Featuring members of Mitochondrion and Spell, and playing a cryptic style of death thrash that sounds at once dementedly calculated and totally unhinged, Reversed are easily one of the most interesting bands to debut in 2018.
Formed by Reversed Perverser (vocals/rhythm guitar), Perversed Reverser (lead guitar/vocals, also of Spell) and drummer Morbid Seducer (who also plays bass in Auroch, and guitar in Mitochondrion), Reversed began, according to the band, “with the intention to just jam songs that sounded like savage Aussie black/death/thrash.”
“Reversed was conceived in a haze of alcoholism while listening to Vomitor on vinyl and conspiring potential projects,” says the band. “A pact was made there and then to attempt to make music as wretched and heinous as we possibly could! As lifelong metal maniacs, we have always valued a specific essence in music regardless of the genre or style. Metal of death was where all things vicious could exist side-by-side in a perfectly complementary fashion. As all of our members have been involved in various death metal, black metal, and heavy metal bands over the years, we specifically set our sights back to a time when extreme metal was nearly indistinguishable regardless of micro-genre. Back when bands harnessed the most cruel, hideous, and savage sounds without a single consideration for which label they fit into. Most first wave extreme metal bands of any kind sound nearly the same across what is considered to be death, black, or thrash … Why is Bathory’s self-titled album considered black metal and Sodom’s In The Sign of Evil considered thrash when they sound nearly identical? Was that the intention at the time? We doubt it! That’s the essence we seek.”
Such was the (likely shouted) conversation on that fated, boozy night as members of what would become Reversed caroused to Vomitor. But it wasn’t until they got together and started jamming that they realized just how potent of a union they had formed.
“Soon after we started making noise it was clear that there was much more to this configuration than we imagined,” the band says. “We wrote the first five songs together as a 3 piece incredibly quickly … as this music was dying to be born! Later Wretched Intrancer joined us [on bass] to fulfill the full band sound for a live obligation, as he also plays in Spell with Perversed Reverser. After a few practice sessions, it was clear that this arrangement was essential to continue, and the line up of Reversed was solidified.”
Reversed say that their subtly evil, but unique band name came to them “by chance.”
“Morbid Seducer and Reversed Perverser were in our rehearsal space and were discussing a few ideas for a name, but nothing seemed to perfectly fit,” the band explains. “All of us put a great deal of trust into our instincts; if any aspect does not sit right with us, we discard it. As we were looking for inspiration around our room filled with bones, smoke, webs, blood soaked banners, etc., our eyes were drawn to a lyric sheet written for “Sepulchral Dirt.” And right there in the middle of the page was the bold, definitive word: REVERSED. At the same moment for both of us, we knew immediately that this was a perfect fit, for both the outward and inward aspects of the band.”
But what about those lyrics? With a demo title that conflates two deadly spiders, the black widow and the brown recluse, not to mention the numerous allusions to webs and all things arachnid, it’s clear that Reversed are doing more than paraphrasing the plots of their favorite horror flicks.
Reversed Perverser, the band’s lyricist, explains: “The spark of lyrical content started with “Sepulchral Dirt” and then explored a topic that informed the demo artwork and as well as three sets of lyrics. These are actually based around a mixture of personal experiences and esoteric tradition focused on the Arachnidic aspect of Lilith. I was bitten by a brown recluse when I was 16 and contracted flesh eating disease (strangely, the next day I found a Black Widow – arguably the two most powerfully venomous spiders in the world). I was bitten on my left calf and had a concave wound about the size of a playing card and a centimeter deep. Wounds also opened around my eyes, on my hands and feet after it got into my circulation. It took a very long time and a lot of medical attention to resolve, but of course as a young teen obsessed with death and idiotically naive, I completely embraced it.
“This essentially threw me into an extremely intense experience very ‘close’ to death, right around the time my personal occult practices became much more serious and my ‘path’ was shown to me. I meditated on these aspects in relation to my exploration with much darker forces as I was pulled toward the veil by The Call. The lyrics and imagery contain a lot of symbolism that reflect different traditions of arachnid worship, qlifotic work, as well as my own nightmares and relationships with the subject matter. In a strange way, the venom transformed me. It is a part of me now and will always be.”
