Translation: Dope Fiend
Joe “Humongor” Rosenthal – Bass
Dave “Merciless Overlord Of Rhythm” Slaughter – Drums
Clayton “The Abomination” Davis – Guitars, Vocals
It’s always a pleasure for me, talk about desert atmosphere and doom/stoner sound. The Texans Enormicon have published this year “Storm Of Swords”, which you can find the review in the site review, we try, with this exchange of thoughts, to deepen their knowledge.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine, how are you? Usually we start by presenting the band and talking about history and members of the line-up, so I leave you the floor and go freely.
Clayton: Joe and I have been friends for about twenty years. When we were forming Enormicon looking for a drummer I knew it was going to be a pain in the ass trying to find one so one night I prayed to Satan, posted an ad on craigslist and magically, Dave answered it. As far as previous bands, I was in kind of a 90’s grungy band called Sniff and then a Fugazi/Jesus Lizard influenced band called Trench. Joe was in a heavy rock, sort of blues-based band, Lap Dog. Dave’s been in some fairly well known bands in our area-Disciple, Lance Lopez Band and Big Iron.
From what derives your monicker?
It came from my great grandfather. He was a Baptist preacher. My mother knows I love old books so she gave me his big leather-bound bible after her mother died. I was looking through it one day and found what appeared to be pages torn from a journal of some sort. He had written what looked like a first hand account of a strange primitive world he would travel to infrequently via an altered state of consciousness. One of the things he describes is The Enormicon, a sentient tornado that feeds on heightened emotion and chaos, the kind of energy you might encounter on a battlefield. He said it would manifest itself in such situations if the conditions were right and would lay waste to everything in its path. I don’t know if these were accounts of actual events or fiction he was working on but they read like something he actually witnessed.
I felt, within your sound, a huge desire of does not fossilize, while remaining with a solid foundation planted in the ground. There are vague Voivod and Mastodon presences that intersect with the sound of Helmet and of people like High On Fire, as you get to a similar mix? What are the ratings that have influenced you during these years? And before Enormicon you’ve already had bands with which you approach these solutions?
The music of the 90’s is a big influence on us. We didn’t realize how much until one reviewer made note of it. For me at that time, I had kind of moved away from metal and was more into hardcore but that stuff isn’t that interesting musically. It’s pretty one-dimensional. Then along come bands like Melvins, Soundgarden, Helmet, Fugazi, Jesus Lizard. You had a lot of heavy aggressive music that was influenced by metal and hardcore and just experimenting in general. I think a lot of people were ready for it. I like some of the Voivod stuff. I think that comparison comes from our using dissonance and being attracted to chords and harmonies that go beyond root and fifth. The Mastodon reference comes from my style of singing possibly but beyond that I don’t hear much Mastodon in our stuff. We love High on Fire so naturally that’s gonna be in there. I hope not too much though because I’d hate for people to think we were trying to be them, because nobody could even come close.
How your songs born? What is the compositional process that you follow? There are defined roles in this way, or the jam session help to come up the ideas?
Joe and I share song writing duties. We approach it differently though. Joe will come with some ideas for riffs or parts and the three of us help bring it all together and flesh it out. I take the control freak approach and try to have the song as finished as possible before I bring it to the band. In the end everybody has input on the arranging and how the song could be improved. We do sort of jam on things when one of us is trying to come up with a good part for a song. We’ll often start practice with some sort of jam but that’s usually a trippy psychedelic echo-soaked jam. And…we usually don’t remember what we did unfortunately.
In a genre like the doom/stoner to convey strong emotions are not enough a distortion and a powerful riffing, but must know how to channel the inspirations in an appropriate manner. What are the feeling, the events and the thoughts that push you to create songs?
As mentioned above, our current inspiration is my great grandfather’s journal. I feel more comfortable writing songs as stories instead of baring my own soul. Too often that comes off as sentimental or complaining. Maybe in the future we’ll incorporate more current events into the songs but under the guise of fictional characters. The instrumental part is kind of on a parallel track, it’s more about attempting to make heavy music that is multifaceted and interesting. We could write songs that are firmly rooted in a major or minor key but it’s more interesting if the overall tone is little more ambiguous.
Apart from the small note to the fact of being a bit derivative (but this is a “defect”, if you want to call it that, almost inevitable), I consider “Storm Of Swords” a great job and I have particularly liked the two pieces I could categorize as stylistic opposites: “Slaghammer” and “Brotherhood Of The Plague”, groove metal vs. psychedelia into practice. There’s a song that you have particularly close to heart or that is, in your opinion, the real hit of the album? If the answer is yes, why?
