I first encountered the masterful death industrial atmospheres of Abjection Ritual through 2015 album, Futility Rites, and was most-intrigued when the project began suggesting through brief news updates last spring that forthcoming third full-length, Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth—out April 6th via Malignant Records—would offer something... different. More specifically announcing back in January that the work had been "heavily influenced by Godflesh, Neurosis, and early-Swans" and would feature a guest appearance from Starkweather's Rennie Resmini, how could any self-respecting listener not perk up!?
And make no fucking mistake: this is not some elementary, half-hearted experiment or "copycat" affair. Without abandoning its atmospheric industrial foundation, this is a legitimately hard-hitting, head-turning hybrid that truly holds its weight alongside the very legends by which it was inspired. Hear but one exhibit of evidence in "Blood Mother" below—followed by a quick chat providing additional details surrounding the track, and how Abjection Ritual's partial metamorphosis came to bear...
Abjection Ritual's shift into the realms of avant-garde industrialized metal is not entirely surprising given your background, but it's still somewhat of a rare occurrence. Talk about how this came to pass...
When I started working on new material after Futility Rites, I found myself bored and uninspired with the process. I felt that the working methods that I was using were not challenging or inspiring anymore, and instead seemed formulaic and stale. I couldn't get into it and felt like I was just writing the same album again. At the same time, I had a newfound interest in playing guitar again after a long burnout period during which I didn't even want to look at a guitar. I toyed around with the idea of starting a new band, but realized that I didn't have the time for it. At that point, I just said, "Screw it. I'm incorporating guitars, drums, and bass into Abjection Ritual." So, it wasn't a longtime plan that finally came to fruition, it just happened. At the same time, Zach (drums) expressed an interest in being involved in some recordings.
That being said, this is not a complete reinvention. Fans of your prior outings will not lose interest. While branching out into this logical new direction, Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth strikes a well-tempered balance with the base sound you had already developed.
I didn't find incorporating the new elements into the core sound to be a problem at all. I've always been a huge fan of Neurosis, Godflesh, and Skin Chamber and love the way those bands blended loud guitars and drums with electronics, noise, and samples. Seeing Neurosis play small venues in the mid-'90s had a huge impact on me. It was the most mind-bending and intense thing I have ever witnessed. Total sensory overload. Nothing has even come close to that experience before or since those shows.
The track we're premiering here, "Blood Mother," is the third song on Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth, but the first that more fully opens up into the breadth of this new approach by bookending a passage more demonstrative of your dark ambient/death industrial work with structured, metal-based songwriting.
"Blood Mother" went through several different variations before Zach and I pieced it together in my apartment with just a guitar and a tiny practice amp. The version we recorded in the studio was only rehearsed a couple of times and left room for some improvisation. I always wanted to do something like early Type O Negative where a song abruptly shifts into a totally different passage. That was at least in the back of my mind when structuring the song. I think we nailed it on the first take.
That middle section of the piece contains samples of an AIDS-infected woman speaking of "setting out to destroy the world." Without revealing more than you'd prefer, what can be shared about the lyrical or conceptual direction of this composition, and how it might fit into the overarching theme of the album?
"Blood Mother" is really about using sex as both a weapon as well as a means of self-destruction. Purposefully wanting to infect yourself with a disease as some kind of internal punishment or death wish. Part of it was also based on a dream I had of drinking infected menstrual blood in some kind of weird sexual rite. I find the sample interesting in that it has an almost cautionary moral aspect to it, especially when she talks about married men willing to risk everything for a few minutes of pleasure. It's almost like she has become an agent of punishment for lust. The lyrics and sample fit in with the overall theme of the album, which is about being mentally and spiritually bankrupt—longing for some kind of transcendence from the human condition, but at the same time being attracted or addicted to it.
Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth offers much worthy of note—the impressive musical growth, artwork by Leviathan's Jef Whitehead, a superb guest appearance by Rennie Resmini from Starkweather, etc.—so Abjection Ritual really should be poised for bigger and better things here. Are any such ambitions on your radar at all, or do you just do what you do, it is what it is, and whatever happens happens...?
I'd love to do some full-band shows. Other than that, I don't have any specific goals or ambitions. It's definitely a case of just doing what I do and seeing what happens. I'd love to reach a broader audience, but at the same time I'm unable and unwilling to go on long tours to promote Abjection Ritual. I'm not in any position to do so, beyond maybe some long-weekend dates. I've already done the whole stuck-in-a-van-for-two-weeks thing, and found it did not fit my temperament at all. I have a strong need for solitude, which is impossible in such situations. I also have bills, rent, and a business to run, you know?
Now available for pre-order, Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth will be issued as a six-panel digipak CD through Malignant Records on April 6th. See/hear more from Abjection Ritual through Facebook and Bandcamp.