Interview with vocalist/bassist M. Malignant and vocalist/guitarist S. Envenom
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: January 3, 2024
Finnish death metal act Tormentor Tyrant continues the tradition that many bands from Finland are known for, namely the quality of their music, which is never about compromises, just sheer determination, love, and dedication for what feels right in the heart and mind.
This relentless and uncompromising Finnish death metal trio released their debut 5-song, self-titled EP on Everlasting Spew in January 2022, impressing people here at the headquarters of The Metal Crypt so much that we felt an urgent need to learn more about them.
We contacted the band's not-so-malignant but dynamic duo M. Malignant (on vocals and bass) and S. Envenom (on vocals and guitar) to ask about the birth of the band, their plans to envenom us all in the future, and so forth...
Hello there! How's it kicking these days?
M. Malignant: Hey Luxi! Busy on many fronts but managing. Or, at least, still alive and suffering.
BABY OF CORPSESSED AND SOLOTHUS
Tormentor Tyrant is a fresh incarnation of heavy/death metal, formed roughly around 2020. Could you tell me what made you start this band?
M. Malignant: It can all be traced down to the years when Corpsessed and Solothus did quite a few gigs together and the three of us got to know each other and discovered our shared love for Deicide to the extent that we found ourselves at a rehearsal place playing covers together, just for the fuck of it. A few years later, around 2020, we figured why not give it another go and work on our own material instead. I switched over to bass, as we thought that if you can make a band work as a power trio, that would be the most optimal lineup but also a more demanding one skills-wise as any slacking off will be more noticeable.
All three members of the band already have a lot of experience playing in different bands from Corpsessed to Cataleptic to Solothus, among others. Why on earth did you need another heavy-sounding death metal band?
S. Envenom: To incant our suffer lord and pain messiah Tormentor Tyrant, to doom this world and to save death metal.
M. Malignant: That! And for me, one of the main reasons I love music is the interaction you share with other people by playing together. Each group has a different dynamic and (I hope) a distinct sound as well! Why did we need another band? Just out of the pure enjoyment of being able to play together, interact through music and craft something of our own, and explore different soundscapes we do not get to do in our other bands.
As far as Tormentor Tyrant's sound is concerned, it kind of reminds me of later-era Napalm Death mixed with Deicide, but without sounding too much like these two death metal giants. How close are those two names to your heart?
M. Malignant: Deicide is very much the reason Tormentor Tyrant exists. As for Napalm Death, I enjoy some of their stuff, but would not call them an influence at all. Perhaps your Napalm Death reference comes from the vocal tone of S. Envenom that sort of has a similar growly shouted tone? In that sense, I can see it.
What other bands could you name as T.T.'s influences and/or inspirations?
M. Malignant: Like I mentioned, Deicide is the main influence musically for all of us. There's a lot of Slayer, Sepultura, Celtic Frost, and early Morbid Angel in there too. Possessed, Morbid Saint, Dark Angel, Pestilence, Sodom, Sarcófago, Malevolent Creation. I could go on perhaps forever, but the basic gist is the very early years of death metal which still has those evil thrash metal riffs imbued into its DNA. However, calling our music death/thrash would sound just wrong, especially taking into account all the bands who took on this moniker during the early 2000s. We will have nothing to do with that! Sure, we have thrashy riffs, but the music is still very much death metal. I'll let S. Envenom talk about the lyrics.
S. Envenom: The lyrics are not lyrics per se, but the manifestation and will of the timeless All-father of all agony in this and all other realities. A lot of human literary history has been devoted to the Tyrant, even without the knowing of the authors themselves. In this I would add that we are not influenced by all the holy texts of human history, rather they are influenced by us, not the other way around.
Your 5-track self-titled EP was released by Everlasting Spew Records on January 28, 2022, and as far as some reviews/comments are concerned, it was relatively well received amongst the targeted crowds. How satisfied are you with the outcome of it, almost two years later?
S. Envenom: The Tyrant sees satisfaction only in suffering. Our feelings are just a drop in the ocean of suffering that is the collective human psyche. If we can add even a drop of despair into it, we are pleased.
Did some of the feedback regarding the EP exceed your personal expectations?
M. Malignant: The expectations were quite minimal. Essentially, this EP is our first demo, recorded very much live sans the vocals and guitar solos. The aim was just to get it out there, preferably on tape, which we did, to mark the inception of the band and to have our ideas poured into concrete form. People showed interest, which was an added bonus and that exceeded my expectations.
The label Everlasting Spew did a good job in promoting a small release such as this.
But for the upcoming album, I actually have more ambitious expectations, as I feel it is an improvement on all levels, and I'm really curious to hear how people receive it. But we'll see what happens when we get to that point!
You have been in recording mode for quite some time, tracking instruments for the band's first full-length studio album. Where are you with it as we speak?
S. Envenom: The almighty Suffer Lord has yet to speak with me, the humble vessel of His all-knowing and all-loving message to humanity and all sentient races. We are still missing the incantations of how to summon Him.
