This year marks ten years of existence for St. Louis sludge practitioners Fister and a celebration is in order. After considering their options, the trio decided to record a covers album, cleverly titled Decade of Depression, featuring versions of songs by Fabio Frizzi, Metallica, Slayer, Darkthrone, Danzig, Hellhammer, Pungent Stench and… Fister?
Fister’s trademark sludgy sound can be heard plenty on Decade of Depression, adding their spin to the tracks while remaining conscious of the original. This is never more apparent than on their cover of Darkthrone’s “Too Old, Too Cold,” which you can stream below. Stylistically, it’s not a reach for the Fister and the attitude couldn’t be more on point for the miserable sludge trio.
Decibel chatted with Kenny Snarzyk, bass and vocals, and Marcus Newstead, guitar and vocals, about Decade of Depression, Darkthrone and 2018’s No Spirit Within. Decade of Depression is out September 27 on Listenable.
Fister’s new record is called Decade of Depression and it’s a covers album. Why did you choose to go with covers?
MN: As we came to terms that our 10-year anniversary of being a band was about to happen, we thought about a couple different things to celebrate it: a live record, maybe a tribute set to a classic band that means a lot to us, something like that. On our last tour we were doing the intro to “How The Gods Kill” into an old song of ours and after we got back home and thought about the anniversary, we just said, “Fuck it. Let’s do a cover album. Why not?!”
KS: Yeah. We talked about doing a few different things. Re-recording old songs and tossing in a few covers. Maybe adding a new song or whatever. Once we got working on a couple covers, we realized that was more of what we wanted to do for the record. In fact, the only reason we re-recorded an original song was because it never was on a physical release to begin with.
How did you decide which artists to cover? Is each one of them influential to Fister’s sound?
KS: It all pretty much started with the Danzig cover. When Eva Rose (Chrch) agreed to do the vocals, we knew we had something special. From there we made a list of songs we wanted to cover, and then we had to see which songs we could actually pull off live as a three piece.
MN: On all records up until our last one, I’ve always written two guitar parts for every song for recording purposes, but on No Spirit Within I stepped away from that approach and just doubled a singular part as I would perform it live. So for this album my mentality in breaking the songs down that have two parts written and trying to make one sensible part out of it was a big factor in picking the tunes we ultimately decided on.
We’re premiering your version of “Too Old Too Cold.” How did you approach adapting this song to Fister’s style, which has a few differences to Darkthrone’s?
KS: This one I think was pretty easy to not fuck with too much. It’s pretty straightforward. We made a few little tweaks but didn’t mess with the tempo too much or take too many liberties. It’s probably one of my favorite songs to play live too.
You released your last album, No Spirit Within, last year. Were you working on No Spirit Within and Decade of Depression simultaneously?
MN: No, we signed to Listenable in October of 2017 on the condition that we would have our first album with them finished by the end of January. It was right around the holiday season and with family and work engagements and only about five minutes of new material worked out, No Spirit Within basically was written and recorded in the span of five weeks. After that we went straight to Europe and had a dense touring schedule for us in 2018, so we didn’t do any writing at all last year.
KS: We’ve been asked a few times how we manage to make the time to write and record so often. I don’t think we work that fast, but maybe we are just used to our pace. I guess we did crank this record and the last one out pretty quick. We work well with deadlines I suppose.
What’s next up for Fister?
MN: Expect new material and even more tour dates in the future.
Sep 28 – Indianapolis, IN – Healer
Nov 1 – St. Louis, MO – Atomic Cowboy Pavilion & The Bootleg (Record Release Show)