Set for release on February 4th, through Dark Descent Records, Corpsessed's Abysmal Thresholds is one hell of an album. It's not just great Finnish Death Metal; it's great Death Metal, period. Trevor Proctor reviewed the album here, and I can tell you that even though by he and myself heard the album for review, both of us have purchased a physical copy; yes it is a very good album. Trevor also had the chance to interview the Finnish death-machine, and the result makes for fantastic reading. Read on, prepare to have your appetite whetted, and then get yourself a copy of Abysmal Thresholds!
Interview by Trevor Proctor
Firstly, congratulations on your debut album, Abysmal Thresholds – it’s my first death metal review of 2014 and what a great way to start the year, I thoroughly enjoyed the album and feel it’s a very strong release – how satisfied are you with it?
J.Lustig: Thanks very much, we're very satisfied and enjoying it too. I have to say, it was a long, and a lot harder process than I would have imagined, although we knew that we were gonna go all-in with this one, being the debut album, we really didn't want to cut any corners in any way, and make the best album we possibly could. A lot of credit has to be given to Matti for having the patience to basically record the whole thing in his living room, and having the nerves of steel listening and recording the rest of us laying down the tracks.
You adopted quite an in-house approach to recording/engineering etc. what sort of experience was it for the band and did it add extra pressure to the recording process?
M.Makela: The recordings were quite laid back most of the time. The most intense sessions were the drum recordings we did with the help of L.Laaksonen during one weekend. After this we started to record the guitars, bass, vocal and the occational synth/effect tracks with our own equipment and pace, with me engineering the recordings. I have also recorded our previous EPs so this wasn't anything new, only this time the scope and project was alot bigger than before.
Choosing to record everything on your own is good if you know what you're doing and it gives you much more control over things and loosens the time constraints. As an experience, you learn alot from it but it also has it own pressures and it will test your limits and skills.
There are bound to be advantages and disadvantages to such an approach, what were they and would you use a similar approach with future releases?
MM: There certainly were both! The advantages were that we could take our time with the recordings in rather sporadic sessions as our schedules saw fit. We had time to adjust the small details in the songs and truly think about the sound we wanted on the album. There was no rush and everything could be done at our own pace, but there also lies one of the disadvantages... the sessions started to drag on abit and took way more time than originally planned. Disadvantages are also that you're bound to the gear you have and try to get the best out of it.
Also the amount of work for me engineering the recordings and mixing the tracks seemed to become at one point such a huge task I almost lost my mind and sanity with the album. Working way too long and intensively on such a huge project you tend to lose objectivity as well. It was at this point I had to admit to myself that I can't do it completely alone and asked D.L. (of Cruciamentum and Resonance Studios) to help me with the mixing of the album. He also deserves a huge credit for doing this, and bearing with us and the countless mix and master versions he had to do... I must have driven him almost towards insanity as well at one point. We can only be grateful now that the album is finally done and out of our hands.
Though I again learned alot of things by recording this album, we'll have to think how we are going to handle things next time and if it would be the best option to use an outsider to record it.
You’ve been involved with the excellent Dark Descent Records since the release of your debut EP in 2011. As a fan they’re a great label with many excellent bands on their roster, as an artist what are the benefits of being signed to them?
N.Matilainen: You're right! Dark Descent has a great reputation, not just within fans but with bands as well. Matt is very dedicated, experienced and has set high standards and ethics when it comes to running a label. For a small band like us, to be associated to a label and a roster of bands like that, is the best possible promotion for our band. We are big music nerds too, and also enjoy alot of the releases from DD, so I think it’s safe to say that we are more than happy about being signed to Dark Descent!
What’s your favourite track from the album and what’s the reason for this?
MM: For me it's probably the last tracks we wrote for the album, being "Ravening Tides" and "The Threshold". The latter one turned in to quite an epic and a good album closer that somehow sonically ties things together. It's also not a coincidence that the word Threshold is in the album title...
NM: "The Threshold", its different, has the most crushing atmosphere and is songwritingly the best stuff we have done so far.
