In 2013, there are at least three albums featuring the vocals of Bruce Corbitt scheduled for release. The first will be the upcoming sophomore album by Warbeast, Destroy, slated to be unveiled Jan. 8. The second will be the War Of The Gargantuas split featuring two songs from Warbeast—“Birth Of A Psycho” and “It”—as well as two songs from Phil Anselmo’s solo album. The third will be the long-awaited Rigor Mortis album, Slaves To The Grave.
I recently spoke with Corbitt about his new albums, how the songs came together, and his desire to play festivals in Europe. The transcription is below:
With the War Of The Gargantuas split with Phil Anselmo’s solo songs, will this be available on CD as well as vinyl?
That’s what I’m hearing. And you can download it off iTunes. I just saw the artwork for it, it’s gonna be really funny when everybody gets to see the artwork, front and back cover. There’s actually members of Warbeast and Phil’s solo band as gargantuas or gargoyles—doctors and all this kind of stuff from the old movie, like a take off from that.
What were your favorite songs to record from the new albums by Rigor Mortis and Warbeast?
With Rigor Mortis, definitely one that I wrote about gladiators; it’s called “Ludas Magnus” and it’s the first time we ever did an epic long song; it’s like 14 minutes long. The first half is a Scaccia instrumental called “Sacramentum Gladiatorum” and the second half is “Ludas Magnus.” I am really proud of that one. Casey [Orr, bassist] wrote one about the atomic bomb called “Reign Of Ruin.” It was really cool and another one, “Flesh For Flies,” which is about Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
With Warbeast, I got this one about gargoyles; it’s called “Nightmares In The Sky,” I love that one. This one I wrote as a tribute to my brother, who I lost several years ago as you know, it’s called “Nameless.” I’m actually proud of all the songs from both new albums.
Can you tell me a little bit about the history of “Nightmares In The Sky” and how it came to fruition?
[Guitarist] Scott Shelby took on the bulk of the writing on doing the music on this album and when he started playing the new riffs on that album, it just blew me away. Immediately I’m like, “That needs to be starting out the album,” and I started hearing some stuff he did in the song and it reminded me that I got the image of gargoyles when we recorded at Phil Anselmo’s studio and in his house where we stay. It’s got gargoyles all over the place. I decided to just write my own song. What’s weird is that I was doing research on gargoyles and I saw “nightmares in the sky” and I go, “That would be a great title.” I come to find out that there is an old Stephen King book out there from the ‘70s that’s based on gargoyles and it’s called Nightmares In The Sky. But that ain’t where I got the title. I found out later that that was the title of the book. I thought it was appropriate.
Do you find ideas for composing lyrics come to you more in certain geographical places than others?
It’s hard to force creativity like that. Sometimes I’m sitting there and I’m like, “I gotta write these songs.” Then out of nowhere you get this brilliant creative moment; in 30 minutes something you’ve been spending two days on and it just happens. That’s the way it is.
With the new Rigor Mortis album, can you update me on how the mixing and mastering is going on the album and when you expect a release date?
Of course everybody got busy after we recorded it. Mike [Scaccia, guitarist] and Casey had to go and rehearse for their Ministry tour, and they were gone a couple months. Here I am out here on the road touring. So when I get back, we are going to start rehearsing all these new songs and prepare to play them live and then start mixing them. We probably will play Dec. 1 and Dec. 22; they are going to play for my 50th birthday. I am hoping we will have it finished mixing by the end of the year. We don’t have a date yet, we know it will be 2013, which will be the 25th anniversary since our debut album came out so it’s kind of appropriate that 25 years later that this lineup puts out another album. But I can tell you the name of the album; it will be called Slaves To The Grave. One of the new songs on the album is called “The Infected,” and that is just one of the lines in it, “slaves to the grave.”
I assume when you release the new Rigor Mortis disc you’ll also re-release the self-titled Rigor Mortis album?
Well, I don’t know if it will be right afterwards, but I think eventually we have to because now it’s been a couple of years since we ran out of those and everybody is starting to beg for it again. We try to keep all our friends and fans happy. We don’t want them paying too much on eBay. Eventually we will re-release the debut self-titled album.
Would you have any interest in re-mastering the 1986 demo for inclusion on a future CD of Rigor Mortis?
I don’t know, that demo was only on like 8-track to begin with and there is only so much you can do with it. That demo did a lot for us, it helped lead to us getting on Capitol Records. It’s a long shot that it will ever come out on anything.
Do you imagine you will play “The Troll” at Rigor Mortis shows once you have released your new album?
You know, that’s probably the only song from back then and from the demo and that era that didn’t make it on a Rigor Mortis album. It may come out on a Rigor Mortis album eventually; I don’t see us ever playing it. Right now we play some of those old songs so many times as it is that we are excited that we got this whole brand new album of songs that we can start playing.
Ministry’s Al Jourgensen provides a speech as the intro to one of the songs on the new Rigor Mortis album. What details can you provide about this?
Actually, the song I talked about earlier—the “Ludas Magnus” song—that’s the one I got Al to do the introduction to and he actually plays the role of the trainer of the gladiators, so that is what he is doing. The gladiators are arriving and he’s breaking them in and telling them how the rules are going to be and what his part is on the song. He makes them do the speech, the oath of the gladiators, the sacrament of gladiatorum. He did a great job. I’m like, “Hey Al, want to do this?” and I wrote it down and he came out the next day and in one take he did it and it’s perfect. I love it.
Did you record any tracks or license them to be included on any soundtracks similar to how “Foaming At The Mouth” was licensed to The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years soundtrack?
No, we haven’t, but that stuff just kind of happens. Sometimes they contact you. The “Foaming At The Mouth” thing… We almost got to be in the movie but we couldn’t at the time, but then they wanted it to be on the soundtrack. Same thing with Mr. Nanny with “Foaming At The Mouth,” we were contacted. You don’t really plan that stuff out; there are several songs I would think, “Wow, this would be great for Spartacus the song I wrote.” It would be on us to pursue it if we wanted to in advance. Maybe down the road somebody will contact us and say, “Hey, that one song, ‘Infected’ or whatever, we would like to use that in a movie or something.”
Do you plan to appear strictly on a touring package with Rigor Mortis next year or do you think that there will be any festival appearances such as Maryland Deathfest, Chaos In Tejas or something out in Europe or Asia?
Rigor Mortis does want to go to and tour Europe. We want to get on festivals. We would love to get on Maryland Deathfest, I know we are going to try to get Warbeast on Maryland Deathfest or that 70,000 Tons Of Metal. We want all that, it’s just a matter of timing and all our projects and all the things we got going on.
Warbeast’s War Of The Gargantuas split with Phil Anselmo will be released Jan. 8. For more information, go to warbeast.org.