Interview: Abhorrent Decimation on death metal, religion, and their upcoming second album

Abhorrent Decimation are a technical death metal band from London. After releasing their demo Infected Celestial Utopia in 2013, they unleashed their debut album Miasmic Mutation in 2015 to critical acclaim. Railing against religion, the band’s unreservedly brutal, surgically precise flavour of technical death metal is equal parts abrasive and catchy. The catchy riffs reel you in before the crushing grooves eviscerate and oppress. They’ve recently signed a three-album contract with Prosthetic Records, been announced to play at Bloodstock Festival, and confirmed that they have wrapped up recording on their upcoming second full-length album. In the interview that follows we discuss all these things and more.

Your full-length album came out over a year ago now. How do you feel about the reception to it? How have things been since its release?

Miasmic Mutation seems to have gone down very well. Our fanbase has grown considerably since its release. We’ve played a decent amount of shows to promote it and sales have been awesome. It was great that we had enough demand to produce it on vinyl in the end too. It’s a really good feeling to know we have the support.

You guys recently signed with Prosthetic Records for a 3-album contract. Congratulations on that, they’re a great label. How did it come about? Did they reach out to you, or you to them?

Thank you! We are very excited to collaborate with the label on our next 3 releases. They contacted us. The long and short of it is, The Black Dahlia Murder randomly shared a link to our album ‘Miasmic Mutation’ on their Facebook page. Off the back of that, we had a few labels reach out to us and after some talks and a final meet up with one of the label owners in London, we worked a good deal out and thus started our relationship with Prosthetic Records.

You’ve just announced you’ve completed recording your second album. What was the experience like? Did the band-member turnover since Miasmic Mutation affect the direction at all?

YES! DONE! Great, longer than expected but great nonetheless. We have a much better relationship and understanding as a band now. 5 people with total respect for each other and ourselves. We recorded everything with our Bass player David Archer at his studio out of Audio Empire and he has done a phenomenal job. Not only in a sonic sense but in terms of his graft, care and effort. Total work horse. Nothing has been compromised, every detail has been gone over with a fine tooth comb. Hahahaha “bandmember turnover” makes it sound prolific. I think it’s very fair to say the last few (2) changes in our line up have had an affect on direction. But that affect is positive. The changes opened up a new dimension to our sound and gave other creative forces in the band the ability to express themselves.

In a previous conversation you explained that the new album draws on new influences, particularly compared to Miasmic Mutation. What sort of influences do you think ended up being the decisive ones in the recording process? Are we looking at something like The Faceless‘ evolution from tech-death to prog-metal?

Well, a longtime back, perhaps November/December 2015 a few of the guys who hadn’t played a huge roll in the writing process on Miasmic had started demoing new ideas that just sounded different. I can’t really explain how they sounded different exactly, without going into some artistic waffle/tripe. But mainly the stuff Archer was pumping out became our focus and something we all really wanted him to explore further. He brought more melody, more depth, more thought out ideas. It felt like we would have more substance, identity exploring his ideas. Previous records we have put out had always been borne from the merging of traditional Death metal influences and modern references/observations. Our new material leans much more on the modern side of the spectrum. I guess the example you use is a good one. It’s an evolution that has taken us to a new place, put it that way.

On Miasmic Mutation, organised religion came in for some pretty heavy criticism. What can we expect from your next album lyrically?

Well, I can’t talk specifics yet but this new record is a fully submerged concept album. Miasmic was borne from a concept and was intended to be a concept album but that concept became diluted once I got stuck in with my lyric writing. So this time round, I focused on sticking true to the original, I wanted to create something coherent, clear and do the concept justice. I’m re-telling a story from a classic piece of literature, the story itself is religiously irreverent as it is and it was the dark, evil intentions of the stories main character that pulled me in, fascinated me. We named the record after him as it goes… Perhaps on the next record, I will branch out into other subject matter but I seem to gravitate towards this stuff naturally.

You were in the news last year because of a mix-up where your album’s tracklist was printed on the back of Bernie Clifton’s comedy CD. Did you guys get a chance to talk to him about that? Any chance of him laying down some guest vocals on your next album, or you on his?

Ha, we actually went up to his house in Sheffield and met the legend face to face. He cooked us some bacon butties and made us all a brew, we had a good laugh with him about it all, he’s a really nice chap. He actually took us along to the Kerrang! awards as his guests shortly after the misprint saga, which was a funny experience. It was a nice step in the spotlight for a few days, seeing your face in The Sun newspaper is certainly a strange thing. We was on a bunch of terrestrial news shows, BBC radio interviews, Have I Got News For You, it was all very amusing and we took it all in our stride. Sadly, sonically I don’t think we could make a collaboration work. We need to focus on being a Death Metal band and he needs to focus on being a brilliant entertainer. So that may be the end of the road as far as that story is concerned.

You’ve also been announced for Bloodstock. You also played there back in 2014. How does it feel to be playing there again? Will you be performing songs off your upcoming album?

When we was invited to play the New Blood stage in 2014, we was over the moon. We only had an EP to our name and hadn’t done a great deal by that point. I think we had only played a handful of dates and 1 tour up until then too, so that really helped expose the band on a greater platform to a large volume of people. The tent was rammed when we was on and we had a great time. A lot has changed since 2014, we have grown a great deal on the UK scene and it really feels like we have people’s support. So to be invited back to play The Sophie stage feels great. I think it is a testament to our progression as a band. We will be performing a set comprised of entirely new material. When our first release with Prosthetic Records comes out, that’s it – rebirth. We don’t look back and rest on our old laurels.

Do you prefer these kinds of huge festival shows, or smaller gigs at pubs and bars? Or are there upsides and downsides to both for your music?

There are upsides and downsides to both. We like touring, we like playing the smaller gigs – it’s our bread and butter. It’s weird, if I have a crowd that is up for it, those 100 cap shows, in some ways can feel more satisfying than playing out to thousands of nodding heads. But on the flip-side, when you have thousands of people who are up for it, chanting, into you and enjoying what you do, it feels so unreal.

Do you want to give a shout-out to any UK metal bands readers should check out or keep an eye on?

We get to see a whole host of great bands while we are out and about. Too many to mention. But we have grown particularly close over the years with The Infernal Sea, so we urge you listen to them.

I want to thank Abhorrent Decimation again for taking the time to discuss their music with me. Further details about their second full-length album will be announced in the near future. Follow the band on Facebook, or stream their album Miasmic Mutation on Bandcamp below.