Rage and FrustrationHeavy Metal Reviews and Interviews
Centenary – …Where No Lives Matter (Review and Interview)
Band – Centenary
Album – …Where No Lives Matter
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Death Metal
Release Date – January 1st, 2017
Label – Independent
Author – Hayduke X
Detroit bands, perhaps due to the location from which they arise from the murk, tend to have a common viciousness regardless of subgenre. Stockholm style death metal, with it’s crust punk infused roots, gives us a particular type of chaotic savagery. Centenary, a Detroit death metal band playing in the Stockholm style, have blessed us with some serious nastiness on …Where No Lives Matter. Its like the savagery of the two don’t add together, but rather grow exponentially when combined. Some bands sound like they crawl forth from the murk of some fetid swamp. Centenary sounds as if the have been spawned in the sewers, and then clawed their way out into the light of day through the concrete of that particular jungle, shredding it in the process.
Made up of scene veterans, Centenary are a young band with a veteran sound. Vocalist Stewart St. Cummings gives a powerful but gravelly performance with enough nuance and variation to avoid the boring death metal vocals trap. Founding member Mike Bradley (also some vocals), along with Matt Cunningham provide the maelstrom of guitar noise that calls the listener unrepentantly to the void. Their particular sound is discussed in the interview below, but know that it is chaos from twelve strings. Jim Albrecht handles bass duties, which I found hard to pick out of the mix. Galloping drums by Jim Kelley push the sound ever forward at a breakneck pace. These are also lower in the mix, almost subliminal. In this case, the effect is haunting, not missing.
A dark creature arises from the post-apocalyptic wastes. That creature is on the hunt for souls, on the hunt to drag victims into the abyss. That creature is Centenary.
Recommendation: A very pleasantly unpleasant surprise from the mitten.
Hayduke X: Thanks for giving me some of your time to talk today.
Mike Bradley: Thank you. I really appreciate it.
HX: Why don’t we start with a little history of the band? How did you guys get started?
MB: For that, I’ve got to go back even further. The band is a combination of several different bands. I first started doing stuff back in ’95 with a band called Grievance. That lasted for about four or five years. Then I started another one called All Creation Wept. That’s where I ended up hooking up with my long time friend and drummer – my current drummer – Jim Kelley. He played drums with that for awhile. That lasted for awhile, and then that kind of petered out too. I ended up hooking up with another band down in Ohio called Solidification. They liked my vocal style, so they recruited me to be the vocalist. So I went down there and I lived there for about nine months. During the process of that, we produced a record and did a month long, basically Midwest and East Coast tour. Then I came back, because me and the drummer of that band apparently had an issue that I didn’t even know about, which is kind of funny. So, you know, it’s easier to replace a vocalist than it is to replace a drummer. I totally get that. Went from there and started hanging out with Jimmy again. He had another band. He had a vocalist issue. They were called Vein of Lunacy. So I took the reigns on that. We had a good run for awhile. A guitarist, founding member, Mr. John Hawking, whose originally from Australia, decided after getting married to his sweetheart here in Michigan, that he’s going to take her and the kids back to Melbourne. They ended up moving and that was the end of that band. From there, I got kind of jaded, and I took a seven year hiatus from doing music, period. I kind of be-bopped around the country. I lived in St. George, Utah for a little while. I lived in Dallas, Texas for a little while. And then I came back. Then, like, I got a bug in my keister, like, October of 2014. By November 2014, I was talking to former members of the band. I’ve gone through eleven different people, by the way, over the course of two years. It’s hard finding guys that will commit and do whatever else. I’m not going to trash talk nobody, because that’s just not my way of doing things. The band in essence started in November of 2014. The current line-up we’ve had for maybe a year and four months, something like that.
HX: Is it the current line-up that we hear on the album?
