Demiser, a blackened thrash band from South Carolina, may need a slight introduction now but when their debut full length Through the Gate Eternal drops, introductions will be a thing of the past. The band revels in its classic take on heavy metal but excels in its fresh ideas on how to push their brand of blackened thrash further than ever thought possible. I recently chatted with vocalist Demiser the Demiser about the upcoming album and how it came to be, their absolute need to get out of the house and tour on this thing, how Covid switched up their plans, their band mascot and how that came to be, how their bad ass album artwork came to fruition and the insane merch that will be available to those with a quick trigger finger, how working with Damian Herring came to be, and much more. Based on this conversation, it’s easy to see how true and real the band stays to the heart of metal in general and with the contents of the upcoming album, it’s easy to see that the band will no doubt be the breakout of 2021. Trust us on this piece of info and get in on the ground floor.
Through the Gate Eternal is almost out and I’m amazed at how much of a ripper it is. You’ve got thrash, black and death metal, and some insane melodics…
…We really try to throw in a lot of different things beyond just traditional heavy metal. There’s a lot of rock n roll influence in there we’re trying to hit on; definitely a lot of Motorhead, Venom and stuff like that and we’re really trying to ramp it all up with our sound.
…but also tons of fresh ideas thrown in. And, to the point of I’m feeling that when this hits the streets it’s going to be huge…
…That’s always been the goal. A lot of us come from different projects and have been doing this for years. I’ve been playing heavy metal for 15 years now. I did 10 years in a death metal band out of Ohio called Locusta and we were touring constantly. We put out one album and a couple of EP’s. We’ve been sitting on an album now for 6 years or so and have never released it. Having this project (Demiser) in my head for 6 years and finally rounding up the guys that fit it just right to turn it into an entity of its own and even beyond what I had pictured for it and seeing everything come to fruition, I don’t know that I’ve ever been so stoked for a release to come out.
Going back to rounding the band out; how did you find the guys, much less the right ones?
This band started almost as a two-piece, the nae was formed but not fully fleshed out. The idea was to be early Bathory worship and it was me and an ex-member that has since moved away. We did use one riff he wrote on “Demiser the Demiser” even though it was a year previous to that song ever being put to use. I’m not the best drummer and we ended up meeting a guy (Infester) through a local show from Antichrist Seige Machine, and he took things to the next level and then Gravepisser I’ve known for years. He’s played in all sorts of metal and punk bands growing up so I approached them about it and threw them some records; Destruction and Sodom and Aura Noir along with the old school Venom so they could get the feel and realm I was after. I basically told them I want to be the most evil and fast black thrash band in the US but I also want it to be catchy. There’s not a lot of bands out there in extreme metal you can slap your knee to so I wanted to capture that aspect of early heavy metal. Phalomancer came from an internal recommendation and after some talk back and forth and one practice with us, he was in. Even though we technically were a 3-piece on the demo Surrender To Sin, we were fully formed by the time it came out and we were happy with the positive reception we were hearing from it. On the heels of that we were asked to play the Blood of the Wolf fest in Kentucky which then was an annual festival, which to me featured some of the best underground metal in the US. We were definitely honored to play that. Unfortunately with current events, that kind of thing just isn’t happening and we’re hoping to get back to that soon.
Last March you sent out an update with the album cover and then boom, Covid happened. How did that affect the recording process?
We had talked to Boris Records previously and they sent us a formal email saying they wanted to put out the full length. We originally planned on a release in Spring or Summer of last year and it was just a long, drawn out process with only being able to be in the studio one or two of us at a time and because of that, and all of us having jobs, it just drug out way longer than we anticipated. I need to give props to Chase here, he was our engineer and as pissed off as we’d all get he did a great job of calling us out when things needed to be tighter or something was a bit off or needed tweaking. Sometimes the sloppiness gives it character and especially in this style of heavy metal but he was very adamant in tightening it up. We’d do the same take 10 – 15 times in a row and just be devastated, but after getting the masters back from Damian (Herring) I was blown away by how great it sounded and it made the wait and all the pain worth it.
