A few weeks ago I was reading an interview with the guys from Valdur and when they were asked who they were into these days they dropped the name Mutilation Rites. I went out looking for their stuff and found their demo for download. It is self-titled, self-released and only contains three songs. But the material is of such quality that I knew I had to contact the band. On the other end was guitarist Michael Dimmitt who informed me that with a new line up in tow they wouldn’t even be performing the demo songs anymore. If they can discard such quality stuff just like that then something hell-hot must be brewing. Read on and spread the word…
DS - How did Mutilation Rites form?
Mutilation Rites started as a union between me on guitar and Justin on drums. We meet thru a mutual friend. We jammed one day, the two of us. I had a bunch of new riffs, stylistically a little all over the place. Justin had his sensibilities as far as what sort of demonic bum out music he liked. He helped me hone in my style and establish a direction for the music.
DS - Was there a specific plan as to the sound you all wanted to produce?
What I had in mind for the band from the beginning was looking for a team of people that want to tour a lot, play a lot, and live the life. I don’t want to have any one person stopping the momentum of the band with other prioritizes overshadowing the band. It’s hard to find people in New York City that wanna do music for more than just a weekend hobby.
DS – Is the line up stable now?
The lineup is still evolving. On our last tour, our third mini-tour this year, we had Justin on drums, me on guitar, George on bass, Jose on vocals, and Fran on second guitar. Now the lineup has changed. Jose is out of band. His vocals were fine, but his lack of commitment to the band, and lack of team mentality didn’t cut it. Fran moved to Richmond. Now we have Laurie Safdie, on bass and moved George to guitar. George will be doing most of vocals.
DS – Have those changes affected the music?
The sound we are producing is constantly evolving. Originally it was all about the classic Norwegian sound, Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal, Mayhem etc. I fused that together with Justin’s doomy sound. We combine blast beats with total bum out parts. George’s encyclopedic knowledge of black metal branches us out to newer stuff. Our new stuff is also more techy.
DS – There is a brewing scene in NY. A lot of musicians?
It is a real challenge to find black metal musicians around here. There are fans of it definitely, but as far as musicianship it’s more about thrash, doom, and stoner rock. New York City final does have a metal scene, but there’s not that much black metal. Black Anvil, Krallice, Kastevet, Negative Plane and Mutilation Rites is about it.
DS - The sound of Mutilation Rites is rather mature. Is this each member’s first band? It’s hard to believe because the music is so well-arranged, but I could not find any previous bands for most of the members.
We have all been in a million bands. Justin and George come from Heuristic based out of Boston, that was very technical and mathy. Justin was also in Tombs as well as his other band, Curandera, that is power violence/grind. Laurie’s last band was Orb of Confusion out of San Francisco that was Stoner/Thrash Metal. She was also in a sleazy rock band called “Three Weeks Clean” with members of Fuckface, Fleshies and Nigel Peppercock. I’ve been band whoring around in NYC, noteworthy bands are Hellbent Hooker (GG Allin / Motley Crue) and Disassociate (brutal punk rock/grindcore).
DS - As a black metal band, when you were forming, besides the musical style, was there an ideology that you considered all the members had to share?
I think the only mindset that we share behind the sound is depression, suicidal feelings, and misanthropic feeling, and getting it out thru music. We like to bum people out when we play live. At the same, time people can get strength from that, knowing that other people feel the same way, and we can all escape from the misery of normal life. We all party a lot too. This is a vehicle to do that as well, touring and practicing is an excuse to inebriate ourselves and create something at the same time.
DS - Black metal is interesting for many reasons; some people take it extremely serious and do not consider it just a musical style but a lifestyle and a philosophy by which to live by. Others, are less stern-minded and simply consider it a musical style, by which to channel other emotions and even the appreciation of nature. Where does Mutilation Rites fall?
A lot of black metal really grabs me and then a lot of it doesn’t. The people who try too much, miss it, and the ones who are more genuine, get it. I hope we fall in the latter category, but then again, we are challenged by living in the US. We don’t have any roots or tradition to draw from. It’s more like a way to channel our emotions and escape from the cultural void we find ourselves stuck in.
DS - I am very curious about the New York metal scene. I may be wrong but it seems as if in the last three or four years there have been some great bands forming in Brooklyn. Besides the obvious bands (Type O, Biohazard, Anthrax), I do not recall many extreme music bands that were coming out from that area before then. Can you please talk about the current scene?
