Zack Simmons – Goatwhore – Uber Rock Interview Exclusive
Sunday, 21 September 2014 03:00
New Orleans’ Goatwhore have been knocking out quality extreme metal since 1997, and have just released arguably the best album of their career so far in the shape of ‘Constricting Rage Of The Merciless’ via Metal Blade. It’s a quality album, and certainly not for the faint hearted. I recently got the chance to pose some questions to Zack Simmons, the band’s drummer for the last ten years, and got to find out about how the latest album was recorded, what they think of how their music is categorised, who inspired them, and most importantly when we can see the full on live Goatwhore experience here in the UK.
Zack, your new album ‘Constricting Rage Of The Merciless’ is hugely impressive. How have you found the reaction to it so far?
Thank you. The response has been really positive all around and I couldn’t be happier. We never really strive for approval or praise but I can’t say there isn’t a feeling of accomplishment when people appreciate what you’ve worked hard on. I’m just glad the fans like the record. That’s all that really matters. Some jaded critic behind a computer screen isn’t going to make or break anything.
You chose to take a different approach to the recording of this one, using a more ‘old school’ method. Can you tell us about it, why you chose to go down that route, and how the album benefits from it?
We tracked all of the drums, guitar, and bass to two-inch tape because it seemed like the right way to capture our sound. We’re not really a band that benefits from the digital, polished sort of production so recording to analogue really brought out the grit and vibe that comes through in the live situation. Overall, the record has a much warmer, punchier sound.
Do you think more bands in the extreme metal bracket should go down this route, as opposed to the pro-tools method of recording?
It really depends on the band and what kind of sound they’re going for. What’s right for one band may be wrong for another. To each, their own, man. It’s really becoming an obsolete way of recording and with budgets getting smaller and smaller, recording digitally makes sense in a lot of ways. It really just depends on the band and what they’re trying to accomplish.
There’s so many different sub-genres of metal these days, and Goatwhore has been described as Black, Death, Blackened Death etc. How would you describe your music, and do you give a shit what it’s labelled as anyway?
You know I really don’t give a shit about labels or sub-genres. To me it’s all just heavy metal. It’s much easier to say than “blackened thrash death punk grind” or whatever. We are influenced by so many different bands whether it be metal or rock or classic rock so those influences definitely shine through subconsciously. Call it whatever you’d like.
Your song titles are second to none. The new album contains such delights as ‘Poisonous Existence In Reawakening’ and ‘Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed’ – how do you come up with them?
Our singer, Ben handles all of the lyrics and titles. He’s definitely got a way with words and a very sinister imagination. It takes a while to learn the titles once a new album comes out. I’ll look at the set list while on stage and be a bit confused at first!
Who were the bands that inspired Goatwhore and are there any current bands you particularly admire?
Bands like Celtic Frost, Venom, and Bathory really sparked the birth of the band but we’ve sort of grown to include a lot of other influences as well, like Motorhead, Judas Priest.. The list goes on and on.. We’ve really been digging on the new Vallenfyre record. Their first album was amazing but I really like the production on the newest one. Very sick stuff.
Is there any prospect of fans in the UK seeing the band live any time soon?
We are heading to the UK and Europe in November/December with Dying Fetus, Fallujah, and Malevolence. Hope to see you there!
Thanks to Zack for taking the time to answer the questions, and to Andy Turner from Metal Blade for arranging our chat.