How did you hook up with Damian for mastering on this record?
Damian used to live in SC and I’d known him for a while. My old band played a couple of shows with Horrendous also, a pre show for MDF and Blood of the Wolf, so I had known him for 7 or 8 years. A lot of good friends of mine had worked with him as well and this was the first thing he’d ever done for me. I’ve been wanting to work with him for a while and I think the product that he turns out is excellent. He really showed his versatility with us, our sound and style is definitely a different thing than he’s used to since it’s mostly death metal that he works on. We handed the album to him and shared that there were a few parts we weren’t totally happy with and a few parts that needed some love and he absolutely killed it. We are extremely happy with how it came out.
Going back to it taking longer to record, you guys are not technical (in the sense of tech-anything) but how you play and the way it sounds IS very technical and precise. With that said I can only imagine this created problems since you all couldn’t be there for fluidity, thoughts?
Yes, incredibly difficult. In spite of all that though I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out and am ok with the fact it took way longer to do. I think the album really speaks for itself and I’m glad I’m happy with it.
It sucks releasing an album without the ability to put in front of any audiences. I can testify to the energy and aggression in your live show after seeing you a couple times pre-Covid. I can even remember saying both times that you guys blew the headliners off the stage…
…That’s the goal honestly. That’s what we set out to do and even sound a little dirtier than the album as well. We want that to come across, we want to hit tight and be high energy…when we’re playing we want that portal to open up and demons to come flying out of the ground to tear everything down.
So, basically a real-life interpretation of the album cover…
…Absolutely. Lucas Rugierri absolutely killed it with the cover. And there’s some cool stuff with that too, it’s actually a wood cut where he carved it into a block of wood and rolled ink on it then pulled the image off. There was an old renaissance artist named Albrecht Durer that worked all in grains and Lucas really channeled that energy here. We had him do maybe 20 or 25 of these that are hand numbered and signed that we, and he, will have for sale surrounding the album release. Even if you don’t like heavy metal this is a really cool collector’s item to have from an amazing artist.
How about getting Lucas in the mindset for the art, how did you go about that?
I’ve worked with Lucas tons of times and he’s a close friend. He’s never done me wrong with art, I have a personal commission from him of my dog and my old bandmates. I love his style, it’s so incredibly detailed and he’s the one that brought up the woodcut idea. I was the one that brought up this concept; throughout our career we’ve always had that demon as our ‘mascot’ on everything we’ve done that featured art. That’s our Demiser, our war pig or Eddie in a sense. Trying to coin that and turn it into something we can continually use. Lucas was very open to it and offered up the woodcut idea. He sent us pictures along the way and we were all stoked. There’s a song on the album called “Offering” which is one of the catchiest ones, he nailed the concept of not only the album but this song as well.
It’s cool you pointed it out about the demon as a sort of mascot since not many bands are doing that anymore and this is yet another call back to the classic heavy metal running through your veins…
…So we contacted a tattoo artist from Arizona with a request for a Demon to feature on the demo, we sent her a tape and she did her magic. Once we got it back we knew that was it. It was amazing. So she’s the one who created the original and now we just roll with it from there with the artists we work with.
Any thought at all on doing a livestream?
We have talked about it and have tossed up doing one from the 529. We’ve talked to a few bands that have, and it sounds like a good thing, not giving away too much here but it’s in the cards for sure. We want to keep moving and get this thing rolling. Heavy metal musicians live for it, it takes everything to not be able to play live and still function. We, and musicians all over, need to get back at it. It affects friendships, our families, our lives in general…we’re all going fucking nuts and need to get this stuff out of our system. This is what makes us what we are and it’s fucking everything up. We need an end to it, now.
Exactly. And, the money…
…RIGHT. We make money touring so it definitely hurts. Bright side, the strong will survive: the true rockers that have it in their blood will make it out the backside to rock another day.
Thanks a ton for taking the time out to do this and we wish all the best to you guys with the album and future plans.
Thank you. We’re looking forward to turning The Bible Belt into THE BULLET BELT.
Many thanks to Demiser the Demiser for his time!