Track By Tracks: Skumstrike - Deadly Intrusions (2022)


1. Caustic Poison:
INSPIRED BY: GISM (Jap)

ZS: The band that really comes to mind with this track is GISM, because we have this whole "babbling" vocal section that we added near the middle of the song that is really layered and pays tribute to that kind of crazy Japanese punk. The idea was to go for something along the lines of the 'Endless Blockades for the Pussyfooter' track by GISM, in terms of what this passage sounds like.

LA: I think we did an alright job, haha. Pat (McDowell), our engineer, managed to layer everything nicely. We were shouting and cursing in a variety of languages: English, some Malay due to Zach being from Singapore, and some Irish from me. So it sounds suitably nuts I think. That was the goal.

ZS: Lyrically, man... it was originally about pouring acid on the brain, haha. But I thought that was a bit basic, so it devolved into a general song about the beginning of insanity taking hold. Going loco if ya know what I mean. That is the general theme that runs through the record, even if it veers off in some different directions.

LA: Musically, it's probably just a good mix of our influences. You got thrash parts, some fast d-beat, some more technical licks that maaaaybe sound a little bit like early Voivod. We just wanted to make a really fast first song that has a good impact to get the listener engaged.

2. Blood Red Vision:
INSPIRED BY: Celtic Frost / Aura Noir

ZS: Celtic Frost is what comes to mind here. LA came in with the opening riff and we just jammed through it and quite quickly wrote it. It does get somewhat technical and maybe we have a bit of black thrash parts. Sometimes with Aura Noir, haha, I love their vocalist but it sounds sometimes like he's almost giving up and groaning. I took a little bit of inspiration from that vocally. The song is about some guy who has gone completely off the rails, and he's just in kill mode, so the blood red vision has descended. Pretty obvious!

LA: I think we originally started with something a bit more technial and this quickly became a more basic but satifying song. I really dig the vocals on this, they punch nicely and it's one of the reasons we choose it for the first track that we released off the record. For some reason, I always associate Obituary in the slower parts. They're a good example of a band who don't play a million miles an hour and can absolutely crush. This is a very fun song to play.

3. PANIC OBSESSION:
INSPIRED BY: Brutal Truth

ZS: This is probably the most grindcore inspired song on the record. It's quite a weird song because it starts with this very fast grindy section, but then drops into an almost melancholic black metal-ish vibe. It's funny. My girlfriend calls our music sausage music. But she says this section sounds like sad sausage.

LA: HAha, yeah I think it's fair to say this song is all over the place. I would personally think of something like early Bruth Truth probably inspired the first part of it, but then, yeah, Black metal with a dose of thrash then arrives, plus some of the harmonics in the later part of the song. I really enjoy playing this, when I don't fuck it up. The first part is probably the fastest section on the whole record and it mixes things up after the slower parts of 'Blood Red Vision'.

ZS: The song is all about depression and panic attacks, and how it feels like how pressure can build until the point where it crushes you.

4. ENSNARED (IN ENDLESS NIGHT):
INSPIRED: Anti-Cimex

ZS: This is a generic d-beat song haha. It's very straightforward to be honest. It was inspired by bands of that style like Discharge, Anti-Cimex, early Disfear. That's exactly what we had in mind for it to be honest. However, there is one section with blast beats. I had to push myself somewhat on that. However, there is a guitar riff that is very reminiscent of F.O.A.D era Darkthrone. Lyrically, it's about the manipulation that cult leaders can employ. There's a lot of over-the-top imagery.

LA: Yeah I reckon this song is very basic compared to some of the other ones, but I still like it. It is what it is! There is definitely a nod to Darkthrone in some of the guitar sections, which varies things up and helps keeps us interested. Basically, I feel our songs are a success if we enjoy how they sound and it doesn't sound exactly like one style or genre throughout. Variety is the spice of life and all that shit.

5. ANOTHER SHOT OF FEAR:
INSPIRED BY: INEPSY (but faster)

ZS: This song is mimicing those sort of songs that focus on the over-consumption of alcohol and substances in general, but with fear becoming what you're truly addicted to. Ya know, ending up with fear instead of beer! Everyone's worst nightmare haha. We're big fans of Montreal's Inepsy (RIP), and while this doesn't sound very much like them, but for some reason it's the band that comes to mind.

LA: Gotta love Inepsy. I like the way the lyrics are delivered in this, just the title, again and again, hitting you over the head haha. The opening section of this with the bass is a funny one. Nowadays, we play the bass section a lot cleaner live because it's really a lot of filthy bass notes being lashed out together and sounds a bit muddy, but I still like the chaotic vibe it has on this recording. For me, it's a really fun song because it builds up to this section with a fast, cleaning sounding heavy metal riff which is piles of fun to play.

6. RITUAL MURDER:
INSPIRED BY: CANNIBAL CORPSE

ZS: Haha, if you've heard this song, you might recognize the start-stop riff in the middle as being a little close to 'Hammer Smashed Face by Cannibal Corpse. It was a total accident but we ended up laughing our asses off about that and keeping it. Also, the beginning reminds me of Aura Noir. Are you seeing a pattern here readers? We like Aura Noir.

