I came across a documentary you shared on Facebook called British Black Metal: The Extreme Underground. It covers England’s current black metal scene. Discuss how well it reflects the bands, and where your bands fit into what’s going on.
I have watched it several times. I think it reflects our scene and bands accurately. Andy Horry did a great job and knows our scene firsthand from playing guitar for Slaughter Throne. The bands are different and diverse, but that is exactly what our bands have brought to the world. That’s just the way it has happened. Old Corpse Road have a symphonic, atmospheric sound influenced by the likes of Cradle Of Filth and sing about English folklore, myths and legends. Then there is Eastern Front who is what you call “war torn black metal”; savage, militant and almost mechanical whose subjects are all about war, the Second World War to be exact. These are just a couple of examples considering the differences in our bands is vast. I am good friends with most of the bands in the documentary and have been for some years. I think Suffering fits because we have nearly a 50/50 mixture of black and doom metal. We have a distinct English sound. Our doom aspects have been compared to bands like My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost which is a great compliment. We’re not doing anything massively outside the box but what we are doing is different in respect to other bands in our scene. That difference is what fits us in nicely because all our bands are diverse, yet for the majority there is this spark that makes them all inherently British and instantly recognizable.
When did the new wave of British black metal start? Was Suffering founded around that time?
There have always been steady bands like Cradle Of Filth, Hecate Enthroned, Bal-Sagoth et cetera, but never really a big influx of bands like we have now. It was probably the early to mid-2000’s when everybody started to appear. Suffering originally started in 2012 but due to our members living far apart it made things difficult, so I put it on hold until I found a whole new lineup just over a year ago.
Was it easier to form a lineup now that the UK has a solid, self-sustaining black metal scene?
It was, actually. Which was extremely surprising to me. For many years I was forced to just do studio based stuff on my own or with one or two other people because of not being able to find other band members, drummers being the hardest to find, it is literally like rocking horse shit but with Suffering this time around it was our drummer that I found first from a musician ad website who had recently moved from London to a town near where I live. Then within just a week we found two guitarists and a bassist and it all came together within about two to three weeks. Our first bassist didn’t stay with us long for various reasons, then we found our second bassist who was with us for a good few months and played on our album 11. Unfortunately he is no longer with us but we are trying out a new bassist that will hopefully be joining the band.
How experienced is the new bassist you are trying out have as a musician, and how does his experience help Suffering?
He is more than capable. He’d already learned nearly all of the songs completely coming into that first practice. He has experience from other bands/projects, and as a multi-instrumentalist, and generally fits right in.
In England do musicians usually hook up through social media, print magazines or word of mouth?
I can’t speak for other people but from my experience it has always been through musician advert websites.
Did Suffering’s mix of black and doom metal develop naturally from your personal tastes?
I think it was quite natural. I come from a complete black metal background whereas some of the other guys are more into doom. But we are all into the same kind of music as each other, different genres, subgenres etc. It just ended up coming out that way because we knew we wanted to make extreme disgusting music, but that can mean many different things. One extreme being fast and brutal to the other being slow and doomy.
When I last interviewed you for Autoeroticasphyxium you were involved in Sturmgeist. Is this project still active?
My solo project Sturmgeist.Fornicator.Insultus is still going. I haven’t done anything with it for a while, because of other projects like Perverted Funeral Home and Suffering among others, but I do actually have the first Suffering album coming out.
When was Perverted Funeral Home started? Lyrically speaking, what are the differences between that band and Suffering?
Perverted Funeral Home started earlier this year. I had never any plans for it really because I only recorded a short EP as a piss about because I was bored. I have never done just straight death metal so I decided to give it a go without much thought. But due to interest from the guy who owns Carvetti Productions he decided to release it on tape. Perverted Funeral Home is basically just a Mortician rip off, haha. The lyrics are horror movie inspired and the music is my interpretation of Mortician style death metal filtered through black metal. Suffering originally started as a straight DSBM band, but due to my inability to face those subjects I wanted to sing about, that theme only seeps into the music little by little. The main subjects I have adopted for Suffering are very dear to me and I have researched and studied them for years. Things like satanism, the occult, ritual, the ancient gods, magic and so on. There are some aspects of the music from the DSBM style and some of the lyrics, but nothing obvious.
