The beginning of Embodiment of Decay, with all its harsh electronics and fragmented screaming, sounds like Phthisis undergo a painful and horrifying teleportation via some cruel but nevertheless effective device. What materializes from that tortured wall-of-noise is this monstrous assemblage of grave-digging riffs, meat-grinding drums and bass and crumbling mausoleum vocals that altogether makes for a low, down and dirty sound that has only two modes: Head banging or head hanging.
Embodiment of Decay
We reached out to Phthisis the moment we dug ourselves out of the grave that is their demo. We were answered by Wil (guitars, vocals), Joe (guitars, vocals), Jon (drums, noise) and Jay (bass) all.
Wil, one-half of Phthisis’ deadly double guitarist, double vocalist assault, describes the band as “a project that was a long time coming for all” involved in the band. He continues: “Jon [drummer] is a good friend of mine and we’ve been making music together for years, while Jay and Joe [bass and other guitarist/vocalist, respectively] had been writing songs together for this project already.”
Jon explains how he and Wil met Joe “at a Gatecreeper show in Denver last year” where it was “decided that [Jon would] play drums in the band.” Jon says, “Joe already had Jay in mind for bass and he fit in instantly.”
Next thing you know: “Between the writing, rehearsing, tracking, mixing/mastering, and the release itself, the entire process for the demo took roughly six months to complete,” says Jay.
Wil recalls how “Joe and Jay had ‘Detestable Putrescence’ written already while [he and ] Jon had ‘Septic Transmutation.’” He says, “When we finally all got together those songs came together nicely with drums and vocals and that was the start of the demo!” Meanwhile, according to Joe, the demo’s title track as well as the smashing closer were more “collaborative” efforts on the whole band’s part.
Embodiment of Decay sounds massive and insatiable for more bodies. According to Jay, “The recording process was that of trialand error which we put together entirely on our own. However, our combined experience in performing and recording helped the process go rather smoothly and yielded a genuinely raw and heavy final product.”
“Wil and I have been involved in electronic music for years, so we have a lot of equipment between the both of us,” Jon says.
Wil says he and Jon have “some experience recording in our home studios but never with a full death metal band.” He continues: “We did most of the tracking [for Embodiment of Decay] in the rehearsal space and did the mixing and mastering in Jon’s studio. It was definitely a learning process but we’re all pretty stoked with the final product.”
The first version was really sloppy, because we recorded it a little unorthodoxly,” admits Jon. “But we considered it a trial run, that way our second recording would come out better, and it did about 100x better.”
Looking back, Jay says: “The very first song we wrote was ‘Detestable Putrescence’ and the last was the title track, ‘Embodiment of Decay.’ The major differences between the two are that in the title track, we utilized a lot of space and tension within that space to build a foundation for the piece. We gave the beginning riff plenty of time to grow, breathe, and leave an impression on the listener before it unravels and explodes into the apex that is the final section of the piece . . . To me, ‘Embodiment of Decay’ is the song that represents Phthisis the best,” Jay continues. “This track showcases our ability to apply dynamics and tempo changes as well as the combination of both very slow and very fast riffing (and everything in-between) that is unrelenting throughout the entire 7 minutes and 17 seconds.”
As far as how Phthisis have weathered the pandemic as a band, Wil says, “Honestly the pandemic allowed for us to focus on songwriting even more. With no opportunities to play live, we wanted to take this time to hone our skills and develop our sound. Since everything was done in-house there weren’t really a lot of obstacles due to the pandemic.”
“We had been planning to release something around this time frame since the band’s inception, almost like a challenge,” Jon says. “As far as shows are concerned we’re taking this time to really perfect our tracks and make sure that our live shows sound flawless (no promises).”
With an original piece by Indonesia-based artist Rio Oka and a logo designed by Wil, Phthisis (whose name entered the underground at such a pertinent time with a most potent and disgusting demo. And soon it will be available, from the band themselves, on tape.