5 Albums To Rip Open Mental Wormholes w/ Daemogog
This week we peer into mind of Brendan Campbell, the man behind some amazing otherworldly metal bands, and get to discuss a few albums that rip open the fabric of space-time itself.
For those of you wondering why you haven’t heard of the dimension-shifting death of Daemogog as yet, it’s probably because the project only came to fruition midway through 2017, Brendan is very modest and doesn’t go ape-shit spamming his music, oh and you’re also a certified poser. Time to fix that shit up right now.
Ancient Extradigestional Rites was half a bee’s dick from being included in my Top 10 Albums of 2017 List, and would have definitely made the cut had I been one for honourable mentions…or if we listened to the Chepang and used the duodecimal system instead of boring old base 10. Anyway, Daemogog’s technical death metal bursts with flares of dissonance that rise to prominence from the friction between tectonic-shifting riffs, monstrous vocals, and bass that straight-up swallows entire planets. If you enjoy Gorguts, Ingurgitating Oblivion, or huge atonally-skewed technical death metal, then you need to hear this album. So hit play and let’s get into the interview.
Hi Brendan, how’s things? What have you been up to recently?
Things are good! I’ve been working a some new tunes recently and they’re shaping up real nicely. Definitely looking forward to finishing those up, getting them out there, and moving on to the next projects!
Awesome! Ancient Extradigestional Rites was one of the most intensely interesting and just straight-up obscenely heavy albums I heard during 2017, can you tell us a little bit about the album’s title and the concept behind it?
That’s awesome, man! Thanks a lot! So I think the concept I came up with for Daemogog is pretty cool (to my nerdy self, anyways). Basically, Daemogog is the name of a giant, single-celled organism from another dimension and what I want to do is have each album for that project be about a different aspect of this organism. Ancient Extradigestional Rites is basically the listener going through the process of being digested by Daemogog. The first song is about the listener sorta being hypnotized and entranced by the Daemogog so it can then begin to consume you. Each song after that is about experiences in each of its different organs and about the different substances that you’re transformed into, until eventually you’re fully changed into its blood and you’re sent into its brain where you’re projected across hyperspace! It was really fun to go all out on the concept with this one.
That’s mad, sounds like a archaea/fungi/alien/Chris Christie crossbreed. You performed essentially all the instrumentation, right?
Ya, I wrote and recorded all the bass and guitars. A couple of the songs started out as ideas I had for another project that a friend and I were working on, we eventually took that project in a different direction but he helped develop a couple ideas that made it onto this album. And then him and myself and a couple other buddies all threw down some vocals! I think having 4 of us on vocals really helped bring the album to life. I like how busy it is.
The first thing that struck me aside from the mad riffs was the immense tone of the guitars, particularly the bass. What would be some tips for our readers who’re searching to create something similarly extraordinary? Any certain pieces of hardware/software you deem to be super handy?
Something that I think is really important, but that I need to work on still, is being patient with the whole process. I often have a tough time with the mixing and mastering process because I just get too excited about the music and I don’t want to spend the time tweaking little things; I’d rather just do a super quick job and be finished so I can just blast it and not care. But I managed to take the time and re-evaluate things and do the tweaking necessary to take this one to a place where it started to sound decent.
Daemogog isn’t your only band, can you give us a run-down of all your other projects? The first I remember coming across was Octexosis on Bandcamp a few years ago, but you’ve got others too, right?
Ya so there’s Daemogog, Octexosis, and Hermit Cult for my solo projects and my friend and I do Kerala. They’re all varying types of weird, dissonant extreme metal. I also used to play in some math rock bands, Zoo Strategies and Yes Bear.
Oh right, I think you’ve shared Kerala before somewhere, that’s the sludgy one right? I’ll have to check out Hermit Cult.
Ya that’s right, Kerala is definitely more on the sludgy kinda side. When we started out we were heavily influenced by stuff like Intronaut, Mastodon, and Isis, but as time went on and our tastes developed and we both got into more extreme metal, we’ve brought in a lot of that black/death influence. I kinda think that project is like if old Intronaut had a baby with new Gorguts and that baby grew up in a desert or jungle haha. Hermit Cult is my sorta witch-themed, more black metal-leaning project. The first album I did for that project, Hex, was actually the first solo album I did and it’s super rough-sounding, but I think I weirdly managed to capture what I was going for. Even more so on the second album, Witchcraft. I really love both those albums and can’t wait to do another for that project.
With (all) these varying projects does it make writing easier or more difficult in general? For instance, do you tend to try and write with a particular project/theme in mind or just play and attribute whatever comes out to wherever it fits best across your various outputs?
I’d say it makes writing easier for me. I feel like I’ve had crazy musical ideas constantly filling my mind for the past 10 or so years and once I made the decision to have these various solo outlets where I could go at my own pace and not wait for other people, it allowed me just what I needed to start focusing all those musical ideas in productive ways. Probably 95% of the time that I’m writing, I’m writing with something specific in mind for a specific one of my projects. Usually by the time I finish an album, I’ve been thinking about the concept for the next thing I’m gonna work on, so I’m rarely ever just sitting around playing guitar for the heck of it. Which is kind of unfortunate though because when I do make the time to just sit and play guitar with nothing in mind, I’m always reminded how sweet it is to just friggin riff out! But it’s cool, I think having a concept in mind can often inspire me to play in ways that I might not have thought of otherwise.