We don’t concentrate too much on developing ourselves to get a following here in NYC. It doesn’t matter if you do, ultimately. Our most fun shows are elsewhere. Chicago, Wisconsin, Richmond to name a few. We do have a tight-niche group of buddies that go to the metal shows in NYC, and a lot of them are in the bands I mentioned above. Some of the people in those bands never go to shows. I have friends that will go out of their way to help me and I will do the same for them. There are others that don’t help out at all. I think that’s the way it is in all scenes. That’s why hitting the road is so much more fun. You don’t get caught up in all the drama between local bands and what assholes in one band have fucked over people in others. You can just hang with new people or old friends from cities you’ve been to before and see the generous and good side of people.
DS - Any bands we should know about or that’s about it?
Cool Heavy bands from New York City - Mutant Supremacy, Mortals, Concussion, Wizardry, Natur, Naam Shiro Ishii, Psychic Limb, Castevet, Curandera, Black Anvil, Negative Plane, Krallice, Behold The Arctopus, Atakke, Dysrhythmia, Total Social Suicide, Prostitution, Battilus, Negative Plane, Inswarm, Tournament, Death Mold, Wet Nurse
DS - The sound of Mutilation Rites is pretty elaborated. The songs are rather long and melodic. I was very impressed by the demo. “Malevolent Spells” is a pretty awesome song, for instance. It’s rather melancholic. And it’s long with a few demarked passages. The musicianship is stellar and the arrangements have detail. Please talk a little bit about this song.
We try to have our songs sort of take you on a journey. This one starts sad and dark and builds up melodically and then blasts with full intensity. Malevolent Spells is three potential song ideas put into one with segways. Now with George contributing riffs, our songs will be more multifaceted. So far he is adding suicidal melancholy stuff as well as black thrash parts. The feelings come from isolation, depression, and despair.
DS - On the same token, the music of Mutilation Rites is very melodic and almost grandiloquent. Do you foresee that there will be no limits as to which direction you can push the music to?
I think we are more grim than brutal. The melodies in black metal are part of what draws me to it. I like creepy melodic stuff that sticks in your head. Anyway, overall the goal isn’t being brutal or melodic. It’s about creating an atmosphere of grimness that other people can escape into.
DS - This may be a bit of a loose questions, but I saw Peru’s Mortem on your top friends on MySpace. Is there a Mortem or a Peruvian connection in Mutilation Rites or you just dig their music?
That is mainly Jose’s doing but he is no longer with the band now. He is Peruvian. He was bringing influences from South American black metal vocally.
DS - Your demo is excellent. Three songs. Excellent sound. Please talk a little bit about its recording. Was there a producer? Who worked on and where was it recorded. I noticed that these songs were recorded during the winter of 2010. Do you think that the season had anything to do with the end result?
We recorded with Ryan Jones from Wet Nurse and the current Today Is The Day lineup. He just used his portable recording set up in our practice space. I guess it would be black metal to say that recording in the winter had something to do with it, but I can’t really say it did. We did the music in one day and the vocals and mix in the next. It’s just a demo. I think it sounds great for what it is and Ryan did a great job.
DS - Mutilation Rites has only recorded three songs so far. When you play live, do you play any additional material?
On our last tour we had five songs in our set. We usually play three and if they crowd wants more we play a fourth one. Our songs are between five and nine minutes long so if we play all five that is a long set. We have riffs ready for three more songs making eight in total. On the next tour, you will not be hearing any songs from the demo. We will do only new stuff. We don’t do covers.
DS - What is next for Mutilation Rites?
We are planning to record with Justin’s buddy from Triac in Baltimore in February. We will be doing a split with our doomy buddies in Battilus on Shinebox Records, a subsidiary of Tee Pee records that will be released in the summer. In March we are planning a full US tour, East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, and the South. As far as labels are concerned, we will approach them after the recording is done.
DS - Please list the records you are currently spinning, and if possible say a bit about each.
Eye Hate God – Take As Needed For Pain – total bumout
Grave Desecration - Sign of Doom – brutal, primitive, old school
Weakling – As Dead As Dreams – suicidal assault, great riffs
Death –Individual Thought Patterns - Chuck Death is a badass
Portal - Outre’ – Totally disturbing black metal noise