By James Barager
CALGARY — “We’ve only been to Canada once. We played Vancouver quite a while ago. This will be our first time coming any further east in your country,” says Kelly Kuciemba, guitarist and founder of Seattle death metal trio, Drawn and Quartered.
“We just kind of…. Never really made it out further. I don’t know why.”
Despite their well-earned respect and veneration, Drawn and Quartered has been plagued by a number of issues, including a slew of label headaches, to member problems, to simply being consistently overlooked in the big picture of great American death metal. The brief tenure of second guitarist Beau Galloway and his subsequent departure, longtime drummer Dario Derna’s separation and the fact that their most recent label Nuclear Winter Records went belly up have hampered the band’s efforts to release a new album, intended as an immediate follow-up to 2012’s Feeding Hell’s Furnace.
“We had a whole new album written, a bunch of it recorded and ready to go, then our drummer Dario left. He’s had a few other bands over the years and he moved to another city. Fortunately, we’ll be releasing some new material this year. We’ll be on a compilation this year, featuring a couple brand new songs and we’ll have an EP out soon. We’ll probably play some of these new songs when we play in Alberta. If we have them ready by then.”
Their upcoming Alberta shows, which include a performance in Calgary and Edmonton, will also include songs from across their six full-lengths. Due to Drawn and Quartered’s brand of dynamic yet relentless blast beat filled death metal savagery, the band has a decidedly “brutal” approach that sounds genuine and full, rather than devolving into pig squeals and bad breakdowns and many other bands with the aforementioned tag use.
We are going for “the atmosphere and evil of black metal, the intensity of death metal, a bit of doom, a bit of thrash,” says Kuciemba.
“Back when we started, we looked at all the bands that were the most evil, at the time, like Venom and Bathory and wanted to create something just as evil.”
Drawn and Quartered has largely succeeded in achieving that level of evil and intensity to properly honour their influences. Their meticulously constructed guitar solos and riffs are akin to other classic death metal bands like Immolation and Vital Remains; in addition they’ve barely changed over the years. If anything, like a fine wine made from the blood of those sacrificed to an ancient and temperamental deity, it’s improved with age and the refinement of the recipe.
“We’ve grown as songwriters, I think. We’re working on an eight-minute track, which will be the longest we’ve ever written,” he says.
“So far, it’s got a lot of changing riffs and a lot of solos, and that’s just my parts. A lot of the band’s material is written by me, but Herb [Burke, bassist and vocalist] and Simon [Dorman, drummer] do have a lot to add, not just in terms of live shows, because I couldn’t do it without them, but also what they bring in terms of band dynamics.”
The only album thus far that Burke has played bass on is their most recent release, 2012’s Feeding Hell’s Furnace. Previously, the bassist was exclusively on vocal duties, providing low-end, guttural grunts. All told, while the results of his becoming both bassist and vocalist aren’t particularly noticeable [read: different], Kuciemba says it works well within the context of the band.
“Herb hasn’t been playing bass [in Drawn and Quartered] for that long, but what he writes is a great addition and compliments the riffs very well,” says Kuciemba. Live, the same is true, as the previous four-piece delivers with comparable ferocity as a three-piece. If their absolutely crushingly heavy appearance at the 2015 Maryland Death Festival pre-party was any indication, they will annihilate the stage when they arrive in Alberta. Intensity, evil and an atmosphere of unstoppable ferocity pervade their performances and they succeed where many other excellent bands don’t in that they actually will hold your undivided attention for an hour (if not longer). Hell, Kuciemba has even done his homework and researched Drawn and Quartered’s openers.
“I love finding new up-and-coming bands, like that Begrime Exemious were wicked, and who’s the other band? Reverend Kill? I really like their sound. A lot better than some of the bands we’ve played with,” he says.
“Sounds like we might have to come up to Canada more often, huh?”
Yes. Please do!
Drawn and Quartered will perform at Distortion in Calgary on August 14th and DV8 in Edmonton on August 15th. They play alongside Begrime Exemious and Reverend Kill for both shows; tickets are only $10 at the door.AB, Alberta, Distortion, Drawn and Quartered, DV8