The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



TALKS TO The ROCKPIT about the September Australian Tour, their latest album "A Skeletal Domain" and a book titled "Bible Of Butchery"... What more could you want? We caught up with drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz...

JULY 2014

It's hard to believe a band as brutal and as controversial as Cannibal Corpse can stick around and be hugely successful for so many years in a musical climate that frowns upon the kind of twisted but entertaining form of music that Cannibal Corpse project onto the world but here we are, 25 or so years later and the death metal legends are still at the top of the extreme metal chain and still bringing in the crowds at their live shows. September brings the band to Australia as well as their latest album "A Skeletal Domain" and a book titled "Bible Of Butchery" which delves into the lives and careers of the current members of Cannibal Corpse. We caught up with drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz during their tour on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem festival to discuss all the latest with the band.

Andrew: How are you?


Paul: Good man, how are you doing?


Andrew: Good thanks! How's things in the Cannibal Corpse camp at the moment?


Paul: Not doing too bad right now. We are in the middle of a U.S. tour, the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival and we are in Detroit right now. We just played a few hours ago so everything is going well with us at the moment.


Andrew: How's the festival going?


Paul: It's going really well! Bunch of diverse metal going on here, we're playing in front of a lot of new fans and a lot of people are coming out. Beautiful weather here in the States in the summer time so it's been a fun festival, a real success so far.


Andrew: So September seems to be a big month for you, you got the new album coming out, you got the book "Bible Of Butchery" and also the Australian tour as well. So you guys are going to be busy over the next couple of months.


Paul: Oh definitely! I mean this is just the start of it basically, exactly. When we're done with this tour which takes us to I think August 10th or so, then we're home for a little bit and like you said, we head to Australia and basically starting the touring cycle for the new record with it coming out in mid-September and the book and with us being over in Australia. Then we hit Japan as well and right after that basically we are going to be in Europe for 2 months. So yeah it's going to be a very busy end of the year for us that's for sure and well into 2015.


Andrew: Yeah and it must feel good that you guys have been around for a long time now and you are still plugging along and still being busy and putting out quality albums. It must feel really good to be doing it for this long.


Paul: Oh totally I mean for us to be around 25 years and exactly, to be still relevant and feel that we are on top of our game more so than ever. Yeah it's a good feeling so we can't complain whatsoever and here we are about to do it all again with the release of our 13th album "A Skeletal Domain" and can't wait for it to get out there for everybody to hear it and like I said, it will be great to be touring for the record and playing all the places through-out the world. So it's gonna be awesome but yeah what a great thing, how can we not be excited for all this and our success. It's an amazing, remarkable thing.


Andrew: And it's good timing for the book to come out. Can you tell me a bit about the book "Bible Of Butchery"?


Paul: Yeah we were approached by Joel McIver actually, the author and he thought it was a good idea to write a book about us and we talked to Metal Blade our record label and they thought it was a great idea so we figured let's coincide it with the release of the CD. You can get a package deal, I think there's already something available like that but we figured it was something different as well instead of making a 'making of' the CD which we've done so many times in the past. So it's pretty cool, it's really focusing on the 5 members, the current members basically and there's a lot of pictures, there's some cool quotes and stories from other people outside the band and all that. So I think it's something that the fans will really enjoy.

Andrew: Yeah definitely. Is there some stuff in there that maybe some fans may not be aware of?


Paul: Well that's the thing. Really when we looked at it, it was kind of like we pretty much covered a lot of ground on the "Centuries Of Torment" DVD that's pretty much talking about everything about the band from day one. It's so thorough and that's just a complete history with everybody so it's almost kind of like there wasn't much more to tell in a way. There were some things I guess that we probaby mentioned, just when you can write it and put it down into text as opposed to seeing it on a clip or something or a DVD, it's always gonna come across as a little bit different. So there's things in there that people may not have been aware of. Like I said, there's pictures of course, us talking about the lyrics and really focusing on the 5 individuals. That's why it's not like a complete biography or auto(biogrpahy) in the sense where we don't have any (Chris) Barnes or Jack (owen) or anything like that, it's really focusing more on the 5 members of Cannibal which has been the lineup for the longest out of any lineups and it's been solid for many years. George ('Corpsegringer' Fisher, vocalist) has been in the band a long time and Pat (O'Brien, guitars) as well so it was really just focusing on us 5.


