All That Rots and Withers

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It’s not rocket science, folks. It goes something like this. A guy like Tomáš Halama readily admits that he enjoys old school Stockholm Death Metal and recognizes bands like Dismember and Entombed as the official representatives of said style. Then instead of pretending that it’s a bad thing to play anything based on an existing blueprint, he takes what he enjoys and does his damnedest to write it, record, and play it with the utmost passion and authenticity. That’s exactly what Brutally Deceased Dead Lover’s Guide (Lavadome Productions) sounds like: passionately played, well written, Stockholm style death that rumbles, gurgles, and stinks of rotting flesh. Who the hell is going to argue with that combination? Not I and certainly not Tomáš.

You weren’t playing games when you decided that Brutally Deceased would be the appropriate name for the band. After all, this is death metal. Did you consider other names, like Savagely Murdered, Mercilessly Killed, or Extreme Prejudicial Termination?

Well, not exactly these names, but the selecting process was pretty fun since all members came with their suggestions. Specifically, our former drummer had an unbelievable amount of unbelievable names. Can you imagine us being called Furious or Raging Dogs?  Almost all his suggestions would better suit some basketball or football team [laughs], so we finally picked Brutally Deceased…because this is Death Metal, right?

You formed Brutally Deceased in 2007 because, as has been stated, “You wanted to bring to life” your “ever-lasting passion for Swedish sounding death metal.” Do elaborate.

Damn, I have to check my previous interviews to find out, what else I was able to say. No, really, Death Metal is something you live and breathe; pure passion and obsession. I’m talking about Death Metal in general, not just Swedish. I simply can’t overlook bands like Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Immolation, Gorguts and other acts that were crucial for my personal growth and understanding of what the hell is going on. Swedish Death Metal has some unique sounds and atmosphere, but I want to be honest with you: I don’t think I ever stated this: “Ever-lasting passion for Swedish sounding Death Metal” sounds too pathetic, but since I’m not that involved in promotional activities, I don´t know the source. It might be some Lavadome Productions advertisement perhaps. [Bio/press release from Lavadome that came with the CD – Scott]

It was also noted that in doing so you switched from bass guitar to the six-string. What this a difficult transition for you?  This would seem to indicate that you had been playing in bands prior to Brutally Deceased.

It wasn’t that hard.  I had to learn how to use a pick, which I didn´t use on bass. That was probably the only difficulty and to be honest I’m still at war with that damned little thing [laughs]. Whisperers in your head are right. I had been playing in a few totally unsuccessful projects some years ago and one pretty well known band, but sadly in the years of decay of Intervalle Bizzare. I just wonder how many people still know this band these days.

I do! The Frailty of the Human Condition split with Malignancy is sitting on the shelf about 20 feet away from me. What did happen to Intervalle Bizzare anyway?

I joined Intervalle Bizzare as a bass player in a period they were supposed to write songs for their first full length CD. Sadly, the lead guitarist (Franta) left the band a few weeks before I joined, which I see as a deadly loss now. Then I started to write songs for Intervalle Bizarre, but Tomas (guitarist and creative force in IB) didn’t like the new direction and this was the beginning of the end. Tomas Fiala is now the guy behind Obscure Promotion organizing, most notably, the Brutal Assault Festival and shitloads of other shows in Middle Europe. I, drummer Jirka and vocalist Strap formed Heaving Earth in the beginning of 2008. Strap soon left, but we are still alive and kicking!

How difficult was it to find just the right members to record Dead Lover’s Guide?

The Czech scene is a really small one, so we knew each other for years. Believe me when I say that I was fully aware of the people with whom I work. The only thing that held us back was the fact that Brutally Deceased was one of the side projects for most of us (including me) for a long time.

Does the band play live to a significant degree?

Sure, we are no studio project. But to be honest, we don’t play live as much as one might think we could. Still we are supposed to play few festivals in the Czech Republic, most notably Obscene Extreme, and some other shows around this year. I won’t make any promises about playing outside our virtual borders because this mostly depends on our ability (disability) to manage our daily lives, jobs, etc. So you see that we really are not Furious Dogs when it comes to playing live; Brutally Deceased fits us way much better [laughs]. Nevertheless, if anyone would be interested to invite us, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Is it safe to say that Dismember is your biggest influence from the early Stockholm scene?  That certainly seems to be the case, as much of Dead Lover’s Guide has a very Dismember sound to it.

It´s safe to say anything as long as we don´t have your address [Laughs]. Early Dismember had a huge influence on us; that goes without saying.  Some reviewers call us a Dismember revival band, but I must disagree; it only shows that these guys were too lazy to listen to the whole record. Still, Like an Ever Flowing Stream is one of the greatest records the Swedish scene ever produced, so we can live with it.

You even included a cover of Dismember’s “Override of the Overture.” Why that song in particular? Did you consider others?

It was just because we play this song live and since we wanted to do some covers, there were no other questions to be solved. We play also Grave’s “You’ll Never See,” but Dismember’s “Override of the Overture” fits us better I guess.

In recording Brutally Deceased what elements of the music and the sound did you believe to be most important in making an album as authentically Swedish sounding as possible?

Well, first of all, you must be able to play your instrument. You cannot make raw dirty sounding hellish music using click drums and copy/paste guitar tracks with shitloads of cuts in every track. This must be done in one take and left, even with mistakes. Remember that all early 90´s Swedish Death Metal was recorded on analog. Then you have to be at least a little bit competent in songwriting and using proper equipment; let’s face it, Swedish Death Metal is an institution. Now if it doesn´t sound raw and nasty and it lacks that unique ghastly atmosphere, then you obviously missed something or you would better off doing something else instead.

