Three years ago, the Portland, OR foursome known as Elitist floored us with a gritty, hateful debut full-length called Fear in a Handful of Dust. To nix any confusion about whether or not they played sweet-cheeked djent (as another band named Elitist was doing), the band re-antichristened themselves Bastard Feast, and next week marks the release of their new killer, Osculum Infame, on Season of Mist. Osculum Infame is a tightly arranged, light-eating burst of ferocity. It feels a bit more metallic and musical than the cringing, slashing Fear in a Handful of Dust. Epic-length closer "Synthetic Messiah" also really stretches out and reinterprets the whole vibe of the record.
Before you can get your slimy hands on the new record, read up about the band's latest incarnation and the drive behind Osculum Infame, in their own words. Also, check out some live footage of the band and reintroduce yourself to their punishing performances.
What do you like about the new(ish) name Bastard Feast? Does the name change only reflect your differentiation from another band, or is there any advancement of ideas and interests wrapped up in there?
We no longer felt the need to be associated with another metal band that was not of our liking. Also wasn't a name worth fighting over even though there was no fight. We changed and grew and so did the name with us. The band needed something uglier and more of a reflection of what we are. We wanted the refined approach of our music to also be shown through with a new name and as respect to the new members. It was a natural choice for us once all the transitions had been made.
What musical/lyrical ideas drove you toward Osculum Infame?
Lyrically we find it following the paths less traveled, with an alarming sense of self destruction. We take the idea that our world could end at any time and put all of the chaos and space into the songs. It has a bigger sound than FIAHOD, and we weren't nearly as precise about our vision for the band as we are now.
Do you think your playing style has changed between the two albums?
Yes completely. It’s a natural progression. But we know how to accomplish what we want to do without stumbling to get there. The songs on Osculum Infame also were all their own pieces, never really saying "I want a song to sound like this.." They all developed into their own sort of piece for Bastard Feast. We started with the riffs during a really depressing time of our lives and utilized all the hostility and depth we could to create what became the most cathartic release we have done yet obviously including all the Elitist releases.
How have the live shows been going?
Well, as soon as we changed the name and came back out as Bastard Feast the difference was huge. Within a short period of time we were offered great bills and our live show went up tenfold. The sound was bigger with two guitars and different approach from our new bass player Jesse. We also became more comfortable with playing live. Two guitars offers more space for leads, and a heavier kick to the skull when we want to hurt ourselves and the crowd. Pretty amazing to say within the year’s timespan we also got to play with so many awesome well rounded bands.. Rotten Sound, Graves at Sea, Carcass (thanks to Decibel!) The guys is The Black Dahlia Murder were also super nice and a killer live band. The difficulties only ever happen in the technical department and even those are few and far between for us.
How did the recording process for Osculum Infame stack up to your other recording experience?
Recording Osculum Infame was the quickest session we could have had. [We] feel basically like we needed to get that album out of heads so long ago by the time we did, the band was beyond ready. All of us sat back and listened to it and felt like it was what it needed to be. Wrest from Leviathan appears on the last song on the album with Stevie Floyd. Both were an honor to have on the album and are a huge inspiration. Jesse Mckinnon from Stoneburner also appears on two tracks. So all of the guest spots on this album truly made it feel like we had a fuck ton of support and are surrounded by amazing artist who not only inspire us but we have the amazing opportunity of collaborating with.
This month, Decibel put out a Noise-themed issue of the magazine. Do you have any interest in noisy extreme music that doesn’t necessarily fit into the metal category? Any particular noise artists or recordings that you enjoy?
We all listen to a wide variety of music. It’s funny that this question is in here, being that we all listen to a lot of different styles of fucked up music along the lines of Merzbow, Sunn O))), Gnaw Their Tongues, Oscillating Innards. Murder of Angels’ While You Sleep and In the Air are both incredible.
What about other non-metal music you’re into? Can you talk about some music that has had some impact on you recently?
Again, we all come together and listen to metal on the regular. But yes we listen to a huge variety of music. Everything from My bloody valentine, Of the wand and the Moon, Depeche Mode, Holy Other, our drummer Nick loves Tangerine Dream and Air. Swans… anything dark and moody. Good song writing is good song writing. I understand being a purist but to make music that has longevity its best to draw influences from all over the board. A lot of the more melancholy passages on the album have come from listening to bands like Depeche Mode and Radiohead. Listen to the album and underneath the filth and grime you'll be able to hear underlying influences. Thanks and check out the album!
Also, Osculum Infame is streaming in full right now at Lambgoat.