Church of Disgust are from Texas and play cavernous death metal that brings to mind the primal density found in the early recordings of Cianide, Repulsion, and Autopsy. Their music encapsulates the dark and dismal feeling of being entrapped in a misty graveyard with bloodthirsty ghouls on your trail. I managed to evoke some words from founding members, Dustin and Joshua; so sit back, grab a beer and enjoy the conversation that follows.
Hails! To get this interview started, can you please introduce yourselves and tell us what Church of Disgust is all about, your influences and how the band came together.
Dustin: Hails Underground Siege! Church of Disgust is now based out of Texas and Florida, and we play rotten death metal. We started in 2010 to write some filthy shit and it grew from there! Through several lineup changes, we have now arrived at our strongest lineup of Joshua Bokemeyer on lead guitar, Dwane Allen on drums, Travis Andrews on bass, and myself on guitar and vocals. We try to maintain a healthy mix of influences, without any being to heavy, we’re definitely not looking to be another copycat, or a glorified cover band marketing themselves as paying “worship” or “tribute”, there’s enough of that already! Some bands we love include Rottrevore, Morbid Angel, Slugathor, Cenotaph, Cianide, Bolt Thrower, etc…..
In the beginning and on your debut album you performed as a duo; what made you recruit extra members? Do you work better as a four-piece?
Joshua: I believe we work better as a four piece. With more members, more input. We are always into trying new things to expand our sound and to push us as musicians.
Last year, you released “Dread Ritual” on cassette format under Headsplit Records; how did the collaboration came about and what are your thoughts on tape format?
D: I initially met that sick fukk Dylan from Headsplit as a fan of his label/band and the music he was releasing. After some discussion he learned of my band after we released the Unworldly Summoning album and offered to do a release for us. Headsplit is one of my favorite labels going! From new underground bands to re-releases of lost gems from the 80s/90s for those who can’t afford to shell out insane amounts of money for rare original pressings, they keep it sick!
As for the tape format, I myself am quite a big fan of it. I’m not an audiophile with my nose up at anything that isn’t vinyl, I grew up listening to tapes, they’re convenient and relatively inexpensive to purchase and produce. Of course, the counter-argument to that would be that digital files are much more convenient and that’s fine, I just prefer owning physical copies of all my music. Some collectors even look down on CDs, which I can’t wrap my head around either….my collection is made up of tape, vinyl and CD, I’m not so picky!
Tell us a little bit about the tracks featured on Dread Ritual. Are you satisfied with the final outcome?
J: I love the songs and the entire process. Mixing and mastering was a little messy. As far as the recording, it was fun and a learning experience, as always crunched on time and trouble shooting our asses off.
D: The Dread Ritual tape features three tracks-“Dread Ritual”, “The Pursuing Horrors” and “Staph Terrorist”. The first two songs are the first songs written as a four-piece band. “Pursuing” is my personal favorite, I think it’s the most dynamic and representative of where we want to go as a band. “Staph Terrorist” is a cover of the legendary IMPETIGO. We got the blessing to do it from Mark himself, and both he and Stevo said we did a killer job, so that was a huge honor for us!
As far as I can tell, your themes are heavily inspired by horror literature and movies. Given that, what would you cite as some of your all time favorite books / horror films?
D: Yes, I do draw heavy inspiration from books mainly, notably the writings of Brian Keene and H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft of course needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated, Brian Keene is a modern horror writer, and my favorite current author. He created his own universe/mythos of a race called The Thirteen, not unlike what Lovecraft did with his Cthulhu Mythos. Our upcoming album draws heavy influence from this, and I highly recommend checking out his work if you enjoy sick horror…..Darkness on the Edge of Town, The Conqueror Worms, Dead Sea and Urban Gothic are all worth checking out.
We do also draw some influence from horror films as well, favorite horror films would have to include I Drink Your Blood, Evil Dead 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Zombi 2, Blood Feast, Night of the Living Dead-1990(call it blasphemy, but this is a fucking great remake! Hail Savini!), Halloween, City of the Living Dead, Tombs of the Blind Dead….
Your band’s name suggests a strong anti-religious sentiment. What are your thoughts on religion and do you think civilization would be better off without it?
J: Of course. But in my opinion the name is just not an anti-anything statement. Instead of think of it more as a horror movie or a portrayal of another world that is fascinated by all things disgusting.
What are you listening to nowadays? Have you stumbled upon anything worthwhile as of late? What are your thoughts on the current state of the underground?
D: While the classicks are in constant rotation on my turntable, there’s lots of outstanding death metal coming out today worthy of anyone’s time and attention! Off the top of my head, I’ve really enjoyed recent releases from Sewercide, Solothus, Denial, Steel Bearing Hand, Koroidia, Desecresy, Undergang, Expander, Cruciamentum, Blaspherian, Ectovoid, Cardiac Arrest, Druid Lord, Anatomia, Torture Rack, Cryptic Brood, Amputator, and so on!
As for the underground itself, I’d say it’s in a very good place, for the most part. There’s so many great bands releasing ripping shit, it’s near impossible to keep up. The internet has become a blessing and a curse. It’s great in that it’s made it infinitely easier to find new bands, and correspond with like-minded individuals world-wide. Because of the internet, I found out later in life about some lost gems from the 80s/90s that I never would have found otherwise growing up in a small north Texas town. The shitty part is that as a result we now live in a disposable age where you can listen to (and write off) so many bands in the course of a day, the special feeling of hunting down and finding a great new band isn’t the same, I’m sure. It’s also made it a lot easier for posers and “scene tourists” to infiltrate the underground and push their bullshit PC agendas.
