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 2014 by frontman Dan Watson (ex-Infant Annihilator) and former member BJ Sampson (ex-Takeover), Enterprise Earth has been heralded for their death metal precision and prowess as witnessed by audiences who’ve taken in their incredible live performance. Across three studio albums, the most recent being 2019’s Luciferous, the band has earned a devoted fanbase and widespread critical acclaim. The band has seen various members come and go over the years, but today Watson is joined by guitarist Gabe Mangold, bassist Rob Saireh, and drummer Brandon Zackey.
When the bands touring schedule for 2020 was cancelled, they re-assessed their plans and quickly dropped a surprise EP, Foundation of Bones. Featuring covers of Lamb of God (“Now You’ve Got Something To Die For”) and Necrophagist (“Fermented Offal Discharge”), a new track (“Foundation of Bones,” including an instrumental version), and an acoustic reinterpretation of the Luciferous track, “There Is No Tomorrow,” the self-produced EP serves as a stop-gap between full-length albums, as well as an offering to fans who had hopes of seeing the band perform live this year. Indeed, many bands are finding ways to keep their devotees engaged during this drought of live music.
We caught up with Gabe Mangold to learn how the band has dealt with these strange times. You can follow the band on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can get the Foundation of Bones EP via Bandcamp.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your band, be it cancelled tours or studio time?
Gabe Mangold: Like just about every other touring band, we’ve experienced the cancellations of the rest of our scheduled tours for the rest of the year which have resulted in a major financial setback. While it’s a major bummer, we have to acknowledge that it’s out of our control and all we can do is make the best of it.
Where are you sheltering in place and what are your circumstances? Are you alone or with family? How are you coping?
Gabe Mangold: I’m currently in Taos, NM in my tiny home trailer at a Hotel/Campground called Hotel Luna Mystica, where I also work. We actually just re-opened so there’s been a few guests here and there in addition to myself and a few friends who are also hunkering down here. It’s pretty chill here in Taos as there aren’t many confirmed COVID cases (16 in the whole county, I think).
How are the members of your band staying connected?
Gabe Mangold: We stay connected the way we usually do through the internet, Facetime, text, etc. We all live in different parts of the country so communication hasn’t changed much on our end.
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?
Gabe Mangold: It’s hard to be surprised by anything these days, but it does sort of feel like we’re living in a movie right now. The circumstances have been good for creativity, so far. I guess having the rest of your year cancelled is a great way to light a fire under one’s ass in order to get stuff done…or do nothing at all.
The absence of live music in 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?
Gabe Mangold: It really sucks, not much else to say. We love performing and can’t wait to get back on stage.
Music provides solace for many in times of hardship. What have you been listening to in these strange and uncertain times?
Gabe Mangold: A few new albums have been great listens as of late. Emancipator, Dance Gavin Dance, Trivium, and more.