NECROPHAGIA "Children of the Worm"

By Dr. Abner Mality

When the topic of horror in metal arises, the name of Necrophagia is never far from one's lips. You can't toss a dead rat without hitting a metal band inspired by the macabre these days, but Necrophagia have been carving a bloody path through flesh and bone for more than two decades. Subsisting on a diet of Italian zombie flicks, Coffin Joe and grindhouse grue, Necrophagia has been about horror and nothing but horror since the day they crawled from the grave.

Leading the sinister crew is one Killjoy DeSade, who likely spent his formative years doodling pictures of Jason Voorhees and dismembered body parts on his writing tablets. He is quite the authority on blood-curdling horror and can hold his own with any other expert you can name. He also has the determination of a bulldog, which has led to him fiercely keeping Necrophagia alive despite numerous line up changes, label screw-ups and general bad luck. After another long layoff, Necrophagia has returned to the metal wars with "White Worm Cathedral", the most purely horror-driven and classical record to date.

Like Pretorious and the Frankenstein Monster, Killjoy and I shared a pleasant meal in the catacombs, feasting off a coffin lid. We had a leisurely conversation about the history of Necrophagia and the true meaning of horror in heavy metal. Pretend you are a corpse laying within that coffin listening to the following chat...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES :Greetings and many thanks to you, Killjoy! “WhiteWorm Cathedral” has been unleashed upon the land. I heard the album had a difficult birth. What made this so tough to bring forth?

KILLJOY DESADE :We finished recording the album in November 2012.  It was supposed to BE mixed and mastered shortly after. We waited patiently for a while with no results or progress.  It turned into a huge ordeal and it was clear that it wasn't going to get done anytime soon.  Finally we decided to just re-record the entire record.  It really set us back at the time.  Now looking back it actually helped because we were able to get Mirai Kawashima(of Japan's legendary SIGH...DR. MALITY)  to play on the recording. Mirai is a mad genius.  He added some new elememts which in our opinion compliment the songs and make them even more horrific.  The re-recording also gave us a chance to work with Jaime
"Gomez"Arellano (Ghost,Cathedral,Angel Witch etc).  Gomez really did a great job mixing and mastering "WhiteWorm Cathedral".  We feel it's the best sounding release we have ever done.
WC:  It seems that each Necrophagia album must undergo a lot of trial and torment before seeing the light of day. Do you find that the obstacles actually improve the final product and make it stronger?

KD: Yes. It was hard to admit at first. The frustration  and anger was really rooted deep.  Looking back I know the record sounds better than it would have the first time. We were all pissed off yet focused. We knew the songs even better. Gomez helped so much. He was vital. I can say that Mirai would not have been on the first recordings. He was dealing with a lot of personal stuff. So I can say it's a stronger product. The ultimate answer will be if the fans think it was worth the wait.  We have put the ordeal of the first recording process behind us.   Two years of being idle was  a hard and bitter pill to swallow.

 WC: “White Worm Cathedral” seems to be the most “classically” oriented of all Necrophagia albums…the most atmospheric and eldritch. It sounds like it should be played inside an ancient ruined church. Was this the deliberate intent or just a natural evolution of your writing?

KD: It was written that way very intentionally.  We wanted to make a very in your face,heavy,catchy ugly raw record.  We worked very long during the writing process. We made sure that every song had a purpose within the context of the entire album as a whole.  It just felt really great to have a bunch of songs that we felt were all really good. No fillers. No interludes, No experiments. Just in your face back to basic metal in it's most primal and ugly form. In the past we have used different methods of killing the listener. Be it knives,razors,chainsaws,Chinese water torture. This time it's just one huge sledgehammer bludeoning you to death. The end result is still the same. It's just more direct and hits you harder.

WC: Can Necrophagia still be labeled death metal? So much of the death metal is based on blasting speed and churning distortion and “White Worm Cathedral” doesn’t have so much of that. I would consider it separate from the likes of Cannibal Corpse or Suffocation.

KD: I will be honest. I have not considered Necrophagia a death metal band for many years. We have elements of that genre but I feel we have more to offer with other influences as well.  We are just extreme metal in general with horror being the primary source in sound, lyrics and visuals. We are like a horror film that you listen to rather than watch.  We try to write real songs. We are not into musical masturbation. We will just  hatefuck your eye sockets instead.  The songs on “WhiteWorm" are  as I said earlier raw,abrasive and ugly but they can also be very catchy.