MB: Yes, exactly. After some people ended up leaving, I kind of needed… I went to Jimmy and I was… I was all by myself. I had nobody. I asked him if he wanted to do drums. He was already involved in a couple separate projects, but he was like, “Sure dude. That’ll be cool.” We always wrote good music together. Why not do it again? I recruited him. We started farting around. I already had Jim Albrecht, who used to be in Genocya, playing bass with us when we were traveling. We were traveling way north from where I live now to go practice. Since the other guys said to hell with it too, I basically was like, ‘Well, what about getting a vocalist?’ Jimmy suggested that we get Stewart St. Cummings, the guy that we’ve got now. Stewart came and tried out. We liked what he did right off the riff. We’re like, ‘You’ve got the job, dude.’ He instantaneously was like, ‘I always wanted to be a front man for an old school death metal band. It’s kind of weird that you guys are asking me to do this now.’ It’s like, the good lord, fate, karma – you can chalk it up to whatever. Since Genocya was out, and Matt Cunningham, our lead guitarist, was already roomies with Jimmy, our bass player, it was kind of a natural thing. I was like, ‘Well, why don’t you bring him to practice?’ Well, he picked up two or three songs in one practice. So, it was really like, a no brainer. We’ve been going strong ever since. We put out the EP exactly January 1st, it’s been available digitally. It’s been out on disc for at least the past six months, if not longer. We’ve already sold somewhere between three and four hundred copies. So, there’s the brief history.
HX: What are you hearing about the album? Is it being pretty well received? How’s it going over live?
MB: Our crowds have been growing steadily. We haven’t been playing too much out of state as of yet. I’ve been trying to break out from that, but it seems like every time we end up going – you know, we play Mac’s a lot too, because Jim and Matt are both from the Lansing area. That’s like our second home. We play out there a lot. It seems like no matter when we do a gig there, there’s always a good crowd. That’s worked out nice.
HX: Well, that’s such a great dive bar to see a show.
MB: Oh, it’s a great place. I love that bar. Absolutely love that bar. As far as reception is concerned, it’s been shipped out to England. It’s up in Canada. I think we’ve shipped some to Japan. It’s getting around, and it’s getting around the United States. Anybody that listens to it, they dig what we’re doing. They dig the campiness of it. They dig the fun factor of it. That’s pretty much what I’m going to do now. Pretty much everybody in the band, we’re all a bunch of old farts. We’re all in our – well except for Matt. Matt’s the puppy. He just turned thirty. But, we’re all in our forties. It’s like, if I’m going to do something, I don’t want headaches. I don’t want drama. I don’t want crap. We strive to make sure, you know, when I write music, we strive to make it like, ‘I’m going to go to the store. I’m going to see this CD. I’m going to buy it. I’m going to listen to it. I’m going to like it.’ That’s exactly how I do shit. It’s been quite well received, to answer your question properly. We’ve had write-ups from the blog Invisible Oranges. No Clean Singing really dug what we’ve got. There’s also a local one here – I know a guy. His name’s Devin Lebrowski. He runs one called Metal Xtreme. He can’t shut up about us.
HX: I’ll have one in the works to go with this interview.
MB: That’s beautiful. We really appreciate that.
HX: What does the name mean: Centenary?
MB: It’s like a party. It’s a hundred year party. So, like centennial. It would be a centenary. Like, a hundred year party for something. I figured, ‘Well, we’re a bunch of old farts. The name kind of fits. The hell with it, you know.’
HX: I fugure you guys have 97 more years to party with this thing.
MB: We’ll try. I want to stick with it as long as possible.
HX: If you could, talk about this genre a little bit. I had this thing where back in the early days of thrash metal, I was really engrossed in college. Then right after college, I got married. A year after that, we started our family. So, I have this long gap where I wasn’t really listening to anything new. I missed all kinds of sub-genres of metal. One of them I didn’t know existed was this Swedish death metal. When people said Swedish death metal, I always thought melodeath, until about a year ago, which I’m not a big fan of. I tend to like my metal pretty harsh and raw, you know. I like black metal and grindcore and that kind of stuff. So when I discovered this stuff, I was pretty blown away and really disappointed that I hadn’t been listening to it since it came out. Can you just tell a little bit about this style and why you chose to play this style?
MB: Well, previous bands I’ve been in, like Grievance was kind of an experimental death metal. About the time that came out, black metal became really huge. That was like during the Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir heyday. At The Gates was an influence, but it wasn’t something we totally went after. So, we tried to mix it up a lot. People really dug that. Back in 1990, where I grew up in Warren, there was a small, independent, penny candy, record store, rock and roll merchandise place called John’s snake pit over by 9 Mile and Van Dyke. We used to go in there all the time, because that old fart used to have the most killer shit. That was the place to go on the east side. We walked in there one day and low and behold, I look – this is back in the day, obviously, 1990. I was hanging out with my best friend. You know, I was a thrasher until ’89 and then he turned me on to like Sore Throat and Napalm Death and then it’s been downhill from there.
