Exclusive Interview: The Bleeding talk “Rise To Nothing”!
Last weekend saw the return of London Death Thrash Metallers The Bleeding with “Rise To Nothing”, a compilation record that includes a blistering new cut in the title track. The follow up to the critically acclaimed pair of albums in “Rites of Absolution” and “Morbid Prophecy“, it sees the band cite influences from Slayer, Morbid Angel and Pestilence as the band introduce a new bassist at the end of their first decade of aggression. We spoke to drummer James Loh and guitarist Tasos following our review…
The title track of the new EP “Rise To Nothing” is an absolute banger! How have you found the reaction to it so far?
James: “Thanks for the kind words, and really glad you like it! In all honesty, part of the reason we decided to release it as a standalone was because it was in a bit of a different style vs. our usual stuff, i.e. more speed thrash vs the straight up thrash/death style we are accustomed to). Whilst we do have tracks that stand out a little differently on each album (re: “One Way Out” off Rites of Absolution, and “Into the Pandemonium” off Morbid Prophecy), this one felt special, hence the push as a separate release. All things considered, we are glad people have taken a liking to it, as reflected by the demand, so that’s always encouraging for us to keep up whatever it is we are doing!”
What did you look for when seeking a guest vocalist? Was it always going to be James McBain from Hellripper lending his throat? Are you hoping that the collaboration is one that can be revisited in the live arena?
James: “It’s funny you should ask, because we really didn’t have anything specific in mind when we started out! Per above, as a slight departure from our usual stuff, we wanted to create something fun that wasn’t to be taken too seriously, and it really came about with Tasos, Jamie and I just messing around in the studio. What we really liked about it was how propulsive and raw it was. Once it took shape, we realised that we wanted someone who shared that view, and we couldn’t think of anyone better than James [McBain], having done a show with him a year or so ago. From meeting him, he was just a really chilled out and affable dude (not taking away from his on-stage presence and aggression, needless to say), so we thought to ask if he’d be interested, and he said yes! And so, as they say, the rest is history…. As far as a live collaboration once things open up, we honestly would be more than happy and honoured to share the same stage as Hellripper again, provided he’s willing too :)”
The new EP serves as an introduction for new bassist Jordan Muscatello; how does it feel to have fresh blood in the band? Did he have to pass an initiation test to claim his spot?
James: “It was always going to be difficult to fill Sean’s shoes, as he honestly is one of the most professional musicians we have played with, not just from his technical and song writing capabilities, but also his overarching understanding of the genre and its modernisation. In a way, it is very difficult to compare the two, as the do bring very different things to the table, but, having personally played with Jordan for numerous years now, and him having covered for Sean on one occasion many moons ago, I don’t think there was much question that we were going to go with anyone else – it’s hard to describe as they are both extremely skilled in their own way, so all we can say is that it’ll be something different for us going forward. Given Jordan’s extensive jazz background though, expect things to get unexpectedly weird, in the best and most exciting way possible!”
How did you hear about the work of producer Ronnie Björnström (Stass, Atrocity, Paganizer) who mixed and mastered “Rise To Nothing” in Sweden? What was he like to work with?
Tasos: “Ronnie has been on our radar for a while, in fact we almost picked him to mix our last album Morbid Prophecy. We wanted someone who gets our sound, understands our influences and is efficient. Ronnie delivered all that in spades with Rise Into Nothing. He is a very easy going producer, yet extremely focused. It was a joy working with him, and really hope we get to work with him again in future.”
We’re firm believers that even in the digital age, the first bite remains with the eye and the cover artwork is still as vitally important at seducing new listers to a bands music as it ever has been; is that something that you follow yourselves? How easy was it to convince Mörtuus to create the artwork for the new EP for you?
James: “More than certainly, I think that’s part of the reason why most of us got into metal in the first place! I remember the first “real” metal cover I came across as a teen was Cannibal Corpse’s “Butchered at Birth”, with two zombie dudes extracting a dead baby from a rotting corpse, and I just remember thinking “what the hell is this and that looks horrible… I wonder what they sound like”. So yes, more than certainly an element of that; inasmuch as we do try to curate accompanying cover art pieces that are unique, it’s sometimes just fun to return to fundamentals… brutal fundamentals at that.”
Tasos: “As for Mörtuus, it was actually surprisingly easy, he already knew about us when we approached him, so he jumped on the project straight away! Not only is he extremely talented, but also a great guy and a dedicated metal fan.”
When re-recording the older works in fans favourites “Hammer of Penance” and “Morbid Prophecy” for this new release, how conscious were you about not falling into the same trap that some other bands have done? “The Greater of Two Evils” by Anthrax for example being something of a damp squib?
James: “Is it bad that I actually didn’t mind that Anthrax album? Oh dear haha! In all seriousness though, I think the it was just about creating a different listening experience vs the actual album, with something that would complement the rawness, speed and aggression of title track. That being said, whilst as we are definitely proud of it, it’s definitely not about rinsing pre-existing content, rather just distilling said elements in small doses, which is why it made sense for this limited run.”
What can we expect next from The Bleeding? You must be itching to get back to the stage?
James: “I think first things first is for us to actually get back to the studio to make sure we haven’t actually forgotten how to play as a band 🙂 Following on from that, we do have new material in the works, so do watch this space. As for live shows, it’s more than certainly been far too long, though we are extremely aware of the current restrictions, and do our best to abide. Once things do return to some semblance of normality though, you can bet your life we will be back with a vengeance”
“Rise To Nothing” by The Bleeding is out now and available over at bandcamp