I’m sure plenty of the old guard may disagree with me since they grew up in the “glory days”, which is fine. I’m in my 30s, so I missed the days of tape trading, and the infancy of extreme music. I’m sure those were truly special times that can never be replicated, but I’m here now, and that’s what I’m interested in. I’ve met some true die-hards that I’m still in contact with to this day, whether it be through email, phone, or exchanging letters and music from other countries….so the passion is still there, no doubt. There are some not so great things happening, like PC crusaders getting bands kicked off shows and fests, shit-stirring clickbait “metal journalism” sites like MetalSucks spewing their bullshit, and some classick bands getting back together for the wrong reasons, when their heart and passion is no longer in it and putting out lackluster albums…..but there are also plenty of these legendary bands still doing it with passion and for the right reasons! That was a long answer, but I’d say that 2016 is a good time to be a fan of extreme music, all things considered.
Do you have any interesting or crazy experiences to share with us regarding touring or any live gigs you’ve played?
D: My favorite story is still when we played Austin, TX in early 2015, we saw a guy get punched out during our set, for being a “fucking poser”(the guy’s exact words, we found out after our set)……..I’d like to see more of that going around!
Aside from death metal, what other styles of music do you listen to? What about cult 90’s black metal like Mortuary Drape, Varathron, Maniac Butcher, etc.?
J: Pretty much anything that inspires me to play or record. I’m a big fan of black metal especially raw bands that aren’t afraid of stepping out of the norm.
D: I worship death metal, but I listen to other stuff as well, you have to! Inspiration can come from anything for me, not just death metal, as long as it has passion, and riffs, in most cases! Coming up in small town Texas, I grew up with a family that listened to country music and classic rock, and I still enjoy both to this day. I also enjoy jazz, blues/ragtime, classical, etc. I do enjoy some black metal, as long as the riffs are there! Interesting that you mentioned Varathron, they just played the Destroying Texas Fest in Houston this month, I wish I could have made that show, I heard they were savage!(along with MORTEM, arrrrrgh!)
Tell us a little bit about your recording equipment and whether you switch it up between releases? Are you specific with the type of tone you’d like to achieve? If yes, please elaborate.
J: Our recordings have grown with our DIY studios. The first releases were very primitive but we have slowly acquired more studio gear and knowledge. These later releases and upcoming LP are a combination of me and Dwane’s gear so we have a getting a good mic locker going. We run pretty lean on the digital side of things and experiment along the way . Dread Ritual was the first COD release where we miced every drum and had it mastered.
Would you consider death metal as a type of “taboo” seeing as that many people outside the cult consider people in such type bands as negative or “mentally-deranged”?
D: While some of those sentiments still linger in the USA, I’d say that extreme music doesn’t quite have the same mystique surrounding it as it did 20 years ago. We now live in an age where Hollywood makes films about the the black metal scene in Norway/Euronymous murder, and a popular cartoon about death metal musicians! However, in areas of Texas and Florida you’ll still get the bible-thumpers and people who hate(but actually fear) those going against the grain, so to speak. Otherwise, I’ve given up trying to discuss or explain this type of music with outsiders, as their response is usually a blank stare or judgmental look.
What is your stance on bands with political themes? In your opinion, does politics have any place in metal?
J: I don’t look too deep into it or personally care. Just don’t try to force your views on me.
D: With the exception of some grindcore bands, I’m not so interested in bands that push political agendas.
Give us a list of 10 albums you can’t live without.
D: fuck! Off the top of my head….
Morbid Angel – Blessed Are the Sick
Cenotaph – The Gloomy Reflections of Our Hidden Sorrows
Kiss – Destroyer
Impetigo – Horror of the Zombies
Waylon Jennings – I’ve Always Been Crazy
Demigod – Slumber of Sullen Eyes
Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
Cianide – A Descent Into Hell
Black Sabbath – Master of Reality
and they’re not quite albums, but work mentioning – Divine Eve – As the Angels Weep and Imprecation – Theurgia Goetia Summa (Hail Texas!)
Do you currently have any merchandise available for people to get hold of? How should people make contact if they have any inquiries? What are your future plans and when can we expect another attack of uncompromising raw death metal?
D: We have a VERY limited supply of shirts and tapes left, they can be ordered at http://churchofdisgust.bigcartel.com
Any inquiries/correspondence can go to email@example.com — or our shitty Facebook page.
As for new material — we have completed recording of our second full-length album, entitled VENERATION OF FILTH. It’s gonna be a real monster, Putrid Matt will be doing the artwork, Memento Mori is releasing the CD, Headsplit Records is releasing the tape, and No Posers Please! is releasing the vinyl! Expect it in late 2016/early 2017. Also on the way, Dread Ritual 7″ EP, and a split with Cryptic Brood from Germany.
Thank you very much for your time! Any parting words to properly close this interrogation?
D: Eternal thanks for this interview, thanks to all the fiends who took the time to read it. Veneration of Filth is coming, worship depravity! Death metal or die!
J: Thank you! Support metal Everywhere.