Why Excommunicated is against religion

Founded by Chad Kelly (owner of Underworld Records) the members of Excommunicated are no strangers to the Louisiana metal scene. With members spending their tour of duty in Catholicon and Suture. Chad and his fellow compatriots got to form Excommunicated. Through Underworld the band is going to release their debut album "Skeleton Key", which is a brutal mix of death, thrash and black metal. "Skeleton Key" is a brutal scathing indictment against the catholic church for their practices that range from torturing innocent people for seen and unseen crimes during the time of the inquistions, practicing necromancy to buggering little boys. "Skeleton Key" also features a cameo appearances from Acheron's own Vincent Crowley and King Diamond's Andy LaRocque. Let not forget the drumming of another veteran David Kinkade (Borknagar, ex-Malevolent Creation). Here's my inquistion with the head priest Chad Kelly.

Greeting from hellish inferno of Texas,it's been one brutal summer this year!
Brutally hot and miserable, yes. haha

I been checking out your album "Skeleton Key" which was released Aug 15th on Underworld Records what have the reactions been so far from the fans and the press?
So far, I would say it has been about 70% very positive, and maybe 25 to 30% negative. I think some people just didn’t get the record, weren’t really able to give it the time it needed to absorb it and see what we were trying to do.

I'm surprised that the band has been around for two years and manage to catch the attention of Underworld Records?
I own and operate UW Records; so that part was quite easy. haha

Can you give us some info on Underworld Records and what made you guys decide to go with them?
Well, I’d been a co-founder and partner in Negativity Records with Tim Bartlett (of Evil God, Teratism, etc.) which was based outside of the Austin, TX area and founded around 2005 or so. Due to creative differences and just the logistics of me being six hours away; we mutually went our separate ways at the end of 2009 and I started UW Records. More accurate to say, actually, that I re-started UW Records; as that was the imprint we used to release the first Catholicon album in 1998, and the name I used to release early Catholicon and Necrotomy demos dating all the way back to the very early 90’s. Except this time it became more serious. I didn’t know if I’d even ever be in a band again, because Catholicon (my old band, 1994-2009) dissolved at the end of 2009 around the same time as my partnership in Negativity; so my intent was actually to focus on running the label and my studio full time and just forget about playing music anymore. But it happened again; the right conditions seemed to come about and the right people were available; and I kind of realized there was a window of opportunity to do something that might be better than anything I’d done before. I think it was, and am really grateful to have gotten this sort of second chance at making an impact in the scene. This time, I want to make up for lost time and past mistakes and take this as far as I realistically can.

So what's going on with the drummer situation? Has the band found a permanent drummer or you guys going to go with David?
David Kinkade moved back to Norway after the recording, and from there moved again like three more times after that. He’s very hard to keep up with. he was really happy with how the CD came out; and we were very happy with his performance. He basically did what we wanted, which was to be solid but not to show off (he can play way faster than anything on that record!). But, he has Borknagar and other obligations keep up with, and is in flight school to become a pilot; so I have a good feeling he’s not going to be available for the next record. We’re looking at a couple guys here in Louisiana who are as good and who are more available, to do the next record. I think it will be fine; and we’re not going to let it be anything less than what we’ve already achieved.

In your opinion give me accessment of the metal scene in Louisiana. You feel that it gotten better for other bands with success and attention Goatwhore been getting though constant touring?
Well, Goatwhore are good friends of mine; I’ve known Sammy Duet for over 20 years. I’ve known Ben Falgoust since he was in Paralysis. Those guys are career musicians; it’s what they do for a living. So they not only deserve but very much need the attention and success they’re getting. With everyone in Excommunicated, we have day jobs and this is not our #1 thing in life. It’s a hobby; although we take it really serious, it’s not what we do for a living and we don’t make any money at it. So I kind of realized a long time ago that the life of a musician was not the path I wanted in life. I like having a regular paycheck and being a home-owner, etc.; so I’m not jealous of bands who are more successful or anything.  I have a career, and the band is not it. I don’t even think we could tour; we’re all too busy, not only with day jobs but with multiple other bands as well! The two guitarists are each in like 2 or 3 other bands; and I’m doing one other project aside from this one, and have a label and distro to operate.

