There’s no denying that death metal has been kicking our scene’s ass for the last eighteen months or so. Skeletal Remains is yet another killer death metal band hailing from California, and their third LP, Devouring Mortality, is scheduled for release April 13, 2018 via Dark Descent Records. I don’t want to dip too far into album particulars, because a review is on the way, just know that these dudes build on the sound of early 90s work laid out by Asphyx, Gorguts and Demolition Hammer.
Ahead of the release of Devouring Mortality, we sat down with bassist Adrius Marquez to chat about working with Swanö, Seagrave and making some heavy fucking death metal.
I want to start off by talking about actual skeletal remains. Do you guys own any?
Actually, yeah, I do. My closet is filled with them. And I even have a few underneath my floorboards Haha.
What’s your favorite part of a skeleton?
Hmm, good question. If I had to choose a favorite part or bone, I’d have to say the jaw. Because if it wasn’t for the jaw bone, I wouldn’t be able to talk massive amounts of shit during The American Football season! Green Bay all day!
If you had skeletal remains would you use them to make a bone broth?
Nah, If I had actual skeletal remains, I’d go Ed Gein on them and make some nice furniture to go with the human skin drapes hanging in my living room. 😉
On a more serious front, you guys got to work with some heavy hitters on this release. You mentioned that it was a dream working with Dan Seagrave. What was the process like?
After the signing with Century Media, they gave us a budget for the album recording/artwork and all that good stuff. Having some art done by Seagrave has always been a dream of ours, so we mentioned it to Matt from Dark Descent and he got us in contact with him fairly quickly. After some back and forth, he finally agreed to do the art for the album. How that went about was we gave him some ideas and sent him some cataclysmic type art and photos we found online, and we also sent him some of the lyrics to a few of the songs. Then Seagrave did what Seagrave does. It was more than we thought it would be. So amazed by the outcome.
How much input did you have to give him for the cover ? And, did you go back to him with any notes?
The only note we gave him was to include ‘Skeletal Mike’ somewhere on the cover. Since he’s been on all the album covers for the previous albums, we figured we could continue it. kinda like our Eddie—he’s the Skeletal Remains mascot. You can find him on the bottom right corner of the art, laying in his tomb.
You guys also got to work with the one and only Swanö. How much input did he have for you? Was that an intimidating experience at all?
Yeah man, Swanö did a fucking fantastic job. We actually weren’t personally with him, so the intimidation factor wasn’t a big problem haha. We sent him all the tracks and he made it sound so fucking heavy. So clean. I mean, you can clearly hear everything on the album. Not sure how he did it, but for me personally, I’m amazed how good this album sounds. I’ll sit in my car, smoke a few bowls and blast the album, and it just blows me away. I cannot wait for the world, the fans of death metal to hear this album.
You guys are clearly inspired by that early 90s death metal sound. Can you put your finger on why that was such a special time in death metal?
I think what made that era of death metal so special is that it was fairly new. Yeah, you had thrash metal which fast and heavy, but osdm was faster, more extreme and in your face. Something that not everyone was used to at that time, and far more underground than any of those other genres, you know. Rarely on the radio or tv and stuff like that, so it was very sacred to a lot of people from the stories I’ve heard from the different old-schoolers all over the world.
What’s going on the scene nowadays that you think is detrimental to the purity of that sound? What do you think is going on that’s positive?
The scene today is getting more popular than it’s been the last few years. Not only are the old school death metallers loving the nostalgic sound these new bands have, but a lot of younger metalheads are getting into it. There are a lot of new bands out there with the Swedish, Floridian and everything in-between sounds of death metal, which is awesome. Keep it alive and well.
How can change, experimentation and risk push death metal forward?
Honestly, there isn’t any limits to death metal. Death metal is at the end of the line, so there isn’t anything after it. The possibilities are endless, and let’s hope it continues for years to come.
What led to the name change? Did it have anything to do with Anthropophagy being really, really hard for me to pronounce?
HAHA! Actually yes, it had to do a lot with it being hard to pronounce. And because Skeletal Remains just flowed better and fit perfectly with what the band is about. The decision to change the name came shortly after Adrian Obergon and I joined the band. We had the name idea for a project we had in mind but never got around to it. And we also had the Skeletal Remains logo made way before band was even thought of. The only difference was that the original Skeletal Remains logo had 3 skulls, one at the top and 1 on each side of the logo. We came to Chris with the idea and he liked it a lot as well. That’s how we became Skeletal Remains
Fun fact: both those names ‘Anthropophagy’ and ‘Skeletal Remains’ came from the lyrics to Demolition Hammer songs.
Anything you want to add or say to the fans?
Thank you for the interview. It was actually enjoyable and they usually aren’t Haha! And yes! get yourselves a copy of Devouring Mortality April 13th! Spread the word and we will be seeing all of you on the road very soon! Cheers and thanks again!