M. Malignant: ...or, in layman's terms, all the music is composed and recorded and what is left are the lyrics and vocals, which is completely S. Envenom's domain. And yes, we need to find a proper artist for the artwork as well, as I want that aspect to also have a step up from the drawings I did for the EP.
How do you choose which stuff fits Tormentor Tyrant's sound, and which suits your other bands, Corpsessed and Cataleptic?
M. Malignant: With Cataleptic, it's quite easy as that band's style is miles apart from T.T. As for Corpsessed, there's at least one riff on the upcoming T.T. album that I composed for Corpsessed years ago, but was never used. There's some overlap but in the end it's minimal as I think both bands have a different feel and styling to their sound. The bands also use a different tuning, and that somewhat also influences how you approach writing a riff as tonality is a huge part of it. In the end, the main factor is that the riffs essentially take their final shape through the interaction of all of the members and playing and crafting them live in the rehearsal room, which makes it very easy to decide what riff goes where.
UNITED WE CONTRIBUTE
How do you normally share the songwriting process? Are each of you part of it, or do some of you have wider yet stronger shoulders so to speak?
M. Malignant: All of us actually contribute! Essentially all of us are guitar players and bring in riffs that we work on and arrange together in the rehearsal room. Absolutely no "guitar-pro" demos or any sending of files back and forth is allowed in this band. J. Carnage also hates if somebody makes a drum machine demo of a riff, as it takes away from the natural arrangement on how the drums should flow, so everything is tested and arranged live. We are also very harsh critics of each other's riffs, so if someone brings in a lame riff, he will probably hear about how lame the riff is for months to come.
S. Envenom: The crusade for great riffs has taken its toll. Sam Envenom (Mk I) was destroyed in the search for the most headbanging down-picking riffs. It exploded his right arm and burned his hair away. I am the second riff incarnate of our Master. Our eternal tormentor, Tormentor Tyrant. All shall hail His riffs.
Is repeating the same stuff over and over something that you try to avoid as much as you can, or don't you mind if some totally killer riffs and shit get recycled because it is what the doctor ordered?
S. Envenom: We never repeat ourselves. All shall hail His riffs.
M. Malignant: ... or, when we do, it is completely intentional! A killer riff is a killer riff, and that's all that matters. Of course, you want each and every song to have its own personality and a memorable hook, but also for them to be part of a bigger picture where the songs need to be stylistically similar.
Putting out audiovisual stuff is very important in the digital age, to promote your band and get more visibility. About a year ago, you released a video for the "All-Seeing Eye" song off the EP, so my question is how much did it help you win more traffic on your social platforms?
M. Malignant: I'm not sure, as I don't really follow the numbers. But for being as small a release as the first EP was, I think all of these things helped get the word out there, also laying the groundwork for things to come. I also give props to Tito from Everlasting Spew who does the social media game a lot better than I ever could, or even care to. In the end making the video was an idea of our own and something we wanted to do as it was fun, whether anyone saw it or not.
What are some of your further plans to work on the audiovisual aspect of the band?
M. Malignant: We'll make another music video for the upcoming full-length for sure, or at least that's in the plans.
As far as the band's future comings and goings are concerned, what kind of plans do you have for 2024?
S. Envenom: Tormentor has broken the gates of Hell and life has begun to be indistinguishable from the afterlife. Afterlife is also a lie as we shall never truly die as pain is eternal. Be content in knowing that all is suffering. And suffering is eternal.
M. Malignant: That sums it up very well. Other plans are to release the debut album and possibly play live for the first time with this group, either in Finland or abroad.
I must firmly believe that if the stars align, you are aiming to get more exposure outside of Finland, perhaps even playing at some festivals abroad that would definitely bring more visibility for you guys. Is there something to be revealed on that front perhaps?
S. Envenom: The borders are ever expanding, soon encompassing the whole known world. After that we will look at the metaphysical, ascending the human limit to the music of our Savior, death metal with no weaknesses.
As far as long-term plans are concerned, what would you like to realistically achieve with Tormentor Tyrant?
S. Envenom: This reality has proven to be quite limiting with its three dimensions. We have not yet experienced the horrors of the full 11 known dimensions of the Savage Painmaster. Agony has never been this excruciating, now in 11D!
The future is, of course, very hard to predict but how do you see the time ahead within the next 2-3 years? Perhaps you just need to pick up your secret crystal ball to expose a few things from the (murky) times ahead...?
M. Malignant: I never create huge plans, and I just let things fall where they may, evolving along a natural path. In that sense it is impossible to fully predict the future. We will most likely still be chasing that perfect riff in three years' time, and hopefully manage to catch a few of them. Only time will tell but then again, the only thing constant in this world is change. Or pain. And disappointment.
... and that was it on my part this time around. Thank you for taking your time with this "chat" and let's hope this one tormenting tyrant will get what he deserves eventually, whatever in hell that may mean really..., ha!
S. Envenom: We will all know what that will really mean. Hail Tormentor! Hail Tyrant! Hail death metal! Tormentum aeternum - immortalis tyrannus.
|Other information about Tormentor Tyrant on this site
|Review: Tormentor Tyrant
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