Band – Sanguisugabogg
Album – Tortured Whole
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Death Metal
Release Date – March 26, 2021
Label – Century Media Records
Author – Hayduke X
Imagine standing at the bottom of a rocky mountain, strewn with enormous fields of boulders. Imagine a mighty tectonic upheaval causing a massive avalanche to descend towards you. Imagine the waves of impact upon your flesh, your skull, your bones. That is essentially what you’ll experience when listening to Tortured Whole by the Ohio death metal troop Sanguisugabogg. The big difference is that, as the metaphorical Sanguisugabogg boulders hit you, you’ll be enjoying the impact.
In many ways, Sanguisugabogg is the latest ‘it’ band to hit the scene. There was a ton of buzz surrounding their debut release, an EP entitled Pornographic Seizures. On the strength of the four tracks on this debut, and the touring that followed, the Columbus, Ohio area quartet jumped right to the big leagues, signing with Century Media. Time will tell if that is ultimately the correct decision for both label and band, but Tortured Whole suggests that the band is worth the hype. The album is a dense and meaty eleven tracks, averaging about three minutes a pop.
The four headed beast of the apocalypse that is Sanguisugabogg features the twisted growls, howls, and death gurgles of one Devin Swank. In the interview below, he refers to his own style as having ‘cookie monster’ features, but his is not a one-dimensional attack. Rather, he brings a brutal, but varied approach to the microphone. Founder and guitarist Cameron Boggs presents a downtuned nightmare on guitar that is dissonant and incisive, as well as bludgeoning. Adding extra oomph to the attack with a bass lines that directly target the lizard brain is Ced Davis. Finally, the thunderous rumbling from behind the kit is courtesy of Cody Davidson, one of the many hats he wears (see the interview below for further details).
To be honest, I’m not sure why I like this album or this band. If you look at my personal collection, you’ll find almost nothing of a similar style. And yet, here we are. There’s something about Tortured Whole (even more than Pornographic Seizures, though I like that as well). I think it’s that the band composes real songs instead of just relying on brutality for the sake of brutality. The dissonant riffs don’t hurt either. We all know I like dissonance. Regardless, I full recommend this album. Give it a spin and see for yourself, then drop below the player to read an extensive interview with vocalist Devin Swank.
Hayduke X: Can I just have you start by introducing yourself and your role with the band?
Devin Swank: I’m Devin Swank. I’m the lyricist and vocalist of Sanguisugabogg. I’ve been on the EP and we have a full length coming out later this month. [Editor’s note: Due to a busy work schedule, I was unable to get this transcribed before Tortured Whole released]
HX: How did you first get involved with the band?
DS: So, I’ve known Cameron from going to shows. We’d always end up at the same shows. When he was starting a death metal band, he just hit me up out of the blue on my Facebook. We linked up. I drove with him all the way to Dayton, which is like an hour and some change from us, and we recorded the EP, like right off rip.
HX: As you mentioned, you’ve got a new full length coming out, Tortured Whole. I’m one of the lucky ones that’s been able to hear the whole thing, and it’s just absolutely filthy. Pretty awesome stuff. How are you guys feeling about it?
DS: We’re ecstatic, and we’re also really nervous about it, with it being on a major label now, and being more readily available for people to get. It’s kind of like…It’s kind of scary, because not a lot of people have gotten to hear it. It’s a little different than the EP. It’s just kind of like, “Man, I hope everyone else likes it as much as we do.”
HX: Yeah, you’ve had one EP, and then you sign with Century Media. How did that all come about?
DS: So, they were kind of interested in us early on. They contacted us on our social media right before our first tour that we ever did. It was just a couple of months into forming. When it came time for us to do a full length, they expressed a lot of interest in it still later on. It’s like, every time we tried to steer away from them, because we were scared in the beginning, they would try to come back a little bit harder. They seemed like they really wanted to work with us and were excited. So far, it’s been a good relationship.
HX: My favorite band of all time is Napalm Death, and they’ve been with Century Media forever.
DS: Dude, that’s my favorite band!
HX: Hey, look at that!
DS: That’s sick! I’m a huge Napalm Death fan.