WC:  It has been 31 years since you set out on this dark path. Do the same things motivate you now as back then or has the emphasis changed?

KD  Iit's still the same. Horror,gore and the macbre. It's never been an image, it's something that has been with me since childhood. I really can't explain it. I am constantly upgrading my movie collection. Instead of buying newer films. I buy the newest transfers with new special features. I collect everything from my favorite films. Lobby cards,posters,action figures,stickers,shirts,magnets,statues.  It's just who I am for better or worse. It's my true love and passion. I can't see that ever changing.

WC: Your voice remains as macabre as ever. Do you find it more difficult to maintain this gruesome tone as the years go by?
KD: Thank you very much.  No, not at all. It's actually become easier over the years. It's like second nature. No real warm ups,no special drinks. Well, unless you count all the whiskey and cigarettes I have consumed over the years
WC: What was the earliest horror influence you can remember? The one thing that drew you to the dark side?

KD: I can remember several. I recall seeing Night of the Living Dead when I was about five and it really scared and scarred me haha.  Shortly after I saw my first Hammer Horror Dracula film. Christopher Lee was pure evil to me. I had never seen blood portrayed so vividly upon fangs. His eyes were also bloodshot. Things that were missing from the Universal films (I love those too by the way)..  From then on the fear became something I embraced. I wanted everything to be like that. My bedroom was decorated in Halloween décor year round. My night light was a Jack o Lantern. I ate horror cereal like Boo Berry.  I started reading Famous Monsters magazine while other kids my age were buying superhero comics.  I could go on and on. I think you understand a bit now,  haha (Sounds like a description of my own dear childhood!--Dr. M)

WC: When did you realize that heavy metal was going to be the means for you to express yourself?

KD:  I started out listening to my mothers record collection when I was very young.  Beatles,Elvis,The Doors.  When I was about five years old I remember picking up the Black Sabbath debut. It was like nothing I had ever seen on a record cover. It intrigued me. It became my favorite childhood record for a long time.  As I got older I discovered punk. Ramones,Sex Pisols etc. I started skateboarding and listened to punk almost non stop.  My first band was called Leper's Revenge. It was a punk band with horror themed lyrics.  It was inspired by bands like The Plasmatics,Sex Pistols,Exploited.  I heard Venom and Motorhead during that period and it changed the way I looked at music.  Those bands had the basics of punk rock but made it really sound ugly and more powerful. I was intrigued by their imagery as well.  Shortly after I decided I wanted to make some ugly punk metal. The horror theme came naturally because I have always been into horror. I can say that without hesitation. It's been a true passion for me since childhood.  The themes and lyrics are just second nature for me personally. I was originally toying with called the band Ghoul or Zombie but decided to go further into the meaning of both creatures. Thus I came up with the name Necrophagia. So to answer in short. When I first heard Venom I knew what I wanted to do.

WC: What’s the current make up of Necrophagia and do you think this version of the band is the most advanced yet?

KD: I can't say it's the most advanced line up.  I have too much respect for the musicians that I have worked with in the past. I can say that it's the most cohesive line up. We are always on point. We write and rehearse way more than any of the previous incarnations of the band. That fact alone helps build the band into something I feel is Necrophagia at it's best. We feed off each other. Yes, like cannibals and parasites, haha! No, but seriously. We have developed a certain bond and chemistry that has never been present.

WC: In the years that Necrophagia has been around, both horror and music have changed a lot and not for the better, in my opinion. What’s your assessment of the horror and metal scenes today?

KD:I agree. I think in the past decade it's been the worst. It's rehashing old ideas. No one strives to do anything original. More so in film than music.  I tend to watch newer remastered versions of my favorite films. I tend to listen to soundtracks or new releases by older bands. The latest Overkill,Exodus,Cathedral and Electric Wizard are amazing.

WC: What writers and authors have most influenced your writing in Necrophagia? Are there any underrated talents that you’d like to bring attention to?

KD: Clive Barker, V.C Andrews, Poe, Lovecraft, De Sade, even Lavey and Crowley to an extent. I never read much these days and it's a shame. The one writer that never gets enough credit is Jack Ketchum. He is brilliant. He knows how to disturb on many,many levels.

WC:Have you considered writing horror outside of Necrophagia and trying to be a published author?

