The Brooklyn black metal scene is exploding right now, but few bands are on the same level as Mutilation Rites. Chasm, their third album and first since 2014’s Harbinger, is refreshing, destructive and the best work in the band’s discography thus far.
The biggest change in Mutilation Rites is the addition of new drummer Emmett Ceglia, who replaces former skinsman Tyler Coburn.
“Tyler was a very integral part of our songwriting process on Chasm and also our little road buddy,” the band told Decibel. “He immediately became best friends with all of us when he joined, and we spent many great moments together. Once Tyler chose to continue with his goal of focusing on Yautja and other news horizons, things were looking bleak for the future of Mutilation Rites. Luckily we found Emmett. He has the chops and the creativity to make our band complete, as well as bringing a new set of tools from his musical style and education. His enthusiasm for music and life are absolutely inspiring. We are excited to present the new lineup to the world, at Migration Fest, at our record release show and on our tour around Europe.”
Chasm features heavy death metal influence, something noticeable on every song. Each riff is razor sharp, the vocals are raw and tortured and Mutilation Rites sound tighter than ever. Decibel spoke to guitarist Michael Dimmitt and bassist Ryan Jones to go with a full stream of Chasm.
Chasm is Mutilation Rites’ first music since Harbinger, which was released in 2014. What’s new in your camp since then?
Around the time that Harbinger came out, our old drummer and founding band member Justin Ennis moved to the West Coast prior to supporting the record with a tour. We had plans with go to Europe with Hierophant and then do a full US tour with Mantar. When he moved, we opted to find someone new to play drums with us. After playing Gilead Media fest in Wisconsin that summer (now Migration Fest), we had made good friends with Tyler Colburn from Alraune and Yautja. We loved his drumming, so we reached out to him to see if he would fill Justin’s shoes for those tours. He did an excellent job and we ended up playing with him relatively indefinitely after that, flying him in from Nashville to Brooklyn when we had shows booked and at the same time budgeted some writing time as well. This was the beginning of writing Chasm. So we played these new songs we had written on runs with Wiegedood and Aura Noir, as well as other stints. In the meantime with more time on our hands since we didn’t have a local drummer, we spent time focusing on our personal lives. George got sober and went to school to learn computer programming, Ryan developed his recording studio and Michael focused on his career in video editing and production. After we completed Chasm and a run with Aura Noir, Tyler left the band. It took us a while to find someone with the skill level and ability to play like Tyler but we finally found Emmett Ceglia. We are extremely excited to play live with him and are inspired by his skills and enthusiasm.
Chasm has a sense of immediacy or urgency that is more prevalent than on your previous releases. Was that something you had in mind when writing and recording?
That could be relative to the listener, but we enjoy that it exists and has affected you that way. We had a goal to write songs that were us, but wanted it to be heavy, dark and deep. When we recorded, we knew exactly what we had to do. We had been playing half of these songs on tour for at least three years. You could say that we gave on recording what we give live, and that we want to be loud and make you scared.
You recorded Chasm at Saint Vitus Bar, which most people do not think of as a traditional location for recording. What led to your selection and will you consider recording there again for your next material?
On our previous two LPs and two EPs, we recorded in Baltimore at Developing Nations with Kevin Bernsten, which was always a great experience but this time we wanted to do something different. Ryan Jones, our current bassist, recorded our demo with an almost completely different lineup 10 years ago in our old practice space and now things seem to have come full circle with returning to him taking on the engineering role. He is a live and studio engineer by profession, and one of the venues he works at is Saint Vitus Bar. After considering our options over who to track Chasm with, we decided to do it ourselves with Ryan. He is capable of achieving a sound that we like and it was a plus to be able to work at our own pace with no time constraints. We tracked at Vitus to capture the large room tone, specifically to for the drums and then finished up the rest at our practice space which has now evolved into Ryan’s Growlhouse Recording Studio. We feel that sonically Chasm it is up to par with the quality of our other releases, and recording this way helped us capture our performances. In general, recording anywhere can be a roll of the dice, and however you do it, you are going to capture that moment in time, and we are pleased with what we captured.
There’s way more death metal influence on Chasm than previous releases. Was that an active choice when writing or was it just the result of new members in the band?
Definitely an active choice. We wanted to challenge ourselves and channel our love for Cryptopsy, Suffocation, Deicide, Bolt Thrower and Archgoat. With Tyler on the drums, we had a drummer that could help us reach that goal. We are primarily a live band. We go with what feels good to us when we play in front of a crowd. This music is tour-tested and we can’t wait to play it for everybody.