Sickening Devotion

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A while back I was chatting with Bob Bagchus from Soulburn, ex-Asphyx and I asked him, in an interview, about what it would be like for Asphyx to do a blast beat and than go into an abrupt doom laden part, that I thought it would be pretty interesting.  He said he was not opposed to the idea, however he was fairly certain it probably would not happen.  So than I get Philadelphia’s own, Trench Rot’s debut album Necronomic Warfare and was like the band is in my head, because they did just that.  The heavy doom laden crushing bulldozer sound of Asphyx and Bolt Thrower is prevalent on the album, however than the band will go into a vicious blast beats.  The timing of the tempo shifts is dramatic and really adds to the intensity of this excellent debut album.

I spoke with vocalist Steve Jansson  how the album was recorded; it really sounds punishing, organic and a lot better than some well established acts, albums, out there.  This is one of the strongest albums of 2014, as well as debut albums, I have heard in a long time.  So put on your bullet belts, throw on your patch covered denim jacket and prepare to get bulldozed to death from Trench Rot, one of the best newcomers to the scene-so welcome them by buying their album!

Please let us know with whom we are speaking with today and what kinds of equipment you use to achieve your sound?

This is Steve (Guitars/Vocals). As far as guitar equipment goes, I used my Marshall TSL 100, which has a few slight mods with an Ibanez TS808 (Tubescreamer) in front of it and an Electric Amp Company cabinet. The guitar used for my parts was a Jackson Soloist.  Brooks used a BC Rich Ironbird with a Peavey VTM100 head and a Marshall cabinet. I don’t know anything about the drums. Oh, there was also a shitload of beer involved, too.

Your debut album, Necronomic Warfare is outstanding! How has the response been and what went into recording the entire album?

Thank you! The response has been extremely positive so far. The album has had a lot more great reviews than bad or lukewarm. As far as recording, it really has no business sounding as good as it does. We actually recorded the whole album at our practice space, which is in a basement. That being said, I think that we all did a great job capturing the sound that we wanted to achieve. I really have to hand it to Rich (Scott) who did an amazing job working with such limitations.

You increased in brutality from your demo, Dragged Down to Hell, which as a bonus, is also included on your album.  Was this a conscious decision by the band and can we expect this style to continue on your next album?

That’s really good to know and thank you, but no, we didn’t make any conscious decisions other than that I think we just began gelling together more as a band during the writing process, so the quality of the material went up. The way we work together is very simple and not overly thought out. The goal is to just make urgent and crushing old school death metal and will continue to be from here on out. As far as the next album, you can expect more of the same as we have no intentions of trying to break new ground in Trench Rot.

I love how the album alternates between Asphyx/Autopsy/Bolt Thrower with vicious blast beats thrown in.  Some people would scoff at including blast beats into such an older school approach, yet you guys do a wonderful job of incorporating them-your comments on this?

Anyone who would scoff at it is probably a bit of a try-hard as Altars of Madness is loaded with blast beats! However, when it comes to incorporating them it’s all just a matter of keeping the song moving and flowing. I overuse this word, but again, urgency is key or at least a huge part in making any good metal song, in my opinion. Also, variation is a big one. I get bored pretty quickly and if bands aren’t developing a riff or moving on to a section that will break things up in a way to avoid monotony.

How did the deal with Unspeakable Axe come to fruition and how are you satisfied with them, as of now?

From what I understand Brooks sent the Dragged Down to Hell demo to Matt at Dark Descent. Matt got back to him and said that he really liked the demo but that he really should send it to Eric at Unspeakable Axe as he thought it would be right up his alley. Sure enough, Eric got back to us and wanted to do a full-length. We are extremely satisfied with how things are going. He is a really cool dude has been busting his ass and promoting the shit out of this record as well as has been incredibly easy to work with.


So explain the Philadelphia scene at the moment, a lot of bands playing your brand of extreme music and how are the shows?  Any upcoming gigs with national acts, for you guys?

The Philadelphia scene has a lot of metal and punk bands of various sorts and there are shows going on all the time. There are a few death metal bands but I wouldn’t say any of them do the style that we do. As far as live Trench Rot shows we have yet to play any. This will happen at some point as we would love to play some fests or something like that but it just hasn’t happened yet. Brooks and I also play together in an epic doom metal band called Crypt Sermon that plays out and I have a dirty speed metal band called Infiltrator. On top of all of these projects, we all have day jobs.

If one was preparing to get their boots ready for a Trench Rot live show, but had never been to one before, what could they expect at the show?

Well, again, we haven’t played any yet, but when we do I can only hope it will be like getting crushed by a fucking tank.

Regarding the album cover, what is it meant to represent?  I do notice the inclusion of the Bolt Thrower symbol, nicely inserted onto the flag.

Brooks did the album art. If you look at it closely it will remind you of a poster for a classic B movie. This was very deliberate. Also, the chaos wheel in the flag is more or less just an ode to old crust punk, which is where most of what we do comes from to some degree. Bolt Thrower was very much a part of that.

There is a huge increase in the amount of bands playing an older school style of death metal right now.  How do you guys separate yourselves from the rest of the bands out there and how do you plan on increasing your sound, development and live skills in the future?

A lot of bands have been bringing back HM-2 pedals, which we noticed when starting the band and decided that that was something we wanted to avoid. That’s not to say that not any of them do it well and we love Left Hand Path just as much as the next guy, but we just wanted to do something else. I would say it’s pretty clear where and who we get our sound from. As far as increasing our sound, I feel that this will happen from just writing better songs.

Are you guys fast song writers and take us into the development of writing the title track which is a real long song.  Can we expect these songs in the future?  I mean by and large your songs are of decent length.

We wrote this album rather quickly and it was mostly collaborative. One or two of us would show up to practice with some riffs ideas and we would all just sort of bounce them back and forth until we solidified a song. There were a few songs where a member would more or less write an entire song at home and then present it to the band at practice. The title tack was Brook’s brainchild and from what I understand he wrote it rather quickly at home on his computer. To answer your question on more songs like this, I would say yes.

 When playing a live show what’s it like to look at the crowd that knows your music and lyrics?  Does it make you play harder and do you expect audience participation?  If the crowd is lame and no one is there, does it make you want to pack your stuff and leave?

We don’t know about that yet. However, we are all pretty seasoned as far as performing with other bands in our day and it definitely is rewarding to see people getting into it. After all, that is why you are performing. When a crowd is shitty I still do my best but am definitely not as enthused as I would like to be.

The music industry is really tough, so is this a long term commitment for you guys?  Are you prepared for the highs and lows the industry can throw at a band?

We are all heavy metal fanatics in this band and are absorbed by it most of the time when not at work. However, with Trench Rot we just want to stick to getting together and making killer old school death metal and not worry nor care about anything else aside from that. We would be the biggest morons in the world and absolutely out of our Goddamn minds to try and make a living off of a band like this.

Any final comments/thoughts for our readers?

It’s Monday evening and my brain is already mush, unfortunately. Nothing funny or witty to say but thanks for all the support.


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