Though the band has a well established track record among those in the know, 2019 served as a particularly pivotal year for Massachusetts metallic-hardcore punks, Fuming Mouth.
Releasing the critically-praised LP, The Grand Descent, the project's architect Mark Whelan handled the creative heavy lifting, writing the record in it's totality.
The bombastic blend of 90s-era death metal accented by the band's hardcore punk bravado made for an intriguing mesh that saw a cross section of fans from both worlds gravitating their way. The ability to tap into the traditional elements of death metal's audio assault, was complimented by a genuinely gritty aesthetic that positioned Fuming Mouth among an emerging generation of aggressive artists that both understand the nuances and are influenced by various subgenres of heavy music.
Capitalizing on the momentum of their 2019 calendar year, Whelan returned home from tour and quickly got to work on what would be the band's broad introduction with their recently released Nuclear Blast Records debut EP, Beyond The Tomb. Evolving sonically with an embrace of more of the traditional tropes of death metal while retaining their brass tacks approach to their bombast, Whelan and his cohorts have reemerged with all the ferocity that first turned heads - and then some.
The band really gained big momentum with The Grand Descent. That album dropped and 2019 and already you guys have more music coming out. Was any of Beyond the Tomb from those Grand Descent sessions?
Whelan - None of it was. It really started when I was looking at some of our favorite bands and noticed they put out these killer 3 song EPs after their first album. Slayer - 'Haunting the Chapel,' Entombed - 'Crawl,' Dismember - 'Pieces', Autopsy - 'Retribution for the Dead.' So many. Especially 'Haunting the Chapel' though. Hearing "Chemical Warfare" after 'Show No Mercy' was released must have been insane. I wish I could have been alive back then.
Massachusetts has STRONG ties to the culture of hardcore music. How did that factor into the musical identity of Fuming Mouth?
Whelan - We really try and conduct ourselves with a hardcore punk mentality even though most of our riffs can be traced back to 90's death metal. I think growing up here really solidified that.
Was Beyond the Tomb another project that was written entirely by Mark Whelan or was this EP a more collaborative effort?
Whelan - The song "Beyond the Tomb" was written entirely by me. It was the first song I wrote after "The Grand Descent" was released. We had just gotten back from a gnarly tour with Creeping Death. I'm talking almost crashing and dying, van breaking down, almost getting robbed-gnarly. I felt really confident once we were home and I really wanted to push what we did on 'The Grand Descent' even further. The other two songs were more of a collaborative effort with Andrew stepping in, working with the riffs, and recording on the EP too.
A very traditional element of death metal includes lots of exaggerated violence, gore, and depravity. That isn’t the case with Fuming Mouth. A lot of your music is rooted in a more realistic narrative. Was that the case for Beyond the Tomb as well?
Whelan - It actually wasn't. I took a story driven approach to the title track for example. As I wrote, it slowly opened up into that depravity that I think you're talking about. I kind of let my imagination run wild. I've never been more comfortable with the Macabre on a song. It felt amazing.
Considering how purist both communities can be, did you run into the problem of being too metal for hardcore fans and too hardcore leaning for metal snobs?
Whelan - Yeah for sure. I wish I could say we didn't but we do for some reason. I've been telling people we're a punk rock band lately.
There is a contingent of bands that seem to thrive in that blurred middle between hardcore punk and metal. Do you feel like there is a new way of thinking about heavy music for this new generation of bands like yourselves.
Whelan - We all have a really radical outlook on things and I think it reflects in our music. I think there's a totally new way this generation should think about heavy music too - simpler. There was a time before everything was held to a standard with 9 string guitars. We can create that time right now.
Considering the band takes its inspirational cues from real life horror, has 2020 given you plenty of fodder for new tunes?
Whelan - Definitely. The next album will be totally fictional though. It's a concept album.
Beyond The Tomb is now available on Nuclear Blast Records - HERE