On the cusp of releasing their second much-anticipated album, Denver’s Of Feather and Bone is a trio whose grind-slashed death metal is not to be fucked with. On the heels of their style-shifting 2016 promo, they’re set to bring those tracks and more into their already expansive and vicious catalog this spring. As the follow-up to their lauded debut Embrace the Wretched Flesh, 2018 brings Bestial Hymns of Perversion kicking, screaming into existence, layering obscene heaviness onto an already hefty sound. Their Profound Lore Records debut, I was able to discuss this milestone in Of Feather and Bone’s career and more with the band proper. CVLT Nation also has the pleasure of premiering the blistering, monstrous title track today.
Of Feather and Bone has been busy since releasing your promo in 2016, which marked a considerable shift in style. With your second album on the horizon, how will Bestial Hymns of Perversion expand on and continue that sound?
Preston: Bestial Hymns expands on the demo we released by terms of how much more focused and refined the songs are. it’s still the same style as the demo, but we pushed our limits as musicians and songwriters.
In what ways have those limits been pushed, especially in moving towards a more death metal sound?
Alvino: Lyrically and vocally, as well as bass playing to better match Dave’s songwriting.
Dave: For me, most of the album I wrote after my brother passed, so a lot of the sound stemmed from that. As far as guitar playing, this is the most intricate album I’ve ever written.
Preston: For me, I had to really push my boundaries as a drummer. Blasts needed to be longer, bass drum parts had to be quicker: it was physically and mentally taxing.
For all of us, we really felt like we had to step it up on this album, for ourselves. We wanted to create music that we would want to listen to.
Considering that sentiment, what was the impetus in moving Of Feather and Bone’s sound away from hardcore / grind?
Preston: We were already heading in this direction musically, however, by the time our last album Embrace The Wretched Flesh came out, we had to keep playing those songs to push the record, and couldn’t write and record as freely as we would have wished. This was due to some unforeseen circumstances that caused that album to come out almost a year after it was recorded. At which point we were ready to grow and move forward. We have always had a grind influence, and still do, but now this is who we are, and this is what we sound like, and you can only expect us to continue to keep moving forward.
Musically, what inspirations and influences from other artists, past or contemporary, went into creating the new album?
Preston: We’ve never gone into writing with the mindset of sounding like a particular band. We’ve always gone in with our own intentions, which is to create atmosphere, and to make music we love. We all have our own personal influences from bands past and present, and they all vary which means we all bring something unique to the table.
Which albums, particularly death metal and grind, have been of strong influence?
Preston: For me a big influence in my drumming was the album Promulgation of the Fall by Dead Congregation or Pete Sandoval’s drumming on Altars of Madness. Absolute insanity.
Dave: For me, I’ve always been into Atmosphere. I draw a lot of inspiration from bands like Temple Nightside or Portal, or bands like Swans or Sisters of Mercy. But you also can’t deny a good riff!
Alvino: Overall, I draw a lot of inspiration from early Incantation, or early Suffocation. But honestly, when we write an album, all of these elements and influences are not what we gauge our own music off of.
What does the band’s writing process entail? Is there any one thing you did that was unique to writing Bestial Hymns?
Alvino: Dave and Preston have the most unique relationship I’ve ever seen. It’s incredibly organic in the way that there is no thought process before writing a song, There’s no structure or skeleton laid out. They just sit down and start playing. And it’s a relationship that has worked since day one, and has continued to work to this day.
Dave: When we are writing, if we don’t finish writing a song by the end of that practice, we won’t end up keeping it. We need a solid outline and structure of a song in order for us to keep it. I will rewrite a song four or five times until I am happy with it. When I’m writing with Preston, it’s very seamless. We are usually on the same page with a lot of the song structures.
Photo by Brittany Drinnon
Is there a particular song off Bestial Hymns that was the most difficult to write, one the band is most proud of?
Preston: We are proud of each song on the album. “Hymn of Perversion” was the most challenging for each of us, but a standout track that we all agree is our favorite.
What made it the most challenging and rewarding?
Preston: As far as drumming, it was the most demanding. The opening drum beat was punishing, and there’s not a part where every bit of my body wasn’t moving quickly.
Dave: As far as writing this song, I had to rewrite and change it four or five times until I was happy with it.
Alvino: This whole album was difficult for me, because it challenged my bass playing, and adding vocals on top of already intricate parts.
What are the album’s overarching themes?
Alvino: Bestial Hymns of Perversion is the first time I’ve actually attempted to use a theme or follow one. Not every song falls into the theme and sometimes allows for interpretation to the listener. I drew inspiration from Aztec folklore, ritual and mysticism. Which in turn ties to the theme of anti-Christiantiy/Catholicism which I’ve always used as a theme. This album takes a perspective based from what indigenous cultures all over the world had to endure and lose in exchange for a Bible.
What aspects of Aztec culture were incorporated?
Alvino: It’s using the darker sides of the culture. Their curiosity and culture based so much on Death and the afterlife. I was raised in a household where I was taught to learn and cherish my ancestry. Through time and education and my personal growth away from being raised Catholic, it’s natural for me to write in a manner that does criticize and have an open hate towards what modern western religion has become and its adverse effects on indigenous cultures.
As an aside, Alvino’s photography is often of stark landscapes that capture the natural world’s beauty. That being said, do the ideologies espoused in your lyrics also come to nature’s defense as they do indigenous cultures? Would you describe your band as an “eco-friendly” band, for lack of better term.
Alvino: When it comes to that aspect, if there is any part of the lyrics that reflect that, they’re unintentional. I try to avoid most politics when it comes to Of Feather and Bone. Our goal isn’t to spread any sort of ideology but to reflect on our own aspects of our lives through this.
Are there any tours planned for the year in support of the album, that you can speak of?
Preston: Right now we play Total Death Over Mexico on April 1st in Mexico City. We have an album release show in Denver on April 28th with Suffering Hour, and then we are currently planning a tour around Northwest Terror Fest, 71 Grind Fest and Austin Terror Fest in June.
What were all of your favorite albums last year and are there any you’re looking forward to in 2018?
Alvino: Man. I dug that Mortiferum release a lot. Acephalix. Fetid. Spectral Voice. Phrenelith. Contaminated. Tomb Mold. As for the new year, I kinda take it as each release comes out. No anticipation!
Dave: For me, last year I was a big fan of the Mortiferum demo, Fetid, Spectral Voice, Ascended Dead, Crurifragium, Witch Vomit, Contaminated, Primitive Man, Triumvir Foul, Tomb Mold, Black Marble, Drab Majesty, Phrenelith, Necrot and for next year I’m looking forward to the new Ritual Necromancy.
Preston: There were a lot of awesome releases last year. I’m going to piggy back on Alvino and say that Fetid and Mortiferum were awesome. Triumvir Foul’s Spiritual Bloodshed was also up there for me. I’m looking forward to the new Mournful Congregation album as well.
OF FEATHER AND BONE Live:
4/01/2018 La Cosa Nostra – Mexico City, MX @ Total Death Over Mexico City [info]
6/01/2018 Barboza – Seattle, WA @ Northwest Terror Fest [info]
6/15/2018 The Lost Well – Austin, TX @ Austin Terror Fest [info]