Death Metal as Therapy – A Word With Avulsed

Spain’s Avulsed is probably one of the greatest underground death metal bands ever to grace the fields of Europe, and for sure one of the best from Spain. Always underestimated, always spectacular in their uncompromising approach to pure death metal, the band recently celebrated their 25 year anniversary with the release of the huge compilation Deathgeneration. A complementary album, the 3 disc live set Night of the Living Deathgenerations is soon to be released. We shot off an unusually large number of questions, and received these great replies from Tana. Enjoy!

Hello! First off, we’d like for you to introduce yourself and Avulsed. You are a fairly well known band, but since we’re a webzine that covers many different styles, it is probable that many readers have no idea what this is about.
Hello! First of all, thanks for the interest in Avulsed! Well, Avulsed was formed back in 1991, and our main idea was very simple: to play death metal, the music we loved and still love. 25 years later, we still enjoy doing what we do. There’s been some minor changes in our line-up, but it’s still Avulsed, playing death metal. After all these years we have improved as musicians compared to the early days, but we are honest as to the purpose we’ve always had with our music, and we hope to keep on going.

Avulsed has now existed for over 25 years. What keeps you guys going?
Mainly passion, and the fact that Avulsed is what we’ve always wanted and still want to be. We enjoy what we do, and we have been able to travel around the world playing the kind of music we want to. Hopefully we can do it for 25 years more. Haha!

In celebration of your 25th year anniversary, you released a massive double CD, Deathgeneration. It was financed through crowdfunding, and featured a ton of guest vocalists. Could you tell us who came up with this idea, and how the album was put together? Where did all the extra vocalists record their vocals, for instance, were there visits, or did they mostly record ”at home”?
We wanted to do something really special for our 25th anniversary, something that represented the whole AVULSED story. We tried to do it for the 20th, but it was impossible due to our schedules at the time, so we really couldn’t miss the 25th. It’s a double work. There are one selection of songs as they were recorded once upon a time time (no re-mixing) on one CD, and another disc with the same songs re-recorded with our current line up, trying to get the vibe we have when we play those songs live nowadays. It’s been intensive work, and we are really happy about the result.
As Deathgeneration is a celebration of our 25 years of existence, we invited some of our favorite singers, most of them our friends too, to collaborate on it. The process was in fact simple: we told them which lines they had to sing on every track, they recorded them on their own, and send the work to us online. 25 years ago, it would have been almost impossible to do this, but we are in the internet era, and working this way is easier for sure.

What is the best thing about playing in Avulsed?
Every member in Avulsed would say the exact same thing. Playing around the world, traveling doing what we like the most, meeting people from every country, and enjoying ourselves on stage.

There must have been harder times. Have things ever been so bad you’ve considered calling it quits and giving up Avulsed?
Of course during the course of so many years, there are ups and downs. There are times when everything works really well, and other times when everything gets harder. But apart from some apathy, and maybe even laziness in the dark times, we have never considered giving up Avulsed.

If you had to explain the charm of death metal as a music genre, and of gore and horror in lyrics, to someone who didn’t understand these things at all, what would you say?
Death metal is fierce, it’s fast and sometimes slow and heavy, it’s loud. It’s a kind of music you can even use as therapy, haha! You can play it, and listen to it, and forget about your low points in life. It’s a community of people that enjoys music, not big numbers. We are all lovers of horror in films and books, and you can use your imagination to interpret these horror and gore lyrics as talking about real facts of life, or only about fictional facts. It’s much freer than other styles more concerned about selling more CDs or whatever.

You’ve always had a very consistent sound, particular to Avulsed, but also tried different types of production and varied your style a little between albums. How do you decide how to evolve and change as a band? Do you say ”let’s try this new thing”, or do things just happen in an organic way?During the course of all these years, recording has become much easier and more affordable. Back in the early days, there was less technology than nowadays, and the studios were more expensive. We always tried to record the vibe Avulsed has on stage. Now, as I just said, it is way easier to get that sound. We are really satisfied with our way of recording, we always tried to realize our particular idea of sound using the studio resources we had at any given moment. We have improved as musicians during all these years, and the technical studio stuff has evolved too, so we try to get the best result we can at any time.

