Calibrated Chaos

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Humiliation, coming out of the deep dense jungles of Malaysia, are one of my favorite bands. Graham Landers, owner of Deepsend Records, signed them less than 2 yrs ago and in 2013 they unleashed Turbulence from the Deep. This year they are back with another new one, Battalion-their 5th full length and it’s pummeling. For me they, along with Hail of Bullets, are the successors to Bolt Thrower. Humiliation are simplistic in formula, but heavier than most bands out there. Punishing. As heavy as 10 Sherman tanks with treads 10 stories high, destroying all in its path. The Humiliation war machine is a rumbling death tank of terror.

Along with their 5 albums they have tons of eps/splits and they are always writing new music.  A hard working band and Karl from Bolt Thrower and Martin from Asphyx/HOB/Grand Supreme Blood Court love the band and wear their Humiliation shirts with pride, as do I with my Humiliation l/s.  The guys are super cool and if you love music from Asphyx/Obituary/Bolt Thrower you must check this high quality band out. Few bands can write music as heavy as Humiliation does.  So check out my interview with Bear Bee the singer from the killer Humiliation!!!

Congratulations on your new album, Battalion, it’s killer as always. Tell us about the theme this time around, both for the lyrics and album cover.

Hello, Frank & Teeth of the Divine. Thanks for the interview. Yes, Battalion is Humiliation’s brand new album for 2014, with 11 tracks ready to bleed listener’s ears. For this album we are focusing on the conflict between communists and the local government, which was supported by the British back in 1955 before independence of Tanah Melayu (the old name of Malaysia). The imagery of the situation at the conflict’s time was used as Battalion‘s album cover. This time, the album cover is more unusual than before. We are associating the military vehicle with the soldier and this is the first time a soldier appears on the album cover.

Turbulence From The Deep saw Humiliation explore a little more of the doomier aspect of things, but not as much on the new album. Was there a conscious decision to steer away from that direction and go back to a style similar to your prior releases?

For the Battalion album, we are back with the musical tempo and style as previous releases…not too slow (doom) and not too fast but it really suits our mid-tempo style. We feel that we need to increase the tempo a little bit but we did not eliminate the doom element on this new album. You can feel the doom touch and the vibe in a song called “Baling Talks” and we admit that this song is a great doom death metal song, believe me.

The album was originally going to be called Warpath. What went into the name change?

Before we concluded that Battalion would be our new album title, we had a few words on our shortlist of proposed titles and one of them was Warpath. We liked the word Warpath as an album title but when we were about to make the final decision, we realized that it was same as one of Six Feet Under’s albums. So, we decided not to use the same album title that has been used by other metal bands. On the other hand, Battalion represents our togetherness as a unit of military death metal.

I noticed your vocals loosing a bit of the raspiness and you going more for a deeper sound. Did you make a decision to do this or is this how your voice has changed as you’ve gotten older?

Oh, really? By the way, thanks for noticing. Never came across in my plan to change vocal style. It comes out naturally. Maybe the age factor is the main reason why my voice has changed. Old is gold! I think the change is not a bad thing.

With putting out an album every year, do you feel you need to do this, since you also do splits and 7” with other bands too? Would it not benefit the band a little more to maybe take an extra year off for an album?

We love to do it. Be productive and active. Furthermore, we have time over here to do recording and realize an album every year. We haven’t tired of it. We fully make use of our free time to generate song ideas, develop song structures and all that we need to have is determination, commitment and focus. We feel that we are going in the right direction. We want to be as productive as Cannibal Corpse. Being an active band in the scene and able to alert the people out there that Humiliation really exists. The more you produce releases (albums, splits, etc.), the more chances the people will listen to your releases. Thus, you may have more followers. At the same time, people may always remember your band. In the coming years, we may consider on how to slow down the productivity. At the moment, we want to keep the momentum and energy at where they are now…stream out consistently. Feeling of doing the recordings is amazing, getting feedback of your releases is thrilling. These keep us alive.

Have you already started to write for your next album? I know when Turbulence was being released that you guys were already developing Battalion.

Right now, we have not yet started anything for the next album. We want to spend time for personal activities. We did not put the pressure on band members to create new riffs, drum patterns and lyrics. It seems that we are taking a break for a few months before going back to working mode. We will resume work for new tunes by end of this year.

