This morning, the Deciblog shines the unsigned band spotlight on Edmonton’s long-standing denizens of death metal, Display of Decay. The band has been a fixture on the western Canadian metal scene for almost ten years – which isn’t as folksy and patronizing as it might sound; sustaining a band for any length of time if you hail from Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta is a tough slog - and are set to unleash its fifth release, Dust of Existence on the public come next month. Having thus far utilized the power of the internet to get themselves in front of faces locally, nationally and internationally, the band also have the world wide web to thank for finding and hooking their new material up for a final mastering polish at Athens’ Grindhouse Studios. There’s more we could tell you about all things Display of Decay, but it’s probably wiser if we give guitarist and founding member, Sean Watson (guitar) the floor after (or during) which you can give a new track of theirs, the interestingly and lovingly titled “High Voltage Castration” a whirl.
What can you tell us about you coming together, original intentions and the like? Y’know, your basic band history question.
We were just two dudes who were in the same high school guitar class that enjoyed the same styles of extreme metal who set out to make heavy tunes and take over.
Edmonton appears to have a pretty strong scene and shit-ton of bands, but comparatively, is still pretty isolated in terms of location. Is that something you’ve had to consider in your time as Display of Decay? What sorts of other challenges do you feel the band has faced that a band from, say, San Francisco doesn’t have to deal with?
The scene here has changed rapidly in the last five years. When we started out originally, there were next to no bands even playing, and trying to find shows was a much more difficult task, whereas now I can accept or reject a show offer on a daily basis. I don't see it as isolation so much as it is just a drive to get anywhere else to perform. It’s not like the US where you can cover lots of ground in a short amount of time, which is why we pick and choose where it is we want to play and plan ahead.
There are a million-and-one death metal bands out there. What do you feel DoD potentially offers that’s different or unique?
The music speaks for itself. There is an overabundance of death metal bands, but it’s broken down into so many neatly-fit sub genres that it all gets labelled so quickly. With the way I write, I try to leave the book so open that you can't really classify us into any broken down sub-genre because there is something there for everyone. I set out to write heavy riffs that will get stuck in the head of the listener and make them come back and listen to it some more, because that is what I enjoy. Playing real fast and technical is fun and all, but it doesn't exactly stand out because it’s getting so overdone.
Tell us about the writing and recording of the forthcoming Dust of Existence album? Was there anything you did differently during any part of the creative process?
Our approach to writing is the same as it’s always been, just write riffs and piece them together. I must have had over 300 riffs ready for this record, some just as old as the band itself. It was really just a matter of finding where they fit and how they should transition. I would say the only thing different or out of the ordinary, was the title track. It's a little bit different than our usual style in the sense that it starts off clean, but it quickly takes a much darker tone. We also wanted to stick to incorporating the bass heavier in the mix, which is something we have become known for, and throwing in octaves and slaps on a fretless to add a unique twist. With every record we have put forth, we always try to set the bar higher, whether it’s to play faster or to simply out-do the previous record by song writing and production. We must have gone to about a dozen different places about mastering before we decided on Grindhouse Studios in Athens, Greece. They did the recent George Kollias solo album, Invictus, and I simply had to hear what they could do with our sound. I was not disappointed. Vasilis Gouvatsos did an incredible job.
What would you say is different about this album compared to previous works? How would you characterise Dust of Existence when stacked up to your other recordings?
Each album we have put out there are things I'm happy with and things iIm not. Compared to previous works, it’s easy to tell that it’s still the same guys writing the music, but I feel that the new material is much tighter than the old. Production-wise, it’s a night-and-day difference. Dust of Existence sounds much fuller and bigger than anything we have previously released. Outbreak of Infection got great reviews and was received very positively, and with Dust of Existence being the epilogue, listeners will surely not be disappointed.
How much live work/touring have you done? How would you say the band differs in a live situation from the band in the studio/on record?
We've played countless shows over the last almost decade all across western Canada. Our live shows are something you'd have to experience to really understand, from the grueling mosh pits to stage diving and crowd surfing, it’s a real sight to see. The material doesn't really change from studio to live, we try to keep it as realistic as possible so there isn't any big differentiation when fans come to see us live.
Dust of Existence is set to be the newest addition to a pretty extensive discography for a still-unsigned band. Is getting signed something that you’re still hoping to have happen someday? Do you ever feel any frustration towards the fact that you are still unsigned or have you been able to use technology to circumnavigate that goal?
We've put out quite a few records, and also had our fair share of lineup changes in the middle. We work our asses off, have gotten to where we are without the help or need of label support and will continue to do so until the right offer comes in. It’s something that we do aim for, but we aren't going to slow down and just wait for it to happen. If someone is interested, they know where to look.
What’s next for the band once the new record is fully out and about?
We've got a few more shows lined up after the release of the album on September 22nd, and then we'll be taking a couple months off in the winter to recuperate. We plan to expand our touring schedule to quite a few new areas next year, which we are very excited for.