Flesh Reflects the Madness

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This one took a little while to complete, but it’s finally done. I found myself rather smitten with Cerebral Bore’s 2011 Earache debut Maniacal Miscreation, an album self-released by the Glasgow unit a year earlier. It punched and kicked in all the right brutal death metal places, offered just the right amount of groove and technicality, and left a memorable impression owing to some pretty darn effective arranging. Hard workers these Scots and it seems to finally be paying dividends, a case in point the band’s North American tour later this month with Goatwhore and Hate Eternal. Now all that’s left for you to do is read this Q&A session with founder/guitarist Paul McGuire, which will in all likelihood send you scrambling to find the link for Earache’s on-line store so that you may purchase Maniacal Miscreation with the money you’d set aside for self-help books and green tea.

Cerebral Bore took a rather long and winding road to its major metal label destination in 2011. I recall attending Central Illinois Metal Fest one year when you guys were playing and recalling that you had no CDs to sell, though I think I bought some kind of compilation disc from the vocalist at the time. Anyway, can you get us up to speed with regard to the timeline of events – member changes, tours, demos, etc – from band formation to the eventual Earache reissue of Maniacal Miscreation?

We started out in 2006 and recorded a four-track demo, then in 2007 we released it through afriend’s label, Rundown records, which included two extra tracks that I recorded at home. Besides one other track that we recorded at a local jam room in 2009, these tracks remain the only demos of our pre-Earache Career.Our main focus was on touring, getting our name out, and developing our sound along the way, for the purpose of being ready to step up to the mark if a label like Earache did come calling. And since we recorded the original demo and played our first show in 2006, we have played all over the world. In 2007 we played our first shows in the US, in New York City, and returned to tour the US in 2008 for six weeks coast to coast. And again last summer for another three weeks.

As well as our trips to the US and tours around the UK, we have played pretty widespread, with shows and tours in countries including Israel, Russia, Mexico, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, and others. And we have another US tour taking place in February/March along side Hate Eternal and Goatwhore. Members-wise right now we have the same lineup as the debut album. We have come and gone with a couple of bassists and vocalists, but our lineup has been the same for the last 2 years.And yeah you’re right, we did play that show in Illinois with no CDs; that tour was full blown ghetto. But I remember having a lot of fun that weekend!

Are you confident that this lineup is now stable and in it for the long haul?

One of those questions that always has the potential to make you look like a dick at some point in the future [laughs], but I would say that we have a solid lineup. It is certainly the most stable we have had since we started, but that has always been down to people’s commitment levels, which mostly get exhausted due to the demand for cash to pay for things like flights and rehearsals. Living constantly broke isn’t easy and I can sympathize with anyone finding it hard, but I have lived through every one of the struggles that forced others to throw in the towel. I guess they weren’t willing to suffer for our art like I am.

I will say that you did well recruiting vocalist Som Pluijmers (and I’ll not even pretend I know how to pronounce that surname); her approach to the gutturals and squeals, as well as the patterning and inflectional nuances, is anything but one-dimensional.

Yeah I like the sound of her voice, and I like how she brings it to the live show. She has a wide range, and we want to explore that a lot more on the next album, with one or two elements maybe being left out. After all, Som only had around 10 days to learn the stuff before she recorded the vocals on the album in early 2010, so there was a lot of instruction coming from us as to what we wanted from here, so she didn’t have much chance to settle in properly like she has now. Infact as we do this interview, I can hear her in the next room writing patterns for a new song!

We of course cannot continue until you explain this wrongful arrest ordeal that occurred earlier this year. What happened?

We went into a drug store in New Work and the alarm went off due to the clerk leaving the place wide open.The cops thought we were two serial killer types due to a recent killing in a drug store, and dramatically arrested us in front of a street full of people at 7:00 a.m. on the last day of our U.S. tour in 2011. We spent the next two days in Jail and had to surrender our passports and stand trial a week later. After spending a week sleeping in parks and on the couches of good Samaritans, we stood trial and were cleared of all charges. Sucked big time, but it’s a story to tell I guess.

How about a few nuggets of information about your own background and musical influences? What led you in this most brutal of directions?

I always listened to death metal, but never thought to tackle it in my first few years playing the guitar. It just looked hard as fuck and I was struggling with Pantera covers. But then some friends of mine decided they were gonna start a death metal band, and asked me to play bass. Before long I really got the hang of it and never looked back. Kind of strange, cos I could have honestly ended up playing any type of music depending influences from close friends at that time. Just so happened that the closest ones were doing brutal shit!

What is this business of maniacal miscreation anyway?

My concept on that was based on the miscreation of powerful entities in our world, culminating in apocalyptic scenes depicted on our album cover. The cover is a photo of our home city of Glasgow completely destroyed, but represents our view amongst a complete global catastrophe.

Getting right to the point, the reason Maniacal Miscreation works so well as a top-to-bottom listening experience is because of your knack for effective arranging. Yes, it’s brutal death and, no, it’s not “melodic,” but each song stands on its own and is memorable in its own right. That’s much easier said than done in the world of technical and/or brutal death. Good goat man, how did you do it?!

No idea man, I just keep reworking stuff until I am as happy with it as possible. I’m very critical of Cerebral Bore’s creative output, and I rarely write something that I don’t change a thousand times before its ready to set in stone. This pisses off other members of Cerebral Bore from time to time, but I can’t say I’ve ever been wrong. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Anyone can throw in a breakdown, put a twist on a riff, or shift gears to a section of chugging groove, but when Cerebral Bore does it the impact made is enormous, in large part because it is so smartly incorporated and connected to the song as we whole.

Thanks for feeling the enormity, but again I have no idea. If it makes me head bang, it’s got a good chance of making it into a song. lacing the same idea throughout a song in cheeky places is something that definitely requires a good ear and a lot of trial and error, but nine times out of 10my instincts are right and the tiny tweeks often land the heaviest blows!

Two songs in particular define that compositional skill: (1) “Epileptic Strobe Entrapment,” and (2) “Entombed in Butchered Bodies,” which happens to contain the album’s most memorable groove accompanied with the line “Ee pee oppa pee pee.” I don’t even know where to go with that one [laughs].

Nowhere to go with that really. I am glad that you liked both of those tracks, especially “Entombed in Butchered Bodies,” as it has a good old school vibe to it in parts, which I want to do more of on the next album. The “Ee pee oppa pee pee” came simply from me suggesting to our then vocalist that we make the vocal pattern copy the exact rhythm of the riff. He said “like how?” to which I replied, “like..ee pee oppa pee pee.”

Would you agree that this is technically inclined death metal rooted in the fundamentals, as perfected by bands like Dying Fetus and Suffocation, yet delivered with a modern touch?

Yes I guess so. Neither are bands that I have grown up listening to a great deal, certainly have never bought a shirt, but I would say that we are a similar style of band.

When do you anticipate album number two for Earache to be completed and released?

I expect it to be mid 2012, but you never know. Maybe a little bit sooner or later, but we will say 2012 to be sure. We are working on it right now, as well as maintaining a grueling touring schedule, so its not as easy as it could be if we weren’t touring junkies!

So it’s all smooth sailing from here on for Cerebral Bore, right?

Eeeehhh…yep [laughs].






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