Monday, July 30, 2012

Southwicked Interview/Review (July 30, 2012)


Country of origin:
United States
Tampa, Florida
Year of creation:

Death Metal
Lyrical themes:
Serial Killers, Death Penalty, Murder, Death
Current label:
Abyss Records

Rock Rollain: Bass
Marco Vreven: Drums
Allen West: Guitars
Sven Poets: Vocals

Features Allen West (ex- Obituary, ex- Six Feet Under) on Lead Guitar


If you could, describe the process in making this album. What was the toughest part of that process

Rock: Getting the capital to complete it was the toughest part. We demoed 3 songs in Tampa in April 2009. A year later Allen Marco and I slept in my old band Kult of Thorn's rehearsal room in Phoenix AZ for two weeks and wrote the rest of the album. The drums were recorded at Villain Recording at that time. The bass and some of the guitars were recorded at Red Room Recorders in Tampa in January 2011 and the vocal and rest of guitars were recorded at Slavedriver Studio, Hasslet, Belgium in April 2011. Just before our first tour with Master.

What albums/bands are the most influential to your sound?

Rock: Obviously some of the songs on Death's Crown sounds like Obituary because Allen sounds and writes like Allen. Personally I just wrote what I thought would be the best basslines for the songs. I try my best to sound like Rock Rollain, even when I'm pretending to be Geezer Butler!

How do you feel about the state of death metal in 2012?

Rock: Southwicked is doing just fine. That's the only Death Metal band I'm concerned about.

Do you think that there are too many core and technical elements in death metal these days?

Rock: What any other band plays is up to them.

Be honest. What did you guys think of Morbid Angel's last album, "Illud Divinum Insanus?"

Rock: As long as the guys in Morbid Angel are happy with it is all that matters..

How did the name of the band come about?

Rock: We wanted to call the band Old Sparky but that name was already in use so we liked the idea of using a play on Alfred Southwick's (the inventor of the electric chair) name cause he was from my hometown, Buffalo NY and it fit with the concept of Death's Crown.

What do you think of sites like bandcamp and others that allow users to "name their own price" on albums? Do you think this is the future, especially for lesser known bands?

Rock: It means to me that bands will have to make up for that lost income by selling other things like Vinyl LP's, shirts, patches and whatever else they can think of. Site like that are part of the business nowdays. Musicians just have to deal with it.

With all this talk of apocalypse, what's the first thing that you would do "after the shit went down?

Rock: Put on a new pair of clean underwear and go to rehearsal.



Southwicked - Death's Crown (PR2012) - Basically, this is a band arisen from another band, as most bands usually start. The album starts up with a felon being put into the electric chair, and then as soon as he receives the shock of his life, the first track, "Death's Crown 4:58" starts up, and with it, I am greeted at the forefront with an awesome solo. Yes, a really fucking great solo, folks. This is how metal is supposed to sound.

Then the band starts kicking into gear, and as soon as they do, I'm greeted with some great gravelly vocals and death metal grooves. But not only that, because there's a great drummer behind the kit and the lead guitarist shows his stuff with some Cynic/Athiest style riffing if you'll listen. The song ends with a great melody and some hypnotic sound effects.

Next song comes in, and boom - another fucking solo. I wouldn't care if every song on this thing started with a solo, but it's not so for the disc. What you are going to get here is an old school death metal project with slightly raw production. But you don't want over produced shit. You want shit that sounds real, like the classic era of death metal; when people used what they had. These guys don't disappoint on that.

You want grooves and killer vocals, right? You'll fucking get that here. If I can say one thing about this album, it is that it is made to be played at full blast with the windows down, while driving up and down the road! Even death n' roll tracks like "The Phantom Prince 4:50" will definitely make your commute more enjoyable, while also pissing off everyone else on the street. But who cares about that? Fuck em! Death metal was meant to be played so loud that everyone can hear and enjoy it, whether they want to, or not.

Here, there's no real technical sessions (other than the opener and title track) and there's no CLEAN VOCALS. This is death metal, the way death metal has been made for years. This is that kind of "go get an axe and hack your neighbors" sort of death metal that doesn't get old. Well, not for most people, anyway. Fans of Grave, early Six Feet Under, Bolt Thrower, Unleashed, Obituary and Torture Killer would enjoy this shit immensely. It's mostly death and groove, but it's done right.

Yeah, if you don't like your death to groove and would rather it be more brutal with fiercer drumming, you might not like this one. It's not incessantly brutal, but it's a good romp through the graveyards of the old school.

Bonus Track: The Only Living Witness (5:13) This has got to be an Obituary cover. I can tell by the riffing, because it definitely reminds me of them. But you know, I could be wrong, as I haven't scoured that much of the ancient death metal albums. Regardless, the cover seems to have been done justice and it retains the death and groove nature of this band. Definitely worth checking out. The solos on this one are certainly worth hearing as well, as this is how death metal solos are played.

I personally enjoyed the hell out of this one. If you like your death to groove, you will too. Not much here for melody, other than the wicked solos; but if you're tired of over the top technical stuff, then check this one out.

Highlights: Death's Crown, Craving For Blood, The Phantom Prince, Graveyard Of Bones, The Only Living Witness (9 Tracks, 39:00)


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