HX: That’s awesome! Yeah, I drove all the way to Cleveland, which is about four and a half hours for me, to see Napalm at the Agora on an off date from the big Slayer tour. It was on that tour, but Napalm headlined that particular show.
DS: Yeah, I’ve seen them at the Agora a couple of times, man. I saw them with Misery Index and Black Dahlia Murder there. And I saw them…They played with a couple of local bands. They played with Embalmer. And then I saw them at the Agora another time with Melt Banana and The Melvins.
HX: Ah, that’d be cool. Actually Embalmer was playing the night I saw them too.
DS: Was it in August?
DS: In 2019?
HX: Yeah. That’s right.
DS: Yeah, I was there.
HX: That’s awesome! Yeah, I was there man. Interviewed Barney before the show. It was a good time.
DS: That’s killer, man. I never got to talk with Barney. I talked with Shane Embury. He’s really cool! Yeah, they’re my favorite band, man, of all time, as far as extreme music. I have a bunch of their stuff. I paid like a hundred and twenty bucks for a shirt of theirs, for their first ever tour shirt they ever printed. I have Utopia Banished original pressing. All kinds of stuff.
HX: Ah, man.
DS: I love that band.
HX: Yeah, I basically bought everything they had at the merch table that night. I pick up what I can, when I can. I’m a teacher and have three kids, so I’m not rolling in money, but when I can, I keep adding to my Napalm collection for sure.
DS: That’s awesome.
HX: Alright, back to you guys. Tell me about the writing and recording process and also how the pandemic has affected that for this new album.
DS: We kind of stick with the same formula. We record everything with our drummer, who’s also our engineer, Cody. Writing, we’ll usually come…like, Cam will have a riff in mind. He’ll work on it with Cody. And then, we’ll try to dedicate an entire practice to learning new stuff. Typically what we’ll do is, Cody will record a scratch guitar, put a click to it, do his drums in his own time, and then we come back and finesse everything. Then, I usually just come up with patterns I think are cool. Before we head to record everything, I try to come up with lyrics. I usually wait until last minute to do them, but I try to put as much thought into them as I can. So, we do a little bit of writing together and a little bit apart, I guess.
HX: So, you write all the lyrics then?
HX: Ok. As I was researching you guys and reading lyrics and so on, I did see that there is some buzz out there, especially maybe around the song Turkish Blood Orgy from the EP, that there’s some potential misogyny and so on in that. Just wanted to see if you wanted to comment on that.
DS: Sure. Yeah, it’s a little bit misogynist, because it’s based on a movie. Yeah, it’s called Baskin. It’s this movie that was filmed in Istanbul, and it’s about these cops that are hallucinating. They go into this giant pool of blood and there’s women there, and they all engage in intercourse. Our bassist wrote most of that song and then I just kind of finished it off. So yeah, the reason for that is because it’s based on that movie.
HX: Sounds like a brutal movie!
DS: It’s a good one. I like a lot of weird, like, trippy type movies. It kind of reminds me of The Void a little bit. I forgot to answer your pandemic question. Do you still want me to answer that one?
HX: Oh yeah, sure.
DS: The pandemic kind of helped us in some ways, with recording and everything, because last year, we were going to be on tour for give or take eight months from the entire year. We were all twiddling our thumbs wondering when we were going to be able to write together and get this all hashed out. So, when shows ended, and we were staying home, we were coming up with stuff. About a month into the pandemic, we were like, “you know what, let’s quit playing this waiting game. Let’s just get together and start writing, focus on that.” So, we would. Since everything we record is with our drummer, it made it pretty easy, because he’s always there.
HX: How long have you been a vocalist, even beyond Sanguisugabogg?
DS: If you count all the times I’d get together with friends and say, “Let’s jam!”, I’d say since I was fourteen. Like twelve years. I’ve only been performing live for like,…this will be my seventh year, playing shows and everything.
HX: Do you have any formal training? How have you developed your style?
DS: I look at it like the art of making love, man. You learn how to do it by watching other people. I took a lot of influence from a lot of people that I’ve looked up to. Frank Mullen and Corpsegrinder specifically. I would just try my own weird Cookie Monster thing, until I perfected it, in my own way.