HX: I’d call that uphill.
MB: Yeah, well, it all depends on your perspective. It definitely was uphill for me, but it was downhill for everybody else who actually has to deal with my noise. I saw this CD. This was when compact discs were still new. There was no digital media, no cellular phones, no computer shit, you know, nothing like that. So, I went on the old standard, you know – the first record that was given to me was by my sister, back when I was thirteen. My birthday was a fender stratocaster copy and a double gatefold Live After Death from Iron Maiden. The album cover would speak to you. It told you that, ‘Oh, ok. I’m going to check this out. I haven’t heard it before, but the album cover says it all, right.’ Well, I saw this Entombed – Left Hand Path CD. Never heard it. Never knew anything about it. I’m like, ‘Ok, I’ve got money burning a hole in my pocket.’ Didn’t own a CD player. Nobody knew about that. My best friend Tony’s dad was really hip on technology, so if anything was new, he would buy it. You’d go into there man cave at their house when you were growing up and he would have a laser disc player, VHS Betamax. You name it, he had everything. I’m like, “One of these times, we’ll come over and we’ll listen to it.” He’s like, “Ok. Bet.” We were all into tapes. We would tape trade. Everything was recorded on Maxell tapes or whatever else. Or you bought a record. Well, John just got them in. He’s like, “Check this out.” So he actually whipped out an original pressing of the Earache Left Hand Path. He whipped out the record and he’s like, “I opened this one up. I had to check it out.” It was vomit swirl vinyl. I was like, “Wow. That’s disgusting.” And he’s like, “Yeah, they call it vomit swirl vinyl.” So, I was intrigued by all that. I was like, ‘If this is this gross, fuck it. Let’s go.’ So, I bought it for $12.95. And then other reason I bought it is the record only had ten songs, but the CD had twelve. So I’m like, ‘Why in the hell am I going to buy this, when I can buy this and it’s got extra shit on it.’ I was already being Mr. Frugal back in the day. I was 15-16 years old at that time. So, I haven’t heard it still. I found out a few months later – it still sat in my house. I opened it and looked at the insert and stuff, but I’d never heard it, right. Three or four months later, I catch wind from friends that they’re going to blow through town playing with Morbid Angel and Unleashed. It was their first US tour. I’m like, “We have to go.” He’s like, “Have you heard there record yet?” I’m like, “No. I own it.” He’s like, “You haven’t heard it yet?” I’m like, “What the fuck.” That dude, his dad just got a whole gigantic stereo system and it had a disc player. We put it in and that was it. That was it. That record was the deal breaker right there. I have judged everything from that, because from front to back, it’s just as good as Reign in Blood. From front to back, there’s not a bad track on Reign in Blood. This is the exact same principle. But, it was heavier, the vocals were more raw, and the guitar tone, it was that – the chainsaw. We call it the chainsaw. Everybody calls it the chainsaw or the buzzsaw tone.
Leif Cuzner, who was the original guitarist for Nihilist, was the first guy to ever take that HM-2 Boss Heavy Metal pedal turn all the knobs to eleven, and then be able to manipulate it through an amplifier so it sounded like that. Well, it only took me twenty frickin’ years to be able to come up with that noise all on my own, from talking to people and blah-blah this and blah-blah that, and actually owning – I own three of them. But, yeah, all the magic is in that frickin’ pedal. Any of that stuff that you hear, it’s either that pedal, or it’s one of these newer boutique versions. There’s a company out of Austin, Texas called Lone Wolf Audio. A guy named Joe Anastasio, he makes one called The Left Hand Wrath. That’s become extremely popular. A lot of bands use it. A lot of bands have been incorporating that into their sound, because it’s just – Ok. One of my big influences, as stupid as this is going to sound, is Tom Scholz from Boston. You can say anything you want about that cheesy-ass band. They have always had one of the most excellent guitar tones. It’s because of that dude, right. If I’m going to go this time around – believe it or not, it’s going to be my last time around – I’m going to start using this pedal. I’m noticing this rise in bands that were coming out that – I even run a page on Facebook called OSDM Only – Old School Death Metal. I was noticing a lot of bands coming out that had the old school Swedish buzzsaw sound. I’m like, ‘What the hell. If they can do it, why can’t I do it?’ But I’ll do it my way. That’s why I’ve kind of created our own tiny sub-genre off all by itself. I call our stuff Detroit Chainsaw Metal. It’s not necessarily a Swedish death metal rip off. It’s actually that guitar tone with more of a – well we dabble in some of the Swedish death metal song structure. Some of the punk is in there too, but there’s also a huge Florida death metal influence. It’s not just your typical thing. We’re a little bit different. So, I decided to call it something different. It stuck, and it was absolutely marketable for the back of a t-shirt. From and early age – when I first heard that, and then we went to see them live, that was the end of it. Anything from that part of the world, I had to hear. It started becoming, ‘Well, if this band has gotten this big, because of that sound, we’re going to go to this studio and cop that sound, so that we can sell records.’ That basically is what happened. A shit-ton of bands come out that basically copped that same noise, and I own all of it. So, it worked. A weird marketing ploy happened. I guess, you could call it a weird marketing ploy, but it’s just a weird, unique guitar tone, that’s not really that weird and unique.