The scene is getting better; I’ll say that. There are more bands and most of them no longer believe that they have to sound like some combination of Pantera, Acid Bath, and Crowbar. I’m really glad that trend is finally dying out; because all those clone bands made the 90’s and early 2000’s purely insufferable. I respect all the bands that started these sounds, I grew up on Graveyard Rodeo, Crowbar, Exhorder, Christ Inversion, original Soilent Green, I knew all the guys in Acid Bath, etc.; but they should have been left to do their thing, not imitated by the dozens.

How supportive or envious band in your band been toward each other? Seem the bands in the area are like real supportive of each other.
I’d say we really sort of keep to ourselves, because we haven’t looked into playing shows and so forth. When that time comes; I’m sure there will be a support network from all the folks I know and have kept in touch with over the years. Bobby Bergeron from Paranoize, for instance, lives in New Orleans and has booked shows for like 20 years down there. I support anyone and everyone; I’m definitely not in competition with anyone. I support individuality and dislike herd mentality; but other than that, I think every band deserves their chance.

What makes Excommunicated stand out from the other US blackened death metal bands?
Well, our guitarist Jason just told me the other day that we don’t sound like any Louisiana band, and that he wears that like a badge of honor. I kind of feel the same way. I wanted it to sound disconnected or timeless, and I think we did that. After all, it’s an album based out of the middle ages; written by guys who mostly are still for the most part fond of 1990-1991 era death and black metal. We don’t try to fit in. One thing I knew, which has come true, is that purists will not get us. We are not a straightforward black metal band or death metal band. Excom draws influence from death, black, thrash, and heavy metal; and that will drive a purist nuts. Some people are not going to get it; and I can usually tell by a review if that person has a lot of preconceived ideas about what is required to fit into such and such category… and we’re going to frustrate the hell out of those people. But a lot of people do get it, and see what we were trying to do; and that’s really cool.

What's up with the other bands each of you are involve in? Is there any similarities between Excommunicated and your previous projects?
Guitarist Jason McIntyre is working with his death metal band Suture on re-learning and re-recording their first album. I’m involved in recording that, as wel as re-mixing their second album. This is kind of a one-time thing, though; I think Suture will be laid to rest after this. He also plays in a band called Peckernut, which was actually founded by original Catholicon drummer John Robinson.

Guitarist Jonathan Joubert plays in the band Psychometry, which is an incredible orchestral metal band. Mike Smith from Suffocation plays on the first Psychometry record and David Kinkade plays on the second one. Both of these records are supposed to finally be due out this year; I understand. He also plays in a horror-punk band called Jason and the Kruegers, who have a record coming out this year.

I am working with a drummer from Lafayette (former Despondency/Into Another Sun drummer Kristian Hale) and Jonathan Joubert from Excommunicated, as well as a few other guest performers, some of which were very early members of my old band Catholicon, on a really unusual black metal record that currently does not have a name in stone. It started as our sort of our interpretation of a re-boot of Catholicon, using the original demo (Lost Generation, 1994) as a reference point and sort of ignoring the 4 released albums. Catholicon started out very different from how it became on the records; I was the vocalist for one, plus it had a lot more clean guitar and melodic parts. There is an early demo version of the song “Redemption” and of “Virulent”, for instance, where the verse riffs are actually played in acoustic or clean electric guitar. By the time the album was recorded in 1997, this stuff had all been sort of simplified into just single-tone distortion straight through. Part of that was just the limitations of recordable tracks and the technology we had to work with at the time; but now we have kind of an opportunity to go back and sort of re-envision the band closer to how it started out to be. That’s going to be a fun project, and may not even be called Catholicon out of deference for the players on the 4 records we released as a band; but will be finished some time in 2012 and feature some new guys as well as some very early Cath members.

