Sunday, January 4, 2015

Interview with Alan Lisanti of DYING EYES OF SLOTH by Dave Wolff

Interview with Alan Lisanti of Dying Eyes Of Sloth

Describe the origins of Dying Eyes Of Sloth, the collective vision that came about when the band solidified and the impact you have had on your local metal scene this far.
Back in 2004, Dave "The Demon Christ" had another project that was more Thrash based. He had gotten a lineup together with some of the guys from that project, and they began adding more of a Death Metal influence into their Thrash style. This new direction brought what they were doing into more of a Thrash sound with some Death Metal overtones. Dave was looking to do something more extreme and heavier. By 2008, JP Death had joined the project and they decided to start fresh with an Old School/Classic Death Metal approach. He became co-founder of the project with Dave, and they settled on the name Dying Eyes Of Sloth. Things started to kind of come together more at this point, and the writing also got a bit more technical. JP ditched the 6 string and started using his 7 string guitar. Dave and JP wanted a true Old School/Classic Death Metal approach for Dying Eyes Of Sloth. When JP and Dave joined forces things began to fall in place. Dave also started adding more of the low end guttural vocals to his vocal approach around this time. As for the impact we've had on our local Metal scene, we are basically one of the few (if not only) bands from our area that are playing this type of Old School Death Metal with a true Old School sound. We've turned a lot of people that haven't heard the origins of the genre on to the bands that have influenced us, but also pioneered and influenced the genre and laid its roots. Especially with the younger fans in particular, they've told us how they've seen one of our shows and weren't really familiar with the Old School Death Metal sound or the bands that helped to shape it before us. Then, the next day they went out and bought a bunch of Death and Obituary albums and loved them. In all honesty, it's kind of strange to hear them tell us that because we are more than aware that if it wasn't for the originators of the Death Metal genre paving the way for newer bands like us-we wouldn't be doing it. At the same time, I guess it's pretty cool seeing as some of the younger fans haven't heard of the Old School bands but are more than familiar with a lot of the Death Core type stuff that's pretty popular right now. If it bridges that gap and broadens their horizons, I think it is good for them, us as a band, and Metal/Death Metal in general.

Your fans that liked your performances but had never heard old school death metal beforehand, how did they respond to hearing Death and Obituary for the first time?
They basically were excited enough to want to dive in deeper into both of those bands, but also the genre as a whole. I think some have also mentioned that it was different from Death Core which I guess is more along the lines of what they were used to hearing, but that that's what they found appealing about it. They went out and starting buying a bunch of Death albums and things like that, but have also mentioned they were excited about what other bands they would discover next. I think they're right as far as mentioning the difference between Death Core and Death Metal, but I don't think it's a bad thing to have some variety to your musical taste. I also think it's pretty cool to know they can enjoy both because sometimes Metal fans can be very exclusive in sticking to certain specific genres and not venturing outside of those boundaries as far as taste goes. So it goes to show that keeping an open mind can sometimes lead you to discovering new things you may not have stumbled onto had you not ventured outside of your own comfort zone, but also it shows it doesn't always have to be so exclusive or limited in the sense of what your willing to listen to even if it's not exactly what's familiar to you.

I remember seeing Death in the late 80s when they played a show with Whiplash and At War. Even then I had an idea Evil Chuck and his band was starting something new in the underground. Did Death and Obituary give you a similar impression?
When I first heard Death it changed my perceptions of Extreme Music and Metal overall. I've always been an open-minded person, and I've always kind of sought out my own interests especially with music. I didn't really follow what was popular because it was popular, but Thrash did have its peak as far as popularity and success. I was a bit too young to attend shows back then, but Thrash was the first genre after Black Sabbath and all that stuff that I gravitated towards as a kid. Something about the speed, the skill as far as musicianship, and the intensity of the music really grabbed me. When Death came along, and Obituary and all the other originators of the Death Metal genre , they kind of took what Thrash was doing and pushed it even farther beyond where it was at the time. It was kind of like the next step in the evolution of heavy music. Obituary was just evil, and so were those other bands. It was a heavier form of heavy I guess. For me personally, Death was the band that opened the doors to all the Death Metal bands that were coming up.  When I heard them, I knew I wanted to play like that, and I knew there was something special about what those bands were bringing to the table. Specifically for me as a bassist, Terry Butler and later Steve DiGorgio and the work they did with Death also influenced my playing and my approach to a certain degree. When I heard what they were able to do with the bass in those songs, it opened my mind up to some new things.
What other death metal bands were you listening to when the genre grew out of thrash? In what ways were those bands expanding upon what Death and Obituary started?

Well, let's see... because to me a lot of the success I think many of those bands have had and even the fact that they've stuck around so long I think can be attributed to the fact that they each kind of brought a unique aspect to the table in terms of their approach that kept them grounded in Death Metal but also made them stand out amongst other bands within the genre. Many of the examples of that have kind of been expanded on these days or since then, but I do think those bands that were there in the beginning are definitely responsible for laying the groundwork for what would be adapted and experimented with later on by some newer bands now. Like Cannibal Corpse for example, brought a different sort of technicality to it all and also had the very low guttural vocal approach. Then you look at say Autopsy, and they kind of had that whole Doom element mixed into what they were doing. That was something different too, but it also kind of showed people everything didn't always have to be hyper-fast and you could experiment with different tempos and all of that and still be heavy. I think when Morbid Angel hit their stride they definitely were unique in terms of the sound and if you listen to Blessed Are The Sick you can hear some of that slower Sludge and Groove in there. Even on Covenant, they had some of that and also could kind of seamlessly go from a more Groove orientated type of riff into a faster kind of manic style without really missing a beat. Then you have the Swedish bands like Entombed, at least in their earlier years that put their own kind of spin on things. Gorguts and Carcass who have both started from a more Death or Grindcore type of style but have since pushed the technicality aspects of what earlier bands were doing come to mind too. Or in Carcass's case kind of brought some of that Thrash influence back in their more recent stuff. Then you have a band like Exhumed who intentionally didn't use any double-bass style drumming on the album Slaughtercult which was interesting. I say interesting because I think when you change the dynamics of what you're used to playing like for example drummers using a lot of double bass in Death Metal, it also changes how you have to approach it mentally as a musician. That kind of challenge might be a good thing if you are looking to break away from your individual tendencies or habits. It forces you to change the process, but it's good because it means you step out of a certain box. The thing about that was actually hearing it. I remember before I heard it anticipating that things might sound empty or something without all of the double bass, but it was really not the case. Even Chuck kind of went in a more progressive or technical direction in his later work, but that's something I've always respected about him. Lyrically, he branched out. He began writing and exploring different topics but in a very human and also clever way. So, to me his later works kind of proved that you can step outside the gore, the grotesque, and the sometimes stereotypical subject matter of Death Metal and still have the music come across just as heavy as if every song was about blood and guts. That proves there's depth to this style of music. Not that there's anything wrong with either approach, but I think if the idea is to make people uncomfortable or to embrace the darker side of things and express them openly both ways can accomplish that by playing on people's emotions or challenging their perceptions.

In what ways did death metal (and grindcore before it) revitalize old school thrash when the first DM bands began releasing their demos and full length albums? Do you think the genre happened when it needed to?
At the time Thrash and a lot of those bands had sort of ran through their arsenals in terms of what they were doing musically and writing wise. Grindcore and Death Metal came along at the right time in the sense that I think some people were looking for something new or something different after a certain point. The odd thing is, the same thing sort of happened with Death Metal towards the end of the 90's just like it did with Thrash by the end of the 80's or early 90's. It's because everything is cyclical and tends to peak in popularity and then almost stabilizes or dies, but the underground tends to keep it alive because of the dedication of the fans. If you notice today, both Thrash and Death Metal have kind of seen a resurgence in recent years. So, maybe that's just the cycle repeating once again. Whatever it is, if bands and musicians really weren't writing quality songs or pushing the boundaries like they are, than none of it would last or keep people coming back. So, old or new or whatever-without the talent, creativity, boundary pushing, and all that stuff none of it would survive the peaks and valleys. And yet it does. I think, when you look at it like that, it's a good thing to have those limits pushed and tested because it brings out the best in terms of creativity when the bar is always being raised like that. Whether it's Grindcore and Death Metal giving Thrash a kick in the ass or vice versa, or whether some crazy technical stuff is being pulled off by some Progressive Tech-Death band-either way, that can do one of two things to you. It will bother you, or make you want to be better.

A third possibility is that it will inspire you to create something on your own terms. After all, getting into thrash and death metal was and is more open-minded than not since they were cutting edge and broke the verse-chorus-verse mold that was “popular” at the time. Do you think this is the reason for the resurgence you spoke of? Because there is still a need for it?
Yes, I kind of do actually. I think there is always a need or a desire within people to break the redundancy of whatever becomes their status quo. So, in the case of music or Metal-I think it ties into the rebellious nature of it. In other words, if it's a certain formula such as verse-chorus-verse, or a certain sound or style, or even an approach-eventually people will become exhausted with it so to speak. Unless the limits of it are continuously being pushed it will eventually become less and less appealing and they will tend to want to break free of that "monotony". The really interesting part is that it's a revolving door in a sense because if enough time or progress happens or doesn't happen over time, what is new today can be old tomorrow and on and on and on. So, as much as there is the tendency to become disinterested there is also a need within to return to what you find lacking in the present. Sometimes things come back, and sometimes they move forward. Sometimes they thrive and sometimes they flourish, and other times they stagnate or outlive themselves. The thing with Death Metal and any music that breaks the traditional or conventional way of thinking is that it speaks to that part of our nature. You know, the whole go against the grain and try something new or push limits and all that sort of stuff-it gives people a way to express and/or appreciate that need to break the norm and step out of those boxes. I think as long as people are curious or adventurous in that sense, that the appeal for that sort of music will endure all of the peaks and valleys and continue to survive.

Were you surprised when Cannibal Corpse entered the Billboard charts in the mid-90s, prompting other DM bands to follow suit? This paved the way for DM to become welcomed into the mainstream. Do you think this is good or not so good?
I don't know, maybe a little bit surprised yes... especially at the time. They did appear in Ace Ventura back then which is still weird to say, but the movie and scene were funny. I'm not sure how much that played a part in crossing into mainstream territory or getting on the Billboard Charts and all of that, but I would imagine it couldn't hurt just based solely on the fact that even just that small cameo extends your reach as a band beyond even the usual or typical audience you would normally reach. Aside from that I think it was timing, and not just for the bands, but for the fans too. It was time for something new, and something different. I don't think the mainstream attention or success was or is a bad thing in theory, but that kind of meant something else back then in certain ways too. It was in a time where Major Labels and album sales, big contracts, budgets, marketing, all of that stuff was flourishing because the industry was doing well. We all know the downside to that though, because many of the Major Labels were ripping off their artists, or just simply didn't know what to do or how to do it with them sometimes. All of this, before the internet and social networking, and accessibility, as well as downloading legally/illegally or whatever came along and changed the game so to speak. And for better, or worse, or neither, or both whether any one likes it or not. So, it's important I guess to make the distinction because comparing it, but thinking of it from the perspective of the way that things are now-it's a different landscape in certain ways. Just look at Metallica for example, when they crossed over into Mainstream territory they made people notice Thrash as a genre. That meant record execs noticed it too, and noticed the potential money to be made. But, you have a band like Metallica that brings that particular style of music outside the audience it was created in, or from, or however you want to put that, and now people notice and see the success Metallica was having. So, they all scramble to grab up the next Metallica, and all these bands start getting signed. At first they are good, then the next wave of them that gets signed are decent, then the next are chasing the contract because they know the Record Labels are all scrambling to exploit Thrash, and so they essentially sound exactly like Metallica just not as good. Now they are at a point where new bands are just writing songs that people have already heard and kind of copying a style or playing to give what they think people will want to hear instead of writing from a genuine standpoint. So, the whole thing becomes an almost comical rehashing of itself eventually and then it kind of loses its point?  I mean, the other thing is that the Black Album wasn't Master Of Puppets. See, Cannibal Corpse never had a Black Album. Mainstream or not, Cannibal Corpse was Cannibal Corpse. Mainstream or not, Death Metal was Death Metal. I'm not saying Thrash wasn't Thrash when it became mainstream because it was, I'm simply saying there's a reason people argue over the Black Album. And really, if you look at any genre that has any Mainstream success that's kind of the cycle of it. One band kicks the doors open, things look good, bands get signed, business booms, and then there's something like too much of a good thing, and something new comes along, then the cycle repeats it seems. Now, it's weird though because it's sort of like a hybrid of Underground and anything from Mainstream to sustainable success. I think because everything is everywhere all the time so readily and easily made available as it is made accessible, that has sort of blurred the lines a little bit in terms of Mainstream and Underground distinctions. The other thing though, is that I feel like Death Metal was a lot more shocking to people back then because it was still new to people and scary in the eyes and minds of the Mainstream. People would literally protest bands like Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel and so on and so forth. The news stations would cover stories about parents, religious groups, and politicians condemning Death Metal bands and claiming them and their fans to be Devil Worshipping, Psychotic, Evil, and sometimes murderous lunatics, and just about any ridiculous thing you could think of. But, that's because they don't get it, and they are afraid of it, and it makes them uncomfortable, and yet that's what it should do. I suppose it's no different than Black Sabbath, Kiss, or Alice Cooper in their time as far as shock value and people's over the top reactions to all of it. The thing is, that is what it's supposed to do. It should be disturbing. It should cause discomfort. It's supposed to bother the shit out of people that don't like it and really get under their skin, you know? But that's also what makes it so liberating to listen to or be a part of. And, that's something I think the Underground gets. It's something they understand, and that maybe isn't so common in Mainstream circumstances.  Is it good or bad? I don't know. I sort of think in Death Metal maybe it doesn't even matter so much. If it's there that's good, and if not it's business as usual for the Underground and the fans that support it. Maybe, that's the direction everything is heading in. Less of a division between either one. I guess I'll say it seems to me Death Metal can and has lived and died in the Mainstream, and maybe can and will again-but in the only lives.
I see your point about how thrash was exploited after Metallica broke into the mainstream and every band wanted to be the next Metallica. Before that each thrash band sounded different. As a friend pointed out, Slayer didn’t sound like Voivod, Voivod didn’t sound like Celtic Frost, Celtic Frost didn’t sound like Carnivore and so on. In this sense did the mainstream acceptance of thrash eat away at its sense of individuality between bands?

I think it might have had something to do with it. That's the thing, those bands all sounded unique in the beginning yet were still clearly Thrash. It was the same thing that I feel helped establish the early Death Metal bands, that unique to themselves but still clearly Death Metal factor. They all stood out from each other, but stayed within the Death Metal sound at the same time. So, ideally they were all bringing their own take and approach and originality to it. When that's the case, the genre as a whole tends to (or seems to) do better. But, when it's to the point where things start sounding too alike-that's when I think people tend to look elsewhere or lose interest. Maybe that mainstream success played a part in bringing things to that that point, or contributed to that sense of over saturation. I don't know, because the music in Metallica's case also grew further away from the roots of Thrash over time. That being the case, it sort of skews the argument a bit. Maybe it's a combination of both. I don't necessarily think any time that sort of success happens that that would always be the case, but maybe sometimes it tips the scales in that way. Nowadays though, because of the availability of everything with the internet, and downloading, and sharing, and all of this kind of accessibility I think it opens the door for more saturation in music, but at the same time a much wider spectrum of variety and options as far as bands and genres and what to listen to goes. That might change the whole theory so to speak. It's strange and interesting to think where things will go, or how that will affect the industry as well as fans and bands are concerned because there's almost a potential for it to be good or bad in the long run since you are essentially dealing with both opposite extremes of the positivity or negativity of it simultaneously.

Death metal in turn grew out of grindcore bands such as Napalm Death and Sore Throat. The album that altered my perception on how far extreme music can be taken was Napalm Death’s “Scum.” To me that has to be the most influential underground album since Venom released “Black Metal” in 1982. I can listen to those albums countless times and never get tired of them. Besides expanding on the DM pioneers we discussed many new DM bands were adapting the blast beat, and today the blast beat is interpreted in many different ways. It also shows the talent and endurance required to maintain a blast beat in a song.
I would have to agree with your assessment of Napalm Death's Scum and Venom's Black Metal albums being among the most influential underground releases. It's clear that they sort of upped the ante, broke new ground, pushed boundaries, and left a lasting and inspiring influence on anybody that heard it. Things like that are weird sometimes because sometimes bands or albums or artists are not appreciated in their time. Sometimes it's almost like people weren't ready yet, and they needed time to catch up and reflect. Other times it's a very, almost immediate response and then the snowball effect keeps growing and it flattens everyone in its path. Then you have the whole "you're nobody 'til somebody kills you" thing, and not to disregard the tragedy of that...but, all of a sudden people say you were one of the best that ever did it now that you're gone from this existence. Those two albums though, I really kind of believe they've stood the test of time due purely to their impact and innovation, and when that's the case the rest of any of the above circumstances are secondary because the work, the songs, the sound, and the impression they left essentially speak for themselves. Possibly this is why they don't get old or condemned to the shelves collecting dust. As far as Blast Beats go, I think it's natural to expand on the idea. I also think it's interesting to hear when someone is using it in a "new" or different way. That's what's great about creativity and music, there's always ways to break through glass ceilings and boxes and all that. The only limit is the one you set for yourself. Any innovation or progression of the Blast or whatever else is most definitely a reflection of the talent it takes to pull off. There's the talent to do it (as it's been done before), and there's the talent to do it differently as well. Both are just, or can be just as valuable if you think about it. Getting back to the Scum thing though, I think the influence and affect it had is pretty undeniable because you can literally hear the Grindcore and even Thrash influences in Death Metal especially if you go back to the genre's early roots.

I remember some death metal bands recorded with drum machines. I understood the reason, that the material some bands composed was too intense and brutal to be recorded otherwise, but given a choice I prefer an actual drummer. Are more newer DM bands going the organic route as opposed to using electronics? What newer DM bands do you especially like these days?
I don't know if it's more or less to be honest, but I can think of a lot more bands that are using actual drummers than not off the top of my head. I do think things have come a long way as far as capability and that sort of thing as far as drum machines go, and if it works then I guess it is what it is. I do prefer and would always go for a live drummer over a machine if given a choice because I think without the human element things can start to sound mechanical. There's convenience and other factors that make all that technology a plus, but there's also some things you lose without actual people playing the instruments too. I see a lot more bands using drummers though, so I guess I'd say more are sticking to that approach at least from what I can tell. Some newer Death Metal bands I like are Coffin Dust, Serpentine Path (even though I guess some would consider them more Death/Doom), Warfather, Vallenfyre, Acheron (more Death/Black/Thrash), Entrails, and I'm sure there's probably a lot more I'm forgetting right now. Here's a few more off the top of my head: Untombed, Horrendous, Aetheric, Temple Of Void, Huldra, Day Of Doom, Gruesome, Core Of Desolation, Rivers Of Nihil, and Decrepit Birth. Some of them aren't straight up Death, but they're all great and all worth checking out in my opinion.
In SOME death metal circles there was a certain amount of competition over who could play a faster blast beat. Do you see that happening nowadays or are bands more concerned with originality and creativity?

I don't necessarily believe that speed is everything when it comes to Blast Beats. There's nothing wrong with it at all, but it's really only one factor in determining what is good, heavy, or technical. Competition is always a good thing, but only for the right reasons. Nowadays, I think it depends because I've seen a fair amount of both. Some emphasize speed above all else, and some even criticize certain bands for "relying" on it (I guess?). Then you also have people who try to say that some fans judge what they consider to be "heavy" on it, or define heavy based only on say speed or technicality factors. Personally, I don't think any of it matters. It's more important to ask the right questions of yourself, like for example "What's best for the song? ", "How do I want to approach things?" and things like that. If your circumstances call for hyper speed, or call for extreme technical ability then go ahead and use what's at your disposal. Just keep in mind that you have a complete tool box not just one hammer or chisel to work with. Either way, do it for a reason besides "I want to be the fastest", unless that's your goal. Then, do that. Do whatever you feel like you want to do. I'm not a fan of guidelines, restrictions, do's or do nots...I think those are things you've got to decide for yourself. That being said I think the definition of what is "right" for you varies from every person to every person. So, it's entirely possible to write equally as good music or equally as bad music relying on speed as it is relying on technicality, or anything else. I think for the most part bands are more concerned with originality. Maybe that differs from genre to genre? I have a sort of theory that originality is becoming more prevalent these days because there is such a vast spectrum of material out there in music in general, but I think that if that is the case then the fact that we as fans or a society are so used to categorizing and compartmentalizing everything at this point makes it difficult for some people to either notice or accept that.

What do you consider the biggest fundamental differences between death metal and death core these days?
That's an interesting question because it's kind of hard to narrow down at times, but the first thing that stands out to me is the Hardcore influence that is added into the mix. Some would say it's even a Metalcore influence, or that it's derived from that. I guess I can sort of agree with that, but I think it gets a bit blurry after that. There's an obvious Death Metal aesthetic to it, but to a degree. There's the combination of both styles, which makes it a hybrid type of sound. Is it just Metalcore but more aggressive, more abrasive, more "Death Metal" though? Yes and no. Is it "simplified" in certain ways? Sometimes. Then again I've heard it get more complex too. I don't listen to much Death Core to be totally honest with you. From what I've heard for myself, I'd say the biggest differences are in the vocal approach, the lack of guitar leads, and the Breakdowns. The most noticeable one I think is the Breakdowns. The vocal approach is similar but different too. There's more high end screaming sometimes and also a variance between the gutturals, the shrieking, the mid-range type stuff and all that. I think lyrically it's a little different in terms of subject matter and themes from Death Metal. There's a common ground at times though, and also completely foreign territory other times which makes it tough to completely put your finger on. I'm no expert on the subject of Death Core, and some of it's better than some of the other stuff. There is definitely a distinction between the two. Even song structure wise, I think they vary a bit as well.’
What do the members of the band think of black metal? In the 90s there was a consistent rivalry between BM and DM though it doesn’t remain as consistent these days.

We're all open minded when it comes to other kinds of music, and that includes Black Metal. That rivalry between Death Metal and Black Metal has always kind of been there in some form or another in the past, but it seems like it's not such a prevalent thing these days. I suppose it's still there to a degree, or it probably depends who you ask. There are those out there that aren't as open to other genres, but I don't believe it's exclusive to Black Metal or Death Metal. Any genre, any style of music out there has those fans that are very strictly opposed to different genres and whatnot. I think people in general are more open-minded today in terms of blurring those lines. There's a very obvious distinction between Death Metal and Black Metal (stylistically, aesthetically, and thematically) but for me-that's what I like about them.

From the 90s onward many bands have crossed BM over with DM. Insatanity from Pennsylvania was among the first starting in 1995 or so. Do you think black/death fusion was an important step toward pushing the envelope of extreme metal?
Probably, yes. It's possible it's an almost natural evolution in a certain sense too. Kind of like mixing primary colors together to get new colors in a way, you know? Basically like expanding your pallet so to speak. I also think regardless of whatever supposed guidelines of acceptability there are in terms of sticking to one way of thinking or one type of style, there is always going to be a hunger for exploration and experimentation in creative type people. There's always going to be somebody out there somewhere looking at "what is" and wondering what "could be".
In what ways does Dying Eyes Of Sloth push the envelope for death metal in a time when it’s more mainstream than it had been in the 90s? From your perspective, is the genre still a viable underground force?

I think we are pushing the envelope by reminding people where it all came from in the first place, and by keeping the doors open for exploration and perhaps some interesting ways of adding other elements into the traditional Death Metal sound or approach everyone is familiar with without losing the Death Metal aspects of our songs. I think, in a time where Death Core is so popular, and hyper-speed rhythms and riffing as well as incredible but almost mechanical sounding technicality are all becoming more prevalent due to digital recording and all of the technology that is at the general population's fingertips...we are (hopefully) reminding people that it's not about how fast or technical your stuff is that determines how brutal or heavy you are, but rather the song structure, the riffs, the feeling, and the organic aspect of the music. Music and Metal, and even specifically Death Metal are all human entities in that it's not about perfection but raw emotion and raw energy. It's music written by people, played by people, and hopefully (ultimately) appreciated as such. It's quality not quantity or quantum physics. I think the human element is important and essential in Death Metal and music in general as well, and I don't think we should forget that or let it lose its relevance because I think it's the same thing that makes the classics timeless and keeps the integrity honest. Also, even though our approach is and will remain Old School, I think the fact that Jay P. Death uses a 7 String and I use a 5, and we tune way down kind of sets us apart too. In other words, our mentality is Old School, but our approach as far as that stuff goes is more modern in a sense. That was a calculated decision on Jay P. Death's part to use the 7 string guitars and everything. It's something you see more commonly in Death Core, but not so much in Old School, or traditional Death Metal. I think that was a smart choice, and an interesting choice because we are looking for that Old School Death Metal feel but not necessarily at the expense of any convention or restrictions. So, by playing the 7 strings and tuning down, but not playing in the Death Core style means we have to come at the Old School Death Metal thing from a slightly different angle so to speak. I do think Death Metal is still a viable underground force. I mean when you sit back and look at the success that bands like Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Morbid Angel, Gorguts, Obituary, Massacre, Autopsy and so on and so on are having as far as touring and selling and everything-I think it's actually harder to argue that it's not a viable force. A lot of the Old School bands have either been consistently putting out good records over the years (though maybe more slightly under the radar in the past at times), or have made great "comeback" albums after long hiatuses (as was the case with Gorguts, Massacre, and Carcass). So, that consistency or ability to return to form at the top of their game has got to tell you something. The thing is, it seems the demand is there more so now then it has been in a while which makes all of that good stuff possible. That's due largely to the strength of the underground and the support of the fans. I think people are looking for what's been missing maybe in Metal for some time. The thing is, it never went away. It's just that maybe newer fans are discovering these bands for the first time, and maybe older fans are looking for more of a true Death Metal fix once again. Even for newer bands like us this is all a good thing probably. If the fans want it, it means we all get a chance to give them what they want. There are plenty of newer bands that are waving the flag for the underground and Death Metal too.

Where did the name Dying Eyes Of Sloth come from, in terms of what inspired you to choose the band’s name?
The name Dying Eyes Of Sloth was a combination of ideas from Dave and Jay P. They originally had just Dying Eyes, and weren't completely satisfied. Dave got the idea for Sloth from the 7th Deadly Sin. Basically, two and two were put together and it stayed. It's kind of taken on its own meaning since then, but it's funny because a lot of people assume we're referring to the animal. Then again we've also said "the beast of Sloth is back from beyond the grave", and things like that. So, in that sense-Sloth is its own Beast as well. I've got my own sort of interpretation of it too, and I'm guessing others have theirs. To me, it's like killing that sin in a way or killing the desire to settle, or accept things you don't wish to accept. In other words, be proactive. Make your own rules, make your own results, make your own life. If there isn't a way or the way is not agreeable to you, carve your own path in blood.
Your interpretation of the band’s name makes sense, in that it contains a different meaning from what people would expect it to mean. DM and underground metal in general is often construed as evil or offensive, mostly by those who don’t want to understand what bands really mean by their names, album titles or song lyrics. How important is carving one’s own path?

It's true and fairly common for people to misunderstand and misinterpret this kind of music. Even just heavy music in general just by the sound of it can be misconstrued sometimes, and maybe in those cases it has to do with what those people have or haven't been exposed to. I don't know. It's understandable in the sense of the human tendency to fear what one doesn't understand but it's baffling from the other perspective because you want to wonder-"why be afraid?" For me personally, it's also strange because if I don't understand something my curiosity or my desire to understand it tends to outweigh my fear or my judgment of it. Maybe that's a common thread in people who listen to all this so called "scary, evil, or offensive" music, I don't know. I would think that having the approach of carving your own path leaves you more open to things in general whether they are different or strange or unfamiliar to you or not. When you open yourself up to the idea that it is up to you yourself to decide what you like, and what you believe in I think you're less likely to be afraid and more likely to be curious. The only person who can define your parameters of convention or acceptability towards things is you. It's not to say you shouldn't believe wholeheartedly in any of these things though. It's more to say you should give yourself the chance to see what works best for you, and to not be afraid to ask questions, and think outside the box, and explore different possibilities. So, I think as far as finding your own truth instead of just accepting whatever truth is being fed to you goes, it's important. Beyond that though, it opens you up to not be limited by fear, or miss out on things you might enjoy because you wrote them off because they may have challenged your beliefs or made you reconsider your perspective. In that way, it can be very liberating, and I think as far as creativity and music goes all of that can tie into those things as well. That makes the creative process, and the art of expression, as well as the experience of listening to it that much more powerful-because it strips away all of the restrictions.

