Interview with Zack of Abated Mass of Flesh

Interviewed by Jessica Clingempeel
4/28/2019

Abated Mass of Flesh Facebook

Watch Zack answer the questions and/or read below!

First, tell us a little bit about the band; how did the idea for the band’s name come about?

Hello, we are a brutal death metal band that started in 2011. When we started, we wrote lyrics centered around the Christian faith. This was something that gained us a fair amount of attention. People seemed to be drawn to what we were doing, so that was very encouraging to us. Since then, we have expanded our sound by experimenting with genres such as slam and deathcore. Our name was derived from the word “Abated”. I haven’t really heard that term used before and it seemed unique. So I wanteed to create a name that represented our sound and grabbed people’s attention. “Abated” means to reduce or take away and “Mass of Flesh” was added to resemble humanity as a whole. The original concept of the name was meant to represent the denial of human flesh and instincts as an act of worship before God.

Zack, at the beginning you did the vocals, but decided to place your brother, Matt, as the vocalist. What was the reasoning for that?

Matt and I have always been close and we work great together as a team. After the release of our first EP, it was time to move on to the next release. I was thinking of ways to make it different and more dynaminc, so I decided to have him take over on lead vocals for “Brutal Death”. It was more encouraging and motivational having him on board and I wanted him to be a part of what I was doing and it’s been great having him a part of this band. It means alot to both of us.

Some would say that the sound of your band is very interesting, especially being a Christian band. Have you had any criticisms from people who don’t understand the death metal genre?

Maybe a little in the beginning. We were on a Christian label and had some push into internet world. Alot of people started hearing about us, some understood it and some didn’t. But we haven’t really had any major critisism over the years. I feel that people now see where we are coming from and see that we share a genuine passion for making music together.

Were there any challenges when recording ‘Eternal Harvest’? How did this album differ from previous?

There were some challenges. Most of the songs on that album were already written but we didn’t have enough material for a full length record. So we decided to re-record “Violence” and “Deathcrusher” and write some new ones in the studio. We hit a stopping point not long after we started and put the release on hold for over a year. During that break, we spent our time playing shows and releasing EPs. We eventually picked it back up full steam and finally released it.

Sammy Slamdance (Abyss Walker) was featured on the song ‘Caverns’. What was it like working with him and any chance of him being featured on any future releases?

That’s a possibility. It was great working with Sam. He’s very professional and has a great sense of humor. He alow produced, mixed and mastered the album. We felt pretty relaxed working with him and we were satisfied with how the album turned out.

There were some re-recordings on this album. What made you guys decide to re-record the selected songs, are there plans for any more re-releases?

We had been playing those songs live for a while and wanted to have the updated versions featured on the release. We play them differently now, so we wanted to include them with the new touches we added: different drum patterns, time signatures and guitar leads.

Regarding re-releases, the latest release was the re-recording of ‘Moth And Rust In The Temple Of Putridity’. What made you want to re-record this album? Were there any major changes?

It was in discussion for a few years. One day I was online and saw where there were some that wanted to have it re-released. It didn’t take much to encourage me to start the process. Right away, I decided to start working on the songs and artwork. I didn’t want that release to be an exact copy of the original. So alot of the songs are different. In some ways, it’s a completely different album. Different riffs, drum parts and time signatures were introduced. Overall, it was a fun experience to revisit those old songs and give them a new feel.

Besides Christianity, what other inspirations do you draw from when composing lyrics?

I would say life experiences and alot of experiences with emotional and mental instability. Several lyrics were written about anxiey because that was something I have dealt with for years and it definitely shows in the earlier material. Some lyrics touch on coping with modern day society and the complexity of finding hope and faith during dark times.

Has there been any song(s) that was hard to compose? Any that are very personal?

Alot of the songs are personal to me because I have written them from my own perspective. Matt usually gets strong vibes when we play “Saul I Am” live. We also feel alot of energy when we play “Premonitions Of The Infected”. Some songs have been more difficult to write musically and play live. We don’t get too technical with our playing, but sometimes the pace can be challenge on the faster songs. Guitars have always been “slow and low” as we like to say, but our drummer Riley is always pushing himself to new limits with his playing and we’ve been able to see him grow over the past 5 years. It’s been incredible.

If you had to introduce one of your albums to a new listener, which album would you choose and why?

That’s a good question. It would probably have to be “Eternal Harvest” because of the quality. People seem to gravitate to that album the most and I think it is a good representation of where we are at currently as a band.

There are so many metal festivals around the world that I think AMOF would do well in, including Wacken. Are there any particular festivals you guys wish to play? How about bands you would love to tour with?

We have had the privilage of playing Exodo Fest in Mexico as well as Audiofeed in Illinois. We have had the best of times at both festivals and we look forward to playing them more in the future. Playing a festival like Wacken would be an incredible experience, hopefully that will open up for us as a possibility in the future. We always love playing shows with our friends in Broken Flesh and Taking The Head Of Goliath. We have made friends with some amazing people on the road and we look forward to seeing our friendships grow.

What other bands do you guys like to listen to?

