Let’s face it—the south knows how to make metal pretty damn extreme. With seminal bands like Death, Morbid Angel and Deicide hailing from below the Mason-Dixon and carving a place for the dauntingly wicked, it’s no surprise that the current extreme scene sees newcomers and revivalists alike taking what the intense south has shaped, and making it their own. See: South Carolina’s own Through The Eyes Of The Dead. Bringing their years in extreme death metal’s buzz bin to fruition, these guys won’t deny borrowing sound and style from early Morbid Angel (even working with former Morbid guitarist Erik Rutan to boot) and early Cannibal Corpse (actually taking the name ‘Through The Eyes Of The Dead’ from a song off of The Bleeding), but TTEOTD also boast the strength and power to stick around in metal’s ever-changing landscape. With a new record, Malice, out on Prosthetic Records, TTEOTD have been overcoming what seems like constant lineup changes since their first EP, The Scars Of Ages, in 2003.
Having settled on a solid team in vocalist Nate Johnson, guitarists Justin Longshore and Chris Anderson, bassist Jake Ososkie and drummer Josh Kulick since their latest departure of vocalist Anthony Gunnells earlier this year, TTEOTD have also abandoned their former gore-inspired concept for a more mature message and sturdier chops. Through all the shakeups and setbacks over the years, TTEOTD have always found themselves in the underground spotlight and have since been cultivating a sound and style that finds them finally on the verge of breaking out. With all the cards seeming to be lined up in their favor, we caught up with guitarist Justin Longshore while out on the road to discuss the band’s metamorphosis and what just might be one of the most notable extreme releases of the year.
Now that Malice is finally out on shelves, what are your expectations for it?
I don’t know—we’ve just been dying for it to come out for so long. We recorded the record in February, and then we had to sit on it for so long and we’re just ready for people to buy it. And hopefully everyone likes it because we’re really happy with it and pretty stoked on it. Last one was really cool, but you know, we always want to improve.
Take me through the band’s transformation since 2005’s Bloodlust—there have been some big changes from what I understand…
We’ve pretty much been on the road non-stop—we did Sounds Of The Underground and a club tour with Unearth, and the whole time we were writing the [new] record and recording on our laptops and stuff like that. Everything’s been going really awesome, we recorded with Erik Rutan and got a new singer—a lot of new things.
How did you decide on Nate Johnson as your new front man?
We lost our singer the first day of the studio, so we had Prosthetic set up these e-mail tryouts and we got eight pages of e-mails. While we were recording the music of the record, we were going through all the e-mails, finding out who the best people were, and we had a lot of recommendations for Nate, so we set up the demo of ‘Two Inches From A Main Artery,’ and he was definitely the best and most powerful. We thought he would complement our music really well, so we flew him down and the rest is history!
What exactly happened with your former vocalist leaving the band?
There was a lot of ongoing dedication problems that were never really addressed before. We just never really wanted to put the band in jeopardy, but he was [not] showing up to practice, and he didn’t have any lyrics written for the new record, so we just decided to find someone more serious and dedicated… we were really left with no choice.