Wednesday I had the chance to sit down with the genius behind the new band From the Hellmouth, Noah Buchanan and ask him incredibly important questions such as: What is your most coveted band shirt? Enjoy the interview, below it will be the review of his new EP, so stay tuned after the interview and enjoy you metal heathens!
Hey Noah how’s it going?
Pretty good, how are you man?
I’m doing pretty well, it’s nice to meet you.
You too man.
Can you tell me a little bit about the origin of From the Hellmouth?
Well, From the Hellmouth started as a studio project. I play in a couple of other bands that have had marginal success in the past. It was just sort of a creative release to begin with. I started posting some demos online just for fun. And word got out about it a little bit, and some people heard it and really seemed to dig it, so I was encouraged to write some more songs so I just kept writing and ended up with eight or ten songs that were pretty good. Then I got in contact with Alan Cassidy who is now The Black Dahlia Murder drummer now. He was interested in the project and he learned five or six of the songs and he came down and we tracked all of the drums for it. I played everything on the record other than the drums. So that’s kind of how it came to be. And I got in contact with Redefining Darkness Records, Tommy. I’ve known Tommy for a lot of years and have worked with him in the past and he really showed some interest in the project and said “Hey let’s put it out and see where it goes”. And now I’m recruiting band members to put this thing together. Working with people’s tour schedules and things can be difficult, but I think it’ll all come together here in the next few months once the word gets out about the album.
How was it working with Alan Cassidy?
He is a consummate professional. We exchanged emails and some videos back and forth. He learned all of the material in a matter of a couple of weeks and he came down and did the record in a day. I mean it was only a matter of a few hours where he tracked everything. There’s very little editing on the tracks that he did, we wanted to keep it as straight forward as I could. He did a great job. He’s a great guy, he’s easy to work with and without his talent the record would probably still be sitting on a hard drive somewhere. It was nice to work with him and hopefully we can keep it going in the future between his work with Black Dahlia and whatever else he has going on, be able to gig with this band and do some really neat stuff. The music is good, and that’s the goal anyways.
Can you tell me some of the differences between working on this album and other projects that you have been involved with?
Well the big part of it really is that it started as my project. There’s nobody else to nitpick, or to go over parts with. If I like it, then that’s what it’s going to be. The upside to that is that I don’t have to answer to anybody. I don’t have to run anything past anyone or get any sort of approval or even find any compromise with any other members because I’m writing everything from square one with an idea in mind, and that’s what it’s going to be you know. It’s brutal, simple, meat head death metal, that’s what this was set to be from the very beginning. And you know, the down side is that when you do a solo project or what started as a solo project, you don’t really have anyone to be excited with. When you write music with other people and you’re working with other band members you could be working on the record for a year or eighteen months at least a couple of times a week getting together and making music, you get excited about it with somebody else. But when you do it by yourself no one really gives a shit what you’re doing haha. It’s like “Hey dude check out this fucking awesome death metal record I made!” And they’re like ” Yeah whatever!” It’s definitely a lonelier process and it is a lot of long hours sitting with a guitar trying to work out the best way to put it all together. But I’ll be honest, a couple of those songs were written in a matter of a couple of hours. It’s not meant to be complex or crazy, it’s just meant to be simple. So it doesn’t go as deep as some of the other music I have done in the past with my other bands. We try to push the envelope a little bit either within the genre or getting outside the box a little bit, but this was designed to be inside a certain box. I wanted to make good catchy brutal death metal that anybody can listen to that likes death metal and say “This is cool”, instead of “I don’t care what anybody thinks or I don’t care what the fans say because we put a lot of effort into it.” It’s not like that. It’s not really a pride thing, it was just done because I wanted to.
How critical are you of your own music? What criteria does the music have to meet before you agree that it is ready to be released?
I guess as far as being critical goes, I’m not super critical. Music is an art form, and as artists you are always going to be your biggest critic, but there is definitely a line and I think less is more a lot of times. If I sit there and over criticize it, by the time I’m done with it it’s not going to sound how I intended it to sound like from the beginning. As far as meeting criteria goes, I have a vision and that is how I want it to be. It needs to meet my own expectations, but there are certain things you are going to let slide because either A) my idea was stupid to begin with and I realize it later and say “Hey this is fucking retarded.” Or the idea may sound good in theory but it doesn’t really translate. If I think the idea is stupid why would I really invest a lot of time into it. When I can put it on my shitty speakers at home and listen to it and bang my head, that’s about all the criteria that I need for From the Hellmouth for it to work. I just want it to be brutal and it just is somewhat simple but not too simple. This thing started as just the idea of wanting to write some brutal death metal. And that’s what I listen to, I’ve been listening to it for a long time and going to shows and meeting people but I could just never put together the right group of guys to make it happen the way that I would envision it without it being one big sloppy mess. That is part of what death metal is by design, but that isn’t what I like to do. I wrote the songs and recorded them, and I said “That’s fucking awesome.” If it’s good enough for me, it should be good enough for anybody else.
