As a site that features regular metal related content, we get a staggering amount of music in our inbox. Sites similar to ours can relate and you writer types can as well. Bottom line is, with this much music to comb through we tend towards desensitization to what’s coined as ‘extreme’ and ‘brutal.’ But when I heard the intro, “Between Life and Death,” from Flesh Hoarder‘s debut full length Homicidal Necrophile it awakened that primal need for the kind of brutality I had latched onto early in my death metal exploration so many years ago. And as the songs ticked by, I noticed that spot in my stomach that hadn’t churned in awhile reared its ugly head — right then and there I knew I had hit on a gold mine. Brutal death metal is nothing new and there’s always been a smorgasbord of blood and guts to choose from but there’s something ultimately wicked and terrifying in this Texas based band’s delivery that stands out from the crowded pack. After a few hours of this album on repeat I had to know more so I reached out to guitarist Mike DeLeon to discuss the new album, brutal death metal in general and how they were able to hit that ‘pit in the bottom of your stomach’ feeling so easily. Read on to see what he had to say and be sure to grab your own copy on May 11 — links contained within.
Flesh Hoarder started in 2011, released the Infatuation With Menstruation demo in 2012 and now, six years later, stand ready to release your full length debut Homicidal Necrophile. Six years is a long time, why the wait?
Mike DeLeon: First off, just wanna say thank you guys for this interview! It took a long time between the demo and the full length because of just mainly life set backs… we still kept busy on the live front, but it was pretty hard to get us all together to get back into the studio and record the full length debut. We finally got busy with the final recording process in 2016/2017 and hooked up with Steve Green over at Comatose Music, who had already been a friend of the band for many years, who helped bring the album to full life and give it a proper release in 2018.
Since this is the debut, what did the creative process look like for you approaching this new material?
MD: Our other guitarist Angel (Tarin), wrote the majority of this album and had sent us a bunch of demos with some programmed drums for us to listen to… we would take those demos and bring them to life as a full band, which then would let us all add our own little spins and flavors to the tunes. We would spend time shaping them up and getting them as heavy and brutal as all fuck as possible!
Going even further with that thought, how do you come up with the themes, lyrical content and imagery? Is it horror movies? Horrific dreams? Or something totally different?
MD: Our singer SickNick (Moreno), is the one that usually comes up with the themes and imagery for the individual tunes. He works at an actual mortuary and has to go out and pick up dead bodies at different locations around the city he lives in, so he honestly sees death on a daily basis… that combined with our love for old school horror movies and old school death metal help bring these themes and songs to the sickest depths of horror you can go.
Brutal death metal has been around for a long time but it’s been awhile since I listened to an album that truly captures the sense of dread and that ‘pit in the bottom of your stomach’ feeling similar to the reaction from a repulsive scene in a horror movie. For example, I can visualize “Hogtied and Deep Fried” and this visual evokes a definite reaction. How do you manage to capture this so well?
MD: It’s that same emotion you’re feeling, that ‘bottom of the gut’ feeling, that we also feel when creating these songs. We are naturally speaking, playing and performing these sick and twisted emotions into these guttural songs of filth and depravity. I’m glad it comes across very well for the listener.
I can hear some of the genre’s early visionaries in your sound. What influences shaped your sound and are there any particular bands/albums that made you want to be a part of brutal death metal?
MD: You can most definitely hear the heavier, chunkier side of Cannibal Corpse in there, as well as some Morbid Angel, Suffocation and Immolation influences. We all grew up and still listen to these bands today. They have influenced many like us and continue to help push the boundaries of extreme music. We are also fans of bands like Mortician, who use the old horror movie samples, to help give that eerie feeling, as you can hear a few movie samples throughout our album as well.
Speaking of brutal death metal, what would you say to its detractors basing their opinions on lyrical content, song titles and imagery? You guys don’t shy away in the least here so I’m beyond curious to hear your opinion.
MD: Brutal death metal is supposed to be about pushing the limits of speed, sound and visuals. Different topics and different platforms, but all in the same vein of pushing the limits! If this type of music offends you, off to something else then! This music isn’t for everyone, so if you don’t like it, fine by us. There are the true brutal death metallers out there who live for this shit! Cheers to them!
Homicidal Necrophile will be released on Comatose Music, how did this come about and how has it been so far working with them?
MD: About a decade ago or so, Steve Green and Comatose Music released both my band and Angel’s band’s full length albums. The drummer, bassist and myself of Flesh Hoarder were all in a band together back then called Disfigured. Angel was in a band called Exulcerate. Steve put albums out from these bands and always did it on a very professional level and was always very supportive. It was the natural thing to do for us to work with him again, some years later on this release. We can’t thank him enough for all he’s done for so many bands playing underground brutal death metal! He believed in us and now the full length is on its way! Good dude and Comatose is a great label.
Sometimes it’s easy, particularly for this genre, for the mix to get muddied and the results in overall sound be subpar. I’m stunned by how clearly everything came out on the album and how good the separation is between instruments. It allows the album to breathe so to speak. Any tricks you care to share from the studio process on how you accomplished this?
MD: Our good buddy Shane Elwell over at Smoke Break Studios helped with all that. We came in with our vision of what we wanted the album to sound like and to have a very natural feel to it. I’m glad the end result came out as it did. It sounds perfect! Nice chunky and heavy, but also sustainable and clear to the ear and you can hear all instruments and the individual notes, pretty clearly. I personally was trying to go for the ole’ Cannibal Corpse “The Bleeding” era sound, but with our touch and tunes! It crushes through the speakers!
How important is it for you to stay true to this particular branch of death metal? And in the future, will you stay the course or try to push beyond the limits and pioneer a new take on it?
MD: It is pretty important to us all in this band that we stay true to this style and sound of death metal. We will do our very best to stick to this formula when creating the next album. No we won’t try to branch out and experiment like some bands do and that may work for them, but for Flesh Hoarder, it is honest that we keep it super heavy, evil and fast! That is our sound and that is what we do and want to do moving forward.
This is probably a rhetorical question but now that the album is done does it meet or exceed everything you had hoped for?
MD: This debut is everything we have been wanting to do for the last six years… it is real and it is pure heart and soul! It definitely meets our expectations and then some and we hope to make our fans and any new listeners out there feel like they got what they were hoping to get out of the Flesh Hoarder debut album! It’s a beast of disc!
Other than release date fast approaching, what else is on your radar in the foreseeable future?
MD: We will be playing this years annual Las Vegas Deathfest along side many other awesome acts as well as doing many regional Texas shows to help push the album. We have also recently signed on with Jarvis Booking Co. to help take us to the next level and bring our live shows around the globe, hopefully in 2018 and 2019. We would also like to start working on some new songs to follow up with this disc.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Anything you’d like to add?
MD: Just wanna say thanks to everyone who took the time to read this, to all our great fans out there who support Flesh Hoarder and to you guys for taking the time to interview us. We will see you out there somewhere soon. Buy the album, share with your friends and bang your fkn’ heads! Cheers!
Many thanks to Mike and Flesh Hoarder for their time!