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North American act Skeletal Remains are back in full force with their 3rd album “Devouring mentality” out on Century Media since the 13th April 2018. Johnny and Chris talked to Metal Imperium about it.

M.I. - How would you describe Skeletal Remains’ sound to someone that hasn’t heard about you before?

Johnny: We've always considered ourselves to be an old school death metal band. We definitely take lots of inspiration from all forms of metal and music in general but at the end of the day we'll always be an old school death metal band. It was the first style of death metal that any of us ever heard so I think it's one of those things just makes a lasting impression and sticks with you forever. I'd definitely recommend our band to anyone who is a fan of Death, Pestilence, Gorguts, Obituary, Morbid Angel Malevolent Creation, Solstace etc. 


M.I. - How did the line-up get together? 

Chris: Just friends from high school wanting to play the same music really and having the same vision nothing more than that.


M.I. - After releasing the first album, the band went on a break… why? Weren’t things happening as you wanted?

Chris: No, the band has never taken a break. Haha! At least we don’t think we have, we been working our asses off as much as we can!


M.I. - The new album “Devouring mortality” includes 11 tracks with complicated titles. Supposedly this is your most diverse and crushing opus. Why is that?

Johnny: I feel like it was just time to step things up a notch. I came into the band around the time that the writing process for Devouring Mortality was about a quarter of the way through. I could tell the guys really wanted to take things to the next level on this album and I strongly feel like we did just that. It's a bit more straight forward than the other albums while still having lots of twists and turns like Condemned to Misery. There's a prominent use of blast beats and a lot angrier sounding riffs which I think brings a really new and special dynamic to the band. Chris's vocals are becoming a lot more aggressive as well which I think suits the new sound quite well.


M.I. - What can you tell us about the tracks? What are the issues/topics addressed in the lyrics?

Johnny: As I said before in one of my previous answers, we all take influence from a lot of different places. Our bassist Adrian wrote a majority of the lyrics on this new record and I think he did an absolutely killer job on everything he wrote. I guess the all-around "concept" or overall theme of the record would be about the catastrophic demise of the world itself. We like to take our lyrics and think, "Man this would be really fucked up if it actually happened" and then we kind of just go from there. We all watch a lot of movies and we're constantly bouncing new concepts for lyrics off of each other. 


M.I. - This is your 3rd album… what are the main differences between this one and the previous works?

Johnny: As stated before, we like to see this record as a major step up from the previous two. The first record was very cut and dry with a more Death/Gorguts kind of sound. The second record was more of a technical later Death style record. And this new one feels more like we're coming into our own sound. It's versatile yet it still stays true to what this band set out to do in the first place. And that's to play old school fucking death metal.


M.I. - “Seismic Abyss” is the first video of the new album. How was it recording a video? Fun? Tiring? 

Chris: It was something we were not used too and, of course, tiring. Standing in the same place for long hours can get tiring. Haha! But it was definitely fun and the outcome of it was well worth we hope to be able to do another one.


M.I. - How are people reacting to the new songs?

Johnny: The feedback we've received so far has been amazing to say the least. There hasn't been a lot of negative feedback so far which is always a good thing. Haha! People seem to think it's our best release yet and a lot of people have said it's their favorite death metal release of the year which obviously makes us very happy. There was so much that went into making this record and we all went through so much just to get it written/recorded and I feel like a lot of our determination is definitely present on this new record.


M.I. - The release date was set for 13th April, a Friday. Do you believe this is a lucky number or day and choose it specifically or did it just happen to be set for that day for no reason at all?

Johnny: It was completely coincidental. Haha! I was worried that the date was going to jinx us and no one was even gonna listen to the album but fortunately that was not the case. Haha!


M.I. - What’s the meaning behind the cover for the new album? 

Johnny: When we first initially spoke to Dan about working together, he wanted some ideas as to what we were going for. We sent him some of the lyrics Adrian had written at the time and told him to just kind of go with what he was reading. Within a few weeks he started sending us some samples and we were completely blown away to say the least. I feel like he definitely captured the overall vibe of the record with his artwork and we couldn't be happier with it. I personally love that he took actually pieces from the lyrics and threw physical manifestations of them into the album cover. 


M.I. - The album was mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö and the artwork was done by Dan Seagrave. How was it working with these legends of the underground scene? Did you in your wildest dreams ever think of working with them?

Johnny: Growing up as death metal nerds like ourselves, we all dreamed of being able to work with one or the other. But to finally have the budget to work with both was something we never could have foreseen. We're huge fans of everything these two have done so it was a huge honor and a dream come true to be able to have their work mixed in with our work. They're both incredibly professional and worked their hardest to make sure that we were getting the end result we desired. They would constantly keep in contact with us sending us samples of their progress and basically asking us which direction they needed to go. We couldn't have had a better experience working with those two and I can only hope that we get to work with them again in the future.