Briefly mention the other bands and projects you are involved in that are worth mentioning.
Mundus (black metal) is currently on hold. Perverted Funeral Home (death metal) may possibly be doing a follow up to the They Won’t Stay Dead E.P. My solo project S.F.I has a full length album due out at some point in the new year.
Where is Suffering currently rehearsing? Do you use the same practice space for all your projects past and present, or have you worked in different locations over the years?
I have use different places over the years but we use a studio in Birmingham.
How extensively have you researched occult and satanic subjects? When studying them did you expect to base songs on them? How prominently does your research show in your lyrics?
The majority of my life I have researched and delved into satanism and the occult. From the start of joining/forming bands when I was younger I always knew I would be writing about these subjects. The nature of black metal to me has to have a satanic/occult theme, but that’s not saying you can’t have non-satanic black metal bands because you can, our scene being one of them where the majority of our bands aren’t satanic at all. But all black metal is dark so it still works, I just personally prefer the satanic/occult kind. When it comes to the satanic/occult I won’t ever write or sing about something that isn’t properly thought out, factual or legitimate. One of the worst things is uneducated music. Unless you believe it and know what you’re talking about, you shouldn’t do it as far as I’m concerned. I understand the general music listener won’t understand most of my subjects nor will they care, but there is always a message and education to be learned. And if they listen to this music then they will be subjected to it whether they like it or not. If they take something from it and think this mindset is for them, then great! But if not then this music obviously isn’t really for them.
Name some of the bands whose lyrics most resonate with you for accuracy and factual basis?
Bands like Watain and Behemoth are two bands that have an honest and important message but there are many bands that I love for many reasons.
In May 2017 Suffering was included on the compilation CD UK Underground Black Metal Warfare. The comp was released by UK Black Metal Promotion and featured many new English black metal bands. What led to your inclusion?
With the compilation we had just recorded a couple of live rehearsal demos and I saw that they were looking for bands to include so I just mentioned we had these tracks and that was it.
How much publicity has the band’s appearance on UK Underground Black Metal Warfare gotten them since this compilation was released?
No publicity really haha. It wasn’t a major thing or anything so we weren’t really expecting anything from it. It was just a nice little thing to be included in.
So far is this the only compilation Suffering has appeared on, or have you gotten offers to appear on other comps?
We have submitted a track to another compilation but we don’t know if we are included or not yet because we haven’t heard anything about it.
Talk about the recording process of Suffering’s debut album. Is it being recorded in a professional studio or are you using a home studio like many bands are doing these days?
The album is already all finished. We recorded it at Temple Of Boom studio in Stourbridge in the West Midlands. It was produced and mixed by Luke Bowers who plays guitar for a Birmingham based band called Opium Lord. It was mastered by Greg Chandler at Priory Studios who is most well known for being the guitarist for Esoteric.
Did Luke Bowers and Greg Chandler’s experience as musicians help the making of the album?
Luke and Greg being involved most definitely helped. It isn’t something we could have done on our own or wanted to for that matter because we couldn’t have done the album justice. Luke did a great job recording and mixing it, it sounded great just from mixing but once it had been mastered by Greg it just took it to another level, sounded bigger but especially the drums, had more of a punch to them. Everything just overall sounded how we wanted it to. A more than professional job was done.
Name the songs on the new album that best represent the band’s direction. In what ways has the band improved musically since they got together?
I wouldn’t say we have a direction. I think probably the one track that has pretty much everything in that represents us is our final epic album closer, Rebirth Through Cursed Dirt.
The cover art for the new album is being designed by your fiancée, who is an artist. Is your cover art her first band collaboration or has she been designing cover art for some time?
She has done artwork and logos for a few bands before but mainly does other commission work for people.
How soon do you expect the debut recording to be released? And the new releases by your other projects? Will all of these be streamed on social media sites as well as released on CD?
I can’t give any details on the release of the album yet because that is something we are still currently sorting out. There will definitely be a physical release and the plan is to get the album on streaming platforms.