Describe the writing and recording process of your earliest material, going by our discussion of how the band pushed the envelope. Did people become aware you were making such an effort with your material?
The writing process just began with some jam sessions playing various Old School Death Metal style riffs. Those sessions were where and what the band formed out of. Some of these ideas stuck and were then formed into more solid song structures. They were then fleshed out more in a long demoing process prior to when final recording was done. By that point, recording went relatively easily. The intention was always to have the music rooted in Classic/Old School Death Metal, yet add some other elements like an underlying slight modern approach to some parts. For example, to be a bit different by playing 7 string guitars and 5 string bass tuned down a full step to A. Again, that is a bit of a more "modern" approach used with an old school sound. So, some things have been done intentionally to make our sound more unique, and hopefully stand out from others. As far as people being aware of us making the effort to be different, I'd say yes and no. Many have picked up on what we are doing as somewhat different, or unique. They get it and truly appreciate what we are doing. Then others realize something is different, but are not sure what (such as the lower tuning). They ask how we get it to sound like it does without realizing we play in A tuning. Most classic death metal is played in either E or D tuning. They're used to hearing it like that. We're tuned like three or four steps lower. There are also some people that just don't seem to get it at all because they either listen to only one kind of music, or don't understand what we do as being different. As we move forward now with our newer material, we are blending in more elements to give different textures to our music. Some things like Thrash and Doom parts, or maybe a bit of Black Metal, or Blast Beats, and things like that are being thrown into the mix. So it's a broader spectrum of elements to pull from, but always used in slight moderation-more as underlying textures to enhance our Old School Death Metal sound. Old school Death Metal is still the main rooted structure of the band, and will always stay that way.

How many releases to date does the band have out, and which of the songs on each of them best represents the process of writing, composing and recording described above?
The band has the original version of the Book Of Blood EP out (which is no longer available), and the re-released version to date. The solo on the title track was redone for the re-release as well as some adjustments to EQ levels and other minor adjustments to improve the overall mix. I think Beneath The Haunting Skies demonstrates this writing process pretty well, and also is a strong song structurally. What stood out to me the most, being that I was the newest addition to the lineup was the way the songs stood apart but maintained the integrity of the band's overall sound. Flesh Collector isn't the same as Beneath The Haunting Skies, and so on. We all have different answers when it comes to our personal favorites too, but as far as the one that best represents the writing process or the overall approach the most, or the best-I'd say we'd all probably agree it would have to be Beneath The Haunting Skies.

How much did the minor adjustments the band made to Book Of Blood lead to an overall improvement sound-wise?
The remixing/remastering process our guitarist Jay P took for the re-release was mostly a matter of minor adjustments made to get the right balance of things in the mix, and just kind of fine tune the EP basically by utilizing some things he'd picked up since the first time around (recording and mixing wise). Sometimes it's the nuance and subtlety type of things like that which can actually give things that extra element in those situations. Little things make a big difference in those cases. He's mentioned that it's noticeable enough if you put them side by side, but I've heard them both for myself and I've got to agree that those adjustments were definitely worth it. It's hard to say to what extent these things will affect everything in the long run, but in my own opinion if it's enough of a difference that it's noticeable like that, that has to tell you something in and of itself. The rest...for better or worse, is usually out of your hands pretty much once the finished product comes out. But, judging by people's reactions so far, I would also say it definitely seems to be paying off having taken the time (as Jay P did) to revisit things and make those changes. I've mentioned on other occasions that I truly believe the strength of that EP has provided the strong platform and foundation for this band to keep pushing forward and farther, and I say that with a great amount of gratitude because due to that and the fans, I feel those are the things that have made it all possible in all honesty, and I've witnessed it firsthand.

Describe the atmosphere and feel of Beneath The Haunting Skies and explain why it’s a collective favorite of the band’s.
Beneath The Haunting Skies structurally is probably the strongest. The overall vibe of it is kind of menacing and dark. I think the fact that the tempo isn't super-fast gives it that sort of looming over your head kind of feeling, and basically drops a ton of bricks on you once the flood gates open so to speak. To me, it is like a very calculated and heavy hammer slowly and steadily pounding a nail into your skull little by little and getting more painful with each swing. It's similar in that regard to Flesh Collector. It's just that Flesh Collector hits you quick and rapidly, whereas Beneath The Haunting Skies lures the listener in more and bludgeons them more slowly. In that way, I think it represents the nature of Dying Eyes Of Sloth to go against the grain and do our own thing because it's heavy and in a different way because it doesn't rely solely on speed alone to accomplish that. That's a testament to the bands attitude and approach but also to the roots of the genre, it harkens back to a time where the power of the riff, not just its speed still defined a song’s heaviness.

In addition to tuning down to the key of A, how much has the band’s range has been expanded by playing with five string basses and seven string guitars?
Speaking for myself, because I had never used a five string bass before joining Dying Eyes Of Sloth, I did notice a difference. Most noticeably when I made the switch, because in the beginning I was still using the four string I had at first. It seemed a much better fit with the guitars being seven strings. The band as a whole seemed to sound more "right" to my ears from the first time I used the five. It's one of those things that is hard to pinpoint an exact amount of difference on, but you just kind of listen to your instincts and trust yourself when you get that feeling that something is working like that. You know, it was completely doable with the four really, but it seems to just be a better overall fit with the five. Especially considering that we are a four-piece, I think it makes the sound a little bigger to have the extra strings. Plus, we tuned down another half-step to give things a little extra punch too because we used to tune to B flat originally. Other than that, the range has always been there because Jay P has always only used seven string guitars in the project. In that sense, it's nothing new and nothing we weren't already used to.

Do the drummer and vocalist of the band have to work hard to match the musical range of the rest of the band?
I think the band meshes well with the vocals and the drums, and as a whole. I mean we all work hard when it comes to our instruments, and the voice or vocals are no different in that sense. Aside from the voice being a muscle, it is more susceptible to straining and what not being that it's a physical act that relies on those muscles and your vocal cords to work properly or to its maximum capacity, but it is trainable and can be strengthened when utilizing the proper techniques. Dave, our vocalist has been doing the extreme vocals for a long time by now, and it's funny because he seems to get asked a lot about whether the low gutturals or the higher screams kill his voice and things like that. The thing is, with experience and knowing and practicing the proper technique it actually isn't as strenuous as people might sometimes think. Of course, it can be if you don't know what you're doing. If you do it wrong you can definitely do some serious damage. With the drums, or even guitar and bass, I suppose it's similar in that sense. Technique is important for any musician and any instrument really. These guys are all seasoned players with years of experience, so it seems to be a great balance of ability, dedication, and talent in all honesty that happens as a band when those elements are combined cohesively. So, I guess we all work hard at what we do. When it all comes together, it also feels natural to us, and I'm sure Bill, Dave and the rest of us would agree on that.
Many people who aren’t as familiar with extreme metal would see the vocals as nothing more than screaming, but the bands themselves know better, that there is an actual technique to it
It's true. I mean I think a lot of fans are aware of it, or becoming aware of the fact that there is a right and a wrong way to scream like that as well as a proper technique to it also. Still, to a lot of individuals from the outside looking in or who are maybe less familiar with that sort of vocal style it seems that there is always that sort of misconception. I've noticed a lot of people that hear it for the first time seem to have that kind of reaction to it. Either that, or they ask about it but they always seem kind of taken back or surprised to learn that it's not just a primal or primitive sort of thing. I guess if you're doing it right it can be those things, but the point is there's a method to all of it even if it seems like madness to a lot of people's ears. There's actually several different techniques as far as breathing properly, but also in different ways. And there's even ways of projecting differently and things like that depending on the type of scream you are going for. I know many vocalists that utilize these style of vocals and screaming that swear by Melissa Cross's DVD's and things along those lines as far as learning or teaching yourself these proper techniques, and our vocalist The Demon Christ has mentioned her stuff as well. Either way, if anybody out there is skeptical on the matter, you can always do a little digging and see for yourself. I myself am not a vocalist, but I've seen the videos and everything and it's pretty obvious it's more than just yelling into a microphone. Misconceptions are nothing new, you know? The thing about them though is that usually if you go just a bit farther than just the surface of them you can easily and sometimes surprisingly prove them wrong.
In what ways do the lyrics of your songs reflect your views and those of the other band members?