M.I. - Your friend Carlos Cruz recorded drums for “Condemned to Misery” because you didn’t have a drummer then. Johnny Vales played drums on the new album but Carlos Cruz plays live with you. How complicated is it finding the right drummer for Skeletal Remains? 

Chris: Yes, Carlos Cruz is a very good and longtime friend of ours and he usually helps us with whatever he can if he’s able too. So, he was on the second album because our first drummer had parted ways with the band so we called Carlos and he was into it! He also made that album sound so much better and exactly what we wanted it to sound like… we really wanted the drums to be much more technical on that record. At the moment Johnny is our full-time drummer, he just had some personal things going after the album was recorded so he had to step out for a little while and that’s why Carlos was on the video and did a few shows with us.  


M.I. - “Beyond The Flesh” (2012) and “Condemned To Misery” (2015) were released via German label FDA Rekotz and now you’re releasing the new album via Century Media and Dark Descent. Why the change of label? Why release the new album through 2 labels?

Chris: Our contract with FDA had finished after the two released and we had been in contact with Century Media since our first album and had always talked about possibly working together someday plus it made perfect sense to move to a label that will be able to give us tour support and more of a budget when it came to recording plus we want to try and play as much as we can and I think we have more of an opportunity of doing that now with century media and dark descent backing us.


M.I. - Your second album sold more copies than the first one. What are your expectations regarding “Devouring mortality”? 

Chris: Hopefully to get to as many people as possible whether it being them buying it downloading it or whatever way just as long as people here it. Haha! 


M.I. - Chris Monroy’s vocals are often compared to Martin Van Drunen’s and Chuck’s vocals. Do you take it as a compliment?

Chris: Of course! It’s unbelievable and an honour to be able to be compared to some of my biggest Influences. 


M.I. - You had a European tour with Angelus Apatrida. What were your expectations? 

Johnny: We actually just got back from that tour about a week ago and we had the time of our lives. It was our first time touring in a night liner so I'm pretty sure that was the most comfortable tour any of us have ever done. Haha! The two bands we toured with were a group of really awesome people and we had a lot of fun joking around and partying with those guys. The shows were a lot of fun and I'd say the main highlights of the tour were Hamburg in Germany, Budapest in Hungary and Barcelona in Spain. We gained a lot of new fans on the tour and we can't wait to get back out there and play some more shows in the future. It was an overall great experience.


M.I. - Even though you are an American band, your main fan base is in Europe. What’s the main difference between the American and the European fans?

Johnny: Europe is a bit different in terms of their metal scene. People out there are as die hard as they come and it's very evident with show attendance out there. Some of the best shows we played were on weekdays and that's almost unheard of in the States. People out there are always really fascinated in getting to meet the bands that are playing, buying merch and going ducking crazy while the bands are playing. They're also very antifascist out there which is extremely refreshing considering the metal crowd in the States is usually very small minded and ignorant in some places you go. Out there it all comes down to the love of metal music and that's the whole reason we're all here in the first place. 


M.I. - Your 2 first albums are getting repressed by FDA Records. Was this your idea? How important is it for you? 

Chris: It’s great man it only means people are buying them so we are happy about that. Like I said before we are happy if our music is getting to as many people possible.


M.I. - What are you currently listening to? Do you listen to your new album in repeat or do you need to take a break from it?

Johnny: We all listen to a lot of different stuff. Some stuff that most of our fans would be surprised by honestly. Haha! When we first got the finished tracks back I'm sure it's safe to say none of us were able to stop listening to the new album. Haha! I still find myself listening to it from time to time. But lately I've been listening to a lot of Tomb Mold from Canada. Those guys just have a completely different take on death metal than what most people are doing right now. If you haven't checked them out then I highly recommend doing so. 


M.I. - Being an American band, what do you think of your President’s controversial ideas and laws?

Johnny: That guy is a fucking joke and he makes me ashamed to be an American citizen. It's lead to a lot of really weird things in our country. Lots of people have recently felt entitled enough to be open about their very ignorant and disgusting views on minorities and people of a different skin colour. There has been a large movement of people within the metal community who are openly racist and commit hate crimes just for the sake of doing so. I normally try to avoid politics but this new presidency has brought a lot of really ugly behaviour out of people and it disgusts me to say the least. 


M.I. - Please share a message with Metal Imperium’s readers. 

All the best! Check out our new album Devouring Mortality on Century Media and Dark Descent records! Thanks for the support see you all on the road soon!


For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca