MALEFIC THRONE is a new raging Death Metal three-piece that features guitarist Gene Palubicki (PERDITION TEMPLE), bass player / vocalist Steve Tucker (MORBID ANGEL, WARFATHER) and drummer John Longstreth (ORIGIN, HATE ETERNAL). Their debut release is a highly impressive self-titled four track EP, that came out via Hells Headbangers Records earlier this year. In order to get some more background info, we contacted Gene for the following interview…
Greetings Gene and welcome back to Voices From The Darkside. Hope you’re doing well. What have you been up to since our last conversation?
“I guess the end of 2019 was the last time any actual activity had happened in the form of the six week tour my other band PERDITION TEMPLE had done supporting CANNIBAL CORPSE through the USA and CANADA. And directly after that we had finished mixes for what was to become the third PERDITION TEMPLE full length “Sacraments Of Descension”. Then the release came out in March of 2020… Then BOOM… the world shuts off. Everyone has been grounded in place for almost two years, only now things returning to somewhat normal. Well, ever since this had gone down, my day job had all of us begin working remotely from our own homes, which had and does enable me to have extra time during the days to work on material etc. Around the time I was nearing completion of all that writing for PERDITION TEMPLE, the three of us that make up the line-up for MALEFIC THRONE, started chatting in messages about maybe making some new band together, since no one was touring or otherwise immediately occupied with their other bands. And from my side, since I’d already finished the material for my other band, I was able to approach this new band’s material with a fresh mind. So as to not simply delegate songs to one or another band. The timing was really good where this landed, so that I did not need to juggle creatively between multiple bands at once.”
How did the whole project evolve exactly then?
“The catalyst of it all was a sort of goof post made by Steve online back in 2020 when there was the sudden “new” terror in the news about the murder hornet. Jokes ensued in comments about band names… John and I made loose comments about “Yeah, let’s do it…” sort of stuff. About a week after that I’d thought about the “reality” of if the three of us actually did something. So I messaged John and said that the three of us doing some music might be a thing if we did it. He thought so, and then we asked Steve and he was into it as well. From there we started from scratch. I began making riffs / arrangements, sent the audio to John to create drum parts, and Steve worked with that for the creation of lyrics. We wanted to have at least three songs to make a demo. So we concentrated on that specifically. For what became the release we added a sort of “bonus” song in the form of a cover of SODOM’s ‘Nuclear Winter’.”
Apart from the members involved of course, where do you see the main differences between PERDITION TEMPLE and MALEFIC THRONE?
“The approach to the material is somewhat uncharted waters. With my now almost 13 years running PERDITION TEMPLE band, I naturally go into that material now with certain “standards” to maintain uniformity from past to present releases etc. I don’t like to think of it as a “formula” for the PERDITION TEMPLE band, but there is always a conscious effort to keep the identity of the sound from album to album. I dislike when bands for “experimentation” purposes completely reinvent into something that has little to no relation with past works under the same moniker. With MALEFIC THRONE, we have only really started and done our first steps into creativity as this unit. So we are at a place where we can do all / any sort of invention with songs and not answer to any set “rule” of a history of past releases. It is a great place for a new band to have that first early period where you can work to invent the sound of what is to come and not yet have the “expectations” that come from a previous release in your catalog. So using that mindset we have developed some great new stuff that will make the disparity from all of our other active bands even more pronounced.”
Steve was responsible for the lyrics of all the MALEFIC THRONE songs, so did you have any topics in mind what they should deal with, while you wrote the music, or was it all is own ideas? What are they dealing with?
“I leave all the lyrics topics etc entirely to Steve for MALEFIC THRONE. He writes all of them without any input from me. I want it that way to keep it that much more separate from what I do lyrically in my other band. It lends to keeping things more unique for MALEFIC THRONE and other bands I’m involved in. Not to mention I can barely ever get lyrics done for my own stuff in a timely manner. I like the way his lyric writing weaves real world concepts in ways that can be interpreted in wilder and even fantastical ways. A lot of it is subjects around thoughts concerning the sickening morass we all navigate in almost all areas of existence from modern conformist degeneracy, to musings on the cancer of religious / politics driven madness from every corner of the world. And points beyond. But woven in ways that can be interpreted past human constraints.”
What made you record the vocals for the SODOM cover ‘Nuclear Winter’ on your own? Didn’t Steve feel comfortable with Tom Angelripper’s vocal style or is there maybe even another version of it with him on vocals, but yours just turned out better? By the way, what made you choose this particular SODOM song?
“I think it was really me subtly pressuring to want to do the vocals on that one! One of those classic songs like ‘Angel Of Death'(SLAYER) that by rights every Speed / Death / Black Metal fan / musician wants to have a go at doing a rendition of. We kept it pretty straight to the original. Only difference is that I arranged the song for two guitars.”
What about the drums? Did you have any input on how they should be played on the songs?
“It’s the same as with PERDITION TEMPLE, where I do not dictate any particulars on what I want for the drums to do. I leave it entirely up to John or Ronnie in these bands to have free reign in creating their parts as they see fit. And since both of them have some noticeable differences in what they do lends to add disparity from the other bands.”
So to use these songs for PERDITION TEMPLE instead was never an option then?
“I’m very slow with writing lyrics. For MALEFIC THRONE I only write music. So even though I was finished with the music for the forthcoming PERDITION TEMPLE stuff, I had ways to go to complete the lyrics for all of it. Whilst that was going on, I was able to otherwise create music devoted to MALEFIC THRONE. We managed to put together the first batch of songs that we intended as a demo form of release (initially), hence the MALEFIC THRONE mini album has landed ahead of any of the other stuff I’ve been developing with several other bands’ works and PERDITION TEMPLE. My approach to the MALEFIC THRONE material has some departures from what I might be known to do in PERDITION TEMPLE. With MALEFIC THRONE it is still full force Death Metal music, which will automatically make some similarity to my other band, but I try to create some sounds / songs that might reflect where all three of us band members have come from over the decades of time we have all been at this. So at times there might be a bit more over the top technical sections, and other times parts that might have been right at home on some ugly Thrash album from 1985. And all of it arranged in ways that might be unexpected from what any of the three of us “typically” may do in other bands. And since John’s drumming has many differences from Ronnie’s (PERDITION TEMPLE) there is for sure some different sounds evoked. And Steve handling all the lyrics and main vocal parts distances from the sounds of my other band that much further.”
Have all of the songs been demoed prior to this release or did you record and release them right away?
“It was originally intended as a demo that we were either going to make digitally available or maybe some limited self financed CD etc. We talked about it, and came to the decision to approach a label to handle it to achieve wider awareness of the release. Hells Headbangers, the label home for PERDITION TEMPLE, agreed to do it. And they budgeted us for the release of what is now the mini album currently available.”
Where did you record the material and did you send soundfiles back and forth to complete them or did all of you three even get together in a rehearsal room or studio at one point?
“We exchanged audio files. We all live in different states so actually getting together was not possible. We are all professional enough to be able to do this. Later, once live shows become part of this, we will have to arrange to meet with John up in New York to rehearse prior to tours / fests etc.”
The cover artwork by Jenglot Hitam looks very impressive and wasn’t probably finished in a couple of minutes, so was this piece of art already finished and you just asked for the permission to use it or was it really created for you, based on your own ideas?
“Jenglot Hitam has done / does some excellent extreme b/w artworks. The piece used for the cover art on the MALEFIC THRONE mini album was an existing piece that had been intended for another band’s release, but was aborted by them. I bought the art some time ago, and as we were putting together the MALEFIC THRONE ideas, this art seemed to be a good fit for what we were going for. A very traditional motif of darkness / conflagration for a Death Metal release.”
Christophe Szpajdel, who already created zillions of logos in the past, was also responsible for the MALEFIC THRONE logo… did you use him just because he’s quick and reliable and you needed a logo fast or do you really think he’s the best artist for that kind of job?
“We knew we could trust Christophe to create a logo that could be identified even from a distance. He has a long history of classic known logos, so it was an easy choice to approach him for the work.”
Do you consider MALEFIC THRONE just a one off project or will you continue to release music under that moniker? And if so, will you continue to work with Steve and John, if time allows it, or could you also imagine to change the musicians for a next release?
“MALEFIC THRONE is a new full time band pursuit of the three of us. We have five new songs written beyond the ones on the current mini album. Obviously activity for this band navigated between activity of our other bands. So things might get tight sometimes with schedules etc. The three of us chose to enter into this because of what we each specifically bring to it. Substituting members is not a considerable option. The three of us are the core of MALEFIC THRONE, at this point we don’t have intentions of adding new members.”
Why are there no MALEFIC THRONE band photos available? You didn’t print one in the EP and you don’t find any on your Facebook or Instagram site…
“Since we could not get together in person, and have no live pics from a show of our own (yet) we opted to go without photos.”
How was the response on the EP in general so far? Would you also consider live shows in the future, if there would more material written and released?
“At least most responses I’ve heard / seen have been quite positive. The occasional critique about us not reinventing the genre.”
You already mentioned that you have finished writing new PERDITION TEMPLE material already, so is there a new release coming up in the not too distant future maybe?
“Within about eight months from the time the lockdowns started I had managed to compile eight songs of material to encompass the next fourth PERDITION TEMPLE full length and an additional full length PERDITION TEMPLE release, entitled “Merciless Upheaval”, that features four other new original songs and four cover versions of songs from INFERNÄL MÄJESTY, SHUB NIGGURATH, MORBID ANGEL and PESTILENCE, to be released in June this year by Hells Headbangers Records. During the remainder of this year production continues on the next proper PERDITION TEMPLE full length which is expected to be ready for a 2023 release. Just need to compose lyrics and then proceed to actual recording of guitars / bass / vocals. The drums are done by Ronnie for that one already. So we are way ahead of this. This head start enables me to have that much more time to allocate to new MALEFIC THRONE works, as well as activity with DEMONIZED (Mex) and HEXORCIST.”
Ok Gene, that’s all for now. If you have anything important to add, which I didn’t ask about, feel free to do so now. Thanks a lot for your time and all the best.
“As always, thanks for your support over the years! And the support of all who have and continue to follow the violent noise I’ve been attached to creating these last few decades!”