The premiere I have for your today is from Montreal tech-death supergroup Akurion who is compromised of Coma Cluster Void/ex-Cryptopsy vocalist Mike Disalvo, longtime Neuraxis guitarist Rob Milley, Cattle Decapitation/Cryptopsy bassist Oli Pinard, and Conflux, Coma Cluster Void, ex-Neuraxis & Augury drummer Tommy McKinnon. That's an incredible amount of talent and the end result is ambitious music like "Year of the Long Pig" that we're premiering today.
On April 10th, Akurion will release their debut album, Come Forth To Me, through Redefining Darkness Record. You can check out “Year of the Long Pig” below and a statement about the song from the band. Alongside a short interview with vocalist Mike Disalvo afterwards. You can pre-order Come Forth To Me here.
"Year of the Long Pig is ultimately a satirical approach on how humanity disregards itself to the point of inflicting as much pain and suffering on those of a different color and creed. Life philosophies are under the microscope constantly but instead of embracing different cultures and beliefs, we generally shit all over it in an embarrassingly comedic way, without the laugh track. It's the age old 'we slaughter for sustenance, why not murder for pleasure' perspective? Really it's all just a play on how we treat one another. A tongue in cheek aspect."
– Michael DiSalvo
How does it feel to finally have a set Akurion album release date after the various delays and personal hardships that played a role in it not coming out until 2020?
Oh man, it really feels good. Not that we were ever really concerned about the delays but having it at a point where we see the light at the end of the tunnel is definitely an empowering feeling. It has been a long but fulfilling road.
While I know the band name and some lyrical themes are Lovecraft influenced as mentioned in other interviews, what other themes and topics are tackled throughout the album?
There is a heavy dose of themes related to loved ones lost and coping with the nightmare of it after the fact. Somehow it ended up being written in a manner that allowed us an outsider’s perspective but it sadly ended up being a foretelling of what was to come for Rob and I. It's not all based around doom and gloom, however.There is also a fair amount of optimism and positivity interwoven throughout the content.
Can you explain the meaning behind the album title? Is it a Lovecraft influenced idea at all?
It's actually not. It was one of those lines that came about after we saw what was to become the album cover. Honestly, it was thrown out there while collectively looking at the painting and me saying "Come Forth To Me". It was pretty instant. It was relevant insofar as the themes were concerned but also in a way it represented the notion that we could actually get this in the hands of like-minded music lovers at some point. A sort of "join us on this journey" mentality.
Was the intention from the project’s inception to create an amorphous and experimental take on extreme death metal? Or, did the sound evolve organically without any preconceived vision?
Well, we definitely had an idea to expand the sound and drop some songwriting standards and do something we felt was original and interesting. It did evolve of course. We had many ideas that spawned out of the initial song structures and became much more involved and free-flowing. A natural progression I think.
How was the material on the album written?
Rob had a large portion of the riffs and song structures early on. Yes, there certainly was a collaboration in completing the songs; adding nuances and additional riffs, some arrangement configurations but by and large, when Rob and I got together during the infancy of the project, eight songs were either "complete" or well along the path of completion.
Are there any current or future plans for the project as far as playing live goes?
Initially, we were saying from the get-go that this was going to be a studio project but we did have the intention of recording the album live, it was an original plan. So all the main tracks were recorded live over a 2 day period. We were worked hard to make sure we were gonna be in the pocket for that recording session. Sure we did overdubs but the live aspect is absolutely there…no click track. So, now that the album is set to release, we have had some offers and we are looking at all possibilities, providing it makes sense for the band. As I say, our ears are to the ground, we don't need to play live but if it's the right offer, we are open to listen.
Are there any other projects you’re working on this year besides Coma Cluster Void? Are you still a part of Conflux (formerly Conflux Collective) ?
For me, there is the CCV album and I have been approached by some friends that are brilliant musicians that have asked me to work on a 4 or 5 song ep but we haven't actually gotten together yet. Perhaps more to come on that soon. For the others, Rob has joined forces with Quebec legends Necrotic Mutation and Oli of course is pulling double duty with Cryptopsy and Cattle decapitation so 2020 has already been super busy and I expect that trend to continue. As far as Conflux is concerned, nobody has approached me about that. I think it was a one-off opportunity that I came in and sang on a song that was already written and completely plotted out…simply a guest on it. Chase is a great musician, that record is gonna kill.
For those who have not heard the album yet, what sorts of influences would you say the band might cite inspiration or comparison wise?
That's a tough one. I mean there is the obvious Neuraxis and Cryptopsy influence but not sounding exactly alike, but I also hear some hints of Voivod, Neurosis, maybe even a little Opeth at times. I don't know, we never went into it as to say let's write a part that sounds like A, B or C band, the songs in many ways wrote themselves when we all got in the same room together. The four of us have some very eclectic tastes in music so it's going to find its way into our songs one way or another.
Would you care to elaborate on how all of the guest spots came together and at what point of each song they’re for was it decided to use all of these amazing musicians?
This was a very important piece to this release. When I wrote the lyrics, in pretty much every instance I had our guests in mind for those specific parts. The beautiful thing was it all came together quite naturally. There was no delays, no working out schedules, just simple and easy. That is what happens when you work with pros. Having the likes of Luc Lemay, Lord Worm, JM Leblanc, Austin Taylor, Sylvia Hinz, Jeanne Strieder and my late late wife Genevieve DiSalvo all playing significant roles and adding their personal flavors to our album was a concept we had since the beginning of the project.
As a death metal vocalist for multiple decades now, what keeps you passionate and interested in being a part of new death metal music?
I just love it. I love the writing process, the challenge of writing a story or working the right arrangements in, the camaraderie within the band…really the whole creative process keeps me coming back for more. I feel I still have something to offer. Once the day comes that I don't think I can bring something fresh to the table or I just can't pull it off physically or mentally, is probably the day I say goodbye to it. I am not there yet.
I really love the cover art which was painted by Martin Lacroix. It’s haunting yet not a “typical” sort of death metal cover. Does the art for it represent lyrics/themes from the release?
Yeah us too. Like I said, it was immediate that we wanted this artwork to represent the music within it. Martin is such an amazing talent and this particular piece is like nothing I have seen before. It was also very important for us to not have a cookie-cutter album cover. We absolutely wanted to steer clear of the same old-same old approach with the album artwork. I really believe it is poignant to what ultimately came to fruition in many ways thematically. Unbeknownst to us initially but somehow the themes became our reality. The whole project came full circle regarding the artwork and lyrical themes. Very ominous but very true to life.
Thank you so much for your time. If you have any final words, have at it?
Austin and Metal Injection, thanks for the opportunity and support, it's greatly appreciated! Check out the album and drop us a line, let us know what ya think!