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I recently shot over some interview questions to Gordon Denhart and Michael Kilborn of Never to Arise. They got the answers back pretty quick. Here’s what they had to say about Never to Arise, and while you’re reading, be sure to check out their full album streaming courtesy of their Bandcamp account! It can be found at the bottom of the page. And, if you like what you hear, you can head on over to nevertoarise.bandcamp.com and order their recently released debut full-length!


First of all, Never to Arise is a two-piece Death Metal band. Why is it that you guys kept it that way since you formed in 2009, and has the prospect of adding another member to handle the drums crossed your mind?

Gordon:
Actually the band formed back in 2007 after initially being a solo project of mine. As far as staying a two piece band, it’s sometimes hard enough for the two of us to agree on things never mind bringing other members in. In fact,there was a period of almost a year that Michael and I didn’t even speak to each other! There is no room here for a third ego.

Michael:
Also in adding to Gordon’s answer, the facilities we have for recording right now are not exemplary in recording drums properly. And I have had enough issues in the past dealing with squirrelly drummers.

Do you think that Hacked to Perfection using a drum machine helped out at all? Or do you think that it actually wound up hurting it?

Michael:
I think in having programmed drums, there was not a worry of performance in a drummer. Also it helped expedite the recording process.

Gordon:
Well my opinion may be biased since I composed all the drum parts, but It certainly helped define our style. I didn’t want to be too technical with the drums.We are a guitar band. The drums are the backbone of the music…they propel the music forward.

The production on the album is rather interesting. Who was it that produced the album, and is Hacked to Perfection what you and the producer were going for, especially with the volume levels and the clarity of the drums with the rougher guitar distortion?

Gordon:
One thing that needs to be understood is that we recorded and produced the album ourselves with a minimum of equipment. Michael and myself at times had different ideas on the various sounds,but in the end the rawer rhythm guitar sound won out. We wanted the drums to sound good though and that is where Dennis Munoz,who mixed the CD, played a huge role. I mean we could have had as huge of a drum sound as we wanted,but we feel the tones we have sit very well in the mix.

Michael:
Though we may have disagreed a bit on production, we both knew this had to be as bare bones sounding as possible to make the aggressive nature of the music stand out above anything.

Never to Arise has signed with the label badGod Music. How did this come about, and are you happy at this point being on the label?

Gordon:
Well Dave Lindley at badGod had been playing a few cuts from our demo on his weekly metal radio show. He was excited about having us on his upstart label,and given that we have total support as well as creative freedom, we are pleased to be on the label.

Michael:
Having done self released albums in the past, it is a great luxury to have badGod handling areas which I always had deemed a headache. As far as my feelings about the label, I couldn’t be happier.

Did the label help finance the recording of Hacked to Perfection, or was everything in the studio done by funds out of your pocket? Also, was that part of the reason why the recording has such a raw audio quality to it?

Gordon:
The only thing that was financed was the mixing/mastering stage. Even the artwork was done gratis by a close friend of mine.As for the rawness,it fits what we have done on this record.I didn’t want things sounding too pretty or slick.I wanted grit and some atmosphere along with powerful sounding drums.

Michael:
All recordings of the project had been complete and had been roughly mixed and mastered by us before badGod had even heard of us. We felt with the initial mixes that the rawness of the sound was appropriate for the direction of the music. When Dennis Munoz remixed and mastered these tracks, it made them even better.

Given the lyrical content and some of the titles that imply a bit of a concept to the song, are any of these inspired by anything such as real life news stories or scenes from a horror film? If not inspired by, are there any tracks in general that have a conceptual backing to them at all? Please explain.

Gordon:
I took various approaches. Most of the lyrics have at least a semblance of a story,in fact if we ever do music videos they would be like 4 or 5 minute slasher movies.The song “Snuff Film Superstar” is partly inspired by a real life serial killer,but also takes the perspective of a man who sexually gets his rocks off watching snuff films.”Hyperbaric Torture Chamber” puts the victim inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber that is rigged in a way to cause excruciating pain and eventually cause the failure of vital organs and ultimately death. “Mutilation Supreme” is about luring a woman to a secluded area and then proceeding to literally tear her apart limb from limb barehanded,along with a eye gouge or two. I don’t watch many movies,so everything is either culled from real life acts of depravity or the product of my own imagination.

