Talkin ‘Bout Flex: Church of Misery

Since Issue #75, Decibel has brought you left-of-center b-sides, rarities, live recordings and new songs from top-tier metal bands via the outstanding Flexi Series.  Want to hear the stories behind these recordings?  Read on.

This month, we talked to Tatsuhito Mikami of Japan’s Church of Misery about their contribution, a collaboration with renowned vocalist/bassist Scott Carlson (Repulsion, ex-Cathedral) on a special mix of “Confessions of an Embittered Soul” from COM’s forthcoming And Then There Were None record.  We also got Carlson’s take on his involvement.  You can snag a copy of the flexi in our current issue (#136, February 2016, Abbath cover) and listen right here while you read about the ins and outs of the song, including how part of it was recorded just a couple miles from my freaking house while I was all unaware (but not bitter).

When were you approached to contribute to the Flexi Series?

Carlson:  Actually, I approached Albert with the idea when I started to realize that this album was going to be a special one. I love the Flexi Series and really wanted to contribute. 

When did you write “Confessions of an Embittered Soul”?  How did the song come together, both musically and lyrically?

Carlson:  There will be a different mix of the song on the album, And Then There Were None. It’ll be released in March on Rise Above. The lyrics came about as I was doing research for the album. It’s about an Italian woman named Leonarda Cianciulli who murdered three women and turned their bodies into tea cakes and soap. Her murder spree was triggered by a visit to a palm reader who suggested that her children would suffer death and insanity. So, she decided to make an offering!

Mikami:  Musically, this song is typical Church of Misery song. Heavy groove, evil Sabbath riff and great improvisation guitar solo.  Of course, Scott’s vocal is really awesome!

When and where did you record the song?  How much time and effort went into getting it done?

Mikami:  Backing tracks were recorded in late May at Polar Bear Lair Studio in Maryland – it’s famous for many US doom/heavy rock band’s album like SPIRIT CARAVAN, IRON MAN, EARTHRIDE, INTERNAL VOID etc.  I stayed in Maryland for two weeks – first 1 week was for rehearsal with Dave [Szulkin, Blood Farmers] and Eric [Little, Earthride], and [the] other week we recorded all materials.

Carlson:  The vocals were recorded in early September at Kitten Robot in Los Angeles and engineered by my friend, Bruce Duff. It took me a couple months after initially hearing the music to hit the right gear. Once I started writing it was a very short process. Maybe a few weeks. 

What do you think about the color choice (red) for your flexi?

Carlson:  I believe it’s blood red and that is very fitting for the subject matter contained within. 

Mikami:  Red!  Color of blood.  Good choice!

Have you listened to other Flexis in the series?  Do you have a favorite?

Carlson:  I have all of the Flexis and there have been many good ones over the years. My favorites would be the Gates of Slumber and In Solitude’s cover of Samhain’s “Mother of Mercy.” That is a fantastic rendition of a Glenn Danzig classic!

Mikami:  Sorry, I haven’t. It’s difficult to get Decibel here in Japan. Give me all [the] Flexis – I’ll let you know my address…  Ha ha.

Check out all the Decibel flexis here.