I’m a sucker for a one-person “band”, and Immolate moTh popped onto my radar recently. The band is Thom Bleasdale, and – as mentioned in the interview below – he writes and records his music partly as therapy to help deal with fibromyalgia. I’ve got friends who also suffer from this and it’s definitely not something you’d want to have.
Thom’s latest release, This Broken Mind, is out now and available to buy [amazon text=from Amazon&asin=B01EC6YHWY] (sponsored link) and elsewhere. It’s a compact little three-track collection of impressive “recorded in a home studio” heaviness. Nicely rough around the edges, it certainly doesn’t sound like the work of just one person.
The drums actually sound like drums – you can almost hear the stick hitting the surface. It sounds like an unusual thing to say, but when you hear it you’ll know what I mean. So many other recordings seem to bury the drums, this has them right up front in the mix and recorded as if you were standing right beside them. Nice. The guitars – often at the front in the heavier styles – are comparatively low key. All of this ensures that Thom’s vocals are nicely audible.
Simple things first – where are you from?
A town called Bideford in North Devon, UK.
How long have you been playing?
I have been playing all my life, but I have only been making death metal for a year and a half.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Moth is an anagram of thom, my name, and ‘Immolated’ sounded pretty brutal, and the image of the burning moth is something I thought was kind of cool. Nothing too deep there!
What are your influences?
I listen to so much different music, but in regards to my metal influences, I would list Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Sepultura, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Cattle Decapitation, Living Colour and Primus.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
It’s a kind of slightly techy death metal. Very brutal, very heavy, and from a place of real pain and suffering. Being so ill that I can’t play in a band and have to do it all on my own – I don’t have anyone who knows this kind of music to help me – and the fact that I have battled death and survived nine times means I think I have something to contribute to this genre. I’m isolated, in pain, and genuinely suffering every day, and this is where my music comes from. There is real physical and mental pain in every note. That is what makes my music unique.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
I’m highly critical of society, especially it’s attitude to the ill and disabled, I also write about the experience of a panic attack (“Overwhelm”), the fear of going to sleep genuinely not knowing if you are going to wake up (“Sleep”), isolation, ecocide, a bear killing a hunter, living in a war zone… that kind of thing. I will admit those last two are not written from personal experience.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Sadly I have not been able to play live since I was in a hardcore band in Swansea, just over 20 years ago. This illness (fibromyalgia) has put paid to that.
In the bikers’ pub in Swansea, they didn’t like the first band on, so a few of the larger guys took their amps, while they were still playing (really badly to be fair), and threw them out the window. This was from the first floor bar. The guys in the band got out of there pretty quick! I’ve never done anything crazy at gigs, I used to just play my heart out. That was enough for me, I’m not the showy type.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I use a Roland V-drums kit, it’s excellent, very versatile and doesn’t piss off the neighbours. I used a Hutchinson guitar concepts custom 8 string guitar, a Schecter Hellraiser 7 string, and a 6 string Washburn bass. I used an Ampeg SVT classic for the bass, and for the guitars I used a Randall EOD 88 and an Orange Dark Terror. But mostly the Randall. It’s a beast!
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 / 2017?
I will be releasing my album, I Devour Pain, and then I will start recording a second album I think. Aside from that it’s just a matter of dealing with the symptoms of this illness.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Supporting me, I’d have Metallica (because of the irony) and I would be supporting Cattle Decapitation. I think that would work.