How long have you been playing music for? Can you remember what spurred your initial interest to learn?
I’ve started playing bass guitar when I was about 13, so 15 years now. When I first started, it was definitely just something my parents made me do and I was always super reluctant to practice haha. I gotta thank my parents now for making me do it. It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I really started digging into more underground music and that got me way more into my instrument. That was also when I joined my first band, Pure Havoc. Best band name ever. We were for sure the most bad ass 16 year olds playing hard rock in town.
Hahah, that rules, were Pure Havoc the only heavy band in town, perchance?
Maybe the only band that mattered!! Haha just kidding, we were pretty terrible. We had a lot of fun though and it was a really good learning experience. We would also take our pants and shirts off while we practiced because our jam space was really hot. Good times.
I simply refuse to believe it gets hot in Canada. What inspires you outside of music? Any hobbies other than shredding?
Hanging out with my lovely gf, cat, and friends. Catching shows whenever I can. We’ve got some top tier metal bands in Vancouver so I’m lucky enough to see bands like Mitochondrion, Auroch, Anciients, Haggatha, Baptists, and tons of other great ones on a fairly regular basis. I’ve got a lucrative career as an office manager and I’m getting back into working out. There’s nothing like busting out a sweat while listening to some intense tunes!
Good shit, what’s currently on your workout playlist?
I’m definitely a full-album kinda guy, not really into playlists. I like to really get in to the vibe. That being said, Wormed is definitely a go-to for working out. They’re so just non-stop punishing that it works really well. And honestly, I’ve been jamming the new Kerala album a lot while working out. I feel like the dynamics make the workout interesting and there are just some huge riffs that I love and get me so pumped. Maybe I’m kind of a douche but I unashamedly love all the music I make haha.
Thanks for your time! Pumped to see what you’ve chosen for the theme…
No problem! Thanks for the chat, my reptilian friend! Now lets get to some siqq tunes. As you may have guessed, I prefer my music fairly weird. Music can come in many shades of weird, but metal does weird in ways that are next-level. Sometimes, when the moment is just right, when those blast beats are propelling you forward, when the guitars are searing your ears with blazing riffs, everything can come together in such a way that it can only be likened to flying through a wormhole. Here are five albums that are sure to send your mind flying into a wormhole with their absolute siqqness.
Wormed – Krighsu
Let’s start with the obvious. I mean ya, duh, obviously Wormed is going to send you into a wormhole. It’s right in their name! They just do it so well that we had to talk about them. Hit play on “Pseudo-Horizon” and within seconds, we’ve left on a journey. They quickly launch you into an absolutely savage vortex of pummelling riffs, unhinged tremolo outbursts, stuttering rhythms, and nearly non-stop blasting. But it’s not each of these individual aspects of Wormed’s music that sends you into a wormhole, it’s how each of these aspects combine with one another and the resulting image they all create. This synthesis forms a vessel that moves the present through time in a manner that is disorienting and chaotic but also linear. It takes you from one point to another and it does so in a way that is also plain-old goddamn siqq. This is a wormhole.
Krallice – Ygg Huur
In my mind, Krallice are one of the best wormhole-inducing bands of all time and I had a really tough time picking one good example to talk about. Everything they write transmits an aura of otherworldliness in the truest sense of the word. It is downright alien. Somehow at once both misty and ambiguous, but shimmering and defined. The constant interweaving spectral guitar lines of Colin Marston and Mick Barr, combined with the constant forward momentum of rhythm section Nick McMaster and Lev Weinstein, creates a potent reaction that reliably results in, as you may have guessed, wormholes for your mind to hurl through. “Bitter Meditation” embodies this nicely. The song begins with a dizzying, off-kilter assault that quickly gives way to a blasting-fueled riff that just as quickly launches into something really astounding. There’s a sense of the musical space opening up with Weinstein on the drums blasting us into hyperspace while Marston, Barr, and McMaster channel sparser glistening, beaming notes that seem to emanate directly from the void. This is a truly spectacular ride through a wormhole that they bring you on in this section and something about this spectral atmosphere they’ve conjured, combined with Mick Barr’s scarce, pained, ambiguous vocals, conveys ineffable feelings of profundity that really move me. It’s also pretty friggin siqq.
