Heavy Metal and the Global Pandemic is a new series that focuses on examining how metal bands are dealing with the COVID-19 world. Heavy Metal is unique as a genre for often writing songs steeped in dystopian imagery, the darker side of the human condition, and of course – death. However, these are unprecedented times for everyone, including musicians with an inclination for chaos.
Formed in 2018, the Seattle-based doom trio deathCAVE may be a relatively new band, but the members are veterans of the underground. Bassist/vocalist Freiburger (Throne of Bone, Brain Scraper), drummer Benny Koslosky (Swampyheavy), and guitarist/vocalist Tony Muñoz (Razorhoof, Worship) have been honing their skills for several years prior to forming deathCAVE. The band released a three-song demo last year that earned them a spot on the Northwest Terror Fest, which has since been postponed to next year. Nevertheless, their debut LP Smoking Mountain is slated for an August 14th release.
From the press release:
An alluring and consuming fusion of thrash, psychedelic, stoner, and doom elements with lyrics based on personal stories reinterpreted in the realm of mythological tales, deathCAVE’s Smoking Mountain revolves around the concept of inevitable death and decay of not only humans, but nature as well. The thundering five-track offering, [features] guest vocals by Andrea Vidal (Holy Grove), Dave Verellen (Botch, Narrows), and Neil McAdams (Black Breath) as well as a track dedicated to late Black Breath bassist Elijah Nelson.
In the meantime, the band has unveiled the opening psalm “Death Cave.” The track explores the band members’ own personal “death caves,” and sets the mood for the sonic journey to follow. “It’s about the darkest internal place that holds all our fears,” says Freiburger, “the place that holds all our self-doubts, failures, and sorrows, and what it’s like when one goes into a deep place and can’t get out.”
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your band, be it cancelled tours or studio time?
deathCAVE: We have cancelled numerous shows, including Northwest Terror Fest and our full US tour in support of our debut full length.
Where are you sheltering in place and what are your circumstances? Are you alone or with family? How are you coping?
deathCAVE: Benny lives with his girlfriends and is an essential worker. Tony has also been working and lives with our dear friend Wes from Heiress. Freiburger lives with his girlfriend and has been keeping busy. We are all emotional humans, so this has been rough on us all, but we are doing our best to stay positive and try to focus our time and energy on improving our well-being.
How are the members of your band staying connected?
deathCAVE: Group text and also Freiburger and Tony play virtual Farkle over Facetime with other friends as well.
Concepts of “virus” and “pandemic” are no strangers to heavy metal lyrics and imagery. Is it strange that we’re now living in such a world? Also, have the current circumstances provided any inspiration for writing new material?
deathCAVE: It’s absolutely strange and the mixed emotions that come with it definitely provide some inspiration. Most of our lyrics are based off of personal stories that we alter into mythological stories. It makes it easier to put passion behind what we sing about. We might not spell it out super clear, but what we are living through currently will for sure affect the music we write in the future.
The absence of live music is no doubt affecting the audiences and communities who thrive on the experience of seeing bands perform. But, as performers, what’s it like for you not knowing when you will be able to return to the stage?
deathCAVE: Honestly? Incredibly depressing. Besides loving playing shows more than most things in life, we are all also super fans of music and spend most of our free time in local venues going to shows. We understand with current situations the importance of maintaining safe distances, but it still leaves us in a pretty low place.
Music provides solace for many in times of hardship. What have you been listening to in these strange and uncertain times?
deathCAVE: Isn’t that the truth! We actually made a Spotify playlist where we each chose five songs to contribute exactly that. It is called deathCAVE quaranTUNES.