REALIZE “Machine Scream” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

It has been a while since we’ve heard a band quite like REALIZE. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, brutal mixtures of metal and industrial were prominent, with bands such as GODFLESH, SKIN CHAMBER, MEATHOOK SEED and early PITCHSHIFTER making unholy amounts of noise. Massive machine-like riffs combined with roaring samples and electronics. But as of late, there are not too many bands in this particular bailiwick.

REALIZE is here to correct the imbalance. Hailing from Arizona, this trio struck hard with their debut EP “Demolition” earlier in the year. That effort lived up to its name. But now it’s time for the full onslaught of “Machine Violence”, the full length followup. This is indeed a grueling trudge through a dystopian landscape towards which we seem to be headed in full flight.

Kyle Kennedy is the point man for REALIZE. He joins us here at Wormwood to tell us exactly what’s going on with the band, where they draw their inspiration from and where they are headed. You’d best put on your welder’s goggles and gas mask before you head into the trenches of REALIZE’s cyber-war...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: What’s the origin of the name REALIZE? Is there any meaning to it?

KYLE KENNEDY: Yeah, I got it from the name of a MACHINE HEAD song, “Real Eyes Realize Real Lies”, from their “Burn Their Eyes” album. I like MACHINE HEAD a lot. When I picked the name, I made a logo in Photoshop and just ran with it.

WC: It’s one of those names that doesn’t scream “metal” at you. It could be anything.

KK: Yeah, I thought that was an advantage to it.

WC: What brought all you guys in REALIZE together?

KK: Originally, this was just going to be a solo project for me. I wanted to try my hand at writing some industrial style music that had a kind of late 80’s/early 90’s vibe to it in the vein of GODFLESH, PITCHSHIFTER, SCORN. Then I wanted to start playing live so I asked Matt...both of our guitarists are named Matt.. to play live with me. We played a couple of shows live and I was interested in trying write another record and advance the sound. I was having fun with it and I invited them to join the songwriting process. And from there we became a full band. Minus a drummer! (chuckles)

WC: Are you pretty comfortable with an electronic drummer or is there any possibility you’ll add a real one?

KK: We’re pretty comfortable with the drum machine. We practice with it, we’ve played a few shows like that. We actually have a dedicated PA system for the drum machine so we have the infrastructure in place to play live with that. With that being said, I could foresee there being situations where we could introduce a live drummer at some point. But there are no immediate plans for it.

WC: It does definitely give you that very mechanical kind of sound.

KK: Yeah, exactly. It makes it more sterile when you see it live, helps with the industrial vibe.

WC: For this album to come out this year is perfect timing, because it’s a dystopian type album and we’re living in the dystopian world now…

KK: (laughs) Yeah, pretty much.

WC: Was that kind of a fortunate coincidence or was it designed to reflect these times?

KK: I would say it was a coincidence. I wrote the album over a 2 year period basically and we finished the recording in May of 2019, although I went back and redid some vocals in November 2019. We had the album done before the age of Covid-19 so it was definitely a coincidence. I’d say the biggest inspiration on the themes of the record come from me being an avid sci fi reader. I use concepts I come across in books, such as simulated worlds, where people are in a simulated world and then figure it out or mind-altering states where people are in the objective world but don’t realize it because they’re in an altered state or delusion.

WC: It sounds like you’re a big fan of Philip K. Dick.

KK: Yeah, I am! I find him really interesting.

WC: It sounds like you’re touching on some of the themes of “A Scanner, Darkly”.

KK: Definitely! That’s an awesome book.

WC: Any other books or authors that are an influence on you?

KK:  Another story that influenced me was “Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said”, which is another one by Dick. I do like Asimov and Frederik Pohl, who had some great books like “Gateway”.

WC: I remember Pohl did a book about a cyborg called “Man Plus”, which was way ahead of its time. That almost sounds like something you guys could cover.

KK: Definitely. We’re real influenced by that particular genre, the kind of sci-fi that was like pre-cyberpunk but still dealing with mankind becoming machines.

WC : The sci fi dystopia of my childhood has become reality in 2020. In a way, you’re fortunate coming out at this time because it seems to fit with what’s going on.

KK: It’s very serendipitous in that way, that’s for sure.

WC:  You have obvious influences on your sound like GODFLESH, but what are some of the influences that are not quite as obvious?

KK: I’m a big BLACK SABBATH fan, they are a definite influence on me. I’m also a big fan of KORN. I listened to a lot of “Follow The Leader” and the first KORN album, specifically the songs with groovy riffs. I try to imitate some of the sounds of the lead guitar from KORN but I don’t know if we succeeded with that. I think those are a couple of the less obvious ones. I’m also a big fan of metalcore and hardcore. I think those are almost subconscious influences when I’m writing. I have an affinity for heavy riffs and rhythms. 