I was fortunate that I have a couple really good friends through the scene throughout the years. One of them is my friend Dylan Bevin who actually lives out in Salt Lake City. He used to communicate with David Blomqvist from Dismember and actually found out how to do it through one of the masters. He helped me out a lot with it. I put my own little spit and polish on it too. I use certain guitars. I’ve got a jerry-rigged amplifier that doesn’t have a reverb tank in it. All I do is run a solid signal. So, it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. When I started talking to guys about being in a band, I’m like, ‘When you join. It’s not going to be your sound. You’re going to use the pedal.’ Some people really couldn’t grasp the concept. They’re all like, ‘Well, what’s wrong with my guitar tone?’ Like, ‘There’s nothing wrong with your guitar tone. If you put your guitar tone and my guitar tone together, it’s going to sound like crap. You’ve got to have it all the way or nothing.’ I talked to Jim and I’m like, ‘Jim, how about using my old bass distortion pedal.’ We plugged him in and dialed him in and he’s loved it. He’s loved it ever since. It’s become a very, very integral part to our chainsaw noise, having him be that weird, low end rumble in the background. It’s actually made us sound way better. Matt was real easy with it. I said, “Here’s the pedal.” He’s like, “Ok. Help me out.” So I dialed him in and we haven’t touched the knobs on our amplifiers ever since. It’s turned out really good. People really, really dig it. As far as my knowledge, we’re the only one in the state that sounds like that.
There’s other bands we’ve become really good friends with throughout the entire United States. There’s one in Colorado called Bloodstrike. They use that pedal. There’s more. There’s way more. Basically, that’s the whole thing. It’s that damn pedal. I’m also an admin on another site on Facebook called The Chainsaw Cult. It’s basically anybody who’s really into it or a musician that has a band that has that going on. I just recently got a package from a band from England called Casket Feeder. The guy straight-up just sent me one of their CDs and a t-shirt. Their t-shirt says, ‘Casket Feeder’ and it’s actually a picture of that pedal. They’ve got the same noise, but they’re leaning more towards being a hardcore band. It’s more yelling, and it’s more like mosh riffs, but it’s still the same noise, and it sounds great. So, we’ve become part of a sub-genre of a sub-genre. So, the Swedes are basically the ones that took American death metal and made it better. I guess being a copy cat is the most sincere form of flattery. Nothing is original anymore. I don’t care what anybody says. You’re not going to come out and be the most original band anymore, so you might as well just take what you’ve got and write good riffs and make it right, rather than have it just be for art’s sake. There’s bands out there that are so technical. I mean they’re amazing musicians. I am not knocking them for their talent. I’m not knocking them for their craft or their art, but if I can’t headbang to your music, it’s absolutely ridiculous for me to try watching it or listening to it. I really don’t like it. It’s got to have groove. It’s got to have a hook. It’s got to have – well, we used to call them mosh parts, back in the day. The hardcore bands would call them breakdowns. It’s got to have a bit of a breakdown. It’s got to get people moving. That’s what’s motivated me as far as music is concerned, as far as me purchasing music is concerned for thirty years. That’s the whole motivation behind that, so I hope that answers that question.