When we say ”varied your style a little”, we are of course leaving out one album: on Cybergore (1998) you tried mixing techno/dance electronic beats and music with death metal. This album has been criticized a lot (we happen to think it’s awesome), but how do you yourselves see it today? How did you come up with the idea? Have you thought of doing something similar again?
Cybergore was an experiment. It was the late 90’s, and bands like Fear Factory were doing those remixes. So we thought – why not? Let’s try to do this with death metal. Is was really funny, but it was never meant to mark a new direction for our music. Some people liked it (we still do), some people hated it, haha!

How do you, more generally speaking, think about production? Is there an ”ideal sound” you’re trying to achieve?
We try to be our own producers, because we know exactly what we want. And we have got it in the last recordings. Our “ideal sound” is the one we had on Deathgeneration, we are really proud about how it sounds. Other bands have their own sound, different than ours, and that’s ok. But for us, we have found it.

Is your latest album always your favorite one, or is there one or more old albums holding a special place in your heart?
Every album has its own life, its own story and its own life circumstances connected to it. Deathgeneration is the whole story of Avulsed, so right now it’s our favorite one. But Stabwound Orgasm was great back in the day, Ritual Zombi was great too. You can ask me about my favorite Avulsed album today, and my answer could be different than if you ask me next week, haha! We love everything we have recorded!

If you had the chance to make a decent living from Avulsed, by touring large parts of the year, for instance, would you take it, or is it better for you to do other work, and have time for other projects as well?
That’s absolutely impossible playing death metal, and even more so for a Spanish band, haha! Everyone in Avulsed has a job of his own, and that’s ok. There are no corporate deadlines, and we can do what we want to do in every moment, so…

Compared to many other death metal acts that have been around for as long as you have, your profile is somewhat low. Most people really into death metal surely know of Avulsed, or have an album or two, but it seems you have been consistently under-appreciated throughout your career. Why do you think that is? There are really quite a lot of bands that are not at all as good as you, who still get far more attention.
We don’t mind that. Of course, we have not been on a major label, so there’s been less promotion than other bands have, but we enjoy our status. When we began 25 years ago we never thought about lasting this long, or playing around the world, so there’s no problem at all. And we enjoy our status as an underground band. It means that we have 100% of control of Avulsed, from the music to the artwork. And we once again decide for ourselves what to do, which suits us fine.

Speaking of bands – what do you value in an artist? What must be there for an album or a group to be really great?
Mostly honesty. You can play whatever you want to, it can be more or less technical, or rude, but it doesn’t matter. Honesty is a must. Maybe we don’t get it because of our personal taste in music, but we still appreciate it for what it is. If you are not honest with your own music, people notice it.

How do you see the situation for death metal in the world right now? Is the global scene alive, and still interesting to you?
Of course it is, and it’s still growing. Name a country, anywhere, and there’s a Death Metal scene in it. It’s an underground global music movement. In fact, the situations in life that made us love death metal are not so different than an Indonesian guy’s life when he gets into death metal.

What about Spain? Are there many new bands coming up, many live gigs, a fresh scene?
There are many great bands in Spain. The only problem is that the crowd is getting old (like us, haha!). Every time we play in Spain, we notice that there are only a few really young people attending the concerts. The scene is ok, but a scene is not only the bands, it’s also the media and the people in the crowd. And some more “new blood” would be great.

Looking back, do you regret anything you’ve done or released with Avulsed? And don’t you dare say Cybergore
We don’t regret anything. We have always done what we wanted to do in every moment, whatever we did.

This may have become too long already. How about you add anything you think we’ve forgotten, and then let us thank you very much for your time?
Thank you for your interest and support! It’s been 25 years so far. Let’s go for another 25 years of AVULSED (if we are still alive, haha!!!).

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