Andrew: Cool looking forward to reading that. And also of course the new album "A Skeletal Domain", can you tell us about this album and how it came together?


Paul: Well it's the next chapter in the Cannibal Corpse story. We started writing last year in about September, started plugging away and just doing our hardest to get the best songs we could. Then we started recording in February in Sanford, Florida with Mark Lewis at the helm and that was a first for us. We used Erik Rutan for the last 3 records and we just decided to change it up producer-wise and yeah it was a good experience. We ended up taking 3 months to record and about the end of May to early June we completed it so here we are about to get going with the release and I know some songs are out there and people know what's happening. But really it's just a continuation of what we do and I'm very proud of the record and I think the fans are really going to enjoy it. We really worked hard, I think we wrote some really killer songs and we just cant wait for everybody to hear it because I think it's going to be one of our best works.


Andrew: Yeah I was just listening to the album before I called you up and it's got a nice groove to it. Sonically it sounds amazing, obviously the producer has done a great job but I heard it's a bit darker than previous efforts. Can you tell me in what way is this darker than other albums?


Paul: I appreciate the kind words about the record but yeah I think overall it's just got a more darker feel just in some of the riffing and some of the arrangements I guess. You know, we're always dark so it's kind of a fine line anyway I guess but for some reason it comes across a little bit more dark and I don't know, just more of an eeriness to it. I think it's hard to pinpoint it at times, I think when you listen to the songs I would think you would probably understand maybe what we mean but maybe not. Everybody's gonna interpret it and look at it differently I guess but I do agree with what you are saying about the grooviness. I think there's a lot of groove but we've always had groove but for some reason this time around, these songs just come together again and I think we've got some really catchy, groovy, brutal, eerie, dark songs which is what we're going for.

Andrew: Yeah that's right. I just happened to be listening to some of the albums you did in the 90's actually like "Bloodthirst" and "Gallery Of Suicide" and all them and this album just seems to be more...I wouldn't say more simplistic but it just seems to have...the only word I can describe it with is groove. It has much more groove to it than maybe some of the previous efforts. Was that something that you were trying to go for on this album?


Paul: It's hard to say. I mean when Pat wrote 5 songs on the record which is the most he ever wrote on an album and he's sort of changed up his style of playing a little bit, his songwriting. The songs he had been writing have a good mix of that, he's got some technicality mixed with some more of the simplicity and some of the groove in there that he might not of had on previous efforts in the past where they were more geared towards craziness I guess. We always try to write good songs whatever that may be whether it's fast, slow, groovy or just straight forward, we're always just trying to do the best but if for some reason this time around if it ends up just a little bit more like you were saying, a little bit more straight forward possibly, a little more groovy. Just a kind of good blend of old and new Cannibal I guess, we're finding that balance where it's kind of like a mix of both, being modern but yet retaining the old Cannibal sound. I don't know if this would be easy to say or right to say but yeah kinda like maybe how "The Bleeding" ended up being, a very simplistic but very good, groovy album and "The Bleeding" arguably one of our best. You look at "The Bleeding" and go why was it the best? Why did people really like it? It's groovy, it's got some catch to it of course and fairly simplistic in a way compared to what we had done like you were saying "Galleries Of Suicide" and "Bloodthirst" and that era of songs where we really did kinda get a little bit more crazy in the songwriting and the arrangements and maybe being a little more technical than we have been in the past. So I don't know, like you were saying if it was really a fully conscious effort but I think everybody just concentrates more so on the songs these days and not really out to prove anything to anybody or impress anybody in the way that we can write crazier or play crazier. I think we are all set in our way now of just us being ourselves and write some sick, brutal stuff and what comes out and we let it flow naturally.


Andrew: Is there a set forumla when you sit and write songs or is there changes that happen over the course of the years?


