ETERNAL ROT – interview
REACHING OUT TO EVERY GRAVE – AN INTERVIEW WITH ETERNAL ROT
With influences from all things vile and sinister, the Polish/UK death metal combo Eternal Rot has turned into a deadly force to be reckoned with and the duo’s latest release, the morbid masterpiece entitled "Cadaverine", is mandatory listen for all you zombie-loving scumbags out there. Eternal Terror Live simply had to reach out to the sempiternal living hell inhabited by Mayer (guitars, bass, drum programming, vocals) and Grindak (vocals, lyrics) to learn more about this cursed outfit.
ET: Hails brother, how are you? I figured that since quite a few of our readers may not be familiar with the sinister and vicious musical force that is Eternal Rot, perhaps you could outline your band history for us and touch a bit on your releases, namely “Promo Tape 2013” (2013) and “Cadaverine” (2018)?
Mayer: Hails. I’m slowly rotting away in a fine way, thanks. Eternal Rot appeared in carnal form in 2012 and released the “Promo Tape 2013” containing 2 tracks, which sold out in 2 weeks. A bit later the Polish label Fallen Temple released it on 7 inch vinyl under the title "Grave Grooves". In the meantime, we did an exclusive track for a Dutch vinyl compilation called "Vestibule of Hell" alongside a few bands that we’re fans of, which is great for us. Then we disappeared into our coffins for a few years till September 2018 when Godz Ov War Productions released our debut album. All copies have already been devoured and are cherished by a number of zombies out there. Now we’re focused (when time allows us to) on a follow-up to it and we would like to be little bit quicker than 5 years with it.
ET: Where did you record the EP? Is there a specific theme or concept of sorts running coursing through its cursed veins?
Mayer: It has been recorded in Tomb of Eternal Rot, which means my home. Luckily, in today’s era you don’t have to spend a fortune to produce a satisfying sound. The theme or concept is very simple – it has to crush and be heavy as fuck, soaked in a dark mood, it just has to feel right. Theme-wise this is very much Death Metal all the way with all of its topics; we focused on a straightforward cemetery-feel with a big dose of gore and Lovecraftian elements to it. It has to be like a good book or a movie, take you on a journey, occupy your imagination, and it is good if after listening to it you feel battered and dirty.
ET: What was the initial motivation for launching Eternal Rot? Was there a specific purpose or an agenda of sorts or did it strictly have to do with your profound love for all things horror and your need to channel that into something creative?
Mayer: I used to jam a lot on guitar, various themes and styles, and I realised that slow, groovy and hypnotic compositions are the ones I enjoy the most. I had 2 tracks done with no initial plan to release them, but a friend of mine (Tomek from Behind the Mountain Records) convinced me to do it. Actually, a bit later he helped me a lot with the promo tape production. Grindak came up with a name for it and joined this vile entity that became Eternal Rot. I am an old Death Metal fan so no wonder it has horror motifs all over it – the motivation was to just play and express myself through this music the best way that I can.
ET: Do you remember how, why, and when you became addicted to dark and creepy music? Was it one or more specific releases that changed your perspective on music, or was it something else entirely?
Mayer: I bet that like for most of us the first fascinations were bands like Iron Maiden, Helloween or Judas Priest, but the real groundbreaking release, which took me to a different world, was Samael’s "Medieval Prophecy". At that time I listened to many other things as well, but this one stands out for me and comes to my mind as the first one when I think about30 years ago. The darkness and heaviness packed into this short release still today cause shivers on my already slightly decayed body.
Grindak: After going through a similar phase with bands like Running Wild, Kind Diamond or Black Sabbath at the beginning of my journey with metal music, I was quickly sucked into much darker stuff. These were the days full of Celtic Frost, early Sepultura, Bathory, and all the Scandinavian Death Metal gems. When I look back, I remember that my young head was ravaged the most by Autopsy "Severed Survival", Carcass "Symphonies of Sickness" and Death "Leprosy". I have always liked electronic music as well and here I’ve found a lot of stuff dark enough to keep me interested.
ET: In terms of writing and arranging songs for Eternal Rot, who does what? Are you intuitive and spontaneous when it comes to composing songs and coming up with ideas and so on, or perhaps the other way around?
Mayer: This is my area. Usually, I jam till I feel the spark that this is the right riff, the right mood and an idea. Sometimes it takes a long time as I’m my own biggest critic. When I’ve got the idea then I try to stick to the mood of it and create the whole composition around it. There are many changes on the way till it is exactly how I want it to be.
