Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Well, initially, the band was just myself and our last drummer, Hate, and we put together a few songs here and there. I had been in a number of death metal bands in the past, but I had always wanted to play some really raw, aggressive black metal. We put together what would eventually become our eponymous EP, which consisted of about five songs that we had rehearsed. At the time, I was doing vocal and guitar duties, but we knew that it would be empty with just guitars, drums and vocals. We added Moloch into the band in late 2009 so I could switch to bass, which is my primary instrument. About three months later, we stepped into the studio and recorded our EP, which was followed by a string of local shows in Flagstaff, AZ, opening for bands such as Warbringer and Cattle Decapitation. Unfortunately, a variety of circumstances led us to eventually drop out of the live scene and take a two-year hiatus. Hate had moved on at this point, so when Moloch and I got back together to resume work on the project, we made the decision to recreate Unholy Baptism as a studio project.
Resources are somewhat limited where we live, so we spent quite a bit of time playing in Moloch’s garage and writing new songs and rewriting the old ones. Because of our limited schedules at the time – as well as my neurosis when it comes to perfecting the music I write – it took us a couple of years to nail down what would eventually become our first full length album, …On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss. When it came to the time we had everything ready to be recorded, we decided to produce that recording ourselves. I have always been very interested in audio engineering, and I am very serious about a career in music, so I figured gaining that knowledge and skills would only help me move forward to that goal. We eventually found a space to do the recording and started on the production of the album. As it stands, Unholy Baptism is a two-man project, but we are not ruling out getting back into live performances.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
Our style is heavily influenced by the second wave of black metal. The early Norwegian scene – with bands like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, etc. – is such a huge influence on our sound and our aesthetic. For both Moloch and myself, that is how we have always defined black metal, and when we set out to make this project a reality, that was the primary focus. We wanted to have the raw, aggressive garage band feel to our music. A lot of those early musicians did their production on their own, and we have embraced that DIY mentality, as I think it really helps to create that atmosphere that truly defines the essence of black metal. We have also tried to include different genres into our music as well, but in ways that work with the songs that we want to create. We have slow, doom type riffs, and we’ve really tried to focus on creating more of an ambient or atmospheric tone in some of our guitar parts, without getting too crazy with extra instruments. With the exception of a few sound clips, our music is guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Outside of those early Norwegian bands, our styles differ a little bit but still encompass primarily black metal. We are both huge Inquisition fans, and Dagon’s guitar work has always really inspired both of us in how intricate and well executed it is.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
Well, first off, a metalhead should get our album because it’s completely free on our Bandcamp page! It’s metal and it’s free, so what do you have to lose?
In all seriousness though, I think fans of many different styles of metal can get into our most recent album. We really think we’ve kept to that early 90s feel of black metal, with Satanic lyrics, blast beats and pretty aggressive riffing, but still tried to add in things that enhanced that sound. When we were tracking the album, it was really important for us to maintain that atmosphere that good black metal has always been defined by, because I really think that black metal artists don’t necessarily need to be guitar virtuosos when that atmosphere is right. It really speaks for itself, I think, and is very reminiscent to the Norwegian scene.
If you like Transylvanian Hunger or Under a Funeral Moon by Darkthrone, you’ll probably like our album!
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
On March 10 of this year, we released our first full length album, entitled …On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss. This album was the result of years of work and was a very personal journey for both of us to see it through completion. We also do think that the listener can really get in touch with that journey if they listen to the album from beginning to end, though I will say at just shy of 72 minutes, it’s a long one!
We really haven’t had too much media coverage yet, but we’ve had a number of people interested in our music over the last month or so. We have a little over 160 Facebook followers, and I think we’ve given away about 90 downloads since release, and there were even a few people who purchased the album. We’ve been blown away by all the positive feedback we’ve received, especially considering we weren’t even on the radar until we released this album. We’ve been pretty quiet about promotion until this album was finished, which was when we decided to hit the ground running. We’re hoping to get some more media coverage and positive reviews so we can get in more fans ears. We’re really trying to build a following and get people interested, because we have huge plans for the next few years!
Do you play live as well? How’s your live activity so far?
Unfortunately, we do not play live. We had to make that decision due to the fact that we no longer have a live drummer available to do that work for us. We played quite a few shows throughout 2010, but there is such a strange culture in our area around live performances. You can count the number of live metal bands in our town on one hand, but they are extremely competitive with each other for some reason. In addition, our venues very much promote a “pay-to-play” culture which can be very cost-prohibitive for unknown bands and even established bands. Hell, half the time those bands who had to pay to play don’t even end up getting a cut out of the ticket sales!
In essence, I think if we relocated, we could probably have more of a live presence, which is something we may end up doing.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about you band? Why should they be interested in it?
We think that there is still a rabid fanbase for black metal, even though a lot of it is still very much underground, and we think we are bringing that atmosphere and raw aggression back with style. Some black metal is sounding a bit overproduced at times, and we think that really draws away from the atmosphere.
Aside from that, both Moloch and I are extremely passionate about working on this project full-time, and we have tried our best to maintain a level of professionalism and work ethic that I think is so important in the industry. We try to interact with our fans as much as we can and if a label, zine or promoter needs something from us, we will jump at the chance to try and deliver that within reason.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
We have some big plans for the near future! Things are still falling into place a little bit, but what I can say is we have already begun the writing process of our next full-length album. Being that this is a studio project and our primary focus for the time being is putting new music out, we are finally glad to announce that this project will be huge. The next full-length album will be entitled The Bonds of Servitude and will be part of a trilogy of albums, telling a story from volume one to volume three.
We have also started working with Clawhammer PR in getting our music out to a wider audience, so we’re hoping that huge news will just keep snowballing like it has been!
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
You can check out individual tracks or download the whole album – again, completely for free – at unholybaptism.bandcamp.com. We worked with Gragoth from Luciferium War Graphics and he designed us an awesome shirt, but we’re still scrounging up some cash to get those printed. We will probably be selling those through our Bandcamp page as well.
We also have a substantial amount of places on the Internet where you can follow us in what we’re doing. You can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UnholyBaptism), on Twitter (@UnholyBaptism) and we even have our own webpage at unholybaptism.com!
So give us a like or a follow, send us an e-mail, and most importantly, download our album!
Thanks for having us!