HX: I would say so. You guys are Detroit area.
MB: The band is based in Roseville, which is metro Detroit area. Matt and Jim drive an hour and a half from Lansing every weekend for practice. I thank God for all that, man, because those guys do not have to do that. They’re tried and true people. They do it all the time, man. They love the band. They love the music I write. I am extremely fortunate and blessed.
HX: That’s pretty impressive. It’s always amazing to me when bands do that. I know this one band – a trio – one of the members lives in Mt. Pleasant, another one lives here in Grand Rapids, and another one lives in the Detroit area.
MB: They still make it happen.
HX: Yup. My question is, what can you tell me about the Detroit metal scene these days? 26:25
MB: Well, I will invite you to shows left and right and you can tell for yourself. There is an interesting buzz. There’s a great, great group of musicians out here now. It was really stagnant for a long time, but when I came back into it in 2014 and started going to shows, I was like, ‘What in the hell is going on here? There’s hundreds of people at this fucking concert.’ I would have never seen that for local shows, ever. Since we’ve been doing these shows, I’ve reconnected with a bunch of my old contacts or I’ve made brand new friends. I’ll do more name dropping. Temple of Void is absolutely disgusting. Great bunch of guys. They deserve all the success that they’re getting. They’ve got two full length albums out. They’re really, really good. There’s Isenblast, which I don’t know if you’ve heard them or not, are really good black metal.
HX: I’ve seen them live actually.
MB: Yeah, really, really good black metal from down here, dude. Fantastic fucking band. I love them. Absolutely love them.
HX: About two years ago, I went down to a show. They were on it along with Fell Ruin, another Detroit black metal band.
MB: I was just going to mention them. Yeah, Brian Sheehan’s band Fell Ruin is really, really good. We just played with them. Then, there’s also bands that are from out of that, that are really good too, that I’ve just noticed, like that Sunlight’s Bane. We played Berserker Fest with them. I was blown away. I was like, ‘Holy fuck. These guys are really good too.’ You never know what’s in your neck of the woods, you know. There’s Perversion. That’s Fernando Conte and Alan Hoover and Pete Gibbs deal. That’s pretty good shit too. I saw them open up for Venom and I was like, ‘What the hell is this? They’re all leather clad with crazy guitars. Love it! We have a local band here, not Casket Feeder, but Coffin Feeder. They’re really, really good. We gig out with them quite a lot. We’ve been friends with them for years. The Exploding Zombies are back with a vengeance from the Flint area. We gig out with them a lot. They’re old, old friends of ours. The scene, as far as like fans are concerned, is actually quite surprising. Sometimes I’ll do gigs and there’ll only be thirty or forty people. Sometimes I’ll do gigs and there’ll be a hundred and fifty people. It’s like, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ It’s way better than it was back in ’95 when I actually started playing music. I’ve been playing guitar since I was thirteen. I played bass for ten years too in two separate bands. Back in those days, we used to do the fucking garbage pay to play, you know, at Harpo’s, and all that bullshit. The crowd would never follow you. It was ridiculous man. There’s another one from here called Breaking Wheel that’s really, really good too. We’re actually playing with them in October. Thousand Yard Stare has made a comeback. They’re Neurosis-y noise, hardcore. They’re really good. There’s a lot of good hardcore bands too, like Psycho Violence, Poison Tongues, Anti-Up is really, really good. Another one of our newer that I will talk all day about, the best hardcore band around right now is No Breaks. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard them or not. There’s also the weird grind bands too, like Shit Life. I call it weird grind, because it’s kind of unusual. They’re just a two piece. But, I’ve known Zach for fifteen years. Zach and Chris, they’re really good. They are probably literally the fastest grindcore band in the Midwest. They are off the chain. Brutal shit. And funny. They’ve got a little bit of comedy going with their stuff too. There’s also a good mince band called Girth. Mike Kirby and those guys are really good friends of ours too. In essence, there’s bands that do this and bands that do that. I’ll mention Acid Witch too, even though we haven’t done a gig with them yet, but I love that band. Any of the stuff that Mike Erdody does is really good. That Failed band he’s in is good. Sauron’s still kicking. They’re still really good. My answer to all this, with all this long winded garbage is that the scene is stronger and a little bit more eclectic and diverse than it ever has been. I really appreciate that people actually dig what we do and are including us in this now.
