Exclusive Interview: Karybdis talk “Order & Chaos”!

London Death Groove Metal outfit Karybdis have been around the scene for a decade, building reputation for not only pummelling our ear drums with their rhythmic battery but also adding embellishments like orchestration to give us some fresh dynamics to listen to and a lot more bang for our buck. Our abiding memory of the band has to be seeing them open for Jinjer at the iconic Camden Underworld, a night we will never forget, so when a chance meeting with vocalist Rich O’Donnell at a recent Bleed From Within show provided the opportunity, we introduced ourselves and the next thing you know, we have a pair of top drawer interviews with them about their new EP “Order & Chaos” which is, it has to be said, an absolute banger. We spoke to bassist Jay Gladwin and new guitarist Dave Klussmann about how everything fell into place for this one…

The new EP “Order & Chaos” sounds absolutely huge! How have you found the reaction so far?

Jay: “If you imagine a Venn diagram where one side is fans of melodic death metal and the other is fans of classical composer Gustav Holst, the overlap is obviously enormous. It’s basically a cheat code for success and we are shocked nobody has done it before. We’ll probably be accused of selling out in some quarters, but we won’t let that bother us”

In our review we’ve described the new record as being like mid-career Lamb Of God playing Dimmu Borgir covers with the way you’ve brought together Groove filled Death Metal and those Symphonic elements with hints of Black Metal; aside from the influence of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” suite as source material for the concept, what would you say your other influences were going into the writing and why?

Jay: “I can’t speak for the other guys, but I’d say watching 3 seasons of Masterchef Australia during lockdown was pretty formative. I was very inspired by the level of technical acumen the Australian amateur cookery scene has. It’s all very well watching bands like Archspire and Obscura flexing their chops, but is it really all that different from Brad (27, trainee barrister from Perth) perfectly nailing the cooking of a John Dory?”

The departure of guitarist Matthew Lowry saw the arrival of long time collaborator Dave Klussmann; how important was it to retain the core sound of Karybdis at the heart of the new material and how much thought went into that aspect?

Jay: “The only reason Dave wasn’t in Karybdis sooner, was that he lives almost 100 miles away in Southwold. He’d filled in on bass for a show I couldn’t make, then on guitar for a couple of shows last year. When it came to looking for someone to take over guitar duties, the only question was whether his style would work with ours. We’d already heard him play with Rich on his solo track ‘Decay’ and once we started writing together it was immediately clear that we were onto something special. We aren’t actively trying to preserve a core sound, we are just trying to write heavy music that we all enjoy.”

Vocalist Rich O’Donnell showcases more vocal range on the new EP with some more melodic overtones while not doing any clean vocals. How important was it to remain heavy while embracing the bigger and more ambitious sound this time around?

Jay: “I can count on one hand how many bands I think pull off mixing clean singing and death metal. We aren’t ever gonna be one of them. That said, Rich continues to add more and more to his arsenal. His vocal performance on this record is absolutely phenomenal, throwing in pitched screams alongside brutal highs and guttural lows”

As an independent band how much of a difference does it make to be able to do the production, recording, mixing and mastering in house rather than having to bring in outside help? Is there less pressure on the financial side and does that mean that your work feels more like your own?

Dave: “For me it’s pretty crucial to be as close to every step of the process as possible, it can be a real challenge at times, but I love doing it and I feel the end results are worth it. I’m a big fan of other artists who do their own production and I feel like it creates an intimacy with the listener. You get to hear the artist’s vision exactly as it was intended. The financial aspect of being able to do it cheaper than anyone else is a bonus, but it’s definitely more about the creative side to me”

After more than a decade of aggression, what’s next for Karybdis?

Jay: “Another decade of aggression. Followed by a decade of passive aggression, followed by a decade of complaining about the physical and mental damage of previous decades of aggression”

Order & Chaos” by Karybdis is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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