Intimately hostile, swelteringly claustrophobic and just downright terrifying, Scum Sedition’s self-titled demo came out late last year, and represents the Maryland band’s first recording under their new moniker and slightly new approach. At first blush, three songs in under 15 minutes doesn’t seem all that imposing, but once the Baltimore-based quartet get to doling out their sludge-death punishment, you’ll quickly come to appreciate how much clobbering these sickos manage to push into every single second of their demo.
“As many people know, Scum Sedition is a direct continuation of the band Tuol Sleng,” the band explains. “This band formed from the ashes of the thrash band Fatal Agent, of whom three of us were members. We met at an Obituary show in Baltimore sometime in 2018; Nick and Alex knew each other prior to that. Our motivation to punish the world comes from our collective contempt for conformity, authority, passivity, and the human condition. We chose our sludgier route because it was a natural advantage for us over the proliferation of bands who exclusively play fast. We play fast too, but the meat of our work is deliberately designed with regards to swaggering rhythm that makes the listener feel ten feet tall. Scum Sedition’s particular sound is more akin to death/sludge than death/doom, we make use of a lot of swing and very rarely do we slow down to the typical death/doom crawl.”
The band continues: “Nick and Alex write most of the music on their own time, casting the mold for songs in the form of riffs, rhythm patterns, and rough structure. Bill adds drum particularities and the band collectively determines the structure; the songs are always written collaboratively, and our process is comparable to a well drilled artillery crew. The lyrics come last, and a great deal of research and editing is involved in every set. Lyricism is one of our strengths and accentuates the feeling of oppression that is conveyed through our music. Ideas strike us at any time, so we usually make an effort to demo our personal ideas and show the other members at practice. Our writing has visibly matured since Culling the Seed; our songs take longer to write now since our quality standard has risen and the bar raises with every successive piece.”
When it came to recording their demo, Scum Sedition tried a few approaches. According to the band: “At first, we aimed to record Scum Sedition live. We believed it would be faster than track by track; we had placed ourselves under time constraints. It ended up being subpar, and so we opted to re-record track by track. We recorded it at one of our spots (with the mixer in the bathroom) using pretty basic equipment: an 8 track, a mixer, and a couple of microphones. Most of our parts were completed on first take. Alex handled all the production. We tend to learn things the hard way, but we always improve. The pandemic didn’t faze us; if anything, the band exists because of it. We found ourselves with a lot of free time during the early stages of the pandemic, and we didn’t hesitate getting to work for even a second.”
As for their non-obvious influences, Scum Sedition say: “Maybe not visible influences, but we are into ambient and industrial music, funeral doom, psychedelia, soul music, street drumming, we are lovers of music in all of its forms. With Scum Sedition, rhythm is always our top priority and so we tend to listen to music that is emphatic on rhythm, whether it be rap or funk or just rhythm patterns we hear in our everyday lives. Our influences from heavy metal are broad and influence from our contemporaries is non-existent.”
Looking ahead, Scum Sedition warn: “We’ll be getting on the road in the near future. While we are constantly writing and continuing our creative effort, we have enough material to perform with. There is a possibility of us rerecording the tracks from Culling the Seed and Scum Sedition for a full length release. Reception to our live shows has been excellent and we’d like to poison earth with our intoxicated arrogance. We want to find our allies and crush our competition. We will be playing alongside Caveman Cult, Primitive Warfare, and Goathex in Philadelphia on March 20th.”
Finally, the band tells us: “If you lose your first bet, double down until you win. Beware fentanyl. Question everything.”