When I sent this interview off to Abscess drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert, I had no idea that it would be among the last interviews ever to be published regarding the band. With the departure of guitarist Clint Bower, the remaining members of Abscess have chosen to deactivate the group and focus their energies on the resurrection of a little band called Autopsy. I spoke with Mr. Reifert via e-mail regarding Abscess’ impressive final statement, The Dawn of Inhumanity, Autopsy and how to turn your mind into runny cream cheese.
THKD: Tell us a little about the new Abscess album, Dawn of Inhumanity. What did you set out to accomplish with this album?
Chris Reifert: We wanted to fuck with your senses, channel out some insanity, cause a disruption with the Earth’s magnetic field, and turn our minds into runny cream cheese all in convienient death metal form.
THKD: Where and when was the new album recorded? How would you describe the process?
CR: It was recorded last year at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, Ca. Our favorite place to record these days. The process was intense. We squeezed as much work as we could in there to capture the mood we were going for. Various obstacles presented themselves as we went along but we beat them all back with a vengeance and made sure the album prevailed.
THKD: In addition to the death metal/punk approach Abscess is known for, this album incorporates elements that could be called experimental /psychedelic. What inspired you to take the music in this direction?
CR: It just seemed like what we needed to do at that stage. Throughout Abscess recording history, you can hear strange parts here and there along with the brutal sickness, only this time we wanted to dive into the deep end of insanity and inhale deeply.
THKD: Dawn of Inhumanity strikes me as one of those albums that is impossible to pick apart; it should be listened to in one sitting and really takes you on a journey (or maybe a bad trip). Was this intentional?
CR: That was the exact intent and I’m pleased that you heard it that way too. We viewed it as an experience rather than a collection of songs that happened to be on the same record. Great to hear, man!
THKD: What are some of the lyrical themes you explore on this album? How do they tie into the overall concept of Abscess?
CR: As usual with Abscess we dug deep into the backs of our fermented minds to see what was lurking there, waiting to be exposed to the light of day. So it’s not so much themes or stories but rather the bizarre workings of our thought processes on display.
THKD: How would you describe your songwriting process for Abscess? How has your approach evolved or changed since the early Autopsy days?
CR: We always go with what we think the band should be doing at any particular point in time. I guess with Abscess there was a bit of room to experiment and touch on different things as long as the heavy and brutal factors were in place. It’s gotta crush, ya know! Autopsy has more of a strict writing process in the way that it can only 100% horrific, dark and pure death metal. It’s all brutality at the end of the day but both bands have their own beastly ways to be sure.
CR: We got his info from a friend up in Oregon who recommended him. Dennis is a killer and unique artist and a really cool person too so working with him is always fantastic.
THKD: In addition to music, you’re also a visual artist. Do the same things that inspire your music inspire your art? Do they influence eachother in any way?
CR: I guess I have a lot of horror in my head and it has to come out however it comes out. When the time comes to write or draw or paint I indulge since those moments come and go when I least expect them sometimes. Gotta catch them before they get away!
THKD: It is my understanding that Dawn of Inhumanity will be the last album released under Darkthrone’s Tyrant Syndicate imprint. Will Abscess continue to work with Peaceville?
CR: Well as it turns out, not only is it the last release for Tyrant Syndicate but it’s also Abscess’ last release in general. We have officially split up as of the beginning of June after 16 years of spreading insanity and sickness. Clint is taking time to get his personal life in order and we wish him only respect with that. There can be no Abscess without Clint, so when he quit, the band had to be deactivated. A shame, really but ‘Dawn of Inhumanity’ is a hell of a way to end things! Autopsy is now going again full force so we will focus on that wholeheartedly.
CR: It just always turns me on. I’m still not sick of it, so why stop? If the day ever comes where I get tired of it, I’ll quit but that sure ain’t happening any time soon! I feel more energized than ever if anything.
THKD: This is a bit off subject, but I have to ask; how did it feel to reunite Autopsy for the headlining performance at this year’s Maryland Deathfest? Do you have any further plans for Autopsy?
CR: In light of things, it’s not off subject at all. We now have MDF under our belts and it went even better than we’d hoped. Not only are all the original maniacs still out there, but there is literally a whole new generation of death metallers into it now which is fucking amazing. Further plans for Autopsy? Yes, quite a few actually……
THKD: What are you listening to these days? Do you have any interests in the current crop of death metal bands that are bring back the old school sound?
CR: I like any band that plays from the heart, whether it’s new or old, metal or not. Whatever gets my blood boiling at the moment. My listening tastes are all over the board to say the least.
THKD: What does the rest of 2010 have in store for Abscess? Will you be touring or working on new material?
CR: I guess we’ll have to let the ‘Dawn of Inhumanity’ album be the last words for Abscess. We are proud as hell of that album and consider it going out on a high note.
THKD: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to add?
CR: Thanks to all who supported and believed in Abscess. Keep our spirit alive and keep an eye out for more devastation from Autopsy. All we can do is offer more brutality……