Interview with Strychnia
Strychnia is a young Thrash / Death Metal band from NJ, USA who’s starting to get more exposure both in and outside the U.S. They’ve released a full length album entitled “The Anatomy of Execution” in 2011, which is now available for free download and full online streaming.
Interview with Strychnia
Tell us a bit about the band’s new awakening after being on hiatus for a year? What sparked the comeback?
Well we actually entered a hiatus because we had three members leave, Trevor (Guitar) for personal reasons and Mike (Bass) and Ryan (Drums) started a different band (Condition Critical). With only Kevin (Vocals) and Rory (Guitar) remaining, we didn’t know what to do and Rory ended up getting an offer to play in a different band (Legionary). He took that offer and Kevin was the only one left. So at that point it was pretty much over for Strychnia, he wasn’t gonna try and rebuild the entire band.
Shortly after Strychnia entered a hiatus, Rory’s new band had suffered some setbacks and they pretty much entered a hiatus too. At this point Kevin and Rory decided it was time to bring back Strychnia. We basically knew we could bring it back no matter what, Kevin can handle the vocals and Rory can record both guitars as well as bass, which leaves only Drums. We figured even if we couldn’t find new members we would begin writing new Strychnia tunes and we would hire a drummer to record with us. As for the decision itself… There’s definitely a lot of things that fueled our decision to comeback, one of the biggest influences is going to shows. We love going to shows and seeing our favorite bands play and seeing them up there on the stage just tearing it up… It really makes us think, “Damn we really gotta get back on the stage and start killing it again.” When you go to shows it really reminds you of how awesome it is to be up there on that stage. Another thing that really motivated us to get the band back together was the fact that our past members Mike and Ryan were doing really good in their new band Condition Critical. It kinda made us a bit jealous, seeing them do really good while we’re sitting around… bandless.
Strychnia is commonly described as a Death/Thrash Metal band. What are the bands that you feel influenced your overall sound?
This is a good question, people always hear us claiming we have a very original/creative sound, yet they wonder what separates us from other Death/Thrash Metal bands. The key factors to our style, obviously comes from each band members personal influences… but this is where Strychnia is different from other Death/Thrash bands. First, our Vocalist (Kevin) was originally introduced to Deathcore when he began listening to metal. After hanging out with everyone in the band he grew out of that and began favoring Death Metal, Black Metal, and Thrash Metal. This definitely gave him a large variety of screaming styles because he can essentially switch between low screams, mid screams, high screams, gutturals, and even different types of each of those screams. So we definitely take advantage of this. Our guitarists were both influenced by different genres of metal, or in other words, they favored different genres. Rory listens to a lot of different styles of metal including the most popular Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Black Metal etc. but he is also heavily influenced by some Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Metal, Technical Death Metal, and even some crazier stuff that most metalheads won’t listen to.
A lot of people limit themselves to one genre, or a few genres… that’s not the way it is in Strychnia. We are all very open-minded and we listen to a diverse range of music, which benefits us when it comes to writing original music. Think about it, how many metalheads do you meet who only listen, or primarily listen to just Death Metal, or just Thrash Metal etc? There’s nothing wrong with this, but this is what allows us to be creative when it comes to writing music.
As for our past members who are no longer in the band… Our second guitarist, Trevor, was primarily influenced by bands like Pantera, Slayer, and Lamb of God, along with some Metalcore bands. While our Bassist (Mike) and our Drummer (Ryan) were really into Thrash Metal, as well as some Death Metal. Our new guitarist (Dave), who was actually an original guitarist back in 2008/2009, is heavily influenced by a lot of Thrash Metal, but he is really into a lot of Death Metal as well. If we had to choose a couple bands that influence our overall sound as a band, it would include: Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Decapitated, Suffocation, Exodus, Pantera, Vader, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Death, Kreator, Overkill, Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Demolition Hammer… and that’s just a few to say the least, but those are probably our biggest influences out of the bunch.
Given that you’re not signed to any major label, do you feel that your debut album “The Anatomy Of Execution” didn’t get enough exposure on the international level? Are you still trying to promote the album or are you focusing on upcoming goals?
