The Boston death/thrash metal group Bacterial Husk are in this week’s Meet The Band spotlight. Anthropogenic Ruin is their debut full-length album. Drummer Nick Lazzaro introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Bacterial Husk.
Nick Lazzaro: We started making music in 2015. Mark Richards brought us all together. We had all known each other for practically two decades, growing up and playing shows in the greater Boston area. I joked at the time that we were like a Boston metal supergroup. The original lineup is what people heard on Agnosia of Omens and that included myself, Mark, Evan, Kyle, and Pete. Momentum was solid for a while and we played a bunch of local shows, often opening for great touring bands. There were no grand ambitions to tour extensively or get signed to a major label, mostly just the desire to collaborate and do what we love to do.
Pete got his hand mangled in a trash truck accident and it completely derailed him for a long time. This is when Joey started with us as a fill-in on bass. Eventually Mark moved to San Diego and we started working with Joey full-time on guitar. He is a gifted guitarist and recording engineer and had worked with me on the Razormaze album Annihilatia. We also had been jamming on the side with Joe Gettler of Razormaze and Nick Timney of Lich King, so the desire to make music together was always there. And he’s a great dude.
We eventually parted ways with Kyle. He wanted to focus on short, grinding music and we wanted to lean into the death metal side of things. He went on to work in Stagnater and now he’s ripping in Zero Survive. We put out the Mystics of Transmutation demo in 2018 as a four piece with Pete and Evan on vocals and Joey supervising the recording process which we did in Pete’s living room in Framingham, MA. Life happens and commitments were tough so we parted ways with Pete amicably and in 2019 we brought in bassist John Lattuca and the Anthropogenic Ruin lineup was born.
Describe the songwriting process for Anthropogenic Ruin.
We had about half of the album written before the pandemic derailed us for a while. It mostly comprised the strongest elements of our various lineups. We then intentionally focused on wrapping up the remaining songs while doing pre-production of the entire record so we were fully prepared when we went into the studio for the real thing. Using tools like guitar pro to tab out and arrange the songs was extremely helpful. Everyone collaborated in a constructive way. Just about every idea was met with enthusiasm. Being able to hear the album before we recorded it made everything easier.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
When I got to Loud Sun Studio and tracked the drums with Ben Rogers and Joey, the foundation for the album was laid down and it was a feeling that this long process of trying to complete the record was finally coming to fruition. It was a long couple of days and my legs basically turned to jelly near the end. Joey and I stayed in an ancient inn and shared the tiniest room together and that was ridiculous and fun. Also, after Joey sent us the final mixes and we all had agreed it sounded great, then hearing what Dave Otero did with his mastering sorcery. Not only did it sound professional and huge, the relief and excitement of finally having the work completed just felt like a monumental accomplishment. We are extremely proud of this record.
What was the biggest challenge in recording it?
The beginnings of the album were fractured to say the least. We suffered so many setbacks and lineup changes that getting into a process was difficult. We were really finding our way to the heart of the band. Once we locked in this current lineup, we once again had two major setbacks, the pandemic and gentrification. The pandemic broke down so many social structures from gathering at shows to just being able to create music together. And without a clear purpose it was hard to get a process going. Like everywhere, our local scene was really hurt by the situation. Most of our small venues in town have closed permanently so it is a challenge to find a local spot in Boston when you are trying to build community and get off the ground. Also, most of the practice spaces have been demolished or turned into condos, so that has been a huge setback for the scene at large.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
It would be easiest to call Anthropogenic Ruin a death thrash album, but in our opinion, it moves into so many different spaces. There are also brutal elements, d beat grooves, and it also has spacey and progressive elements. I feel it’s an amalgamation of so much of the music we love, but it absolutely sounds like Bacterial Husk. I’m proud of the fact that it seems like people hear different influences and we aren’t just a clone of another great band.
What inspired the album title?
It is absolutely a reaction to reality. Mankind destroys its own environment and behaves callously. Feelings of manipulation and exploitation, powerlessness. We are exploring the idea of the Anthropocene, as it seems many artists are, and it just feels so relevant to the moment.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Evan loves to deep dive into folklore, conspiracy, and he is also a rabid metal head. Sometimes we pull from artists like Demolition Hammer or Napalm Death for a theme or cadence. Sometimes it is concepts of ancient technology, nuclear abominations, or even Navajo witchcraft. In the case of Anthropogenic Ruin, it all melts into the same lyrical cauldron. Themes and patterns playing out time and time again.
What led you to go the independent route for its release?
Necessity. We needed to get this out into the world. We didn’t want to sit on it any longer hoping for a label to pick it up. We were also realistic about our standing as a band having just emerged in 2023 after three and a half years of no shows and no musical output. We also wanted to make sure that we controlled these songs ourselves. It has been such a monumental effort and we feel it’s a strong body of work. Ultimately, we needed to just move forward and this was the best path.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
It’s been such a learning experience that I feel we already have exceeded our expectations. Collaborating with these talented guys who I am so lucky to call my friends has been the best. It’s the most constructive and supportive group of musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of creating with. We want to play shows and keep doing what we love to do. It’s important to us to follow up on this release in the next year or so. There is a limited run of CDs and we are working on some custom cassettes too. It would be amazing to sell out of our self-release and get picked up for a reissue.
What has been your most memorable Bacterial Husk live show?
They have all been pretty cool ha ha. I guess we have been lucky, but we also are selective. Getting the opportunity to open for Gorguts at Brighton Music Hall was incredible.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We have a killer show in the works for December TBA, but currently we are open for bookings. We want to head out on the road in 2024.
How is the metal scene in Boston these days?
It’s getting healthier again! After all the setbacks of the pandemic and losing so much critical artist space it has been tough. It’s an expensive city and that poses so many challenges. O’briens in Allston is still holding it down! And across the river, the Middle East Nightclub has been having some killer shows. Otherwise, you are looking at Providence, RI or Ralphs in Worcester, MA. But then again, life always seems to find a way into someone’s grimy basement.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I love genre films, especially horror. I also work as a projectionist running film. John brews beer, is an avid gamer, and loves to travel. Joey loves fishing. Evan is a collector and loves thrifting and pro wrestling.
What was the best thing you binge watched lately?
Assuming bingeing is TV specific, I always go back to Venture Brothers, South Park, and the first six seasons of Trailer Park Boys. Since it is October, I’ve put on Supernatural again from the start, those first few seasons are so fun, especially the monster of the week stuff. I really have been enjoying Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks being a life-long Star Trek fan. Stoked to continue Our Flag Means Death which is starting back up again… too much TV.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Thantifaxath, Horrendous, Battlemaster, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Tomb Mold, Outer Heaven – all have killer 2023 releases. It’s been a good year for heavy music and I’m still discovering so much.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Please support us directly through our Bandcamp page. Share the music.
(interview published October 28, 2023)
Listen To Bacterial Husk – “Chemically Evolved”