1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have
never heard of you before?
BRAD: ABYSME is a death metal band from Pittsburgh, PA that started in 2006. We are a three piece, with myself (Brad Heiple) on guitar/vocals, Michael Bolam on bass and Timothy R. Williams on drums. We have a debut album coming out in September 2012 on Hellthrasher Productions (CD/Poland) and later on Blood Harvest Records (LP/Sweden). We've all been in bands you may or may not have heard of before, for instance, Mike was in Crucial Unit and Tim was in Human Investment and I was a founding member of Funerus.
2. How would you describe your musical sound?
BRAD: I would say we play a no-frills traditional kind of death metal with a dark vibe.
TIM: It’s fast but not too fast, somewhat adept but not technical. Oh no, we might not be “extreme” enough to be in Extreme Metal Zine!
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores
with the music?
BRAD: Tim (drums) writes most of the lyrics. They're typically existential in context, but we delve into morbidity, fantasy and horror a little bit here and there. We try to shy away from overtly Satanic or gore-based lyrics.
TIM: Yeah, I feel like too many bands have lifted too many things straight out of Anton LaVey. And I like Lovecraft, but too many bands have dipped their buckets in that same well. So, for the songs on the album, I drew some lyrical inspiration from Joseph Conrad, Jorge Luis Borges, Handel’s Messiah (e.g., “We Shall Sleep” instead of being resurrected), and ancient history and mythology. But hey, most of our lyrics are only a few sentences long so the thinking behind them isn’t too grandiose.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
BRAD: It's an adaption of an archaic French word that means an abyss, nothingness or void. We changed some letters around to make it look cooler.
TIM: If we used the correct old French spelling of “Abisme” then we might have ended up dotting the “i” with a heart and that wouldn’t be scary at all.
5. What are some of the best shows the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
BRAD: We have played with so many great bands! We are lucky to have supported bands such as Incantation, Deceased, Master, Funerus, Gravehill, Cardiac Arrest, Funebrarum, Macabre, Inquisition, Nominon, Superchrist, Disma and many others. A couple years ago we played a mini-fest here in our hometown which was great, and recently a show we did in Cleveland kicked ass. Buffalo shows have all been great, too. We really like the people in those cities; they like metal! Hopefully our stage performance isn't boring and the folks in attendance like what they hear to bob their heads or headband! I think we try to be at least somewhat energetic, and usually we have red lights and a strobe that we switch on and off during the set. Between songs we have it dark or have the strobe going. People seem to dig it. Sometimes with club lights it's tough to do that, though.
6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
BRAD: No real touring plans yet, but are getting out more recently. This year we played Buffalo, Cleveland, NYC and Chicago. Hopefully once the album is released we can hit the road for at least a few short trips and crush some other cities.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by
fans of death metal?
BRAD: Thus far, reviews of the album have been pretty good overall. And we get a lot of good feedback from people who see us live and other bands we play with who get to check us out. Hopefully once the CD and LP are released more folks will pick it up and tell us they like it! Since our labels are overseas, that has seemed to help out internationally and we really appreciate that aspect of the underground metal community.
8. Are there any other projects besides this band or is this a full
BRAD: At the moment, the three of us only play in ABYSME.
TIM: But we’re always coming up with joke concepts for our fake alter ego band RECTAL THERMOMETER.
9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
BRAD: Probably more of the same dark, traditional death metal. I'm not good at writing much else, to be honest. I just want to play the kind of death metal that I like to play and that I would like to hear.
TIM: I like the challenge of trying to make music that’s interesting while remaining in an established musical style. It’s like trying to make a movie using traditional special effects without using CGI.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your
music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
BRAD: The three of us listen to a lot of different stuff. We have varied tastes when it comes to what we listen to on a regular basis. But I mostly stick to the classics like Dio, 80's Black Sabbath, Mercyful Fate, Kiss, WASP, etc. I like old country music, too. As far as influences, the stuff that inspires me now is the same as it was back in the early 90's when I started Funerus. Mostly the early Scandinavian bands like Grave, Carnage, Abhorrence/Amorphis, and stuff like that, but also Autopsy, early Death, Impetigo, Repulsion, Bolt Thrower, Disembowelment, etc. Rottrevore were a big influence on me back then! Heavy shit!
11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
BRAD: We all like exploitation movies, role playing games like old school Dungeons and Dragons and board games. We're a nerdy group. I'm really into ice hockey/the NHL, fishing and being outdoors when the weather is nice. And drinking beer, whiskey, the usual stuff!!
TIM: My interests are in doing everything less than Mike and Brad. I watch fewer horror movies, play fewer role playing games, and drink less. I’m the lightweight of the band that they get to tease for not being cool enough. Also, I like being outdoors when the weather is not nice. I like stomping through the snow.
12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
BRAD: Thanks to Extreme Metal Zine for the interview, and to anyone who takes the time to listen to our music and read our interviews! We really appreciate and hope to play for all the death metal heads in the US and abroad someday!! If you like what you've read or heard, pick up our album through Hellthrasher or Blood Harvest. Thanks again and CHEERS!!