Why do you feel concentrating on the 80’s-mid 90’s death metal sounds of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx and Obituary are the best route for you guys and why do you find that particular style the best?

The 90’s death metal scene is really awesome. We were still in school during that period of time and in our country, you could easily find a lot of death metal cassettes at the music shop. Upon discovering music from those bands that came out with really great double pedal innovation and memorable riffing, we got addicted and began to be the follower. By the way, our intention is to play the death metal as per back in the 90’s and within our capability. This is the way we want to do it and we are happy with what we did so far. Nothing trendy or fake… just pure love and dedication.

Any touring plans in and around your country for 2014/2015 and explain to us the live Humiliation experience?

In our country, it is hard to have a tour. What we meant is to play daily (i.e. 5-7 days in a row). We are living in a small country and the community of metalheads is not so big. We normally play in our capital city, Kuala Lumpur but we are looking forward to play in Borneo as well. In October 2014, we will invade Europe again with a tour called “Military Force Tour”. We will play 11 shows covering Germany, Netherlands, Denmark & Switzerland. For our live set, usually we begin with an intro to allow band members to release stage nervousness. Then we play 3 to 4 songs continuously without any breaks in order to get our adrenaline pumping and to have a wilder crowd as well. Headbanging is a must! Without fail, the last song for our live set is always “Battlefield” from our Face The Disaster EP.

Your drummer, Mudon, no longer lives near you guys so he is just the session drummer. Who do you have playing live with the band?

Mudon is our original drummer and he is the guy who did all the recording sessions including Battalion. Meanwhile, we still play live with him for our local shows. The problem is he can’t take long leave to join the band for touring. The last tour with Mudon was in 2011 when our first time with four dates in Japan. Nevertheless, we need to find a solution and move forward to spread our band out there. Fortunately, we have a great friend that really suites our live drum sessions for us, his name is Zali. Thus far, he has helped to perform with the band especially for the European tours. The band members and myself would like to take the opportunity to say infinite thanks to Zali for his help and his part as Humiliation in spreading the band name.

How do you get warmed up to sing the style you do for practice, recording and live shows? Any tricks of the trade for other singers out there in terms of preserving their death metal vocals?

To be honest, I never warm up before recording sessions or live performances. My voice come out naturally, without any warm up or practice. It sounds weird but this is a fact. I have no constructive tips to death metal vocals out there but the mandatory thing is you need to have a really deep feel on how to attach yourself with death metal itself. It is all about your soul.

What goes into constructing a Humiliation song? I mean, you guys concentrate on writing memorable music, which you do so well. Do you get the music and then construct the lyrics and vocal patterns? Why did you guys, back when you started out, decide that military and war themes were going to define you as a band and why do you find these themes the most interesting to write about?

Afe, Matt & Asraf will start with guitar riffs. Then they pass it to Mudon for him to fill those riffs with drum patterns. Once Mudon has finalized the drum pattern, the band will rehearse that particular song. During rehearsal, improvisation will be done only if necessary. The lyrics and vocal patterns will come last. It is the norm for Humiliation to develop complete songs then follow with lyrics and vocal pattern. It’s seldom that Mudon will create the drum pattern first. Matt and Asraf will match and fill it with their riffs but it is slightly difficult and takes a longer time to complete one particular song. The other rare method is we do it and crack our head together in the studio. We don’t prefer this method anymore because it may end up with no song at all!

At the beginning of the band, we knew that no band from Malaysia is fully focused, consistently blending their music & lyrics on the military/war theme scenario. When we compose songs for the Face The Disaster EP, Brink Of Defeat EP and Dawn Of Warfare album, we wrote general war stories and the political things as well. We started writing about historical wars since Seek To Survive and it’s continued to the upcoming new albums. We write the true history of our country and translate it into music. In our view, this is the way we document our country’s war history (into music) so that it can be one kind of simple lesson to the listener, especially to those who are not aware about Malaysia history. It’s also for us to remember the past. We have lots of war stories to tell to the people. Wait from us patiently.

Any final comments for our readers out there?

With Battalion, we deliver the best composition of the songs and the lyrics. We fully satisfy with the outcome of the new album Battalion that will see the light probably by September 2014. By the way, we are also awaiting the release date for our 7″ split with Paganizer which should be within this year. It will have 2 unreleased tracks. See you during our tour in October 2014 especially for European metalheads. Thanks and greetings from Malaysia! or write to us at




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