Mitochondrion – Parasignosis
I’m going to go with something that people may not think of when they think of wormhole-inducing music now. Vancouver, B.C. locals Mitochondrion create a truly ritualistic experience with their album, Parasignosis, and if you let it suck you in, you’ll be left in a daze. The first two tracks on the album really set the tone nicely and convey a sense of descending into some Dante-esque hellish Inferno where some truly sadistic punishment will be inflicted upon us. They also act as the perfect set up for the third track, “Tetravirulence (Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolvimus Part III)”. This is where things get crazy. Where the first two tracks are almost hypnotic and meditative, luring you in, the third track pounces ferociously and goes straight for the neck. “Strike down Saturn,” they intonate, as drums, guitars, and bass coagulate into a frenzied morass of evil and destruction. The chaos continues as they draw you further into their labyrinth of tremolo guitars, guttural vocals, and savage drums, each riff leaving you more and more feeble until you are fully at their mercy. Around the 4 minute mark of this track, things start to slow down a little; we’re offered a slight reprieve. Though, it’s a disturbing reprieve, as the guitars seemingly lurch and pull the ground out from under our feet, revealing an abyssal chamber where we are fully lost. And then, at the 5:30 mark, it happens. We’re launched into Mitochondrion’s version of an infernal wormhole. The guitars are whipped into a frenzied, crystalline riff, repeated until full hypnosis is achieved. This is accompanied by ever-present demonic screams echoing from unfathomable depths. Mitochondrion have conjured a Hellish wormhole in which any semblance of sanity we are left with is finally dissolved into the very fabric of their wormhole. The tortured screams echoing out from the depths could very easily be your own. As with our other wormholes, Mitochondrion’s is a product of how all the different parts combine. The meditative guitars, the chaotic drums, the tortured howls, and the savage bass that gets more and more defined until it smashes us in the face with slapped notes that sound like a hammer striking an anvil. All these aspects combine into a swirling murk that can only be described as a wormhole. And ya, it’s totally super siqq.
Skáphe – Untitled
Here’s another one that we might not necessarily think of right away when thinking of wormhole-inducing tunes. Skáphe are a bizarre, enigmatic entity, and their music can be described in the same way. Legitimately psychedelic and disturbing, they weave canvases and images that twist and distort in inexplicable ways before our very eyes. We’re treated to this from the very first moments of their album, Untitled. Thick, hazy, lo-fi, psychedelic ambience overwhelms our consciousness immediately, giving off the feeling of being in some dark dreamscape, unable to fully open our eyes. This ambience warps into a twisted, almost angular guitar riff that seems to bend the very fabric of spacetime, eventually building momentum as drums and vocals layer on their own psychotic interpretations of music. At 1:35, the instruments momentarily gain some focus, some clarity. An uncomfortably dissonant chord progression overlays an almost straightforward rock beat. It’s just enough of a footing to fool us into thinking that there might be a small semblance of normalcy tucked away somewhere in what’s about to come. But from the ether, a distant guitar wailing suggests something more sinister awaits. At 2:11 there’s a lightning-fast switch and we’re plunged into a maddening vortex. Similar to in Krallice’s song we discussed, laser-like guitar notes seem to emanate from an unknown source while primal drums push the listener through the dense miasma at hyper-speed. Skaphe have launched us into their own twisted vision of a wormhole. The guitars, vocals, drums, and noise coalesce into fleeting spectral forms that fire our consciousness through a chaotic wormhole until, for a brief moment, everything seemingly dissolves into actual pure chaos, before again twisting into another demonic pattern and continuing our descent into psychedelic madness. Siqq.
Geryon – Geryon
Composed of the rhythm section of Krallice, Geryon will close up our discussion with what I think are some obvious wormhole-inducing tracks. Like Krallice, it basically seems like Geryon’s goal is to launch us continually into wormholes, taking us into deeper and deeper layers of reality, a fractal labyrinth fashioned of ever-shifting concrete walls that stretch infinitely into the sky. With “De Profundis”, they immediately knock us off our feet after a disorienting count-in in 5/8 time. We find ourselves in the midst of this ambiguous realm, almost unable to focus on anything or find footing due to the tricky time signature. Because they’re made up of only bass and drums, we could easily be fooled into thinking that this opening section is basically as intense as it’s going to get. It’s already really goddamn crazy, after all! But no. Almost out of nowhere at the 0:13 mark, the bass and drums sync together and seem to shift the entire vibrational plane of the universe into a higher realm. We’re propelled into a wormhole constituted by Lev Weinstein’s signature, non-stop hyperblasting insanity on the drums and Nick McMaster’s slower, almost pensive bass notes that must be going through ten different amplifiers. The textures and rhythms create a wormhole that, while similar to Krallice, is definitely its’ own beast. And this isn’t all. This album is a never-ending journey through wormholes that shift into one another relentlessly, leaving us lost, dizzied, and astounded. The bass varies between angular patterns and gritty textures, while always cast in a dark dissonance that can maybe really only be captured in the lower frequencies of the bass guitar. There is no light here; no reprieve from the ominous vibe that accompanies us through this insane journey beyond space and time in twisted wormholes. This is album sooo siiiqqqq.
That’s it for this edition of the Friday Guest List. Be sure to pick up some of Brendan’s awesome music, pretty sure it’s all Name Your Price on Bandcamp, so show him some appreciation for putting this together for us.
Previously On The Friday Guest List
Everlasting Spew Records head Giorgio coughed up the Top 5 Bands He’d Love To Sign.