KD: No. I have been asked to contribute to comics and books. It's not my thing.  I'm not patient enough.  Writing sceenplays and scripts is another thing altogether. I have a friend that I collaborate with on such things.  I will eventually direct films.  By that I mean shot on film and with proper budgets.  I have some really original ideas that I feel the horror community needs right now.  It's time for a new spark, Too much ripping off old ideas and concepts.
WC: What would you say have been the high and low points of Necrophagia’s existence so far?

KD: The highs are countless.  I feel extremely grateful to have earned a living doing something I love. It gives me a chance to educate music fans about horror films. It also has given me a chance to see the world, I have got to meet a lot of awesome fans and friends over the years. There's so many great memories it's hard to pinpoint to be honest. The first time I met Ozzy Osbourne, he shook my hand and said 'You sound like a bloody demon, mate!' {Philip Anselmo had previously played for him some tracks off of "Holocausto De La Morte"}, thus his compliment left me humbled. Growing up and  being such a huge fan of 'Famous Monsters' magazine and  then being fortunate enough to have their most acclaimed cover artist  Basil Gogos  paint Necrophagia's album cover for “ The Divine Art of Torture” , is definitely an accomplishment that continuously inspires me.  We love playing festivals like Inferno, Hellfest and Neurotic Deathfest,and the endless opportunities that our career unfolds for us.  The lows aren't important.  Everything happens for a reason. It takes time for some of the reasons to be clarified within your own mind.  I guess the only thing is that I have had too much ”off” time that I could have been more productive. I had to walk away for a bit.   At least I felt I did. I was doing so much. I was traveling and recording non stop. It was my choice. Much was accomplished but also some things were lost during that period. I needed time away but a year or two turned into a little over five years. The indusrty changed.  It was a wake up call that one should never feel too complacent. Never feel entitled. Beyond that I don't regret or second guess the past. A true witch lives for the present and future and only learns from the past.  History doesn't always repeat itself. Weak minds and bad choices make things regrettable. Strive to be a Magus not a sheep. Lead when you can. Only follow if it's a path for you that is made by someone you love or trust uncondtionally. These are not quotes from any book. They are codes that I live my life by now.

WC: Is there any musicians, artists or writers that you would really like to collaborate with in the future?

KD:  I love working with Maniac and Casey Chaos. I would like to do that again. We were gonna have Rob Zombie sing on the song  "Coffins". The countless delays that I mentioned earlier prevented that from happening.  Lee Dorrian, Jason McMaster (Dangwerous Toys/Watchtower). I'm sure there are others. Those are off the top of my head. Billy Sheehan was supposed to do something on "Deathtrip 69". Again delays caused that not to you said, we are plagued hahaha
WC: Any live plans to tour behind “White Worm Cathedral”?

KD: We definitely want to tour.  I refuse to leave my crypt unless it's gonna be done right. I want the band to be visual. I'm not talking over the top Gwar like stuff. I mean doing our lyrics and history justice. Giving the fans something special. If an agency wants to take a real chance on us then we will jump at the chance. It's not realistic to do a proper tour these days and HOPE you make money from merch because booking agency's are lazy,greedy and offer bands enough to barely  get a band from one venue to the next. We don't expect to get rich. At this point we aren't gonna go out and just agree to lose money. If the right/fair offer comes along then we will do it.

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

KD:The Marque De Sade,Aleister Crowley and H.P Lovecraft without a doubt !
WC: What was the last band you saw just because you wanted to check them out?
KD: I haven't had the chance to see many shows in recent years.  I went to Los Angeles a month or so ago to see Samhain.  Brilliant show. There are no newer bands that I wanna go see.  I'd rather see bands like Kiss, Venom, Exodus, Overkill, Pentagram.

WC: In the history of Necrophagia, has there been any Spinal Tap moment where things went horribly wrong that you could share with the fans?

KD: Definitely some crazy stuff. I wouldn't say Spinal tape because most of ours has been self inflicted on ourselves or each other. Frediablo once used a vacuum cleaner on my hair while I was passed out. I believe it's on one of dvds.  We generally have a good time but at our own expense if it's something dumb or silly.

WC: Any last messages to the fiends out there?

KD: Thanx for the many years of support. We will never change or stray the path. We hope to see a lot of old faces and some new corpses on tour.  You can't kill what;s already dead. Fulci Lives,Gore Forever !!!