LA: If only we could play as good as them. Also, I should point out that the solo on this song is by ZS! He is a shit hot guitarist with Singapore sensations XANADOO and knows his way around a fretboard better than I do. Super feely solo man, great job. This song is one of the most technical and thrashy ones on the record.

ZS: Thanks, bro. The lyrics are about a notorious serial killer case in Singapore, that is often referred to as the Toa Payoh ritual murders. It happened in the 80s and revolved around this guy who represented himself as a witch doctor and murdered children. It was a huge case in the country. The lyrics deal with the darkness of that case. He was executed in the end by hanging, and those are referenced in the "swinging coward" lines.

7. MENTAL WOUND SUBMISSION:
INSPIRED BY: OCCVLTA

LA: I saw Occvlta from Germany play in Montreal a couple of years prior to the pandemic and they were great. Very nasty, jagged, fuck-you punky Black Metal. I think I wrote the main riff at the start of this song in the days after seeing them, and it's in a similar style. However, the rest of the song, typical for Skumstrike, veers off in a wildly different direction. The end is pure powerviolence. ZS was previously in a powerviolence band and I like a lot of bands of that style like Spazz and Despise You but I think we made it sound relatively organic by dropping a really fast thrash part right in the middle of that section, haha.

ZS: Again, lyrically, we're in the evolving concept of growing insanity. The concept for this song was about the idea of losing your mind becoming a sexual turn-on for someone. I honestly don't know if that really exists as a disorder, but that's what it focuses on as a concept.

LA: This song is fucked. It has a very punky Black Metal opening, then a chugging doom part, then powerviolence, then death-thrash. We wrote this at least two years ago now at this stage. It's kind of a Skumstrike fossil.

8.LOBOTOMIZE:
INSPIRED BY: Hades (Nor)

LA: I'd say the kind of strummy mid-section to this is directly inspired by bands like Hades from Norway (especially their 'Dawn of the Dying Sun' album which I love) or maybe even old Primodial, going for some bigger sounding strumming. The idea was to broaden out the song after a very death metal opening that has some blasting.

ZS: Ok, the final riff in the song obviously sounds like Death. Maybe a little like 'Altering the Future' off Spiritual Healing? It was that sudden break-out vibe that we were going for. This is the first song that I wrote lyrics for on the album. This is honestly where the overall insanity concept came together. This was actually before COVID, but somehow the concept of the album became even more apt as Covid dragged along and impacted us all mentally. I feel like the lyrics for this are kind of a reflection of it. It also reveals how little I actually know what a lobotomy actually is.

LA: The concept of lobotomy, for me, is really skin-crawlingly horrifying. The idea of taking a person's personality, no matter how flawed, and basically mutilating it by cutting off sections of the brain is a terrifying one.

9. THE INFESTOR
INSPIRED BY: Kreator

ZS: For me, the start of this song is probably the most 80s thrash part of the record. It makes me think of Kreator a little bit if no exact song comes to mind. The whole thing is quite thrashed.

LA: Yeah, I'd agree. Lyrically, I wrote these about environmental decay which is pretty 80s thrash I suppose! Specifically, the massive amounts of data and information that is generated and stored in the modern digital world, and how this will be absolutely useless and unsalvagable in the future as we continue to decimate the biosphere and all the enormous amount of data will do nothing to help our future chances for survival. I'll leave it to your imagination what the 'Infestor' is!

ZS: Climate change and shit...

10. DEADLY INTRUSIONS:
INSPIRED BY: All the above.

ZS: I would personally say this song points to the future for Skumstrike. The style and the approach really neatly encapsulate the sound we're really going for. Lyrically we were totally taking the piss with this one. I'll leave the mystery intact but we had a lot of fun writing this one. More sad sausages!

LA: Yeah I'm most satisfied with this song too. We have some melody at the beginning, then fast d-beat, some death-thrash, and it goes pure heavy metal for a little bit. It sums up all of our influences quite nicely in one song and it is relatively ambitious. I hope to write more songs in the future that are as well-rounded as this one, without blowing my own trumpet! It's why it got the title track star treatment!

11. NOTHING IS FINAL (Poison Idea):
INSPIRED BY: Fairly obvious no?

ZS: We wanted to cover a song just for fun to end the record. I've always wanted to cover Poison Idea. They've always had a lyrical vibe that I think matches the whole concept of the album. Holding on for dear life, going close to going off the rails so to speak. Ending with a song called 'Nothing is Final' was cool too.

LA: This song taught me that Pig Champion is a way better guitarist than I will ever be. Even the rhythm parts kicked my ass, and yes, ZS provided another sick solo. We ended up doing a fairly straight-forward cover, and didn't fuck with the song's style too much, because when the song is this good, there's no point changing it very much. I don't know if we'll ever end up playing this live but it could happen some day. We were considering other bands for a cover, as we've done plenty of live covers in the past (Sodom, Slayer, Sabbat etc), but this turned out just fine I think.

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