Was there any specific intent by either of you when you wrote the material for Hacked to Perfection, say perhaps to just make an album by Death Metal fans for those who enjoy the same kind of music you do, or maybe to pent out frustrations of what you want to do but can’t because it’s illegal?

Gordon:
That’s a good question. The Death Metal fan I first and foremost considered was myself, not saying that to be ego driven or anything.I simply wanted to make music that I would be willing to buy and enjoy listening to. I really am not good at catering to others. Although I certainly want others to enjoy it too, not gonna lie about that!And yes,we both have some pent up frustrations that this music enables us to channel in a positive way. With me its more on the lyrical end of things.Obviously I am not a killer……. but if I were a killer maybe this is how I would do it. That’s the rationale behind the acts of violence committed throughout the CD.

Michael:
My input was purely musical and my approach especially to my guitar leads allowed me the kind of aggressive freedom I have not been able to express in other kinds of music.

How about musical inspirations? Are there any bands that really influenced the sound that Never to Arise brought into the studio with them?

Michael:
As far as me personally with this project, I looked upon individuals as my inspiration since the music had been written by Gordon. I tried to incorporate a hybrid of old school melody with some technical proficiency.

Gordon:
For me it was the classic bands from the early 90’s more than anything. Just wanted to get back to what I believe made Death Metal great in the first place, with an updated take in some instances. And not just the American stuff either. Swedish,Dutch,British..there’s a bit of everything in there. Although a lot of the bands we have been accused of sounding like, I don’t really listen to all that much.

Does Never to Arise happen to actually play live shows? I checked your Facebook page and didn’t see any listings. If you do, are there any shows coming up? If not, why?

Michael:
Never To Arise has intended to always be a studio project but if the situation presented itself, I can’t say we would never perform live

What would you say your dream bill would be to play live with? Any bands in particular you’d love to have on one show and share the stage with at some point?

Michael:
For me though their genre might not be exactly like ours, I would love to play with Behemoth, Gorguts or Opeth.

Gordon:
Well I am not the hero-worshiping type,but I would be thrilled to play on a bill with Carcass.

How has the fan reaction been towards Hacked to Perfection? I noticed on your Facebook there aren’t many “likes” but there is still a decent vocal community. Are you happy with what reach the album has made and the feedback you’re getting?

Gordon:
Very much so. Our fans support us in a huge way,its almost as if we are “their” band,which is extremely cool and kind of humbling too.I wouldn’t read much into the amount of “likes” on our Facebook page at this point. The label has PR people to make sure we get covered in various e-zines and other outlets. The CD has gotten many positive reviews thus far.

Michael:
From the beginning, there has been a positive response globally since the first few demo tracks were presented on the internet.

Does Never to Arise have any plans at this point for a follow-up release, or are you guys taking it easy? If so, mind giving us some details, or even if you’re not anything you’d like to just to, or even any suggestions from fans or media outlets you two might take into consideration in the writing/recording stages?

Gordon:
Since it was such a long process to get the first CD released, in the interim a second album has been completely written. We plan on starting to record again in a couple months or so.As far as suggestions about how we do our business,we do exactly what we want. Like I mentioned earlier,badGod Music is 100 percent behind us. And I can assure everyone that we will not disappoint any existing fans with future material. I will say that a few people have asked about a limited vinyl release,and if it is feasible that would be awesome.

Michael:
I am currently in the process of beefing up my studio specifically for this project by upgrading software and such. Also like Gordon said, we will be working on this in the very near future.

For now, what’s next for Never to Arise? Are there any immediate goals or plans set for the group?

Gordon:
Our goal is just to continue to progress as artists and musicians without radically altering our style.And of course to continue building our fan base.

Michael:
My personal goal would be to progress even farther with my guitar playing. As far as the project goes, I would second what Gordon already said.

Thank you very much again for your time, and I wish you two the best of luck with Hacked to Perfection.

Michael:
Thank you for the opportunity and also to badGod for all of their help.

Gordon:
Just like to say thanks for having us, it was an enjoyable interview! Hopefully we gave people some insight into Never To Arise as a band, as well as the individuals behind it.


Interview conducted thanks to badGod Records via Clawhammer PR.