HX: That’s really cool. That’s good to hear. Tell me about the songwriting process. How did you guys write …Where No Lives Matter?
MB: Malignant Winds was the first one that I came up with, with the original line-up of the band. It was just kind of like out of desperation. I came up with a couple of riffs. Somebody else came up with a couple of riffs. Then it stuck. I’m predominantly the head song writer, I guess. Not that I’m complaining or anything like that. It’s just the way that it works. I’m not sitting here saying I’m the greatest musician in the world or anything like that, but that’s just how it’s worked for us. Current song structure and current song processes go like this. I come up with the ideas. I go to the drummer. We jam. We get it down. We bring the rest to the table. They follow along and either put their two bits in or follow right along with it. We get what’s going on. Then Stewart will write lyrics over the top of that. I might even come up with a song title and then Stewart will go from there. It’s real easy going. It’s nothing super complicated. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes invention is the mother of necessity. Sometimes I get creative and it just happens. I’ll work on some riffs for like a month, then I’ll be at work or something, and the rest of it will pop into my head. I’ll come home. I’ll thump it out on the guitar. I’ll write out the song structure on a dry erase board. Then I’ll bring it to the guys and we’ll go from there. Every single solitary song, including – well, the track Vinterskogen that’s on there is actually from my very first band. It’s been revamped and re-imagined. I changed it up a little bit, but quite a few of the guitar riffs that were on that were actually written by Eric Blanchard, who’s an ex-member of that Temple of Void band. I jammed with him. Me and my best friend and another dude named Jason. We had a drummer. I can’t remember his name, but that was the first incarnation of Grievance back in the day. That’s an old song that I brought back just to have something to fill in. We don’t even play that one anymore. We have so much more new material going. I just actually recently took one of our old songs from the All Creation Wept band that me and Jimmy were in and we re-vamped that and we’ll come back out with that. That’s a new one that we just actually played for the first time. It’s called You Axed For It. It’s based off of a movie called Straight Jacket that stars Joan Crawford. The lyrical content is based off of that movie, which is like a black and white weird, crazy flick. We write about monster movies – old 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s monster movies. We’ve got that one Kolchak. That’s the Night Stalker, the TV series that was out in ’74 and ’75. I absolutely adore that show. It never gets the recognition it deserves, so we put a song to that. You’re the same age bracket. I don’t know if you remember Channel two Saturday afternoons with Sir Graves Ghastly?
HX: No. I’m probably roughly the same age as you, but I grew up in Canada, in the prairies, so I don’t know any of those channels.
MB: Oh. Well, you’re familiar with like The Ghoul or Elvira Mysteries of the Dark? Well, Detroit at one point in time, we had our own. It was Sir Graves Ghastly. We’ve got a song about him. It’s like, the whole religious aspect, whether good or bad, has been done to death, as far as music is concerned. Not necessarily my cup of tea anyways. The whole thing with extreme gore or violence towards women, you know, the slam bands can have that all they want. I don’t care. I’m not going to deface women or anything like that in my music either. That’s just not my thing. Not that what they’re doing is bad, it’s just not my thing. So, we take our intelligent level of things and kind of keep it campy. It’s almost like a good B-movie. Like an A-, B+ horror flick put to music. That’s pretty much how I keep it. Definitely fictional. Nothing fact-based. Even relate-able shit. We’ve got a song called Orange Barrel Autopsy. I came up with this concept that, what if somebody pulled off to the side of the road on I-696 over here. They knocked over a couple of the orange barrels in a construction zone, you know. They get out of their car to take a look and there’s something inside of one of the orange barrels. It’s actually a mummified human being. Who knows how long they’ve been in there? That was just a really weird concept for a song. It just popped in my head. We just kind of rolled with it.
HX: Do you have a favorite track personally, or even a favorite one to play live?
MB: That’s a rough one! Nice question. I love them all. I really do. I love playing them all. As far as crowd reactions, we get really good crowd reactions to Extracting the Evil, Malignant Winds, Ghastly Graves, and Kolchak. Those are some of my favorite. Those are my personal favorites. Then we’ve got like, new stuff that we play, like Orange Barrel Autopsy or Shovel Sickness and Bar Soap Beatdown. That is probably one of my favorite ones right now. That is about Private Pile. It’s about the beginning section of one of the best war movies ever made, Full Metal Jacket. We’re tipping the caps to Stanley Kubrick even.