There are five songs on this EP. Are there any future plans to do anything with the rest of the songs that were recorded?
They’ll eventually get released, I don’t know when. We’re going to see how this record goes, and see what kind of reception it gets. From there having the other songs are integral to doing live shows. You can’t tour on five songs. You have to have at least about an hours worth of music to do a tour. You have to be able to swap stuff out. At this point right now there is definitely enough music to do a tour, but only five songs have Alan on them right now. Down the road we’ll continue to work together and hopefully put together another record. Hopefully within the next year or so I will get another record started. It all hinges on where this one goes though. I think that people will like the record if they take it for what it is. It’s not over thought music. I think that way too much death metal now days has way too much going on.
What are some of your favorite songs that you have on this EP?
My favorite song is Eat the Blade. That was sort of my ode to Swedish death metal song. I mean if you listen to the first riff on that song it’s very much a Swedish death metal tune. It takes a left turn somewhere in there along the lines, but that’s my favorite song on the album. It’s just about storming the gates of heaven with an army of hellion brutal death metallers. That is sort of what that song is about, it’s what most of the songs are about haha. It’s just the theme. That is the third track on the album and the first track on the album is God Told Me To. And that’s probably the song that people will be able to grasp the most. Just because the speed and intensity of it, and it is still very simple. That song is about people that justify their actions because God told them to. They sort of excuse themselves because some guy in the sky told them that that was acceptable. Those are my two favorite songs on the record. There’s more songs, there are probably a couple of songs that I have recorded that maybe if I put a little more thought and time into them then maybe they would have made the album and they would have been really good for the record. But with the time restraints and the financial restraints that I had, five songs was as far as I could go.
When you first started writing for the EP did you ever have in mind doing a concept EP? Was it suppose to be a story or were they all suppose to be just individual stories?
The truth is some of those songs were written months apart from each other. No there wasn’t any concept from the beginning. Some of the stuff had been written previously. It’s nice to have the time to work on it and work off of other songs and say “Okay this is sort of the direction this is going to go.” It’s not a concept album but the music is all suppose to tie in with itself. I wanted it to be one complete thought rather than five completely different songs. It all sort of embodies kind of the same concept. Most death metal is like that. Every Deicide album is about killing God, that’s the theme of the fucking band. Every Cannibal Corpse song is about guts and tearing people apart and fuckin’ zombies and shit. From the Hellmouth is its own thing and that’s what it is going to be. There’s not going to be some complete change in the next EP or full length. The songs are about burning heaven down and that’s what it is.
Can you tell me who/what are some of your biggest influences for writing this type of music?
I love Morbid Angel, I like old Deicide. Cannibal Corpse, The Bleeding. That’s one of those records that when I listen to it I get inspired to write. Entombed, some Discharge stuff. It was suppose to be sort of my take on my favorite death metal. So that’s really the only inspiration for the music. I play what I like to listen to. If I was going to go pick up a death metal album today if it sounded like From the Hellmouth I would really dig it. That’s really the only inspiration. I couldn’t really put it on one thing. It’s sort of just coming up in the scene and listening to music and you know, just getting drunk with my buds and head banging. That is inspiration right there. I want other people to fucking listen to this record somewhere else and head bang in their basement with their bros drinking shitty beer haha. That’s satisfying.
Haha that’s awesome! So I have just a couple of standard questions. Here is the first. Can you tell me what your most coveted band shirt is?
Oh holy moley. It’s not a shirt but a hoodie. It’s an original Acid Bath When the Kite String Pops hoodie. It’s from around 1994. It’s just in strings, it’s torn apart. I can’t really wear it anymore, it just sits in the closet, but I’ll bust it out every once in a while. The sleeves are completely torn up on it. The graphics still look good, it’s just not even close to black anymore. It’s more of like some shade of grey haha.
Growing up, what was your favorite album? Either heavy metal in general or anything in between.
I grew up on punk rock for the most part. Black Flag’s “Damaged is one of my favorite records that I still listen to. Circle Jerk’s “Group Sex”. That was a big one for me. It was the type of music that just says “Fuck off and we’re going to do whatever we want”. I’d say Black Flag’s “Damaged” is probably one of my top records from growing up.