HX: Outside of music, what influences and inspires you?
DS: That’s a good one, man. I need to think about that one. I would say… I’d say a lot of success stories do. They would probably help motivate me to do just about anything. People that come from nothing that accomplish something later on in life. Like, my dad was a high school dropout and had a criminal record, but now he’s a six figure man and can do whatever he wants. Just, good hard work, and stuff like that. I’d say that’s what motivates me the most.
HX: What are you listening to lately?
DS: Lately, if we’re talking about the past couple of days, it’s been a lot of weird nu metal that I haven’t listened to since I was a kid. Specifically, downset. As far as newer bands, I’ve been listening to a lot from this band from Indonesia called Decayed Flesh. They have like the old school Suffocation and Inveracity style vibes. That’s some of my favorite music, is brutal death metal. And a lot of Memphis hip hop. Like, Three 6 Mafia, Tommy Wright III, that sort of thing. Koopsta Knicca. All that stuff.
HX: I read that Revolver interview with Cameron. He was talking about Three 6 Mafia. Is that like a band-wide thing? I know neither of them are Memphis, but I’m more into like, UGK and Outkast from the South. For more modern, like Run The Jewels.
DS: Yeah, I love Run The Jewels. My dad got me into like, Naughty By Nature and stuff too, early on. When I was a kid.
HX: I’m an old guy. I just turned 47. I grew up with Run DMC, The Fat Boys, The Beastie Boys. Licensed to Ill was the first album I ever bought – on cassette – with my own money.
DS: I’m a huge Beastie Boys fan. One of my good friends, Mike, is in a cover band called We Are Imposters.
HX: What do you think are the three most important death metal bands in history?
DS: I’d say Cannibal Corpse, because they got a lot of attention and made the style of music very popular. Especially in the late 80s, early 90s. I would say Suffocation also. Anything that Scott Burns touched or worked with or recommended, was like the coolest band. I would say Suffocation, because they inspired where the music went, as far as breakdowns, grooves, faster drumming. I notice after Human Waste and Effigy of the Forgotten, it seemed like Cannibal Corpse stepped their game up a little bit too, with making their music heavier, so I think they were trying to compete. I know a lot of people would say Morbid Angel, because of their riffing and everything, but I would say this band, that doesn’t get as much love as they should, is Deeds of Flesh from California. They took it up to a whole other level with technicality. If it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be a lot of these Unique Leader bands that are out there right now.
HX: Live music is still up in the air in a lot of places. Do you guys…are you starting to make any tentative plans? Are you thinking about doing any livestreams or anything like that instead?
DS: We’ve spitballed the idea of doing a livestream. Everyday we get hit with news that’s very conflicting. We do have tours that, I guess, are on standby. We know a lot of things are changing. A lot of venues are closing down for good. Everything is kind of sporadic or up in the air right now. We have been talking about doing a livestream and possibly having Troma film it, or direct something for it. Make it kind of cool. Our shows have an atmosphere to themselves that…it would just be hard to do it for YouTube or something. When we play shows, it’s like…it’s like that Harmony Corruption DVD that I just watched. People are stage diving, they’re running up, they’re throwing each other. We’re not going to be able to do that for…years from now. It would be hard to showcase that online with nobody there in front of us. We kind of want to do a livestream. I think, for now, we’re just thinking about how to make it different.
HX: Right. There’s a lot of livestreams out there. Some of them have been good. Some, not so much. It’s hard to capture that energy of a live show, I’m sure. What’s next for you guys? Have you already started working on new music?
DS: Yeah, we already have. Other than our drummer, we all live within five minutes of each other. We hang out a couple of days out of the week. We’ve already started writing…we have two songs that we’re working on for B-sides for the album. They’re done. We also have three brand new songs that we already started demo-ing. Yeah, we don’t stop writing. I’m already excited for album three.
HX: Anything else we should know?
DS: I’m a virgo. I don’t know. It was really good talking to you.
HX: Yeah, thanks very much for your time.
Biography: Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. He is also a contributor to The Metal Wanderlust. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.