Spectral Mortuary and the story of cannibalism, necrophilia and genocide

Denmark’s Spectral Mortuary formed in 2003 with common bond and love for U.S. death metal bands like Suffocation, Malevolent Creation and Morbid Angel. With the help and sage advice of legendary producer Dan Swano who worked with such bands like Asphyx, Marduk, and Hail Of Bullets. The result is total depravity which is a brutal slab of techinal 90s death metal in the vein of the above mentioned bands. No deathcore and other useless crap that polluting the scene today. “Total Depravity” is light years different from their previous effort “From Hate Incarnate”. A very impressive piece from this young band that shows a lots of promise and potential. So let’s hear what vocalist Morten has to say.

Greetings how’s things been going for you and your bandmates so far?
Hey there! Well things are going pretty good for Spectral Mortuary. We are finally ready for the world wide release of our second full length album “Total Depravity”.

Can you give brief history of the band and how long this line up been together?
Spectral Mortuary began as a band back in 2003 in the city of Odense, Denmark. The founding members created the band because of their strong passion for brutal and traditional US death metal. The first demo was recorded later that same year and yet another was recorded and released in 2005. A year later we landed a deal with the Danish metal label, Mighty Music, who released our debut album, “From Hate Incarnated” in 2007. We started writing new material for a follow-up record already in 2008, but due to label issues and thereby funding problems the recording was postponed and first restarted in 2010. Of course this sucked, but it also gave us a lot of time to refine our new material and develop the style we started on “From Hate Incarnated”.
Lineup-wise we have been a somewhat steady band. I replaced the original vocalist in 2006 and in 2010 during the recordings we had to part with founding member Jesper Hoeg. He was replaced by current rhythm guitarist, Rune Gangelhof.

What other bands you been involved in before you formed Spectral Mortuary?
Lead guitarist Kristoffer Rigbolt and I where both a part of the melodic death metal piece, Beyond Reality. We split up in 2002 and Kristoffer went and joined Spectral Mortuary. Rune Koldby and Morten Siersbæk have both been members of Exmortem and Rune Gangelhof has a past in bands like Crucifix and Megalomania999.

Who came up with the band name?
I think this was the workings of my predecessor during drinking – your typical random death metal band name. Since then the name has grown on us and just sticked with us.

Spectral Mortuary will be releasing “Total Depravity” on Deepsend Records. Are you pleased with the end result as far the recording process goes?
Yes we are very pleased with the outcome of our efforts. The material, production and artwork have become way closer to a unity than any of our previous releases. Only drums and vocals where recorded in professional studios which removed time pressure on guitar and bass recordings. These were recorded in our home recording setup which gave us the room to adjust riffs and leads until we were 100% pleased. We almost spend a year creating this record which of course is a lot of time, but nevertheless I think it paid off in the end.

Why you decide to sign with Deepsend Records? Did the band received any offers from labels before signing with them?
We had a couple of interested labels, but deepsend provided a fair deal and with their impressive and brutal artist rooster the choice was easy.

When did you guys starting writing the music and lyrics for “Total Depravity”?
As I said before we started already in 2008, but kept on writing new songs until the start of the recordings in 2010. During this period we pre-recorded all songs in our own recording setup. This approach really helped us evaluate the material and caused a significant number of songs and riffs to be discarded.

You think this album blows away the band’s previous albums?
Definitely! Our debut, “From Hate Incarnated”, is not a bad album, but it lacks the feeling of an album rather than a collection of songs. “From Hate Incarnated” consisted of songs from all 3 demos and some brand new material. This made the release a little confusing on both music and lyrics since everything had evolved a lot during the band’s first 4 years of existence.

You work with legendary producer Dan Swano who worked with Marduk, Hail Of Bullets, how much the benefitted from his experience as a producer and musician?
Dan is awesome to work with. When we decided to use him for mixing we contacted him and told him about our plans for the recordings. In a single mail he identified pitfalls and such that just would be a waste of time and money. So basically we just followed his safe list on the recordings, forwarded his wishes for drum and vocal recordings to the studios and recorded bass and guitar the way he suggested. This really made things easy!

How much of a help he has been working with the band as far as getting certain sound you wanted to get when you started recording the album?
The sound on “Total Depravity” is 100% Dan Swanö, we only told him about our basic ideas for the sound and gave him some key words. So basically he worked very independently when creating the sound and atmosphere of the record. We are very pleased with the job he did. He really gave the album a raw and dirty sound while still keeping a sense of high quality production – fitting the music in a perfect way!

