ears of those who like it. Now as we have the ability to create stuff on decent hardware, learn how to use it properly, things can sound only better.
– Your style is just OSDM, from the cover to the sound and approach. What’s to you the most important in an opus of the genre? The overall feeling? The filthy sound? Or is it a mix of different elements?
For me it is a mix of heaviness and right atmosphere, when these 2 elements are used in right way then this is best combination. My favourite albums in Death Metal soaking with both, I would never dare to compare us to them, but we take a lot to our music from such approach.
– There’s now an obvious resurrection of old school Death Metal. Is it easier to get out there due to the growing interest or the fact that there are a lot of bands doing this makes it harder?
I think that the multitude of bands is a good thing and in the era of internet there are no barriers with the reach. You just have to spend some more time for research and you can find the bands pounding their awesome Death Metal in the basements of the World. Depends how much time in your day you can devote for listening to music. It is good that we have seemingly an infinite choice, lifetime is not enough to discover all that is worth discovering, I’ve accepted that long ago. But it is great feeling of digging and finding some obscure band with great music. We were lucky as with right label our Music reached places we would never expected to be listened if we would be doing it on our own. I’m not sure if there is growing interest, in the United States there is a lot going on and it is great, but from my perspective this music ages and one day will die with fans who today are in their 40s or 50s, hope I’m wrong in this.
– Are there any new bands into the style (or similar) that have caught your attention lately?
Recently that would be Morbific and Celestial Sanctuary. There is few good new Polish bands too – check Haunted Cenotaph, Mental Casket, Abhorrent Funeral, Clairvoyance or Abominated.
If someone is looking for hypnotic Death Metal with tons of atmosphere should check Gateway – this Belgian guy is insanely good but I have a feeling that he’s not having the exposure he deserves – truly an Underground gem and absolutely crushing stuff!
– All this about “Putridarium” being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Rotten as fuck.
-That’s all from our side, thank you once more for answering our interview. If you’d like to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you Tania for your extreme patience and interesting questions. Hopefully everyone’s lives will go back to normal soon so we could enjoy getting wasted on good gigs. Support Underground Death Metal!