If you were able to work with anyone alive or deceased, who would it be?
That’s a fucking tough question for someone like me haha. It’s one of those questions that I really have to think about because if I say something I’m going to think about it later down the road and say “Oh fuck, what about those guys?” haha. I think it would be great to work with Black Sabbath back when they were still kind of developing their sound. That would be awesome. With the knowledge that we have now, that would probably be the top one because they were so influential. I’d like to jam with Jim Morrison. That guy was a fucking lunatic. That would be awesome, just getting fucked up and jamming with Jim Morrison would probably be life changing.
I can only imagine what that would produce.
Yeah, I’d be like “Here’s a death metal record, sing over this” and he probably would do it.
Haha that would be incredible. I would buy that record for sure. I just have a couple of other questions here. I just want to know how exciting it is for you creating this project and now being able to release this EP through Redefining Darkness?
Oh man it’s super special. There’s not a lot of guys out there that would put faith in something like this. Most guys that start a label or work with bands, don’t have a lot of faith in the artist. They say “Oh, well it’s all about your work ethic.” And that is true, but I think song writing and skill and talent is more important in my opinion. Obviously you have to work hard. It’s exciting because I’m going to have a physical copy of this record in my hand that a year ago didn’t exist. I wrote these songs in the course of a few months and it is all coming together very very quickly. It is still very fresh and very exciting. It comes out in a couple of weeks and hopefully some people pick it up and dig it. That’s all I can really hope for at this point. It’s hopefully going to be the catalyst to be able to put this band together and do it full time. That’s the ultimate goal. It’s very exciting. Tommy at Redefining Darkness is a really great guy and he’s got his hands in all kinds of different places right now. He’s really supporting this and really getting the word out and getting exclusives on certain websites very soon. Hopefully hundreds of thousands will be able to hear this record. I have been on other record labels that don’t do that, they just don’t. They don’t give you any help or support, or they don’t want to spend money on you that’s just the way it is.
I just have one more question for you. Are there any last words you would like to say to your fans or any news you have before you go?
Pick up the record, jam it with your friends and keep an eye out for From the Hellmouth, I think we are in for quite a ride. This is something that is going to be very important especially where we live and hopefully throughout the world. I think we need good solid death metal without all of the extra stuff. From the Hellmouth we rise. That is the motto!
Thank you very much for taking some time out of your day, and sitting down and doing this interview with me. Keep it metal! /,,/
From the Hellmouth is the new project from Noah Buchanan. All of the instruments are played by him on this EP are played by him other than the drums which are played by Alan Cassidy of The Black Dahlia Murder. The EP throws five songs at you, each of which are blistering and completely destructive.
From the Hellmouth is just pure no bullshit death metal in its purest form. It is raw, visceral, brutalizing and it will certainly ground you into the pavement until you are indiscernible from paste. The music is not just all ground and pound though, it is melodic as well. If it did not have a certain melodic touch to it, you would be stomped into the ground so hard the earth would split in two.
The EP is equal to marching right up to the pearly gates of heaven, breaking in, slaughtering all of those pesky vile angels, and setting the place ablaze. The music is furious, and storms out of the gate like a coked out hellion that was set on fire. The music does belong in hell, who knows maybe Satan himself already scored a copy and is torturing God with it. If that is the case, I’m sure he’s shitting himself.
The EP is not a concept by any means, but the songs do have the same basic premise, burn heaven down and lay waste to all life (or undead?) that are there as well. With the sonic face ripping style of play I can see how it would be easy to excite some heavy metal hellions to do exactly that. The EP is almost an anthem, or a war cry all on its own that is calling people to battle. It is the type of music that you will snap your neck to because you will be head banging so hard, it is the music you will destroy your house to. It is angry, fast, and consumes what good you have left in your soul.
The musicianship is on point as well. The riffs are of the straight forward, no frills, no tricks variety. They just are, and that is it. They exist for the soul purpose of steamrolling everything in their way. The drums played by Alan Cassidy are a force all on their own as well, laying a path of desecrated bodies in its wake. The vocals roar like a pissed off creature that has just awoken from slumber and is ready to decimate anyone who took part in its awakening.
Overall this five track self titled EP from From the Hellmouth is something to take note of. It is the straight forward death metal you are looking forward. It doesn’t mix other genres with it, or confuse what its purpose is. Its purpose is to be as destructive as possible and to make you snap your twig like neck head banging to it, and you know what it does exactly that. Pick it up on the 25th of this month, and be sure to prepare yourself for the onslaught.