Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lich King ready to drop its "Bomb"

Western Mass thrash titans Lich King release "Born of the Bomb" this week. It's the band's fourth album since forming in 2007 to carry that torch lit by Slayer, Exodus, and the like. While Lich King awaited arrival of its CDs for Friday's release show at Silk City Music in Florence, singer Tom Martin took a few questions from Mass Metal 
So what's the story behind the new record? Were there a bunch of songs waiting to be recorded or was it something thought out in advance?

Nahh, we just wrote songs until we had enough to put on an album. We don't have any old stuff on this one, except for the beginning of Lich King 4 (Born of the Bomb). I wrote that opening about six or seven years ago. Holy crap, that's a long time. Nothing about our stuff gets planned out all that much. I think of it as I go.

Was old-school thrash always something you guys liked or were you into other kinds of metal before heading off in this direction?

Always. For a long time I just thought I was "metal" and tried lots of metal bands and (found) them distasteful. Eventually I realized that old thrash is just my thing, and once I acknowledged that, it bloomed before me. I like a few other kinds of metal in varying degrees. The other guys in the band are much less picky than I am. I'm into thrash, crossover, power and traditional pretty exclusively. Rob (Pellegri, guitars), Joe (Nickerson, guitars) and Brian (Westbrook, drums)  are into proggy tech-death stuff as well as everything else, and Dave (Hughes, bass) is into grind and death weirdness. Dave's got the most experience and taste in thrash so I look to him to back me up when arguments come up about the direction a song is heading in. A frequent complaint I have that the tech-death dudes laugh at is, "We can't use that; it sounds too modern." Then I run to Dave and say, "Dave, they're picking on me, tell them I'm right or I'll throw another hissyfit."

Would you pick the same bands to be the Big Four? If not, who would you pick?
Well, [if] it's based on success and you can't argue with the success of those bands. If it were based on what I think deserves the slot I would boot out Megadeth and bring in Exodus. On second thought, I think I'd nudge Anthrax back to Exodus status. On frequent relistens Slayer and Metallica hold up but I'm finding Anthrax to be extremely overrated. Some great riffs and hooks holding up a frail latticework of meh. 

How healthy is the thrash scene at home?

Not at all. We have like no local following. No one's interested in thrash metal out here. In Western Massachusetts it's all about deathcore, hardcore, metalcore. Dudes with ear gauges, baseball caps and camouflage cargo shorts. Pantera stomp-riffs and interchangeable song titles about how very tough one is. That's fine I guess, but it makes me cringe when a pit breaks out and you see that punchy kicky karate crap. I complained about it once to a co-worker who said he was into metal. He said, "Oh, you don't like moshing?" So many comebacks flooded my mouth at that point that I choked on my own words. We have a great venue out here that draws great people, but I don't know how many of them are genuinely interested in thrash or if they just like coming out for shows and being awesome people. 

In general, I'm hearing more new records getting back to an old-school guitar-driven sound with less  "-core" influence. What do you think helps set apart the new Lich King record?

We're keeping things traditionally thrash, again, still. But we're evolving somewhat. The songwriting's getting really mature. I don't mean in subject matter, but we are really figuring out the science of how to build a song. In the process, we're figuring out what else we can do and it's working out really well. We've got a full number of fast-assed mosh standards, but we've also got two songs over seven minutes and a lot of departure sounds in here where we sound like us, but we're taking unexpected paths. 

What's coming up for fall/winter shows for you guys? Where can the metal faithful get the record besides shows?

We actually don't have anything scheduled right now aside from the album release show on the 28th. Rob's having a baby soon and we're kinda keeping the schedule clear in honor of that. We'll probably book a few things for December and onward, but for right now, there's nothing on the books. 
Besides shows we're selling our stuff here: http://lichking.bigcartel.com/ and here: http://lichkingmetal.bandcamp.com/ We're doing this all ourselves so we don't have any distribution at present. People aren't going to walk into any stores and find our stuff anytime soon, but I hope word of mouth gets so good that people search us out anyway. 

Lich King's CD-release show also features Condition Critical, Smash Potater, Sonic Pulse, and Zombie Fighter. The show starts at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept.  28, at Silk City Music, 99 Main St., Florence.

Out and about this week, Forced Asphyxiation, Engorged, Mortifica, and Scalpel take over Metal Thursday at Ralph's Diner, 148 Grove St., Worcester, on Sept. 27.

Coheed and Cambria headlines Friday, Sept. 28, at The Palladium, 261 Main St., Worcester. Deerhunter and Three are also on the bill, and show time is 7:30 p.m

The Metalympics finals are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at The Shea Theater, 71  Avenue A, Turners Falls. Asystole, Heal the Destroyer, Spoken Like a True Hero,  and Zombie Fighter will be competing for cash and prizes. Audience voting matters, so if you have a horse in this race, get to the Shea. Western Massacre, last year's winners, will also play a night-ending set.

A couple of other Palladium concerts of note are Nonpoint and Taproot in the upstairs room at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday the 29th,  and Morbid Angel with Dark Funeral, Grave, VadimVon, and Vital Remains on Sunday in the big room.

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