MADROST “Probing The Essence” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

New talent is the lifeblood of any musical scene and in the metal world, it’s not hard to come by. There seem to be an unending flow of new bands now as opposed to the 80’s and 90’s when it was much tougher to get signed, but the truth is, many of these new bands are not really worthy of a lot of interest. But Oakland, California’s Madrost are a fortunate exception to this rule.

I discovered these guys with their excellent “Into the Aquatic Sector” release a couple of years back, which immediately caught my interest with its furious but intelligent take on American death metal. This was a band offering something more than just another deathcore or Incantation knock-off band. With the release of “The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh”, they’ve proven they’re no fluke and are here to stay. This album is highly recommended to fans of classic Death,  Pestilence and Abysmal Dawn.

The time was ripe for me to find out more about Madrost from the lips of vocalist/guitarist Tanner Poppit, who had some surprising answers to my questions…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings, Tanner! Give us a little bit of the history of Madrost if you could. Is this the first real band for you guys?

TANNER POPPIT: Hails! Sure, the band started in 2007 out of Orange County, CA. We have released now three records since our inception (“Maleficent”, “Into the Aquatic Sector”, “The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh”) and have no plans of stopping anytime soon. With a few lineup changes along the way, we have been active for the 10 years and counting of our existence. This is definitely my first real band that I have been apart of 110%.

WC: What’s the meaning behind the name “Madrost”, if there is any?

TP: Madrost in short is Bulgarian for “Wisdom”. 

WC: The title of the new album “The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh” is quite the mouthful. What’s the meaning behind that phrase? More specifically, what is “the essence of time”?

TP: Our artist Tony Koehl came up with that title as he usually will name his pieces of art. We honestly did not have a name for the album and when we heard his title, we got his permission and blessing to use it as the title of the record. This is also convenient since it’s the actual title of the piece of art itself.

WC:  I’m stunned that a band of your quality hasn’t been signed to a label yet. Is that by design or do they just not “get” what you’re about?

TP: Well thank you for that. Honestly, it is not by design. We just like making music and if something comes our way that makes sense for us to be apart of, then of course we would be glad to take that step. Until then, we are just going to keep making the metal the way we feel is missing in today’s community.

WC:  Is the new album a concept album and if so, what’s the story it tells?

TP: No, despite the central theme of the album, this is not a concept album. In fact, lyrically I felt it was important to leave the interpretations up to listener just like the older metal records did for me.

WC:. Are Madrost’s lyrics strictly inspired by science fiction?

TP: Not at all. With this release, lyrically it is definitely left up to the listen for his or her interpretation.

WC:  Your previous album “Into the Aquatic Sector” also seemed to be a sci-fi concept album. Is there a link between that album and the new one?

TP: Sadly no, I personally want to have all our records stand on their own. There is no link between “Aquatic…” and “The Essence of Time…”

WC:  What SF books or stories grabbed your imagination the most?

TP: Honestly, when being inspired by sci-fi imagery, I like to watch “The Twilight Zone”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still(50s version)”, “John Carpenters The Thing”, things like that.

WC:  Is there social commentary in Madrost’s lyrics? Does the SF approach allow you to express things metaphorically about today’s society?

TP: I guess you could say there is some social commentary in our lyrics. It’s honestly whatever the listen gets from it. 

WC:  Madrost’s music is technical but not overly so. How do you strike the balance between “catchy” and “technical” in your songs?

TP: Well, that is the easy part for myself, I usually will structure everything because it has to make sense. I try to put myself in the listener’s shoes when hearing back our riffs and such. What’s the point to having a song if nobody is going to remember it?

WC: What bands inspired Madrost’s style? I hear mid-period Death and Pestilence, with some SoCal thrash tossed in.

TP: Metal Church, Motorhead, Hirax, Exodus, Believer, Bonded By Blood, Obituary, Death, Rush, Ripping Corpse, Enforcer, Inanimate Existence. All of those bands really inspire me to write the way that is becoming synonymous with our sound. 

WC: What’s the California extreme metal scene like these days? Is there a lot of creativity and gigging going on?

TP: The community right now has been on a small decline lately. However, this year we have seen a huge uprise with bands such as Cranial Engorgment, Night Demon, Inanimate Existence and many others releasing albums this year, the SoCal community is alive and well. I am happy that Madrost has a home with those bands that are mentioned above.

WC: Has Madrost gotten the opportunity to play live much?

TP: We are lucky nowadays in the sense that we can pick and choose where and when we play and  all our friends are there supporting us at each show we play. We have had a few gigs so far this year but now that all the work for “The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh” is finished, we will be gigging heavily in 2017.

WC:. Any touring plan behind the new album?

TP: Yes, as a matter of fact. A tour will be happening hopefully in October/November of this year.

WC: Tell us about the cover art on “The Essence of Time…”. What is it depicting?

TP: That is a good question as I couldn't tell you what it is. Tony did an amazing job and we are extremely fortunate to have worked with him and so many great artists for this release.

WC:  If you could ask any 3 people in history to dinner, who would they be?

TP: Wow, well. Hmm, let me see here. One would be with Gary Holt just for the fact that he is the riff master. I don't know how he is so consistent in his riff writing. Two would be with Jerry Seinfeld because I think he would be super interesting to talk with and hear his jokes. Last would be Mel Brooks simply for the fact that it is fucking Mel Brooks. The stories that guy has must be insane!

WC:  What was the last release you picked up because you wanted to hear it?

TP: The last record I picked up (and i buy a lot of physical release, actually everything I buy is physical media) was the new Night Demon album “Darkness Remains” and it was worth every penny to own on vinyl.

WC:  Has Madrost ever had a Spinal Tap moment where things went crazy that you could share with us?

TP: Nothing too crazy has happened to us(yet) on the road. For the most part, it starts to blend in with each other. 

WC:  Any last words for the fans?

TP: Yes! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For all the support throughout the years. Especially with the new album. It has truly overwhelmed me and the rest of the band with how much it has connected with others. Cheers to Scott and Clawhammer PR! Lastly I would like to give a shout out to Jared and Jeff over at Lace Pickups for all their support in giving me the tone that I have always wanted. Thank you Wormwood for taking the time to interview us.