That’s an intense origin story, no doubt. But listening Widow Recluse, it also makes perfect sense. Demos this strong seldom come about at all, let alone haphazardly.
“All of the lyrics represent the fountainhead which flows through Reversed. Our lyrics are rooted in personal experience. These are literal documents our lives and perspectives and not some fanciful musings. When we sing about death, graves, dirt, and chaos we are not so subtly pointing towards actual ritual practice – With Chaos at the centre of it all!”
Reversed say the five songs that comprise Widow Recluse took, all together, four months to write and perfect.
“Remarkably fast considering that we are nearly all playing instruments in this band outside of our comfort zone,” the band says. “Our writing process has proven to be uncannily natural, with at least 60-70% of the material written in the rehearsal space, sometimes turning off all of the lights save for a few candles as focal points and seeing what emerges from nothingness. Once the structure is discovered, Reversed Perverser and Perversed Reverser will go to work together to amalgamate the final layers.”
By now you’ve no doubt heard the heavy metal influence. While half of Reversed also plays in Spell, the love for old school heavy metal is unanimous among members of Reversed.
“Heavy metal is a massive influence on all of us,” the band says. “There is always a sleazy, catchy underbelly to all of the riffs and arrangements we put together. On top of this it is no surprise that half of our members play in heavy metal band SPELL, and naturally possess this sensibility while writing any music: especially in the strings. The structural nature of heavy metal balances out the formless filth inherent to the black/death more natural to our other half’s sensibilities.
“Of course Morbid Angel has a massive impact on us, as they should for any self-professed death metal band,” the band continues, after being asked if Covenant is also a major influence. “Covenant receives daily worship and is the name chosen for the greater artistic collective we are a part of. A nearly perfect death metal record!”
With five songs written, a band name evoked, and a clear vision of the path that lay ahead of them, Reversed took the next natural step. They started playing shows. The band describes their shows so far as “select and chaotic.”
“We have only played live a handful of times … to a wild pack of drunken maniacs in a secret location, opening for the masters in Aura Noir, and alongside the pummeling Necrot. Each gig represents an opportunity to completely give the self over to the animalistic and morbid nature of this music, and we indulge in every chance full throttle. Spikes, bullets, leather, ash, and blood!”
With their songs honed and whetted on the skulls of the unwitting, it was time for Reversed to record their demo. Electing, of course, to keep this venture as insular as possible as well.
“We recorded and produced this demo ourselves while Wretched Intrancer engineered it. After we had finalized a working mix, we sent it to our comrade Xavier [at] Studio Tehom (main man in Gevurah) who is a master with sound as well as a close ally. He knew exactly what we wanted to achieve and the result is clear! Xavier ripped the bitch from the REVERSED rotting womb and Annick [Giroux, vocalist of Cauchemar, owner of] Temple of Mystery Records cut the umbilical cord.”
So how does Widow Recluse compare to those drunken ambitions which sparked its creation?
“The ambition was to always make a crude and vile sounding demo with little effort outside of a haphazard attack,” admits the band. “What resulted was far more enormous and cohesive than any of us expected. The band rose to life of its own accord. Widow Recluse sounds much more dense and powerful than we envisioned from the beginning and it could not have turned out better to our ears.
“Each song represents something unique as we were discovering the sound of this beast during the writing process. From the black landscape and devious chorus of ‘Venefic Noose,’ the sinister refrain and unhinged blasting ending of ‘Widow Recluse,’ the perfect blend of influences and sounds on ‘Sepulchral Dirt’, the challenging and fucked up structure of ‘The Bloodthirst,’ to the epic and gnarly multi-faced nature of ‘Black Spinning Sockets’ … There really is a lot going on here for a ‘demo.’”
Widow Recluse comes out next Tuesday, September 18th, via Temple of Mystery on tape and digitally. Meanwhile, Reversed are already at work on their full length.
“The work has begun to amass more material for an eventual full length. The newest material is much more calculated than the songs that were spawned while discovering our particular sound. Already the new material is pushing the boundaries of our capabilities and further blurring the boundaries between what constitutes the various sounds of extreme metal . . . This sound courses through our veins and it’s nearly impossible for any of us to approach writing music without the outcome resulting in music dedicated to death . . . Beyond that we will see where the Widow Recluse takes us and where she plans to send us in the flesh.”