Last July I wrote about a crowd-funding campaign that had been launched by Conquering Dystopia — the band created by guitarists Jeff Loomis of Seattle and Keith Merrow of Portland, which also includes bassist Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) and drummer Alex Rüdinger (The Faceless, Ordinance). That campaign was wildly successful. I splurged on it myself, with a donation that offered a very enticing perk — a meal in Seattle with Loomis and Merrow. And yesterday that happened.
We met at the Hard Rock Cafe at 3:00, and what followed was an extremely enjoyable 2 1/2-hour conversation that ended only when the two needed to hit the road for the drive to Portland, where Jeff is helping Keith and his wife move into a new house (I think we can all agree that there are few truer measures of friendship than one dude helping another one move).
It wasn’t intended to be an interview, but I can’t resist sharing some impressions of the people and some news about both Conquering Dystopia and the future plans of both men. First, the news…
The Conquering Dystopia album is nearly ready for release — perhaps a matter of two or three more weeks. But the guys want to be definite before announcing an official date, and they’re not quite to that point. They are both clearly delighted with the way it turned out and excited for people to hear it. Jeff described it as a “guitar roller coaster, with hills and valleys, cinematic soundscapes, and some experimentation”, and he said it’s very heavy.
Oh, they make it look so easy.
Jeff Loomis and Keith Merrow (Demisery) were trying out their new signature amp packs for Jamup Pro. And they decided, why not throw together a new jam? And they spontaneously wrote and recorded an instrumental track in a couple of hours. And then they decided, what the hell, let’s invite Ola Englund (Feared) to come bust out a solo for this thing. And voila! They produced de-li-ciousness.
And they videotaped it, too, so that all of us can bask in all the delicious riff wizardry.
Watch these three guitar dynamos tear it up right after the jump. You’ll be glad you did.
(Demisery is a two-man death metal project consisting of noted guitar whiz Keith Merrow and his partner in crime, guitarist/vocalist Gord Olson. TheMadIsraeli raved about their 2011 debut album Hive of Misery in his NCS review last November — an album you can stream and buy HERE. Today, we’re happy to publish his interviews with Demisery’s dynamic duo. In this post, he talks with Gord Olson and in the immediately preceding post, Keith Merrow.)
Mr. Olson — you have a voice that sounds like a grotesque swamp monster and the shred skills to eviscerate an entire army of demons. Why ARE you so fucking awesome?
Thank you very much, sir. I can only say that my skills either came to me through many long years of study and practice, or perhaps that creepy guy dressed up as the devil at that Halloween party had something to do with it… As part of a gag, I “sold my soul” to him! (laughs) But of course, that stuff isn’t real though, right? RIGHT???
I’m going to start this interview with the same question I asked Keith: How did you and Merrow hook up, why form Demisery, and how do you feel about Hive Of Mutation in retrospect?
Sometime in late 2010, I had stumbled across a couple of Keith’s videos on YouTube, and I was impressed by certain aspects of his sound. Actually, one of the videos I saw was of him doing a guitar cover of a Cannibal Corpse song, which I thought was really cool, so I wrote to him. I was wanting to pick his brain a little bit about his production techniques. I mentioned that I was a huge fan of old-school Death Metal, and sent him a couple of tracks that I was working on at the time. We found out that we had a near identical list of influences and favorite music, and it was kind of a trip to find that we had many other things in common as well, so I guess that was the start of the friendship.
(Demisery is a two-man death metal project consisting of noted guitar whiz Keith Merrow and his partner in crime, guitarist/vocalist Gord Olson. TheMadIsraeli raved about their 2011 debut album Hive of Misery in his NCS review last November — an album you can stream and buy HERE. Today, we’re happy to publish his interviews with Demisery’s dynamic duo. In this post, he talks with Keith Merrow and in the next post, Gord Olson.)
This is so fucking cool to be doing an interview with you. How are you today fine sir?
Hey thanks man, things are fantastic right now. Happy to chat with you!
Alright, so let’s get to the nitty gritty here. How did you and Gord hook up, why form Demisery, and how do you feel about Hive Of Mutation in retrospect?
I met Gord a couple years ago. He had emailed me for some production tips, and I ended up doing a Skype lesson for him. We just basically hit it off after talking about our musical influences, and found that we had so much in common, musically. We’ve talked nearly every day since we met, and he’s just a great guy. He’s a wicked guitar player and has a knack for writing awesome old-school DM. We had talked about doing a collab on a death metal project for a long time. After he sent me a couple riff ideas he had, we basically just dove into it, head first. I’m really happy with how it turned out, in the end. We set out to make a traditional DM album, and that’s just what it is. It was cool to pay homage to our influences.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Demisery.)
I’ve found the torrent of death metal albums coming out this year to be fairly underwhelming, if that wasn’t already obvious by my lack of reviews for albums in this genre. Thankfully, reinventors of the wheel like Kartikeya and keepers of the old guard like Vallenfyre have proven to me that death metal can still be as awesome as it was back in the glory days of the 90’s; you just gotta know where to look.
Demisery is definitely one of the bands this year who’ve proven that point. Founded and totally driven by instrumental groove-metal master Keith Merrow and his newly found partner, guitarist/vocalist Gord Olson, Demisery have produced what may very well be my favorite death metal album of the entire year: Hive of Mutation.
It’s old school with the right amount of tastefully inserted modernism. It’s got great riffs out the ass, and the songwriting is compelling and killer. The fact that the music is the product of only two guys is pretty astounding, with drums, guitars, and bass all being tracked between the two of them, and Gord providing all vocals. (more after the jump . . .)
I haven’t been keeping tabs on metal news while mellowing out here in cloudland. But I have been checking my e-mail every now and then, and e-mails have brought news, so I’ve pulled together a few items in this post, just to keep my hand in, y’know? I’m starting with the really important news.
BRING ME THE HORIZON
The British band Bring Me the Horizon guitarist raged in The Circus gig at a restaurant on Sunday evening.
A man upset the audience came herjasta fists and stormed up to fight among the general public. Who was on the viewer says that the first stage guitarist rose to the security fence on top of the audience and tried to tear him down. (more after the jump . . .)
(TheMadIsraeli provides a quick alert about a two-man, old-school death metal project that includes Keith Merrow.)
Keith Merrow has been slowly working his way up the ranks of metal supremacy. You’ll know him for his unique style of instrumental groove metal, and if not… well… get on checking that shit out.
Demisery is Keith’s first venture (that any of us will have heard) into a different style of music, old school death metal. Teaming up with his friend and vocalist Gord Olson, this two-man project is set to take the world by storm with their coming debut Hive Of Mutation”. I’ll let the band’s mission statement speak for itself.
“This collaboration is extremely fun, and the music is in the traditional Death Metal vein. It’s pretty much a blatant tribute to old (and some newer) Death Metal tunes. Fans of bands like Grave, Death, Obituary, Malevolent Creation, Cannibal Corpse, Monstrosity, etc… will find a familiar sound and traditional DM feel. We’re currently in pre-production of our first full-length album at the moment. It’s packed full of blast beats, trem picking, guitar solos and guttural vocals. There’s no core, no prog, no “djent”, this is a 100% Death Metal album.”
Sound good to you? Does to me. Demisery have released two songs thus far called “Thralldom” and “The Enlightener”, included after the jump, as well as a trailer of Keith Merrow recording various chunks of the album. Definitely expect a review of this down the line when it’s out.