JL: "Trepanation" is a killer track, good tempo and cool little details composition-wise, I always get an urge to mosh when playing/listening to it. "Sovereign" is a great track too, we've been playing it live for over a year now and we finally got to put it onto a release. Great atmosphere throughout the whole song, with killer riffs and leads.
The artwork on the album is exceptional, I understand it’s by the artist Danille Gauvin, can you tell us much about her or how you discovered her work?
MM: We discovered Danille through Dark Descent Records. They had used her artwork on few of their releases before and especially the ones she did for Adversarial impressed me so much we decided to ask the label for her contact. We inquired if she would be interested in working with us first for our "Untitled" seven inch in 2012 which turned out very pleasing so we decided to continue our co-operation with the new album as well.
Who would you cite as being your main musical influences?
MM: I think all of us have quite different and wide influences. My main influences range through death, black and doom metal. Mostly the stuff from early 90s; especially the Finnish death metal bands of that time. The list could get quite long, but if I were to name a few; Abhorrence / early Amorphis, first two Sentenced albums, Demigod, Demilich, Disembowelment, early Deicide, Immolation and Incantation, Beherit, Archgoat, Goatlord, Grave...
Can't deny the huge effect 90s black metal also had on me. On the more doomy side Esoteric, Thergothon, Skepticism, and Dusk (USA) have been great influences as well. Dark ambient and (horror) movie soundtracks play a somewhat significant role too, I've been fascinated with that stuff since a kid.
One of my favourite albums from last year was “Pelon Juuret” by another excellent Finnish band, Unkind – are you familiar with them and do you follow the music of any other Finnish bands?
NM: Haven't heard that one yet, but I did enjoy "Harhakuvat". Of course we have done gigs with other Finnish bands from Dark Descent, and have become good friends with some of them. In my opinion Finland has always had an interesting underground scene in general (that dates back in the 60`s), not just in metal. Finnish mentality is primitive, melancholic and quite eccentric. And I think this reflects on Finnish music and is the reason behind what makes it so special.
There are quite a few bands from Finland - how strong is the metal scene there?
There’s been quite a growth in Death Metal in recent years; do you think this is a good or bad thing for the genre?
JL: Metal music in Finland is huge, I think Finland was the country with most metal bands per capita in the world.
Of course a lot of it is shit, haha. But there is no denying that metal music has a strong footing in Finland, and metal music is not that frowned upon like in other countries perhaps. With Death Metal, I think we can all agree that there is a new wave of bands coming up all over the world, especially in Finland where old classic bands like Convulse and Abhorrence are awakening from their slumber; doing gigs and releasing new material. I like the strong Death Metal scene in Finland, and I welcome it, but it's safe to say that with all the new bands coming up, some won't make it in the long run and I think it's a natural and a good thing, the weak will perish and the strong strive.
You have a choice of releasing Abysmal Thresholds during what some people view as the pinnacle of death metal during the early 1990’s or the present time, which would you pick and why?
JL: I'd release it today, not in the '90's. Even though the album, and we as a band, take influences from the classic Death Metal bands and the albums released back in the day, "Abysmal Thresholds" has qualities that wouldn't make it a "90's era album"; it does have "a new sound" to it, and I think it pushes a bit the boundaries of that classic Death Metal stuff everyone's accustomed to hear. A lot of it has to do with all the samples and synth stuff we have on it.
Do you have any plans for touring during the coming year?
MM: No plans currently. Let's see how the album is received and if that opens some doors. The idea of touring is not dismissed at all, and is something we'd like to do very much at some point.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to and what other 5 bands would you like to share a bill with?
JL: For me, Kill-Town Death Fest '12 was by far the best gig we've played. The crowd and the atmosphere was great, not only during our show, but of the whole fest. As for what bands I'd like to share the stage, I'd love to play with Funebrarum/Disma and Abhorrence. Those are the names in my book that I have a lot respect for.
Thank you very, very much for taking the time to answer these questions, it’s greatly appreciated and I wish you every success on the release of your album.
All: Thanks for the interview Trevor, we appreciate it!
Abysmal Thresholds is released by Dark Descent Records on February 4th.