The lyrics reflect our ideology as far as freedom of creativity, and freedom of expression. We want that to be the more important aspect of that approach. We have songs about the undead coming back to life and killing the living, we have songs that have been inspired by the West Memphis Three and the injustice involved in that, and we've got songs about questioning and resisting organized religions and politics as well. The point, is having the freedom to say what we want to say, and express what we want to express. We don't stick to one lyrical approach, or one topic or anything, but we do approach these things similarly. Basically, the idea is not to preach or push an agenda, but to provoke people into thinking differently or to question things they may not normally question. Then again, sometimes it's just to have fun, and sometimes it's to call attention to things that might be pissing us off or something. Either way, that's what's great about having that freedom and embracing it as opposed to suppressing it for the sake of some set of rules, or restrictive way of thinking. It allows us to always remain true to ourselves, say what we want to say, and feel how we want to feel.

Speaking of zombies, are the band members fans of Romero’s Living Dead movies or the films of Lucio Fulci? Did any of those help inspire the lyrics of your songs about zombies rising from the dead? What imagery did you seek to capture?
We're actually all pretty into horror and those kind of movies. So, naturally we're all fans of zombie and apocalyptic films such as those. Directors like George Romero, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento all come to mind. So yes I suppose all those films among others inspire ideas and lyrics for our song material. The imagery we seek to capture is an apocalyptic downfall of society in many various ways. A zombie apocalypse is just one of those ideas, or one of those ways. We also touch on the organizational control of religion and politics, and how that affects our societies. As well as the possible destruction of our civilization through stupidity and greed. Among other things like how it creates wars, genocide, etc. As far as the songs inspired by Romero or Fulci flicks, the imagery is very similar I guess, but it just comes down to a different way of conveying it. Whereas in the movies it's mostly all visual; in the songs it comes down to the riffs and the lyrics to evoke the imagery or the mood. Perhaps that's the common ground between Horror movies and Death Metal. They both push people out of their comfort zones and bring them face to face with their fears. In that way it's almost natural. Good Horror should have that effect on its audience, same with Death Metal.

Sometimes it’s appropriate to shock people into thinking, as in how 1978’s Dawn Of The Dead addressed mass consumerism through the zombie genre. Does that movie continue to strike a chord today? And there was how Land Of The Dead addressed Bush American in 2005 and Diary Of The Dead addressed the oversaturation of media in 2007.
I think when movies, or music, or art is done in a way where there is a consciousness or an awareness to the subject matter that it can stand the test of time and maintain its relevance beyond the time period it was a part of. That would likely be the case with 1978's Dawn Of The Dead, and perhaps that's why they were able to recycle that concept so to speak by making the remake version of it. I really am not a fan of a lot of those remakes, and the more recent obsession with that whole idea and approach, but I do think part of why they are possible (at least in theory) is because of the fact that the relevance of those aspects of the story are still holding true to this day. Look at a song like War Pigs or Children Of The Grave for example by Black Sabbath (both of which are more than several decades old at this point), but if you look at the lyrics and stuff it isn't very hard to see how a lot of what Ozzy was singing back then still applies to our world now. I notice that a lot actually with a lot of different songs and artists. Movies are no different when it comes to that, I guess. Think of all the songs or films that you consider "classics", chances are they hold up like that too. There's an Exodus song called 'Children Of A Worthless God' from the Exhibit A album that talks about all the bloodshed, war, and terrorism in the Middle East, and elsewhere. That album came out 7 almost 8 years ago now, and we're still living that reality today and see it all over the news. That's a more recent example, but one that holds true in the same way but also literally is still a very relevant issue to the point that it is still actively occurring. You could take it a step further probably if you look at an album like Colored Sands by Gorguts for example. They essentially took the theme of Tibetan Culture to draw parallels between ancient times and modern times which is kind of like taking the idea of relevance to another extreme in showing the similarities directly through a common thread between the past and now. Then you have other examples of say Morbid Angel with a song like 'The Lion's Den' off of Covenant which I think is referring to the barbaric nature of Ancient Rome and the idea of blood and violence as spectacle, and I think it works as a description of those times but maybe also appeals to us because we can still relate to the concept today in our own society. In music and lyrics and even books or movies about the past or certain times in history, that could be another aspect of what makes something interesting to us because it can be seen reflected in some form a lot of times in our own lives, or our own experiences.

Cite the lyrics appearing in your song about the West Memphis Three. Were they based on the news and/or the documentaries by Joe Berlinger? How did you and the band feel that the three people in question were finally released?
Well, the song Endless Suffering is mostly about the injustice of that whole story, and how that played a part in how things unfolded with it all. The thing is, a lot of that injustice came from the authorities or the ones who are supposedly meant to uphold justice in those cases. So, it is like a way to point that out through metaphor, and also point out what they had to endure because of how things were played, and I also think largely due to certain stereotypes that those played a significant role in painting a certain kind of picture when it came to the three of them as well. Being that they were Metalheads, and dressed or looked a certain way-I believe these things were exploited in order to convince people that these men were guilty when in fact they were innocent. So the song makes reference to all of that, but also celebrates the fact that they were finally let out by using the theme of unnecessary suffering and backwards justice to basically bring to light the uglier side of not only how the three of them were treated, and as a result what they had to endure due to all of this-but also to bring to light the uglier side of human nature in terms of how something like this can happen as well as how other people can do this to other people based solely on appearance or musical preferences and things like that. Then it kind of points to their eventual release as a sort of vindication. So, the song kind of answers your question in a sense. We all feel they should never have been locked up and charged in the first place. So, now that they've finally been set free it's as if at least some sort of semblance of actual justice was finally served. I can give you a small taste of the lyrics:

"As slaves condemned
Through everlasting blind oblivion
Dark Angels to the exile world
Hallowing the kiss of decay
The most forbidden fruits of disease
Harsh in beauty
Condemned to living darkness
Now set free to live in redemption"

Our vocalist tends to keep things grounded in metaphor, which some say may make the meanings harder to decipher, but in my own opinion I think it makes the lyrics better and more thought out. I don't think things should be too straightforward, you know? The great thing about lyrics, or songs, or even art in general is that it's all open to interpretation. At the same time, I think if you pay close enough attention the references are all over the place even in the example above. It's a very intricate balance of specifics and ambiguity, if you think about it-but most good lyrics and songs are exactly that.

People who investigated the crime suspect that those who accused Echols, Miskelley and Baldwin were actually the guilty parties. Berlinger’s WM3 documentary Paradise Lost 2: Revelations suggests the same.
That's true, and has been told through several different sources and accounts. With Terry Hobbs, David Jacoby, and the DNA evidence being one thing. As well as Billy Wayne Stewart and Bennie Guy implicating the two of them in their accounts of the events on that night in addition to implicating L.G. Hollingsworth, and Buddy Lucas as well. That, and the apparent confessions of theirs of their involvement and knowledge of the crimes according to Stewart and Guy too. It paints a different picture for sure. If you're familiar with the case, and the facts therein, then (as far as I can tell) when you add it all up-what seems more plausible? Those kids were murdered because they "saw something they weren't supposed to see" and that something was a Satanic Ritual that was being carried out by Echols, Miskelley, and Baldwin? Even if, hypothetically we speculate, that they were Satanists, would they kill 3 innocent kids just because were they wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and saw their supposed "ritual"? I mean, I tend to think that that scenario would play out as simply as the kids getting freaked out and probably running away or something, and that would have been the end of it. Now, obviously I don't believe they even were Satanists or anything, but if you look at the other scenario and those facts-it does seem more plausible to me that the 4 men (Hobbs, Jacoby, Hollingsworth, and Lucas) would, might, or could have felt that such extreme and deplorable and vicious acts had to be carried out in order to protect their secrets as far as their sexual engagements and all of that. It's in no way justifiable, just more likely in my opinion especially when you add up all the details of everything. I do think the element of negligence on the part of investigators and law enforcement was also a factor in the way it all played out with the wrong people being accused and ultimately found guilty of the crimes. So, it's a combination of a lot of elements and unfortunately the tragedy of the whole story is apparent in more ways than one (and that's probably understating it).

