Steel City grindcore outfit Complete Failure are anything but a letdown on their new album, Crossburner. 14 tracks of straight-ahead fury, the quartet’s fourth album sees them upping the rage and aggression in the five years since The Art Gospel of Aggravated Assault.
Decibel spoke briefly to ComFail vocalist Joe Mack about Crossburner, politics and the importance of artistic expression.
The new Complete Failure album is called Crossburner. Did you write the album with the intention of it being a political one, and if so, what were you trying to say?
It is a political message, I guess. It has nothing to do with left or right, red or blue or definitive groups of people. Just one person’s perspective. A lot of the world we live in is based on one-dimensional decisions to extremely complex problems. Sometimes what decisions we live with aren’t right forever but are right for right now and what’s right for everyone might not be what’s considered right for you.
What was the recording process for Crossburner like? Was it recorded in one period at the same place, or was it spread out across a number of sessions and locations?
We recorded this over the course of probably a year straight in a few different states. James, Mike and Mark all recorded together. I recorded on my own with a friend who passed away during the recording process.There’s a band called Egality from Derry, Pennsylvania. Was a band. They’re called Nullum now. You could check them out if you’re reading this and any semblance of good actually seeps out of this interview and into your head. Basically all the members in the band helped me get on my feet after a stint in jail left me unemployed and completely out of control. A guy named Dakota Rhodes called me and basically forced me to come to his house and record. Had absolutely nothing to record with and no money but was able to go out and get everything overnight. At one point we were tracking vocals through a metal filing cabinet. I really don’t remember most of it.
It’s been over four years since Complete Failure released The Art Gospel of Aggravated Assault. What has the band been up to in that time?
One divorce, 2 kids, 2 failed marriage attempts, 3 months in jail, 5 jobs, 2 stints in rehab, 3 deaths, 1 move to Minnesota and 3 credit cards.
Outside of politics, what inspires ComFail when writing music, be it other bands, books, or something different?
Artistic expression means the world to me.