ET: Do you experiment and improvise a lot both when in the studio?
Mayer: In our case the whole experimentation or improvisation bit takes place at my home, which is where I record everything. Stuff sent to the studio is complete and only the sound can be changed slightly through the mixing and mastering – the compositions themselves are set in stone at that point in time.
ET: Could you list some of the bands and that have inspired you the most in relation to composing songs for Eternal Rot?
Mayer & Grindak: Sure, there are many bands that are inspirational for us in such a way. The most important ones would be old Grave, Demigod, Demilich, Incantation, Undergang, Disma, Funebrarum, Hooded Menace, Anatomia and Autopsy.
ET: Does horror literature or other forms of art beside movies inspire you?
Grindak: Of course, this specific kind of darkness we crave can be found in many forms, and all of them are extremely inspirational for us, like the paintings of Zdzislaw Beksinski or Hieronymus Bosch, the sculptures of H.R. Giger, the novels of Stefan Grabinski, places like Kutna Hora Ossuary and Highgate Cemetery in London, and surely the drawings of Mark Riddick!
ET: I love the “Cadaverine” album cover art and its sublime black/white aesthetic. Who came up with that? Did you have any input? Speaking of which, the title sounds quite eerie and nightmarish. Where did exactly did that come from? Some awful nightmare of yours?
Grindak: The cover of the album is a story which was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for us. First we had a very talented Polish graphic artist named Rafal Kruszyk who agreed to do it – the same guy whose artwork was used for the "Grave Grooves" demo. Unfortunately, he broke contact with us for reasons unknown, and we were running out of time with respect to the album cover just a few weeks before the album release. With nothing to lose we wrote Mark Riddick, who for us is the best artist when it comes to black and white death metal imagery, actually with no hope of receiving a response, and he quickly came back to us with the perfect unfinished sketch that he had put aside. We were amazed with it because it fits us perfectly, so he finished it for us, sent additional graphics for the booklet and it turned out better than we could have imagined. The black/white aesthetic is something we have stuck to from the very beginning and I think we will keep it this way in the future. I came across the word "Cadaverine" while reading about the decay process from a biological point of view and it hit me right between the eyes that rotting meat produces something extremely stinky and has such a cool name. I just had to use it. Actually, the name Eternal Rot came to me in a dream, and at that point in time I just forgot that this is the title of a Foul Stench album.
ET: The distribution of music has changed drastically over the past 10-15 years and many bands and artists are no longer affiliated with any labels, managers, or anything like that. Nowadays, you can release your own material digitally in a matter of second, but it can be difficult to actually get people to notice your music because they are flooded with options and alternatives. What are some of your thoughts on this?
Grindak: It is just a matter of choice, but it is good to have freedom. If you care enough, dig deep enough and have a bit of time and funds, you will find a lot of interesting stuff no matter if it is only a digital release or stuff on tapes limited to 30 copies. 99% of things are available on YouTube or Bandcamp and so everyone is spoiled with choice. If some bands release stuff only digitally for the price of going under most people’s radar then this is fine as well.
ET: What are you guys currently up to in terms of band activities? Are you by any chance composing and writing new material these days?
Mayer: We would like to complete a new album in a shorter time than we did the previous one, and recently I’ve started working on some new tracks. We’re hoping to have them finished this year, but this is not a promise. We will for sure come back with something new and heavy. We got a good response for the album and there are actually a few freaks that want to listen to it. But we would do this regardless of the reception.
ET: Any chance of you guys ever bringing in some sessions players and staging a live performance?
Grindak: We’re planning to try to record new stuff with a live drummer – it is Radek Pierscinski from Meat Spreader/The Dead Goats/Neuropathia, so we’re quite excited about this. He is a friend of ours and he likes Eternal Rot. He also created our new logo and we like his style of drumming. He would like to try himself in a band playing a bit slower music compared to his other bands, so hopefully it will work out well. But no gigs have been planned – in this area there are no changes.
Thanks once again for taking the time to answer this short interview of ours. Any final threats or insults to our devoted scumbag readers?
Mayer & Grindak: Sorry for such delay with the answers, we’re really busy zombies and everything takes time with us, so your patience is being praised from the bottoms of our coffins. To everyone who read this – I bet if you read this you are the supporter of Underground Death Metal – so hails to you! Keep Underground Death Metal alive and ugly! Ugh!