Premiere & Interview: Sulaco – ‘Disguise’

Off-kilter grind unit Sulaco should be a household name, or at least one known throughout the underground, by now. Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Erik Burke (Nuclear Assault, Blurring, ex-Brutal Truth, ex-Napalm Death live), they’ve been around for the last 15 years, releasing last album Build & Burn in 2011. The wait for new music ends now, however; Sulaco’s new EP The Prize will be released on August 17 via Translation Loss. Today, Decibel is streaming new song “Disguise” including a Q&A about the EP with Burke.

Like much of Sulaco’s prior output, “Disguise” features angular riffing, beefy grooves, progressive and noise rock-influences and shrieky vocals. You can hear it below and pre-order here.

Q&A with Sulaco guitarist/vocalist Erik Burke

The Prize is the first new release from Sulaco since 2011’s Build & Burn. Seven years is a pretty significant period of time between releases. What’s new in the Sulaco camp since that release?
Not too much, unfortunately. Never enough time. Just looking forward to having some new sounds out and play some gigs out of town. I have a bunch of riffs ready for the next recording to keep that train rolling. Chris and Brian play in a band called CHRMR. I still do Nuclear Assault but that’s almost done, and I drum in Blurring and my solo project BCT.

Is there a theme or common thread throughout The Prize?
It’s mostly personal shit. Mistakes, shame and depression, crawling out of that shitty hole. But theres also glory. I don’t like to sing about depressing shit. I’d rather talk shit. As you can tell shit hasn’t been fun for me. So be it. Our last record was about annoying friends, Rambo, the doorway on the back of my head and a quote. Fun stuff.

What was the writing process for the new EP like? Since it’s been so long between releases, were these songs written over the course of six or seven years, or were they all written together?
A couple of the tunes were written early and the others trickled in along the way. Some riffs I’d write would get used for other shit but now I’m starting to use shit whenever wherever. If you hear the same riff, you know thats a favorite! Since time is an issue and getting together for writing sessions is tough, I’m arranging and demoing songs at home. I think the next release will be much sooner.

Where did you record The Prize? Was it a struggle or did things happen pretty naturally?
Watchmen Studios in Lockport, NY with Doug White. We have been tracking with him since the first Lethargy demo in ’92. Did the two Brutal Truth records there as well. We then shipped it off to Neil Kernon for mixing. He did an awesome job on our last one so we took the same route on The Prize. Recording is usually simple for us. Our sound is a train plowing through all the time. Im not too picky with shit. I leave in string twangs and random weirdness.That’s what you’d hear live so fuck it. Chris nails everything in a take or 2. Unfortunately Brian wasn’t on this record. He left the band and rejoined last year after record was tracked.

In the past, Sulaco has mentioned influences all across the spectrum from death and grind to doom, noise rock and even progressive rock. What were you listening to in the process of creating your new EP?
I was writing riffs for this during the Napalm tour I still have a boner over. So Napalm Death for sure. 90’s death metal. 70’s, 80’s, 90’s RnB, the other N.D (as in Neil Diamond!). I listen to a lil’ bit of everything. Mono is a fave. Love the sap. But grind is king!

Sulaco was just announced for Maryland Deathfest this morning. You stoked?
Every year, the week after Deathfest I message Ryan from MDF with “Duuuuude, you know Sulaco and Blurring are available for MDF!” Yes, we are very stoked! We don’t get to spread our sound much, so getting the chance to come down and party is gonna be awesome. We are also on his first installment of the Quebec Deathfest in October. Many thanks to Ryan!