We have a wide variety of interests. Let me try to give you a long list of bands that we jam often: Tomb Mold, Devourment, Spectral Voice, Suffocation, Pathology, Abigail Williams, Cannibal Corpse, Cephalotripsy, Condemned, Morbid Angel, Defeated Sanity, Dark Funeral, Malevolent Creation, Bathory, Slayer, Xasthur, Katatonia, Deicide, Cradle Of Filth, Ingested, Venom, Whitechapel, Testament, Darkthrone, Epicardiectomy, Satyricon, Death, Emperor, Gorguts, Amorphis, Burzum, Decapitated, Carcass, Antestor, Meshuggah, Dying Fetus, Immortal, Wolves In The Throne Room, Behemoth, Mortification, Broken Flesh, Dimmu Borgir, Napalm Death, Mortitian, Earth Crisis, etc. We are also into several post rock bands, noise projects, trance music, ambient music, electronic music, traditional heavy metal bands, jazz, alternative and grunge bands, indie bands, metalcore and deathcore bands, hardcore/punk bands, etc. Our interests are always growing and expanding.

What are the various other projects of the band members? How are they going?

We have several projects outside of Abated. I’ll start with mine: Numbered With The Transgressors, Cadaverous Contingency, Propitious Vegetation and Flayed Alive. Other projects we are associated with: Weathertalk, Sadspeller, NGC 4414, Crypric Rising, Envothril, Triple Threat, Men Without Armies, etc. Riley and Thomas are associated with several more projects and bands. All of these works keep our creative juices flowing when we aren’t busy working with Abated.

What are some other hobbies that the band members love to divulge in besides music?

Hiking, kayaking, graphic design, painting, traveling, movies, beer, coffee, working out/exercise, cooking, coffee, fitness/nutrition, shopping for records, spending time with our families, etc.

Many have varying opinions when it comes to Christians listening to secular music, what are your thoughts on that topic?

People have different thoughts on this topic. My answer is not for everyone. Christians deal with this in their own way. I had a history of limiting my music based on my beliefs. My interest in other bands grew and my beliefs begin to change. I listen to music for the sake of the music. If it makes me feel something, then it has an impact on me and that is what music and art is all about. I may not agree with the topics and content of alot of the music I listen to, but that does not mean it isn’t good music and art. As an artist and musician, I personally don’t want to be so close minded to what’s around me. I have opened myself up over the years and I feel like I find out more about myself each day. To me, life is about experiences and growing and learning from them, not building a camp and drawing your lines. If there is music and content out there that makes people uncomfortable and stresses them out, maybe it’s in their best interest to avoid that content for the sake of their own well being.

What is the band up to now as far as recording goes? Anything in the works?

Yes, we have been writing a new album and playing some new songs. Things are going really well, we have grown closer together as a band and have had more opportunities to play shows lately. This has given us a chance to play some of the new material live and the response has been great so far. We’re really excited to get these songs recorded and put this next album out.

What else would you like to say to the readers?

First, thank you for this interview. These are really good questions and they were fun to answer. And we would like to thank everyone for the support and interest in what we do. It has been a great journey watching this band grow. We have had countless memories and we look forward to many more. We appreciate each and every single one of you. Be blessed and take care of one another. Peace!

Review of Immortal’s “Northern Chaos Gods”

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Review by Zach Brehany
7/25/2018

I want to start off this review with a bit of a disclaimer:
normally, I don’t listen to black metal or any of its closest counterparts. It
is not out of hatred or dislike, but more like I am just a good bit
inexperienced. I am stating this because of the nature of this album and some
of my background in Hard Rock/ Heavy metal.

When the album begins, the instrumentation is in your face.
You start to feel a bit of an ice-cold breeze going through you, the
instruments painting images of dark, cold forests. There is a feeling of uneasy
the more you fall into this world of darkness with the voice of a demon coming
out of the instrumentation. When the album opens, those not familiar with the
genre will have to find a way to catch up with the way to understand the vocal
techniques.

Normally, I never cared for this style of performing. Unless
it is like with the song ‘Demons in You” by Tarja (featuring Alissa White-Gluzz),
I normally never can’t find myself diving into the style. Here, it is a bit of
the same, but it fits with the mood and mental images.

As the album continues, we get to the second track (Into
Battle Ride). It was around that time I started to see that the songs are
telling a story that does have a dark, rapid base driven number where you are
able to feel for the world they seem to be creating. Maybe because this
reviewer is arrogant on the genre, but this was an element I was not really
expecting. I can see the idea of a black metal opera happening, given the
structure of this album and while it is not as extreme or grand as any of the
albums by Ayreon, this album seems to have a major saving grace for me: the
instrumentation.

Like with all genres, ones that require skill, talent, and
ambition, the instrumentation is always a major make or break. In the wrong
hands, you’ll get wonderful vocals, but the instrumentation ruins it (best
example of this would be the HIM cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear the
Reaper). Here, the instrumentation starts really rough, but as the song
progress, (starting combined with Into Battle Ride and Gates to Blahshyrkh),
there starts to be a more grounded, more composed ground flooring that not only
helps the flow of the themes of the album but works well just as it is.

Once the album ends, you are left breathless, exhausted.
Listening to this album is like watching a gorgeous, beautiful yet brutal
Viking epic without subtitles. As I am typing this, I am left trying to decide
if I would recommend this album or not. Given my limited credentials, I don’t
think my opinion totally matters. But from someone who isn’t well versed in
this genre, all I can report from my experience is what I have written. Do with
it as you see fit.

Overall Rating: 3.75/5