What subjects did the band explored on "Skeleton Key" and why?
Well, the album is entirely a concept on the formation and early years of the Catholic Church. It covers the corruption, abuse, and plain bizarre behavior of the Church during this time period. The lyrics for this record, I’d been working on, here and there, since late 2005. My intent was just to show the madness that follows when one adopts a truly religious lifestyle, society, and way of thinking. I can’t stand religion.

The band also got some help from some wicked friends (Andy LaRocque and Vincent Crowley) was it hard to get them guys to lend you a helping hand?
Not very hard, really; just required some patience and communication and persistence.

How long you been friends with Andy and Vincent?
I’ve known Vincent for over 20 years. I used to write for his periodical ‘zine in the early 90’s, the Order of the Evil Eye. He’s always been a supporter of the work I’ve done, and likewise. He’s a true metal warrior; someone who has been doing this since the 80’s and is never going to stop.

I’ve not been in touch with Andy but for a couple years at most; I initially wrote him to just say thanks for doing such an incredible job on the King Diamond re-masters for Metal Blade (‘The Spider’s Lullaby’, ‘Voodoo’, ‘The Graveyard’, and ‘House Of God’). I’m a lifelong KD fan, and ‘The Spider’s Lullaby’ was kind of the one wart on his career. Not that the album was bad; but just that the recording was unlistenable… all high end and no bass. Andy’s work on that record is that of a miracle-worker. The record is now thoroughly listenable and appreciable. He also did wonders for ‘House of God’. ‘House of God’ sounded great already; but the re-master is just amazing. The bass guitar and kick drum are brought out, and the overall clarity and level is just amazing. At any rate, we talked a bit about mastering and I mentioned to him that ‘The Eye’ is my favorite album of all time, and was the inspiration behind the lyrics to ‘Skeleton Key’, and how it would be the ultimate icing on the cake, so to speak, if the actual guitarist from ‘The Eye’ laid down a lead part. Fortunately, he was willing. Now, Andy is usually very busy; but there just happened to be a window in his schedule, I think, due to King Diamond’s recent heart trouble and recuperation. So he was able to do it for us.

Tell about some of your activities outside the band. Do you have any other interest besides Excommunicated?
I work in the pro audio industry for an audio manufacturer, I have some knowledge of computers, soldering, cable making, some basic repair knowledge; I can sort of read a schematic, etc. I own a recording and mastering studio, which is sort of built into my house. I don’t go out much; but have always sort of done what I can, behind the scenes, to support music and keep metal alive around here.

What are your favorite bands at the time?
I’ve been listening to a few bands all my life: Venom, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest. Some bands I’ve loved for nearly as long: Samael, Morgoth, Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Therion, Hypocrisy, Godflesh. Some recent things that are very good to me? Gravehill, the latest couple Goreaphobia records are amazing, the new Cianide.

You feel that this band is better than the previous bands you were involved in?
Yep, definitely. It’s nothing against my former band; but you do learn from your past mistakes and learn how to do things better the next time around.

Excommunicated played any shows locally to give the fans a feel for the album?
We’re looking into doing shows; but nothing has been worked out fully yet. Perhaps next year.

Tell the fans how they can purchase Excommunicated merch and CDs. You have any merch available now?
Right now, we’re carried on our own Ebay store for the UW Records distribution, and about half a dozen different ebay sellers also have it. The album is carried at Red Stream Records (www.redstream.org) and Deathgasm Records (www.deathgasm.com); and hopefully a lot more to follow soon. It’s only been out a week; and was off to a sort of slower start than what we normally do. We hope to see all the usual suspects (labels, distros) carrying the record by the end of September.

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview any last words?
Thank you for the interview opportunity! Hopefully people will give the record a chance and thanks for giving us your time and attention. I know I didn’t get the chance to introduce myself, so just in case you need to know who you interviewed and so forth; this is Chad Kelly (vocalist of Excommunicated, operator of UW Records). Thanks again!
Interviewer: Paul Lewis
Sep 1, 2011

Share this: