Interview: Chris Bradley of Beneath the Massacre

Canadian tech-death metallers Beneath the Massacre are currently gearing up to release their brand new album Fearmonger via Century Media records. Their first release in 8 years, the album makes a triumphant return for the quartet who in the past toured with heavyweights Job For a Cowboy, The Faceless and Behemoth. Prior to the release of the album, we had the opportunity to chat with guitarist and founding member Chris about the new album, the new equipment he’s been trying out and the bands plans going forward.

How do you feel the response has been to the songs you’ve released so far?

I think it’s been pretty good. We weren’t sure if people would even remember us as we’ve been quiet for 8 years but we’re pretty stoked with the response we’ve got. One thing I will say is that when it comes out, I think people should listen to it as a whole and think a bit more. Each song has a different kind of vibe and if you sit in the bath and listen to it, it’ll go by faster than you might think.

As you mentioned, it’s been 8 years since the bands last release. What do you think has changed in those years?

Music-wise, the level of talent has increased dramatically. There are way more sick bands around these days and I think social media has been helping that. Business wise, I’m not too sure what’s changed much as we just came back so we’ll see how it goes. We’ve only done one tour since we came back so we can’t really form an opinion yet. The process with the new label has been good though and they’ve been super awesome to us. We’ll see how it goes going forward but so far they’ve been really good. I’m really anxious to see how the US tour goes as we’ve not played there in a long time.

Was the process behind this album any different?

It was different to the past yes. Typically, we’d be writing on the road and trying to hit the recording date with enough songs. We’d do it on the spot with some super shitty scratch tracks and that was kinda how we did it. This time though, we spent a lot more time writing and I’ve got some riffs that date back a few years. A few other factors then came into play and we spent less and less time on it. When we decided to get back into it, we did a different approach and took what we had and bunch of riffs and did some pre-production with Tony from Ion Dissonance. That way, I was able to continue writing and he served as the point of contact for the rest of the band. We then decided that we would record all the riffs I had which ended up taking a lot longer than we anticipated.

When we then went into the studio and started working with the engineer Chris, things just started getting even better. He suggested a lot of really cool harmonies and it ended up coming out super good. I think, by putting more time into it and getting it more polished, we’ve created a more solid album.

What was your main inspiration that you had when writing the riffs?

I guess with time I’ve developed a unique style which was influenced by bands such as Origin, Dying Fetus, Meshuggah and some shredding guitar playing. That’s primarily what influenced me back in the day and over time I think I progressed further and further to create my style. I’ve kinda got comfortable writing this intense music over time.

What equipment do you typically use?

I did most of the tracking for this album using a Kemper in my apartment and capturing the DI via S/PDIF which was awesome. It delivers pristine audio and stays in the digital realm which removes all the additional noise that can come into the signal chain by using DI’s. That meant that I could deliver pristine DI’s to Chris and he then did some re-amping and other technical wizardry.

In a live situation, I’ve been using a Line 6 Helix as it’s amazing. I wanted something that enabled me to do my harmonies live and gives me a split sound with left and right channels. We’ve also started using a click and in-ears which has enabled me to play the harmonies which I previously didn’t play. I do that via midi patches which has been a super amazing thing for me. I’m still working on my tone as it’s very different for me as I always used to use amps and cabinets and not go direct. Getting a tone that works when going direct can be tough, but I think I’m getting there.

I also recently got a Legator guitar which I’ve been playing on for the past 2 weeks which sounds amazing. I don’t know whether it’s the guitar or the Fishman pickups in it, but it sounds so amazing. I’ve been super digging that and I think I’ll probably stick with Legator for a while.

What are the bands plans for the next few months?

We obviously want to push our album as much as we can. We weren’t that lucky when our last album came out as we were just finishing a drummer change and didn’t get that many offers. This time, however, we’re not in that situation and we’ll be able to tour more with offers that make sense. I just hope more venues have showers these days!

How would you describe your music if someone asked you on the street about what your band plays?

I would just make some rumbling noises and sign the drums going crazy. If it was a metal fan, I’d probably say it’s like intense metal and they should give it a listen.

Outside of playing music, what do you enjoy doing?

These days, I’ve been using my spare time preparing for the US tour and I try and stay in shape as much as possible. I also got engaged recently although she lives in another country which has been a little tricky. That’s mainly been mainly taking up my time recently.

If every member of the band had to switch instruments, who would play what?

That’s funny because we jammed earlier and we kinda joked about this. I would switch the bassist and guitarist and the drummer and vocalist. I would love to hear Pat yelling into a mic and I think this lineup would probably at least sound OK as opposed to really bad.

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