Phil Fasciana (Malevolent Creation) interviewed

** For the past 28 years, Florida death metal stalwarts Malevolent Creation haven’t cowered to trends, changes in the wind (or forest), or any other pervasive force. They’ve stuck to their respective death metal guns, and, after all these years, have come out the other side as true representatives of Florida death metal. The kind of death metal that set the scene on fire in the early to mid-’90s. Well, Malevolent Creation are back with a new record, Dead Man’s Path, and a new label, Century Media Records. Sure, new records are one thing, but the fact that Dead Man’s Path smokes is quite another. Read on as we question main man Phil Fasciana about the bad (jail) and the good (death metal).

What’s different about Malevolent Creation in 2015?
Phil Fasciana: Malevolent Creation 2015? Meaner! More pissed off and heavier then ever! This is a lot of years of aggression built up. This is MC 2015 not MC 1990! 2015 also brings a lot of new changes for MC, with a new record label (Century Media), who we are very happy to be working with. It finally seems like we are working with a professional record company that has faith in us and is working hard to help us move forward. We are also working with new agents for different territories around the world that are also more professional and are hopefully going to be working hard for us so we can stay busy touring and get to some countries we have not played yet or need to get back to. And the best part of MC 2015 is the return of former drummer Justin DiPinto ([from] The Will To Kill album) back in the band and the writing and recording of our new album Dead Man’s Path that came out better then expected and having Justin back in the band and around us really makes us a lot more happy and more confident. He’s just a great friend and drummer and we are so grateful to have him back for the last year. He has made our lives a lot easier and now there are less problems to deal with.

You signed to Century Media recently. You’ve been on labels before. What makes Century Media different?
Phil Fasciana: Century Media is a big label and they still believe in heavy metal and believed in Malevolent Creation. We are very happy with them and we want them to be happy with us. It works both ways! We do our job and they will do theirs! Also, we signed directly to Century Media and are not involved with some half-assed licensing deal like we had with Nuclear Blast for the past 12 years. Nothing against Nuclear Blast, but our former attorney/business partner really screwed us over by getting us to believe that by starting my own label (Arctic Music Group) with him and licensing our albums would be beneficial to us and we would never get screwed over. In reality, he was screwing us and licensing our album to different labels all over the world besides Nuclear Blast for the US and Europe and blamed the lack of support and promotion for our last four albums on Nuclear blast and assured us that because he was also our attorney he was going to make sure we got what was owed to us. He has been collecting our publishing, collecting money from licensing our albums to whoever he could get the most money from and really turned out to be a real scumbag considering we had him as our attorney since 1992 and he had helped us out for a very long time and then set us up to screw us by claiming to the owner of MC’s music and last 7-8 releases and we never made a dollar from him and Arctic Music Group. The label that I started up with him and signed my own band to just to get the label started and secure distribution and marketing around the globe. We are dealing with him legally now and just glad have him out of our lives and working only with Century Media Records. Whatever sort of agreement he made with Nuclear Blast behind our backs was not the agreement we saw on paper. Really sad to see someone you trusted and believed was trying to help you turned out to be a thief and a liar. Lesson learned but not forgotten. This war is not over yet with Mr.Scumbag and Arctic Music Group. That is for sure!

What defines a Malevolent Creation song at this point?
Phil Fasciana: Heaviness defines what we do! After 28 years of playing and writing music together, all we want is to be the heaviest band we can be. It’s a hard wall to climb, but I believe we keep climbing that wall. Our latest music is what defines us up to this point and we are good with that. This album is definitely what we were trying to achieve musically and having producer Dan Swanö mixing and mastering this new album it really set the bar high for us. The production, in my opinion, is without a doubt the heaviest we have ever had. Next time I am sure we will record every aspect of the new album entirely with Dan Swanö, if that is possible. I couldn’t be more proud of a MC album and Dan Swanö really had a big hand in making this album sound as good as it does.

What I find refreshing about Dead Man’s Path is that it reminds me of the past—Ten Commandments and Retribution—without sounding like rehashed material. You’ve been able to keep the thrash-inspired death intact.
Phil Fasciana: Well, we are MC and the core of the music writing is Bret Hoffman and myself and we all understand what a MC song should sound like. We just want to be MC and we are cool with that. No need to fix something that isn’t broke! I think this album has a little bit of everything we have covered over the last 25 years and we have never tried to reinvent the wheel or claimed to be the most brutal death metal band ever. We know what works for us and our limitations. We are very comfortable with the writing formula we have become accustomed to are simply trying to write good,heavy songs. Now that we are done recording and have had the chance to sit back and relax and listen to it we are really happy with the results. I’m happy because we still have a lot of fast and speedy stuff going on and we were also able to pump the brakes when it felt right and write some slower and grinding music. There is definitely a good mix of aggression within the songs and none of them sound like the last. It’s a great running order as well. It took a bit of time to decide how the album should flow and I think we have 10 songs that go together perfect on this album. Lots of discussion over this between myself, Gio and Justin to set the pace perfectly. I hope other people will agree. I can’t imagine listening to this album in any other order.

What makes you grin when you hear Dead Man’s Path?
Phil Fasciana: As soon as the first song fucking starts makes me grin! Because I know when people play this album they are in for one hell of a ride. We all knew if we got Justin back in the band playing drums that we would be able to get our ideas realized again without compromise. That was the main factor about this album and the way we work together now. No need to talk down about our former drummer, but he just wasn’t into what we were doing and it was becoming a big problem with the rest of us. We had all agreed over a year ago that we needed to get Justin back in the band or a new drummer if we were to continue. I’m glad Justin is back on board. We have fun playing music again.

Controversy is no stranger to Malevolent Creation. Is danger, unpredictability, and doing things differently from others part and parcel to death metal?
Phil Fasciana: It’s no secret that some of us band members have had our fair share of problems with the law in the past and have been in jail quite a few times and it’s nothing to be proud of because a lot of those things happened to us a long time ago and we still have problems with traveling to certain countries and in some cases can never play again in certain countries. Nothing horrible that anyone has done, but when you are young and drunk and get into fights and keep ending up in jail it stays with you on record. I’m proud to say that none of us have been arrested in quite a while and have learned a lot from the mistakes we made and had to pay for with our freedom and financially. Being behind bars is no joke and when you are in that situation you feel as low as you can possibly get. I don’t see any of us making the same mistakes again.

What do you want fans to walk away with after hearing Dead Man’s Path?
Phil Fasciana: Just like any album I want fans to be happy and love the music as much as we do. We are fans of music and write music we want to hear. So, if other people like what we like that is just fucking icing on the fucking cake.

You’ve been a part of death metal for a very long time now. As an Elder Statesman, what state do you think death metal is in at this point? Lots of change, but then again, the tenets remain the same: brutality, intensity, and death.
Phil Fasciana: We are still rolling! I know what we play isn’t for everyone and that is fine. But what I do know is that we are still a bunch of metal heads from the ’80s and we are basically a metal band that plays extremely heavy. We are what we are. We are not going to change and if people understand that,that is great! You have to accept change these days even though it is different and difficult at times. But at the end of the day we are still doing what we love, and that is playing punishing, relentless death metal.

** Malevolent Creation’s new album, Dead Man’s Path, is out now on Century Media Records. It’s available HERE in CD format and HERE in LP format. There may be no better pure death metal record in 2015 than Dead Man’s Path.