This week, we’re shining the Meet The Band spotlight on the Canadian death/thrash metal group Concrete Funeral. Their debut album is Ultimum Judicium. Vocalist/guitarist Devin Schum, guitarist Jesse Lindbeck, bassist Paul Mercer and drummer Connor Erhart introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Concrete Funeral.
We started as many others in a basement in 2013 and finally hit a stage in the summer of 2015 having the lead guitarist take off shortly before playing shows making way for Jesse Lindbeck to step in and dominate that role. After about 1.5 – 2 years playing around town our original drummer had to move away and Connor Erhart took the position at throne bringing us to be the band that we should be. Since forming this lineup we’ve had the honor to share the stage with amazing acts like Archspire, Battlecross, Disciples of Power, Toxic Holocaust and Kataklysm.
Describe the songwriting process for Ultimum Judicium.
Usually, guitar riffs were brought to jam sessions and built around. However, if anyone else had any interesting ideas for bass or drums we would work our individual parts in around that. It was really just all about how we could keep everything as straightforward and mean sounding while keeping transitions as interesting as we could. Also keeping vocals as harsh sounding as possible while still being articulate enough to hear the lyrics messed up enough to wrap the whole package together.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
The fact that we won an auction at Calgary Metalfest back at the end of 2016 for a recording package with Big Nate Productions. We had just taken on a new drummer so it took a while to get back on track, but in the end, 1500 dollars went to the Make A Wish Foundation. Also recording the drums at Ghost Iron Studio in Calgary will probably stick pretty hard. We were in there for two full days but were also able to record the video for the song “Carnival of Contradictions” while there, it was a lot of fun.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
Heavy, pounding, broodin’, groovin in your face deathy fuckin thrash! While mainly a death thrash band we have a lot of elements of groove with dashes or punk, rot n roll and black metal as well.
What lyrical subjects do you cover?
Corruption, religion, questionable lovers, government engineered sexually transmitted diseases and bumblebees. Nothing fucking weird, though.
What led you to go the independent route for the album release?
This is our debut release so there was really no groundwork to shop labels or anything. We had the funds to track and press the album ourselves so we just went for it and we are very proud of how it turned out.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
We just want to see this album hit as many ears as we are capable of pushing it to. The album speaks for itself and we hope to establish our name with this record. We are always looking to outdo ourselves, but with this initial offering, we believe we just need the ears and eyes to prove ourselves to.
What has been your most memorable Concrete Funeral live show?
Besides some of the great shows, we’ve played with crazily talented and underappreciated bands as well as some killer festivals with top-shelf names that we’ve been honored enough to be invited to play, Our album release show here in Calgary was amazing. The bands we had on the bill all brought their A games and the crowd that came that night came to party! Our Vocalist actually made an offhand joke about landing cash in our drummer’s mouth for a post-show blowjob not thinking anything would happen. Our drummer Connor made about 6-7 dollars in “tips” that night and almost got his tooth chipped.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We are in the process of planning a few more shows to branch out of hitting a couple of other provinces within the next few months.
How did you get started in music?
Devin: I bought my first guitar at 20, just interested in simple rock stuff, but was blown away by metal playing and hooked since.
Jesse: At 12 my parents gave me an acoustic guitar from Costco. Learned a few songs and never put it down. 16 years later it’s still the love of my life.
Paul: I’ve been obsessed with music since I was a kid. I didn’t start playing music until my early 20’s but it became an instant therapy for me.
Connor: I was given my first set of drums at age 7. Bashing on my mom’s pots and pans got her fed up quick.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Devin: Gary Holt made me want to play guitar! Exodus, Lamb of God, Black Sabbath, Megadeth were the first few really heavy bands I latched onto.
Jesse: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, BLS and a lot of ’80s hair metal, anything with a solid riff!
Paul: Smashing Pumpkins, The Wallflowers, Nirvana, Green Day and the Big Shiny Tunes stuff.
Connor: Frank Zappa, King Diamond, Running Wild, Judas Priest.
What was the first rock/metal concert you attended?
Devin: It was either Smashing Pumpkins or Alanis Morisette.
Jesse: Monsters Of Rock Calgary (Judas Priest, Ozzy).
Connor: Rock: Rush, Metal: Noctis II.
What’s the best concert you’ve been to?
Devin: I’d have to say Graspop 2014, It had some killer stuff: Carcass, Battlecross, Graveyard, Death To All, AIC, Black Sabbath, etc.
Jesse: Goatwhore @ Distortion.
Paul: Heavy Montreal 2014: Metallica, Slayer, Lamb of God and Overkill!
Connor: Zappa Plays Zappa or Black Sabbath.
How’s the heavy music scene in Calgary?
It can be pretty inspiring sometimes. There is a lot of top-shelf talent in this city and if the shows are put together well they can be something pretty amazing sometimes. There are quite a few bands of every genre so you can find whatever you like but of course, there could always be more of a show going crowd.
What was the last thing you binge-watched?
Devin: Santa Clarita Diet
Paul: Does playoff hockey count?
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Devin: Arsis, Archspire, Goatwhore, Detherous, Animosity, Warbringer (ALWAYS) and Exodus.
Jesse: Warbringer, Exodus, Slash, Arsis, and Goatwhore.
Paul: Carcass – Surgical Steel, Mastodon – The Hunter, Lamb of God – Resolution.
Connor: Death – Spiritual Healing, Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality, Departure Chandalier – Antichrist Rise To Power.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Keep your eyes peeled for shows to pop up, if you dig us tell your local promoters that you want to see us in your town! Like us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with us and keep yourself in the know about shows and a follow-up offering!
(interview published June 1, 2019)
Watch Concrete Funeral – “Carnival Of Contradictions” Video