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Monstrosity

Elf jaar na het verschijnen van ‘Spiritual Apocalypse’ is er eindelijk een nieuw album van Monstrosity. En wat voor album. ’The Passage Of Existence’ is steengoed. Monstrosity toont aan dat ze tot de beste bands uit Florida behoren. Maar zo’n lange tijd van stilte roept ook de nodige vragen op. Wij zochten contact met oerlid Lee Harrison die onze vragen van een antwoord voorzag.

Door: Pim B. | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Hi Lee, it has been ages since we heard about Monstrosity. So, what has been happening since your last full-length 'Spiritual Apocalypse' that came out in 2007? Just shows every once in a while and the release of the DVD in 2012?
Yes, the DVD was released and we've been working on this monster of a record. It definitely took longer than we expected, but it’s done and out and finally the people can hear it. We're just happy about that fact.

In addition to the previous question I noticed on your website you published a news item in 2013 stating you had written eleven new songs and you were going to do a pre-production demo. So, why did it take such a long time to have the album finished?
Well, that pre-production demo never was finished. I spent several weeks recording drum tracks for that but the rest of it was never finished. So, that was all a waste of time other than for me to rehearse my tracks. We ended up just moving on to recording the album since Mark never could get it together for the pre-production. It would have taken us even longer had I waited.

The album has ten new songs and the limited edition an extra two tracks. So, is this all material you already worked on back in 2012/2013 (or maybe earlier) or did you write a lot more in the meantime? Perhaps you shelved some material too?
It was mostly that same material. ‘The Proselygeist’ was the last song written so that was new. The other songs were probably in their basic shape, but the endings probably were not figured out yet. Some songs were rebuilt like ‘Kingdom Of Fire’. That one had the main beginning, however, the ending parts changed several times.

You guys are also active in other bands too. Lee, you have Terrorizer, Mark has Deicide (both having albums out recently). I don't even want to start about all the other bands of Mike Poggione, Mike Hrubovcak and Matt Barnes. But did the fact all you guys have multiple bands interfere with Monstrosity's progress in any way?
I know it’s hard to imagine but no. My drum tracks were totally written by the time I joined Terrorizer. Pretty much a lot of it was waiting for Mark to get it all finished. He wasn't with Deicide yet so that didn't affect anything. So really the other bands had no effect on Monstrosity. The idea was to be able to take our time by recording the guitars on our own so things took longer because of that.

Funny thing is that if you listen to 'The Passage Of Existence' you quite fast get the idea Monstrosity never was away for such a long time. Musically it also seems like a logical progress compared to 'Spiritual Apocalypse', which could be when your material wasn't written long after that one. So, what is your opinion on the new album compared to your previous efforts?
We actually haven't been away. We've been working the entire time it’s just behind the scenes so you don't really see it. Hard to say about the songs and how they sound. Mark and I were the main ones responsible for ‘Spiritual Apocalypse’ so there will be similarities and then Matt Barnes added his songs. So that added a little bit.

Can you tell a bit more about the recording process? You have used three different studios right? So, what was the timeline of recordings and who were actually involved?
The guitars were started in Spring of 2015. I used those tracks as scratch for me to record my drum tracks. We had originally recorded 4 guitar tracks but Jason Suecof and Mark Lewis were only using two so we had to go through and figure out which were the stronger tracks and it just took forever for Mark to go through it all and get it ready. I'm not really sure why it took so long but it was a year before we started recording bass and not long after that we finally got to record vocals over at Obituary's studio. The other drawn out process was mixing the record. We were originally going to mix in September but Mark English didn't have all of his leads finished so Mark Lewis had to move on to his other projects. So, by the time he was ready to go again it was six months later. Once the mix was finally completed we were working on the artwork and then that got dragged out by a different artist who was supposedly working on it but it just never came so we ended up using Timbul and that's when the cover was finally completed in only four days. Then we had to go through all of the label business part. That took a little time as well. So it all added up to eleven years in the end.

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In the past you recorded at Morrisound most of the time. Was that not an option this time or did you just need a change of environment?
Actually Morrisound was sold to the Transiberian Orchestra main guy Paul O'Neill before he passed away. So now the studio is owned by his family I guess. I'm not sure what's going on at this point. I know the Morris brothers didn't have a studio and were looking for a new spot. We had worked with Jason Suecof on ‘Rise To Power’. We were there before he had really made his name doing Trivium and that stuff. So it was cool going back because his productions are really top notch and it was just a different way of recording so it was fresh in that respect. I just went over to Sanford where he is and spent a week working on drum tracks. We did the guitars and bass at our home studios just to get all the parts down. Then we took those tracks and ran 'em through the amps out at the studio. It’s called re-amping and it’s kind of the way guitars are recorded these days and it makes it easier for recording at home yet still getting that big sound from the studio .

The album is released worldwide by Metal Blade. For the previous 2 albums they were responsible for the European release and your label Conquest Music took care of the North-American market. Why did you step away from this construction?
Mainly because they offered. In the past we had dealt with Michael Trengert who we had known back in the Nuclear Blast days from our first album. He had moved on to Metal Blade and we had worked out a deal for Europe. We had the States covered with Conquest Music and we had a pretty good distribution at the time so we didn't need Metal Blade in the states. With this new record they made the offer to release it worldwide. The deal made sense and we knew they could do a good job with it so we gave it a shot. The deal is only for this album so our options are open for the future. Can't complain at this point.

Having your own label, did you ever consider reissuing older material like the early demos and 7" EP's? Perhaps it is a question of rights? And I know the demos and the 7" that came out through Relapse were reissued in 2001 and 2004 respectively. But in this day and age where you see a lot of compilations of old material surfacing it might be a good idea?
The stuff is available on ‘Enslaving The Masses’. We didn't really see a need honestly. We may do some stuff in the future but for now we feel it is represented on ‘Enslaving The Masses’.

We already touched the subject of you guys having multiple bands going on. I think you're not even all living in the same State, right? But, does this have any effect on performing live? And what I really want to know is if you have any plans to return to Europe anytime soon?
Yes that is true some of the guys are living in different spots. That makes it harder for us to do things that aren't really planned out. If we have something to do we can get it together usually. Like the cruise we had everyone rounded up pretty fast for that. We just need a few extra days to plan. It’s not like we can drop everything and do a quick local show. It has to be a planned tour or a planned few shows since it has to make sense to get everyone together. For instance the bass player is living in Kiev at the moment so if we have US shows we will hire a bassist to fill in. Same with guitars. If Mark is out with Deicide or Matt can't make it we have a list of people that can step in. So it depends what's going on we can use different guys. As for touring we are in the planning stages for a European tour. Hopefully announcements come soon.

Okay, that's all I have to ask. Feel free to use our space to add anything important I might have forgot to ask about.
We've got lots of stuff going on. We've got the Conquest Music site that has all of the previous releases available: ‘Millennium’, ‘In Dark Purity’ etc.. Also our official merchandise can be bought there. We have a new exclusive ‘Passage Of Existence’ T-shirt that can be bought through the site. It looks great and I urge you all to check it out. I've got four songs already written for the next album and I plan to keep working on that so it doesn't take another eleven years. See you on the road and thanks for the support!!

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