Melbourne based Australian death metal icons, Abramelin have been wearing holes inside their cheeks – chomping at the bit to get out and play new record Never Enough Snuff live to a hungry fan base. Fortunately, Abramelin fans are no strangers to waiting as the band picked up their creativity after a fourteen year hiatus. Sentinel Daily caught up with vocalist and founding member Simon Dower recently to get the goods….
The hiatus, a mammoth fourteen years – what were your contemplations during this period and what was the motivation to reform? “Contemplations, mmm, nothing death metal to tell you the truth. It was a pretty organic break. There was no catalyst that separated the band. We basically finished up a tour and then nobody called anyone and it was like that for an extended period of time. I hadn’t even been to a gig in seven long years. I went to my first gig to see Goatwhore and Behemoth, as you do. I ran into (Abramalin guitarist) Tim [Aldridge] and he introduced me to (drummer) Dave [Hayley] who was promoting the tour. It was said – what do you think about getting the band back together. Dave had already hit Tim up about it who was a huge fan back in the day. It was a ‘yeah-nah’ from me. Then at the start of 2017, Rob [Mollica] our bass player, asked me to consider getting the band back together for a benefit show. I agreed under the condition that he do all the leg work. He did, so I did”.
And now, here you guys are… “We pulled a set together and doing that first show back, it went down a treat. We thought we should take it on the road. Rave reviews and attendances all over the place. Let’s just carry on we thought. Then commences the first track – Tim had laid down the first track. Before we knew it, we had enough material for an album. Tim was gagging to get this stuff out. He wrote a lot of these songs eight to ten years ago, they’ve been brewing for a long time”. During these eight to ten years, had Tim approached you guys to get onboard with it? “He wanted to do it with the band, I do recall we discussed it a few years ago, I wasn’t really feeling it, wasn’t up for it. But then when the benefit came up…. I started to feel it and I’m really glad about the decision I made. Coming back at it with such a fresh approach. Back in the day I was essentially band manager having to organise everything and now, I’ve got the two promoters in the band which has made it a lot easier from my perspective as I’m just not hooked into the scene like I use to be”.
How has the genre changed since reforming for you personally? “It has and it hasn’t. Some of the things you listen to a lot of bands have evolved into this unique sound I can’t even define. We were always original old school death metal and this is what we were trying to capture on the new album. This was always the direction we wanted to head in and stay in”.
The band are now riding on the wave of success from Never Enough Snuff, let’s chat about this album – collectively what was the inspiration and did you achieve all you set out to? “I’m going to say that we did better than what we set out to [Laughs] we didn’t expect the response from fans, the reviews; for us it was unfinished business. With the self titled album and Deadspeak I was never one hundred per cent happy with the outcome – I wasn’t happy with the production. There were many variables for this, times we didn’t have a full band, no live drummer – you didn’t have the pick of drummers like you do now. The drummers right now are fucking amazing. Back then we had a very small handful to choose from and we had been through most of them. I feel that this is the first album for Abramelin that has hit the nail on the head. A lot of that I give a lot of thanks to Dan Swanö who came in and did the production work. A lot of the early Abramelin stuff was inspired by music out of Sweden; early Entombed, early Dismember; so being able to work with one of the best death metal producers in the world AND from Sweden, what else could you ask for/” With all those elements together – where do you feel the album excels? “As an overall package I think it excels with the musicianship. The guys really leaned on one another. Dave’s drumming is just out of control. That was really what set the standard. What he brought to the table with his drumming and how it influenced Tim to change up the songs, Dave would come back with something wild and it just went on from there. Definitely Dave is a massive influence, and the creative spark from Matt [Wilcock] – his guitar playing is ridiculously good. Matt had been living abroad for the last decade and as fate would have it, Matt just happened to be back in town when all this started gaining momentum. All of this combined has contributed to the success and acceleration of the album. I wonder if there is some record for the longest time between death metal album releases, because we’re clocking up twenty years!”
Fans were rabid for the new album release and I’m sure you guys were foaming to get it out also, was this an aspect that has been surely missed, the writing and recording? ‘Ohh yeah, yeah definitely. It’s funny, as soon as a few tracks were done we were like ‘let’s do a seven inch’ a few more came, ‘let’s do an EP’ [Laughs] OK… so more and more is coming, ‘OK let’s do an album’. But even that was quite a process and such a different way to recording now to what we were used to back in the day. And such a quick process!”. Were there any challenges with the writing or recording or was it all pretty straight forward? “Having the songs jammed out so we were all familiar, and with the added layer of the drum tracks plus some added vocal coaching, it was a very collaborative effort and very detailed”. So many new experiences and processes for you with the completion of this new album – do you feel you have evolved as a musician and all these new aspects you’ve soaked up? “Most definitely, as far as the recording process, one hundred per cent. For me and the others, we have come leaps and bounds. Having Matt back in the band has really pushed him to pick up his playing even more and he was already brilliant, this has had a ripple effect on all the other members, we’re all pushing ourselves to the limit. Dave is just retarded [Laughs] for myself, doing the vocals I tried to keep as traditional (so heavy) as I possibly could, but keeping the annunciation as distinctive as possible, so people can understand what I’m saying – death metal; I liken it to listening to someone with a thick accent” [Laughs]
So, where to from here – the current climate is proving quite cumbersome, what can we hope to see from the band for the remainder of 2020 but also beyond? “The current climate was a factor for the release of the album – ‘do we release now or do we wait’? It was a similar question we asked ourselves with Deadspeak – if we hadn’t released Deadspeak when we did, it wouldn’t have happened. If we were to wait for all the variables to align; a drummer et cetera, it wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Never Enough Snuff – all the physical production had already commenced, we had to move along all these bits and pieces were bubbling away. There are pros and cons with this pandemic for everyone, it’s like ‘yay, more time at home, yay, more time with the kids’ but also without it, the album release would have thrust us straight into a national tour – but the pro side right now, because people have been sitting at home doing jack shit, there have been a lot of eyes on social media – it has given us a great opportunity to spread the word so that’s the plus I’m going to take out of it”.
Abramalin’s Never Enough Snuff is out now.