HX: I’ve got to respect that choice.
MB: Absolutely! It’s an excellent film. That song, when we get it down and recorded – that’s something else I’ll mention too, we just actually recently recorded a whole new record. We really don’t like how it turned out. So, we’re probably going to fucking scrap it, which is terrible, but… You know the chainsaw did not come through like it did with the EP. After we’re done with out gigs, probably after October, we’re going to set up some studio time. We’re going to go to Mount Doom and have good old Vince, the guy that twiddled the knobs for the Temple of Void stuff and all kinds of other local bands from around here – we’re going to have him work on it.
HX: Good deal. I can’t wait to hear it. Hopefully it’ll come out right this time.
MB: I have a couple of new songs that I’ve been working on too, so that we can get rid of the old and put in the new. A couple of the songs that we recorded for the EP, we play a little differently now, so we’re actually planning on re-recording those. Not all of them. We’ve got so many other new ones now, it’s just getting ridiculous. Me and Jimmy just worked on one this weekend. We’ve got to work on it a little more before we bring it to the table. We’ve got this one called Phantasm Spasm. It’s like, the most straightforward grindcore you’ll ever hear us do. That’s something else I do to. I kind of do genre mash-ups. I’ll take a couple of different things, like this grindcore one right here, definitely tips the cap to Terrorizer. It’s almost like a complete rip off, but with the chainsaw guitar tone, it’s going to be something completely different. Then, Ceaseless Astral Void, which is the other one I almost have finished, is our doom song. It might be four or five minutes. It’s not going to be super long, but it’s going to be real slow. It’s going to be disgusting. It has another tip of the cap as far as early science fiction movies are concerned. I’m not going to let that one out of the bag yet.
HX: We’ll just have to wait and see.
MB: That one you’re going to have to wait on. Because you might listen to it and recognize it, and you might not. I was farting around on my guitar one day while watching said movie, which I’m not going to reveal yet, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can actually play that.’ I’ve actually turned it into a guitar riff. We’re going to put it at the end of the song. That’s all I’m going to say. So yeah, pretty much everything is my favorite, but – we’ve also been kicking around, trying to do a cover of Worldeater from Bolt Thrower for awhile too. Who know? Who knows what’s going to happen?
HX: Tell me about upcoming shows, touring plans, that kind of thing.
MB: This Friday, the 7th of July, [Editor’s Note: sorry the interview wasn’t posted in time for this…these take a long time to transcribe] we are playing at Corktown Tavern with another really cool, kind of Celtic Frost-y kind of band called Eve’s Blood. Thrash-y power metal stuff I believe, called Past Tense. I’ve never heard them and never seen them. I do that on purpose so I can get a surprise for a change. The almighty comeback legends from Milwaukee called Morta Skuld, Peaceville Records recording artists Morta Skuld. Those are old buddies of ours. This is the second time we’ve done gigs with them, so we’ve become really good friends. I kind of offered it to them on a whim, and my good friend Dave Gregor just fucking picked up on it and was like, “Yeah, we’ll be there.” So I was like, “Ok dude, cool.” So that’s this coming Friday at Corktown Tavern. Then July the 16th, at the New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck, we are playing with Cruthu, which is a doom metal band from the Lansing area, I believe. They’re supposedly really good. We’re playing. Then there’s a true Florida death metal band from Hialeah, Florida called Koroidia. If you took Morbid Angel and Incantation, but then put the whole Clash of the Titans mythos over top it, you know, unleash the Kraken and all that shit. Dude, they’re fantastic. Old friends of mine from when I started up this OSDM Only page on Facebook. This is the first time I’m actually going to get to meet them and shake they’re hands. So that’s happening July the 16th, which is a Sunday. Early show. Doors are at six, I think. First band goes on at seven. Then we are completely off for August. Our lead singer is going to three or four separate areas in Europe with his woman. They’re doing like, Poland, Spain, and something else. I think Austria or something.
