Way back in the stone age (1990), Illinois death/grind freakies Impetigo released their debut album, Ultimo Mondo Cannibale. It went on to become the stuff of underground legend, the band with this album (originally on the infamous Wild Rags Records) cementing their place as a band that other death/grind freakies would reference for years to come as being one of the most extreme around at the time.
Somehow it all makes sense that here in 2016, Hells Headbangers Records is going to reissue Ultimo Mondo Cannibale on cassette. We caught up with Impetigo vocalist/bassist Stevo Dobbins to get the scoop on the new reissue and to look back on this underground classic, the new cassette reissue of which you can order right here.
Tell us a bit about this reissue; how did it come about?
Basically, it came about because… well, everybody’s just crazy about cassettes these days! I’m not sure how it happened, but over the past few years “dead” formats became popular again… long after we were told they were dead. As we know, sometime the dead rise from their graves, and while some refuse to believe that this is true, all you need to do is revel in the fortunes of folks like Hells Headbangers, who were among the first wave of folks who evoked damnation by conjuring spells of iniquity to bring vinyl back into kvlt status. As cassettes are following suit, they have used the same eldritch wizardry to enable the corpses of cassettes to return to earthly form… this time, with our hideous noise on board!
What can people expect from it?
They can expect the aural bliss of old-fashioned tape hiss, and a stunning J-card design format. The versions on cassette are the same as on the LP releases, both from the Razorback digital remasters.
How does it feel to still have interest in this album all these years later?
It’s amazing, amazing, amazing… as I’m several years through the “I’m shocked” phase of this, amazing is the best and worst reaction I can have about it. We continue to be humbled by the response our back catalog receives as it appears and reappears on new “old” formats, updated packaging… I always consider myself fortunate that something we worked on so hard, out of love and respect for the underground, is perpetually recognized by others in such a manner. We never did this for money or recognition; we did it because we loved this kind of music, this kind of material, and we wanted to be a contributing part of a movement that we were completely invested in. To be remembered for this is more than we could ever have hoped for.
What are your thoughts now looking back on Ultimo?
I am still haunted by the amount of work and preparation we put into this effort—the writing and rehearsing over the years, the artwork, the concept, everything. And by how much trouble we experienced before we even saw its eventual initial release. We had a run of bad luck at every turn with this album, and I could be sitting here thinking, “Well, that’s all we got,” but 26 years later, we’re laughing about it, because it was our hard work that I think everybody considers the most when they talk about us, and about Ultimo in particular. The trials and tribulations that most underground acts of our pedigree and geographical disposition experienced are so well documented and so heavily discussed, I really believe that folks who “get it” listen to these albums and think, “Yeah, that was no cakewalk, but in the end, the results speak for themselves.” Ultimo wasn’t a perfect representation of ourselves at the time, but in many ways it was an accurate representation, as we weren’t so damn perfect then, or ever, and I think that’s important to remember, regardless of whether you were “there” then or whether you are “here” now. Perfection is a lie, honesty is the truth, and UMC in its entirety is as honest as it gets.
Back when you were creating the album, did you ever think we’d still be talking about it today?
Absolutely not. I always felt that someday I’d run into someone 25 years down the road and they’d say, “Hey, you’re ‘that’ guy…” and we’d chuckle about it. There’s really so much more from that era that I believe should be remembered, and isn’t, but to be part of something that refuses to be forgotten over such a period of time is completely tremendous.