WC: I could definitely hear some of the hardcore influence on it. Some of your songs really slam.

KK: Yeah. And I think some of the vocals and vocal patterns are more oriented towards hardcore.

WC: Now that I think about it, another band reminiscent of REALIZE is PRONG. Your band is a lot heavier, more of a sonic overload.

KK: Yeah, I like PRONG a lot.  Especially their most popular album. What’s the one with a fork in the eye?

WC: I remember the titles of their songs but for some reason, I can’t remember the album name.

KK: Let me look it up. Ah, it was the “Cleansing” album! I don’t want to say they were a direct influence but I’m a fan of theirs. I wasn’t really leaning towards their sound. Along the same lines as PRONG would be NAILBOMB, which has a bit more of a thrash metal influence. MINISTRY is another one.

WC: Could you ever see yourself doing a concept album?

KK: I’ve considered it. I’m not opposed to it. I’m thinking about our next album, contemplating what we’ll do and what direction we’ll go. It’s possible but I’m not sure. It depends on how I feel about each individual song.

WC: Did you do the songs on your EP “Demolition” the same time as the ones on “Machine Violence”?

KK: No. “Demolition” was recorded in 2017 and I wrote it late 2016/early 2017. I wrote “Machine Violence” in 2017 and 2018 and then we recorded in May of 2019.

WC: You used some unusual recording tactics when you were doing “Machine Violence”. I heard you used no amps. Can you tell us a little more about this?

KK: Yeah, we recorded with a drum machine. We literally just plugged the drum machine into the computer and uploaded it to whatever software program was used, probably ProTools. I actually did a similar production when I recorded “Demolition”. Basically all the guitars are a direct input into the software program. The guy we recorded with, Ryan Brant, is excellent. He has access to all these software mods and things that make your tone sound better. I wanted to make use of that. It’s less set up don’t have set up the amps. You get the tone dialed in just right. There are more options available with the software in terms of getting your tone. It may not be true in every case, but I feel that with the way technology has advanced, you almost can’t tell the difference. If you have the right modulation and the right person working the software, you can’t tell the difference recording direct input into software versus using an analog amp. 

WC: It sounds like you were kind of eliminating the middle man in this case.

KK:  Yeah, it was. We didn’t want to set up amps and we felt we could get the same sound by using software so that’s what we did.

WC: Most industrial metal bands have a very strong visual aspect to them. How do you guys approach that?

KK: The shows that we’ve played so far, we haven’t had any visual aids. But it is something I would very much be interested in incorporating in the future. A lot of it would be along the lines of what we use in our videos...very dystopian, destructive kinds of imagery. Up to now, we’ve approach our live set like it was a hardcore show...real stripped down. I believe one of our band members has a projector so it would be cool to use that to use some dystopian imagery in the background while we’re playing.

WC: Has REALIZE had a fair amount of live experience?

KK: We haven’t played a lot of live shows. Of course we had some shows canceled because of Covid and all that. We’ve played a handful of times and it’s gone pretty well so far.

WC: I understand you also play in a band called SEX PRISONER. Is that still a going concern?

KK: Yeah, it is. We haven’t been super active lately, but we’re still a band and we’ve played shows this year. We haven’t had any new material in a couple of years but we’re all buddies in that band so we have fun with it. We’ve been a little lazy but we do have an upcoming split with a Japanese band called FIGHT IT OUT, who are really good. That’s on the docket for us.

WC: I take it that’s a different sound than REALIZE?

KK: Yeah, it’s powerviolence. Very explosive, with various influences like CROSSED OUT and metalcore like MERAUDER and ALL OUT WAR. It’s a kind of metalcore meets powerviolence deal.

WC: How did your deal with Relapse Records come about?

KK: I approached them with a finished record and they spread the record around internally. From what I hear, they were real excited about it and decided to take the relationship further.

WC: Was anybody else interested in it or was Relapse the first and only choice?

KK:  I shopped it around to a couple of other labels but I was very interested in working with Relapse from the start. I’ve been a big fan of theirs for a long time so I was excited to work with them.

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

KK: There’s this really good Japanese metalcore/death metal band called KRUELTY, which starts with a K. They are extremely heavy. I think they’re on Profound Lore Records and the record is called “The Dying Truth”. That’s the last one I got.

WC: Any final words or messages?

KK:  The record comes out on September 25, and we’ve got 3 singles from it We’re excited about the whole record. We want to show the world a violent hand! We’re going to try and put together a small West Coast tour. Hopefully that’s sooner rather than later. We want to eventually see as many people as we can.