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TIM YEUNG On Modern Extreme Metal: "There's A Lot Of Bands With You Know, 28 Riffs. There's No Actual Hook"

And his new band with Jeremy Spencer, Semi-Rotted.


If you think you know Jeremy Spencer, think again.

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The former longtime drummer of Five Finger Death Punch turned heads last year with the formation of his new death metal inspired project Semi-Rotted, a love-letter to genre greats Obituary, Death, and Morbid Angel with a hard groove flex and horror soaked edge.

Now, alongside guitarist Shawn McGhee, bassist Alessandro Paveri (Gemini Syndrome) and newly recruited drummer Tim Yeung (ex-Divine Heresy, ex-Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel) the ferocious quartet are locked and loaded to uncork their full-length debut Barrage of Brutality.

"I have that excited feeling again that I'd kind of lost maybe over the years just from doing the same routine all the time, as amazing as it was. But there's something new about this energy and refreshing about this energy again that I experienced when I was younger. And now it's coming back to me again and I'm really having fun doing it," Spencer shared in a candid sit-down with Metal Injection alongside Yeung.

"And it's important to do it with people so that there's a good vibe and everyone gets along and everyone respects each other. And so far it's been the case. This has been awesome. And that's the way I want it for a band, is to be fun. You know, you're supposed to have a great time and get along and make fucking shit that you love."

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"Jeremy and I have known each other since, I don't know, like '06-07? Yeah, I mean, a long, long time, man. I remember before either one of us had record deals," Yeung recalls, turning to his newfound frontman.

"Yeah, I remember going to see Tim at some club here in Vegas when you were in Divine Heresy, just starting out at the same time as Death Punch. What's the place where the fucking stage falls in? I think it's closed now, but that little fucking dive bar here in Vegas?"

"Cheyenne Saloon. I remember that place. I remember the floor was sticky," answers Tim on cue, the chemistry between both frontman and drummer evident early. "So it's that long, you know, it's a long time. It's nearly 20 years. So basically what happened is Jeremy called me out of the blue and said, 'Hey, man, I'm putting a band together. You want to play drums?' And I'm like, 'you're not playing drums?' 'Nah, I'm singing.' I'm like, 'Really?!' And that's literally how it came together. I heard the material and he sent it to me and I dug it and I was like, 'Yeah, I'm in! This is cool.'"

Yeung, a veteran death metal drummer who has manned the kit for the likes of Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, and Pestilence, perfectly jelled with Spencer's vision for a throwback outfit that embodied the meatiest bloody bits of a bygone era.

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"It just reminds me of the stuff that we grew up listening to. You know, it's definitely more an early nineties-esque kind of arrangement," Yeung shared. "There's an intro, there's a verse, bridge, chorus. Extreme metal nowadays, it's very different. There's a lot of bands, you know, 28 riffs. There's no actual hook. It's weird. I don't really get 87 riffs and it's almost like it's not a song, you're just memorizing patterns and arrangements."

"It's always about the song first and foremost for me. And it's got to have a hook. It's got to have something that you leave and are like you got to hear that! That was wicked. You got to be drawn into it," adds Spencer, delving into his transition from drums to vocals, a move out of physical necessity over outright desire. 

"Yeah, you know what? I'm basically about four feet standing closer to the audience than I was before. I have a mic, which could be dangerous. You know, I could say whatever the fuck I want, which is fun. But I haven't found it to be weird. I've been taking vocal lessons and practicing a lot every day in my little music closet back there … so it's been cool, but I'm feeling the itch of needing to play live."

Teasing a debut showcase for September, and expressing that, if the demand allows all hands in the band are more than willing to hit the road for a full-fledged tour, Semi-Rotted seem primed and ready to take the next step. The hype, deservedly so, has ramped up in the wake of their single/video release "Bloodbath", featuring the legend Corpsegrinder on guest vocals.

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"I was thinking, man, how cool would it be if I could get Corpsegrinder to sing on this? And we have the same management, so I was talking to my manager and I'm like 'you know him, do you think we could make this happen?'" recalls Spencer.

"And we reached out to him and he was so cool about it. And he did the song really fast and sent it back probably within like one or two days. So I was like, 'Holy shit, listen to what he did!' And it was awesome. He did it. I couldn't believe he agreed to do it."

Teasing the TBD release of their debut studio album, Spencer sets the stage for a lean and vicious collection of cuts.

"It's punishing. And I'd say the longest song is maybe 2 minutes and 40 seconds. So it's really short, sweet and focused. It's like 29 minutes of true brutality, man. So I think it's a fun record that you listen to from start to finish."

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