Interview: Skeletal Remains
In my personal opinion 'The Entombment Of Chaos' is the greatest moment in our career. It’s the album we’ve always wanted to create with the best lineup I could ever work with.
Brutal death metallers Skeletal Remains have just released their brand new album The Entombment Of Chaos, the follow up record to 2018s Devouring Mortality and it’s a huge chunk of viscous death metal. Gavin Brown caught up with the band’s guitarist Mike De La O to hear about the recording of the album, its themes and the difficulties doing so during a world pandemic as well as working with Dan Seagrave on the album art, the anticipation of playing live again and his favourite death metal.
E&D: Your new album The Entombment Of Chaos is out very soon. How did the recording and creation of the album go?
Mike De La O: Writing the album with Chris came fairly easy. He had a few songs written already, but the rest of the music was done in a matter of about 6 weeks. Recording was a different story though. Covid Lockdowns hit the day before we were scheduled to hit the studio so that delayed the album about a month with the original release date set for some time in early August. The drums were all done at the studio with the guitars and vocals being recorded here at our practice lockout. In the end it seemed to have work out in our favor. We didn’t feel any pressure nor did we have a time limit on how long we could take during a session so it was a blessing in a way because it also kept us local only having to drive about 5-10 mins to and back from our lockout.
E&D: You have just released the video for the albums final single, ‘Dissecstacy’, can you tell us a bit about what the song and the video are about?
Mike De La O: The song is about a person finding ecstasy in self mutilation/dissection. The original idea for the video was actually supposed to have full on narrative to it with actors prosthetics and all that good stuff which is why our filming location was set in an apartment but shit happened and that idea couldn’t come to fruition. So we made the best of what we had and it actually turned out pretty sick. It just might be my favorite video to date.
E&D: The instrumental ‘Enshrined In Agony’ features halfway through the album. Did you feel it was important to include that track there to add to the atmosphere of this brutal record?
Mike De La O: It was definitely thought out in the sense of album structure. We had been wanting to incorporate interludes between certain songs since the early days of Skeletal Remains, but it wasn’t until this album came to be that we felt they would really fit. This album was written with a lot of emotion as well so we really wanted to capture every bit of it.
E&D: What are the songs on The Entombment Of Chaos about?
Mike De La O: Some songs are the usual blood and gore types that you’d expect from death metal but this time around we incorporated some sci-fi elements along with real world events whether it be the past or present and personal struggles.
E&D: Do you have a favourite song on the album at the moment?
Mike De La O: Our personal favorite would have to be the song ‘Eternal Hatred’. The deep droning riffs along with Chris’ guttural vocals really expresses the anger we had at the time. Just listen to and read the lyrics to get an idea of where our thoughts were.
E&D: You worked with Dan Swanö on the album. How was it working with him again and what did he bring to the sound of the album?
Mike De La O: Swäno is a legend so being able to work with him is a dream come true. He knows what we are going for sound wise because he was apart of that era in which we worship so much. He makes sure we have that thick old school sound with a bit of modern production for clarity.
E&D: Dan Seagrave did the artwork for The Entombment Of Chaos. How was it working with him on bringing the album to life in a visual sense?
Mike De La O: Again, another legend we have the honor of working with! This time was a bit different than what We usually do. Due to Dan’s extremely busy schedule and high demand we had to get the artwork done before the music was complete just to secure an earlier release for us. The artwork and title actually coincide with today’s world wide pandemic so that was kind of a trip. Haha.
E&D: How are the biggest influences on the sound of Skeletal Remains?
Mike De La O: It’s pretty obvious who we worship and that we do not shy away from keeping that style going. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel so to speak we just add a little modern twist to it.
E&D: You are due to play the Slaughterfest in Las Vegas in October. Are you looking to hitting the stage again?
Mike De La O: We are so ready to get back up on stage, safely of course. We live for the road, we thrive off fan interaction.
E&D: Will you be playing much new material from the new record?
Mike De La O: Definitely! We are going to push the hell out of this record as we do with every release.
E&D: How do you think that live music will change after everything that has gone with coronavirus this year?
Mike De La O: I think it’s going to be the norm for the next couple of years honestly. Personally I don’t really dig it but what choice do we really have? I’ll just take it as is for now as long as we get to get back on the road.
E&D: You are playing the Maryland Deathfest next year. Have you played there before and are you looking forward to the show?
Mike De La O: This is going to be a first for me, but Skeletal Remains have played there before and from what I hear it’s a fucking blast haha. So I’m extremely looking forward playing Maryland!
E&D: What has been your favourite festival to play?
Mike De La O: I wasn’t in the band during their festival runs so I can’t really answer that one for you but I am so looking forward to what the future holds for us.
E&D: Have you got any other live plans at the moment?
Mike De La O: We have a lot scheduled that we really can’t put out yet but so far 2021 is looking stacked so really excited!
E&D: What has been the best gig that Skeletal Remains have ever played?
Mike De La O: For me personally, I’d say every show that I’ve experienced while being in the band has been amazing only because I’m still so fresh to touring. South America has some wild fans and shows so it may be hard to top them, haha.
E&D: What has been the best metal gig you have ever seen and what made it so special?
Mike De La O: That’s a tough one. Hard to pick one because I’ve seen Cannibal Corpse, I’ve seen Napalm Death, I’ve seen Gorguts and many more. Impossible to pick one great show, haha.
E&D: What are your top three death metal albums of all time?
Mike De La O: That’s another tough one because I don’t have a favorite, it’s more of a what ever I’m feeling at the moment thing for me. But some of my most recent spins have been Morbid Angels Formulas Fatal To The Flesh album, Loudblast’s Sublime Dementia and Edge Of Sanity’s Unorthodox.
E&D: What makes a classic metal album for you?
Mike De La O: To me there’s got to be plenty catchy riffs and great hooks. Melody and brutality. Memorable chorus lines and solos. That’s just the basics too.
E&D: What was the first metal album you ever bought and what impact did it have on you?
Mike De La O: Most of my earliest purchases were great but the one that made an impact on me did Death’s Human album. After those first few spins I knew from then on that death metal was my calling.
E&D: Who are your biggest influences as a musician?
Mike De La O: Erik Rutan, Luc Lemay, James Murphy and Chuck Schuldiner just to name a few.
E&D: What have been the best moments in your career with Skeletal Remains so far?
Mike De La O: In my personal opinion The Entombment Of Chaos is the greatest moment in our career. It’s the album we’ve always wanted to create with the best lineup I could ever work with.