To me the bulk of death metal albums, for instance sound the same, but if you make a death metal album, people don’t say you’re derivative, you’re just that “style” of band. I think because there are distinct style differences that you can point out between songs on our EP, we get labelled derivative by some people. We like writing songs that are distinctly different from each other. Take Soundgarden for instance. There’s a band who could fill an album with a diverse selection of songs but which still had that Soundgarden “sound”. That’s what we aspire too. The EP is the first thing we’ve recorded so we haven’t fully established our own sound yet. That will come as we right more songs. Hopefully the new songs we’re working on will sound more like us. My particular favorite on the EP is “the Gargantuan”. It has what I think is a cool, heavy interesting main riff, a good vocal melody and some trippy psychedelic elements as well. The “hit” seems to be Slaghammer. I think because the main riff is pretty hooky and it has distinct chorus sections.
Your reality is part of a music scene that is, in terms of quality, among the best ever and in constant turmoil, what are your favourite playlist within the doom and stoner?
I’m not a big fan of the blues-based/Sabbathy bands out there, my current favorites are Big Business, YOB, Orange Goblin, High On Fire, Electric Wizard. There’s a band out of San Antonio, Texas called Las Cruces who are doing some cool stuff. The new Melvins record is good. I like a lot of what you would call intense music that’s outside of the metal realm. I think Battles is pretty incredible. I mean, look a their lineup. There’s what I would describe as a melodic math rock band from Austin, TX, Boyfrndz who write some great songs. The Better Death are a Dallas, TX band who are incredible musicians and songwriters. They have kind of Mars Volta tinged sound.
What do you think about the today metal scene?
There are a lot of bands in our area playing southern metal and death metal. A LOT. Those are two styles I just can’t get into. But there is also a healthy doom/stoner scene as well. We still haven’t quite found our place in it but maybe that’s a good thing. I think in the last few years it’s become “OK” to like metal again. But I don’t care for the bulk of metal music out there right now. People don’t sing anymore and they can’t, or don’t care to, craft a good song. I’m not saying we’re experts at it but I would like to see other bands try to do something more than just be brutal. And all the emo crybaby metal shit has simply got to go. There’s no crying in metal. Or keyboards.
You coming from Texas, country that has been offered and still offers a lot to the music world in general: ZZ Top, King’s X, Pantera, Rigor Mortis, Divine Eve and Solitude Aeturnus are just a few among the great names we can mention. How you live your scene? And have you noticed significant changes between the period of the nineties and the current one?
Seems like in the 90’s in our area, fans were a little more open to variety than they are now. But also back then, metal was considered very unhip. Now it’s accepted and pretty huge where we are. The other side of the coin is–in Dallas/Fort Worth, the better part of the metal scene is in a stylistic rut, you’re either death, southern or metalcore. But the state, overall, turns out tons of good bands of all styles. Competition is fierce but you get to hear a lot of great music.
Criticism by review sites on the Internet and print media as he welcomed “Storm Of Swords”? And who knows you for a long time? What were the reactions?
I’d say about 70% of the reviews have been favorable, 10% indifferent and 20% don’t like it. Reactions have been all across the board. Some people say we sound like Voivod, others say we sound like 90’s post rock. Lots of writers say they like the unpredictability of the EP, others say it’s too short and that we haven’t quite reached our full potential yet. It’s funny, you can tell the people who are receptive to what we’re doing and those who don’t like our style to begin with and so don’t really give an objective review.
The album was released as selfproduced, have you got the offer of some labels to support your project? They are stirred the waters?
We haven’t approached labels yet. That’s on our list of stuff to do. And none have appeared out of thin air to offer us tens of thousands of dollars to record our next album.
How was it to bring on stage the songs? What memories you have of your first live?
Our first show was a Battle of the Bands. We were nervous, Joe and I hadn’t played live in a while but you just have to get up there and do your thing and hope it doesn’t go completely off the rails. I had strained my voice in practice so my voice cracked a couple times which is really an ice pick in the ear for the audience. Thankfully I have better control of that now. It was a weird mix of good, ok and shitty bands playing all different styles.
The most beautiful experience and the worst that you have lived as a band?
The best has been knowing you’re kickin’ ass up there, the band is tight, the energy is good and you feel like you could stomp a mountain into rubble. And after the show someone comes and tells how much they enjoyed your set. The worst is when, no matter how hard you try, the band is just not working well together and it’s not going to be your best show. And then there are things like this: We serve meat at our shows on occasion. One night we thought it would cool to have a couple of women in dominatrix gear do the serving, cut it up on stage and serve it to the audience on the tip of a sword. We told them that in order to pull it off they had to play it straight, totally serious, like a priest giving Communion. They decided to do a bunch of tequila shots before the show. By the end of the first song, meat, grease and blood littered the stage along with two confused, sword-waving, meat-slinging drunks in vinyl and fishnet stockings. I don’t know how they kept from cutting off their fingers or impaling us or themselves. Thankfully it was an instrumental so I just kept my head down and played guitar. I couldn’t stand to watch.