Then we come back – I’ve got something else, September the 2nd, but I can’t really talk about it yet. [Editor’s note: This show has since been announced, and is Temple of Void, Tombstalker, Isenblast, and Centenary at Small’s] That’s kind of a big deal. I wish I could spill the beans. I wish I could talk to the guy and ask him right now if it was cool, but I can’t. That’ll also be in Hamtramck. I’ll say that much. That’ll be during the Hamtramck Polish Festival. Not only is there going to be a really, really heavy ass show, but if you come during the day, you can sample all kinds of Polish cuisine. There’s rides for the kids. All that kind of stuff on the main drag in Hamtramck. Then, September the 23rd at Mac’s, we’re playing with the almighty, legendary Deceased. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them or not, but that’s King Fowley. Good old King Fowley. Deceased has been around forever, dude. Total old school legends. They’re just getting ready to put out a brand new record too. We’re playing with them. A female fronted thrash-y black metal band called Tartarus, us and Sauron at Mac’s. And then, this might interest you here. I haven’t totally finalized it yet. It’s been given to me, but I’ve got to wait until Friday to talk it over with all the guys. October the 7th at Corktown Tavern, we’re actually playing with another legendary band that I’ve been real good friends with for awhile. Originally from New Jersey, starting back in ’91, ’92, ’93, another original HM-2 band from America – there’s only like three, right. Originators were like Morgion from California, which is like a death doom band, Divine Eve from Texas, which, believe it or not, I’ve actually had them up here and we played with them, and then this band Deteriorot. They’re originally from Jersey. It’s Deteriorot, and then Bear Mace, from the Illinois area, us, and that Breaking Wheel band. [This show also has Khazaddum, as of this writing] We’re playing at Corktown. That’s October 7th. Then, we were doing a gig in Chicago at the Cobra Lounge, playing with Nucleus and Sardonic Witchery, and a bunch of other fucking crazy ass bands, but that got canceled out. So, the promoter dude offered me October the 6th at the same place, with Deteriorot and Bear Mace, so we might be doing a little mini-tour for two days, playing Chicago, the 6th, and then Detroit the 7th. That’s what’s going on. After that, I haven’t had anything come up for November yet. I like to book in advance, because it’s a lot easier and I can do a lot of good promotion. It’s out there. It’s around for everybody to check out. I use Facebook as my flyering system, because I can reach more people that way. Handing out handbills actually still works, but I can only do so much. So, we don’t have anything for November and we never do anything in December, unless it’s something like super worthy.
When 2018 hits, who knows what the hell’s going to happen. We’re not really interested in doing any expensive touring. I’m a foreman fabricator, warehouse dude, and a delivery guy for a sheet metal factory, my drummer is a family man with a child and wife, obviously my singer who’s a teacher, he’s a family man too with a daughter. Everybody has kids and everybody has this and that going on, so being some sort of crazy touring band on a big label is probably never going to happen for us. Not that I’m worried about that. I would like it, but it’s never going to happen. Obviously none of us has the time to make that effort. We value our jobs and value what’s going on. I have to live. I have to eat. Everybody has to. I am trying to get some label interest, so that somebody can actually put our stuff out. Maybe we can get a little bit more notoriety or maybe get a little bot more distribution. Other than that, I’m still willing to do it all by myself, because so far we’ve sold somewhere between three and four hundred by ourselves. The band has become self-sufficient. I haven’t had to invest any money in the band in way over a year now. T-shirt sales, everybody’s buying whatever, and – yeah, visit our Bandcamp. We have a Bandcamp, if anybody’s ever interested in getting our shirts or anything like that, they can instant message me directly. I am literally Mike Bradley on Facebook. I’ll set up a package deal. We have three separate t-shirt designs, but there’ll be more by September. We’ll have a long sleeve and a couple of other different designs. We also have hoodies too. We’re working on hats. We have CDs still, and we’re working on another record. If anybody else is interested, I do a $20 bundle for a t-shirt and CD. Otherwise, discs are $6-7 and t-shirts are $15. They’re two-sided. There’s my senseless promotion right there.
HX: Well, you know, my next question was going to be, and this is where guys usually do that, what else should we know about Centenary?
MB: More of you all need to come out to these shows. You want to bang your head? You want to have a good time? You want to knock somebody on the ground and pick them back up? Come and check us out, because we will make your head dislodge from your fucking shoulders.
HX: Right on! Aright, man, I appreciate your time.
MB: Cheers, dude. I totally appreciate the fact that you did this man. It’s awesome. I can’t wait to read it.