The Finnish death metal band Corpsessed are in the spotlight for this week’s Meet The Band. Their second album Impetus Of Death was just released. Guitarist Matti Makela and drummer Jussi-Pekka Manner introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Corpsessed.
Matti Makela: The band was spawned in early 2007 in a town called Järvenpää, located in Southern Finland near the Helsinki area. The original members were Niko Matilainen (vocals), Jussi-Pekka Manner (drums), me (guitar/vocals) and Jyri Lustig (guitar). The band has gone through a few bass players but currently the position is in the firm grip of Tuomas Kulmala.
Our first release The Dagger & The Chalice EP (originally a demo) was released in 2011 by the American label Dark Descent Records who has remained our partner in crime ever since. 2014 saw the release of our first full-length Abysmal Thresholds. After the album release we did two European tours, the first one in 2015 with Cruciamentum (UK) and the second in 2018 with Undergang (DK). 2018 is also the year that our second full-length Impetus of Death was released.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Impetus Of Death.
Matti: In the past we’ve presented more fully composed songs to the band which we then have started rehearsing together, but with this album it was more of a group effort from the start. Sure, me and Jyri wrote most of the riffs on our own – but we arranged all of the songs as a band and everyone pitched in with their ideas about the song structures, riff transitions, vocal patterns and so forth; so the process was more organic in that sense. Most of the stuff was also demoed before recording the album versions, which had an impact also on the final arrangements. This seemed to be a good method for us, which we will be utilizing more in the future.
How has your sound evolved from your 2014 debut?
Jussi-Pekka Manner: It is heavier, grittier and darker, but at the same time it is clearer than the sound on Abysmal Thresholds.
Matti: More care went also into the writing and arrangements of the songs. Where the debut sounded more abyssal and black, distant and echoed – the second album takes this, but builds it more onto a firmer sound that is more distinct and in your face. We wanted to give the riffs more emphasis and not work on dripping black atmosphere alone. The sounds on the second album are warmer, very bass heavy and but still retaining that old school rotten coziness to it, so in no way too hi-fi. I like to compare that the new album is more meaty/fleshy and corporeal and the debut was more ghostly and aetheric perhaps?
Is there a lyrical theme or thread?
Matti: Death. I’m seriously tempted to leave it just there. (laughs) The album is not a theme album, and each song tells a story of their own diving into such themes as the supernatural, dark side of the human mind, escapism, macabre tales of horror, myths and the perils and deception of religions – some reflecting on metaphorical level also from our own experiences of real life, but veiled into a more different context, with Death being the only combining aspect of all of them.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Matti: Simply to write songs that you love and would want to listen to yourself, and of course with each album try to raise the bar in quality and song writing. To release an album you can look at proudly even after many years. What else is there really?
What has the response been to the songs you’ve released so far?
Jussi: Mainly positive. I think I haven’t read any negative comments about the preview songs per se, not taking album reviews into account. The most common negative comments I’ve stumbled upon are about the album cover, which indeed provokes discussion.
Matti: There will always be people who will not get the songs, or like the production, or prefer the older stuff. This does not really move us in any way. The main thing is that we are happy with the album.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Jussi: This year we have done quite a lot of shows and somehow it feels like we should take a small break from doing gigs. But it wouldn’t make sense, because there’s a new album coming out. (laughs) Next year’s schedule is quite empty actually, or at least the first half, but we are working on some dates for the autumn. More info will be revealed later, but let’s keep things obscure for now. Would be awesome to play on some cool festivals, so promoters get in touch! (laughs)
What has been your most memorable Corpsessed live show?
Jussi: For me perhaps the Netherlands Deathfest show in 2017. We played on the main stage and were the opening band for Sunday, so didn’t expect much audience. However, it turned out to be quite the opposite and we got a great response. Besides that, the festival arrangements and crew were really professional and everything went really smoothly.
Matti: NDF was for sure a highlight! From others I’d mention the days spent on the road with Cruciamentum and Undergang as a whole, not singling out any specific gigs. So many good memories of those!
How did you get started in music?
Matti: I guess it’s pretty much the same for all of us? Starting to get more actively interested in music in the teenage years although music has been there since early childhood. I myself started to get into metal music when I was around 10 years old, starting with Metallica and gradually working myself towards more and more heavier stuff. By the mid-nineties I was already quite versed in death and black metal music and when I was 14 years old felt to urge to pick up an instrument as well. My weapon of choice was the guitar. After a few years of learning the instrument by mainly dabbling by myself and taking a few lessons, I started my first band in 1998. Been playing in bands ever since, and see no reason why to stop this passion.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Jussi: As for the band, we started by playing Carcass, Entombed, Grave, Deicide etc. covers and bands (also the Finnish ones) from that era are the main influences for our band. Of course there are plenty of other influences, which can arise from movies, TV series, books and of course from other music styles than death metal. When I was a teenager I listened to punk rock a lot and I suppose that it influences my playing to some extent. The biggest single musical influence for me, however, has been a Finnish band, Kingston Wall and their drummer Sami Kuoppamäki.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Jussi: For me the first metal(ish) concert must have been some event at the local community center in Järvenpää, cannot remember the year, perhaps late 1990s or early 2000s. But the first metal festival I attended was Tuska open air in Helsinki in 2002.
Matti: I’m a few years older than Jussi but we are from the same town and went to the same schools. Our school held these band events every year, so the first metal bands I saw were these local acts when I was 13 years old. There were some black metal, death metal and grind bands (amongst the pop and rock stuff too) as these things were quite popular amongst the youth during the early nineties in Finland. These gigs did have quite an impact on me as it made me want to do the same thing as these guys from my school who were only a few years older. Other gigs I can remember were also some youth center gigs, and bands performing in this local (now deceased) outdoors mini festival called PuistoRock. I can’t really remember the names of the bands, though.
Jussi: I actually saw Matti play at the school’s event when I was 13, and thought exactly the same, that it would be awesome to do that.
Who are your all time top 5 Finnish death metal bands?
Jussi: For me early Amorphis (Privilege of Evil especially), early Sentenced, Demigod. I’ll just stop the listing here, cause there are so many great bands and I don’t want to write them all here, but the mentioned ones are the most important for me.
Matti: There’s a lot! So just a top 5 doesn’t really do it. It’s also perhaps more about a certain era, than a bands discography in its entirety. I mean stuff like early Amorphis, Abhorrence and Sentenced, just like Jussi mentioned above. Add Demilich and the demos from Disgrace and Funebre. Belial’s EPs and Mythos demo also deserve a mention.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Jussi: I’ve been listening to Russian Circles quite a lot recently, suppose that makes it on the “heavy music” list. From the death metal scene there are quite many new acquaintances, at least for me, that I should get to know more after a few spins, such as Scorched, Mortuous, Mortiferum, Taphos, Necrot, Torture Rack, who all have released new stuff this or the previous year.
Matti: That’s a really good selection of new bands that you can find also in my playlist! On top of those, I’m also heavily rotating some ’90s stuff like Disembowelment, Obtained Enslavement, Malevolent Creation and balancing it with more ambient like Lull, Halo Manash or Arktau Eos. The winter season is also knocking on our door, which usually means I turn towards funeral doom, or black metal. So who knows. The playlist is ever changing, to serve the current mood.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Matti: Check out the new album, and if you wish to buy it and support the band – see the following links: BigCartel, Bandcamp. See you at the shows! Cheers!
(interview published November 24, 2018)
Listen to Corpsessed – “Graveborn”