How does the band go about addressing religion and politics in your lyrics? In what ways do you see religion and politics connected in society?
Well, we aren't a political band or a religious one either really, but the themes that come with those subjects are often similar and kind of symptomatic of other, deeper issues. For example, politicians and governments try to control people and religions do this as well. We believe in deciding things for yourself as opposed to being force fed what to think and how to think about it, but we try to look deeper than the surface of these issues and kind of shed some light on some of the consequences of this sort of control or corruption. If you want to use the Endless Suffering example again, the song is obviously speaking about the West Memphis Three, but really it's about the consequences of corrupt law makers exploiting those kids in order to solve a case and move on with their lives whether it would cost them their innocence in the end or not. When something is orchestrated to that extent, and with that sort of intention while blatantly disregarding or ignoring the truth, it makes it hard to comprehend how the perpetrators in twisting those facts could not only be so willing to do so-but also, it is hard to believe they weren't aware of the lies they were perpetuating or the damage they would cause. All of these things in combination kind of make you want to take a closer look at the whole picture hopefully, and that's sort of the point. Think about the fact that in order for those three kids (Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin) to be convicted the jury, the town, the public, and the people all had to be convinced of their guilt which was accomplished by playing on everybody's fears of (in this instance) Heavy Metal music and subsequently Satan as well as evil in general, and by "evil" I mean "evil" in the sense of "evil acts" like being capable of murder and what not. Now think of how that fear played a part in shaping people's opinions of the three of them and ultimately in the verdict of guilty. Take all of that, and counteract that fear as well as that consequence, and give those same people the ability to look closer at the facts without that fear and it makes you wonder how that could possibly affect or change such an outcome. Now, the fear isn't in control anymore, and that's why we feel it's important to think for yourself. It's the same approach as far as religion or politics goes. In other words, it's not pointing it out for the sake of pointing it out. It's more like saying, there is more to the equation than just your God or my God, your beliefs and my beliefs, your idea of right and wrong or good and bad, and mine. It's just to keep people thinking, and questioning things, and coming to their own conclusions not out of fear, or blind faith, but out of really honestly looking at things without those things shaping your opinions of them. In another one of the new songs "Beyond The Grave" for example, the lyrics read:

"Bleed before, bleed before, bleeding before
Gods of fire, reapers of the dead
No gods, no masters,
embrace your own fate...
We all burn in hell fire!"

Followed by:

"...Mary your a whore
Christ is an illusion
No gods, no masters
Embrace the pain
We all burn in hell fire!"

A lot of people get stuck on the lines "Mary you're a whore, Christ is an illusion" but really the point of the whole thing is "No Gods, no masters...embrace your own fate" to us. So once again, it's more a matter of staying true to yourself and your own beliefs told through the song and the metaphor of the lyrics. Beyond that, the rest is open for interpretation and that's fine with us too. We say what we want to say, whatever that may be and however that may be, but there is a bit of rhyme to our reason or method to the madness so to speak.
The lines “Mary you’re a whore/Christ is an illusion” can represent how religion is used as a weapon and to justify committing evil acts in the name of God. In the sense that the virtue is being paid lip service to but in reality it does not exist. And not just in Christianity but in many religions. Look at the Islamic fundamentalists who have been in the news for the last ten years.

That's part of the reason we try not to be too specific when exploring such topics because, as you said, it is not exclusive to any one specific form of religion. There are examples of this in just about every religion in history, so in a way it would seem slightly short-sighted to focus our attention on only one aspect of that equation. However, there are times where more specific type of references are needed in order to get the point across and not lose people completely, but the potential for that sort of exploitation is present in any type of religion really. Not only that, but look at all the Cults in history, and look at how many of them were a shining example of that twisting of words in order to serve their leader's purpose as opposed to actually adhering to the virtue of those teachings. All of these leaders claimed to have some sort of divine communication with God, and have claimed to simply be following his wishes when in reality the whole religion thing for them was just a smoke screen to hide behind or use to their own advantage in order to serve their own twisted wants and desires. Not only were they able to manipulate the religion itself, but through that manipulation they were able to convince other people to follow suit and fall in line with their ideologies. That is a tremendous power in and of itself, to be regarded in such a way that even when people know something is wrong, if you managed to convince them to do it anyway because God told them to or what have you, then all of the sudden it's no longer wrong, but completely okay and acceptable. That's the danger of that sort of power. And that also relates back to being strong minded in your own beliefs, and defining things for yourself, because if you don't, how do you know that you are not being manipulated? It's also worth mentioning when you really sit back and look at politics, or different wars, or people with opposing beliefs making judgments, or innocent people being convicted of being guilty, is it all not just some form of that manipulation? The motives may change, the faces may change, the circumstances, locations, or philosophies might vary or change, but it's all just a form of deception until you really look closer at what you believe, not just what you see, think you see, hear, or are told. As long as people aren't paying attention they can be redirected or misdirected. In my own experience, when people seem hesitant to even entertain your questions, it is usually because the truth in their answers is something they don't want you to know.

Your point about how some religious figures don’t want to answer certain questions because they might be hiding something is interesting. How many religious figures know themselves they have their own agendas? I imagine quite a few do.
Most of them you would think would have to be aware of their agenda, but it's speculative on my part really. I mean logic would say they would have to be in order to be actively pushing said agenda, or to be hiding it like that too. I think there's a large grey area though, because some or maybe even more than some of them might believe their own delusions to the point that maybe they themselves wouldn't see it that way or see it as "having an agenda". It's interesting, but then it starts to get into the psychology of it all at that point because it becomes a matter of "does evil know it's evil?" or "does crazy know it's crazy?" They say if you're crazy, you wouldn't know it or wouldn't think you were. Does the same thing apply in regards to evil people doing evil things? Then you've got to ask yourself how you define "evil" and how you define "crazy" too. Personally, I think maybe it's both or can be either one. It can be completely intentional, calculated, and meticulously executed. Or it can be none of those and just based on pure insanity and things like that.
In what ways does Dying Eyes Of Sloth plan to develop their lyrical ideas on future recordings?