We’re definitely still pushing our debut album, “The Anatomy of Execution” but we aren’t letting it get in the way of our future plans/goals. We have time each week where we work on new music and prepare for the road ahead, but we also have time where we still promote our debut album. In all honesty we could never stop promoting that album, even if we broke out of the local scene and got some exposure across seas. We are really satisfied with that album and we definitely plan on continuing to play some of those songs and push forward with it, besides, there are literally millions of people who still haven’t heard that album, let alone heard of our band! We wanna spread that shit like a fucking disease!
As for international exposure, we have a pretty strong following on our YouTube page (http://www.youtube.com/user/xslaytheweakx) and that has definitely netted us some foreign fans. Obviously that is practically nothing compared to being signed to a major label… but it’s something, and better than nothing! Even on a national level, here in the United States, we feel as if our album did not receive enough exposure. It’s tough… there are so many bands out there; you just gotta work your way up and keep building a bigger and bigger fan base until you can land your music in the right hands.
Strychnia played gigs alongside major bands like Exodus, Hate Eternal, Warbringer and Malevolent Creation to name a few. Do you feel you are now capable of being recognized on a national level in the US? Any upcoming shows for that matter?
Nope, despite all of those big shows, we’re still stuck on a local/regional level. Exodus, Malevolent Creation, and Hate Eternal were all apart of the “Hostile City Deathfest” in Philadelphia so although we were on the same bill and shared the stage with them, we played earlier in the day and only to about 50-75 people… compared to a couple hundred for those bands later in the night. Warbringer was definitely a good show, we played literally right before them, but the turnout really wasn’t too crazy, only about 50 people at this one as well. Obviously that is a good crowd… but it’s not gonna be a major breakthrough. We loved playing those shows because the crowds were awesome and we really killed it but we definitely need to find other ways to expand our fan base.
We’re actually really excited to get back out there with this upcoming EP and start playing shows again… back when we first started in 2010, MySpace was still the popular choice for bands. Facebook has so much more opportunities now, and it’s unfortunate because we have been on hiatus for the past year, so we haven’t been able to take advantage of any of this. Another big thing for us is the fact that we never had the chance to hand out a lot of demos at shows. Before we recorded our album everything was recorded in our Drummer’s basement or at the studio through a PA/Mixer. Don’t get me wrong… we definitely made some demos and handed em out but those songs sounded like complete shit compared to our album. Now when we hit the scene again, we’re gonna be handing out demos of our debut album for free… if not the entire thing!
So what about this upcoming EP/Demo? Any teasers or hints to how it’s going to sound?
It’s definitely gonna be a lot heavier than our old stuff. When we first started playing we had a really thrashy sound, and I’m talking back in 2009… it was kinda like we were 75% Thrash and only 25% Death Metal. Now, the new music we’re writing is probably more like 75% Death metal, and only 25% Thrash metal. Trust me, we’ve got the perfect mix of Death/Thrash metal, and we are NOT changing our sound by far, so if you liked our first album, you’re gonna fucking love this EP. Anyone who listens to our debut album can easily tell that there are some songs on there that are more influenced by Thrash Metal than Death Metal (For example, “Inverted” and “Apocalyptic Visions”) and vice versa (“Envenomation” and “Vile Creation” are a lot more Death Metal, than Thrash Metal). We wrote those songs over the course of a year and a half, our sound definitely changed a bit throughout the writing process, we were still finding our sound. When we finished “The Anatomy of Execution” we pretty much had an even split between Death/Thrash Metal… now we are leaning a bit more towards the Death Metal side but no doubt about it we are stilling tearing it up with some killer thrash. Gotta keep in mind that we are still writing this stuff so I’m basing this off of two incomplete songs… we’ve still gotta finish these two songs and write two more. Expect a cover song to be recorded and featured on the EP! And if you wanna take a guess at what band we will be covering… let’s just say they slaughtered the 90’s metal scene.
Any last words for Strychnia fans?
Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/strychnia) for updates and more information about our upcoming EP and upcoming shows! Hang in there! We know we disappeared for a while, but we are working extremely hard to comeback. It’s definitely gonna take some time, we are not gonna rush into things and spoil the new material we are writing, so PLEASE… stick with us and we promise it will be worth the wait. We are expecting the EP to drop December 2012!
From around the Web