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MONSTROSITY: "We definitely wanted to make a strong statement after being away for so long. We didn't really write different because we always want to use our best material"

Interview with Lee Harrison from Monstrosity
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 17 September 2018, 7:28 PM

Gone or just been there silent? Hidden or in a deep slumber? The question now has an answer. One of the true powers of Floridian Death Metal, Monstrosity, is back in business and heavily armed with a brand new album that is bound to split bodies in half, “The Passage Of Existence”. Steinmetal had a little one on one with the band’s veteran drummer Lee Harrison about how is it to be back in the fold and of course, the new release.

Hi Lee, thank you for taking the time to answer this interview of Metal Temple. This is quite the honor to interview a member of the old Floridian Death Metal scene. How have you been doing?

Pretty good. Just got back from a US run with Obituary. I filled in for the first four shows and so I just got back from that. Working to catch up on interviews and working things in general.

It might sound like a silly question, but I will direct, is officially Monstrosity back for long period of time? Are we expecting a whole lot from you guys similar to the old days?

Definitely. In my mind we've never been away. We've just not been in the public eye but we've always been working on things and getting things ready for the album's release. It took longer than I had expected for sure, but I knew it would happen sooner or later.

A decade plus one, that is quite a whole lot of time between albums, and here we are with Monstrosity signing to a new home, which fits like a glove, in the image of Metal Blade Records and unleashing a new album. This is quite an undertaking. How does it feel with “The Passage Of Existence”?

We're glad to finally have it finished. We spent a long time making sure things were right with the recording and the art and all of the business part. It's finally finished and we can focus on doing some shows hopefully.

Coming back to Metal Blade Records, throughout your career I always sensed that it was natural label. Why didn't this dangerous meeting take place sooner?

It actually did take place sooner. We've been connected to Metal Blade since 2004. Conquest Music licensed the album Rise To Power for the European and UK territories. It was the same for the Spiritual Apocalypse release. This was the third and final option for the contract and Metal Blade offered to take the album worldwide this time. So Conquest Music and Metal Blade worked out the arrangements and now it is out. In the past we had worked with Michael Trengert who has since passed away. Michael was the number two guy with Nuclear Blast and then Metal Blade so we go back to those times with him and that's how we originally connected with Metal Blade Europe. We are just glad everything came together with the release and that fans can finally hear it.

I know that it might seem as a cliché question, but we have to know, how did it feel to get back to the studio after all these years? Writing new material, recording etc. What is your impression?

It was a little different this time since we did not use Morrisound as we normally do. Morrisound studio was sold so it's no longer available to us which worked out because we were reconnecting with Jason Suecof. We wanted to do something with him again so it made sense to go to Audiohammer to record the new record. It was very tedious, but we were able to spend the time and relax and not be stressed by the clock. We changed heads a lot and really focused on which cymbals we would use and really going back and forth listening to different takes to decide which toms we liked for instance.

When I first heard of your comeback, I went back listening to two of my favorite albums from your discography “Imperial Doom” and “Millenium”. When I tuned in to “The Passage Of Existence”, it felt a little bit more technical, more skill, than the former mentioned gems. Nonetheless, this number still harbors the bestiality rawness of the old days. Am I on the right direction here? What is your view on your fresh deliveries?

You know we felt that Millennium was more technical so with In Dark Purity we dialed it back a little. I think it's the odd time signatures that can make it hard. We have songs like Solar Vacuum and The Proselygeist which are more straight forward and then there are songs like The Hive which has lots of twists and turns, timing wise, so that one I could see flying over people's heads. We like dynamics so I think there are peaks and valleys that go along with the new record. I look at it like it was a standard that was set and that we have to maintain from those early albums.

Part of your efforts included also a series of soloing onslaughts that really made quite a difference. I believe these to be some of the best lead guitar works of the band. Generally, the guitar work gave birth to amazing riffs that sliced my brains. I wonder if you tried to challenge your musicianship in order to come back with a twist?

We definitely wanted to make a strong statement after being away for so long. We didn't really write different because we always want to use our best material. It is why the album is longer because we knew that since we had been away we had to give the fans a longer record.

The song “The Proselygeist” really killed it, I was intrigued every minute, waiting for what will come next, everything just clicked like clockwork. As if progression was at work right there. What can you tell me about this song and your take on it?

It was the last song written for the album I had the riff during the first solo first. It kind of reminded me of Angels Venom with an extra count so I put that with the beginning part. Then somewhere the A riff came in and that's where the snare march thing happens so it just built from there. I had the title and just went with it and shaped the words to fit my concept. I just kept working on it and shaped it and made things work. The solos were kind of cool too. The one was supposed to be cut down I think, but we just left it. It was so over the top we decided to keep it.

What is your number one song within “The Passage Of Existence”? Any particular tune that your songwriting contribution was extensive or felt? Is it a song that you are dying to play live?

The Proselygeist and Slaves To The Evermore are my songs. I have others but those are the main ones I would say. Slaves was supposed to have violin in the middle section but we decided to just keep it guitar and not get too crazy. Maybe down the road we could do other things but for this we wanted to just be the main instruments.

Never really suggested any of a kind in an interview, but what the heck. It crossed my mind just now that with your comeback, and I am positive that there will be a support tour coming, following the release, how about a Floridian Death Metal tour with Obituary, Deicide and Cannibal Corpse? Could be something huge I gather and will tear off the skins worldwide. What do you think?

Well, the problem would be no one would get paid. The same people would go see Obituary and go see Deicide too. So while it may look good on paper the reality is there isn't enough people into this style of music to warrant that bill. What would be cool is if a bigger band could bring these bands out as support. A Metallica or Megadeth.. they may have already tried and financially it just didn't work.

In general, I am sure that there will be an extensive support tour for “The Passage Of Existence”. Where will people being seeing you crushing stages? 

We were offered some one off shows but we turned them down. We generally don't have good luck with those type of shows. Its better for us to be on a tour where the equipment is the same every night. We can get warmed up correctly and not just thrown in a bad situation with a bunch of other band's gear and all that… it can be hectic.

Lee, thank you so much for your time. “The Passage Of Existence” is surely becoming one of the top Death Metal albums I have heard in while. I think that it took you forward and made you even stronger than ever. All the best to you and the guys, good luck on the tours ahead!

Thanks for the interview. Look for us in Europe after the new year we are planning a big 2019. See you on tour !!!



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