1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
a. Well, we just put out our 2nd album, entitled “Ageless Reign” and released on Inverted Cross Records, and the reception has been better than we ever could’ve hoped for and we are now signed with Pagan Pride Records. We have a few shows coming up but no touring plans until next possibly next May, we are trying to work something out to visit several places up and down the east coast and possibly do a few shows in California next year but that is extremely tentative and is still very much in the planning stages. As for the album, I can say I am 100% happy with it, it sounds better than even my wildest anticipations of dreams for it would’ve been and the mood of it is perfect. Overall this is the happiest I have ever been professionally and creatively ever.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album?
a. It’s straight death metal with a lot of influence from “Altars of Madness” by Morbid Angel, Sinister, Immolation’s “Here in After” album, the early Deeds of Flesh albums, Avulsed, Oppressor’s “Solstice of Oppression”, and Hate Eternal’s debut. Basically we just poured everything that we thought the band should sound like, sing about and portray, and stand for ideologically into this album and tried to make what we consider to be a perfect representation of what Malignant Christ should be.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?
a. A lot of the songs are allegorical meaning that they are metaphors for different things but I prefer to leave that up to the listener to find their own meaning from my lyrics. At face value the songs cover being ridden with disease, rising from the grave to reclaim your throne, dying and the process of death and returning to the earth, being forgotten and left alone to rot in obscurity, punishment for corruption, necrophilia, hell and eternal torment, and occultic wisdom and black magic. The lyrics come from deep within my mind, I’m a story teller naturally but I try to have meaning to what I write most of the time, although I do find writing guts and gore songs very much fun as in the case of “Laying Amongst the Rotten”, but even then you can view the level of disgust the narrator has with himself in the song as a way of expressing that what he is doing is somewhat abhorrent. Likewise, you have another song like “Ageless Reign” which is about a deposed ruler coming back from a horrible death and rising from the tomb to reclaim what is his and destroy those who usurped his throne which could be taken as a metaphor for anyone rising above something and claiming what they believe is theirs or something that they deserve.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band’s name?
a. The image and perverted icon of Jesus (not the prophet or the man but what the organized church has made of him) is often twisted to be used as a weapon and is therefore deadly or “malignant”.
5. When the band was a full line up were you able to play any live shows?
a. I play live shows now; I did a good portion of the “Forever in Chaos” tour dates alone although on some of them Joey Richesin (former bassist/vocalist) played the bass. I also did a few just before we recorded the debut and so far we’ve done like 5 or 6 in support of this cd. However, I don’t view Malignant Christ as a one man project like Bloodsoaked or Mangled Atrocity, although I am a great fan of those bands especially Mangled Atrocity who I consider to be one of the best death metal bands in the underground today, I want to be able to flesh my songs out more live. I have certain songs that I alone can’t play because of bass interludes and what not that I am dying to reproduce in a live setting.
6. Currently the project is solo, are you planning on working with a line up again in the future?
a. As of this writing Lee LeTourneau, our bassist from 2008-2011 who appears on our demo and the EP “Shrine of the Dismembered”, has rejoined the band for recording and some live dates and I plan on him being a permanent member. Lee has a house and a family now and just recently got married so obviously he won’t be able to do every single show and I wouldn’t expect that of him. We’re friends first and foremost after all. However, if we were able to get a tour or something and he couldn’t do it then I would try to find a stand in or session bass player for such events. Brian Kelley (aka Lord Kellicos) of Oakmoon has offered to help out in such a capacity numerous times. I am also always on the lookout for a 2nd guitar player and I have talked to a few people in my area but none of them have felt right so we’ll just have to see what happens, time will tell. But as of right now we are a 2 piece and hopefully that will translate to the next Malignant Christ album.
7. The new album came out on Inverted Cross Records, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support that they have given you so far?
a. Inverted Cross Records is owned by Philip Mason of the band Goatfucker and I run their Facebook and MySpace pages and they have also released 2 EP’s by another band I am in called Vomited Soul which is a grindcore band ala Gut, Agathocles, Dead Infection, etc… So I already had a lot of familiarity with the label. We also released our “Shrine of the Dismembered” EP through them back in 2010. Anyway, we were on Forbidden Records at the time we recorded “Ageless Reign” but Forbidden didn’t like the finished product so we left the label and decided to see if Inverted Cross would want to put it, so I called up Philip and he was more than happy to.
8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of death metal?
a. It’s been great, we’re currently being distributed by several labels such as Death Gasm, Pagan Pride, and Bloodletter Records among others and we have been afforded a lot of publicity opportunities that have not been there before as well as getting better show offers that we ever have in the history of this band to go to some new places we haven’t yet played. I’ve had people tell me that this album is a masterpiece which floors me because we worked so hard on it and to have it appreciated to such a degree is just mind blowing. All of the reviews I’ve seen have been favorable as well. I’m already getting questions about a third album!
9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
a. Lee and I have been working on new material for the future and it is similar to “Ageless Reign”, I think the next album we will have more songs and they will be shorter because to this point the majority of our songs have been over 5 minutes long and that sort of thing really kills you in the studio. Lyrically I’ve been reading a lot more about the history of the church and all of its horrors and atrocities towards mankind so that may take a more prominent form in our lyrics over the supernatural elements but the occult and supernatural implications will probably always be there with us.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
a. Mostly just death metal, I’m a pretty predictable listener. I also listen to a lot of anarcho punk, gothic rock, thrash, and regular heavy metal but the only stuff that influences Malignant Christ is death metal that I’m into and that’s my main musical love.
11. How would you describe your views on Satanism and Occultism?
a. A common misconception about us is that Malignant Christ is a Satanic band, which it isn’t. We’re a horror fiction band and all of our stuff is storytelling although there are a lot of metaphors in our lyrics. I’m a deeply spiritual person and the stories and characters in our lyrics come from things I believe in and to a great extent believe could happen to people. I believe that the organized Christian church and all of its offshoots are deeply perverse and evil and don’t represent a real god if there is one, they may have at one time but in 2012 the church is essentially a corporation and has been since at least the dark ages. I’m deeply interested in the occult and the supernatural and I spend a great deal of time researching these things but I don’t consider myself a follower of the occult, I’m really more of an existentialist or esotericist when it comes to my spirituality. I admire bands that stand by religious convictions like Vital Remains or Acheron or on the opposite side Mortification but I don’t believe in preaching what I believe through my music although there is nothing wrong with people who do. I think if there is a God then it is sort of like the air in that it flows through everything and in turn the Devil would be a similar thing, however since the Devil is a tempter of men he/it would typically take a physical form so as to be more palpable to the human mind. The God of the modern church as a man with a white beard doesn’t make a great deal of logical sense to me because physical perception is only a part of our existence and it would seem that logically the essence and true nature of God would be a manifestation of all things good and protecting and warm that we could comprehend happening at once and thus Hell would be the opposite. I think the universe is multidimensional and what people experience or even have the potential to experience is only a small part of what the universe truly is.
12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
a. Thanks to all of the fans, bands, and magazines who have supported Malignant Christ throughout the years, as long as you’re there to check us out we’ll continue to haunt the underground!