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Walking Corpse Syndrome Discusses "Narcissist" In A Video Interview

Dark metal act Walking Corpse Syndrome recently saw the release of a second full-length album, entitled “Narcissist.” The members of the band spoke with me prior to the group’s show at the 406 Club in Great Falls, Montana. Walking Corpse Syndrome discussed the changes in the band between the two albums, their use of violin and dual drummers in live shows, and the recent passing of Ronnie James Dio. The first half of the video interview can be viewed below, and the second half (along with a text transcription) can be found after the jump.

xFiruath: So here we are with Walking Corpse Syndrome. Before we get started lets go around and tell me who the hell are you, and what do you do in Walking Corpse Syndrome?

Michael: I’m Michael Phlegm and I do vocals and lyric writing.

Matthew: I’m Matthew Bile and I play guitar.

Mr. Grimm: I’m Mr. Grimm. I do drums and backup vocals.

William: I’m William Sludge, and I play bass and violin.

Noktis: I’m Noktis, I play drums.

Meredeath: I’m Meredeath Lachryma and I do keyboards.

xFiruath: I suppose all of you have heard by now that we just lost our legendary metal father Dio. Anything at all you’d like to comment on that?

Michael: Fucking R.I.P. Dio, man.

Matthew: We were just talking about this on the way up. We didn’t get our cover of “Holy Diver” done, because Mike didn’t work on the vocals. He was a fighter until the end, so that was fucking great that he held on as long as he did.

xFiruath: Tell me about the history of the band. How did you guys get together and what have you done so far?

Matthew: We got together originally in January of 2007. We came from a different band, me and this guy here (Noktis). I was the originally singer of that band and I ruined my voice, so I switched over to guitar. We picked up William Sludge on bass and Mr. Grimm on drums. These guys are real life brothers so they know how to drum real tightly together. I was singing originally for the first few shows, but that didn’t work out so good, so I gave up the singing duties when we found Mike. I found him because he was out break dancing at a rave. I was like, this guy is so cool, we need him. He came and auditioned and he fucking pulled through and it was great. He wrote lyrics within two weeks for all of our songs. We’ve just been running at full hilt since then and have never looked back.

xFiruath: You just released your second album “Narcissist.” Tell me a little about that. Where did you record and what’s up with this album?

Michael: We recorded at Buzz Records in Missoula. We just kinda slapped this album together in about three and a half weeks. We sat back in the sidelines for awhile while it was getting mixed and mastered. Most of the lyrics, for me at least, they come from personal experiences, which helps with the title “Narcissist” as well. That’s about it for me.

xFiruath: So you actually did vocals on both the albums? I’ve listened to both of them and it seems like there is a real difference in how the vocals sound between the albums.

Michael: We mainly kind of found our sound in general after we did our first album. We kind of figured out what we needed to improve and what need to sound better.

xFiruath: Is there any specific story behind the name Walking Corpse Syndrome?

Matthew: After that last band broke up we spent a long time trying to find something that worked for us, and something that would be open ended enough to allow us to make music that doesn’t pigeon hole us in one corner. You’ve heard our music, we incorporate violin, keyboards, two drums, and everything like that. When we were doing our research we found this disease called Walking Corpse Syndrome. People believe they are missing their limbs, like their arms or their legs or they have no soul, even though they obviously do. They will go to great extents to prove to people that they are missing their soul or are already dead and nothing can kill them. For us, we sort of saw that as a view of society at large. All these people are going around like walking dead and insist they are alive but they actually aren’t, so it’s our job to bring them back.

xFiruath: Where have you been playing your live shows at lately?

Matthew: We’ve been playing a lot around Montana, which is our home base. We’ve been edging out into Spokane, Washington, Coeur d'Alene and Idaho. I’m going to break the news to you here first. We got confirmed to play at the Michigan Deathfest in Detroit Michigan. We haven’t put that up on our website yet. We’ll be playing there on August 21st and then some touring after that.

xFiruath: When you are at a venue like in Spokane, what’s that like in comparison to these little shows in Montana?

Matthew: We’re still breaking into those places. The venues over in Spokane, the stages are tiny for the kind of places that will have a metal band from Montana play. Us and Throne of Malediction will play over the same clubs over there and we barely fit on stage. I can’t move my guitar at all or I’m going to hit this guy in the head. Our biggest crowds are in Montana right now in places like Great Falls and Deer Lodge and Missoula. Places that we’ve played the most. I know as soon as we get out there and play more shows people are going to see that we bring a crazy live show. They’re just going to go nuts for it.

xFiruath: Are there any particular bands you guys play most often with? I know you played with At Home In Hell not too long ago.

Michael: We actually play with those guys quite often, they’re a great band to play with. We play a lot with Maggedon and Blessiddoom. Every time we got to Kalispell we play with Throne of Malediction.

Matthew: We play with Warcry a lot. Over in Spokane we play with this band called Odyssey, and then when we head to the Billings area we play with Cancerous. They are more like an alternative metal band.

xFiruath: What are you guys listening to outside of your new album these days?

Michael: Still standard death metal for me man. Behemoth as well is a big one for me now. Opiate and all the old good stuff I’ve always listened to.

Matthew: I’ve been hitting Killswitch Engage, Dry Kill Logic, Common Grave, Godhate. I’ve been hitting some Glass Casket and digital hardcore stuff like Atari Teenage Riot.

xFiruath: Anything amazing you’ve heard lately you just have to recommend to everyone on Internet land out there?

Matthew: I love Rabbit Junk. They are this band from Seattle that’s digital hardcore mixed with just fucking everything. I’m just in love with them. That’s me.

Michael: There’s Gojira, that’s probably one of my favorite bands now.

xFiruath: Tell me about the bands that influenced your sound.

Matthew: I’m hugely influenced by the stuff I grew up listening to, like Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and Ministry. Stuff like American Head Charge. I come from the industrial metal school of pounding beats and crunching riffs. Keeping it simple and keeping it like an uppercut straight to the junk.

xFiruath: How do you incorporate some of your more non-traditional stuff on the stage, like as far as playing violin at a metal show. How does that play out?

William: Sometimes I just play it like a lead guitar in some ways. Originally I started in the band just playing bass, but they found out I played violin and just had to have me bring it to one of the practices. We started out just using it for really slow songs, but I think we are starting to incorporate more and more of varying tempos into different roles. Sometimes in a more folksy style and sometimes more classical.

xFiruath: That’s all my questions, is there anything else you want to talk about?

Matthew: How are things for you?

xFiruath: Fantastic.

Matthew: We really appreciate you doing the interview. We are looking forward to going out and playing more shows and showing people what we can do. That first album we had, it doesn’t sound as good as the second album. Even though people say the second album isn’t as hard, but when you see it lives it hits you. Come to the shows. Support your local scene.

xFiruath: You heard it here first, get hit in the junk by Walking Corpse Syndrome.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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