You guys planning on working with him again in the near future and what made you guys decide to go with him?
Well….first of all we are all very huge fans of his work as a producer (and musician), both on the new stuff such as Hail of Bullets, Asphyx and Demiurg but also the older stuff such as Dissection, Bloodbath and off course Edge of Sanity! Besides that we do not want to be a part of the over-production trend that is currently raging the metal genre. Everything has to sound like a million bucks, regardless of the music. This is also the case in Denmark and many bands seem to go for the same over-produced boring as fuck sound. We wanted a way more individual sound adding uniqueness instead of hyped trendiness- Dan Swanö was the right man to ensure this!

When’s the future release date for “Total Depravity” in the  U.S. and Europe?
The album has worldwide release on Deepsend Records january the 17th 2011.

Have you recieved any feedback on the album yet and what the reaction been so far?
Yes we have seen a couple of reviews so far and they have been really good. Both the material and the production have been well received, so we are really looking forward to get further feedback!

I seen some of the pictures of you guys in the studios looks like the drummer used alot of triggers. How many triggers your drummer used during the recording process?
Yeah we used a pretty heavy drum recording setup. We recorded the drums in Berno Studios in Malmö which is a really well equipped studio, owned by this cool guy, Berno Paulsson. Even though Berno has a lot of inputs, he still had to get some additional gear to track everything the way Dan needed it. Every drum and cymbal had to be close mic’ed and every drum also had to have a separate trigger track. I think Dan used the trigger pulses to control some outboard/plugins like gates and such. Since our drummer only uses triggers on the kick drum, we came pretty short on the trigger mics – luckily Dan had a bunch for loan!

Name some of the things that inspire you when sit down and write the lyrics and music for the album?
Speaking for myself I mostly write lyrics based on actual topics and historical stuff. The newspaper of today and the internet contains enough sick shit for several death metal records. Besides that I also use the music itself to inspire me to do the lyrics, since we always write the music before the lyrics I can use the expressions in the music to “get in the mood”. This also makes me able to underline specific lyrical passages and create the right atmosphere of the song.
The lyrics on “Total Depravity” are basically centered on the all fucked up shit humans have done, still do and always will do both in small and larger scale. Topics like cannibalism, rape and murder, necrophilia and genocide are all handled in the songs!

Are you guys big horror movie fans if so what horror movie you and your bandmates are a fan of? Myself personally I like all the Saw movies. I’m also a big fan of the European horror movies like High Tension and Frontier(s)?
Personally I do not watch allot of horror movies, but good old zombie flicks are always up for a good laugh. Just been checking out “The Walking Dead” series! For lyrical inspiration horror and gore movies are nice for ideas, topics themes!

The thing I like about the band you guys are very old school death metal. You don’t sound like these so called deathcore bands  that are coming out with crappy material these days?
Amen brother! I think it’s nice that the music evolves, but the core stuff just isn’t my thing.

Name some of the bands that influenced Spectral Mortary?
We are all very influenced by old school US death metal, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, Obituary etc. On “Total Depravity” we have tried to cut down on the thrash influences found on “From Hate Incarnated and instead tried to incorporate some “black metal inspired” passages along with doomy and dark atmospheric parts found in bands like Marduk, Watain and Anaal Nathrakh.

How much tea and honey you had drink before you record the vocals?
Hahaha….it took quite a bit. Vocals were recorded during 3 days and the honey tea thing really helps my voice handle the stress that vocal recording is.

The band played any of new material live yet?
Yeah! We have performed a handful of gigs showcasing the new album. The new album is in some degree more slow and groovy (hate that word). The songs are really working great in a live-set along with the fast and brutal songs. The new stuff has been tested around the country including a spot on a sold out Aalborg Metal Festival where we shared the stage with Entomed and Suffocation.

Any plans for touring Europe and playing any shows in the States in support of the new album?
We have nothing planned in that direction no, but are of course ready to crush stages anywhere if the opportunity is there!

Before we end this interview I like to say thanks for taking the time to do the interview. Is there anything you like to add?
Thank you for the questions and supporting Death Metal!

Interviewer: Paul Lewis

Dec 21, 2011

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