I think we'll approach the lyrics the same way we'll approach the music on future recordings, that's basically just a matter of pushing ourselves to keep growing and raising the bar for us and the fans. We know what we do and love to do it, and we will continue to write our own story, and carve our own path in the process. However, we won't compromise our artistic freedom or our integrity towards the project or Old School Death Metal as well. I know that our vocalist/frontman Dave, 'The Demon Christ' is always writing and always coming up with ideas pretty much on a daily basis it seems. He's constantly sending me new lyric ideas and coming up with new material, and it's kind of crazy to be honest because the way he is with his lyrics is the same way Jay P. Death is when it comes to writing riffs. They can crank out stuff like they're machines not people sometimes, and I think it's just a testament to their creativity and ability, as well as their passion for the music. That being said, you put all four of us together Dave, Jay . P, Bill 'Skullcrusher', and myself and I think that that machine becomes a monster. Or, as Dave himself would put it-The Beast of Sloth. Lyrically Dave has been the mind behind that side of things from the inception as far as writing the lyrics and whatnot. I have collaborated on some lyrics with him myself, so we'll see what happens with that or where things go. I think with this lineup, the doors have been opened for more collaboration which is great for the band, and something that I appreciate a lot having been in other situations where that wasn't always the case. I also think it's good for the music, and I know our drummer has brought some ideas to the table as well which is how the song 'Severed Skin' came about. So, I mean I think people can expect more of what they've seen so far and a good curve ball should we go that route. Basically, it's a matter of not being shackled to any limitations lyrically, musically, or otherwise. I will say that Organized Apocalypse will definitely touch on a lot of the stuff I've mentioned, and Endless Suffering as well as Beyond The Grave are a good taste of what everybody can expect going forward-but at the same time I think it's safe to say they can expect the unexpected as well.

What kind of lyrics has the Demon Christ been writing for the band’s next recording?
We've touched on some of the concepts lyrically so far when we were discussing Endless Suffering and The West Memphis Three, and Beyond The Grave and religion. Like I mentioned earlier with Beyond The Grave, the basis of that is really carving your own path which we also discussed. “A Spineless Human Portrait” is the tentative title to the song me and Demon Christ wrote, but it's still kind of in its early phases so who knows if it will make the record. That one is kind of an imagining of what you would do to somebody that was corrupt in their own way if they had wronged you. Organized Apocalypse is not really a concept album or anything, but a lot of the lyrical themes are centered around the idea of corruption in organized religions, or politics, or society in general. All of those subjects are being approached in different ways from song to song though, so that's what makes the theme Organized Apocalypse unique I guess because the approach can vary from things based on or in reality (as was the case with Endless Suffering), or can be more about an idea or more abstract, and even can be kind of more hypothetical in the sense of say an Apocalypse becoming real because of the corruption I mentioned becoming a sort of catalyst. In other words, if say things became so corrupt to the point that it caused a sort of Apocalyptic or downfall of civilization type of scenario-how would that be depicted, and what would it be like? Maybe the Undead would see something of that nature as their opportune moment to rise from the grave and take over the Earth too... who knows? The point is, it's most likely going to be an album that revolves around a loose theme of corruption in some of the ways I've mentioned, but we are not limiting ourselves to a specific way of exploring those topics. Either way, the goal is to take what we've done so far lyrically and musically, as well as what we've established on the Book Of Blood EP, and push it to the next level. So, with that being said, I would say if you've heard our EP you should have a decent idea of what Sloth is about and what to expect for Organized Apocalypse-but, at the same time we feel we're just getting started in a lot of ways... so always expect the unexpected.

I wanted to close this interview with a question about Edgar Allan Poe since you recently mentioned you like his work, and quite a few of the staff/contributing writers of this zine are huge fans of his. In what ways does Poe inspire you, and would the band ever base a song or two on his writings? I still remember Deceased’s Dark Chilling Heartbeat based on Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart.
Dark Chilling Heartbeat, is a great song and a great example in my opinion of taking a story like 'The Tell Tale Heart' by Poe and adapting it into a song. I'm glad you mentioned it because I've seen The Tell Tale Heart adapted into films, and sometimes it works and other times it just doesn't. I think that comes down to the approach a lot of times, but I also don't really believe there is an exact science to it either. It's always a delicate, and daunting undertaking to take a story like that and do it justice, and do the author justice. And when that author or that work is Edgar Allen Poe, or something he has written I think it's a matter of maybe coming as close to doing it justice as possible and bringing something different or your own to either the song or the movie. It's easier said than done, because it's a lot easier to run with the idea and take certain liberties with it then it is to keep the core of the original concept intact while not sacrificing your own vision or the integrity of the original piece. Maybe that's the trick to it. Finding that balance between the two. I don't know, but it's something to keep in mind maybe. I've been intrigued and fascinated by Poe and his works since I was a young kid to be honest, and it's not just the things he talks about or the subjects he explores, but the way in which he does it. His methods, his choice of words, his approach, his language, it's all part of what makes him so interesting and great to me. I think it's more obvious in his poems for people less familiar or possibly in general to pick up on what I'm talking about as far as all of those things. At least in terms of perceiving it from the surface, but it's also very evident in his Short Stories as well. It just requires a bit more of a closer look to pick up on it in his Short Story writings, at least with some of them as opposed to others. Either way, I think he is more known for being melancholy and dark, and kind of associated with horror or scary storytelling. He is all of those things, but his work goes far beyond those things while utilizing them in different ways, and kind of getting the most out of all of his techniques. I think that is what makes him a master of his craft along with his body of work which speaks for itself in so many ways. The dark, dreary, scary, macabre and psychological aspects of what he did are all part of what attracted me to his work in the first place, but the intelligence in say his detective stories (which many say he also originated)  was a whole other layer or depth to all of that for me. I have a strong suspicion, now that I think about it, that Poe and probably Black Sabbath are both big parts of the reason I gravitated towards Metal and Death Metal later on (say if I had to trace things back to what all started it, I guess). My point being I identified with both. I mean, other kids would think I was weird, and teachers would too because I preferred reading Poe's stuff as opposed to Charlotte's Web or Shakespeare or something, but to me I always was aware it was dark, and scary while at the same time I kind of felt like there was more to it if you were willing to dig a little deeper. I guess in that sense, it's a lot like Death Metal actually in that it's very misunderstood and kind of prejudged to "outsiders" or those looking at it strictly from the surface. Whereas the rest of us, or the ones that have either the ability or the desire to look deeper or not be turned away by fear of that "mystique" or supposed "darkness" would say and think much differently. It's not as though darkness necessarily always means "evil" in the sense that it's not good for you, I guess is kind of what I'm getting at. Look at 'The Premature Burial' for example. What's more horrifying to people than literally being buried alive? But really it's told through that perspective, but only as a way to call attention to humanity's fear of its own mortality, and to show that that very fear could quite literally drive a person insane if it becomes obsessive enough of a concern to you. Poe inspires me as a writer, as a fan of horror and suspense, and personally even in some ways because I think by embracing his work, and his style, and his approach I've been able to embrace the things that I've been interested in or attracted to even though a lot of the times those things aren't exactly popular, or cool, or worth embracing to some people because they would rather be afraid of them, or content to misunderstand them. For me, I think it's better to explore things like death, and mortality, and good and evil, and sanity, and insanity or whatever than it is to simply fear them, or avoid them due to that fear. It's never crossed my mind or come up yet to write a song based on Poe's work in Dying Eyes Of Sloth, but I guess if we're keeping ourselves open to trying new things it wouldn't be entirely impossible someday. If it did happen, I think it would once again come down to a matter of how we would approach it, but we would all have to agree and want to do it, and it would have to work as a song, but also as a Dying Eyes Of Sloth song, or in other words, make sense or fit into what it is we were doing or trying to do at the time. I could definitely think of more than a few things Poe has written that I think could, would, and I think would be interesting to try to make work off the top of my head, but as far as right now that would all be strictly hypothetical. I've always thought Murders In The Rue Morgue, Masque Of The Red Death, The Premature Burial, or maybe A Descent Into The Maelstrom would work or could work in some form of Metal song, but there are no plans or even discussion of attempting something like that right now as far as Dying Eyes Of Sloth goes.

-Dave Wolff