Paul: There's no really set forumla but there has been changes over the years and now you could almost call it a forumla now. In the early days it was all collaborations of course, it was everybody getting together and whoever had riffs, let's put together a song. Everybody might of contributed on that one and maybe 2 guys on the next one and maybe 3 on the next. It was just a complete collaboration for those first couple of records and then around "The Bleeding" time we were like hey let's try something different or let's write some songs by ourselves. Alex wanted to write a couple of songs just on his own and then that's how it kinda ended up being, kinda morphing into that way over the years. Now really it's done mostly that way, Alex will be writing his songs at home and what have you and Rob's writing at home and Pat's doing his thing. We're getting together to make the songs but for the most part they are just jamming individually and everyone is coming up with the songs. I may have a little bit more input on them than anybody because I'm drumming and if I can't do something or something is not working out or we work together to get the right beats, I obviously have to work with everybody. And there may be collaborations here and there but not as often as there was though. For the new record, Rob and I wrote the song "Asphyxiate to Resuscitate", it was mostly my idea. I came up with the rhythm, we wrote the song together but there was definitely a collaboration. But if it's happening these days, there you go, it's maybe 1 song or so and it just doesn' happen as much anymore these days with the collaborations.

Andrew: So obviously in September you guys will be coming back to Australia, what can we expect as far as setlists and all that kind of stuff?


Paul: Well we're gonna be there in a chaotic time right there just before the album's coming out. I think we will be ready to go, we have to be ready to go to be playing all these songs, the ones that we are going to be playing live off the new record. I would think maybe by then there's another song for the fans to have out there so there's possibly 2 to 3 songs that might be out there for them to already hear before the album and then hopefully we can play those songs. We are probably planning on playing at least 4 off the new record if not more, between 4 and 6. We like to push the new record and I know we did that with "Torture". There was a couple of tours with "Torture" where we were doing 6 songs off "Torture". Unfortunately with that problem is some of the other albums are left out so either way we'll be doing 3 to 4 or 6 but we should be playing those songs definitely in Australia because we gotta be ready to go. As I said unfortunately a song might be, here you go you might be hearing it for the first time, fans don't know it yet because the album isn't coming out for 3 more days but so be it.


Andrew: Yeah that's right. I mean obviously at this point in your career it must be quite difficult to pick a setlist to please all the fans I guess.


Paul: Oh yeah definitely. The more albums we get, there's some songs we know we should be playing and then you go well how long will we be up there. Right now when we're playing a headliner usually we're doing 20 songs and that takes us a good hour and 20 min and that's pretty solid there. So I don't think we can really go beyond that, it would be tough to start pushing the limit with more songs so I think we may be at our peak with around 20 songs which is still a lot but there you go and now we start dwindling down with the new record and that means a couple have to go. It definitely gets a lot tougher these days to come up with a setlist that's for sure.


Andrew: Do you guys change the setlist a lot or do you try to keep the same thing on a tour?


Paul: We try to change it up, try to mix it up every few tours and what have you. It's not like we're changing it up every tour. But yeah we don't want to do the same set of songs all the time but we have a bunch on rotation that we go ok let's bring that one back, we dropped it for a cycle tour and we haven't played it in a couple of years now. So there is gonna be those kind of songs and then there's always a song or 2 that we do try to bring back in recent years. I know we brought back a song like "Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains" and "Put Them To Death", songs like that, that are so obscure that we're like OK let's do it for a tour and bust them out. Just something for the old school fans or something that we haven't played in 20 years, kinda cool. But yeah we will probably try to change it up a little bit like at the same time those songs that you feel you have to play so it's a little tougher.


Andrew: Well we are looking forward to seeing you guys in Australia again, I know the fans always enjoy it when you come over so I think it's going to be another great tour. So thanks again for having a chat with us, it's been an absolute pleasure!


Paul: Thank you so much and we can't wait to be there, it's gonna be a great time like you were saying and always a great time with the fans in Australia. Can't wait to be there so thank you for the interview!


Paul spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe July 18 2014





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