What about the title, Dead Lover’s Guide? How was the idea for it generated?

I’d been working in a bookstore for years and I just got fed up with all those so-called useful life guides for freaks. It seems that mankind is no longer able to use the toilet or open a beer can without a manual. So I was thinking about what the next useful guide should be about, but since we recently received a title called “How to Have a Good Death” which is about arranging your own funeral, Dead Lovers´ Guide must be a process in the making at least [Laughs].

How much work did it take to get a sound on Dead Lover’s Guide that is in many respects similar to the classic Sunlight Studio sound, even though it is a bit more modern than that, comparatively speaking? What equipment did you use?

Thank you for such words, but to be honest, we never doubted that we were going to succeed at this point. We used some basic information about the Swedish sound, which is freely available, but mainly it was a matter of musician’s feel and intuition. The recording sessions took only two days and since this is no Necrophagist album, we left all the tracks in their rawness; otherwise it would suck. In the end there was a lot of time for drinking and partying, so we were heavily drunk every night. I guess there is no magic about our equipment.  I used Marshall boxes, Mesa Boogie amp and Jackson guitar, but besides the Boss HM-2, which is crucial for the Swedish sound, everything else is not that important.

And you didn’t trigger the drums either. Not a fan of triggers, eh?

I’m not a hater of triggers, but simply there is no space for triggers in old school Swedish Death Metal. Everything that could possibly sound synthetic would ruin that unique bone-chilling, mind-freezing atmosphere.

I find it refreshing that you fully admit your influences and wanted to make an album that in some sense paid tribute to those influences. Do you think some bands go overboard in trying to convince people that their sound is entirely originally? I mean this is metal after all.

I know what you mean my friend. From time to time I must laugh at all those Suffocation/Disgorge/Devourment clones bringing new trends in brutality and technicality and even some so-called progressive bands – no matter if they use 4- or 16-string basses – mostly bringing some incredibly technical useless crap. All these guys just have to relax I guess.

Another Czech band that plays in a similar style influenced by the Stockholm sound is Morbider. Are you familiar with the band and their music? Maybe it is just Brutally Deceased and Morbider, but one could get the impression that a sizeable segment of the Czech metal community is dedicated to the Stockholm sound.

Sure, we know Morbider. They play some cool stuff indeed, but it doesn’t have any effect on the Czech scene. Even though these guys are Czech natives, they lived in Australia as kids for years and I don’t know anyone in here knowing them. So it’s a wrong impression; besides us, there are no other bands playing good old Swedish Death Metal as far as I know.

By the way, are there certain Czech death metal (or any kind of metal) bands that may not be known outside of your country that you would recommend checking out?

I would recommend you the other band I’m involved in, called Heaving Earth. It is uncompromising utterly dark and passion-driven death metal in the vein of Immolation, Morbid Angel, and Hate Eternal. Our first full length CD is out on the Polish Redrum666 label. Another band, Destroying Divinity, released their great third album on Brutal Bands, but still they are pretty unknown outside. Check them out; some killer stuff similar to what we do with Heaving Earth and with some of the greatest throats in Death Metal. Then I would pick Imperial Foeticide. They appeared on Relapse Records’ Czech Assault 2000, but there is little evidence about them since then. John Longstreth (Origin) is supposed to record drums for their first full length, so I expect some extremely fast and technical stuff that will kick the asses of many posers.

Now is your chance to give a little publicity to Lavadome Productions. What can you tell us about this Czech label? Are you happy with what they’ve done thus far?

Lavadome Productions is a new one-man label run by our friend Jan Fastner. He was also editor of webzine Transcend666, but I‘m not sure if he has any time to care about it anymore. He was the one we had  been talking to before even entered the studio, so when he heard  the result he didn´t hesitate much. It must be said that it was a good choice indeed for Brutally Deceased because Jan is doing an amazing job spreading our name worldwide.

In your opinion what are the best old school Swedish death metal bands and the best Swedish death metal albums?

Entombed – Left Hand Path, Clandestine, Wolverine Blues

Dismember – Like an Ever Flowing Stream

Grave – Into the Grave

Crematory – Denial

At The Gates – The Red in the Sky is Ours

Edge of Sanity – Unorthodox

All of these records possess some unique atmosphere and great riffs. Enough said.

Who is the most underrated Swedish death metal band and album?

Entombed. They deserved to be much bigger for they are the originators of Swedish Death Metal in its purest form. Just pick any album from the first three albums listed above.

Have you heard any newer bands – besides Morbider and you – that are playing an authentic/genuine style of old school Swedish death metal?

Yes, I heard some new bands playing the old shit, but mostly just samples. A few weeks ago I was answering questions for some other zine and that guy asked me to comment on some new old school releases. I guess he expected me to be enthusiastic about it, but I was fucking desperate. As I mentioned above, I‘m not a Swedish scene purist and in general I have almost no time to look for a new bands, so my knowledge of the old school scene is pretty shallow. If you are curious what releases are the ones I am waiting for this year, then it would be the new Gorguts and Morbid Angel albums.

Are there plans for another Brutally Deceased album in the works?

Well, another Brutally Deceased album is in a process of making, but don’t ask for release dates. It sure it won’t be sooner than in summer 2012.


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