GA’s blackened hardcore/grind band MALEVICH have just self-released a split five song EP with sludgy neo crust from New Hampshire called IRON GAG, and their 2-track contribution perfectly highlights the extremes of the band’s growing sound: blistering grind and lurching angular sludge. These songs mark the first recordings the band has released since their debut full length in 2016, and the first with new vocalist Connor Ray, and were recorded and mixed at Ledbelly Sound Studios in Dawsonville, GA by Matt Washburn (Mastodon, Atheist). We have teamed up with them to find out what influences were on their minds while crafting such a wild duo of tracks and injecting fresh adrenalin into dark hardcore / grindcore template in the process. Scroll down to find out.
Both sides of the split were mastered by Brad Boatright of Audiosiege. IRON GAG’s three songs (one of which premiered over at OpenMind / SaturatedBrain blog), all burners under two minutes long, are made up of unbendable sturdy riffs following in the footsteps of neo-crust bands like His Hero is Gone. Their songs were recorded at Dead Air Studios with Will Killingsworth (Jeromes Dream, Vaccine).
In Obscura, Gorguts does away with chugging power chords and Slayer drum beats to construct a much more angular, strange, and discordant form of aggressive and powerful music. The use of discomfort and dissonance to create an emotional atmosphere informed our writing process and its waves of influence are evident in much of modern extreme music.
This album is important to us because of how cohesively it was able to combine elements of jazz, metal, noise, and classical music. We have always admired Toby Driver’s fearless creativity and ability to push himself into unknown territory.
For all of us this album stood out as a challenging and anxiogenic listening experience. It pushed us farther away from traditional ideas of genre and song structure while informing our ideas on dissonance as a tool. Not being an electronic band, it compelled us to consider how a band with traditional instrumentation could approximate those moments of inhuman chaos.
Converge is easily one of the most important, if not THE most important, metallic hardcore band. While we adore their entire discography No Heroes is one of their more aggressive pieces and a starting point for our personal exposure to the band. Also, Vengeance is the perfect <1:00 song and the standard to which we hold any burner track
Dead In the Dirt were one of the best Atlanta heavy bands, and growing up seeing them had a huge impact on us. They were able to capture something that a lot of grindcore misses, catchy hooks and countless memorable moments. We want to create fast and aggressive music that retains unique rhythm and melody without giving up any harsh dissonance.
The universe is a crazy place, we are all thrust into situations beyond our own control, we endure turmoil, and we all either succumb to it or get in the robot. This series does an incredible job of pushing the viewer’s comfort, screwing with your feelings, and challenging your ideas of reality. During the writing of our first album we would practice for hours, then crash in the living room and watch a few episodes. Even when we changed vocalists we lucked into someone else who had a deep-seated, complicated love for the series. It binds us like a very excellent glue.
Hans Bellmer was a German surrealist photographer in the 1930s whose work with the human form was uncanny, weirdly sexual, and altogether disturbing. His work is a big influence on the emotional space we want to capture. This is exemplified in much of the art Sasha has been creating for the band recently, as well as our last photo set with Ben Rouse. Also, Naked City used his art for their last album cover and that’s sick.
Bruegel is a Dutch painter and printmaker from the 1500s whose work depicts both the mundane and fantastical. His use of layered, monstrous figures, clawing against each other creates a feeling of claustrophobia and chaos we really wanted to capture in both the album cover and the music for the split.
Aaron Turner. Brian Cook. Nick Yacyshyn. It’s wild.
The importance of community
Much of the band’s goals since its onset have been community-centric. DIY touring is an easy example, it’s an approach to developing a band that eschews the music business and focuses on the gradual development of a network of other artists around the US. On the home front, we have been regularly booking shows in Atlanta since the middle of 2017. We have members involved in Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery and The Bakery Atlanta, 2 DIY arts spaces, and Sasha actively contributes artwork to bands around town. When in new towns, we try to explore local radical spaces, and we prefer all ages spaces to bars whenever possible. Although the music is alienating our larger goal is to create an inclusive and supportive artistic community that welcomes all who want to take part.
It’s (sic). We give it an 11/10
MALEVICH on tour:
Apr 30 – Atlanta, GA – The Bakery (Pollenfest: A Benefit for RAINN)
May 04 – Birmingham, AL – The Saturn
May 05 – Chattanooga, TN – Sluggo’s North Vegetarian Cafe
May 06 – St. Louis, MO – Foam
May 07 – Rock Island, IL – Rock Island Supper Club
May 08 – Milwaukee, WI – Quarters
May 10 – Chicago, IL – Emporium
May 11 – Grand Rapids, MI – Rockies
May 12 – Toledo, OH – Frankie’s Inner City (Black Swamp Punk Fest)
May 13 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
May 14 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Roboto Project
May 16 – Columbus, OH – Spacebar
May 17 – Cincinnati, OH – The Hub
May 18 – Nashville, TN – House Show, ask a noise kid