Denver’s death metal trio Of Feather and Bone have come along way since their 2012 inception and furthermore since they began as a crusty hardcore band. Their first full length was as in your face as it could’ve been with attitude for eons. But with their 2016 Demo the band had an about face into the netherworld of death metal that garnered fans across the globe and good luck finding your own physical copy. Two years later Bestial Hymns of Perversions sees the band capitalizing on everything that was so freaking great about that Demo; heavy as lead death metal, atmosphere that causes the stomach to ball up in knots and a keen sense of the genre as a whole. These seven tracks sound as though they’ve been unearthed from some dusty crypt that’s been buried for twenty plus years. The trick here is the fact that this band isn’t some fly by night copycat of the glory years, this sounds as fresh as a new born zombie with an acute taste for blood. Ripping leads meets pinch harmonics meets absolute ferocity and the results speak for themselves. This album is not one you’ll want to miss. Just ahead of the album’s release we had the opportunity to speak with bassist and vocalist Alvino to discuss Bestial Hymns of Perversion, its atmosphere and Denver’s metal scene. Keep reading to see what he had to say.
The sheer quantity of quality metal coming out of Colorado is insane and with Bestial Hymns of Perversions you put the exclamation mark on that statement. So what exactly is in the kool-aid up there?
I think it took denver a long time to get to the point it is at. There are certain people like Ethan from Primitive man who have been hosting shows and doing bands for a long time and has done so much for the Denver DIY scene. Along with that, just having a solid foundation of show goers really makes the shows that do happen here, awesome. Perhaps the amount of people moving here allows for more people. But overall I’m not totally sure why but nonetheless it’s cool to see all of our friends doing well and people noticing our city for something other than cowboys, skiing and weed.
Much has been made of the style shift from hardcore on Embrace the Wretched Flesh to the two pack of death metal on 2016’s Demo so with that out of the way this album feels like a huge expansion on the ideas and feel from that demo. What was your end result for this album as far as where you’re headed (or want to go) in death metal?
The older stuff was written so long ago. We sat on those songs and played them longer than we ever intended to. So when we did the demo, it was a way to easily introduce people to what we were evolving into rather than just spring a whole record on the world. This evolution and progression is something we’ve been working on for a long time and to most it seems super abrupt, which is fine, because we know how much time and thought went into doing this.
My initial impression after the first spin was just how nihilistic and guttural this album is as a whole. After many more, my initial thoughts haven’t changed. How did you approach the song structures and what is your typical approach to writing new material?
Dave (guitar) and Preston (drums) have a very organic way of writing with one another. So song or even structure is even in the beginning stages when we all sit down to write. It happens on the fly and if we don’t finish the song at that session, it’s highly likely that we won’t use it and scrap the whole thing. For this record, we just wanted to write and play something we would want to listen to.
Any particular influences that are go-to’s for you as a band or personally? Or are you more insulated and choose to create without outside distractions?
We all have our favorite bands and styles and whatnot, but we do a solid job and not trying to bite anyone else or take from another band. We’re not reinventing the wheel but what we play and write is what we know.
The atmosphere throughout Bestial Hymns of Perversion makes this album feel old and classic. Particularly on “Resounding From the Depths” and “Mockery Of the Ascension.” It’s heavy enough to choke on. How do you manage this particular level of crushing atmosphere?
Atmosphere is for sure something we try to lock in. You can write a 4 minute song filled with riffs and blasts and vocals and whatnot but with no atmosphere it’s just another generic song. Dave went through some really tough personal stuff before writing this record and the somber tones really shine through with his riffs due to where he was at at the time.
From the song titles alone I think it’s safe to say this album is a staunch diatribe against the hive mind of religion and what effects it has had globally? Also, it seems that ritualistic themes are at work here based on the Stefan Todorovic album artwork. Can you expand on that?
It is indeed. I’m not one to write cliche lyrics about “Satan” and “fuck Jesus” or whatever. I leave that to the bands that are more eloquent about that approach. The lyrics take inspiration and a staunch stance against christianity from an indigenous person standpoint. My heritage and being brought up to appreciate and cherish it is what took the most hold on the lyrical approach. Christianity is what has wiped out most cultures and civilizations. My ancestry is rooted in the Aztec and Huichol tribes of Mexico. Catholicism is strong within our culture but for me, I’ve always been more fascinated with my ancestors and what they did and succeeded at before the invaders came and spread their plagues.
Speaking of artwork, the vinyl edition will feature an altered version from the CD and digital. What was the impetus for that and what in your mind is the thematic differences between the two?
Khaos Diktator did one version and then with some dialogue, we came up with the second version. Profound Lore loved both so we decided to use both pieces on different formats.
How did the deal with Profound Lore come about and how’s it been working with them so far?
It was quick, random and awesome. We sent Profound Lore the record and within the day we agreed to work together. Since then, it has been a great partnership and one where he really cares about what we want to do while maintaining the craft of his label.
There’s all sorts of stories regarding the studio process and how taxing it can be. You recorded with Steve Goldberg this time out. How was that process and do you feel he pulled the best out of you for this particular moment in time?
Steve is awesome. We recorded the demo with him and it’s because of that experience that we decided to do the full length with him. He offers up a lot of great insight and ideas without ever stepping on our toes. He allows us to do what’s natural to us but doesn’t hesitate to tell us if something is off and can offer alternative ideas.
Do you feel Of Feather and Bone are in a better place, musically, than you’ve ever been? And do you feel this album fully captures the essence of the band and what you set out to accomplish?
Totally! This is the most proficient and accurate material to date. We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
Release date is upon us, what’s next? I know you’ve got some tour dates in the can but anything else lined up in the foreseeable future?
We will be doing a full US tour this June with our friends in Tomb Mold from Canada. We will be hitting the West Coast alone and the South and East Coasts with them. Up next we will be planning our next European campaign for 2019.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, anything you’d like to add?
Thanks a ton for your questions.
Many thanks to Alvino and Of Feather and Bone for their time!