Damian Herring


Horrendous, what a perfect name for a Death Metal band. These mighty Death Metallers hail from the East Coast of the US. Lior had the chance to speak with them all the way from Israel about their latest release entitled, "Ecdysis".
October 29, 2014
Interview – Damian Herring (Horrendous) interview
Hello Damian, how are you? I wish to thank you for taking the time to answer this interview for Metal Temple.

I'm great! Thanks for interviewing us and spreading the word.

In the upcoming period of time, your band Horrendous is about to unleash its second release, "Ecdysis" upon the world of Metal, and Death Metal in particular. In your perception, what is all about? How can you describe the album's theme?

Though we did not intend to have a specific, cohesive theme from the beginning, towards the end of the lyrical process, we realized it turned out that most of the lyrics on the album had to do with transfiguration and transcendence. The album is about overcoming and laying waste (in different ways) to detrimental ideas/institutions/structures/etc. in an effort to discover or experience a more worthwhile or complete/authentic existence. We use a lot of metaphor and imagery to convey this, and more precise interpretations are pretty open for the listener to make of it what they will.

While listening to "Ecdysis" I noticed quite an inspiration from the early 90's that had me quite intrigued, venturing from the old school US Death / Doom Metal scene to the chunky meat of the Dutch and Swedish consummations and revenant Black Metal, yet with a considerable mayhem lead section that is a reminiscent to classic Metal. In overall, it is quite an eclectic experience and a tribute to extreme Metal's first steps. It would be interesting to know, musically, if that was your purpose from the get go, to create such unison?

I think you have good ears, and have correctly identified some of the various influences we have. All three of us have a love for metal in general and its various sub-genres, so it's no surprise that different styles of the genre end up in our creative output. We didn't exactly set out to utilize a specific set of influences and meld them together; I think these influences find their way into our music since they are an important part of us, and we try to be open to whatever whims come during the writing process. I think that this, combined with our songwriting ideas and style, makes for an interesting listening experience with a unique sound. These days, we tend to write in a way where the songs naturally flow, taking their course, and we try not to hold anything back. We definitely wanted this album to have a "big" feel, and I think the incorporation of various influences aids in the creation of a diverse, dynamic album. We are encouraged that people are noticing that this is not just the "same old stuff."

Have you guys ever considered of implementing modernity to your deathly firepower?

I suppose it depends what you mean by "modernity." Our main goal with this band is to write music we love, and write music that we want to hear as listeners. Based on our own personal preferences, this often turns out to be music that in one way or another incorporates the spirit of classic metal bands; the raw, creative, and powerful soul that characterizes the atmosphere and essence of our favorite records of the past. By embracing this spirit, we are able to write music that we think is fresh and exciting; music that is progressive, but is still very conscious of the glory days. We are constantly developing our sound and trying to improve as musicians and a band. In this sense, our "modernity" is trying to rejuvenate the genre through unique songwriting, not worship or copy. Alternatively, if you are referring to more recent movements in metal as "modernity," such as brutal or technical death metal, I don't think much of this sound will find its way into our music because we don't really listen to it.

What can you reveal regarding the work on the album itself, songwriting, sharing of ideas, studio work?

All of our songwriting is done collaboratively, in a group setting. We might come with certain riffs already written, or general ideas, but the songwriting process is a group effort. We feed off of each other, complementing each other's creativity in a way that moves things forward and that we couldn't accomplish on our own. We have a great chemistry and function well in these "jam" settings. We began writing "Ecdysis" (it was untitled at the time) technically before The Chills was even released, but the bulk of the writing took place between early 2012, and summer 2013. The album did not actually take a year and a half of intense rehearsal to write. At the time, the band was separated by a large distance (Jamie lived about 10 hours away by car), so we could not practice very often. We wrote the new material over the course of about 4 rehearsal sessions, which were usually two or three day affairs, spaced out by 3 or 4 months from each other. We recorded the drums in August 2013 in Damian's studio (Subterranean Watchtower), and recorded the rest of the instrumentation over the course of the following year.

I found the epic, which is "The Stranger", and the battering "Monarch" to be quite staggering works of Death Metal empowerment, sinking the teeth at Doom while not letting go of the old guitar melodies that made the genre so great. What are your personal input on those?

Thanks! "The Stranger" was the first song we completed for the album, and it wound up being quite diverse and an epic in length. We knew from the get-go it would have to be the opener, and was pretty representative of what this album was about musically. As mentioned, we wanted it to have a "big" feel to it.  "Monarch" is similar in that it has a regal quality to its melodies, but it ultimately transforms into pure chaos and violence.

Do you have a different song that you wish to relate about, a track that made an impact on the release by your standards? Please elaborate.

"Titan" is a very special track to me, because when we first wrote it, I was completely filled with an uncontrollable sense of devastation in my gut/being. The melodies at the end are the very essence of melancholy to me, and I have teared up as we play it. It just takes me to a different place that is separate from the music-making environment itself. While this track was originally intended to perhaps remain an instrumental, I decided to add some lyrics and vocals to try to enhance the atmosphere created by the music. I really aimed to plant the seed of this emotional devastation in the listener, so that they would "feel" like we do when we play it. This song is capable of inducing a notion of immense, cathartic power, and offering that experience to the listener is one of our major goals.

Looking through nowadays Death Metal, following the considerable rise of old school Death Metal comebacks and newcomers sharing the appreciation for the past, where does it put Horrendous? What do you think that you guys have to put on the table?

We have never seen ourselves as a "tribute," "worship," or "throwback" band. We never set out to copy any band or style; only to play the music we loved, which indeed involved an appreciation for and incorporation of the unique spirit of the old school classics we adored, which was mostly lost and missing in the metal of the time of our inception. So even though we began as a group shooting to incorporate a certain "sound" that we loved and felt was missing, I feel we have always been set apart by our songwriting and diverse heavy influences. Our craft has progressed over time and we feel we have developed our own sound, and we have retained this signature despite branching out and diversifying our music. We see ourselves as a band that has something to offer, not just enjoyable songs, but something that is fresh; something that can hopefully push the genre forward. 

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