Meet The Band: Cemetery Filth

Unspeakable Axe Records

In the Meet The Band spotlight this week are the death metal group Cemetery Filth. After issuing a few EPs over the past few years, they just released their full-length debut album Dominion. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Kilpatrick introduces us to his band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Cemetery Filth.
Matt Kilpatrick: Ryan Guinn (lead guitar) and myself started the band with the help of our ex-drummer and ex-bassist after the bassist and I had decided to try and start a death metal project together that was more inspired by the death metal we loved from the early days of the genre. Even from the get-go, members lived in multiple states and were travelling to meet each other. Over time, we said goodbye to those two members, and the remaining members have moved around. We’ve done a few tours and have gotten the chance to play with many great bands that have influenced us such as Deicide, Monstrosity, Morpheus Descends, Exhumed, Hellwitch, Brutality,and much more.

Describe the songwriting process for Dominion.
It was a pretty strange and stressful process! All four members have been living in four different states, so time together was tough. While Ryan and myself write most of the core, or riffs and structures of the songs, we as a band like to work together to actually piece songs together. It is my personal belief that every member has to put their own spin on a song together. Because of that, Dominion took longer than it should have to come about. Our time together is limited not just due to distance, but because of other life commitments that are harder to shake as you get older.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
For me personally, I’d say tracking all of the rhythm guitars with Ryan during the second evening we spent in the studio. We recorded guitars “live” with the drums and bass, but decided to re-track them again to really nail them down. We ended up crushing through them extremely fast, and I think we were both very surpised with how well and fast we got it done. The hour-long drive back to his house blaring King Diamond’s The Spider’s Lullabye was also very memorable, I think because of how accomplished and happy we felt to finally be getting his album recorded.

How has your sound evolved from your earlier EPs?
I think we’ve refined our craft. Earlier songs tended to be inspired more from a singular influence, while our newer songs are a result of a wider range of cumulative influences.

What lyrical subjects do you cover?
The album has a wide variety of lyrical subjects; from fictional tales of cosmic horror (Churning of the Shallows) to reflections of life, and metaphors for self empowerment and destroying the obstacles that restrict your growth.

How did you come to sign with Unspeakable Axe?
Unspeakable Axe mastermind, Eric Musall, was actually at our first show – the failed “Mountains of Madness” Death Metal Fest in Johnson City, TN. He had driven up to support his newly signed act Shards Of Humanity, and to set up a merch table with his label’s releases. We got to talking with him, I think he was impressed with our first performance, and we ended up sending him a copy of the debut EP.

What are you goals and expectations for the album?
Sadly, a lot of that is up in the air or has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s delayed our release show until further notice, hurt any chance of touring for the album, and will most likely be hurting sales of the album since many people into extreme music work in the service industry, or other industries, where they have lost their jobs. It really sucks. We joke that our band is cursed and that us finally getting an album out is what caused all of this! (laughs)

How did you get started in music?
I’ve always had an interest in music and played different instruments in school ensembles as a kid. I always had a want to play guitar, and was told the school jazz band didn’t have a guitar spot, but had a bass spot, which was similar. I didn’t know the difference, started playing bass for several years, and never felt that fulfilled. I kind of lost interest in playing music as a result until I was about 15. It wasn’t until I heard the band Death that my drive to play guitar was restored. My parents bought me my first beginner-level Warlock guitar, and I started cranking away on learning thrash and death metal riffs.

Who were your early influences and inspirations?
I was going to ask if you meant me as an artist, or the band as a whole, but I’d argue the lists would be almost identical. Slayer, Death, Morbid Angel, Megadeth, Metallica, Autopsy, Pestilence, Obituary, Carcass, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Priest, Maiden, etc.

What was the first metal concert you attended?
My first real concert was Slayer, their first “Unholy Alliance” tour in ’06, which was the first tour they had with all four members back in the band. It was insane.

What has been your most memorable Cemetery Filth live show?
For me personally, it may have been either our show in Philly or Worcester, MA on the last tour. Both were wild and memorable with tons of friends. Our set at Blood of the Wolf III was pretty memorable as well. We had a ton of anger that weekend, and our performance was definitely showed it.

Atlanta has a strong metal scene. What do you think the long-term effect of the coronavirus pandemic will be on live music there?
Atlanta has a tremendous metal scene, and we are thankful to call it home. I honestly don’t know how this will impact every one. The musicians will keep playing, the maniacs will keep supporting the artists, but I do worry that the bars and venues may be impacted from this unknown period without revenue or clientele. Cooperative and supportive venues are extremely important to a scene, and the loyal ones in Atlanta are definitely responsible for keeping the scene so energized.

How has it impacted the band, and you personally?
As I mentioned above, it’s kind of hurt the release of the album. We’re still seeing a tremendous amount of response, shares, praise, and purchases of the album. But it’s obvious that the success of this huge release is being squandered. Since the band is in four different states, it’s made it next to impossible to practice or get together at all. I’m lucky to be managing okay for the time being in spite of not being able to work much. The rest of the guys seem to still be working full-time, which we are all very thankful for.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
To the long-time fans – we’re sorry we finally got this album out and it came at a time when we can’t come to your local stage and eviscerate your ears with it live. If the world ever returns to normal, we want nothing more than to get out on the road and play this riff-driven death metal for fans, old and new. Keep supporting artists and buy merch if you can!

(interview published April 18, 2020)

Listen To Cemetery Filth – “Churning Of The Shallows”

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